Potpourri: Muddling Along…

Sorry I’ve been AWOL for a few days — I’ve been doing some committee work, helping with recruiting efforts, and other campus-oriented stuff. Indeed, I just got home from the monthly faculty meeting about half an hour ago. So let’s get caught up, shall we?


I wrapped up Paradise Lost last week in my Long 18th-C. class, and I’ve noticed that while Dr. Johnson’s contention that no one ever wished it longer still applies, my kids seem to enjoy the work more than I expect. Or maybe they’ve grown better at faking it, and it’s just that I’m more excited about it than I used to be. I know that for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been running out of class before I run out of lecture. That’s why, for example, we’ll be finishing Dryden’s Essay of Dramatick Poesie tomorrow morning before we get to the St. Cecilia’s Day pieces.

Likewise, I introduced a class of freshpeeps to Prudentius, the Summa and Chaucer’s Parson’s Tale last week as part of a discussion of the sin of Pride. Because they are Freshpeeps, I’m using relatively modern translations of both, but we’re plugging away, and I was pleased to see some nodding heads (not nodding off, mind you) as we talked a bit about things like 26-inch spinners as the contemporary version of Crakows (which we saw being used as a symbol of worldly vanity in Castle of Perseverance.) Tomorrow, it’s Envy. The fun continues!


Speaking of Prudentius, I hadn’t previously recognized that the Spanish city of Zaragoza (where he may have been born) derived its name from its Roman identity, when it was called Caesaraugusta. I’m glad I have a job where I keep learning things.


Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of my brother’s conviction, and tomorrow will be the fifth anniversary of the jury’s recommendation of life without parole. The remarkable thing, to me anyway, is that I hadn’t realized that until today. There are other dates, of course, that will always echo the Big Noise for me — my folks’ birthdays, their wedding anniversary, and 12 June itself — but I spent yesterday afternoon working in my office, and was unaware of the date. In a way, I find some comfort in knowing that every once in a while, perhaps life can drown out some of the reverberations.


My birthday is approaching as well — about an hour before I get up on Thursday, I’ll turn 53, although we’ll put off the celebration proper until the weekend. There seems to be a current fashion (particularly on Facebook) of encouraging folks to make donations to a favorite charity in the birthday person’s honor. That’s not really my kind of thing, but if you want to mark the occasion, do something that makes the world a little more beautiful. Hold a door you might not ordinarily hold. Read a good book. Let someone out of a parking lot in front of you, or let them have a better parking space. Whistle. Tell a joke. Memorize a poem. Thanks.


And now for our closing musical number. Bob Markley was the rather eccentric vocalist, lyricist, and creepy old guy of The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. Independently wealthy and wanting to score with teen girls despite being in his 30s, he bought his way into a local group, Laughing Wind, and changed their name to WCPAEB. The band was basically done by 1970, and their final album was released as Markley, A Group. Markley died some years ago, and is generally considered an odd footnote in an already odd genre. This is a strange little number, but I like it, and I hope you will too. This is “Roger the Rocket Ship.”

See you soon!

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
This entry was posted in Culture, Education, Family, Literature, Medievalia, Music. Bookmark the permalink.

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