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Archive for February, 2016

Of Mice And Men  (1937©)  —  book review
Continuing my efforts to die an educated man, over the weekend I finished one of the many “classics” I eluded in high school English class, “Of Mice And Men” by John Steinbeck.  The novel is the story of two friends who share a dream of owning a small farm of their own and “live offa the fatta the lan“.  The dream escapes them – and everyone else in the book too.
Written during the middle years of the Great Depression, the book is an ode to loneliness, the weakness of innocence, and the ultimate futility of tempting Fate by trying to make plans for the future.  The book “seems” full of characters who represent symbols of generalized Man in all of our various (yet very specific) facets: the competent and understanding “Slim”, the injured by work and beaten by age “Candy”, the broken, isolated, yet still proud “Crooks”, the un-named and objectified young beauty of Mrs. “Curley”, the foolish bullying of the Napoleonic “Curley”, and of course the simple, innocent strength of Lennie Small and the lost plan of George Milton.  I suppose it is too much to believe Steinbeck sat and created a “lion” (Leonard / Lennie) of a man with the intellect of a toddler (“small” child) and his best friend George (Greek for farmer) Milton (the author of “Paradise Lost“).   I suppose…
As I’ve stated in some of my other posts, there is a saying in the martial arts: “when the student is ready, the master will appear.”    I believe I am fortunate not to have read this book in high school.  Without the extra forty odd years of experience, this would have simply been a predictable story of accidental death and Karmic retribution.  It is that.  It is also a fine wine of subtle hope and deep friendship in the face of depressing reality and personal loneliness.  It is a man viewing a homeless mouse facing the coming of winter…  Coming for both of them.
Final recommendation: a “classic”.  Mildly to extremely depressing (be warned), but still highly recommended – if for nothing else, then so you’ll understand other people referencing the title.
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On This Day In (Leap Year):
2012 Stingray – TV Series Review (This is my most popular post since starting my blog – hands down! It still draws hits almost every week. The hits seem to come mostly from Central Europe. I guess the show must be in syndication there.)
A Single Thread

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I cannot teach anybody anything.  I can only make them think.
  ―  Socrates
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On This Day In (Leap Year):
2012 Stingray – TV Series Review  (This is my most popular post since starting my blog – hands down!  It still draws hits almost every week.  The hits seem to come mostly from Central Europe.  I guess the show must be in syndication there.)
A Single Thread

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A republic is not an easy form of government to live under, and when the responsibility of citizenship is evaded, democracy decays and authoritarianism takes over.
   —  Earl Warren
Former Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and Former Governor of California
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On This Day In:
2015 A Series Of Funerals
2014 And Your Point Is?
2013 Infinitely Care
2012 In My Room
(Leap Year 29th) Stingray – TV Series Review (This is my most popular post since starting my blog – hands down! It still draws hits almost every week. The hits seem to come mostly from Central Europe. I guess the show must be in syndication there.)
(Leap Year 29th) A Single Thread
2011 Lyrical Mixture
Teaching = Translating

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A Little Lost

You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.
   –  Paul Sweeney
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On This Day In:
2015 This High Place
2014 Elected Madness
2013 Well Written
2012 Related Parts
2011 The King Is Oscar
Better Reputation?

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Men do not understand books until they have a certain amount of life, or at any rate no man understands a deep book, until he has seen and lived at least part of its contents.
   –  Ezra Pound
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On This Day In:
2015 On The Road To Failure
2014 Each Moment
2013 Conversation
2012 4 Down, 11 Done (At Last)
I’m Not Afraid
2011 Who’s Risk Is It, Anyway?

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Whatever happens, I have decided to exercise my will.  Even if I have to re-commence my difficult story ten times, a hundred times, and always arrive at the same cul-de-sac, just the same I will begin again a hundred times.  If I cannot assemble the pictures into a significant whole again, I will present each single fragment as faithfully as possible.  And as far as it is now still possible, I will be mindful of the first principle of our great period, never to rely on and let myself be disconcerted by reason, always to know that faith is stronger than so-called reality.
  —  Hermann Hesse
From his book: “The Journey To The East
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On This Day In:
2015 Absorbed And Civilized
2014 Relax And Lead
2013 Location, Location, Location
2012 Are You Really Good?
2011 Relatively Objective, Anyway

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Reflections

Books are like mirrors: if a fool looks in, you cannot expect a genius to look out.
   ―  J. K. Rowling
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On This Day In:
2015 Is It Time Yet?
2014 Ask Any Follower
2013 Cornered Or Surrounded?
2012 Escape
2011 Achievement
Not Unreasonable Enough

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