Sunday, March 18, 2007


Spring is becoming an increasingly appealing season. Like E, I have always been a big fan of autumn. After the winter we've suffered here, I can see the appeal of Spring. I certainly have a better understanding of why it is so popular.

In fact, after eight weeks (or more) of really cold weather - included more than 30 inches of snow, sub-zero temperatures that lasted for days, and exactly six school-closing "snow" days, we thought the end was at hand. Last Monday and Tuesday the weather was blissfully warm. Tuesday reached 70 degrees. Then, Wednesday produced an ice storm (that is, one inch of ice pellets) followed by snow on Thursday and Friday and a below-freezing climate for the entire weekend. As it turns out, the early part of the week was only a wicked and deceitful trick on the part of the weather gods.

Sadly, I wasn't the only one fooled. I think (and hope) the spring flowers that appeared all around our house will make it through to the rain predicted for later this week.

I've decided the best revenge is to start packing!

(Addendum to previous post: We got S some new books - (Dahl's) The Enormous Crocodile and Charlotte's Web. She's really enjoying the latter and has already inquired about the end of the story. She didn't like the answer we gave and is lobbying for a revision.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

new read

Little S has made a new discovery - the Wizard of Oz. R assigned this book in his US history survey (because it is supposed to be a parody on the Populist movement). So while trying to maximize his time, he began reading the book to her while giving her a bath. She loved it and wants to hear it over and over again. We've now read it four or five times.

All this story-telling has had interesting outcomes. She has adopted some of the book's semantics. She adds words to her conversation that seem odd coming out of this little person, such as, "the weather is pretty, indeed." Or, someone "will be dreadfully happy." On the other hand, R was up with her at 3 and 4 AM the other night. S explained that she had a bad dream and it was bad for her dad too because in her dream he was carried away by a tornado.

Anyway, I'm surprised she likes this book. It only has a few pictures so she has to use a lot of imagination. It is entertaining. This made me wonder what other books I missed out on as a child (I never read this one). So, what suggestions do you have? What do you remember enjoying?

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


Every once in a while a gem like this one comes along and you just have to share it. (E, I thought you would find this entertaining.)

Yesterday, R showed me this website about Janet Greene. Greene was a 1960s folk singer who recorded with the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade. Had she been a little younger, she definitely would have been a Goldwater baby.

I suggest scrolling down a little to the list of songs - which are available here for our listening pleasure. These are the real "gems;" there is Inch by Inch (I think this one argues that Vietnam was not worth the effort); Fascist Threat (explains how communism and fascism "are twins"); and, my personal favorite because it is sung to the tune of "Jimmie Cracked Corn," Commie Lies. I found the last one the funniest.

(Of course, the humor is dampened somewhat be the fact that Greene, her label, and audiences took her seriously. But not everyone did; so I am joining the amused on-lookers.)

Monday, March 5, 2007

dribbling syllables

Despite the best efforts of the weather, I am back home from a conference in Detroit. It was worthwhile if only for the extra line on my CV and because I got to see fellow Eugene ex-pat KW (who is loving the big city and her new tenure-track job).

As for the conference itself, I remain ambivalent. It was ostensibly concerned with citizenship and race, but also with, what I would term, an effort to define this legal-political framework as “culture” writ large. In fact, one heavy-hitter suggested that citizenship was basically identity. (I take great exception to such ham-handedness.) The plenary sessions and seminars were useful though marred by excessive morphemes – in particular, the overuse of “ity.” Out of a single mouth I heard “factuality,” “religiosity,” and “textuality.” In the context of his pontification, he really meant “facts,” “religion,” and “texts.” This suffix – along with others – dribbled out of many mouths producing little pools of spittle here and there. Needless to say, they created slipping hazards and dampened paperwork. And I admit I was only half-heartedly interested in mopping up the spills so that we could move on to more productive conversations.

What I’ve drawn from this experience is that, unfortunately, interdisciplinarity seems to converge only on the cultural front. Nevertheless, I am confident that there is a conference out there (and academics to people it) that acknowledges the power of culture while moving beyond identity to realms of, say, politics, law, and economics. I will hunt it down.