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Here’s the work: An Address to My Fellow Faculty Who Have Asked Me To Speak About My Work.

I just got done watching the Opening. Lots of Flags. My favorites are always the ones with two or three bearers. And Russia, Tatu, really, good job! They’re Not Gonna Get Us is great. I’ve always loved it. For about ten years, I’ve loved it.

Tonight I couldn’t make myself go back into work, even though I meant to, told students I would show up for challenge night, but I just couldn’t bear the thought of going back there on my night off. My kids needed me. Plus, I had to watch the opening ceremonies.

Here’s why I will watch the Olympics:

1) It is not the Hunger Games. Yes, there is wealth. Yes, corruption. Yes, discrimination. But still, these are all our flags dancing. It’s not a bad thing to believe in unity. Plus, Tatu.

2) I get to make fun of all the journalists on Facebook making fun of Sochi hotels. Um, sorry, people who have never traveled and have never faced a crappy hotel room in a town with imbalanced wealth. Sometimes your toilets face one another and you don’t get complimentary wifi. deal with it.

3) Here’s hoping NBC will do a special on at least one of Putin’s dachas. RU Cribs-style.

4) Let some intrepid journalist might also do a special on that Russian figure skater who dressed up like Vronksy last night.  Because if he is not gay, I don’t know a Russian who is. Except Tatu, and even they are suspect.

Nationalism from a country with such a history is distressing, See The United States of America.  I agree, and seeing Putin’s reptilian face and tiny hands applauding his athletes is gross. But, I’m going to let my daughter watch these games, with their spectacle and manufactured snow, because I remember Picabo Street. She was my idol, and that wasn’t a bad thing. I learned to value strength, instead of clothes.  I learned something about determination. Also not a bad thing.

It’s been a long week, and all I have is something ( again) about the Olympics. Oh well.


From Idaho With Love

Russia, I want to speak you, but my third-year tongue is frozen. So just read this in your own voice and swallow back that long exile.

When the weather permits, I can see you from my doorstep. So say our puppets.

What I know is this: my country is a mother, and so is yours. We have been meeting one another so often in dreams, and the anticipation is building.

Quirky architectural features already join us, the two largest Norths. Winter will not be our burden.

The US sweaters are a lie. My friend says “Russia, I’m not at all certain, in its present configurations, will survive”.  I’m sure that is true. I’m not sure what all this flag waving is worth.

What’s underneath all the flags, that’s worth the wagging.  The narrator says she is a spirited and sorrowful enemy.

Would we want anyone else?

Give me your sorrow, Mother. Pack up your burdens. Give them all to me.

My country is a mother, and so is yours. We’ve been dreaming of one another for so long, and the anticipation is building,

We’re all athletes and we’re all artists. The boats on floor tell me there is nothing but your busy trains. I can tell you are ready by the way your dancers work. Not just iron, but an iron suitcase.

Just like yours, our history demands of us.

Let me take off your rabbit skin hat. Let me taste your tongue.

Our artists are working, and so are yours. Yours are so accustomed. So the revolution is happening. These little waters mean we can finally lay ourselves down together in the dacha, like we buried the sun here.

When we meet again, in Srinagar, in St. Petersburg, I will tell how how it was a century of violence and dreams that,

never did, only did in our imagining,

keep us apart.


I love you, Russia.  I love Tatu. Happy Friday!