Thursday, October 27, 2011
Edgar Allan Poe
At midnight, in the month of June,
I stand beneath the mystic moon.
An opiate vapor, dewy, dim,
Exhales from out her golden rim,
And, softly dripping, drop by drop,
Upon the quiet mountain top,
Steals drowsily and musically
Into the universal valley.
The rosemary nods upon the grave;
The lily lolls upon the wave;
Wrapping the fog about its breast,
The ruin molders into rest;
Looking like Lethe, see! the lake
A conscious slumber seems to take,
And would not, for the world, awake.
All Beauty sleeps!- and lo! where lies
Irene, with her Destinies!
O, lady bright! can it be right-
This window open to the night?
The wanton airs, from the tree-top,
Laughingly through the lattice drop-
The bodiless airs, a wizard rout,
Flit through thy chamber in and out,
And wave the curtain canopy
So fitfully- so fearfully-
Above the closed and fringed lid
'Neath which thy slumb'ring soul lies hid,
That, o'er the floor and down the wall,
Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall!
Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear?
Why and what art thou dreaming here?
Sure thou art come O'er far-off seas,
A wonder to these garden trees!
Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress,
Strange, above all, thy length of tress,
And this all solemn silentness!
The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
Which is enduring, so be deep!
Heaven have her in its sacred keep!
This chamber changed for one more holy,
This bed for one more melancholy,
I pray to God that she may lie
For ever with unopened eye,
While the pale sheeted ghosts go by!
My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep
As it is lasting, so be deep!
Soft may the worms about her creep!
Far in the forest, dim and old,
For her may some tall vault unfold-
Some vault that oft has flung its black
And winged panels fluttering back,
Triumphant, o'er the crested palls,
Of her grand family funerals-
Some sepulchre, remote, alone,
Against whose portal she hath thrown,
In childhood, many an idle stone-
Some tomb from out whose sounding door
She ne'er shall force an echo more,
Thrilling to think, poor child of sin!
It was the dead who groaned within.
About the Poem: It's Halloween on Monday, so that means that everyone in the world has to post Halloween-related things between now and then, which is actually a custom I'm okay with, in that it will stop Christmas' eventual takeover of all holidays (we've already lost Thanksgiving, remember.)
The first and most common Poe poem to post (fun to say!) is The Raven, which I almost know by heart but which aren't we all a little sick of that one? Yes, it's rhythmic and all, but beyond that, it's an old guy and a bird and it's been done to death.
Poe wrote a bunch of other poems, you know, including one that seemed to somewhat obliquely trace his entire demeanor and life to seeing once a visage of a demon in a cloud, and I would've gone with that one, or the one that uses the word porphyrogene and is about a king being killed and then smiling spirits haunting the palace, but to be honest, they weren't very good.
*Collective gasp across the country; somewhere, my 9th grade English teacher Mr. Schaefer puts his hand to his head and cries silently to himself.*
But it's true. I don't think you have to love American icons just because they're icons. Yesterday I pointed out that Mark Twain may have had a less solely-American-literary-voice than Dashiell Hammett, which is true because Twain's writing was about America but wasn't peculiarly American.
So just because he was Edgar Allan Poe doesn't mean he didn't write some crummy poetry and The Haunted Palace in particular is kind of a bad one; the rhythm is all off and it reads like a Twilight-inspired poetry slam.
This one is better -- not perfect (don't try to rhyme lies with destinies. It doesn't work)-- but better, and in particular I liked the imagery.
Here's the thing: I'm not particularly good at figuring out what poems mean. In fact, I'm almost singularly bad at it. (The only thing I'm worse at is actually knowing what the lyrics to songs are.) So when I first read this poem, I read it as a guy in a forest watching a series of ghosts come to visit a dying woman.
But then I re-read it, and realized it's about this: Irene ("with her Destinies") is dying, and will soon be dead, and the poet is wishing she would stay asleep already, stay asleep forever and trade her bedroom for a church and then a tomb, the very tomb the rest of her family lies in, the tomb she used to throw rocks at as a girl and pretend the dead were "groaning" inside as she did so.
Why does he want her dead? I imagine, given the sorrow that is evident throughout the poem, that her illness has been terrible and it will be a relief to pass into the next world, where there is life -- outside, wanton airs laugh while inside the bodiless airs just flit.
So it went from a ghost story to a sad story, which I suppose all ghost stories are, in the end -- a ghost, after all, is someone who has died but stayed here, and isn't that the second-saddest thing that can happen to a dead person?
Try not to think about that this Halloween, that there may not be any happy ghosts, but only mean or sad ones.
About the Hot Actress:I asked Sweetie to name a Hot Actress, but she's got a terrible headache that wasn't made any better last night by the fact that while I was supposed to be watching the twins I got caught up in watching Toy Story with Mr F and Mr Bunches, who I thought was playing trains, had actually snuck into our bedroom where he wouldn't let Sweetie nap and instead made her read him stories that all had to begin "Once Upon A Time" and be about Rapunzel, so Sweetie couldn't think of a Hot Actress this morning.
So I picked up her most recent magazine, People/Us Weekly/In Touch/Whatever and opened it to a page and saw only Kardashians. I opened it to another page and saw only Kardashians. I opened it to a third page and saw Elizabeth Olsen, and said "She's too young."
Sweetie said "She's too young but she's very pretty."
So I went with it.
How much meaning can you find in a hot dog cart? Or a trapeze artist? Or a satellite?
Well, I mean, actually, a lot of meaning can be found in satellites, what with making global communications possible/crashing down in the South Pacific, so ignore the nonrhetorical nature of that last part.
But anyway, there's meaning to be found in things that don't help you find Green Bay/serve as orbiting headquarters for the Justice League, and Fastest Possible Drawings Of Everything finds those meanings via -- as the name doesn't just imply but flat-out says -- drawing things quickly.
There's no time posted on that last one, which I think is the first-ever fastest possible drawing there, and which is one of the only drawings on this blog that doesn't have an explanation, an explanation that somehow manages to be both ridiculous and sublime -- subdiculous? riblime? Ridiculime?
I'll go with that latter, as you correctly guessed if you read the post title and remembered it this far into the post.
To get a feel for what the site is really like, here's the entire post for See Saw:
A See-Saw, in 8 seconds.
If you have graduated from elementary school, you have probably learned (and perhaps forgotten) about the six simple machines, of which my favorite is the Lever. The lever takes any boring rigid object (say, a board) and, by placing a compact hunk of material—the fulcrum—somewhere underneath it, creates a magical easy-lifting device! In pictures, the fulcrum is almost universally drawn as a triangle:
You will note that this picture is shockingly similar to the Fastest Possible See-Saw, whose implementation of the Lever is perhaps the most entertaining to children. In fact, the see-saw is an easily-recognized implementation of the “First Class Lever”, whose fulcrum is placed between the effort (red rectangle, above) and the load (green fella, above), and which is conveniently illustrated as follows:
Um, hello! The Fastest Possible See-Saw, as drawn by David here, is actually also the Fastest Possible Drawing of a First-Class Lever (double win)!
Now, look closely at the simple machine these kids are playing on. I can’t say why the girl in this picture has taken the enormous personal risk of riding in front of the handle, as we all know what happens when the kid on the left (the “effort”) decides to jump off (the “jerk”). She is in great danger, as is the “load” in our Fastest Possible See-Saw, whose hands are raised triumphantly (and dangerously) in the air. That sense of danger characterizes the classic see-saw experience—and why, America, do we tolerate that?
Because, friend, as far as we are concerned, the Fastest Possible See-Saw is an instrument not just of physics, but also of trust. A picture of a triangle and a line could make a see-saw, but you need the two kids to complete the drawing. Without them, it’s just a drawing of a First Class Lever, but the kids make the trust, and the trust makes the see-saw. Actually, it’s a sad thing that you can’t find these things around much anymore, as they were the best part of the playground, and I’m guessing society has gradually come to value safety over trust when it comes to kids and how they play. Game consoles or simple machines? Think on that.
Also, how weird is the word “see-saw”? Right?
Fastest Possible See-Saw, and a lesson in trust. Eight Seconds.
See what I mean? Greatest thing in the world ever. Read it here.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
To that latter end, I resolved a while back to eat, every day for lunch, a fruit, or a vegetable.
Then I expanded the definition of "fruit" or "vegetable" to include "yogurt."
Then, last night, as I prepared my lunch for today, I noticed that we were out of fruits, vegetables, and yogurt.
But we had something that came in a cup and had a tearaway lid.
I'm really trying. Honestly.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
How could you ever trust a hypnotist?
Monday, October 24, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Today, Middle Daughter's guest post, "What the H?" shows you how not to make a good impression on her.
It may be that I am the only one in the world that has a problem with other strange people not respecting personal space but I don’t understand why people insist on standing so insanely close to another strange person.
It has happened many times, not just to me, but I have seen it done to other people and I could tell that they also have issues with people doing just that.
RESPECT THE BUBBLE and RESPECT PERSONAL SPACE!!!!!
I was at Target and I was just buying some necessities and it was around seven-thirty or so on a Tuesday night. Which meant that there are not many people in the store so there are not many workers at registers checking people out.
I got what I needed and headed towards the registers. There were four associates checking customers out and so I hopped in the shortest line since I only had three items I didn’t think that it would take long.
Ahead of me was a mother and her two children. Bless her soul she had a young daughter around the age of six as well as a little son around the age of four. I was staying back because I wanted to give her space because I CAN understand that concept. Plus nowadays when people shop they rarely use cash anymore so when they use their credit or debit cards they don’t want people standing too close to get their numbers or what not.
I had been waiting there a while because the mother before me had a bunch of stuff in her cart and all of a sudden I could feel someone breathing behind me. I turned around and noticed that there was another customer behind me. I looked at him as if to tell him “back off” but he didn’t seem to get the hint.
When the woman moved forward and was ready to swipe her card I did not move forward because I believed that she needed her privacy. The man behind me noticed that I didn’t move and he started huffing and puffing.
I did not place my items on the counter until the woman ahead of me was finished and ready to leave. As soon as she left I placed my items on the convey0r belt and proceeded to chat with the clerk behind the counter. The man followed suit and since he was standing too extremely close to me the woman checking me out asked if we were together or separate. I told her separate and she just checked out my items. I paid with cash and the man was standing so close to me I think that he could see my driver’s license and tell me my driver’s license number. I wanted to turn to him and tell him:
“Listen I would really appreciate if you would please step back because I am not happy with the fact that I can tell what you had for dinner because I can smell your breath. Thanks!”
But I didn’t. I paid and received my change and left.\
How many of you have felt the same way? Or is it just me?
Middle does not know I'm adding this to her post: