Saturday, August 28, 2010

A sad way to go

We returned from Germany a week ago Friday to a sorry state of animal affairs. To make a long story short, about fifteen fish in our 45-gallon tank lost their lives to an overfeeding-fueled, oxygen-depriving, algae-bloom calamity that somehow went unnoticed by our determinedly oblivious housesitter until it was too late. Thankfully, the two surviving fish, Leo and Beamer (survivors of a disaster like this deserve names), seem to be holding up well in their little hospital tank on the kitchen counter.

In an expression of solidarity and disdain, our cat Homer occupied himself during our 3.5-week absence by peeing exclusively on the downstairs bathmat.

Putting the best possible spin on all of this, I can only express amazement at our housesitter's superpower: Nose of Steel.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Two Towers: a recitation on females therein

The dramatic midpoint have I reached: the end of Tolkien's The Two Towers; through the myriad preparations and battles of Book 3, wherein was saved Helm's Deep, and then southward through Book 4 to Minas Morgul. En route encountered I yet two more females with names, and learned much of race (the discussion of which must wait), and of the need for slow plebes to attach themselves to hereditary leaders of great strength, wisdom, and handsome boldness (which also must wait), and of the ancient linguistic origins of Yoda's subject-verb reversals. Now eagerly up stand I, clasping my hands behind my back (as is my charming rustic habit whenever I am about to "talk Tolkien"), and recite thus:

Ladies? Few. All pale, of course, in Galadriel's radiant light.
Up next we meet fair Éowyn, who trembles within sight
of virile Aragorn. Perhaps new sexual tension's nigh?
We'll have to wait until Book 5 to find out if, how, why.

She does not say much, Éowyn; grave, thoughtful is her glance;
Hair like gold, and dressed in white, she later puts on pants:
Fearless and high-hearted, she will lead in Théoden's lieu.
Alas, ten pages text, no more: her Book 3 role is through.

In Book 4 enters one more lass, less stunning than the rest;
and yet she stuns: her will's her own: to sunder is her quest.
Antithesis could be her name, for ('tis an ancient view)
a woman's either beautiful or evil through and through.

Bloated, fat, she feasts upon whatever happens by:
she spins her web, snares Men, Elves, Orcs in lair up near the sky.
Shelob would like to suck the blood of swooning Frodo too,
but Samwise stabs her underside, releasing yucky goo.