Friday, June 7, 2013

Various & Sundry: Real amazing people and an imaginary theologian

I give up. The day has defeated me. It's 5:00 and I'm calling it quits. Workwise, anyway. But for you (and for my own pleasure, I must admit) I blog.

So many fantastic obituaries this week! Let's start with Scottish eccentricity in the form of the Countess of Arran. The headline talked about her powerboat racing, but I was more interested in how she and her husband felt about badgers. Her husband (are you ready?), Sir Arthur (Kattendyke Strange David Archibald) “Boofy” Gore, "A passionate advocate of homosexual rights, he thrice introduced a Sexual Offences Bill, and also campaigned for the protection of badgers." Meanwhile,
Lady Arran always called her current favourite badger Rosie. A succession of these creatures visited, and left a mark on, the smartest houses in England. “Nobody but Fiona would have carried this off,” remarked a friend. 
Drawn as ever to the lochside, she kept a small house on the Isle of Inchconnachan on Loch Lomond. She boated the loch while her badgers lived beneath the veranda, chasing people hurrying to the jetty.
Then there is the lovely story of Bob Fletcher who quit his job to take care of his neighbors' farms during World War II. That would be lovely enough, but even more so when you learn his neighbors were Japanese who had been interned after Pearl Harbor.
Al Tsukamoto, whose parents arrived in the United States in 1905, approached Mr. Fletcher with a business proposal: would he be willing to manage the farms of two family friends of Mr. Tsukamoto’s, one of whom was elderly, and to pay the taxes and mortgages while they were away? In return, he could keep all the profits.

Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Tsukamoto had not been close, and Mr. Fletcher had no experience growing the farmers’ specialty, flame tokay grapes, but he accepted the offer and soon quit his job.

For the next three years he worked a total of 90 acres on three farms — he had also decided to run Mr. Tsukamoto’s farm. He worked 18-hour days and lived in the bunkhouse Mr. Tsukamoto had reserved for migrant workers. He paid the bills of all three families — the Tsukamotos, the Okamotos and the Nittas. He kept only half of the profits.
I encourage you to read the whole thing.

The last obit I wanted to draw your attention to is for Vollis Simpson, "Visionary Artist of the Junkyard," according to the Times. I'm sorry he didn't live to see the opening of the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park. But if you head to Wilson, NC after November, you can see for yourself. It looks amazing. Like a Steampunk theme park.

I haven't mentioned Ta-Nehisi Coates for a while, but this morning he posted an amazing and very personal reflection on what he would say if he were asked to give advice to the students at his high school, or to young black kids in general.
I rarely talk to kids about what they "shouldn't be doing" or what they "can't do. I prefer to talk about what they can and should do. This is not mere phraseology. If you are a twelve-year old black kid who dreams of being the next Kendrick Lamar or Lebron James, I don't really see a problem. If you are are 12-year old black kid who only dreams of being that, I do see a problem. My argument to you is not that you should stop dreaming of rapping or playing ball, my argument is that you should dream about much more. That is part of the magic of being 12.
It's all beautiful. A lovely read.

In church geekery news, I loved this legend of the theologian Franz Bibfeldt, the invention of divinity student Robert Clausen, whose work was then propagated by one Martin Marty. Since Marty is now the dean of the University of Chicago Divinity School, Franz Bibfeldt lives on in various ways. My personal favorite (to reveal the depth of my geekery) is this: "[Bibfeldt] responded sharply to Kierkegaard’s Either/Or with a treatise titled Both/And, followed by the conciliatory Either/Or and/or Both/And." Yeah, you probably had to be there.


piman said...

Do not poke the badgers!

MadPriest said...

It's a good joke. It made me smile and I'm no theology nerd.

it's margaret said...

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