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!

08 April 2009

Lord Byron

Canto First
The Gods of old are silent on their shore,
Since the great Pan expired, and through the roar
Of the Ionian waters broke a dread
Voice which proclaimed "the Mighty Pan is dead."
How much died with him ! false or true --- the dream
Was beautiful which peopled every stream
With more than finny tenants, and adorned
The woods and waters with coy nymphs that scorned
Pursuing Deities, or in the embrace
Of gods brought forth the high heroic race
Whose names are on the hills and o'er the seas.

This is an image of Aristomenes, courtesy of Life Magazine. In the image, Aristomenes fights his way out of siege in Eira, Messania during the Second Messenian War.

Thanks to Encyclopedia Brittanica, we know that Aristomenes was the "traditional hero of an unsuccessful revolt against the Spartans by the Messenians, who had been enslaved by Sparta in the 8th century bc. Although Aristomenes is probably a historical figure, his career has been heavily overlaid with legend; the standard version makes him a leader of a rebellion about 650 bc—the so-called Second Messenian War. After several victories he was betrayed by King Aristocrates of Arcadia at the battle of “the Great Trench.” For about 11 years he was besieged in Eira, Messenia. When the Spartans finally conquered that stronghold, Aristomenes escaped to live in exile on the island of Rhodes."


Meaning: a professional storyteller

30 March 2009

Ovid’s past possesses his present transformation:

As a poet from another place, another culture, another language, Ovid finds himself a stranger in the desolate land he describes in his letter. Feeling trapped and purposeless in a rudimentary world, Ovid’s only way out is to adapt to the system, learn how to exist in this new world. In the process of learning this new culture, Ovid ironically transforms himself. The process of transformation forces Ovid to look to his past and mentally resolve certain unresolved issues in his life. As he allows his ego to step aside and addresses his personal past, Ovid starts to see this world in a new light; he begins to understand the people who live in this world. By coming to terms with his past, Ovid experiences a transformation that allows him to make great progress in his understanding of the human life.

Ovid’s first experiences of Tomis are colorless and strange. To enter a world of which one knew nothing would be difficult. After all the progress made in developing into a man and learning to exist in a world, Ovid must go all the way back to square one. Unable to understand the language, Ovid resides in a very silent world. After many months in such a silence, he glimpses something recognizable to him. He spots a red poppy flower amidst a sea of corn stalks, which prompts him to hark back to his past world. Retelling the experience, he says, “Scarlet. A little wild poppy, of a red so sudden it made my blood stop. I kept saying the word over and over to myself, scarlet, as if the word, like the color, had escaped me till now . . . Poppy, scarlet poppy, flower of my far-off childhood . . . And with it all the other colors come flooding back, as magic syllables,” (31). He goes on to say, “I had to enter the silence to find a password that would release me from my own life,” (32). Ovid comes from a world of pleasure and privilege. It was likely very hard for him (and his ego) to let go of the desire to be privileged in his new world. Having been so released, Ovid has now begun his transformation.

As Ovid’s transformation ensues, he continually mentions a sensation he has that he has already had these experiences in one way or another. After racing through the burial grounds on horseback, Ovid writes, “Oddly enough as I weave back and forth between the towering forms I feel a moment of exhilaration, and am reminded of something—something that my mind just fails to grasp, as if all this had happened before,” (45). Later on as he sits with the Child, he writes, “I have found myself more and more often slipping back into my own childhood;” he continues, “I fall into some timeless place in myself where the past suddenly reoccurs in all its fullness, or is still in progress. I am there again,” (82). Ovid relates his experiences of anamnesis, recollecting information from his past that is relevant and that possesses his present.

Addressing the obstacles in his life allows Ovid to shut the door on something old and open it on something new. Though it is difficult for Ovid to readjust to a new, more rudimentary way of life, the transformation he is able to make helps him to make great progress in his life. Though he feels as if he is starting anew, he draws from a deep past without knowing it. Anamnesis is the recollection of things we already know but have simply forgotten. As Ovid takes on this new world and has new experiences, he realizes that he has already been here before. It’s the same old story that he must see from a new perspective in order to grow.

29 March 2009

I can't help but think of . . .

Mowgli from The Jungle Book!
The Child = Mowgli

Definition: feral


(esp. of an animal) in a wild state, esp. after escape from captivity or domestication

ORIGIN early 17th cent.: from Latin fera 'wild animal' (from ferus 'wild')

The Romantic Discourse: Bacchus & Aphrodite in the Same Room

Regarding the 7 thinkers of Plato's Symposium:
Phaedrus: "Love is a mighty god" and "the source of the greatest benefits to us" (Plato 6-7).

Pausanias: "Open loves are held to be more honorable than secret ones" (Plato 10).

Eryximachus: "Love is the reconciliation of opposites" (Plato 13).

Aristophanes: "Now there were these three sexes, because the sun, moon, and earth are three; and the man was originally the child of the sun, the woman of the earth, and the man-woman of the moon, which is made up of sun and earth" (Plato 16).

Agathon: "Love is the fairest and best in himself, and the cause of what is fairest and best in all other things" (Plato 21).

Socrates: "Love is the love of the everlasting possession of the good," namely, the immortality of us and our ideas (Plato 29).

Alcibiades finally enters after what seems to have been an extended visit to the Bacchus Pub and, rather than discoursing on love, expresses his love for and attraction to Socrates (Plato 34-40).


I am interested in Pausanias' remark that i listed above. What is a "secret love"? If a love is secret then it must not be a love at all. This was my initial reaction because I could not understand how someone who was truly in love would be fully capable of keeping it a secret. But then, I thought of Romeo and Juliet, the true star-crossed lovers. They loved each other severely, severely enough to die for each other; was their love not honorable until they both died and made their love known? I think it was honorable even in secret. Yet I do see the premise of Pausanias' comment via my initial response.

I also noted Eryximachus' note that love is the "reconciliation of opposites" (Plato 13). The connection I am about to make is patent. In this statement, Eryximachus refers to the most critical of the five conflicts of opposition, the place where drama originates - the opposition between man and woman.

I really enjoyed Aristophanes' statement of the origin of the three sexes. You always hear about Mother Earth, but never Father Sun or Androgyne Moon. I think we should start referring to the sun and the moon in this way. I suppose it might not work in the framework of our culture, but it seems only fitting.

Lastly, I was most appalled by Socrates' opening words. It should not have come as much as a surprise since this is typically my reaction to Socrates; however, it surprised me yet again. He always makes very good arguments and succeeds in making them extremely apparent to all listeners/readers, but I cringe at the way he treats others. His tone is so mocking and arrogant. He says, "Whereas I see now that the intention was to attribute to love every species of greatness and glory, whether really belonging to him or not, without regard to truth or falsehood - that was not matter; for the original proposal seems to have been not that you should praise, but only that you should appear to praise him" (Plato 23). How rude.

Also, here's another website that I found interesting. Pretty simple, but it lays it all out.


01 March 2009

Love is the love of something.

A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud

The old man in McCullers' story climbs the ladder of love by first learning to love a goldfish. I was intrigued by this because a goldfish is often one of the first loves of many a human being. Though we don't typically think about our first love in this way, it is in fact usually a goldfish, cat, tulip, dog, gerbil, or sibling (all the same). I remember learning to love my first cat, Captain Alex (the same one I wrote about in the pet dying post). I loved him right away, but my sister's learning process was somewhat more extended. In the middle of the night when she would take trips to the bathroom, Captain Alex used to attack her feet from his hiding place under the coffee table. I don't remember him doing it to me - just her; I think he loved attacking her in particular because she was so freaked out. She would go to all lengths to get past the coffee table without a scratch from Captain Alex; sometimes she would try climbing over the couch or walking on top of the coffee table, but he would always jump out and scare her. In the end, he quit scaring her at night and she learned to love him. She was pretty young at the time and getting him to pur was entertainment for a night.

I think about what it means to love a cloud as opposed to loving a tree or a rock. To love a cloud, I would watch it all day; I would watch it forget itself and reinvent itself, the process of anamnesis, the "perpetual process of loss and reparation" (Plato 30). I would love the cloud from a warm spot in the grass. So loving, in this sense, is peaceful looking.
To love a tree, I would feel the bark, smell and taste the sap. I would climb the tree as high as I could and swing from its boughs. I would share the tree with a friend; we would share our secrets with the tree and listen to his when the wind played on his leaves. So loving, in this sense, is listening, touching, tasting.
My idea of loving indulges the five senses, sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. But this makes loving a self-indulging process. Is it? Do we love things merely for the enjoyment and satisfaction it provides to us? Do we love for ourselves rather than for others?

Socrates would say so; he posits that love is for the sake of immortality (Plato 31). I don't see love as a selfish act, however the manner in which I would love a tree, a rock, a cloud proves otherwise.

25 February 2009

The Grape Etiquette: Advice for Drinking Parties

Thanks to a great site called Mobicapping Wine, I learned some basic wine tasting manners.

•1 Do not comment on the wine's characteristics until all tasters have been able to generate their own opinions.
•2 If you are a man, do not use after-shave. If you are a woman, do not wear exceedingly scented lotions or perfumes. For both genders, do not smoke. Any such miasma will surely hamper the other wine taster's ability to appreciate the wine's aromas.
•3 Do draw air into your mouth to better taste the wine. Although this may generate a funny gurgling sound, this is perfectly acceptable in the wine-tasting world.
•4 Do spit. Often there will be a designated cup or bucket for this exact purpose. If there is no designated cup or bucket, a drain or gravel floor is also allowable.

On Drinking

I found a journal entitled "Myth and Science around Gender and Sexuality: Eros and the Three Sexes in Plato's Symposium".

Here is the link: http://dio.sagepub.com.proxybz.lib.montana.edu/cgi/reprint/52/4/39

Note: If you are not accessing this from campus, you will need a library password (very easy to get if you don't already have one).

I also found an interesting Teaching Plan for the Symposium.

12 February 2009

My Cat

I named my first cat Captain Alex.

My family lived in Paradise Valley in an A-frame house.
One day, I came home from school and I couldn't find Captain Alex.
He was usually somewhere sleeping, or he was out hunting mice.
When he didn't come home before my bed time, I was so sad.
I worried about him.
The next morning, I still couldn't find him.
My dad went out to look for him beside the highway. He wasn't there.

As I told you, we lived in an A-frame house. The second floor was smaller than the main floor and there was a large section of roof with a door leading out to it. In the summertimes, my sister and I used to have picnics on the roof. The door out to the roof housed Captain Alex's kitty door as well. He used to climb a diagonal beam that made half of the "A" on the A-frame in order to get up to the roof and his door.

That evening, my dad found him curled up at the base of his climbing beam. He looked like he had been hit by a car.
It was hard to know that he suffered after he had been hit, but it was nice to know that he tried to make it home.

At first, pets are just fun, cute, & cuddly. But then, you grow to love them and know their habits, their personalities. Losing a pet is like losing a friend. I can't imagine losing a sibling. My sister is one of the most amazing people in my life. She is my friend, my family, my teacher, my student. I spent a good 16 years of my life with her day in and day out.
I would do anything for her; I would even break the law for her.

My personal relationships are far more important to me than are my public relationships. I believe that this is true for most people. This is certainly the case for Antigone.

Here is a picture of my cat Thizzle. He's got a lot of personality. Thizzle loves to play. The other day, he caught and ate a mouse. Of course, as a gift, he saved the head for me and left it in the hallway.

10 February 2009

Regarding Bad Days

What is a bad day?
A period of 24 hours in which a series of unfortunate events conspires.

I, myself, had a terrible day several weeks ago, and I have no idea why.
Nothing of note really went wrong.
It wasn't your typical bad day where you burn breakfast, lose your keys, and then later that afternoon slip and fall in the muddy parking lot after a two hour rain.
No, not that kind.
I really don't know what kind exactly.
Everything was happening as it did normally, but everything was more difficult than usual, more frustrating than usual. I missed my sister, I felt like I needed to be home, and I felt as though everyone was insulting me.
So really, it was a very weird, bad day because it was self-inflicted.
The reason I write this is because I was skeptical at first when Dr. Sexson implied that one could inflict a bad day on oneself.
I thought, well don't bad days just happen? Aren't they out of the power of our hands? . . . more externally formed? Plus, why on earth would you want to do that anyhow?
Of course I then realized that I had been the sole perpetrator of my bad day.
So I was the man I was looking for; I was Oedipus; I was Nixon.

05 February 2009

Anna Livia

February 2nd: a notable day.
Dr. Sexson's Anniversary
Groundhog Day
James Joyce's birthday

I haven't read very much of James Joyce's work, but a few years ago, I memorized the last part of his novel Finnegan's Wake and fell in love with it.
At first, I detested it. I couldn't stand it because I couldn't memorize it. The progression of Joyce's sentences and seemingly incomplete thoughts did not easily lend itself to memory. After hearing it so many times, saying the words to myself over and over, I finally heard a musicality in his words. I heard the metre behind it all, the song behind each word. I guess it was through this music that I felt as though I understood what he was saying, and i loved it. And, after that, I memorized it easily. (But I must be weak of memory, as I can no longer tell you Joyce's story. I think, though, that it's not gone forever. I might be able to pull it out with a little work. Help me Mnemosyne.)

Here's the piece. Listen for the musicality.
Yes, you're changing, sonhusband, and 
you're turning, I can feel you, for a daughterwife from the hills 
again. Imlamaya. And she is coming. Swimming in my hindmoist. 
Diveltaking on me tail. Just a whisk brisk sly spry spink spank 
sprint of a thing theresomere, saultering. Saltarella come to her 
own. I pity your oldself I was used to. Now a younger's there. 
Try not to part! Be happy, dear ones! May I be wrong! For she'll 
be sweet for you as I was sweet when I came down out of me 
mother. My great blue bedroom, the air so quiet, scarce a cloud. 
In peace and silence. I could have stayed up there for always only. 
It's something fails us. First we feel. Then we fall. And let her rain 
now if she likes. Gently or strongly as she likes. Anyway let her 
rain for my time is come. I done me best when I was let. Think- 
ing always if I go all goes. A hundred cares, a tithe of troubles and 
is there one who understands me? One in a thousand of years of 
the nights? All me life I have been lived among them but now 
they are becoming lothed to me. And I am lothing their little 
warm tricks. And lothing their mean cosy turns. And all the 
greedy gushes out through their small souls. And all the lazy 
leaks down over their brash bodies. How small it's all! And me 
letting on to meself always. And lilting on all the time. I thought 
you were all glittering with the noblest of carriage. You're only 
a bumpkin. I thought you the great in all things, in guilt and in 
glory. You're but a puny. Home! My people were not their sort 
out beyond there so far as I can. For all the bold and bad and 
bleary they are blamed, the seahags. No! Nor for all our wild 
dances in all their wild din. I can seen meself among them, alla- 
niuvia pulchrabelled. How she was handsome, the wild Amazia, 
when she would seize to my other breast! And what is she weird, 
haughty Niluna, that she will snatch from my ownest hair! For 
'tis they are the stormies. Ho hang! Hang ho! And the clash of 
our cries till we spring to be free. Auravoles, they says, never heed 
of your name! But I'm loothing them that's here and all I lothe. 
Loonely in me loneness. For all their faults. I am passing out. O 
bitter ending! I'll slip away before they're up. They'll never see. 
Nor know. Nor miss me. And it's old and old it's sad and old it's 
sad and weary I go back to you, my cold father, my cold mad 
father, my cold mad feary father, till the near sight of the mere 
size of him, the moyles and moyles of it, moananoaning, makes me 
seasilt saltsick and I rush, my only, into your arms. I see them 
rising! Save me from those therrble prongs! Two more. Onetwo 
moremens more. So. Avelaval. My leaves have drifted from me. 
All. But one clings still. I'll bear it on me. To remind me of. Lff! 
So soft this morning, ours. Yes. Carry me along, taddy, like you 
done through the toy fair! If I seen him bearing down on me now 
under whitespread wings like he'd come from Arkangels, I sink 
I'd die down over his feet, humbly dumbly, only to washup. Yes, 
tid. There's where. First. We pass through grass behush the bush 
to. Whish! A gull. Gulls. Far calls. Coming, far! End here. Us 
then. Finn, again! Take. Bussoftlhee, mememormee! Till thous- 
endsthee. Lps. The keys to. Given! A way a lone a last a loved a 
long the

04 February 2009


Wednesday, Dr. Sexson said that music was connected with sleep.

At night as I'm waiting to fall asleep, I sometimes hear music:
It's in my head,
but it sounds as if it's in my ears;
and it's so loud.

It sounds like a huge orchestra.
I love when it happens.
Some months, I hear it more often.

It's hard to explain it because it happens
right when I'm between
conscious and sleep state.

It's just this loud but beautiful noise.
It's never a song that I recognize,
and it's never the same.

Sometimes it lasts for just a moment
and sometimes it goes for a while,
but it always crescendos right before I actually transfer into sleep.

Hypnos: god of sleep

28 January 2009

Eating Organic w/ Persephone & Paul Newman

Pomegranates are good for you according to the bottle of juice that I consumed today at lunch. I had a wonderfully rich Naked juice, full of not only pomegranates but also blueberries.

"Operation: Super Juice"
"No Added Sugar, No Preservatives, No Inhibitions."
The bottle also said, "SHAKE WELL! Separation is Natural".

As I drank my juice, with "1 lb. of fruit in every bottle", I couldn't help but think that for each single pomegranate seed Persephone ate, she was required to remain in the underworld for a full month. If I had been Persephone, the seasons would likely be much longer.

Look at this image of a pomegranate.

I'm no expert on the anatomy of the pomegranate, but this pomegranate seems to be divided into seven sections. Aside from that and the skin, it's all seeds. Every fruit has seeds, but few so many or so patent as the pomegranate.

By the way, eat organic. Pesticides are generally bad for you.

Regarding organic foods: Have you ever heard of Paul Newman? He co-founded Newman's Own Organics. The company makes all sorts of organic versions of well-known snacks like Oreos and Fig Newtons, except they've renamed them Newman-O's and Fig Newmans respectively. Of their many products, my personal favorite are the peanut butter cups covered in dark, rather than milk, chocolate.
Here is one version of Newman's Own Organic logo