Friday, August 22, 2008

An excuse for my lazy posting, And--A PRIZE!

Classes resume this Monday, so I'm not likely to have time to do much here. I'll try to do what I can, though, since I am dead serious about my fiddlefarting around.

I did want to mention--after reading and entering some online debates (most of which started as simple discussions), I have decided to award all participants with this, the universal Grand Prize for online debating. Congratulations to all!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Pixy Stix

Important information to remember: Pixy Stix powder burns like the devil when you get it in your eyes.

Tonight my son Symeon wanted to have a couple of Pixy Stix after supper, and brought them to me to have them opened. I distinctly remember, from my childhood, pinching the tops of the tubes and vigorously shaking the powder to the bottom in order have more room to tear the tube open without spilling anything. Evidently my ability to vigorously shake has increased with age, because after the tube whacked each side of my hand a few times the dad-gum thing exploded in my face, getting Pixy powder in my eye, ear, my keyboard, all over the couch. My oldest son, who was innocently sitting next to me on the couch, got it in the eyes as well. (He whined more than I did, big baby.) I have pretty long facial hair, so I had to use the vacuum attachment to suck out all the dust. Why doesn’t Willy Wonka put a warning label on these things!?!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

More Thomas Wolfe

Whatever one may think about Thomas Wolfe's overall quality as a writer, his descriptive ability is extraordinary. This depiction of the wicked Judge Rumford Bland from his novel You Can't Go Home Again is chilling, vivid--a word painting if I've ever seen one. I give the passage here in its versified form, as found in A Stone, A Leaf, A Door.

Judge Bland
by Thomas Wolfe

But he was stained with evil.
There was something genuinely old and corrupt
At the sources of his life and spirit.
It had got into his blood,
His bone, his flesh.
It was palpable in the touch
Of his thin, frail hand when he greeted you,
It was present in the deadly weariness
Of his tone of voice,
In the dead-white texture
Of his emaciated face,
In his lank and lusterless auburn hair,
And, most of all,
In his sunken mouth,
Around which there hovered constantly
The ghost of a smile.
It could only be called the ghost of a smile,
And yet, really, it was no smile at all.
It was, if anything, only a shadow
At the corners of the mouth.
When one looked closely,
It was gone.
But one knew
That it was always there--
Lewd, evil, mocking,
Horribly corrupt,
And suggesting a limitless vitality
Akin to the humor of death,
Which welled up from some secret spring
In his dark soul.

Opening ceremonies

Last night my wife and youngest daughter wanted to watch the Olympic opening ceremonies. Here's what I noticed: President Bush, with his watch-checking, seat-shifting, and general lack of attention to the proceedings, looked every bit as bored as I was. One could almost see him thinking, "How many freakin' countries are there, anyway?!"