Monthly Archives: November 2008

What she said:

Dedications
Adrienne Rich

I know you are reading this poem
late, before leaving your office
of the one intense yellow lamp-spot and the darkening window
in the lassitude of a building faded to quiet
long after rush-hour. I know you are reading this poem
standing up in a bookstore far from the ocean
on a gray day of early spring, faint flakes driven
across the plain’s enormous spaces around you.
I know you are reading this poem
in a room where too much has happened for you to bear
where the bedclothes lie in stagnant coils on the bed
and the open valise speaks of flight
but you cannot leave yet. I know you are reading this poem
as the underground train loses momentum and before running
up the stairs
toward a new kind of love
your life has never allowed.
I know you are reading this poem by the light
of the television screen where soundless images jerk and slide
while you wait for the newscast from the Intifada.
I know you are reading this poem in a waiting-room
of eyes met and unmeeting, of identity with strangers.
I know you are reading this poem by fluorescent light
in the boredom and fatigue of the young who are counted out,
count themselves out, at too early an age. I know
you are reading this poem through your failing sight, the thick
lens enlarging these letters beyond all meaning yet you read on
because even the alphabet is precious.
I know you are reading this poem as you pace beside the stove
warming milk, a crying child on your shoulder, a book in your
hand
because life is short and you too are thirsty.
I know you are reading this poem which is not your language
guessing at some words while others keep you reading
and I want to know which words they are.
I know you are reading this poem listening for something, torn
between bitterness and hope
turning back once again to the task you cannot refuse.
I know you are reading this poem because there is nothing else
left to read
there where you have landed, stripped as you are.

Thank-full.

Thanksgiving must be a terrible time for atheists. They have no God to thank.

They do not have the privilege of gathering with family and friends to express gratitude by saying: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” An atheist on his deathbed faces serious uncertainties. Gazing upward, he pleads: “Oh God, if there is a God, please save my soul — if I have one.”

-“A Few Religious Thoughts to Ponder” by Jim Griffith

There’s an assumption around holidays that I won’t (or can’t) participate. So on Thanksgiving it’s assumed that I’ve got nothing to be thankful for, Christmas means I can’t exchange gifts without acknowledging Christ’s birthday, and so on.

Ha, says she who can smell the Thanksgiving turkey cooking!

I do still celebrate — and love — holidays. Granted, I don’t recognize the “holy” part of them anymore, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still appreciate the family time and giving these days inspire.

In fact, I may be a bit of a conundrum for some people, in that I love so much about this season — right on down to obsessively listening to Christmas carols and collecting funky, international nativity sets (a collection which I’m still adding to). Just because I no longer believe Mary was a virgin doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the mythic qualities of this origin story.

And so, to commemorate the turkey dinner (and infamous leftovers) to come, here’s a random list of things I’m thankful for this US Thankgiving Eve:

  • a thesis defense in less than 2 weeks! (December 10th, for those of you keeping track at home)
  • a new President and cringe-less Executive and Legislative branches
  • Jerry
  • Emma, most of the time
  • one more week of classes this term!
  • my little group of Sparks, along with my co-leader friend
  • coffee coffee coffee
  • Sarah Palin and the endless mockery that follows her
  • my coworkers at the Graham Centre
  • spending time with my family in the States this Xmas
  • including meeting my nephew in less than a month!!
  • wise advice for parenting (and life)
  • Keith Olbermann’s rants
  • BookMooch, even though I’m always terribly late in sending my books out
  • Blue’s Clues, if only because my little girl loves it so
  • my Christmas music playlist, that I start listening to Friday (!!)
  • Grey’s and debriefing with her
  • hope in seeing Prop 8 defeated and same-sex marriages eventually recognized nation-wide
  • all the blogs and sites I never have time to completely catch up on
  • my new bracelet
  • the supper Jerry’s making upstairs!

See, even atheists can be full of thanks — I just look all around me, rather than directing my thanks upward.

"I’m not going to pay a lot for that rape kit!"

Oh, Palin, how mocking you (and what you represent) never gets boring — here’s a video hangover from the election:

p.s. Keith’s back from his holidays, and reacts (hilariously!) to the Palin/turkey carnage here. Check it out.

I should run for office

US officials flunk test of test of American history, economics and civics

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US elected officials scored abysmally on a test measuring their civic knowledge, with an average grade of just 44 percent, the group that organized the exam said Thursday.

Ordinary citizens did not fare much better, scoring just 49 percent correct on the 33 exam questions compiled by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI).

“It is disturbing enough that the general public failed ISI’s civic literacy test, but when you consider the even more dismal scores of elected officials, you have to be concerned,” said Josiah Bunting, chairman of the National Civic Literacy Board at ISI.

“How can political leaders make informed decisions if they don’t understand the American experience?” he added.

The exam questions covered American history, the workings of the US government and economics.

I took the test and answered 28 out of 33 correctly — 84.85 %

For a scary wakeup call, check out how citizens versus elected officials fared (or, Are you Smarter than a Government Official?). I suppose, given our current Administration, I shouldn`t be that surprised — I am still horrified, though. January 20th can`t come soon enough!

How`d you do on the quiz?

What she said:

Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.

— Flannery O’Connor

It’s the most wonderful time of the year….

It’s egg nog in the coffee season!

Woohoo. It almost makes up for the obscene amount of work ahead of me in the next 3 weeks.

And while I broke down and bought the ‘nog, I haven’t succumbed to Christmas music yet — I’m making myself wait until after Thanksgiving (or next Thurs, for you Canucks).

Political carnage

Another Palin-esque political saavy moment — giving a press conference with the backdrop of Thanksgiving turkeys being slaughtered:

Tina Fey, I believe you have your next skit.