Our friend Dr. Ty Matejowsky is a cultural anthropologist at the University of Central Florida. Years ago, when we visited with he and his wife Lorie, they showed us a pair of fascinating documentaries, one about the Dancing Outlaw and the other about a contest to win a pickup, called Hands on a Hardbody. I didn’t really pick up on it then, but he’s super fascinated with human behavior (duh, Bill). He’s written a new book about the American instutution known as Waffle House, and it’s getting good reviews! I’m adding this to our Amazon list for post-Christmas reading. And in related news, Hands on a Hardbody is available again for streaming!
I’m officially signed up to teach a class this fall at UMBC, which makes me happy. It’s not one of the senior-level courses I had the last two semesters but it’s one I’ve taught before and should be pretty easy to pick up. At one point I was interested in updating the syllabus for this class but given that it starts at the end of August and I’m otherwise occupied with getting healthy I think I’ll just roll with the 10-year-old syllabus they’ve been using.
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I stopped in to a new Harbor Freight store here in town to look over the merchandise and immediately felt overwhelmed. It’s a bigger store than the one I used to go to in Glen Burnie, and the people working there were all friendly and helpful. The shelves were neat and tidy and the place was clean as a whistle. In other words, I didn’t recognize it. I’m looking at sandblasting equipment to start working on my car parts, and after looking over all of the available options I decided I needed to do a lot more research before I made a purchase. Not that I can carry the equipment, or a 50-lb. bag of blasting media right now anyway.
In the initial days of our vacation I started reading Barbarian Days, a memoir written by William Finnegan, a staff reporter for the New Yorker. It’s a book about surfing, how the author started early when his family moved to Hawaii, and how it shaped the course of his life as he followed waves from California across the ocean to Fiji and Australia. What sets it apart from an average column in Surfer magazine is his prose, which earned the book a Pulitzer in 2016. It’s the kind of writing that reads effortlessly but is obviously the product of decades of craft, and it was a pleasure to finally finish the book this morning.