November 22, 2005 § Leave a comment

Campus Quotables:

“I’m trying to get 7 named after me. Seven is a perfectly respectable number, I think. Please vote for me.” ~ Dr. Pegg, feeling left out amongst Avagadro’s Number, Boyle’s Law, and Borhnams’ Constant.

“Old Mr. Fahrenheit must have been on a Schnapp’s binge when he invented his scale, eh?” ~ Dr. Pegg, commenting on the apparent randomness of the Fahrenheit scale

“Oh BABY!” ~ Alison, starting to scare me…:::winkwink:::


“You’ve all heard the story about a tree, apples, a woman…and much disaster.”

“This is going to be a good week. It’s already Monday and I’ve met an honest man.”

“You are not going to break my heart. :::holding the book up in front of class::: Well…eating is what it’s about. Don’t you think there are nice colors on the cover?”
~ Making the majority of the class feel stupid in response to being told that no one had time to do the readings.

“Um…Genevieve did.” ~ In response to being told “NO ONE” did the readings for the day.

Those will be the last quotables for probably the rest of the week, unless I feel disposed to post a couple from things I am reading. I am so happy that it is Thanksgiving Break! For a while there I was thinking it would never come…although I love school passionately I desperately needed a chance to relax. But now I feel like I am slacking off terribly. Ah well – today I will start playing around with my TRS paper and bake some cookies.

Yesterday was kind of a sad day, full of goodbyes. All goodbyes seem ten times harder than they were last year, even though it is only for six days. Today I feel a little stranded and listless, but I am hoping that the feeling will pass quickly so that I can enjoy myself.

Last night, Mommy, Kenny, and I went out to see Walk the Line starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. It was fantastic! Before I saw the film I didn’t know much about Johnny Cash (and still don’t, except for what Hollywood has told me), but I really enjoyed his music in the film. Next time we go to Sam’s Club I am going to buy the collection of Johnny Cash CD’s I saw on sale. I’m not sure what the draw is – his music has a kind of gritty, down-to-earth quality that is quite refreshing today amongst our heavy-metal bands and “poetic” rap songs.

On a more technical note, Joaquin Phoenix did a wonderful job playing Cash, and I am glad he was given this chance to truly prove himself as an actor. I had no idea he had such a great voice! As for Reese Witherspoon, though I love her to death in Legally Blond and Sweet Home Alabama, I didn’t feel that she was really showstopping as June Carter Cash. Unfortunately, she seemed to revert into her “goofy Southern charm” character and stayed there for most of the movie, dashing my hopes of seeing if she could act in a serious role. I guess I will just have to wait until next time.

The movie as a whole didn’t have that cheesy “feel-good” soaring feeling to it. Rather, one felt as though one had been on a journey with the characters and was finally in safe port. I highly recommend going out to see this film.

This morning I finished reading Mount Vernon Love Story by Mary Higgins Clark. When I started the book I wasn’t sure whether I would like it or not; my snobbish “she-couldn’t-be-as-stimulating-as-Aquinas” attitude got in the way. But over the week or so that it took me to read I found myself genuinely enjoying the story. However un-academic it may be, the book really put a human side on George Washington, something very valuable in the study of history. Too often our heroes and legends become cardboard cutouts, mere shadows of humanity, carved in stone like Washington in Mount Rushmore. While it is essential to formation to be told stories about heroes as paradigms of virtue, in order to truly appreciate the huge advances they made one must come to understand the human failings that “heroes” had to undergo as well.

Now, back to tried-and-true James Herriot, who never fails to lift my spirits even on bad days. Next book in the series: “All Things Wise and Wonderful”.

Over break we are reading a book called The Hungry Soul: Eating and the Perfecting of Our Nature by Leon Kass, M.D. for Philosophy class. Yesterday Dr. White introduced it; the title is somewhat misleading and may be smiled upon by others as a silly choice of readings. But it could not be more appropriate. If one is to ask questions about and make an attempt to study human nature, as the philosopher does, then wouldn’t it be best to do so when man is performing his most mundane daily activities? Eating is one thing that every human being does…it is what he shares with the animals as well. Immanuel Kant, in fact, goes so far as to call eating the “Highest Ethicophysical Good” because it is the one of the only activities that unite the body (in eating) and mind (in conversation). So by studying the way that people eat and what man makes of the ritual of eating leads to an interesting inquiry about human nature.

I am also finding the book of interest for another reason. Lately I have been wrestling with the question of how to reconcile my two apparently different degrees with one another. I know that they fit somehow and that somehow floats around in my brain, but I don’t seem to be able to put it into words. This book is bringing my answer in focus. Kass makes a distinction (in an amusing passage) between what different scientists see when they observe other people eating and what they do when they all sit down to dinner together. The scientist will note particulars: the jaw muscles working, the sugar broken down, the bloodstream carrying nutrients where they need to be. But, Kass notes with a sort of wistfulness, the scientist misses out on the whole picture. By focusing on the particulars he can’t step back and see the whole picture and inquire into how these particulars are invariably tangled up with human nature as a whole.

This is where philosophy comes onto the scene. With a fine mixture of philosophy and science, I can at least attempt to keep a blind trust of science at bay and always be sure to be curious about humankind as a whole.

Philosophy class was quite amusing yesterday. Dr. White had asked us on Friday to read 58 pages of The Hungry Soul for Monday, and for one reason or another no one even broke open the book. Because of my Organic Chem test I had a heck of a time doing it myself, but still found it possible to read 35 pages of the assignment. I’m glad that I did because I was able to help Dr. White out when he asked (with a note of knowing disappointment) whether anyone had any questions/comments about what we read. He then continued to admonish the rest of the class (they probably all hate me now) for not doing the readings. Oh well. After class he thanked me for making comments and we chatted for a bit.

Before I went home I took care of some business with the Dean of Arts & Sciences and the Registrar’s Office, tying up loose ends before I left for an entire week. I finished the day by stopping by Dr. Pegg’s office to ask some questions about homework and ended up staying later than I intended because we got to talking about England (his home), how London wasn’t really a part of England per say, etc. It was a pleasant way to begin my break.

Anyway, enough of this. I have already gone on for far too long. I really must at least outline my TRS paper and line up my sources. Then I will start baking those cookies…peanut butter for most, and oatmeal at Fr. Rossi’s special request. How could I possibly tell him no?

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