Poetry Wednesday: Lord Byron

George Gordon, Sixth Lord of Byron. Does he really need an introduction?

The man was one of the greatest Romantic poets of all time.   According to one married woman who was obsessed with him, he was “mad, bad and dangerous to know.” He assisted the Italian Carbonari and joined freedom fighters in Greece.  He made himself into an adjective.

Lord Byron was, in short, larger than life.

So large, apparently, that Dr Lucy Worsley, chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces, inexplicably questions the definition of Byronic as sexy, because he apparently weighed about 193.6 pounds (88kg) and stood about 5-foot-8 (173cm) when he was eighteen years old.   She also says, “There were images that he would not allow to be reproduced in his books of poetry because he looked too boyish . . .  He wanted to look theatrical and dramatic. There are lots of images where he looks like a pallid, slightly podgy young man. Just not impressive.”

I’m terribly sorry that these numbers don’t trip her trigger, but frankly, she doesn’t speak for everyone and her assumptions that Byron—or anyone else—can’t possibly be sexy due to size (at the age of eighteen, mind) are clearly ridiculous.  And she’s vilifying him for wanting a decent author’s photo?  Please, lady—who doesn’t?

Large men can be sexy as hell—and large men with brains and a sense of humor?  Catch me.

I was going to offer “She Walks in Beauty” or “When We Two Parted,”* to prove my point, but went instead for a brilliant bit of sly criticism of this whole writing business.

‘Cause clever is sexy, too.

Dear Doctor, I Have Read Your Play
(Lord Byron, 1830)

Dear Doctor, I have read your play,
Which is a good one in its way,
Purges the eyes, and moves the bowels,
And drenches handkerchiefs like towels
With tears that, in a flux of grief,
Afford hysterical relief
To shatter’d nerves and quicken’d pulses,
Which your catastrophe convulses.
I like your moral and machinery;
Your plot, too, has such scope for scenery!
Your dialogue is apt and smart;
The play’s concoction full of art;
Your hero raves, your heroine cries,
All stab, and everybody dies;
In short, your tragedy would be
The very thing to hear and see;
And for a piece of publication,
If I decline on this occasion,
It is not that I am not sensible
To merits in themselves ostensible,
But—and I grieve to speak it—plays
Are drugs—mere drugs, Sir, nowadays.
I had a heavy loss by Manuel—
Too lucky if it prove not annual—
And Sotheby, with his damn’d Orestes
(Which, by the way, the old bore’s best is),
Has lain so very long on hand
That I despair of all demand;
I’ve advertis’d—but see my books,
Or only watch my shopman’s looks;
Still Ivan , Ina and such lumber
My back-shop glut, my shelves encumber.
There’s Byron too, who once did better,
Has sent me—folded in a letter—
A sort of—it’s no more a drama
Than Darnley , Ivan or Kehama :
So alter’d since last year his pen is,
I think he’s lost his wits at Venice,
Or drain’d his brains away as stallion
To some dark-eyed and warm Italian;
In short, Sir, what with one and t’other,
I dare not venture on another.
I write in haste; excuse each blunder;
The coaches through the street so thunder!
My room’s so full; we’ve Gifford here
Reading MSS with Hookham Frere,
Pronouncing on the nouns and particles
Of some of our forthcoming articles,
The Quarterly —ah, Sir, if you
Had but the genius to review!
A smart critique upon St. Helena,
Or if you only would but tell in a
Short compass what—but, to resume;
As I was saying, Sir, the room—
The room’s so full of wits and bards,
Crabbes, Campbells, Crokers, Freres and Wards,
And others, neither bards nor wits–
My humble tenement admits
All persons in the dress of Gent.,
From Mr. Hammond to Dog Dent.
A party dines with me today,
All clever men who make their way:
Crabbe, Malcolm, Hamilton and Chantrey
Are all partakers of my pantry.
They’re at this moment in discussion
On poor De Stal’s late dissolution.
Her book, they say, was in advance—
Pray Heaven she tell the truth of France!
‘Tis said she certainly was married
To Rocca, and had twice miscarried,
No—not miscarried, I opine—
But brought to bed at forty-nine.
Some say she died a Papist; some
Are of opinion that’s a hum;
I don’t know that—the fellow, Schlegel,
Was very likely to inveigle
A dying person in compunction
To try the extremity of unction.
But peace be with her! for a woman
Her talents surely were uncommon.
Her publisher (and public too)
The hour of her demise may rue,
For never more within his shop he—
Pray—was she not interr’d at Coppet?
Thus run our time and tongues away;
But, to return, Sir, to your play;
Sorry, Sir, but I cannot deal,
Unless ’twere acted by O’Neill.
My hands are full—my head so busy,
I’m almost dead—and always dizzy;
And so, with endless truth and hurry,
Dear Doctor, I am yours,

JOHN MURRAY

___________

*Averil, I want your opinion on this one.

Cargo Beep Beep!*

One of my core beliefs is that cars thrive on neglect, and my current one, a Honda Civic nicknamed Rocinante,** bears me out on this.  The little oil change reminder thingies placed with such optimism on the driver’s side of the windshield are mere guidelines—I have about a twenty-mile, round-trip commute, so it takes a long time to build up the mileage,  and while I could go in every three months, meh.

The way I figure it, if nothing lights up on the dashboard, and the idle doesn’t rattle my fillings,  it’s all good.

But I do have that big trip coming up and unless I chicken out and take the bus or the train,*** which would be far more relaxing but add three or four hours to my trip, I’ll need a car that can make it to St. Louis. 

So I took today off to get my car drained, tranfused, tuned, tweaked, braked, rotated, and aired out.   It now drives like a much more expensive vehicle, but without any added risk of being carjacked by anyone interested in mere retail value.

If I remember to fill the gas tank, I’ll be all set. 

That is, aside from figuring out what to pack, where to park, and how to cope with my quirky, yet oddly attractive anxieties about traveling and attending alone—though there are so many panels I want to attend, the biggest worry I have is choosing which ones. 

And if I can fit in a side trip to the Zoo on Sunday . . .

________

*Knock,knock. Who’s there? Ether. Ether who? Ether bunny.

Knock,knock. Who’s there? Justin. Justin who? Justin other Ether Bunny.

Knock,knock. Who’s there? Stella, Stella who? Stella nother ether bunny.

Knock,knock. Who’s there? Samoa. Samoa who? Samoa Ether Bunnies.

Knock,knock. Who’s there? Beryl. Beryl who? Beryl of ether bunnies.

Knock,knock. Who’s there? Consumption. Consumption who? Consumption be done about all these ether bunnies?

Knock,knock. Who’s there? Cargo. Cargo who? Cargo “beep, beep”…run over all the ether bunnies.

**After Don Quixote’s old, broken-down, extremely loyal horse.

***The whole point of going this year was that St. Louis is only 5 hours away.  That’s less than a hour on a plane, but I plan on hauling home swag and souvenirs that I don’t want to pay for again at check inAnd I hate to fly—not fear, just a general loathing for airline policies.

First Ever Random Thursday Movie Line Contest Answers (and Winner)!

Thanks to all who participated, or at least left a comment.

Since I didn’t make it clear to everyone that Google was a legitimate research tool in this contest—I apologize, rookie mistake—I numbered everyone who ventured a guess, right or wrong, and tossed the list into the random number generator to get a winner.

But first, here are the answers and a lot of clips.  I  recommend all of these movies, by the way.  Even number six:

______________________

1.

Jake Blues (John Belushi), The Blues Brothers

I saw this movie for the first time my freshman year of college. To this day, “Locusts!” is my favorite excuse, for anything.

oooooOOOOOooooo

2.

“This is Sparta!”

—King Leonides (Gerard Butler), 300

You know, this is actually sort of a chick flick, if you watch it with the sound off . . .

oooooOOOOOooooo

3.

I would say so far, adulthood gets a three.

—Candace (voice: Ashley Tinsdale), Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension

oooooOOOOOooooo

4.

“I feel sorry for men who don’t knit—they lead empty lives.”

—J. Pierpont Finch (Robert Morse, who is both adorable and creepy), How to Succeed at Business Without Really Trying

Finch is sucking up to his boss, who knits to relax.

This is one of my favorite musicals—it’s one long con with an emergency save.  The title, by the way, is a lie.

oooooOOOOOooooo

5.

Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not ‘every man for himself.’ And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked ‘em up.

—Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis), A Fish Called Wanda

oooooOOOOOooooo

6.

Damon Killian (Richard Dawson), The Running Man:

“This is Killian.  Get me the Justice Department: Entertainment Division. No, hold that. Operator, get me the President’s agent.”

This may not be a great movie . . . okay, it’s not . . . but it’s one of my favorite cult cheese-fests.  Ignore Schwartzenegger (who actually isn’t bad in this, considering the material he was given): Richard Dawson, playing the producer and host of the number one game show in a dystopian America—in which criminals are allowed to win their freedom in a sort of rigged gladiatorial death-match race— is seriously one of the best cold-blooded, calculating villains I’ve ever seen.

It’s more than possible that this movie influenced that drawer novel I threatened as a booby prize.

oooooOOOOOooooo

7.

I want a Winnebago

—Mother (Dan Akroyd), Sneakers

Around the :20 mark, but the rest is awesome, too.

oooooOOOOOooooo

8.

“My foot!  My only foot!”
—Fidget (voice: Candy Candido), The Great Mouse Detective

My then-not-husband took me to see this the summer before we were married.  It’s one of his favorite movies.  And this is what we both say when we stub our toes or drop things on our feet.

oooooOOOOOooooo

9.

Gwen and Jason (Sigourney Weaver and Tim Allen), Galaxy Quest:

Gwen:  It makes no logical sense! Why is this here?!

Jason:  Because it’s on the television show!

Gwen:  Well, forget it! I’m not doing it! This episode was badly written!

This is the quote I  screwed up the most—sorry, Kev.  You’re right, it’s the perfect clip for writers.

  I should have stuck with Gwen’s ending line:  “Whoever wrote this episode should die!”

oooooOOOOOooooo

10.

“When I first saw you, I thought you were handsome. Then, of course, you spoke.”

—Carol Connelly (Helen Hunt), As Good as it Gets

I kind of feel that way about Jack Nicholson, too . . . And yes, this was from Mrs. P.

oooooOOOOOooooo 

11.

Sarah’s favorite John Wayne quote:

I tried so hard to find a clip and couldn’t!  This one needs some context:  Ssraight-laced Amelia Dedham (Elizabeth Allen) goes to a tropical island to find her father and finds Mike Donovan (John Wayne) as well.  Sparks fly and Amelia usually ends up embarrassed and hopping mad.

At one point, she jumps into the backward-facing seat of  golf-cart-jeep-like vehicle, and tells the driver to take her to Donovan so she can tell him off.  Just as they pass Donovan walking on the road, the vehicle hits a bump and wham she’s suddenly sitting in the street.  Donvan ambles  past her and drawls, “Did you hurt your . . . self?”

Naturally, Amelia goes incandescent . . .

oooooOOOOOooooo

12.

Hannah Morgan  (the incomparable Lauren Bacall), The Mirror has Two Faces

The quote comes right after Rose says, “Does anyone want coffee?”

Hannah tells her to go ahead and make it, and when Rose says, “Why don’t you make it?”  Hannah says . . .

“I’ve buried a husband, I’ve raised two daughters. I’ve made my coffee.”

oooooOOOOOooooo

13.

 Feathers and John T. Chance (Angie Dickenson and John Wayne), Rio Bravo:

Feathers:  I thought you were never going to say it.
John T:  Say what?
Feathers:  That you love me.
John T:  I said I’d arrest you.
Feathers: It means the same thing, you know that.

 This is my favorite Western and I don’t care what you say, Dean Martin and Rickie Nelson could act and Rio Bravo proves it.  Plus  Angie Dickenson’s character makes this movie.

Here’s a fan-made clip of most of her best moments in Rio Bravo—the quote comes in around 8:54, but there’s quite an interesting one between 4:04 and 4:11.  Whew!


oooooOOOOOOooooo

14.

—Ted “Theodore” Logan (Keanu Reeves), Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

I have no excuse for this one, but I say it all the time, usually to a bit of information I’m trying to coax out of an uncooperative search engine.

oooooOOOOOooooo

15.

You know . . . For kids!

—Norville (Tim Robbins), Hudsucker Proxy

The other catchphrase that came out of this movie for our family was, “Sure, sure.”  This one is far less annoying.  Maybe.

________________________

And the winner is . . . Sarah Pearson!

Sarah, if I should send the gift card to an e-mail address different from the one you use to comment, please let me know!

First Ever Random Thursday Movie Line Contest Has Been Extended

Because more than one person e-mailed me to say they missed the deadline before they read the post—though they didn’t mention what on earth they could hve been doing instead—I’ve decided to extended the contest through the weekend.

Up for grabs is a $25 Amazon gift card.

Entries will be accepted until midnight EST on Sunday.

Everyone who entered prior to midnight Friday gets an extra point, because they didn’t have as much time.

Don’t enter here, enter here

Rules still apply, Kev.  Stop nagging.

Random Thursday: Favorite Movie Quotes and Windfalls

I received a check today for a biographical monologue I did for a cemetery walk that will take place around Halloween.  I wasn’t expecting to be paid at all—I said I’d do it for free—so I’ve decided to share my unexpected windfall.*

 Help me celebrate the writers of our favorite movie lines—okay, my favorite movie lines—and those actors who make us love them by participating in the

 First  Ever Random Thursday Contest!

 There are fifteen numbered quotes throughout this post.  In the comments, tell me which movies they’re from.  You will be awarded one point per correct answer.

An extra point will be given if you supply the character(s) or actor(s) who said  the line(s).

 The person with the most points will receive a $25.00 Amazon gift card, because a remarkable number of you live in a different hemisphere, and the postal fees are a killer.**

In the event of a tie, names will be put in Sunny’s favorite Dora the Explorer hat and the winner will be chosen by Janie.

Standard disclaimers apply.  These quotes have been confirmed to the best of my ability, and I will not debate the accuracy of the wording or punctuation until the answers are posted—my blog, my rules.   Mrs. P. and Kev the Earworm King are requested not to participate, as they supplied their favorite quotes this morning.***  Hey!  An extra point each, if you can guess which ones they provided.

Entries will be accepted until Friday at midnight, EST. 

The name of the winner, and the answers, will be posted Sunday-ish.

If you have questions, e-mail ’em to me.  But again, I’m not arguing about the precision of the quotes.

_________________________

1. 

 I ran out of gas. I had a flat tire. I didn’t have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts! It wasn’t my fault, I swear to god!

oooooOOOOOooooo

 2. 

Funny Pictures - Sparta Birds

oooooOOOOOooooo

3.

I would say so far, adulthood gets a three.

oooooOOOOOooooo

4.

“I feel sorry for men who don’t knit—they lead empty lives.”

oooooOOOOOooooo

5. 

Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not ‘every man for himself.’ And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked ’em up.

oooooOOOOOooooo

oooooOOOOOooooo

6. 

This is Killian.  Get me the Justice Department: Entertainment Division. No, hold that. Operator, get me the President’s agent.

oooooOOOOOooooo

7. 

I want . . . a Winnebago.

oooooOOOOOooooo

8. 

My foot! My only foot!

oooooOOOOOooooo

Janie wants me to take her to the Smurf movie.

I’m not sure.

When I was her age, I loved the Smurfs.  I did.  I had Smurf dolls, Smurf figures, Smurf shirts, Smurf pillowcases, the whole Smurfing works . . . until one day, I was watching the episode where Gargamel fails to capture the Smurfs—you remember that one, right?  Fourth season?—and realized that the simplistic narrative structure just wasn’t doing it for me any more^ and the word smurf was beginning to irritate the $#!% out of me.

 In fact, my years as Fangirl Smurf are, in retrospect, slightly embarrassing.

On the other hand, I can count on one hitchhiking hand the number of times Jane has asked me to take her to the movie theater.  She likes to wander, leaving at any hint of danger or a character doing something that might get them into trouble—which pretty much scraps everything on offer from Hollywood.^^

But she’s much better at live action stuff than cartoons.  She’s seen plays and knows about actors and acting, but even though I’ve shown her photographs and clips of voice actors, there’s something about cartoons that hits her in a way real people don’t.

So maybe we’ll give it the good ol’ Smurfing try.

Ugh.

oooooOOOOOooooo

9. 

It makes no logical sense! Why is this here?!

Because it’s on the show!

Well, forget it! I’m not doing it! This episode was badly written!

oooooOOOOOooooo

10. 

“When I first saw you, I thought you were handsome. Then, of course, you spoke.”

oooooOOOOOooooo

11. 

Sarah’s favorite John Wayne quote:^^^

Did you hurt your . . . self?

oooooOOOOOooooo

12. 

“I’ve buried a husband, I’ve raised two daughters. I’ve made my coffee.”

oooooOOOOOooooo

13.

I thought you were never going to say it.
Say what?
That you love me.
I said I’d arrest you.
It means the same thing, you know that.

oooooOOOOOooooo

14.

“Want a Twinkie, Genghis Khan?”

oooooOOOOOooooo

15. 

You know . . . For kids!

_________________________

*Holy Crows—does anyone remember the windfall fortune cookie?  Was this it?        

** The person with the least amount of points gets a .pdf  file of my unedited second drawer novel, Daughter of, which is set in a dystopian future where military-trained librarians are paid only slightly less than junior high school teachers, but have better weaponry.  No, wait, come back!  I’m kidding!  I wouldn’t do that to anyone who chooses to enter this contest.  Though the rest of you might want to watch out . . .

***And Mrs. P. says hello back to Sarah Pearson and Downith, though she did ask me if I made you up.  It turns out, she doesn’t have an e-mail address and isn’t about to get one just to tell me what she thinks—that’s what she comes to the library for.

^And if Smurfette wasn’t gonna marry Handy, then I wasn’t interested.

^^She hid behind me for more than half of Tangled, and still can’t watch it all the way through on DVD—and we shall not speak of Piglet’s Heffalump Movie.

^^^No, you get no extra points for telling me John Wayne said it.

Angry birds courtesy of You Know Who.