Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sunday Doonesbury: A visit from old friends (and Mark has what might or might not be a senior moment)


With Monday update (see below)

DOONESBURY     by G. B. Trudeau

[Click to enlarge.]

by Ken

It's another travel day for me -- all the way to Mystic, CT -- why, that's practically the Massachusetts Rhode Island border! [Oops! That shows how remote far-eastern Connecticut is frommy geographical consciousness -- not to mention Rhode Island, which I realize exists in my head less as a state with defined boundaries than as a tiny entity floating in geographical space. -- K.] At least this time my train leaves at a more reasonable 7am. Then again, that 3am train I had to catch to get to D.C. meant I had a built-in cushion that in the event easily absorbed the train's being an hour and a half late. Let's hope Amtrak does better this time.

There's an Alma Mater Alumni event at Mystic Seaport (where I've never been), including a presentation by a distinguished Alma Mater professor of English, something like "The Myth and Legend of Moby Dick," in honor of which I'm actually (finally!) reading Moby Dick. Yes, yes, officially I read it in, I think, ninth grade, but the lists of things I've officially vs. actually read have have many such divergences. The theory was that by today I would have finished Moby Dick, but you know about theories. What can I say? I got, er, bogged down in the middle, or rather approaching the middle. At least I know what I'll be reading on the train. Or anyways carrying.

I've planned some additional activities, scheduled to include your ever-popular thunderstorms (as I make my way around town on foot-- hurrah!). Okay, I didn't actually plan the thunderstorms; they just come naturally. Naturally. Well, there were thunderstorms scheduled the day of the D.C. trip too, and they didn't materialize during the day.

Anyway, what with one thing and another, I thought I'd share today's Doonesbury, in which it appears that the times have caught up with the craziness of our old pal Elmont. I've started work on an Urban Gadding fall preview post, but that involves a lot of grunt work and even though I've been up all night with it, hacking away at it (or maybe thinking about hacking away at it) isn't ready. I'm shooting for Wednesday.


The trip came off pretty much without a hitch, and was quite lovely. The presentation on Moby Dick by Prof. Don Pease, speaking impassionedly for more than an hour without notes, except for a series of illustrative chunks from the book he'd had circulated as a handout (plus a Q-and-A session), was quite brilliant. It's not hard to understand why he's become such a large figure in the humanities community. It was sobering to realize that, while he's been at Dartmouth a whopping 43 years, he still didn't arrive (straight from getting his PhD, if I heard he right) till four years after I left.

And to go with the whole new handle on Moby Dick that Professor Pease gave me, a short walk away from our lunch 'n' lecture site in Mystic Seaport was the Charles W. Morgan, apparently the only surviving wood whaling ship anywhere in the world, built in 1841, making it very much a fit for Melville's Pequod -- all amplified by a bunch of fascinating whaling-history commentary from the Seaport's Steve Purdy. I wish I could have hung around and listened to him all day!



At 3:22 PM, Blogger Cirze said...

Love love love MS! Have fun. Eat some seafood for me.

At 8:26 AM, Blogger KenInNY said...

Had a great time at Mystic Seaport, C -- thanks! Lunch was included in the do, and didn't include any seafood, and dinner on the train home consisted of sandwiches (and, yes, maybe a few cookies) squirreled away from the lunch surplus.


At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

And how was Moby Dick?

I realized recently that I had never read, or more like finished it bogging down in the middle.

At 3:00 PM, Blogger KenInNY said...

Hi, Bil! I'm still only about two-fifths of the way through, but the timing was great. Professor Pease, living up to his (very, very) large reputation, laid out a path of what matters to him about the book which I think will get me successfully through, starting with the understanding that [Call me] Ishmael, the narrator, is in fact someone very like the author; I was really having trouble making sense of where exactly the highly wrought narrative comes from. Also, a fellow alum at my lunch table made the helpful point that Melville surely placed great weight on the sound of the language he was writing. It helped too to be able to walk around and through Mystic Seaport's Charles W. Morgan, reputedly the only surviving wooden whaling ship anywhere in the world. Built in 1841, it's obviously a useful stand-in for the Pequod, a great help for visualizing the seascape in which the narrative unfolds.

Sometimes it really does pay to hang around smart people!



Post a Comment

<< Home