Tag Archives: Mordecai

Acedia

My, but I haven’t written in such a long time. Bubo and I left for Paris earlier this month, wanting a change of pace and a change of palette. Upon my return, I caught a massive head cold, Bubo managed to cover herself in bright orange paint, and Mordecai just yesterday set the entire kitchen on fire whilst attempting to make mushrooms flambé.

Perhaps it is the post-vacation blues. Perhaps it is the prospect of gutting my kitchen. Perhaps it is living with the crankiest owl this side of the the Great Lakes. Perhaps it is my end-of-summer moodiness kicking in, but I am struggling to find my joie de vie. It appears I have a case of acedia.

Acedia is a noun that means spiritual torpor; apathy; ennui. Often defined as a soul-wearying indifference, it must be mentioned that acedia is not willful sloth or indolence, less so “sin,” but a spiritual lethargy or indifference, a turpitude that affects the well-intentioned. (Thank you Hermitary.com.)

The word originates from the Late Latin acēdia in turn from the Greek akēdeia meaning indifference. (This, in turn, can be traced back to the Greek a- + kēdos  meaning care, grief.)

Interesting to note, acedia was first classified as a problem among monks and other ascetics who maintained a solitary life. Their inability to perform daily tasks was distinguished as different from depression due to the spiritual overtones of their lives and work, and thus, their ennui.

Some claim that acedia can be overcome by renewing the sufferer’s faith in the spiritual or in life. How to do that, you ask? I suppose that is the big question.

I’m going to attempt this seemingly monumental task by forcing Mordecai to clean up his own mess (he is a bit of a culinary snob, so a functioning kitchen is a must for him) and by sipping summer cocktails whilst reading in the garden. Bubo finagled herself some hair dye and I’m giving her full license to turn the third floor loo into a foul feather salon.

Ostensibly, either the cocktails or the acedia will keep me from caring what the result is.

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Roc’d Out

When your great aunt suggests you come to Maine to help her harvest blueberries and, oh, to see if you can get that pesky roc from scaring her alpacas, do make sure to wear sturdy head gear.

I’d hate to speculate on what sort of concussion I would have nursed for the past two weeks if I hadn’t worn my pith helmet whilst night-harvesting those blueberries.

I’m fully recovered, at least, I think I am. Mordecai insists that I’ve developed a tic and merely ate some off lobster. If that’s the case, then I ask you – where did this 5-foot long white feather come from if not from the roc that attacked me?

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Happy Fourth of July!

Well, dears, my guess is that most of you in the States are outside, having hot dogs and hamburgers and waiting for your local fireworks display to celebrate American Independence Day.

(It was on this day in 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, setting the 13 original colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation.)

The dragons have been incredibly busy putting the finishing touches on their sure-to-be-eye-catching home-made fireworks display for this evening. I’m hoping for clear skies since dragons + fire + home-made fireworks + thunder and lightening = mayhem.

Silas has a few pitchers of lemon berry cocktails cooling in the ice box and has been slaving in the kitchen all morning. Mordecai has been in the cellar grumbling to himself and I’ve been in the Laboratory with the monsters. It’s best if the three of us only stay in close contact when cocktails are involved. You understand: family.

Have a safe and happy holiday, oddlings. Remember that fireworks are not toys and be good to each other.

 

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Rantipole

And are you celebrating the Summer Solstice today? Mordecai, of course, went about his pre-solstice preparations with a reckless abandon and ended up burning down my garden shed last night.

Thankfully, my flying machine was not in it. I was taking her out for a midnight flight last night (before today’s heat wave struck) and on my way back home I noticed a ball of orange flames. Was Mordecai contrite and apologetic? Of course not. He woke early today and took to the streets with his special Solstice Mead, declaring that the Solstice is the perfect day to find “inspirational women” to keep company with. He’s trouble. One might even say that he is a rantipole.

Rantipole is a noun that means a wild, rakish, roving, sometimes quarrelsome person; a rude romping young person. It can also be used as an adjective and as a verb. It’s a versatile insult, really. And it IS an insult.

Some believe that the word is derived from the Dutch word randten meaning to talk foolishly, rave, while others believe it is actually derived from the English dialect ranty, meaning riotous;wildly excited plus poll, meaning the head. A slang dictionary from the 1700s has rantipole defined as a rude wild Boy or Girl.

Rantipole is used liberally in literature, naturally, as it’s a marvelously descriptive insult. You can find it in Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow:

“This rantipole hero had for some time singled out the blooming Katrina for the object of his uncouth gallantries, and though his amorous toyings were something like the gentle caresses and endearments of a bear, yet it was whispered that she did not altogether discourage his hopes.”

And you can find it in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations:

“Well!” cried my sister, with a mollified glance at Mr. Pumblechook. “She might have had the politeness to send that message at first, but it’s better late than never. And what did she give young Rantipole here?”

Mordecai is an embodiment of rantipole. He is wild, uncouth, and terribly quarrelsome. I have no doubt that his Summer Solstice will be spent in a mead-soaked giddiness. I, ever the more staid brother, will be sipping lemonade whilst the dragons play in the charcoal aftermath of the garden shed. Today is hot, and – if only for a fraction of a second – the longest we will have all year.

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