“If you happen to read fairy tales, you will observe that one idea runs from one end of them to the other--the idea that peace and happiness can only exist on some condition. This idea, which is the core of ethics, is the core of the nursery-tales.” ― G.K. Chesterton
For Canadians, David is one of those poems that everyone knows- or at least knows of- because it's been on high school required reading lists for years. I read it when I was in grade ten English as I imagine most other Canadian students did as well. David was written by Canadian poet and novelist Earle Birney and appears in his first volume of poetry which was released in 1942. It's his best known work. David is quite a long poem, and is a narrative told by one of the two characters in it- Bobby. The other character is, of course, David. They are two young men who are working for a survey crew, clearing trails in the Canadian Rockies. On weekends David, who is an experienced climber, takes Bobbie up into the Rockies, teaching him to climb and showing him the beauty of the mountains. Then, on one climbing trip, something terrible happens and how these two characters deal with it makes David a controversial poem which has caused many a heated discussion among high schoolers. Naturally, I have opinions about it. I'm going to include a link to the poem below; if you don't know it, give it a read through. I'll write my analysis of it in a follow up post.
"As every thread of gold is valuable, so is every moment of time."
Yesterday we had a gold rush themed birthday party for one of my brothers-in-law because it was his golden birthday. For those not in the know, your golden birthday is the one when your age and date of birth are the same. In this case, he was turning 28 on the 28th. We don't generally make a big deal about golden birthdays, but it was a good excuse to have a family party in an otherwise rather dreary month. Everyone was required to wear some sort of gold rush costume and bring food appropriate to the theme as well. I made a golden punch and cooked Yukon Gold potatoes. Someone made chili and cornbread, and there were chicken nuggets, etc. I didn't spend too much time on my costume; I wore jeans and a plaid shirt, work socks and my fur-topped boots, then braided my hair and tied a kerchief over it. Some of the others were wearing overalls or suspenders, and a few were wearing long dresses and bonnets. It was all very silly and fun.
Books on the bookshelves And stacked on the floor Books kept in baskets And propped by the door Books in neat piles And in disarray Books tucked in closets And books on display Books filling crannies And books packed in nooks Books massed in windows And mounded in crooks Libraries beckon And bookstores invite But book-filled rooms welcome Us back home at night! - L.R. Knost
My nephew's fifth birthday is coming up, and I've sewn a fleece blanket for him using some Adventure Time fleece. He and his brothers really enjoy that cartoon, so I think he'll like the blanket. Now I just need to go out and get him a book to go with it.
Adventure Time has been around since 2010, and is a kind of ironic show about a boy named Finn and his shape-shifting dog Jake. They live in the post-nuclear war Land of Ooo, which is peopled by characters such as Princess Bubblegum, Ice King, Tree Trunks and Lumpy Space Princess, to name a few. The boys have only talked me into watching it with them a couple of times, so I never know what's going on- or who's who- but apparently it's offbeat humour has made it quite popular with teens as well as younger kids. Adventure Time's theme song is sung by the show's creator, Pendleton Ward, accompanying himself on a ukulele, which rather fits the whole vibe of the show.
I stopped by the local mission store to drop off my old slow cooker- I got a bigger one at Christmas- and a few other donated items. While there, I just happened to notice that their buy one, get one book sale was still going on. Needless to say, I didn't leave empty-handed. I may have a problem.
The book Rocket Boys is a memoir by NASA scientist Homer Hickam Jr. about growing up in a coal town in West Virginia ans his adventures in rocket building with his like-minded friends. I haven't read the book before, but I have seen the excellent 1999 movie October Sky which is based on it. A Reader's Companion To The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings is a collection of essays by various writers including Isaac Asimov, C.S. Lewis, W.H. Auden, and Ursula K. Le Guin expressing their thoughts and opinions about J.R.R. Tolkien's works. Seabiscuit is the 2001 biography of the Depression era racehorse, written by Laura Hillenbrand. When I was a child, I read an earlier biography of Seabiscuit, written in 1963 by Ralph Moody and entitled Come On, Seabiscuit!, so was quite interested to see the 2003 film based on Hillenbrand's book. I found it rather forgettable- though with some good moments- so never bothered to pick up the biography. A couple of years ago, however, I read Hillenbrand's Unbroken and it was excellent, so now I'm looking forward to her Seabiscuit. The only Russian writers I've really read anything by are Nicolai Gogol and Ayn Rand, and I've decided that this year I'm going to branch out a little and try some of the big names in Russian literature, including Dostoyevsky. To that end, I picked up his 1869 book, The Idiot. We shall see how it goes.
Last Sunday night we were at my sister's place for movie night and we watched the 1974 movie Where The Red Fern Grows because she just finished reading the novel (written in 1961 by Wilson Rawls) to her boys. They were fascinated by the story; my sister said that the three older boys - ages 8, 6, and 4- sat quietly with their eyes glued on her all through their story times (the one year old wasn't that impressed). When they started on the final two chapters, her 6 year old said, "I just don't want this book to end!" Boy, do I know that feeling. If you know the story- I read it when I was in elementary school- then you know that the ending is pretty sad. My sister cried all through the last part while reading it to the boys, and her oldest solicitously suggested that they could take a break from school (home school) so that she could "calm down". Solely for her benefit, of course. Where The Red Fern Grows is the story of a boy named Billy Colman who lives with his family in the Ozarks. More than anything Billy wants a pair of hounds, but his family can't afford them so he works odd jobs for two years, saves his money, and eventually is able to buy two redbone coonhound pups for $40. He trains them to hunt raccoons, and they are soon turning a tidy profit selling pelts. They become so skilled that Billy's grandfather enters them in a championship coon hunt. The film follows the book fairly closely, though the character of Billy's mother in the movie seems quite a bit different than in the book, as I remember anyway... it's been a while. Also, the characters of the two dogs- Old Dan and Little Ann- weren't developed as they were in the novel, and there were some changes to the results of the championship which I thought were unnecessary, though I can see why they made them. All in all though, it's a pretty good movie about a boy growing up and learning about responsibility, hard work, sacrifice, and loss.