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The times they have changed

We have just started reading The Count of Monte Cristo for school, and I am liking it so far.聽 However, I was most dismayed upon reading the short “translator’s note” at the beginning of this particular edition:

The prevailing taste for brevity has made the spacious days of the stately three-volume novel seem very remote indeed. A distinct prejudice against length now exists: a feeling that there is a necessary antithesis between quantity and quality. One of the results is that those delightfully interminable romances which beguiled the nights and days of our ancestors in so pleasant a fashion are now given no more than a passing nod of recognition. Unfortunate as this is, one has to admit it with as much philosophy as may be available for the purpose. Life then had broader margins, and both opportunity and inclination are now lacking for such extensive indulgence in the printed page.

This, then, is felt to be sufficient apology for the present abridgement of one of the world’s masterpieces…

Sufficient apology? I think not! Who are they who dare to pick and choose the choicest morsels of Dumas’s novel and give them to us served up on a dinner plate, not even considering that we may have found much delight in what they left out? Read More

That was alarming

I just voted in the Texas Republican primary, and as my second chance to vote, I was quite excited about having my say in the world of politics. However, I was not a little disconcerted when I noticed that all the other early voters who were there were voting on the Democrat side–evidently for their chance to decide between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

What’s so odd about that? you may ask. Well, it may help to put this in perspective. I live in Parker County, a place where local officials are elected at the primary since there are hardly ever any Democrat contenders. Thus I was very surprised to see so many people voting Democrat. Does this forebode something? I’m afraid so. Let’s just hope that if the people of the United States really are willing to have another Democrat in the White House for four years, that they’ll be more sensible by the time the next election rolls around.

You too can be debt free

A while back, that is to say, about a year or two ago, my parents began listening to this guy on the radio called Dave Ramsey.聽 Although he may not be as well known as Sean Hannity, his broadcasts focus on individual people instead of politics.聽 If you tune into his radio show on any given day, you may be priviledged to hear several families call in to tell their success stories: how much debt they paid off, and how long it took them; and then they will scream I’M DEBT FREE!

Now please don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Dave Ramsey fanatic.聽 But I am very much appreciative of the work that he does every day to (1) convince people that they have financial problems, and (2) tell them how they can change their lifestyle in order to attain that high and lofty goal of financial peace. Read More

O lingua fortunata!

Of late I’ve been researching the extant corpus of writings in Etruscan, an ancient language which was spoken in Etruria (modern-day Tuscany), Italy. Etruscan is dead now (its speakers were dissolved into Roman culture long ago), but through the writings these people left behind we do know enough about their language to see that it was definitely not Indo-European, i.e. it was not related to Latin or English or most any other European language. A little is known about its phonology and grammar, but most knowledge of it is lost forever, and although many Etruscan books were written during Classical Antiquity, only one has survived.

This evening I read an online article about Doris McLemore, the last fluent speaker of the Wichita language up in Oklahoma. It really is sad to think how this Native American tongue will be lost when she passes away, but when one looks at history, it is clear that one language supplanting another is nothing new. The ancient Celts of the Iberian peninsula were Romanized years ago, and even before that it is likely that the original Indo-Europeans conquered many people in Europe who had lived there before them. Thus we can see that, although it is certainly lamentable, there will always be languages that are replaced by other, more fortunate tongues.

However, to end on a good note, I should like to remind you that North America is not losing all of its linguistic richness. In my two visits to San Luis Potosi, Mexico, I found the Nahuatl and Huastec languages thriving alongside Spanish, spoken by young and old alike. So, it really is possible to retain your linguistic heritage if you have a mind to.

A bowl of yellows

A bowl of yellows


Yellows, anyone?聽 Although my family insists these citrus fruits are oranges, I cannot see the logic in calling them such if their color does not agree.聽 Maybe I should try that next time I鈥檓 down in Mexico; I鈥檝e seen lots of yellow oranges down there.聽 驴Quieres un amarillo?聽