Saturday, May 28, 2005

Done with all of that...

Today's wise words, courtesy of William Styron...

To most of those who have experienced it, the horror of depression is so overwhelming as to be quite beyond expression, hence the frustrated sense of inadequacy found in the work of even the greatest artists. But in science and art the search will doubtless go on for a clear representation of its meaning, which sometimes, for those who have known it, is a simulacrum of all the evil of our world: of our everyday discord and chaos, our irrationality, warfare and crime, torture and violence, our impulse toward death and our flight from it held in the intolerable equipoise of history.

Wow. "The intolerable equipoise of history." What a brilliant line. Don't you wish you had written that? The excerpt comes from his long personal essay Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness. It's a harrowing, articulate exploration of his experience with depression at age sixty. Highly recommended.

And on the lighter side of life...

Away, you scullion! You rampallion! You fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe. — Falstaff in Henry IV

Fun fact...

Scholastic says they will print 10.8 million copies of the regular trade edition of HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. — Publishers Lunch

Pace, Dr M...

Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. — Source Unknown

Saw Humble Boy last night — wonderful! B is climbing in Nordegg today — he'll have to post about the experience later. Taught a fun pick-up class for a colleague today — my last official teaching this academic year! Had a lovely maguro don for supper tonight. All is clearly right with the world.

Putting on my walking shoes...

Monday, May 23, 2005

Wise words

In the wake of last week's very close confidence vote, I have read a great deal of ho-hum political analysis. In my opinion, though, this excerpt is rather insightful. (See Why Conservatives Should Thank Chuck Cadman for the full story.)

As for the leader of the loyal opposition, Stephen Harper just doesn't get it. Hidden in the media spin surrounding the budget votes yesterday is all the evidence the Conservative Party needs to rid itself of the man who cannot possibly win them power. Far be it from me to help this Reform/Alliance retread party be more effective, given its draconian, hidden agenda. But the fact is, this extremist agenda is exactly what Harper brings to the party. If the Conservatives actually chose someone from the old Progressive Conservative wing of their party as leader, not only would they do better, but Canada would not be constantly threatened by Harper's vision of creating a carbon copy of the US north of the border. While Harper is almost pathologically committed to an American vision of the country, what's left of the old PCs -- especially the Red Tories -- might just have enough good sense left to recognize that Canadians are moving to the left in their values and policy preferences.

Meanwhile, in another part of my brain...

So difficult it is to show the various meanings and imperfections of words when we have nothing else but words to do it with. —John Locke, philosopher (1632-1704)

I've been writing a little lately, not all of it course proposals and evasive e-mail. Overall I'm still mostly exhausted and periodically lost. But on the bright side, I start holidays on the 29th, so I can sleep a lot then.

The weather here is rainy and cool, but most of the garden has come into leaf. You'll never believe what I found at the grocery yesterday: blackberries! They were delicious. Tonight I made ribs for dinner, one of Zak's favourites. Soon I may work up the energy to clean house or sew my summer dresses; or perhaps I'll get my mom to sew them after all. Hmm... : )

Today I like: buffalo, green days, long straight highways, blue gingham, sunflower seeds, mortarboards, and September 1.

Now reading: Adultery by Richard B. Wright (not enjoying it), Toxic Sludge Is Good for You! by John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton (it's eye-opening), and Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron (just beginning). Just finished An Alchemy of Mind by Diane Ackerman (not nearly as good as A Mind of Its Own: The Cultural History of the Penis, which I finished last week). I ordered a book called Who Killed Shakespeare? by Patrick Brantlinger — excellent fodder for my dissertation, from what I've read of it. So many books! But remember that I'm always looking for other suggestions, please.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that B's book What Grows Here was nominated for Trade Book of the Year at the Book Publishers' awards. It didn't win, unfortunately, but it should have. Oh well, there's another volume for next year!

Happy belated birthday to the Taureans! I hope you all have a wonderful year.

That's it: time to get ready for bed. Be well.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Coming back online...

Hello, hello. A long time since I've posted. Sorry. Somehow in the laundry of my brain, I got trapped in a spin cycle. Oh dear, quite wrinkled now. Ahem.

Here are some recent magpie wanderings. I'll try to post something more coherent soon.

Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice, observes that "not all choice enhances freedom. In particular, increased choice among goods and services may contribute little or nothing to the kind of freedom that counts. Indeed, it may impair freedom by taking time and energy we'd be better off devoting to other matters." This quotation explains the conundrum of grocery shopping.

In A Mind of Its Own,David M. Friedman notes that "Over time the penis has been deified, demonized, secularized, racialized, psychoanalyzed, politicized, and, finally, medicalized...." Great book, by the way!

An anonymous journalism student recently told me, "Among my many duties and responsibilities, I have many unpleasant and strange encounters with customers, employees, and of course, ex-boyfriends." Ah, retail.

And finally, Francesco Petrarch commented, "Five great enemies to peace inhabit with us: avarice, ambition, envy, anger, and pride. If those enemies were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace."

Somewhere among these ideas is a kind of sense I can currently understand. And you?