Sunday, April 17, 2011

15 years ago #3

March 28, 1996 — morning
I slept very well the night after, if you wanted to know. We are now back in the ‘Peg. And guess what? Dad’s home for the week! Anyway, I am reading a French book right now, and I am enjoying it. No homework for Nat and I! Freedom! What to do, what to do . . . . I’ve taken to reading the Bible. I enjoy reading great classics. And if the Bible isn’t a classic, then what is? Life is good for me right now. But I wonder often what Heaven is like. Earlier in this diary, I wrote my thoughts about Heaven. I’d love to see what Heaven is like. Not yet, though. I can wait. At times I have fears that Heaven doesn’t exist. But the Bible reassures me of a Heaven existing. God be praised. I am a Catholic and I try always to serve the higher power faithfully. Every night I pray. I don’t mean to sound too proud, but I really think I pray more often than some people. People that brag about going (to) church are okay, as long as they try to do good during the week. Otherwise, they are hypocrites. May God make them repent! Well, I have to go. I have other things to do today. SYS!

Interesting how my thoughts have changed over time. Between this entry and the one from late May 1996 I apparently had nothing to say. Not surprising, as there are numerous gaps in my earlier diaries. Thanks for your time.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thoughts on Da Finn

Having a third look at 'Phineas redux', and amazingly, I'm coming across things I either didn't see before or things that I saw before but only move me now. To say that Phineas has loved and lost is true a number of times over. He returns from 'Phineas Finn' seemingly back at Square One, and is back to dealing with political life and tons of unresolved sexual tension. His lovely and influential lady friends Madame Max and Lady Laura have their own problems but very much want to help him get back to a place of prominence. Lady Laura has a bigger problem than Madame Max, however. She chose the wrong guy and paid a fairly steep price for it. Now trouble's brewing between her, her estranged husband, and Phineas, who has the roughest time though he's more innocent than either of them. What drove this woman to first choose than leave her mate? What drove this man to lose her? Incompatible folks, but why should Phineas (the 'Other Man', on the other hand) be the one to get shot at? Apologies for any possible spoilers. It's a great book - better than 'Phineas Finn', although the latter is also a very good book.
Admittedly, the game between X and Y is quite the mystery to me, and will probably remain one for the rest of my days. Also, I fear that I will have to cut this entry short. Supper's calling me. I will doubtless make another Phineas-related post once I have come to the end of the book. BYE.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Delightful imagery and depraved savagery

That is Marlowe's 'Tamburlaine' in a nutshell. I so badly wanted him to be struck down, either by one of his equally terrible allies or by one of the opposing kings or soldiers. That's not Marlowe's game, but I knew that ahead of time. It still bugged me. Anyway, I got through 'Tamburlaine' and am now studying what the critics of the early 1900's thought of him. Tamburlaine reminds me of another depraved ruler in a similar time, and if you will forgive me, I am going to connect this fellow to 'Mahabharat'. King Kansa of Mathura wasn't actually in the 'Mahabharata', but the Chopras thought he would make a great addition to their massive saga story. Kansa was Krishna's monstrous uncle whose death was prophesied on the day Kansa's sister married his closest friend. It was foretold that Devaki would give birth to eight sons, and the eighth son would return to kill Kansa one day. Kansa quickly locked his sister and his friend up and proceeded to slaughter each child as it was born. Of course, Krishna escaped and went on to fulfill the sage's decree. Too bad such a death was not foretold of Tamburlaine. Okay, I'm done talking about 'The Mahabharata'. I seem to do that a lot. Back to 'Tamburlaine' and his unforgivable deeds.
Marlowe drew a variety of images from the dank tarn of his mind to craft a violent story that would rival the likes of Caligula, Herod the Great, or Ivan the Terrible. What's worse, his wife actually approved of what he was doing. His allies, dastardly kings themselves, were behind him all the way. I thought at first that they were just with him out of fear, and that when he met his end, they would turn against his successor. Maybe they would have, as Marlowe closed the story at Tamburlaine's passing. It takes a lot of charisma gone wrong to create such a legendary figure. Is Tamburlaine a man to be admired? His violent streak was not changed by his wife's passing, and surprisingly, I suspect she was the only one he ever really loved. She was greater than Helen, greater than Venus, and at her passing, he mourned bitterly before continuing his reign of terror. I guess it's better than some blood-thirsty fellows who would kill their entire family along with everyone else.
A scene from the saga got me thinking pretty hard. A rival king and queen are thrown into the dungeon. Rather than face an ignoble future, they commit suicide in one of the more horrible ways that I have ever heard of. It takes quite a bit of dedication to do what they did. And I had to wonder why they did it. Was it fear of being shamed? Maybe just cutting to the chase instead of languishing for months and years to come.  Hard to say. Anyway, that's what's been on my mind of late. Back to the critics I go. BYE.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Marlowe and Mejda

Should we lay laurels eternally upon Shakespeare's grave in humble thanks for the plays he wrote, or should we be looking to others? There has been an ongoing debate through history suggesting that Francis Bacon wrote some of Shakespeare's works and either attributed his efforts to the Legendary Bard or stole the fame for himself. Check it out in Wikipedia for more information. Anyway, I recently finished reading 'History Play' about Christopher Marlowe, writer of 'Tamburlaine' and 'Doctor Faustus'. Rodney Bolt has suggested that it was Marlowe who wrote the likes of 'Romeo and Juliet', 'Merchant of Venice' and turned them over to his assistant, one Wil Shaksper, to clean them up and have them ready for the actors. First off, Bolt has a few bony facts, which he clothes in alien flesh to create a unique little beast of a story. Very well-written and greatly enjoyable. In the distant past, when identification was not concrete and most folks signed their name with an X, who is to say what was true and what wasn't? Did Marlowe really die in a bar-fight? Was he a pawn instead? Did Shakespeare and Marlowe move in familiar circles enough that they knew each other? If interested, please have a look at this remarkable book.
Meanwhile, I've gotten back into watching 'Mahabharat' again. Episode 79 always makes me cry a little, thanks to its poignant scenes. This has little to do with 'Mejda', other than the fact that both 'Mahabharata' and 'Mejda' both came from India. I may have mentioned this book in previous posts, and if I have, I am going to mention it again today. It is said that the Buddha will come when the world has forgotten the Dharma. With all the sages of various shades emerging in writings from India, China, and Tibet, people are not likely to forget the Dharma for a while to come. That said, these sages all hearken from centuries ago, and are not familiar with the 20th century. 'Mejda' passed away in 1952, so he was no stranger to the evolution of society. I've just started reading this book (although I read it last year and will probably read it again in two years' time) but after I've gotten more into it, I will doubtless make some mention of it later.
It's April Fools' Day, but more importantly, it's my Grandma's birthday as well. She would've been 84 years old today. Rest well, Grandma. You are dearly and deeply missed. Anyway, I guess this post is done. BYE.