Wednesday, November 23, 2005

T minus 1

Today the top news story was the millions and millions of Americans who would be traveling this holiday (that is, Thanksgiving) despite the high(er) costs of travel. Whatever. I, on the other hand, will be spending my holiday (that is, Late Semester Catch-Up Day) the same way I’ve spent it since third grade: finishing up assignments that will be due during the last two weeks of the semester and working ahead as much as possible so as to have some breathing space after the semester ends.

I had to make a short (15-minute) presentation in one of my courses Monday, and I enjoyed the time when my professor could not merely read from the text but had to (at least pretend to) listen to the interesting things I had to say for once. I wish I could do a presentation every day: it might make the course tolerable. And intellectually stimulating.

Yesterday Texas music (and indeed world music) was diminished by the death of Chris Whitley—an exceptional musician with a divine gift for songwriting. I had only recently began listening to him (thanks to the payola system between music corporations and broadcasters), but over the past few months the two CDs of his I own have caught up (in terms of use) with some CDs I’ve owned for a decade. [For more info about Chris, check out the sidebar with links to his official site and to some tracks.]

Today is Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan, and for whatever reason, I have very distinct memories of this holiday from my two years there. On the first LTD, I painted my living rooms walls pastel green, thereby killing several brain cells because I couldn’t open the windows (it was rainy and cold outside). Come to think of it, my memories of my first LTD in Japan are a bit fuzzy. But the following year I was in Osaka at the United Nations Conference on Human Rights in Asia, staying with my pal Tak (whom I met in Israel the previous summer), drinking beaujolais nouveau for the first time. The cult of beaujolais nouveau is strong in Japan: some connoisseurs charter boats to go out past the International Date Line in order to get to drink it earlier than those poor suckers left in Japan. (It’s always released the third Thursday of November.)

Happy Thanksgiving to all my faithful (and even faithless) readers; I hope you have a great holiday. (And for those of you who also will be celebrating Late Semester Catch-Up Day: remember not to work too hard!)

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