1. I've been home all day with Kid #2, who has been suffering from strep. Luckily Amoxicillin is pink; otherwise I don't know how I'd get her to down the antibiotic.
2. To those who say that medieval studies has a future that is anything less than blindingly bright, I say, Ha! The applications we've received for our medievalist position at GW have been astounding. There are many, many fascinating projects out there. I wish we were hiring ten scholars and starting an institute.
3. If you happen to have vegetarian friends who are celebrating Thanksgiving, do not ask them if they will be eating Tofurky. You will think that you are being original, and clever, but in fact several dozen legions of people will have already made the joke.
4. Karl Steel's A purposeless world, thank goodness! post came just in time for Thanksgiving, didn't it? More seriously, though, now that Clark Kent has embraced his Superman, let me announce that he has an extraordinary essay on animals and the human forthcoming in Exemplaria.
5. To return for a moment to Kid #2: one of those most frightening experiences I've ever had occurred last March, when as she lay sick with fever in my arms her eyes rolled back into her head and she began to convulse. I couldn't bring her back from whatever place she'd gone. Luckily it was a febrile seizure rather than a neurological disorder, but I still have flashbacks to that day.
6. Much talk on this blog lately has been about death, mourning, mortality, meaning. The most powerful ritual of remembrance I ever witnessed was carried out by my son, Kid #1. He was six years old, a first grader. In the course of that winter his best friend's mother had died (cancer), his young "uncle" had died (pneumonia), and his teacher passed away. The hardest part had been not being able to say good-bye. His teacher's death he took especially hard (she passed away over a holiday break ... she had been there, and then was she was gone). Morbidity seemed to be everywhere in a way that adults could scarcely handle, and I worried at his struggle with such mounting loss. I observed, however, that when some neighbors decided to have a baby shower for my wife (Kid #2 was on her way), he stole a pink helium balloon, attached a note, and launched it to the clouds. I asked him what he'd written. He said: "Dear Mrs M., I miss you. Good-bye. Love, your student, Alexander." As that balloon and its message dwindled in the sky, I saw what looked like a cloudbreak in his face. The hold that all these deaths had had on him loosened. Some of the joy that every six year old should possess returned.
7. Finally, to all those people that José F. Buscaglia-Salgado calls Usonians, happy Thanksgiving.