I heard on the radio today that some of Michael Jackson's fans are comparing the Not Guilty verdict with the birth of Martin Luther King and the fall of the Berlin Wall...The Reverend Martin Luther King
Proclaimed men should be free.
Sweet words, indeed, that he did bring,
In praise of liberty.
But sweeter were the words I saw:
The King of Pop: Acquitted!
On nice sharp quillets of the law
Our Michael was not spitted.
When toppled in old Berlin Town
That grim and frowning wall,
In all ears did the news resound
Of Communism's fall.
But greater news I heard today,
No prison bars, no chains.
Let thrilling songs and anthems play,
And jubilant refrains.
He is our own, our Everyman,
Though sometimes he perplexes,
Embodying, in cosmic plan,
All ages, races, sexes.
Compared to this the joyful word
Of what his legal fate is,
The Resurrection of our Lord
Was pretty small potatoes.
A is for Age:
49 years, 1 month, and 17 days. I'm afraid I cannot be precise as to hours and minutes because I don't know the exact time of my birth; I have a vague idea that I was told once it was about 9 AM.B is for Booze:
Screwdrivers, very rarely. I have been tipsy perhaps 2-3 times in my life (all that happened was that I got a little disconnected from the world, and very talkative); these days, I have maybe one every few months when work has been excessively frazzling, and if there happens to be any orange juice. The 1.75 liter bottle of vodka I got 10 years ago is about 3/4 gone by now.C is for Career:
I don't have a career, I have a job (programmer/analyst; concentrating on writing Real Estate Tax management software in Informix).D is for Dad’s name:
Herman Nicholas.E is for Essential items to bring to a party:
Manners, both pairs of glasses, and at least one spare handkerchief.F is for Favorite song at the moment:
I don't know if it counts, but at this moment - hanged if I know why - "Mars", from Holst's The Planets
, keeps running through my brain.G is for Goof off thing to do:
Read, watch movies, and, of course, visit other blogs.H is for Hometown:
Rahway, NJ.I is for Instrument you play:
Ha! (Although I can
pick out "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on the piano in any key.)J is for Jam or Jelly you like:
Grape, raspberry, strawberry, red currant. One of these days we'll make jelly again from our grapes. If only there was more time…K is for Kids:
2 daughters, 11 and 6 (born 5 years and 24 minutes apart).L is for Living arrangement:
Small, old, shabby farmhouse, set in just under an acre of land, all of which, except where built over, is astoundingly conducive to plant growth. The interior of the house is well stocked with dust, toys, books, and love.M is for Mom’s name:
Jean Louise.N is for Names of best friends:
Laurel (the Bride).O is for overnight hospital stays:
None. My longest stay was several hours, when I went to the emergency room with a kidney stone.P is for Phobias:
Speaking in front of groups of people. For this purpose, a "group" is defined as more than one person.Q is for Quote you like: "Where there's no alternative, there's no problem." - James Burnham
.R is for Relationship that lasted longest:
My marriage to the Bride, coming up on 15 years.S is for Siblings:
3 sisters, 5 brothers. In order, G-B-B-B (me)-G-B-B-B-G. The oldest is 56, the youngest 37.T is for Texas, ever been there:
Yes. 4 times, 3 before my marriage, when the Bride was living there *; once after, to visit some of her friends she left behind. * That's a story in itself, which I may get to someday.U is for Unique trait:
I don't think I have one (hey, that's
pretty unique, isn't it?).V if for Vegetable you love:
Spinach.W is for Worst trait:
Pride, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, Avarice, Gluttony, and Lust.X - is for XRays you’ve had:
Teeth, lower back, ankle (fortunately, only sprained), and nose. This last was in my childhood, when I thought to amuse myself by using the bathroom sink as one parallel bar and the bathtub rim as the other: I hoisted myself up by my hands and swung my body back and forth. All went well until my grip slipped while I was parallel to the floor, so I fell perhaps 3 feet flat onto my nose. I have never seen so much blood in my life.Y is for Yummy food you make:
For the most part, my cooking skills are at the bachelor male level, but I can make bran muffins.Z is for Zodiac sign:
Under compulsion, I will admit that it's Taurus. (I find it extremely
annoying that (a) I loathe astrology and (b) I fit the Taurus personality almost exactly.)
Surely one of the odder phenomena of our times (and one with which the literary historians of the twenty-third century will have a field day) is the murder mystery - cum - cookbook: in which the writer introduces one or more dishes into the story and in an appendix provides the recipes. The Bride recently finished one in which, in fact, there were more pages devoted to recipes than to the story and which therefore crossed the line to become a cookbook - cum - murder mystery. One naturally begins to speculate as to what other hybrids of two mutually irrelevant subjects could be concocted...
Carrying on from the previous post but one, the Western plus a classical language. After Johnny Ringo and Doc Holliday have led us through Latin (Virgil Earp, of course, gets to do a chapter about the Aeniad), we can move on to It's All Greek to Wild Bill Hickok
, Kit Carson Scouts the Way through Hebrew
, and Bat Masterson Masters Sanskrit
Regency romance plus civil engineering: "Beautiful but wayward Miss Belinda Travers first encountered the rakishly handsome Peregrine, Marquess of Ravensbury, as he was directing a structural inspection of the masonry piers supporting London Bridge..."
Sea epic plus sewing: Master and Commander and Crocheting
; The Far Side of Cross-Stitch
; Knitting on the Bounty
(where, instead of "Damn your eyes, Mr. Christian!", Captain Bligh gets to say, "Darn your socks, Mr. Christian!").
Children's reader plus quantum mechanics: Schroedinger's Cat in the Hat
; Oh, Oh, the Places You'll (Probably, Depending on Your Wave Function) Go
Spy novel plus meteorology: Thunderball
; The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
(oh - never mind).
Perhaps it would be better not to touch upon the swimsuit edition of the Summa Theologica
As the result of a discussion - some months ago - in the comments over at Two Sleepy Mommies
, I eventually got around to watching the movie Tombstone
(starring Kurt Russell, Sam Elliott, Val Kilmer, and others). My initial reaction is positive (I have a simple test for movies and books: would I see/read it again? The answer, in this case, is yes.). While not without flaws (most notably in the rather pointless presence of Dana Delaney's Josephine), it still has more than enough energy, imagination, and craftsmanship to overcome them. Russell's Wyatt Earp is an interesting blend of stoicism and moral ambiguity as a lawman turned faro banker, until he is forced to live up to his reputation. Elliott plays himself as Virgil Earp with his usual aplomb. Kilmer as Doc Holliday combines decadence and deadliness, leavened by a refusal to take himself seriously. The villains are also well done. Powers Boothe's Curly Bill Brocious does evil with extroverted glee; Michael Biehn as Johnny Ringo exudes a sort of hair-trigger psychopathic intensity; and Stephen Lang goes slightly and enjoyably over the top as the cowardly Ike Clanton. The shootout at the O.K. Corral (and the macabre funeral procession which follows it) is presented as just one incident leading up to the inevitable Armageddon between Earp and Holliday and the Cowboy gang.
And, of course, there is the first encounter between Doc Holliday and Johnny Ringo, where they quote Latin tags at each other (the scene works better, if you're not already a perfect Latinist, if you have subtitles turned on; a translation is here
); followed by Holliday's brilliantly comic putdown of Ringo's swaggering gun-juggling. I watched it several times, mainly in order to understand exactly what they were saying, and liked it better each time.
The movie was recently a hot topic at National Review Online's The Corner blog
(start at the link and scroll up).