Thursday, May 26, 2005


As numerous as the wee shiny flying things in Star Wars, and just as substantial, are my excuses for not having a written a lick to most of you in months.

This is sort of by way of reintroduction. Howdy. I’m Ben. My interests include working 55+ hours a week at the Little Rock Peabody Hotel, and spending at least ten delightful minutes every other day with my lovely and equally work-consumed girlfriend Brandy Ussery, who I’m thrilled to announce will be changing her last name one year from now. To M.D. At which point she’ll probably wake up and realize she could be doing a lot better than dating a valet, which is why I’m trying to figure out how to go about paying for an M.A. in Int’l Relations from American U.’s School of Int’l Service in D.C.

I also enjoy the rich, warm reassurances of this century’s Mark Twain, Minnesota’s own Garrison Keillor, whose Writer’s Almanac I thought I’d take the opportunity to plug for all of you on this lovely Thursday.

I see by my little daily Writer’s Almanac e-memo that it was on this day in 1521 that the Diet of Worms decided they’d had quite enough of a certain tonsured tormenter calling the Roman church "the most licentious den of thieves, the most shameless of brothels, the kingdom of sin” (among other, less flattering things), and declared Martin Luther no longer welcome at any of the Catholic dens or brothels. Also, his writings were to be banned.

Now, however fortunate he may have been that Germany had not yet adopted the not-necessarily-more-effective but certainly more theatrically impressive practice of burning books (at the time, burning people satisfied that purpose), Luther was understandably glum at the prospect of his original work having to share a shelf at the library with Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, and so shifted creative gears and commenced to translating a German version of the Bible that is still in use today. Eventually, of course, he got back around to writing original material (a creative trajectory that some of us in the age of Hollywood screenplay writers may be surprised to learn was entirely unremarkable), the impact of which continues to be felt across the entire length and breadth of Minnesota. Most notably, he introduced “bulwark” to the English lexicon, which had been getting on just fine without it, thank you very much.

Ah, I can just see ol’ Garrison Keillor now, at the dining room table of his St. Paul home, fingers poised over his laptop, trembling Tom DeLay-like at the prospect of serving up nourishing anecdotal nuggets, the storytelling equivalent of Kibble n’ Bits, about the lives of writers (some of whom were reduced to subsisting on Kibble n’ Bits themselves from time to time).

Or maybe he just records aloud what the emaciated NPR interns throw together fits of piteous coughing.
I dunno. Anyway, the finished product is a wonderful thing that any humanities major who has ever found herself eyeing the Kibble ought to appreciate.

Do write me, especially any of you in Minnesota to whom I might owe money or a long-borrowed book, or some such; next week may be your chance to collect, for it appears that I will be joining in numerous family shindigs up thataway around the first few days of June.