Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Merriest Christmas to You and Yours!

A gift from G. K. Chesterton for Christmas:

A Child of the Snows
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936)

There is heard a hymn when the panes are dim,
And never before or again,
When the nights are strong with a darkness long,
And the dark is alive with rain.

Never we know but in sleet and in snow,
The place where the great fires are,
That the midst of the earth is a raging mirth
And the heart of the earth a star.

And at night we win to the ancient inn
Where the child in the frost is furled,
We follow the feet where all souls meet
At the inn at the end of the world.

The gods lie dead where the leaves lie red,
For the flame of the sun is flown,
The gods lie cold where the leaves lie gold,
And a Child comes forth alone.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas at the Koenigs

Conversation while hanging the Christmas tree lights:

Me: Daniel, get the shepherd from the Nativity set away from Kilala!

My son Daniel: Hey, cat, you're herding him! If you take him away from his flock, he'll have a sheepless night!

Richard (Dad): He'll be sheep-deprived.

My son Michael: He's a mutton for punishment.

It took a while to recover from the fit of giggles.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Book Nook Directories

Paula Coleman has a useful site for book lovers called "Book Nook Directories." There you'll find listings for booksellers throughout the Carolinas and Georgia, both web-only and brick-and-mortar.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Cold Coming We Had of It

The Journey of the Magi

T. S. Eliot

"A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The was deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter."
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

A Lovely Prospect

My fellow Mary Louis Academy alumna, Brenda Becker, photographed Prospect Park in the course of a year and created this beautiful calendar for 2009:

I lived in Queens, New York, from the time I was born until I was 26. I regret now that I never visited that park. It is an oversight I plan to rectify on my next trip back. I'm grateful to Brenda for showing me what I missed.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Death Makes the Holiday

The funniest entry in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series is Hogfather, where Death takes over for the Discworld version of Santa Claus when he goes missing. Death is sort of like Spock: he tries to get humans, and comes close, but always misses the subtleties. Here he's wishing his granddaughter (!), Susan (!!!), a "Happy Hogswatch":

Getting into the Spirit of Things with Potter Puppet Pals

It's nearly Christmas! For your jollification, we proudly present the creator of Potter Puppet Pals and his Christmas video (WARNING: Some innuendo involved):