Friday, October 17, 2003

You'll never see your papers again! Never!

There is a brand of expanding file in the world known as Globe-Weis Letha-Tone. I considered for some time the spectacle of an organizational system named after Lethe, the River of Forgetfulness. Does the name signify that the filed papers will disappear from one's memory into a deathlike void? Will they drown in the dark waters of oblivion before they can be provided to the friendly IRS man?

I had to ponder for quite a while before I realized that "Letha" was merely a ghastly mangled respelling of the word "leather". What advertising drone felt compelled to do such violence to the English language, and would he or she prefer to meet me at dawn with swords or pistols?

Everywhere I have ever lived in my life, up until mid-August of this year, was within three miles (and usually less) of a world-class Judaic studies library. Right now, hunting for highly obscure historical treatments of Jewish-Christian relations in thirteenth century England, I begin noticing the lack.

(Come to think of it, was there a world-class Judaic studies library in London? I'm sure there was, but I never found it. I wasn't doing Jewish studies that year.)

I bring you a riddle from the Old English collection of poetry known as the Exeter Book:

I am valuable to men, found widely,
brought from groves and from mountain slopes,
from valleys and hills. For days I was carried
by winged ones in air, skillfully borne
under the shelter of a roof. Afterwards a hero
bathed me in a tub. Now I am a binder
and beater. Swiftly I throw
a man to the earth, perhaps some old peasant.
As soon as he realizes it, he struggles against me,
and with violence grapples against what is mine,
so that by my power he shall fall to the earth,
if, unwisely, he does not stop himself before.
Deprived of strength but strong in speech,
deprived of power, he has no control of his mind,
of his feet or his hands. Ask what I am called,
who on earth binds men so,
dazed after blows by the next day's light.

(Select the blank space below for the solution).

MEAD

(it begins as pollen, before bees carry it to their hive; then a beekeeper collects the honeycomb and ferments the honey, at which point it is an alcoholic beverage.)


(My translation, from the Old English text available in Mitchell and Robinson's Guide to Old English, Fifth Edition, page 234, riddle F.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Purely Altruistic Plug

Check out Andy's blog with week, and you'll find a mix of poetry and humor, with a touch of stuff that usually floats way over my head.

Baseball: Die, Boston, Die

I'm not usually a baseball fan, but I've found that having a sister-in-law from Chicago, and a brother in New York makes it very difficult not to keep up with the National League and American League Championship Series'. Its actually kind of fun to watch.. especially if I have other things to do at the same time.

Of course this past week the whole debacles with the groundsman and the elderly coach has turned baseball into more like a hockey game on a sand lot: Nothing like a violent, petty outbursts superficially caused by perceived betrayal/human frailty to get my attention. I think both teams behaved poorly during the game and in the following game. Its only Karmic-ally appropriate that Boston lost the game yesterday, and New York lost today. But I think the Sox were in worse karmic shape because of the whole, attacking an old man thing, so I'm rooting for New York. If they go up against the Cubs, I might continue my accidental patronage of the venerable sport.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Ha Ha Ha! Self-Actualization is just around the corner..

Today have begun the arduous (not really) application process to apply to the School Of Information for the Winter of 2004, studied for the GRE I have begun painting pumpkins for the contest at work AND I will be getting a haircut this afternoon, attending a GRE Study Session, and sweating through Cardio-Sculpt. If I keep this up, I will have a good chance of actually accomplishing all my goals this month.. hair cut being the most important of the bunch. :)

Sunday, October 12, 2003

And Now For Something Completely Different

Last night my mother gave my father an ultimatum: either the family goes out to dinner, or we eat at 8:30 pm. Dad naturally chose the former, and after much running (what to wear, which car to take, what lot to park in, whether or not we should use Dad's parking tags, where were the restaurant gift cirtificates, did we all get to the bathroom..) we headed for Cottage Inn. As usual, my parents bickered. "That was a stop sign, dear."

"The intersection was empty."

"Why are we going this way? I thought we were parking at the bell tower."

"The public lot off Williams is closer."

Why are my parents so behind the times? Bickering parents is so 1990s, the third year of the second millenium is all about disfuctional togetherness: Whatever your partner does, no matter how stupid, you stand by them and support their decision.

Other new trends: Revenge of the Nerd apparently died with sudden unemployment of Generation X. Now people can be cruel to the socially and physically incompetant knowing that photographic cellular phone companies and the rest of the photogenic world will look on with approval. The favorite new game of smug, young people these days is to pick new 'boyfriends' and 'girlfriends' out for one another, selecting the ugliest, and most unfortunate American society has to offer.

Humble is apparently 'out', these days.

Can you think of any other social trends in culturally sanctioned social behavior this year, ladies?