Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dante being his usual analytic self

[T]ragedy is tranquil and conductive to wonder at the beginning, but foul and conducive to horror at the end... Comedy, on the other hand, introduces a situation of adversity, but ends its matter in prosperity, as is evident in Terence’s comedies. And for this reason some writers have the custom of saying in their salutations, by way of greeting, “a tragic beginning and a comic ending to you.”

A tragic beginning and a comic ending to you!

A bug-free existence

It just occurred to me that I not only haven't had to squash any insects for quite some time, I don't think I've even seen one for, like, a month and a half. Since I don't like them, this is rather a good blessing. :-) Wait--I think I saw some water-skaters down on the stream a couple weeks ago during that nice spell. Nevertheless, I am rather grateful. And weirded out.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Yesterday Jenny, the directress of PHC's "Arms and the Man," married her chocolate cream soldier, and I had the honor of attending the wedding.

The service was lovely: they used the Book of Common Prayer service, complete with the vows originally written by Cranmer in fifteen-something. The pastor footnoted the old-style English with the OED, specifying that "worshipping" in that sense was closer to "honoring," and was not actually idolatry. :-)

For the reception they had tea and scones with jam and cream. There was cake--and no dancing except from the couple--and about fifty PHCers and alumni--and we threw lavender after them. The honeymoon location was a surprise; the getaway minivan just said, "See you in Tahiti?"

At one point the wedding organizer lady announced that the Dragons would now serve the cake. The Dragons were taken aback because they had not known this; the guests were taken aback because they didn't realize the Dragons were the seven high-heeled PHC ladies running about being efficient. :-)

And after, Sarah Lewis had us to her house, to Rivendell, where her most hospitable mother served us cheese and crackers and tea and coffee, and we had a great jaw about all and sundry. Hospitality is, indeed, a great virtue.

Head cold

Oh, that this too too sullied flesh would not melt, thaw, resolve itself into a dew!

And that's what happens when literary young ladies get sick. :-) No, actually, I was thinking the other day that it is good to get sick occasionally--gives one more sympathy when cheering up people who are sick quite a lot. And it gives one humility because such a lot of people minister to one. Nevertheless, being sick is not a good thing and is thoroughly a result of the Fall and I await anxiously the day when it will be finished.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Haunt of Macbeth introduces a movie rating system

My excellent roommate and I (the denizens of the Haunt of Macbeth) hereby introduce a new rating system for movies. :-)

--Warm fuzzies: seven is the perfect number. Warm fuzzies can be for romantic rightness, tight-plot-rightness, or just general happiness and...rightness.

--Bloody daggers: Again, seven is the perfect number. It's not violence for violence's sake--it needs to both be cool (in our subjective opinion) and preferably serve the plot. Here we're looking for car chase scenes like in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, or swordfights like in Pirates of the Caribbean. Too many bloody daggers means it's too violent.

--The think system: Seven is still the perfect number. If the movie is awesomely cool and has a thoroughly foul philosophy behind it, it will not get many happy thoughts.

--Stuff and nonsense: to be avoided.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Meet the shades of Pemberley

Behold, our esteemed Black Dragon, also known as Caroline Bingley, has started a Xanga for Pride and Prejudice, this year's play by Eden Troupe. You should visit them. The link is here and also in my side bar.

Query: does it pollute the shades of Pemmberly to get a blog? It's awfully democratic for such a venerable old place... ;-)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

As I go through my class binders

In Taiwanese, the word for 'intersection' is "tiger's mouth."

"Mere air, these words, but delicious to hear." Sappho

Ralph Waldo Emerson: poets are the Jedi who use the Force, the priests of the Republic.

Somehow, the stars keep shining whether they are cliched or not.

Practicing for his career as a motivational speaker: “You have value. We just haven’t discovered it yet.” Quinn

Origen: “It’s not so much heretical as trippy.” Austin
“He’d fit right in in Star Trek. I wonder if what’s-his-name got any of that stuff from Origen?” Dr. Bouchoc

What is it about a Republic that has so captured the imaginations of Plato, the Romans, the founders, and even George Lucas?

"I don't care how fuzzy and literary you might be; you should take logic and you should enjoy it." Dr. Hake

Bad doctrine is just annoying.

Wisdom: now out of style. Has tentacles in absolutes and authority and the real world and all kinds of unfashionable and intolerant things.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Cats and praise

Believe it or not, I actually wasn't at Starbucks to analyze Rapunzel. Instead, I was analyzing a lunatic's cat named Jeoffrey.

Christopher Smart was a seventeenth-century poet who got committed to Bedlam for praying loudly in public and making other people pray with him. He had a cat. He was also highly educated and wrote punny and unique poetry. (Some, like our poetry text, call it free verse; one critical essay I found disagreed heartily. It's more like the Hebrew psalms.) And all he wrote was to and for God.

The essay I'm writing my trialogue on speaks of Smart's poem as an Ars Poetica, like Horace wrote, a poem contemplating poetry. Jeoffrey is just in a segment of this larger poem, the Jubilate Agno. My author, Ennis, argues that Jeoffrey is a symbol of poetry itself.

At first I thought Ennis was wacky. But then I read his article and got really excited. I think it works. And then I realized that not only was Ennis right, but that he connects Smart to other things I've been thinking about, like the different levels of interpretation--literal, allegorical, spiritual (to oversimplify somewhat). And he relates to the utter and astonishing unity of all things under God--Jeoffrey is a mere cat, but he is a creature of God. And language is also a thing from God.

And in this world connected under God, Jeoffrey can serve as a sign--not in spite of being a cat, but because he is so completely a real, furry, clawed cat: true cat of True Cat, full of Thomistic quiddity. And Jeoffrey is "a mixture of gravity and waggery," a combination of the Sublime for which we have no words and the funny thing too humble for serious poetry, just like the Word which was made flesh and dwelt among us.

Language was give us for praise, and motion was given Jeoffrey for praise, so let us all praise the Lamb. Jubilate Agno.

This is going to be a cool trialogue. If ever I become mad, Lord, let me be mad like Christopher Smart!

Rapunzel at Starbucks

“Why didn’t she let herself out of the tower? I imagine that when she pulled the prince up, she must have had to wrap her braid around the bedpost two or three times, so she didn’t get yanked right out the window. She could have just flung it around the bedpost and pulleyed herself down. I guess she didn’t think outside the box.” Tobin

“She didn’t think outside the tower.” Jennifer

“Probably she could have gotten out of the tower, but she couldn’t get away with all that hair. She’d have gotten stuck in the brambles and it would have taken forever to comb out.” Tobin

“That’s why she needed the prince with the horse. The prince saved her from her hair by means of her own hair.” Jennifer

“How long do you suppose her hair was?” Tobin

“I’m thinking at least twenty feet.” Carolyn

“Me too.” Jennifer

“That means it’d go around her head, like, seven times.” Carolyn

“Seven?” Tobin

“If you divide it by pi!” Carolyn

“Are you sure that’s the right application of pi?” Tobin

Friday, February 17, 2006

A Friday

The wind from the west returned today and tried to blow me into Lake Bob. It nearly succeeded, only I was going to chapel and laughed as I went.

<:3 )-----

I filled out DRW forms today, three of them. I went to show them to Dr. Libby. She made them good in her eyes and sent me forth to find Dr. Smith. He was actually seat-belted in the van, ready to retreat, but I poked my pages at him and he gave me his autograph. Thrice.

<:3 )------

Today she who loves mice took me to Movie Gallery. She had a mouse on her dashboard much like my own Pepin the Short. I felt right at home. We sat at a red light and talked to each other in funny voices, like thoroughly sensible mouse-lovers.

<:3 )-----

A bunch of us went to Dorm 4 ("Boy country?!" "They don't bite!") to watch Shrek II. I liked it in spite of everything. It was functioning within the fairy tale genre, not attacking it from outside; the objectionable things were mere cultural stupidities, but the story itself will endure.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Amusing quote on realistic literature

"Believe me, my dear Cyril, modernity of form and modernity of subject-matter are entirely and absolutely wrong. We have mistaken the common livery of the age for the vesture of the Muses, and spend our days in the sordid streets and hideous suburbs of our vile cities when we should be out on the hillside with Apollo. Certainly we are a degraded race, and have sold our birthright for a mess of facts."

--Oscar Wilde, in The Decay of Lying

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Recipe for bliss

1 ripe avocado
a good spoonful of salsa
a sprinkle of garlic salt
a couple more sprinkles of ordinary salt

Tortilla chips
2 mugs of red tea
Star Wars: Episode III (DVD preferable, but soundtrack also good if shorter on time)
1 roommate

Mix first four ingredients in a small bowl. Eat with chips while talking to roommate and enjoying Episode III. Life is good. :-)

Monday, February 13, 2006


Working on a project tonight, a sort of survey of recent criticism of Milton's masque "Comus." I am come to the conclusion that Freudians have very dark woods of minds, rather thorny and difficult to follow paths through, and the paths lead inexorably to caves full of all uncleanness. This is probably not news to anyone.

For instance, were you aware that Milton was actually avenging himself on Shakespeare because in the masque, Comus was temporarily "ravished" by hearing the Lady's song?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Valentine's dance

Well, the most excellent Campeador was kind enough to take me to the school Valentine's dance. Behold us. Or don't behold us, as it's not a very good picture. But I enjoyed it anyway--the dance, if not the picture. Campeador was a prince among dates.

The de Tocqueville Society did a real nice job organizing it. My commendations. :-) There was far too much hip hop/seventies rock/whatever it was, and not nearly enough swing, but it was a cultural experience, if nothing else!

And then we had Adventures coming back. You wouldn't think you could have an adventure driving through Purcellville, but he claims coming home from swing dances has a bad effect on him. Well, it didn't hurt anything and he handled it like a trouper, and if you want more details, ask him. :-) All in all, a spiffin evening.

So...the Wicked Witch of the West lived in my dorm

I left my (slightly muddy) boots in the dorm lobby, and they grew a sign. :-)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Way to flatter...

So I took a "coffee personality test." :-) Query: is there such a thing as an inharmonious blend? Or do goats ever trip rather than dance? Their ad department is trying, it really is...

Your Coffee Personality!

You are sophistication personified. Complexity and balance are the hallmarks of your flavor preferences. You would enjoy our lush estate-grown Guatemala Antigua Finca El Valle or the caramelly sweetness of French Roast. Due to your interest in refinement, you might also enjoy our harmonious blends like Dancing Goats® or Skye's Mountain.

Athena moment

Some days, I just want to be the Awesome One in Pigtails.

(Homer calls Athena that in the Odyssey, and it's such a great title. It's so resounding and--six-year-old-ish.)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I dreamed last night that the President came to visit and remembered my name, I guess from a previous visit--only he called me Caroline.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A leaf by Niggle

Look, everyone. Isn't it pretty?

The acorn's brown roundness and the leaf's brown glossiness are the same, and the acorn's paler roughness and the leaf's blemish are the same paler brownness. I never knew that. They came from the same tree, last fall, and have been sitting on the ground since then until I came along and put them in the water.

The leaf wasn't a very good boat; the water encroached. But it floated well enough in the still shallows.

As he strung the acorn cups on the grass stem, he whistled softly to himself,

Lavendar's blue,
Rosemary's green
When I am King
You shall be Queen.

"There!" he said, finishing the necklace and dropping it into the Ordinary Princess's lap. "Be careful of it or it will break."

"It's simply lovely," said the Ordinary Princess, "and I shall keep it for ever and ever!"

The Ordinary Princess, by M. M. Kaye