Good Intentions

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Bibles Before the Year 1000

I overslept. On purpose. I glanced at the alarm clock as it went off off at 7:00 a.m. on a Sunday and thought to myself — how badly DO I really want to see this exhibit?

Then I rolled over and slept for a couple more hours.

That’ll teach me to wait til the last minute.

Though I feel encouraged by the great success of the exhibit. I didn’t think it would be as popular as it was. A collection of old books written in obscure languages. Actually, most of the books aren’t even books in the true sense — they’re scrolls of parchment or scraps of papyrus or illuminated codices.

Argh — now I am feeling regret at not seeing those magnificent artifacts firsthand.

I love books and languages. In fact I own many books written in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian, as well as many Portuguese translations of English novels. It’s interesting to see how the meaning or precise thought will change when you read it in a different language. I prefered reading the Portuguese translation of Umberto Ecco’s “O Nome da Rosa.” And when it comes to Les Miserables nothing compares with Victor Hugo’s original French. Or to read different English translations of the same work like Gilgamesh.

I’ve been volunteering with the Smithsonian for almost four months now. I’ve grown accustomed to answering stupid questions from visitors at the various museums I work at. Some of my favorites include “Where are the dinosaurs?” when they’re facing the entrance to the hall and the huge “DINOSAUR” sign; “I didn’t know there were two White Houses” when they’re actually referring to the US Captiol Building and the executive mansion; “Where’s all the stuff?” when they’re in the Smithsonian Castle and obviously unaware that the Smithsonian is comprised of 19 different museums.

I guess that’s why I was shocked that the Bible exhibit garnered so much attention.

In July the Dead Sea Scrolls will go on exhibit in the Natural History Museum of San Diego. Maybe now I’ll be forced to put San Diego on my “Places to Visit” list for 2007 — even though I was just there for the Fourth of July last year.

Though the one show I absolutely positively can’t miss is King Tut in Philadelphia. I toyed with the idea of flying to Chicago for a behind-the-scenes tour at one of my all-time favorite museums on the planet. To this day one of the best exhibits I’ve ever been to is Cleopatra of Egypt. But my work schedule didn’t allow for it.

DC might boast some of the better traveling art shows, but when it comes to the truly spectacular exhibits, I always have to travel to New York or Chicago. But I digress…

I’m going to visit the Franklin Institute sometime in April to see King Tut because my big trip — planned for the end of the year — will be a couple weeks in Egypt.

With that thought, I’m off to *work* to earn the big bucks to take my trip.


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