Today is St. Monica Day

I once worked with a woman who believed the lyrics to Sheryl Crow’s song went, “All I want to do is Hooked on Phonics until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard.” Listen to the song. It really does sound like that. I’ve sung Hooked on Phonics ever since, in homage to Jennifer.

Besides having a street in L.A. named after her, St. Monica is famous for being the mother of St. Augustine. She prayed her adult son out of a life of loose morals. That’s comforting for all we mothers of sons. Augustine later became one of the great thinkers in the history of Western thought, and his Confessions are on my short list of things to read.

I read my e-mail right after waking up this morning, and several people in my reading group (I belong to a reading group, BTW) are on a riff about Tristram Shandy. That’s a novel with which I confess to having no familiarity. Apparently it was the forerunner to modern comic novels and the author, Sterne, references Swift, Pope, Rabelais, Locke, and Cervantes. I only read Swift in college.

I did, however, drink at a bar called Cervantes in Salamanca, Spain while studying abroad. I guess you could say I used to like a good beer buzz early in the morning.


The rest are – again – on my short list. Which is not so short, now that I think on it.

So back to my brain workout of the day, Plato.


I’m slogging carefully working through Book 5 of the Republic. There are 10 books, FYI. The line at 461b stood out to me: “This child is born, rather, under cover of darkness in the company of terrible incontinence.”

Having two children, I’m familiar with the company of terrible incontinence.

But I’m pretty sure that’s not what Plato meant. In context, the line means that children born in the perfect City he (Socrates) is envisioning must be born in a state-sanctioned marriage, otherwise the child will be cast out of the City.

Exiling kids. Hmph.

To his credit, however, Socrates does state a few lines earlier that a woman stays in her prime “up to her fortieth” year. So in ancient Greece I haven’t peaked yet.

Categories: Brain Workouts

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3 replies

  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  2. Thanks for the feedback! I hope you’ll come back to visit.

  3. He did say ‘Grant me chastity and continence, only not yet.’… not exactly a mother’s dream.

    Nice blog!

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