Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I am the Grinch
It's official. I found out that our Christmas tree had bark beetles and I made F throw out the whole six foot beetle gym. Hold on. I kept the ornaments. T is pissed. But I can't sleep knowing that these creatures are dropping out and crawling around the house before they die. What if they had babies? I can't deal. I hate to have nature in the house. Sorry, not sorry. Since T says it's not Christmas without a tree and both T and F find fake trees "depressing," we will ask our friends Tina and Giuliano the florists to try to bring us one that they can vouch for.

Self portrait

In other news, the bane of T's existence are these versioni she has to do in school. They are translations that you have to do cold from Italian to Greek or Latin using your gigantic dictionary and some intellectual discretion. She is fairly terrified of them. Yesterday's was a case in point. She had to check with her friend Camilla afterwards to make sure that she had read this Aesop fable correctly. She said it was about a chipmunk who had to bite off his own genitals in order to save himself from a hunter. I looked it up and I think it was actually a story about a beaver and not
these guys . . .

"Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

Perry 118 (Phaedrus App. 30)
There is an animal whose name in English is 'beaver' (although those garrulous Greeks -- so proud of their endless supply of words! -- call him castor, which is also the name of a god). It is said that when the beaver is being chased by dogs and realizes that he cannot outrun them, he bites off his testicles, since he knows that this is what he is hunted for. I suppose there is some kind of superhuman understanding that prompts the beaver to act this way, for as soon as the hunter lays his hands on that magical medicine, he abandons the chase and calls off his dogs.
If only people would take the same approach and agree to be deprived of their possessions in order to live lives free from danger; no one, after all, would set a trap for someone already stripped to the skin.
Note: This strange legend of the beaver's self-castration is attested in the Greek and Roman natural history writers (e.g., Aelian, Characteristics of Animals 6.34 and Pliny, Natural History 8.109). For a fable about the god Castor referred to here, see Fable 166."
( from

All in all, there were too many creatures in Tuscany for me today.

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