At Home He's a Tourist

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

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Productive day's shopping at the Lubbock CD shops: Exile on Main Street, Physical Graffiti, Do the Bossa Nova with Herbie Mann (is there any wimpier music than bossa nova played on the flute?), Nighthawks at the Diner, Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Also tried the new Asian buffet, which had some dishes not offered at the usual places (including that dish with deep-fried tofu and shitake mushrooms that I tried and failed to cook one time).

Latest viewing: Portraits Chinois. B+

Friday, July 29, 2005

Had a colonoscopy yesterday. I think the less said about it the better, except that the results were entirely negative and it seems I simply have irritable bowel syndrome, the common cold of gastroenterology.

After a lot of googling and downloading of freeware both famous and obscure, I've finally cobbled together a sort of Rube Goldberg chain of programs enabling me to convert RealAudio files into MP3s, which I'll upload into the iPod. Now I can listen to, say, Fr. Benedict Groeschel discuss St. John of the Cross on mortification, while undergoing my own ascetic practices at the gym.

Latest viewing: Yasujiro Ozu, Good Morning B+

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Substitute preacher today--the chaplain (if that's the correct term) at the Reformed campus ministry in Lubbock. Sermonizing on the Noah's ark story, he made the predictably Calvinist point that God's covenant with Noah and his family was an act of grace not based on Noah's worthiness--which blatantly contradicted the reading of the text delivered just a few minutes earlier: "Then the Lord said to Noah, 'Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation.'" Goes to show you that even the most proudly sola scriptura churches read texts through the lenses of their own traditions.

The Calvinist doctrine of election is too extreme. Even the covenant with Abraham (which the Reformed, based on Paul's letter to the Romans, take as the prototype of salvation by faith alone) seems dependent on Abraham's obedience: "Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you," etc. I don't know Hebrew of course, but the English word "because" in the RSV translation stresses the conditionality of the promise.


Started reading The Introvert Advantage. In the introductory chapters the author is mostly concerned to define the trait and to argue that cultural factors cause it to be perceived as a flaw rather than a simple genetic variation with its own strengths and weaknesses. I was interested, not surprisingly, in a little text box on introversion and the movies. I've seen most of the ones listed, but not Chocolat or Gosford Park. Although heretofore I've been avoiding these, the first because it looked fluffy and the second because it looked stuffy, I may now want to give them a try. The best cinematic portray of introversion, though, wasn't listed: Rohmer's Le Rayon Vert. The scene in which Marie Rivière's introverted Delphine gets upstaged at lunch by a boisterous blond was painfully realistic.