Thursday, October 23, 2008

Breaking: Book Boy Blinks, Baseball Bests Blogging!

{Photo by rocketlass.}

Even though the half of this year's World Series is being played in a ballpark more suited to a spring-training split-squad scrimmage, if not tractor pulls and dental conventions, we're still watching. And between the demands of chili-making and Fox Sports-booing, my blogging time is severely constrained. So for today I'll simply share a questionable bit of natural history that I came across yesterday in James Boswell's Life of Johnson, appropriate for this time of year in that it features reflections on hibernation.

Johnson, writes Boswell,
seemed pleased to talk of natural philosophy. . . . "Swallows certainly sleep all the winter. A number of them conglobulate together, by flying round and round, and then all in a heap throw themselves under water, and lye in the bed of a river."
This next has nothing to do with the season, but I can't help but share it:
He told us, one of his first essays was a Latin poem upon the glow-worm. I am sorry I did not ask where it was to be found.
Much as I enjoy Johnson, a bit of Latin juvenilia couldn't possibly be as much fun as Johnny Mercer's take on the same animal:
Glow little glow-worm, glow and glimmer
Swim through the sea of night, little swimmer
Thou aeronautical boll weevil
Illuminate yon woods primeval
See how the shadows deep and darken
You and your chick should get to sparkin'
I got a gal that I love so
Glow little glow-worm, glow
There's more, including a rhyme so ridiculous it's charming, between "Mazda" and "fazda," here.

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