Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Redacted Cross-Post From Elsewhere

I've been meaning to post something for a few weeks now, but something always comes up just at the moment I feel like I have the words to express whatever was on my mind at the time. I've no such excuse now, but I won't subject you to a series of catch-up posts. One should do just fine. So, a few thoughts:

  • I don't generally have a lot of positive things to say about Indianapolis, but, wow, the Indianapolis Museum of Art is pretty damn nice. Def. worth a trip. Should keep you busy enough to ignore the rest of the city. Esp. check out their fine collection of crafts & three Frank Stella installations -- oh, and one of the most curiously vulgar nudes in late-19th century American painting.

  • Chicago gets nicer each time I visit. I may very well never leave the next time I'm there. A couple of random Chicago notes. First, just before I left, I wandered around Lincoln Square, and was really thrown off by how much it (or at least the street I was on) felt like the Main Street of Small Town, America -- except for the fact that (a) people lived there and (b) the people who lived there had families -- an annoying number of kids, actually, now that I think about it. I even saw a shopowner putting out two bowls on the sidewalk, one filled with dog biscuits & the other with water. I didn't feel the least bit bad about stealing one of the biscuits for my dog back in Cincinnati. Second, I think the weather must've put everybody in a good mood, because I never had a more pleasant city-driving experience. People were waving me over, smiling, using turn signals. Bizarre. I flipped off an old lady driving the speed limit on Lake Shore Drive just to make it feel more like home.

  • While in Chicago I was very pleased that I got to hang out with death-of-god theologian & friend, Tom Altizer, who was lecturing at Chicago Theological Seminary. His visit was, I think, a success. I had a good time anyway, and I think many aspects of it meant a great deal to him, esp. the return to the site of his first 'real' conversion -- *dramatic pause* a conversion to Satan! I don't think, though, most of the people there were prepared for how attuned he is to preaching. If he considers himself a Satanologist, he surely is its most engaging evangelist. Of course, as he would quickly admit, he is not as 'on' as he used to be, and doesn't feel he is as effective. This is probably true. But I'm still pretty staggered at how engaged he is with the life of the mind at nearly eighty. His first talk, in my estimation, was his best. Here, he very concisely talked about nihilism & American politics, and engaged in a lively debate about his appeal to nihilism as both a positive & a negative force -- there is, in my opinion, something to this worth exploring all the more. His second talk was about the absence of Satan in theology. For a moment, Jonathan Edwards was smiling in his grave. And for his final talk he read an unpublished chapter from his memoir. I felt this last talk was the weakest, but only because it dragged a bit toward the end -- esp. compared to his previous presentations, which were amazingly concise & clear for being fully extemporaneous. The man, one of the last who welcomes his damnation, can also still drink & curse like a sailor.

  • And last, don't let her innocent appearance fool you, my dog is a badass. Yesterday the wife & I were invited to bring her along to a cookout. Things were going fine for about fifteen minutes. There are about four or five other dogs. Ireland was bouncing around and having a good time running after balls & trying to steal sips of beer, when suddenly she & a dachshund named Dandy caught scent of a wild rabbit in the yard. They both went on the hunt, but only Ireland emerged with the prey. Blood on her snout & teeth, Ireland paraded through the circle of guests and around the firepit with the poor animal dangling from her jaws. As I chased her down, I heard the screams of children & adults alike, 'That poor bunny!!!', and sternly tried to dissuade this newly feral beast from shaking the rabbit any further, as the fur was beginning to fly dangerously in the direction of the food. I finally got the dead rabbit from her, despite her token growls & cries of protest, and the bunny was flung in the front yard for the family to deal with later. The last time she caught her intended prey (the only other time), it was a bird at the park, and it took about a week for her swelling pride to diminish to a nearly manageable level. Until then, she will race with all the vim & vigor her newfound bloodlust can manage toward every bird & squirrel downtown. It should be a fun week.

  • Oh, I almost forgot. Barring something unforeseen, namely me getting one of the jobs I've applied for, I'm going to be moving to San Francisco sometime late next month.