A London Eulogy

The London Eulogy


John Presco

Copyright 2021

On April 14, 2021 I posted on Jack London’s connection to Ian Fleming and James Bond. With the release of ‘No Time To Die’ that post has proved very prophetic. It was my goal to ground Ian Fleming and my Bond book in Belmont California co-founded by my great grandfather, Carl Janke. I was met with opposition that will be in my book ‘The London Eulogy’.

SPOILER ALERT! If you do not want to know the ending of the latest Bond movie, do not read.


While speaking to MI6 agents after James Bond’s passing, M (played by Ralph Fiennes) reads a passage to pay his respects:

“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

This quote is attributed to the renowned American novelist Jack London and it was first published in the San Francisco Bulletin back in 1916. It was also included as an introduction to a compilation of the writer’s short stories in 1956.

It’s a touching and fitting quote to read in memoriam of the agent who never wasted his potential. Bond never existed, or merely survived – he truly lived and the passage helps celebrate that extraordinary life. A life like no other.

The character’s death was surely a shock; it’s never been done before. He met his unfortunate demise after being infected with nanobots, leaving him unable to touch Madeleine or Mathilde without it proving fatal.

As for Jack London, he passed away in 1916 at age 40 after similarly living an exceptional life. Beyond his novels, he was regarded as both a journalist and social activist.

He was arguably one of the very first US authors elevated to the status of celebrity and remains one of the most important names in literary science fiction.

His most notable works include The Call of the Wild and White Fang, while he is well-known for penning such short stories as To Build a Fire and An Odyssey of the North.

M (Ralph Fiennes) delivers a fitting eulogy for James Bond that goes: “The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

James Bond was certainly a man who lived rather than existed and the passage, written by American novelist Jack London, was first published by the San Francisco Bulletin in 1916. The passage later served as the introduction to a compilation of London’s short stories published posthumously in 1956.

Interestingly, the passage has previously been used to eulogize James Bond. In Ian Fleming’s novel You Only Live Twice, Bond’s obituary is published in a newspaper as the spy is believed to be dead. His love interest, Mary Goodnight, adds an addendum: the same Jack London passage read by M. Interestingly, in that same Bond book (very different from the movie of the same name), 007 strangles Blofeld to death.

As pointed out by Radio Times, the passage is only part of the longer paragraph: “I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

The quote was originally written by the American writer Jack London, who is known for his early 20th century books Call of the Wild and The Sea Wolf. The passage it comes from was first published in the San Francisco Bulletin in 1916 and later served as an introduction to a compilation of London’s short stories in 1956.

But this is not the first time these words have been used to describe Bond. In Ian Fleming’s novel You Only Live Twice, there is a brief moment where the world thinks Bond has died and his obituary appears in the paper. The same London quote is used as an addendum to the obituary, apparently added by his love interest Mary Goodnight.

The quote is the end of a longer passage, which is written out below in full.

“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, ever atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

The London Fleming Connection

Posted on April 14, 2021 by Royal Rosamond Press

It is suspected Ian Fleming read some of Jack London. This – frees me up! Not that I allowed anyone to – lock me up! It’s just going to be a hell of a lot easier! Now I can have Victoria Rosamond Bond, and Miriam Starfish – snoop around the Bohemian Club – without fearing losing more family members due to a – stab in the back! All their blades – have struck home! I get to play – THE TOTAL GOD!

“On the way off the pier, Starfish spotted a green object in the shallow water. She did not hesitate wading in.

“Don’t go in that water. It might be contaminated!” said Victoria, her motherly instinct coming out now that she loved her first human being – more than life itself.

“Look!” cried Starfish. “It’s an old bottle…”The Belmont Soda Works!”

Off Miriam sped to the site of the other California Barrel Company. Victoria was on google being tossed about, she no longer looking at the road as Miriam squealed around corners. Getting out of their joy ride, they walked to his circular area in the industrial wasteland.

“Who owns this property?” asked Victoria and began to circumnavigate the area that looked like a launch pad for alien craft.

“Meg Whitman.” answered Starfish. “Look at these symbols in the dirt. Someone has been conducting a ritual here. “

“Here’s a plan for a very exclusive community.”

That I sign with the combined name of the two families of Belmont is out of this world! I am reminded of The Davinci Code and the appearance of members of the Sinclair family who are keen on finding the burial fault of Mary Magdalene. Surely members of BHS knew about Elizabeth Janke and investigated MY genealogical claim when I said I am kin to the Janke family. Again, why was there no warm greeting – with announcement of my lost kin? Ancestry.com is a multi-million dollar company that caters to ninety millions souls interested in find their lost kin. The BHS must have known that I could make a claim to OWNING much, if not all, of Belmont’s History. Do they have another book in the works? To elude THEY had a problem with the history of Oakland, Kamala Harris, and the Black Panthers, and thus I was given the cold shoulder – is racist! The London connection between these two cities now includes a PHILOSOPHY of Fleming and London, that dovetails nicely with Ludwig Wittgensteins interest in Norbert Davis, who like James Bond, is seen with a gun.

Has anyone (but me) compared Dan Drown to the Black Mask authors? There were complaints when Janke Street was renamed. Do members of BHS see themselves as the rightful founding family of Belmont, because they believed WE had all died out? The Invasion of the Body Snatchers comes to mind. Also the movie ZARDOZ where Sean Connery VIOLATES the Immortals of The Vortex, and gets the Apathetic all excited when they TASTE THE SWEAT OF ZED. I am The Sweat of Zed!

John Presco

(16) Da Vinci code – cryptex decodeing scene – YouTube

The Philosopher Detective | Rosamond Press

Battle At Think Tank

Posted on March 11, 2021 by Royal Rosamond Press

This photo of me has been popping up in My Think Tank that I founded yesterday. We are going there, next. Having Victoria Bond’s bodyguard being half Russian is a tell.

William Stuttmeister Janke

The Science Fiction of Jack London | Rosamond Press

Posted 05 May 2011 – 12:18 AMI was scrolling through Wikipedia today, and had spent a few minutes looking at the Jack London entry (I was looking up some factoids on his life and on The Assassination Bureau) when I scrolled down to the London “Apocrypha”, as it was labeled… and came across this (bolding is my own, for emphasis):

I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.

Well, of course, reading those last two lines stopped me dead in my tracks… because I think we all recognize them from You Only Live Twice, the novel, listed there as Bond’s “philosophy”. If Fleming had been a closet London fan, I had never heard of it.

This quotation, called London’s “Credo”, is taken in this form from an introduction by Irving Shepard, London’s step-nephew, to a 1956 collection of short stories entitled Jack London’s Tales of Adventure. It would seem to be in this poetical typesetting that Fleming first encountered these words, but a slightly different version (actually, the only other complete version) appeared even earlier, in a December 1916 article by Ernest J. Hopkins, published just weeks after London’s death; I’ll let Clarice Statz, a London scholar, take over from here (she quotes Hopkins’ article at the start; the bolding is my own):

“‘I would rather be ashes than [sic] said Jack London not two months before his death, to a group of friends with whom he was discussing, as he loved to discuss, the eternal problems of life and living.

‘I would rather be ashes than dust.’ The words, with their strange double significance, are now recalled with emotion by those friends. When he made that striking summary of his personal philosophy, London was marvelously alive. He irradiated vigor. Every breath that he drew was to him a brilliant sensation. Every moment of his time was crammed with events. he was in love with life–an[d] with vitality–ablaze with the joy and the poignancy and the overwhelming interest of “The Game.”

Let there be no misunderstanding of his phrase. Jack London did not mean to say that, after death, he would prefer the ashes of cremation to the dust of ordinary burial. Nothing was further from him than the thought that he himself was, as he put it, soon to ‘go into the silence.’ Of all the ardent group that heard him on that occasion, he was the most alive. Beside him all other men seemed colorless. But he was talking about life, not about death. He was giving his law of conduct, not his preference in funeral customs.

‘I would rather be ashes than dust. I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than that it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to LIVE. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.’

‘I would rather be ashes than dust.’ In those words London perfectly expressed himself. Never content to do his thinking by halves, upon that instinct for supreme activity he constructed a philosophy that was consistent, if unusual. Absorbed in today, he could not envisage a hereafter. Enthusiastic over tangible facts and present sensations, he believed that ease was cowardice; that the stronger must over conquer the weaker; that intellectuality divorced from action was wasted an futile; that man and the animals were of one nature, man having no quality that was not rudimentarily present in horses and dogs; that after death the human being was ‘just meat.’ Amid these tangible ideas there was room for race-memories, but not for superstitions. There was room for violent work, intense play, fierce fighting, mad adventure, thoughtful planning, but not for pretty dreaming, not for dogma, not for detached theorization. His thought was essentially practical….”

The question London scholars have is whether these words are all London’s and as he expressed them. Even moreso than today journalists’ quotes were unreliable or even sheer inventions. The full passage has many marks of London’s style–its directness, its rhythm, its diction–to persuade that it is authentic.

That all was not Hopkins’ invention can be found further in one document in London’s own handwriting. While visiting Australian suffragette Vida Goldstein in Melbourne, he placed the following in her Autograph Book. (The book is owned by a private collector who provided a photocopy of the page.)

Dear Miss Goldstein:–
Seven years ago I wrote you that I’d rather be ashes than dust. I still subscribe to that sentiment.
Sincerely yours,
Jack London
Jan. 13, 1909

In my opinion, the phrasing of the fragment featured in YOLT is too close to be from anyone but London; Fleming obviously encountered Shepard’s London collection sometime after its 1956 publication, and found it appropriate — in fact, it is probably the perfect expression of London’s, Fleming’s, and Bond’s life philosophies.

“The proper function of man is to LIVE. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

Martin Eden Comes Home To Belmont

Posted on March 24, 2021 by Royal Rosamond Press

Capturing Beauty


John Presco

Copyright 2021

With the discovery Jack London lived and worked in Belmont, I have grounded my life’s work, and the creative direction of several generations of my family. who were Belmont Pioneers. And San Francisco Pioneers who helped found Fruit Vale that became a part of Oakland.

Jack London helped found the City of Carmel with the help of George Serling who was a founder of the Bohemian Club. My sister Rosamond had two galleries in Carmel. I bring my grandfather genetic DNA to Belmont where I found this day ‘The Belmont Bohemians’. I bring Ludwig Wittgenstein to Belmont. Like London and Martin, he was a philosopher. Edgar Albee said you got to fight for your bench. I own Belmont in a Literary Way.

John Presco

President: Royal Rosamond Press

Rosamond Crippled In Car Wreck | Rosamond Press

Martin Eden Comes Home

Posted on December 31, 2019 by Royal Rosamond Press

The Second Coming of Martin Eden


John Presco

Copyright 2019

The child plays
The toy boat sails across the pond
The work now has just begun
Oh child
Look what you have done.

I could not believe Rosemary had given me her father’s ship lanterns that once hung in the cabin of his sail boat. It was the last tour we would take together of the secret treasures that lie at the bottom of her cedar chest. My mother let me thumb through several issues of Out West magazine while telling me her father was a writer and a poet, but, she never let me read the work of a man I never met, never saw face to face. When my best friend, Bill Arnold, told me Rosemary had shown him the evidence Royal Rosamond was a writer, I was puzzled, and jealous. What gives?

The Old California Barrel Company

Posted on March 24, 2021 by Royal Rosamond Press

Jack London studied Communism. I guessed at what the wharf area of Belmont looed like when I had Victoria Rosamond Bond, and Miriam Starfish Christling come to Belmont to investigate the California Barrel. Company. Jack’s parents were psychics, I believe involved in Remote Viewing. Company. I saw the coming War of Words between the United States and China. I posted on the facebook of Jon Rosamond yesterday. I introduced him to the Sea Lord Caspar John who is the son of the artist, Augustus John, who is kin to Ian Fleming. The Bohemian Ghost (Caspar) fleet has landed in Bohemian Belmont. The knight under White Mountain – ride out to meet the enemy!

When I began the Royal Janitor I founded a THINK TANK – my think tank! It sits at the end of this wharf in Bohemian Belmont. There is a fading sign facing the Bay….

‘The California Barrel Company’ 


“Look for the man wearing a barrel!

I get $789 dollars of U.S. Government money to live on. No government has got their monies worth like my government!

“Bond!……James Bond!”

“Hello boys! Do you mind if this Old Salt pulls up a chair and joins you?”

China bashes US over racism, inequality, pandemic response (msn.com)

In Defense of Communism: Jack London- How I Became A Socialist (idcommunism.com)https://rosamondpress.com/2020/09/06/martin-eden-and-me-2/

“I’m going to kiss you now.”

Posted on December 16, 2019 by Royal Rosamond Press

I am a believers in the Nine Muses. They have never steared me wrong. I know one of them is present when my whole being and soul begin to tremble. When I penned ‘The Kiss’ I knew I had stepped on the Road of Greatness. My Angelic Music, took my hand, and showed me the future, gave unto me – The End. She gave to me The Beginning. This morning when I saw the Hallmark Kiss, I walked onto the Stage of World Events. I admire Victor Hugo’s ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame, because is a timeless tale. On to this stage, walk Jonah who has weaponized Love to rise to power in the Russian Orthodox Church. Does he have secret American backers.

If you go back far enough, you will see how it began, when God came to His garden and could not see his two creations.

“Where art thou?” the Creator said aloud.

“Here we are, Lord, behind the bush, kissing!”

All kisses…..are forbidden kisses.

An Ending

“I am going to kiss you now. Victoria opened her mouth just enough to match the beautiful open mouth of Miriam. She placed her lips upon her lips, as one would put a rose upon a freshly dug grave.

She was – right here, right there. And now she is somewhere else. But, not for me. My chance, our chance, is gone -so completely. How utterly unbearable, my being. So alone, all alone. Without her. I am left on the living side of death. Here, I must make my way.

I walk alone along the road. But I will never be alone. For thou art with me my love, on that road that runs on the dark side of the moon. You will go with me, her Lord, when I am in most need of her to be by my side. For she is with you, now. She knows the way.

John Presco

Copyright 2018

John Presco

Buy Me That Horse

Posted on September 18, 2019by Royal Rosamond Press

The Royal Janitor


John Presco

Copyright 2019

Victoria was in bed reading ‘1984’ for the umpteenth time, when she there came a quiet knock on her bedroom door.

“Victoria. Are you asleep?”

“No. Come in!”

Victoria gasped when she beheld Miriam completely naked. Her gold hair flowing over her beautiful body, completed the complete package that got the full attention of Man, since the dawn of creation. Victoria stared at Miriam’s mound of Venus and the V-shape of her pubic mat. For the first time she felt like a trespasser. This is – The Area of Man! Only a Man can gaze upon this! Miriam had never been in Victoria’s bedroom, and thus she too was a trespasser – because she was compleltely nude under the covers. So many things are wrong with this picture, yet everything was never so – right!

“I thought we were going to take a break from one another?”

How many lovers have heard these words, spoken these words, for the first time, only to be made a liar. The First Breaking, is a great erotic event, for one has to untangle the tenacles ‘The Love Aura’ has you wrapped you in. One cacoon fits all! The un-weaving of the afterglow, is like a re-run, but, it is another movie altogether. What is, and what ought to be do have their time and place. Sometimes we arrive at perfection – and completion!

Portrait of Jack London Square

Posted on June 13, 2021 by Royal Rosamond Press

At University High School I did a watercolor of my father’s truck in Jack London Square where Acme Produce was located in a Victorian warehouse. There was a water-tower in the background. My good friend, Bryan MacLean saw me do this, and titled me…

‘The Painter of Trucks’

I had seen the work of Thomas Hart Benton, and may have been influenced by his midwestern art. But, I loved John Steinbeck’s novels – and the novels of Jack London. My father told me he used Wolf Larsen as a model to raise his sons because his father the professional gambler, abandoned him. Vicki Presco told me Christine wanted to mend our famous bond. I suspect she wanted to have our art shown side by side in the Rosamond Gallery located in Carmel, where Jack London and George Sterling founded a Bohemian Art and Literature Colony. Our great grandfather, Wensel Anton Prescowitz, immigrated from Bohemia.

For two years the Presco Family had no car. When we went somewhere, Vic would lash down some lettuce crates with a tarp so Mark and I could sit on the bed without being blown away. We went to Roseville a couple of time like this. One time we went to a function at Glenview Elementary, where Clint Eastwood went to school. After we parked the Acme truck, a Cadillac pulled behind us, and a boy got out…

“Look mommy! Those boys are riding in a truck!”

Eat your heart out you mamzy-pamzy!

The Charlatans of Belmont

Posted on May 9, 2021 by Royal Rosamond Press

I am looking to form a band called ‘Belmont Charlatans’. I am looking for investors in The Rouge Dog Sarsaparilla Saloon.

I awoke from a dream early this morning. I was with Peter Shapiro, Keith Purvis, and, Christine Wandel. Peter was on this balcony hiding something. We confronted him. He accused us of hiding bottles under our shirts. Then, we caught Chris, slinking away. What does she got?

I lie there trying to go back to sleep, but could not. I began to study our history we made. Twelve years ago, Peter told me he used to play with the Charlatans, and considered Mike Wilhelm the guy who got it all started. He was very impressed with his guitar playing – as was Jerry Garcia. Rock Historians are saying the Charlatans set the scene for the Haight Ashbury and the Summer of Love.

All of a sudden, I am looking at the photograph of my kindred in Belmont, running a soda company – and a Summer Fun Theme Park. Look at what they are wearing. My kindred were the real thing, the Real McCoys, who are connected to William Ralston and William Sharon who made millions on the Comstock Load. Sharon built Virginia City. The Red Dog Saloon was built in the home that once belonged to Henry Comstock. You cant ask for better historic ambience – minus the drugs! My generation has grown up. We need a place to go that reminds us of our youth. The scene of the Sober Cowboy ordering a sarsaparilla is a classic and traditional scene that the City of Belmont can Brand.

hub.pdf (belmonthistoricalsociety.com)

What I see, is the building of Sarsaparilla Pier that would look like the building above – that is on the waterfront! Downtown Belmont is Deadsville, and not the good kind of dead. Rock Scully managed the Grateful Dead – and the Charlatans! I see a house band called ‘The Belmont Charlatans’ a take on the name for sellers of medicine oil and other healing drinks – which might have behind the name of this group that experimented with a wonder drug – when it was legal. The Charlatans played jug-band music and modern western. Selling alcohol is down on my list of things to do.

I see Sarsaparilla Pier as a destination for locals, and their guests who come to town. Heading to San Francisco is a chore these days, and, all the old sourdough flavor is gone. I see Belmont Sourdough Bread, Belmont Ice-cream and Yogurt shop, root beer floats, Belmont Sodas, Sushi bar, Belmont Kefir, and – Rougedog Coffee and Teas. Sure, why not Rougedog Hot Dogs!

Lord Hesketh at Belmont | Rosamond Press

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to A London Eulogy

  1. Reblogged this on Rosamond Press and commented:

    On Oct 7 I read about the Jack London quote used as a eulogy for Bond, and that he dies at the end of No Time To Die.
    The Case of Helen Bond | Rosamond Press

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