September 25, 2007

Miscellania

...offered with malice toward none and charity to all.

The Cure's Just One Kiss (now playing, courtesy iTunes random choice) is quite a nice song.

Three stories. I felt rather ill on Saturday, or rather, I was spectacularly ill on Friday and treating msyelf with kid gloves on Saturday. I picked up a copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Strange Case of Benjamin Button, then slowly repaired to a convivial Chinese eatery for a double serving of Wonton Soup and a pot of green tea, and the pleasure of reading Fitzgerald's sparkling prose. There's tremendous economy of language -- paragraphs speak volumes in this brief tale -- and an utter, pitiless lack of sentimentality. The story skewers parents expectations of children, spouses expectations of one another, and even children's expectations of their aging parents.

Quite the reverse is Pushkin's story The Captain's Daughter, which I read to the eight-year-old over the last few weeks. Pushkin's sentimentality is such that even the villain Pugachev has noble qualities, as do almost all the other characters, save Shvabrin, the traitor. Nonetheless, a charming story, about honor and courage and the pernicious influence of that "monsoo" -- the dissolute French teacher who supposedly corrupted the narrator. Great fun.

Because this hasn't arrived yet from Amazon, we started reading Gogol's Ivan Fyodorivich Shponka and his Aunt, which has always been one of my favorite stories. Gogol painted icons with language (a century later, Chagall would attempt them in paint).

Icon, oddly, in paint.jpg

The Latin lessons continue. The dreaded pluperfect is next.

I admit to a bias here, but in 2006, my Philadelphia Phillies had the fourth best record in the National League, but were not one of the four teams that went to the playoffs. In 2005, the Phillies had the fourth best record in baseball, but were not one of the four teams that went to the playoffs. As of this writing in 2007, the Phillies are tied with San Diego for the third best record in baseball, yet if the season ended today either the Padres or the Phillies would be excluded from the postseason, and an inferior team--this time the Cubs--would make the playoffs. Baseball should eliminate divisions and take the top four teams in each league.

I don't know why, but I really want to buy one of these (for the record, I have a new cellphone that I got for free -- well, that my cellphone company actually paid me $25 to take -- and that I'm very happy with. But something about having Chinese knockoffs strikes me as being very appealing these days).

Just ordered this book. We should measure the justness of societies by material progress, since materials are all that we can measure. God save us from Robespierre's Republic of Virtue! (I do not believe in God or Robespierre, and I'm rather skeptical when it comes to virtue, for that matter...)

That's all for now. Semi-coherent, semi-regular blather to resume soon.

Posted by Ideofact at September 25, 2007 02:32 AM
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