The Shipwreck of Simonides

The Shipwreck of Simonides

A man, whose learned worth is known,
Has always riches of his own.
Simonides, who was the head
Of lyric bards, yet wrote for bread,
His circuit took through every town
In Asia of the first renown,
The praise of heroes to rehearse,
Who gave him money for his verse.
When by this trade much wealth was earn’d,
Homewards by shipping he return’d
(A Cean born, as some suppose):
On board he went, a tempest rose,
Which shook th’ old ship to that degree,
She founder’d soon as out at sea.
Some purses, some their jewels tie
About them for a sure supply;
But one more curious, ask’d the seer,
“Poet, have you got nothing here ?”
“My all,” says he, “is what I am.”-
On this some few for safety swam
(For most o’erburden’d by their goods,
Were smother’d in the whelming floods).
The spoilers came, the wealth demand,
And leave them naked on the strand.
It happen’d for the shipwreck’d crew
An ancient city was in view,
By name Clazomena, in which
There lived a scholar learned and rich,
Who often read, his cares to ease,
The verses of Simonides,
And was a vast admirer grown
Of this great poet, though unknown.
Him by his converse when he traced,
He with much heartiness embraced,
And soon equipp’d the bard anew,
With servants, clothes, and money too
The rest benevolence implored,
With case depicted on a board:
Which when Simonides espied,
“I plainly told you all,” he cried,
“That all my wealth was in myself;
As for your chattels and your pelf.
On which ye did so much depend,
They’re come to nothing in the end.” 

The Fables of Phaedrus Translated into English Verse. Phaedrus. Christopher Smart, A. M. London. G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. 1913. Retrieved from

In praise of Sir Roderick Spode

I spent the past month or so watching the complete series of Jeeves and Wooster on Hulu, and I proudly proclaim that my favorite character was Sir Roderick Spode, 7th Earl of Sidcup.

John Turner as Roderick Spode

Nevermind the fact that the character was patterned after Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley; Lord Sidcup is an inspiration to all would-be benevolent meglomaniacs who want to make the world a better place. Unlike Bertie Wooster, that useless fop, Spode held himself with dignity and honor (except when Wooster was blackmailing him with the mere mention of “Eulalie”) and sought to restore national pride in Britain. He even almost let his civic pride and duty to nation overcome him when he nearly cast aside his place amongst the Lords to run for Parliament, only through the manipulations of Jeeves (for the benefit of Wooster)  to be pulled back to his senses.

First, his vision. He knew what he wanted and worked toward achieving it. Before his elevation to the peerage, he sought out influential friends (Sir Watkyn Bassett) and established a source of income that allowed him the freedom to think on such noble causes such as British-made bicycles and umbrellas for all citizens.

Second, his influence. The Black Shorts were devoted to the cause of Spode. They donned the uniform, attended the rallies, and even fought the Communists in defense of their great leader. Granted, their membership was mainly young unmarried men in need of a hobby, and older men whose wives determined they needed a hobby.

Finally, his determination. As evidenced in the “Eulalie” fiasco, Spode was willing to do what it took to see himself reach the success that he desired. Any man who could design women’s underwear AND lead a small army of fascists is a true man indeed.

So to all my fellow Walter Mittys out there, seeking a resolute and determined role model, let us learn from Roderick Spode and keep our heads high, even when the poo comes raining down.

Hurt feelings report

Last month I ran across a “form” on the Sarah’s Daughter blog that I had never seen before. It is the Hurt Feelings Report, which gathers such pertinent information as:

  • Whiner’s Name
  • Date feelings were hurt
  • Time of hurtfuleness
  • Location of hurtful incident
  • [Person] sympathetic to whiner
  • Name of real man/ woman who hurt your sensitive feelings
  • Which ear [sic] were the hurtful words spoken into
  • Did you require a tissue for your tears
  • Reasons for filing this report (Mark all that apply)
  • I am thin skinned
  • I am a whimp
  • I have woman/man-like hormones
  • I am a crybaby
  • I want my mommy

My wife already accuses me of being too militaristic in my approach to being a dad, but I thoroughly plan to implement this form when my kids become teens 🙂

Healthy Marriage Month

I’m a little late in seeing this but Governor Robert Bentley proclaimed February as Healthy Marriage Month:

“WHEREAS, marriage is not just another lifestyle choice, but the foundation of healthy families and a healthy future for America; and

WHEREAS, marriage, in every known human society, creates new families, binds men and women together in a network of affection, mutual aid and mutual obligation; marriage commits parents to their children and connects children to a wider network of welcoming kin; and

WHEREAS, marriage is the outward, visible sign of a man and a woman’s desire to create a lasting love and forge a tie so strong that a child’s heart can rely upon it; and

WHEREAS, mounting scientific evidence confirms that children raised outside of marriage are more likely to commit crime, fail at school and on the job, to abuse drugs, to lapse into physical and mental illness, to become teen parents, to suffer material deprivation, and perhaps saddest of all, to become the victims of child abuse; and

WHEREAS, marriage, as an institution, deserves our special respect and concern because healthy marriages create a way for children to enjoy the full emotional, moral and financial protection of both parents; and

WHEREAS, it is important to recognize the special place of marriage in American society and in American hearts; and

WHEREAS, marriage should be honored as the extraordinary vow that ordinary people make and guide their lives by every day:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert Bentley, Governor of the State of Alabama, do hereby proclaim the month of February 2013, as

Healthy Marriage Month”

I raise my glass of sweet tea and offer Governor Bentley a hearty hear, hear.

Southern Honor

Being a son of the South, I found this to be a particularly interesting read:

Manly Honor Part V: Honor in the American South

There’s one aspect of the article that particularly resonated with me: that Southern families have maintained a tradition of naming their sons after male ancestors. I see this in the older generations of my family, though my own parents deviated from the script. Neither I nor my brother are named after anyone as far as I know. In the Knighten branch of my family tree, however, there are several Jeremiahs, but I’m just a Jeremy. I tried to revive the tradition by naming my son after both his grandfathers, though neither are his first name. Two middle names isn’t that eccentric, is it?

Prince Philip: my hero

There is much to appreciate about a man nowadays who isn’t afraid to let you know how he feels:

Prince Philip puts finger in his ears at performance: The Duke of Edinburgh is famed for his foot-in-mouth moments but yesterday he was being spotted with his fingers in his ears at the Royal Variety Show.

I have to say that Prince Philip is my favorite British Royal. The media may call them gaffes, but I call them priceless. His political incorrectness inspires me. Not only has he survived the cultural revolution, he has bested it.