Today’s reading

The two older kids, 14 and 12, have signed up for this local class on ancient literature with a half-dozen or so other local homeschooled teens.  Since I keep finding that my current reading is relevant in discussions at home following the class, I’m hoping to keep track of what I read so I can remember it all.  So, today’s reading so far:

  • the papacies of Nicholas I, Adrian II and John VIII, who all reigned from 858 to 882 and dealt with the withered scions of Charlemagne and other assorted nutjobs East and West (see Anastasius Bibliothecarius, the man with nine ecclesiastical lives).
  • the end of Roman rule in Britain in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.
  • Bede’s more detailed look at the same in his Ecclesiastical History.  The Romans were summoned a couple of times to fight off Picts and whatnot. On their last rescue mission they found the pathetic little turf wall the Brits had built to keep out the Picts and, realizing they wouldn’t have a chance to return again, left what they could: they build a straight stone wall 8 feet thick and 12 feet high across the narrowest width of the island just south of Pictland (Bede keeps saying it’s straight! and you can still see it today!), and they left patterns to be used for forging and making weapons.  They also left a bit of advice: fight like men or you’re dead.  You can tell they were fond of the Brits, at least the way Bede tells the story.
  • the sophomoric Tablet I of the Epic of Gilgamesh, which is what the kids will be concentrating on in the coming two weeks for their class.
  • Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s Lenten homiles on Genesis, delivered in Munich’s Leibfrauenkirche in the early ’80s before he had to move to Rome.  He sees the fundamentalist’s literal interpretation of the creation accounts in Genesis as (I’m probably misrepresenting him here) an ironic product of the 16th century’s  “Enlightenment” and its rejection of the Church’s authority to interpret Scripture in favor of a dead technical analysis of texts; a looking back to materialistic origins rather than a looking forward to Christ and the consummation of all things.
  • a bit of Aristophanes’ The Birds, as it’s the second of the texts the kids will work on.  It’s amusing so far.
  • John C. Wright’s response to an atheist.  As someone remarked there later, “Let up on the flamethrower, you’re crisping the ashes.”
  • I write in order to remember, and I may as well do it here so I can have a heavy bookbag again like TSO.  Whom I will, henceforth, call General TSO, because I love his chicken.
  • General Tso’s chicken; at least that’s what the other generals say.

Deo gratias, payday was yesterday and I could finally afford a pack of smokes again.  My mind works better on nicotine.


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