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October 26, 2007

Charles W. Brooke, 1943-2007

As some of you already know, my father passed away last Saturday. We had the visitation on Wednesday and the funeral on Thursday. Needless to say, it's been quite a week.

This marked the end of a seven-or-so year struggle with cancer for my dad, a time that was concurrent with his involvement in local (Davenport) politics, including 4 years as mayor. I'm going to write more extensively about my relationship with my dad in a few days or so, I think. But right now, in addition to the grief and sadness I feel, I must say that it's been a very strange experience. There were things about the cancer that my dad couldn't hide--the physical changes, having to use a cane for a while, etc.--but he wasn't especially public about his pain and exhaustion. So while I was as prepared as I could be for his final days, I wasn't really prepared to read about him in the paper or see stories about him on tv.

While I've been less than thrilled with those who have used the opportunity to talk more about themselves than my father, I don't begrudge the publicness of it all--my father touched a lot of lives, particularly late in his life. For the last few years, it was pretty common for me to visit Iowa and to see, on a daily basis, letters to the editor defending his policies and choices or attacking him. It had subsided a bit with his move from mayor to alderman, but he always spoke his mind, particularly when it came to things that he thought were in the best interests of the city.

But I remain sensitive to the posturing, posing, and performing that has gone on, and I understand it even if I don't approve of it. The publicness of the past week has made it more difficult for me to sort through my own feelings and reactions. Wondering whether this person or that one would dare to come to the visitation, worrying about whether or not tv cameras will try and sneak shots of the family, checking the papers every day to see if and what's being said: all of these things render my own negotiations with death just a little less peaceful and even possible. For a while, until I realized why, I was getting short-tempered and angry. Lack of sleep probably didn't help much, either.

Ah well. As I said, I'll write more about us later. Right now, I just feel like I'm slowly regaining some of the emotional energy that I've been spending over the last week. And I wanted to thank everyone who's passed along condolences and good wishes to my family and me. And I wanted to say goodbye to my dad, even though he claimed he only read my blog when I wrote about sports.

Bye, Dad. I love you. That is All.

October 16, 2007

Best. Re-Visions. Ev0r.

One of the cool things that Deb Holdstein has been doing with CCC (our flagship journal here in Rhetcompia) is a new, periodic feature called "Re-Visions." Re-Visions takes an essay from back in the day, and asks a couple of people to revisit it in a new context. The first two essays to be treated thusly were Maxine Hairston's "Breaking Our Bonds and Reaffirming Our Connections" from 1985 and Nancy Sommers' 1982 essay "Responding to Student Writing."

The third essay is a little more recent--the next issue will feature a Re-Vision of Joseph Janangelo's "Joseph Cornell and the Artistry of Composing Persuasive Hypertexts," which appeared in 1998. I know this because I'm actually responsible for getting it together. It features pieces from Anne, me, and Jeff, and closes with Janangelo's thoughts on our thoughts. I just got the proofs yesterday, so I even know what pages it'll be on.

Needless to say, it is highly recommended reading. And you may be pleased to note that between Jeff and I, we may very well have singlehandedly doubled or tripled the number of times that Bruno Latour's name appears in the pages of CCC. I'll have to check on that to be sure.

That's all.

October 7, 2007

Stop Cubs Stop!

Oh well. I can now officially begin my personal "Bring A-Rod to Wrigley" campaign, I suppose.

The limited effectiveness of our pitching wasn't really that surprising to me. I think Hill has got a couple of years yet before he's a legit 3rd starter, and I've always been a little iffy with both Lilly and Marquis (who deserved a shot after last year, imo).

What was most disappointing was the dismal situational hitting on display. The DB played like they deserved to be there, and for the most part, the Cubs did not. Neither Davis nor Hernandez is all that intimidating as a pitcher, but the Cubs made them look a lot better than they actually were. If the series had gone on, Lou's decision to lift Z in Game 1 might have been a bigger issue--they played badly enough to make it a footnote.

All in all, though, it was a good season to be a Cubs fan, especially after last year's debacle. And this is a team that should be able to compete annually now.

October 5, 2007

A shadow of doubt?

Yes, I must admit that being down 2-0 has somewhat affected my personal conviction that the Cubs will win the World Series this year.

Yes, I must admit that I thought that Hung would win, even despite all the transparently mercenary bullshit about soul and love he was trotting out during his in-game interviews. And I must admit as a corollary that Dale appeared to be a better chef than I was ever capable of crediting. But I have to ask: what chef, knowing that the final is in Aspen, doesn't understand that cooking is different at high altitudes? In a competition for 100K, that's a detail that I wouldn't expect a top chef to overlook.

Yes, I must admit that Pushing Daisies will either be a really intriguing show (Seuss noir) or another in a long line of half-season DVDs added to my collection.

Yes, I must admit that that is all I've got today.