Monday, October 20, 2008

Our own Dr. Mitchell on the economy

Thanks to my excellent husband for forwarding me this article by our own Dr. Mitchell. I like the bit about dusting off the old-fashioned virtues of thrift and humility. And yes, you caught me blogging about the economic crisis. Enjoy it: it will be rare. :-)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A world where there are Octobers

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn't it? Look at these maple branches. Don't they give you a thrill--several thrills?"

Anne of Green Gables, chapter XVI: "Diana Is Invited to Tea with Tragic Results"

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nearly the half of October gone

Hullo, all,

I beg your pardon for the delay in posting. It's been an active couple of weeks. I went up to PHC for Homecoming, had a birthday, interviewed to help with Sunday School at the new church, and started a new job. I'm doing a "long-term temp" assignment, which should mean about six months, and I'm reviewing claims for a law firm, medical details and all. I am now a fifth-floor cubicle minion.

Olwen doesn't care for Broad Street traffic on the way home, but we both rather like Cary Street going out in the morning. It's green and tree-lined and there are nifty shops and old houses. Unfortunately it's one way, so we can't take it coming back. In other news, I bought a new plant for my cubicle. It's a schefflera, much smaller than Bertie Woozle, and answers to the name Nellie. Bertie didn't get to go because he's grown too much, and in any case he's comfortably esconced in the upstairs bathroom.

Merry still scampers around her cage, but her eye isn't any better. Poor mousie.

Jonathan still likes law school. He spent today writing an assignment and will probably spend all day tomorrow studying for his midterm on Friday. And now, if you'll excuse me, we're just about off to small group. :-)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Why I married Jonathan

Me: "That napkin ring couldn't be worse with that napkin. In the clash of color, the green loses. Here, hand me that green napkin ring and put the amber one on. Thank you."

Jonathan replaces the green one with an amber one, which sure enough does match the red-and-blue batik napkins somewhat better. He then puts the green one on his knife and his implements start to talk to one another.

'Duel, villain! Shwobo!'
'Die with honor!'
'Hey, no fair! Ancestors avenge me! I die with honor.'
Jonathan: "An arms race soon developed." The spoon now joined the conversation.

I married him because he's the only man on earth to combine napkin rings and anime. So there. :-)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

These jigging fools

I just finished re-reading Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and noticed something. There are two poets in the play, both introduced after Caesar's assassination, and both get ill-treated because of the civil war.

Both are short scenes. The first is III.3, when Cinna the Poet is mysteriously wandering around ("I have no will to wander forth of doors, /Yet something leads me forth"). Some of the plebeians roused by Antony's speech find him, confuse him with Cinna the Conspirator, and then, when they find out he's another Cinna, they kill him for his bad verses.

The second scene is just a short segment of IV.3. An unnamed poet noticed now-generals Brutus and Cassius arguing and insisted on seeing them to try and make peace. Their guards try to stop the poet, but he bursts in and urges them to be friends, in rhyme (which was unfortunate). They malign his rhyming and chuck him out.

Caesar is about demagoguery and violence, of course. But why should the victims specifically be poets? Is poetry perhaps a tool for a more civilized age, like a lightsaber? When the murderous plebs roved about, they'd have found an excuse to kill nearly anyone. But the one they did kill was ill-equipped to fight them on their own sharp pokey terms. He used his skills, answering them with a certain amount of wit and humor, but they didn't bother to refute him. You don't bring a wit to a knife-fight, and the yelling and sword-waving won.

The poet in the camp has determination, I'll give him that. The "Nothing but death shall stay me" to the guards is an indicator. Presumably he saw Cassius and Brutus arguing outside the tent, before Brutus' "Pas devant les infants" moment, when he pulled Cassius inside. But actually the generals had already more or less solved their differences and pledged everlasting friendship when the poet burst in.

Brutus threw a fit. Cassius asked him to "bear with him," just as he had asked Brutus to bear with himself a moment earlier. Brutus answered, "I'll know his humour when he knows his time: / What should the wars do with these jigging fools? / Companion, hence!" And Cassius, apparently convinced, joined him in kicking the poet out.

I think that line of Brutus' is a big part of it. The poet came too late, and in any case he thinks poets don't belong at war. But there seems to be more. It's not just the brute-like plebeians who disdain poetry, now: the very cultured ones who sneered at the plebeians aren't doing any better. If anyone, anyone had respected poets, you would expect it to be Brutus: the only conspirator who acted high-mindedly, out of love for Rome, and not from sordid ambition. But Brutus is the first to toss the poet out.

Or should the Romans have listened to the poets, now when their world is wobbling all over? Every time poets turn up, their verses get maligned. Cinna seemed to be out wandering because the gods sent him a dream and then compelled him to go out. Did the gods themselves conspire against them? Were the poets inadequate, or is Poetry inadequate, or was the rhetoric in the air addling them all?

What was Shakespeare doing with those two poets?

Proverbs for bloggers

Behold here a pile of international proverbs: some funnier than others in connection with blogging. :-)

"Never argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel."