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Archive for the ‘90s’ Category

Athaliah Pierces Her Nose (1997)

Posted by vlorbik on August 20, 2013

Athalia and her mother were on their roof being served breakfast. Though the day was not yet hot, they sat in the shade of a brightly colored canopy. The whole city of Samaria lay spread out beneath them like a map: the old market to the south, the new temple to the north, the watchmen patrolling the wall around it all.

Athalia dripped some honey onto half a roll of bread thoughtfully, pretending to listen. Despite the effort she had been devoting to wearing her mother down, she was apprehensive. How much would it hurt? Hava had said hers didn’t hurt at all. “You can feel the needle sliding through, but it’s not painful.” Lili had her doubts. Hava obviously had different notions of what was or wasn’t painful since she was subject to the occasional beating. Lili herself hadn’t even been spanked since she was a little girl.

“It really shouldn’t matter what your playmates do, Lili. It’s not for the royal family to follow fashions. The people should follow us. When I was a girl back in Sidon… ”

“Oh, but Mother! You’re so pretty! Of course they all wanted to look like you! And I’m so ordinary! It’s just a nose-ring! Everybody’s wearing them! I am twelve years old, after all!”

“But, Lili, you’re not at all ordinary. You’re beautiful.”

Athalia winced as if in pain and said nothing. She was somewhat plain. Maybe her mother really couldn’t see it. She had her father’s stern, square lips and jawline. Her eyes were narrow like her mother’s, but somehow on her face they looked sinister rather than exotic. Her nose really was her best feature. She had seen the way the boys (and lately, many of the men, too) looked at Hava. It wasn’t fair. Hava was only a slave, after all.

Jezebel, taken in, thought Athalia might be about to cry. “Well, look. The priests of Jah would never let us forget it. Why beg for trouble? Your father… ”

“Everything’s always priests and politics with you! Anyway, you said the people should follow us!”

“Don’t interrupt. Your father has been trying for years to form an alliance with the Judeans. That’s what he went to Jerusalem for. And the Jahvist priests practically run the country up there.”

And so on. She could be so tiresome. What did Lili care about Jah or Judah? Her father would get his way like he always did. Nobody ever thought about her or what she wanted. Though, to be perfectly honest about it, it wasn’t exactly clear what she wanted. It wasn’t as if there were any boys she even liked. Still, she certainly wanted to be attractive. Never mind why.

“Who cares what the Jahvists think? They don’t run things around here!”—an appeal to her mother’s vanity; Athalia knew that the priests blamed Jezebel for the growing popularity of the rival cult of Baal. And a bribe: “I’ll go to temple services! Whenever you want!”

“Oh, all right… ”

So Belit, the Queen’s own beautician, came to Athalia’s rooms the next day. Belit herself was not at all beautiful, and her elaborately arranged hair, her heavy eye-shadow, and the face powder she wore at all hours of the day and night did nothing to make her more so. Years ago, as a little girl, Athalia had admired her figure, but now she had grown overweight. Her dress had obviously been tailored to show off her horrible huge breasts.
“So your majesty wishes to be pierced.”

“Please! Belit! Call me Lili like you always used to.”

“But your majesty is now a young woman.”

She certainly didn’t feel like a young woman. She hadn’t even had her first period yet. And as for sex… well, she knew about it, of course: apparently people did it just like dogs or horses. The whole thing mildly disgusted her. And then screaming for hours in agony with a baby. Baal. Which was not to say that she didn’t get a mysterious thrill looking at the muscular legs of some of the soldiers in her father’s bodyguard.

“Well, how do we do this?”

“Sit down over here.” At her dressing table. Belit put a small washbasin between Lili and her small mirror of polished silver. “Have some wine.”

So it was going to hurt. Well, it was too late to back out now. She’d boasted to Hava that she would do it. There was also her mother to consider. She’d get even with Hava somehow.

Belit held the needle over the basin, poured some wine over it, and chanted some ancient prayers. “Hold this rag right here”—over her mouth—”and don’t move.”

It hurt quite a lot. There was a curious sliding sensation between the two layers of skin; the actual pain was only skin deep. Athalia clenched her teeth and tried not to cry.

The pain lasted only a few seconds, and the beautiful little gold ring looked quite striking. But it was still itching three days later when her father, Ahab, the King, returned from Judah. The terms of his new treaty were announced at a state dinner that night. Athalia was engaged to be married.

Posted in 90s, Religion, Ten Page News | Leave a Comment »

all knowledge is found in fanzines

Posted by vlorbik on January 16, 2013

Connie’s Vietnamese Salad (1997)
(Serves 4)

1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
{1\over4} cup fresh lime juice (the juice of one lime)
2 cloves garlic, diced very fine, or smashed in a garlic press
{1\over2} cup sugar
3\over4 cup Vietnamese fish sauce
In a small bowl combine all of the above ingredients, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
The juice of one lime
1 head leaf lettuce, cleaned and cut into 1″ pieces
32 fresh coriander leaves, cleaned

3 1\over2 oz. dry rice stick noodles (Maifun)
2 Tablespoons roasted peanuts, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 medium cucumber, sliced
2 cups mung bean sprouts

1. Rub the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and squeeze the lime juice over them. Broil until done. Slice into thin pieces.
2. Soak the rice stick noodles in hot water for 10 minutes, drain. Cut noodles into smaller pieces, cook in boiling water for 2–3 minutes. Drain, and run under cold water, separating the noodles with your fingers.
3. Place the lettuce and coriander leaves in large individual bowls, toss them together. Arrange a layer of sliced cucumber and mung bean sprouts on top, followed by a layer of rice stick noodles (should be at least a cup of noodles per bowl). Arrange the sliced chicken on top of the noodles, fanning it out. Finish by sprinkling the top with grated carrot and chopped peanuts.
4. Serve with sauce on side, letting each person dress their own salad.

(Originally printed in The Ten Page News #13.)

Posted in 90s, Recipes, Ten Page News | 1 Comment »

the swirling beachball of doom

Posted by vlorbik on April 7, 2010

my life in schools.

fast forward.
bill carroll’s humanities initiative
at ohio dominican college.

if word-choice were anything like
as influential as many in politics
(and almost all academics)
like to pretend, why then,
my “indoctrination” would have been
*over* when i got my “doctorate”.

but one door closes when
another one opens and
as far as “turning pro”
goes, i was almost completely
unprepared. (that this was
in large part because of choices
i’d made with eyes *at least*
as wide open as the generic
next-guy player in whatever
game it is we’re here considering
[or are *about* to; somebody
say “go”]… well, that’s very likely
true i hope and feel. so what.
[i hope you don’t like it
and want to do something
about it].)

“i hope and feel.”
“trust” doesn’t enter into it of course.

personal slogans of the season part n+1.
‘our medium is handwriting.”,
“trust no one.”,
“tools at hand.”,
“no yin without a yang.”,
“look again. look closer.”,
and “where was i?”.

to name but a few.
where was i?

bill carroll and humanities at dominican.
of bill i know but little and will
say only slightly less. young administrators
“going up” some career “path”
(a “graph”? a “*tree*”??) will…
or so conventional wisdom has it…
generally try to distinguish themselves
by *changing things around*. if nothing
too horrible happens, they’ll have proved
that they can get people to *do things
their way* (instead of some tried-and-true
*other* way)… which, on some prominent
world-running models anyway, is pretty
close to the *whole point* of “administration”.
(or, as i’d rather call it, “management”.)

anyhow, when i turned pro in ’92
and moved to columbus to work at
dominican (as a newly minted
math Ph.D.), bill was academic V.P.
there and was energetically recruiting
faculty from all departments
to teach in a newly-redesigned
humanities program.

i loved this idea and signed on right away.
so along with teaching my math classes,
i sat in as an auditor-with-benefits
on (young theologian) leo madden’s
Hum101 (as i’ll here style it;
the actual course number is lost
to me and good riddance).

it was great. just for the regular
direct contact with leo, it’d’ve been
totally worth it. but the big draw,
as you’ll’ve guessed if you know me,
was the *texts*: the iliad,
the aeneid, luke and
acts, some readings in plato
(“the death of socrates” and,
the intro to the whole course sequence,
“the parable of the cave”),
and (alas) the confessions
of augustine. (i’m pretty far from
catholic [nanny converted to marry
owen thomas (“senior”); their son
owen thomas (“junior”) was my–
owen thomas (“the third”)…
“owen by the way”…–dad;
dad was raised catholic
but *never* spoke of church
matters (with me) except
in the abstract; some years
after his death i was somewhat
surprised to be reliably informed
that he (dad) had considered
studying for the priesthood
as a young man]; as a lifetime
academic one cannot escape
having a certain respect for
the “catholic school” tradition;
that’s about it.)

anyhow, one semester later i was ready
and led my own classes. and i’m sure
i had a point when i begain this ramble
and i even expect to get *to* it…
at some later date. suffice it to say
here that i taught Hum101 three times
and 102 once (a “team teaching” situation;
we-must-do-our-*ex*ercises…) and
loved it and that i even have some notes
left over (that i’ve had it mind
to port up onto the net for quite
a while now and maybe soon will).

more light!

Posted in 90s, Me Me Me, Rambles | 1 Comment »

yet another crosspost: from adj-l

Posted by vlorbik on March 9, 2010

we got $40 a “contact hour” for classroom work
where i last was… and $20/hour for the one-on-one
“learning center” tutoring.

i was getting by at that campus at something around
20 grand a year (give or take) for the last few years.
this is summers-in, natch… never turning anything down…
back before i became a pariah (for living too long
from all i can tell, since i was always on time
with the grades and was generally quite popular
with students and so on), i’d adjuncted around here
at as many as three schools at a time
(big state u, church-affiliated little u.,
and bigstate community college) and been
pretty comfortable by my standards at it
financially (and proud of carrying a
9-course workload… once). but i forget
the actual figures and have very likely
destroyed the records.

this is ohio by the way.
state of weird legislation
exempting its adjuncts
from respect from its
labor relations board.
(4117 if memory serves;
our failed drive at
bigstate cc was the
best financial year
of my life since i worked
halftime for the international
as an organizer while teaching,
at the usual ~20K, across
the street. woulda been
great if we’d known what
we were doing [and hadn’t
made our move too soon…
i think i’ll have said something
about that already]).

much of the “real” pay of course…
organizing or teaching…
is the people you work with
along the way.

i had an amazing run from that point of view.
almost a quarter-century of saying true things
as clearly as i knew how, for pay… and talking
to students and teachers “along the way” about
math, the universe, and everything.

from a dollars-and-cents angle?
down so long the crash looked like up.
anyhow now that *everybody’s*
out of work, i look like less of a loser.
sometimes. a little bit. from far away.
if you’re not looking. maybe.

i got my ph.d. in ’92 if that’s of any interest;
four years in the minor leagues after that
(a *different* church-affiliated college [now
styling itself a “university”, to absurdly
little ridicule]). adjuncting after that.

Posted in 90s, Ohs, ~AcLump | 2 Comments »

Cagle’s Panorama

Posted by vlorbik on January 29, 2010

donna robinson’s got the original art evidently. ~1994 iirc.

Posted in 90s, Bloomington, Old-school Friends | Leave a Comment »

comics will break your heart

Posted by vlorbik on January 10, 2010

marvel vs. kirby in USA today. the future: a dog biting a human leg. forever.

test post (a macbook for a camera).

timothy hittle’s the potato hunter (U-tube). (also: “gumby” creator art clokey dies at 88; RIP).

boxcar books doco; matt starr at vimeo.

Posted in 70s, 80s, 90s, Bloomington, Ohs, OT+ML | Leave a Comment »