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beverley bie brahic's Blog

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When I can't fall asleep at night, which happens frequently, or when I wake up in the middle of the night, to keep my mind off the things that keep me from falling asleep, I have two strategies.  The first is that I revisit in my head  apartments in Paris that I once fell in love with and wanted to...
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This is a utopian community in many respects:  law-abiding people on bicycles with bookbags, having seriously fun conversations over pretty decent espresso under palm trees on café terraces, lifting weights after-hours in gyms outfitted to Olympic specifications, daydreaming along shelves of books...
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Honestly I like sitting around talking about sex as much as the next person, but  I find I'm not convinced by Foucault's History of Sexuality (1978, for the English translation, which I found in one of those roll-out stacks you always feel you could easily come out of looking like a Bugs Bunny...
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The human is a social being, says Zygmunt Bauman (in Liquid Modernity).  Professor Remo Cesarini was talking last week in a seminar I'm attending about two studies:  an oldish one that showed ants ruthlessly fending off intruders to the tribal hill, and a newer one that, with the help of modern...
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No, it's not about the fraternity house across the street. Hiking up to the "Dish" (hilltop radio-satellite dish) the other day, I'd just passed the field where there will be great clumps of white poppies soon, when I noticed a great blue heron walking up the blacktop road ahead of me.  I...
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Polymorphous:  I've come across this word at least half a dozen times in the last two days, partly because I've been reading Foucault and Bauman (Liquid Modernity), but not only.  Each time I see it I say that's easy:  "poly = multiple," "morphous = shape," but this definition...
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Was about to write something lyrical about the sound of train whistles in the night when the frat house across the street put on the sono full blast and it ain't train whistles.  I look out.  Party on the lawn, guys with drink cans in bermuda shorts (the guys).  Where are the girls? Anyway about...
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In January, returning from Vancouver, I tried to smuggle a polished lump of jade green beach stone through Airport Security.  A polite young man asked me to open my suitcase.  "Did I have a large rock inside?" he asked, puzzled.  Well, I did, in the toe of a sock, and he was chagrined to...
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a girl (young woman) on a skateboard, swooping towards the library, free as a bird.  
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I am thinking about a friend who buys books without having any immediate intention of reading them.   He sees a tempting-looking book and he buys it.  For future use.  When he retires he says he imagines he will have time to read the books he has accumulated, unread, over the years.  He sees...
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A friend I had hoped would come with his wife to dinner next week writes to say he's in China and we get to talking about hot water bottles.  I say I asked for one for my birthday earlier this month and used it for the first time this weekend 1) because it's cold, for Palo Alto (ice on the carport...
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Weekends:  2 days without the NYTimes on the doorstep at dawn:  like going off my favorite drug.  Cold turkey.  How to get out of bed without my daily shot of Mubarak, Madoff & Co?  I know, I know:  I can get it all online and Slate to boot (with its latest on anal sex), but print and paper is...
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Wonderful photo from Cairo on the front page of today's (paper and ink, delivered to the door) NYTimes:  a high shot of the light streams made by the candles of protesters circling a tank.  Really the most hardened cynic would have to admit that there is something thrilling, perhaps hopeful,...
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Strange day:  crisply blue this morning, now cloud cover and this feeling of something waiting to happen.  Maybe a storm, it's muggy, air too still. Egypt--what is there to say?  I lived through a revolution in West Africa once.   Hitching rides and not knowing which side was which, the subterfuges...
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No excuse:  no claustrophobic airplane travel with its ever imminent panic attack (when you stand up and scream "let me out!" (but where will you go? your other voice reasonably asks)).  Just a friend who brings a detective story to dinner and suggests you might like it.   I'll just read...
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