The History of the Royal Gardens

Self is reading about all the wonderful improvements made to London’s public parks by Charles II, James II and William and Mary.

  • “Each royal generation tried to outdo the one before.” — England’s Magnificent Gardens, p. 26

Reading that sentence, self can’t help being reminded of the “improvements” inflicted by Melania on Jackie Kennedy’s beloved Rose Garden. It would seem she was driven, not by a wish to outdo her predecessors, but by a wish for VENDETTA!

Back to England’s Magnificent Gardens: The improvements made by the various monarchs did not come from “their own money. That came from the government of the day and, ultimately, from all the nation’s taxpayers.”

Darn it! WE the people probably supplied the funds for Melania’s hack job — with our tax dollars!? Didn’t Omarosa say in her book that Melania was not a victim, she was always in control? She knew how to get her point across. In fact, this Master of the Passive Aggressive didn’t just use gardens to make a statement, she also used fashion! Who can forget the green military style jacket (vaguely reminiscent of Fidel Castro’s garb) she wore to almost everything during The Former Guy’s last year in office? Or what about the blood-red Christmas trees that looked more like they belonged in Handmaid’s Tale or Halloween Kills?

Stephanie Grisham in her book corroborates Omarosa: yes, Stephanie says, the First Lady was very very passive aggressive. And SHE TOOK IT OUT ON CHRISTMAS. (Melania was probably thinking, I’m miserable as First Lady. I’m going to do the White House Christmas decorations in RED, like the inside of a bordello! Because I don’t like Christmas! Christmas is off the table! Christmas is nuts! I’m going to destroy Christmas!)

Self wonders where Melania learned how to be the Queen of Passive Aggressive. Was it something she picked up in Slovakia? Or later, when she was accompanying the Donald on his private jets? Or was it something she was born with?

When TFG had to entertain, she left him very much to his own devices, which is why he had to improvise with take-out from McDonald’s. Maybe they fought earlier, and this was her revenge.

Melania for the win!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: The Thursday Murder Club, pp. 37 – 38

  • “She must be fifty,” Ian thinks, same age as him. Different for women, though . . . If that meant having to flirt with a fifty-year-old for a couple of weeks, then so be it . . . As he shakes Karen’s hand, Ian thinks that using a bit of hand cream every now and again wouldn’t kill her. Fifty! He wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Ian’s thinking is apropos of THE VILLAIN. THE VILLAIN. THE VILLAIN!

That is all.

Hilarious Stendhal Quote of the Day

SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT

The Charterhouse of Parma has reached a turning point. Fabrizio is recognized by a former servant as he tries to cross the Po River. From loneliness, Fabrizio tells this servant, right away: I killed a man this morning.

Ludovic promises to help Fabrizio. They manage to evade the police, but during “the long intervals” of hiding, Ludovic decides to make Fabrizio listen to his sonnets.

Who knew this former coachman always had a deep desire to write poetry!

Fabrizio’s reflections on Ludovic’s sonnets:

  • Their feelings were true, but somehow blunted by their expression, and the verses were scarcely worth transcribing; oddly enough, this ex-coachman had passions and visions that were lively and picturesque; they turned cold and commonplace as soon as he wrote them down.

Poor Fabrizio, hiding in the willows on the banks of the Po River, forced to listen to his companion recite his bad poetry!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Stendhal Quote of the Day

Chapter Eleven, The Charterhouse of Parma:

As we see, Fabrizio was one of those unfortunates tormented by their imagination, this is frequently the defect of intelligent men in Italy. A French soldier of equal or even inferior courage would have ventured to cross the bridge immediately, without brooding in advance upon the difficulties, but he would also have proceeded with all his composure when, at the end of the bridge, a short fellow dressed in gray said to him: “Go into the police office and show your passport.”

At this point, 1/3 of the way through The Charterhouse of Parma, self sincerely hopes dear blog readers adore Stendhal as much as she does. Otherwise it’s going to be a long September.

Interesting side note: In Chapter Eleven, Fabrizio’s height is revealed. He is five foot five. Wow, that is short! Somehow, she imagined him as tall and lean.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

How To Be

Fabrizio’s looks save him over and over again. After the defeat of the French, he stumbles across the canteen woman who, despite having lost her cart and her horse, is still intent on protecting him.

Chapter Four, The Charterhous of Parma:

Canteen Woman (That’s all she ever goes by) to Fabrizio: “Get yourself away from this defeated army; find some way out . . . The first chance you get, buy yourself some civilian clothes. Once you’re eight or ten leagues away and you don’t see any more soldiers, take the mail-coach and rest up for a couple of weeks in some nice town where you can eat beefsteaks . . . As soon as you’ve got a gentleman’s clothes on your back, tear up your travel-permit . . . never say you were in battle, and don’t breathe a word about Bonaparte . . . When you want to go back to Paris, get yourself to Versailles first, then enter Paris from that side, walk right in as if you were out for a stroll. Sew your napoleons into your trousers. And above all, when you have to pay for something, don’t let anyone see more than what you need to pay. The saddest thing of all is that people are going to cheat you and gouge you out of all you have, and what will you do once you have no money, when you don’t even know how to take care of yourself?”

Battle is Joined, Woo Hoo!

Still Chapter Three, The Charterhouse of Parma:

It might have been two o’clock in the afternoon . . . when a group of generals, followed by some twenty hussars, galloped past a corner of the vast field, on the edge of which he was still standing; his horse whinnied, reared two or three times, then pulled violently at the bit. “So be it, go!” Fabrizio decided.

Left to himself, the horse galloped off to join the escort following the generals. Fabrizio counted four gold-braided hats. Fifteen minutes later, Fabrizio understood from a few words spoken by a hussar near him that one of these generals was the famous Marshal Ney. His happiness was complete . . .

HOOOLY Cow, Stendhal!

Self has spent one whole day — today — reading and re-reading Chapter One of The Charterhouse of Parma. Since she’s already quoted from the chapter several times, she will, in the interest of efficiency, summarize. Otherwise, she’ll still be here tomorrow.

Napoleon’s army marches into Lombardy, expecting to be met with surly peasants. Instead they are greeted with wide open arms and love. Crazy, right? It turns out the Italians are very superstitious, and there is a prophecy that Napoleon’s troops will leave of their own accord, in thirteen weeks exactly. So why worry, be happy!

After thirteen weeks, when the French do not leave, the people realize that the prophecy actually meant thirteen months.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Arranged Marriage

Still Chapter One, The Charterhouse of Parma:

There now occurred a great event in this family. The Marchese had arranged the marriage of his young sister Gina to an extremely rich personage of the highest birth; but the man powdered his hair: on this account Gina received him with peals of laughter; and soon committed the folly of marrying Count Pietranera.

Currently Listening To

The New Abnormal, podcast launched by The Daily Beast in April.

Hosts: Molly Jong-Fast and Rick Wilson

Money Quote: “. . . between Mary Trump, Demon Sperm, and the world still in chaos . . . ”

Yes. Yes. We are in the Last Days of the Trump Presidency, and it is a wild and crazy time, involving  bad hydrochloroquine sell jobs, threats to end TikTok and the US Post Office (and even the elections), and the U.S. Secretary of Education telling America their kids are “natural stoppers” for corona virus hence they should do their patriotic duty by GETTING OUT THERE, ATTENDING SCHOOL, and SAVING THEIR COUNTRY.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Teaching Kindergarten: The Stress!

“I watch them like a hawk, I really do. Well, I try, but I’ve got twenty-eight kids, two with ADHD, one with learning difficulties, two gifted kids, at least four whose parents think they’re gifted, and one who is so allergic I feel like I should have one hand on the EpiPen at all times and — “

Big Little Lies, p. 270

So far, it’s all about Mothers Club. But self is still here! After 270 pages. Liane Moriarty is quite a storyteller. Self just didn’t expect the novel to be so thoroughly satirical.

There are no boring parts. Even though it’s mostly about THE PARENT TRAP, how parents guilt themselves into trying to provide the ‘perfect’ environment for their kids. (A lot of parents must be reading this book and identifying with the characters here)

Also, for some reason, suburban life in Australia is exactly like suburban life in northern California. Who knew?

There are really only two ‘good’ men. Thankfully, one of them is married to a main character. So we get to read a lot about him.

Stay tuned.

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