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30 June 2013

post match poetry.

All things considered, I think I'm taking my beloved Spain's loss to Brazil today in stride.  Here are my reworkings of poetry to match my mood.

Roses are red
violets are blue
Spain lost

Now is the winter of our discontent/
Made even worse by having to hear about Neymar all summer.

I measure every grief I meet
With analytic eyes;
I wonder if it weighs like mine,
Or has an easier size.
Like, however tall that wanker Fernando Torres is.

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather'd every rack, except the three goals our shoddy back line couldn't keep out. We obviously didn't weather those very well.

Red is the rose that in yonder garden grows/
And red is the color of the card Piqué got for that bonehead tackle on Neymar.

Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
probably has something to do with having no actual strikers.    

18 June 2013

A few interesting sites

Here are four interesting sites I stumbled upon this week:

2.)  A Zambra interview here
3.)  Proustian concerns here
4.)  and this fun little site

16 June 2013

Father's day

What life is all about.  Now, off to frolic with my wife and my little girl.  Happy fathers' day to dads everywhere

11 June 2013

All Russian to me

Reading the first few pages of “Maidenhair” by Mikhail Shishkin, I was stunned by these random lines within the very modern story:

“And so Darius and Parysatis had two sons, the elder Artaxerxes and the younger Cyrus.  When Darius was taken ill and felt the approach of death, he demanded both sons come to him.  At the time the elder son was nearby, but Darius sent for Cyrus to another province, over which he had been placed as satrap.”

It was a Proustian moment and I was propelled back a decade to the summer I spent taking a one-on-one Ancient Greek class with one of my favorite professors, Brad Cook.  The text that summer was Xenophon’s “Anabasis,” often referred to as the march of the ten thousand.  The lines by Shishkin are the opening ones of Xenophon.  Here they are in the Greek (click a word for some linguistic fun):

This is one hell of a book (Shishkin), so nothing I find would surprise me.  I just wonder at its purpose.  Anyway, here is my pretty literal translation from the Greek:

“Darius and Parysatis begat two sons, the elder Artaxerxes and the younger, Cyrus.  And when Darius lay sick and suspected the end of his life, he wished both sons to be nearby.  The elder one happened to be nearby, but he sent way for Cyrus from the province over which he (Darius) had made him (Cyrus) Satrap.

The one thing I remember clearly from Xenophon is that it felt after a while like I was marching along with the troops, covering so many stathmoi everyday, trapped inland with no guide and no hope of seeing the coast and a glimpse of familiar islands, and I was as thrilled as any Greek when the shout went up toward the end, “thalatta!, thallatta!,” “The Sea!, The Sea!”  We shall see what this ancient tale of strangers marching through and trying to escape a foreign land has to do with a novel of Russians trying to get into a foreign land and escape their own.  

09 June 2013



The writer Gérard de Nerval (1808-55) had a pet lobster named Thibault.  He took the lobster on walks, leading the creature by a blue silk ribbon on casual strolls through the Palais Royal.  Enjoy a good walk yourself this week and happy Sunday to all.

05 June 2013

Sheltering roofs

The bedroom roof sheltered us from the rains
And masked the stars from our thoughts.
We huddled under the old blanket
Knit by an ancient woman’s hands
When that woman was young
And could not yet imagine a future
In which we would breathe and live
And dream childlike dreams under her roof
While her bones rested far away,
But sheltered from the same rains and stars.

01 June 2013

Reading Promise

I’ve recently finished a marvelous book detailing a young woman’s relationship with her father growing up, titled “The Reading Promise:My father and the books we shared.”  The author, Alice Ozma (literary naming alert), describes “the streak,” a promise she and her father made initially for him to read aloud to her for 100 straight nights.  On the 100th night, they extended it to 1000 nights.  The final night of the streak, when she went off to college, came 3,218 nights after the first.  Though the book is only tangentially about books, it is about fathers and daughters, a subject near and dear to me.  As many of you know, I have a little girl, to whom I refer online as the princess, and I consider my role as her dad one of the top two priorities of my life (the other is husbanding, not to be confused with husbandry).

Like many dads, I read to my princess pretty much everyday, as does my wife, but I haven’t thought of going about it in a more formal way until now.  I’m not saying I should make charts, set reading times, and draw up a list, though those things do appeal to me.  I’m just wondering if I should make my own “reading promise” to my little girl.  If nothing else, I should come up with a flexible book list.  More to come on that.

I’d appreciate any feedback on the subject, and leave you with one of my favorite quotes on what it takes to be a man.  It comes from the movie ‘The Godfather”:

“Do you spend time with your family?” ... “Good, because a man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.”

Now, if you will excuse me, I’m off to be a real man.