Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Советская музыкальная интермедия

Not sure why, but I felt like listening to the old Soviet national anthem today. Perhaps it's because it sounds like I've always thought a national anthem should, especially when the Red Army Choir gets ahold of it. In addition to having a beautiful melody, the song possesses a very "national anthem-y" combination of solemnity and arrogance. Anyway:

Bonus Red Army Choir, Comrades!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cavalcade of Randomness: The Sequel to the The Sequel!

"Propertius & Cynthia at Tivoli," by Auguste Jean Baptiste Vinchon

Without further ado:

  • Beginning with a bit of a soccer story: A Croatian goalkeeper rescued a cat which wandered onto the pitch during a game. Whereupon he was given a yellow card. All-in-all, it has not been a banner week for soccer referees. However, on the plus side, this blog does now have a "Medjimurje Cakovec" label!

  • I think Nefertiti is going to be an indoors cat indefinitely and probably for good. I am basing this on two things: first of all, although she loves to look out the window, she shows no interest in actually going outside. Secondly, when I stepped outside last night, there were what I would guess to be about four coyotes singing to each other in the ravine a whole two blocks away. I am all in favour of urban wildlife (indeed, I stood there for a time and listened to the coyotes), but I'd rather it didn't eat Nefertiti.

  • Last week saw the first meeting of a little Latin reading group that a former student of mine has set up. Although I was only able to be there for the first part of this session, I think it has great potential to be good fun! It's mostly former students of mine, with some friends and family along as well. We're reading Propertius, at least for starters.

  • Those of us who follow the Oilers may remember the whole Dany Heatley nastiness from this summer. Well, a couple of local businesses have got together to commemorate the trade-that-wasn't, and have found a way to make it into a charity event as well! It's actually quite a cool idea, and for a very good cause. And I think we are all happy that the Heatley deal, didn't actually happyen, in the end...

  • Speaking of the end, I think we have reached it for this post!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

In Which Satire Curls Up In Fetal Position And Cries

Flanders and Swann, 50-some years ago (audio link):

If the juju had meant us not to eat people, he wouldn't have made us of meat.

Sarah Palin, apparently quite recently:

"If any vegans came over for dinner, I could whip them up a salad, then explain my philosophy on being a carnivore: If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?"

Emphasis mine. Ok, we're missing some context here, and I'm willing to concede the possibility that Palin was joking. However, given her support for barbaric hunting practices, I also think it's entirely plausible that she actually believes that animals were placed on Earth simply for us to devour. Here's a bit of "bonus" Palin (link is to the same article as above):

"I always remind people from outside our state that there's plenty of room for all Alaska's animals -- right next to the mashed potatoes."

Full Disclosure: I am not a vegetarian. That said, I don't revel in the fact of my meat-eating; I eat meat because I enjoy the taste of it, not because I think I have any divine right or duty to do so. And I occasionally feel guilty about it, although that and $2.26 will get you an extra-large coffee at Starbucks.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

In Retrospect, Maybe They Should Have Seen That Coming...

Ahh, gargoyles - or at least, what we refer to as "gargoyles." Technically, only the ones that channel water are gargoyles; the others are chimeras. But anyway, for centuries they have gazed down from the heights of gothic architecture, frightening away evil spirits and, as mentioned, sometimes channeling away rainwater.

Back in the 1980s, the folks at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., discovered that they had a couple of empty niches where new gargoyles might be placed. In the interests of community outreach, they asked a number of schoolchildren for suggestions as to what sort of shape the new gargoyles should take, specifically pointing out the "scariness" aspect of gargoyles in general. And then, being good sports, they acted on the suggestions:

The other child-inspired gargoyle? A raccoon.