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Penta-Posse

07 Mar

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Westward Ho!

March 7, 2005 | By |

We got up at 0-dark-thirty this morning, put the Penta-Posse in the truck — still in their pajamas . . . and headed West. I am attending a Liberty Fund conference this weekend in Austin, organized by Fred Turner (see Gilgamesh post below) on epic, and my husband has a trade show in Vegas at the end of the month — and, as everyone knows, Austin and Vegas are right next to each other — so we decided to take the kids along for the ultimate field-trip to the Grand Canyon.

Fred has had us reading the Odyssey, and the Aeneid, as well as his own epic poem, Genesis, about the settlement of Mars, in preparation for the conference. So I think I’ll blame the insanity on him: all the epic adventure inspiration. Well, adventure, yes. . . but I guess I overlooked the conflict, destruction and general mayhem storylines, as well. . .

Stay tuned. Will they survive the Odyssey in the SUV?

04 Mar

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Gilgamesh is gross!

March 4, 2005 | By |

I recently read the epic poem Gilgamesh for an upcoming Liberty Fund conference, organized by Frederick Turner, in Austin. (Fred is the renowned poet and author of a modern epic, Genesis, about the settlement of Mars.)

In my ongoing attempt to expand the Penta-Posse’s literary horizons beyond the Adventures of Captain Underpants, I snapped up an audio reading of Gilgamesh when I saw one at the library. On our next road-trip to see Jack’s mom, I felt like quite the uber-mom when the Penta-Posse became engrossed in the story of Gilgamesh, the ancient king of Uruk and his friend Enkidu, a wild man who lived among the beasts.

Problem: a key element of the story is Enkidu’s transformation into full humanity . . .through seduction by a harlot.

The print version read that they “lay together” and she “taught him the woman’s art.” That probably would have gone over their heads. The audio version, however, translates her “welcoming” him pretty explicitly. We’re riding along enjoying the story and all of a sudden we hear, “she spread her. . .” Total brain freeze! I looked over at Jack and I could see his brain racing, “Where is the off button, where is the off button?!!?

Then, that particular phrase turned out to be a refrain in the poem. No, no! Where is the off button??!!

Finally, the story moved on to tamer things.

Total silence in the back. Jack and I were still not quite breathing.

Then, suddenly, we hear the Diva: “EWWW! That’s gross!”

So, it’s official: Gilgamesh is gross. On the other hand, maybe this could be a new, more classic, approach to sex ed in the schools . . .or not.

For the record, the Dude did think that Gilgamesh’s fight with the ferocious Humbaba of the seven terrors, was “tight.”

03 Mar

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Gandalf and audacity

March 3, 2005 | By |

Gandalf.png

The Dude (with the help of the Diva) discovered that Gandalf has something to say about audacity on PlayStation 2. They worked very hard to get the quote for mom’s blog. And it’s perfect:

For ourselves there is no hope. This is our final act to give Frodo time — time to end the evil that marshalls before us.

We now give witness that the day of men faces the final test. The eye of Sauron will be upon us, mistaking our audacity for power.

We must hold his gaze long enough for the unthinkable to become real. For hope to conquer all.

At first, the Dude gave me only the part of this quote about audacity — that evil would mistake it for power. And I was disappointed. Where is the inspiration in that?

But it’s all in the context: sometimes we are powerless; sometimes we do confront circumstances and opposition that are overwhelming. I loved Lord of the Rings for the reminder that it is a great honor to give your all on the side of good, standing against evil, even if it costs you everything. And even the weakest among us has a part to play.

You just have to go with Gimli! “Certainty of death! Small chance of success. . .What are we waiting for?” There’s audacity!

(Thx for LOTR transcript.)

Aaron Burr and Boo

February 23, 2005 | By | No Comments

Today was completely taken over by getting Boo’s vaccinations up-to-date. He had to get five shots. I hate getting my kids vaccinated. If I could morally justify it, I wish I could be a free-rider. . .The very thought of watching someone take a needle and inject my perfectly healthy baby boy with a virus that used to kill people makes me uneasy.

And then, of course, mom is the one who has to hold the baby down while they do it.

Sweet: the Dude was very unhappy about the idea of his little brother getting shots, and wanted to be nearby and watch over him, too.

So, I kept thinking of Aaron Burr! The man who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel was orphaned at two years old after his mother died from a smallpox innoculation.

One wonders: would history have taken a different turn if that little boy had had a mother?

To think that I am scared of shots now. What a debt we owe to the people who took those early vaccines. . .