A Pop Culture Christmas

Linus explaining the meaning of Christmas:

Baby, it’s cold outside:



Let me just say that I’m exhausted.

I rarely stay up till midnight as I did last night, especially on a school night, and I’m terribly, terribly tired right now.


Part of it is the lack of sleep (thanks CATS for demanding that I still wake up at 5:30am).

Then there was the glass of champagne to celebrate the grand finale and the wine to go with the meal during the 2 1/2 hour episode (my plan to gulp big glasses of water between glasses of vino worked well, at first).  On top of that we ate lots of the delicious food that friends made (and that I finished off for lunch today–yum!).

And, there was all of the giggling over the Lost-themed Target commercials:

Was it all worth it?

Socially, yes. For the last few years each Lost night was a big event with friends, food, and philosophical/literary and dishy discussions during commercials, as well as the various screams directed at the television that happened with increasing frequency over the years.

But, really, why end what was so intriguing because it was, in addition to a soap opera, a philosophical science fiction drama as if we were watching, well, Party of Five with Matthew Fox as a much younger savior? What we got was pure soap opera, with only a weird dash of sci fi (embarrassingly echoing, in part,  the endings of Titanic and The Sixth Sense).

Not that I didn’t enjoy the sappy ending: I’ve spent years of my life with these characters and even a literature professor can get all warm and fuzzy at a happy ending, no matter how twisted.  But really: couldn’t we have had a little less of the hugging and kissing, and a little more of the philosophy of Lost?

I’m going to bed early tonight.

Calling All Lost Fans

If you watch Lost, you have GOT to read this blog: it’s side-splittingly funny.

Other bloggers are tad bit more serious about the show, yet still worthy of a read:

And then there is the feminist point of view, including the usual declarations of hotness (Sayid! Sawyer! Anyone BUT Jack!) and misogyny:

  • Feministe (once a week group discussion postings, usually by Thursday)

Then there’s the mother of all Lost websites:

And no, I didn’t spend hours today reading Lost blogs instead of working.  I print them out and cherish them over a glass of wine in the evening.

Added post post:  Wondering what to cook for your Lost parties? Wonder no more. Check out ProfHacker’s latest posting, with recipes!

Mad (Wo)Men

No, I don’t look anything like this actually (I have been told over the years that I look like Carly Simon or Sandra Bullock or Laura San Giacomo–Not sure why, but I suppose if you could combine Carly’s mouth, Sandra’s nose and Laura’s coloring and hair, you’d get a close resemblance to Annie Em).

You, too, can dress up as a character on “Mad Men”.  We finally finished watching Season 2 on dvd  The characters are getting more interesting with each episode, as the series leisurely allows them to reveal themselves. And while Don Draper is clearly the protagonist of the series, the women characters are so much more intriguing to me than Draper’s odd mix of a Cheever character channeling and deconstructing Darrin Stephens (Bewitched)/Mike Brady (you know)/Michael Steadman (30something)/Major Anthony Nelson (I Dream of Jeanne)–ad men of tv shows past.

Season 3 is 1963, the year of Betty Friedan, and the year I was born.  The women (Peggy, my fave, Joan and Betty) are all around my mom’s age (a little younger or older) in 1963. I see in all three women behaviors that  either bug me or that I admire in my mom, so watching the show has both personal, and professional, resonance.

And it’s just incredibly addicting, as were those tv shows of the past.

Dead Weekend

bachelorbutjuneThe horrid quarter system (10 weeks of instruction followed by 1 week of finals) doesn’t really allow time for the traditional “dead week” of no classes and no assignments so that students can study for finals; however, for some instructors, we do have the lovely hiatus I’m called “dead weekend”: the weekend before finals week when advanced composition students are frantically revising research papers (I spent dozens of hours reviewing the drafts last weekend) and where my online introduction to fiction students are taking their “take home” short essay finals.

So what did I do during my dead weekend? 

I must say, it was divinely decadent.

  • I chatted with students on the last day of classes who thanked me for my speech to honors students last weekend: I decided to go the personal/inspirational route. And, taking advice from Ink, my metaphor was: doing well academically is like training for the half marathon.  I also referred to David Wallace Foster’s “what the hell is water?” parable.  It was a speech chock-filled with imagery (and the obligatory “always wear sunscreen” reference got the chuckle I hoped for).
  • I went out Friday night with colleagues and friends to celebrate the end of one friend’s rotation as chair of a department.  We ate, drank and talked outside in the evening sun—something we rarely do when classes are in session. Decided we needed a faculty lounge on (our dry, alas) campus.
  • I leisurely ran my favorite trail along the river laughing to “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” and admiring the wildflowers in bloom.
  • I went to a birthday bbq the next night, sitting outside by the fire pit, nibbling on those yummy chicken sausages and chatting about summer plans (reading, writing, running, the 3Rs, as well as socializing and travelling).
  • I ran a 5K race on Sunday morning, and ran a personal best of 26:06: I came in 137th out of over 700 runners.  The half marathon I’ve been training for is next Sunday and I now feel great confidence that I can not just complete it, but complete it well.
  • I worked in my garden: I now have several pots filled with soon to be blooming flowers.
  • I finished watching season 1 of “In Treatment”—the HBO series starring the studly Gabriel Byrne that has me oddly hooked.  I’ve had a few sessions of therapy, enough to know that this tv show is a wild exaggeration of what is probably mostly skimming on unethical therapy in real life, but ooh, what great drama it is.  Of course, the drama in Paul’s personal life (Bryne’s character) is the most intriguing. 
  • Pondered (well, started to ponder) the definition of “happiness” as a result of Ph.D. Me’s posting on Friday.
  • I finished reading Elizabeth Strout’s amazing novel Olive Kitteridge and had a sudden flash of an idea for a project I’d like to work on this summer as a result of the MLA’s new discussion group on Age Studies.

Today is Monday and finals week has begun: I’ll receive nearly 40 research papers today, the other 50+ written assignments later this week.  One student, who handed in her essay this morning, needs to return to her home country immediately to get her mother out of a war zone where her uncle was just tortured and killed.

Dead weekend is over.