Sunday, September 24, 2006

Extraordinary admission

Jennifer Senior ends her oh-those-Bush-critics-are-so-shrill review of two books on Bush with the following extraordinary admission: "Books like this one are a depressing reminder of how important it is for writers to have a slight sense of humor about themselves, if they want to be taken at all seriously." That's in fact the entire substance of the review - she finds an anecdote or two to quibble with, or a bit of humor she can miscast as "preen"ing, but basically her problem with the books is that they say a bunch of negative things about Bush and didn't entertain her.

It's odd how poor some of the reviews one reads in the NYT are - reading, thinking, and writing well is a rare skill, but so many people are trained in it that there ought to be an endless stream of highly talented reviewers eager to work for so prestigious an institution as the NYTSBR. One wonders if the editors are really looking just to publish the best possible reviews.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Magical thinking, pewter

The other day I was doing the jumble puzzle in the paper because it was there, and unscrambled one entry into "pewter". I laughed, because Nancy Willard uses it either obsessively or perhaps out of an odd strategy to link poems by random words. Then a few days later Mrs. R's mother remarked about the door handles and other fixtures in the house we moved into a month ago that they had a pewter finish.

Rilkekind spends some time in a bouncer seat which reacts when he moves - fishes bubble and swim, melodies or sounds play. Lately though he seems to find the spectacle rather tiresome. He has not yet tired of the mobile on his crib. It plays Brahms's (slightly terrifying) "Lullaby" and rotates a small zoo of animals - but only for a short while, since it's wind-up. Rilkekind I think makes the same movements he uses in the bouncer seat when he's enjoying the mobile.

We make connections - sometimes that leads to strange results, sometimes not.

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"Hush Little Baby" and Metallica's "Enter Sandman"

Perhaps I'm the last person to notice this, but not only does Metallica's song "Enter Sandman" start with the first lyric of the traditional lullaby, the first theme is based on the traditional melody (shifted to minor). At least I think so - there's apparently some controversy about the song's materials, but I don't see a reference to this claim.

Interesting that the song was originally about crib death. I don't know if Mariano Rivera could use it as his theme if the lyrics hadn't been altered (though apparently he hadn't known the words the first four years).

p.s. Any rich crazy readers are welcome to buy me one of these.

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And the fish was this long

Click image for a longer fish.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Why death is bad, according to google

If you ask google "why death is bad", it currently sends you here. Not exactly helpful for most people, I suppose. Of course I have to link to a famous argument why death is good (but not best). Oh, maybe most people want a famous philosophical argument.


Rilkekind is fine now, but last week he got an infection and spent several days in the hospital. The various tests and procedures were upsetting to the three of us, and I spent a fair amount of time during them trying to calm him with all the songs I usually sing him. I read some of Park's _A Princess of Roumania_ while sitting by his elaborate hospital crib and was reminded by the text of the "Papa's going to buy you a mockingbird" song. Having gotten tired of everything else, and rather concerned he was going to associate "La belle est au jardin d'amour" with being poked with needles, I started singing him a version of the mockingbird song. Now I find myself walking around compulsively generating new verses, which I promptly forget.

Hush little baby, don't say a word
Daddy's going to buy you a mockingbird
And if that mockingbird don't sing
Daddy's going to buy you an elven ring
And if that elven ring don't shine
Daddy's going to buy you a popcorn mine
And if that popcorn mine don't yield
Daddy's going to buy you a poppy field
And if that poppy field don't bloom
Daddy's going to buy you a Chinese room
And if that Chinese room don't talk
Daddy's going to buy you a cliff of chalk
And if that cliff of chalk don't write
Daddy's going to buy you some dynamite
And if that dynamite should smoulder
Daddy's going to buy you the town of Boulder
And if that town should raise its fees
Daddy's going to buy you the seven seas
And if those seven seas don't part
Daddy's going to buy you a tell-tale heart
And if tell-tale heart don't beat
Daddy's going to buy you a fishing fleet
And if that fishing fleet don't catch lobster
Daddy's going to buy you a job as a mobster
And if the mafia don goes to jail
Daddy's going to buy you a plastic pail
And if that pail is full of sand
Daddy's going to buy you a marching band
And if that marching band's too loud
Daddy's going to buy you a fluffy cloud
And if that cloud should get hurricaney
Daddy's going to buy you the soul of Cheney
And if that soul does not exist
Daddy's going to buy you a hawk for your wrist
And if that hawk should fly away
Daddy's going to buy you a sunny day
And if that sunny day gets cloudy
Daddy's going to buy you a church by Gaudi
And if that church is too moderne
Daddy's going to buy you a ring at Cern
And if that ring don't 'celerate
Daddy's going to buy you a pearly gate
And if that gate should be too squeaky
Daddy's going to buy you the bones of Leakey
And if you find that too absurd
Daddy's going to buy you a mockingbird

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