Jabberwocky

I’ve always enjoyed Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky and have studied it a couple of times during my education. For me, it conjures up images of monsters and an upside-down, inverted world, such as Alice finds when she passes through the looking glass:

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!800px-Jabberwocky
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

– Lewis Carroll
from Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There

Lights At Pearson

Earlier this year I headed to the UK for a photo tour of Cornwall (which was amazing, but that’s another story for another time). I had a lot of time to kill prior to my flight’s departure at Toronto’s Pearson International, so I walked around the terminal a bit. I saw these cool lights which caught my eye due to their dramatic shapes:

Cool Light Fixtures

Cool Light Fixture

New Year’s Eve Party?

So, a couple of years ago, on December 31st, I was heading home along Carlton Street. As I passed St. Peter’s Anglican Church at the corner of Carlton and Bleecker, I read their display board out front, then doubled over with helpless laughter:

New Year's Eve Party?

If you’re going to creatively arrange the letters on a church’s notice board, you might as well go all the way.

It must have been some party that night…

The Road Not Taken

 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

– Robert Frost

Being Boring

One of my absolute favourite songs from the Pet Shop Boys. It’s a wistful look back at times past and the friends and lovers who have passed through our lives. There’s a lot going on in these lyrics; this is pop music at its most brilliant:

 

I came across a cache of old photos
and invitations to teenage parties
“Dress in white” one said with quotations
from someone’s wife, a famous writer
in the nineteen-twenties
When you’re young you find inspiration
in anyone who’s ever gone
and opened up a closing door
She said we were never feeling bored

’cause we were never being boring
We had too much time to find for ourselves
and we were never being boring
We dressed up and fought then thought make amends
And we were never holding back or worried that
time would come to an end

When I went I left from the station
with a haversack and some trepidation
Someone said if you’re not careful
you’ll have nothing left and nothing to care for
in the nineteen-seventies
But I sat back and looking forward
my shoes were high and I had scored
I’d bolted through a closing door
and I would never find myself feeling bored

’cause we were never being boring
We had too much time to find for ourselves
and we were never being boring
We dressed up and fought then thought make amends
And we were never holding back or worried that
time would come to an end
We were always hoping that, looking back
you could always rely on a friend

Now I sit with different faces
in rented rooms and foreign places
All the people I was kissing
some are here and some are missing
in the nineteen-nineties
I never dreamt that I would get to be
the creature that I always meant to be
but I thought in spite of dreams
you’d be sitting somewhere here with me

’cause we were never being boring
We had too much time to find for ourselves
and we were never being boring
We dressed up and fought then thought make amends
And we were never holding back or worried that
time would come to an end
We were always hoping that, looking back
you could always rely on a friend

– Neil Tennant, Chris Lowe

Never Forget

Today is Remembrance Day, and I’d like to pay tribute to my uncle George Quartly (my mother’s brother), killed in World War II. I never knew my uncle George as he died many years before I was born, but I had heard a lot about him over the years. I understand he was quite young when he was sent overseas to fight in the war.

George Quartly photo in uniform
George Clifford Quartly

George was in Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), R.C.I.C., Company C. He was killed near Monte Cassino, Italy (probably in the valley of the Liri River) on May 23, 1944, during the Battle of Monte Cassino. Uncle George had been carrying a Bangalore Torpedo up to the front line wire entanglement where he was to throw it at the Germans. The Germans opened fire and he lost his life at the age of 21.

George Clifford Quartly gravestone in Cassino War Cemetary
George Quartly is buried in Cassino War Cemetery, Cassino, Italy, Plot 9, A20.

Growing up, I remember being told that my grandmother never got over losing one of her young sons to the war; she mourned George for the rest of her life.

Uncle George was one of the thousands of great heroes who gave their lives so we could be free.

Leaf Blowers

man-leaf-blower

During my walk today I had to fend off more than one idiot with a leaf blower. I suddenly realized how intensely I LOATHE these bloody things!!!

I fail to see the point of them, quite frankly. Outside of producing excessive noise pollution what is the point of a leaf blower? All it does is relocate a mess from one place to another, polluting the air and environment along the way. The leaves eventually have to be picked up by… someone.

Growing up, I used a really cool device called a rake. With me as operator, it gathered the leafs into a pile and then I used an accompanying invention called a bag to gather up the leaves and remove them entirely from the site… what a concept.

Grrrrrrr……