Thursday, November 20, 2014

Random Thoughts

Brother and Intrepid Cat are in Israel.  They were in Jordan last week.  Brother thinks everyone should take a sabbatical once every 60 years.  Intrepid Cat notices no women on the streets of Petra.  I sit at home and worry about incoming rocket fire.
Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature this year. I enjoyed The Secret History, a tale of academia gone mad, so I was happy to download it to the Kindle. This was a switch from my usual practice.

Honored books frighten me, ever since I tried and failed with Thomas Pynchon.  I have a master's degree; I should be able to understand a book written in English.  I've read Ulysses once a decade since my 30's and I'll continue to enjoy it through my 100's, I hope.  But books with awards tend to be overly precious or inscrutable or more complex than they need to be... or so it's seemed... until The Goldfinch.

It's a fabulous tale, a well-written character study (or two, or three, or ten), and the philosophical rambling at the very end has given words to the space I've been inhabiting for the past four years. 
Six Characters in Search of an Author is Luigi Pirandello's funny, terrifying, aggravating, enlightening investigation of the space between reality and fiction and our own hopes and dreams.  My Humanities Seminar's professor has translated it.... twice.... and he would be delighted to try it a third time. 

I was skeptical going into this course on Tragi-Comedy.  I worried that it would be above my head.  While Chekov continues to elude me (perhaps I need to see it performed), I'm having a great time with almost all the rest of it.  There's a lesson in there about forcing myself to stretch, but I'm having too good a time right now to learn it.
The Humanities Seminars sponsored a showing of The Rise of the Planet of the Apes at The Loft Theater this afternoon.  JannyLou's golf game lasted longer than expected, so I sat alone, in the darkened movie house, surrounded by fellow students of a certain age, couples and threesomes and lots of us sitting by ourselves. 

We listened to Dr. Richard Poss share the stories of Washoe and Nim Chimpsky and other apes who learned language and lived with humans until they became moody, gigantic, hormonal adolescents.  We were enthralled, captivated by the notion of communicating with another species, impressed with what science and human ingenuity could create.

Then, we saw the film... the heartbreaking, delicate (despite the helicopter crashes), challenging film.  Walking out, I heard the same thing, over and over and over: I never go to Sci Fi films.  I'd never have seen this.  Oh, it is so sad.


  1. Rats! Would have loved to hear that discussion on The Rise of The Planet of The Apes at The Loft. So many dynomite offerings in Tucson right now. And there books I want to read also. And my plants need a haircut bigtime! Thanks for the recommendation on Goldfinch. Have had varying comments by friends and have had it on my Nook forever. Right after I give at least the front yard plants haircuts........Prayers for your bro and everyone in Israel.

    1. The new session of Humanities Seminar courses are available TODAY for registration... click over and see if any of it piques your interest. You are right - the winter is The Time for Fun in Tucson.
      Thanks for the love toward my brother and niece; there are adventures and then....


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