Boxing Day Recipe: Lamb Stuffed Cabbage Rolls In Tomato Sauce

[This entry is cross posted at ordinary-times.com]

Why can’t I simultaneously heat the interior of my car and defrost the windshield? Why is this an either-or proposition? Yes, I can get heat through the floor vents while defrosting but the steering wheel is freezing and leeching whatever warmth was left in my numb fingers so immediacy is required up top instead of down below and no promises of eventual relief from rising heat will mollify my mystification at the inertness of the wide open and ready dash vents. I drive a Hyundai. It’s not the most luxurious vehicle ever devised but if there’s one thing they nailed, I mean engineered beyond my dreams and avarice, it’s the power of the heater. I can go from teeth-clattering misery as I get in the driver’s seat to wishing I had taken off my jacket or sweater in a matter of minute, from sitting in an icy pond to standing under a launching space shuttle. It’s a quick quickener.

The Koreans outfitted my car with four fan speeds. That tells me that there’s a little wiggle room. I could set the heat at fan speed two or three to warm me and my fellow travelers and there should theoretically still be enough juice in the motor to push warmed air through the vents at the base of the windshield where carpool number cards live. Naturally, I’d prefer to have both the defrost and heater roaring at speed four, but I would settle for as low as two if that’s what it takes to see both in action simultaneously. Not speed one though. I’m not a pushover.

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POETS Day! Clement Clarke Moore

[This entry is cross posted at ordinary-times.com]

“Not a mouse stirring.”
– 
Hamlet Act I, Scene I

This is another one of those weekends where there’s really not much need for a POETS Day. Heresy! You might say, and I’d be tempted to agree with you, but even those that don’t celebrate Christmas are the beneficiaries of an act of Congress marking the 25th of December as a federal holiday and that designation pretty well spills over to the days before and after in practice if not in fact. Even if you are at work, whoever you are supposed to be calling on or transferring funds to is probably tilting at last minute shopping or stuck in an airport because the U.S. is now apparently Hoth so it’s a wasted week. If you don’t work retail, you’ve likely already been given a pass to leave work early on Friday if you were expected to show up at all. There’s no need to adhere to the dictate Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday, but that doesn’t mean there’s no need for a bit of poetry. On the contrary, this is an excellent time to get all doe-eyed and the kind of overplayed optimistic cheerful that makes grown men cringe and wish they’d never heard the word ebullient and say, “But it’s always time for poetry!” I think that’s true. Hope you do too.

To my knowledge, there is no tradition recommending anapests when writing poetic religious narratives, but that’s where I keep coming across them. To my knowledge, they are rarely used in devotionals or similarly themed works (I say rarely because I’m holding out that just because I can’t think of a single one, there are more things in heaven and earth than I come across reading the slice of English language poetry that I prefer.) The anapest, a metric foot consisting of two unstressed followed by one stressed syllable, pops up in a lot of long form works. The Illiad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid were all written primarily using another three-syllable foot known as a dactyl, made up of a stressed followed by two unstressed syllables. The distance between stresses in either foot gives prominence the stress wouldn’t have in an iamb or trochee (two syllable feet, unstressed/stressed and stressed/unstressed respectively) and can contribute to an epic sensibility. Translations into English keep as close to the original possible. “I sing of arms and the man” is an example of keeping with the dactylic spirit if not the precise form. Stresses fall on “arms” and “man” but to make sense a throw away “I” is included. In addition to throw away syllables often anapest might be substituted for a dactyl in translation so you can know in your heart of hearts that Juvenal’s Satires are considered to be written in dactyls but can come across an essay or analysis that says they are anapestic without it ruining your world view.

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