Thursday, April 21, 2005

Round up of Odds and Ends (More of the former than the latter)

Hola, amigos! Hey, I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but there's been some serious stuff goin' down lately.

No, actually that's just a Jim Anchower-ism. I've been busy, sure, but also stressed and not sleeping well because our lives feel like they're in upheaval. I definitely need a vacation. Technically, I haven't had one since last August, so this is quite a problem. I should have taken some time in January or February -- this was a loooong winter, with little to no sun for days at a time. (I have heard from numerous people that our county in Michigan receives less sunlight than any other county in America, the county in which Seattle resides being the only exception.) We're often called the Twin Cities, but I think Little Seattle (or Seattle by the Lake) would fit the bill better.

My brother has constructed a website of his own; mostly it contains pictures so far. The main link is here, and the galleries are here. (You can't get to the galleries from the main page, I think he's trying to be stealthy or something.) My favorite pictures are the ones from the Beastie Boys concert we went to last fall (Remember, I blogged about it way back when?) Ch-check it out.

A brief shpilkis update: I have now been offered a place at Durham University. And on Tuesday I officially said no to Loyola, after having been offered the prestigious Crown Fellowship -- one of the hardest things I have ever done. I still can't believe I said 'no', but if I had said yes, I would be incredulous that I had said 'no' to Cambridge. So there's no easy way out. A friend is reputed to have said that the Crown Fellowship pays you to study, an apt assessment. I won't go into more heart-rending details about it (not least because it would be tedious).

By the way, did you realize that Bill Bryson is now the Chancellor of Durham University? Bill Bryson is known for his humorous travelogues, fascinating popular works on the history of the English language, and more recently, his Short History of Nearly Everything. He is one of my favorite leisure-reading companions. A transplanted American, he seems an unconventional choice for chancellor, but I am sure that he will represent the university well.

Finally, I am continually reminded that the internet does not truly create faceless anonymity, as some fear, but rather creates connections in ways unthought of in the past. I have twice had authors whose books I have commented on contact me, and the most recent is Dr. Russell McCutcheon, whose book Religion and The Domestication of Dissent: Or, How to Live in a Less than Perfect Nation I wrote about back in March. (I am reviewing his book for Reviews in Religion and Theology.) We have had a little conversation, and I am looking forward to drawing him out some more, hopefully with an eye towards thinking in an interdisciplinary fashion about some of the implications of this book. I have made contact with the Christian Century to see if they would like to publish an interview with him (no response yet), and may look into other venues if they don't bite. Hopefully, though, I will also be able to bring some of that conversation to Gower Street as well, to give you a look at what he has to say.


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