Archive for May 9th, 2008

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Rivalry

May 9, 2008

I received a book-a-day calendar for Christmas and–while I enjoy reading about a book a day–I can’t help but feel that my calendar mocks me. My friend Nancee is now a Literature PhD candidate at Purdue, but a decade (and three lives) ago we were English undergraduates together at Ball State. She’s always been a phenomenal reader, even by my standards and I read basically non-stop, but the demands of doctorate-level work has catapulted her into the literary stratosphere, while the demands of the non-academic world keeps me from reading as much as I’d like.

She just recently tallied her to-date 2008 totals and has over 58 books read since January 1. I’m pretty bad at math, but if I’ve calculated correctly, reading one book a week means you’d have read 52 books in a year–which would place you in an elite category of “serious readers.” Fifty-eight books in the first third of the year is just ridiculous. (Yeah, that number was from a couple of weeks ago, so she’s probably closing in on 70 by now).

So here’s this calendar offering me a book each day, when I can’t quite hit a book a week. Laugh all you want, Book-a-Day Calendar! I’ve been collecting all your interesting recommendations and saving them in my lap drawer. One of these days I’m going to retire and read all the books listed on that hockey-puck sized stack of papers and we’ll see who’s mocking whom then.

The book for today is Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, which was already on my To-Read list but has been bumped up in honor of the Lincoln Bicentennial celebration kicking off this weekend down in Indiana’s own Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial.

This entry was posted by: Jim
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La Obra Nueva del Teatro Fenix–¡en Español!

May 9, 2008

The new play by the Phoenix Theatre–in Spanish!

Papá está en la Atlántida (Our Dad is in Atlantis) opened last night at Indianapolis’ Phoenix Theatre. I’m heading to see it tonight after work. Expect a review (of some sorts) over the weekend.

The Phoenix’s reputation for choosing challenging material (and doing it well) and the play’s subject matter compel me to expect great things. The version I’ll be seeing is in English which almost certainly means I’ll be back to catch una versión española también.

The play runs until June 8 but be sure to pick your language of choice. Spanish versions are on May 22, 23, 29, 30 and June 1, 5, 6.

Apparently there will be live accordion music. ¡Qué auténtico!

This entry was posted by: Jim
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Indiana’s New Obscenity Law and the First Amendment

May 9, 2008

Booksellers were the first companies to complain about Indiana’s new obscenity law. But it’s not just them. According to the Indianapolis Star’s Tim Evans the Indianapolis Museum of Art has joined the fray:

“Why would an institution like the IMA even have to consider whether a great work of art is somehow going to be labeled as falling within this statute?” [ACLU of Indiana legal director Ken Falk] said.

Why indeed?

This entry was posted by: Jim
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One of Us

May 9, 2008

Who was it that once said, “Culture is what you need to know to be one of the folk”? The saying is, strangely, ungoogleable, so I can’t tell you. It might have been historians David Kyvig and Myron Marty. In any case, my thoughts about being a Midwesterner begin with this notion.

The Indiana Humanities Council, in the person of former senior program officer David Hoppe, once convinced Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., to write an essay entitled To Be a Native Middle-Westerner. Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis. I was born in Chicago, on account of a history that begins in a WWII internment camp. So what do we have in common?

Vonnegut says it’s an understanding of the inevitability of rain, of rivers, water that we are gifted with here at the crossroads of (natural waterways in the original) America. I agree. My brothers, living in southern California, would be quite unable to comprehend a land where you never have to water your lawn, all summer long, but just trust that this year there won’t be a drought. We don’t put pipes under our lawns to insure against dry conditions; we just hope and wait for the sky to darken. It’s what we learned as children.

What you need to know to be a Midwesterner. Our culture.

This entry was posted by: Nancy