Malapropism du jour

May. 21st, 2017 12:12 pm
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
Charles Willson Peale referred to one of his son's allusive, cryptic letters as "hiraglefecks", which I immediately looked up.  Google suggested "hieroglyphics", which I'm sure is right.   I adore "hiraglefecks" as a standalone word; very satisfying to say and type. 

Peale's fascination with the dead

May. 21st, 2017 11:45 am
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
It turns out it wasn't just his child's body that interested him. He tried to buy the well-preserved body of a German Lutheran child for exhibition in his museum; he also said he'd like to stuff Benjamin Franklin's corpse -- Franklin was then living -- as a tribute.

I would adore to chase down these citations (screenshot from Wendy Bellion's Citizen Spectator:
Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America
, c/o Google Books) someday.
A set of citations for Charles Willson Peale's interest in corpses

An article you can read with a free MyJSTOR login is "A Death in the Family", Phoebe Lloyd, Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 78, No. 335 (Spring, 1982), pp. 2-13 . This sets the painting in the context of other portraits of death, gives the full poem that was used as both advertisement and trigger warning, and has interesting details on the whys of Rachel Peale's pose.

(no subject)

May. 21st, 2017 04:20 pm
vaznetti: (Default)
[personal profile] vaznetti
In a development that will surprise exactly no one who knew me in real life as a child, we have doing The Lord of the Rings with Spartacus -- half reading them to him at bedtime, half watching the movies. We finished (watching) The Return of the King today, and I think will have to find something new to read, because he has not been totally charmed by the books, especially -- they are long on descriptions of scenery, and short on epic battle sequences. Also, it takes everybody a very long time to get anywhere; I feel like I now know where GRRM got his "wandering at length through the countryside without anything much happening" bug. As a love letter first to the English countryside and then to the landscape of Tolkien's imagination they are perfect -- but I think that I will not be totally sad to move on to something else, and maybe S will come back to them at some later date. (I read them at his age, but I had a high tolerance for reading things I don't understand.)

Reading long chinks of them aloud was also interesting -- Tolkien is not the greatest prose stylist, especially at the start. Towards the end the epic rhythms take over, but when he wants to write poetry he writes actual poetry, and his prose is just prose. Of the authors I've read aloud the one which really struck me was Sutcliffe, when we read The Eagle of the Ninth -- she also goes in for long descriptions of the scenery, but my mouth doesn't stumble over her words the way it did over the Lord of the Rings at points. Richard Adams, also, in Watership Down, was a smooth read. I was surprised, really, that Tolkien proved so difficult. Even so, I have a strong preference for the books over the movies.

The problem now is what to read next. S has chicken pox so we are stuck at home together for the next few days and will have to rely on something we have at home. (Other things we have read to Spartacus: Rowling, Shakespeare, and Plutarch -- don't judge us! -- but I would like something which is not hundreds and hundreds of pages.)
calligrafiti: (frost blossom)
[personal profile] calligrafiti
So, last night I dreamed that I was in a Hogwarts-esque boarding school (without habitually evil houses, as far as I could tell), complete with magic. And there was a school-wide hide-and-seek contest, complete with apparition. I was in bed, frantically planning my strategy for the contest when I realized I really didn't give a crap about it. So I walked out of my room, found someone from another team, and said, "Congrats, you caught me. I'm going back to bed now." The person kept urgently questioning me about my side's strategy. I responded, "I don't know. I don't care. I'm done now. It doesn't matter."

I'm not sure if the dream has any notable meaning in my waking life. Is there some sort of seemingly-important thing happening that is actually irrelevant? Something I can walk away from and, metaphorically at least, choose to go back to bed?

A Romantic Life indeed

May. 20th, 2017 04:39 pm
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
(from Demorest's Family Magazine, Volume 15, c/o Google Books)

A ROMANTIC LIFE.—The romantic vicissitudes of the early life of the Countess Solange De Kramer have once more become the talk of the Paris salons, and they are, indeed, so extraordinary that, used as materials for a novel, they would spoil the book by their lack of verisimilitude. One night in 1801, a little girl about one year old, was deposited in the drawer of the foundling hospital at Brest. She was dressed with much finery, and a note attached to her skirt told that her name was Solange, and that she would be reclaimed by her father. The claim was never made, however, and in due time the child was transferred to the orphan asylum to be educated there.

As she grew up she developed a most extraordinary beauty; but her intellect appeared to be very weak, and she suffered from frequent nervous fits. When she was twelve years old she was sent out into the streets to sell flowers, and her beauty and modesty attracted many people's good will; but she grew weaker and weaker and at last she died. According to French custom she was buried in an open casket, and, as it was Winter and the soil was frozen, she was laid into the grave, only covered with a thin layer of sand. During the night she awoke, and, pushing the sand away, she crept out from this grave. Not exactly understanding what had taken place, she was not so very much frightened; but in crossing the glens between the cemetery and the fortifications, she was suddenly stopped by the outcry “Qui vive,” and as she did not answer the sentinel fired, and she fell to the ground. Brought into the guard house her wound was found to be very slight, and she soon recovered ; but her singular history and also her great beauty had made so deep an impression on a young lieutenant of the garrison (Kramer) that he determined to be her protector, and sent her to one of the most fashionable educational establishments in Paris.

During the next ten years Kramer was much tossed about by the war; but when, in 1818, he returned to Paris, he found Solange a full-grown woman, not only beautiful, but accomplished and spirited, with no more trace of intellectual He married her, and for several years the couple lived happily in Paris. Meanwhile, investigations were made concerning the girl left in 1801 in the Foundling Hospital at Brest, and as these investigations were made by the Swedish ambassador, and in a somewhat official manner, they attracted some attention. Captain Kramer heard about the affair, wrote to the ambassador, and a month later the ambassador himself came in state to bring Mme. Kramer a formal acknowledgment from her father, the former General Bernadotte, afterwards King Charles XIV of Sweden. Captain Kramer and his wife went immediately to Stockholm, they were ennobled, etc., and their son has just now been appointed attaché to the Swedish legation in Paris.

An early trigger warning

May. 20th, 2017 09:55 am
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
 In 1772, Charles Willson Peale's daughter Margaret died of smallpox.  He painted a memorial portrait of her corpse lying on a pillow, prepared for burial.   In 1776 Peale expanded the portrait, adding his wife, Rachel, weeping over the baby.   The revised portrait was called "Mrs. Peale lamenting the death of her child", or alternatively "Rachel Weeping", an allusion to Matthew 2:18: "In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."   

From the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which now owns the work:

 In 1782 Peale advertised Mrs. Peale Lamenting the Death of Her Child as a feature of his new painting room but sequestered it behind a curtain with the warning: "Before you draw this curtain Consider whether you will afflict a Mother or Father who has lost a Child."


wednesday reading, and politics

May. 17th, 2017 07:31 pm
cofax7: Giles: men in bifocals: I spit (BtVS - Giles Bifocals)
[personal profile] cofax7
politics is beginning to feel like joining a pre-existing years-old fandom: you have to pay attention in order to follow the conversation, but there's just TOO MUCH. And unlike tv, it's not actually fun to watch, unless you're really into schadenfreude.

So, Wednesday reading instead.

Just finished: Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel. I liked it, but I wish we'd been able to get more about Suor Marie Celeste and her inner life, instead of only how much she loved and supported her father. But it was also interesting to get a lot more detail about how Galileo's research and his trial went down. Worth reading, not least because it was one of the books I gave Dad in the last few years. When we cleaned out his apartment, I kept the books I'd given him.

Now reading: The Count of Monte Christo by Dumas. I'm not quite halfway through, and despite [personal profile] veejane's promises, I have yet to meet the swashbuckling lesbians. It's alternately entertaining and boring, but I have to power through.

Also now reading Thick as Thieves because Megan Whalen Turner! I love pre-ordering something and having it just show up on my Kindle. I'm halfway through, really enjoying it, finding it very Turner-esque, with the POV character who doesn't know things that the reader does -- and probably the other way around, as well. It's very good so far.

Up next: Probably Rebel by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith ([personal profile] rachelmanija and [personal profile] sartorias), volume 3 of their entertaining post-apocalypse YA series.


Back to politics: if you want something else to get upset about, the Senate is voting soon on the Regulatory Accountability Act, which is a bald-faced attempt to cripple environmental and workplace protections for American workers and residents. Check out that chart! My one consolation is that it's so onerous that it will be just as difficult for the Trump administration to roll back regulations they don't like as it will be to pass ones that would do good in the world.

I know this is boring, but the Administrative Procedure Act is one of the most important laws we have: it gives citizens and interest groups the right to participate in the rule-making process, and to challenge government actions that are complete bullshit. This is the law that lets Earthjustice and the Center for Biological Diversity sue the federal government for not protecting endangered species, or failing to regulate for climate change. It's vital to administrative transparency.

The new amendment would:
1. Require agencies to choose the lowest-cost alternative (cost to whom? I wonder);
2. Forbid courts from deferring to federal agencies' scientific expertise;
3. Impose an absurdly baroque system for implementing any regulations; and
4. Tilt the playing field in favor of big-money corporate interests rather than the public good.

Call, fax, email, or text your Senators. This is likely to pass without much public attention, and it's really fucking important.

S. 951, The Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017. Watch for it.

(no subject)

May. 16th, 2017 09:29 pm
cofax7: George from DLM saying Shit (DLM - George shit)
[personal profile] cofax7
omg how is it only Tuesday.

(no subject)

May. 13th, 2017 09:29 pm
nestra: (Default)
[personal profile] nestra
Sense8 spoilers only through 202:

My big gay ridiculous show )

(no subject)

May. 10th, 2017 10:18 pm
cofax7: No such thing as too many books (Too Many Books -- Ropo)
[personal profile] cofax7
Argh. Search has failed me.

I recall that someone on my flist, several years ago, had multiple detailed posts about her reading of Dumas' The Count of Monte Christo. I thought it was [personal profile] veejane, but I can find nothing on her books tag.

Does this ring any bells for anyone? (I'm reading the book for book club and would find the discussion useful.)

(no subject)

May. 9th, 2017 07:37 pm
nestra: (Poly Rex)
[personal profile] nestra
I always forget that I have broken links that don't show up in my broken links plugin:

Updated list with MOAR broken links (if this makes no sense, read down one post) )

alcohol and pie.

May. 9th, 2017 09:39 pm
cofax7: George from DLM saying Shit (DLM - George shit)
[personal profile] cofax7
I worked a little late, and then instead of going right home, I drove to BevMo and stocked up on Pisco, vodka, and ginger simple syrup. In light of the political news, I suspect that, going forward, I'm going to need a helluva lot of Pisco sours and pie (the vodka is for the pie crusts).

(no subject)

May. 9th, 2017 10:54 am
nestra: (Poly Rex)
[personal profile] nestra
Naturally, a result of the recent LJ TOS-fueled deletions is that broken links abound on PolyRecs. I've updated a bunch (anyone who's got their stuff archived at AO3, or posted on DW and tagged really well, you are my heroes), but there are some I haven't been able to find. And we crowdsource everything now, right? Last time I did this, people amazingly found so many links for me.

The list, alphabetized by author )


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