Thursday, September 17, 2009

I’m just waitin’ on a friend

Jim and Beth2 I had a very pleasant lunch today with my pal Jim from the lab! (This isn't a current picture--this is from the last time we were out with some other lab friends.) We met at Granite City Brewery, and it was Jim's first time there. He seemed to really like the atmosphere and food, and was excited to see that they have 25¢ wings on Mondays. We gabbed and ate for a couple of hours, talking about everything from his Mom's recent surgery to politics to Notre Dame football. It's always great to see him, and thanks for lunch, Jimi! Next time it's on me!

It was kind of funny...I got there about ten minutes early, so I was waiting in the foyer. The hostess saw me and asked, "Are you Becky?" I said, "No, I'm Beth, and I'm waiting on a friend." (The Stones song is going through my mind now.) She said, "Beth, yeah...I must have written it down wrong. He's here." So I follow her, and we come up to this booth and she stops. There's a fairly small guy with glasses and brown curly hair sitting there. Jim is a big guy, with short, mostly grey hair. Sometimes he even shaves his head. And he doesn't wear glasses. I said, "Uh...not the guy I'm meeting." The hostess was like, "Oops, sorry!" I went back and sat in the foyer again, and a few minutes later, Other Beth came in. Yes, her name really was Beth. What a weird coincidence!

I appreciate all the thoughtful comments I got on my entry yesterday concerning President Carter's remarks about racism. I made it explicitly clear that I was not equating everyone who is against Obama's policies with racists, and that I believe that the worst and most hateful of the protesters that are anti-Obama are the ones who are often motivated by racism. I don't think I could have been any more explicit than I was. I stand by my remarks, and I still agree with Racism Star Trek President Carter. However, the Obama administration is treating this as a distraction from the important work of health care reform, and does not want the focus to be on any discussions of racism. I can understand that to a certain extent; President Obama addressed the issue of race during the presidential campaign, so why should he have to do so again? I will respect their wishes and not continue the discussion to any great length until after health care reform is passed, but I do think it is something that can and should be discussed.

Jim and I talked about it at lunch today. We agreed that it is hard to pin down, but you know when a remark makes you feel uncomfortable. We have both resolved to speak up when we hear something that bothers us. It's always tempting to keep the peace and not start any sort of debate, but I've come to believe that silence is tacit acceptance of such remarks and behavior. You don't have to start a fight with anyone, but you can simply say, "I don't think that's a fair remark" and let your feelings be known. Until we all start speaking up, the sub rosa thread of racism will continue to run beneath the workings of our country. I don't believe we can eradicate it, but we can certainly do our best to show that we believe it to be shameful behavior.

I'll say little more about the subject...for now.

After I got home today, I was excited to dive back into Angle of Repose, and I finished this afternoon. I won't give any spoilers, because I know Laurel is reading it now. I will say that it is one of the best books I've ever read. Not only did I love the plot, I found the writing wonderful. I have a few passages that I wrote down in my journal, and I know you'll be thrilled to find out that I'm going to share them with you! [grin]

A wandering dog of a night wind came in off the sagebrush mesa carrying a bar of band music, and laid it on her doorstep like a bone.

I love that. I really do.

Civilizations grow by agreements and accommodations and accretions, not by repudiations. The rebels and revolutionaries are only eddies, they keep the stream from getting stagnant but they get swept down and absorbed, they're a side issue. Quiet desperation is another name for the human condition.

This book was published in 1971, so all the uncertainties, violence, and upheaval of the 60's made its way into it. I found it interesting to see what was happening at the time reflected in the writing.

...her white summer handbag like a white kitten in her lap...

Angle of Repose More excellent imagery. God, that is some kickass writing. I was just delighted with this book, and it's one of the reasons I'm glad I'm reading the books on the Modern Library list. (Thanks for starting the group, Jillian!) It's gotten me to read some books that I never would have read otherwise, and I've enjoyed some of them very much. After I had finished the book and posted on our Google group site, I read what another member had to say about the book (I think she was the only other member who read this one). Oddly enough, she was not so enamored of the book, and actually put it at the bottom of her favorites! This member lives out of state, so I've never met her, but I have to chuckle that we're so opposite on which books we've enjoyed. My previous favorite from the list was The Magus, and she put that right at the bottom. Isn't it strange to see what strikes different people? I suppose that is the way with all art or literature. What speaks to one person leaves another completely indifferent, or sometimes even disgusted. It's fascinating to me to see the different reactions some of these books generate.

Oh, and we had another nice life is like a box o' chocolates moment! Both Ken and I got comments from Scott the Botanist, who was on the Swamp Angel tour from last weekend. He has a blog, too, and is working on a write-up of our tour. I'll link to it as soon as he posts. How cool that he found our entries! He might be sorry...I can see myself picking his brain about native plants!


  1. I agree 100% about speaking up when you hear something that smacks of racism. The unsaid words are often seen as a sign of agreement.
    I almost always ask what the person meant by what they said, and then why would they say such a thing.
    I don't know if it stops the racist speech or simply stops them from speaking it to me.

  2. OK, after a long day, and more work-work, this entry made my head hurt :o)

    Glad the book club is going well.

    Watching the various news tonight, I am dismayed about the amount of discontent and potential hate that is out there for our president. Comparisons to past assisinations adds nothing.

  3. Hi Beth,
    Sounds like you had a nice reunion with Jim from the lab. I wish I kept in better touch with my former colleagues!

  4. I'm going to read that book based on the excerpts you posted.

    Know what you mean, Bob. We have to speak out, Beth. I agree!

  5. That is too wierd another "Beth" was meeting for lunch at the same time. It must have been a funny moment when you were led back to the wrong person. How cool Scott found your blogs and commented. I'm sure his blog will be very interesting and he won't mind having his brain picked!!!

  6. glad to hear you got out for a good lunch with a that pic...YOU made me think of the Stones today. :)

    sometimes i get overwhelmed with all the political media stuff. So many people differ in all their opinions. It is GOOD to stand up for what we believe in. Hell, at least we DO believe in something. Would hate to go thru life not really caring one way or the other.

    that book sounds promising. I am reading three books at once right now.

    have a happy happy Friday.

  7. Glad you had a nice visit with your friend... and now I am craving me some Stones!!!

    Can't wait for the botanists link.

    be well...

  8. That's hilarious about meeting your friend at the restaurant although the first one wasn't your friend!

  9. Got a kick out of the Star Trek image you used above. That's one of my favourite episodes, and I referenced it just the other day when I was talking to someone about how Science Fiction/Fantasy can (and does) discuss controversial subjects by cloaking them in the guise of the fantastic. Imagine a television show in the 60s attempting to ridicule the idea of racism using a contemporary plot claiming there was no real difference between white people and black people. The producers would have been lynched. But Rodenberry got away with it by changing the details only slightly, and pretending to talk about something that doesn't really exist.


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?