Sunday Potpourri: I Married MacGyver Edition

It’s a mostly cloudy afternoon here in Mondoville — at least the portion I can see through my office window. I have some lesson planning to do, but thought I might as well check in here beforehand.


I have sleep apnea, and use a CPAP machine when I sleep. I’ve done this since the mid-Oughts, and have enjoyed its benefits (such as breathing) throughout. Occasionally, though, bits and pieces of equipment may fail.

Such was the case this morning. Because my mouth opens from time to time as I sleep, I use a mask that covers both my nose and mouth, and includes a T-shaped section that rests on my forehead and keeps the assemblage in place. Straps connect to the mask’s base and the T-section. Unfortunately, as I was adjusting the mask this morning, I heard a crack, and discovered that the T had failed, separating from the knob that allows me to adjust the force holding it in place.

This would have presented a problem, but as it happens, I live with Mrs. M. She immediately hopped out of bed and found some spare gear that we had received from one of her brothers. The gear was a nosepiece, and the size wasn’t quite right — I have a large head, with a corresponding honker, but I figured it would do for the couple of days it would take to receive the replacement gear I needed to order. Mrs. M headed to the kitchen to fix her morning coffee, while I decided to adjust to my new situation by trying to sleep in. (Ah, the sacrifices I’ll make!)

As it turned out, I underestimated Mrs. M’s resourcefulness. A few minutes later, she came back into the room. “Put this on — carefully.” It was my mask, which she had jury-rigged with rubber bands to restore a degree of structural integrity. It fit fine, and (touch wood) should hold out for the aforementioned couple of days.

“What would you do without me?” she asked.

“Buy more spare masks?” That wasn’t the best answer though, and at this point I’d like to revise and extend my remarks, as they say in Congress. Mrs. M’s dexterity and resourcefulness have made my life considerably easier and more livable over the years, from her ability to do household repairs to her support of my decision to walk away from a journalism career and return to grad school. In more ways than one, she’s been a lifesaver. Thanks, babe.


It looks like my Spring classes are in order. I’ll be teaching a section of Froshcomp, along with a fiction workshop, a film class, and one I haven’t previously taught — a course on the works of Edward Gorey. In addition to Gorey’s own collections, I think we’ll look at Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, and perhaps selections from Neil Gaiman and Daniel “Lemony Snicket” Handler, both of whom acknowledge a debt to Gorey’s work. We’ll also use Mark Dery’s Gorey bio that I read over the summer, and that inspired me to try the course to begin with. As for the film class, I may revisit Westerns, but it’s tough for me to resist the chance to introduce the kids to films noir. In any case, I’m looking forward to it.


This weekend’s entertainments included a documentary about the late cartoonist Gahan Wilson. I’ve been a Wilson fan since I was a kid, and along with the late John Callahan and the abovementioned Mr. Gorey, Wilson’s work provides a key to a lot of my sense of humor.

Born Dead, Still Weird is a nice view of Wilson in his later years — the film dates from 2013, six years before Wilson’s death. While I would have liked to see more details about his life and career development, that might have meant less room for the shots of the cartoons that made him famous. I will say, however, that the film includes something far more terrifying (to me, anyway) than anything Wilson drew. That would be footage of Tuesday meetings between New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff and the various cartoonists (including Wilson) who were submitting batches of work. Mankoff wasn’t nasty, but he wasn’t terribly interested in softening the blow of rejection, either. When you do creative work, you get used to rejections — it’s part of the gig, and if you aren’t getting stuff bounced, you probably aren’t trying. However, I don’t know how long I’d be able to hack sitting across from the guy telling me that my stuff just wasn’t cutting the mustard. As I said — scary.

In any case, while the movie may be a little shallow for the hard-core fan (it doesn’t touch on Wilson’s writings, for example, and the accounts of some of his life’s events seem to lack detail), it makes a nice introduction to the man and his work, But I’d still start with the cartoons.


I haven’t played chess since high school, and was never all that great at it anyway, lacking the passion to give it the serious effort the game warrants. To call me a woodpusher would be an undeserved compliment. However, I do maintain something more than a passerby’s interest in the game and its world.

Consequently, I was thrilled last night as the Mighty Men of Mondoville defeated our rival Lutheran college, North Carolina’s Lenoir-Rhyne University. The intrasectarian football rivalry is marked by possession of what is called the Bishop’s Trophy, and since the LRU football program has been particularly strong for the past few years (for example, they were rated #5 in the country before last night’s game), we hadn’t seen much of the trophy — it’s been residing in Hickory, NC.

But last night, a big third quarter put us up by two touchdowns and we held on to win the game by a score of 28-21. The best part of it, though, has to do with our longtime coach, Todd Knight. I ran across a picture of the coach celebrating our reclamation of the trophy, and well, the caption writes itself.


In other Newberry College news, the college president told the crown that construction will start very shortly on a new Nursing/Health Sciences building, and on the renovation of the school’s football stadium. (Artist’s depictions below.)

And by the way, US News and World Report lists Newberry as the #11 college in this part of the country, along with giving us high marks for value and social mobility. We do good work, and we do it at a reasonable price.

Not a bad time to be here. And if you have a kid (or know a kid) who might like what we have to offer, give me a holler, or just visit our Web site. Tell them Mondo sent you.


Okay, I do have work to do. But why not a bit of music before I go? Once again, it’s the Green Pajamas, whose new album, Sunlight Might Weigh Even More, came out on Friday. Here’s a track from it. Hope you like it!

See you soon!

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
This entry was posted in Culture, Education, Family, Literature, Music, Why I Do What I Do. Bookmark the permalink.

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