Monday, July 28, 2008

Brutus' Backslap

I, for no better reason than apathy, declined to tabulate my pages read in my last post on books until the 'year' had passed. When I found that I was a mere 41 pages short of 20,000 pages for the year, I felt myself.
like Brutus backslapping himself.
And so for this next reading year from September 6th, 2007 to September 5th, 2008, I shall include the running total of pages along with books. My goal is to surpass last year. A difficulty might be that last year I vagabonded and thus had plenty of time to read, while this year I am in school, looking for a job, performing a job, and possibly getting an internship. So the odds are low, but you can't limbo without the bar low either. Again, these are only books that I read in their entirety, cover-to-cover, as any good author would want their reader(s) to do.
And now,
the list....
Books Read: 49 Pages Read: 15950
Fallin' Into Athens
1. Diminished Democracy by Theda Skocpol 366pg
2. The War for Muslim Minds by Gilles Kepel 295pg
3. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris 272pg
4. Public Personnel Administration: Problems & Prospects 4th ed. by Steven Hays and Richard Kearney 398pg
5. The New Public Personnel Administration by Nigro, Nigro, and Kellough 362pg
6. A Voice for Nonprofits by Jeffrey Berry and David Arons 219pg
7. Nonprofits and Government by Elizabeth Boris and Eugene Steuerle 395pg
8. The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism(20th anniv. ed) by Daniel Bell 397pg
9. Development as Freedom by Amartya Sen 382pg
10. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell 301pg
11. Prayer & the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance by Donald Miller 291pg
12. Toward an End to Hunger in America by Peter Eisinger 188pg
13. Food for the Hungry: The Reluctant Society by Judith Segal 91pg
14. Beyond Party: The Know-Nothing Movement by Mark Voss-Hubbard 262pg
15. Snow by Orhan Pamuk 463pg
16. The Four Loves by CS Lewis 141pg
17. How We Are Hungry by Dave Eggers 214pg
18. Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart 344pg

Spring Ends Athens
19. A Billion Bootstraps by Phil Smith & Eric Thurman 238pg
20. Microfinance Handbook by Joanna Ledgerwood 302pg
21. Microfinance: Evolution, Achievements, & Challenges ed. Malcolm Harper 182pg
22. My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk 412pg
23. God and Gold by Walter Russell Mead 449pg
24. Finance and Poverty by Maria Carpio 176pg
25. The Economics of Microfinance by Armendariz de Aghion & Morduch 346pg
26. The Commercialization of Microfinance eds. Deborah Drake & Elisabeth Rhyne 320pg
27. Impact Analysis for Program Evaluation by Lawrence Mohr 311pg

The Center of Summer is Carter
28. Contemporary Latin America by Ronaldo Munck 260pg
29. The White Nile by Alan Moorehead 431pg
30. It's Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong 289pg
31. Governing the Americas: Assessing Multilateral Institutions eds. Gordon Mace, Jean-Phillipe Therien & Paul Haslem 317pg
32. Facing the Congo by Jeffrey Tayler 286pg
33. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini 400pg
34. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett 973pg
35. Despite Good Intentions: Why Development Assistance to the Third World has Failed by Thomas Dichter 317pg
36. When a Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Godwin 352pg
37. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen 447pg
38. The Fate of Africa by Martin Meredith 753pg
39. The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu 228pg
40. The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin by Adam Hochschild 331pg
41. Forgotten Continent: The Battle for Latin America's Soul by Michael Reid 399pg
42. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins  328pg
43. The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning  235pg
44. The Princess Bride by William Golding  283pg
45. Our Endangered Values by Jimmy Carter  222pg
46. Quarterlife Crisis by Robbins & Wilner  198pg
47. The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta  368pg
48. The Great Divorce by CS Lewis 160pg
49. Dave Barry's History of the Millennium (So Far!) by Dave Barry  256pg

Monday, October 22, 2007

*OLD* December 7th, 2005- 10 Days of Christmas about 8 Days Too Soon

So I have 10 days left until THE RETURN. Yes, I´m talking the Return of Epic Proportions. I´m talking trilogy THE RETURN. I´m talking RETURN OF THE JEDI AND RETURN OF THE KING RETURN TO THE FUTURE III (I streched that one but in spanish I´m golden) style. On a mental sidenote projected into cyberspace, I think we men can all agree that Aragorn is the ultimate man and one whom we should all strive to be (the wanderer with a reputation Strider, the valiant warrior, the faithful friend, the rightful King, the lover of an Elvish princess and/or Liv Tyler, long hair, scraggly beard, etcetera etcetera).
Moving right along, I´ve decided to use this number 10 in a montage of fun facts in a numerical order adhering to the obvious countdown beginning with ten and ending with one (feel free to meander off for several minutes in Monty Pythonesque discussion of whether eleven can be counted or two before three or after three etc.). Without further ado, because honestly there really couldn´t be much more mindless fluff before the countdown (unless you are of course Dave Eggers and your email is A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and the mindless fluff is the 45 page long acknowledgements section! good book), here it is.

10. 10 days in Ecuador will follow shortly after my return. Consider it a "cooling down period" like when you run and win the New York don´t just stop at the ribboned finish line, you give it a few good staggers before you pass out on the ground. or at least i would. thus ecuador. oh, and a little sister who´s going there with me.

9. Number of pictures I took of sea lions while in Ushuaia. All of the same 9 sea lions. I just couldn´t figure out which one had the best lighting and as of now have yet to reduce it to a more normal number of sea lions pictures. What is a normal number that one should take?

8. I could say 8 photos and cheat my way out of this one, but I won´t. Instead I will make an allusion to number 11, which isn´t on this list. It was an eleven word "if statement" looking something like "If God is the supreme physician and healer of the broken-hearted," then the 8 word conclusion is "the contemplation of nature is a sovereign remedy." For the distelled sentence challenged, it reads:If God is the supreme physician and healer of the broken-hearted, the contemplation of nature is a sovereign remedy.

7. 7 months that I´ve been in South America. Now that´s getting a little ridiculous even for me.

6. Out of a list of 40, only 6 never replied to an email. One of them was me. i guess i never got sleepdeprived enough to think of writing myself. That gives me a batting average of 87.5 percent. That´s a B+ at Georgetown (3.3 GPA) but only a B at UGA (3.0 GPA). Grade inflation, anybody? Fortunately, my time here in Argentina is on a pass/fail basis which means I needed only 40 percent (4 out of 10 passes in BsAs). So once again, I´m golden. Oh, if you are one of six, and that includes me, and feel abashed or emboldened, you still have 10 days to write back...

5. By the time my South American adventure is over I will have visited 5 countries: Peru, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, and Ecuador.

4. 4 months until the next baseball season. If you´re a true fan, you´d know it´s 117 days away. This year is going to be a good year. Go Braves!

3. 3 Turtledoves. Imagine the consequences. I mean, we all know that 2 turtledoves have been the norm for well over a century. What happens when you add the third wheel? Fights, Friends, Friction, Fowlfreeforall? I bet you could make a movie about it. THE NIGHTMARE OF THE 3RD NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS!!! (subtitled the Day the French Hens Disappeared)

2. I had a dream last night that I came home and couldn´t remember how I got there and learned that both my kidneys had failed so I had to be brought home. I´m not sure where the kidney failure idea entered my subconscience or why that caused temporary amnesia, but it has the number two and that´s good enough for me right now because I have been up for two hours plus a day and just wrote 9 pages in spanish in 2.5 hours about the russian mafia, remittances to latin america, central american gangs, bolivian foreign affair policy especially focusing on the chile aspect, and things of that nature.

1. You. because you are unique (or special as our moms like to say). and christina aguilera thinks you´re beautiful, no matter what they say.

Happy Day that starts with C and ends in S and is not Clinton Portis Day.

Josh Bull

ps the boy age 8 who accosted me in the subway and gave me the gem of wisdom on grey hair, hailed me again today. I approached him. He looked me up and down, then kicked me in the shin. Nothing more, nothing less. I´m still trying to think of the profound truth in this situation. Maybe it´s that instruction is sometimes painful or that we carry around the marks of our teachers for a long time. I dunno.

*OLD* November 27th, 2005- Hallmark Cards and Journal Entries

So not much happened here this past thanksgiving, no football, no fall weather (94 degrees!). Fortunately my extensive journalling has me covered for this week. I´ve almost runout of gimmicks for new emails so I decided for this one to let y´all, thou privileged few, to see two journal entries (first is an excerpt, the second is a whole entry!) from, yes, my journal. That´s all. Oh, keep in my mind that while these are typed, the actual entries are handwritten, if that makes any difference.

November 24th, 2005
I saw Harry Potter 4 last night...Haven´t done anything exciting today, so I don´t have very high expectations for you today. If your weekly emails are ever this boring, you should check out the journal entry from September 15th, because that was the date of the peak of your inactivity after your wallet was stolen and the day before you discovered the english bookstore. just a helpful hint. and now a witty saying, "Better to be struck by a passing fancy than to be struck by a passing car." Better yet, "If life throws you lemons, make lemonade. If life throws you a battleaxe, duck."...(poem entitled ´But somehow it didn´t surprise him´ based of Sept 15th entry, deep insight into the meaning of life, etc.)....

September 15th, 2005
I had an unexpected and very distinct smell of popcorn as I was trying to go to sleep last night. And I thought, "What if I opened my eyes ever so slightly and saw someone I know I know in a hospital room making microwave popcorn while waiting for me to get out of a coma. And maybe all that I remember and do in this ´life´are what I think of in however long I´m in such a comatose state. End thought.

So friends, family, and sidekicks, may the tryptophan inspire greater deep thoughts, enjoy your football and colder weather and I´ll see y´all sometime later.

Josh Bull
ps This is what is known as a "filler" email. It´s equivalent to the awkward silences in conversations.
pps Of course, this is all superstition, people often frighten themselves with what they say.
ppps Here´s an advertisement I saw for curing body odor."Body odor (known also as scent of the immortals) is a disgusting condition with an awful, nauseating smell. It often affects social relationships and can delay life´s major event: marriage. It disadvantages young men and women at job interviews or when they try to enlist, therefore inflicting much suffering and anguish. By using a new total treatment, we can instantly eradicate the odor with a rate of up to 97.53% success. For joy in life and future happiness, we welcome you to come and rid yourself of it..."

*OLD* November 16th, 2005- Would You LIke Fries With Your Repatriated Remains?

I`m pretty sure this will be the first question I hear when I get back to the United States. Reason being I´ve also decided that the steaks here in Argentina are so good that it´s worth trying to bring a backpack full of uncooked steaks packed in ice with me on the airplane and trying to explain to the customs officer that it´s actually my pet cow Betsie who I brought with me to Argentina. Ever since Betsie was a calf she´d love to frolick in the open fields. About six months ago, she frolicked in the pasture of a Texan rancher and was about 5 minutes away from her last frolick in a Texan slaughterhouse when I found her and decided to go to the wide open Pampas of Argentina. Unfortunately after romping about for a couple minutes, she got hit by lightning and died instantly. So I decided to chop her to pieces and pack her in ice. This absurd story led to two conclusions. First, from the absurd I came with the absurd "profound" question: If your life went in reverse would yours have a surprise beginning? Second, from the story I came to the conclusion that I want to be a storyteller or rhymster. My first conclusion was quickly dropped (only after I came to logical end that if life was indeed played in reverse and put on a record player would it have a demonic message like some 60s songs supposedly have and is touted in the recent movie Skeleton Key starring Kate Hudson? and that supposition obviously leads to CS Lewis` conclusion in the Great Divorce that one day we´ll, depending on where we spend eternity, look backward on our life and declare we were always in heaven or always in hell) and I followed my second to the next paragraph.
Storytelling is going to be my passion for at least a couple months. I`ve been inspired by Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian, who by the way is a much better travel writer than Paul Theroux, and a recent discovery of homemade videos by Jason Mraz to get into storytelling- weaving imagination into reality for entertainment, catharsis, or for telling my grandkids one day like my grandpa did for me with Cowboys and Indians back in the day. It will now be my resolution to become a great storyteller/impromptu rhyme master by May. Which leads me to the next paragraph.
My last resolution so proudly announced in last weeks email has been shot down beyond all repair in the last five days. At the time, Friday night, I´d woken up at six thirty and decided that if I stayed up all night and went to bed at a reasonable hour on Saturday night, everything would be fine and dandy again. Wrong. I went to bed at a reasonable time and immediately woke up at 930 on Sunday. Unfortunately it was 930 PM. Well, maybe since it was late enough to be tomorrow (a topic so profound I won´t go into it...yet. okay I will, I just read a 500page book about a guy shipwrecked onto an abandoned ship anchored 500m away from the International Date Line which runs through an Island that is continually in Yesterday while he is in Today. and he can´t swim) I thought I´ll just do it again for Monday and be all set for Tuesday, fit as a fiddle. Wrong again, but at least this time I was ready for it. I woke up at 630 pm after falling asleep at midnight (which is reasonable because our family didn´t start to eat dinner until 1030), thus giving me an astounding 41 hours of sleep and three allnighters from Sunday at midnight to Wednesday at midnight. I guess one good thing came out of this loss of innocence regarding my firm resolution making ability...the next paragraph.
I had an insight into the loss of innocence from three different sources during one of the "dead zone" of allnighters (or daynights as I dub them), the 3am to 6am timeframe when everything is closed...everything except the imagination. The loss of innocence is that moment when our life ceases to be real and begins to feel like a dream, like what we are and/or what we´ve experienced just can´t be real. First source: Mystic River (movie) from the car incident. Second source: Band of Brothers TV series, episode 3 with the conversation between Spiers and Blithe and how the former thinks he´s already dead and thus is able to fight like a real soldier. Third source: an article online about the premiere of the 4th Harry Potter movie that talks about the whole book series being about Harry´s relationship to the magical world and how it gradually goes from rosy to scary to real or unreal depending on how you look at it. And, you guessed it, leads me to the next paragraph.
Preregistration for classes for next semester happens for me during last week and this week and on this one I am ahead of the game. My classes for my last semester (unless I don´t get into them) will be an English course called Harry Potter to Knights of Old (a class about the loss of innocence, growing up, and whatever else), Muslim/Christian Relations throughout World History, Comparative Political Systems, and African Politics/Governments or Religions of the Ancient Near East. If you want to chill with me in any of these classes, please pay 25,000 dollars to Georgetown University, sign up and hope you get in to the courses you pick, and prepared for the time of your least during those five months, I can´t guarantee anything past that which obviously segways into my next paragraph.
This email can be interactive, if you haven´t figured that out by yet. However, seeing as response to the last email was mediocre at best, I feel that this one can be a little get a little bit more than mediocre. but only a little, ´cause remember the tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut by the lawnmower (strive for mediocrity...which helpfully informs us is 1. The state or quality of being mediocre. 2. Mediocre ability, achievement, or performance. 3. One that displays mediocre qualities. Any of which definitions one of you would clearly see as mediocre seeing as they use the word as the definition.). To make this long email a bit more exciting, I am offering several options for you to become interactive. They are the following, in a very particular order (numerical):
1. Give me advice/suggestions/demands/comments/concerns/witty remarks on what I should do for at least the year after my college graduation. I´ll post the winning (quantitatively) one in the next email, but may or may not do so depending on how I feel or make resolutions in the near future.
2. I am giving y´all the never before seen....CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE. But Josh, you may say (meaning you´re talking to your computer again...tsk tsk), that´s already well-known as a mediocre book series. I understand but this is in 3D and real. Based on whatever response I get, you can choose whether I go to the Moreno Glaciar and Patagonia, Paraguay, or neither in two weeks time. Voting closes in exactly one week (11/23). Three things to consider: MGP means going to Patagonia and seeing one of the greatest natural wonders in at least South America and it´s most expensive. Paraguay means another country for my belt that I´d have a hard time getting to in the future, a riverboat through the jungle sleeping on hammocks, and medium expense. Neither means saving money, maybe doing homework or other useful things and money for more souvenirs for you if you name the best thing you want and i agree that it fits you and/or is ridiculously imaginative or cool.
3. I can call you if you give me your number. This has several repercussions. One, you and I can have a chat about whatever (exciting! exclamation point!). Two, you could see how many numbers show up on your cellphone (lots!). Three, you could copy these numbers, call them back, doubtfully reach me (it´s your number in the phone), but there is a chance that somehow you´ll connect to the Argentine phone system before calling the number which will be your house meaning, you will get to talk with your future (by two hours) self and learn all the secrets of the future (endless possibilities! think Biff from Back to the Future 2!!!)
Two final observations before I go, tactfully put in front of my salutations so that they aren´t relegated to the PS section, which has somehow become a place to mock. First, Andruw Jones didn´t get the MVP award and from this I deduce that my vote doesn´t matter, Jayson Stark from will never be read by me again (he´s really mean and complains after everything (read his response to every award this season if you don´t believe me, even the ones or more like one he got right), and I will never read the Houston Chronicle again because of their bad mouthing of Jones after he loses. Two, I was reading my notes from earlier this semester and I thought this one was worth sharing. It´s dated November 1st, 2005 and it´s my only note for my Transition, Crisis, and Reform class that day. "I zoned out but WAS there . just to write this apology."
Josh Bull

ps A young boy age 8 stopped me in the street Saturday and said, "Young man, remember that gray hair isn´t always a sign of wisdom, but rather old age."

pps Now he did say it in spanish which means it could´ve actually been anything.

*OLD* November 12th, 2005- Melted Butter, Daynights, Emotions, Climbing, and yes Pauly Shore

It`s that time of year time. yes, it happens this time of year.
My second week back in Buenos Aires can best be summarized as a fly on a sled of a tongue depresser on a 60 degree slope covered with melted butter. Yes, that`s right, I just made an analogy including an insect, winter sports, medical devices, mathematics, physics, and good ol` melted butter.
In reality, I guess that jump into the future the past week affected me more than I admitted in my last email. For seven days, my mornings got shorter, disappeared, became early afternoons, and yesterday started at 6pm. On the flip side, my nights went from college levels to opening night of Star Wars levels to the "Hey that moon sure looks a lot like the sun" to the "Well, sir I guess I slept on Thursday at one point, wait what day is it? Is Carter still president? (That`s a Flight of the Navigator allusion for all you fans of what I watched over 30 times before I got to kindergarten)"
More to the point, I had trouble maintaining a good sleep schedule given that my classes start around 6pm, I bought a 30 movies in 30 nights package from Blockbuster, and my family not cooking dinner until 10pm or later. I think I`ve mentioned it before, namely in September, but this was a little how September was when I had no cashflow and was stuck in the city. When you only see a couple hours of daylight a day, you start becoming emotionally numb. I think. However, I figured out a remedy for that, guaranteed.
Helpful advice of the week: If at any point you feel emotionally dulled all you have to do is sit down on a rowing machine (erg) and row a 10k. I did that today (twice) and I cycled through every emotion you could possibly feel. Anticipation, Hope, Despair, Love, Hate, Vengeful, Anxious, Exhaustion, Resignation, Energetic, Trepidation, Fear, Courage, Taciturn, Pride, Loathing, Worry, Joy, Giddy, Friendly, Competitive, Nostalgic, Analyze, Contemplation, Religious, Anarchistic, Calorific, Malnourished, Cramped, Dizzy, Bored, Excited, Musical, and melted butter. I realize that half of those aren`t emotions, and one isn`t even an adjective. But, it does make you realize that getting mired in emotions is not good, all you need is 200m and you`re in a completely different emotion. And if you do it again (row a 2nd 10k), then you`re either a rower or crazy.
I saw two of the most amazing climbing scenes in my life yesterday (well, really today because to break my slide on melted butter I added that palative (I don`t even know what that means) of salt called the all-nighter. The second most amazing was performed by Peter Garrett (the character) in Vertical Limit when he, with a backpack full of nitroglycerine, after climbing allday at 26000+ft after 3 years of not climbing, runs and jumps from one rocky outcropping over a seeming abyss, to another ledge, with two icepicks in his hands, swinging them and planting them as he hurtles into the ice and rock. Ridiculous. Or so I thought...
The most amazing was in The Cave by Christie (-ina?) who speed free-climbs a thousand foot vertical, slimy wet wall in the darkness, a mile under the surface. She hooks herself on a ledge, falls 50 ft or so, then runs sideways and perpendicular to the wall until she gains enough momentum to reach the edge going full speed cutting the rope and flying through the darkness to another wall which she hits and catches herself. I couldn`t believe it. Unfortunately she made the mistake of doing it in a sports bra, thus exposing her abdomen which, in a scary movie such as the Cave, necessitates the immediate attack of a winged creature who eats her alive less than 3 seconds after she safely lands. But it was a sweet move.
To end this email of the second week of November, let me say a few closing remarks. First, I am confident the salt has congealed the butter so there`s no need to write worrisome emails about the hypothetical consequences of a fly sliding down a 60 degree slope covered in melted butter if and only if it is done in the southern hemisphere with a 500m split of 1 min 54.9sec. Two, don`t try the climbing stunts. They are only for actors who can climb K2 to save their little sister who hasn`t forgiven him since three years early under extreme duress he had to cut their father`s rope in order to save their lives in a rockclimbing accident in arizona or if you`re stuck in the largest cave man has ever known being chased by romanian explorers who thirty years ago fell into the cave, were infected by parasites, and become savage winged creatures accustomed to the dark and with a fierce desire to remain on the top of the foodchain. Third, I did do homework. I wrote a paper (singlespaced?) on how Bush has or has not implemented the (in)famous Washington Consensus in the US in the past five years. And yes that is how I learned the tactic of the extra line between paragraphs to enhance page coverage. Fourth, I saw Biodome the other day and felt nostalgia for Pauly Shore, the early 1990s, having friends named Squirrel and Bud, and drinking halfgallon sodas/Slurpees from 7-11 in addition to the 5 Cs. All this even though I wasn`t in the states in the early 90s, I`ve never had friends named Squirrel or Bud, nor having a diet consisting solely of foodstuffs purchased from 7-11. I guess Pauly Shore is all that`s left.
And so that is how I shall end,
Pauly Shore movies to all,

Josh Bull

ps I also had my first dream in Spanish. and it was about you. not really, it was about class which is sad because if these spanish dreams don`t start improving, I`m gonna have to dump them for the vastly superior english ones that I`ve been having the past four months.

pps If you were on a roadtrip to a university about 240 miles away from yours and told someone on this list that you wanted in, please write me back to let me know that all your wildest dreams have come true and you have been mentioned obliquely in a mass email. it`s a great feeling, I know. it happened to me last week in a letter addressed to all the faithful in Ireland who await only a word from the sender before they rise up against their English overlords and restore the Irish to their rightful place in the world. and although this Irish William Wallace did mention me obliquely in the email, the word was not spoken and so my joy is muted, to say the least.

*OLD* November 3rd- Youth, the days when our hearts beat high and life was glorious.

Another week, another email, another story, another travel, another month, another empty polyglot table sprinkled with germans, namibians, catalanians, canary islanders, and an haitian american. and penguins.

My latest adventure took me to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego. Proudly announced in the airport, on spoons, dishes, decorative plates, restaurants, port authority vessels, tshirts, and several monuments, it is the southernmost city in the world at 54 degree south of the equator. Several thoughts on the town in a very particular order:
1. It was formed as a penal colony and the horrid stories of the prison that spawned a city are now in display in the actual prison (each cell has a different display) that closed less than 50 years ago.
2. The sun didn`t set until 10 pm and it was only the end of october.
3. You can go from the ocean (or rather the Beagle Channel) to the snowline in 2 hours, 45 minutes, and 16 seconds if you walk with the gait of a 6 foot 4 inch man with a backpack.
4. If you walk for 2 hours 58 minutes and 23 seconds, you`ll feel the absolute terror of being stuck on a rocky outcropping in the middle of a glaciar surrounded by untrodden snow except for the four footprints you took to get to try to reach the several week-old footprints and the fifth footprint that went in 2 feet in the snow before you could shift your weight of a 6 foot 4 inch frame. lesson learned: don`t be the first to get to a poorly marked glacial boundary and don`t go past it.
5. If you go to Ushuaia and want the best wildlife experience, go on Tres Marìas. It was a small boat (8 people) captained by three 20somethings including one who i don`t think worked there but was just chilling, our bearded captain who once took a bus from Ushuaia to Rio de Janiero (6200 km!!!), and our guide who was a bearded Garcia Bernal who was a carpenter during the winter. We went to islands of penguin colonies and sea lions.
6. I spent some time in a horse pasture watching wild horses eating in a gully. The next day I was walking back through the pasture (it`s like a barrier between the port town and the suburb) and a man next to me whistled and all the horses galloped in from all over the pasture, then formed a single file line behind the man and walked together behind a bluff. i stood next to el señor de los caballos and didn`t even realize it. Seriously, it was probably the most impressive thing I`ve ever seen a human do, except for that one time when...
7. that one time when I saw movie posters all over town for the Legend of Zorro (sequel to Mask of Zorro) with Antonio Banderas, Catherine ZetaJones and Anthony Hopkins on all of them. I saw the movie today, and Anthony Hopkins wasn`t even in the movie!!! Lesson learned: If you are a cannibal, you can do whatever you want.

That`s all I thought.

I also walked once straight out of a meadow and into the wood. actually, i started walking east, first out of the downtown, then through the suburb of oddly shaped houses, then through a horse meadow, then down a dirt road, then on a horsepath next to a swollen stream, and arrived in the shire. I`m not even kidding. It`s there. just 5 kms east of Ushuaia and 4 kms up the river that empties into the center of that bay.
In the end, it was a good trip and probably my last for a long while. Apparently I have papers and presentations and classes to write, orate, and attend. And in spanish to boot!
I also timetravelled, moving one hour further ahead of the eastern seaboard of the US of A, bringing my total to two hours. Time travel isn`t as glorious as it sounds. It feels a lot like eating dinner and watching a movie, getting up to get another coke and then realizing you`ve broken the time-space continuum and moved into a state of future existence previously unknown to humanity except for Doc and Michael J. Fox.
To end this email, I wish health to the unhealthy, innocence to the guilty, concentration to the studious, an MVP award to Andruw Jones, marriage to the engaged, babies to the pregnant, a dog named deefer for whoever gets the next dog of this bunch (Deefer dog. get it?) (cheap) plane tickets to the relations, 3 dollar steaks to the hungry, and happiness to those who pursue it.
but only fleeting happiness because you shouldn`t be pursuing an emotion.

josh bull

"Listen, dear friend: After having spent my life in buffeting with this world of which you speak, I have lost all my illusions and retained but two faiths- faith in immortality, the love and fear of God; and faith in friendship and my duties as a father."
--Athos from The Man in the Iron Mask (I was going to let that one go without the source, and then I realized that I`d have to answer a lot of unwanted questions in regard to the `duties` part of the quote)

*OLD* October 27th, 2005- The End of the World

Note: This email is full of facts but not so much deep thoughts. This is due to lack of "downtime". Having none of my own to share, please accept this thought from Athos, a 17th century French musketeer as substitute: "If God is the supreme physician and healer of the broken-hearted, the contemplation of nature is a sovereign remedy."
It`s been a busy ten days for me since I last wrote to you. Btw, if somehow I figured out how to send this to undisclosed recipients then you`d think this would be a personal email. But you`d be wrong because it`s not. I got in from Valparaiso, Chile on Monday last week and since then have been moving about. Wednesday I left for Misiones province in Northeast Argentina for the second group trip of the semester (the first being Tilcara in Northwest Argentina). This time we took a 16 hour bus ride but because they paid for it, I finally experienced the heaven on wheels that is the Coche Cama...fully reclining quasileather seats, better movies than Taxi and Boogeyman (featured on the drive back from Chile), among other things.
We, we being 40 exchange students, spent three days at an estancia (ranch) in the flat and lush lands near the Paraguayan border. One guy, Isaac, had a birthday and so brought a blowup crocodile we named Crocolina and used in various pools playing a game we called Water Crocket (like Cricket but in the water with a volleyball and a blowup crocodile named Crocolina). I also had two opportunities to redeem my honor by not falling off a horse whilst riding. The first time we went to the Rio Corrientes, the border with Paraguay, and forded a river (fortunately no wheel axles nor little Timmy nor any oxen were lost and we didn`t have to trade five skins for the Indians to ferry us across) and swam in said river. The second time 7 of us stayed back from the group visit to a mate factory to go with the gauchos (Argentine cowboys) on their afternoon duties. We were of course absolutely no use to them but did enjoy galloping off in various directions sometimes dictated by us, sometimes by the horses; touring the estancia`s property for four hours (big property); and even trying to corral cattle (easy to surround) and some water buffalo (not so easy).
Every night we had an asado (big barbeque) and I fancied that the cowskulls on the wall were the very same that we consumed. But I was wrong. After our stay at this estancia, on Saturday we visited the Jesuit ruins (San Ignacio Mini to be exact) from the 17th century and went to another estancia known for its tea and mate that struck me as what life would have been like being a Brit in early 1900s British Kenya (clay tennis courts with women holding tea in one hand, playing with the other and wearing sundresses; men lounging by the huge pool playing Water Crocket; sumptuous lunches under the veranda of the central house followed by live music and waltzish dancing). But of course I was wrong because it was the tropics of NE Argentina, not 19th century British Kenya.
Because we were so close to the Brazilian border (as any Brazilian with a map of Northeastern Argentina handy would easily tell you), the same 7 of us decided to go to Iguazu falls for a couple of days while everyone else went back to Buenos Aires. And so we did for three days. Iguazu falls is like Niagara falls on steriods. It literally looks like the end of the world from the 2km walkway leading out to the main entire countryside flooded by brownish water with only the tops of some green trees showing. But I was wrong. It`s just a huge huge river with little islands in it that falls off a plateau and has the most incredible look ever.
Mark and I (Mark being a Brownian man and I being me) took a crazy boat ride up to several of the falls (The 3 Musketeers and San Martin if you must know) but were quickly repelled by the force of the water. Our group had our own asado and split up with Mark taking the early bus back, aforementioned Isaac and I taking the 20 hour bus that`d get us to BsAs at 7am, and the others taking planes back.
I got into Buenos Aires on Tuesday morning and thoughts of Iguazu filled my mind for most of Tuesday (the of part being filled with 2 phone calls, class, and Game 3 of the World Series). I reflected how often I`d been wrong (flood=river, 1900 Kenya= 2005 NE Argentina, dinner= not wall mounting, cattle not = water buffalo, 17th century Jesuit ruins = 1st occupation of my Jesuit Georgetown professors, etc.) and I realized my only conjecture that hadn`t been proven wrong was the End of the World one and the name of the waterfall I got soaked by but not past.
So the next day, yesterday, I bought a ticket to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, and after my morning class (during which my laundry was done at a laundromat) boarded a plane to the southernmost city of the world also known as El Fin del Mundo (End of the World). It is from here that I write, and my adventures have started already and tomorrow greatly increase (a yacht ride down the Beagle Channel to some islands inhabited by penguins and seals, and a hike to a glaciar). These will have to be in the next email though.
To finish the best week ever I attach my salutation,
Josh Bull
ps I also bought The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas, the final book in the Three Musketeers series for my trip to Ushuaia, thus completing my Iguazu falls to Tierra del Fuego thought process.

*OLD* October 18th, 2005- Hello, various names. (long but Fruit by the Foot!)

Hello, attachment.
Attached is a picture that I feel captures Valparaìso, Chile, the best. Note the two men and the right`s someone`s front door that they decided to paint. Also, there`s a picture of my Northwest Argentina adventure that`s called from salt to salt.

Hello, scientist.
I had a midterm today that went well because last week I had a stunning hypothesis that took me on a journey to Valparaìso, Chile. Hypothesis: I will pass the midterm if and only if I study while watching a sunset on the Pacific. Variable tested: Pacific sunset vs. Atlantic sunrise. Constant variables: my pair of traveling jeans and my grey machu pichu shirt (both of which I`ve had since april 2001). Time of experiment: Six days.

Hello, traveller.
The hills of Valparaìso decided to dislodge their inhabitant and to let go of the houses on top, to let them dangle from cliffs that are red with clay, yellow with gold thimble flowers, and a fleeting green with wild vegetation. But houses and people clung to the heights, writhing, digging in, worrying, their hearts set on staying up there, hanging on, tooth and nail, to each cliff. The port is a tug-of-war between the sea and nature, untamed on the cordilleras. But it was man who won the battle little by little. The hills, and the sea`s abundance gave the city a pattern, making it uniform, not like a barracks, but with the variety of spring, its clashing colors, its resonant bustle. The houses became colors: a blend of amaranth and yellow, crimson and cobalt, green and purple.

Hello, diffuser.
Before you get too excited about my writing, the last paragraph was written by the Chilean Pablo Neruda who won the Nobel Prize for Literature, as any Chilean with a list of Nobel prize winners handy could tell you. To further diffuse, I heard Valparaìso through Radiohead`s Kid A and Maroon 5`s Songs about Jane, I wittled time away in Santiago through Keane`s Hopes and Fears, and it was Penny & Me and the Chilean and Argentine border patrols (Hanson). And I stole two ending advice poems from Gunter Grass` Dog Years, pgs 545 & 549.

Hello, polyglot.
I stayed at El Yoyo, a backpacker`s hostel with crazy cool rooms, a common kitchen, and free internet. I bought 2 avocados, a cucumber, 4 tomatoes, an onion, 3 potatoes, 3 beef buillion cubes, my special salad seasoning, salt, and olive oil. My dinners at the hostel were shared with a Belgian whose son went to college so he liquidated all his assets (car, house, bike?) and quit his job and backpacks around the world now. He was the lazy Susan if you will. For he spoke French with the two Frenchwomen, German with the Austrian and two Germans, Romansch with the Swiss, English with the Texan, Spanish with the two Mexicans and the Paraguayan Jew, and Flemish to himself when he became pensive. I`m pretty sure el Yoyo is spanish for Tower of Babel, because I mean, c`mon, that`s a lot of languages at one table. Later, the el Yoyo owner who was also, according to various signs, the plumber (Don`t throw toilet paper in the toilet! El Yoyo Plumber), the cook (Breakfast from 9 `til noon! El Yoyo cook), and other things as such. She recommended me to La Casa Roja in Santiago where I stayed for a night, not to be confused with The White House which is further north and probably costs more than 9 dollars a night to stay in, and is a rundown colonial mansion that has 16 rooms! and other great stuff.

Hello, thief.
Well, I bought a CD player because I`d sold my iPod to a friend that shortly thereafter was stolen (I`ll let you decide the subject of that horrible indirect reference). I used it for five days and on the bus ride home from Santiago to BsAs, I fell asleep listening to music and woke at 545am with my headphones still in but plugged into nothing. The bus stewardess was very helpful though, telling me not to worry and she`d take care of it (we make no stops so the thief and CD player were still on the bus). She made an announcement, "Someone has stolen this man`s CD player and if you have it, will you please give it to me." Unfortunately, no one responded and that was all she could do.

Hello, rapid fire facts.
Duration of bus ride: 24 hours there, 26 hours back.
Border crossing location: above the snowline, in middle of the Andes. Accumulated snow height approximately 6 feet. often closed due to impassability.
nature of Museo al Cielo Abierto: Chile`s finest artists painted 20something murals on houses and walls on 5 or so streets of Valpo.
nature of Valpo.: crazy colored houses populated by artists, even vandalism is cool (Amor y Caos; Tù no existes), cog trains are most-used form of public transportation, stairs instead of roads in many cases, home of chorrillanas which have fried eggs, sausages, steak, fried onions, grease, and fries and enough calories to run FOREVER.
nature of travelling pants: a whole the size of the left leg opening except underneath backpocket.
nature of email: long and tiresome but lacking deepness. so is chile. 2880 miles of coastline, but only a 3 hour drive max. from coast to argentina.
nature of my philosophical musing: why>who>where, when=0 what=1 . thought process: The where isn`t as good without people. People can make heaven hell or hell heaven. whatever that means. Moreso a day in Kansas would be awesome with friends, not so much without. Therefore who>where. Why>who because of Shakira. Imagine, it`d be great to date Shakira. But wait, who is she? I don`t know. Because I don`t know why she does what she does. The whys of a person give them depth and humanity and a glimpse into what differentiates them from all others. I could go to Chile to enjoy beauty or to stage a military coup against a socialist government. Why>who because why determines the who, unless you`re only concerned about the superficial in which case Shakira=who>why. When is zero because it doesn`t matter. What is a given so it`s one. Multiply anything by one and you get what you got. Facts are facts are facts.

Hello, ending.

Don`t write letters,
letters are filed away.
When you sign a letter,
you`re signingwhat you were yesterday.

Josh Bull

ps a helpful hint I learned while in Valpo.
Don`t drink of the sea,
it whets the appetite.
If you drink of the sea
you`ll thirst eternally for the ocean.

*OLD* October 8th, 2005- North by Northwest (maybe my longest email yet)

My batteries for my camera ran out today (first time in 124 days) exactly 3 hours after I´d given my extra set to a friend so I decided to write another email. I am in Tilcara in the Jujuy province in Northwestern Argentina with about 45 other americanos. I´ve realized that my past emails have been written more to entertain than inform and that my humor is sometimes mistaken for information, therefore this email will be written to inform rather than entertain.
It´s been a welcome respite from the lonely wanderings of multimillion populated cities to come to a town with 50 other Americans in a province that averages about 1 person per square kilometer. The region is a rocky, dusty desert with cacti, dust, and rocks. We flew out on Wednesday morning at 930am. Realizing that my morning prowess hasn´t been that great as of late, I decided the best idea was to rent three movies Tuesday night and watch them all night instead of sleeping. So now I know of The Thin Red Line, Blow, and the Motorcycle Diaries (without subtitles).
Returning to the future past, on Wednesday some guys played a game of soccer which was a lot of fun despite the fact we are at 9000 ft above sea level and the dust that followed our every stride/stagger (towards the end). This was followed by a group dinner and long talks about the distant future when we´re twentyfive, discussions about our pasts stemming from our dreams, and pretty neatly lots of talk about Christianity and its ramifications (more on this later).
Thursday we started at a museum and had talks from local professors about the economic and social state of Jujuy province -not too good- followed by a museum tour. One by one we broke out of the museum (all rural museums in the Andes are the same) onto the main plaza and in an act that will surely go down in history as one of the best decisions ever, I bought empanadas from an old lady making them in the plaza. Four empanadas later a small crowd had gathered and one and all declared this anciana the patron saint of empanadas and the empanadas a national Argentine treasure (she made them in front of our eyes and I have pictures to prove it including her own pot on coals to deepfry).
My friend Eric from Tulane and I explored the city and heard of a figure named Maximo who ran horseback riding tours for the town. We went to his house (small town) and his wife invited us in and talked with us for a bit and we resolved to ride to the Garganta del Diablo (Argentines have the best names for waterfalls) the next morn. We did. And it was great. When I get a real computer I´ll send a picture of the cacti that dot the hillsides and look like haphazard crosses marking Indian graves with unknown occupants.
That night we went to an art gallery/restaurant/music venue owned by two brothers. We ate llama steaks (taste like llamas smell...not too good unless you´re a fan of hay and llama smell) and watched as at least fifteen different diners played various instruments, sang, skitted?, and danced for four hours. Just to illustrate the awesomeness of this place, the owner brother (probably late 20s) put on a full-length macintosh (rain coat) for no reason (he said in case someone threw a tomato at him) halfway through the night.
Today we went to a Seven colored mountain and to the saltflats in Salinas. Just miles and miles of salt, ate in a building made of salt, sat on salt benches, bought figurines made of salt, and other saltrelated activities. Our time ends tomorrow with a flight back to BsAs in the afternoon. However, it has been great meeting at least 14 but no more than 23 people who are now friends, getting sunburned from riding horses (oh, also my saddle came loose during the third hour and horse and rider (me) fell down a particularly steep section of the path when the saddle slipped up to the neck area. Luckily I landed on my chest (and my backpack strap that snaps across the chest and has been ridiculed by some for my fastening of, took the brunt of the sharp rock and broke, but my sternum did not but I bruised my foot when the horse fell on it), and having good talks. Most conversations started with the future which lead to the past which led to my past which led to my spiritual walk which led to frank (not terse but more in the sincere sense) of others experiences with Christ, which led to talks on stuff I´ve been thinking about down here like superstition, love, community, economics, politics and how all that stuff should or could or shouldn´t or might or mixes with Christianity. It´s been really good being able to bounce thoughts off others and realizing the state of my own and others faiths who I hadn´t bothered to ask about.
In conclusion, the trip has been a great change from Buenos Aires drudgery and proven a fertile ground for friendships. Now it´s off to the art gallery for dancing (not so much) and salads (best salads I´ve had in Argentina, and I´ve had so many in only two visits already that they start making them for me before I even ask, that´s my boy Ferdinand). Write back and receive an entertaining personal response, an even more deeply informative message, or a page from my journal that includes ruminations on the divine or mundane with a hearty dose of witticism and assorted thoughts thrown in, (just mark 1,2, or 3 for the type you want).

From Josh "Tossing the Salad" Bull

ps If any of you are interested in contacting the empanada lady, she´s has no phone, no email account, or car. You´ll have to stop by the main plaza of Tilcara between 11am and 4pm on sunny days.
pps If any of you are interested in what I´m reading, it´s now DOG YEARS by Gunter Grass.
ppps If any of you recently proposed to a long time girlfriend on Georgetown´s campus, congratulations and merry engagement from an admirer and well-wisher.

*OLD* September 27th, 2005 Evening- A Correction to Six Observations

To not make the mistake of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, the previous email can be summarized simply as this...
this being the baby.

The last week I joined a gym, read Crime and Punishment, got stuck having to write a 6 page paper on a crazy topic, and in my inspiration of joining the gym made an effort to put myself back under legalism but failed. The other stuff is the bathwater, just observations on the Buenos Aires. I don´t smoke, go to gay pubs, accost women named Jane while wearing a loincloth, snog, or commit heinous crimes in 19th century Russia. This is to reassure any of you who may have mistaken me for the other stuff.
i´m still here and still me,

josh bull

*OLD* September 27th, 2005- (Title is too long & thus is in the message)

Six Observations. No more, no less. Well, maybe a brief intro, a spanish signoff, a ps, and a rambling subject line. but nothing else. well except for the heroic couplet

I`ve run out of witty email organizations, titilating introductions, apparently spelling wizardry, ranch dressing, and exciting travel stories for now. so the following are six observations/anecdotes/thoughts I`ve had this past week (six because on the seventh day we`re supposed to rest and i didn`t really observe much else). So I guess it`s the same as my other emails except without zingers and such. if you make it through these six paragraphs, there is a prize waiting for you after my best regards like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or is it Trix cereal? Without further ado,

ONE This week I had the bright idea of making ten rules for myself for some reason. They were heartfelt and deeply pondered and when I wrote them down, I actually felt like I was writing a part of myself on the journal`s pages. They ranged from the divine (7. No skipping classes) to the pedestrian (9. No staying up past 2am or waking up past 9am). They were foolproof due to rule 10. NO BREAKING THE RULES. The rules are to last 22 and a half days. 7 days later, 8 of 10 have been broken. They`re just suggestions anyway, right?

TWO The city of Buenos Aires has streets named after other cities, historical figures, and other assorted riff-raff like dates. However, it`s pretty easy to find your way around and know how far it is between two addresses because the numbers always start at 0 at the river and go up the further you go away. Each block is 100 meters, and it`s almost a grid except for necessary curves due to an occasional hill or railway. I love it. Except, my one neighborhood, is set out diagonally. I can`t begin to explain how much my mind hurts about thinking of the fastest way to get out of my neighborhood to the various internet establishments, subways, etc. This probably doesn`t make much sense, but it does to me. Imagine trying to walk from A to B only to be told that you have to go A to C to B every single time. That`s all I`m going to say because if I say more, you might see the screws coming loose...

THREE When I read books, I usually see myself as being the main character or someone close to said character. This week I read about a man who wanders the streets aimlessly at night (check), wears the same pair of clothes for a week or more (check...I`ve taken to wearing shorts with almost billowy longsleeved dress shirts. I used to wear my jeans, but they were a little tight and after one night of wearing them while wandering for several hours, I was invited to not one gay pub, not two gay pubs, but three gay pubs, so I decided the shorts would be a nice change, thankyouverymuch), knows a pale girl named sonia (check), and is wracked by guilt from his double axe murder of an old pawnbroker and her half-sister (che...). I got a little worried needless to say, even though I just did say it, because all the other signs were there. Then I looked closer and realized that when Rashkolnikov wanders the streets he goes into his own world after 20 steps (I can do it in 14 flat) and walks with his hands grasped behind his back (I prefer the hands in the pockets alternating with hands hanging out in front in the backpack straps like a velociraptor or t-rex, although I`ve never thought of it that way). So that`s that. thanks Mom for buying me that backpack 6 years ago. Then I realized this heroic couplet. i think.

books are for eating and not to be read
they go well with jam and a slice of bread.

FOUR I lost a baby this past week but gained Pablo. Pablo has three earrings. Together, I guess that means I have an average of 1 and a half earrings. To clear up any confusion, as if this email isn´t confusing enough, I did what I`d been avoiding. I joined a gym. Megatlon (MEGA TO THE MAX!!!). Pablo is my personal trainer or weight lifting instructor. The baby, is the 8.8 pounds I`ve lost this week from a combination of lifting heavy objects repeatedly for quite some time and rowing on an erg (indoor rowing machine) for a quite longer time. At the moment, Pablo says I`m strong to quite strong, while he smokes a Cuban cigar, drinks a German beer called Warsteiner, and runs around in a loincloth meeting women named Jane (only Janes) and giving inspiring speeches to expectant Scots (where do they come from?) fighting the darn British who I guess are somewhere around the corner from the gym. The saga continues, and as far as my calculations go (I haven`t had math since 11th grade, much less in spanish) I`ll be a father of a baseball team in 2 months (and emaciated to the point of being continually followed by a British man with a microphone asking a camera to can do it!) and if there ever comes a time when I have to pull fifty pounds with my right hand to my chest 15 times then with my left 15 times and repeat that 4 times, I have the confidence that I am up to the task. And Pablo will still be MEGA TO THE MAX!!!-ing. Next observation please.

FIVE So I have to write a 6 page paper by Wednesday morning about the successes and failures of neoinstitutionalist theories in explaining the economies of Latin America in the 1980s and early 1990s. I know, I know, you (you being disenchanted college student or adult too far removed from college to remember the existential angst placed upon twentysomethings when their idealistic dreams of love, happiness, fraternity, and general good will are shot down by the cold hard theories of yesteryear) say but Josh, it`s only 6 pages. Aha! But it`s in size 11 font. Well, that`s just an Argentinian quirk. You can`t expect everything in the northern hemisphere to be the same in the southern hemisphere...remember the direction of water in toilet flushings??? Aha! But it has to be single-spaced. I stand alone in this cold dark world. but we stand alone together. whatever that means. so one more thought before I start that bad boy.

SIX There are two things that are permissable in Argentina, nay three that doth please the people. One, smoke. Smoke while cooking, while showering (there is an ashtray in my shower, i guess just in case), while shopping in the mall, while playing with the kids, while working out, even while making out (¨snogging¨for those over this age *holds hand too high*). This leads me to my second favorite number, two. Two, make out. While cooking, while shopping in the mall, while playing with the kids, while working out, even while smoking (I left out showering because I`m not sure on that one yet). Three, speak spanish. I mean, everyone does it. So in the spirit of Argentina,
hasta luego,

josh toro

ps if you have equally stimulating yet not very pertinent observations on life as you know it right now, let me know. oh, and your prize is this, the end of the email. and a good song is Midlife Crisis by Speechwritersllc easily accessible at

*OLD* September 17th, 2005- True and Not-So-True

The other day, actually wednesday to be exact, was the hundredth consecutive day that I had been in the southern hemisphere, so i decided to celebrate by completely unpacking my suitcase for the first time. I then burned the suitcase to dampen any second thoughts on re-packing in an effort to give a sense of permanence to my situation, like Hernan Cortez burning the ships when he landed in Aztec land in 1519.
In continuing with this tradition of community buildingness, I finally bought a chocolate and cookie treat that somehow permeates this society filled with lanky women and men with good teeth (I don`t understand because they literally give me six packets of sugar for my coffee which is really just a doppio. every. single. time.). And wanting to build the community whilst settling in, I gave my chocolate treat (I hate chocolate) to the homeless man who camps out in front of BancoPatagonia on Av Freire and asked his name which he said was Charles, who would`ve thunk?
Actually I would`ve thunk because I made that second part up right here on the spot. I`ve been reading tons and tons of stuff in spanish from store signs to warning labels to over a thousand pages on economics and the united states` utter responsibility for everything wrong to etcetera but wednesday i found an english bookstore but didn`t buy anything because i had brought a monton of english books from home. Actually, I`d only brought two books from home (bible and cs lewis greatest hits thingie) so I eagerly bought three books desperate for mental stimulation and as of friday night have read one in its entirety and am halfway through a second book of 700 pages and have a third expectantly waiting on my nightstand.
The titles are, in order, Where`s Waldo? (Blue Edition), A Complete History of Model Trains in 19th Century England (halfway through), and the autobiography of Green (Green who? Well, it`s a creative amalgamation of the lives of Mean Joe Green, Anne of Green Gables, and Kermit the frog). The real books are The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene (started reading in the afternoon and couldn`t stop until I finished), A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (It really is), and Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky.
My past week has been terribly exciting with my trip to Paraguay actually including seeing penguins in the 95 degree heat in the northern Chaco region, thus letting me kill two birds with one stone (No, Mommas, I didn`t kill any`s just a saying). My past week has been terribly boring because I had to cancel my travel plans and start doing massive amounts of reading for school, because apparently we have tests and grades and icky stuff like that.
I`ve decided to make up meanings to words in spanish that I don`t know, for example, re (pronounced KING, except in spanish). Re means super cool or far out or groovy or flyin` (only one person on this list will get that last joke and if you being not-that-person write to me saying ¨Ha, ha, josh, flyin` I get it,¨ I`ll know you are lying). In any case, it makes readings about the external debt crisis in Mexico in 1982 much funnier if you`re reading along and it says, roughly translated, ...we experts have expertly concluded that the external debt crisis is obviously, well, obvious to us experts, to a (super groovy) inability to pay shortterm loans on longterm projects that haven`t (croqueted) yet. While I`ll probably fail my tests when I misuse the words, it`s a small price to pay for general hilarity.
I have to do something just to say I`ve done it and have stories to tell yàll next week (another witty remark that only one will truly understand, and others may pretend to. in any case this falls into the not-so-true sentence pattern. can i say that without the whole email falling apart???? Existential angst!)
josh bull.

ps Expertly (obviously) meshing the subject line with my email you`ll already have discovered that the sentences follow a True then Not-So-True (False) pattern and thus this addenum (I think that means add-on, at least in my madeup spanish) is useless. Otherwise, I know you`ll enjoy re-reading the main body and laugh with me as you discover the homeless man`s name isn`t really Charles, that I didn`t go to Paraguay or see penguins, etcetera.

*OLD* September 8th, 2005 Evening- Florida Marlins (better than the Phillies, but still not spectacular)

Same message, EXCITING NEW FORMAT! Features include:
Extra letters to my first name (-UA!)
New trips announced (Paraguay! PENGUINS!)
Uppercase letters (A..B..C!)
Exciting new punctuation marks (!!¿Ç)
New sources for secret insights into the universe (Sniffles! Hiking!)
Same information (!?¡¿)

To start off this great new email, an apology must go out for my previous phlop of a phillies inspired email (losers of 5 straight). It was a lack of judgment writing it at 4am. Actually, the real lack of judgment was watching the Agassi-Blake tennis match until two thirty am. The whole situation (Blake being up 2 sets to none then losing on a crazy 5th set tiebreaker) made a nighttime hike a must. I had to sort out the sordid implications of an older generation besting the new hip, bearded generation in 5 sets. It was like watching a horse-and-buggy come roaring back to overtake a Ferrari in a road race or seeing a man with a flamethrower get burnt by a man rubbing two sticks together. So, needless to say, the email was guaranteed to be a floozy.
So, I`ve spent the last 18 hours thinking it over, and I`ve come up with this great new edition. Actually, I spent 9 hours sleeping, 6 walking, 2 watching El Luchador (Cinderella Man), 30 minutes in a bus, and maybe 30 minutes typing this mug. So the old info is that I hiked the Pampas, saw a sunrise at 38 degrees south latitude, questioned my entire trip due to a thought on a twinkie, and decided I`m a wanderer.
Three new considerations come in here. One, complete strangers have stopped me in the hallways at the University of Buenos Aires to ask my advice on motorcycle rentals in rural towns and proper speeds to go down gravel roads after dark with limited lighting in northwestern Uruguay. Two, I realized I know bus routes in cities I`ve never been to (the 103 leaves Plaza Sarmiento and goes up the Costanera Norte in Rosario every twenty minutes, for example). Three, I know page numbers of almost every city in Paraguay, Argentina, southern Chile, and Uruguay in my Lonely Planet now without looking (Puerto Madryn...202. Corrientes? Bam, 224. I could even throw in San Martin de los Andes (353))
Now, the new trips announcements. I`ve discovered a boat that goes up the Rio Paraguay in, gasp, Paraguay, from Asuncion all the way to Fuerte Olimpio in the far north bordering Brazil. I will take a man from Tulane with me to explore said regions this month and sleep in hammocks on the deck whilst watching birds and such for two days.
Also, I`ve decided to push the limits of busriding, expanding my `bus-ness`from a measly eight hours to a mindboggling twenty hours. I feel I`m ready, but you never know. I`ve heard stories of people doing strange things after being stuck on a bus for twenty hours (that`s like going from Atlanta to DC and back without gas stops or waffle houses). I`m going to go see some penguins, whales, Welsh people (there`s a colony of them in Trelew), and other cool wildlife the last weekend of September. ! -exciting new punctuation!!
Now, for two deep thoughts to end this unprecedented second email within twentyfour hours. 1.Hiking- When I hiked Cerro Ventana, my left foot was my `lead` foot. It`d always go first - testing whether rocks were stable, soaring to tops of boulders, and being the first to touch the other side of the creek. After five hours or so of hiking, my left foot began to hurt on the ball of my big toe (the end of the arc or whatever), on the inside half. That`s when I realized: Leaders hurt on the inside. Masticate on that. (Caution, next part talks about snot)
2.Sniffles- On the aforementioned hike, I also had the sniffles. It was a constant thing; every 15 seconds or so, the snot would start to come and I`d sniffle again. It was really just a small thing, but always there. Then, I employed the `snot rocket` or outdoors kleenex method, and when I saw how much snot there actually was, I had a deep thought, because there is a lot...try it sometime. Anyhow, I obviously connected my sniffles with sin. You see, we always have temptations that are almost constant. Like the sniffle. Now, it seems like just a small deal. But, once you act on your temptation, ie snot rocket it, you realize this temptation you thought was just a small deal, is actually a lot bigger than you thought it was. Like sin. Yeah, chew on that as well.
So there you have it folks, a brand new edition of the same old stuff, sold at double the price. I hope this only has to be a one time deal and that my email writings won`t sink as low as the Phillies in the upcoming months. Thank you for hanging in there with me and may God bless America.

JoshUA! bULL!¡!

*OLD* September 8th, 2005- A Response from Alison Brazel

(note to present readers: this is a poem written by one of the Weekly Update group known as Spain's Conqueror...after reading this response email, I should have changed her pseudonym to Conqueror of Language, but you can't mess with names....really, you can't)

indeed you are a wanderer, a ponderer. pondering,
wandering down a beach a street
calloused... feet?
surely you must be beat.
irregular sleep might have you confused
but the poet inside, he is unquestionably amused
this is when he thrives he drives
to figure out the world, himself
storing up one-liners in his mind's shelf
volumes of scribbled thoughts in disarray
not all who wander are lost just prone to stray
from prepackaged answers, from a weary cliche
yes. this is life. the world is full.
of off-beaten paths and too few like josh bull.
so keep on wandering, for your soul's romance
and drink your cortados and dance your salsa dance.

thus concludes the poem.
i love your emails. i hope you're having fun.
inclused is a very INcomplete filmography of one angelina jolie:
'bat out of hell II: picture show'(runaway girl),'hackers', 'playing god', 'gia', 'bone collector','pushing tin', 'girl, interrupted', 'gone in 60seconds', 'tombraider (I & II)', 'original sin', 'lifeor something like it', 'beyond borders', 'takinglives', 'shark tale'....just to highlight a few. whoever said she could hardlybe considered a notable actress (cough dan buice)obviously never saw 'bat out of hell part II'.
spain's REAL conquerer in exactly two weeks.

*OLD* September 8th, 2005- Phillies in September (not too good)

I am a wanderer.

I decided this when I spent more nights sleeping in buses than in beds last week. I decided this when I started plotting new travels while still travelling. I decided this when I saw the condition of my lonely planet and when I caught myself doodling maps of argentina, paraguay, chile, and uruguay with highways and approximate travel times during class. I decided this when I dreamt of hiking from DC to Atlanta after graduation. I decided this when I started watching movies in Russian with spanish subtitles about a boy who walked from Moscow to Koktebel (1000km).
Last week I pushed the southerly limits of my life and got to 40 degrees south latitude, Bahia Blanca. I climbed the almost highest mountain in Buenos Aires province at Sierra de la Ventana, walked down country roads to a town with only dirt roads that from the air form an armadillo (Villa Ventana), played volleyball with Patagonians, saw the sunrise at Mar del Plata, and started classes.
Classes are fine ranging from watching Argentine movies and talking about them to analyzing documents from 1806-1820 in an attempt to understand the beginnings of Argentine political thought. Oh yeah, all my classes are three hours long. of lecture and without breaks. Like today I had a class from 9am to 1pm, another from 2pm to 5pm, and capped it off with a rousing 645pm to 915pm session. I lament the fact that this email lacks any substance or deep thoughts, but if you notice the time and read the last sentence, maybe you`ll forgive me.
Until you do, here`s a thought. Travelling alone is like a twinkie. The yellow cake is like the places you visit, the sweet filling is the traveller himself, and the act of eating is the act of being alone while travelling. Here`s why. When you look at a twinkie what you see is the yellow cake. When you travel, the places you visit are what you see. The sweet filling is the traveller himself because it, like the traveller, is surrounded by yellow cake/places you visit. The clincher, however, is that when you travel alone, it makes you question the whole reality of the trip. You have no proof that your travels are not merely a figment of your imagination or a dream. Just like right after you eat a twinkie, you have no proof that there`s a twinkie except the lingering memory of it.
I guess what I`m trying to say is that it`s four am, I`ve been up since 8am and spent way too many hours in SPANISH SPEAKING courses explaining how the US is to blame for every wrong in Latin America. I don`t expect much response to this email.
Josh Bull (this email doesn´t even deserve a nickname)

ps If you want to question the existence of reason and/or the entire universe, watch Bjork`s new video `Who is it?` and ring a bell.

*OLD* August 31st, 2005- Crying Love, The Man Walked the Streets in Darkness

I`ve often struggled with the callousness of the human heart, and when i say `the` i mean mine, and when i say human heart i mean inability to cry. Thus, I have often struggled with the callousness of my own self evidenced by my inability to cry. However, in the past 45 days I`ve been working on the callousness. How does one`s heart became as such? I don`t know.
What I do know is that when I did crew, my hands grew really calloused and since it`s been about a year since the last time I picked up an oar, my hands have become uncalloused. In some sort of segway, I`ve started to tear during movies. Granted many are watched late (and I mean late) at night and by myself so that may figure into the equation, but I still have begun to be able to cry once again, though vicariously.
Last night I watched the Patriot from 3am to 530 or whenever and I got emotional at the scene with the little girl (Susan) who hadn`t talked to her dad (Mel Gibson) on the beach saying she`ll say anything, just don`t leave, rather than crying at the part when his son was shot. The lesson I`ve learned is it`s better to cry at love than at death. Take these facts as my justification.
If the average life expectancy is 75 years (significantly lower in most of the world), then AT LEAST 6 BILLION people will die in the next 75 years. 6 BILLION. It makes me think that while death is mindnumbingly inevitable, love is anything but. To see two people love each other is never a given and something to be cherished. For me, the seemingly mundane events like a daughter speaking to her father, a man waiting for a woman at a hospital, or a coffee with a friend at the wee hours of the morning, are the subtle signs of love.

Love deserves a fan, and it has got one in me.
So if you see some sign of love this week, smile and appreciate it. And if I die, I want my funeral to be like the music video Helena by My Chemical Romance. Wow. Anyhow, how my past week has gone. I was low on money to the point of living on 50 cents last weekend. So I walked a lot. Preferably at night so everything was closed and no need to worry about spending money I didn`t have. I had ice cream with a friend`s family and went to 5 hour church service (the first two songs lasted an hour, no lie, it was awesome). I ran out of clothes so I`ve been wearing shorts in 50 degree weather. I walked the dog, watched the most influential movie of my life, 7 Years in Tibet, spoke in Spanish, read in Spanish, thought of you (working the crowd), thought a lot about life as a twentysomething, and once slept for twenty hours (following an allnight walking and thinking night). And I learned to tear at love in movies, but not at death in movies.
Happy birthday to one and good morning to all,
josh bull

ps If you share this (love and death stuff) with anyone, I`ll deny it all.

pps For the musically inclined, I recommend Wires by Athlete (think about being the dude in the chorus), of course the video Helena by My Chemical Romance (admire the beauty and choreography), The Other Side of the World by KT Tunstall (look for the title rather than artist because I may have misspelled it), If I Fall by Amber Pacific, and Dutch Courage by The Spill Canvas (the last two can be heard on

ppps I`ll write another poem when I go to Sierra de la Ventana in the southern Pampas sometime.

*OLD* August 23rd, 2005- Rain, Thieves and Eggs All Run

It`s raining. It`s not that surprising seeing as it`s been raining for 58 hours straight. In fact, to write this email I had to maneouver across a railing under a bridge because the pavement that is so used to my perambulations was drowning under half a foot of water (I guess it`s proper to say 15cm here). It all goes back to Saturday night at 10pm.
There I was, in a room with 20,000 of my closest friends watching my favorite Argentine band Catupecu Machu give a concert. I`d come with my American buddies Eric and Heidi, but had lost Heidi somewhere in the tidelike movements of the crowd during the second song. Little did I know that at that very moment a sneaky person pickpocketed me and stole everything I had, including and limited to my billfold and Guia T (the end all guide to everything transportation). Then the rain started. God must be weeping for me.
They stole the 237 pesos I had (it was the beginning of my new week with that being my weekly budget), my AmEx card, my Bank of America card, Bjonerud and Emily Byars phone numbers, my student ID card, and two already expired phone cards (who gets the last laugh? i do. haha). Fortunately I`d just dropped 65 pesos buying Eric and Heidi`s tickets so they quickly paid me back and consoled me.
The concert turned out great, lasting a torrid 3 hours including special guitar players whom I have no idea who they are but got the crowd really excited, general mayhem of jumping, doing our best impression of an ocean (everybody rush in, then get pushed out, repeat), several group kneels (not sure why), and enough sweat to go through three shirts and then some. After the concert, I walked with Eric to his busstop and Heidi to her home (a nice 4hr walk in the rain) then pondered my predicament for 3 hours as I walked from her home to my home.
Here`s a poem:
A dream pushed early into the dark night
is like an egg broken that runs yellow and white.
While both can be salvaged with a quick reaction
neither can become their once certain creation

The chick and the dream are one and the same
though neither will receive attention nor fame
They both died on the night before last
and both leave me longing for the once perfect past

Okay, okay, it doesn`t really fit, but to continue the egg metaphor, I like my thoughts like I like my eggs, scrambled. with salt. and a glass of milk.What`s the conclusion to this sad tale? Well, I`m glad I asked. I think the conclusion is three-in-one, kind of like, God yes, but moreso an egg.
You see, I could be hard like the shell, and conclude that man is evil and especially (wo)men that steal all my money and my GUIA T!, and become cold and calloused and hard, like an eggshell. Or I could crack and spill my insides (thoughts, feelings, emotions, actual intestines, etc.) into a pan I like to call my surroundings. I could angrily scribble angrily scribbled notes in my notebooks (that sentence took a certain finesse that comes only after 5 years of hard labor in a Siberian gulag). I could accost strangers on the subway, bus, or sidewalks to tell them of my sad tale and inquire their feelings on the weather (Is the sky crying for joy or sorrow? discuss in 500 words or less). Or, perhaps I could go through a process, much like cooking an egg. I might be hard for 30 minutes (as I was), crack for 4 hours (a slow crack, punctuated by fierce lightning bolts symbolizing, I`m pretty sure, God`s wrath and vengenance on my enemies like in the Pslams, during my long walk back with friends), but after being tested by the fires of the world (ie robbers, theft, stupidity of keeping both my cards together) I could emerge, like the egg, as a tasty treat seasoned by various sprinklings of sound advice and comforting words.
And that`s where I am now.

I`m an egg.

My thoughts may be scrambled (see above poem), but hopefully this email is a scrambled egg that you`ll enjoy. Laugh with me, cry with me, angrily scribble angry scribbled notes in a notebook, compose off-target poems, steal someone`s wallet during a concert, listen to Catupecu Machu`s A Veces Vuelvo and understand, or maybe just read this email. I have about 6 dollars left, but AmEx says I`ll get a new card Wednesday, so enjoy this email (it`s costing me 16.7% of all I have), and Mom and Dad, if you want to talk, you`ll have to call me...they stole my calling cards, and Bjonerud and Emily if someone calls you from an unidentified number and speaks in Spanish, tell them the story about the egg that could. Thank you all and goodnight,

Josh The Toro Poro (that`s spanglish) Bull

Included is a picture of me in a general dilemma that could signify my current dilemma (Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink) scrambled eggs. and from this morning to show rain.

*OLD* August 11th, 2005- Bringing My 'A' Game

Adventure called me this week and I answered. A thought struck me at 7 pm on this past Tuesday night, why not Uruguay? And I had no good reason not to since classes don`t start until August 16th. After dinner with a few girls I`d met down here, I took the subway out to my house, gathered a pair of pants, undergarments, three books, money, and a pillow, then caught the last subway train back into town (I literally got there one minute before the train did...they`d already shut down the ticket counter so they let me go `gratis`), arrived at the Buquebus terminal I`d passed on my night hike at 1130pm, bought a ticket to go on their ferry to Colonia, Uruguay leaving in an hour, and boarded.
As if that wasn`t enough decisionmaking on the run, once I got to Colonia at 4am, I befriended a gas attendant who gave me free coffee (it was cold and I had forgotten my coat, only shortsleeves for me) and we talked until 5am when the bus terminal opened. A short passage in my Lonely Planet guidebook about a giant hydroelectric project on the Rio Uruguay in the far northwest of the country had intrigued me, so when the bus terminal opened I bought a ticket for SALTO (the HE project is Represa Salto Grande), and left on their 5.55am bus. About eight hours later I arrived in Salto, walked into town to find that the youth hostel in Lonely Planet had closed two years ago but found another that cost less.
After putting my bag down, I went and found a place that rented motorcycles. Although I had never driven a motorcycle (a taxicita yes, but not alone) and am only 20, they gave me one (3 days for 30 dollars total). An absolutely incredible afternoon and evening was spent driving up to the Represa Salto Grande and along a rambla (riverside path) for 30km and learning how to drive a motorcycle as I went along. After I found Salto again, I watched the atlanta braves again as best I could (internet style), and went to a real bed and really slept for the first time since that crazy thought to go to Uruguay came into my head.
And now I had today to recuperate, tomorrow to drive to some thermal springs then catch the overnight bus to Montevideo to meet some girls from the program downtown under the statue of Artigas in Plaza Independencia at 9am (I have to wear a red shirt and be reading a book with one leg crossed over the other at the ankles). A word of thanks to all who`ve been writing me is necessary. All of them are read, pondered, and replied to. After all is said and done, I`m still down here and yàll are up there, and I appreciate your interest in my adventures,

Josh Bull (my motorcycle name is now Toromoto (in spanish terremoto means something))

ps All the sentences in this email start with A, thus my `A`game. An aside (A. -angelina jolie was also in Troy...and A.- have you seen Crash yet?)

*OLD* August 2nd, 2005- All Your Wildest Dreams

Another email sent to a large group to disguise it`s true destination- You.

Yes, you.

Now to the email.
I`ve now been in Argentina for two weeks and it only feels like 13 days max. This could be because on Saturday I slept from 6.30 am until 10pm. At first glance, you (yes, you again) might think it strange that I`d sleep for that long or for those hours. But then again, first glances aren`t usually the memorable ones, it´s the double takes that freak people out. Try it someday in the subway.
Back to the story, I woke up early Thursday morning, had a full day of happenings, and dinner with my family at 10pm. After dinner I watched Meet Joe Black, a movie where a girl falls in love with Death incarnated as Brad Pitt who`s hanging out on earth to experience it before taking the girl`s father to the afterlife. After watching it I couldn´t fall asleep, I was pondering the profound implications of falling in love with death and whether it´s acceptable if Death happens to be Brad Pitt. So I took a walk.
Leaving the house at 2am, I walked to the northwest corner of Buenos Aires to the coast, followed the coastline past the airport, through the port, to an island nature reserve on the far east, and back through the city to classes. All that took 8 hours. So I had another full day on Friday with classes, going to the theater, and then salsa dancing until 6.30 in the morning. On Saturday I slept from 6.30am until 10pm. Now didn´t the doubletake feel much better?
All this to say, life in Argentina is good but I´m having trouble figuring out when and how long to sleep. My question for this email is why? After waking up at 3.30 today, I had a thought that maybe because I´m speaking spanish all day that my mind is tired and because my dreams are in English, I let them go as long as possible, living in my English dreamworld. Also my dreams have been ridiculously cool.
To wrap up this email, I´ll provide a summary of my time: Coffeehouses, sleeping, spanish, ridiculously cool dreams, theaters, cinemas (French movies with Spanish subtitles are my favorite), salsa dancing regardless of the music type (it`s all I know), and walking all night without a destination. Classes start in two weeks. How has your (yes, I´m talking to you again) summer been?

j el toro b

¨Salgo mucho, a veces vuelvo¨-Catupecu Machu

*OLD* July 24th, 2005- My Advance to the South

Being from Atlanta, the epicenter of epiphanies and cocacola (they are interchangeable), and attending school in DC, I often thought of myself as a sort-of expert on Southern affairs. Now that I´m in the deep deep south (34 degrees south of equator, the same distance atlanta is north of it), I´ve realized I don´t know as much as I thought.
For instance, who knew that eating dinner before 10pm was considered strange, or that to come home before 5am on a friday night was abnormal? Fortunately, our program staff have gradually shifted us students into the BsAs lifestyle. Friday night we went out to eat at a restaurant in San Telmo (home of tango) and started dinner at 1015. By the time we got to the dessert, it was already 130 in the morning. We had a tango show then the restaurant turned into a boliche (dance club) which we stayed at until 5am.
I met my host family who have provided me with my own bed and room, which is a new experience for me. I got into BsAs at 3am on Wednesday morning and after getting set up in a hotel, walked the streets for the next 7 hours. I had my tea time in Cafe La Victoria in Recoleta, the richest neighborhood in Argentina, with a great many ladies wearing fur coats, jewelry, etc while I wore my Columbia vest, sandals, and England beanie. My conclusion: I immediately set out to buy sandals and beanies made of the finest animal fur. Columbia is highclass already.
Sorry for the meandering monologue, but I´m still recovering from the timeshift (My family has a 4yr old named Ivan that went to bed at 1130 last night and they were worried he might be sick or something for going to bed so early). Until one or two of you write back with probing questions, prickly condemnations, worthwhile additions or spellchecks, I will wander the streets, drink my cortados, read my Borges (read the whole Harry Potter book yesterday night) and Peronista literature, and dance. So from the South to the North, the ball is in your court.

j el toro b

PS Imagine this. Every novel we read is like an entire world shrouded in a darkness only penetrated by the words chosen by the author. Think that next time you read a book and see what details the author chooses to reveal about his/her world.

*OLD* July 15th, 2005- The End of the Beginning

Hello to one and all. The team I was with from Grace has flown back to the States and my sphere of fellow English speakers has shrunken to me, Trey from the Air Force, Amy a leader on the team, and a dog named Brandon that can do tricks in English and Spanish. Everyone said that being a chauffeur for a family would be a deadend job but the firstfruits of my hard work over the semester have appeared. I made good friends with all our drivers during SPP2K5 (Oscar, Richard, y Jose) and they gave me and my English speaking friends free rides to my place of residence for the next five days. So to all my detractors, touche.
Trey and I are going to go sandboarding and dune buggying and other assorted action verbs in the deserts four hours south of Lima for the weekend. Other ing words include falling, tripping, flipping, bleeding, etc. It´s gonna be great. Then I go to Argentina to find my destiny, perhaps to don a mask and tour the countryside etching my initials with my sword skills or perhaps to lose my right hand in a lightsaber battle with a man in a bodysuit who turns out to be my father then sail the seas as a manco (one handed man) searching for a white whale. Whatever my destiny is, I will no doubt find it in less than a week. Then I´ll let all yáll know what´s up. Until then I have a poem to ponder.
If you can get someone to read it to you so your eyes are closed, that´d be great. Maybe you could switch off the lights and read with a headlamp bought from REI for only 29.95. In any case, here it is...
j el toro b (josh bull)

The beautiful silence still lingers
an audience hushed by the pianist´s fingers
attempting to diminish the decay
that´d seeped into the city since the start of the fray
we called the Last Great World War

An old man sits by the street and he paints
a majestic hillside that war soon taints
The old man´s brushes nonchalantly fly
as tanks rumble and hiss and pass him by
to take part in the Last Great World War

The children participate in a dance recital
in a bullettorn gymnasium that´s nearly all full
of tearful, proud parents in raggity clothes
and just for a moment, nobody knows
they´re stuck in the middle of the Last Great World War

Beauty can happen in any circumstance
whether in music or pictures or even in dance
Glimpses of heaven did one time appear
in a small village to ease the fear
of the people caught up in the Last Great World War

*OLD* July 4th, 2005- 4th of July

Today is our independence day, therefore i wrote an email. I´m still in Peru with the team and things are going well. We spent a week in the mountain region of Ancash passing out bibles, playing volleyball, and hiking up the backside of Huascaran to 16000 or so feet, and other really important and interesting things that I dare not tell you. Now we are back at Mahanaim in Cieneguilla outside of Lima and we leaders woke up very early to decorate our compound like it´s never been decorated before. Our trip has been going well and we had salsa lessons the other night from some professional dancers (in the NY style of course). Even better still, it was the first time I´ve had a lot of fun dancing. So if you come to Argentina because my emails entice your imagination, we´ll salsa the night away. Tonight fireworks will fly and a mad cow costume rigged with fireworks will be worn. Until then, keep on making important decisions with rock, paper, scissors, and working out your thumbs because when I get back, I will challenge you to a thumb war to decide everything. Happy Day,
Josh Bull
ps I´m totally serious. I will win.
Question to Respond to... Is it okay to respond to a rhetorical question with a rhetorical answer?
pps I´ll be funnier in my personal emails. i promise. oh yeah, and i´ll respond to them.

*OLD* June 24th, 2005 - An Obligatory Test

Welcome. Welcome to the first email. I hope that these first few sentences prove enticing enough to read to the middle and even the end of this email. You (collectively and singularly) are getting this email because somehow or another, you have entered into the ´friend´ status with Josh Bull or because he thinks you have. About once a week starting in the second half of July, Ill send out an email to yall, the Weekly Update group, full of witty insights, carefully constructed anecdotes, general introspections and extrospections, tangents into economic and political histories of various countries and the implications for today, and anachronistic filler talk like milking the cow or how to build a log cabin. If you received this email in error, write back and Ill remove you. Two head ups for this weekly email. first, Ive given each of you a witty nickname so that your identity is secret to the rest (and no awkward meetings in the mall with ¿i didn't know you were friends with josh bull?) but known to yourself. second, while ill write this to a general audience, i stil care about each of you enough so individual responses are welcome and will be answered in kind. thats all for now,
josh bull
ps is it possible to write spanish with your left hand and english with your right? your thoughts.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Biding My Time...

what do you do when you're waiting?

Sometimes, though, when the waiting is particularly anxious (ie posting of grades, pregnancy tests, NCAA tournament seeding...) it's difficult to concentrate for the extended period of time necessary for reading. Therefore, though I've read this past week, I've decided that this post will be the online record of books that I've read in their entirety in the past year. The list starts on September 6th, 2006 and will end on the 5th of 2007...that means it'll be updated for the next three weeks, though I hope my current waiting doesn't last as long as that.
I've split them into the three phases of my past year:
Adventure 06 (vagabonding from Sept 'til Dec), 1st Semester at UGA (Jan 'til May), and the Classy Summer 07 (June 'til present)
Total Books: _69__ Total Pages: __19959___
Adventure 06
1. The Idea of a Christian Society by TS Eliot 104pg
2. The Development of Religion/The Religion of Development inspired by Quarles von Ufford 196pg
3. Faith in Development: Partnership between the World Bank and the Churches of Africa 243pg
4. Under Orders: The Churches and Public Affairs by Roswell P. Barnes 138pg
5. Makers of the Western Tradition: Portraits from History vol.2 by J. Kelley Sowards 323pg
6. Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell 303pg
7. The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham 314pg
8. The Everlasting Man by GK Chesterton 320pg
9. The Gifts of the Jews by Thomas Cahill 252pg
10. The Cult of Rhodes: Remembering an Imperialist in Africa by Paul Maylam 184pg
11. The History of South Africa by Roger B. Beck 248pg
12. Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton 168pg
13. Gods and Generals by Jeff Shaara 498pg
14. Listening to God in Times of Choice by Gordon Smith 150pg
15. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara 376pg
16. Gandhi by David Arnold 266pg
17. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf 320pg
18. The Wealth and Poverty of Nations by David Landes 650pg
19. Strange and Dangerous Dreams by Geoff Powter 245pg
20. Subverting Greed: Religious Perspectives on the Global Economy by Kaitter and Muzaffar 193pg
21. A Short History of Byzantium by John Julius Norwich 472pg
22. Confessions of a Reformission Reverend by Mark Driscoll 207pg
23. The Mystery of Marriage by Mike Mason 222pg
24. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho 190pg
25. Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson 245pg
26. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery 85pg
27. The World in 2007 by The Economist 130pg
28. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver 543pg
29. The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman 326pg
30. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman 550pg
31. Ignorance by Milan Kundera 195pg
32. By the River Piedra, I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho 180pg
33. The Fifth Mountain by Paulo Coelho 245pg
34. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera 312pg
35. Three Weeks with my Brother by Nicholas Sparks 356pg
36. The Way of the Wild Heart by John Eldredge 302pg
37. Simply Christian by NT Wright 240pg
38. What is the What by Dave Eggers 476pg
39. Liza Lambeth by Somerset Maugham 102pg

1st Semester at UGA
40. The Dust of Empire by Karl E. Meyer 286pg
41. Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson 240pg
42. Sex God by Rob Bell 201pg
43. Foreign Aid by Carol Lancaster 284pg
44. US Economic Foreign Aid: A Case Study of USAID by David Porter 238pg
45. Transforming Foreign Aid by Carol Lancaster 112pg
46. The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki 321pg
47. Understanding and Managing Public Organizations by Hal Rainey 504pg
48. Organization Theory and Design by Richard Daft 640pg
49. The Politics of Public Budgeting by Irene Rubin 347pg
50. Budgeting Politics in American Governments by James Gosling 279pg

the Classy Summer 07
51. Lords of Poverty by Graham Hancock 250pg
52. The White Man's Burden by William Easterly 436pg
53. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris 257pg
54. The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy 326pg
55. International Relations of Social Change by Jan Aart Scholte 186pg
56. Colossus by Niall Ferguson 415pg
57. King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild 318pg
58. Getting to the 21st Century by David Korten 253pg
59. Alice Lakwena and the Holy Spirits by Heike Behrend 193pg
60. Aboke Girls by Els De Temmerman 168pg
61. The Scars of Death by Human Rights Watch 135pg
62. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling 760pg
63. Till We Have Faces by CS Lewis 313pg
64. Into the Wild by Jon Krakaeur 203pg
65. Waking the Dead by John Eldredge 243pg
66. Serve God Save the Planet by J. Matthew Sleeth 255pg
67. The Irresistable Revolution by Shane Claiborne 367pg
68. Bureaucracy and Red Tape by Barry Bozeman 224pg
69. Life of Pi by Yann Martel 336pg

Monday, July 30, 2007

Beginnings of a Short Story

(note to reader(s): Maybe this is evidence that my mind is tapped out after seven straight months of schoolwork.)
Untitled and Unfinished
The man looked over his left shoulder at the onrush of people. Waving signs and sometimes undergarments, the mob resembled a hippie movement protesting the inhumane testing of bras on animals. Unfazed, the man continued on his lonely journey to the center of the mall.
Ever since his album had debuted at #34,593 on the Amazon best-seller list, his life had changed for the better. Women, he noticed, would now tilt their heads slightly to the left rather than upward as they had in the past. In other words, instead of looking to see if there was still a smoky trail leading to heaven to give evidence of his recent arrival (or to be snooty and superior to him…he was never really sure), he realized that he now was a library book to them: they couldn’t wait to check him out. Ever the mindful citizen, he made sure they returned him within three weeks.
This policy led to a series of intense yet short romantic episodes with a bevy of women. Sated but not satisfied, he wrote new songs describing his feelings. The songs and album, however, fell flat with the general public since they could not relate to him and his problems of having too many women who just wanted him for three week periods. Distraught he turned to the tried and true muse of all great musicians: Elmer. Elmer’s Glue had been with him since elementary school but he had sworn to get clean after a particularly rough episode in third grade. Crying himself to sleep now, he soon lost his sense of smell to the gooey wonder of Elmer’s Glue…

If you have any ideas about directions the story should take- ie romance, tragedy, end- leave a comment. The cynic says that since no one has ever commented the story will remain forever unfinished, a veritable Schrodinger's Cat in uninspired prose.
Maybe I should've written the 23 pages of papers I have to write in the next 36 hours instead of starting