Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
If the Republicans think life-long Democrat and former New Republic editor Michael Kinsley will become a Republican just because the objection to the stem-cell research that might have made his brain surgery unnecessary, had it not been delayed by the Republican opposition to embryonic research, has now been rendered moot by the recent discovery of an alternative, ethically uncontroversial source of stem cells, they have another thing coming! Other Democrats who might have avoided brain surgery by discoveries that might have been made by research that might of been conducted earlier had Republicans not opposed using embryos until a less ethically problematic source of stem cells was found, may well feel the same way.
Is it just me, or do none of these students at Harvard's Kennedy School, "blogging" about the YouTube/CNN debate for GOP candidates, sound like they are actually Republicans? Are there any Republican students at the Kennedy school? (Secret Republicans don't count.) How is it remotely relevant to anything what (presumably) Democrat students, at one of the most liberal academic enclaves in the country, think of the performance of the various Republican candidates? Some of the comments are beyond stupid -- (I paraphrase) "Huckabee stresses he can beat Hillary; but that offends our sense of democracy. She hasn't been nominated yet." "Republicans are against gays in the military but Alexander the Great had a lot of gays in his army." (I'm surprised the movie 300 was not invoked. None of those warriors were overtly gay, but you're going to have a hard time finding it in stock in the Castro Blockbuster, I can tell you.) Still, it is amusing to see the NY Times pretending it is new media.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I don't have any deep thoughts about Thanksgiving, except that I really, really like the food thing. This year LWJ outdid herself. Her Dad cooked the turkey in the Weber, the stuffing was some exotic recipe out of Gourmet, great potatoes, very original cranberry sauce, and three pies, apple, mince and pumpkin. What's not to like?
He doesn't like it too much. This paragraph summary is entirely predictable:
If artists were not allowed to revisit the great works of the past, we would not have Dante's Commedia, or Joyce's Ulysses, or, for that matter, John Gardner's Grendel. But surely we could hope for a more intelligent and respectful visitor than this one. Beowulf is the oldest epic in our mother tongue, something very valuable yet by accident of time made accessible only to arduous study. This is the reality that gave us the King James Bible, Chapman's Homer, and even Heaney's Beowulf. But if one sets out to compete with genius, one must be either be armed with genius oneself, or win absolution through a redeeming humility. For every person who will ever read Beowulf, a thousand will see this film. Any teacher must feel a sense of lost opportunity.
Yet, for me, the most entertaining part of the review was this aside: "In light-hearted mood, medieval scholars debated such questions as this: "If you are to be married to a mermaid, which half do you want to be fish?" I must admit, I had never heard of this or even thought of it. A good question, though!