Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Flutter, Flutter, Sputter, Sputter, Mutter, Mutter

I'm having One of Those Days.

Things are ... misbehaving ... around here. My Quicken program is not doing what it's supposed to (and I've been on Hold with Tech Support so many times the past few days I feel somewhat incarcerated--or appearing in that Sartre play No Exit where I have to listen to syrupy and sometimes bouncy instrumental music for the rest of my life). I thought I had it all fixed yesterday. And was feeling spiffy and even a tad arrogant.

But it ain't workin' right today. ("Rage, rage against the dying ....")

Another program--Excel--has somehow gotten messed up. I use it for our home library (and we have thousands of books), but lately I've noticed that the authors and titles don't always line up--or the publisher and date and price.

This has not generated in me any pacific feelings. ("Rage, rage ....")

And what's truly annoying: The one common factor in these problems with Quicken and Excel ... is .. Daniel Osborn Dyer.

Not a comforting realization.

Also ... I'm tired.

As I've gotten older and less sturdy medically, I wear out ... fast. The past couple of weeks there have been a more-than-wonted number (and a more-than-wanted number) of responsibilities--things I just must do. Mixed in are some things I want to do, sure--like go see (as we did last night with our son and his family) a production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow down at the Magical Theatre in Barberton, Ohio--about a half-hour away.

So this morning, I find myself fluttering around like a puzzled or even injured bird. Looking for a place to land, to fluff my feathers, to close my eyes, to let Morpheus arrive with some balmy dreams.

But last night, Morpheus arrived with a balmy dream about my falling into the Niagara River just above the Falls. Nice. (I wrote a doggerel about it and posted it on FB this morning--a sure way to lose Friends in a hurry!)

And hanging over all? My own personal sword of Damocles--viz., the knowledge that in only a couple of hours I have to go out to the health club. I dread working out in my Latter Years (it used to be fun--with the added attraction of my feeling virtuous, even superior, afterward).

Now ... it's dreary and hard and depressing.

But I know what it means if I stop going. It means a fall into the Niagara River, just above the Falls.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Wordplay Day

A couple of words bubbled up into my consciousness the past couple of days--words we've all used habitually. But for some reason, this week they popped up out of my language soup (splashing me a little), and crying in their wee voices: "Notice me!"

And so I did ... and so they cost me a little work, a little time, but here they are ... full definitions pasted below.

1. heyday (or hey-day)--as in In his heyday he was quite the athlete. Below, you see what the Oxford English Dictionary has to say about this one. The origin of the word is "unknown," and it dates back farther than I would have guessed--to the young manhood of Shakespeare, who would use it in Hamlet (1603). And just look at the other writers who used it--a Hall of Fame cast: More, Southey, Emerson, Smollett, Sterne, Scott, Longfellow, etc. Not bad company to be in, eh?

2. lurch--as in He left me in the lurch. (Remember that TV character Lurch on The Addams Family, played by Ted Cassidy? His name, of course, comes from the verb sense of lurch (see below). He bore, of course, a resemblance to Frankenstein's creature. (Remember Lurch's catch-phrase: "You rang?"?)

But lurch, it seems, was once a game resembling backgammon--and leaving one in the lurch was leaving them in a precarious position on the board? Or so we think ...

It also goes back a long, long way--into the 16th century.

Anyway, I am now relieved of any further responsibility for these words. They came; I saw; I conquered. Well ... the OED conquered, let's be honest ...

hey-day | heyday, n. (and adj.)
Forms:  Also 15 hayday, 17 hay day.
Frequency (in current use): 
Etymology: Of uncertain origin; perhaps connected with hey-day int. The second element does not seem to have been the word day , though in later use often identified with it: see sense 2.

 1. State of exaltation or excitement of the spirits or passions.

c1590   Play Sir Thomas More (1844) 41   To be greate..when the thred of hayday is once spoun, A bottom great woond vpp greatly vndoun.
1603   Shakespeare Hamlet iii. iv. 68   At your age The heyday in the blood is tame, it's humble.
1633   J. Ford 'Tis Pitty shee's Whore iv. sig. G4 v   Must your hot ytch and plurisie of lust, The heyday of your luxury be fedd Vp to a surfeite.
1781   J. Burgoyne Lord of Manor i. i. 1   A merry peal puts my spirits quite in a hey-day.
1794   R. Southey Wat Tyler i. i   Ay, we were young, No cares had quell'd the heyday of the blood.
1867   R. W. Emerson May-day & Other Pieces 54   Checked in these souls the turbulent heyday.
(Hide quotations)

 a. The stage or period when excited feeling is at its height; the height, zenith, or acme of anything which excites the feelings; the flush or full bloom, or stage of fullest vigour, of youth, enjoyment, prosperity, or the like. Often associated with day, and taken as the most flourishing or exalted time.

1751   T. Smollett Peregrine Pickle II. lxxi. 262   Our imperious youth..was now in the heyday of his blood.
1768   L. Sterne Sentimental Journey II. 24   I was interrupted in the hey-day of this soliloquy, with a voice.
1768   L. Sterne Sentimental Journey II. 167   To travel it through..the sweetest part of France—in the hey-day of the vintage.
1807   Salmagundi 25 Apr. 164   In the good old times that saw my aunt in the hey-day of youth.
1823   Scott St. Ronan's Well I. iii. 73   In his heyday he had a small estate, which he had spent like a gentleman.
1833   E. Bulwer-Lytton Godolphin I. xvii. 154   In the flush and heyday of youth, of gaiety, and loveliness.
1839   H. W. Longfellow Hyperion II. iv. ii   The heyday of life is over with him.
1873   J. A. Symonds Stud. Greek Poets vii. 232   In the bloom and heyday of the young world's prime.
1877   M. Oliphant Makers of Florence (ed. 2) xiv. 346   He was no more than thirty-six, in the hey-day of his powers.

 b. attrib. Of or pertaining to the hey-day of youth; erron. belonging to a festive or gala day.

1740   C. Cibber Apol. Life C. Cibber i. 10   All the hey-day Expences of a modish Man of Fortune.

1792   J. Budworth Fortnight's Ramble Lakes viii. 44   A man with his hayday dress..is passing over the bridge.

lurch, n.1
Forms:  Also 15–16 lurche, lurtch.
Frequency (in current use): 
Etymology: < French lourche (erroneously written l'ourche ...

†1. A game, no longer known, supposed to have resembled backgammon. Obs.

1611   R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues   Lourche, the game called Lurche.
1653   T. Urquhart tr. Rabelais 1st Bk. Wks. xxii. 94   There he played..At the lurch.
1656   Earl of Monmouth tr. T. Boccalini Ragguagli di Parnasso (1674) i. xli. 57   He might account business his pastime..instead of Picquet or Lurch.
1693   T. Urquhart & P. A. Motteux tr. Rabelais 3rd Bk. Wks. xii. 98   My Mind was only running upon the lurch and tricktrack.

 2. Used in various games to denote a certain concluding state of the score, in which one player is enormously ahead of the other; often, a ‘maiden set’ or love-game, i.e. a game or set of games in which the loser scores nothing; at cribbage, a game in which the winner scores 61 before the loser has scored 31; in whist, a treble. to save the lurch: in whist, to prevent one's adversary from scoring a treble. Now rare (? or Obs.).

1598   J. Florio Worlde of Wordes   Marcio, a lurch or maiden set at any game.
1606   T. Dekker Seuen Deadly Sinnes London iv. sig. E2   What by Betting, Lurches, Rubbers and such tricks, they neuer tooke care for a good daies worke afterwards.
1608   T. Dekker Belman of London F 3   Whose Inne is a Bowling Alley, whose bookes are bowles, and whose law cases are lurches and rubbers.
1653   T. Urquhart tr. Rabelais 2nd Bk. Wks. xii. 86   By two of my table men in the corner-point I have gained the lurch.
1674   F. Gouldman Copious Dict. (ed. 3) 1   A lurch, duplex palma, facilis victoria.
1742   E. Hoyle Short Treat. Game Whist i. 13   A Probability either of saving your Lurch, or winning the Game.
1745   Gentleman's Mag. Nov. 606/2   A King!—we're up—I vow I fear'd a lurch.
1784   H. Walpole Let. 14 Aug. (1858) VIII. 495   Lady Blandford has cried her eyes out on losing a lurch.
1860   Bohn's Handbk. Games iii. 83   The game [long whist] consists of ten points; when no points are marked by the losing partners, it is treble, and reckons three points;..This is called a lurch.
1876   ‘Capt. Crawley’ Card Player's Man. 18   Lurch (at Long Whist), not saving the double.
1876   ‘Capt. Crawley’ Card Player's Man. 128   [Cribbage] A lurch—scoring the whole sixty-one before your adversary has scored thirty-one—is equivalent to a double game.
1897   Earl of Suffolk et al. Encycl. Sport I. 129/2   Lurch game, a game in which one side has scored five before the other has scored one.


†a. A discomfiture. Obs.

1584   T. Lodge Alarum against Vsurers C ij b   If heereafter thou fall into the lyke lurch,..so then I will accompt of thee as a reprobate.
1607   Merrie Iests George Peele 30   The Tapster hauing many of these lurches fell to decay.
1608   R. Armin Nest of Ninnies sig. D1v   Often such forward deedes, meete with backward lurches.
1679   Heart & Right Soveraign 119   The Italian out-wits the Jew in his part, and the lurch befalls the English side.

†b. to give (a person) the lurch: to discomfit, get the better of. Obs.

1598   E. Guilpin Skialetheia sig. B6   Gellia intic'd her good-man to the Citty, And often threatneth to giue him the lurch.
?c1600   Bride's Buriall 38 in Roxburghe Ballads (1871) I. 248   Faire Hellens face gaue Grecian Dames the lurch.
1626   N. Breton Pasquils Mad-cap (Grosart) 6/2   How ere his wit may giue the foole the lurch, He is not fit to gouerne in the Church.

†c. to have (take) on (in, at) the lurch: to have or take (a person) at a disadvantage. Obs.

1591   R. Greene Notable Discouery of Coosenage f. 5   There was forty to one on my side, and ile haue you on the lurch by and by.
1601   J. Weever Mirror of Martyrs sig. Bviijv   Shee..Sels lyes for nothing, nothing for too much; Faith for three farthings, t'haue thee in the lurch.
1615   T. Adams Blacke Devill 74   Thus the great Parasite of the soule, that heretofore..flatter'd this wretch with the paucity of his sinnes; now takes him in the lurch, and ouer-reckons him.
a1657   G. Daniel Trinarchodia: Henry IV clx, in Poems (1878) IV. 41   The Sage Span of a Circle tooke the Starres at Lurch, To Conspire Storme.
1719   in T. D'Urfey Wit & Mirth V. 3   He took me in the lurch.

†d. in a person's lurch: in his power. Obs.

1607   R. C. tr. H. Estienne World of Wonders 195   Hauing him in his lurch and at his lure.
1641   T. Goodwin Tryall Christians Growth i. 126   David, when he had Saul in his lurch, might as easily have cut off his head.
a1643   J. Shute Sarah & Hagar (1649) 93   They lose their authority when they come within the lurch of their servants.

 e. to leave in the lurch: to leave in adverse circumstances without assistance; to leave in a position of unexpected difficulty.
Cf. the somewhat earlier phr. to leave in the lash (see lash n.1 4).

1596   T. Nashe Haue with you to Saffron-Walden sig. Q   Whom..he also procured to be equally bound with him for his new cousens apparence to the law, which he neuer did, but left both of them in the lurtch for him.
1600   P. Holland tr. Livy Rom. Hist. 222   The Volscians seeing themselves abandoned and left in the lurch by them,..quit the campe and field.
1663   S. Butler Hudibras: First Pt. i. iii. 220   And though th' art of a diff'rent Church, I will not leave thee in the lurch.
1694   R. South 12 Serm. II. 192   In Transubstantiation; where Accidents are left in the lurch by their proper Subject.
1711   J. Addison Spectator No. 119. ¶6   If the Country Gentlemen get into it they will certainly be left in the Lurch.
1873   E. FitzGerald Lett. (1889) I. 357   My Eyes have been leaving me in the lurch again.
1879   R. Browning Martin Relph 66   He has left his sweetheart here in the lurch.

†4. A cheat, swindle. Obs.
(In our quots. the earliest recorded use.)

1533   J. Heywood Mery Play Pardoner & Frere sig. B.iv   No more of this wranglyng in my chyrch I shrewe your hartys bothe for this lurche.
c1540   Image Ipocrysy ii, in J. Skelton Poet. Wks. (1843) II. 432   They blered hym with a lurche.
1604   T. Middleton Blacke Bk. E iv   I giue and bequeath to thee..All such Lurches, Gripes, and Squeezes, as may bee wrung out by the fist of extortion.
1611   R. Badley in T. Coryate Crudities sig. k2   Briefly, for triall of a religious lurch, Thou nimbd'st an image out of Brixias Church.
?1624   G. Chapman tr. Hymn to Hermes in tr. Crowne Homers Wks. 63   I'le haue a Scape, as well as he a Serch, And ouertake him with a greater lurch.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

That Weird Word in My Head This Morning


I learned this word a few years ago (wish I'd known it my entire life!), and every now and then, usually when I'm in some kind of twilight state (not quite asleep, not quite awake), here it comes, bringing a smile to my face, a smile that, of course, awakens me fully, and I lie there with stupid thoughts bouncing around in head like pinballs.

Here's the stupid thought I had in the dark of this morning: The Sasquatch absquatulated.

And it would not go away. Every time I sort of started to drift off (we're talking 3:30 a.m.), the vision of an absquatulating Sasquatch sprinted across my consciousness, the smile came, the corners of the smile poking me awake ... again and again and again.

absquatulating Sasquatch

So ... how did I learn absquatulate? I think it was the word-of-the-day on one of my various online providers, and I fell in love with it instantly.

Down below I've pasted the full entry on the word from the Oxford English Dictionary, and here are some things I like:
  • It's chiefly an Americanism (We're No. 1!)
  • Some of my favorite writers have used it (or versions of it): George Bernard Shaw, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., H. G. Wells.
  • Its derivatives (which I didn't know until I just checked the OED just now): absquatulating (as a participial adjective): I set a trap for the absquatulating Sasquatch and absquatulator (noun--the one who absquatulates): I set a trap for that foul absquatulator, the Sasquatch.
Here's what I'm hoping: All this research and writing about this damn word will act as some kind of pneumatic device to force this word back into its home in the recesses of my fading memory, where it will/can emerge only when I want it to--not when I'm trying to sleep.

Because Morpheus, that slippery god of dreams, is kind of skittish--and will absquatulate with my sleep at the first sign of my waking.

absquatulate, v.

Forms:  18 absquotilate, 18 absquotulate, 18 obsquatulate, 18 obsquotlate, 18– ... (Show More)
Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: Perhaps formed within English, by compounding. Etymons: squat v., congratulate v., perambulate v., capitulate v.
Etymology: Perhaps humorously < ab- (compare ab- prefix and perhaps abscond v.) + squat v. (compare squat v. 9a) + -ulate (in e.g. congratulate v., perambulate v., capitulate v., etc.), in imitation of a word of Latin origin. Compare the parallel formation absquatulize v.; given the very close dates of first attestation, it is difficult to establish which word was in fact the earlier formation.
With the forms in ob- compare ob- prefix.
humorous (orig. and chiefly U.S.).

 1. intr. To abscond, make off. Also occasionally trans. with it.

1830   Painesville (Ohio) Telegr. 1/5   Obsquatulate—To mosey, to abscond.
1834   S. Smith A. Jackson 36   By golly, if you absquotulate, you are ded before you can say Jack Robinson.
1840   T. C. Haliburton Clockmaker 3rd Ser. ii. 16   Absquotilate it in style, you old skunk,..and show the gentlemen what you can do.
1861   J. Lamont Seasons with Sea-horses xi. 179   He [sc. an old bull-walrus] heard us, and lazily awaking, raised his head and prepared to absquatulate.
1914   G. B. Shaw Fanny's Last Play iii, in Misalliance 217   Dora. Let me absquatulate [making for the door]. Juggins. If you wish to leave without being seen, you had better step into my pantry and leave afterwards.
1968   J. Carr Papa Là-bas i. iii. 42   Lives in New Orleans, or used to. Behaved rather oddly... Then, without warning, he absquatulated.
1990   K. Vonnegut Hocus Pocus xxxvii. 262   Some overthrown..dictator who had absquatulated to the USA with his starving nation's treasury.

 2. trans. To send away, dismiss; to put to flight. Now rare.

1844   Fraser's Mag. Sept. 323/1   The twenty millions absquatulated from this country for the far less oppressed and still less deserving niggers.
1846   Forest Hill I. xii. 163   I guess I should like to see the other man who made you cry. If I wouldn't just obsquatulate him, I tell you, I'm a Dutchman!
1887   Fargo (Dakota Territory) Argus 10 Jan.   It is rumored that the present grand jury is to be absquatulated—and another called.
1910   H. G. Wells Hist. Mr. Polly v. 117   Ready to absquatulate all the dragons and rescue you.
1965   Chess Rev. 33 243/2   But lets [sic] absquatulate the vulgarians. No, tip Con the high sign; he deserves to know.


abˈsquatulating adj.

1840   J. P. Kennedy Quodlibet xv. 183   We may speedily expect to hear of many more Whigs following the example of our absquatulating Cashier.
1920   Cumberland (Maryland) Evening Times 3 June 9/3   The absquatulating chief of police, an outraged husband and a trifling wife were the principal characters in the tragedy drama.
2009   Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News (Nexis) 27 Sept. a5   Officers later located the absquatulating individual, who said it was just a natural reaction on his part to run away from police officers.

abˈsquatulator  n.

1840   Morning Herald (N.Y.) 16 Mar.   An absquatulator from the State of New Jersey, was arrested by Welsh last week.
1977   Delaware County (Pa.) Daily Times 16 Aug. 26/2   The sort of character who owes money and won't pay up these days is known as a deadbeat. But when your greatgranddad was a lad, that kind of citizen was called an absquatulator.
2002   Providence (Rhode Island) Jrnl.-Bull. (Nexis) 14 Apr. g9   Fellow absquatulators include AMICA, Fleet National Bank, the Narragansett Hotel and others who have immigrated to the suburbs.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


I eat a banana every day. In the summer, I blend it into a smoothie; in the cooler weather (i.e., NOW) I just peel and eat one before supper.

My dad used to do this, too--daily banana--though he usually had his for breakfast. A healthful start to his day, a day which soon deteriorated (in his later years) into sordid habits--like eating a jar of dry-roasted peanuts while watching whatever football game happened to be on. Oh, did Dad love football! Didn't care who was playing--or what level. He was there. Oh, and nothing washes peanuts down better than beer, you know?

Bananas are really cheap right now--which is not a good sign for banana workers. We went out last night to get three greener ones to replace the three Yellow Softies that weren't going to make it through the rest of the week. Forty-eight cents. (A Starbucks grande Pike will cost you more than $2 these days.) (And don't ask me about the price of a pumpkin-spice latte: never had one.)

Okay, we usually buy seven bananas on Sunday when we do our weekly grocery shopping; I try to get a mix of hard-green and lighter to last me the week. But this week it didn't work--thus, the trip out to the store after supper yesterday for three Green(er) Guys.

So ... what to do with the Yellow Softies (YS).

Joyce and I both hate to throw food away (we eat leftovers almost every night--which seems impossible, I know). But there was no way I was going to eat those YS. I could have made smoothies with them, but, as I said, they chill me too much on chilly days. (Wuss!)

So, I thought I'd try making a banana bread. As many of you know, I make bread all the time--and have done so for more than forty years. But I've never made a banana bread.

So I got out my mom's old Better Homes & Gardens cookbook--the one with the red-and-white plaid cover)--and checked it out. (Pic is of ours.) Looked pretty simple.

I did a few substitutions: local honey for sugar, a mixture of flours (oat, wheat, white). But otherwise I followed it pretty strictly, smooshing the bananas with a potato-masher (just an idea I had at the time--so I went with it).

Into the oven the mixture went--a mixture, by the way, whose texture I had no "feel" for ... how sticky? how dry? We shall see.

It said to bake them 45-50 min.; took a bit longer for me. But I didn't want to pull it out of the oven until the piece of spaghetti I used to test the interior came out (mostly) dry.

And now the bread its out, cooling on a rack, and I'll probably slice a (tiny!) piece for lunch ... and if it doesn't pass the Taste Test? That roaring sound you hear will be me having a tantrum, mixed with the sound of the disposer.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ben Casey, M.D.

On Sunday I had a little note in my "Sunday Sundries" about that old TV show Ben Casey (1961-66), about how I'd awakened that morning with some memories of the show. And I offered a warning: More is on the way. And here it is ...

Actually, what I was thinking about was the weekly opening to the show. Young Dr. Casey's mentor, Dr. David Zorba (played by Sam Jaffe), was writing some symbols on a blackboard: "Man ... woman ... birth ... death ... infinity." Video of this is easy to find on YouTube--here's a link to one clip.

My memory is that Vince Edwards, who played Casey, was not all that engaging or animated as an actor, though as I look at pictures of him now, it's pretty clear that it was his appearance that was the message: young, hot, and, okay, principled ... what's not to like?

I just took a look. Sam Jaffe died of cancer on March 24, 1984; he was 93 years old. (Link to obit in the New York Times.)

And Vince Edwards? He died of pancreatic cancer on March 11, 1996; he was only 67. (Link to obit in New York Times.)

So why was I thinking about Ben Casey and Vince Edwards and Sam Jaffe and man-woman-birth-death-infinity early on Sunday morning?

I don't know. Probably because I've been thinking a lot about mortality in my Latter Days. I'm almost afraid to look at the Times every morning. What notable has died? What atrocities have we human beings performed upon other human beings? Upon our planet? What egregious things have occurred because so many of us can't seem to tolerate people with different religions, races, genders and gender identities, philosophies. Hell, we seem to resent the very air that the Despised Ones breathe--so, might as well pollute it all.

But that's too slow.

Let's nuke every enemy instead. That's quick. Boom. Problem solved.

All of us need to take a deep breath, then look at those distant satellite pictures of earth, the ones that show us, as Carl Sagan wrote, as a "pale blue dot" in a vast sea of darkness.

We should be deeply engaged with one another now, looking for ways to make our tiny planet safer, more habitable, more healthful, more like a community, more secure for future generations.

We should think every day of man, woman, birth, death, infinity.  And do so with great humility and gratitude for all that is possible. And then act ... before it's too late.

Note: Lots of Ben Casey--available on YouTube.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Richard Wilbur (3/1/1921-10/14/2017)

Dark news today in the New York Times--the announcement of the death of poet Richard Wilbur, a writer whose works both Joyce and I deeply admire. And love. (Link to Times story.)

I can't remember when I first read him--but once I did, I felt as if I always had. Over the years I've memorized a few,* so today, on this dim day, I feel as if a part of him is still alive in my wee brain.

A story ...

Back in 2005 my mom, 86 at the time, was still living on her own in western Massachusetts and regularly attended St. Stephen's Parish, an Episcopal Church in Pittsfield. Until his death in 1999 my dad had also gone there--had sung in the choir (oh, he had a wonderful, pure tenor voice). Anyway, one day I was talking with my mom on the phone about a Richard Wilbur poem I really liked, and she told me this stunning news: "He goes to our church."


It seemed a bit odd to me at the time: Wilbur lived in Cummington, Mass. (the same town, by the way, where William Cullen Bryant had lived), a very small town about twenty-five miles east of Pittsfield--a pretty good drive on a Sunday morning.

But I let that pass and got right to it: "Mom, if I send you some of his books, do you think he would sign them?"

Mom sighed. This was not exactly her "thing." But she agreed to ask him. I mailed the books. And not long afterward, here they came, inscribed in his clear hand.

Below, you see one of them--with the inscription ...

One of Wilbur's most moving poems, "The House," appeared in The New Yorker on August 31, 2009. His wife of sixty-four years, Charlotte, had died in April 2007. (Link to her obituary.) How could this poem be about anyone else?


Sometimes, on waking, she would close her eyes
For a last look at that white house she knew
In sleep alone, and held no title to,
And had not entered yet, for all her sighs.
What did she tell me of that house of hers?
White gatepost; terrace; fanlight of the door;
A widow’s walk above the bouldered shore;
Salt winds that ruffle the surrounding firs.
Is she now there, wherever there may be?
Only a foolish man would hope to find
That haven fashioned by her dreaming mind.
Night after night, my love, I put to sea.

"The House" is among those I've memorized; I rehearse it every week, several times. And every time I mutter it, while walking around the indoor track at the health club, that final line--that gorgeous final line--slices into my heart, and gently so.

As Shakespeare wrote in Sonnet 18, "So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, /
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee."

Wilbur's words gave life to everything that fell under his gaze, that worked its way through his heart and mind and flowed from his fingers out onto the page.

*the Wilbur poems in my head ...

“Ecclesiastes 11:1”
“The House”
“April 5, 1974”
“Year’s End”
“Boy at the Window”

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Sundries, 161

1. AOTW: This is an easy one. On Thursday night, coming home from an event in Aurora, after 9, full dark, ,no stars (okay maybe a few ... billion), I saw a guy zoom up behind me, having apparently decided he needed a good, close look at my rear bumper, and what better way to do that than to be as close as possible--with his bright lights on. This went on for about five or six miles till he turned off--presumably headed back to Hell. I really did feel at the time that I was in some kind of Stephen King story and that All Was Not Going to Be Well.

2. Last night we drove down to Green HS to see our grandson Logan (12) in his middle-school play production, Shrek, Jr., a musical based on the film(s) (I guess: I haven't seen them).

Logan played the military captain (serving Lord Farquaad) and had a ball up there, swinging his sword around, mugging for the crowd. He was good--okay really good. And it made me wish I could direct him some time--but, of course, that ain't gonna happen. Got one shot of him wielding that weapon!

3. I finished two books this week ...

     - The first (via Kindle) was the 2nd by Ken Bruen in his series about Irish PI Jack Taylor (whom Joyce and I first met while streaming that fine TV series).

This one--The Killing of the Tinkers--is about the murders of some tinkers (aka gypsies), murders that the police don't seem all that interested in investigating. Enter Taylor--ex-cop, current drunk and dopehead. But still effective and deadly (sometimes). The books are far more brutal than the TV series, and Taylor himself is only marginally admirable. He does love to read, and he's continually talking about what he's reading--from famous poets to novelists. Likes to quote things, too. That quality alone endears him to me! (You Old Folks remember that TV show Have Gun Will Travel? Paladin was like that, quoting Shakespeare while he blew someone's head off.) Here's a link to a list of all the Taylor series.

Anyway, I'm eventually going to read all of these--but will read some other things, too, just to recover my ... what? Self-regard?

     - The second book I finished this week was Dunbar (2017), the latest in the series of novels by current authors based on Shakespeare plays, a series published by the Hogarth Press (link to their Shakespeare book site).

Dunbar, based on King Lear, is one of the best in the series, I think (yes, I've read them all). I'd not read anything by Edward St. Aubyn before, but this will prompt some more reading, believe me.

Dunbar is the name of a media mogul. Two of his daughters have screwed him out of his position, and the third daughter ... well, you know ....  Anyway, I was impressed how St. Aubyn managed to get Dunbar out on a heath in a blizzard to rage, rage, rage--and how he raised my hopes for a better outcome even when I knew the story of Lear, knew that the ending was not going to be Disneyesque (no ogres loving ogres here!).

I liked how St. Aubyn varied the points of view throughout--the sisters, Dunbar, and "Dr. Bob," an ethically-challenged physician who keeps the Two Bad Sisters supplied with "meds" & thinks only of his own enrichment.

And this, from the thoughts of Dunbar: "... it had all really been leading to a rehabilitation of his innocence" (229). And "'No mercy,' said Dunbar, pressing his hands to his head, 'in this world, or any other'" (242).

I am really enjoying this series. One by Jo Nesbø is on the way! His version of Macbeth. Can't wait.

4. For some reason I woke up this morning thinking about that old TV series Ben Casey, which ran, I see, on ABC-TV from 1961-66.  Starring Vince Edwards as the eponymous physician, and Sam Jaffe as his mentor, Dr. David Zorba. I was thinking about it so much that I will do an entire post about it tomorrow. Meanwhile, be satisfied with this image--a TV Guide cover from January 1963.

5. Final Word--a word I liked this week from one of my various online word-of-the-day providers.

     - from the Oxford English Dictionary, a rare, obscure word that is both mildly amusing and full of potential uses!  (The princess was impatient with the slowness of my disarmy!)

disarmy, n. An act of removing armour.
Origin: Apparently a borrowing from French. Etymon: French desarmée.
Etymology: Apparently < an unattested Middle French noun *desarmée action of disarming < desarmer disarm v. + -ée -y suffix5.

Compare later disarm n.(Show Less)

  1548   Hall's Vnion: Henry VIII f. lxxviijv   The herauldes cried the disarmy [1809 disarme].