There must be a larger message about globalization, ethnic intermingling, cultural imperialism, or something. Maybe people just like Barney. You do, don't you? Admit it. Now, Fred, he's a clown. Barney's a mensch.
That's right, I've been living in a TV-free zone for almost three weeks. Not as some part of a bigger journey of self-discovery or anything, as I was just lazy, and TV makes me lazier. I wasn't going to do anything about it (it being the lack of a remote) until Omar said: Here's your remote. We found it. Once I had it, I used it.
I'm amazed at how quickly I can get used to going without things, without missing them very much. When Sir Thomas More's family visited him, imprisoned in the Tower of London, and his wife said "Oh, what terrible and dismal place!" he replied, simply, "It's pretty much like any other place." (From the wonderful movie "A Man for All Seasons." More (!!!) on this later, if I have enough energy to write about it. I found More both inspiring and frightening. Stay tuned.)
Sir Thomas did miss his family terribly, and the most wrenching part of the movie is when they visit him in prison and beg him to acquiesce to King Henry VIII's demands so that More would be released from prison. He does not, and bids them flee.
I live in a palace, not a prison, but the best thing that has happened to me this week is to look into the eyes of loved ones on Skype. (Chris and Kitt: you made my day. Chris, I'm not at all surprised that you clicked on the link that I said was quite offensive in a previous post. It cracked me up when you said "You tricked me! The link just referred me to Amazon!" This was news to me, as the link I posted was really, really quite profane. Now I see that link starts to come up...and then goes to Amazon. Damn. I do see that Amazon recommends that you get me a Kindle for Father's Day. Just sayin'.)
Did you just get that Normal Rockwell warm glow?
The flip side -- or maybe some other side, as life surely has more than two sides -- of my not missing things is my not asking for them. I think a childhood lesson for me was "Don't whine. Be thankful for what you have."
I'm not sure this is always helpful. Since I've been here my apartment has had almost no water pressure. I thought "Eh, that's the way it is..." until a workman told me "you should complain about your water pressure."
I didn't complain; I made discreet and subtle inquiries. Now, my shower actually showers; it no longer just drools.
Now, back to Barney. Really, I don't plan these things, they just happen. Before I saw Barney, I was already thinking of Rubble. I find all the visual contrasts here fascinating: piles of rubble everywhere next to sparkling buildings. All the new with the little ancient. Technology next to mud. I wish I had a better camera to capture what I see. Boys, are you listening?
The typical architecture: sleek, crisp, clean. The typical rubble pile: rubbly.
If you look closely, there are a half dozen construction cranes in the distance. Thank you, Professor Jim Lambeth, for teaching the course "Architecture Lecture" (a 2 credit fine arts course, part of my liberal education at the University of Arkansas) 34 years ago. You opened my eyes.