Archive for July, 2008

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There Are People in this Story

July 31, 2008

I have to admit I was a little surprised when you decided to drop a little opera knowledge on me in that last post. At first I was shocked by your in-depth knowledge of the great sopranos of the world, and say what you will about Wikipedia, don’t think that I’ve forgotten all those childhood afternoons when I wanted to play a rousing game of tag or freeze tag, or windmill tag, and you instead forced me to play Live from the Met! for endless hours. (Although in the interest of full disclosure  memories of your 8-year old Rigoletto still brings a tear to my eye. You always had a knack for Verdi.)

In my reading yesterday I was shocked to learn that the animals that inhabit the riverbank world of The Wind in the Willows live side-by-side with humans. Quite frankly, I found the idea quite disconcerting, especially when Rat and Mole stop during their walk in the forest to look into the windows of people’s homes and mock them.

I guess I was still thinking about that this morning as I walked from my apartment to my car. I crossed paths with a small rabbit with a condescending, holier-than-thou look on its face. As I passed the rabbit, I swear I could have heard it snicker at me. So, I of course, do what any logical person would, after passing the rabbit I quickly turn around and say “Who are you to judge me!” 

I know that probably sounds a bit “paranoid” but that rabbit ran away. And do you know why it ran away? 

Because it knew I was right.*

*Portions (and by “Portions” I mean all) of the preceding may have been fabricated to illustrate a point. That point being, I think I’m funny.

Okay, seriously though, I did read what might be the funniest line in the book so far:

“‘On the contrary, I faithfully promise that the very first motor-car I see, poop-poop! off I go in it!”

This makes me laugh even still.

Well, I am making progress Twinner, and I think I should be able to finish this book up in the next few days. 

Until later,
Justin

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Intervening with Mole and Rat

July 29, 2008

I take it from your last post that

a.)  You haven’t read anymore of the book

and

b.)  You don’t like great theatre.

Well there’s nothing I can do about the latter, but perhaps I can shame you out of the former.

For you see I have been reading, and K8 has a point when she mentions the addict-like qualities of Toad…for chapter six reads very much like a woodland version of A&E’s Intervention (Or if you’re like me and have never seen this program–then it may remind you of that very special intervention episode of The Sopranos.  You know the one:  Beverly Sills and Renee Fleming deliver some hard truths to Lucia Popp about her performance as Pamina in The Magic Flute.  Spoiler:  Hard Truth:  You were fantastic!  Bravissima!).

That last “joke” was brought to you by research done on Wikipedia…because I know very little about opera.

Anywhosit…Toad’s manipulations of poor Rat kind of reminiscent to me of the way Emma/Charles relationship in Madame Bovary…so an unexpected connection!  I just hope it doesn’t all end with blue vomit.

And his need for car driving was reminiscent to Ray Milland’s need of “just one more drink” in The Lost Weekend.

Well twin keep on truckin’–the end is in sight!  And then Middlemarch!

Jon

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Don’t Be Absurd(ist)

July 29, 2008

Really.

Don’t.

Please.

Yours,
Justin

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Waiting for Toadot with Mole and Rat

July 28, 2008

So on my car ride back home this afternoon I got to thinking about how excited I was for the return of Toad and how it seems like I’ve been waiting forever for him to come back into the story and that got me to thinking about other famous waiters and who’s more famous for waiting than those two Frenchmen on the road to Nowhere–Vladimir and Estragon.  In there honor I present, Waiting for Toadot.

MoMo:  I say RaRa what are we doing here?

RaRa:  Silly MoMo we’re waiting.

MoMo:  Waiting?  Waiting for what?

RaRa:  Silly MoMo we’re waiting for Toad

Momo:                                                       Oh.

Badumbumbing!

And, of course, Badger is Pozzo…I could go on but this is getting absurd (!)

…And thank you very much.

So a reminder, in “print” for all to see…Wind in the Willows ends this week.  We are plowing away to the finish (if we don’t, as punishment, I shall put the characters into another Samuel Beckett play…and you haven’t seen awkward till you’ve seen Mole in Endgame.).

And to sweeten the pot (as if it needs sweetening!)….after we finish this book we get to start a new book.  And for our next selection I’ve chosen the Victorian tome Middlemarch by George Eliot.  I don’t know what that books about, but as long as the pages aren’t all blank…my guess is that it should be more exciting than Willows (but not Willow–adventure at every turn!).

Good luck finishing and we’ll talk soon,

Jon

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A Correction, a Link, and a Mole and a Rat

July 26, 2008

It seems that perhaps I should have read the two remaining pages in Chapter 4 before making my bold Planet of the Apes parallels. No sooner do I type my previous post than Badger explains away his description of the former city with a much more Lion King-ish “Circle of Life” sort of cities come and cities go, but Badgers remain constant line of reasoning. Lame, Badger, pretty lame.

How many times do I have to remind myself that I need to read something through before putting my thoughts into writing. I had a flashback to college when I started drafting what would have surely been a pivotal piece of Jane Eyre scholarship: “Home is Where the Heart Is: Representations of Love and Domestic Happiness in Thornfield Hall” after reading only part of the book. Well, Mr. Badger, this time you can consider this lesson learned.

It dawned on me Twin Brother, that people who read this blog (if indeed there are people who actually read this blog) may tire of us complaining about this classic of children’s literature, but who may potentially be interested in actual insight into the topic might enjoy Jill Lepore’s recent New Yorker article on the publication of Stuart Little and the evolution of children’s literature.

Well, that’s that for now. Talk to you again soon.

Justin

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Inspired with Rat and Mole

July 23, 2008

Interesting hypothesis twin…where you saw Grahame painting a horrifying picture of a post-apocalyptic world where animals act like people. I saw Grahame exploring the cyclical nature of history (for more on this topic explored in literature please see my paper “Here She Comes Again: Historical Cycles in the works of H. Rider Haggard.”). People come, the animals rise to power, people return, etc.

So I don’t know about you but I’m going to go and hunt me some critters before they get any ideas.

You inspired me to keep moving…let’s get this book done. Chapter 5: Dulce Domum–Rat and Mole stop by Mole’s house…feel free to skip. It looks like Chapter 6 brings back Mr. Toad and hopefully with him comes some excitement (but how could it not?).

Jon

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Slow on the Update

July 22, 2008

Hey Twinner,

It has dawned on me that I have not been carrying my weight lately in the update department. Apologies, I know you are eager to know my every thought on this pastoral classic, and I have been depriving you of many a thoughtful “nugget.” Well, I will attempt to be a bit more timely in my thoughts over the coming days, and perhaps we can make short work of the rest of this novel.

Please, I beg you, do not dig up your old college papers. I remember editing “Salt of the Earth: Tolstoy’s Inherent Criticism of the Dietary Habits of the Aristocracy in Anna Karenina,” and while there is not debating your insights into Tolstoy, it was a bit dry. Perhaps you should you keep those papers in a drawer for another day.

I too just took back up the book, and entered Badger’s abode. Badger is not quite the shot in the arm for the book I was hoping he might be, but he did make an interesting comment toward the end of his chapter. He talks about how this wood used to be a major city.

I was quite intrigued, perhaps the book is about to take a sort Planet of the Apes twist, and at the end we will find out that the forest has been a futuristic London all along, and in the distant future it has been overrun with anthropomorphized animals.

That alone will keep me reading. I’ll be back when I’ve read some more.

Happy trails,

Justin