Dear, Sweet Catherine!

A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.

Northanger Abbey, p. 122

Self loves this book. Loves, loves, loves it.

She hardly remembers anything from the first time she read it, it’s a good thing she decided to read it again. Catherine’s innocence, her enthusiasm for the “horrible” — who would have expected such an entertaining tale to be spun from this?

Catherine confides in her new BFF Eleanor Tilney that she is very much looking forward to the arrival of “something very shocking indeed” (p. 123) and that “it is more horrible than anything we have met with yet . . . it is to be uncommonly dreadful. I shall expect murder and everything of the kind.” (p. 124)

Eleanor assumes that Catherine is talking about a “riot.”

Eleanor: Have the goodness to satisfy me as to this dreadful riot.

Catherine: Riot — What riot?

Henry hastens to explain: “Miss Morland has been talking of nothing more dreadful than a new publication which is shortly to come out . . .”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lovely London

Self was supposed to go on an Old Parish Maps walk of Clerkenwall but she bailed because she wanted to take things slow today, after that loooong train journey from Cornwall yesterday.

She had an early breakfast, then set off walking. Soon, she found herself in front of the British Library, but instead of going in, she went next door, to St. Pancras/Renaissance Hotel, and inquired at reception if they could ring her son’s room.

He did not pick up, probably because he’s just arrived in London. She told the receptionist to let son know that his mother had stopped by. Then, she twirled and waltzed out without waiting for a response from the receptionist.

She wandered on Leigh Street and found North Sea Fish was closed. She walked down Marchmont Street and stopped at a cafĂ© for very yummy hot banana bread with yogurt. Topped that off with red bean gelato. Picked up a couple of flyers from LSE (London School of Economics, Dear Departed Sister’s alma mater), returned to Russell Square (one side of which was sprouting police cars, she wonders why) and resumed reading Northanger Abbey.

UGH, the horrible stress inflicted on poor Catherine Morland (so far, self’s favorite Jane Austen heroine — yes, a better heroine than Emma or Anne Elliot) by manipulative Thorpe sibs Isabella and John! In the latest situation, they have conveniently dismissed Miss Eleanor Tilney (sister of that elusive love interest Henry Tilney) without checking first with Catherine whether she intended to keep her appointment with Eleanor. Catherine, on learning of the Thorpes’s horrible presumptuousness, goes running full tilt after Eleanor (and why should she not? Henry Tilney is quite a fetching man! Self too would go running if someone told her that Timothy Olyphant or Nikolaj Coster-Waldau were just around the corner!).

p. 111:

Thorpe would have darted after her, but Morland withheld him. “Let her go, let her go, if she will go.”

“She is as obstinate as — “

Thorpe never finished the simile, for it could hardly have been a proper one.

lol

Morland refers to Catherine’s older brother, James. And a wonderful older brother he is, too. He’s in love with Isabella Thorpe, who’s a ninny. If not for that, he would be self’s third-favorite Jane Austen suitor, after Mr. Knightley and Henry Tilney. He most certainly is self’s favorite Jane Austen brother.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Comedy of Manners

Persuasion, p. 39:

  • The Musgroves, like their houses, were in a state of alteration, perhaps of improvement. The father and mother were in the old English style, and the young people in the new. Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove were a very good sort of people; friendly and hospitable, not much educated, and not at all elegant.

Three of a Kind: Photo-A-Week Challenge

Self has an enduring love of windows, which is why she is constantly taking pictures of them.

This week, she joins A Photo A Week Challenge. This week’s prompt: THREE OF A KIND (three photos of the same subject)

Below, three views, same window in the Main House, Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig:

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DSCN0032

DSCN0031

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Resistance in the Netherlands

Arnhem: The Battle for the Bridges, 1944, pp. 20 – 21:

  • “A fugitive from the Germans, whether Jewish or Gentile, who disappeared was known as an onderduiker, or diver. Some areas were better than others in hiding Jews. For example, as many as half of Eindhoven’s 500 Jews were concealed as divers and saved.”
  • “Since armed resistance was almost impossible in a country lacking mountains and large forests, the Dutch underground concentrated on helping those in danger with fake identities and ration books . . . “

The Nazi leader in the Netherlands was “merciless.” He ordered “reprisals for acts of resistance.” And how different is that, really, for punishing sanctuary cities like San Francisco by withholding FEMA funds, by busing detained immigrants there?

When people would mention ‘fascists’ existing in self’s backyard, in San Francisco, she would laugh!

Now, reading this book, she’s learning a whole lot about fascists and yes, they do exist, even in places like San Francisco.

 

Bicycles, the Netherlands

Arnhem, the Battle for the Bridges, by Antony Beevor, p. 10

There had been 4 million bicycles in the Netherlands at the beginning of the war, half as many as the total population. The Wehrmacht had commandeered 50,000 at the beginning of July 1942, and now thousands more were headed for Germany, most of them loaded with soldiers’ equipment and booty as they pushed them along the roads. With no rubber for tyres, pedaling them on wooden wheels was heavy work. But their loss hit hard.

 

Kenan Malik in The Observer, 21 April 2019 (Easter Sunday)

Self arrived in London several hours ago. So most of her quotes (for the next couple of weeks) will be from British or Irish papers, like The Observer.

“The problem is not fierce argument, but a rush to damn our opponents.”

Self wishes she could quote every sentence of this piece. Here’s the opening, including the header:

Robust debate is evidence of a healthy society.

But it is not debate America is having right now. Those who cite “freedom of speech” to bash others are not really open to freedom of speech, and they prove it by coming up with labels like “socialists” or “the extreme left” or “crazy liberals.”

And BTW, can self just say that Meghan McCain is almost unwatchable. Every episode of The View now, she has to say something like “those on the left” or “the extreme left.” Self would like to send her a link to the Kenan Malik piece. It is NOT helpful to bandy about labels like these, which sound altogether too neat (as if she really knows what “the extreme left” is. You know how self knows Meghan doesn’t know what an “extreme left liberal” is? Because self doesn’t know herself. It’s a label that was born with this White House. And she doesn’t trust it. Because it sounds like a label concocted purely for political purposes. Which means the very label itself is a lie.)

In contrast, self is 100% sure when she says “the GOP is no longer a credible political party.” You will never find self saying “The GOP is not a credible political party because they are made up of rightists.” No, she’ll say “the GOP is no longer a credible political party because they fronted us Donald Trump.” And even now they can’t admit it. Self knows they can’t admit it because they keep coming up with more ridiculous labels.

We in America (and self knows this, since she lives there) are driving ourselves crazy trying to parse stupid statements like “I’m not a robot” — endlessly.

Or, “rake the forest floor.” And when we defend ourselves, the White House will bring up “crazy liberals.” Which the base seems to accept as fact.

Self would just like to say that pairing “crazy” with anything is the surest way to kill debate. Something America so desperately needs.

Here’s some advice: When a person brings up “crazy liberals” in a conversation with you, you should stop speaking to that person. Immediately. Because you’re having a fake conversation. And those are the worst kinds. Absolutely the worst. Because the person’s just using you as an excuse to air a platform.

Which was the case with Sarah Sanders and George Stephanopoulos last week.

Also BTW (this post is so full of them, apologies), Sarah Sanders took a page right out of the Justin Bieber playbook: his “sorry I make mistakes but I’m not a robot.”

Yes, Sarah, you have just followed in the footsteps of a twenty-something pop star. High Fives!

 

Thought for Tax Sunday, April 2019

DSCN0236

Self travels the world.

And does her best to be happy.

That is all.

Milkman, p. 7

  • At the time, age eighteen, having been brought up in a hair-trigger society where the ground rules were — if no physically violent touch was being laid upon you, and no outright verbal insults were being levelled at you, and no taunting looks in the vicinity either, then nothing was happening, so how could you be under attack from something that wasn’t there?

Having watched Christine Blasey Ford’s agonizing and humiliating recounting of her experience with Brett Kavanaugh, self would like to say that, on the basis of how Ford’s evidence was handled, even if there had been violent touch and verbal insults and taunting looks, the victim still wouldn’t be believed.

It turns out there was at least one female listener who had her own private experience of assault, but did not speak up. US Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ), months later, revealed she had been raped by a superior while she was in the Air Force. McSally was the first American woman to fly in combat.

Thinking about McSally now, even if she had spoken up during the Kavanaugh hearing, it might not have changed the outcome. But, jeez, it would have made Christine Blasey Ford feel less alone.

Stay tuned.

Prairie Schooner: The Opioid Issue (Winter 2018), Guest Edited by Glenna Luschei

Ray Murphy, from a letter quoted in the Introduction by Glenna Luschei:

Virtually all of my writing about opiates stems from writing about injury. I never address opiates as a recreational drug. Be interesting to see how many other submissions you get that come out of injury and pain, and then progress into dependency and possibly full-blown addiction.

The second piece in the issue is Marsha de la O’s Paradise Motel. An excerpt:

Black flame, blue spoon, now the shadow
draws close a cloak as wide as Lake Michigan,
robed and rocked in god’s water, rippling
indigo. From out on the street the rush of cars

weave through their harmonies —
those vessels I’ve entered one by one,
riding out currents on a raft of fire.

Marsha de la O’s new collection, Every Ravening Thing, is just out from Pitt Poetry.

delaO-Cover-380x570.jpg

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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