Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

At the library used book store

The scene: me and an elderly man rummaging through the quarter and free carts, respectively.

A noise came from the direction of the library proper. Chunk...chunk...chunk.

He said, "I can hear ya comin.'"
The lady with her cane: "Well, at least I am comin.' I can hardly believe something which I just heard in there."
He said, "What did you just hear in there which you can hardly believe?"

She chunked a few paces closer and stopped by the free cart. "The librarian in there who had never heard the riddle of the Sphinx. A librarian! The riddle of the Sphinx!"

He replied, "I don't know the riddle of the Sphinx."
She replied, "Oh, yes you do."

I wandered into the used book store proper and left the conversation. But just before it faded entirely from my hearing:
"Look what I found. A book on how to pick your rest home."
She laughed. "Well, you don't need that!"
He asked, "How long do you suppose it'll be before we need it?"
She said, "Oh, someday we will..."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Quote of the day

"Right! Ready to get my teeth sharpened--ready for Christmas dinner!" Patient

It was just a cleaning....

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Of steaks and trees

Grandma, as you may or may not be aware, had her hip replaced last Monday. ("I did a very good job," said her surgeon. "I am very good, very fast. Thirty-nine minutes!") Her nurse Ellie May has ordered her on no account to bend over for a month, and you just don't disobey Ellie May. So, my parental units and cat and I hied ourselved thither on Friday after Thanksgiving to clean her house and put up her Christmas tree.

The house, being Grandma's house and therefore perfect, didn't actually need cleaning, but we cleaned it anyway. It was a little dusty was all. We got it all done Saturday morning.

So about eleven-thirty we piled in the car (leaving the cat in Grandad's shop) and went for a steak lunch a K-Bob's. If you've never been to a K-Bob's, I'm sorry. There are half a dozen in Texas and four or five more in New Mexico, so you'll just have to visit. While we waited for the Ranch Houses to cook, we played with my little purple Camaro. Our family has a long-standing restaurant game, where you get a point each time you roll the car just hard enough for the front wheels to fall off the edge but the rest of the car stays on the table. We played it with that same purple Camaro on our family vacation back in the late nineties at a K-Bob's in Elk City, Oklahoma, that we ate at on our way out and was closed when we came back. This particular game, Daddy won with three points to my two.

Then we went to Hobby Lobby and stood in their front vestibule for twenty minutes or so, checking out their forest and picking the Very Best Tree. We all scattered inside, checking out the ornaments for the ladies' tea and ornament exchange, the scrapbook paper, and the metal Celtic crosses (half off). I finally misplaced Mom entirely and had to call her on our cell phones. Grandma decided which was the Very Best Tree and Daddy and Grandad wrestled it into the trunk and bungeed it down, and dropped Mom and me off at the mall, and went home to wrestle the tree into the house. I found a pair of boots and two dressy tops, finished the entire mall, and had time for a coke and burrito-like egg roll in the food court by the time Dad and Grandad picked us up.

Allow me to digress a moment. Friday night, Dad and I watched _Casablanca_ for the first time. It's a good movie, but what astounded me was how well the woman dressed. She was genuinely beautiful--a rarity, I think, in movies with a supposedly drop-dead gorgeous protagonist, and I begin to understand some of the film criticism in Richter a little better--and she dressed like a lady. Wow she looked good. The garments at the mall did not look like something out of _Casablanca_. Winter dresses, for reasons I really don't understand, are all sleeveless and generally strapless and backless too. How come sleazy people in 1942 dressed so much better than nice people in 2006? I don't think this is fair.

End digression. Eventually we all collected ourselves back at the house and Mom put the Very Best Tree together in the middle of the living room. Dad and Grandad ran to Wal-Mart for ...I forget what, two or three things, and Mom and I drag the ornaments out of the unlocked closet in the long room upstairs. It's a very lengthy and short closet, so I have to hunch all the way to the back where the ornament bins are kept. I wend my way past exercise bikes, giant styrofoam gliders, kites, "Happy Harvest" scarecrows, and manage to get the ornaments out. We open them up...and discover there are no ornament hooks.

No fear! Dad and Grandad are still at Wal-Mart! I called them and discovered they hadn't left yet, and requested ornament hooks. Then Mom sent me upstairs to pick out the Very Best Tree-topper. I found a lovely gold-and-cream angel in the top of the bathroom linen closet, sitting on top of a vinegar bottle, so I brought her down. It struck me it was kind of what the Pythia did--sitting on top of a chasm breathing fumes all year--so I named the angel Pythia. She fit splendidly on top of the tree, though at one point, hanging ornaments, I looked up and there she was...tilted forward...looming over me. Rather scary, being loomed over by a Pythia. Anyhow.

Dad and Grandad made it home with "Christmas with the Kranks" but not ornament hooks. They couldn't find any and asked two employees, who both said they were out. On the basis of two witnesses, then, they quit looking. "Kranks" is a funny movie, genuinely funny. As they snuck and lurked and cowered before their neighbors, we hung ornaments as best we could without hooks. We finished about the time Mr. Krank got arrested for borrowing his neighbor's tree (with permission). And our tree, unlike his, looked really pretty. I think it made Grandma happy.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Quotes of the day

"I tell you, working at the lab is pretty grim these days. We've been taken over by the Huns." --a patient

"I'm going to read your book on oral pathology."
"Oh, how exciting. You must need to sleep."
"No, I'm just trying not to be hungry..."

Sunday, November 19, 2006


"Pro corpore eius quod est ecclesia"

His body...which is the church. Latin is great because it makes you slow down and think about the words.


I've been reading Ryken's Christian Imagination, and, in conjunction with Ben's marginal notes, it's about incarnation too; about the literary incarnation or bodying-forth of ideas and words in the concretes of this character doing that in such a place and time.

The Bible talks about individuals imitating Jesus, but it sounds to me like it's also a church-wide thing. "God may always be here, but I want someone with skin on," said the little boy. That's exactly what the church ought to be doing: being Jesus with skin on.

The church, too, is made of particular people in a certain place and time. Lewis talked about that in Screwtape Letters. The trouble with humans is that we think of The Church and have a terrible time connecting that grand and glorious Body with our pew-mate who never can sing on key. It's got to be a renewing of the heart and mind, and vision, to see each other as we've been told we really are--and to see myself that way, too. Don't know about y'all, but I don't feel like much but the skin these days.

Jars of Clay's new song "Dead Man" relates too. "I'm just a dead man/lyin' on the carpet/can't find a heartbeat/Make me breathe/I wanna be a new man/tired of the old one/out with the old plan..."

How high is the stature of the fullness of Christ!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Cyrano de Bergerac

Rather to my surprise, I haven't yet been able to find any blog-reviews of PHC's "Cyrano de Bergerac." It was well worth reviewing, so here goes.

I had the pleasure of seeing Cyrano three times. The first night, I inquired of the ushers which might be the best seat, and they directed me to the front row--but mentioned there might be audience participation. Excellent. The stage was already half-filled with fruit-sellers, classy Frenchwomen, pickpockets, and soldiers, all pointing out to one another who all was in attendance that evening. I sat in the front row and was immediately greeted as the Chief Magistrate's wife. This was well and good, but then another lady came along and greeted Mr. Kanary beside me as the Chief Magistrate!

The milling onstage continued. Three musicians sat on the steps, playing happily. One wore Don John's vest from Much Ado and another the gold vest that had belonged to Don Pedro and Macbeth. David Carver and Nic Isley minced in, complete with the noblest of high heels and lace. Soldiers burst in past the usher Caleb Krautter, announcing they didn't have to pay. The pickpocket nearly got Dr. Veith's Blackberry. (On Friday night, Dr. Mitchell got the pickpocket in a ninja-grip, from which he was only extricated by the intervention of Krautter.) Peasant women flitted around, one of them in Beatrice's "terra-cotta" overdress. Maggie Dougher, in a private interview, confided that she patched it herself.

The leading lady Roxane (Cate Pilgrim) attracted much attention as she walked to her seat, closely followed by her duenna (Kelly-Christelle Orsini), the slimy de Guiche (played by Ben Adams in a wig and burgundy velvet), and the hopeless younger lord (played by Jordan Estrada, also in a wig and turquoise velvet). Then the baker Ragueneau (Justin Jenkins) entered, to much cheering, and we learned he paid for his ticket with cakes and cream puffs.

The rumor drifted out that Cyrano himself had forbidden the star of "La Clorice"--which we were there to watch--to appear for a month. There, before our very eyes, he appeared. So did Cyrano. With a shout and a rush John Anderson established himself onstage, utterly impervious to the crowd's booing. "I shall clap three times, and on the third clap, eclipse yourself," he told the star. And it was as he said. Cyrano finished his brilliant gesture repaying the theater owner (Jonathan Bales) with his entire month's pay, held in a bag that I think was made from leftover red Much Ado boot leather.

The soldiers and ushers reappeared in the next scene as starving poets in ragged and dirty shirts made (I later learned) from Antigone curtains and dragged by the poets themselves through Lake Bob mud. The famous Eden Troupe bench made its regular appearance, as did the Much Ado lantern, the Ideal Husband fans, and--my personal favorite--the witches' dresses. The sleeves had been sewn up and they became nuns' habits for Maggie, Kelsey Stapler, and Kaylyn Carlson. Upon inspection, the nuns' white over-dresses turned out to be Siward and Young Siward's flappy things with the red crosses removed. In Eden Troupe, all things that can be redeemed, shall be.

What else is there to say? The acting drew one into the story. In the scene with the duenna, Roxane, and de Guiche (when they were running late for a lecture on The Tender Passion), I stopped to simply admire. It was humorous, but also believable. Cyrano swashbuckled, taking on a hundred men and then denying everything the next day. He told of his trip to the moon with such wit and style as drew in de Guiche, going (as he thought) to marry, as well as the audience. The bold Cadets of Gascony, despite near-starvation, put on a brave front before despised commander and beautiful lady alike. One of the best lines was from Cyrano: "You, play cards. You, dust your caps. I shall read Descartes." The Cadets made their final desperate charge out the back door with a flourish and roar as would have made any thane proud; and as it happened, most of them had been thanes. Mr. Adams actually turned de Guiche into a sympathetic character in the end.

Each night I saw the play, I believe, it improved. The single inconvenience was the rapidity with which Mr. Anderson delivered his golden words. But every time I caught more lines, and it was a beautiful thing.

Congratulations, Christy and Sarah! Good job, cast and crew! Cyrano was a wonderful addition to the Eden Troupe annals, and I'm thrilled I was able to be there.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Quotes of the weekend

“Dulles has many things, but many of them are not hot air balloons.” Carolyn 11-9-06

To Carolyn: “You're going to be with your own kind.” Mom 11-9-06

“Ben A. is coming to McDonald's? I think that's an ontologically negative action.” Meredith 11-9-06

“Close-quarters killing moves are not romantic.” Bales
“I tell you, yes they are. Tonight—Colton and Cate—that hand thing—” Ben A
“You're right.” Bales 11-9-06

The occult element at the Renaissance Fair: “That's because they don't have the most authentic part of the Renaissance: the stake.” Bales 11-9-06

“Is this a Star Wars fan club or a Zahn fan club?” Krautter
“Both!” Carolyn 11-9-06

“Soul and enrollment: it'd be kind of nice to keep both.” Emily-Rose 11-10-06

Mr. Compson: “He's some kind of dissolute Southern gentleman.” Dr. Hake 11-0-06

Quentin Compson: “He waited till the end of the year to commit suicide so the money wouldn't be wasted.” Abby C.
“Small comfort.” Dr. Hake
“Do it BEFORE finals!” Holcomb and Jennifer S. in unison 11-10-06

“The intellectuals were wrong about every major issue of the twentieth century.” The Assistant Deputy Director of Public Communications Liaison Something 11-10-06

“Let me tell you, as a Christian and a conservative working within the Beltway, a lot of the time you feel like a vegetarian at a cattlemen's convention.” Assistant Deputy 11-10-06

“And praise God we're not automatons or potatoes.” Assistant Deputy 11-10-06

“George W. Bush is the greatest liberator of Muslim women in the history of the world.” Assistant Deputy 11-10-06

“Christy, Christina, who cares?” Ben G. 11-10-06

“Are you quite alive yet this morning, David?” Sarah P.
“No, not yet.” David C. 11-10-06

“Where's all your hair, Ben?” Dr. Hake
“Oh, it comes and goes.” Ben A. 11-10-06

“We need to clone Dr. Smith.” Dr. Gruenke
“No. That is NOT a good idea.” Mrs. Smith
“You'll learn in rhetoric that what is unique is praiseworthy.” Dr. Smith 11-10-06

To Carolyn: “Pardon me, haven't you left?” Dr. Smith 11-10-06

“It was kind of a joke there for a while that you wasted your brain cells on celebrities.” Dr. Gruenke 11-10-06

If you take out a rat's hippocampus: “You've got an extremely dumb rat with brain damage.” Dr. Gruenke 11-10-06

“All soybeans have a collective soul?” Carolyn
“It actually begins to make sense biologically.” Dr. Gruenke 11-10-06

“I can be very skeptical, especially when I don't believe something!” Bales 11-10-06

“God is bigger than a piece of clip art.” Ben A. 11-11-06

“I believe I just heard Philip Cole say, 'And that's why God created knives.'” Natalie H. 11-11-06

“Actually, I’m an angel.” Mike H
“Actually, I don’t think you could be an angel, because you never have to announce ‘Don’t be afraid,’ when you enter a room.” Emily-Rose 11-12-06

“If I haven’t figured out my life by the time I graduate, I’ll be a mail-order bride or something.” Emily-Rose 11-12-06

“Again, how did you end up in your family?” Ben G.
“Transmigration of souls.” Ben A. 11-12-06

“One day my friend Domenic and I got an even odder request: we had to find and destroy a septic tank.” Scott 11-13-06

“I think the class revolted and demanded Augustine.” Ben A.
“Pretty much.” Rachel M 11-13-06

“What's with Eden Troupe guys and shaving??” Emily-Rose
“If you had a beard...” Jordan 11-13-06

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Quote of the day

"And if you add spaghetti to your hair, you'd better cook it first."

Mr. Rutherford regarding Crazy Hair Night

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Quote of the day

"Metaphysical poetry is highly civilised, and humanity is only highly civilised by fits and starts."

T.S. Eliot, Turnbull Lecture III

Unconnected thoughts

I got a whiff of summer this weekend. Wading pools--new inflatable rafts--shower curtains--they all smell like summer. They say of all your senses, odors are most closely connected to emotions in your brain. I unwrapped that shower curtain and the fresh plastic sent me straight to June.

Secondhand Lions was just as good a movie the second time around as the first. If you haven't seen it, you should. As soon as you can. There is a bit of language, but--it's a good movie. My dad is still happy from it.

The office got a brand-new, snazzy, hi-tech coffeemaker yesterday. It's black and red and spacey, and when we arrived this morning, there was a brewed pot waiting for us. True, it came on two hours too early by mistake, but these glitches happen.

Monday, November 06, 2006

What about them chickens?

The difference between logical positivism and analytic philosophy on the one hand, and Cartesian dualism on the other, rests with their views of reality. Dualism sees mind and body, or objectivity and subjectivity, as both real and valid. The problem is how to relate them. Positivism and analytic thinking argue that the lived world, subjectivity, wonder, awe, and so on do not exist as irreducible reality. They are totally reducible to the simples of fact.

Ricoeurian thinking contrasts with Cartesian dualism and with positivism and analytic philosophy by saying all three movements should see themselves as having wrongly excarnated object from the lived world.

This is from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which, oddly enough, is trying to make wonder the key to reality. That seems a rather weird Quintessence to pick.

I have this suspicion that fact, subjectivity, and all other things are unified in Jesus, in whom we live and move and have our being. I have no clue what that works out to exactly, but I just suspect they're never going to figure it out as long as they ignore Him...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Today's quote of the day

"It's amazing what unemployment will do for availability to God."

Marian regarding her spur-of-the-moment missions trip this spring

Yesterday's quote of the day

"You look like something with Italian feet!"

Mom to me. I was wearing my new, brown satin, embroidered, long-toed, $2 high heels.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Quote of the day

"Hello, my husband made an appointment for me and didn't tell me the name of the dentist. Can you look and see if you have an appointment for me on November 7th?"
--Phone caller