The Aloha Round Up!
by Brian Michael Foote
As I mentioned last week I’ve touched down in Hawaii where I’ll be spending a chunk of the summer. Not even a tiny little bit of this trip is for research but I will get a chance to catch up on some long neglected projects I’ve had kicking around. As it turns out surfing is not like riding bike. You have to relearn everything. In the process of relearning everything I also have a dazzling array of muscles that hurt whose very existence was entirely unknown to me beforehand. I was pretty stoked about finally getting some sun, but then I saw Asif Patel’s latest post about skin cancer. Look, I live in New York (and New England) so really, please, just let me have this. I could practically feel my skin photosynthesizing vitamin D and…It. Was. Glorious. The week was a little light on blog posts. I know school’s finally out and everyone is just taking a break to relax and not have to sweat papers but don’t get too comfy. There are blog readers out there waiting on you.
Tony Picciano pulled out a few gems from the New York Times this week. I’m glad he’s finding the greatest hits for us because ever since they went down to 10 free articles a month I’ve had to scrap together news from TMZ.com and Bloomberg. Tony pointed readers towards Maureen Dowd’s op-ed on Obama and the lackluster campaigning. It’s an interesting piece but I think she might have over-extended herself trying to psychoanalyze the President. I mean, you’re reading the piece and then at the very end she’s all, “He’s afraid of abandonment because of his father” and suddenly I’m having visions of Viggo Mortensen as Freud hanging out with Dowd at the Four Seasons. Elsewhere on Tony’s Thoughts there’s a great post about HyperCards and Tony shares a little about using them at Hunter. Be sure to check it out.
Adam Wandt dropped in to reflect on Memorial Day and what it means to “celebrate” a day that’s built on top of the bones of dead soldiers. The post mentions that Memorial Day wasn’t instituted as a federal holiday until 1967 which makes sense considering it was a holiday to mark the passing of Union soldiers until it was eventually expanded to include all of those who died. Of course there’s reason to believe that a similar holiday ran concurrently in the south to mark the passing of Confederate soldiers and the two were merely brought together. It certainly is a holiday fit for reflection and the later day customs of BBQ and booze seems a little disjointed considering the tone of the thing. That said, most of our holidays are largely divorced from their origins. American Easter might just be the first post-modern holiday with it’s psychedelic spring colored rabbit and dubious liturgical calender. There’s something a little ghoulish about fireworks on the 4th too; we’re basically just recreating war for the dopey eyed amusement of children. Somehow Halloween comes out alright.
Last week I was singing the praises of Hunter Johnson over at the CUNYMath blog and then he did again with ‘Existence.‘ How good is this blog? So good that I looked up Dedekind cuts because I had no idea what they were and wanted to know so that I could get the reference. Sadly, looking it up didn’t help me. That said, as a religionist I’m inspired to write the negative or apophatic version of Hunter’s posts wherein I try to use religious myths to explain quotidian things things in the other direction. In the meantime here’s Antanas Mockus showing us how to get things done.
Till next week.