Tuesday, November 18, 2003


I'm back from Shenandoah. A lovely time, all too brief. Lots of fresh air.

You've been waiting a while for several things from me-- more progress on the NK situation, an essay on The One and the Many, and more artwork. A comic strip, even. These things are all on the way, but I've decided you need a little divertissement while you wait. So consider this your concentrated dose of Hominidalia, sort of like one of those slide shows you're forced to watch at a friend's or relative's house.

We'll start off with a few shots from Catholic University, which saw fit to grant me an MA in Religion and Culture in May of 2002. This first shot is somewhat creepy: two out of three people in it are now dead. The woman on the left is Dr. Peggy Kelleher, who was Department Chair of R&RE (Religion and Religious Education). She taught my REL 701 class, which was about basic approaches to religious studies (not to be confused with theology). Next to her is Father Cenkner, the Dominican priest who taught my Hinduism, Asian Spirituality, and Comparative Theology classes. Fr. Cenkner passed away not long ago; this photo shows him about to speak; our graduation ceremony was doubling as his retirement ceremony. Next to Fr. Cenkner is Fr. Stephen Happel, who also died, and very suddenly. Fr. Happel was Dean of the School of Religious Studies, of which R&RE was a subset before the restructuring (which took place after I graduated).

Cenkner Gets a Gift

Fr. Cenkner was of the "I'm old and I don't give a shit" school of thinking: a couple days before the committee officially told me I'd passed my comps, I already knew this thanks to him. He whispered the news in Comparative Theo. Father was one of my readers for the second portion of the exam (the first portion was devoted entirely to Catholic theology; I have no shame in admitting I barely passed the first portion, because [1] I'm not too interested in Catholic theo, and [2] I got extremely high marks on the second portion, which focused on my fields of interest).

Father'd spent quite a few years in India; the rumor was that he'd "gone native." I think it's possible: he sure liked pointing at things with his middle finger, something I see older Korean men do all the time.

A classmate of mine, Chad, figures in the picture below:

The Chad Wedding

Chad married his sweetheart Kelly in Pennsylvania. A fellow Protestant, he's in the CUA doctoral program (Spirituality). From left to right: my buddy Mark, his wife Malinda (they have 2 kids now), a modestly-attired Chad (who usually wears glasses), his blushing bride Kelly (she's a Presbyterian minister), some stupid, fat half-Korean asswipe who somehow stole into the picture, and Father Michael McGrath, a priest who's my age, but who's got way more gray hair because he used to be Dean of Discipline at some Catholic secondary school in Ireland. Fr. Mike loved raunchy humor.

Next up: some profs, plus Donna.

Some CUA Profs, Plus Donna

The dude on the left is Dr. Bill Barbieri, whom the female students perennially deem "cute." He was my Comparative Ethics prof. The dude with the cane is Dr.Tim Friedrichsen. I never had him as a teacher, but we'd occasionally talk in the Caldwell Building's tiny third-floor lunchroom/lounge. Next we have Dr. Charles B. Jones, my favorite prof. Dr. Jones taught my Taoism/Confucianism, Buddhism, and Interreligious Dialogue courses. He's a talented guy, and his being legally blind doesn't stop him from whipping out an electric guitar and jamming now and then. Nor does it keep him from publishing articles on Taiwanese Buddhism and doing endless off- and online research in Chinese. Dr. Jones and Dr. Barbieri are both fluent in spoken and written Chinese; Dr. Barbieri and Dr. Friedrichsen are both fluent in German; Dr. Jones is functionally fluent in Spanish.

Next to Dr. Jones is Donna. Just Donna. Donna works in Dr. Kelleher's office as an assistant, and she appreciates my nasty sense of humor. Next to her, once again, is Fr. Cenkner.

I've written a few times about my buddy, Dr. Stephen doCarmo. You can follow several Steve-related links on my sidebar. Here's a pic of his longtime girlfriend, Erangee. She's from Sri Lanka. The white meat she's gripping belongs to Steve.

Erangee Gripping White Meat

And here's Steve doing a Hamlet impression:

Doak and Skull

Here's a pic of some of my friends in Korea:

Eun Haeng, Tom, and Jang Woong

If you're a dedicated TV-watcher in Korea, you may actually recognize the white guy. That's Thomas St. John, who's been on TV's "EBS Yeong-eo" show. He's also done voice/radio work, he's a sports photographer, an avid fan of Korean baseball (he's commissioned me to do some Yi Seung-yeop artwork for him; Yi has given Tom his approval... I have to wonder what Tom thinks of Kevin at IA's rant about Yi-- a rant I agree with, for what it's worth!), and a longtime resident of Korea, with no plans to return to the States.

The lady is Tom's lovely wife, Yi Eun Haeng. Tom's nicknamed her "The Bank" (NB to non-Korean-speakers: the word for "bank" is eun-haeng in Korean, but Tom's wife's name, while pronounced the same, is actually composed of two different Chinese characters).

In the foreground is my buddy Kang Jang-woong. Jang-woong's the guy who helped me in 1995 when I sued my asshole boss (hagwon work... need I say more?). He's married to the lovely Pak Bo-hyun; we're frequently together for movie outings. Jang-woong voted for Yi Hwae-ch'ang, and was very depressed when he lost to Noh Mu-hyon. I think the country feels Jang-woong's pain.

And this pic, which I found on Rotten.com, is pregnant with symbolic potential:

KorPoli Metaphor

We'll end here. In the next post, I'll offer some pics of my French "family," my Korean relatives, the Maximum Leader, my own family, and yours truly.

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