Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Re-Read

1 Dobby has a winning, childlike appeal.

2. The rule that underage witches and wizards can’t use magic outside of school is very unfair to children in Muggle homes. Harry gets in trouble for something that is not his fault. It also gives children in wizard families an unfair advantage, since they can’t face the same consequences.

3 While the book focuses on prejudice against Muggles and Muggle born witches and wizards, Harry experiences a different kind of prejudice. He experienced prejudice against witches and wizrds.

4 Fred and George show a more open way of looking at the world. They pick the lock, explaining that they think Muggle skills are worth learning.

5 The story sets up early on that Ginny has a diary. Funny

6 I can’t help but wonder at the ethics of bringing Muggle born children into a world where they will face prejudice and hatred without preparing them or providing them any kind of support system.

7 Where does the Muggle hatred come from?

8 I find Professor Binns very funny. The idea of a ghost professor is very amusing.

9 The book is constantly showing that something is wrong with Ginny. It definitely rewards careful reading.

10 Hermione is very naive in this book. Ron has a lot more wisdom.

11 Once again, Dumbledore deals in secrets rather than being honest.

12 I wonder how many Americans appreciate the fact that the Phoenix is named Fawkes.

13 They just take Hagrid off to prison without trial. The magical world is very, very flawed.

14 The magical world also treats sentient, non-human beings very poorly.

15 The book also strongly hints the horrified and that Harry is an unintentional horcrux.

16 The early books have unambiguously happy endings.

17 The movies did Ron a great disservice by taking away his speech about Muggles. We get to see that he shares the views of his family and that he rejects the pure blood ideology of Malfoy.

18 Ron is a foil to Harry, but he is also a foil to Draco. Franco is a wealthy, only child where Ron is poor with lots of siblings.

Before you leave, please donate to Trans Lifeline.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beethoven Piano Donate No 6 in F Major by Jandro Lortie

This YouTube page says that a lot of people consider this one of Beethoven’s less important sonatas.


Does anyone have an opinion on that?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Storage Vessel with Ransom of Hektor


This case shows the scene at the end of the Iliad when Priam appeals to Achilles for the body of Hector. It is an incredibly moving scene. The Iliad does not end with the heroes basking in their glory, but with two men, broken by war, and the burial of Hector, the tamer of horses.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

90’s Songs: Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion

Words cannot express how much I loved this song at the age of 12.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Documentaries You Should See: Red Army

I am not a hockey fan, it I still really loved this movie. It is all about the great Soviet Hockey teams of the 1980’s. It details the inhuman conditions under which they trained but also the skill that made them so formidable. It is also a good insight into the Soviet Union and Russian culture.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Statue of Sakhmet, Egyptian New Kingdom, Dynasty 18


I love Sakhmet. She was the Egyptian goddess of war. I find it unexpected to find a goddess of war, but it actually makes perfect sense. Sakhmet has the head of a lioness. The ancient Egyptians were very familiar with lions. They knew that the likenesses are the hunters and they work together. Just like warriors.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Do We Need Statues To Learn History?

So, the United States is revisiting the Confederate statues that litter the country, including in states that fought for the Union. One common argument I see online is that the purpose of statues is to teach people about important historical figures. If the statues are torn down, people will know less history.

Is this true? Would people forget about historical figures of they don’t have statues?

The South gives us an interesting test case.

One of the most important figures in the history of The South is a man born and raised in Ohio, just like me. He literally left his mark on Georgia and the Carolinas. And yet, I can find no evidence of any statues of this man anywhere in the South.

That man is General William Tecumseh Sherman.

General Sherman solved the problem of how to operate without supply lines by ordering his soldiers to live of the land. They foraged, stealing crops and animals from farms, to feed the advancing army, frequently leaving the civilians with little food to feed themselves. Sherman’s army also wrecked railroad tracks and telegraph lines as they traveled. It is commonly said that Sherman’s March to the Sea, between Atlanta and Savannah, carved a path of destruction 300 miles long and 60 miles wide.

No state in the South has built a single statue of Sherman.

Has the South, lacking statues of Sherman, forgotten Sherman?


My brother met a man from the Carolinas year ago. (After Sherman tore through Georgia, he turned his attention to the Carolinas). When my brother told him he was from Ohio, the man stopped smiling. “Sherman’s from Ohio, ” he said. ( Damn straight.). Sherman has been vilified throughout the South. The cultural memory of the destruction he wrought is very much alive.

And without a single statue.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone Re-Read

1 So, a few weeks ago I reread Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone. This is not going to be a formal review since I have already read the book twice. But I haven’t read the books in ten years so I wanted to read them again and see what stands out to me.

2 I focused on how the mystery functions in the story, as well as ideas about horcruxes are planted in the first book.

3 When I first read the books, I assumed that Harry would discover these amazing, special powers which is why Voldemort couldn’t kill him. I know better now, so now I am struck by how ordinary Harry is. He wears glasses, he experienced bullying, and he had a hard time making friends.

4 Hermione is also far more flawed than I remembered. She tends to panic in a crisis, and struggles to take decisive action. The best example of this is where Harry and Ron are caught in the devil’s snare. (I still remembered that from the first time I read the book.). Hermione remembers that devil’s snare doesn’t like fire, but forgets that she is a witch and thinks about finding wood. It is Ron who reminds her that she is a witch and can make a fire through a spell.

5 Ron, on the other hand, is far wiser than the movies portrayed him. It is Ron who recognizes the danger of the mirror of Erised.

6 Dumbledore is also less cozy in the books now. He comes across as emotionally distant and he withholds information from others as a means of controlling their actions.

7 Hagrid’s affection for big, dangerous animals is still very funny.

8 I still love the descriptions of the trio doing homework. In these scenes, the quotidian becomes magical.

9 Harry’s dream where the sorting hat tells him to join Slytherin makes sense now that I have read the entire series.

10 The Dursleys are horrible, but it bothers me that no wizard fixed Dudley’s tail, and he had to have it surgically removed. But then again, the Dudleys would never have allowed that anyway, so I will overlook it.

11 Someone commented that the goblins have hooked noses. I didn’t see that description, but there are… implications of having a separate, greedy, untrustworthy race that does the banking. (Though one of Ron’s brothers does work in banking.)

12 I would have hated being trapped in a Hogwarts house. I had teams in middle school. They were horrible. And if choices ultimately make you who you are, why not let people choose their houses and develop their own identities?

13 The book does reward careful reading. This time around, I fought the part where Hermione trips over Quirrell in her way to hex Snape.

14 I wonder at the experience of Muggle born children at Hogwarts. There seems to be no one to help integrate them into the wizard world. Are they also encouraged to retain their Muggle identity? One boy brings a picture of a soccer team with him to Hogwarts. Is that common?

15 Is Christmas the only holiday they celebrate? There is at least one Indian student. Does Hogwarts have a Dawali party?

16 Ron is an excellent foil for Harry.

17 Why is Shape allowed to abuse the students?

18 The fact that Harry and Voldemort share the same wand cores makes all the sense in the world after book 7. But it does lead to troubling questions. Where does Harry end and Voldemort begin? Harry was able to choose to be in Gryffindor instead of Slytherin. But it makes me wonder how much control he had over his choices.

Before you leave, please donate to the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

L. Mittelhammer (baritone) & J. Ware (piano) – F. Schubert : “Auf der Bruck”

I heard him sing at The Cleveland Orchestra. I miss the orchestra.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“What To The Slave Is The Fourth of July? “

NPR tracked down the descendents of Frederick Douglas and asked them to read part of his famous speech about the Fourth of July. At the end of it, they share their thoughts.

“At a time like this, scorching iron, not convincing argument is needed. O! Had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would today pour out a fiery stream of buying ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle storm, but thunder.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment