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Sunday, November 28, 2004

The Big 3-0

Happy Birthday to me!
Happy Birthday to me!
Happy Birthday dear C-E-P...
Happy Birthday to me!

An altogether satisfactory one, I might add.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Music Mission Kiev

Roger and Diane McMurrin live in a building behind the Opera House in Kiev, where he is the founding director of the Kiev Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. I met them in 2002, and was tremendously impressed by their energy (they're in their mid-sixties and definitely not resting on their laurels) and their selflessness. They moved to Kiev eleven years ago, and have been phenomenally busy ever since.

To keep their supporters apprised of their many efforts, Diane writes a newsletter every few weeks, usually full of the doings of the local church, their outreach to orphans, and their support of over 400 widows/widowers (who, as pensioners in a poor post-Soviet economy, do not receive a sufficient income from the government to feed, clothe, and house themselves). The McMurrins have even gone so far as to adopt three boys from the streets, sweeping them up into the embrace of their ever-expanding family. Talk about practicing what you preach!

I'd been waiting for the latest installment of the TWINK newsletter since the Opera House is just a few blocks from Independence Square, where the largest of the country's many orange-clad rallies are being held. So the McMurrins are right in the thick of things. But let Diane tell you what's going on in her own words: check out the latest issue of TWINK: www.musicmissionkiev.org. Look under the heading "Latest News" for the title "Trouble in Kiev."

Oh, and if you want to sponsor a pensioner, you can find out more details on that same website. Both full sponsorships ($40 per month), and shared ($20 a month) options are available. Believe me, no money goes into "overhead"--it all is used to directly benefit the helpless. This is worth doing--just think of it as your foregoing two single-person restaurant dinners per month. I've already signed up to sponsor one pensioner, and may add a second soon--many of these people have already lived through WWII, various Soviet terrors, and though they've worked their entire lives, they are now faced in their old age with the uncertainty of literally not knowing whence their next meal is coming. Share your blessings starting this Thanksgiving!

Pray for Ukraine--and for Russia!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Contact!

Landlord finally phoned back last night, earnestly intent on persuading me to stay and assuring me that he will make every effort to expel Alissa. Apparently my frantic message on his answering machine did the trick--particularly the detail about her ruining the carpet. He went out to an office supply store and picked up one of those generic "Notice to Vacate" forms, and says he'll send it registered mail by the end of the week. His first plan was to mail it to me and have me present it to her in person. As if! I told him our previous chats had not gone so well, and a more direct route would be preferable. He assures me that the locks will be changed once she is gone. I felt light and free the moment he told me she was "out." Of course, nothing material has yet changed, but to know there's an end in sight...

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

More on Ukraine

Well, notwithstanding CNN and inferences which might be drawn from my previous blog-entry, it appears that Yushchenko is not perceived as necessarily a "Westernizer" by Ukrainians themselves, or his opponent a "Slavophile" per se, but that the former is understood to be a pretty honest guy, and the latter a crook. Of course, these days, as the Mafia and oligarchs have such a firm foothold in Russia, assigning these characteristics geographical orientations is not wholly invalid. You can check out Yushchenko's tri-lingual website yourself, if you'd like to know what is going on in Kiev and why you ought to wear the one color-which-is-unflattering-to-everybody: orange.

Confrontation II

Points of confrontation continue on several fronts, one domestic, the other international.

At home, another unpleasant faceoff with Alissa. Followed by phone call to landlord--the fifth futile attempt to reach him in 24 hours. Left message on his machine detailing the situation, including the potentially action-galvanizing tidbit that she was getting stains on the new carpet. Oh, she is loathsome! But there is another wrinkle in this already confused situation which undercuts many of the recent suggestions my dear readers gave about how to deal with her: we don't have a lease. The homeowner is renting to us "under the table" (which explains, in part, why the rent is so low), and so he hasn't a clue about what legal leverage he can use to expel her. Such are the hazards of attempting to enjoy tax-free income.

Not to sound like a certain irritating Canadian-born anchorman opining about the possible effects of the US caucuses of 2000, or some other such political Chicken Little, but Ukraine could well descend into anarchy this week. The presidential election results in that country of 48+ million are in dispute, and many observers and participants consider the process to have been seriously flawed (when I say "seriously flawed" here, I'm not talking Florida but more on the lines of the stereotypical banana republic). The Western-leaning candidate is alleged to have been more or less robbed of his victory by a candidate obviously backed by, if not directly connected to, the Kremlin. Two hundred thousand people are on the streets of Kiev, protesting in favor of Yushchenko, the Westernizer. Standoffs are reported in other cities as well. This is a sticky situation--and not just because I've been there and know people who live in the capital and outside. Ukraine is a strategic state, actually the largest country in Europe, which borders East and West and Middle East (via the Black Sea). It contains the old Rus' heartland (to which Russians trace their cultural and linguistic beginnings), and has embraced more modern alliances, like NATO, for instance. There are Ukrainian soldiers with our troops in Iraq. It bore much of the devastation wrought by collectivization during the 1930s under Stalin, and in the 1940s it was overrun by the Nazis on their way to Stalingrad. It's only been officially independent since January 1992, and still labors under many problems inherited from the Soviet Union--poverty, homelessness, a wavering economy (its coal mines are famously rich and notoriously dangerous). Too, remember Chernobyl? It's in Ukraine, which was once considered Russia's "bread basket." So, those Wayfollowers out there might be praying for Ukraine over the next few days...

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Confrontaton

Got home around 11 PM from a good and productive day of writing and hanging out with friends. The house phone bill, which is in my name, was on the top of the mail stack. Opened it. Entire last month's amount overdue. Alissa waltzed up the walk five minutes later. I met her at the door with the bill.

"I mailed it on Thursday--just cross off that overdue amount." She went upstairs.

I sat down for some quick calculation. Last bill was due the twelfth...hmm. Today's the 20th, which makes Thursday the 18th. Wait a second... I paused for a moment to collect my thoughts. I climbed the stairs, and knocked on her door. "Are you going to be home Monday?"

"What?" Apparently she was chattering on her cell phone.

"Are you going to be home Monday?"

"Why?" She opened the door, phone at her ear, and regarded me with fashion-model wariness.

"Because I want to put the phone bill in your name."

"Well, uh, I don't think that's a good idea, because I may move out soon."

"I can only hope!" I thought, but stayed expressionless. "The bill was overdue."

"I told you I mailed it."

"You took the bill off the board a week and a half ago and you just mailed it Thursday--it was late."

"I'm sorry," she said, prefunctorily.

I clarified: "I told you when you moved in four months ago that it couldn't be late."

"I said I was sorry," petulantly.

"That won't help my credit rating."

"Can I call you back?" she spoke into her cell phone. To me: "Don't talk to me like a child."

"How do you think you're acting?" I responded, honestly.

"Goodnight," she said, and closed the door.

"Goodnight," I said to the door, and turning, went downstairs.

Oh, please, please, please, let her move out soon!

Friday, November 19, 2004

Digits and Mustaches

Ruskaia Pravda (Rus’ Justice), a document issued in the eleventh century, establishes monetary penalties for various civil offenses. Article 6 reads: “And if a finger is cut off, three grivnas for the offense.” And Article 7 says: “For the mustache twelve grivnas; and for the beard twelve grivnas.”

In other words, losing a finger to an enemy was only a quarter as awful as losing one’s facial hair to him. “No, man, not the sidewhiskers! Here, take my pinkie instead.”

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Sheets II

Alissa came home drunk an hour ago. With an entirely different guy. They disappeared into her room. I expect he'll leave before morning.

Sheets

You remember Alissa. The slob roommate who, in the four months since she's moved in upstairs has slept on a bare, filthy mattress under a grungy blanket bequeathed her by some long-gone former resident? Whose floor is constantly covered with rotten food, dirty towels, and discarded Chanel suits and Blahnik shoes? The one with the brand-new Coach luggage who, when her hairdryer flips a major circuit breaker doesn't bother to check to see whether a major appliance--like the refrigerator--is affected, and never attempts to apologize for the ill effects that follow (like over a hundred dollars' worth of spoiled groceries)? Yes, her. She finally bought sheets for her bed this last weekend.

Why this seemingly major change of heart? Her latest lover, who came over last night after dinner and stayed up in her room with her until after midnight, is a tailored fiftyish businessman--maybe a Congressman. Whereas, unlike the multiple young men she has previously entertained who haven't seemed to mind the squalor, this distinguished gentleman might be more sensitive. I guess she wanted to suit the client's taste. But her floor is once again covered with garbage.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Romance Deferred

Unrequited affection is potentially as potent a theme in American life and literature today as it was in Europe one and two hundred years ago. Though the circumstances which make it a legitimate condition are much rarer nowadays, it does occur. Take the situation of my friend Helene, for instance. She’s a Southerner like me, almost thirty, has dated one or two people over the years during and after college, not many. She’s slender, with light brown hair and pale skin. She’s not unattractive, although she does have a firm chin, and she wears wire-framed glasses—which I guess guarantees that “guys don’t make passes”! She’s a graduate student in my department, has a MA in some International Relations-related field, and is also working on her doctorate in Russian History. A born-again Christian—doesn’t froth at the mouth, but does know what and in whom she believes. A kindred spirit, generally cheerful.

Anyway, one of her professors is an observant Jew, a kind and soft-spoken thirtyish man whom she admires greatly. He’s single, probably because he didn’t have time to court anybody as he was proceeding through his own graduate studies so quickly—he earned his Ph.D. before he left his twenties behind. The fact that he’s so good-looking is a bonus, but she’s really smitten with his character. She doesn’t have any indication that he feels anything beyond professional courtesy towards her, but she broke down this afternoon saying that she was just miserable at his “perfection” and her knowledge that this is a situation with several insuperable barriers. Uh, yeah.

First, there’s the professor-student relationship. It’s blatantly unethical for the line between faculty and student to be crossed on a personal level, and she would never attempt to bridge it, and she knows that he wouldn’t, either, even if he shared her feelings. Two, faith-wise, they are totally divorced from one another. They could be brought into agreement if he were to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, but she is wholly pessimistic about this, and of course she wouldn’t date or marry anybody who wasn’t a believer. Furthermore, even if he were a Messianic Jew, she’s still a Gentile, and this would probably mean ethnically-oriented irreconcilability re: his family. Oh, and there’s the whole Northerner/Southerner thing—he’s a Yankee. In the meantime, she’s unhappy when she sees him simply because she’s so happy when she sees him. So, pray for them both. I think she’s looking forward to teaching at a school in St. Petersburg, Russia, next year simply so she can get away from his proximity—in effect, a real-life re-working of Charlotte Bronte’s Villette: she’ll be effectively “lost at sea” even if he continues hale and hearty. This plan doesn’t assure that her affection towards him will be requited, but I think it does mean that she’ll have material for a good depressing novel!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Southern Girl Makes Good

Obviously, I am happy that the president has nominated Condileeza Rice to be the next Secretary of State. She's an inspiration (albeit a somewhat intimidating one) to all of us single girls, especially to us Southern ones--born in Alabama, in college in her mid-teens, got her doctorate at age 26, speaks Russian and 2 other foreign languages, served as Stanford University Provost, etc. Just turned 50 last Sunday, and still looks great. She's definitely a smart lady. So smart, in fact, that the people in my department, whose usual knee-jerk reaction to anyone with principles achieving prominence is to call them "stupid," had to lament her appointment today by terming her "crazy." I guess this is a compliment, of sorts.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Iraq Casualty List

Take a look at the American & Allies casualty list posted on CNN for the Iraq war. It has photos, names, ages, divisions, hometowns, and cause of death for each guy (and the occasional gal) who’s died over there.

I scrolling through the list, I noticed two interesting things: first, for a country that supposedly wasn’t supporting terrorism, the so-called “insurgents” therein have used an awful lot of “improvised explosive devices” to kill our troops. Scan down the list yourself—tell me, am I overestimating, or are approximately half of the fatalities due to what in any other situation even “doves” would have to admit are “terrorist tactics”? The other thing I spotted: a fair number of people have died from just plain accidents—their vehicles running into canals, or swerving to avoid a civilian car and flipping over, or machinery malfunctions, that sort of thing—and regular illnesses. This, of course, doesn’t make them any less dead. But both the terrorism causes and the could-happen-anywhere causes do—well, let me use a PC term here—nuance the list somewhat. And it confirms several things: war is terrible, death is awful, but evil has to be confronted, and sometimes it shows its truest, deadliest colors when the “peace” is just steps away.

Pray for the people in Iraq. The folks who live there, and the folks who are temporarily there. Pray for everybody’s safety, that good will triumph over evil, and that the country will enjoy safety and genuine freedom in spirit and in truth.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Intimacy and the American Soul

I miss the delicate and delightful task of composing a personal letter, however long, to a dear friend. Although the blog and my personal diary (irregularly kept, yet full of sensational details...) are outlets for creative composition, they are drafted from a narcissistic viewpoint, always designed to titillate my own senses, if not anonymous readers'. A letter, however, is an individual treat, a dish wafting metaphoric aromas designed to appeal to a particular recipient, not some mass-produced screed which can be accessed and consumed by just anybody--not that my handful of loyal readers are "just anybody." Of late I have had the pleasure to receive several handwritten notes from friends--real, tangible evidences of relationship, carefully assembled paper, ink and adhesive dispatched through the mail to my doorstep. I am looking forward to having time to return this favor--and it will take time to do a good, thorough job, even if the effort comprises just one or two paragraphs.

The National Museum of the American Indian was a colossal, architecturally-impressive, monolith of sandstone-hewn disappointment. Audrey [a several-decades-close friend who now lives on the West Coast. She was in town for the weekend, and happily our schedules coincided this afternoon] and I spent several hours there today, and I think that both of us, having gone in with little idea of what we might expect, still left with something like disappointment. There were thousands of eyecatching artifacts, all a-jumble, assembled in an artistic fashion along the many curving gallery walls. There were photographs, videos, beaded clothing, weaponry, jewelry, religious materials and modern paintings and sculpture. There were thousands upon thousands of people crowding up the staircases, clustered in front of vitrines, wandering aimlessly past anonymous doubloons, untagged pottery, nameless cases of seeds and unexplained tools. There was no apparent story being told, no narrative in the galleries on the top two floors, and a two-level giftshop was the primary occupant of the bottom two. It was like a Cracker Barrel Restaurant and Store--"genuine artifacts" everywhere, but no attempt to explain when, how, and by whom they were used, which individuals were involved, or how a particular custom or implement came into being (or how it might have been superceded by another). It was like looking at items in a stranger's desk drawer, and although the stranger might be able to relate the objects to one another in a novel way which revealed himself and his past, we didn't have such a person with us, and could only admire the occasional neat thing on its superficial merits.

If the new Indian museum gave one a feeling of mental fracture, the Museum of American History was determined to create a few concrete impressions about American identity. In the main hall, A high-school-age group of Revolutionary War uniformed musicians was demonstrating period instruments in front of the scarred Stars and Stripes recovered from the ruins of the World Trade Center. Elsewhere, in front of a (reportedly "controversial") exhibit called "The Price of Freedom," three patient American Legion members armed with large Energizer batteries were teaching fascinated gaggles of children the Morse code. Audrey and I were not alone in heading for the "American First Ladies" gallery, where some lovely, and unlaunderable, inaugural ballgowns were worn by un-catwalk-ready mannequins. All were afforded lengthy captions, pointing out the construction of the clothing itself, and the identity and era of the woman who once wore it. Impressive.

Back home, I found the house deserted and the front door unlocked. My laptop, with Marianne's and a weekend houseguest's, were all sitting in plain view on the kitchen table. I could scream. Plus, I've just learned that Tania, the nice Turkish girl who was to move in when Marianne moves out in December, has decided not to take the room, just the furniture. This is problematic. I hope I shan't end up with another unkempt prima donna housemate like the one who currently occupies the other room on the second floor, who I guarantee was responsible not only for the large stain I discovered on the new carpet outside her room this morning, but also for the unlocked front door this afternoon. So, I emailed a notice to my fellow history grad students this evening announcing one vacancy, "and possibly two." Pray that someone decent will want the spot, and that the other room will come available for let, too.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Weevils and Hummingbirds

Readers who believe that hummingbirds have no legs (but rock gently on their little curved bases when resting) are encouraged to read the article "WSU Scientists to Help Local Farmers" on the Get Fuzzy-esque Proboscis blog.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Hook-ups, Alcohol and Other Roommate Foibles

"There will be no condoms involved," Marianne assured me.

Gosh, I'm so relieved.

I do not understand the concept of the "rebound hook-up," which was the subject of the previous comment. Marianne just parted ways with her boyfriend of a month, and was determined to get over him, and so decided to expend her sexual energy in company with a Republican member of her FSO class. She's a Democrat, but since he'd recently broken up with his girlfriend and was likeminded re: the curative effects of a "hook-up" [besides being attractive physically], he came over for a couple of intimate hours and a glass of rum on the rocks.

They may not have had sex proper--or should I say improper?--this evening, but the previous relationships for both undoubtedly involved such activity. Marianne is concerned enough about discovering that her "ex" told her casual lies about his family that she has set up an appointment for blood tests at her doctor's.

Tom Wolfe just issued a new novel, this one about college students, wherein he reportedly "rants" about the random and ridiculous sexual relationships that this younger subset of the population pursues. I don't even know the title of the book, but I'd be willing to wager that Wolfe's critique isn't just a white-suited geriatric's tut-tutting about the follisome frolics of "kids today." Anyone who's moderately aware of how quickly complete strangers--even those of the "nice" yuppie sort--hop into bed together could add their own laments, and wonder audibly why AIDS (and other less lethal, but perennially problematic STDS) hasn't affected a greater percentage of the population. How is one supposed to form a lifelong attachment to a single person when one has so quickly exploited, and allowed oneself to be exploited by a series of fleeting paramours?

This makes me very sad. I really like Marianne, and neither the problem she cultivated, nor the "cure" she and her colleague celebrated, are designed to provide any real satisfaction--physical, psychological, or spiritual--over the long haul. I don't know how to demonstrate the reality of Christ clearly to her, or to others of the many upwardly-mobile wanderers I know, other than by continuing to walk along the path which led me here. All I think of right now is..."and Jeremiah sank into the mud...," so I would appreciate Sibling prayers!

A Red-Blue State "Peace Process" Roadmap

All my readers--on both sides of the political divide--should appreciate this article from Calev Ben-David of the Jerusalem Post. Please note that you must sign up with the Post--to do so is free--in order to view the column (I tried to set it up so this wouldn't be necessary a day or so ago, but it seems this didn't work). Enjoy!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Anthropology Class Today

“Well, at least gay people can still marry and you can still have an abortion!” said the sweet English girl next to me in a bright and hopeful voice.

Others did not choose to focus on this positive. “Stupid”--said with a sneer of damning scorn--was the kindest description they had of the opposition, whom they ridiculed as senseless, sheep-like dupes, fanatics of religious conformism.

Ever been in a situation where all the people in the room are breathing fire and hatred against you and yours, and you feel like if you identified yourself you would be nailed to the wall?

I kept my head down. It was the second time in a week with these people. I’ve rarely heard such vitriol except in newsreel clips from the Klan against Civil Rights marchers, or in television shots of the modern Middle East. No exaggeration. I didn’t think modern Americans were capable of such focused hatred, but they are.

“I felt so comfortable going home to Massachusetts,” a pleasant redhead remarked. “It was a state of mourning, but at least…”

“Bush!” hissed a Caribbean guy, in a tone previously reserved for Hitler.

The professor was even more adamant. “I was down in Colombia, and I didn’t want to come back.” The chorus of students swelled at her words.

“I have a question about the book,” said I, successfully and obviously changing the subject. We had some 85 minutes of anthropology-related discussion, then a break. Then, the student talk wasn’t on politics, temporarily, but religion.

“They wanted to dunk me in a pool!” giggled an attractive Hispanic girl. “They were among the nicest people I’ve met, but they were, well, evan-GEL-lical.”

The redhead responded, amused. “Like living with your grandparents all the time.”

“But weird. Not that there’s anything uh—wrong—about being a Christian.”

“Thank you.” I said, sotto voce.

Another forty-five minutes of anthropology and class concluded. Politics were back to the fore. “So,” asked a fellow history graduate student, “What did people in Colombia think about the election?”

The professor began keening invective as I wrapped my scarf around my throat and strode out into the darkness.

Two More Quick Bourne Thoughts

Obsessive, I know, but there were two other, tinier, "off" points that I noticed in the Moscow "section" of the movie last night--first, the door to the assassinated Russian politican's daughter's apartment was Soviet-era. Most people have since invested in heavier wood or steel-plate doors in order to defend themselves against home invasions--rare is the door, too, that doesn't have a heavy lock which requires some curious ritual to open. This despite the domy having buzzer systems at each stairwell--nothing like a second line of defense. The second wee "off" point: as the Bourne character walks away into the dusk from his confession to the daughter (re: her parents' killing), the lights in both stairwells of the domy beyond him are all lit. I would be quite surprised to find all fixtures working in one stairwell--much less two--in one of these Brezhnev-constructed highrises.

Incidentally, the black Mercedes shown crazily racing around the streets of Moscow are accurate. As are the little Lada police cars. And yes, outside metro stations there are "cynepmapket" stores with armed guards. Hey, it's Russia.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Unmusical Modernization

“Unless hours were cups of sack, and minutes capons, and clocks the tongues of bawds, and dials the signs of leaping houses, and the bless├Ęd sun himself a fair hot wench in flame-colored taffeta, I see no reason why thou shouldst be so superfluous as to demand the time of day.” Shakespeare, Henry IV Part I, Act I, Scene 2

You know, updating Shakespeare to contemporary language just robs his words of their poetry…

“Unless hours were cans of beer, and minutes hamburgers, and clocks standup comics, and dials the signs of strip-clubs, and the sun itself a twentysomething Sports Illustrated swimsuit model in a thong bikini, I see no reason why you should be so all-fired anxious to know what time it is.” [CEP, Collected Works of Shakepeare: The 21st Century Edition]

Bourne Again

Ok, ok, I apologize for the headline, but I've just gotten home from seeing the Bourne Supremacy. It was my reward to myself for studying all weekend, and plus, it was free--the "for the students" feature in the Intercultural Center Auditorium. Gosh, what a good flick. I hate Ben Affleck. He wasn't in the film, but Matt Damon stars, and so the contrast is inevitable. I've admired Damon's work since I saw Good Will Hunting--three times in the theater--and I'm glad that he's quietly living up to the standard he set then. He's utterly convincing (and yes, I know that's another stock phrase, but I've got to get back to studying ASAP and so I haven't time to be exceptionally eloquent) in the roles he assumes, whether it be a troubled college-age "Southie" resident, or a murderous amoral mimic, or an amnesiac ex-assasin. I didn't bother to see the blasphemous Dogma (Alanis Morissette as God? You must be nuts.), but he probably did as well as one can expect with the material.

Plus, Damon's flair for accents is good for the Bourne character, who is required to speak several languages. His German was clean, and his Russian was clear. The scriptwriter(s) only made two tiny errors in the Russian section of the movie--unless there's been a dramatic improvement in the last year, the Moscow telephone directory is still not as comprehensive as one would like (and I'd be willing to bet one can't find a fresh copy at the train terminal) and Russian taxi drivers prefer Euros over dollars, and they do in fact like rubles--the currency's pretty steady these days. Otherwise, everything was pitch-perfect, on location--I know, I've been there! I've never seen Russia captured so exactly by a Western director. Even the initially-dizzying handheld camerawork pays off thematically.

So...must add two more "necessaries" to my Amazon wishlist...Bourne the first and Bourne again.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Twenty-three

Twenty-three...days until I turn 30. I'm ready to be an adult. This may have already occurred, unbeknownst to me.

I passed a major maturity landmark this evening--rented my first vehicle, a Uhaul van. It cost a ridiculous amount, but Aaron and Lena were giving me four bookcases and there was no way to get them from their house to mine without something larger than our little Hondas.

I'm assembling furniture, I have almost all my "wedding" china (it's a pattern I decided on when I was 11 or 12 and first collecting antiques, but a girl just can't wait for an illusive engagement to begin to assemble a set of dishes in a design which Wedgwood quit making almost 40 years ago--she has to buy them when she sees them. And, boy, have I bought them!), I own over 500 books, and now I've rented a van. I'm practically independent!

Twenty-three...years ago when I started first grade. And I'm still in school! But my official "being taught" days are nearing their end, and, LW, I'll ascend to professorhood in the near future. I'd better--the increasing number of grey hairs which will look authoritative on a faculty member are starting to seem a bit odd springing from the head of a mere student.

On a less frivolous note, there were two deaths on Monday night: my grandfather's best friend/shipmate (from WWII), and the leukemia-stricken father of a delightful woman professor in my department. Please pray for both my granddaddy and this professor. The people in question were believers, as are their families, but their loss is still heavy to bear for those who love them. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Commenting

Several readers have expressed curiosity to me in person about how they can leave comments on this blog. Just click on the word "Comments" beneath the post to which you'd like to respond, and a little form will pop up. Please note that you cannot edit your comments after you submit them, so make sure you've got it right before you hit the "submit" button! Happy reading--and responding.

Election-Night Notes

When Dan Rather started quoting Scripture around 4 AM, and definitive results of the election were still not available, I decided to call it a night. Aaron and Lena, old school friends of mine, had let me stay down in front of their TV when they trotted off to bed around 1 AM, saying I could crash for the night if I wanted to, but I decided to head home to my own air mattress, knowing I needed to study today.

Relieved upon waking up early this afternoon to find that we do in fact know whom the next President is to be, and I am spared going down to the GA-FL border with a shovel and digging a trench extending the Okeefenokee east and west. And excavating a moat around Ohio would have been a bit more difficult.

If Dan Rather is still at CBS next election, I am going to sponsor a "Ratherisms" game--I wouldn't recommend turning it into a drinking game because you'd be sloshed in half an hour. Some of the expressions he came up with were on the far side of bizarre, and Aaron, who voted for Kerry, was just about ready to strangle the Memo Man, while his wife and I, both "W" supporters, agreed that this silencing should be a bipartisan effort. I think it was the reference to "walking through a furnace in a gasoline suit" that finally put me over the edge.

Actually, so little was going on, and the networks were being so (wisely!) cautious about "giving" one state or another to either candidate, that the three of us watched The Three Musketeers on video, pausing the DVD every twenty-thirty minutes to see what was happening in the world of modern, real-world political intrigue. It was a great way to relieve tension--Tim Curry is an excellent bad guy, and Oliver Platt has a perfect sense of comic timing. And really quotable dialogue, as opposed to the verbal mumbletypeg that the network anchors were playing with their aged acolytes.