Wednesday, December 7, 2011

End of Semester

French Tommy (FrT): What are you doing on this blog? We should be writing.
American Tommy (AmT): You don't give me time to blog, you don't give me time to work out, all we do is work. This sucks.
FrT: Papers don't write themselves and books don't read themselves.
AmT: And heavy things don't lift themselves: I'm going insane.
Florida Tommy (FLT): It's almost more paper and you can go to the gym this weekend.
AmT: For the first time in like two weeks! This crap isn't going to fly next semester, I know first semester in a PhD program is a hazing process but this has been silly, you guys need to figure out how to budget your time.
FLT: Fine.
FrT: Fine. Now write our paper.

thanks for reading

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Trois Lettres (3 Letters)

To all my loyal readers,

I would begin with apologies for the six-and-a-halfish week hiatus from blogging but I am not sorry. Apologizing for not blogging would be like apologizing for partying or living. Or apologizing when the two overlap. Not going to happen. I have, however, been virtually proving my existence fairly regularly via facebook and twitter so you could always satisfy your [TBA] withdrawal through those venues. I did, however, deem it necessary for each of the three of us to update you on our current goings on.

I have to start by saying that it is good to be back on the blog – even if the three of us are still struggling to coalesce into a normally-functioning human being (though it is arguable whether any first semester PhD student should be expected to function as a normal human being). I have been attempting to dissuade American Tommy from drinking beer and watching TV shows like “Jersey Shore” and movies like “Leprechaun 5: In Da Hood” and the amount of time he wastes on Fantasy Football is depressing. However, with “Beavis and Butthead” returning to the airwaves tonight, I am about to throw in the towel and assume that I’m fighting a losing battle. American Tommy will not be completely broken of his Americanness. That being said, I am equally concerned that French Tommy is academically overexerting himself. In the past 8 weeks he has read approximately 15 books in their entirety and constantly fails to grasp the concept of “skimming for content.” He has spent far too much time trying to figure out how to type in Arabic on his computer and learn the requisite vocab and still has ~50 pages to write and more to read in the second half of the semester than the first. I guess that, while I’m worrying and trying to reign in the unhelpful tendencies of French Tommy and American Tommy that they are both doing quite well, as you will see from their letters below.

Thanks for reading,

Florida Tommy

To Readers of this Blog;




I don’t know that we have been formally introduced but I am the Tommy who was cultivated in the rich cultural context of Paris, France while pursuing an MA in Middle East and Islamic Studies at the American University of Paris. I abhor American reality television and am annoyed with American Tommy’s incessant preoccupation with the goings on of Pauly D, Vinny, Snooki, et al. I would prefer a night at the museum or reading a good work of fiction to subjecting myself to such rubbish but, alas, sometimes I have little to no say in the matter. And rap music. I don’t get it but American Tommy loves it. But this is besides the point. The past few months have been quite productive in terms of scholarly activity. I have read through some thought-provoking primary source material in the field of Muslim Philosophy, written a paper on the political implications of taxonomic reasoning and 'Religion' as a floating signifier, learned the Arabic alphabet as well as some introductory conversational vocabulary, and led a week’s worth of lectures on the topic of Capital Punishment in a course on Religious Ethics. I have also been informed that I will be the teaching assistant in a course called “Islam in the Modern World” which I am quite happy about. The coming weeks should prove to be quite fruitful in terms of reading, writing, and research followed by a winter break of preparing for the spring semester.

Thank you all for reading,
French Tommy


My fantasy football teams, Dick Butkus, Team TandA, and TommyWantWingy are excellent, mediocre, and bad, respectively (though the latter two have injuries as excuses – they couldn’t possibly be losing due to poor team management). Florida has been fun – the rewards card at the liquor store on the corner has proved to be worth its weight in bourbon and nearly every bar runs buy-one-get-one drink specials regularly. Pauly D is stepping his game up and has become the most entertaining cast member of Jersey Shore and Beavis and Butthead is coming back on the air. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a gift from the gods but I am thankful. I’ve had to work out less than I’d like because Frenchy reads too much (or his professors make him read too much or he reads too slow, I try to stay away from all that). French Tommy has definitely been taking up too much of life lately, but I’m currently leading one fantasy football league (Dick Butkus in PlayforPride II – having Wes Welker and Calvin Johnson helps) and sitting in fourth place in another (Team TandA in the Mercke Football League – Kenny Britt, Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates, LeGarrette Blount, Julio Jones, Trent Cole,, Danieal Manning, and now Darren McFadden are all key injuries that TeamTandA has managed to somewhat overcome). The third (TommyWantWingy in VCU Biostat League) is somewhat of a lost cause at this point, but I’m atleast staying sort of competitive…at least I’m not Mercer who is a terrible human being with questionable hygiene who spends his free time kicking puppy dogs. In the coming semester I’m hoping to keep up with the current season of South Park, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (which has been on. point. so far this season) as well as Jersey Shore and Beavis and Butthead. I’m also looking forward to a trip to Virginia this weekend where Frenchy gets to read on the plane and in airports but that’s it. I’ll try to blog more regularly, but won’t be sorry if I don’t and Frenchy will probably try to ruin that joyful part of my life as well.

Thanks for reading,

American Tommy

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Tommys Take a Deep Breath

After 10 days of classes the Tommys reconvene to discuss progress made towards acclimating to Florida and putting up with their annoyingly more ambitious and studious self.

American Tommy (AmT): It's Football Season.
French Tommy (FrT): Yes, your team has lost to Football powerhouses Costa Rica and Belgium.
AmT: That's soccer. We've been through this. Nobody plays Fantasy Soccer.
Florida Tommy (FLT): I hope you aren't going to put too much time into Fantasy Football this season, I've got way too much reading, writing, and grading to do.
AmT: I will devote as much time as I need to win all three leagues.
FLT: Three? That's not funny.
AmT: Yes. Three. Trois. Tlaate.
FLT: Tlaate?
AmT: Looks like I pay better attention in Arabic class than you do, sucka, get off my case.
FrT: He's got you there, Florida.
FLT: No! No he doesn't I just...I've got so much else to concentrate on - several books per week, classes every day, TA responsibilities...I can't do it all.
AmT: Just doing my part, now let me set my roster for the week.
FLT: But we have work to do.
AmT: Work? Your 'work' right now consists of sitting in a reading room putting a tally mark on a sheet of paper any time someone walks in.
FLT: And answering their questions about FSU history and the renovations to the Werkmeister Reading Room!
FrT: A noble pursuit indeed.
AmT: Isn't that the room in which they are hoping to convince rich alumni to donate more to the university?
FLT: And preserve the rich history of the institution by creating space for historical photos, documents, and beautiful stained glass.
AmT: Aren't they going to host some Religion department things there too? I hope there's an open bar again.
FrT: Except you drank nothing but whiskey at the last one.
AmT: You bet I did, I'm not drinking free vin rouge when there's free whiskey!
FLT: Point taken.
AmT: We're doing fine, none of the professors think we're idiots yet, we've kept up with the readings, discussions have been lively, hell, I've even been able to get my swell on three days a week! Florida - you need to take a deep breath and relax.
FLT: You need to turn your jersey shore "it's t-shirt time" ringtone off during class, everyone's going to think we're idiots
FrT: That was embarrassing.
AmT: Relax. Breathe.
FLT: Fine.

[The Tommys take a deep breath]

AmT: Better?
FLT: Kind of. It's still going to be a busy semester, with Islamic Theology, Philosophy, and Law, plus Theory and Method in the Study of Religon, plus TAing Religious Ethics and learning Arabic.
FrT: Don't forget your reading room responsibilities.
FLT: And the Werkmeister reading room and FSU Museum.
AmT: But we'll be able to do it, right?
FrT: Oui.
FLT: Yes.
AmT: Good, well, now that you are better, I've got some business to tend to. I need a new picture for Team T and A - Tommy and Abbey's Fantasy Football Team...get it? - and I have to get it from a website so I'm going to post it here.

FrT: Is that really necessary?
AmT: Na'am.
FrT: what?
FLT: It means yes...the American is figuring out how to study.
FrT: Stop that.
FLT: Please stop that.
AmT: Can't stop won't stop.
FLT: I really wish you'd take life more seriously.
FrT: I, also, wish this for you.
AmT: ...boogers.

thanks for reading.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Third Tale of Three Tommys

First: ^click the Follow Button to observe my twitterings
Second: Read The First Part of this conversation <here>
Third: Read The Second Part of this conversation <here>

Having recently moved into a new apartment, the Tommys once again assemble to discuss their new living situation.

Florida Tommy (FLT): This apartment is fantastic! SO much room for activities!
American Tommy (AmT): Football’s back.
French Tommy (FrT): Yes, your team just tied Mexico.
AmT: Wrong football, Garcon.
FrT: Well you should be studying your French anyway.
FLT: No Joke, need to take that test soon, also wouldn’t be a terrible idea to brush up on Middle Eastern Studies, Ethics, and 20th Century Christian History.
AmT: Football. Is. Back. On. T. V.
FrT: You’ve found time to lift weights, you can find time to review and relearn the last four years of higher education that you forgot while busing tables at the golf club.
AmT: a.)I’ve barely worked out – the FSU student gym is closed for a couple weeks and the apartment workout room doesn’t have very heavy weights – dumbbells only go up to 40 and I need my hundoz brah! b.) I’ve gotta figure out a strategy for upcoming fantasy football drafts.
FLT: Was that plural? As in more than one fantasy football league? You don’t have time for that.
AmT: We are an excellent multi-tasker.
FrT: He’s not wrong.
AmT: Plus I’ll spend most of my time typing up notes on my laptop and reading articles online, what do you care if I have a Mozilla window minimized with some fantasy football related information in it? Frenchy did it with the NCAA tournament a couple years ago.
FLT: Fair enough, but if it gets to be too much you have to ignore Creasman’s league first, then Bob's VCU Biostat Friends, then the Mercke League if it gets to be way too much.
AmT: Baloney, I’m not losing to the Paris Hilton of Sausage again, I need to beat Tobias and Mercer, and Team T and A has a championship to defend.
FrT: Paris?
AmT: Long story, mon ami – oh, you’d be proud: I had cheese on a baguette before dinner the other night.
FrT: Oui? A sweet Brie, perhaps? A Camembert?
AmT: It was this cheese at a local hippie market that’s made with mustard and beer – so good.
FrT: That doesn’t count.
FLT: It was pretty good.
AmT: How you like them pommes, FarT?
FLT: The cheese was good, but you really should be studying.
AmT: I got a rewards card for the local liquor store.
FrT: That isn’t studying, either.
AmT: I bought “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Ethics.”
FLT: Did you read it?
AmT: Working on it.
FrT: You are getting a PhD in ethics and your prep is reading a guide for idiots?
AmT: Well, kind of. I’m also brushing up on Egyptian political situations and American Religious history…
FLT: Don’t flunk out, I don’t want to move back to Georgia.
FrT: And I don’t want to bus tables anymore.
AmT: I’m not gonna hold you guys back that much, but you gotta leave room for me to beat the Paris Hilton of Sausage in fantasy football, maintain Abbey and my Mercke Football League Championship, eat cheese made with beer, lift weights, and go to the liquor store.
FLT: Not unless you agree to get along with French Tommy. He’s more studious than you, graduated from AUP with a very high GPA, and can help you focus your intellectual energies into more than just fantasy football.
AmT: I know, I already paid homage to him in my home office.
FrT: All you did was hang up pictures of Les Bleus’ catastrophe in the last world cup
AmT: I know! That was hilarious, the team imploded, the coach got fired – one of my better memories from the year in France was sitting by the Eiffel Tower watching the Coupe du Monde while hearing all the French people lament their teams pitiful showing. If only I had a framed picture of Zizu’s tete-butt.
FLT: Well…fair enough, that was amusing.
FrT: You are both from a country where Michelle Bachman is considered a frontrunner to challenge Barack Obama for the presidency.
[Florida and American Tommy hang their heads]
FrT: What, no witty retort? In that case, at least finish your idiot book before you do any fantasy footballing.
FLT: That’s not a bad idea.
AmT: Shut up, I get cable now and I’m going to use it to watch Sportscenter.
FLT: Fine…but School’s starting soon and I’m not going back to the golf club.
AmT: Well then shut up and let me read.
FrT: Don’t screw this up.
AmT: Shut up.
FLT: Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

11 Tallahasseean Thoughts

I have yet to indulge in any macro-blogging since my arrival in Tallahassee. I use the term macro because, as the “Follow” button above suggests I have begun to micro-blog a bit on Twitter – nothing too exciting but it has been keeping me amused (despite the fact that @757Shah obstinately refuses to let me view his updates). All that being said, I guess there are some things worth noting without being limited to 140 characters.

1) I hope to never have to drive a truck again. We rented a 24 foot moving truck from budget which, plus the cab, was about 30 feet long and tall enough to nearly annihilate the electric and phone cords running to our former apartment. By the end of our trip I was able to maneuver this leviathan quite deftly, but have a new respect for truck drivers. I just hope never to become one again.

2) Speaking of which, professional movers have also earned my respect as moving is hot and makes you quite sore. Additionally, whether those who are relocating admit it or not they are quite stressed and it doesn’t seem farfetched that they may take this out on the anonymous burly movers assisting them. I have much respect for professional movers. I just don’t particularly wish to join their ranks.

3) Abbey and I have acquired many gnomes in our 5+ years of marriage. Despite their knick-knacky clutterish nature they still make me giggle. It seems like every other box we opened had some kind of gnome tucked in a corner. I bet this is exactly the effect that a young Abbey may have dreamed her future husband would have on her life.

4) Going two years without much technology has proved to be a wise decision as the current “basic” cable option was formerly the “out-of-our-price-range” option the last time we had cable. This gives me the sense that I am moving up in the world when, in reality, technology has just passed me by at such a rapid pace that I am like a basset hound excited to receive a half-eaten baguette from the dinner table – even technology’s scraps are like a sweet buttery baguette to me.

5) Speaking of baguettes, some guy is inventing a baguette machine.
I would like one in our living room.

6) If you don’t like Wal-Mart or Publix don’t move to Tallahassee.

7) Riding a bike is an enjoyable pastime – especially laps around the two-mile loop at the lake near our apartment complex.

8) Many experts are predicting an FSU v. VT ACC Championship game. Should this occur it may prove to be quite the litmus test to whether I will remain faithful to VT – where my mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandfather, and wife all went to school – or carve out my own niche as that annoying relative (who’s really only related by marriage) who cheers for a team he’s never particularly liked just because they are his new alma mater. Pre-season prediction is that the latter will prove true, but time will tell.

9) I feel like a couple of these should have been tweets because they are quite short.

10) I am currently reading two books about terrorism: Terror in the Mind of God by Mark Jurgensmeyer and Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. Both are interesting and mildly depressing while Infinite Jest has the added bonus of being absolutely hilarious. Funniest book I’ve read since Zaat by Sonallah Ibrahim (Which I highly recommend for anyone remotely interested in contemporary Egypt who enjoys dark humor).

11) When sharing an apartment it is quite helpful and nice to have one lavatory per occupant. It’s been two years since this was the case for Abbey and I and it makes a world of difference.

That’s all for now. Our move went swimmingly thanks to help from friends and we are slowly but surely figuring our way around Tallahassee. We both have FL driver’s licenses now and I even have an FSU student ID card. We still have about two weeks before Orientation and classes start, but we are certainly feeling like we are in the final stages of the transition. If you would like to keep up with my activities between blog posts, feel free to click the “follow” button at the top of this page. Otherwise, as always, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Day in Court

UPDATE The following list of activities has resulted in my saving several hundred dollars on student fees this year as well as adding to my income the possibility of summer funding. SUCCESS!

Here is what happened when I attempted to complete the seemingly simple process of having a judge sign a sheet of paper that says I’ve lived in Georgia for one consecutive year:

9:55AM – arrive and deposit all my change into the parking meter in exchange for the legal right to occupy that space for one hour.

Enter courthouse.

Wait in security line.

Pass through metal detector, lift pant legs to show absence of shoe bombs. Proceed.

Go up wrong elevator in wrong tower to wrong floor 6.

Switch towers.

Go up two flights to correct floor 6 and ask nice lady at desk where I go to get my paper signed.

Am told that someone will be with me shortly.

Gentleman enters lobby.

Gentleman tells me that I must get one section notarized before a judge will sign. Notary Public in basement of this tower.

Descend to basement.

Pass sign that says “Snack Bar/Marriage and Gun licenses.”


Walk down hall.

Arrive in Sherriff’s office processing room.

Am told by an armed officer that I walked past the Notary Public Office.

Am led by said officer to the door marked “Notary Public” that I had walked past several seconds earlier.

Enter Notary Public’s office.

Present form.

Am told that there is a 2 dollar cash only exact change fee.

Leave Notary Public’s office to go find money, hopefully in my car.

Get lost attempting to exit building.

Get directions.

Take elevator to floor one where exit is located.

Powerwalk to the car.

Find one dollar in car.

Check Meter: 35 minutes remaining.

Walk Briskly down the street to CVS.

Buy pack of cinnamon chewing gum with debit card and request 5 dollars cash back in ones.

Walk briskly back to Courthouse.

Enter courthouse.

Wait in security line.

Pass through metal detector, lift pant legs to show absence of shoe bombs. Proceed.

Return to Notary Public’s office.

Have form notarized.

Pay two dollars.

Back to floor 6.

Receptionist picks up phone and says “The young man is back.”

Wait 7 minutes.

Gentleman emerges, takes my ID and forms and says the judge will be with me shortly.

I ask if wait will be longer than 15 minutes.

Gentleman goes through a door.

Wait 6 Minutes.

Gentleman reemerges. Instructs me to feed my meter, return to floor six, and sit in waiting area.

I notice I have no change for meter, only ones.

Descend elevator to Floor One.

Exit courthouse.

See sign on a shop across the street that says “Money Orders.”

Enter shop with “Money Orders” sign.

Man at counter says “Money Order?”

I respond “Can you change a dollar for my parking meter.”

Man says “Yes.”

Man hands me a dollar coin, assures me machine will take it.

Walk briskly to car.

See four minutes left on meter.

Machine takes dollar coin.

Meter now reads 44 minutes.

Walk briskly back to Courthouse.

Enter courthouse.

Wait in security line.

Pass through metal detector, lift pant legs to show absence of shoe bombs. Again. Proceed. Again.

Ascend to floor six. Again.

Receptionist picks up phone and says “The young man is back.” Again.

Receptionist instructs me to wait in the waiting area.

Text Abbey that this is getting ridiculous.

Wait 24 minutes.

Realize that there are 11 minutes left on my parking meter.

Bailiff comes in hallway and instructs me to enter.

Watch the end of a bond hearing for 4 minutes.

Am called by the judge to approach the podium.

Am asked why I need proof of residency.

Explain to judge the Southern Regional Educational Board’s Academic Common Market program.

Attempt not to look at my watch.

Am asked what program I will be enrolled in.

Answer the judge.

Attempt not to look at my watch.

Am asked if Candler School of Theology has that program.

Answer the judge that this consortium is state schools only and Emory is private.

Attempt not to look at my watch.

Am asked if Emory University’s religion department has this program.

Answer the judge that this consortium is state schools only and Emory is private.

Attempt not to look at my watch.

Am asked when this program starts.

Answer the judge.

Attempt not to look at my watch.

Am congratulated by the Judge.

Judge signs form.

Bailiff brings me form.

I thank Judge.

Walk briskly out of courtroom.

Run to elevator.

Enter elevator.

Elevator stops at floor 5.

Three people enter elevator.

They push buttons 4, 3, and 2.

Exit Floor One.

Walk briskly to exit.

Walk briskly towards parking lot.

Notice two parking attendants in parking lot.

Begin running.

Arrive at car and see 1 minute left on meter.


Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Tale of Three Tommys

After their last exchange left Florida Tommy attempting to find common ground between French Tommy and American Tommy, American Tommy has presented French Tommy with another picture of American Tommy trying on French Tommy’s clothes that no longer fit as well. This picture prompted the following conversation.

[Picture deleted due to common decency violation]

French Tommy (FrT): I see you’ve not only given in to the American insistence that baseball caps are socially acceptable but are also embracing the fairly recent skinnyjean phenomenon
American Tommy (AmT): Look again Francois – these jeans used to fit you great.
FrT: For the love of God do not put that picture on the internet.

[Picture once again deleted for aforementioned violation of common decency]

AmT: What’s wrong Toulouse? Offended by your own ill-fitting apparel? You’re lucky I’m not demonstrating the less-than-sterling fit of the square foot of cheap fabric and elastic you French folk call “boxer shorts”
FrT: Inappropriate.
Florida Tommy: Would you two quit it? We move on Wednesday. I am exercising veto power on the picture of the tight jeans, btw…why would you strike that pose in the first place?
AmT: I was mocking Zinedine over there.
FrT: Go eat a cheeseburger you arrogant twit.
AmT: Shove some foie gras up…
FLT: You two are more juvenile and petty than the US Congress.
AmT: They aren’t being juvenile and petty, as a Moderate I fully appreciate that compromise takes time.
FrT: They are compromising…yeah, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a gentleman.
FLT: Common ground! You both find joy in the mocking of your homelands!
FrT: Isn’t your state of Florida the one with that Qur’an burning man?
AmT: Yeah! The guy with the moustache!
FrT: Mon Dieu…
FLT: Can we focus on getting along?
AmT: Remember Hanging Chads? They were in Florida too!
FrT: HaHa! Florida officials don’t know how to count ballots!
FLT: That joke was so 2000.
FrT: And ze giant Mickey Mouse Land!
AmT: Hahaha
FLT: There’s a Disneyland in Paris too, Pepe Lepieu.
AmT: Yes! Now you’re stooping to our level, way to be the voice of reason, why don’t you take your talents to south beach and lose an NBA title.
FLT: Speaking of sports, how are the Atlanta Thrashers doing?
FrT: What is a Thrasher?
AmT: Exactly, even French people think Hockey is a dumb sport.
FrT: What is the Hockey?
AmT: It’s like soccer but lower scoring, on ice, and only Russians and Canadians play it.
FLT: Sorry I brought it up. Is there any chance of you two not making fun of me or the great state of Florida anymore?
FrT: The Great State of Florida is phallic.
AmT: Pfffahahaha!
FLT: Inappropriate!
[American Tommy wipes tears of laughter from his eyes and high fives French Tommy]
FLT: You two need to be punished. I’m signing you up for twitter.
FrT: What is a twitter?
AmT: I’m already on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, and I have a blog.
FrT: We have a blog.
AmT: Fine, our blog, I…we…don’t need another social media outlet in which to indulge.
FLT: You’re signed up.
AmT: We aren’t friends anymore.
FLT: Want to hashtag that? It may trend.
FrT: I am confused.
AmT: I’m not happy about this.
FLT: What’s wrong @tjcTBA? [shameless plug to follow Tommy on twitter]
AmT: That’s not even original, just my initials and my blog name.
FrT: Our blog name.
AmT: Oh…wait… so I can follow @ericcreasman on this thing? Can’t be all bad, this might actually be kind of fun.
FLT: This is a punishment you Georgia weightlifting hillbilly!
FrT: I don’t understand it.
AmT: Even better.
FLT: You two are hopeless.
AmT: There’s three of us now, Mr. Seminole.
FrT: Why do so many of your sports teams poke fun at Native Americans?
FLT: Spectacular.
AmT: Hahaha, Frenchie’s getting funnier by the minute, I’m going to the gym.
FLT: Meathead.
FrT: Muscleneck.
AmT: Go tweet yourselves.
FLT: That doesn’t even make sense.
AmT: Nice mediation job – better luck next time.
FrT: Merci d’avoir lu.
FLT: Thanks for reading.
FrT: I just said that…you’re going to fail your French test.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Tale of Two Tommys

Once upon a time, French Tommy bought a sweater.

French Tommy liked his sweater so much. It kept him warm in the bitter Paris winter and fit his slender frame as though it were knit especially for him. He even wore it to a Thanksgiving party in Paris last year.

American Tommy then borrowed the sweater a time or two during the Georgia winter and then placed it in a plastic tub with the rest of the winter clothes that were no longer necessary in early spring. Then, re-energized with the onset of a new calendar year, American Tommy and Pastor Dan kicked their workouts up a notch or two throughout the spring and early summer months. When Pastor Dan moved from Atlanta down further south, American Tommy continued lifting for several weeks in preparation for moving all of he and Abbey’s earthly belongings to Tallahassee. When Abbey suggested using sweaters and winter clothing to wrap the more fragile of these belongings, American Tommy stumbled across French Tommy’s sweater and mockingly tried it on.

This irritated prideful French Tommy and prompted the following exchange:

French Tommy (FrT): Hey Meathead, take my sweater off you’re stretching it out.
American Tommy (AmT): No problem, slim, it’s 157 degrees in Atlanta today anyway.
FrT: Well why don’t you just run around with no shirt on and drink a protein shake you dumbbell pushing gym rat?
AmT: Why don’t you go eat a baguette and ride the metro…you…baguette eating metro rider?
FrT: You’re mad because you’d no longer comfortably fit on the metro.
AmT: We don’t use metros in America, we use cars like real, freedom loving people should.
FrT: You also are paying 40 bucks a tank to sit in one place getting frustrated while you collectively trash the o-zone.
AmT: Well…at least we love Freedom.
FrT: Well at least our government isn’t gridlocked in a giant “whose [ego] is bigger” controversy over raising an arbitrarily assigned number that has been raised roughly 100 times before and, by not raising, could have dire consequences for the global market – thanks for that.
AmT: Shutup.
FrT: No witty comeback or are you just looking at yourself in the mirror again, admiring your trapeziuses?
AmT: Nobody says trapeziuses.
FrT: Nobody here has them, how should I know?
AmT: By nobody you mean you because you are too cheap to buy a gym membership.
FrT: It was a matter of accessibility and fiscal responsibility, as well as an embarrassing inability to speak French well upon my arrival thanks to…whose fault was that again…ah yes…yours.
AmT: Speaking of which – your abbreviated name looks like fart.
FrT: Real mature.
AmT: That wasn’t my point, just something I noticed. Anyway, I need to take a French test this Fall proving that I can translate a passage of French to English, wanna help me out?
FrT: Let’s see…do it yourself sweater stretcher.
AmT: Get over it Frenchie. Have some vin rouge and calm down.
FrT: Go bench press yourself.
AmT: That doesn’t even make sense.
Floridian Tommy: Can’t we all just get along?
FrT/AmT: Who are you? And why are you so red?
FLT: It’s sunny down here and thanks to both of you, I had no basetan so now I’m sunburned. Anyway, we live in Florida now. I say ‘we’ because we are now going to be pursuing a PhD in comparative religious ethics while lifting weights and enjoying vin rouge. We all need to get along and stop stretching out each other’s clothes.
AmT: That’s kind of a one way street, there, guy.
FrT: Another witty retort, go burn some fossil fuels and pass racist legislation like Georgia’s HB 87 or Arizona’s SB1070.
AmT: Or France’s Burqa Ban. Racist Pot, this is Xenophobic Kettle, I think you two would get along grandly.
FLT: Did I mention you study religious responses to socio-political oppression and both of your academic/life experiences are going to be necessary to even think about beginning this project?
FrT: I can’t work with this fast food eating, flag waving, baseball cap wearing, smug tourist.
AmT: I don’t eat fast food or wave a flag and I’m not a tourist you cheese sniffing, pointed nosed, snooty croissant face.
FrT: Croissant face. Clever. No wonder you did so well on the GRE Verbal.
AmT: Shut up.
FrT: Another witty American retort.
FLT: You two need to figure this out sometime in the next couple weeks or we’re all going to look like buffoons. In the meantime, stop stretching clothing and making fun of your nations inadequacies – the whole world is in a less-than-favorable political and economic state at the moment so those disparaging remarks are quite useless. In the meantime, musclehead can go back to packing and carrying boxes and shelves and frenchie…don’t forget any French or anything you learned in France, we’re going to need it. Meet back in a week and we’ll try to sort out your differences.
FrT: Stop stealing my stuff.
AmT: Go ride the metro.
FLT: Stop it. Go Pack. Go study.

Stay tuned. Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Peter, Paul, and Mary: Meet Charles

A Foray into Photojournalism

Peter and Paul (aka dinner)and Mary (aka diner)

Dinner time?

Mary is huge. Dinner postponed. Something is amiss.

The Enemy Approaches

Mary: crumpled and vanquished in the corner. Peter: Hanging lifeless by a thread. Paul: ground into the pavement. Charles "Chuck" Taylor: triumphant.

thanks for reading/viewing

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On to the next one: a year in review

Author's Note: It has been so long since I last posted that blogger has reinvented itself in a confusing new user interface.  It is my hope that my first man-computer interaction with this new interface is successful and you are all able to joyfully read my latest musings.

As Abbey and I begin to once again box our belongings and attempt to locate the most inexpensive mode of transportation for our ever expanding trove of furniture and gnome-related knick-knacks I can’t help but take a sarcasm-and-run-on-sentence-laden nostalgic look back at the past 12 months or so.  Upon my attempted re-entry to the Amurrican workforce I was faced with a familiar dilemma which my year in France had afforded me the opportunity to somewhat forget about: to Church or not to Church?  I’m not talking the “do-I-stop-hitting-snooze-and-get-my-ass-out-of-bed-on-Sunday-to-attend-a-worship-service-as-is-the-socio-religious-custom-of-many-whose-demographic-classifications-coincide-with-my-own” type of Church dilemma, but rather the “do-I-devote-most-if-not-all-waking-hours-answering-a-call-I’m-not-sure-I-really-hear-in-order-to-help-provide-insight-to-the-spiritual-and-philosophical-quandaries-of-a-local-congregation-thereby-outwardly-affirming-god’s-call-to-and-claim-on-my-life” type of Church dilemma.  My decision was somewhat made for me when I began to test the waters for full-time churchwork-related interfaith positions and found less than a few, furthermore, it seemed that the more “traditional” jobs for seminary-educated folks who aren’t quite ordained as of yet (youth director) had been, at least in the expansive metro-Atlanta PC(USA) universe, relegated to part-time status (apparently god did not escape the recession unscathed).  This would be ideal for one who was still in school seeking to supplement their Federally subsidized temporary income; however, for one who is seeking something to occupy his time for approximately 40 hours per week and provide a means to put food and beverage on the proverbial table this arrangement was less-than-sterling.  Additionally, having discussed “part-time” churchwork with many who will remain nameless I came to realize that “part-time” in this field tended to refer moreso to the monetary reimbursement than to time one was committing.  Further complicating matters was the question as to whether I would give PhD applications another go (I had another publication under my belt, had completed masters numero dos, was much more directed in my scholarly interests, and would now be able to personally visit the schools I would be applying to…leading me to believe I could make myself a stronger candidate than I had been the previous year).  After discussing with Abbey and coming to the conclusion that I would once again apply to PhD programs, I knew I would need a job that would be flexible enough to allow time off for campus visits, phone interviews, and would provide enough money each week to pay some bills without requiring an amount of hours each week that would hinder my ability to revise a writing sample, contact and meet with recommendation writers, research programs and faculty, improve my resume by gaining teaching experience/professional affiliations/conference presentation, and find a way to succinctly state my area of academic interest and future career goals in a manner that would make an otherwise stoic academe exclaim, “I must work with this student!”  

One last requirement for this temporary dream job is that I would not have to take it home with me, so to speak…a job without homework whose stress I could check at its employee entrance as I strolled to the car at the end of a shift.  A job that I would have to take seriously enough to avoid being terminated but not seriously enough to require undue stress.  A job at the golf club I worked at through Seminary.  I interviewed with the new head of banquet staff who hired me on the spot pending a drug test  (I would learn that this hiring occurred two days before the aforementioned head of banquet staff flung a stack of event order forms in the air and yelled “I fornicatingly quit” before walking out the door one last time…an action which had the [probably] unintended consequence of requiring my first day back at work to include two shifts with a meeting with a new boss [who had never met me] occurring between the two events). I spent the year pouring drinks, picking up dirty plates, moving tables and chairs, and catering to the whims of a portion of Atlanta’s wealthy elite.  I have purposefully not blogged about work or any of the three churches at which I taught this year due to the fact that, unlike in Paris, the people I work for and/or with and/or teach would have a relatively easy time googling my name and arriving at this blog only to see that I have devoted an afternoon or evening to constructing what would be, to me and likely many of you, a hilarious piece of literary genius which would cast them in a less-than-flattering light causing them to contact my employer/pastor of whatever church I may have taught at, which would, in turn, cause me to be reprimanded in some manner, which would, in turn, deny me the aforementioned luxury of leaving work stress at work.  I realize that this is likely overly cautious and that, despite having roughly 500 facebook friends, my blog posts typically generate substantially less than 500 views, but, alas, I haven’t blogged about work yet and likely will not do so now.

I will, however, say that those whom I and my colleagues serve have made/are making quite a decent living as we the workers are reimbursed with what amounts to barely qualifying for what the government would refer to as an “annual living wage.”  This is not to say that “the rich” are bad, or to impose judgment on groups or individuals, especially by saying one is "better" or "more Amurrican," but rather to say that the disparity in income in this city, has become, to me, over the course of this year, quite stark.  Furthermore, it has not been lost on me that each day I, personally, am one of many who disposes of a good amount of food, placing it in a dumpster near a lush golf course tucked just blocks away from a dozen or so homeless shelters and the tired, weary masses who live shelterless.  Perhaps I’ll elaborate on my experiences at a later date in the form of some kind of extended book-like prose, but for now, I am satisfied to study and contribute to the further study of religious responses to socio-economic and political oppression - or at least the religious thought arising from such conditions, whether the call-response motif is accurate or helpful is quite debatable - with my experience of subservience to a group of “haves” likely serving as the ever-present backdrop to my scholarly pursuits.

My that was quite a tangent.  Well, over the course of last fall, while working 15-45 hours/week at the club, I developed several goals for myself, some professional (i.e. start a career soon, publish something and present something somewhere each calendar year) and some personal (i.e. read books for fun, be able to pick up and put down increasingly heavy things [I've recently begun a powerlifting workout regimen that is a lot of fun], continue to enjoy spending time with my wife, etc.).  I’ve hit most of the goals I’ve set, so here’s to making new ones.  We have set a moving date for the first week of August, I will put in my two weeks’ notice at the Golf Club today in order to resign the day before Abbey and I celebrate 5 years of marriage.  Classes begin at the end of August for me while Abbey will continue to plug away at the leviathan known as the dissertation.  All in all it should be an exciting couple of months then years for the Carrico, Jrs as we continue to pretend to be real, live, grown ups.

As always, thanks for reading.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Averting Doomsday

As many of you may be aware, Harold Camping of Family Radio Worldwide in Oakland California has calculated that tomorrow, May 21, 2011, is judgment day. This is not to be confused with the prior calculations in his book “1994?” which predicted the end times would be sometime during September of that questionable year (it is largely believed that doomsday did not happen in 1994). While many have mocked Rev. Camping’s followers, billboards, and snazzy windowless vans currently touring the country until approximately armageddon, it seems that in an age marred by fanaticism and violence with a religious twist that the very serious, very harmful component to this man’s movement has gone unnoticed. That harmful element, if not addressed and prevented, has the capacity to undo civilization as we know it and wreak havoc on all that Americans know and love. You see, Rev. Camping Calculated when the end times would be – he used numbers – Made up squiggly lines – to determine something that is going to happen in real life. Reverend Camping has, at his disposal, the most harmful element of society since the dawn of time. That element: Mathematics.

As a former mathematics major, I know firsthand the dangers of things like “the z-axis,” “partial derivatives,” and “sine curves.” All of this “math” is nothing more than a thinly-veiled disguise used by fat cat mathematicians to usurp the American way of life and make all Americans live in accordance with their code of conduct – the Pythagorean theorem. The plan of these “Mathies” is simple, and yet, has gone undetected for too long due to the seemingly innocuous nature of their silly beliefs. But failing to take seriously the message of Mr. Camping is exactly what these calculatorheads want us Americans to do. They want to lull us into a sense of complacency – “oh, they are just mathematicians, what harm are they going to do? They just have little numbers and charts and stuff, they don’t pose any real threat.” False. My friends, Mathematicians are dangerous, Mathematics is harmful to American society, and Mathematics – and the spread of Pythagorean law – must be stopped.

I know what you’re thinking: Mathematicians are 99.9999% harmless. But what about that .0001%? What about that 1 out of every 1000000 Mathematicians like Reverend Camping who attempt to disrupt society with a complicated application of the quadratic formula? They are dangerous and I will not allow them to run rampant in society without speaking on behalf of good, honest, God-fearing Americans anymore. What Mathematics does is provide a lens through which to view the world - a certain type of epistemology that, while mostly harmless, can lend itself to violent extremism given the proper blend of socioeconomic hardships, political unrest, and lack of economic opportunity – especially when thrown in with an unquestioning atmosphere of fanaticism and groupthink and a perceived incapacity for self-determination. In order to stop extremist groups like Family Radio Worldwide, we must stop the root cause of their extremism: Math. Only if we, as Americans, take a stand against Math – the one sole cause of extremist thought like Harold Camping’s – we will never be safe from this overwhelmingly friendly portion of the world’s population. We must stop this one cause – Mathematics – from informing the worldview of millions of peaceful, caring, endearing individuals who love their families, countries, and neighbors in order to preserve our way of life in the face of dangerous wayward mathematicians like Harold Camping.

Happy Doomsday.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Studying Religion

As most of you may well know by now I have chosen the immediately post-Seminary period of my life/early years of marriage/late-twenties/early-thirties/however-I-end-up-labelling-the-last-two-and-next-five-or-so-years pursuing [more] higher education. This educational journey is: (1) inspired by my wife’s similar pursuits and a vision for our shared future in our respective fields of academia and (2) a result and continuation of a period of doubt and skepticism in my own religious thought. I’m hoping to add some insight into these two aspects of the decision to work towards a PhD in Religion at FSU.

(1) If I had a nickel for each person who said either “don’t do it.” or “why would you want to do it?” or “you can’t know how frustrating/difficult/trying it will be unless you do it” when I asked advice about applying to and beginning a PhD program I wouldn’t have to take out loans to pay rent this fall. While it does take a special breed of intellectual masochism to go down this road, I feel like I have somewhat of a unique perspective acting as housecleaning arm candy for Abbey’s doctoral journey for the past half decade. We are both excited at the prospect of a change of scenery as well as the eventual hope of teaching at the same university. This would likely work out a lot better than Abbey being on the schedule of whatever institution of higher learning is fortunate enough to have her on their faculty while I am on a quite different career-related schedule (which might include spring break easter week and December Christmas things). This first aspect of the decision made the most sense in both the short and long term planning of the Carrico, Jr family.

(2) Doubt and skepticism in Tommy’s religious thought. This sounds much more serious than it is (unless, of course, I wind up on the wrong side of judgment day in which case I guess I’ll at least have some certainty). One needs look no further than the esteemed winner of the Fall 2009 Semester American University of Paris Quotable Quote contest which was "The beauty of theology is that we are just going to sit here and argue about it until we all drop dead or doomsday happens." There are those who will tell you (and have told me) that there is a right and a wrong answer and a big, bold line between orthodoxy and heresy within the Christian tradition (and within other religious faith structures). The truth is there are a lot of Christians who read the same Bible and come to different – valid – interpretations. This is my religious-thought-related starting point – that even if there is “one correct interpretation” of this collection of books from different times and places written for different audiences, even if this correct reading exists, the realist in me sees many people interpreting – and acting on their interpretations in the socio-political sphere – differently – same goes for another text-based tradition that I study. The fun part of comparative religious study is that you are always being told you are wrong by someone you are reading – and therefore always learning about how people perceive God acting in the world and, in the realm of comparative religious ethics, how they believe they can and should join in. Religious thought, religious textual interpretation, and religion-inspired-action (be it evangelism or violence) doesn’t occur in a social, cultural, or political vacuum but rather ends up being one element among a conglomeration of factors (race, gender, socioeconomic status, among others) which shape a religious person’s worldview. So the doubt/skepticism would be that I don’t know that there are purely religious motivations for action and extreme doubt that there is only one valid way to interpret a religious text or to live within a religious system – though there are both helpful and harmful ways to interpret and live. I believe that undertaking the study of religion and teaching religion at a public state university will be the most appropriate venue to explore the interactions between religious thought and society (Go Noles!).

While there are many factors that went into this decision, these two were the most recurring and prominent in mine and Abbey’s deliberations. Hopefully something amusing will happen in the near future so I can unburden you faithful readers with blog posts that aren’t particularly funny.

As always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Picking Up Heavy Things and Putting Them Back Down

To date I haven’t really delved into the intricate depths of meatheadedness on this blog. (note: meatheadedness refers broadly to actions and mannerisms typical of those who spend more time in a weight room than out of it (note: these folks are typically known as meatheads, hence, meatheadedness)) At least based on my experience last year, I don’t believe that this type of lifestyle has really caught on in France due to lack of space (referring both to real estate space for weight rooms and metro space for those attempting to get larger by picking up heavy things and putting them back down over and over again) as well as an overwhelming bounty of delicious pastries and vin rouge.

Before moving to Paris, I was able to lift some very heavy things and put them back down again without serious injury to myself and others. By November of 2009, French Tommy weighed in at about 20 pounds less than American Tommy – this was fine, French Tommy was never particularly unhealthy, but was no longer able to move around things that were much larger or heavier than what would fit in his purse. Upon returning to the land of the free and the home of the whopper French Tommy and his slenderfit jeans were surrounded by SUVs with flames on them and individuals who were much larger and more boisterous than the average French folk he had become accustomed to interacting with. In order to remedy this, upon moving back to Atlanta, reunited with an old friend and started the long trek back to picking up really heavy things once again.

The now somewhat hybrid American-French Tommy is almost able to move heavy things off and away from of his person at the same level as purely American Tommy and has begun engaging in what may be referred to as next-level meatheadery. Looking at options to tinker with some aspects of the art of heavystuff lifting, it seemed that chains or large elastic bands would be the most beneficial given AmeriFrench Tommy’s present state of physical fitness. Not wanting to end up on the wrong end of a 250 pound slingshot, AmeriFrench Tommy donned tight French jeans and a French button-up short-sleeved shirt and made the trek to quite an American establishment – Home Depot – in order to purchase large, heavy, loud chains to hang off of heavy things and pick up and put down several times. The bearded southern gentleman in charge of cutting said chains to a specific length stated “whatever you put these things on ain’t movin no where.” I assured him that was the opposite of the goal and went on my merry way.

After working out with the chains twice, and hanging various metal objects from the chains, they are incredible. As the bar lowers and the chains hanging from it also descend, more of the chain rests on the ground (and more of the heavy things hanging from the chain rest on the ground) causing the lower portion of the lift to be lighter than the “lockout” portion of the lift. This, in theory, will help train one to accelerate one’s motion more so at the bottom of the lift in order to get over “sticking points” (points in the motion where one is unable to move the weight – for AmeriFrench Tommy on the bench press this sticking point occurs approximately eight inches from his chest) and/or move beyond “plateaus” (when one is unable to increase the weight of a given exercise for some time). I am optimistic that the chains will achieve both goals and, if not, they are a lot of fun to play with. Many thanks to everyone who was in the NCAA bracket pool that AmeriFrench Tommy placed second in for donating to the slush fund from which money for these chains was taken.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Announcement Number One

First off – I would like for all to know that one of the top reasons people visit this blog is because they are searching on google for a picture of gnome a l’escargot (gnome on a snail) and are directed to my post about my brother, sister, and my visit to the Louvre. Word has spread far and wide of my gnome-related knowledge and this blog’s prestigious place in the pantheon of Louvre-gnome-related resources is now documented.

That was not the big announcement.

The big announcement is that Abbey and I will be moving to Tallahassee, Florida this August. While I don’t think that the folks at FSU will take too kindly to my Hokie Snuggie® I am very excited to begin a PhD in Religion, Ethics, and Philosophy in their Dept. of Religion. After visiting FSU, learning more about the program as well as meeting students and faculty, Abbey and I believe that the REP track is the best for my career and opportunities abound for an extremely well-qualified French scholar. Additionally, we felt at ease in Tallahassee, realized that we know a lot of people who know a lot of people there, and look forward to spending the next few years there.

Look for upcoming posts detailing my thought process on studying religious ethics, a meathead/gym related post, as well as the other announcement regarding the future of [TBA].

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Terry Jones Can't Burn My Blog

Warning: The Following is Not a Funny Blog Post

In the last couple of days 16 people have been killed and nearly 100 injured in protests in Afghanistan because of the imbecilic actions of a Yosemite Sam look-a-like “pastor” from Florida. As someone who hopes to make a living studying and teaching about religion I find myself wholly incapable of approaching this situation with anything remotely resembling “scholarly distance” (if there can be said to be scholarly distance in the field of religion…but I digress). It makes me mad. It makes me upset. It makes me want to throw heavy things at inanimate objects. There isn’t one part of it that particularly interests me or makes me want to learn more about the nuances of the religious belief structures of the instigating party – due to the fact that the Manichean, us versus them, nonsensical mentality being displayed leaves no room for nuance. Here is what is going on in this situation that I disagree with.

Response. I’m writing a response to Terry Jones. He is an imbecile and doesn’t deserve anyone’s attention and I don’t like having my emotions manipulated by stupidity. 16 people are dead and counting because a pastor burned a holy text. My attention is here. I am upset that a lunatic standing on a soapbox spewing excrement has elicited anything more than a passing eye-roll from me. However, while I claim that he doesn’t warrant a response here I am…because he does. I have just finished being annoyed with Rep. Peter King’s xenophobic hearings titled “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response.” So the shoe is on the other foot – Here is my response offering a testimony of “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Christian Community and that Community’s Response.” Everything Terry Jones did was wrong and he can’t light my blog on fire.

First, he announced “International Burn a Qur’an Day” to commemorate the anniversary of the world trade center attacks of 2001. This was met with disgust by most and condemnation from local pastors, from Obama, from General Petraeus and many, many others. Terry Jones is exactly like Osama Bin Laden and Fred Phelps in that his extreme words and actions garner attention disproportionate to his influence, thereby creating an illusion of widespread influence. There are better ways than terroristic threats to commemorate the anniversary of terrorist attacks.

Second, after he rescinded his terrorist threat to burn the Qur’an, he made an announcement that the Qur’an would be put on trial. I did not read this because I do not frequent the web site of the dove world outreach center. (Caveat – also thoroughly annoyed with his use of the words “international,” “world,” “outreach,” and “dove”…henceforth I’ll refer to his “church” as a “center”) A Trial. Jones was the “judge,” center members was a “jury,” and “lawyers” put the Qur’an on trial. I don’t care about the specifics of this “trial” because the entire thing is a mockery of the US judicial process as well as any interpretation of Shari’ah and doesn’t warrant close examination. I am left to wonder whether the 12 person – all center “church” members – were a jury of the Qur’an’s peers. Who, or what, is a peer of the Qur’an? Did the Qur’an speak in its own defense? Was the book called to the witness stand? The entire process is silly and I believe that Terry Jones the terrorist would disassociate with any peers of the Qur’an if they didn’t now make up 40% of his center’s membership. This “trial” was an exercise in bigoted stupidity.

Third, the punishments for the Qur’an, should it be found guilty, were limited to death by burning, death by firing squad, death by drowning, or death by shredding. This begs the question whether it was only this particular Qur’an that caused all of the misfortunes Terry Jones the Terrorist was accusing it of or if every Qur’an and every translation should be held liable – this “trial” was a farce. Back to the original point of this bulletpoint – death was the only option for something that the fu Manchu terrorist disagreed with or didn’t understand. What a fantastic approach to the world.

All of these aside, what upset me most was the act of holy text burning. As a future scholar in the field of the interpretation of holy texts, their purposeful destruction is an intellectual travesty. It says “I don’t care what is in this book.” “I don’t care that it influences people.” “I don’t care that I may learn something from it.” “I don’t care that some people view it as the word of god and model their lives after their interpretation of it.” It says “not only do I not care, I actively want to destroy this book so that there is no way anyone will ever be able to form their own opinion about it as I have made up their minds for them.” Dialogue is gone and replaced with destruction. Everything about burning a holy book – symbolically, physically, ecumenically, and educationally – has no place anywhere.

I could continue, but the bottom line is that Terry Jones is a Terrorist and does not speak for America or Christianity. But to much of the world, right now, he does. While he shouldn’t warrant a response, here is another one, because closing our eyes and ears to this type of action doesn’t make it go away. While everything he has done exudes asininity it has had significant consequences – 16 dead and counting – and must be dealt with by those who think about religion. Dialogue doesn’t work when one conversation partner burns another one to death. Growth doesn’t happen when an “other” is forcibly silenced. Ideological dissonance has the capacity to foster growth and debate has the capacity to expand one’s own mental horizons. Perhaps the situation was best summarized by Terry Jones the Terrorist’s son: “We’re not big debaters. We’re not very well-educated,” Luke Jones said. “We’re just simple people trying to do the right thing.”

Debate isn’t bad. You don’t have to be educated to listen. You didn’t do the right thing.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Day in the Life

Dear readers, in order to catch you up on my life over the past six weeks or so since I last posted, Atlanta was warm for a few days, now it is cold, I have continued to pick up people’s dirty dishes in order to earn a living, and I have perfected my househusbandry routine which is as follows:

• 8:00ish – Wake up and make coffee

• 9:00ish – Wish Abbey a happy day at school/take Abbey to school

• 9:00ish-10:00ish – Drink coffee, check facebook, email,,, huffington post, themoderatevoice, (gotta get the whole political spectrum), etc. (and watch epicmealtime if it’s Tuesday)

• 10:00ish – do the dishes

• 10:15ish-10:45ish – shower, shave (I received a reprimand at work a while ago because at age 27 I have reached the point of manhood where I must shave every day or be perceived as grungy by my employer’s clientele)

• 11:00ish-whenever – the channel that shows the 700 club and john hagee starts showing jerry springer/maury/steve wilkos (I find this entirely appropriate) so I watch whatever is on this channel while cleaning the bedroom

• Noonish – eat.

• Noonish-Midafternoonish – complete whatever errands need to be run/read a book/continue watching trashy tv

• Midafternoonish MWF – get my swell on at the gym

• LateAfternoonish – Abbey gets home.

• LateAfternoonish-Eveningbedtimeish – hang out with Abbey

While there are certainly variants – sometimes I have to go in to work to pick up people’s breakfast plates and pour breakfast drinks, other times I may go in to work to pick up lunch plates and pour lunch drinks, and other times I may go in to work in the evenings to pick up dinner plates and serve dinner drinks – these are all very exciting variables, but you now have an idea of the typical weekday of your favorite househusband. I hope you have enjoyed this brief glimpse into my life, especially if you may be considering househusbandry as a viable option for your future career.

Stay tuned to [TBA] for some important announcements in the near future.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A One Act Play

My nametag said “Thomas J. Carrico, Jr, American University of Paris, Center for Islamic Studies” and big, red, all-capital letters on the front page of my conference itinerary stated “Supporting Cultural Differences Through Research.” Fortunately, I left my nametag in the car and was able to somewhat hide my itinerary from view as I entered the 24-hour medical facility in Baton Rouge, Louisiana this past weekend. I did, however, somewhat stand out from the rest of the waiting room due to my light yellow button up shirt/baby blue tie/grey pinstripe suit combo. I was presenting my MA Research Project from AUP in an hour or two at a conference and Abbey was on day five of some kind of cough/cold/flu something or other. While I did little Research in the waiting room, I was implicitly “Supporting Cultural Differences,” as my booklet stated was my purpose in Louisiana. Abbey sat to my left filling out insurance forms as I keenly observed my surroundings while making sure the page numbers of my paper were in order.

So Began...

The Baton Rouge Waiting Room: A Play in One Act

Stage Right: Lady with ponytail and glasses reading insurance forms to her diminutive husband who was looking over her shoulder. Lady is noticeably agitated.

Agitated Lady: Did your employer send you to this clinic?
Husband: huh?
Agitated Lady (speaking louder and slower): Did the [expletive] you [expletive] work for [expletive] send your [expletive] to this [expletive]?!
Husband: Yeeuh
Agitated Lady: [Lords name [expletive] in vain] this [expletive] sheet says the same [expletive] [expletive] on each [expletive] page.

Enter Tommy’s Inner Monologue (TIM for Short) conversing with Tommy’s more impulsive inner monologue (TIMMY)

Tim: Don’t laugh, look down but keep listening, this is funny.
Timmy: Make eye contact, maybe she’ll cuss at you, that would be funnier.
Tim: Look down, don’t laugh.
Timmy: Point and laugh.
Tim: Don’t get involved
Timmy: Point and laugh…wait there’s something funny going on to your right, look there.

Shift to stage right-er where a bemoustached man is seated. Bemoustached gentleman has a camouflage hat on, a gray t-shirt with a pocket containing chewing tobacco, jeans, and cowboy boots. He is joined by another bemoustached gentleman who is wearing a similar outfit, though the shirt is button-up with horses galloping in front of American Flags. Bemoustached gentleman number two is carrying two coffee cups from the complimentary coffee station stage left, hands Bemoustached gentleman number one a cup

Bemoustached Gentleman Number Two: Hey man can I get a peeyinch?
Bemoustached Gentleman Number One: Here ya go buddy, what’s your name?
Tim: They don’t know each other?
Timmy: Point and laugh.
Tim: Ignore them.
Agitated Lady: [expletive] this [expletive] form, the [expletive] is too [expletive] long. What the [expletive] [expletive]
Husband: Uh huh.
Agitated Lady: [expletive] address? The [expletive] these [expletive] need your [expletive] boss’ [expletive] address the [expletive] for?
Timmy: Point and laugh.
Tim: Ignore everyone.
Timmy: Point and laugh a lot.
Receptionist: Carrico, Abbey

Abbey and Tommy hurriedly exit the waiting room.

End scene.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

TBA's Long Awaited (though not particularly humorous) Return

The paucity of recent posts here at TBA can be attributed to one of the following reasons:

* The innocent bystanders who may be mentioned in relaying the goings on of my day have a higher likelihood of showing up at a Sunday School class I end up teaching and perhaps be less than flattered at my portrayal of their index finger to nostril excavation exercises at one of Atlanta’s many stoplights.
* I am not as excited to share tales about the clearing of used plates and utensils which has come to consume anywhere from 20-45 hours of my life each week.
* Or, my life has become decidedly less interesting since I stopped carrying a purse and regained use of my pockets.

While I am no longer sure what the world revolves around since it clearly isn’t me, life has seemed to move on throughout the globe despite my lack of blog posts. This is especially true in the Middle East as longstanding autocracies are being protested against and, in the case of Tunisia, have already been overthrown.

Yes, the blog which brought you posts about dog poo and its writer’s new manpurse is now delving into the realm of foreign affairs.

Last year I took a course on Egypt which, in my 8 years of post-high school education was the most intensive – likely because I knew absolutely nothing about contemporary Egyptian politics and the Professor was…well…quite active in the Egyptian political scene. I spent the semester attempting to contextualize the present (Fall 2009) situation there which was tense, anticipating presidential elections that would likely see Hosni Mubarak’s son, Gamal, rise to power. In order to try to figure out why this was such a bad thing, I wrote my final paper on Mubarak’s “search for a vision” which turned into a broad overview of key events in the last thirty years of Egyptian political life as they affected public perception of Mr. Mubarak. The paper ended with some “crystal ball gazing” as our professor called it looking at possible scenarios for Egypt’s next leader. While I had guessed that it would be Gamal’s “election” that would bring about unrest the past week has shown that the mere possibility of Gamal’s election combined with the success of the Jasmine revolution were enough to bring about a long-awaited challenge to Mubarak’s rule. I’m posting the paper here for anyone who wants to learn more about why hundreds are reported dead and injured, internet keeps mysteriously disappearing throughout Egypt, and over 1,000 are reported to be imprisoned in Egypt as we speak.

Hosni Mubarak's Search for a Vision

Note - Since Gamal is highly unlikely to reach the Presidency and Suleiman was named VP yesterday, it looks like Suleiman will become President if Mubarak steps down in the coming days/weeks.