February 22nd, 2008

Symbols with Teeth

Someone at the Associated Press is surprised:
The polar bear can be found in just one place in United States — Alaska — and is perhaps as much a symbol of the state as alligators are of Florida. So you might think Alaska's politicians would be pounding on doors in Washington to protect it. You would be wrong.
I'm not surprised.  Most people who live near dangerous predators don't see them as symbols.  They see them as threats.

I like cats.  But I'm not especially happy to hear that cougars are working their way back into the Midwest.

Nice kitty,
So pretty,
With such fine and powerful paws!

Pad on by.
Don't stop to try
How my head fits in your jaws.

Le Rouge et le Noir

I finally read Stendhal's The Red and The Black.  I enjoyed reading it, but it was more an intellectual than an emotional pleasure.  He's writing in the time of the Romantics, but he's quite different that, say, Victor Hugo.

Stendhal's characters are often in the dark about their own motivations, particularly when it comes to matters of the heart, where they seem to be more motivated by competition than by true attraction.

The book is centered on Julien Sorel, a young man of low social standing but high ability.  France in the 1830's is not big on upward social mobility.  Nonetheless, Julien pursues high ambitions and well-bred women.

But he loses his head
And winds up dead.

A Movable Feast

In high school I once filled out a form that asked for my specific ethnic identity.  I could have picked Irish, which would have been close enough, but instead I wrote in Mixed Western European.  I was only 3/8 Irish, as far as I could figure out.

My father, who is 3/4 Irish, was outraged, or at least pretended to be, and has been harassing me about it ever since.  Just tonight, in an email, he told my extended family that if anyone needed to know the date for St. Patrick's Day, they could try asking me.

Well... I showed him.  It turns out the Irish are celebrating it on a different day this year.  March 15th instead of 17th.
Under the Church's rules, the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar, the saint's feast day does not rank as high as the Monday before Easter and has to be moved.
Spoilsport priests
Have moved the feast,
But beer consumption will not decrease.