Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Thought of the Day

You don't know war, until you've fought the Germans.

Unknown (to me)


Poem of the Month

Odi et amo Quare id faciam fortasse requiris
Nescio sed fiere sentio et excrucior.

Gaius Valerius Catullus (84--54 BC)

I hate and I love You may ask why I act this way
I don't know but I feel it's so and I suffer.

They teach you this poem in first year as an illustration of elision; how the Romans slid words together. It's not as it's written; the first three words are spoken 'odetamo'. It scans with the elisions. Who cares about that? I like the poem in my later years because of the distinction Horace makes between knowing and feeling. He doesn't know how he can hold two contradictory emotions about the same person. But he feels it (sentio) and acts on it--he suffers. The unverifiable, indeed, unbelievable is felt to be true to a sufficient degree that he will act (actually the suffer is, I think, passive voice--more like it drives him nuts or he is tortured). I see this distinction as precursor of the Catholic idea of "moral certainty"-- something you believe, without actually being able to prove it or maybe even understand it, but believe strongly enough to act on it without real hesitation. I, at least, can see all that in those two lines . My ex-wife stayed with me for a week for the graduation of our youngest daughter. I wonder if there is a connection between that fact and and my choice of poem?


Unreasonable expectations

For those of us who read Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash about the time it was published, the internet, by the time we finally signed up and paid for it, was a bitter disappointment. In Snow Crash, you could go there--it was a planet circumference sized Ginza with lights, crowds, shops and clubs you couldn't get in. The real internet was just lonely computer savvy guys and girls typing in front of a screen. However, despite the disappointment, I learned slowly to navigate it and found some interesting things, like a photo of the crew of a destroyer (DD 484) in 1945 with my father plainly visible in the front row, a book (Halldor Laxness' The Happy Warriors) for which I had been searching in used book stores for nearly 30 years (it was OK) , some women who after a while would sleep with me, and finally blogs--opinions of people I didn't know, some of which were nearly the same as mine. Up to now, it's all been passive. Now to jump in. Hugh Hewitt made me do this. If it sucks, blame him.

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