Melophobe, Fifty Word Reviews

My awesome friend Dan has a fifty word review of the Old 97’s Mimeograph ep over at Melophobe, a site I just discovered through this review.  I’m totally digging the fifty word music review concept.  I think I may have my students do it in the next assignment; it requires intense descriptive powers and pithiness.  Go read Dan’s review. Seriously, and then read the rest, especially the Dark Water Hymnal’s, which is Dan’s sister Andrea’s band in Austin.  They’re only fifty words.  The emails in your in box are longer, and you don’t need to read those anyway.

Crazy Preacher Dude on Campus

I got a text from the little sister asking about a preacher on campus. I was confused; I thought she meant a sanctioned, public speaker. We’re in the Bible belt, but religious activities have a fairly low, congenial profile on campus. I just didn’t think we’d have a preacher, well, preaching on campus. And we didn’t. Nope, this dude apparently makes an unofficial circuit of colleges in the area. Nobody invited him here. He comes, yells, and leaves. They (campus administration, I assume) gave him from noon to four. I caught the last ten minutes or so before our police chief, who heads the faculty staff flag football team, escorted him away.  The dude had an honor guard of campus security; burly, peeved students; and our burly, ex-lawyer, vice chancellor  for IT. I apparently missed the yelling about masturbation. Oh well. I got the carnival side show, complete with praise circle singing and scoffing students.

Update: Okay, video coming as soon as I can get it to post to YouTube. Word Press is picky about videos, and I’m too cheap to pay for the upgrade.  Seriously? $59.95 per year? Seriously? I buy shoes for less than that; of course, they’re on super sale, but still.

Late Update: Here’s a link to a news story yesterday on the man. Still no video up yet, I know. The technology gods are not smiling on me today.

Late Late Update: I got even more details from the little sister, and apparently the praise circle was an act of protest led by a girl who honestly tried to engage in a dialogue with the guy about the meaning of faith.  According to the little sister, this girl thoughtfully and compellingly put forward a case about faith and compassion. When that didn’t work, she brought some like minded people to sing. I can’t actually think of a better response to hate filled rhetoric than singing.

Stories of Mass Tragedy Averted

This week we have two all too familiar news stories that typically end differently. One is of yesterday’s Delta flight that had to divert to JFK for an emergency landing.  The plane’s right landing gear didn’t fully deploy, and the pilot made the decision that the longer JFK runways would give the plane a better chance of landing without crashing into something.  All the passengers and crew made it off the flight alive, not the scenario we normally envision or hear with a plane crash. The New York Times has video of the landing that two of the passengers shot from the wing of the plane. By all accounts, the pilots and the flight attendants were well trained and performed their jobs admirably.

Today, a masked gunman fired shots on the University of Texas campus in Austin. No one but the shooter was injured, and the shooter died of self inflicted wounds. The story from the Austin American Statesmen is here.  And the MoonScape blog has a good recap of the coordination of emergeny procedures put into place to prevent another Virginia Tech style incident. Again, training, redundancy of procedure, and more training worked.

Both of these situations tend to end up with different, bloody, horrific outcomes that then come to us in rapid fire bursts via the internet and cable television news. We lament the tragedies, unable to do anything.  Instead, these two stories allow us to talk about how training works, allow us to discuss how doing certain things can make things better for our fellow creatures. I like that story much, much better.

Flag football

image

So, Sarah talked me into flag football. At least I got pictures of Emily in her ref uniform.

Update: So, we lost. But I actually caught the ball. So good. I got whapped in the face by some dude on the opposing team. Not good. If I end up with a bruise, I’m going to be so pissed. For some reason, people here think I’m athletic or want me to do athletic things. It’s strange. I’m like the anti-thesis of athletic. I have zero hand eye coordination. I’m lucky to walk across campus without tripping over my own two feet.

Song for Fall: The Weakerthans, “Benediction”

We’ve done the official southern thing and dropped twenty degrees in 24 hours or so. I love it. The air is cool, crisp. I’m looking forward to boots and sweaters and scarves. For some reason, the Weakerthans always make me think of seasonal changes. This song, in particular, is a lazy Sunday on the back porch reading Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell type of song. All right, back to the reading.

iPrufrock

I taught “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot this past week.  It’s one of my favorite poems, despite the fact than an ex-boyfriend waxed lyrical about it in uncomfortable sorts of ways.  I like the ironies of it, but really for me, it’s the way Eliot hangs sound together.  Poetry, for me at least, is about sound more than substantive meaning. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never been all that gifted at analyzing the meaning of a poem. I get caught up in sound versus meter and meaning. At any rate, Andrew Sullivan (I swear, he links to the best odd stuff) has uncovered a modernized version of “Prufrock”.  Enjoy.