Saturday, December 29, 2007

In the bleak mid-winter: A round-up of recent posts

Cesar Boëtius van Everdingen, A young woman warming her hands over a brazier (c. 1650). Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, courtesy of the Rijkswidget

The Rijksmuseum's commentary for this beautiful painting says that Everdingen isn't painting a person so much as an idea: the idea of Winter itself--its coldness and darkness, yes, but also, in the midst of that, warmth and intimacy arising from huddling about that warmth. And sure: make all that as figurative as you wish.


Those of you weary of reading the thin gruel I've been serving up of late (and--fair warning--that remains to be served up) might find something more substantial among the links below selected from the Daily (B)Reads list over in the right gutter.

Over at The Books of My Numberless Days, Imani reviews A Choice of Shakespeare’s Verse by Ted Hughes. Two surprises, both for her and for me as I read her review: a) Hughes broadly defines "verse" here to include memorable moments from various plays; b) those excerpts are sturdy enough that the reader finds himself/herself not needing context to appreciate them.

This post at Crooked Timber is a a meditation on Newgrange and the cultural/societal necessity, once upon a time, of celebrating the winter solstice--but also note carefully, Christians among my readers, the description of how the light passes into and through the tomb. Anyway, that post is a pithier expression of something I'd tried to say some time ago.

Randall, appropriately, muses over something I've noted different versions of in my students: a rather odd set of assumptions This Younger Generation has about its computers and the Internet. Quite aside from the fact that it's well worth your time in any case, I'm linking to it here as a nudge to remind myself to write up a little something on this same subject.

Winston of Nobody Asked . . . tries to start a meme: Five films that, when you run across them while channel-surfing, you can't click through. True to the spirit of memes in the Richard Dawkins sense of the word, Winston invites readers to tag themselves. I'd play, except that I don't have cable and in any case am not a channel-surfer by nature.

Over at Tales from the Microbial Lab, Pam's day after Christmas post is about the gift of the lives of family and friends. Yeah, yeah, you say. But Pam can write about this familiar terrain and make it really matter . . . because, in her particular case, it really DOES matter.

Emawkc of 3 O'Clock in the Morning relates his brother-in-law's homecoming from a 15-month deployment in Iraq. This matters, too.

UPDATE: Via Clusterflock comes "He directed THAT?", a survey of filmic anomalies by Directors You've Heard Of. A nice (and occasionally cringe-inducing) stroll down memory lane.

Enjoy. In the meantime, I'll try to thicken up my gruel.


R. Sherman said...

Thanks for the plug.


R. Sherman said...

I forgot to mention, one of our associates did a whirlwind trip to Amsterdam with her husband who was on a business trip -- 36 hours. I told her she absolutely had to visit the Rijksmuseum. Alas, its been undergoing renovation for about the last five years and only a few galleries are open.

Too bad.

Pam said...

yeah,yeah - cheesy, I know. :)

I'm still absolutely enthralled with the map sites. Why had I never simply googled 'maps' before? Craziness.

Hope you have a nice New Years. I'm thinking about starting an 'anti-resolutions' campaign - please feel free to join me!

John B. said...

Randall, according to the website, the Rijksmuseum will be quite the showplace when it's finished. But you're right: if someone is counting on a visit there and it's not entirely open, it can be a real let-down.

Pam, re the "anti-resolution campaign": I'll happily join you . . . but wouldn't the act of resolving not to make a resolution, um, be a resolution?

Winston said...

Thanks for the mention. I cannot take credit for originating that one. Proper accreditation is proffered in the first sentence of my murmur.

We do have cable, but just the extended basic, not premium movie channels. Got to have the extended for a few dollars extra just to get CNN, ESPN, Discovery and History Channels. Roomie will sit with the R/C and surf ad infinitum. Drives me nuts. Look at the damn Channel Guide station or the printed listing on the table in front of you, pick something and go with it...