Half a century minus one
May 22, 2008
While waiting for a file to download at the library where I can get a fast internet connection, I will write down a few thoughts this evening. Today is my birthday; I was born 49 years ago. I spent most of this day trying to get a Linux distro installed on an aging computer, and finding out, by the end of the day, that the distro is a bit too flashy and sophisticated for my old hardware, and that, if I’m not careful, the whole thing is likely to turn into a useless pile of junk. When last I tried it out, the boot loader was terminally confused, and wouldn’t start. I sympathize with the old machine; sometimes I feel terminally confused and superannuated myself.
An old friend of mine, Brian Keena, telephoned this morning to wish me a happy birthday. Brian these days has his own radio show; he is the “Jazz Messenger” of Charlottesville, VA (WTJU, 10:30 a.m. to noon Eastern time, streaming live on the internet at http://www.wtju.net). If you enjoy jazz, you will undoubtedly enjoy his show. Brian is another New Jersey expatriate whom I have known for something more than 40 years.
I also received e-mails today from my goddaughter, who is expecting her first baby, and from Alan Gordon, who read my last post and suspects that I am the first person ever to have used the word “Brooklyniensis.”
I had intended to celebrate my birthday today by going into the city; instead, having wasted most of the day in computer repair, I went out late in the afternoon, had a cup of tea, and spent an hour or so in a used bookshop (the Chatham Bookseller — see the sidebar). After sorting through possible purchases, in the end I bought three books:
- Seamus Heaney, tr., Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (New York 2000).
- Lawrence W. Levine, The Opening of the American Mind: Canons, Culture, and History (Boston 1996).
- John A. Kouwenhoven, The Columbia Historical Portrait of New York: An Essay in Graphic History (New York 1972).
Total cost: $14.98.
* * *
Having finished my download, I left the library and returned home. On my way out, a librarian was standing by the exit, and various people were standing outside, looking at the sky. The librarian told me to stop and look at the rainbow; I obliged her. It seemed to me that God has his own way of sending e-mails. And I thanked him.