Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Back To School

I had my first class of 2005 yesterday. Roosevelt University is where my future paychecks will be going and in exchange for the cash I will be getting a BA in literature and some easy A’s. I have yet to get anything lower than that letter grade. This may be because I am a good student but I think not. Roosevelt isn’t the most challenging of academic environments. Actually, I am sure there is something to be said for the school. My Spanish classes were tough and my writing teacher was a fucking tyrant. Be that as it may, it’s hard to get enthused about American Literature post 1865 when you have read most of the syllabus and are amazed that your fellow students claim V.C. Andrews as their favorite writer.

My teacher didn’t help. Happily PhD’d, she teaches American Literature and creative writing for the school. She also is in charge of securing whatever writer is hard up enough to grace us with their presence. This semester it’s Richard Price. Attendance of his reading is mandatory. I am sure he will regale us with anecdotes about the making of Clockers.

My instructor’s worst crime against modesty was in telling us that she is a writer of poetry and so she will bring an interesting perspective to the class as she is "teaching literature and creates it daily." The first thought(s) I had was, well, are you any good? Are your verses anything akin to literature? I know high school kids who write poetry, for fuck’s sake. I doubt their pubescent musings are anything close to Eliot or Neruda. And does the alleged daily creation of literature mean one might have any idea how to teach it? Kurt Vonnegut-- and I often refer to this story-- quit teaching years ago when he realized he had nothing to say about Dubliners. I wonder if my professor could pen anything half as entertaining as Hocus Pocus.

We were asked to write down three or four “big names” in the “cannon” of American Lit. I, like many, chose Faulkner, Twain and Melville. Then the teacher asked us to write down three or four American writers we actually enjoy reading. I wrote down Faulkner, Twain, Vonnegut and Anne Sexton. The names I heard from the other student’s list: Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Grisham, Toni Morison, the before mentioned V.C. Andrews (“Not the crap her family wrote, but the real V.C. Andrews... before she died.”), Richard Bach, Anne Rice and the guy who wrote Endless Love.

During the lecture, the deleted books of the Bible came up. I was the only one who knew they are called The Apocrypha. The girl to my left looked at me in wonder.

"I went to Catholic school and I've never heard about that."

So it’s going to be like this, eh? A ponderous teacher with literary pretensions and students my boss from Aspidistra would call illiterates. Well, I suppose that is the goal of the class, to expose fresh young minds to the writings that, for whatever reason, are considered timeless. When asked what we hoped to get out of this class, I had to conjure the bullshit answer, “I hope to gain a better idea of how America’s literary voice was forged in respect to the literature of the world.” True to an extent, but I’ve read a lot of this stuff before and I can’t help but feeling like I am wasting my time, energy and money. Oh well, the papers ought to be easy enough.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I love chicago?

Today’s errands for the lawyers that be sent me to the Richard J. Daley center, made famous for the big Picasso sitting outside and, of course, The Blues Brothers. Today’s jaunt to the courthouses allowed me to view a display of weapons confiscated by the security checkpoints. Wow.

Handguns a plenty, the standard issue butterfly knives and lots of switchblades. More intriguing were the secret spy weapons, such as a blade concealed in a lipstick container, one twisted behind a crucifix pendant and a long, skinny knife housed in a pen. Someone tried to bring in a walking stick that served as sheath for a rather nasty looking sword. Oh, and there were enough butcher knives, Billy clubs and stun guns to spill a river of blood.

It never gets boring contemplating the depths man will sink in his inhumanity to humanity. I don’t know what’s worse, those fucking weapons or the fact that a bunch of gawkers (like myself) were ogling the things with something like awe.

Monday, January 17, 2005


Wow. And here I thought no one was reading.

Oh, the love like a fire hose. Okay, more soon. If it is so damn important then I’ll be back. I’ll let you know when and where.

In the meantime, enjoy the porn and Star Trek debates.

Monday, January 10, 2005

This Site Sucks