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February 28th, 2003

walking in craters on the moon

This morning as I drove to work, the radio featured senators questioning the wisdom of space flight. One earnest legislator asked "Three billion dollars to visit Jupiter's icy moon?". An administration spokesperson, meanwhile, suggested that the General Accounting Office estimate of ninety six billion dollars to win a war with Iraq was speculative and assumption-driven. My wife found a Bahamian ten dollar bill, left over from our January vacation, as well as the card of a Freeport limo driver who gave us a ride to the nature preserve while on his way to take another family to the airport. I had in the rush and uncertainty of things offloaded neglected to tip the limousine driver, so she figured an unexpected tip arriving by mail from nowhere would be a pleasing effect for him. My sore throat has subsided from a feeling of rabid radio buttons on fire to a feeling of gentle scratch. My wife has a club meeting tomorrow morning and a trip to an Irish festival tomorrow afternoon with a co-worker, so I will use the time to catch up on my sleep and get a few non-billable office matters done. I've been browsing through Paul Tillich's old standby, "The Courage to Be", but it seems a much less direct connection to me than it did when I was 17. Karen Armstrong's "A History of God" is a much more comforting re-read, somehow. I dreamed I saw God with my peripheral vision in a public library, but God was hiding in every book. We went to the local steakhouse called Brazos, where I dined on char-broiled chicken breast and an assortment of vegetables, while my wife had a steak. Then we went home and watched "Unfaithful", which held us both riveted. Diane Lane more than deserved an Oscar nomination for this movie, and the Lynesque Hitchcock homages enhanced, rather than distracted from, the film. Life is so implausible, that it makes cinema easy to plot. My ebay four dollar purchase of molds to make chess sets from cookie dough arrived in the mail. Perhaps I will carve the rest of my soap chess set this weekend, or perhaps I will try to fit cheap modeling clay into the shapes. I've resolved to set up my Mail Poetry call this week. I mentioned my side journal project to my wife, who suggested I write about unwarranted assumption of personal fault or guilt. Speaking of guilt, I have a nervousness scrapbook to make, as well as a handmade nervousness thing. The fishing report in the paper suggested that in this cold-ish weather, catfish are often taken in the shallows. I spoke today with a man in Phoenix about ocotillo rustlers. I like the idea that on the face of the moon there is a sea of storms. I got so many things done this week, even amid a winter storm. Some years ago, I read the book about the religion editor for a New York newspaper who took a year at the Harvard divinity school in an effort to broaden his theological horizons. He marveled that some not intending to study for the ministry nonetheless took a master's in theology, despite its singular avocational bent. I have a fantasy in which theologians do what MBAs used to do, before we all lost faith in MBAs. I have this horror that some wayward Rogers relative will one day write "Freddy Dearest", but am thankful no clay feet are on display this week. I cannot believe February is over--we've nearly made it through a drear and chilly Winter. Inside, though, I'm neither dreary nor chilly, but just in need of a good book.
I remember the day I finished "War and Peace, and that ecstatic hypnosis, induced only by brilliant novels, rested upon me like every spiritual and physical pleasure imaginable.
If I had the gift to write science fiction, I'd write one long series about the same story arc, so that my readers could stay in my universe for decades. Perhaps I like Strangers and Brothers, the CP Snow 11 novel cycle, because one feels one has lived a life in its reading. The Snow novel Corridors of Power is about a Prime Minister who sacrifices his career on the altar of principled nuclear disarmament. How I wish we had more principled sacrifices in this time. I wish I had a high quality incense handy tonight, because I would let it waft from the little wooden
holder, until the smoke and my consciousness somehow merged.