The panther, from the Aberdeen bestiary. Why? Because it's cool.
I have turned in the finals I was grading. No more school, no more books, no more students' dirty looks. Next year I have funding without teaching and I can spend all my time dissertating. Ole.
Filius imperatricis pulcherrimae Africae occidentalis is celebrating his First Communion tomorrow and I have to go downtown and get a bow for his arm (odd). First, a couple of information tidbits:
The United States, though the wealthiest country in the world, is at the bottom of the list of industrialized nations for infant mortality. This is obscene. Why is there not an outcry? Where are the family values here? Where are all the patriots? I demand anyone who claims to be patriotic to stop worrying about flags and which language the national anthem is sung in and to do something to make this a major issue. Would it not show greater love for our country to be concerned about the health of our infants? For God's sake, children are dying when they don't have to.
For those of you out there who believe there is no longer racism in our country, African-American babies are twice as likely to die as white babies.
Enough of my soapbox (the title of my blog does mean "opinions and shouts"). Other subjects: I don't believe in reincarnation, but some things make me wonder. Karl Rove, for example, appears to reoccur throughout history. At the beginning of the fourteenth century he was an advisor of the King Philip IV "the Fair" of France under the name of Guillaume de Nogaret. Nogaret was a specialist at inventing charges to attack the King's enemies. He was instrumental in Philip's purely mercenary suppression of the Knights Templar, and left his mark in the trumped-up charges against them (sodomy, witchcraft). He accused Pope Boniface VIII of keeping a mistress in order to cover-up his homosexuality. He was also a master of the vindictive political gesture -- after Boniface had died, he wanted to dig up the pope's body and put it on trial for heresy (something that actually had happened in the tenth-century trial of the dead pope Formosus at the famous cadaver synod). Hmmm... Perhaps it does take more than one life to make a Rove.
Last thing: For a long time now I have been a great fan of the Australian singer Nick Cave. His music is dark and powerful, his lyrics gothicly exaggerated but evocative and intelligent. Again and again he returns to religious themes (for example, his eerie portrayal of John the Baptist in the song Mercy or his spare portrait of the twelfth-century mystic Christina the Astonishing). He also sings about sex and violence, so I was never quite sure how much his interest in religion was purely aesthetic. The other day, however, I found something he wrote on the Gospel of Mark, and it seems he is, in his own way, a believer. Oh, the many ways to approach the Gospel.