Back to it. And winter break non-syllabus reading re-cap.

School tomorrow. I’m happy to be back and to start up a new term.

Reinserting yourself in New York  City for three weeks as a partial observer is interesting, disorienting, and slightly FOMO tinged.

I read interesting things, saw interesting things, traveled a little and spent time with people I love.

As I get back to this place in a new term and new year I’m interrogating why I’m here;  I’m thinking about the body, the vessel, how it functions, what we do to it, how we affect it through our emotions and mindset and how mental state and emotion impact the body.  Thinking about why we do what we do. Function literally and figuratively.  And about the vessel and what  it is and what happens to it.

Some non reading-list reading from break:

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An Evil Cradling (1992) by Brian Keenan  (Review)

  • Not exactly beach reading though I was on a beach when I finished it. The memoir by Northern Irish writer, Brian Keenan, documents his capture while teaching English at American University in Beirut and subsequent captivity for over four years at the hands of Lebanese Shi-ite militias.  It is fascinating and compelling reading, probing the frightening depths of mindfulness and mindlessness, of compassion and brutality, that humanity can reach.

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From Here to Eternity : Traveling the World to Find the Good Death (2017) by Caitlin Doughty   (Review)

  • A fast-paced, well researched, painlessly delivered sucker punch to your brain about some things many of us haven’t really thought about or don’t want to think about: What happens to us… after? Funeral home director and mortician Caitlin Doughty narrates a variety of encounters with deathcare traditions and businesses from cultures around the world – exploring distinct perspectives and practices for honoring the dead.  From $7000 caskets and 2-4/7-9 regulated viewings in many American funeral homes, to an open air pyre in Colorado, Sky Burials in Nepal, unearthed remains in Tana Toraja, Indonesia, the Bolivian Festival of Natitas, Japanese hi-tech crematoria, the Parsi Tower of Silence, re-composition, and why whales and whale matter matter – told with wit and respect.
    • It made me regret not taking “Death and Dying,” a religious studies elective in high school in which students planned their own funerals…

Spontaneous Movie

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Today I took myself to the movies to see the Green Book.  So glad I did.

Looks like it just won Golden Globes for Best Screenplay and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Mahershala Ali as Dr. Don Shirley). Thanks internet.

A few months ago I wrote about that unsatisfied empty feeling after a film/dance performance event. I didn’t have that today. A laugh, cry, think, kind of movie. An odd couple road trip to friendship. It makes you think about where we were, how far we have and have not come around issues of prejudice, racism, classism, and about the power of individual actions and individual friendships.

[BTW  in Columbus you can take yourself to a movie and get popcorn and an obscenely large “small” soda for the price of just the movie ticket in Midtown  – just sayin.]