This was meant to be about music, whoops.
Once again, predictions of weather have proved false. This time, a few days ago, it was 1-3 inches of snow. Then it changed to freezing rain starting yesterday evening.
No ice is to be found this morning. It's sort of vaguely damp. Now they say it will rain all afternoon. I suppose I can see that occurring. It might seem like an odd thing to desire, but we need a bit of bad weather. There's a tension built up that has no release.
The sky over Lunken Airport just holds its breath for awhile, then slowly releases only enough to take more in. November had half the usual rainfall and almost a half inch of snow. December had normal rainfall and no snow. January, slightly more than half usual rainfall and and almost a half inch of snow.
You know how everywhere you go, people will say, "if you don't like the weather here, just wait an hour/day/whatever?" I've never been or lived in a place that didn't say that. When I visit a new one and hear that, all I can think is, "Sure thing, champ. (Go spend some time in Kansas City and get back to me.")
But I have lived on this latitude for over 40 years of my life. And Cincinnati by far, has had the dullest weather of any four season place I know. My point of view is that if it does have to be cold, it might as well be interesting some of the time. Actually, one year it was absurdly warm in the middle of winter. One year it was absurdly cold early on. One year there was a somewhat sizeable amount of snow. Shortly before I got here it rained an awful lot and Newtown was basically underwater all spring. And yet it still feels like winter here is just Nature in a holding pattern.
I suppose that's because I grew up in Kansas City, see remark above; I think it's where types of weather go for test runs, and spent a lot of time in New Jersey, where thunderstorms are largely uninteresting, but they do have quite a lot of torrential rain and also dog-happy quantities of snow every couple of years. Mostly what I remember about living in Michigan was that it would snow a lot, be cold all spring, and then you could grow everything anyone can think of throughout summer and early autumn.
My daughter is enjoying her first winter in Maine, but she says it would be nice to have something of a break between snow days. I think they usually do, though. And, um, she says "Go Pats!" for whatever that's worth. It's a good attitude, anyway. Wherever you are, be all there. So here I am in dull weather Cincinnati, filling out my symphony subscription form for next season, looking forward to seeing the Cincinnati Opera do Il trovatore in June, excited for the spring opening of Plants by Wolfangel, only two more months...
It's time to start seedlings.
I went into Hancock Fabrics this morning because although I want to collect some vintage fabric to sew with, I thought I might find some in a vintage style for my new crazy quilt project. I hit the jackpot; there were many bolts of clearance prints, and they reminded me of what old people wore when I was little, so then I thought, hey, there's my crazy quilt theme: Throwback to 70s Childhood.
And so I bought ten 1/4 yard pieces plus fourteen skeins of embroidery floss for just about $11 after all the discounts and coupons. This allowed me to indulge in some sale buttons, as well. Anyway. That’s not the thing.
When I walked in, these clearance bolts were right in the front, and I saw one I just loved. I remarked to the woman straightening them that I found it beautiful but knew I had no use for it. If my sewing machine hadn’t declared war on me, I could have done something with it, but it wasn’t a hand sewing kind of fabric and design. Anyway, she saw me slinging bolts into a cart and told me where I’d find more. I’m sure it worried her I was going to mess up her neat reorganization, but I know just how that feels and so I trod lightly along the path.
I’d sent Aaron over to Kroger to pick up a few things while I was in the fabric store, because it’s a final exam day so his schedule is not really one, and then he came in to watch me sorting through buttons. Because of him I chose owls rather than dragonflies, which apparently menace him, and then I sent him to the cutting table with the cart full of fabric bolts, so I could finish looking around. He will be a superb shopping husband someday. The same woman was cutting the fabric when I got there, and listened to me chatter on to Aaron about silly things. I told him Livvy said the newer sewing machines adjust tension themselves, “with wizardry or witchcraft, magical workings, I dunno,” and she stopped cutting and said, “It’s a computer chip.”
I laughed and carried on in my slightly demented mood. I told her my sewing machine and I are warring, and then mentioned to him I hate to buy a new one because mine could kill someone if I picked it up and hurled it at them. He wondered just how far you could hurl it if it weighs so much, and I said, “The point is, I am just old enough to think things should weigh a lot or they aren’t any good.”
Then I pointed out a very fancy machine which does everything and said, “I can bowl.” He laughed. “And I dig in dirt. This is not for me. But I used to be such an early adopter of technology, I don’t know what happened.”
And I knew she was still listening, cutting ten things, so I told him about the town in West Virginia where there is no wifi, and how Time magazine says people are addicted to their iPhones in a peculiar way, and we talked about how we use our phones. I’d be uncomfortable without mine, sure that someone would have an accident if they couldn’t call to tell me they’re fine. But otherwise, meh. I’m over this stuff.
As we were checking out, the woman asked if I had the latest flyer, and I hadn’t seen it, so she found three coupons in it for me to use, and explained over and over again how I need to keep an eye out for those, and I realized, “she thinks I am truly an idiot after all she’s heard.” This amused me. She went over it all again, patiently, but in a very neutral tone; one type of coupon has changed. And I shouldn’t worry about bringing in more than I can use, because the computer recognizes dumb things and won’t allow them to make mistakes. “Not that we’re what’s dumb,” she added with no expression, realizing she was speaking aloud to a human being. I smiled and nodded and thanked her at each appropriate turn, COMPLETELY RELATING to how she felt trying to help a clearly witless person save money and do things the right way.
I mentioned that to Aaron as we walked to the car, and all he could say was, "I had to walk away because she kept saying "cyoo-pon."
But I am now thinking of her fondly, an ISTJ who is probably exhausted by the end of each day, rearranging things, sighing over the inefficiency of her boss, and helping people press the red X on the card pad because it doesn’t do debit, but all in all, it’s probably a pretty good job to have most days in your 60s, and I hope she has a rewarding time of it.
Here's a great new thing for you to try in 2015!
The Merry Widow is an operetta, which means the story and music are light-hearted and quickly paced. This production is sung in English (for operas in other languages, subtitles are provided,) the principal roles are played by two Americans; Renee Fleming and Nathan Gunn, who portray middle-aged people getting a second chance at love, and it also features a Broadway musical star, Kelli O’Hara. The staging, costumes, and sets were all created by Broadway veterans, as well. There are dancers and dancing; more than you will see in most operas, more dialogue than in a typical opera in which all or nearly all of the story is sung, and there are also plenty of laughs.
You can check fathomevents.com to find which movie theaters near you are showing The Merry Widow, either streaming live on Saturday afternoon, January 17, or as an encore the following Wednesday evening. Tickets most places are $22 and $20, and it is well worth it. You’ll see varying camera views, close-ups, behind scene staging, and interviews with the stars, as well as have a few minutes to step out between acts. After the first act finishes, the hostess will speak to a couple people, then you’ll see a countdown time (something like 10 minutes) on screen letting you know how much time is left to step out. At that time, a camera will follow backstage action. But after the countdown, there will be another interview or another peek backstage, and/or a preview for upcoming attractions before the next act begins, and then a similar pattern is followed between the second and third acts. The whole thing including intermissions should take about 2.5 hours.
This is a ten minute video with discussions on the production, sets, and costumes, and excerpts from rehearsals, and I think it will make you want to go.
And here you can watch Fleming and O’Hara sing “Silver Bells” together.
I rarely have comments here anymore, and I suppose that's all right; I think they're down at most personal blogs except rather widely read ones. And sometimes I have responses to these posts when I share them at Google Plus. But here's a reminder that you do not need to log in here to leave one. The comment field gives you 800 ways to do so, if you like, but it is not required. I'm not part of the password culture except by force. Of course spam is annoying, but it is also easily removed. The one thing I couldn't prevent is that you do have to put in a name and email address, but that address is not viewable. Look below for my comment to see how it is.
I woke up with “Elmer’s Tune” in my head on this terrifically bright day. Not Kansas City winter bright, but certainly Cincinnati winter bright. My bedroom and “atelier” windows face east, so it’s warm and cheery in here for now. The light warm blue walls are so much more comfortable than the umber color I put up with for three years.
So, time to get out my picnic blanket quilt project I started last winter. I’d cut muslin and many fabric triangles, and sewed 1/4 of the triangles before gardening beckoned. But today, the summery blues and reds seemed dissatisfying. I have another piece of muslin that is 36x54, and wondered what I might do with it. But I couldn’t do nothing with the other project; that felt too fickle. I laid out the triangles and began pinning them to the muslin with tiny pieces of fusible web. You iron this between fabrics and they stick together.
While placing and ironing, I thought about a book I might listen to. Or maybe an old movie or TV show in the background. I continued on in silence, though. I thought maybe I’m in a “homefront” mood, or maybe up for Wodehouse. Suddenly I had a vision in my head of being near the escalator of Montgomery Ward at the Blue Ridge Mall in Kansas City. This happens as you start advancing in years. I cannot remember the last time I was there, probably 1987 or so, but I saw it perfectly.
I seem to know all the words to “Elmer’s Tune,” and I enjoy it rolling through my head, but I haven’t turned it on because I’m having some sort of ear/sinus trouble, the tinnitus is worse than usual, and nothing sounds right. “What makes a lady of eighty go out on the loose, what makes a gander meander in search of a goose, what puts the kick in a chicken, the magic in June, it’s just Elmer’s tune.”
Nobody writes like that anymore. They haven’t since before I was born. The words were just part of the music, of course, not intended to mean anything that mattered.
Back in the 70s, Mom sewed calico chickens, in various sizes. She’d found a pattern in a magazine and went bonkers for it, making them from tiny to quite large, and giving them away. It wasn’t much longer until we saw them for sale, not as attractive as hers, for quite a bit of money. Mom’s life went that way, and mine tends to, as well. I had this great idea about a decade ago after we first got Netflix, for all kinds of monthly subscriptions people could sign up for, that would be mailed to them, like little craft kits or gift baskets, toiletry samples, that kind of thing. I couldn’t get anyone else interested in the idea. They sure are now, though.
I’m doing most of my sewing by hand, because I like the slow quiet nature of it. I’ve spent too much of my life in a hurry, and even though I might have to again soon, I just don’t want to anymore. When you’re in a hurry, things don’t taste or smell or feel as good. Our huge array of conveniences have begun to bore me. I quite like contemporary plumbing, paying bills online, and having books I want to read appear on my Kindle Fire. I love having the Met Opera streamed to my movie theater. There’s just too much of everything else, though, and it all comes too easily. I am continually seeking balance between ease and effort.
I remembered that of course I can work on an old and new project at once, and I gave myself permission to do so. I used to worry about being the sort of person who would start things and not finish them. Well, that was about deadlines, which are not good friends of mine. I don't have any deadlines for these things; I do them wholly for myself. It's exciting to start something new. It feels rewarding to finish. And the middle, while sometimes monotonous, is more often a kind of reward of its own; meditative and rhythmic. It's fun, therefore, to start and finish small projects while working through the middle of a larger one. That's the best way for me.
PS: I was looking for pictures of Wards and it got kind of depressing kind of quickly. And then seeing a photo of The Landing, and a King Louie Bowl ad, I grew too nostalgic to carry on. But here are a couple little things.
This is mainly just for me to have a good set of lists. But you can have a look. I dabbled in opera interest for many years, but mostly just listening, occasionally looking in on a TV broadcast. Then I moved to Cincinnati in 2011, and by the next year, realized I could now afford to see the Met Live in HD transmissions. Weird to have lived so close for 11 years without being able to go. But such is often the way of things on the east coast. Then at the end of 2012 right after my first one, Otello, I saw two movies that drove me to take it all more seriously: Quartet, and Amour (better if you, like me, know little about it going in.) Only I don’t go all in swiftly on much these days; I have to work up to it.
So anyway, now that’s the plan for 2015; heavier opera immersion. And here are some lists. There’s overlap, but I didn’t repeat them. I mean, I’ve seen a few of them more than once from different sources, and I’ve listened to some without seeing them, others I’ve both listened to and seen. I just added where I’ve seen some since 2012, and also didn’t add who the principals were, because that’s better as a whole separate list. I am learning about the styles I like and who sings in them.
By the way. I love the Met Live in HD transmissions for several reasons. First, there are multiple cameras, so we get to see several points of view, inside the orchestra pit, and lots of close-ups. Between acts there are interviews with performers and production people, and a look at the stage being set for each scene. And it’s in a movie theater with 10-20 other people who are delighted to be there. At least where I live; there might be more in other places!
Operas I have watched:
1786 Le nozze di Figaro Mozart (Met Live in HD 2014)
1790 Cosi fan tutte Mozart (Met Live in HD 2014)
1816 Il barbiere di Siviglia Rossini (Met Live in HD 2014)
1817 La Cenerentola Rossini (Met Live in HD 2014)
1847 Macbeth Verdi (Met Live in HD 2014)
1851 Rigoletto Verdi (Met Live in HD 2013)
1887 Otello Verdi (Met Live in HD 2012)
1893 Falstaff Verdi (Met Live in HD 2013)
1859 Faust Gounod
1868 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Wagner (Met Live in HD 2014)
1870 Die Walküre Wagner
1876 Siegfrid Wagner
1876 Götterdämmerung Wagner
1882 Parsifal Wagner (Met Live in HD 2013)
1875 Carmen Bizet (Cincinnati Opera live 2014)
1879 Eugene Onegin Tchaikovsky (Met Live in HD 2013)
1892 Pagliacci Leoncavallo
1892 Werther Massenet (Met Live in HD 2014)
1896 La bohème Puccini (Met Live in HD 2014)
1900 Tosca Puccini (Met Live in HD 2013)
1904 Madama Butterfly Puccini (Cincinnati Opera live 2014)
1901 Rusalka Dvořák (Met Live in HD 2014)
1929 The Nose Shostakovich (Met Live in HD 2013)
Other operas I have listened to in full:
1791 Die Zauberflöte Mozart
1805 Fidelio Beethoven
1853 La traviata Verdi
1865 Tristan und Isolde Wagner
1869 Das Rheingold Wagner
1893 Manon Lescaut Puccini
Operas I plan to watch in 2015:
(Met Live in HD; will be added to when the new season is announced)
The Merry Widow Lehàr 1905 (Planning a separate post soon for this because you should go, too.)
Les Contes d’Hoffman Offenbach 1881
Iolanta Tchaikovsky 1892
Bluebeard’s Castle Bartok 1918
La Donna del Lago Rossini 1819
Cavalleria Rusticana Mascagni 1890
Pagliacci Leoncavallo 1892
(Cincinnati Opera if I save well for it, otherwise I’ll find another way to hear or see them)
Il Trovatore Verdi 1853
Don Pasquale Donizetti 1843
(Other sources via recommendations; this is a repeat of the “have listened to” list, for now.)
1791 Die Zauberflöte Mozart
1805 Fidelio Beethoven
1853 La traviata Verdi
1865 Tristan und Isolde Wagner
1869 Das Rheingold Wagner
1893 Manon Lescaut Puccini
I want to start with those, because I am familiar with the music. After that, I will move on to find recommended singers and performances.
I study him as a discipline, an endless fascination. Maybe I think if I can figure out Frank Sinatra, I can figure out men. Maybe I just wonder what's really going on behind those deep blue eyes, both wide open and hidden at the same time, like a theater with double front curtains.
I never try to figure out Bill Holden. He wasn’t complicated, anyway. His intellect took direct paths, for better and for worse. And for me, he was just attractive, until he wasn’t, but because I love the younger man, I love the older one, too. That’s how I love. Bill is like one of my first boyfriends I broke up with badly, only he’s older than me and gets there first, because I can’t imagine it any other way. We don’t get a happy ending, though there is a sweet, sad parting in my mind, a lingering fond farewell, and I learn to smile when we run into each other now and then, even when he calls me “kid.” I keep loving him even when I don’t need to anymore.
I don’t love Frank Sinatra. At least, not like that. I find him mesmerizing, but I don’t want him in bed or at breakfast. I want him next to me on the bench in front of Abraham Lincoln, on the subway heading all the way downtown from the 80s, or across the dinner table with plenty of other people around. In those places he’s a man I’ve seen everywhere, almost unnoticeable until he speaks, and then everybody listens. He commands the room and you can’t look away.
But when you start imagining someone that way, you make him bigger than life, bigger than other people, which is a dangerous thing to do. He must have known that about himself sometimes, maybe pretty often. We take ourselves seriously in a certain particular way that nobody else can. There’s still a struggle that other people don’t see anymore.
(edited to reflect an updated lyric.) Could you write this song now instead of the 40s (50s, 60s, 70s?) No, not with the same cheeky sense of fun. (Which is why, I suppose, people like me cling so fervently to the nice parts of the past.) And of course that might not be a bad thing in our world in which people must be suspicious of each other at all times, but it doesn’t make the meaning of it as it was created in the past no good now. Judging the hundreds of people who've recorded this song as if they've got no sense until you come along and straighten them out is just foolish.
This has upset me so much because it means much more than just getting it technically wrong. It means all of our recent past is subject to revision, to the point where everything I knew growing up is now “for all intensive purposes” to someone who doesn't see it in perspective.
We are better at a lot of stuff than they were 80 years ago when this song was written, yet that doesn’t mean they didn’t know how life worked. We can do Earth and universal goodwill and women getting great jobs in a way they didn’t do just then. But to take what they made and enjoyed and interpret it as something different now is doing them a disservice. You can never understand any history if you look at it only through your own current view. History revisionists are all on the wrong sides of things; don’t be one of them.
People who have no solid view of history, perspective, context, or songwriting style are interpreting this song as he says/she says, and also don’t even know how people used to talk before the 90s. But it isn’t like that. Each pair of lines works together.
(I really can't stay) But, baby, it's cold outside
(I've got to go away) But, baby, it's cold outside
(This evening has been) Been hoping that you'd drop in
(So very nice) I'll hold your hands they're just like ice
This verse means she went to the man’s apartment and has been having a good time. Now it’s both a little late and getting on toward clutch time. You probably don’t remember life before Britney and Justin were briefly a couple, but back when our parents (your grandparents) were young, and he’d just gotten back from his tour in Germany or Korea, they were celebrating the free world like you didn’t know they knew how.
(My mother will start to worry) Beautiful, what's your hurry
(My father will be pacing the floor) Listen to the fireplace roar
(So really I'd better scurry) Beautiful, please don't hurry
(Well, maybe just half a drink more) Put some records on while I pour
Look at what’s been going on. They’ve been sitting here talking in front of the fireplace. You might not remember that, either, unless you live in a cool old building, but apartments had fireplaces if they were big enough and in the north. She sat and watched while he made one, or maybe she made the first round of drinks, only her round was a little weak, because it’s maybe 1949, and she’s a girl like that. Why would she sit and watch him build a fire? Is she stupid and doesn’t know he’s setting a comfortable scene? No, people born before you knew the score. They just liked to pretend they didn’t. So now he’s freshened her drink, and she has put on a record. It was probably a ten inch long-playing record; twelve-inchers ended up taking over, but not just yet. Know how I can say that? Because I know stuff about before now that I didn’t get from a CBS crime procedural marathon or a Tumblr page. All these details add up to a more complete picture than the one you've got in your head.
(The neighbors might think) Baby, it's bad out there
(Say what's in this drink) No cabs to be had out there
(I wish I knew how) Your eyes are like starlight now
(To break this spell) I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell
Are you thinking she’s been sitting there in front of the fire with her second drink but has a woolen toque on her head like she’s about to fight with the storm? No. It’s a cute hat perched on her head to match her outfit. Her coat might have had a big hood that fit over it, or it might have been super impractical in order to look nice. (You might have wondered why hoods on women’s coats were and sometimes are still gigantic. It was to accommodate hairstyles and hats.) And all she notices about the drink is that the bourbon to soda ratio is narrower than hers was. It was a running joke before it got ruined by a few creepers. Not just women to men, but any old body takes a drink and says, “Wow, what’d you put in here? Everything?” That kind of thing. Maybe she set it down, maybe she kept sipping. We don’t know, but we also know the next line wasn’t “Shh, I demand you toss it back.” But did you think she never had a drink before? That’s no good, either. This isn’t the watered-wine and rataffia era, after all.
(I ought to say no, no, no, sir) Mind if I move in closer
(At least I'm gonna say that I tried) What's the sense of hurting my pride
(I really can't stay) Baby, don't hold out
[Both] Baby, it's cold outside
Her hat is now off. Know how I know? Because she isn’t saying no. She’s saying “she ought to.” People say ought to about things they really don’t want to do. “I really ought to get on that, clean that up, make that call, get to bed.” They’re trying to talk themselves into doing something when they would rather not just now, thanks. It’s a way of appearing diligent without having to be so, like if you see your neighbor is coming over and you haven’t cleaned yet, so you set the vacuum cleaner in the hallway. At the same time, she’s feeling him out. Will he give her a good reason to not have to say no?
Know how I know that? Because it’s basic human nature, and I’ve lived long enough and seen enough to know that. She’s going to say she tried? Not really, but if she did, nobody would be screaming at her that he took advantage of her. They’re gonna shake their heads a little, grinning, and saying things like, “Sister, what are you up to?”
And then both of them sing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” together, because they are in this together. She doesn’t want to go out there yet, but is keeping up a pretense because she’s supposed to, and so he’ll know they can carry on, but maybe not all the way. It’s code, which people have always used, only it’s a little different in each era.
(I simply must go) Baby, it's cold outside
(The answer is no) Baby, it's cold outside
(The welcome has been) How lucky that you dropped in
(So nice and warm) Look out the window at the storm
Now here she says no, but it’s the kind of no he understands, not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s set a boundary. He was going too fast. But does she get up? No. She’s pressed up against him, that’s why, still performing her ought tos. She doesn’t stand up so he’ll stop kissing her, and he hasn’t pinned her down so she can’t move, because they are singing this thing together. Remember, this was written by a married couple, who performed it at a party for their friends. Their friends laughed because they understood it like you don’t. They knew the score.
(My sister will be suspicious) Gosh your lips look delicious
(My brother will be there at the door) Waves upon a tropical shore
(My maiden aunt's mind is vicious) Gosh your lips are delicious
(But maybe just a cigarette more) Never such a blizzard before
This is the verse that tells you the truth you don’t wish to know. He moves in for a kiss. She’s murmuring at this point, as their faces meet, and then when they do kiss, she decides maybe she can hang around a little longer, timing it with however long it takes to smoke an unfiltered cigarette. The cigarette was important, even though it seems really grosstastic now. She can sit up and he’ll light one, but at the same time, she can let him know that kiss was so good, she’ll be around for a few more. It’s another piece of cultural code. And the sister, the brother, the aunt? Now she’s just making up stuff. It isn’t a firmer defense, it’s a weaker one, but she is required to make it in this game.
(I got to get home) But, baby, you'd freeze out there
(Say lend me a coat) It's up to your knees out there
(You've really been grand) I thrill when you touch my hand
(But don't you see) How can you do this thing to me
Do you borrow a coat from a man who creeps you out? And she put her hand on his when she asked. Why is she touching him and asking to wear something over her whole body that he has worn over his whole body? Because she likes him, that’s why, not because rohypnol is taking over .
She knows he knows she’s into him, and he also knows she’s not taking him too seriously, and so he’ll ask again, because she’s not offended, she’s just going by the rules she’s set for herself, which are more about pacing than anything else. She’s indicating to him that she’s got people looking out for her, but at the same time, is making her own choice about what position she is taking with him on the couch.
(There's bound to be talk tomorrow) Think of my life long sorrow
(At least there will be plenty implied) If you caught pneumonia and died
(I really can't stay) Get over that old doubt
[Both] Baby, it's cold
[Both] Baby, it's cold outside (Sung together again)
That was the truth about 1949 or so, and is sometimes still the truth now. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. You draw your own line, but everyone else reads it according to their own, though sometimes they’re hypocrites about it, making their own decisions while judging others for making the same one.
You know how “they” say everyone thinks they’re an above-average driver? It is a truth not universally acknowledged that people think everyone else but them is dumber and needs life explained to them. The internet has made this worse. You Google a thing and learn a few talking points, and it never crosses your mind that the person you’re explaining it all to has maybe actually read whole books on the subject or has first-hand experience at it. Your insular confirmation bias bubble leads you to believe you’re the one who uncovered the truth, only actually, not only has it been there a lot longer than you knew, you have only a few pieces of the picture in the frame, and not the whole thing. Sometimes you don't even understand the frame, like when I first saw Impressionist paintings in a museum, and wondered why they were in big ornate gilded things, until someone explained to me that those frames were correct for the period, even though they didn't match the new painting style. That taught me something.
People take old texts like the Bible, and they translate them into modern languages. But they can’t make direct one-to-one translations without knowing what the writers meant by certain words (and phrases, since a word could mean something different when used with another,) because they aren’t what they mean now. Shakespeare is the same way. People who study the language of Shakespeare must decode it according to how he used words and how they’d be taken then, not how they wish for them to be taken now. We put on a play with Shakespeare’s intent, by understanding the context in which he wrote. We don't say, "Sorry, Hamlet doesn't get to mean that anymore; we changed what his words meant."
We can play with it a little, though, without ruining it.
This is from a Google Plus post, December 24, 2013.
Troll some ancient yuletide carols, rest you merry if you can, and embrace history, which has the wonderful word "story" in it. Life, the universe and every little thing is a story. In the northern hemisphere, especially in the areas where it is cold at this time of year, the season of holidays is a season of lighting lights and creating warmth, shutting out the long dark cold nights. In the U.S., the holiday season lasts about six weeks, and is a combination of many stories and traditions passed along over the centuries. It's a weird and wonderful thing.
Six weeks later, we reach the mid-point of winter, and six weeks after that, our axial tilt starts pulling its downward shift as the sun rises higher in the sky overhead.
These are the things to embrace, even in our artificial environments. These are things still worth noting and celebrating. No matter whatever else changes, the seasons are bound by our position in the sky, and they were so before we populated the land; thus, the very idea that they are subject to this or that narrow band of thinking is absurd! It is just as personally meaningful or meaningless as we each choose, but it remains what it is regardless of that. It's the star stuff of which we are all composed.
Life is mystery, magic, physics, and wonders still to behold: a rich tapestry of history to which we are always adding. The dictionary of the universe, and of God as you like, is so much bigger and broader than the one in all our heads. It's limitless, unbound by any one person's or single group's petty definition or understanding of How Things Are. No matter how much we seek to understand it, and how much we learn, it's still more than we can ever grasp. So let's have some fun while we're at it.