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.

10 Responses to “Half a century minus one”

  1. Happy birthday – many years!

  2. Fr Paul Says:

    Polla ta eti, Peter. I myself am a little under a year and a half behind you on the road to the half century. Birthdays have lost the magic they had when one was a child; they remain an invitation to thank the Lord for the road traversed thus far, and to beseech Him to direct our paths in the future. Τὸν ὑπόλοιπον χρόνον της ζωῆς ἡμῶν ἐν εἰρήνῃ καὶ μετανοία ἐκτελέσαι, παρά του Κυρίου αἰτησώμεθα.

  3. God grant you many years! And a most happy birthday!


  4. Robin White Says:

    Happy Birthday, Peter!
    Another orbit complete.
    I hope systems are A-OK.
    God willing you’re GO for many more!


  5. Brandon Meister Says:

    Happy Birthday! I hope your upcoming year is filled with many good things!

  6. Dear Peter,
    I much enjoy your writing and Website. I have often thought of you and your commentaries on your Website?
    A Happy Birthday to you.
    Did you ever contact Dumbarton Oaks or Harvard University Press for your superb work on Bekkos?
    In Christ and the Theotokos,
    James Likoudis

  7. J Blood Says:

    Please accept my belated, Moronical wishes for the happy completion of your seventh cycle of seven years. The Jubilee year is supposed to be one of rest, I believe.

  8. Renee Says:

    Many years, Peter. I think we will be seeing you soon, correct. Blessings, Renee Wiesner

  9. T. Chan Says:

    Happy Birthday!

  10. bekkos Says:

    Thanks to all of you for your kind wishes.

    Mrs. Wiesner: Yes, you should be seeing me in about three weeks’ time, though I still have to buy the train ticket. Very much looking forward to seeing you and John and all the children.

    Mr. Blood: Thanks for reminding me that the forty-ninth year is a year of jubilee. I would gladly spend it doing absolutely nothing, but my father, who suspects that that is what I am already doing, would probably kick me out of the house.

    Mr. Likoudis: Very good to hear from you; I’m glad you enjoy the blog. I applied some years ago for a Dumbarton Oaks Fellowship; the fellows of Dumbarton Oaks chose not to give me one. Since then I have not been in contact with them. I did show the translations to some of the professors at the Sheptytsky Institute in Ottawa; they seemed impressed with the work, and suggested that they might be willing to co-sponsor its publication.

    Robin: It is plain that you live in a non-Ptolemaic universe, and not far from Houston.

    Fr. Paul: Your prayer is my own. May God grant all of us to spend the remaining time of our lives in peace and repentance, and show us how best we may serve him.

    To all of you: Thank you for replying to my rather silly post, and for turning it into an occasion for a sort of online birthday party.

    Peter Gilbert

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