June 13th, 2004

Crocuta Plate

(no subject)

Travel plans, end of the month:

My bossinatrix has asked me to drive her to a conference in Houston. This is a Good Thing overall, as she's really in charge of where my career goes, and she loves me and sometimes gives me chai and-or stuffed lions (and, last Wednesday, a copy of our book "Animal Scavengers," which has a big slobbery crocuta crocuta on the front cover).

This is totally a good thing, but I'm askeered of spending five hours in the car with my boss. It's the Big Awkward. At least there isn't a musical incompatibility problem, and we get along really well (she's a lot like my mother, really, and great fun to brainstorm with), but I only have about two hours of "normal" conversation, two hours of work conversation, and then probably another four hours of time with this person to fill, and I have to look professional.

At least we both like 80's music, that helps, but I'm worried about this one.
[fades] browns and reds

A message to the student body...

Good day, students, and welcome to your first semester at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

You may have heard something about the Hat, and certainly, many of our returning students may wonder where the Sorting Hat has gone off to. Unfortunately, we have had to discontinue the fine old tradition of the sorting, because many of our parents have sent us owls to express their concern that some new student might suffer emotional trauma after being appointed to Hufflepuff. They are afraid that a student might curse himself.

As we are concerned for the safety and well-being of our students and understand the danger of self-inflicted curses in a child's younger years, and as we are sensitive to the plight of students put into Hufflepuff, we have put the hat in the cupboard, and have instituted an aptitude test to determine if you, the student, are particularly brave, ambitious, hard-working or wise.

On a similer note, please give your warmest congratulations to Professor Trelawny, who will be the head of the first new house of wizardry Hogwarts has seen in this long thousand years. Standing proudly beside Slytherin, Griffindore, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff will be House Dimwikkie, for those students who are not particularly brave, ambitious, or whatever.

You may remember Doric Dimwikkie from "Lives of the Great Wizards." Dimwikkie wrote one of the better-known commentaries on this fine book. Congratulations, House Dimwikkie. You will not be exceeding our wildest expectations, but it will at least be nice to have some students who don't get into things.

Some other, minor notes--in the event of a student conflict, it will be assumed for the now that the Slytherin party started the conflict, the Griffindore party jumped in, wand blazing, the Ravenclaw student was well out of the way, and Dimwikkie and Hufflepuff were doing their homework. This covers most eventualities, and if we have upset anyone with this policy, the wards and counterspells on the professors' quarters should be able to take the brunt of any complaints.

Business aside, we need not dwell on the tedium of rules. Come to it, pupils on the Headmaster's Distinguished Students list are free to ignore pages sixteen through thirty-five of the Hogwarts Student Handbook. Contrary to rumor this does not, I repeat, not, extend to cover the rules concerning attacking, threatening or using magic against members of the staff and faculty. A common misunderstanding.

I'm sure you are looking forward to a new Quidditch season, unless you are so misfortunate as to be a chaser, keeper, or a beater. Just remember, there is no "I" in "team." There is, however, an "I" in "victory," "win," "triumph," in fact two in "triumphant victory," and a few in "favoritism." Stiff upper lip, beaters and keepers. Whoever you are.

The Gryffindore Lions will be playing the Ravenclaw Ravens first match, and we expect the Hufflepuff Badgers to be as graceful as ever, soaring through the air like they do. And the Dimwikkie Endtables, in their first match against the Slytherin Serpents, should make a fine showing. Or at least show up.

Quidditch is not merely a ball game. It is philosophy. It is allegory. The bludgers, these are the obstacles life throws in your path. The golden snitch, it is your destiny, your hopes, your ambitions. Every day, you will score your little goals, count your points, measure your own growth and worth, until someone on the other team scores a hundred and fifty points in a go and renders it all somehow hollow. Think about this when we award the house cup.

So, students of Hogwarts. Lions, serpents and endtables. Your books are waiting. Remember the motto of Beauxbatons, our sister academy--Beaucoup sont choisis, mais peu sont importants. That is, many are chosen, but few matter. You are the chosen, and you are the future.

Thank you.