Swimming! Swimming! In My Swimming Pool!

I love swimming.  I have Lynn Sherr's book Swim: Why We Love the Water to a very dear friend, the actor Erik Todd Dellums.   I wrote about him on my blog last year after he was featured in the Washington Post.   Erik is a swimmer too.   We compare our swim routines and coaches.

Here is an article at The Daily Beast by Lynn Sherr Swimming to Health which discusses all the benefits of a swim routine.

I couldn't agree with this more -  the skin is our largest organ, so swimming is our most sensuous sport. Little wonder poet Paul Valéry described the sea as his lover: “In it, I am the man I want to be.”

Some other money quotes:
Movie star Esther Williams adds flatly, “Swimming is the only thing you can do from your first bath to your last without hurting yourself. When you’re in the water, you’re weightless and ageless.” No knees pounding the pavement. No joints slamming against a ball or a wall. Buoyancy protects the most vulnerable parts of our skeleton.
My swim coach is so young she had never even heard of Esther Williams!  I sent her this video last year.

And this I didn't know about Lord Byron:
For people with certain disabilities, swimming feels like a miracle. The poet George Gordon, better known as Lord Byron, was born with a club foot, a contracted Achilles tendon that gave him a pronounced and debilitating limp. In the water, he moved like an eel. 
She concludes her excerpt with this poem (I love this!)

Consider the poetry of Dr. Edward Baynard, from 1764:
Of exercises, swimming’s best,Strengthens the muscles and the chest,And all their fleshy parts confirms.Extends, and stretches legs and arms,And, with a nimble retro-spring,Contracts, and brings them back again.As ’tis the best, so ’tis the sumOf exercises all in one,And of all motions most compleat,Because ’tis vi’lent without heat.

I am a proud Pieces.   That's enough for me!

Great Podcasts to Enjoy

Here's a list of top 10 podcasts.   I'm already fan of the top two - Bloggingheads.tv and Slate's Political Gabfest as well as the Economist's on this list.   I'm interested in checking out some of the others.

I also like BBC 4 In Our Time - which covers history, philosophy, culture, religion and science.

BBC History Magazine
"BBC History Magazine’s podcast comes out each month, featuring interviews with notable historians talking about topics ranging from crusading knights, Tudor swimming, or the D-Day landings."  It's so British.  And really cool.  

and Sounds True Insight's at the Edge Interviews with leading spiritual teachers and writers about their latest challenges—the "leading edge" of their work.  I always learn a lot and her questions are good.  

A friend told me the Monocle podcasts are also good.  Any one try them?

British Library Assembles Famous Love Letters

I just love the British Library (though I prefer the old one with the museum, with the old reading room).

Now they have collected famous love letters in this book Love Letters 2000 Years of Romance.

And The Daily Beast excerpts a good variety in this essay, 'Love Letters' Anthologizes 2,000 Years of Passion Put to Paper.   Love letters may be becoming extinct, but I still write them.  I love them.  

These excerpts are fascinating to read as a reminder that love, longing, pain, jealousy remains the same whether now or 2,000 years ago.  The human condition remains.

3 Year Old Recite Billy Collins Poetry

I learn about this on NPR - with this story, Love of Words Brings Child, Poet Together, which concludes with -
For the poet to affect a reader — well, that's the point. But for a reader to affect the poet, it took a small exceptional boy.

Here is the video of the astonishing child reciting our former US Poet Laureate.   It made me teary!  I love poetry and I love children!

You can follow along with the text of the poem from Poets.org here.

BBC Adapting Birdsong for Television!

Birdsong was one of my favorite books and one of my mom's favorites too.  Not sure about the casting, but regardless I am excited.   Here is the full notice from the BBC:

Eddie Redmayne (My Week With Marilyn, Richard II) and Clemence Poesy (28 Days Later, Harry Potter) star as the passionate young lovers Stephen and Isabelle, brought together by love and torn apart by the First World War, in BBC One's adaptation of Sebastian Faulks's modern classic, Birdsong.
Adapted by Bafta award-winning Abi Morgan (The Hour, Iron Lady), the two parter spans the decade of the First World War, telling the story of Stephen Wraysford, a young Englishman who, in 1910, arrives in Amiens, Northern France, to stay with the Azaire family and falls desperately in love with Isabelle Azaire.
They begin an illicit and all-consuming affair, with huge consequences for them both. Years later in 1916, Stephen finds himself serving on the Western Front in the very area where he experienced his great love. As he battles amidst the horror of the trenches he meets Jack Firebrace, a tunneller who unexpectedly helps him endure the ravages of war and enables him to make peace with his feelings for Isabelle, who he is destined to meet again.
Eddie Redmayne stars as Stephen Wraysford, Clemence Poesy is Isabelle Azaire, Joseph Mawle is Jack Firebrace, Richard Madden is Weir, Laurent Lafitte is Rene Azaire, Matthew Goode is Captain Gray, Anthony Andrews is Colonel Barclay and Marie Josee Croze is Jeanne Fourmentier.