Saturday, May 19, 2007


Feeling grouchy and grumpy, but not wanting to unload (or, as my parents would say, quoting the Sixties in disparaging tones, to "let it all hang out") in a public online forum, I trawled the Web for comic strips and cartoons and pictures, and found mostly male and white characters, one of whom is a favorite of mine, Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes fame (oh, we do so miss them) and one of whom, of course, was the dwarf (one of the seven of Snow White) Grumpy.

So then I googled "grouchy" instead of "grumpy" (yes, I was procrastinating from my Deep Academic Writing, one of a handful of summer projects, in some ways quite pleasurable since I get time to think, which rarely happens during the academic year, and in other ways a pain) and discovered that one of Napoleon's generals was named Emmanuel Grouchy, or Emmanuel de Grouchy (depends whom you read) and that despite victories at Wagram and elsewhere, he became known and remembered for his association with Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo. (The French, naturally, did not name a train station after Waterloo as the British did, and having been raised in France I associate the name Waterloo with catastrophe, defeat, gloom, and all the rest. How you tell history --and remember it-- depends on where you are...) So, poor guy (yes, that's his picture, one of the less cheery ones) he ran off to the United States for a while (this coincided with Napoleon's abdication) but then came back to France, where he died mid-century. Mid-19th-century, that is. His son and grandson wrote some book to try and rehabilitate his memory because despite the fact that he received more honors from at least one successor of Napoleon, he never could shake the Waterloo association.

Talk about reasons to feel grumpy.

At any rate, his name in French of course is not pronounced like the English grouchy (it's pronounced "groo-shee") but the association is still appropriate.

Here is a slightly more cheery photo of him.

So this looks nothing like my current state of mind, as I am not a general nor the loser of a Waterloo-ish military battle, but you know I like to keep my posts erudite ;-).

I will soon begin a series of theological and other "summer term reflections" here, which will cheer me up a bit and may or may not put you to sleep. But more on that later. Enjoy General Grouchy.


Kirstin said...

I'm much less grouchy than I was last week! School's out. :-)

You can't be "procrastinating" from summer academic work; it's still May. What you're doing, is taking a vacation.

Hope your summer is good, and restful in all the best ways. Peace!

Jane R said...

Thanks! Funny -- I JUST got back from posting over at your blog. (In your post on Stringfellow.)

Thank Godde it's still May...

Peace and blessings to you.

Kirstin said...

Thanks! That was for an SRC I took on Stringfellow, with John. Four of us met with him, every other week. Our last meeting was dinner at his house. We had a great time.

I told JK once that I'd take calculus if he taught it. His answer? "Well, you don't have to worry."

I'm going to be housesitting for him next week, before my preaching conference in PA and summer at the Ranch. He's going back East to see family, and I'm staying with his psychotic cat.

I love Lizette. She's been great for me.

I'm going back to NOLA in January to do an oral history project in connection with the Diocese of Louisiana. If I can get funding, I'm thinking of staying down there for spring semester. I'm deeply--surprisingly--drawn to working with forgotten people.

Thanks again, and blessings right back!

Jane R said...

Why would this surprise you? Didn't I read somewhere on your blog that you were a Catholic Worker? Fits right in :-).

Kirstin said...

The idea doesn't surprise me at all. The depth of driven-ness does. I have more energy for this than for anything else.

I think I'm doing what I'm supposed to be. :-)