At Home He's a Tourist

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

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Drinking tea may help protect against Alzheimer's disease.

Chronicle of Higher Education: Confessions of an Obsessive Book Collector. In general, it takes libraries too long to get new books. A book's moment is usually past by the time a library becomes aware of it, processes it, catalogues it, and shelves it. It's like waiting for a movie to appear at the video rental store. By the time you get it, almost no one cares about it anymore.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Camping with Calvinists...

...involves sitting around a campfire, smoking pipes, drinking homebrew, and badmouthing Baptists. It was a beautiful weekend on the Caprock Escarpment: temperatures were mild and the landscape was greener than usual because of all the rain the South Plains have been getting this summer. In fact, half of the park was closed because the road was washed away by flooding, and there are lakes where there weren't any last year. I was a bit of the odd man out, since the rest of the party comprised middle-aged couples with kids in tow, but I managed to have a few interesting conversations.


--A big news item [courtesy Society Dome] for Reformation Day next Sunday: Archaeologists discover the toilet on which a constipated Martin Luther conceived the doctrine of justification by faith. As is often the case, the journalist flubs the theology:

...Luther, the radical theologian...argued for a more "earthy Christianity", which regarded the entire human body - and not just the soul - as God's creation.

Sure, the medieval church taught its share of errors, but it wasn't Gnostic--in fact it went a bit too far in the opposite direction, killing thousands of Albigensians for such teaching.

--Madonna to do voice-over in new Besson CGI flick.

--Canoë: Guerre et amour avec Audrey Tautou, a glowing review of Jeunet's new movie. The article says "All those who loved Amélie will not be disappointed with A Very Long Engagement, created by the same team." But the French edition of Premiere magazine, while giving it 3 out of 4 stars, complains that the film's "impressive formal mastery transforms the story more than once into a beautiful but frozen object, deprived of emotion and life." In any case, I'm hoping it gets picked up in Lubbock.

--NYT: Woody Allen on George Kaufmann. There was something in our public school called a ''library period,'' in which we were taught exactly how to use a library, and then we were expected to take out a book, read it and report on the chosen volume. Less than stimulated by the romance of the Dewey Decimal System and born lazy, I made for the smallest book I could find in the stacks, which by sheer chance was something called ''Six Plays by Kaufman and Hart.''