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It’s hard to leave Durham, to leave my dear heart Margaret (superlatives sound cheap as Katrina’s devastation reverberates around us, so I’m holding back on modifiers concerning how hard it is). There’s work to be done in Evanston, though, and Margaret has work to do here. Time to go.

Heads Up

Any church — heck, any reader — who’s even vaguely interested in developing an online presence should hustle over to TextDrive where Dean is offering another limited number of lifetime hosting offers for a mere $400. Don’t hesitate. (The Disseminary is VC201 at Textdrive, although we’re also lifetime members at our regular host Cornerhost, with whom we’ve been entirely pleased and who has also offered lifetime hosting deals from time to time, of which we took advantage. This is the first time I’ve noticed one of these offers in time to call it to readers’ attention.)

Postcard From Durham

We’re having perfect weather in Durham, doing a lot of walking and napping, and spending a fair amount of time offline. Still, a lot’s been going on.

Margaret met with her precept section of Prof. Berger’s “Prayer and Providence” course (that’s for Kevin). I love hanging around Durham, except that it’s so congenial an atmosphere that it’s hard just to visit. Kevin, we’re working on rebooting the Disseminary — had a small hang-up over last weekend — but I’ll get back to you as our agenda comes into focus more clearly. Right now, we’re on a first-things-first schedule.

Thursday, as I was traveling, I noted this graphic from USA Today: Pumphouse. It depicts the levees in New Orleans, but evidently someone got a little distracted in grouping and resizing in their illustration program, because the pumphouse in the diagram floats free of the levee wall and in the last diagram it’s floating in the middle of the lake. This isn’t exactly a Tuftean information-design problem, but it does exemplify one of the pitfalls of communicating information graphically — a sort of graphical typo, a “graph-o.”



Originally uploaded by AKMA.

Meanwhile, Pippa went on an art binge and executed a number of lovely drawings and collages for Margaret’s apartment, as we get ready for relocating Pippa back to Evanston. She drew the vase of sunflowers that Margaret’s friend Sarah left in the apartment to greet her, and this penguin parent-and-child collage of cut-paper, pencil, and marker. Margaret has a rattan screen that she uses as a gallery wall for Pippa art, and Pip has been filling it up impressively.

Meanwhile, Si is settling in at Marlboro, where Jennifer covered his moving-in process with an array of photos.

I’m working out my plans for the Clergy Day in Northern Indiana next week, thinking about my paper for the SBL meeting, and reveling in the company of my lovely wife and marvelous daughter, in terrific Durham. Now, we’re off to church, to pray for our sisters and brothers in Long Beach and New Orleans and all around, who’ve been battered by this week’s dreadful events. I’ll be in touch.

Credit Where Due

Nice to see that someone in that family is useful in a natural disaster.

[Later: Joe Duermer, bless him, has an unbeatable overview of the situation. “This is no time for politics,” people say, and to the extent that some of us might be about more immediately useful work, they may be right — but one useful end that some of us can serve is to point out that the past five years the U.S. government has operated in explicit repudiation of reality-based politics, and the chickens are coming home (or “homeless”) to roost. The Bush regime had no adequate plan about what to do after invading Afghanistan, none for concluding its adventure in Iraq, it specifically ignored direct, vivid, easy-to-understand warnings about short-changing New Orleans’s emergency preparedness and now feigns surprise that NO was unprepared. I fear that what Jeneane proposes as bitter satire may turn out, in some warped manifestation, to become official policy. So much for government by wish-fulfillment, fantasy, and slander — though, of course, it’s other people who have to live and die with the consequences of W’s fantasies.)

(Go to Shelley’s and download Kansas Joe and Memphis Minnie’s “When the Levee Breaks”:

If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break
If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break
And all these people have no place to stay. . . .)

*Rubs Eyes, Yawns*

I woke up this morning at 4 AM to catch a cab ride to Midway, to catch a plane to Durham, to visit with my lovely wife and to pick up Pippa for our mutual return to Evanston. The travel went very smoothly (I quite like flying Southwest — I just wish they didn’t fly only from Midway). When Pippa and I escorted Margaret in to campus for the class she TAs, we ran into my mentor from my years at Yale, Richard Hays; Richard and I had a good, long conversation, then Pippa and I came back to Margaret’s apartment and I had a serious nap.

While I staggered and dozed through the day, Jordon launched Resonate, Si started his college life. Richard figured out that his home is still afloat in New Orleans (and that’s a good thing). I posted the next chapter of the Theological Outlines, Chapter Twenty-Two (The Church).

It’s still time to help in any way you can. If you haven’t already made a contribution, I endorse Episcopal Relief and Development. If you’re unmoved by the coverage you’ve seen, perhaps the reports at the Times-Picayune and Metroblogging will touch you.