So I went to the ASOR conference this last week and had a great time. Nothing like a bunch of archaeologists getting together to make for some fun times. We drink a lot of beer and talk about dirt; you have no idea how much fun that is! And there were some good papers and some bad papers and some so bad you wanted to slit your wrists (and some of these guys are professors, it makes my blood curdle). Then there was my favorite paper. A lovely guy by the name of Eric Cline gave a talk about how the past is used/abused in today's political hot spots, ie Israel and Iraq. It was HILARIOUS. Since most of us know our ancient history and current political situation, the quotes Cline used were gut busters. An example of this would be Saddam Hussein and his obsession with Nebuchadnezzar. Neb. was the leader of the Babylonians who came in and sacked Jerusalem and carried off the Jews in, oh, 598 BC. SH had himself depicted as good ol' Neb in various paintings in Baghdad and even had a reconstruction of Neb's chariot as a parade vehicle. Cline had pictures. Oh, boy were they funny! Anyway, Thomas's paper went well and he headed back to Denmark relieved and excited about writing his thesis.
And for those of you who want to know, yes, I visited the Alamo, or as it is called "the shrine of Texas liberty" and you must dress appropriately, speak in hushed tones, and if you wonder about the Mexicans who lost their lives, forget it, they aren't mentioned. In fact, nothing is really mentioned about the Mexicans, other than that they outnumbered the Texians (which is apparently bad form) and that they finally killed all the men (however, there is a grudging note that the women and children survived, but they DID surrender [how dare they!]) and in the end, they lost Texas to the US. To me the Alamo is a shrine to Stupid White Men and the Stupid Heroics that they can get themselves into. It is really a very small building set in a very lush almost tropical town (rather than the American West desert most people imagine). San Antonio itself is a rather nice town (well, downtown) with a river system that has been turned into a riverwalk were you can eat right on the banks or even take a boat ride. It was a pleasant stay in a pretty liberal area, no I VOTE FOR BUSH signs anywhere. So that was my trip. Good times, good food (for the most part).