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Links content alert: hitting fish.

18 science facts we didn't know at the start of 2017. (via)

Narwhals use their tusks to hunt -- specifically, to tap and stun fish so they can eat them. (via previous link)

Bats argue a lot. (via)

And in conclusion: narwhals are codbonkers.

---L.

Subject quote from "The Wanderer," William Ellery Channing.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/637712.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

TBD is four years + one month old.

Achievements unlocked this last month: counting before seeking in hide-and-seek, connect-the-dots pictures, a recognizable written A, recognizing own $realname by spelling out the letters, appreciation of fractured fairy tales, and funhouse mirrors. TBD is trying to figure out how rhymes work, and asking us if a given pair of words rhyme, but this is not down solid yet. It is a harder leap than I remember. Also, they've started remembering dreams and reporting details surreal enough ("I dreamed I was a white car") that we believe they were not invented.

Three emotion-related bits:

1. TBD has learned that soldiers fight and kill, and while they are supposed to fight only other soldiers, they also know that people do not always do what they are supposed to. That there is an air base on the edge of town and half the aircraft overhead are fighting planes also became clear at the same time. Nonetheless, a visit to the local Air and Space Museum, which is slanted towards military craft, was greatly enjoyed -- especially the space exploration exhibits.

2. While shopping for a Mother's Day gift, TBD remembered without prompting Janni's one-time comment several weeks before that she likes challenging jigsaw puzzles, and insisted on getting the biggest one we could find: 2000 pieces. That is, on own initiative picked out something they themselves didn't want. They did, in the end, find that many pieces overwhelming, but have been helping gamefully with small, localized subsets. Sometimes. (Sometimes, they do one of their own puzzles next to the big one. Or just whine for attention.)

3. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day has been the bedtime reading nine nights in a row now.

In physical skills, we now all use full-size dinner plates because, gasp, TBD sometimes wants more than one thing on it at a time, even at the risk of them getting mixed. Also, I'm needing less and less to echo statements/questions to make sure I've understood them correctly -- or at least, for pronunciation: when the sentence gets tangled up or has antecedents missing, I still need to try a clear version, to make sure I'm responding to the right thing.

Which of course leads into talking, talking:

"Daddy, you be on a march."
"What's this march about?"
"Planets."
"Is this against planets or supporting them?"
"Support."
"A march for planets. Got it."
"Go."

$friend: "When I shoot ice, you get frozen."
TBD: "When I shoot webs, you get stuck."
(playing superheroes)

"Hey Siri, why do some people died?"
(this was TBD's first question for Siri; it was followed up with "Why do some rocket ships have a lot of astronauts?")

"Who is is Lunchbox Squarepants?"

"What are Scooby-Dooby snacks?"
(followed shortly by "What was the earliest dinosaur?")

"What comes before 1?"
(followed two days later by "What comes before 0?" -- and explaining negative numbers is HARD. First try using a number line didn't take -- will try again soon.)

"We are the dentasaurs!"

"I'm a superhero."
"Well it's time for the superhero to go to bed."
"But I have to save the day!"


Needless to say, the superhero had to save another day.

---L.

Subject quote from "Show Me," Mint Royale.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/637640.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Once upon a time there were three little pigs who wanted to go out into the world and seek their fortunes. Their Mama said, "Oh no, wait till you are three big pigs -- THEN you can go seek your fortunes."

"But why, Mama?" said the first little pig.

"Well, for one thing," she told them, "there are big, bad wolves in this world."

"What do wolves do?" said the second little pig.

"Well, one thing they do is they huff and they puff and then blow your house down -- and then eat you up."

"Is that why our house is made of bricks?" said the third little pig.

"Exactly," their Mama said. "And why you have no uncles."

The three little pigs nodded, and stayed home practicing building houses until they were big pigs.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/637269.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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How ladybugs fold their wings, including a recreation using origami of part of the collapse. (via)

Drone shots of cherry blossom petals fallen into water. (via)

How a professional climate change denier turned into a climate change advocate, with a specialty of convincing other deniers. (via)

---L.

Subject quote from "An Hour of My Youth," Aleardo Aleardi, tr. William Dean Howells.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/636981.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Three links:

Multiday lightning storms seen from space.

Timelapse of the Grand Canyon with clouds, as in filling it. (via)

The greening of Antarctica is happening. Now. (via all over)

---L.

Subject quote from Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/636727.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Poetry Monday:


Voice Mail Villanelle, Dan Skwire

We're grateful that you called today
And sorry that we're occupied.
We will be with you right away.

Press one if you would like to stay,
Press two if you cannot decide.
We're grateful that you called today.

Press three to end this brief delay,
Press four if you believe we've lied.
We will be with you right away.

Press five to hear some music play,
Press six to speak with someone snide.
We're grateful that you called today.

Press seven if your hair's turned gray,
Press eight if you've already died.
We will be with you right away.

Press nine to hear recordings say
That service is our greatest pride.
We're grateful that you've called today.
We will be with you right away.


I think we can all recognize this experience.

---L.

Subject quote from "Wonder Pets! Theme Song."

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/636524.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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Another Wednesday come, another reading report. I am a very boring poster, with little more to say than this. I plead parenthood.

Finished:

Sohrab and Rustum by Matthew Arnold. Very pretty, Mr. Arnold, and a lucid embodiment of what you claim is Homer's style. However, comma, despite your treatment of Rustum as a tragic figure, his catastrophe is not a consequence of his character but rather circumstance, making him instead a pathetic figure. Try again. (Oh, wait, you did -- and failed damn every time.)

The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red by [personal profile] marthawells, the first of a projected series of novellas about a security droid who has hacked its own governor system and so became fully autonomous. Murderbot is the name it gives itself, which nicely encapsulates its own worldview -- not that it does much murdering, being far more interested in watching the entertainment feed than actually interacting with humans. Though if you start trying to harm its humans, it might feel a little compelled to prevent that -- if only to avoid exposure, which would get in the way of watching serial dramas. Wonderfully wry voice, like Marvin with more understatement. Will read the next, yes indeedy.

Acquainted with the Night: Insomnia Poems edited by Lisa Russ Spaar, a reread in snatches while winding down in bed. Still a very good anthology, selectionwise, but the layout of long lines was mangled very badly and not fixed by the proofreader. (And this from a university press!) If that sort of thing bugs you, you may want to skip this -- unless you are really drawn to the subject matter. Which I am.

The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde. Ouch. I do not understand how Wilde simultaneously wrote successful propaganda and Poe-ean gothic horror, but he did. (Also, nobody expects the unexpected offhand Tannhäuser reference.)

Malcolm's Katie by Isabella Valency Crawford, a colonial romance valorizing the heroic individual with stylistic influences that are, despite this subject, not Byronic but Tennysonian (ETA: specifically, it's a domestic idyll). This works anyway, in no small part because even stronger than the frontier mythology is the Native American mythology. Plus the soliloquies are Shakespearean. Worth the tracking down -- or, yanno, following the link above. (Short shameful confession: the author first caught my attention because she shares an unusual name with the also-Canadian protagonist of The Blue Castle.)

DNF:

Old Spookses' Pass by Isabella Crawford -- because thick dialect writing. Pity, as it looks like it might have a good story underneath the bad spackling.

Eros & Psyche by Robert Bridges -- because the versification was just too grating, and not just the archaisms: too many lines clunk on the ear. Plus, he was showing no sign of ever departing from, undercutting, or otherwise revisioning Apuleius, and so far all the little elaborations were weaker than the unoriginal material. Meh.

Ongoing:

Am still reading Villanelles ed. by Finch & Mali -- about ⅔ through. Plus other pomes, some stories & some not.

---L.

Subject quote from "The Ethics of Elfland," G.K. Chesterton.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/636301.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

For Poetry Monday, back to this guy who wrote poems only during WWI.


Rain, Edward Thomas

Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain
On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me
Remembering again that I shall die
And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks
For washing me cleaner than I have been
Since I was born into solitude.
Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon:
But here I pray that none whom once I loved
Is dying tonight or lying still awake
Solitary, listening to the rain,
Either in pain or thus in sympathy
Helpless among the living and the dead,
Like a cold water among broken reeds,
Myriads of broken reeds all still and stiff,
Like me who have no love which this wild rain
Has not dissolved except the love of death,
If love it be towards what is perfect and
Cannot, the tempest tells me, disappoint.


I remember rain. We had some once -- it's that water that falls from the sky. That was a while ago. Not as long ago as Thomas, though.

---L.

Subject quote from "Onto a Vast Plain," Rainer Maria Rilke tr. Joanna Macy & Anita Barrows.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/636070.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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Wynton Marsalis’s Twelve Ways to Practice. Commentary. (via)

history of the entire world, i guess, starting with the Big Bang. See also the videographer's history of japan. (via)

Yuasa, Wakayama: the birthplace of soy sauce as we know it, and how it is made. (via)

---L.

Subject quote from "Upside Down & Inside Out," OK Go.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/635674.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Four links for the price of three. Get them while they last!

A portal to over 1600 high-resolution maps of US national parks, monuments, recreation areas, and seashores. Search the whole collection or just start with the curator's favorites. (via)

The white ravens of Vancouver Island. (via)

The consequence of napping. Oh so very yes. (via)

Timelapses of spring flowers blooming and autumn leaves turning. (via)

---L.

Subject quote from "To Night," Percy Shelley.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/635591.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

For poetry Monday -- except, is it chestnut blooming time yet? Well even if it isn't, here are some:


"The chestnut casts his flambeaux," A.E. Housman

The chestnut casts his flambeaux, and the flowers
    Stream from the hawthorn on the wind away,
The doors clap to, the pane is blind with showers.
    Pass me the can, lad; there's an end of May.

There's one spoilt spring to scant our mortal lot,
    One season ruined of your little store.
May will be fine next year as like as not:
    But aye, but then we shall be twenty-four.

We for a certainty are not the first
    Have sat in taverns while the tempest hurled
Their hopeful plans to emptiness, and cursed
    Whatever brute and blackguard made the world.

It is in truth iniquity on high
    To cheat our sentenced souls of aught they crave,
And mar the merriment as you and I
    Fare on our long fool's-errand to the grave.

Iniquity it is; but pass the can.
    My lad, no pair of kings our mothers bore;
Our only portion is the estate of man:
    We want the moon, but we shall get no more.

If here to-day the cloud of thunder lours
    To-morrow it will hie on far behests;
The flesh will grieve on other bones than ours
    Soon, and the soul will mourn in other breasts.

The troubles of our proud and angry dust
    Are from eternity, and shall not fail.
Bear them we can, and if we can we must.
    Shoulder the sky, my lad, and drink your ale.


Shoulder the sky, indeed. (I've had to tell a disappointed toddler, "I can't get you the moon--I'm only a Daddy.") This is from Housman's 1922 collection Last Poems. Now pass that can.

---L.

Subject quote from "To Blossoms," Robert Herrick.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/635198.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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"Reading Wednesday" sounds like I'm reading the actual day, which is nicely surreal. So: Reading Wednesday! -- in which I am still inhaling narrative poetry.

Finished:

The Charivari by George Longmore, an early Canadian poet (Montreal flavor). The influence of Byron is overt, and acknowledged in the subtitle ("in the style of Beppo"): this is a slender narrative interwoven with a plethora of narrative digressions that ostensibly distract from the story but actually support the point(s) the author is trying to make -- which, here, is to satirize and hopefully tone down the titular boisterous mock-serenades-cum-shakedowns upon the remarriage of widows or widowers, as part of a broader program to get Canadian arts and culture to parity with the Old World. Having recently read a couple Beppo-influenced tales where the digressions aren't on point, I applaud. Longmore's language is vigorous and colloquial, the verse under control, and the punctuation of this edition could use some serious editing for modern style -- specifically the commatization (the m-dashes are fine, even plethoric as they are). The ending doesn't quite land as firmly as I wanted, but it's appropriate for the story and genre. This deserves to be better known outside of Canada, so here: go read it.

Snow-Bound by William Greenleaf Whittier, an account of a New England farming family's time during a circa 1820 blizzard -- before trains and other modern communications changed how people lived and thought. Whittier started writing it after the death of his little sister, as a remembrance for his niece, and while nostalgia is the dominant mode, this never controls the narrative. There's multiple deaths being dealt with, actually, including explicit acknowledgement of the suffering of the recently concluded Civil War (Whittier was an ardent abolitionist, even unto being a founding member of the Republican Party, but as a devout Quaker he was a committed pacifist). The historical details keep ringing in my mind, after -- that and the imagery highlighting the importance of the fireplace.

The Fairy of the Fountains by Letitia Elizabeth Landon, a retelling of the Melusine story. I've been wandering through some of Landon's mid-length narratives, and this one is particularly interesting -- enough that I reread it. There's a few signature touches (including, yet again, a character getting in trouble through an emotional response to a story) and lot of echo patterning between Melusine and her mother. (Due warning: I haven't found a modern edition, and Landon's punctuation is atrocious, even by 1830s standards. If a period jars you, try mentally replacing it with a comma or other shorter pause -- the sentence will likely make more sense. Also, the first line makes more sense, both locally and symbolically, if you emend "mother's" to "mother".)

The Troubadour by Letitia Elizabeth Landon, a book-length historical verse romance. This has the structure of a bildungsroman, though Raymond doesn't seem to learn very much. Provençal knight with some facility with the lute more or less grows up, or at least survives vicissitudes of adventure (helped by a couple coincidences). Not entirely successful, nor as interesting as The Improvisatrice, but Landon's habitual pattern of expanding longer poems via inset stories/songs is handled well.

In progress:

Spirit Gate by Kate Elliott, the first of a trilogy. Almost gave up after the time jump after chapter 2, but got hooked by the end of chapter 7. Am ~⅓ through -- see how long I stick with this prose thing. (I understand that many people read a lot of that.)

And pomes. Lotsa pomes.

---L.

Subject quote from "Makamat," al-Hariri of Barra, tr. Theodore Preston.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/635135.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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

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