One look at the weather for the next week and we realize that the period of calm, moderate, predictable, almost enjoyable winter weather is over.
We’re going to be cold.
Not wet, a separate and very good thing not to be, but cold.
Before we get all hot and bothered by the prospect, note that our winter calendar has only 35 days to run.
We can do it.
Of course, not all of us do.
Our friend and correspondent Victor P and his spouse have, for the most part, absconded from the place of their births and growing up, to settle in the sunny clime of Florida.
any others have, too.
Meanwhile, this morning we have to layer up and step out the door.
To be met by a blast of cold air.
Especially those of us who live in high-rises on the water.
Nowhere in Boston is it colder than it is at my entry door.
Once we residents walk even one block away the temperature falls in line with the rest of the city.
Maybe we can’t do it after all.
But don’t tell Victor.
We don’t want him gloating.
Thursday, January 10, 2019
My 273rd consecutive posting, working towards fulfilling a commitment to 5,000.
Time is 12.01am.
On Thursday, Boston’s temperature will reach a high of 39* with, however, a wind that will take the effective temperature to 22*.
Dinner is leftover Bouillabaisse.
To make the second go-round a bit more interesting I’m adding ceci beans and kernel corn to the soup.
Question of the Day:
What is the name of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most famous work?
Love your notes.
Contact me @ email@example.com
My son sends a link that ties into the published musing on grace.
The article is excerpted here, the link included at the end of the excerpt.
Roger Federer as Religious Experience
By DAVID FOSTER WALLACE AUG. 20, 2006
Beauty is not the goal of competitive sports, but high-level sports are a prime venue for the expression of human beauty. The relation is roughly that of courage to war.
The human beauty we’re talking about here is beauty of a particular type; it might be called kinetic beauty. Its power and appeal are universal. It has nothing to do with sex or cultural norms. What it seems to have to do with, really, is human beings’ reconciliation with the fact of having a body.
Of course, in men’s sports no one ever talks about beauty or grace or the body. Men may profess their “love” of sports, but that love must always be cast and enacted in the symbology of war: elimination vs. advance, hierarchy of rank and standing, obsessive statistics, technical analysis, tribal and/or nationalist fervor, uniforms, mass noise, banners, chest-thumping, face-painting, etc. For reasons that are not well understood, war’s codeare safer for most of us than love’s.
Link to the whole article:
The readership of the blog continues to track upwards.
I thank all of you for staying with me through the development of the blog, for navigating through my idiosyncrasies, and forgiving my mistakes to ferret out the occasional thought that adds a bit to our lives.
The steady growth in readership is definitely encouraging.
Answer to Question:
What is the name of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most famous work?
The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by English author and scholar J. R. R. Tolkien.
The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit, but eventually developed into a much larger work.
Written in stages between 1937 and 1949, The Lord of the Rings is one of the best-selling novels ever written, with over 150 million copies sold.
The title of the novel refers to the story's main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron who had in an earlier age created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth.
From quiet beginnings in the Shire, a hobbit land not unlike the English countryside, the story ranges across Middle-earth, following the course of the War of the Ring through the eyes of its characters, not only the hobbits Frodo Baggins, Samwise "Sam" Gamgee, Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck and Peregrin "Pippin" Took, but also the hobbits' chief allies and travelling companions: the Men, Aragorn, a Ranger of the North, and Boromir, a Captain of Gondor; Gimli, a Dwarf warrior; Legolas Greenleaf, an Elven prince; and Gandalf, a wizard.
The work was initially intended by Tolkien to be one volume of a two-volume set, the other to be The Silmarillion, but this idea was dismissed by his publisher.
For economic reasons, The Lord of the Rings was published in three volumes over the course of a year from 29 July 1954 to 20 October 1955.
The three volumes were titled The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. Structurally, the novel is divided internally into six books, two per volume, with several appendices of background material included at the end.
Some editions combine the entire work into a single volume.
The Lord of the Rings has since been reprinted numerous times and translated into 38 languages.
Tolkien's work has been the subject of extensive analysis of its themes and origins.
Although a major work in itself, the story was only the last movement of a larger epic Tolkien had worked on since 1917, in a process he described as mythopoeia.
Influences on this earlier work, and on the story of The Lord of the Rings, include philology, mythology, religion and the author's distaste for the effects of industrialization, as well as earlier fantasy works and Tolkien's experiences in World War I.
The Lord of the Rings in its turn is considered to have had a great effect on modern fantasy; the impact of Tolkien's works is such that the use of the words "Tolkienian" and "Tolkienesque" have been recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary.
The enduring popularity of The Lord of the Rings has led to numerous references in popular culture, the founding of many societies by fans of Tolkien's works, and the publication of many books about Tolkien and his works.
The Lord of the Rings has inspired, and continues to inspire, artwork, music, films and television, video games, board games, and subsequent literature.
Award-winning adaptations of The Lord of the Rings have been made for radio, theatre, and film.
In 2003, it was named Britain's best novel of all time in the BBC's The Big Read.
Thousands of years before the events of the novel, the Dark Lord Sauron had forged the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power and corrupt those who wore them: nine for leaders of Men, three for Elves, and seven for Dwarves.
Sauron was defeated by an alliance of Elves and Men led by Gil-galad and Elendil, respectively.
In the final battle, Isildur, son of Elendil, cut the One Ring from Sauron's finger, causing Sauron to lose his physical form.
Isildur claimed the Ring as an heirloom for his line and refused the opportunity to destroy the ring.
When he was later ambushed and killed by the Orcs, the Ring was lost in the River Anduin.
Over two thousand years later, the Ring was found by one of the river-folk called Déagol.
His friend Sméagol fell under the Ring's influence and strangled Déagol to acquire it.
Sméagol was banished and hid under the Misty Mountains.
The Ring gave him long life and changed him over hundreds of years into a twisted, corrupted creature called Gollum.
Gollum lost the Ring, his "precious", and as told in The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins found it.
Meanwhile, Sauron assumed a new form and took back his old realm of Mordor. When Gollum set out in search of the Ring, he was captured and tortured by Sauron.
Sauron learned from Gollum that "Baggins" of the Shire had taken the Ring.
Gollum was set loose.
Sauron, who needed the Ring to regain his full power, sent forth his powerful servants, the Nazgûl, to seize it.
The Fellowship of the Ring
The story begins in the Shire, where the hobbit Frodo Baggins inherits the Ring from Bilbo Baggins, his cousin and guardian.
Neither hobbit is aware of the Ring's nature, but Gandalf the Grey, a wizard and an old friend of Bilbo, suspects it to be Sauron's Ring.
Seventeen years later, after Gandalf confirms his guess, he tells Frodo the history of the Ring and counsels him to take it away from the Shire.
Frodo sets out, accompanied by his gardener, servant and friend, Samwise "Sam" Gamgee, and two cousins, Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck and Peregrin "Pippin" Took.
They are nearly caught by the Black Riders, but shake off their pursuers by cutting through the Old Forest.
There they are aided by Tom Bombadil, a strange and merry fellow who lives with his wife Goldberry in the forest.
The hobbits reach the town of Bree, where they encounter a Ranger named Strider, whom Gandalf had mentioned in a letter.
Strider persuades the hobbits to take him on as their guide and protector.
Together, they leave Bree after another close escape from the Black Riders.
On the hill of Weathertop, they are again attacked by the Black Riders, who wound Frodo with a cursed blade.
Strider fights them off and leads the hobbits towards the Elven refuge of Rivendell.
Frodo falls deathly ill from the wound.
The Black Riders nearly capture him at the Ford of Bruinen, but flood waters summoned by Elrond, master of Rivendell, rise up and overwhelm them.
Frodo recovers in Rivendell under Elrond's care.
The Council of Elrond discusses the history of Sauron and the Ring.
Strider is revealed to be Aragorn, Isildur's heir.
Gandalf reports that Saruman has betrayed them and is now working to become a power in his own right.
The Council decides that the Ring must be destroyed, but that can only be done by sending it to the Fire of Mount Doom in Mordor, where it was forged.
Frodo takes this task upon himself.
Elrond, with the advice of Gandalf, chooses companions for him.
The Company of the Ring are nine in number: Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, Gandalf, Gimli the Dwarf, Legolas the Elf, and the Man Boromir, son of Denethor, the Ruling Steward of the land of Gondor.
After a failed attempt to cross the Misty Mountains through the Redhorn Pass, the Company are forced to take a perilous path through the Mines of Moria.
They are attacked by the Watcher in the Water before the doors of Moria.
Inside Moria, they learn of the fate of Balin and his colony of Dwarves.
After surviving an attack, they are pursued by Orcs and by an ancient demon called a Balrog. Gandalf faces the Balrog, and both of them fall into the abyss.
The others escape and find refuge in the Elven forest of Lothlórien, where they are counselled by its rulers, Galadriel and Celeborn.
With boats and gifts from Galadriel, the Company travel down the River Anduin to the hill of Amon Hen. There, Boromir tries to take the Ring from Frodo, but Frodo puts it on and disappears.
Frodo chooses to go alone to Mordor, but Sam guesses what he intends and goes with him.
The Two Towers
Orcs sent by Saruman and Sauron kill Boromir and capture Merry and Pippin.
Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas debate which pair of hobbits to follow.
They decide to pursue the Orcs taking Merry and Pippin to Saruman.
In the kingdom of Rohan, the Orcs are slain by a company of Rohirrim.
Merry and Pippin escape into Fangorn Forest, where they are befriended by Treebeard, the oldest of the tree-like Ents.
Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas track the hobbits to Fangorn.
There they unexpectedly meet Gandalf.
Gandalf explains that he slew the Balrog; darkness took him, but he was sent back to Middle-earth to complete his mission.
He is clothed in white and is now Gandalf the White, for he has taken Saruman's place as the chief of the wizards.
Gandalf assures his friends that Merry and Pippin are safe.
Together they ride to Edoras, capital of Rohan.
Gandalf frees Théoden, King of Rohan, from the influence of Saruman's spy Gríma Wormtongue. Théoden musters his fighting strength and rides with his men to the ancient fortress of Helm's Deep, while Gandalf departs to seek help from Treebeard.
Meanwhile, the Ents, roused by Merry and Pippin from their peaceful ways, attack Isengard, Saruman's stronghold, and trap the wizard in the tower of Orthanc.
Gandalf convinces Treebeard to send an army of Huorns to Théoden's aid.
Gandalf brings an army of Rohirrim to Helm's Deep, and they defeat the Orcs, who flee into the "forest" of Huorns, never to be seen again.
Gandalf offers Saruman a chance to turn away from evil.
When Saruman refuses to listen, Gandalf strips him of his rank and most of his powers.
After Saruman crawls back to his prison, Wormtongue drops a sphere to try to kill Gandalf.
Pippin picks it up; it is revealed to be a palantír, a seeing-stone that Saruman used to speak with Sauron and through which Saruman was ensnared.
Pippin is seen by Sauron.
Gandalf rides for Minas Tirith, chief city of Gondor, taking Pippin with him.
Frodo and Sam capture Gollum, who has followed them from Moria.
They force him to guide them to Mordor.
They find that the Black Gate of Mordor is too well guarded, so instead they travel to a secret way Gollum knows.
On the way, they encounter Faramir, who, unlike his brother Boromir, resists the temptation to seize the Ring.
Gollum – who is torn between his loyalty to Frodo and his desire for the Ring – betrays Frodo by leading him to the great spider Shelob in the tunnels of Cirith Ungol.
Frodo falls to Shelob's sting.
But with the help of Galadriel's gifts, Sam fights off the spider.
Believing Frodo to be dead, Sam takes the Ring to continue the quest alone.
Orcs find Frodo; Sam overhears them and learns that Frodo is still alive.
The Return of the King
Sauron sends a great army against Gondor.
Gandalf arrives at Minas Tirith to warn Denethor of the attack, while Théoden musters the Rohirrim to ride to Gondor's aid.
Minas Tirith is besieged.
Denethor is deceived by Sauron and falls into despair.
He burns himself alive on a pyre, nearly taking his son Faramir with him.
Aragorn, accompanied by Legolas, Gimli and the Rangers of the North, takes the Paths of the Dead to recruit the Dead Men of Dunharrow, who are bound by a curse which denies them rest until they fulfil their ancient forsworn oath to fight for the King of Gondor.
Following Aragorn, the Army of the Dead strikes terror into the Corsairs of Umbar invading southern Gondor.
Aragorn defeats the Corsairs and uses their ships to transport the men of southern Gondor up the Anduin, reaching Minas Tirith just in time to turn the tide of battle.
Éowyn, Théoden's niece, slays the Lord of the Nazgûl with help from Merry.
Together, Gondor and Rohan defeat Sauron's army in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, though at great cost.
Théoden is killed, and Éowyn and Merry are injured.
Meanwhile, Sam rescues Frodo from the tower of Cirith Ungol.
They set out across Mordor.
Aragorn leads an army of men from Gondor and Rohan to march on the Black Gate to distract Sauron from his true danger.
His army is vastly outnumbered by the great might of Sauron.
Frodo and Sam reach the edge of the Cracks of Doom, but Frodo cannot resist the Ring any longer.
He claims it for himself and puts it on his finger.
Gollum suddenly reappears.
He struggles with Frodo and bites off Frodo's finger with the Ring still on it.
Celebrating wildly, Gollum loses his footing and falls into the Fire, taking the Ring with him.
When the Ring is destroyed, Sauron loses his power forever.
All he created collapses, the Nazgûl perish, and his armies are thrown into such disarray that Aragorn's forces emerge victorious.
Aragorn is crowned Elessar, King of Arnor and Gondor, and weds Arwen, daughter of Elrond.
The four hobbits make their way back to the Shire, only to find out that it has been taken over by men led by Sharkey.
The hobbits raise a rebellion and liberate the Shire, though 19 hobbits are killed and 30 wounded. Sharkey turns out to be Saruman.
Frodo stops the hobbits from killing the wizard after Saruman attempts to stab Frodo, but Gríma turns on Saruman and kills him in front of Bag End, Frodo's home.
He is slain in turn by hobbit archers, and the War of the Ring comes to its true end on Frodo's very doorstep.
Merry and Pippin are celebrated as heroes.
Sam marries Rosie Cotton and uses his gifts from Galadriel to help heal the Shire.
But Frodo is still wounded in body and spirit, having borne the Ring for so long.
A few years later, in the company of Bilbo and Gandalf, Frodo sails from the Grey Havens west over the Sea to the Undying Lands to find peace.
In the appendices, Sam gives his daughter Elanor the Red Book of Westmarch, which contains the story of Bilbo's adventures and the War of the Ring as witnessed by the hobbits.
Sam is then said to have crossed west over the Sea himself, the last of the Ring-bearers.
Good morning! It’s Thursday, the 9th day of January.
We talked about the cold and looked at an iceberg; and we talked about dinner, time, and calendars.
Chris sent a piece on grace.
We learned of the steady growth of the blog’s readership.
And we read a synopsis and looked at images of the Lord of the Ring, the book.
Che vuoi? Le pocketbook?
See you soon.