Monthly Archives: January 2010

Don Carnaval

It is the weekend, so we must sing! I sing that the Mardi Gras riders are on their way.

The Mardi Gras riders are on their way here. They come from everywhere, but mostly from Grand Mamou. Will you receive this gang of Mardi Gras riders? Will you receive this gang of great drinkers?

The Mardi Gras riders are on their way. They come from everywhere, but especially from Grand Mamou. On Ash Wednesday will be great sacrificers and penitents.

Axé.

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Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn died last night at 7:12 PM, EST.

Unable to face the State of the Union address, I was grading quizzes. One defined Romanticism as “a literary movement which arose in Germany in the late eighteenth century and then spread elsewhere and which, in contradistinction to Classicism, values imperfection and seeks darkness.”

Axé.

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A Message I Actually Sent

“EVEN THOUGH the Superbowl is in the EVENING February 7 and in MIAMI, papers are still due IN PERSON, February 9 at 4! I can drive here from Miami in that time, and so can you!”

Axé.

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New Orleans Saints

Oh when the Saints
go marching in
Oh when the Saints
go marching in
Yes, we’re going to be in the playoffs
when those Saints go marching in.

“Oh, what a beautiful audience is out there swinging with us!”

Axé.

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Academic Mondays: On Overwork

Why, a reader asks, are students and faculty alike expected to work so much? Ze says:

What strikes me as really weird is how incredibly much work everyone is expected to do. Students, faculty, everyone. We’re all so busy that we collapse into puddles of stress at the end of the semester and every single person I’ve talked to seems to be cutting corners and doing their work kind of half-assed. I don’t understand why we, academics, in general, don’t just do less work and do it better, pay more attention to it, spend more time on it. I think that would be a better choice. If nothing else, we would know that when we gave so much of ourselves to write something, it wasn’t just going to get half-assedly skimmed by whoever winds up reading it (if anyone does). The way things are set up it all seems so pointless and futile because we never spend enough time on things, because there is “too much” that we “have” to do. Why is that, anyway?

One answer I can think of is, we are trying to prove that what we do is actually work. What do you think?

Axé.

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Chris Thomas

It is the weekend, so we must sing! Here are Chris Thomas and his late father Tabby at a place we used to go in Baton Rouge.

I am on my way to Angola. It is a good day for the drive because it is sunny. The area, up near the Natchez Trace, is very beautiful.

I wish Tabby’s were still open, so I could drop in on the way home.

Axé.

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Coral Dress

It is Friday, so we are wearing white. I am wearing a long white shirt over a coral tank dress from Brazil, and Dr. Scholl’s Original Exercise Sandals ;-). It is January 22 and mild, and we are bathed in Oxalá’s bright light.

Axé.

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Reading for Pleasure Wednesday: Cartas Marruecas

For pleasure I am reading the Moroccan Letters of Cadalso, after which I will read his Lugubrious Nights. These books come from a strange and different world, I must say. To be able to read them is rather wonderful.

Axé.

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Liar, Liar

In Reeducation you were wrong. You were guilty of evil doing, and you were also a victim of evil doing by others. Not to be victimized was to exert inappropriate amounts of control, and not to be guilty was to be “in denial.”

I went to Reeducation to learn how to deal with abusive people, although I did not know enough at the time to know how to name this problem. What I learned in fact was that it was inappropriate for me to have as much education as I had or as good a job as I had, and to be as independent and competent as I was, and as happy. It all had to be false somehow. I was a liar.

Health was accepting abuse and its results: self doubt, self hatred, immobility, rules, striving for relief that would never come, self criticism about having failed to create conditions in which such relief might be given. Health was learning to accept conditions in — well, a 16th century Carmelite prison, perhaps?

I mean, really — it was ridiculous and I am amazed at how many people told me it was not. It was “really true” and this was how the “real world” worked, they said. Those things are simply false.

Axé.

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A Late, Brief Review of My Brazilian Voyage

While flying back from Brazil I was thinking of the amusing posts I could write reviewing the trip and different institutions I encountered upon it. I was also going to review the Miami International Airport including the restaurant La Carreta in its present state there, the city of New Orleans, and the Greyhound bus service from New Orleans to Maringouin.

Multi-layered activities and fatigue, as well as the lack of an Internet connection to my house at this time, prevented me from telling all of these amusing tales, and I am still recovering from the voyage. It is time to take some notes on it here; this is merely a skeleton post on the matter.

Accomplishments:
1. Saw my friend, talked to my two other friends.
2. Saw the sea and some hills.
3. Worked in a few days in the ideal office: warm but uncluttered space, natural light, very large desk, comfortable chair, huge floor to ceiling bookshelves so the books can all be in order in straight lines, in the same large room; glass doors opening onto a balcony overlooking the sea.
4. Got rid of a destructive friend I had not realized was destructive. This was very important and I do not think it would have happened had I not gone to Brazil. It is this that made the voyage worthwhile — I am saying — although it also had several costs about which I am still angry.
5. Learned definitively that I have to have a good place to live, no matter what anyone says, when I travel.
5a. Good does not have to mean fancy, but it does mean comfortable enough and functional enough for the trip in question.
5b. Good cannot be relied upon — you have to really think about it and ask a lot of questions.
6. Realized that the difference between a stressful and a non stressful voyage is having enough cash to back you up should anything happen. This time I had enough cash for a true emergency, but not enough to turn a difficult trip into a pleasant or worthwhile one.

Note: No preaching allowed! I do not need to learn that conditions are poor in the Third World. I do not need to learn to give up and relax on the beach if working is impossible. I know how to do those things already. I do need to learn not to accept being imposed upon.

Axé.

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