I set out a bit before 5 a.m. on my walk this morning. The sky was clear, with a bright waning moon high in the morning sky. For the first time in a while I was able to see Orion, one of the very few constellations I can identify. There were his shoulders and knees and the three stars of his belt, though the ambient light was a bit too bright for me to see the sword hanging from it. Very low in the sky was the bright Morning Star, which is of course not a star at all but the planet Venus. It is also known as the Evening Star, a fact I learned sixty-four years ago as a sixteen year old Freshman in Willard van Orman Quine's course on symbolic logic at Harvard [see Frege, and page 200 of the first edition of Quine's Methods of Logic, which had just appeared and was the text for the course.] On my trips to South Africa, I was always baffled by the sky, in which I recognized nothing at all, not even the Southern Cross.
No deer, interesting birds, or even rabbits this morning, nor any early joggers. Soon, UNC will be back in session and clutches of impossibly fit young men and women will be blowing past me as though I were standing still. When each one passes, I say silently to myself, "Wait until you are eighty and we shall see how fast you run," but I know that some of them, were I to travel forward sixty years through time, would still be outpacing me.
I have decided not to teach the Duke OLLI course on the thought of Marx at the same time that I am teaching the UNC seminar on the same subject. I think a one course load in a semester is appropriate for a retired professor. I am looking into this myterious thing called a "podcast." If it is technologically feasible and in accordance with UNC rules I shall make the lectures available electronically. Since I actually intend to allow students to speak from time to time [though they shall have to interrupt me to do so], I think I need to get their agreement to the podcasting. Who knows? Maybe they all will be secretly recording everything on their decoder rings anyway.