Thursday, June 22, 2017

Revisiting Húrin

Over the past decade I’ve read through one of Tolkien’s works every year, year-and-a-half. It’s a nice, grounding, satisfying ritual. I encourage anyone who’s ever held a childhood love of the Professor to regularly revisit his tales. I find it overall one of the best antidotes to the daily culture smog.

I’m not an expert on Tolkien – more like a very well-versed acolyte, based on the following pilgrimages I’ve taken:

2016 – The Lord of the Rings

2014 – The Silmarillion (book on CD)

2014 – The Hobbit (book on CD)

2012 – The Lord of the Rings (book on CD)

2011 – The Lord of the Rings

2010 – The Children of Húrin

2008 – The Silmarillion

1994 – The Fellowship of the Ring

1981 – The Silmarillion (partial)

1981 – The Lord of the Rings

1980 – The Hobbit

I’ve read the other non-Middle earth works by Tolkien, too. Father Giles of Ham and Smith of Wooten Major back in the 80s, and Leaf by Niggle and On Faery Stories within the past five years. Also put away many books about Tolkien and his mythos, such as The Philosophy of Tolkien by Peter Kreeft, Master of Middle-earth by Paul Kocher, Tolkien’s Requiem by John Carswell, Exploring Tolkien’s Hobbit by Corey Olsen, JRR Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth by Bradley Birzer, and Hobbits, Elves, and Wizards by Michael Stanton. Oh, and almost forgot to mention the Christopher Tolkien-edited Lost Tales as well as the two very thorough encyclopedias of Middle earth by Robert Foster and J.E.A. Tyler.

So it’s kinda like my literary religion.

Anyway, I’m feeling again that twelve- to eighteen-month itch, and I think I’ve settled on revisiting The Children of Hurin.

I first read it in August of 2010. My review of it back then is here, but I am not going to re-read the review. Not until I’m finished with the second go-round with Hurin in a week or two, then I’ll compare impressions in a follow-up post.

To be continued …

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Early this morning, half asleep as the garbage truck rumbled up my block *, I raced out to the curb with a large white hefty bag of trash in each hand. Then I scurried back indoors before the neighbors could spot me in my black-and-blue wiener dog boxers.

Anyway …

For some reason I thought about that this morning at work. Two large white hefty bags of trash. Twice a week, Tuesday and Friday mornings, for pickup. That’s 208 bags of trash a year, not counting spring cleaning (which we did a month ago, focusing on organizing our garage), which probably contributes another dozen bags of garbage.

220 bags of trash annually from the Hopper household of four.

I felt guilty.

Until …

I glanced around my office at work. My own little private office where I do payroll for 650 employees at 12 locations. I have it all to myself for privacy reasons. I did some mental calculations. How many bags of trash could fit into this office, about the size of my living room at home?

Well, I visualized stacking 5 bags of trash atop one another. Then, 10 along the short wall and 13 along the other. The long wall I estimated at 12, but my office is kinda shaped like Utah, so there’s a little nook where I could probably stack those extra bags of trash.

Basically my little office at work can hold 5 x 10 x 13 bags of trash …

650 white hefty bags of trash in all.

Or, slightly less than three years of garbage.

I’m sure the compacter at wherever they take the trash can smush all that down to a quarter of the size they are when I haul them out to the curb in my boxers.

Thus, my little office at work can hold 2,600 compacted bags of Hopper trash … 11.8 years’ worth, in other words.

So that’s why right now I don’t feel guilty.

* = the company my town hired to truck away our trash likes to come at different times of the morning, just to keep all us townfolk on our toes. Sometimes they roll up at 6:15 AM. Other days, four and a half hours later. I used to put the garbage out the night before, but despite living in suburbia and only five houses from a major highway, raccoons, rabbits, ravens and toms cats routinely tear into trash bags left curbside overnight. Thus my early morning runs out to the curb in various states of semi-dress.

Monday, June 19, 2017

My Feelings Exactly!