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TBD is four years + two months old.

Achievements unlocked this last month: "Are we home yet?", starting pre-kindergarten, tape dispensers, roller skates, washing and rinsing a small dish, putting on a backpack, opening and closing (mostly) an umbrella, recognizable drawing of a cat.

(Lots of fine motor skills there, innit? Hadn't noticed till I pulled this together.)

The past two/three months, there has been a notable ... increase in cohesion is the best word I can find, in both mental and emotional levels. And in carriage. The effect is that it feels like we have here a small person, instead of a tall preschooler. It's startling.

Some ways this shows: Travel is so much easier with a four-year-old than three-and-a-half. TBD is willing to run off, away from us, in company of friends -- among other signs of growing independence.

TBD's pre-K teacher is actively working her kids on the motor skills for writing, starting with straight lines. (Capital A is recognizable more often than not, but not other letters yet.) When coloring, TBD now works on scribbling over an entire figure -- now, finally, not worrying about going over the lines, but rather trying to fill in the area within regardless. Drawings are starting to get more of a recognizable schematic of what's intended.

Media: as soon as discovered, Blue's Clues immediately went into high circulation for the day's screen time. (Dora the Explorer also liked, alas.) Still also watching Chuggington, which is indeed better than Thomas and Friends. More and more library checkouts are superhero early readers. ETA: Dinosaur Train is also popular; saying "Da, duh, DUMMM!" dramatically after identifying something as a mystery or a clue has become a household trope.

The principles of rhyming (and other sound effects) have been internalized, and are being used creatively -- including in improvised songs, as well as noting when rhymes being used. Pronunciation is smoothing out still more, with /th/ -> /f/ still an issue, unless trying to speak especially clearly.

And then there's the talking, talking bits. Didn't get as much down this month as usual:

(after listing several career aspirations)
Janni: "You want to be a lot of things."
TDB: "But I don't have enough arms!"

(points at Wonder Woman in a picture with Superman and Batman)
"Why is she naked a little bit?"

"Do orange and morange rhyme?"
"They do."
"But $adultfriend said nothing rhymes with orange."


Uh, you got us there, kid. As you will, no doubt, continue to.

---L.

Subject quote from an improvised parody of "Great Big Stars".

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/641370.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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For a Poetry Monday, something that really isn't a response to last week's Wyatt, but I mentally link them together anyway:

“And if I did, what then?” George Gascoigne

    “And if I did, what then?
Are you aggriev’d therefore?
The sea hath fish for every man,
And what would you have more?”

    Thus did my mistress once,
Amaze my mind with doubt;
And popp’d a question for the nonce
To beat my brains about.

    Whereto I thus replied:
“Each fisherman can wish
That all the seas at every tide
Were his alone to fish.

    “And so did I (in vain)
But since it may not be,
Let such fish there as find the gain,
And leave the loss for me.

    “And with such luck and loss
I will content myself,
Till tides of turning time may toss
Such fishers on the shelf.

    “And when they stick on sands,
That every man may see,
Then will I laugh and clap my hands,
As they do now at me.”

Gascoigne was many things over his life, including soldier of fortune, courtier, member of parliament, and playwright. He was also the premier English poet of the 1570s, though his reputation has been completely overshadowed by Spenser's arrival on the scene a few years after his death. This is the final poem of The Adventures of Master F. J., a sort-of-novel-shaped thing of mixed prose and verse, with a layer of epistolary indirection, about a love affair that goes very wrong. It's an odd beast, but I don't regret having read it (many years ago), and I especially don't regret several of its poems. (BTW, in the narrative the speaker was, as per the second stanza, nonplussed by his mistress, and walked home before writing down this response.)

---L.

Subject quote from "Farmer Refuted," Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/641207.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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As usual, three links make a post:

This is What Happens When You Teach an AI to Name Guinea Pigs. (via)

In Japan, robot battles often take place in small sumo rings and are incredibly fast -- these videos are real-time. (via)

Woodswimmer: stop-motion animation of successive cross-sections of wood. "There's a lot going on inside wood." (via)

---L.

Subject quote from 'Pogo," Walt Kelly.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/640937.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

For a Poetry Monday, let's reach back half a millennium for a poem, shall we? We shall:


"They flee from me that sometime did me seek," Sir Thomas Wyatt

They flee from me that sometime did me seek
    With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
    That now are wild and do not remember
    That sometime they put themself in danger
To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
Busily seeking with a continual change.

Thanked be fortune it hath been otherwise
    Twenty times better; but once in special,
In thin array after a pleasant guise,
    When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall,
    And she me caught in her arms long and small;
Therewithall sweetly did me kiss
And softly said, “Dear heart, how like you this?”

It was no dream: I lay broad waking.
    But all is turned thorough my gentleness
Into a strange fashion of forsaking;
    And I have leave to go of her goodness,
    And she also, to use newfangleness.
But since that I so kindly am served
I would fain know what she hath deserved.


Plus ça change, and all that. Wyatt was a diplomat for Henry VIII (including the embassy to the Pope asking for annulment from Catherine of Aragorn), and he brought back to England the continental manner in Renaissance poetry -- he wrote the first sonnets in English as imitations of Petrarch, whom he also translated, and he was constantly experimenting with style and form in his lyrics. (Though, interestingly, that "newfangleness" is straight out of Chaucer, meaning fickleness.) Of course, being a courtier in Henry's court was dangerous: he was imprisoned in the Tower of London on suspicion of having an affair with Anne Boleyn and was freed only after her execution, which he witnessed and wrote about.

---l.

Subject quote from "The End of the Play," William Makepeace Thackeray.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/640707.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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Sometimes, all you come up with is random links:

A selection of photos from this year's Red Bull Illume Image Quest photo competition. Full-screen this one. (via)

New Study Bolsters the Lead-Crime Hypothesis. (via)

It's been a long time since I've played Words with One Beat, so I'll just link this and say no more: History of the United States in Words of One Syllable by Helen Pierson.

---L.

Subject quote from "Ever let the Fancy roam," John Keats.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/640426.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

It is easy to do so, but please do not confuse Lawrence Alma-Tadema with Laurence Alma-Tadema. The former is the painter (birth name: Lourens) and the latter is the poet (birth name: Laurense).

Note that they are indeed related, being father and daughter. The names changed when the family moved from Belgium to England.



Painting of Laurence (behind her sister Anna) by Lawrence.

This public service announcement is brought to you by me (birth name: Laurence) finally figuring this out ...

---L.

Subject quote from "somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond," E.E. Cummings.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/640175.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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Reading Wednesday is ON baby. For there's been some reading, despite it all.

Finished:

Safely You Deliver (Commonweal #3) by Graydon Saunders -- this is NOT the book to start the series, as it is the second half of the story started in A Succession of Bad Days and heavily relies on knowing those characters, with the addition of a new one left unexplained for a long time -- and who despite being an extremely interesting idea, is basically kept mute the entire book. The expansion to multiple first-person POVs also dilutes the narrative line. That said, this does a good job poking at some of the moral underpinnings and consequences of the world Saunders created. And, yanno, sourcerer/unicorn romance is nothing to sneer at, especially when the unicorn is an obligate magicvore.

Reynard the Fox: or, the Ghost Heath Run by John Masefield, which remains my favorite of his narrative poems, despite the long, Chaucerian introduction of all the people hunting the titular fox -- a very pretty gallery of portraits, but less than a handful are actually relevant to the story. (Relevant to the depiction of one strand of English country life already fading at the time, sure.) The best part is the second half, mostly from the fox's point of view -- and you don't lose much just starting there. I note only excerpts from the chase get included in anthologies of narrative verse.

Amours de Voyage by Arthur Hugh Clough, which remains my favorite of his poems, period. Yes, it's an anatomy of a failure of … dunno whether to describe it as "will" or "character." A failed romance, and there's more than a little class conflict in the mix. Claude's hesitations, this time through, remind me more than a little of Trollope's stock hobbledehoy character, only in an intellectual version. Sort of. Maybe. Ah, whatever. I still like the poem.

In progress:

The Earthly Paradise by William Morris, starting with rereading "Prologue: The Wanderers" -- which has to be the most insistently middle-aged work I've read in a long time, for all the wanderers are described as "old" -- and the frame narrative & plot summaries up to where I last broke off (the very long Laxdaela retelling), with attention to reactions to both stories and seasons. This is not a simple poem, and when the frame narrator calls himself "an idle singer of an idle day" he is not being an escapist Victorian but -- sarcastic is the best word I can think of, as ironic doesn't have enough bite. And dang, but so many reviewers and critics have missed this. If only Morris wasn't so strenuously heteronormative and gender essentialist. (No, Mr. Morris, if a young woman does not want marriage at this time thank you very much, the answer isn't always because sexual hostility.) (Thank all the gods he didn't try his hand at Calisto.)

Erotic Poems ed. by Peter Washington, another small format Everyman anthology -- and another reread. I admire how the editor was willing to spend 20-odd pages on "The Eve of St. Agnes" -- that's a lot of space for a book this size. NB: no porn, but a lot of sensuality and some explicit descriptions. Organization is not topical, nor is there a plot/relationship arc -- this is a mixed jumble of poems, associatively (and sometimes cunningly) placed. Am about ⅔ through, having been interrupted by:

Thick as Thieves (Queen's Thief #5) by Megan Whalen Turner, yays. This one is from the POV of the slave secretary of the Mede who made a play for the throne of Attolis in #2, dealing with some delayed, dire consequences of his master's failure. I find it interesting that he is refusing to name his traveling companion, Costis (from #3), and I'm looking forward to learning how the heck Gen is chessmastering this whole adventure from across the sea. A little more than halfway in.

---L.

Subject quote from "The Walker of the Snow," Charles Dawson Shanly.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/639793.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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Three great posts from Jason Kottke:

The 100 best solutions to reverse climate change, ranked.

Michael Lewis and the parable of the lucky man taking the extra cookie.

Systemic racism in America explained in just three minutes.

---L.

Subject quote from "Shout," Tears for Fears, which is about political protest not primal scream therapy yes if i could change your mind i'd really like to break your heart.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/639660.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

For Poetry Monday, because the dragon of summer has arrived in the desert, something from up north:


How One Winter Came in the Lake Region, William Wilfred Campbell

For weeks and weeks the autumn world stood still,
        Clothed in the shadow of a smoky haze;
The fields were dead, the wind had lost its will,
And all the lands were hushed by wood and hill,
        In those grey, withered days.

Behind a mist the blear sun rose and set,
        At night the moon would nestle in a cloud;
The fisherman, a ghost, did cast his net;
The lake its shores forgot to chafe and fret,
        And hushed its caverns loud.

Far in the smoky woods the birds were mute,
        Save that from blackened tree a jay would scream,
Or far in swamps the lizard's lonesome lute
Would pipe in thirst, or by some gnarlèd root
        The tree-toad trilled his dream.

From day to day still hushed the season's mood,
        The streams stayed in their runnels shrunk and dry;
Suns rose aghast by wave and shore and wood,
And all the world, with ominous silence, stood
        In weird expectancy:

When one strange night the sun like blood went down,
        Flooding the heavens in a ruddy hue;
Red grew the lake, the sere fields parched and brown,
Red grew the marshes where the creeks stole down,
        But never a wind-breath blew.

That night I felt the winter in my veins,
        A joyous tremor of the icy glow;
And woke to hear the north's wild vibrant strains,
While far and wide, by withered woods and plains,
        Fast fell the driving snow.


Campbell (c.1860-1918) was born in Ontario, attended a seminary in Massachusetts, and was an Episcopal rector in New Hampshire and New Brunswick until he gave up the ministry in his mid-30s to become a civil servant and man of letters in Ottawa. He initially made his name as a nature poet, but aged into a poet of (diffuse) spirituality and (British) imperialism -- in short, he was very much a conservative late Victorian. This is one of his best-known poems.

---L.

Subject quote from "Dance Apocalyptic," Janelle Monáe.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/639445.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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In the personal news department, I came back from vacation (a working one: helping my parents move) to learn my employer is shuttering this satellite office and my position is one of those being cut along the way. Which means job hunting time again. The gig's up at the end of next month, so it's not a desperation search yet, but still.

(Any tips as to tech writing jobs, preferably in Arizona or working remote, are appreciated. I also freelance as a copyeditor, proofreader, and ebook formatter, and referrals to potential gigs greatly appreciated. But mostly I'm posting this in a bid for sympathy.)

FWIW, travel with a four-year-old is so much easier than even three. I can now comprehend the trip around the world my family took when I was that age. Also: TBD still adores Grandpa.

---L.

Subject quote from "Goodbye (She Quietly Says)," Bob Gaudio & Jake Holmes.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/639162.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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Clouds and stones and stones:

More cloud timelapses: Undulatus Asperatus Sunset
(via)

A short film on the 2017 European Stone Stacking Championship. (via)

Ancient Roman transit map. (via)

---L.

Subject quote from "Rain," Edward Thomas.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/638925.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

A question in the All Knowledge Is Contained On The Internet Somewhere Department:

Is there an equivalent to Lafcadio Hearn for China?

(Bonus points if they are as good a writer as Hearn.)

---L.

Subject quote from "The Ash Grove," Edward Thomas.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/638521.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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

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