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Stuff & Such

Yes, a grab bag in which will squirm Sonia Sotomayor, some medieval theologians, PBS folks, and anything else that strikes my fancy.

J. Laurence Shea, 1907-1966

On this Father’s Day I am taking the liberty of reprinting an essay that I wrote for Century magazine more than 20 years ago. This is for you, Pop, one more time.

It’s three a.m. and I’m up for the second time. Now, at least, I have figured out why. Yesterday my six-year-old son, anticipating donuts, reminded his mother that Father’s Day was getting closer.

Reigning Cats and Dogs

Chuppie gave us a scare this week. He disappeared for a couple of days and reappeared much the worse for wear. More on Chup in a bit, but that’s what got me thinking about our pets.

Zamani Revisited

Well, I thought that Sasa and Zamani, this hobby horse I’ve been riding, was finally going to become Sasa. Then I heard from Joe, my old friend and trusty correspondent from Colorado. So he gets the credit (or the blame) for this one last look.

Potholes on Memory Lane

James Loewen’s point about Sasa and Zamani actually has to do with events, not people. Like people, history begins “live,” exists for a time as Sasa, and eventually becomes Zamani. A simple rule of thumb: what you are still seeing on the six o’clock news is “live” history. The auto company bailouts are still happening.

The Grace of Memory

James Loewen wrought more than he knew when he picked up the idea of Sasa and Zamani from John Mbiti’s treatise.* For one thing, it caused a flurry on Google. Yes, there is a helpful Wikipedia entry for it, especially helpful because it directs you to Mbiti’s book, which, lo and behold, was available at the UNM library. Then an old friend emailed me the other morning to steer me to a wonderful recent novel, Kevin Brockmeier’s The Brief History of the Dead.

Sasa and Zamani

In his very commendable Lies My Teacher Told Me, James W. Loewen gives new life to the Swahili terms “Sasa” (“Sasha,” for Loewen) and “Zamani.” We will get back to Loewen presently, but first let me try my best to explain the terms. I warn you that my best may not be good enough, because Sasa and Zamani represent highly sophisticated African notions of time, religion, and philosophy.

Traveling with Rhoda

Recently, just in time for our trip to Taos and then our trip to El Paso, Diana bought a GPS (Global Positioning System), an electronic device for getting you from point A to point B with the least fuss, the best mileage, or something. Satellites are involved, that much I know, causing road maps to pop up on a little screen that you suction-cup to your windshield, a screen that also displays your speed and computes your time of arrival. Arrant frippery, I calls it.

The Voice of the Turtle

Spring and Easter have come ‘round again, and good on that. Easter, of course, is the culmination of the Christian calendar, its most important feast, much more important than Christmas. Christmas gets the ball inexorably rolling but it is with Easter, with Christ’s resurrection from the dead, that a Christian can crow, “See, we TOLD you he was the Son of God!”

Sailing the Mesa

Last week, Diana and I and our daughter and her family spent two nights up in Taos, New Mexico, in an “earthship.” I knew immediately that I had to wonk the experience.

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