Monday, October 10, 2016

Columbus Day

Couple of observations …

If you exclude the times I’ve been systemically and structurally unemployed (’01, ’09, ’10, and ’15), this is the first Columbus Day I have had off for legitimate reasons in 29 years. This is all thanks to my job at the non-profit, which we intentionally accepted because

a) it was a paying job

b) the schedule allowed me to take care of the girls’ extracurricular activities

c) I get eleven days off a year that they do through school

So I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do this morning. The wife has an office day, so I’ll steer clear of her. And the girls have a half-day, which means I’ll be supervising a play-date for Patch in the afternoon and picking up her older sister at the library after that.

But my morning is wide open. I suppose I should study for my Tax Prep mid-term, a two-hour computer-based test I have to take later at 6 o’clock. Since I’m running a 96 average in the class and I scored a 59 out of 61 on our mid-term review, a thirty-minute perfunctory once-over at 5 o’clock may be the result.

What’ll probably happen is I’ll sequester myself at a secret location and put away twenty or thirty pages of Foote’s tome-ish Civil War and an equivalent amount in the Dan Simmon’s horror historical novel I just started. You can also probably catch me down at the track. Me and Little One went there Saturday morning; she to run a half-mile and me to walk a mile. I’m getting rather, er, girthy, and after last night’s lasagna I might have to do a mile or two around the oval.

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Leaving mass yesterday, we greeted our head priest as we always do. A very personable, holy, and charismatic man who’s only been with our parish for two years, and who’s formed an attachment to my family (Little One was the sole altar server at his first mass two years ago and thus the first parishioner he formally met).

He asked if the girls were excited about having tomorrow (Columbus Day) off. They said, no, that they had school, albeit a half-day. Then he looked at me and asked if they had Wednesday (Yom Kippur) off. I said that they did. An odd look crossed his face, and he shook his head. And he’s not even Italian.

Now I don’t believe it’s anything against our Jewish friends. We even said a prayer intention for them at mass. More so, I think, it might be due to the unfortunate beating Columbus Day seems to be taking in our increasingly antagonistic culture. But I could be projecting too much into and onto the observation I noted, which lasted all but a second or two.

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Four weeks and a day until the election. God help us all. I have thoughts about that for a later post, if I can stomach it.

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Not really Columbus Day related, but … I am hoping to finish the Dan Simmons book by November. It’s a massive paperback – 955 pages. Thus I need to read 43 pages a day to do so. Uh-huh. Hoping more that I enjoy the ride. Always strive to read something spooky, eerie, disturbing around Halloween, and this book has the nomination today (just edged out over a re-reading of Clive Barker’s Weaveworld).

Reason is, I am really, really, really jonesing for some Charles Dickens. I have Hard Times sitting in the On-Deck Circle since like forever (or last year, when I bought it). I had such a great time reading / listening to book on CD of Great Expectations two Thanksgivings ago that I now associate late November with Dickens. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll get Hard Times on CD, too …

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Speaking of jonesing, over the weekend I got all jazzed up about the Riemann Hypothesis again. Found a book on it, watched a couple of youtube videos (recommended by my teenage math genius nephew) about it, transcribed some formulas and such on scratch paper. Now the Riemann Hypothesis is Gary Kasparov and Boris Spassky and I’m a guy trying to remember the difference between a pawn and a bishop. Or, similarly, the Riemann Hypothesis is Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the entire New England Patriot’s organization, and I’m a dude who once held the down marker during a high school game his dad coached thirty-five years ago. You get the idea. But for me, the thrill is in the learning, not the mastering.

The thrill is in the learning, not the mastering.

(Unfortunately, that’s not where the $$$ is, but I don’t do any of this for $$$.)

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Well, that’s about a rap.

Happy Columbus Day everyone!

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