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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Personal: Avoiding Melting 
1st-Aug-2006 09:28 pm
I See You!
It's 90ºF outside, 97º with the heat index, and so I'm still cowering in the solar blast shelter that is Raynor Library. I spent all the day and night yesterday at Dan and Amy's, enjoying their perfect 77º controlled climate. I spent the afternoon doing pre-op testing at Froedtert Hospital for an outpatient procedure coming up in a few weeks, and the rest of the day here. Now they're announcing the closing of the building coming up. Guess I'm going to have to sweat the rest of it out.

Spent the evening here reading two books not remotely related to any official work I should be doing, although perhaps I could give some faint justification for how they might tie into my teaching. I found both on a list of recommended books put out by our librarians, who are an enthusiastic and distinct breed at Marquette that I realize I've become quietly fond of. Tonight's texts were:
In Other Words; Artists Talk About Life and Work, by Anthony DeCurtis (Hal Leonard, 2005)

Elvis Costello once said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture--these engaging and substantive interviews provide a solution to the challenge. I sense that many baby boomers ceased reading Rolling Stone magazine on a regular basis many years ago. Here's an opportunity to catch up on what you've missed. Writer and interviewer Anthony DeCurtis also included interviews conducted for The New York Times and other publications. The revised transcripts within In Other Words consistently provide a more in-depth conversation than the original publications, while DeCurtis' introductions provide historical hindsight. While I recommend the entire book, I anticipate that many casual readers will pick and choose from this eclectic mix, including Bruce Springsteen, George Harrison, Eminem, Van Morrison, Paul Simon, Phil Spector on John Lennon, and more. Also featured are lively interviews with film directors such as Woody Allen, Robert Redford, Jonathan Demme, Martin Scorsese, and others. Perhaps the most interesting are six interviews about Johnny Cash, including the legendary artist, plus Roseanne and June Carter Cash, Bono, Tom Petty, and Trent Reznor. Recommended by Matt Blessing, Head of Special Collections and University Archives

The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People, by Cathleen Falsani (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006)

Holding Masters’ degrees in Theology and Journalism, Cathy Falsani is the religion reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. Falsani’s book includes interviews with 25 famous people regarding their religious and spiritual beliefs and how they perceive God and faith in their lives. Among the diverse group she interviewed are authors Laura Esquivel, Sherman Alexie, Anne Rice and Studs Terkel; Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel; movie director David Lynch; Playboy founder Hugh Hefner; and musicians Bono (U2), Melissa Etheridge, and Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins). Other public persons from law, science, economics, television, politics and sports are included; and Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, and Muslim faiths are represented. Some persons did not claim any particular religious affiliation, but classified themselves as simply "religious" or "spiritual." A few described themselves as agnostics, atheists, or secular humanists. Many spoke to the existence of God, believing that there is something more than this physical world. Interviewees also discussed their religious or spiritual upbringings and how these positive/negative experiences influenced them. This book not only provides insight into some of the top public figures who who help shape our world today, but also offers a view into the plurality of religious consciousness in our society as a whole. Believers of all faiths will find this book inspirational and non-believers will find this book gives them something more to consider. Recommended by Rose Trupiano, Research & Outreach Librarian
And so that was my night. Both interesting, sobering, and worthwhile even when I thought the interviewee more than a bit off.

The post-facto travel journal is forthcoming, for those of you who have been asking. It's been a plodding production.

An historical note for weaklingrecords' startling friends-list analysis: all my own piano work (were you thinking of the CD or maybe the demo I posted here some time ago of "Listen To You," perhaps?) is all programmed. I only play the guitar, and that, we'll both agree, is a tendentious claim in itself.
2nd-Aug-2006 03:18 am (UTC)
That is one cool list.

I saw Falsani give a reading of her book with Studs Terkel. Quite the evening!

Falsani has my dream job.
2nd-Aug-2006 01:01 pm (UTC)
Wow, that would have been a helluva reading!

Yes, I thought it was an interesting niche Falsani has carved out for herself, too, once I'd read about it: it would be interesting to have a conversation or twenty with her, I imagine, on the theological level. I wonder if she attends the big theology conferences, in that I would certainly "count" her as active in the field albeit in a non-traditional manner. Many of the interviewees were stuck in the not-as-advanced-as-is-popularly-supposed stage of "tolerance" as Major of Final Religious Insight (so I say in all my horrid Christian specificity and arrogance), but it was still culturally revealing.

And professional librarian praise: praise indeed!
2nd-Aug-2006 01:21 pm (UTC) - Weather
I've become a little bit of a weather snob since moving to Texas. We've had 20 days over 100F this year, so when I heard of the heat wave I dismissed it and thought that people were just complaining. However, I remembered how miserable I felt when I moved down here from Ohio. My sympathies and prayers are with you and everybody going through this right now.
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