At Home He's a Tourist

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

Friday, October 14, 2005


Lubbock Lights, a documentary on the South Plains music scene, is finally out on DVD. I'm getting it for our library--local interest, ya know. (But what is David Byrne doing in there? Is West Texas as exotic to him as Brazil?)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Just Another Day in Colldev...

I've been reading Ada, or Ardor: a Family Chronicle, picked up at a used book store, and decided to check our library's Nabokov holdings. No Ada or even Lolita! I continue to be surprised by the gaps in our collection. So I immediately put in an order for the Library of America Nabokov volumes. Since I had nothing better to do, I did a spot check of some other authors that came to mind, and uncovered the following omissions:

  • C. S. Lewis, The Space Trilogy (amazing that we wouldn't have this central work of an author so popular here)
  • V. S. Naipaul, Bend in the River
  • Shusaku Endo, Silence (you would think a school with courses in missiology would have already had this famous historical fiction about the Jesuit martyrs of Japan)
  • Georges Bernanos, Diary of a Country Priest

Name That Author!

beatified angels, term wherefrom, understand separate substances, natural immutation, angel cannot change, corporeal creatures were, notional acts, term whereto, essence begets, exclusive diction, common spiration, bodies naturally united, merited beatitude, power than the intellect, twofold opinion, divisible place, invisible mission, memorative powers, woman should have been made, angels grieve, necessity upon things, darksome atmosphere, knowledge from things, understand immaterial substances, causal virtues

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Boss and I spent most of the day trying to make sense of the rather cryptically organized file cabinet left by D.B. at her retirement. To be fair, she was always able to produce a document on demand, so the system obviously made sense to her--but we'd rather present her successor with a more common-sensical arrangement.

After being the wine-bearer at a number of Calvinist dinner parties over the past month, I found myself last night looking at a nearly empty wine rack. There was only one bottle left: the 1997 Chateau La Cordonne Medoc I purchased months ago, my first foray into $20+ per bottle wine. I had been saving it for a special occasion but decided, like Miles in Sideways, that I probably won't be having any special occasions anytime soon. Besides, in a dry county you can't just nip down to the corner grocery store to pick up some table wine. So I poured a glass of the Medoc with some pasta and gingerly took a sip, bracing myself for gustatory ecstasy.

While it certainly tasted different than the mass-produced stuff I'm used to, I can't say I enjoyed it more. It was surprisingly watery and muted, though perhaps real connoisseurs would chalk that up to a palate corrupted by gin and cheap merlots. Can any wine snobs out there tell me anything about this vineyard? Anyway, it's probably just as well that someone on a librarian's salary not get enamored of pricey booze.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I finished teaching my half of the Lewis course. It didn't go as well as I would have liked, but nevertheless the experience was worthwhile in a number of respects. First, I get paid $900, and I'm already shopping for a high-definition TV. Second, it was nice having an excuse to read Lewis again, and I picked up on some themes that I overlooked in previous readings. (E.g. I just now noticed how prominent the theme of integrating the rational with the emotional and imaginative is in his writings.) Third, my best student, a genuine Lewis enthusiast and Roman Catholic who would be classified politely as "non-traditional," would like to introduce me to her daughter, a law student at Notre Dame who is (in her admittedly biased opinion) "the brilliant one of the family."

Touchstone article: The conservative Kerouac. (Dharma Bums is one of my favorite novels, pure escapism that manages not to be cloying.)