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March 21, 2011


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"Usufruct" was singled out by Frank McCourt as one of the useless words NY public school teachers are (were?) required to teach their students. Oddly enough, shortly after reading McCourt's memoir (Teacher Man?), I read a book that actually talked about usufruct rights.

That's a coincidence, antfaber. So, what usufruct rights are there? Who doesn't mind use and enjoyment without destruction? Well, I mean, I get the "without destruction" part, but that may be hard to define.

Black's Law Dictionary defines usufruct as you do, plus "the right to draw from the same all the profit, utility, and advantage which it may produce, provided it be without altering the substance of the thing." Ah, but how do you define substance?

I miss graffiti! It humanized the subways and so much of it was quite good. How does one pronounce "usufruct"?

Marissa, the pronunciation is yoo-suh-fruhct. I still see grafitti in my neighborhood, but this was particularly good.
Katie, isn't the law dotted with words of dubious meaning? Perhaps a squatter would wield the word, usufruct.

I saw "cunticle" on the wall of the uptown platform at 116th Street and Broadway. This by way of seconding Marissa's nostalgia for classic graffiti -- DL

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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This Way Out

by T.P.Winch

Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.



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