Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
BQB almost missed podcasting this month because he was enjoying a vacation in sunny Orlando, Florida, hobnobbing with Mickey Mouse and eating pineapples under palm trees and such.
But he came back just in time to entertain his 3.5 listeners.
Here, the world renowned poindexter reads the first chapter of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work, “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”
Who would think that a simple stick left in a waiting room would lead to so many deductions? We learn Holmes’ investigatory process, namely, how he can observe an item and find details and information everywhere, where others would not notice anything. Simple little clues about the stick tell Holmes so much about its owner.
Watson believes he has received a compliment from Holmes, i.e. that the great investigator has applauded the good doctor’s observations about the stick but rather, as the chapter moves on, we learn that Holmes says that Watson is not a genius, he is not a source of light but rather, a “conductor of light.”
So…that’s a really nice way of telling Holmes that he was wrong but by being so wrong he helped Holmes figure out what was right.
Talk about backhanded compliments.
#10 – “That is just the way with some people. They get down on a thing when they don’t know nothing about it.”
#9 – “Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and a body ain’t got no business doing wrong when he ain’t ignorant and knows better.”
#8 – “What’s the use you learning to do right when it’s troublesome to do right and ain’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?”
#7 – “It’s lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky, up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made, or only just happened- Jim he allowed they was made, but I allowed they happened; I judged it would have took too long to make so many.”
#6 – “The pitifulest thing out is a mob; that’s what an army is–a mob; they don’t fight with courage that’s born in them, but with courage that’s borrowed from their mass, and from their officers. But a mob without any MAN at the head of it is BENEATH pitifulness.”
#5 – “It didn’t take me long to make up my mind that these liars warn’t no kings nor dukes at all, but just low-down humbugs and frauds. But I never said nothing, never let on; kept it to myself; it’s the best way; then you don’t have no quarrels, and don’t get into no trouble. If they wanted us to call them kings and dukes, I hadn’t no objections, ‘long as it would keep peace in the family; and it warn’t no use to tell Jim, so I didn’t tell him. If I never learnt nothing else out of pap, I learnt that the best way to get along with his kind of people is to let them have their own way.”
#4 – “You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth.”
#3 – “It warn’t no time to be sentimentering.”
#2 – “And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn’t seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I’d see him standing my watch on top of his’n, ’stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the ONLY one he’s got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper.”
#1 – “The duke he quit tending door and went around the back way and come on to the stage and stood up before the curtain and made a little speech, and praised up this tragedy, and said it was the most thrillingest one that ever was; and so he went on a-bragging about the tragedy, and about Edmund Kean the Elder, which was to play the main principal part in it; and at last when he’d got everybody’s expectations up high enough, he rolled up the curtain, and the next minute the king come a-prancing out on all fours, naked; and he was painted all over, ring-streaked-and-striped, all sorts of colors, as splendid as a rainbow. And – but never mind the rest of his outfit; it was just wild, but it was awful funny. The people most killed themselves laughing; and when the king got done capering and capered off behind the scenes, they roared and clapped and stormed and haw-hawed till he come back and done it over again, and after that they made him do it another time. Well, it would make a cow laugh to see the shines that old idiot cut.”
#10 – “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
#9 – “Angry people are not always wise.”
#8 – “Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
#7 – “I have not the pleasure of understanding you.”
#6 – “I am the happiest creature in the world. Perhaps other people have said so before, but not one with such justice. I am happier even than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh.”
#5 – “You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.”
#4 – “From the very beginning— from the first moment, I may almost say— of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form the groundwork of disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”
#3 – “For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”
#2 – “I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding. My temper I dare not vouch for. It is, I believe, too little yielding— certainly too little for the convenience of the world. I cannot forget the follies and vices of other so soon as I ought, nor their offenses against myself. My feelings are not puffed about with every attempt to move them. My temper would perhaps be called resentful. My good opinion once lost, is lost forever.”
#1 – “An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.”
Hey 3.5 readers.
So…I don’t have a big interest in becoming a podcaster at this time. My voice sucks, my improv skills stink, my main talent lies in writing so that’s what I need to focus on.
But I’ve been toying with the idea here, learning Garageband when I could…I figured it couldn’t hurt to read “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens and see how it goes. Sadly, I have found all sorts of errors and all around shittyness just after listening to the two episodes, but each time I make one I learn how to improve for next time.
Should I take them down and fix them? Probably. But I think for now it’s just a learning exercise and getting them produced and up there. I’d like to finish “A Christmas Carol” reading and then get back to my writing and not worry about podcasting for awhile.
It’s water I’d like to dip my toe in but isn’t really my forte.
I do think if I could improve there would be some service i.e. you could listen to me read public domain fiction rather than pay for audio books. On the other hand, I’m a shitty reader who coughs a lot and sounds like I have a mouthful of farts so you get what you pay for.
It’s on iTunes. It’s on Soundcloud. The link above is for iTunes.
Dang, 3.5 listeners. Old Scrooge is going through some serious shit.
In Stave 2, the Ghost of Christmas Past visits our favorite crusty old prick. Scrooge is tortured to see how happy he used to be, how much hope and promise his life once held, and how he lost sight of that happiness in pursuit of the almighty dollar.
#1 – The Ghost of Christmas Past is an odd looking mannish sort of creature, with flames glowing out of his head. He carries a hat that looks like a candle snuffer, a little piece of metal that in the olden days, people would put over a candle to put the light out.
Is the past like a candle? Intangible – you can’t really hold it without experiencing the physical pain of the flame. Similarly, thinking about the past can bring about some good. There are beautiful moments that shine like a candle flame. However, there are sad moments, regrets, things we wish we had done differently. If we reach out and try to make those memories real in our minds, we are burned, just as if we touch the candle. The past cannot be changed and yet we often wish it could be, because we grow older, we realize how all the mistakes we made add up and how if we had just made different choices, our lives would have turned out better.
Are there any choices you currently face that might have an impact on your future? Think as yourself as Scrooge in the future, observing your actions right now with the help of the Ghost of Christmas Past. Would your future self have any advice to give? What would it be?
#2 – Fezziwig was Scrooge’s former boss. This is a case where Dickens exceeds at “show, don’t tell.” In Stave 1, we received a rather dour discussion of Scrooge’s counting – house. Ice cold, grim, Scrooge working on business until the very last second of the day, excoriating his clerk for the slightest error.
Was such heavy handedness necessary? After all, we learn that Scrooge’s old boss, when Scrooge was a young man, was Fezziwig. Fezziwig too was rich, yet he managed to get his business done and still find time to play. In modern parlance, “Fezziwig worked hard and played hard.”
Whereas Old Scrooge cursed his clerk for wanting Christmas off, Fezziwig bars the doors of his office, has everything moved to create a dance floor, and brings in fiddlers and dancers and food and fun, inviting Scrooge and other employees to quit work early and dance the night away.
Is Dickens trying to teach us about having a balanced life? Is it possible to work hard and play hard and be successful at both, or must one give way to the other?
#3 – Scrooge was once engaged. Alas, his fiancee grows weary over the fact that Scrooge spends more time chasing money than he does doting upon her. This seems to be an issue in relationships. Couples often fight over money, which means one spouse must work more to obtain it, but then they often fight over quality time, which means a spouse must work less to gain it.
How can couples work together to achieve a balanced relationship, one where there’s enough money and enough time to be happy together? Is such a notion possible?
#4 – Clearly, the past pains Scrooge. He thinks about his old life in the countryside, his sister, his old boss and work friends and parties, his lost love. The past cannot be changed and yet regrets have a tendency to eat away at us.
To get older is to be peppered with constant spoilers. To be young is to have all of life ahead and to be comforted by beliefs that things will get better. To be old is to be aware of how things turned out yet to have no comfort in thinking that things will get better as there is much less time left.
How can we live our lives so as to be regret free? Is that possible? If we have regrets, how can we learn to live with them so that they don’t weigh us down?
Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas Bookshelf Battlers! ‘Tis the season to be ready! (You are not supposed to read the word “ready” as in “being prepared” but “reedy” as in, being a person who likes to read. Nevermind).
It has been tough keeping up the old Bookshelf Battle blog (follow along on twitter @bookshelfbattle ) lately. I’ve been writing up a storm on a book idea I have and unfortunately I have limited time, so the little time I do get I’d rather spending working on that than posting here, though I wish I could do both.
It’s been ages since I’ve done a book review. That’s sad, since that’s what this blog is all about. But one goal I have is to also promote the classics, especially those in the public domain that belong to the ages.
So without further ado, here is a link to Project Gutenberg’s version of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – the story of hard working Ebenezer Scrooge, an evil one-percenter who made his gold shillings off the backs of the poor, and was happy to do so until three liberal bleeding heart ghosts guilted him into spreading his loot around.
OK, so maybe the story doesn’t work well with modern terminology, but enjoy anyway!