Life in Omaha (in Scottsdale)

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Saturday, September 11, 2004

Shopping in NE

If there is one truth beyond doubt about Life in Omaha, it's that the best time to go shopping is during a Husker football game. I purchased a nice pair of Florsheims this afternoon with almost no one in the store, light traffic getting there, and a distracted salesman whom I think inadvertently gave me a 10% discount.

Since Wednesday, we've done very little beyond survive. We finally bought a desk (see "Pier 1" below), the $90 model at which I am now sitting. Not terribly cheap looking, not too wide, and just dark enough so that it doesn't clash with the darker woods. An additional benefit is that we moved the portable bar (with a kid, one needs constant, immediate access to one's liquor) to where the glint of the multi-colored glass bottles stands out agains the deep yellow of the wall. What is drinking if not aesthetic?

We thought we might go hear the symphony play an outdoor gig this evening. Just as we thought we might go see "Grease" shown outdoors downtown. Just as we thought we might take a short nap this afternoon. I should begin writing a blog about what we might have done. The reality is a rather repetitive cycle that all parents know.

And still I have the temerity to try and read. I've been working my way through Russell Banks's novel "The Darling" that comes out in October. I will be reviewing it for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Actually, this is the first Banks novel I've read, but I have come across a few of his short stories. "The Darling" is about a former Weatherman terrorist who goes underground in Liberia. A number of well-known figures appear. Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor in Liberia, and of all things, John Kerry is mentioned as a friend of the family. I'm not sure if Banks finished the novel before Kerry secured the nomination. Another odd coincidence is the name of the narrator's farm: Shadowbrook. This is the name of the organic farm where Judy and I buy a lot of our vegatables. So no final evaluation of the book just yet, but I'll post the link when the paper publishes the review.

The other book I'm reading is Lolita for my Contemporary Fiction class. The discussion has been great so far (as one might read should they pop over to the class's site). I have some moderate concerns about teaching the work, especially at a school like Dana, but the students have been great about finding the literary value of the book amidst the sensational aspects of it. Still, the ever-present irony of being a literature teacher is that one rarely has the luxury of savoring a book at a leisurely pace. The need to challenge the students eclipses the pleasure of the read. I sympathize with my students who just want to be entertained by literature. But as I've explained to them, they may find the literature that we read entertaining, but only as a secondary effect to the intellectual confrontation. Some of them do find entertainment in the challenge (all of the Cont Lit class, I believe). I hope the students that take the other literature courses as general education grow to enjoy the intellectual activity more than the passive reception of literature as t.v.

(sounding a bit pompous, but that's generally the case when I start an entry without knowing where its going. I should really plan these out a bit more in advance.)


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