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A Naiad (1893)

I can’t help noticing that there have been a goodish number of search engine hits here of late concerning the works of John William Waterhouse, especially those dealing with water nymphs and the like. Well, who am I to ignore reader demand?  Because you all  seem to enjoy Mr. Waterhouse’s painting so much (with the significant exception of Mrs. P, of course, who seems consistently antagonized by it), here’s another sampling for you.


Since there seems to be some interest in discussing second-string 19th Century composers among some of you, I will toss the name of Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804-1857) into the mix.

I don’t pretend to know much about Glinka’s musick apart from his Ruslan and Lyudmila overture, except that whenever I hear snippets of his work on the radio, I retain a pretty favorable impression.

I will tell you a story about my introduction to the R&L overture.  When I was in 2nd Grade, I was intensely keen on meteorology.  That year one of the local tee vee stations, as part of its public service outreach, had available a severe weather educational kit.  The kit consisted of a big chart of various meteorological arcana and an accompanying record (n.b. for the kids – that’s a kind of vinyl ancestor of the CD).  The record was a dramatization of a talk being given by a meteorologist to a group of visitors at a NOAA station somewhere in the Midwest and walked through the various parts of the accompanying chart.  The climax of the dramatization was reached when the the NOAA station itself is threatened by an on-coming tornado and everyone has to scramble for the cellar.

Anyhoo, the theme musick on the record was Glinka’s Rusman & Lyudmila overture.  In part because I’ve always had a good ear and in part because my childhood was haunted by a morbid fear of tornadoes, the piece tattooed itself onto my seven year old brain.  Even when I hear it now, I still remember quite clearly my combination of fear and fascination when listening to that old weather record.

A host of minor home-owner problems has come to plague us this week.

First, the youngest gel contrived to rip a closet door off its top hinge, the result of her ape-like habit of hanging on doorknobs. I have informed her that the next time she does this I am going to see to it that she hangs by her neck from the knob instead of by her hands.

Second, the light fixture in our little dressing room has finally given up the ghost. This I don’t mind so much, as the thing is pretty hideous in the worst sort of Vintage 1980 Home Despot Bargain sense, and I have long been looking for a good excuse to get rid of it. However, in the meantime it’s a pain in the neck fishing for matching socks by the light of the closet and the bathroom. Also, I’m going to have to call in an electrician to replace the durn thing: while I don’t labor under the belief held by Thurber’s aunt that electricity leaks out of open sockets, I have a nearly superstitious fear of attempting any home repair that involves it and won’t do such jobs myself.

Finally, the garage door broke last night. Specifically, one of the two big springs attached to the rod that connects the pulleys and helps to hoist the door up and down appears to have snapped from metal fatigue. Or as I’ve started to think of it, one ow’t flay-rod’s gone out-askew on treadle. I think that is what I’m going to report to the garage door repairman when I call. I don’t know what reaction I’ll get, but I certainly don’t expect the Spanish Inquisition.


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October 2008