Of course, as Mr. Big Food commented, that’s nothing compared to what’s coming. We had a brief downpour at 6:43. Right humid. Hum. I see a large portion of these United States are quite warm this morning.
You know, if I had nothing better to do, I could answer the question, “When did we switch from referring to this country in the plural– as in these United States, the sovereign entities– to the singular– the United States?” I certainly have the resources. When I search the tags, “history” and “American” in my card catalog, I get 802 hits. That would be a good place to start.
We should start doing that again. These United States.
Drove out to the Peninsula this afternoon to do a little fishing and give Mr. Big Food’s Mom a change of scene.
It was warm in the sunshine but the breeze was nice. I caught two little brim on a jig. Mr. Big Food was working with a top-water and didn’t have too much any luck. His dad had some nibbles. But that was hardly the main objective of the outing.
A good way to start the Memorial Day Weekend. Nice sky, don’t you think?
His current favorite book is Winnie the Pooh, and he loves to play outside. He sleeps with Seven, his stuffed dog. His chore is feeding the cat, Sadie. He’ll be four in July. Also, Miss M had to change the YouTube settings recently. He was searching for “xxxxxxx.”
“The Adventure of Henry Baskerville and a Dog”, an episode of the NHK puppetry Sherlock Holmes is based on “Hound of the Baskervilles” and “The Dancing Men”. In it, Holmes deciphers the code found in the school in parallel with investigating the real figure of “Monster Dog”.
At this day, as much company as I have kept, and as much as I love it, I love reading better.
Before we being today’s discussion of the Daily Readings, let me just put it out there– for all the world to see– that I really like Mr. Big Food.
The “Den,” to which I refer from time to time, is in fact the master bed room suite that has a television, turntable, the LP record collection, crappy old books on shelves, my desk, and– in front of a patio door– a glass breakfast table. We do not always eat lunch together (that’s nothing new), but frequently when we do, I eat at my desk and Mr. Big Food, at the table. The table is a premium surface area on which I have things that are in need of surface area and am currently working with (paper cutter, laminator, etc.). Today Mr. Big Food asked about the bookmarks in the Pocket U. Collection on the table. I explained the whole set up of Pocket U. and mentioned that today in 1688 Alexander Pope was born.
Mr. Big Food said, “Pierian Spring.”
I know that millions and millions of people know Pope’s “An Essay on Criticism.” But that Mr. Big Food is among then is pretty cool.
Born today in the year 1688, Alexander Pope.
Died today in the year 1650, James Graham, Marquis of Montrose. [No. We all went down to Montreux.]
I know the thing that's most uncommon;
(Envy be silent and attend!)
I know a Reasonable Woman,
Handsome and witty, yet a Friend.
Not warp'd by Passion, aw'd by Rumour,
Not grave thro' Pride, or gay thro' Folly,
An equal Mixture of good Humour,
And sensible soft Melancholy.
`Has she no Faults then (Envy says) Sir?'
Yes she has one, I must aver:
When all the World comspires to praise her,
The Woman's deaf, and does not hear.
Here’s a bit on “Overtones” and Alice Gerstenberg, a Chicago socialite. I cannot find word one about her in any of my crappy old books or encyclopedias, though I’m told by that infallible source that “Overtones” is still in occasional production.
“Marica?” Missy got up from her desk, laid down her reading glasses, stretched, and asked, “Do you have a minute?”
“Sure, Missy! What’s on your mind this cold gloomy day?”
“Ruff?” Rocky, too, was curious.
“Well,” Missy heaved in a big breath of purified air (thanks to Marica’s recent shopping trip) in the way that one heaves in a big breath when one has a big announcement, and said, “I am nearly done!”
“Done with what?” Marica asked.
“R.U.F.F.!” Even Rocky knew what Missy was talking about– it’s nearly all she’d been talking about for months.
“Why! My Epic Novel, of course!” Missy’s was somewhat dismayed that Marica even had to ask.
“Oh my gosh, Missy. I’m so sorry! I’ve so been wrapped up in other things. I’m sorry,” Marica apologized.
“That’s alright, Marica,” Missy could tell it was a heartfelt apology and she did not want to make Marica feel any worse. “In any case, I am nearly finished!”
“Ruff!!” Rocky said excitedly. He was ready to move on to other conversational topics. Indeed, he had in mind that, as the weather was cold and damp, they should read some British detective novels together.
“Missy, that’s just wonderful! I know you’ve been working very hard on it,” Marica said.
“Indeed, I have. But I wonder if I might please ask for some help, here in the late stages?” Missy asked.
“Sure! How can we help?”
“Oh, my Dear Friend!” Missy said to Rocky, “You have helped more than you know! Explaining to me the masculine psyche must have been quite an undertaking for you. I thank you again! I could not have come to understand what transpires in the heart and mind of an epic hero when faced with Herculean tasks– tasks that would extinguish a weaker soul– were it not for your expedition on the subject of the male ego and… .”
“Exposition?” Marica asked.
“That’s what I said, Marica. Do you need to get your hearing checked? I think you just might. In any case, Dear Friend, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!” Missy said to Rocky.
“Ruff,” Rocky said humbly. He was a male of few words, literally one word, not prone to going on and on, nor to seeking out this sort of lavish attention. He had, in fact, found the rough passages Missy had asked him to read quite good. Credit where credit’s due, he had to admit she was a keen observer of both canine and human behavior– feline, too, though given the… weirdness of Tiger and Snaps, the two she most frequently observed, he was not sure how well those observations generalized.
“What can I do?” Marica asked.
Missy returned to her desk, retrieved a ream of printed pages, and– finding not a square inch of empty space on Marica’s desk– laid the pages in her lap. She began, “Not only has Rocky been most helpful, but so too have that Ol’ Retired Hippy, Gilbert, and his Sidekick, Bebe. I sent the manuscript to Gil electronically. He reviewed it with a special focus especially on Aristotelian virtues and Modern Day Virtue Ethics, á la Philippa Foot’s Virtue Ethics. And of course I was interested to hear what my precocious little friend, Bebe has to say about the Epic story. She seemed to quite like it, though I am not certain she understood the subtlety and nua … . Oh my.” Missy cleared her throat.
Missy had taken to heart the criticism that she sometimes rambled unnecessarily. She had rehearsed her request to Marica, and she realized that she’d gone off script.
“I wonder if I could impose upon you the task of a final edit? I know you and John prefer editing hard copy, so I took the liberty of printing out my Epic Novel– double spaced, of course, and with margins wide enough for marginalia. Again, I know this is an imposition on your own writing time but I would be ever so grateful!”
“Oh, Missy! That’s so thoughtful!” What a Dear she is, Marica thought. “I don’t actually have ‘writing time’ but I would be honored to read your manuscript,” Marica said, looking down at the ream of pages.
Some moments passed as Marica flipped though the manuscript of Missy’s Epic Novel. Meanwhile, Missy relaxed at Marica’s feet, and Rocky faded away… wondering why… no Staffordshire Terriers… in …
“Umm…, Missy?” Marica said after a few minutes.
“Yes?!? Yes?!?” Missy jumped up loudly in anticipation of Marica’s approval. “What do you think so far?”
“RUFF!” Rocky woke abruptly.
“Well, Missy. Have I missed something? I mean, this looks wonderful and your inclusion of the Table of Illustrations is fabulous,” Marica complimented. “But what’s the title of your Epic Novel? Where’s the title page?”
“R.U.F.F.?” Rocky was wide awake now.
Missy was just sitting there, with a glaze over her eyes.
“Rocky! Do something!” Marica commanded.
“RRRRrrruuuuffff!” Rocky jumped from the bed, tucked his bulbous head into the side of his right shoulder, and targeted his whole 45 pounds straight into Missy’s furry neck.
“R.U.F.F.,” he said after impact, and, after a little shake, said, “Ruff.”
“Missy?!? Missy!?!” Marica helped Missy to her paws, “Are you okay? What’s wrong?”
“Well. My. I… . I…,” Missy stammered.
“Shake it off, girl!”
Missy did a good shake and sat down. “Why I don’t know what came over me, Marica. I believe I was paralyzed by embarrassment,” she shook a bit more. “Thank you, Dear Friend, for knocking some sense back into me.”
“Ruff,” Rocky mumbled and got in his box. Too much excitement.
“Oh, Missy, nothing to be embarrassed about. Happens to everyone,” Marica consoled. “It’s easy to get so wrapped up in writing that you forget to tend to the obvious. Why, just the other day I published a blog post… .”
“Excuse me, Marica,” Missy’s senses had fully returned. “As much as I enjoy your little blog, it is not of the same, shall I say, elevated literary strata as an Epic Novel. No, no. Most certainly not,” she insisted.
“I suppose that’s right, Missy. But that still leaves your Epic Novel with no title.”
“I am now painfully aware of this,” Missy said shaking her head and getting to her paws. “Would you mind opening the back door for me? I could use some fresh air and some time to myself.”
“Sure, Missy, c’mon,” Marica said as they walked out of the den.
“Ruffruffruff,” Rocky chuckled to himself when they were out of earshot.
The Battle was one in the Nine Years’ War between England and the Dutch Republic on the one side, and France on the other. The Anglo-Dutch side won the battle. It’s not that I have no curiosity about such things. But I’m just not feeling it today. If you are, Student Handouts has the skinny. The link above goes to that infallible source.
I would like for you to know that Twice-Told Tales was a best selling book in America in 1837. In 1850, The Scarlet Letter was, as was The House of the Seven Gables in 1851 (Mott, Golden Multitudes, 1947).
Lastly, there was a handsome youth in rustic garb, and by his side a blooming little person, in whom a delicate shade of maiden reserve was just melting into the rich glow of a young wife’s affection. Her name was Hannah and her husband’s Matthew; two homely names, yet well enough adapted to the simple pair, who seemed strangely out of place among the whimsical fraternity whose wits had been set agog by the Great Carbuncle.
Beneath the shelter of one hut, in the bright blaze of the same fire, sat this varied group of adventurers, all so intent upon a single object, that, of whatever else they began to speak, their closing words were sure to be illuminated with the Great Carbuncle. Several related the circumstances that brought them thither. One had listened to a traveller’s tale of this marvellous stone in his own distant country, and had immediately been seized with such a thirst for beholding it as could only be quenched in its intensest lustre. Another, so long ago as when the famous Captain Smith visited these coasts, had seen it blazing far at sea, and had felt no rest in all the intervening years till now that he took up the search. A third, being encamped on a hunting expedition full forty miles south of the White Mountains, awoke at midnight, and beheld the Great Carbuncle gleaming like a meteor, so that the shadows of the trees fell backward from it. They spoke of the innumerable attempts which had been made to reach the spot, and of the singular fatality which had hitherto withheld success from all adventurers, though it might seem so easy to follow to its source a light that overpowered the moon, and almost matched the sun. It was observable that each smiled scornfully at the madness of every other in anticipating better fortune than the past, yet nourished a scarcely hidden conviction that he would himself be the favored one.
Once again, nothing happened today. I beg to differ.
Today in the year 1474, Isabella d’Este, Marchioness of Mantua, was born. (From Mary E. Hazeltine. Judith K. Sollenberger, ed. Anniversaries and Holidays: A Calendar of Days and How to Observe Them Second Edition, Completely Revised. American Library Association, Chicago. 1965.)
The crappy old book tells me that was a patron of art and letter. “Among all of the princesses of the 15th and 16th century, the one who most strikingly and perfectly personifies the aspirations of the Renaissance.”
Damn it. I wish you people could get your facts straight.
She was born on Tuesday 19 May 1474 at nine o’clock in the evening
Galsworthy’s The Little Man (subtitled: A Farcical Morality In Three Scenes)
I wrote briefly about John Galsworthy once before. He’s the author of The Forsythe Saga (1918). If you frequent junk, or used book stores, you will no doubt recognize that title. The book is literally everywhere. Don’t pay more than $5.00 for it.
Each man born into the world is born like Shelton in this book—to go a journey, and for the most part he is born on the high road. At first he sits there in the dust, with his little chubby hands reaching at nothing, and his little solemn eyes staring into space. As soon as he can toddle, he moves, by the queer instinct we call the love of life, straight along this road, looking neither to the right nor left, so pleased is he to walk. And he is charmed with everything—with the nice flat road, all broad and white, with his own feet, and with the prospect he can see on either hand. The sun shines, and he finds the road a little hot and dusty; the rain falls, and he splashes through the muddy puddles. It makes no matter—all is pleasant; his fathers went this way before him; they made this road for him to tread, and, when they bred him, passed into his fibre the love of doing things as they themselves had done them. So he walks on and on, resting comfortably at nights under the roofs that have been raised to shelter him, by those who went before.
Suddenly one day, without intending to, he notices a path or opening in the hedge, leading to right or left, and he stands, looking at the undiscovered. After that he stops at all the openings in the hedge; one day, with a beating heart, he tries one.
And this is where the fun begins.
Out of ten of him that try the narrow path, nine of him come back to the broad road, and, when they pass the next gap in the hedge, they say: “No, no, my friend, I found you pleasant for a while, but after that-ah! after that! The way my fathers went is good enough for me, and it is obviously the proper one; for nine of me came back, and that poor silly tenth—I really pity him!”
And when he comes to the next inn, and snuggles in his well-warmed, bed, he thinks of the wild waste of heather where he might have had to spend the night alone beneath the stars; nor does it, I think, occur to him that the broad road he treads all day was once a trackless heath itself.
But the poor silly tenth is faring on. It is a windy night that he is travelling through– a windy night, with all things new around, and nothing to help him but his courage. Nine times out of ten that courage fails, and he goes down into the bog. He has seen the undiscovered, and—like Ferrand in this book—the undiscovered has engulfed him; his spirit, tougher than the spirit of the nine that burned back to sleep in inns, was yet not tough enough. The tenth time he wins across, and on the traces he has left others follow slowly, cautiously—a new road is opened to mankind!
Do you entertain formally– or concentrate on back yard barbecues? Do you have occasional help, or must your home be geared to easy care? Plan your decorating to further your way of living, to give you a comfortable, beautiful background.
Binary choices do not reflect my way of living.
Let us look at the “Dollarsavers” chapter, shall we?
“Imagination means more than money.” That is true.
“Chemist’s materials make fine modern accessories.” Also true.
I mean, just imagine using 10ml Erlenmeyer flasks to accessorize a shelf of very small crappy old books!
Okay. It’s Drudge Work Monday. I have things to do.
Mr. Big Food’s Dad called at 5pm asking if we were going to be watching a few episodes of the first season on The Mary Tylor Moore show– as we had last evening– and I replied that we would not be on account of the fact that Mr. Big Food was grilling shiskibabas (sp). Served with curried rice salad and humus. And it was going to rain.
This was met with very little enthusiasm. Americanized Indian/Middle Eastern food is outside of the In-Laws comfort zone.
And then it rained. With Hail. There’s nothing quite like the sound of hail on a tin roof.
It’s less than two minutes. you must watch. It orients properly when you click.
And then we had a delightful dinner during which the In-Laws attitudes toward steak and onion and peppers and mushrooms marinated in a curry seasoned somethingorother changed and they ate a lot.
And then they trudged back up the Hill to The Apartment.
Mr. Big Food asked what movie we’d like to watch. We kicked around a few ideas and settled on wanting to watch a light-hearted comedy.
Sleepless in Seattle? Shop Around the Corner? You’ve Got Mail.
Nope. I went back to the Bunkhouse to see what was on offer.
Mr. Big Food said, “I haven’t seen that in years.”
And so. On 60 acres, Mr. Big Food scooted over and we occupied a 3×6′ space and watched Dirty Dancing.
Took a drive to Carrolton the other day. It’s an old town that still has some antebellum churches. Something different. Don’t mind the crooked photos. I was trying to get as much as I could from the truck windows.
It’s actually a nice little town. Population 190 ten years ago. We’d been before and walked around the square.
Boasting of the fact that Carrollton is restored and not renovated, Carrollton is one of the largest historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places in the United States.There are approximately eighteen historic sites located around Court Square, making a walking tour an enjoyable event.
One of the best preserved sites in Carrollton is the Merrill Museum, which houses the John Sidney McCain collection, a compilation of personal and military memorabilia belonging to the great grandfather and grandfather of Senator John S. McCain, U. S. Presidential candidate in 2008.
Of the five churches located in Carrollton, four were established in the 1830’s and one in 1870, and all continue with active congregations.
That infallible source really wants you to know that both the United States, and Confederate Battle flags are flown at the courthouse. The latter in honor of the fallen.
I don’t know Thackeray’s work well– hardly at all. But I’ve read a little here and there. I think perhaps in 1925, when the second edition of the Pocket University Guide to Daily Reading was published, “On a Joke” was probably a good selection. In 2020, unless you are familiar with 18th and 19th English history and literature, not so much. Feel free to disagree.