Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Flew In From Miami Beach BOAC, Didn't Get To Bed Last Night

All the way the paperback was on my knee; man, I had a dreadful flight.

Tolstoy's given me Slavophilia, I think it might be terminal. I want to join the hussars, talk philosophy with the retired kammerherrs, take a sleigh ride on the country estate. I'm even growing the beard for it!

Also, I've been bonding with Barbara by watching dancing and figure skating with her, and I'm really getting into it. (Yes, I know, I ought to turn in my Y chromosome for this heinous crime.) She used to be a great dancer when her knees were young, and so she can point out to me all sorts of interesting things to notice in Dancing With the Stars. (The voting audience for that show has an annoying habit of preferring the photogenic stars to the ones who dance well, alas.)

And that brings me to tonight's reason that Georgia's always on my mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mind:
Elene skating
Elene Gedevanishvili.

It's hard to explain, but the Georgian skater evinced that quality of fascination or captivation that Tolstoy gives to Natasha Rostov, the genuine je ne sais quoi of the feminine variety. Ms. Gedevanishvili wasn't the prettiest skater tonight, nor the most proficient, but I was caught breathless on the edge of my seat for her entire performance. She conveyed a certain passionate self-abandon, as if the triple lutz (I think) were just her spontaneous expression of joy. It's wondrous to behold.

Oh, and during NBC's many commercials (and through the bobsledding events) we saw two great episodes of NOVA. Yayu came and joined us for the episode on the gamma-ray bursts, which touched on his own area of research (star nurseries); he walked by and exclaimed, "Oh, that's Dr. Paczynski!". It's simply incredible to remember my wonder at reading A Brief History of Time, and to realize that some of the confident conclusions at which I marvelled have been completely superseded by new and surprising discoveries: the neutrino no longer massless, the gamma-ray bursts not the result of a neutron star collision but rather the death of a supermassive star ten billion years ago. I'm just awed, as always, by the beauty and complexity of the universe into which the Increate deigned to incarnate Himself as a simple child.

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