Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Facebook killed the radio star, um, blogger ...

OK, OK ... So much for a more active and updated blog. I will eventually get back onto a regular posting schedule, I swear! But for now everyone will have to be patient, at least until I get the Intertubes connected at the new house.

That being said, here's a short update on my life the past few weeks:

  • I have moved into the new house, though because the school year has started in earnest, I'm still more or less living out of boxes. Why did I think the beginning of September was a GOOD time to buy a house?
  • Classes are good. This being my third year, I now go up to a full teaching load -- so I have three courses this term. Though two of them are courses I've taught before (FINALLY, I get some repeats) so at the least the prep routine is not dire.
  • The third class is a graduate seminar, which is my second now. I think I'm starting to get the hang of it.
  • Clarence spent twelve hours being utterly freaked out by the new living space, then discovered my narrow, steep stairs. Tearing up and down them at full speed is his new favourite thing, and I've nearly died when he's been underfoot several times.
  • The faculty union and the administration have a tentative agreement, which means we won't be going on strike, and we're looking at an actual substantial pay raise (there's also something in there about needing to publish five books to get tenure, but I didn't really read past the $$$ bit). Woot, indeed.

That's it. Don't I lead the most spectacular, exciting life? I'll post pictures of the house once I've cleared out the boxes ... so, some time around May.

Also, I'll add something just for fun. In my grad seminar yesterday, we were talking about bad poetry, and it turns out my students had never heard of the illustrious James McIntyre, the famed "Ingersoll Cheese Poet." McIntyre, a resident of southern Ontario in the late nineteenth century, turned his finely honed poetic sensibilities on many topics, but had a peculiar affinity for cheese-related themes. On break, I went to my office and printed out his masterpiece, which I then read to the class. I nearly made it through, but lost it on the final verse. So close ...

Ode on the Mammoth Cheese

We have seen thee, queen of cheese,
Lying quietly at your ease,
Gently fanned by evening breeze,
Thy fair form no flies dare seize.

All gaily dressed soon you'll go
To the great Provincial show,
To be admired by many a beau
In the city of Toronto.

Cows numerous as a swarm of bees,
Or as the leaves upon the trees,
It did require to make thee please.
And stand unrivalled, queen of cheese.

May you not receive a scar as
We have heard that Mr. Harris
Intends to to send you off as far as
The great world's show at Paris.

Of the youth beware of these,
For some of them might rudely squeeze
And bite your cheek, then songs or glees
We could not sing, o' queen of cheese.

We'rt thou suspended from balloon,
You'd cast a shade even at noon,
Folks would think it was the moon
About to fall and crush them soon.

More of McIntyre's brilliant verses can be found here. I think McIntyre made that common mistake in interpreting the Beatitudes: "Blessed are the cheesemakers, for they shall be called the Sons of God."


Anonymous said...


I'm not sure if you're focusing on Canadian poetry in this course, but you're last posting reminded me of yet another, infamous poet, Willliam McGonagall.

This Scottish poet was ridiculed by his peers for his redumentary, trite use of langauge, securing a place in history as possibly the worse poet of the English language.

You might wish to share "The Tay Bridge Disaster" with your students, comparing it to "Ode on the Mammoth Cheese." It would be interesting to see which they found worse and their reasons.

Interestingly, he's been slightly reassessed over time. More and more so, he's starting to be seen as the voice of the common, working man.

Thank you for sharing.

I hope you continue to keep well.

Chris in NF said...

Don't forget, also, Monty Python's bit about the Scottish poet Ewan McTeagle, whose poems were all about borrowing money -- like his greatest lyric, "Can I Have Fifty Pounds to Mend the Shed":

Can I have fifty pounds to mend the shed?
I'm right on my uppers.
I can pay you back
When this postal order comes from Australia.
Hope the bladder trouble's geting better.

Anonymous said...

I just posted a reply, but it's floating somewhere in cyberspace.

Ewan McTeagle, I will check out. I don't recall much from Canadian poetry all those years ago, but I do remember enough of Dorothy Livesay, and not enough poets begging for money.

Incidentally, the subject of Livesay's poems focused on the working class of society, and their harships, so I guess there's a connection, albeit distant.

What are you currently reading?

I've dropped Frey. I just can't get by the false mirepresentations, however morally judgemental this appears.

Anonymous said...

I think McIntyre made that common mistake in interpreting the Beatitudes: "Blessed are the cheesemakers, for they shall be called the Sons of God."

"..the cheesemakers? That's nice. They have a hell of a time."

First time poster long time lurker. Python brought me out into the open.