Literature


L’esprit d’escalier: (French) The feeling you get after leaving a conversation, when you think of all the things you should have said. Translated it means “the spirit of the staircase.”

Waldeinsamkeit: (German) The feeling of being alone in the woods.

Meraki: (Greek) Doing something with soul, creativity, or love.

Forelsket: (Norwegian) The euphoria you experience when you are first falling in love.

Gigil: (Filipino) The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute.

Pochemuchka: (Russian) A person who asks a lot of questions.

Pena ajena: (Mexican Spanish) The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation.

Cualacino: (Italian) The mark left on a table by a cold glass.

Ilunga: (Tshiluba, Congo) A person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.

My final Latin composition; I thought it was rather fun.

P.S: Small disclaimer from Grammar Nazi Cat:

So don’t steal it, k?

“Non omne comminatio est hostis.”

Olim urbs quae deīs amavī erat. Prius urbs factus erat, populī in mediō terrae perliculosae habitāvērunt, cui tuta nōn fuit, nam multa monstra habuit. Pessimae bestiae magnitudis magnae et virīs fuērunt ne vincerentur. Terra concinerata et cum sepulcīs factus erat.

Sed deī populōrum hōrum miseruērunt nam religiosī fuērunt, et simper altara eōrum honorāre memoraverant – etiam in tempore moestitiae. Cum tempestate bonā et autumnīs munificīs eōs benedixērunt, et civitatem aluērunt.

Etiam, deī “Terminus” in sospitatem eōrum commodum praecipuum capissivit. Terminō deō finitonum et murōrum, Terminus decrevit murum faciendus esse, ut populī possint de monstrīs perliculosīs ipsōs defendere. Etsi nōnnullī deī sapientiae Terminum nōn intercedere monuērunt, eum adjuvāre desiderāvit. Post multa diēs, Terminus virum invenit, quem adjuvāre potuit. Nomen eī fuit “Hadrianus.”

Cum auxiliō Hadrianī, populī murum magnum circa domicilium fuērunt, quem eōs de monstrīs defendit. Cum vigore, cito provenērunt, et urbs magna esse surrexērunt. Et propter sacrificia populī gratī, deī beātī fuērunt.

Sed Terminus eīs urbem expandere desiderāvit, tam libellum speciale ex librarō sanctō, quod narrāverit quam vincere monstrum terrae. Ex caelō libellum demisit, et is ab populō invenit, quō mox terram periculō levaērunt. Monstrō captuō, populum sensērunt eōs requisivisse murum, nec salutem eius. Ignavus exisitērunt, et potestatis et civitatis cogitāre incepērunt. Altarem eōrum dedicērunt, et super rem frivolam pugnavērunt.

Longe urbs huius audivērunt, et bellāre decrevērunt ut illam terram acquirerent. Dixērunt; “Hanc urbem petāmus, quam tam superbam est. Sine monstrīs, mox exercitus urbem advenit. Urbs, sub unō duce nōn potest conciliāre, cito victae sunt et ab rē publicā capissitae sunt, quam Mārs amata erat. Cum magnō dedecore, Terminus urbem eius Mārī dedit. Mārs, victor, solam commam dixit: “Nōn omne comminatio est hostis.”

Society has interesting names for people who decide they want to do the same thing forever. Some positive, some not. We have “terminal bachelors” (aka George Clooney) and also “old maids” (aka librarians, sadly). We have “eternal optimists” and “eternal pessimists,” “career politicians” and those who will “go down with the ship.”

But what about the eternal student?

There are positive versions of this, of course: my grandfather was a member of a Life-long Learning program, and he had earned more credits in his lifetime than anyone in the history of the University. He had studied in some way at colleges all over, and out of, the country. But he also held regular jobs at the same time, so maybe we can’t exactly put him in this category. But should we?

While browsing around, I came across this interesting article titled “How to become an eternal student,” (source) in which the author poses theories about the different types of students:

“Most often when one refers to an eternal student the automatic assumption is that of the Truly Dedicated Eternal Student. This is often a student who has chosen random and rather bizarre course work. You most often find these students among Classical Studies or History students. The reason is simple. No one cares about those majors except the people in them. Who really needs to major in Sanskrit anymore? It’s a five thousand year old dead language. So students of these types of majors can always find something old to study and claim the need to study that fully before they move into “the real world”.”

And this is where I really started to chuckle:

“These students can always find something else to study because the stuff has been around so darn long. Since no one cares about these studies anymore these students are free to hide is the sunlight-deprived coroners of dusty libraries and remain free from responsibility. The major difficulty in being a truly Dedicated Eternal Student is to lie convincingly enough so that the parents, friends, the university, and financial supporters all believe that the student needs to remain ensconced in their studies.”

And I cannot deny that there is some truth in this. As a medievalist, and a student of Latin, there is a definite scorn from some people out there – the beauty of it being that the scornful ones usually don’t have a clue about such topics, so you can project an atmosphere of learned intelligence that tells them to back the f*&# off.

And then we come to the next type:

“The Multiple Degrees Eternal Student is a nefarious schemer. This student is the only eternal student to ever actually earn a degree. And not only do they earn one degree, but they earn several. The primary goal of this type of student is to have more letters after their name than in their name. They will earn a BA and a BS and an MA, MS, MPH, JD, MBA, MD, PhD, DrPH, and on and on and on. In some ways this Eternal Student is the most talented and most conniving of all Eternal Students.

Not only must they posses the intelligence and talent for earning these many degrees but they must convince others that they actually need these degrees. The danger, however, in being a Multiple Degrees eternal student is that, unlike other eternal students, these individuals have actually completed acceptable levels of education. At some point their financial support will revolt due to the immense financial burden these multiple degrees impose and the student is generally told to go ahead and utilize their degrees. The best counterattack to this type of difficulty is to be educated out of any possible job and so, after a brief interval, return to higher education.”

Hmmm, this is dangerously close to the conversation I’ve been having with myself lately, upon nearing the completion of my current degree. Something along the lines of, “maybe I should go to law school…” And let us not deny that along with the ability to bullshit in prose that comes with an English degree is the ability to bullshit others into thinking  that all the money spend on said degree is well-spent, and that you would be wise to spend more. Nefarious scheming, indeed.

The article closes with this piece of wisdom:

“The privilege of Eternal Student-dom is not to be taken lightly. At no other point in your life is it a) acceptable that you not know what you are doing b) normal for people to give you excessive amounts of money and c) expected that you will do dumb things.”

Now my question is, is this article serious in it’s admiration of students, or is it mocking their very existence? I can’t help but wonder if eternal students were ever respected culturally, or always viewed as some sort of self-fulfilling characacher.

There is a tendency to believe that school is not “the real world.” But what is the alternative; “the imaginary world?” Sound more fun, in my opinion. What does the “real world” offer you? Whatever it is, we need Prozac and Ambien to deal with it.

If I can make a living out of living in the “imaginary world,” you can bet that’s where I’ll be. And it seems to me that most people worth knowing will be there too.


New blog-look, what do we think?

It’s not a new year yet, but I feel the need for a change. And since I can’t bring myself to change my actual life, changing something is a small consolation.

The truth is, I’m unsure of what to do with my life. Or rather, there are several possibilities of what that might be, but they remain only possibilities. About 3 years ago right before choosing a grad school I found myself in a period of uncertainty, and I’m going to just say it: it leaves much to be desired. Literally.

I know it’s completely clique in this day and age to ask for something as simple and leading as a sign, but…. sometimes it’s all I can think of.

 

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard

  Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;

Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,

  Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:

Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave 

  Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;

    Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,

Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;

    She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss

 

It reminds me of this Keats poem; is it better to remain in a frozen state, stuck right before the moment of fulfillment, when everything is possible, nothing denied? I wonder.

image 

It is my firm belief that one should watch assorted Monty Python on a regulated basis, because it makes you think about the important things in life.

Or at the very least, its well-crafted British humour (note the spelling) may lead you to wonder about poignant, worldly intellectual issues. Or at least ponder its funnies.

Take, for example, a scene from The Holy Grail, in which the knights are attempting to decipher an inscription that will lead them to the grail:

Brother Maynard: "It reads: ‘Here may be found the last words of Joseph of Arimathea. He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the Holy Grail in the Castle of A-a-a-a-a-gh…"

King Arthur: "What?"
Maynard: "The Castle of A-a-a-a-a-gh."
Bedevere: "What is that?"
Maynard: "He must’ve died while carving it."
Lancelot: "Oh, come on."
Maynard: "Well, that’s what it says."
King Arthur: "Look, if he was dying, he wouldn’t bother to carve ‘A-a-a-a-gh.’ He’d just say it."
Maynard: "That’s what’s carved in the rock."
Galahad: "Perhaps he was dictating."

 

And this made me think of all the times throughout history when spelling, grammar, and authorial intent has gone flying out the window, often spectacularly.

Sometimes, it’s a simple matter of translation:imageMmmm, tasty.

Or maybe, a word is left out:

image I don’t see this ending well…

Perhaps, a well-intended handwritten sign:image

Or even “intellectuals” asleep on the jobimage

The word ‘phusei’ was spelled with an ‘S’ rather than the Greek letter sigma, which looks similar to a capital ‘E.’ Whoops!

 

image

“M-A-R-….O-L-Z…H?”

And then we go back in time, and see odd junk like this, where even the chisel doesn’t make excuses for the illegible mess.

(But, then again, even the Romans F’ed up – and we know they were the shit. )

image

Or maybe some careless craftsman broke it, and left it there to puzzle future scholars, and to inspire countless future theses and dissertations.

  And for that reason, I offer my thanks to humanity, for keeping the wonder/frustration/scholarship/face-palming alive since the B.C’s.

image

image Courtesy of Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog

Hodie, descripta mediavale, quae mihi placent maxime:

(nonnullus senex, nunnullus nova)

And the contents of Wikipedia continue to disturb me; did you know about “Necropants?” Got Medieval

Trust me, you don’t want to sit next to Beowulf on a trans-atlantic flight…McSweeneys

“Hic sunt lacrimae rearended!” Best use of “ripper-offer” in Middle English, and I’d like to read the Aeneid + zombies, please  Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog

I can hath cheezburger? Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog

I’ve often thought to myself, “if Hell was real in the exact Biblical-sense, then practically anyone worth knowing is going to end up there.”

Well, here’s where I’m going, apparently: (I blame the 8th level mostly on my belief in fortune-tellers, because, why not?)

 

The Dante’s Inferno Test has banished you to the Eigth Level of Hell – the Malebolge!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

Level Score
Purgatory (Repenting Believers) Low
Level 1 – Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers) Low
Level 2 (Lustful) High
Level 3 (Gluttonous) High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious) High
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy) Moderate
Level 6 – The City of Dis (Heretics) Low
Level 7 (Violent) Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers) High
Level 9 – Cocytus (Treacherous) Moderate

Take the Dante’s Inferno Hell Test

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