happy monday


Finished MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood last night.  Now I have read her entire Oryx and Crake trilogy. I didn’t find this volume as entrancing as the first two. In Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood Atwood’s incisive satire and wit is on display with her inventions of a future in the former book and a religion in the latter. In MaddAddam she instead tells a final chapter in the story of the future referring less to how it got there then she did in the first two.

MaddAddam is good but the first two are superb.

I continue to attempt to memorize my Greek definite article table. This morning I copied it over and over while waiting for coffee. This is a different approach than I have been using (I keep experimenting).

Previously I have been going over the table mentally. It reminds me of when I first learned the fingerings for cornet/trumpet as a kid. I would find myself thinking of the finger combinations in relation to the notes when sitting around doing nothing.

This kind of mental rehearsal can be helpful.

But today I thought I would see if I could accurately copy the table over and over from memory. I did quite well at it, but still don’t feel 100 per cent secure. It takes time.

I then worked in Grammar text. Going over and over material seems to help. I get a bit deeper into it over time. I hope I can keep this up with my fall schedule.

Yesterday went well at church.

I have to admit I am pretty amazed at how anxious people can be at church. When I think of their passing complaints and grumpiness and compare it to people whose lives are in turmoil it makes me cautious personally to take my own little dilemmas that seriously.

I guess that just working with people.

I found some wonderful lines in Mark Bibbins’ They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry They Kill You Because They’re Full this morning.

We can say we kept things running
by creating distractions
from the hideous truth
of how things run

from “Factory” by Mark Bibbins

This reminded me of the “bread and circuses” theory of society: where a ruling class makes sure there are things like hate radio and sports to keep people from noticing how badly they are running things. Sleigh of hand, misdirection.

The closing lines of “Factory” made me think of Detroit.

We had seen other things
That we had seen
That had come unstrung
And blown between adjacent bridges
Whose river had presented us a city
That was broken
That we had been
That we were broken
That was our city
That was our city
that was a song replaying itself in the dark

from “Factory” by Mark Dibbins

It probably helps to read the whole poem. I also like these closing lines of a another poem of his:

…theory’s just another word
for nothing left to like

Couldn’t help but hear Janis Joplin singing “Me and Bobby McGee” as I read that.

Plus watching the faces of pompous profs caught in the throes of complex but essentially trivial theories. I hate that because the next step in my head is to realize I’m looking in a mirror.

Happy Monday.

Why Democrats Can’t Win the House – NYTimes.com

Some enlightening observations on how a state can be presidentially blue and House red.

Demanding More From College – NYTimes.com

I liked this paragraph:

The Internet has proved to be one of the great ironies of modern life. It opens up an infinite universe for exploration, but people use it to stand still, in a favorite spot, bookmarking the websites that cater to their existing hobbies (and established hobbyhorses) and customizing their social media feeds so that their judgments are constantly reinforced, their opinions forever affirmed.

China’s Education Gap – NYTimes.com

This is written by someone educated in China and whose parents were as well. The mad pace of change in China continues to amaze and appall me. I love hearing from the people involved.

4 thoughts on “happy monday

  1. When I studied Greek, writing declensions over and over and over was the only way I could memorize them. I never found going over them mentally to be very helpful. I suspect that if I had spoken them aloud that would have been effective but I never did that. Or at least I seldom did that.

    If I were going to try to renew my Greek, I would do a lot of writing again. That’s part of why I don’t try to renew it. I find that handwriting aggravates my carpal tunnel syndrome and so I tend to use a keyboard. I think I probably hold the pencil or pen too tightly.

    But, like I said, writing was always the most effective tool for memorizing. And that was true in all subjects for that matter.

  2. Very helpful for you to point this out. I have used the writing method in studying before but not so much with language learning. This is probably because all my formal training has been in spoken languages (French, German). In that case, it’s helpful to be able to recall the correct word form aurally.

    For some reason I didn’t know about your carpal tunnel syndrome. Yikes.

  3. Yep. I have had carpal tunnel for many years. It’s weight related I am sure. It’s why I gave up learning Classical guitar… Took lessons at the same place as Ben when he was young and was doing pretty well. Had to stop though because of the dang hands. Doesn’t seem to bother me much at the piano… Or computer. Sometimes while driving for long distances… I talked with a specialist about surgery but decided against it.

    Ah well…

  4. Bah. I talked to Eileen and she also didn’t remember that you had this problem. Dang. I remember you and Ben studying guitar. I remember you treating Eileen and me to a nice meal after I accompanied you for a purchase of one in order to do so. I’m glad you can still play piano and do computer.

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