Monday, July 7, 2008

Back Home in Indiana

Thanks to the various correspondents who have visited this blog and offered comments about movies for medievalists, blogs and blogging, the meaning of graduation ceremonies, course syllabi, and lightbulb jokes. It's good hearing from you.

We're getting an international cast of registrants for the SIEPM conference in October. So far, 2 from Japan, 1 from Poland, 1 from Canada, and Americans from Wisconsin, Florida, and Washington, D.C.

This year's Fourth of July celebration was especially memorable for some of us in South Bend. I was the winning bidder at an Arthritis Foundation silent auction for the mayor's "skybox" at Covaleski Stadium for a Silverhawks baseball game. For those who don't know, the Silverhawks are a Class A minor league team that is part of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. The "Cove" is a lovely little stadium and watching a game there is truly a throwback to baseball in an era before million-dollar paychecks were common occurrences. My crew of 22 neighbors, family, and Institute folk watched the Silverhawks beat the Lansing Lugnuts, 2-0. My favorite moment was listening to one of our distinguished senior faculty humming along to "Shout" while watching a clip from "Animal House" on the scoreboard, and then, mirabile dictu, correctly identifying the Beatles version of "Twist and Shout" being played over a clip from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," despite the lip synced scene from "Wayne's World," defied his powers of identification, but nonetheless, it was an enchanted moment while we waited for the sky to darken sufficiently to view the fireworks.

The weather was absolutely perfect and during the game, we got a personal visit from Swoop, the Silverhawks' mascot. Apart from late delivery of a can opener and our peanuts and Cracker Jack, it was a great success. At times, the small-town character of South Bend can be a bit disheartening to the strongly urban-hearted among us, but on this occasion, it was a joy. In particular, the build-your-own-burger competition (a person dressed as the top half of a hamburger bun had to collect human-sized (plastic) burger components, stack them on the human "bottom half" of the bun, and then fall on top of the stack) offered a possible addition to the next full-scale, social event sponsored by the Medieval Institute. In order to retain an appropriate sense of propriety, I would assume that we would field distinct faculty and student teams, least some over-zealous student "top half" try to seek revenge for a poor grade by flopping too hard onto a faculty "bottom half." Other between-the-innings merriment included the vegetable race (won by the carrot after a valiant effort by the broccoli and a directionally challenged performance by the corn).

I urge you to catch a Silverhawks game next time you visit.

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