Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Reading Tally: 22 books/plays

It was a down year when it came to reading. Lots of school related reading (and grading of papers/essay) cut down on my time, as did my sleeping woes (seems I may have sleep apnea, which left me constantly tired and falling asleep at inopportune times).

A number of the books on the list were ones I read for school. My rule for counting them is that I have not taught/read them in a while. So, for example, I did reread The Merchant of Venice, The Crucible, The Great Gatsby, and Antigone again, but as I read them last year I did not count them. On the other hand, I reread Othello. Macbeth, and Jane Eyre, all of which I had not read in a while, so I counted them.

Here's the list:

  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  • Othello by William Shakespeare
  • The Woman Who Was Chesterton by Nancy Carpentier Brown
  • The Porter of St. Bonaventure's by James Patrick Derum
  • What's the Weather Inside? (children's poetry) by Karma Wilson
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
  • Father Solanus: The Story of Solanus Casey, O.F.M. Cap. by Catherine M. Odell
  • Nothing Is Impossible With God by John Michael Talbot
  • I Am Malala
  • Poems I Wrote When No One Was Looking by Alan Katz
  • The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Wing Nuts: Screwy Haiku by Paul B. Janeczko and J. Patrick Lewis
  • Outside the Box (children's poetry) by Karma Wilson
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Pure Drivel by Steve Martin
  • All Roads by Dale Ahlquist
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • 100 Essays I Don't Have Time To Write by Sarah Ruhl
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy by Mike Huckabee
  • Urodivoi: Holy Fools by Catherine Doherty
  • Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics by Ross Douthat

  • It's primarily a mix of school-related, religious, and children's poetry. Chesterton sneaks in twice. There are two books about Fr. Solanus Casey, my Franciscan patron. Douthat's book was thought provoking.

    There were some books I was working on, but did not finish yet - a book about being a hermit and Dante's Divine Comedy standing out among those works.  Currently reading a collection of short essays as well. What to add to the 2016 list ... hmmm.

    Pax et bonum

    Tuesday, December 29, 2015

    More Christmas Swag: Books

    I mentioned the beers and meads I got for Christmas. I got a number of other nice gifts as well.

    Of course, there are some books.

    Hot Sauce: Techniques for Making Signature Hot Sauces by Jennifer Trainer Thompson - along with this one I got a kit to grow peppers... mmmm.
    The Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems In Translation, edited by Greg Delanty and Michael Matto
    Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction, edited by Judith Kitchen and Dinah Lenney (I used a gift card to buy this one myself).

    I've already glanced through them. I'd read some of the Anglo-Saxon poems before, and it's interesting to see how contemporary poets and writers translate the poems. The sauce recipes look tongue challenging! And as for the essays, I love the short form of personal essays. I'd read on of the previous collections that Kitchen edited, and used some of them in my writing class. 

    Good reading - and eating - ahead.

    Pax et bonum

    Friday, December 25, 2015

    I'll drink to that

    When my wife asked what I wanted for Christmas, I said nothing, but, after a few moments thought - and repeated pleas - I said mead. I do like mead.

    Forced to be creative, my good wife came up with a number of items I had not mentioned - Solanus Casey tee-shirts, for example - but which were delightful.

    Ah, but then she also decided to address my love of mead, and of interesting beers. The result: a selection of fine beverages:

    Montezuma Winery Mead
    Earle Estates Meadery Honey Mead
    Earle Estates Meadery Cherry Charisma (Mead and Cherry Wine mix)
    Brotherhood Holiday Spiced Wine
    Ommegang Three Philosophers Ale
    Ommegang Hennepin Saison (Farmhouse) Ale
    Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence Ale
    Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale
    Samuel Smith's Porter
    Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout
    Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout
    Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale


    Pax et bonum

    Why Outsider Art

    I've always had a fondness for Outsider Art - also called Art Brut, Self-taught, Folk, and so on.

    I think part of the affinity is I feel like an outsider myself.

    No, not in any self-pitying way. But I have always been an outsider. Shy. Private. Not quite fitting in. A quirky way of looking at the world.

    I think the impulse is linked to my fondness for the hermit life. Or Saints. Or obscure kinds of poetry (slug haiku, for example). Or with being Santa.

    Even as a child I never did quite fit in. I rarely felt comfortable with my peers - and even when with them always felt as if I was not really part of the group. I was easily put off by language, physical violence, crudity. I was bored by many of the things so many others seemed to like.

    Those I felt most comfortable with were the marginalized.

    And I function best in society when I am playing a role. Santa. Teacher. Folk musician. Parts of me, yes, but still not fully me. Masks.

    After 60 years, I don't see it changing much.

    In fact, I embrace it.

    What should I create next?

    A slug among weeds
    celebrates Christmas morning
    in blessed silence

    Pax et bonum

    Santa Season Over

    Yesterday was my final shift at the mall. After being mostly locked out last year (no-compete clause in old contract) I think I ended up with my most hours ever. It was wonderful.

    Now --- to trim the beard, or not!

    Pax et bonum

    Saturday, December 19, 2015

    A banned pro-life video (Tsk Tsk Youtube)

    Youtube banned this pro-life video.

    (UPDATE: It's back up on Youtube - for now.)

    Pax et bonum

    Saturday, December 12, 2015

    Ho Ho Ho

    Just two weeks to go!

    Pax et bonum

    Sunday, December 6, 2015