"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Friday, December 24, 2010

Birthdays Today (and Yesterday)

We were traveling yesterday in the family people mover, bringing die Kinder to die Grossmutter.   So I missed blogging.  

I talked to someone at work whose child was born on Christmas Eve -- I told him I always thought that would be cool, so you could get double presents!   Other folks born on December 24th include:  Ignatius of Loyola, born in 1491, who founded the order of Jesuit priests.  

Our family has a special fondness for Jesuits.... my wife attended Creighton and Marquette, and I went to Marquette law school.   More importantly, my wife's uncle was a Jesuit priest who was President of Marquette from the early 1960s through the late 1980s, Father John P. Raynor, S.J.   A great and good man... I wish he were still around to talk to.   Occasionally I could use some advice.  

Matthew Arnold, the English poet and critic, was born in 1822.   Arnold's one great poem for my money was "Dover Beach," which has some of the most beautiful lines in the language:

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
I also missed yesterday's birthday of the great composer, Giacomo Puccini, born in 1853.   Here's Puccini's great aria from Turandot, "Nessum Dorma," probably my favorite "song" from the world of opera:

Tomorrow, of course.... the biggest and best birthday of all.   Merry Christmas to everyone!

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