One of my claims to fame is that I can list the kings and queens of England/Britain in chronogical order from William the Conqueror to Elizabeth II, currently with a 100 year gap in the middle (but I'm working on slimming it). And because I don't have anything else to do (that's a lie: don't feel like doing anything productive) I will list them here for your enlightenment (off the top of my head):
William I (the Conqueror) William II Henry I Stephen Henry II Richard I John Henry III Edward I (the Longshanks) Edward II Edward III ...gap (I do know that there were 3 Henrys, 2 Richards and 2 Edwards, but the order is unknown)... Henry VII Henry VIII (and his 6 wives: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr) Edward VI (Bloody) Mary I Elizabeth I James I Charles I Interregnum (12 years of no king, after Charles lost his head) Charles II James II William III (of Orange) & Mary II Anne George I George II George III George IV William IV Victoria Edward VII George V Edward VIII George VI Elizabeth II (Charles III) (William V)
If you would also like to memorize the British monarchs, as I'm sure you all are, I have inserted a link to the monarchy's website to the right of this very post (in the sidebar that is).
"Wherever you are, there is vice and wickedness," said Pierre to his wife. (War and Peace, pg. 678)
693 is half of 1386. 1386 is the amount of pages in the book I am currently reading. Page 693 has been passed and I am now therefore past the half way point in this world of a novel. Page 693 also coincides, well almost, with the climax of the book, or at least the climax so far. For some reason I'm like a football coach at halftime, asked by a reporter to assess how the game is going so far and what adjustments I'm going to make for the second half. Well, sort of. It is going well I should say. It is a world of a novel because Tolstoy literally creates a world (I use the word "literally" in the Vaudrian [see below] sense) which you become a part of whether you are conscious of it or not. But it is not a world like the world of Lord of the Rings with maps and topographical descriptions you can smell as you read, with characters you wish existed. No, the world of War and Peace is a world of people like you and I and as you read their persons come alive in your mind. They come alive in such a way that if the person actually climbed out of the novel and shook your hand, you would immediate recognise them and wonder if you hadn't met them before. They come alive in such a way that when the novel is done, when the reading is done, you feel as if their lives should continue on and that you should someday recall a character and think to yourself, "I wonder what ever happened to that fellow?" And so I continue on. I try to keep a balance between wanting to finish and wanting to enjoy every step and looking around as I read to take it all in. That's the tricky part about climbing a mountain: to keep one eye on the summit and the other on the ground you're walking on. --------------- The word "Vaudrian" refers to Dr. Richard W. Vaudry, my history professor at King's. He is widely known for his constant and improper use of the word "literally", to the extent that it has literally lost all meaning whatsoever. A couple quick examples: "When Henry VIII first set eyes on Anne Boleyn, his heart literally melted" or "William Ewart Gladstone literally ruled Parliament with an iron fist".
(If you came here to read the quote of the week and not my self-indulgent mental meanderings, scroll down. It's there...)
I hate making decisions. Today I had to buy a shirt and tie for an upcoming formal occasion. Sounds easy enough, right? Why are there so many colours? And how does the world expect me to know what colour looks good with another? Its too much. When I left my home this morning I did not prepare myself for having to pick one tie out of nine hundred. I don't know. Sure yeah, lets go with that one. Nope, doesn't bring out the right tone. What's tone mean? Beyond me. I think I would have committed an attiral atrocity had I not had a two wise and good looking advisers with me (namely, Shauna and the nice lady at TipTop) to select from the wall o' shirts and the table o' ties two items which look positively smashing. You see, decisions are easier to make when others make them for you and all you have to do is nod your head, "Absolutely, definitely brings out the right tone. And might I also add that the movement in the shirt plays very well with the voice of the jacket." But then there are some decisions that life demands of you which you just have to make on your own. Those are the ones I hate the most. Because what if you make the wrong one? It makes it even harder when you have to choose between good and good. I've had a couple of those in the past little while. Go with the greater good, right? But define greater good. I just feel like you can list the pros and cons of any decision and make a rational choice based on those and still come out not quite as good as you could have. Because sometimes the best choices we can make are the ones which make such little sense at the time. Sometimes rationality doesn't know what she's talking about. Seems to me that the rational choice is to bury the talent in the ground. We try as much as we can to follow the Will of God, but how do we know for sure? I've tried praying about things, but then it seems to me that God is not there just so we can go through life and never make a wrong decision. If the goal of living is to grow (according to e. e., that is) and the best way to grow is to make a few bad choices every once in a while then maybe bad choices are the will of God. Perhaps that's when God truly shows up. And yet we can't go through life making bad decisions willy-nilly just expecting God to be there every time. He gave us brains to figure some of these things out on our own. And gave us community so that we can ask people for wise counsel. Doesn't make things any easier though!
It is one thing to describe an interview with a gorgon or a griffin, a creature who does not exist. It is another thing to discover that the rhinocerous does exist and then take pleasure in the fact that he looks as if he didn't.
(Welcome to the newest feature of this blog. There are so many great quotes out there. Many of them play around in my head for days on end and give me real spiritual, intellectual, emotional nourishment. They make me think, or laugh, or cry, or go crazy. So I figured, why not share these with my faithful readership? I've optimistically called this "Quote of the Week" but if it slowly deteriorates into "Quote of the Bi-Week", "Quote of the Month", "Quote of the not sure when I did this last", "Quote of the oh, screw it already!" I hope you will understand. Enjoy. Think. Ponder. Laugh. Weep. Sing. Go crazy.)
Everybody wants to go to heaven, But nobody wants to die.
- Loretta Lynn from "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven" (covered by David Crowder on "A Collision" which I am listening to right now)
So I went to the doctor the other day. News is not good. I had the sneaky suspicion that I have an intestinal aversion to dairy products. He confirmed that that was probably true and that for the rest of my life my cereal will have to be accompanied by soy milk or worse, goat milk. And no more ice cream. Sundaes and parfaits and blizzards and waffle cones, thanks, it was good. I'll miss you all. If only that was it. The good doctor suggested my stomach might also have a thing against gluten. The one thing I didn't want my stomach to have a thing against. So I'm currently testing out his theory, trying not to eat bread. And I think he might be right. Damn doctors. How, I ask, am I to survive without bread? No more peanut butter and jam sandwiches? I live off peanut butter and jam sandwiches. I eat them for my supper and I eat them for my lunch. If I had a hundred sandwiches I would eat them all at once! So looks like no more ice cream and no more sandwiches for me. Curses. At least this has given me occasion to get reaquainted with fruit in all its various forms. (OK, confession time: I'm writing this while at work. So I'm sitting in the music department and this girl steps up to one of the listening stations, selects a CD and proceeds to sing very loudly and very, very out of tune. I'm trying my best not to laugh.) So in the end, even though my dietary lifestyle is crumbling before my eyes, I can still laugh at stupid children...
All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.