Listen, My Children...

Every Little Helps

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

On Segregation, again


A white teacher can't teach black history? Can a black teacher teach the history of white people?
(From best of the web.)

Conspiracies


One more for the conspiracy list, this one culled from the male trainer in the females-only gym I go to (he disgusts me; they're trying to find a strong enough female to replace him):

"Those child tax rebates -- and the other tax rebate checks too -- it's all a Republican trick to make you think you're getting some of your tax money back."

Umm, sure, honey.

"a language glutted with puns, metaphors and multiple meanings"


Well, thanks!

As the article says, "scholars mostly work at chipped wooden tables in a large room lined with dusty metal bookshelves. Technology often amounts to a pencil stub and a paperweight." Perhaps; I never got a paperweight. I did use one of those four-color bic pens, though.

But right here:
There's "anekakrta," which is basically translated as "composed or obtained by many," but which Bhatta gleefully points out has 15 other definitions. "Sanskrit," he said, "has so many shades."
That's why I like it. The language is grand. So much structure, so much order, everything locking in its place, and all of it pretty much untranslateable. It reads somewhat like Finnegan's Wake. (Oh! which, I see, at least someone is believed to have been able to translate. I wonder if it's using Derrida's method, or Schopenhauer's, or what? I do like translation theory. And translations of the untranslateable, like Jabberwocky. I also like Hofstadter himself, for that matter.)

There's the delightful story, told by a prince who's just been snogging quite heavily with his ladyfriend, which includes no bilabials (his lips, you see, were all tired out). There's the Bhattikavya, written by a Sanskrit pandit on sabbattical, which, alongside the story, contains a refresher course in all sorts of obscure verb forms. There's even, I'm told (although I have not seen it), a poem in which each verse can be read in two entirely different ways, one describing one goddess, one describing another.

And then there's textual reconstruction: when you're reading along in a poem -- you have to chant them out loud to get the full effect -- and you come across something that jars, you look at it to see if the meter (which can be exceedingly intricate) is wrong; since, in Sanskrit poetry, the meter trumps all else, the meter can never have originally been wrong, so you get to try various things to see what the uncorrupted text might have been.

Yes, I like that language. Can hardly wait to start classes again.

As for dictionaries, while I wish those men success, they can't far supersede the work done by one man mostly alone, Boethlink, in his dictionary, nor will they come even close to the practical usefulness of the popular Monier-Williams dictionary (also one man plus two research assistants) or the remarkable portability of the quite reliable dictionary produced by Mr. Apte (who, it must be admitted, had a slew of native drudges helping out). Bother, why are books so much cheaper at amazon.co.uk? It evens out in the shipping, though.

Episcopalians


Tomorrow begins the triennial General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, USA. Topic of interest this time around: the possible bishopric of Vicky Robinson -- no, not the skanky lady from "The Parent Trap"; the other one.

For more information, quite in-depth, and, I'm sure, frequent updates as it goes on, check out Kendall Harmon's page. He's doing a good service for all interested.

On Bets


We've all heard by now of the thankfully quickly defunct program whereby one could bet on various terrorist/etc. acts.

I see it as wrong not because it gives off the wrong impression to the outside world, or because it's intolerant of other countries, or because the wrong people could win it -- no, as a true southern woman, I see it as wrong because it's tacky. The greatest sin of all: tackiness.

(The concept of tackiness, my sorority-girl kid sister tells me, is well explained by Maryln Schwartz.)

On Redistricting


Owen is on a roll on the redistricting issue. He knows more about it than I do, so I'm not even going to weigh in. He seems to be making sense.

On Segregation


One more event in the string proving that "separate but equal" and "discriminatory segregation" is only unfair when the people being segregated out say it is: well, we've had the black parents banding together to try to get their children put in separate schools and, especially, colleges, and to move their families to all-black suburbs; now we've got the separate homosexual high school.
State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long criticized the creation of the school.

"Is there a different way to teach homosexuals? Is there gay math? This is wrong," Long said. "There's no reason these children should be treated separately."

What's the point in segregating children because of which people they feel attracted to? (And yes, I know, it's not mandatory that they go to this separate school, and they've got no test besides "feelings.") They claim it's because they were teased. Well, what of children, like many of my friends (several of whom went on to CalTech) through high school, who claim to have felt no sexual attraction in either direction -- and were teased for that? Should we have a new high school for children who aren't expressing themselves sexually yet, or at least not during the school day? (A lot of people would say yes to that, but not because of teasing!)

Non-majority students (which can also be white students in a predominantly black or Asian area) are often teased, often quite cruelly, because of the color of their skin, something they're entirely indisputably born with. I vote we go back to separate-race schools to stop the teasing.

UPDATE: One other question: will the school allow in straight students? If not -- if it's acceptable to bar students based on sexual orientation -- then can there be schools that officially ban students who do not identify themselves as straight? Does it work both ways?

Thursday, July 24, 2003

The Old South


I'm off to Louisiana in the morning, doing the grand tour of old plantations near St. Francisville. A recent Chronicle travel feature emphasized that we should focus our tour not so much on the plantation manor houses, but rather on the slave shacks where most of the people worked (the town houses where the non-slaveholding whites worked being mostly gone by now). All well and good if you're going for a historical trip to look at the lives of the average person; but we're not there for history, neither to see the average life nor to glory in and long for the good old days when whites were served by blacks (as the article implies all previous tourists went for). We're going because we enjoy looking at big houses and fancy furniture. Not having it ourselves, we do this in Houston when we're lucky enough to be invited to a River Oaks or Shadyside home, and we travel to Louisiana to see the utmost of finery. Could care less about the color or lifestyle of those who lived in it -- although I know my mother's main thought will be, "goodness, it would take forever to keep a house this size clean!"

Anyhow, we'll have a grand old time, and will be back Sunday night. Bob will be back from India a few days after that; I can hardly wait!

Question for commently discussion in the meantime: Letterman or Leno? Why?

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

On Celebrating Deaths


Some people are dancing around celebrating the deaths of Saddam's sons.

(Reminds me of a joke I was told back in grade school: "Did you hear they've got Saddam's sons? Now they just have to Bag Dad!")

Anyhow: I don't think you should celebrate anyone's death. You can agree that so-and-so had to die, but you had ought to regret, not cheer, that they were a person who had to die.

I hear some comments this evening saying, "I wish they had had a trial." Fair enough. Personally, I think it's easier for all concerned, including the sons, that they are dead, and not having to go through the whole thing (eh, what if they won on a technicality or what-all?). Plus, what with the comments about it not being fair to try Taliban folks in Afghanistan, "because it puts people in the clearly biased position of judging their own oppressors" -- dang, those two would probably be supported by various groups, and their trial would have to be conducted entirely by people not biased against them. Gee, wouldn't that be fun?

So yes, I think it's better that they're dead; I still mourn that there are such people in the world who are better off dead.

UPDATE: Salam Pax agrees that it's easier for them this way. He, along with many others, would prefer that they had it a bit harder.

Conspiracies, Conspiracies


The newest one, I hear on an email list: the reason Uday and Qusay are the only two of the playing-card gang to be killed rather than captured? Because, if left alive, they'd tell the truth that they were just the peaceful rulers of a sovereign nation with no beef against anyone.

Do people actually believe any of those things?

UPDATE: Of course, I forgot, some always will. Mad Props to the Democrat Underground! Oh, and, of course, this was all so that the Hadley story wouldn't get top billing. But, the truth is, they aren't dead; it's a trick planted to distract us from the lack of WMDs. It's also to distract us from the fact that they're not letting Pvt. Lynch (who the DU freaks keep referring to as "Jessica" -- then again, so did CBS news today, and so did many stations -- this is one of the few times I'll say "sexism" -- they don't refer to a male Private by his given name, so why do they do so with a female?) talk to the media, and they're continuing with the lie that she's (conveniently) forgotten about what went on, because the US was just shooting blanks (since when do they carry blanks during the war?) and wanted to pretend they were in danger -- in fact, the Iraqis haven't fought the US at all; it was all the US shooting the British or Canadians or their own to make it look like there was a battle. Everything is staged.

Of course, some people there wish they were still alive. It's rather they live -- and even better, keep torturing people -- than Bush do anything right, for those people. (Anyhow, as that fool points out, Bush is much much worse than Saddam & Sons could ever be.) That's part of the most insightful point I ever heard Matt Yglesias make: some people get so caught up in needing their side to be right and the other side to be wrong that they mourn when the other side does something that helps people.

Ok, that's enough. Can't take it anymore.

TRUMPED


Gotta love the CNN headline.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Last Post!


Two returns I've failed to mention:
RAWbservations is back up, and so is Spoons!
I can't wait to get my computer back, to see who I'd entirely forgotten about. I know the angry clam is in my bookmarks somewhere...

Salam Pax


Haven't linked to Salam Pax in a while. A good post can be found here: he tells of an experience in a car with a rather dangerous man, to put it mildly.

Don't knock it till you've tried it


They always say that people only make fun of things that they're scared of because they don't understand them or know enough about them. "They," by the way, are modern mostly-lay psychologists. They are the same kind of people who say, "look, the Sept. 11 hijackers went to strip clubs and bars and totally acculturated themselves but really hated American culture -- the way to stop people from hating America is to sponsor student exchange for those most radically opposed to America!" (Yes, they just don't seem to get it, do they?)

That line of reasoning doesn't make too much sense to me. I never made fun of Canada, and then I went there -- and now I think the people from the Maritimes are disturbingly perky, Ottowans are pathologically helpful (especially when you don't want to be helped), and Canadians are just silly. That last opinion comes from listening to the radio news and reading the editorials in the paper. They really think we think about them as often as they think about us!

On a less giddy note, my sister was the most p.c. and anti-racist person around until she started her summer job at a community service organization in Houston. She's come across enough weird stuff to make her say things that make me reflexively cringe. People naming their children ridiculous names, bizarre stuff like "miss lovely" that'll sure keep them from looking serious on a job application -- and the reason they give is, "so that when their momma beats them or yells at them, they'll think about their name and know that deep down she loves them." This is the "momma" saying this herself. Or people refusing to breast feed, instead demanding money for formula or feeding their kids cow's milk, because it's "not part of Hispanic culture." Or refusing to have basic hygeine practices or to take appropriate medication instead of often counterproductive home remedies, because it's not how they were brought up (and, one assumes, they want their kids to be sickly and on the street just like they were). Now that my sister has had a taste of poor urban black and hispanic life, she's starting to look down on it something awful. I wouldn't dream of making the disparaging comments she does -- I think it's rather an abberance from ignorance rather than something inborn (I also think it's not "black culture" -- it's got nothing to do with the skin color you're born with -- but rather poor inner-city culture, something which can and should be changed. Don't catch me saying that over at Yglesias's site again, though).

Sometimes, getting to know something more, seeing how either loony or ignorant or depraved it is (depending on where you're coming from), doesn't help you to like it better -- but a deeper understanding of it may help you to make your negative comments much more forcefully and with information to back it up.

American-born?


Orrin Hatch, Mormon, singer of sappy Jesus-is-my-girlfriend songs, supporter of polygamy, and now anti-American activist?

No, I don't quite agree with the criticism that's been heaped upon Hatch.

First off, and people feel free to set me straight here: as far as I recall, to run for president, you have to have been born a US citizen and be over 35, not a felon, etc. Do you have to be born physically on American soil, or can you have been born while your parents were vacationing in Canada or whatnot? I always thought the requirement was being born a US citizen, something which being born on US soil automatically makes you, but something gained at birth through other means (having American parents) as well. You can be born abroad, to American parents. Even if that's not the case, you could be born in America and then raised entirely overseas, like many people I met in England.

Anyhow, all sorts of people are in a panic and calling Hatch all sorts of things, saying that people who were born abroad and then took positive steps to become American citizens (or whose families moved here when the kids were two years old, or who were adopted at a few months of age by American families) are a huge threat to our country.

Less hysterical people are arguing that people with ties to another country will have divided loyalties, much like the claim made about Jews in general here ("Mr. Lieberman, would you be able to be impartial when it comes to Israel?"). But haven't we come across people, born and raised here, who much prefer other countries? Some even move to them, but keep their American citizenship. Even more common are people who will choose the UN's positions over current or traditional US ones. Many people born Americans but raised abroad will have very divided (or undividedly unAmerican) loyalties; I know, were I to have been elected president upon my return from England, I'd have had very pro-UK policies. Now, I'd pay much more attention to helping India than to helping, say, Togo, mainly because I know nothing about Togo, and I'm quite partial to India and think it needs a lot of fixing!

What I mean to say is: it's a silly distinction. Whether you're born here and raised here or elsewhere, or born elsewhere and tried quite hard to become a citizen, makes little difference in terms of your loyalties and political beliefs. Immigrants from southwest India are more likely to have communist leanings, true, because that's all they grew up around, and similarly with other areas, but people who grew up and were politically involved in another country likely won't have the lifetime left to have been a citizen for twenty years before they run for president here. Plus, even if they run, they still have to get elected. If most people here want a communist, well, that's another question. (One faced by low-birth-rate western Europeans looking at imminent Muslim majorities and strong supporters of instituting Shari'a law, for example.)

On Africa


I'm trying, but I just can't figure out what we ought to do about Africa. Liberia, in particular. I really don't know enough about it to be able to make a general-opinion-be-damned statement on what ought to be done, like those I make about India every once in a while. So, I have to sift through the general opinions from newspapers and activists about various things over the past few years, and I have to listen to what people seem to be saying. It's all very confusing.

Bush, Oxblog, and many others argue that Taylor's an evil man who needs to go. Ok, I'll agree with that -- got no reason not to. But how, and should we be involved more than just saying he's bad and should get lost?

Personally, I tend more towards the position of "The US should be the world's policeman -- well, actually, the UN should, but they're welshing on their promise -- because we are strong and capable of helping people who can't help themselves." Not everyone agrees with that; fair enough. Even for those who agree with it, though, it must be admitted that we're probably not capable of fixing every nation with problems all at once. We're busy enough right now as it is. Heck, we've still got a couple of soldiers in Germany and quite a bunch in Japan. (Yes, I know, it's part of our deal with Japan, we'll provide them with military defence. It's time we turned that back over to them, or at least gave them the option. What are they going to do to anyone? The nation with the highest rate of escalator deaths, as my Japanese textbook in Germany pointed out, due to people bowing at inopportune moments -- yeah, they're not going to take over the world anytime soon.)

So, taking it as a hypothetical (a huge one) that we can find enough resources to go into Liberia all by ourselves and then, due to our actions there, fix everything. Should we?

Gathering all the reasons not to go (culled from discussions about why not to do anything in Afghanistan or Iraq):
-We shouldn't interfere in sovereign nations' internal affairs.
-Taylor is the elected leader of the country -- the people obviously want him there, and he can do with them what he likes -- they're his people, and at least he was elected, unlike a certain US President.
-Going in, forcing upon them western-centric notions of "democracy" and "human rights" and all that -- it's just going to increase anti-American sentiment around the world.
-It's cultural imperialism.
-It's actual imperialism. We're taking over control of another country, for goodness' sake!
-We shouldn't even have our own army, much less use it elsewhere. It's an outdated notion based on the phallocentric power struggles between men ashamed of their own weaknesses. -If we use our military somewhere, our and their people might die. That's bad. Civilians will probably get caught up in it too.
-There's no actual military threat to our country (just to Americans living there, and the Embassy -- but those shouldn't be there anyhow!), and evil tyrranous regimes are no reason to go in and try to help those suffering.
Reasons to go that are different this time:
-Everyone who said these things above about Iraq, except for the supporters of those last three arguments (and even a few of them, oddly enough), says that we need to go in and fix Liberia.
Reasons to go, same as last time:
-There are people over there begging us to come, who lay the blood of their countrymen at the feet of a US (and UN, but people forget about them) too slow to aid them, and who are suffering terribly under their current rulers.
-(My argument) Those stronger should help those weaker if at all possible without grave damage to those stronger, whether or not those stronger are getting anything out of it.

But so many people, Jesse Jackson foremost among them, are using entirely opposite reasoning now from what they were using six months ago -- either I'm going crazy, or you obviously shouldn't believe a word any of them say. I'm confused.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

On Light Rail


Mr. Lileks takes on light rail.

Owen should be happy.

Friday, July 18, 2003

On cures


AOL's news page was urging me to read this article about Tom Cruise. He's claimed that Scientology has cured his dyslexia. His story: he was diagnosed dyslexic, was struggling through remedial reading classes, and then got into L. Ron Hubbard and became free of his dyslexia (or came to realize that he "had never been dyslexic" -- in either case, he now says he has no problems of the sort).

People are furious that his personal experiences aren't within the bounds of "evidence-based interventions ... that have been published and replicated."

What is the problem? At least as far as I can tell from the article, he didn't say, "don't try anything else -- what worked for me is the only thing that can work." All he said was, I had (or was diagnosed as having) this problem, and, through this method, I no longer have it. What's wrong with that?

But obviously it is a problem for some people. Dr. Spitzer, a non-Christian who believes homosexuality should be considered normal and not a problem, studies people who claim they once felt strong sexual attractions to people of the same sex and now have been able to transfer that attraction to the opposite sex; Spitzer says there is evidence that it is possible for at least some people considering themselves homosexual to begin considering themselves heterosexual, and he gets attacked for saying what he sees and relaying what other people tell as their personal experience. (I suppose his attackers insist that, no matter what they think, those people do or at least have a moral obligation to feel sexual attraction to the same sex.) He didn't say everyone can change; he didn't (and wouldn't) say that people should try to change; all he said was that some people say that they have changed, and he's got no reason to doubt them. But that's evil and obviously showing a fear of homosexual feelings. Or something.

Close friends I have no reason to doubt tell stories of people they've seen raised from the dead (even after a few days), along with no end of smaller physical healings (club foot suddenly straight, deformed leg suddenly whole and normal, my mother's heart arrhythmia fixed) that medicine has other treatments for but that were fixed aside from medical intervention. I'm sure the same people angry at Tom Cruise would get enraged at those stories.

The people I have talked to who have been healed themselves aren't exactly the most popular at Harvard; their constant response to insistence that nothing can happen supernaturally is: "all I know is, I was blind, but now I see."

Who is such slime as to say someone who has been healed of a crippling ailment should not try to share with others the source of that healing -- or even that they should not be healed at all?

On Conspiracies


So, this morning, my father walks in and complains about borrowing my car because, according to him, all six of my preset AM stations are "loony right-wing talk radio" -- on the contrary, I'm a proud pre-set listener of AM 790, the old oldies station (music from the forties, and so forth), 740, the generic news station, and three international stations that are occasionally Hindi or German, along with one talk station that doesn't exactly always count as right-wing, or even vaguely right-leaning, although it does carry Rush.

My father has recently developed some issues with exaggerating or entirely making things up when they fit with the story he's telling.

Anyhow, the station I'm assuming he was referring to, Houston's more high-profile talk station (AM 950), is clearly extremely right-wing during the time I normally listen to it -- in the mid-morning. Yesterday, the topic of choice was how stupid Bush is. Today, during the five minutes when I tuned in, they were discussing how Blair has ordered the assassination of people who disagree with his pro-war stance. Of course. You say, "he's been reprimanded for talking to the media in an unapproved way, but his job is not in danger and no further action is being taken," just to throw people off your scent -- and you pay his wife to say that he was acting really stressed and said that this was not a world in which he wished to live any longer -- and then he turns up dead, and you hope they won't realize that you had him killed.

So right-wing.

But that theory reminded me of something better on one of the other talk-radio hosts the other day (an afternoon host who's 2/3 of the time not political at all -- yesterday, a heated discussion on whether "old farts" should be allowed to drive -- yeah, not the most talented or likeable guy): come up with your loony conspiracies about Bush! He led off with the theory that Bush caused Hurricane Claudette (with a French name, to further tarnish the image of the French). Other people called in -- and some of them, you couldn't tell whether they were serious or not, as many of their conspiracies are presented as fact by the DU crowd. Bush brought down the space shuttle, for example.

Ah, what a world.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

On Race


It's been a long time since I've written about interracial relationships. Guess I haven't come across any antagonism lately. Or other things drawing my focus to it -- well, except for the feeling of panic I get whenever my mother mentions her intent to have Bob's parents over for dinner.

Anyhow, I return from my jaunt to Austin, current home of an engagingly charming and extremely entertaining (and hiatusing) Texan, to find that my mother's rented "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner."

I suppose I should find it a good sign that my father cuts out white/brown marriage announcements from the Chronicle for me and my mother rents movies about successful interracial relationships. I'd rather it just be seen as no different from any other guy I'd bring home, the way I feel with Bob most of the time -- usually among people my own age. But, if it must be pointed out, I'd much rather it be emphasized positively (even if it seems a bit too much effort is going into it) than negatively. And, I suppose this is the best one can expect from their generation; my mother dated a black guy in college, not very seriously, and a grudging acceptance of that would have been the best she could expect from her parents' generation.

The movie, Spencer Tracy's last, is excellent. Rich white daughter of civil rights activists brings home a very accomplished black doctor as a fiancee. The movie shows everything perfectly, and so delicately, with perfect acting on all parts. It shows pretty much all sides of the issue -- the idealist kid who thinks it'll all be peaches and chocolate sauce; the more realistic optimist who thinks it'll be tough, but they can make it work; the mothers who are shaken, but just want what will make their children happy; the black woman who does not want any intermixing of races ("Civil rights are one thing. But this!"), or people getting above their station in life (and who cusses out the doctor, addressed by her as "boy" and "nigger"); the white woman who is shocked and pities the woman whose daughter would let her down that way; the white liberal activist who has a hard time applying his stated principles to his own life; the black father who just can't get it to fit in with his view of the world; the young friends who treat them just like people, not like a novelty; and the priest, also a liberal activist, who sees in them the success of what he's fought for.

That priest's sentiment is one that seems to be considered the most evil by many people today. "Subtle racism," or whatever it is they're calling it these days -- it's pervasive, invidious, and much much worse than any overt racism. Any white person who's happy there are black people in the Cabinet, on the Supreme Court, etc., must needs be patronizing. And anyone happy at the union of a white person with a non-white person is necessarily just as racist as the person pleased at the prince's wedding to the peasant girl has to be classist. (Laut "Sabrina" -- the prince marries the peasant girl and all the people ooh and ahh over how diplomatic it is; no peasant girl was ever called "diplomatic" for marrying a prince.) While I understand the "why won't you just leave us alone -- sure we're two lesbians kissing, and you may be thrilled to be able to watch us in this free society we're grateful to you for helping to create, but STOP WATCHING US!" feeling, I figure -- it's a dang sight better having people be overly and clingily happy than having them want to kill you. I'd take fifty of him over one of the antagonistic women in the movie.

This movie was made at a time when the ideal (at least in the moviemakers' mind) was a mixed-race couple who loved each other as people, not as racial types (content of character, not color of skin). Looking beyond race to the people within, determinedly, and stubbornly getting beyond whatever opposition there may be from outside. As Sidney Poitier says to his father, "You think of yourself as a colored man. I think of myself as a man."

I wonder what it would be like made today. Perhaps they would get married as a statement -- what many people seem to think (and are pleased) that I'm making. You can't fall for someone, it is thought by many today, without making your choice of person based largely on their skin color (but you gotta be the right assortment of two people, or your skin color choice will be racist -- don't go for asians if you're not one). And rather than being called down for getting above his station, the black guy would be called down for letting down his race, for betraying it by giving into whitey (well, maybe only if it's written by Boondocks -- unless that's an opinion held by more people than just a cartoon, as much of what I've read leads me to think is true). Being colorblind would not be the ideal, not in today's California.

(Then again, with their ongoing drive to get the state to stop classifying people -- and sorting and dividing people -- based on race, maybe yes in today's California. Ok, not at Harvard or anywhere in the progressive but vastly majority white northeast.)

I'm glad the movie was made then and not now.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Angel Street


I heartily advise those of you living in Houston to get over to Alabama and Kirby sometime soon and watch the A. D. Players' production of "Angel Street," the play on which the movie "Gaslight" was based. I went to opening night last night -- it was fabulous. The play, not directed by Hitchcock, is not only thriller but also comedy. The female lead is no Ingrid Bergman (the most beautiful woman ever in film -- Grace Kelley's perfect, gold and bronze, but Bergman's interesting), but she's still excellent. And the detective inspector is so entirely engaging. I think the play may well be better than the movie (the same cannot be said for the Miller Outdoor Theatre production of "The Sound of Music," unfortunately).

Go see it!

And I'm off to the grandfolks' ranch and then up to Austin again. Back in a few days!

Friday, July 11, 2003

It's not the heat, it's the humanity


Or, today in Houston, it's the humidity. Even our enthusiastic dog's being lethargic. Toss his ball, he watches it bounce limply away, then looks back at you, asking, "you really think I'm going to run after that?" Of course, it's also the day I pick to make eighty trips out to the car with endless small boxes of books. Small, so's I can carry them up to the third floor in Austin. Endless, so's I can keep up my reputation for having a reference library about India that rivals that of whichever university I'm attending. And so that I can also have a ready supply of books by Blake, novels by Sayers, etc....

In other news, I don't think my hard drive's shot, after all. Must do a bit more work before I feel sure enough to try to put the whole thing back together again and power it up, but, thanks to helpful comments by several of you, I'm no longer panicking. Thank you all!

Thursday, July 10, 2003

On Weddings


It's odd to sit at a wedding, thinking, "that could have been me, if I hadn't turned him down back then." Not a certainty, of course, but likely.

Not that I wanted to marry him -- we would have been mediocrely happy, I'm sure, and I'm sure he'll be happier with the one he's got. It's just the whole wedding thing. And the knowledge that that date's not coming for me for a long time. Maybe never, with this guy. Who knows.

Of course, it's made worse by a mother who sits you down and says, you know, it's time for you and Bob to either get engaged or call the whole thing off. She'd be better off talking to him.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Computer Panic


Ok, so I get up to Austin, and try to fire up my computer, but it jams. It runs for a bit, and then the power cuts and it starts to boot up again. Obviously something got shaken loose in transit. UPS broke a lot of my stuff, labelled "fragile," on which I'd paid extra for handling. DON'T SHIP THINGS UPS. But I opened the CPU up, blew some dust and broken bits from the case out of it, and tried again: no luck. The power won't run for more than about twenty seconds.

I have everything on there. My thesis, all of my research for everything. Everything. I'd thought to save the more important things on disk, but those got too hot in their box and no longer store data.

Does anyone have any ideas for how to fix this? Please?

Sunday, July 06, 2003

On Sweat


Houston is apparently the second sweatiest city in the nation. Another reason to be glad to move to Austin.

Saturday, July 05, 2003

Hearing


One odd thing about listening to the news as opposed to reading it: it's easy to mishear. They were talking about the suicide bombings in Moscow, describing it as "the attack on a rock festival." To my weird little ear, it sounded like "the Attack On Iraq festival." Ah, fiction still stranger than truth.

On SCOTUS


This is old, but Owen has a nice Q&A done up about the Texas decision. (For some reason, the permalink doesn't work well; scroll down to the Q&A.)

(I'm also not linking much nowadays because my father is frightened of cookies, and so he wants it set so I have to manually accept each cookie to sign in to blogger or the NYTimes or anything else; that gets old after a while.)

Management


If I'm rather off my normal few-a-day post schedule, it's because I've got:
-more limited computer access -- only when my father's not on the computer, people aren't in here reading over my shoulder (I just can't do anything, clean, cook, or especially read and write, when people are watching me or reading over my shoulder), I'm not out at the gym or whatnot.
-more things to do that aren't in a room near a computer -- must go spend all money possible at Wal*Mart or Target (K-Mart closed in Texas? I can't survive!), must pick up brother from airport, must do family things such as watch excellent fireworks displays.
-more time entirely away from internet access -- at grandparents' ranch, at new and non-cabled apartment, etc.

I should be done with much of things by August, and will keep posting irregularly until then.

But then Bob will be back from his month of impressing the heck out of my family, making me proud of him, increasing his med school chances, and saving the world -- in other words, volunteering his services at a tuberculosis hospital in the tribal hills near Mysore in South India. Eh, but he sleeps late.

Friday, July 04, 2003

Expecting Adam


Reading a book called Expecting Adam. Basic story, it's about a Harvard woman expecting a baby with Down syndrome. Wider, it's about the Harvard training that made it impossible for people to accept that she wouldn't instantly want to kill the creature who wasn't perfect, and it's about her experiences both spiritual and temporal during the pregnancy. It's in no way a mushy book on a woman who rose above it all and became perfect. (I hate those.) It's not a book about Christianity. What it is, is wonderful.

And, everything she says about Harvard rings so true. People's responses to various things (fainting in class and morning sickness being a psychosomatic capitulation to oppressive patriarchy trying to create a weak woman, a child not destined for academic achievement being not worth having, etc.) seem quite expected to me. Maybe in a few years I'll wake up.

And one bit which rang true to me, not for feminism but for culture and religion in my case: A woman has just told her that by being pregnant and physically weakened by it, she is ruining everything for all of womankind (ok, so I get that too, for knitting and cooking, but it doesn't really hit me personally), and she says:

"I felt a sense of panic, not so much because I truly believed I was ruining every woman's chances for a fair shot in life but because I knew somebody thought I was."

Good book.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Austin, II


Just a few more minutes, and then I'll be able to go over, sign some papers, write a check for money I don't have (hope my paycheck has cleared...), and, if all goes well, get an apartment. Huge and beautiful. No closet space. I'll just have to buy non built-in closets. But, fingers crossed, it will be mine!

On WMD


Two tidbits from a recent Federalist are, well, not exactly incisive and probing comments, but, for some, who can't see them as obvious, it seems like they are:
"If the fact that the coalition forces haven't (yet) discovered WMD in Iraq means, as the Left insists, they never existed, does it follow that since Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein have not been found, they never existed?"

and
"Interesting how the same Leftists who wanted us to give UN weapons inspectors decades in Iraq are now sure the Bush Administration must have lied about WMD because the military hasn't found them in six weeks."