Friday, April 1, 2011

The Friday Figure

This week's Friday Figure comes from the book of Acts.  The figure is one of my favorites and is that of litotes

Litotes (Deminutio) (figure of thought, Rhet. Her. 4.38.50): The figure in which we say that by nature, fortune, or diligence, we or our clients possess some exceptional advantage, and, in order to avoid the impression of arrogant display, we moderate and soften the statement of it; e.g., “This, men of the jury, I have the right to say—that by our labor and diligence I have contrived to be no laggard in the mastery of military science.” (Use of “no laggard” instead of saying that he was “the best.”).

When Paul is arrested in Acts 21, he uses this figure when describing himself.
Acts 21:39 εἶπεν δὲ ὁ Παῦλος· ἐγὼ ἄνθρωπος μέν εἰμι Ἰουδαῖος, Ταρσεὺς τῆς Κιλικίας, οὐκ ἀσήμου πόλεως πολίτης· δέομαι δέ σου, ἐπίτρεψόν μοι λαλῆσαι πρὸς τὸν λαόν. 
 Now, look at the NRSV translation: 
Acts 21:39 Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of an important city; I beg you, let me speak to the people.” 
 The NRSV translates  οὐκ ἀσήμου πόλεως πολίτης as "a citizen of an important city" and the sense is correct, but they have totally missed the importance of the figure of speech litotes and therefore the power of the words.  Literally, this phrase should be translated, "a citizen of a not insignificant city."  The effect is that of a double negative, essentially a positive.  Paul is claiming that his home town, Tarsus, was indeed important.  But, by using the figure litotes, Luke highlights the importance of Paul's city, the upstanding nature of Paul himself.   The fact that this figure is used draws more attention to the credentials of Paul than if no figure had been used.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Friday Figure

This week's Friday Figure comes from John chapter 3.  This was the reading this last week in church.  It is the conversation that Nicodemus has with Jesus about being "born again," "Born from on high."

I want to focus on John 3:8.  It reads:
τὸ πνεῦμα ὅπου θέλει πνεῖ καὶ τὴν φωνὴν αὐτοῦ ἀκούεις, ἀλλ᾿ οὐκ οἶδας πόθεν ἔρχεται καὶ ποῦ ὑπάγει· οὕτως ἐστὶν πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος. 
to pneuma hopou thelei pnei kai ten phonen autou akoueis, all'ouk oidas pothen erchetai kai pou upagei: houtos estin pas ho gegennemenos ek tou pneumatos
The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
I have included the Greek, a transliteration of the Greek, and the NRSV translation.  The NRSV translation is OK, but it misses some nuances in the Greek.

The first thing to notice is the twofold repetition of the Greek word πνεῦμα (pneuma), and the use of the verb πνεῖ (pnei), which comes from the same root.  The word has three common meanings: wind, breath, and spirit.  The NRSV has chosen to translate the first instance of this word as wind, the verb as blow, and the second noun as spirit, and I think that the NRSV is correct to do so, yet, this obviously misses the wordplay in Greek.   This wordplay is called by a couple of different names in Greek: paronomasia, antanaclasis, eponodos.  Each of these figures means using the same or a similar word in close proximity with different meanings.  In this case, the first instance means wind, and the second instance means spirit. 

In order to capture this figure, English would have to have the same wordplay, which it does not.  If one wanted to try and carry the figure over, they could translate the verse with the same meaning for each word as follows:

The spirit spirits where it wills, and you hear its sound, but you do not know from where it comes and where it is going.  So it is with everyone born of the spirit.

The second figure at use here is that of personification, in which something that is inanimate is given a human trait.  In this case, I think the NRSV misses out.  What they translate as "sound" is actually the Greek word φωνήν (phonen), which is most naturally translated "voice."  Now, phone can carry the meaning "sound," but its most common use is that of voice.  In this case, I think the more poetic translation would be voice, especially since John seems to be playing on the multiple meanings of pneuma as both an animate subject and inanimate force. 

Either way, this is a wonderful piece of language and unfortunately English just does not have the same richness in this instance.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Rhetoric of Punctuation

Punctuation marks, those seemingly insignificant jots and tittles in our language, are often overlooked.  In usual discourse, we do not really need a period, or question mark to let us know what is going on in a sentence.  But, before you completely overlook them, take a gander at the following two letters.  Punctuation indeed can make all the difference in the world.

Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is all about.  You are generous, kind, thoughtful.  People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior.  You have ruined me for other men.  I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart.  I can be forever happy --will you let me be yours?



Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is .  All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless  and inferior. You have ruined me.  For other men, I yearn.  For you, I have no feelings whatsoever.  When we're apart, I can be forever happy.  Will you let me be?


(HT Roy Williams at Monday Morning Memo via my wife

Now, considering that Old and New Testament manuscripts did not have any punctuation at all, and that these have been added later by editors, are there places in the Bible that could carry different meanings if the punctuation marks are rearranged? 

This also made me think about the rhetorical task of delivery in the ancient world.  When we speak, we communicate punctuation through our tone of voice, pauses, etc.  Check out the following example of a teleprompter gag which also illustrates the importance of punctuation.

Friday, March 18, 2011

νόμος or law

νόμος or law is the 14th and final in the list of ancient progymnasmata.  The exercise on law has to do with refuting or confirming laws that are either already in effect or laws that are proposed in the assembly.  This last preliminary exercise seems especially suited to students who would have gone on to professional rhetorical training, the primary aim of which would have been to speak in the law courts of Greece and Rome.

Through this exercise, students would continue their practice of confirmation and refutation that had already begun in earlier exercises.

According to Theon, one may refute laws according to the following topoi: what is "unclear, impossible, unnecessary, contradictory, unjust, unworthy, inexpedient, shameful." (Theon 129, Kennedy).  According to Hermogenes, the topics by which to refute or confirm a law are: "clarity, justice, legality, advantage, possibility, appropriateness." (Hermogenes 27, Kennedy).

In Mark 10 there is a discussion of the law concerning divorce.  The setup is as follows:
Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” (Mark 10:2-4).
Now, in what follows, Jesus will refute this law of writing a certificate of divorce, and he will do so using a number of the topics listed above.  Jesus responds thus:
But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’  ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark 10:5-9).
It was because hardness of heart that Moses wrote this provision of the law, but that does not conform to the Law of God.  Therefore, Jesus refutes this provision of the Law based on several different fronts.  It could be seen as truly "illegal" based upon God's law.  It could be seen as "shameful" based upon the shame of having a hard heart.  It could be seen as "inappropriate" based upon its failure to conform with the perfect plan of God.

Practice in confirmation and refutation of laws was of great importance for the biblical writers, and the progymnasmata would have instructed Greek students in performing such tasks.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

θέσις or thesis

Thesis is the 13th exercise in the ancient progymnasmata and deals with arguments.  According to Theon, thesis "is a verbal inquiry admitting controversy without specifying any persons and circumstance; for example, whether one should marry, whether one should have children, whether the gods exist." (Theon 120, Kennedy).

Thesis differs from topos in that a topos is a stock argument about which there is great agreement.  Thesis on the other hand is a proposition about which there is disagreement.  Theon says that one can get the subject of a thesis from a maxim, proverb, chreia, or another useful saying.

After coming up with the thesis itself, the student would attempt to either confirm or refute the thesis.  One can confirm or refute according to a number of topoi, such as, is the thesis possible, necessary, beneficial, pleasant, praiseworthy, etc.

In Luke chapter 20, the Lukan Jesus engages in the refutation of a thesis using the topos of possibility.

In 20:41, Jesus asks:  “How can they say that the Messiah is David’s son?  The thesis presupposed here is that the Messiah is said to be the Son of David.

Jesus then goes on to refute even the possibility of this claim from the topos of impossibility as follows:
For David himself says in the book of Psalms,
    ‘The Lord said to my Lord,
    “Sit at my right hand,   
until I make your enemies your footstool.” ’
 David thus calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?”  (Luke 20:42-44).
Jesus has claimed that it is impossible for David to call his son "Lord."  Here Luke has engaged in the simple preliminary exercise of thesis and has used it to great effect in his Gospel.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Page Proofs!

I just received my page proofs via email for my upcoming publication: Figuring Jesus: The Power of Rhetorical Figures of Speech in the Gospel of Luke, (Biblical Interpretation Series 107, Leiden: Brill, 2011).  It has an ISBN # and everything.  I feel like it is a real book now that it has an ISBN.  Now to proofing and indexing, woo hoo!

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Friday Figure

This week's Friday Figure comes from the first letter of John.  There are actually several figures at play here.
1John 2:12     I am writing to you, little children,
        because your sins are forgiven on account of his name.
1John 2:13     I am writing to you, fathers,
        because you know him who is from the beginning.
    I am writing to you, young people,
        because you have conquered the evil one.
1John 2:14     I write to you, children,
        because you know the Father.
    I write to you, fathers,
        because you know him who is from the beginning.
    I write to you, young people,
        because you are strong
        and the word of God abides in you,
            and you have overcome the evil one.
The first figure to notice is distributio.  According to the Rhetorica ad Herennium, distributio "occurs when certain specified roles are assigned among a number of things or persons."  Ps-Cicero then gives this example:
“The Senate’s function is to assist the state with counsel; the magistracy’s is to execute, by diligent activity, the Senate’s will; the people’s to chose and support it by its votes the best measures and the most suitable men.” (Ps-Cicero, Rhet. Her. IV.xxxv.47).
While the things that John writes are note strictly "roles" as set out by Ps-Cicero, they are attributes of these three different classes: Fathers, young people, and children.  John separates these classes to say something specific about each one.

The second figure to notice is pleonasm, which is the repetition of the same thought in different words (Quintilian, Inst. Or. 9.3.45-46).  John addresses each of the three groups twice, varying his thoughts and words only slightly, but essentially repeating the same material. 

The third figure to notice is anaphora, or the repetition of the same word as the first word in successive clauses (Quintilian, Inst. Or. 9.3.30).  Here we get two three fold repetitions, I write, I write, I write (γράφω, γράφω, γράφω),  and I wrote, I wrote, I wrote (ἔγραψα, ἔγραψα, ἔγραψα).  Notice even the variation of tense here, which once again uses the figure of pleonasm.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

ἔκφρασις or description

ἔκφρασις (ekphrasis) or description is 12th on the list of the ancient progymnasmata.  According to Theon, ekphrasis is,
"descriptive language, bringing what is portrayed clearly before the sight." (Theon 118, Kennedy).
Theon goes on to state that there are ekphrases of persons, events, places, and periods of time.  Virtues of ekphrasis  are clarity and vividness according to Hermogenes (Hermogenes 23, Kennedy).

A good example of ekphrasis from the gospels would be the description of the transfiguration of Jesus.  Take Matthew's account:
Matt. 17:2 καὶ μετεμορφώθη ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν, καὶ ἔλαμψεν τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος, τὰ δὲ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο λευκὰ ὡς τὸ φῶς.  
And he was transformed before them, and his face shone forth as the sun, and his clothes became white as light."
This description, or ekphrasis by Matthew follows both of Hermogenes' virtues of ekphrasis.  His description is clear and vivid.  To accomplish this vividness, Matthew uses two similes: face shone forth as the sun, and his clothes became white as light.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rhetoric For Sundays

Periodically on my blog I comment on church marquees.  I find them hilarious, but also endlessly frustrating in the banality of their messages, and sometimes in the fact that they often communicate messages that are harmful to Christianity in general.  Here is the latest that I saw on my way to church this morning.

 I mean really, do we really want to communicate that whatever comes in the afterlife is to be compared with a decent retirement package? 

And even more, this emphasizes the common evangelical misunderstanding that what really matters in this life is getting souls into heaven.  This life, what Jesus preached most about is of little meaning, only saving souls, getting them their "fire insurance," or in this case, their "retirement benefits." That is what really matters, right?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

ηθοποιία, προσωποποιία or characterization and personification

ηθοποιία/προσωποποιία is the eleventh of the classical progymnasmata and is the exercise of characterization, or more specifically, for creating a fictional speech for a character.

Theon defines prosopopoiia as,
"the introduction of a person to whom words are attributed that are suitable to the speaker and have an indisputable application to the subject discussed." (Theon 115, Kennedy).
Key here are the two qualifications, namely that this speech should be "suitable to the speaker," and that the speech "have an indisputable application to the subject."

Theon then gives several examples, from very general to very specific.  For example, "What words would a man say to his life when leaving on a journey?  Or a general to his soldiers in a time of danger?"  Or, more specifically, "What words would Cyrus say when marching against the Massagetae?" 

As you can see, one can create a variety of persons and situations and then create a speech to be given by that person on that occasion. 

The Greek historian Thucydides, recording the way in which he reconstructed historical speeches, admitted that he took some liberties, and essentially recreated the speeches according to the rules laid out by the preliminary exercise of prosopopoiia. Thus, even in Greek History, it was acceptable to take some liberties in recreating historical speeches.  Thucydides writes:
And as for things that they each said by way of argument, either when they were about to go to war or when they were already at war, it was difficult to carry the precise details of the things that were said word for word in one’s memory. This was the case both for me, where I heard them myself, and for those who reported them to me from various sources; but they have been rendered in the way it seemed to me likely that each speaker would indeed have said what was needed concerning the present circumstances on each occasion, while sticking as closely as possible to the general ideas behind what was actually said. (Emphasis in bold is mine. Thucydides, Hist. 1.22.1-2).
There are many speeches in the New Testament.  Many have speculated about the speeches in Acts and to what degree Luke was reporting the actual speech, or rather, engaging in prosopopoiia, creating a speech in line with the character of the speaker and in line with the needs of the situation.

One good example of prosopopoiia in the gospels comes from Jesus' parable of the rich fool.  Jesus creates a speech for this rich fool, as the rich fool actually has a conversation with himself.  Here is the relevant section from Luke 12:
Luke 12:17 And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’
Luke 12:18 Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
Luke 12:19 And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’
 Creating this speech in character creates a liveliness to the parable.  The implied question behind this parable for which the Lukan Jesus creates a speech is, "what would a rich man say if he had a surplus crop."  Then comes this speech where the rich fool has a conversation with himself. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Political Rhetoric

It has been a banner week for the word rhetoric.  If one listens to the news or browses news stories on the internet, it seems that rhetoric is the buzz word of the day.  All of this in the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Arizona, apparently directed at congress woman Gabrielle Giffords, but hitting 18 other people in the process, killing 6 so far.  In the wake of this horrific tragedy, the rhetoric is flying.

From the left, there are accusations that this shooting was promoted by right wing inflammatory rhetoric.  From the right, there are defenses against these accusations, and accusations of equally inflammatory rhetoric from the left. 

From a Google news search for "rhetoric," here are a sampling of of the headlines:

A Time to Cool the Rhetoric

Leahy: 'Seething rhetoric' has gone too far

Polls: Shooting spree not due to rhetoric

Extremist Rhetoric, Violence, and American History 

Maybe we should stop with the rhetoric for a moment and actually find out why Loughner went on this rampage.  Let the rhetorical jets cool, don't turn this tragedy into a political battleground, at least not until we know more about what happened and why it happened.  Once that is established, and the truth be made known, then by all means, let the rhetoric fly in defense of the truth, but out of common decency, let's let those who have lost loved ones grieve, and those still fighting for their lives, actually have some peace. 



Monday, January 10, 2011

σύγκρισις or comparison

σύγκρισις is the 10th of the ancient progymnasmata and is the exercise in comparison.  Theon writes:
"Syncrisis is the language setting the better or worse side by side.  There are syncrises both of persons and things." (Theon, 112, Kennedy).
As with the exercises of encomium and invective, the topic lists derived from those exercises are also used for syncrisis.  For example,  there are external goods such as place of birth, occurrences at birth, nurture, upbringing, education. Goods of the body (health, strength, etc.).  Then there are internal goods such as goods of the mind (intellect, wisdom), virtues (justice, bravery).  Then there are actions and deeds (to which I would also add speech).  Finally, there is the manner of death and what happened after death. Whereas with encomium and invective, the student merely listed the goods or ills of a single person or thing.  With syncrisis, the student compares two subjects with regard to these topics.

Syncrisis can take many forms, comparing good with good (double encomium), good with bad (encomium/invective), and bad with bad (double invective).  One can also come to a number of conclusions.  For example, with a double encomium, one could find the two equally good, or might praise both, but find one slightly better.  Likewise, with a double invective, one might find the subjects equally bad, or that one is slightly more diabolical than the other.

I have dealt elsewhere with syncrisis in the Stephen episode in Acts 6-8.  Another example of syncrisis can be found in the book of Hebrews.  In chapter 3, the author of Hebrews compares Jesus to Moses as follows:
Heb. 3:3 Yet Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself.
Heb. 3:4 (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.)
Heb. 3:5 Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that would be spoken later.
Heb. 3:6 Christ, however, was faithful over God’s house as a son, and we are his house if we hold firm the confidence and the pride that belong to hope. 
Here, the author of Hebrews engages in a syncrisis between these two biblical figures, Jesus and Moses.  The comparison is a double encomium in that Moses is not found to be bad.  No, indeed, Moses was a faithful servant over God's house.  Yet, even though Moses is good, Jesus is better, not as a "servant" over God's house, but as a "Son."  Thus, the author of Hebrews has composed a double encomium syncrisis finding both subjects laudable, but finding Jesus superior as a Son. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lucidity, Brevity, and Barth

I, like many others (see for others synchroblogging Barth's CD) will be blogging through Barth's Church Dogmatics over the next several years.  Thanks to Dr. Kirk for instigating this activity.

I will be blogging on Barth mostly on my other blog (, but periodically I will point out something with rhetorical implications here.

Charles Talbert, one of my mentors at Baylor, often cited Calvin in his call for "lucid brevity" in writing.  This concept of lucid brevity is one that Talbert has mastered well and that I seek to emulate.  Calvin called for brevitas et facilitas, yet he was not the first to do so.  Lucidity (clarity) was one of the four virtues of style called for by the classical rhetoricians, and brevitas was a figure of speech that conveyed dignity upon speech.

While Barth might be the theological descendant of Calvin, he unfortunately did not inherit his virtues of lucidity and brevity.  Barth is anything but brief, and struggles to find lucidity.  I envy the mind of Barth, but wish that his style were more in line with the virtues of clarity and brevity.

I call to mind what my native German speaking friend in seminary said to me when he claimed that he preferred to read Barth in English (his second language) because it made more sense.

The Friday Figure

This week's Friday Figure comes from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians.  The figure (or more precisely, trope) used is that of metaphorMetaphor's are indispensable to a good communicator as they bring life and poignancy to language.
1Cor. 3:1  And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.
1Cor. 3:2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready,
By using the metaphor of milk as opposed to solid food, Paul brings the abstract concept of his teaching down to the every day life of his hearers.  He has brought in this metaphor, perhaps also a use of hyperbole, to drive home to his listeners their foolishness and infantile behavior.

More Church Marquee Humor

I have posted a few times about how church marquees often carry messages that the church would not want to communicate.  As a whole, I think church marquee messages are usually banal and ridiculous, but sometimes the humor that they carry are worth every penny.  See my posts here, here, here, and here for more church signage humor.

In these two church signs (HT to Scotteriology), the humor comes from the figure of speech paronomasia, which is essentially a pun or play on words.  I will leave it up to you to figure out the play on words.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

ψόγος or invective

ψόγος (psogos) or invective is the ninth of the ancient progymnasmata and is linked with its opposite, encomium.  If encomium is "an exposition of the good qualities of a person or thing." (Hermogenes, 14, Kennedy), then invective is an exposition of the negative qualities of a person or thing.  Theon says that "these are the sources of praise (encomium), and we shall derive blame (invective) from the opposites." (Theon, 112, Kennedy).

The sources that Theon was talking about were the list of "topics" used for encomium: external goods such as place of birth, occurrences at birth, nurture, upbringing, education. Goods of the body (health, strength, etc.).  Then there are internal goods such as goods of the mind (intellect, wisdom), virtues (justice, bravery).  Then there are actions and deeds (to which I would also add speech).  Finally, there is the manner of death and what happened after death.  Therefore, while in encomium one would look for "goods" according to these topics, with invective one would look for negative traits according to these topics.

A good example of invective comes from Revelation and the numerous charges against "Babylon."  It is largely agreed that "Babylon" in the context of Revelation is code for "Rome."  Thus, in Revelation we get a nice invective against Rome.  Here is an example from Revelation chapter 18.
Rev. 18:2 He called out with a mighty voice,
    “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
        It has become a dwelling place of demons,
    a haunt of every foul and hateful bird,
        a haunt of every foul and hateful beast.
Rev. 18:3     For all the nations have drunk
        of the wine of the wrath of her fornication,
    and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her,
        and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxury.”
Rev. 18:4 Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,
    “Come out of her, my people,
        so that you do not take part in her sins,
    and so that you do not share
        in her plagues;
Rev. 18:5     for her sins are heaped high as heaven,
        and God has remembered her iniquities.
Rev. 18:6     Render to her as she herself has rendered,
        and repay her double for her deeds;
        mix a double draught for her in the cup she mixed.
Rev. 18:7     As she glorified herself and lived luxuriously,
        so give her a like measure of torment and grief.
    Since in her heart she says,
        ‘I rule as a queen;
    I am no widow,
        and I will never see grief,’
Rev. 18:8     therefore her plagues will come in a single day—
        pestilence and mourning and famine—
    and she will be burned with fire;
        for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.”
 Among the many things that the author of Revelation has to say about Rome in this invective are that Rome is a dwelling place of demons and foul beasts, that the city/empire has committed fornication, that it has lived pridefully and has engaged in luxurious (and dishonest) financial policy.  All of these would fall under the topics of "deeds" in the list of topics given by Theon and the other progymnasmatists. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Holiday Whirlwind

It has been a crazy few weeks.  On the 17th of December Brooke and I left for Colorado and the odometer on my car read: 95580.  When we finally ended our holiday tour on Monday, my odometer read 98881.  Two weeks, 3,301 miles, three states, multiple beds, and Brooke and I are ready to finally be home for a while.  For a while it seemed like we were living out of our car.

It was a great holiday time for us.  We first went to Colorado for about a week and visited both of my parents.  We got to spend some great time with both sides of the family, spending our nights in my Mother's cabin in outside of Drake, Colorado.  It was gorgeous.  The weather was perfect, but not very Christmas-like.  No snow to speak of.  Just balmy Colorado winter days allowing for safe driving and gorgeous mountain views.

Then it was back to Waco for a short hiatus while Brooke worked two and a half days.  Then on Wed. December 29th it was off to Houston for the Texas Bowl featuring Baylor vs. Illinois (ughh, no comment).  Then, up early in the morning for a trip down to Brooke's family's ranch for New Years.  It was a great time in South Texas, 90 degree days, watching the wildlife.  I saw many white tail deer, some javelinas, and a gorgeous bobcat.

We ended the trip with a wonderful evening in the historical Gruene Mansion Inn in Gruene, TX on the Guadalupe River.  It was a nice end to a whirlwind couple of weeks.

Now, back in Waco, gearing up for the Spring semester.  I can't wait to get back to teaching, and blogging.

Happy New Year