July 15th, 2005


Personal/Musical: A Treasure! From Donovan!

I just tripped over a treasure of a recording Mark Lang and I made back in April 1997, performing perhaps the starkest song I have ever heard--a real songwriting gem--in fact: a very different offering by Donovan. This is one of those songs where you have just a single perfectly-placed chord that makes for the whole thing.
The Mournful Drums

O, the drums are so mournful, my dear, o my love
As my thoughts they are turning your way
Where are the eyes I beheld with my own
On that long ago lazy day?

Dead are the deeds on the stark battlefield
The stench of the flesh sickens me
I slept soaking wet and the worms ate my bread
And the mourning of men filled the air

Green are the leaves on the old apple tree,
Those sweet perfumed blossoms of spring,
Entwined in your hair, the smile in your eyes,
And the soft blade of grass 'fore a rain.

Warm are the loaves that cool on the sill
To the sound of the trickling stream
The good clean smell of the rough-woven sheets
And the song of the children at play

O the drums are so mournful, my dear, o my love
As my thoughts, they are turning your way
Where are the eyes I beheld with my own
On that long ago lazy day?

Random: The Half-Blood Prince

I know Ron has always been self-conscious of he and his family being so poor, and envious of Harry's wealth, but I can't believe that he would be so ready to sell Harry out like that! Did anyone else catch the dark irony of him agreeing to this with Peter Pettigrew--the very man who sold out Harry's parents? This seems like a totally different Ron.

Personal: Mom in Dublin

Well, Mom should be turning in fairly soon in Dublin tonight, exhausted after a day with the too-little sleep, too-much on the move, jet lag of flying to Europe. As I mentioned earlier, she's over there with my Aunt Pat for the next ten days, mostly as part of a tour, but then they'll leave the group on the last day in Galway and head north on their own (missing Clanmacnois, however!) and heading to Sligo to meet her father's surviving family for the first time. I'm fabulously excited about all of this, as we kids gave the trip to her for her 60th birthday. She had always put what money she had into raising us, and I know she envied the opportunities that her siblings had had to go over in earlier years, and so I thought that this would be the best of all possible gifts that we could give her. So the tour info had her visiting the Guinness Storehouse today. I don't know if she even likes the stuff, but it might be low-key and enough of a cultural icon to keep her entertained: I've been told it's a good tour, but I didn't bother with it when I've been in Dublin, myself. Tomorrow there is more of "historical Dublin," with St. Patrick's Cathedral, Trinity College and its fabulous exhibition of the Book of Kells and the eye-grabbing grandeur of the Long Room, and the rest of the day free. She's staying just off of St. Stephen's Square, with all those gorgeous Georgian buildings facing it, so I imagine she'll do some looking around there. I mentioned the nearby National Museum and its treasures as being worthwhile, but I'm not sure where her and Pat's combined tastes will take her.

In the meantime, the air war over Milwaukee continues unabated. I finally got in a decent day of studying yesterday both at the Courtyard of the Fountain, and then in Raynor Library with Shawnee. I'll try to repeat as much as I can today, but I'm marooned here for the time being, waiting for Fed Ex to arrive with my new bookcases. And, of course, I'll have to assemble those and start stacking....

Over lunch I read an article in the new Notre Dame Magazine by the always-engaging Robert Schmuhl from Notre Dame's American Studies program, and whose fabulously-bright son Mike I was privileged to teach. This one is well worth reading, if you've the time. In "That's News To Me" he asks, "A smorgasbord of media outlets -- many pushing an agenda over objectivity -- is enabling people to choose the news they want to hear. Is that good for America?" His treatment of the question seemed both informed and not given over to too-easy answers.

Random: The Angels

Ahhh.... Now I get why there's been a sudden nightmare of military jets overhead. Two planes just made a very close pass, slamming in through the windows of my living room and then out through the ones here by the computer in the study. This time I saw the tail assemblies better: these are F/A-18s, not the F-15s I complained about yesterday. What's more, I finally saw the topside colors: the Blue Angels are in town. There must be some sort of airshow out at Billy Mitchell field the last few days or perhaps this weekend.

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(Vous trouverez la version française de ce courriel au bas de la page.)

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