Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Movie Recommendation

"The Wendell Baker Story" was eminently hilarious. I'd give it about one and two-thirds thumbs.

Friday, November 16, 2007

So Money and She Didn't Even Realize It

A girl in my Greek class was delivering a presentation on Plato the other day and unintentionaly coined a new word: while meaning to say "Mediocrity" she slipped up and said "Mediocracy." No one seemed to notice.

Mediocracy. n. Government by the average.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Idle Charon

The shores of Styx are lone for evermore,
And not one shadowy form upon the steep
Looms through the dusk, as far as eyes can sweep,
To call the ferry over as of yore;
But tintless rushes, all about the shore,
Have hemm'd the old boat in, where, lock'd in sleep,
Hoar-bearded Charon lies; while pale weeds creep
With tightening grasp all round the unused oar.

For in the world of Life strange rumours run
That now the soul departs not with the breath,
But that the Body and the Soul are one;
And in the loved one's mouth, now, after death,
The widow puts no obol, nor the son,
To pay the ferry in the world beneath.

-Eugene Lee-Hamilton-

Friday, November 9, 2007

Some Lines

Farewell to thee, Empedocles,
Singer of Love and Strife!
May but the first secure thy being,
Now ebbs the tide of life.

And cured of conflict, far removed
From dire contention's grip,
Arise, and on the blessed isles
Embrace Love's Fellowship.

-Thomas Banks-

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Stuff I've Been Reading

1. The World and the West- Arnold Toynbee

Toynbee's become one of my favorite historians, and takes a sober but unsentimental view of the effects wrought throughout the world arrising from its encounter with Western Europe. Tastefully restrained, avoids forays into propagandistic revisionism of either the Right or the Left.

2. Antigone

Read this when I was a junior in high school, but enjoyed it more the second time. The German philosopher Hegel made a great point about this play- that it is the supreme classical tragedy because the opposed forces in it are both striving for two forms of Good, and so Good must necessarily be a victim in the dramatic contest.

3. Essays of Robert Louis Stevenson

The problem that comes from being known as an author of boys' adventure novels is that no matter how masterful a prose stylist you are, critics will always give you the short shrift. Stevenson is one of the victims of the fact. The man was a dauphin of non-fiction as well as a rousing storyteller, and if you haven't read any of his essays, "Aes Triplex" ("Triple-brass") is a good place to start.

4. The Ordeal of Richard Feverell- George Meredith

Meredith is an odd duck of a novelist; he's a Victorian, but not much for moralizing, which puts him at odds with most of his contemporaries. This story is a mock-melodrama about a boy whose father's brutally individualistic system of private education makes him into an antisocial arrogant jackass. Not a great novel, but it has some entertaining comic episodes and dialogue. A better starting place for Meredith, if you are thus inclined, would be "The Egoist." Also a fine poet.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Julia

Read the strangest thing on MSNBC, but it was strange in a charming way; Julia Roberts (go figure) was quoted as saying that her new life goal is "To keep myself busy as a stay at home mom, even if it's busy just doing needlework and stuff." I still haven't decided if it's more quaint or bizarre, given the source, but it does take some vim for a celebrity of that stature to drop a comment like that.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Lucifer in Starlight

Like "Ozymandias," this is one of those peculiar sonnets that really has no business bearing such a form; there is no amorous element, and (unlike the Shelley poem) no rhetorical current. It is one of those lyrics whose business it is to refrain from argument and cleave to the purely pictorial.

On a starr'd night prince Lucifer uprose.
Tired of his dark dominion swung the fiend
Above the rolling ball in cloud part screen'd,
Where sinners hugged their spectre of repose.
Poor prey to his hot fit of pride were those.
And now upon his western wing he lean'd,
Now his huge bulk o'er Afric's sands careen'd,
Now the black planet shadow's Arctic snows.
Soaring through wider zones that prick'd his scars
With memory of the old revolt from Awe,
He reach'd a middle height, and at the stars,
Which are the brain of heaven, he look'd, and sank.
Around the ancient track march'd, rank on rank,
The army of unalterable law.

-George Meredith-