31 July 2006

It's My Funeral

I suppose I can't help but think about funerals considering that it's been less than two weeks since my uncle's death. I've been to quite a few funerals in my thirty-nine years of living.

The great majority of the funerals that I've attended have been either open or closed casket funerals. My father's funeral was the first one I had attended in which cremation was involved. It was also the first funeral in which no minister was involved. My mother's brother-in-law, a retired English professor, delivered the eulogy.

Almost a year ago I was chatting with friends via a e-mailing list about funerals. Here's what I wrote:

I think I want my funeral to be at a bar with beer, liquor, and barbecue to be served. Considering my desire for cremation, I think the food offering would be apropos.

After revisiting what I wrote last year, the only other thing I'd like to add is that I want music-- either blues or jazz. I think it would be a cool funeral, which I suppose would be an oxymoron, but I want people to have fun, smile, laugh, and enjoy life.

27 July 2006

Mississippi: Not Your Ordinary Average State

That would be Wisconsin. Mississippi is #50 in ranking what states are the most typical states in the United States. Of course, that means that Mississippi is the most atypical state in the USA. Here's a paragraph from the article:

Mississippi, on the other hand, is about as far away from the average state as you can get on most of the 12 measures included in this study. By some measures, Mississippi is the poorest and most rural state in the country. The average house in Mississippi is worth only about $71,000. (Only Oklahoma has a lower median housing value.) When you add it all up, Mississippi is so far away from the typical state on so many different measures that it ends up at the bottom of the list.

24 July 2006


Last week, I saw the film version of Tsotsi with TD, TC, and Coppertop. Tsotsi The Book (TTB) is more depressing than Tsotsi The Movie (TTM), which I suppose is to be expected since depression doesn't sell tickets.

TTB and TTM are both excellent in their own ways. TTB takes place in Apartheid-era South Africa while TTM is set in post-Apartheid South Africa. Both TTB and TTM have moments of despair and redemption. I thought that TTM's redemption was pretty easy to predict thanks to the clues given via its soundtrack.

Next up for the book club is Ada, or Ardor-- over 600 pages of Nabokov to read. I'm also going to read Louisiana Power and Light by John Dufresne.

23 July 2006

Death and The Third Policeman

I wasn't at work Thursday and Friday. One of my uncles died Wednesday. He was my father's older brother and his only sibling. He would have been 83 years old next month. My uncle had been ill for the past several years, but his health became significantly worse a couple of months ago.

When my uncle was a child back in the days before antibiotics as older relatives are wont to say, he contracted polio. I've no idea if it was actually polio or something else, but it affected his mind. He couldn't take care of himself. He could barely talk. He could say "stop" only it sounded more like top. He could also say "I forgot" which sounded more like something that might have been a rhyme.

For over eighty years, his care had been the responsibility of a family member. His mother, who was my paternal grandmother, died back in 1927. My father had been his caretaker until he had died a little over three years ago. My mother then became his caretaker.

I normally work at the library on Monday nights, but won't. I'll be back Tuesday.

I finished reading The Third Policeman this weekend. Life, death, and existence. Wackiness about men and women turning into bicycles. It's no wonder that this book was featured in an episode of Lost.

This time last year, I was not familiar with O'Brien, and now I've been in a mood to read more of his work. Earlier this year, it was At Swim-Two-Birds. I think the next O'Brien book on my list may just be The Dalkey Archive.

19 July 2006

Gashouse Gorillas Revisited

A little over three months ago, I made mention of my yahoo fantasy league team. There've been some changes made to the team since the draft.

I've waived these players who were originally drafted: Richie Sexson, Andy Pettitte, Eddie Guardado, Sean Casey, Justin Duchscherer, José Vidro, Willy Taveras, Mike Piazza, Shea Hillenbrand, and Brady Clark. I didn't like waiving Pettitte, but I needed to thanks to a trade I had made.

I acquired Eli Marrero and Tim Wakefield on my team during the season, but waived them. I also acquired Jonathan Papelbon before the season, but traded him to help out my offense.

My slugging was terrible for a good portion of the first half of the season, so I traded away Randy Johnson and Papelbon for Jason Giambi and Armando Benitez. When I found out that Benitez had gotten injured, I decided to acquire Jeremy Accardo-- letting go of Pettitte in this instance.

The current roster:

C Brian McCann
I had been dissatisfied with Mike Piazza early in the season, and so I took a flier on McCann. He's turned out to be a good pickup for me-- making the All-Star Game.

1B Jason Giambi
I needed a slugger, so I traded for Giambi.

2B Rickie Weeks
Weeks is my usual starter at second base. He's a threat to steal bases and has a bit more pop in his bat than did Vidro.

3B Bill Hall
I got tired of Shea Hillenbrand, and so I acquired Hall from the free agency pool. Hall is the starting shortstop for the Brewers, but qualifies to be a third baseman (as well as 2B) in yahoo fantasy baseball.

SS José Reyes
He's hitting for average, steals bases, and has a little pop in his bat. He was also elected to the All-Star game, but didn't play because one of his fingers was cut by a spike.

LF Matt Holliday
He's a productive hitter who became an All-Star for the Rockies this season. He was the #2 slugger on my team and is still, I believe, in the top three.

CF J.D. Drew
He starts at right field for the Dodgers, but I have him at this position.

RF Michael Cuddyer
He bats fourth for the Twins and gives me a little flexibility in my lineup since he can also play at first, second, and third bases.

OF Kenny Lofton
He usually starts at center field for the Dodgers. He doesn't have much pop in his bat, but can steal bases, hit for average, and score runs-- not bad for a 39-year-old.

UT Albert Pujols
I intend for Pujols and Giambi to swap out at first base and the utility position when needed. My slugging suffered when Pujols was injured earlier this season with his strained oblique. To make matters worse, I was forced to replace him in the lineup with Sean Casey who hits for average, but is no slugger.

C Johnny Estrada
I acquired him when McCann was placed on the disabled list earlier this season. He's done well enough to keep a spot on the bench and play when needed.

OF Eric Byrnes
I acquired him via free agency when Reyes got injured just before the All-Star break. No, he doesn't qualify to play shortstop, but he can play all outfield positions, which means that there are at least two players who can play each position on the team.

SP Roy Oswalt
He's a great pitcher who needs more run support. I want him to win more games.

SP Félix Hernández
He's a good young pitcher who's been doing a little bit better lately. I'm looking for improvement though.

SP Javier Vázquez
He pitches for the White Sox, so there's a good chance for wins, but he's been giving up runs.

SP Josh Johnson
He was an early pickup for me who's done well for me this season. I wish I could say the same for...

SP Jason Marquis
He's started one game for me and gave up 12 earned runs in five innings pitched. I think he's been waived by two other teams in my league. Gee, I wonder why?

SP Aaron Sele
He's another late acquisition for me. Shortly after I made the trade for Benitez and acquired Accardo, I realized I was short on quality starting pitchers. I decided to go with a more pitching heavy lineup in the hopes that a quantity of starting pitching would work for me.

RP Brandon McCarthy
He's an occasional starting pitcher whose usual role is that of a setup man/long reliever. He's garnered a few holds for me (one of the statistical categories used for scoring in my league).

RP Jeremy Accardo
He was acquired when I read reports that Armando Benitez may be put on the disabled list. He got a few saves his first week. He's gotten a few holds as well. He's also insurance in case Benitez gets injured again.

RP Armando Benitez
He was acquired in the same trade as Giambi. I like what Benitez has done. He's getting saves for me, which is what I want. He and Accardo haven't hurt the team, and I also like that.

RP Brian Fuentes
The closer for the Rockies was a good draft pick for me. He made the All-Star roster for the NL. I wish he earned more saves though.

RP Takashi Saito
I acquired him originally to get holds for me, but has been closing games due to Eric Gagne's injury. Considering I don't have a top-notch closer anymore, I hope my makeshift group of closers will work for me.

18 July 2006

This Evening at the Library

I'm working tonight at the library. I'll be off duty in about an hour and forty-five minutes. It's been pretty quiet thus far. I need to get some work done with regards to interlibrary loan and serials. I need to get to work on book ordering.

I usually try to make it to the Birthday Pub Quizzes at Hal & Mal's, but I won't this time. I swapped work nights this week.

Looking at what the high temperature is supposed to be today... 100 degrees. Joy.

Some students have just come in. They're being pretty social, a.k.a. loud, but they're policing themselves on their loudness, which is fine by me.

I think I may go see a movie tonight after work. Mayhaps it'll be this one.

The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure

About a month and a half ago, I received as a birthday present a Lemuria gift card which I used to purchase The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure, a collection of stories by Jack Pendarvis.

Not being familiar with his work, I thought the stories were good. I suppose my favorite story is "The Pipe." My next read is The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien.

17 July 2006

Kafka on the Shore

I'm a bit behind in writing about the books that I've been reading-- whether it's been for book club or otherwise. I recently read Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.

I've not read any of Murakami's works before, but was intrigued when the book was chosen. I was intrigued. There are some literary references. One example is, of course, Franz Kafka. It also makes reference to this work.

I plan to read more of Murakami's work when I get a chance. The book club is reading Tsotsi. We're kind of rushing through it because we want to see the Crossroads showing of the movie tonight.

16 July 2006

Smokestack Lightnin'

I'm back home. I spent the past few days away from the Jackson area.

I went up to Starkville to attend a one-day workshop. I liked Michael Stephens' talk. A lot of it's not really applicable to where I work though what with the college not allowing access to instant messengers and myspace on the institution's network.

I've gotten some good ideas and things to ponder from the workshop. I also liked T. Scott Plutchak's talk and another presentation on library web pages.

After the workshop ended, I headed down to Hattiesburg to visit my mother. My uncle's still not doing well either. Sigh.

I visited with some friends in Laurel Friday night. I had a good time. I've not seen them in so long. They mentioned the Blues Bash at Lauren Rogers was scheduled for August 11-- the same day that the North Mississippi Allstars are supposed to perform at Hal & Mal's. They are performing at Clarksdale the next day.

Hmmm... I think Natchez in October looks pretty good too. I'd love to see the Dirty Dozen Brass Band perform again...

The Dead White Male of the Month

Robert Ingersoll

14 July 2006

Viva Starkvegas

I'm in Starkville. I'll be attending a workshop today. Afterwards, I'm off to Hattiesburg for a couple of days.

13 July 2006

And I thought Jesus preferred wine...

Click here for the story.

10 July 2006

The Vacation is dead. Long live the Vacation.

I'm at my mother's house. It's been a bit of a working vacation for me. I helped out at her shop the past few days. I did get to sleep in some, which was good. I'll be driving back to work in about an hour or so.

03 July 2006

Match.com Sabbatical

I'm taking a break from Match.com. The profiles are running together and follow general themes -- Christian women looking for Christian men only -- women who don't want to be hurt anymore -- self-described simple country girls -- Russian scammers.

It's sad when the most interesting profiles are those of the Russian scammers. I've mentioned it before, but I don't believe the type of woman I'm looking for lives in Mississippi or would like to live in Mississippi.