Dog Blogging

I would like to take this opportunity to issue a command from my Computer Chair On High.

Go see Because of Winn Dixie. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll ponder, you’ll be moved, man.

*giggles* (Sorry.) In all seriousness, it was a sweet story well-told. I highly recommend it. And once you’ve seen it, picture the dog Winn Dixie as an oversized but handsome black lab and you will have met my Zeus.

While we’re on the subject of handsome dogs, there is a bullmastiff at the shelter right now. I am in awe. He appears to have walked straight out of Sherwood Forest. He is here because he bit a small child’s face, the small child required plastic surgery. Killian will most likely to be going down when we’re done with his mandatory rabies observation. It just seems like such a pitiful waste, he is such a handsome dog. I shall retire in melancholy to ponder the injustice of the world.

(The Deputy Headmistress hastens to clarify on behalf of the Equus-Chick:
The waste and injustice she deplores is not putting down a dog that has savaged a small child. She understands that this is now necessary. The deplorable waste lies in the sad fact that when it was a young and trainable puppy its owners did not take the time to properly socialize and train it. They have irresponsibly thrown away the animal’s life. This is also the injustice. The actions- or rather lack of actions- taken by the owners were unjust both to the animal itself and to the small child who was attacked. The Equus-chick feels very strongly about the proper duty a pet-owner owes both to the animal in his care and to the human beings who will meet the animal. The Equus-chick believes that in a just world she could put down the irresponsible pet-owners and remediate the pets. Fortunately for the rest of us the Equus-Chick has no world domination plans at this time. But just in case, you might want to send her a little note assuring her that _you_ take good care of your animals.)

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Have you read your Constitution lately?

There’s something very important in that subject line. “Constitution” is singular. Our country has managed to get by on one Constitution, and not very many amendments, for a very long time.

Do you know how many Constitutions France has had since 1789? Twelve. That’s an average of a new one ever 18 years. The HeadGirl thinks that this shows a rather frightening amount of political instability.

Even with their 12 Constitutions to our 1, however, many in our country chide us for not listening to the political and government advice France is willing to offer.

Pardon me for saying so, but that’s rather like asking someone who’s been divorced six times the secret to a happy and enduring marriage. Oh, wait, we already ask Hollywood starlets about that….
~~~

The HeadGirl is taking herself to bed shortly. Tomorrow is another day of classes. Having Friday-Monday off from school means that I attack all my homework on Friday and thus am left with no rush of homework to do Monday, right? Riiight. *hears her family break into hysterical laughter* It does all get done, though. 40 math problems; 4 maps of Middle America; 35 textbook pages read (and They Were Dull); 3 essay questions on why Mexico’s maquiladora regions both resent and tolerate the distribution of their taxes to poorer southern regions, how colonial influences divided the region into Mainland/Rimland, the population shifts that have occurred, and too many other things to think about.

There are a a couple post ideas bunging around in the old bean, so I’m going to ask my Faithful Reader(s) (that would be DeputyHeadmistress, methinks) which they think sounds most interesting:
* The top ten reasons I’m Uber-Grateful for homeschooling
* What it’s like to be a homeschool grad and go to college

Goodnight, all. My goal is to be in bed by 10:30. That’s been my goal every school night for the past two and a half semesters. I think it’s actually happened, uh, thrice.

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The Chosen, by Chaim Potok, for JennyAnyDots

And so Reb Saunders reveals his plan was not merely to train Danny to take his inherited position, but rather to pass along the tradition of the tzaddik so that if Danny chose to reject the old world, he would be prepared to enter the new one with a compassionate soul, not merely with a brilliant uncaring intellect. “‘One learns the pain of others by suffering one’s own pain,'” Reb Saunders explains, “‘By turning oneself inside out…by finding one’s own soul. And it is important to know of pain…It destroys our self pride, our arrogance, our indifference towards others. And of all people a tzaddik especially must know of pain. A tzaddik must know how to suffer for his people. He must take the pain from them and carry it on his own shoulders.'” It is for this end that Danny has been raised “in silence”. And although Danny has decided to reject many aspects of his upbringing, he tells the Malters that he is prepared to raise his own son in silence,”‘If I cannot find another way.'” A Random House Study Guide

Things to think about: What is a tzaddik? Why does Danny think that it is important to raise a child who can be a tzaddik? Was Danny’s father successful in raising Danny to be compassionate?

An interview with Chaim Potok

Another blogger shares his thoughts on The Chosen

Another interview with Chaim Potok

A quote from Danny’s father:
” A man is born into this world with only a tiny spark of godness in him. The spark is God, it is the soul; the rest is ugliness and evil, a shell. The spark must be guarded like a treasure, it must be nurtured, it must be fanned into flame. It must learn to seek out other sparks, it must dominate the shell. Anything can be a shell, Reuven. Anything. Indifference, laziness, brutality, and genius. Yes, even a great mind can be a shell and choke the spark.

More Ideas to think about:
What has Danny learned from suffering?
Do you think he would have learned it any other way?
Read the book of Isaiah, chapters 52 and 53 and think about the Suffering Savior you see there. Is there any connection between the ideas in Isaiah and the ideas in The Chosen?
Why did Potok choose the title he did?

See here for further discussion of the Suffering Savior concept.

And also here

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News and Commentary for the Common Room Students

The Deputy Headmistress has combed the blogs and the news searching for articles that will not bring a blush to maiden cheeks, yet are newsworthy, interesting, and offer ideas to think about. Here are today’s results:

Read the article “Many Partings” from the Belmont Club

Have you been following the Syria/Lebanon stories in the news? The above hyperlink takes you to a note on an interesting development.

Do you think it’s acceptable to make accusations against people without proof? Read this story and think about how the Golden Rule might be applied.

HEre’s an exciting blogger development; Tim Worstall has a round-up of Brit-Bloggers. Not all the entries are worthy reading for Common-Room students, but there are some of special interest.

You can just read the links I’ve chosen below, or you can read Tim Worstall’s page (although some entries will bring a blush to the maidenly cheek).

Some Deputy Headmistress favorites:

Liberal England’s Listen with Gladstone

The Head Girl will almost certainly want to look at the Anglo Saxon Chronicle’s take on the EU treaty.

We the Undersigned has an interesting article on the Kyoto Treaty

Paul Johnson, author of the some of the history books Common Room students have read or will be reading for school, has a very good essay online.
Hat-tip Roger Simon.

On this President’s Day, our President is traveling in Europe, where he has had some pointed things to say.

Here are further excerpts from a speech he gave in Brussels.

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Twelfth Night

I happen to love “Twelfth Night” very much. Its wit and sweetness combine to make for a tour de force of magnificence.
Most likely my favorite scene is when Viola/Cesario tells Orsino exactly why women can love as deeply as men, and that it is not only Orsino’s passions that count.
After he rails at her about how fickle women are, Viola ventures to tell him where he gets off… only it doesn’t go as she plans.
Viola: “Ay, but I know —“
Orsino: “What dost thou know?” (can you not sense the torn thought processes of Viola and Orsino’s impatience?)
Viola: “Too well what love women to men may owe
In faith, they are as true of heart as we.
My father had a daughter loved a man,
As it might be, perhaps, were I a woman,
I should your lordship.
Orsino is interested. He never gets to hear much background on his young servant, and perhaps he’s ready for a distraction of sorts after his tormented outburst. “And what’s her history,” he enquires, one imagines, in a desultory sort of way.
And this is where it gets really good. Viola begins to tell him “her sister’s” history:

“A blank, my lord. She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i’ the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy
She sat like patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?
We men may say more, swear more: but indeed
Our shows are more than will; for still we prove
Much in our vows, but little in our love.”

It is here that the listener/reader/viewer can sense Viola’s growing knowledge of the hard and cold fact that she is talking about herself. Yes, she was doing that earlier, but these lines have more potency than before. “…concealment, like a worm i’ the bud, feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought.” Viola is living in a concealment, a devouring concealment. Is this what she imagined when she set out to conceal her nature and act like a man? Surely not, but she can now see all the ramifications of this behavior… and they’re not pretty.
Orsino is interested in her story, however:
“But died they sister of her love, my boy?”
Viola reveals the crux of the story:
“I am all the daughters of my father’s house,
And all the brothers too: and yet I know not.”

Here in the tale things could change to tragedy very quickly. Viola’s fate is no longer in her hands. She has chosen concealment, it is feeding upon her, and all she can do is sit smiling at grief (what else is left to her?), “like patience on a monument.” Patience for time to unravel the mess that has been made, and patience for time to tell whether any part of her will die in the process.

Well, now that I’ve thoroughly depressed myself I must be reminded that time mends all in this story. Viola and her brother are reunited (this excites me more than Orsino discovering Viola’s love :-), Viola’s concealment is no more. She does not die of her love… <- That is a much, much better ending than the one found in, say, "Romeo & Juliet."

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