Friday, February 25, 2011

Priscilla, You Lazy Upstairs Maid! Get Down Here!

Chapter 13 and it's snowing outside. This clearly must mean something!


Robison family story time: This morning, my Father yelled up the stairs, "Priscilla, you lazy upstairs maid! Get down here and dress Lady Anne for her luncheon with Lord Bracknell!"

Yes, he was talking to me. No really, that's what he said. I'm not what we call a "morning person." This was after my sister brought Heidi upstairs to sit on me in order to wake me up. Instead, Heidi snuggled with me like the good dog she is, so getting up and out of bed was even harder!

I live on the third floor of our very old house, and we always joke about how I (and my brother, before he moved to campus) live in the servants quarters. Then I went downstairs and ate eggs for breakfast, followed by a leftover turtle brownie. I love being a big kid!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

On Puncutuation, and Other Civilities

"On Punctuation" by Elizabeth Austen

not for me the dogma of the period
preaching order and a sure conclusion
and no not for me the prissy
formality or tight-lipped fence
of the colon and as for the semi-
colon call it what it is
a period slumming
with the commas
a poser at the bar
feigning liberation with one hand
tightening the leash with the other
oh give me the headlong run-on
fragment dangling its feet
over the edge give me the sly
comma with its come-hither
wave teasing all the characters
on either side give me ellipses
not just a gang of periods
a trail of possibilities
or give me the sweet interrupting dash
the running leaping joining dash all the voices
gleeing out over one another
oh if I must
give me the YIPPEE
of the exclamation point
give me give me the curling
cupping curve mounting the period
with voluptuous uncertainty

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A ship is safe in the port, but that's not why it was built

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago -- never mind how long precisely -- having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off -- then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

--opening paragraph of Herman Melville's Moby Dick

Friday, February 18, 2011

WWYPDD: What Would Your Prom Date Do?

Happy Chapter 12!


Things I like about my family: they keep it real. My collegiate brother posted this as part of his Valentine's Day status: "And for all the people who see today as singles awareness day, just remember that the guy this holiday was named after was beaten to death, so today isn't that bad for you."

Or whenever I don't feel like running, I check out the Desert Nuns running in full habit:

Ahh, gotta love keeping perspective in life.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi

Because really, why not?

"Why The Classics" by Zbigniew Herbert

in the fourth book of the Peloponnesian War
Thucydides tells among other things
the story of his unsuccessful expedition

among long speeches of chiefs
battles sieges plague
dense net of intrigues of diplomatic endeavours
the episode is like a pin
in a forest

the Greek colony Amphipolis
fell into the hands of Brasidos
because Thucydides was late with relief

for this he paid his native city
with lifelong exile
exiles of all times
know what price that is

generals of the most recent wars
if a similar affair happens to them
whine on their knees before posterity
praise their heroism and innocence

they accuse their subordinates
envious colleagues
unfavourable winds

Thucydides says only
that he had seven ships
it was winter
and he sailed quickly

if art for its subject
will have a broken jar
a small broken soul
with a great self-pity

what will remain after us
will be like lovers' weeping
in a small dirty hotel
when wallpaper dawns

Pax tecum hodie!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Be Still

To believe as a Christian means in fact entrusting oneself to the meaning that upholds me and the world, taking it as the firm ground on which I can stand fearlessly… to believe as a Christian means understanding our existence as a response to the word, the logos, that upholds and maintains all things.”

--Introduction to Christianity, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), 1968

Monday, February 14, 2011

We're All Austrians Now?!

Oh, Valentine's Day, how I love thee! It is one of the few non-federal holidays which consistently pumps more than 8 billion dollars back into the economy. Yay free market!

Here is a great widget from the Washington Post, collecting fabulous D.C. themed one-liners. Here are a few of my favorites:

"Independence from you would be bad for my Constitution."
"Without you, my heart is like a metro esclator... broken."
"I want to take the red line to your heart."
"I promise to stick by you like that red intern badge."

Also, my friend Maggie works for Sears in Chicago and is in this hilarious video ad called, "Grin and Bear It-- Valentine's Day, The Expert Way": 

(She's the one getting proposed to in the second shot.)

But even more than the entertaining parts of today, it is important to remember St. Valentine, a Roman Bishop martyred in 269 AD outside the Flaminian Gate. He was arrested by Emperor Claudius II for marrying Christian couples and then tried to convert the Emperor, who had him beaten with clubs, stoned, and beheaded for his faith.

My weekend in Georgia was amazing. I love the South and Vivy and Vivy's whole family. If she wasn't going to culinary school in a month, I would probably fly back in two. I'll be writing more on our adventures later. This picture is of us and the back of Flannery O'Connor's house.

Happy St. Valentine's Day! The first reading today was from Genesis, when Cain killed Abel; it is a good reminder that, even when we act unworthy of God's love, he will still bless and protect us.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Born This Way

I heard through the grapevine that Lady Gaga's new album is out today, so I thought we'd start with some John Cusack: "People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"

Also, today is my 11th Quick Takes on February 11th! Yeah! Totally happened.


First exciting piece of business: a raffle contest! Truth and Life made an unabridged and dramatized version of the New Testament (RSV) with a stellar cast.

Here's their blurb:

The Truth & Life Dramatized audio Bible™ New Testament is endorsed with an Imprimatur from the Vatican and includes a foreword by Pope Benedict XVI. Voiced by internationally-renowned actors including: Neal McDonough, Kristen Bell, Sean Astin, Michael York, Blair Underwood, Malcolm McDowell, Stacy Keach, Brian Cox, Julia Ormond, John Rhys-Davies and many more. The Truth & Life audio New Testament is a first of its kind dramatized audio Bible from the RSV-CE translation and distributed by Zondervan.

From Chicago to Hollywood to New York and beyond... over 70 actors, 20 audio engineers in 10 studios over 3 continents contributed to the creation of this unique audio New Testament.

More than 100 media development experts and 10,000 production hours were needed to complete this ambitious project.

The complete audio New Testament is 22 hours shipped on 18 CDs.

Here's a peek into production:

Yeah, doesn't it sound amazing?! It is. I own it and have enjoyed listening to it so much that I bought it for my adviser's family for Christmas. They love it too. I've also lent it to B + Z, goodly Protestant friends of mine, who also love it. Hearing the Bible is so reminiscent of oral tradition and really touches another part of the intellect and senses.

So here's the raffle: comment on this post or e-mail me at julie (dot) cornerview (at) gmail (dot) com to enter your name to win your own dramatized NT.

That's it! Next week, I'll put all the names in a bowl and one lucky reader will get a free copy from Truth and Life!! I'll announce the winner next week and post a video of one of my siblings picking the name. I promise we'll make it entertaining.

For and on the record, I really do encourage support for this company and the work they do. This product is especially good for people on the go, who perhaps wish they had more time to read the Bible. Listening to it in the car or in the my room has really been powerful, and I am beyond grateful for this recording. Fingers crossed that they produce an Old Testament version next!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oh, sNOw!

Here's to hoping Phil was right about an early Spring...

"Winter Remembered" by John Crowe Ransom

Two evils, monstrous either one apart,
Possessed me, and were long and loath at going:
A cry of Absence, Absence, in the heart,
And in the wood the furious winter blowing.

Think not, when fire was bright upon my bricks,
And past the tight boards hardly a wind could enter,
I glowed like them, the simple burning sticks,
Far from my cause, my proper heat and center.

Better to walk forth in the frozen air
And wash my wound in the snows; that would be healing;
Because my heart would throb less painful there,
Being caked with cold, and past the smart of feeling.

And where I walked, the murderous winter blast
Would have this body bowed, these eyeballs streaming,
And though I think this heart’s blood froze not fast
It ran too small to spare one drop for dreaming.

Dear love, these fingers that had known your touch,
And tied our separate forces first together,
Were ten poor idiot fingers not worth much,
Ten frozen parsnips hanging in the weather.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Be Still, My Sacred Heart

I'm starting to pray a novena. It's my first one, and like many first things, I'm excited about it. I'm a Type A, competitive and over-performing personality, which means I prefer to do everything myself.

But what's the point of being an overachiever if I underachieve for God, who gave me my drive, talents and abilities in the first place? Talk about ingraditude! So, now that I've graduated, and my priorities are sensibly shifting, I've decided to focus 2011 specifically on trusting God in all things. At present, I mostly do, but I still worry.

I was struck this past Sunday, during the Nicene Creed, when I said I believe in the resurrection of the body.

Here I was, participating in the Mass, not worrying whether or not people might come kill us because we publicly proclaim our belief in Jesus (which is happening currently in the Middle East; "No group right now may be suffering more in the Middle East than Christians," says The New Republic.). Jesus Christ, who bodily ascended to Heaven, who will come again to judge the living and the dead, present at the Mass, and there I was in the pew, filling my thoughts with smaller, more trivial worries. How silly of me!

And, I pondered further, if I can trust God, in his great mercy, to give us everlasting life, how can I do anything except "pray, hope and [not] worry"? (to quoth St. Padre Pio.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Confessions of a Never-Homeschooler

Extra, Extra! Read all of Volume Ten! I'm still on the phone (fine, on hold) with so-and-so about this-and-that, so let's get this post oot and aboot...


Confession: I didn't know people ACTUALLY home schooled their children until I went to college. It sounded like a myth, or a kind of educational theory. I rationalized that only people who didn't have schools within a certain number of miles of their home would do that. I grew up in a huge city with tons of schools: public, private, parochial, take your pick! Then I found out Cincinnati is a huge homeschooling city.

I admit: I should have known better.

My father was that parent who made us do extra work when we got home from school. He went to teacher-parent night to complain that we weren't being given enough homework. He always said, "I already know my kids are the best. I want to hear how you're going to make them better."

He also told us to play for fun, climb trees, read books and then write our own. He listened to every single child tell him ridiculous stories, only to have him tell us a better one. Yeah, you want to meet my dad now. Who doesn't?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

No man's wise without his share of winters in the world

from "The Wanderer"; translated by Greg Delanty

The loner holds out for grace
--the Maker's mercy--though full of care
he steers a course, forced to row
the freezing, fierce sea with bare hands,
take the exile's way; fate dictates.
The earth-stepper spoke, heedful of hardship,
of brutal battle, the death of kith and kin:
"Often at first lick of light
I lament my sole way--no one left
to open my self up to wholly,
heart and soul. Sure, I know
it's the noble custom for an earl
to bind fast what's in his breast,
hoard inmost thoughts, think what he will.

For sure, no man's wise without his share
of winters in the world. He must be patient,
not too keen, not hot tongued,
not easily led, not foolhardy,
not timid, not all gusto, not greedy
not too cocky till he knows life.
A man should take stock before a vow,
brace for action, be mindful
of the mind's twists and turns."

So spoke the wise man from his heart, musing apart.
Blest is he who holds true. No man should openly bare
his heart's hardships unless he knows the cure,
that is his great feat. It's well to seek solace
from the Maker, out only security.

I had a different poem lined up for today, but H/T to Davey for blowing me away with this translation of the olde epic classic. Here's audio of Michael D.C. Drout of Wheaton College reading The Wanderer out-loud in the Anglo Saxon, which is pretty cool. Here's a comparison of the Old English and modern English versions-- the poem is only 115 lines and is important in poetry canon.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Wind it was Howlin’ and the Snow was Outrageous

Everyone and their cousin Bob has today off in the Midwest, except for Cincinnati, which had ice yesterday and a bit of a snow flurry today.

Here's my contribution- The White Stripes' cover of Bob Dylan's song "Isis," which is where the title of this post comes from:


Today is also Candlemas and Groundhog's Day. Punxsutawney Phil says... early spring! Hooray!