Archive | May, 2011

Ronsard Rocks

Memory lane: I memorised this poem for French class in summer school, 1980. The following year I rediscovered the poem when studying Renaissance French poetry during senior year of high school, and also heard the haunting musical version for the first time from the local college chorale.

I don’t know why the last one says “anonymous.” The poem is “Ode à Cassandre” by Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585), and the musical version, usually known by the opening line “Allons voir si la rose,” was composed by Guillaume Costeley (1530-1606).

(Note: the singers aren’t incompetent speakers of French; they’re trying to capture the Renaissance pronunciation.)

The Sound of Silence

This is a fanmade Doctor Who trailer for series 6. It nicely connects last season’s central puzzle with this season’s.

It also reminds us that the lyrics from the Christmas Special’s song are creepier than we realised at the time.

Friedman In Our Time

Thomas Friedman very rarely says anything I like. But blue moons do happen. I just saw him on CNN saying (I quote from memory):

Our day is supposed to be the Fourth of July, not September 11th. We’re supposed to be a beacon of hope, not an exporter of fear. Are we going to be taking our shoes and our belts off forever? We need to accept a little more insecurity in our lives so we can live like Americans again.

Bin Laden Dead?

Initial reports say that bin Laden has been killed by a u.s. air strike.

I’d be interested to know what the rationale was for killing him rather than capturing him for trial, given that his death doesn’t make much sense as a war aim (i.e., it’s not going to have much appreciable effect on al-Qaeda’s effectiveness, given that terrorism is driven by political situations, not by individual evil masterminds). I’d also like to know who else was killed in the strike, and in particular how many noncombatants.

No tears for bin Laden here, but I predict we’ll be in for a ghoulish firestorm of vindictive celebration for the next few days. I wonder how many self-professed Christians will recall the injunction to “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”

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