At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Friday, March 21, 2003

From the local classifieds:

Livestock and Poultry - Llamas For Sale. Pet quality, guard & show quality, champion stock.

I would love a pet llama, but I don't think they are easily housebroken.

When I worked the night shift this week I asked the Hispanic cleaning lady to give me the scoop on the "real" Mexican restaurants in town. Despite my nickname, I'm a gringo who isn't in the know when it comes to local Mexican-American culture. So she told me about a couple of places on the far edge of town which aren't listed in the phone book. I might try one of them tomorrow after working up an appetite hiking around the caprock.

I don't think I'll come up with anything to say about Hud, except that it was filmed near Amarillo so if y'all want a glimpse at the blighted landscape I live in everyday, take a look at it. I think I've said before that I haven't been overly impressed with Larry McMurtry's fiction, whether in its original prose form or transcribed to celluloid, but I would almost sell my soul to write non-fiction as well as he. However, our cataloguer says that Terms of Endearment is a Grade A tearjerker, so I might give McMurtry the storyteller one more shot.

Thanks goes out to Felix for being a good sport and arguing with me about the veiling of women in church, but it looks like the original message has rolled over into my archives, so if he would like to continue the debate he can append a comment to this post.

I had said a while back that, despite being at least quasi-Protestant, I find some Roman Catholic saints more attractive than I do the big names of Protestantism. I might not be alone in that, considering the admiring biographies of these saints that get produced by non-Catholics, even non-Christians. Joan of Arc has the curmudgeonly agnostic Mark Twain, the bohemian lesbian Vita Sackville-West, and wacky post-modernist filmmaker Luc Besson among her fans. The most famous account of Bernadette Soubirous was written by a Jew, as was an excellent recent biography of Teresa of Avila. But who really admires Calvin, except for Calvinists? I did hear, though, that a Catholic priest actually proposed that John Wesley be canonized!

Thursday, March 20, 2003

One of those logic web sites I'm reviewing for Choice doesn't work very well on IE, and Netscape isn't part of our network software package. I had the library's computer technician call a mid-level guy in IS to explain the situation but the answer was no, I wasn't allowed to install it on my machine. This response made me angrier than it should have, perhaps because I felt the IS guy wasn't taking my request seriously enough: he made no effort to explain the rationale behind the prohibition or to consult a higher-up to see if an exemption might be made. I was irked enough to seriously consider getting the browser anyway just as a sort of protest against an irrational policy. The lesson learned: ego causes suffering. (Second Noble Truth, almost.) And the anger was useless anyway since I easily got permission from the head of IS to temporarily download Netscape.

A cold front must have passed through the infernal regions tonight because something interesting happened on campus: a screening of the west Texas classic Hud prefaced by political/historical commentary from our political science professor. (Yes, that use of the singular is correct.) I might talk more about the movie later.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

After toiling over the Choice review, I got an email from my editor saying that it was some 120 words over the limit. Actually, their printed guidelines for reviewing internet resources clearly state "300 words or less," and just for the nicety of it I made mine exactly 300. But the copyeditors want the internet reviews to be the same length as the book reviews, 180 words maximum. So the review had to be shorn of all its long, lovely sentences. (Lovely to me, at least.) The editor chopped them off, leaving bald, homely prose. Fortunately I did get more assignments: two logic tutorial sites and a book on pragmatist moral philosophy. Then, of course, the Library Journal item for review will be coming in about the same time, so I might be too busy for blogging. On the other hand, I'm almost done with Kingdom Hearts, which is eating up a lot of time.

This evening I went to a presentation at our local library on the basics of storm spotting, given by the meteorologist at the Lubbock National Weather Service bureau. Storm spotting is not the same as storm chasing, so I still don't feel adequately prepared to hunt down twisters, but it's a start. The meteorologist is from upstate New York but says that down here is the best place in the country for severe weather fans.