26 March 2004 - Friday

A day in the life of Stupid Penguin

Perhaps you are not yet familiar with my friend, Stupid Penguin. Or perhaps you know of him, but still harbor some misconceptions about his character. I intend to rectify this situation. In order to put to rest certain slanderous accusations and base opinions, I took a camera along to document a day in the life of this oft-misunderstood garden ornament.

I became acquainted with Stupid Penguin last semester, when he appeared one evening on the floor of my dorm room (I suspect that he was abandoned by one of the resident assistants in my building). Not wanting to go off and leave the orphaned bird by himself, I took him to class with me that night. He perched on my lap or bookbag, listening attentively as Dr. Watson lectured. Apparently Dr. Watson was somewhat nonplused; he seemed to find it "creepy" that the flamingo was staring at him in his admittedly rather inscrutable manner. From that moment on, the flamingo and I were quite good friends. That night, the flamingo acquired a name, "Stupid Penguin" (or "the Penguin" as a nickname), which was first used by the derisive and ornithologically illiterate Vengeful Cynic. The name is usually good for a double take, so of course the flamingo insists upon keeping it.

The following pictures (click on the thumbnails to enlarge them) were taken today as Stupid Penguin went about his Friday routine.

Inspired by our founder
Every morning Stupid Penguin spends ten minutes at the statue of R. G. LeTourneau, getting inspiration for the day ahead.

The flamingo likes to chat with Drs. J., Kubricht, and Watson -- as well as their muses -- before starting work.

The flamingo goes to the library to study. Occasionally the lack of legs becomes an issue.

Dr. Coppinger seems happy to see Stupid Penguin at first, but becomes rather irate when Stupid Penguin tells him that the students in the Program have yet another scheduling problem. At least Dr. Coppinger's Baylor-type bear bookend still thinks Stupid Penguin is cool.

The flamingo earns his keep by doing odd jobs, first at a desk and then out on the LeTourneau earthmovers.

After a hard day's work, Stupid Penguin checks his mail, goofs off a little in the bookstore, plays on the berm slide, stares off dreamily into space, and vegetates in front of a television set. It's been a good day.

Many thanks to those who helped me with this, especially the professors, Wheeler, Sharon, and Sharpton. It was a lot of fun.

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7 March 2004 - Sunday

Academic mechaieh

How I have missed such days!

I am sitting in the university library, gazing through its huge bay windows. The sun is casting a golden light across the grass outside. I can see a blue kite whirling in the air above the engineering building across the road. Occasionally a jogger goes by.

Two anonymous students behind me in the library are hunched over a homework assignment, conversing in low tones. Martinez is sitting to my right, reading his Circuits I textbook. To my left, Gallagher is reading his "Bible of programming" for what seems to be a Data Structures assignment. Further to the left, Wheeler is proofreading Martinez' paper for Theology of Cults.

Meanwhile, I have been searching academic databases for articles pertaining to the sociology of first century Jerusalem. So far the fruits of this search have been disappointing. The search itself, however, has reminded me of the reasons I became a history major in the first place. The glories of the liberal arts are passing in front of my eyes. As synopses and abstracts slide by, I dip my fingers into their richness to sample the many flavors of the humanities. OCLC is an exotic bazaar and EBSCOhost a farmer's market to me. I wrap myself in the titles of scholarly papers as if they were colorful silk scarves. I chuckle at articles like "The bitch had it coming to her: rhetoric and interpretation in Ezekiel 16"; I thrill to titles like "Moving to 'our' common ground - a critical examination of community cohesion discourse in twenty-first century Britain"; and I gaze in wonder at the like of "Modern and ancient olive stands near Sagalassos (south-west Turkey) and reconstruction of the ancient agricultural landscape in two valleys."

So far I have found no relevant articles in my periodical search, but I did file three interlibrary loan requests earlier this afternoon. Two of the books I ordered deal with the structure of ancient cities; the third examines New Testament views of Jerusalem. These books, however, are merely the souvenirs of the journey I have taken.

It all comes back to me now.

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