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Meme, meme, who's got the Wednesday reading meme? Why, I do. *blinks in surprise*

I'm still reading mostly poetry, mostly from A Victorian Anthology (1837-1895), which I'm not halfway through (there's a lot of hill to climb in this one), but also some grazing in a couple other anthologies. Plus I've started Tales of a Wayside Inn by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who outdoes his model Chaucer by putting his strongest story first ("Paul Revere's Ride") -- or at least, it's the strongest so far.

Prosewise, I'm about ⅔ through A Prison Unsought, being Exordium book 3, and about ⅓ through Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs.

So, um, not much. Yay job?


Subject quote from "Brokedown Palace," Grateful Dead.

Things the world's most and least privileged people say. (via Janni)

An adaptation of Star Wars IV: A New Hope as a very long infographic. (via)

And because I love you for putting the 'trophy' in 'astrophysics', here's a pun generator. (via)


Subject quote from "The Knife," Genesis.

Time to check in on some of our animal friends:

A zookeeper valiantly attempts to prevent pandas from climbing into a basket of leaves while she sweeps their enclosure. As the MetaFilter poster put it, apparently that's the best basket in China.

How the heck did giraffes get such long necks? No, seriously, HOW?

Giant octopus kite. (via)

*goes back to watch the panda video again*


Subject quote from "To Autumn," John Keats.

It occurs to me that it would not be hard to rewrite the plot of The Vicomte of Bragelonne into a wuxia epic. It'd be a lot of work, because long-ass epic is long, but the structure and themes -- including the competing loyalties of the four musketeers after the passage of time -- translate very well.


Subject quote from "The Vatican Rag," Tom Lehrer.

Well this is ... interesting.
1. Quarreling.

O Goddess, chant it out, the choler grown
In Peleus' son, aggrieved Achilleus,
Simply deathful, sheerly doleful for
Achaians; wholly numerous warrior souls

It sent to Hades but to dog-throngs down
By Troy and divers birds the corporal dead
In piles it highly proffered, all for prey,
And Zeus’s will thus came to pass outright,

As this began when first Atreyedes,
Monarch of chiliad-lancers, and Achilleus, bright
With God, in breaching1 closed like enemies.
Which of the Gods to rupture in a fight

Provoked them? Leto's son, whom Zeus begot,
For he a fulsome plague on Argives brought.
This being the opening partially-rhymed* sonnet (of 1823) from F. L. Light's translation of the Iliad. That it's not as bad as Hobbes's translation is a very weak defense. Available from Audible and in three volumes covering books 1-8, 9-16, and 17-24.

Found via this list of Homer translations. No thanks necessary.

* Reading on, the dominant rhyme scheme is xaxa xbxb xcxc dd, often slant-rhymed, but the first two stanzas here are just a little too slant for me to hear the chime.


Subject quote from Macbeth V.5.26-28, William Shakespeare.

How tone policing protects privilege. (via Janni)

Magnets and Marbles. (via)

Sandra Boyton and the Highly Irritating Orchestra give us Bolero Completely Unraveled. It's even better if you imagine it performed by cattle and poultry. (via)


Subject quote from "Simple Gifts," Joseph Brackett.

Reading, reading -- Wednesday, Wednesday. Not as much for the last six weeks as might be expected, given it includes a month of being unemployed.

But I did get to a lot of poetry, mostly from A Victorian Anthology (1837-1895) ed. Edmund Stedman and The English Poets ed. Thomas Ward (focused on the seventeenth century poems), but also random William Yeats (later poems) and Leigh Hunt (narrative poems). Hunt in particular deserves a better rep than he has.

Fictionwise, I reread the Immortals quartet, being Wild Magic, Wolf-Speaker, Emperor Mage, and The Realms of the Gods, by Tamora Pierce, which holds up moderately well, but not as well as Circle of Magic or Protector of the Small.

Currently, I'm in the process of reading the revised Exordium series by Sherwood Smith and Dave Trowbridge (I read the originals too), starting with The Phoenix in Flight and Ruler of Naught, and just started A Prison Unsought. Good stuff, especially if you like space opera, and definitely improved by the revision.


Subject quote from "Snow-Flakes," Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Things have been up and down here (yays include surviving the birthday party with toddlers), thus my relative silence of late, but with my new job starting tomorrow, I'm hoping things are evening out and the usual linkalicious postings will resume. In the meantime, some poems:

Another example of a forgotten good one: "Nocturne" by Gerald Griffin.

An interesting exercise: compare "Ode—Autumn" by Thomas Hood with Keats's more famous poem on the same subject. I honestly can't tell if it's trying to elaborate on its model or argue with it -- which probably means both, which is more subtle than I usually expect for Hood (who is remembered today almost entirely for this one poem).

And then there's "A Protest" by Arthur Hugh Clough. That is very much how it feels.


Subject quote from "An Interview with Miles Standish," James Russell Lowell.


TBD is three years old today, and fully engaged with learning All The Things.

Language has been leveling up all around -- it's been a couple weeks since I heard TBD use "you" to refer to self, and while there's been occasional, usually playful uses of $realname as a Third-Person Person, first- and second-person pronouns have been pretty much been straightened out. There's been some interesting abstractions, especially relating to time: "If we going to $friend house, we need pack up?" asked a half-hour before it was time to get ready.

Socially, we're getting much more open: TBD is now willing to go over a hill out of sight or be picked up by another adult, if also in the company of an age-mate friend (or, for being picked up alone, it's by a friend's parent). Also: at their second meeting, a new adult friend was given a hug in greeting, instead of sticking with a high-five. (His being Chinese probably helped there -- "From my China?" "Yes, the same China where you were born.")

The most common invisible companion this month has been Sheeshee (or possibly Xi-xi?) who is scary "because she looks like Elmo," and a visit from her is an all-purpose embodiment of anxieties -- sending her away ("Go home Sheeshee!") helps calm TBD. Others have been nonce named and vanished. Well, Darth Vader also showed up a couple times, as a scary one, one time with the Emp'er as well. Geek kid in training.

Achievements unlocked: carrying the bike up stairs all by self (short flight), inventing random songs with new tunes (already had been putting new words to existing tunes), color sorting. Also getting better at catch with the large nubby ball and the crocheted Totoro about the same size. On the other hand, we've we've learned that the endless repetition of the first line of "Puff the Magic Dragon" can be tiresome. Ditto rereading Busy, Busy Town. (OTOH, for a while the obsessive rereading was a compendium of nursery rhymes illustrated by Rosemary Wells -- go Team Poetry.)

Talking, talking: I forgot to mention the popular diminutive "up-y", which is shorthand for "pick me up!" In heavy rotation are the questions "What's that?" "What's in that?" and "Why?" -- especially the last. It's not yet being used to question orders (those not liked are simply resisted, or sometimes a petulant "Stop iiit"), but to learn about the world. No conversations recorded this month, just some choice single lines:

"I want to talk about animal butts"

"Unicorns got snot?"

"School is not my work. Park is my work."

The party is Sunday, where there will be three young guests (number to match TBD's age), about twice as many grown-ups, and a jumping castle in the park. We figure the combination might give us at least a few moments of being able to sit down and rest. And celebrate.


Subject quote from "Lobachevsky," Tom Lehrer.


Oh dear. Or even, oh dear oh dear:
The claws remain, but worms, wind, rain, and heat
Have sifted out the substance of thy feet.
The lines are bad enough on their own, but as the conclusion of an otherwise passable sonnet? A crashing THUD indeed. And yet I find it anthologized more than once.

(In case you're wondering about his name, yes, he's an older brother of Alfred the Tennyson.)


Subject quote from "Joseph and His Brethren," Charles Jeremiah Wells.

When I was wee one, I had a couple large-format Richard Scarry books. One of them, I've managed to identify as Best Word Book Ever -- that illustration of a moose is easy to recognize. The book I remember best, though, is being more elusive.

The big identifying feature is a two-page spread with a flock of starlings, each of them calling out -- each of which I, of course, had to read out loud. The book would have been published by 1973.

Anyone have any idea?



Reading, reading -- meming, meming.

Still a lot of poetry, mostly from A Victorian Anthology (1837-1895) ed. by Edmund Stedman, but also random later Yeats and narrative poems of Leigh Hunt.

And because I needed some comfort reading, burned through the Immortals quartet by Tamora Pierce, being Wild Magic, Wolf-Speaker, Emperor Mage, and The Realms of the Gods. Still good, still not as good as Protector of the Small or Circle of Magic.


Subject quote from "The Brook," Alfred Tennyson, who cited "by ... seas" as one of his most successful lines.

... a place for posting bits of fluff caught in my filters. Warning: I list "very bad poetry" among my interests.

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