29 April 2009

Final Comments

If I am a bird, then I must have flown,
blown through the sky on the western wind.
I must have guided the chariot of Venus
or I must have trailed it singing songs.
I must have chased and traced a beauty girl
the girl of soul who seduced love himself.
If I am a bird, then I must sing
the seeking song of love now and forevermore.

Just kidding . . . The Beginning!

Are you an Ass?

At the beginning of the semester when i purchased The Golden Ass from the bookstore, I dreaded opening it. I know that my opinion was completely unfounded; I just assumed from the cover that the inside pages would contain some deathly dense historical writings. How wrong I was! Though I thoroughly enjoyed every text we read in this class, The Golden Ass was by far my favorite.

I would like to say that I, for one, am an ass. I would also like to say that Lucius Malfoy, from Harry Potter, is an ass.

On that note, the tale of Cupid & Psyche that Lucius hears while captive in the bandits' cave is the framework for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Venus puts Psyche through a series of impossible tests solvable only through some sort of magical dealing. Harry, Hermione, and Ron also must pass a series of impossible tests by the sheer use of their magical studies. Just as Venus travels into the underworld for her last test and must get past Cerberus, the three-headed dog, so must Harry, Hermione, and Ron travel beneath the school of Hogwarts and get past Fluffy, the three-headed dog. Harry, Hermione, and Ron seek the Sorcerer's Stone in their adventures; Venus seeks a box from Proserpine which leads to the gift of drinking a cup of nectar. The sorcerer's stone is known to give eternal life as is the cup of nectar.

Publius Ovidius Naso

28 April 2009

It's A Small World

The song I used to sing over and over again as a little girl:
(it doesn't really start for about 30 seconds)

South Park Argues Via Stichomythia

Just as in Antigone, stichomythic arguments still exist.

27 April 2009

Puck the Trickster

Dr. Sexson mentioned Nick Bottom in relation to King Midas. When he said this, my mind was immediately taken to my absolute favorite monologue from this play. Puck's lilting words float along and drag you into his stunning world as a trickster.

Over hill, over dale,
Through bush, through briar,
Over park, over pale,
Through blood, through fire,
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moone’s sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green.
The cowslips tall her pensioners be:
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savours:
I must go seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.
Farewell, thou lob of spirits; I’ll be gone:
Our queen and all her elves come here anon.

Puck is naughty and mischievous; he is Hermes, one of many turns.
Here you can see a statue of him overlooking Manhattan on Lafayette from Puck Building:

My Bozeman Chronicle Revisited

I just pulled out my Bozeman Chronicle that I saved from January 26, 2009. On the front, there is a sticky-note like advertisement for a Tax Preparation Special. Specials, specials, specials! Every store is having sales; every business is slashing prices. I turned to the funnies and found two comics dealing with the subject of the stock market / economy. As I don’t have a scanner to replicate them here, I’ll describe them briefly. The Blondie funny depicts an emergency meeting held in the stairwell. The comic shows projected earnings charts juxtaposed against the staircase; as the stairs descend, so do the projected earnings. In the Dilbert funny, Dilbert sits in front of his computer and says, “I’m not stressed about being out of work because I have my investments. Let’s see how they . . . GAAAAAA!!!” His assistant replies, “Maybe some warlords are hiring”.

As we all well know that this is not an original marker in history, I presumed that there may have been some other funnies from 1929. Here are a few old and current funnies. Enjoy.
This first funny was published in the New Yorker December 14, 1929:

Ten Things I Love (I hope you like photos)

Ten Things I Love (not necessarily in order with the exception of #1):

10. our kitty, Mr. Thizzle
9. our dog, Yeshe
8. the color blue
7. skiing
6. fashion
5. my best friend
4. my mom
3. my dad
2. my sister
1. morning time / birds

I love our kitty, Thizzle, because he is the loudest and biggest chatterbox I have ever met (kitty-wise). Thizzle talks a lot. Sometimes he talks to such extent that his meows are interjected with yawns, temporarily silencing him. Thizzle is a hunter. Last night, for example, I got home from a friend’s birthday party (she’s 29! Happy Birthday Janell!) around midnight and he led me in the door to a beautiful, little mouse that he had gotten for us as a present. Wrapped in brown grass, it was actually kind of cute. For the most part, though, I am always disgusted by the mice he brings in, but I do pretend to be grateful - likely a bad idea as I am only perpetuating his behavior. Anyhow, it’s just best when the mice are whole because they are much easier to dispose of. Last time Thizzle brought a mouse in the house, he did not kill it all the way. He had it partially stunned and would lay beside it on the carpet for a while before prodding it, tossing it into the air, and then running around after it like a mad man. If only you can imagine, I was standing on the couch in my pajamas screaming. I know . . . not helpful behavior. On the sweeter side, Thizzle is the best greeter ever. He likes to run out into the driveway when I get home and come to my car door to say hey. He also likes to do my homework with me. Here’s a picture of him hanging out next to my computer in January when we were reading Steiner.

He was pretty thrilled as you can see.

Yeshe the “fire dog” as my dad affectionately calls her lives in Livingston with my mom and dad. She is officially my sister’s, but Lauren goes to school in Tacoma, WA. Despite her name, Yeshe has proven herself to be not the brightest bulb in the box. She is also very ill-behaved in my opinion. Whenever anyone (known or unknown) comes to the door or even walks by on the other side of the street, she barks as if there were a bear crashing through the front door. Hmm . . . not quite the greeting that I desire personally. However, once you actually cross the threshold of the door, she quits her barking in trade for a smile. It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. She smiles so big that she makes her self sneeze over and over. The sad part is that she does not understand the correlation between her smile and her sneeze. It’s really funny. Yeshe loves snow. Here’s a picture of her and I playing in the snow last winter.

Oh, did I say she loves snow? Haha, she is funny!

So curious . . .

I love everything that is blue. It’s been my favorite color ever since I can remember. My grandmother used to sew us clothes when we were little girls and she would always make my clothes pink and Lauren’s blue. I remember being so frustrated. My favorite color was blue but I had to wear pink because Lauren was the tomboy. Either way, my favorite dress that my grandmother made me was actually peach in color. It had a big skirt that stood up over a bit of tulle.

The worst thing about this year is that I can’t ski (or run, or anything). My boyfriend took some pictures on his blackberry while he was out skiing one day. It was so nice to just see the mountains and the slopes. I miss it soooo much! Next year.

I love to make my own clothing. I have a dress form (see the photo below if you’ve never seen one) and I pin the clothing around it and then sew it. It’s really quite a terrible method and takes forever. I’ve been looking around for someone to apprentice with. For now, though, it’s really just trial and error.

My best friend. I love him because I feel like I am the epitome of me when I’m with him. I don’t have to be anybody but me. He has a freckle in his right eye, and he is unafraid to be himself. I love his hugs; I love when he smiles or laughs at something dumb. He likes to eat eggo waffles and absolutely hates dessert. He makes really dry jokes that keep me on my toes. Thizzle is actually his kitty. He likes to walk Thizzle down the hallway like a wheelbarrow. It’s hilarious.

My mom has curly brown hair, dark olive skin, and a wide jaw. People always asked if she was adopted as she comes from a Dutch father and an Irish mother. Both of her sisters are fair-skinned and blonde; she certainly stands out visually. I love her because she is stubborn. Truthfully, I think I love her for all of the reasons that she frustrates me. I love that she asks so many questions that it’s impossible to make a rash decision. I love her when I make a decision, she convinces me to change it, and subsequently convinces me to change back to my original decision (a waste of time! but funny). I love her apple pies! Yes, mom’s cooking is actually perfect. Her apple pies are super yummy because they have lots of apples and they’re not too sweet like most pies.

I love that my dad always has a solution (or at least a calm mind) in the face of any dilemma. His mien is so relaxed and calm; I love to be around him. Though he’s not the best with details, he’s quite adept in other areas. He’s a photographer and he has an amazing eye for beauty. My dad makes the worst jokes. I just have to laugh and let them go. They’re just not funny at all, which actually makes it all the more funny I suppose. I work for my dad’s company BluBird Images. I love working with my dad because it just means traveling a lot together during the summers.

My sister and I call each other “sisser”. I’m not even sure where that came from, but it certainly stuck. Lauren is the best sister I could have ever asked for. She is independent and blunt. I know blunt brings a negative connotation, but I see it as such an asset and I, myself, have learned to become more blunt. You see, Lauren has no fear of being herself. She also has no fear of speaking her mind. One of my friends in high school used to tease that she knew who to go to whenever she needed to know the truth. I admit, Lauren had the capacity to hurt people’s feelings, but the beauty in her flaw was that she always spoke her true opinion. Even if I was at first insulted by her response to a question, I always later understood where she was coming from. I have learned so much from my sister; she has taught me independence, individuality, and confidence. Here are two pictures of her dancing at her school's luau last weekend (courtesy of my dad, Larry.)

I love birds. If I were an animal I would be a bird - a small one. I would fly in the wind and I would oversee the land; I would sing all the time and try to avoid people's newly cleaned kitchen windows. Birds are amazing, and birds love the morning. I, too, am an early bird and I always have been. As soon as the sun and the birds are up, I’m up. My body loves to be up with the sun. I love hearing the birds chirp in the morning. I love the way the sun shines in through the slats in the shades. I love the warm feeling of hot coffee and a good book. Mornings are my ultimate favorite.

I remember when Dr. Sexson told us that the greatest compliment was saying “I love you more than sunlight.” I think I understand.

26 April 2009

Snow Leopard Review

Here's a little review I wrote after reading Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard:

Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard takes you on a rough and sometimes painful journey through the Nepalese mountains. Yet he paints his tale with grand finesse. In journal style, his story comes to life for the reader with soft phrasing and little, but important details. Each day, he leaves you with a jewel - a thought that asks you to reflect on yourself.

Matthiessen grabs you out of your fast-moving, important, routine life and asks you to stay a little longer. Whether or not you stay is up to you, but he takes you face to face with something new. He gives you the tools to untangle your own knots of muddled, mindless living. If you can’t slow down your important life for just one moment to see what he has to say and to think about his experiences, I feel sorry for you. He gives you the one thing that will always keep you on track in life - the secret to well being.

Amidst the desire for the glimpse of a snow leopard, and dealing with the loss of his wife, Matthiessen writes purely and without attachment. The Snow Leopard infiltrates you into his place - far from humanity, far from roads and screaming, yellow taxis. It is about releasing yourself and letting go of all the boundaries that we have built up around ourselves. It is a pursuit to open the door to broader thinking that is not boxed in. It is about seeing your reality through a different looking glass, despite tradition, religion, or social status.

As a student of Buddhism, my view is obviously biased. Despite who you are though, take a look with an open mind. Matthiessen’s words are powerful and deserve more than a sideways glance.

P.S. I am very jealous of everyone who was able to attend Peter Matthiessen at the Emerson. I read your blogs and it sounded amazing!

My mother

A few years ago during my time at Vassar, my mom became very ill. I am not going to go into detail here for the sake of her privacy. I will however share my side of the story and my experience of the situation.
Side note: I am not avoiding catharsis as I have previously written about it, but I know my mom would appreciate knowing that her situation was not broadcast to my class (and likely others). On to my story:

I was living in New York and I hated it. Well . . . I must partially rescind this comment. I did not hate all of New York. In fact, I loved Brooklyn, Ny; I simply did not fit in socially at the school that I was attending. I found that I had very different values, and I felt that I could not get past the gleaming shields that everyone held up to announce their family legacy and to protect themselves from any real human friendship or interaction. The goal was to add titles and pride to your shield to build up this protective advertisement that presented a skewed view of yourself to others and made it impossible for anyone to penetrate it. Anyhow, I'm getting myself into what is a whole story in itself. To make it slightly more brief, I will summarize. I had wonderful experiences at Vassar that I would never trade for anything, and I smile when I think back on them. My point is to explain my feelings of disconnect and confusion through all the experiences, both good and bad..

One day, sitting in my dorm room, I received an email from my dad saying that my mom had checked into the hospital for a few days. A couple of weeks ago he had mentioned that she had been dealing with some problems, but he had made it seem very insignificant. Though he seemed to be keeping me abreast of all that was going on, I felt that I wasn't getting the whole story. It was as if he was protecting me from information that would potentially cause me grief. I appreciate the intent; however, it was far more painful not to know the full extent of what was going on. Being on the other side of the nation, I felt helpless. Once my mom was in the hospital for a while and decisions had been made, he told me everything about what was going on. I remember thinking that I might not see my mom again. I remember sitting at my desk crying and just wishing I could take the next flight home to see her and take care of her. Because that wasn't an option for me, I wrote her this poem and my sister read it to her in the recovery room after she woke up from surgery.

It's strange to think that I once thought my parents immortal; I thought they were impervious to everything. I've seen tragedies in other families, but tragedy is something that you always think won't happen to you.
Seeing my mom go through this changed our relationship. I am so different from my mom, and our interactions have always been a little tenuous (and still are). Like Kate Wolf said, "You don't know what you've got till it's gone." Though I didn't lose my mom, I treat her differently, and she treats me differently.
Here's the piece:

To the black hawk of dawn,
Watching over the earth.
To the Mother of strength,
Who gave me birth.
To my angel of life, my beautiful one,
Who sleeps with the moon and rises up with the sun.

To the passionate woman,
Of sharpness and poise.
To the Mother of purpose,
Who gives me joy.
To my angel of life, my beautiful one,
Who sleeps with the moon and rises up with the sun.

To the Mother of harmony.
To the Mother of diligence.
To my Mother of great peace and solitude.

To the Mother born in autumn,
Amidst the color and crisp air.
Amidst falling leaves and blue-sky days,
You bring the mark of a new pattern,
A new cycle, a new outlook - enlivened.
You bring replenishment and vitality,
And sweet winter happiness.

To the Mother who brings all.
To the Mother of care.
You are mine; you are my Mother.

17 April 2009

Ending Where We Began — With Laughter

Jennie Lynn Stanley

Classical Lit. Term Paper


Ending Where We Began — With Laughter


When a story is told, ears perk up. This happens because the story is familiar — the story is relevant. Hearing the story of a six-year-old girl falling and scraping her knee evokes emotion in all listeners because it is a story that everyone knows; every child, at some point, falls and scrapes his or her knee, cries, and dutifully reports to momma that her or she “got a ouchie”. The same story happens over and over, and every listener laughs when they hear it because of how dearly familiar it is. How can any person not help but enjoy hearing the story of his or her own childhood? All stories have been told before, and all stories are riddled with tales familiar to the reader. The Introduction to The Ramayana opens, saying, “This is the story of Rama, a prince of India, who lived his life according to the best advice,” and continues, elaborating, “He lived more than two thousand five hundred years ago but everybody will recognize his experiences,” (Menen 3). Introduced in this manner, it is clear that The Ramayana is a story familiar to all men. The Ramayana, though an ancient, Hindi religious text, shares the plights, struggles, and successes common to all men.

Throughout time, men and women have been facing the same conflicts in life. Though cultures adapt and take new forms, the basic plights, struggles, and successes of mankind remain the same. Rama himself faces these “principal constants of conflict in the condition of man. These constants are fivefold: the confrontation of men and of women; of age and of youth; of society and of the individual; of the living and the dead; of men and of god(s),” (Steiner 231). Rama’s personal encounters with each of these five conflicts contain the stories of every man’s encounter with these same conflicts. All men and women doubtless encounter the opposite sex, fight with an elder, break the law, think about death, and even question the omniscience of some sort of god or higher power.

The most basic and yet most distinguished conflict in life is that of the confrontation between man and women. According to Steiner, “That which has in it the seed of all drama is the meeting of a man and of a woman. No experience of which we have direct knowledge is more charged with the potential of collision,” (Steiner 234). In The Ramayana, Mantara and the Junior Queen, nurse and mother respectively of the King’s son Barat, plot against King Dasa-ratha when they find out that Prince Rama is to be pronounced heir to the throne. Blackmailing him with the prospects of revealing his long-concealed impotence to the court, the women slyly conspire to exile Rama so that Barat can replace him (Menen 60). Mantara and the Junior Queen confront the King with their female cunning to manipulate him towards their desires. This is the same story that’s been told countless times; it is the story of Shakespeare’s Macbeth when Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband to commit murder; it is even Nabokov’s Lolita when Lolita implements her coy coquettishness to drag Humbert along at her every whim. Every story is the same. Although Rama’s adventures took place more than two thousand five hundred years ago, his experiences still share the same basic conflicts with every story of today.

Though it may be pleasant to surmise that every human being possesses originality and has experiences that are unique to him alone, the truth is that every man repeats the stories of the past. There is nothing “new” in this world, only that which has been forgotten. According to Plato’s theory of anamnesis, a person already knows everything there is to possibly know, but has somehow forgotten. That which seems original emerges from within the self; however, it is just a recollection or recalling up of that which we already know but have forgotten. Ideas and experiences only seem original and profound because we have allowed them to slip away from our memories.

Having remembered and experienced anew all that which man has temporarily forgotten by encountering the principal constants of conflict, man comes full circle and returns home. At the end of a lifetime, man must inevitably end where he once began. At the end of The Ramayana Rama bids Valmiki farewell and reflects on his many experiences, his many encounters with the principal constants of conflict. Recognizing his struggles as those of all human beings, Rama questions his own reality and says to Valmiki, “I lay awake last night remembering the time we have spent together. I made up my mind to ask you a question. You have shown me how many things are illusion. But in your way of looking at the world, is there anything that you believe is real?” Valmiki replies, “Certainly, Rama. There are three things which are real: God, human folly, and laughter. Since the first two pass our comprehension, we must do what we can with the third,” (Menen 275-6). Of the three things in life that Valmiki hold to be real, laughter is the only one comprehensible. The only thing man can do to confirm his reality is to laugh. Laughter allows man liberation; laughter symbolizes letting go; laughter is the natural end to comedy and the inevitable end to tragedy. In this way, all stories end in laughter. Despite the pain along the way, the meeting of conflicts, man always returns to laughter as a reconciliation and resolution. Just like the story of the young girl falling and scraping her knee, The Ramayana returns to laughter.



Works Cited


Menen, Aubrey. The Ramayana. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1954.

Don't ever forget to laugh. Here's a kitty who's got a pretty cute laugh (that is, if it's not really a yawn).

16 April 2009

Channeling Marilyn Monroe

The latest campaign for Dolce & Gabbana cosmetics features Scarlett Johansson. Clearly, they're trying to channel Marilyn. I did some image googling and everyone seems to want to channel Marilyn. After all, I suppose she is pretty sultry!

So what does "classic" mean? The celebrities of today attempt to channel the classic, iconic beauty of Marilyn Monroe, but in my opinion, they don't come close. There is a roughness to these emulations, a harshness. Why? I'm not sure. However, one can see quite plainly the dignity in Marilyn's photographs, while something lacks in most of the others. Marilyn's body language, though still sexy, is pure and does not come off as affected. Nevertheless, these are some very fun re-creations of the famous Marilyn Monroe. As the second to last image reads, "Everything Old is New Again".

And of course, I leave you with Andy Warhol:

Wrap-Up Wednesday

Wednesday, we sort of wrapped up the class into a neat little package. I have to admit that I will miss the stories we read, and I'll miss hearing about and reading the stories that people shared of their own lives in class and on their blogs. Allowing our present selves to coincide with stories from the past made the classics seem far more relevant than I have ever thought them to be. All the same, summer is nearly here (despite the foot of snow in our yards), and it's time for Persephone to return to Demeter for a few months and for us to move on. Moving on is good and I have much to look forward to!: firstly, a trip to Missoula to see the Law School graduation; then many a wedding; work work work; float the Yellowstone River; dress-making; swim in Flathead Lake. Also, I am very much looking forward to lots of Nabokov next semester.

14 April 2009

Misguided Midas

I was just thinking that there must be a reason that the tire company decided to name themselves Midas. I wondered if it was perhaps related to the Ovid tale that Ben & I told.

I went to their website, and surely enough, the top bar looks like this:

Though they don't directly allude to the tale of King Midas, I suppose the company plays off of the idea that everything Midas touches turns to gold. A good thing for Midas the company; a not so good thing for King Midas as he could not drink or eat.
I see the pun intended and appreciate the company's goal to turn what they touch to "gold"; however, it is humorous to see that the company overlooks the fact that the "Midas touch" hinders Midas more than it helps him.
Like I said though, the company successfully presents the intent of their brand to provide great service.
After all their "customer service heroes" even follow the Golden Rule!