Greek Myths and Boys

A conversation overheard in the CommonRoom van with the Boy and his cousin, as we were listening to the “D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths.”
The Boy: You know what? Later on in the story there’s a child with a thousand legs!
Cousin: Boy, you weren’t supposed to tell me! It was supposed to be a surprise!
The van was surprisingly quiet with eight children while we were listening to that tape, I can tell you. 🙂 I like the Greek myths, myself. Hermes is my favorite. 😀

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The Art of Changing Oddities

We’ve been doing school this morning with four more students than usual, tripling my reading audience for the First Years. I finally directed them to a drawing project which should distract them for a few minutes, and came to hide in the bookroom with a light snack. My elevenses, if you will. The Head Girl poked her head in the doorway and directed my attention to a worldmagblog entry this morning. “You should read it,” she said. “It’s great. You’ll love it.” She was right. Indeed, I usually do find their blog edifying, and if World Magazine is not on your daily, or at least weekly, reading schedule, you have been remiss. The Headmistress respectfully suggests that you will be glad to correct this deficiency.

Here’s today’s gem:

From “Picasso on Modern Art, Including His:”

“In art the mass of people no longer seeks consolation and exaltation, but those who are refined, rich, unoccupied, who are distillers of quintessences, seek what is new, strange, extravagant, scandalous. I myself, since Cubism and before, have satisfied these masters and critics with all the changing oddities which pass through my head, and the less they understood me, the more they admired me. . . . Fame for a painter means sales, gains, fortune, riches. And today, as you know. I am celebrated, I am rich. But when I am alone with myself, I have not the courage to think of myself as an artist in the great and ancient sense of the term. Giotto, Titan, Rembrandt were great painters. I am only a public entertainer who has understood his times and exploited as best he could the imbecility, the vanity, the cupidity of his contemporaries.”

This goes along with Pipsqueak’s post about abstract, modern art, and the news article that revealed that critics in the field cannot tell the difference between art work done by 4 y.o. children and that done by genuine, realio, trulio, really live artists. Actually, I suspect they could tell the difference, because they generally thought the art done by 4 y.o. children was better, and they were quite right.

See Pipsqueak’s post here.

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Words Matter

For some reason, I feel as if my day is wasted if I don’t read just a little bit before bed each night. This is somewhat irrational, because there are nights where I have to prop my eyelids open with a toothpick to be able to read, but it is wrong to go to sleep without first having a dosage of good text.

My before-bed-reading lately has consisted of “Brideshead Revisited,” “The Four Loves,” and my Bible. Last night I discovered that I had left BR downstairs, and I was too lazy tired to go get it. What else should I read, then? I decided to go for “Monarch and Conspirators: The Wives and Woes of Henry VIII” by John Van Duyn Southworth. I picked it up at a library book sale a few weeks ago and it has been tempting me ever since. In case you were unaware, I have a weakness for books on British history. It’s almost as bad as my weakness for chocolate.

Anyway. To get to the point of this post (I did have one), there was a fascinating bit in this book about the Earl of Richmond (Henry VII’s) entry into London after the Battle of Bosworth (which ended the Wars of the Roses and led to the Tudor dynasty). Cutting to the chase, here’s what Southworth has to say:

“For a great many years, there was a strange misunderstanding about Richmond’s joyful reception as he came into the city of London. The original account was written in Latin. Bernard Andreas, the historian who wrote it in 1485, recorded that Henry VII entered the city gates of London ‘joyfully’ (laetanter, in Latin). About forty years later, John Speed, one of the first historians describing the event in English, misread the Laten word as latenter, which means ‘secretly,’ so he assumed that the conqueror had entered the city in a carriage, closed and curtained so he would not be recognized. Other historians followed this man’s lead, so for well over a century people believed that Henry had come sneaking into the city…which was as far from the truth as it could be. Not until 1902 did James Gairdner…go back to the original Latin and discover the mistake. After nearly four centuries, the public was at last treated to a much pleasanter description of the affair.”

Isn’t that fascinating? Or have I thorougly destroyed my reputation as a normal person and revealed the Geek Within?

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The Anchoress looks at the jaws of death.

After reading her post, read the rest of this post:

When you brush your teeth or those of your precious children remember Terri and say a prayer for her. Michael Schiavo ordered caregivers not to clean Terri’s teeth in 1995 (isn’t ‘caregiver‘ an ironic word here?). In 2004 she had to have five teeth removed as a direct result of his deliberate neglect.

When you walk outside and feel the fresh air on your face remember Terri and say a prayer for her. Terri, on MIchael’s orders, has been strictly confined to her room for five years.

When you go to church or when a churchmember visits you remember Terri and say a prayer for her. Michael has refused permission for Terri to attend religious services, and has often refused permission for Priests to visit her (she is Catholic).

When you draw the curtains or open the shades of your windows letting in the glorious warm sunshine, when you feel that sun touch your face- remember Terri, whose ‘husband’ has ordered that her window shades must never, ever be raised- and say a prayer for her.

If you or a family member require an antibiotic, remember that Terri’s husband “ordered doctors not to treat Terri when she had a life threatening infection in 1993 and 1995.”

When working on a scrapbook, taking pictures of your family, looking at pictures of loved ones, and sending pictures to the grandparents- remember Terri and say a prayer for her. Michael removes family pictures from Terri’s room.

When your children bring you that handful of dandelions, your husband sends you flowers, or you note the first crocus, squill, and tulips of spring, remember Terri and pray for her. Her ‘husband’ denies flowers from family and friends.

When you listen to music, remember Terri and say a prayer for her. Michael denies certain CDs to be played for Terri, and refuses to allow her to listen to music with headphones.

When you play with an animal or watch your children interacting with a beloved pet, remember and pray for Terri, whose ‘husband’ refuses to allow therapeutic animals to visit with her, knowing that she is an animal lover.

When you take a drink of water or a bite of food, remember and pray for Terri, who has been denied all food and water by her ‘husband’ and by the courts of this land, and by Judge Greer, who has forbidden anybody to attempt to give Terri anything at all by mouth.

The Roman soldiers permitted more for Jesus at His crucifixion:

John 19:28-29

After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

Remember Him, and remember that He also said this:

Matt 25:31-46

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
“And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me {something} to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink?
‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?
‘And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, {even} the least {of them,} you did it to Me.’
“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;
for I was hungry, and you gave Me {nothing} to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;
I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’
“Then they themselves also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’
“Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’46 “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”


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About Reading

Reflections at a Funeral is a great article. Scholars from The Common Room, The Beehive, and Deweys’ Treehouse (see the sidebar for links) will all be delighted.


“If I were to make a list of the best books I have read, and would recommend to adults and children alike, I would begin with Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. It would not be because I am in arrested development, though I may be. It would be because the English is masterly, the limning of a magical world adroit, and Shepherd’s drawings exquisite. But to enjoy them you need to appreciate the language (and not be too full of yourself).”

There’s much, much, more. Please go read. Common Room scholars will especially delight in the final sentence, and will be reminded strongly of their Granny Tea. The Headmistress will wait here, quietly hugging herself for sheer joy over finding this article and being able to share it with her friends and relations.

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