Daily Archives: April 18, 2005

The Other Great Event Today

Girl Genius is now online! It takes place in a world where sparks (read: Mad Scientists) rule the world — and fight each other. Once the Heterodyne Brothers tried to use their powers for good, but they disappeared long ago and must be dead. Europe is being unified against its will by Baron Klaus Wulfenbach, his troops, his clanks (read: robots), and his huge airship-castle. A klutzy normal girl like Agatha Clay has no business aspiring to anything more than keeping her head down as a lab assistant — right?

Follow the story from the very beginning. Trust me. If you get impatient, order the collections. You won’t regret it.


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My Unitarian Jihad Name

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Sibling Katana of Love and Mercy.

Get yours.

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On Translation. Again.

This is a very interesting essay on “The Poet as Translator”, which quotes a lot of good translations, some in full. The writer’s own translations are included elsewhere on the site, and are worth reading.

The essay is very big on getting into the same emotional state as the original writer, or at least thinking you are. I think there’s a lot of truth to this. Since there’s no way of knowing exactly what was felt and meant, you may as well throw yourself into your interpretation wholeheartedly. As with singing, nervousness is no help. Better to be boldly off-key than shakily true.

On the other hand, there’s really no way to feel what someone else is feeling without engaging your brain. And the process of writing itself is a curiously unemotional thing; you and your feelings are no more present in the flow of making than you would be thinking about the rights and wrongs of nations or the details of your buddies’ lives in the middle of combat. You are too busy doing to feel or think. You are too busy making words say what you mean (what you feel) to actually feel them. The only use of emotion in poetry is to bring you into a state of making poetry. Emotion comes back afterward, but it’s shoved aside during.

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The Helmets Are Shaking Their Purple-Dyed Crests

A Sophocles play is being given free rein for the first time in centuries…or at least some lines from it are. The same new infrared techniques that are being used to read the scrolls from Herculaneum’s House of the Papyri are now being used on the illegible bits of the Oxyrhyncus Papyri, a bunch of papyrus fragments found in ancient Egyptian rubbish dumps many years ago. My headline is from the results.

(I do like that line. Very horsey.)

But scholars are particularly excited to have gotten a bunch of new lines from Archilochos, a soldier poet revered by many ancients as Homer’s equal. He seems to have a lot of down-to-earth wisdom and sense, he was supposed to be the satirist, and he invented iambic verse, according to the Greeks. Here’s Guy Davenport’s translation of one fragment found previously, inside a mummy.

The most concise account of the Oxyrhyncus Papyri is at Wikipedia. At least until some nutball ‘revises’ it.

The official site I linked to above contains some interesting articles and pictures on the thousands of papyri that were previously legible, including information on:

616: The Other Number of the Beast

Oxyrhyncus’ destruction by Muslim Arab invaders, perhaps because the city was a major regional center of Christianity and religious life. Later Muslim sources celebrated the city as the place where Mary, Joseph and Jesus lived during their brief residency in Egypt.

A list of documents used in daily life.

A circus program, or draft thereof.

An illustrated scroll about Heracles

A private letter about a one-eyed astrologer. Boy, I hope this is just code or slang, because otherwise the letterwriter died a very nasty death.

An ancient horoscope.

A house map.

An order to arrest a Christian.

Verse with musical notation.

Pretty cool, eh? There’s a lot more on this site. Check it out.

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La Vendetta di Dio

If I’d been feeling better, I would have watched the pre-Conclave Mass. Apparently I missed a nifty homily by Cardinal Ratzinger. Check out this text and translation via and from Zadok the Roman (UPDATE: There’s a full-length translation at Inside the Vatican):

Cristo porta nel suo corpo e sulla sua anima tutto il peso del male, tutta la sua forza distruttiva. Egli brucia e trasforma il male nella sofferenza, nel fuoco del suo amore sofferente. Il giorno della vendetta e l�anno della misericordia coincidono nel mistero pasquale, nel Cristo morto e risorto. Questa � la vendetta di Dio: egli stesso, nella persona del Figlio, soffre per noi. Quanto pi� siamo toccati dalla misericordia del Signore, tanto pi� entriamo in solidariet� con la sua sofferenza � diveniamo disponibili a completare nella nostra carne “quello che manca ai patimenti di Cristo” (Col 1, 24).

The mercy of Christ is not cheap grace and does not suppose the trivialization of evil. Christ carries in His body and soul all the weight of evil, all its destructive force. He burns and transforms evil in suffering, in the fire of his suffering love. The day of vindication and the year of mercy meet in the Paschal Mystery, in the dead and risen Christ. This is the vindication of God: He Himself, in the person of the Son, suffers for us. The more we are touched by the mercy of God, the more we enter into solidarity with His suffering – we become available to complete in our bodies ‘that which is lacking in the suffering of Christ’. (Col 1:24)

Oh, yes, Cardinal Ratzinger is such a cruel hard man. *roll eyes*

It’s too bad “the vendetta of God” doesn’t mean what it sounds like, though.

“Now at last, I will get my revenge on the children of Adam! Mwahaha! Watch me die for you! Take that! Watch me give you eternal life! Mwahaha, the perfect revenge!”

Sounds like something out of the Gospel of Ninja or Paul’s letter to the Mad Scientists….

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