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 🙂

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.

Manly thank you cards

A while back I committed myself to hand writing thank you notes. It’s been a hard habit to start, but I’ve gotten better at it lately. The hardest part for me, however, has been finding thank you cards that aren’t effeminate. After seeing the cards below, I think I’ll have to get a box.

The Suggestion: Get some real thank you cards:
Check Letterpress Thank You Cards – $12.00 for a box of 8 + envelopes
Pen shown is a Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen.  $2.59 a piece, or $18.44 per dozen.

There’s a reason your mom hounded you to write thank you notes for those terrible sweaters you used to get from your smelly old relatives when you were a kid.  But the best reason to do so doesn’t have anything to do with any of the reasons you were taught.

When it comes to all of the things that make their way to your mailbox, there are fewer items more appreciated than a thank you note.  It’s an acknowledgment of something nice you did for someone important to you, a reminder that despite all of the pooches you may have screwed, this you got right.

Here’s the deal; You have to have cards on hand. It’s just going to make the process easier and convenient, which means there’s a pretty solid chance that you’ll make it a reality and not just a good idea.  You can find some smart, stylish and masculine cards at good independent card and gift stores.  Not only will you find some terrific cards from talented artists at stores like these, you’ll most likely end up with a unique card that your recipient  has not seen before.

I’m going to be honest – it is even better to give than to receive.  Mostly.  Perhaps I’m just staving off a guilty conscious for not sending one.  But I truly believe that taking the time to write out a thank you card, stick a stamp on it and send it through the postal system is a purely selfish joy.  In an age of instant messaging and email and twitter, it’s simply a classy way to convey your appreciation.  And you score “stand-up guy” points for your efforts.

Tim Johnstone is Dappered’s Music Correspondent, a former Virgin Records Label Rep and current award winning Music Director  and on-air host at KRVB.  He’s also extremely well liked and quite polite.  But don’t cross him, because he’ll cut you.  He also writes a blog that’s a collection of the absolute best the internet has to offer.   It’s a daily read.