Monday, April 27, 2009

Jacksonville, Texas

On Saturday, I actually had something on my calendar. Amazing, huh? I met up with friends of mine from college who are now in Jacksonville, Texas. I had never been to this East Texas town and I was eager to check a town off my list; I'm trying to get my bearings around here!

The drive was only about an hour and it was very pretty. Near Bullard, there are some really cool hills that greatly surpass our gently rolling hills. In fact, there was a lookout point along the highway where you can see 35 miles on a clear day. With all the trees freshly green, it was particularly gorgeous. Of course, I forgot my camera.

It was great to hangout with Z and L for the afternoon, along with their son, J. They are happy people; in fact, I feel out of place if I say anything negative in their presence! Z has just finished his PhD in history and is content to teach at a small college, where they require little to no scholarship from their professors. Z likes to teach more than research so this fits him perfectly. He's teaching mainly US history (ugh!) but he still likes it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spurs vs Mavs, Game 2

The euphoria over a Game 1 win for the Mavericks has passed. The heroes of Game 1 made no difference in Game 2 and our stars were lackluster. Game 2 was "The Tony Parker Show," and he grabbed that title as if Barea has personally insulted him in Game 1.

Mavs fans have had little to celebrate of late. We lost in the finals, then lost twice in the first round. This series is now split 1-1. Granted, if you look at the Eastern Conference, we have a superb record, but the West is very difficult. Texas is very difficult.

I like Mark Cuban. He's really tried to make the game fun and accessible to more people, and he's tried (and succeeded) in building a talented team. He's not like Jerry Jones.

But it's hard to be a Mavs fan this morning. Very hard.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Benedict and His Monks

Come andiamo?

That's Italian for "How's it going?" And this is the Friday Rome update...or the place where you can obtain useless knowledge about the Eternal City - whichever you prefer.

Italian CDs have been ordered and more planning has commenced. A bit of progress has been made but I find myself waiting to hear from my boss's friend regarding some technicalities.

I'm also trying to convince my boss to go to Monte Cassino with me (for a day-trip only). He expressed interest in going as his father fought there in World War II. I want to go - of course - because this is where Benedict of Nursia, founder of Western monasticism, established his monastery in the sixth century, the first of its kind. (In case you're curious, St. Antony founded monasticism as a whole, though he's considered Eastern as he lived in Egypt.)

Benedict wrote a rule for monks, appropriately entitled, the Rule of Benedict, and his followers eventually came to be known as Benedictines (when there were other orders being established in the thirteenth century). Clever, eh? I guess you could call the Benedictines, "the originals"; they wear the black habits. The monastery was destroyed during the war but has been rebuilt - not that this matters to me. Just to be in the space where this man lived would be amazing!

The sixth century is one of my favorite times in Rome - as it's very chaotic - and it is also the time of Pope Gregory the Great. I keep coming back to good old Gregory for papers and such because I find him fascinating. He wrote, incidentally, the Life of Benedict.