Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Reason #67 We Don't Have Children

We can't even make our cat behave!

We haven't been able to keep her off the kitchen counters lately and last night she jumped up on them right in front of us!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

eurydice to orpheus

Edmund Dulac, "Orpheus and Eurydice" (c.1934) [Watercolor & Gouache on Paper]

notes in the margins of a book i am still writing, that is not yet finished, sing to me what i am feeling; aphoristic melodies of thoughts i discover i am having before i can write them down.

and you are the author and instrument, some sort of guide across the styx behind which i have hidden. cerebus is charmed, my mind-ever-vicious, tamed; i am opened and you go into the dark and heavy what i am.

(even as a child all i wanted to do was to paint the page black, complete and entire. so i went here, to a place where finality could be attained, to a place where i would not have to hear any voice (your voice so wonderful), where i could establish the safety of a world, and leave no other space on the page for anything else.)

too light to be restrained by the inscription of laws that forbid the song C leading me outward, page by page, around the margins of the body of the text so that i am no longer trapped where i had fled and set up guards, in myself, in the interminable internality of being me C you chant and enchant me.

proclamation of resurrection

proclamation that there must be a nothingness, an other death, than the one i write: a willingness to die (like you undertook in coming to me). to cross, to step past the end of the line, to look for meaning prior to the first word, after the last period, in the space you have opened around me.

overwhelming space, refusing to let me write a life that goes to the edge of the page, that is all encompassing; leaving me to either founder in my attempts to script out the sound and to assert only eurydice C or, to admit (an olympian admission, to truly hear the song in hades) that the best of me lies with you, in the music that impinges on the margins of the page.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

new technical term

Right-Marxist: A Left-Hegelian with a desire for God

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Al Faisal University, Riyadh KSA

LoA: Honey, Look! They are opening a brand new University in Riyadh.
She: I will divorce you. *serious stare*
LoA: Shall I make chicken for dinner?
*She goes back to what she was doing*

ALFAISAL UNIVERSITY is a private, not-for-profit research university that will be self-governing and internationally recognized in education and research, and that will produce capable trained professionals who lead their fields. Students will begin their programs in Colleges of Business, Engineering, Medicine, and Science and General Studies in Fall 2008. Eventually, the University will enroll 1,000 students per class. The initial class will be much smaller with a gradual build up thereafter. The campus is being constructed on the beautiful grounds of the late King Faisal’s Palace in Al Maather in the center of Riyadh. The Palace will serve as the administration quarters; the other buildings will form an almost complete circle around it. Instruction will be in English. The University was founded by the King Faisal Foundation and organizations such as Boeing, British Aerospace, THALES, and King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center, whose representatives serve on the Board of Trustees. Before entering the University, students will complete a rigorous one-year preparatory program that emphasizes English language, study skills, math and science. The College of Science and General Studies offers a four-year degree program in genetics and life sciences. In addition, the College provides core courses in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences for all university students. The curriculum of the College will involve problem-based and technologically-enhanced learning. Graduate programs will be added in the near future. The goal of these programs is to train students to use systems- and critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork. Our programs are designed to meet high international standards with collaboration from major western research universities. The College of Science and General Studies seeks faculty with teaching and research expertise in English Literature and Language; Philosophy and Ethics; Arabic Literature and Language; and Islamic Studies. Attractive salaries and generous benefits will be provided. Queries and applications should be sent to humanitiesrecruitment@alfaisal.edu and should include a cv and the names of three references. The subject line should specify the discipline, position and advertisement reference. The deadline for applications is 15 January 2008. Off-site interviews for leading candidates will be conducted in early 2008 in the US, Europe and/or the Middle East.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

are you my mother?

Adrienne Stein, "I Looked for the One my Heart Loves" (2006)

Many of you, no doubt, know and grew up on the childhood story of the duckling that went around searching for its mother. It introduced children to various animals, and likewise provided children with a sense that was a place they belonged, some place that could properly be called home.

Heidegger argued in Being and Time that we needed to find that spot, that home, embrace it and make it ours in order live genuinely human lives. This home, according to Heidegger, was not something chosen arbitrarily; it was more something into which we were thrust by history and which we needed to accept. In effect, Heidegger is describing the idea of Tradition. That there is a cultural and historical conversation into which one is thrust, that one cannot opt out of, and with which one must wrestle.

To be American especially, and really one can say more generally to be a member of liberal society, is to be part of a tradition of forgetting for Heidegger. Systemic forgetting. The destruction of tradition. In fact the destruction of tradition has become the great liberal tradition. We are watching that tradition wage a crusade in its name in our own time. This is the tradition of which we are a part.

Having destroyed the traditions of our ancestors, or at least systematically forgotten our own origins and history, we struggle under the need for some sort of positive tradition to bind us together. Having wiped out the liturgical calendar, we institute a new one: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine's Day, etc. replaces the rhythms of a lost liturgical calendar which contained periods of feasts and fasting; penance, reconciliation and joy.

And what if one feels the weight of this loss, the loss of tradition? What is one to do? Can one choose a tradition? Having been catechized into the tradition of traditionlessness, can one enter into a new conversation that remains self-consciously historical? Is conversion possible?

I chose Catholicism. It was not my tradition. My tradition was...Pietist, Enthusiastic, Holiness, Pentecostal...the convergence of various Wesleyan strains into the historically naive Christianity that suits America so very well. But how does one convert. The awakening to history that meant the break with Pietism in its various forms does not mean that one now is part of some other history. It simply means that one is self-conscious of the historical contradiction within which one finds oneself.

One awakens to history and like the lost duck one turns to that which is near, to that closest body which seems in some form or another to have preserved historical consciousness of its own being, and asks "Are you my mother?"


Sunday, January 6, 2008

pour it early and often?

just one of the amusing sights downeast...

LoA, "What Drinking Problem? (Marshallberg, NC)" (4 January 2008)

oddly, it appears to have gone out of business.

Friday, January 4, 2008


Fritz Eichenberg, "The Long Loneliness" (1952)

We have not come here to take prisoners,
But to surrender ever more deeply
To freedom and joy.

-Hafiz (14th. century)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Ye......WTF?!?

Another story for another post, and with any luck that will follow, but I was in Oriental, NC last night for New Years. This involves taking the Minnesott Beach ferry across the Neuse River. While we were waiting for the return ferry I went into the rest station where, in both the men's and women's restrooms, one could find the following....

LoA, "Minnesott Beach Ferry, Men's Restroom #1" (31 December 2007)

The sign only appeared in Spanish...

LoA, "Minnesott Beach Ferry, Men's Restroom #2" (31 Dec 2007)

leading one to one of two conclusions. First, English speakers weren't welcome in this bathroom. Prima Facie, unlikely. Second, it was meant to be insulting to Spanish speakers, who apparently needed to be told how to use toilet paper, when English speakers don't.

In any case one cannot help but be surprised to find, in a very conservative area of the state of NC, an area where one would not be surpised to hear someone express English-only sentiments, an area with a history of racism, using Spanish only signs...unless it too is an expression of racism. That it is found in the State Ferry Station is insulting to all of us who call NC home.

LoA, "Minnesott Beach Ferry House" (31 Dec 2007)