A Year…: Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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31 Responses

  1. filbertz says:

    It has certainly been a year of unknowns and erosion of what we thought to be bedrock. I’m beginning to take on a deep accounting of myself and early returns show “hot mess” trending upward and “stable” plummeting.

  2. Michael says:

    I have engaged in private conversations for years speaking of my belief that it would take something catastrophic to bring us to a place where we cared about the exercise of Christian virtues again.

    The catastrophe came…and we are less virtuous than when it began.

    There was an opportunity here that has passed…

  3. Duane Arnold says:

    I think it is a “mixed bag” with positives and negatives. I think that I find greater solace in prayer simply because most of what has been happening has been beyond my control. For people like me who are “fixers” (Michael is in this category as well) being out of control is almost unbearable. Casting our cares upon God because he cares for us is not a promise… it’s a challenge, especially in times like this…

  4. Duane Arnold says:

    Actually, the Collect from yesterday says it rather well…

    “Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities that may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

  5. Xenia says:

    We got our first shot last week. I’m pretty happy about that.

    Like Duane, we’ve been roaming around the house looking for things to fix. I offloaded probably 300 books. I really didn’t need five shelves of Russian history. I reorganized the kitchen which is now operating at peak efficiency. We’ve missed months of church but our priest and his wife stop by now and then and give us presents. They still love us. 🙂 I haven’t seen any members of our large extended family in a year, with one exception when a daughter turned up for Christmas, God bless her!!!

    But the worst thing that happened was one of our children was diagnosed with a terrible disease, future uncertain. All our other worries pale in comparison with that news we received in July.

    So for more trivial matters, my thesis proposal was accepted and it looks like I will be spending most of next year translating an obscure Old Norse saga which has never been published in English. (I love this!)

    I have accumulated more little animals than seems normal for a woman my age. (Mice, guinea pigs, etc.) I love them, they give me someone to talk to.

    I’ve been able to attend many academic conferences that I normally would miss due to the expense. I was over the top happy when the Medieval conference in Kalamazoo announced they will be online this year. But I have noticed that this conference, like all of them nowadays, have many pro-homosexual topics which I will avoid, but still….

    So, as an introvert, I am actually fairly happy with staying home. We are awfully worried about our daughter.

  6. Michael says:


    Keep us posted as we pray for your daughter…

  7. Duane Arnold says:


    “I offloaded probably 300 books. ”

    I’m now playing the game of, “Did I get rid of that book or not?”.

  8. Xenia says:

    Duane, that’s the truth. I had an episode of that last week. “Where’s that book with the chapter on the Visigoths?” Happily, I had kept it. Who knows why.

  9. josh hamrick says:

    Xenia – I’m guessing you’ve read a good bit on the Rasputin saga? I watched an Amazon documentary about it last week. Fascinating. Have heard it mentioned in the past, of course, but really never knew about all that it entailed.

  10. Michael says:

    I think the thing that troubles me is the realization that many things that have changed will not change back to what they were.
    The relationships lost will not mend when we reach herd immunity…nor will any sense of trust and fellowship.
    The people who are with you now are the people you will have going forward…and those will be stronger because of what we’ve all endured together.

  11. Duane Arnold says:


    I think you are right. There has been so much disinformation and so many conspiracy theories and, as a result, so many broken relationships. I must admit, I view those who have bought into the craziness in a different way than I once did… I wonder if there is any future for those relationships…

  12. Xenia says:

    HI Josh, yeah, I’ve read a good number of books about Rasputin. I don’t think he was an entirely evil man. If you gave him money, he’d immediately give it away to the next poor person he met. He did seem to have the ability to help the Tsarevich. He was not an ordained priest or a tonsured monk so he was dishonest for presenting himself as such (big pectoral cross, cassock, letting people call him Father.) He was a drunkard and a womanizer. If the Tsarina hadn’t placed so much trust in him, he would have just been another drunken womanizer, but she was terrified for the life of her son. The Tsar listened to his advice, which had disastrous consequences, but it wasn’t outrageous advice; he just wasn’t qualified to give it. So basically he was a drunken womanizing poser who, by some uncanny means, was able to help the royal family and had enormous influence on the Romanovs. I believe he was used by Satan to help usher in the 70 year Communist Yoke, as they call it at my church. His daughter lives (lived) in Tarzana, California!

  13. Xenia says:

    The problem we have now is that every stinking issue that comes up has to be assigned a political tag, signaling us to support it or condemn it. No thinking needed.

  14. josh hamrick says:

    Thank you Xenia! So interesting. Any one book on the subject that’s a decent, easy read?

  15. Duane Arnold says:


    … And the manner in which every issue is reported already has a political bent. Factual reporting would go a long way, but I don’t see it happening.

  16. Duane Arnold says:

    Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs by Douglas Smith is not a bad read.

  17. Xenia Moos says:

    LOL I gave all my Rasputin books away to the Goodwill!

  18. bob1 says:


    If this is too personal, I totally understand…

    But have you had any symptoms post-shot?

    I know everybody’s different…I’m getting my first one in about 10 days and to be honest, I’m a little nervous…

  19. Xenia says:

    Hi Bob, just a sore arm for a few days. Same with my husband.

  20. Dan from Georgia says:

    After nearly 20 years of working occasional overnight shifts, which have basically rendered my ability to take any classes null, I am not overnight-free and have enrolled in an online (read: Zoom) Russian Language class, in association with The Museum of Russian Art in south Minneapolis. So the comments here about unloading some Russian history books caught my attention. I’ve had an interest in most things Russian since I was a puffy little kid.

    Not sure when I can get my vaccine since I’m 53, but I am nervous too about side-effects. I had a flu shot about 2 months ago and got some very mild muscle aches and slight tiredness….lasted all of one day…was fine the next…but made the mistake of going to the gym the day I was slightly off.

    I remember mid-March last year all to vividly….the span of March 11-19 was a kick in the teeth to our industry.

    Other effects of the pandemic:
    1. Saved money due to not going out to eat so often.
    2. Work from home…less stress on my nerves (read: Atlanta traffic) and less stress on the car
    3. Seniority at my job improved due to early retirement buyouts….hence no more overnight shifts.
    4. Learning SLOWLY to relax more.

  21. Dan from Georgia says:

    I am NOW overnight-free (typo in first paragraph above).

  22. Duane Arnold says:


    My mother (94 next month) has had both shots with no effect whatsoever!

    Good for you on the Russian. I was there several times in the 90s… fascinating!

  23. bob1 says:

    Thanks, Xenia!

  24. Linn says:

    I am sorry to hear that one of your children is ill and I will be praying. I read Antonia Fraser’s Nicholas and Alexandra when I was in middle school (I was a very nerdy kid-still am!), and I was fascinated by that entire age of history. Just amazing all that happened in Europe at that time.

    What have I learned this past year? Well, how to wrangle 250 students, in portions of 125 a day in multiple classes, into learning something. It started off rather rocky, but it has kept getting better to the point where I’m quite confident about what I’m doing. I am just grateful that I’m in a private school where we have enough devices and excellent help, plus parents who can pay for a good Wifi connection.

    I’ve kept busy with extra translation projects and Zoom Bible study and a couple classes. I rehabbed a cat after my other kitty died (that was the roughest patch at the beginning of April last year). I’ve been better at keeping in touch with my family who have a multitude of problems that I can’t solve, but I do love them (God salvaged my life from total mayhem by getting me around healthier families in high school and college years). I am still making peace with my “open” church, but since the law has changed about being open in California, and I will get my first vaccine this week (teachers were moved up the line, thankfully), I am praying about Easter. I am on schedule to translate our women’s conference at the end of April. They have finally understood that it wasn’t just my interpretation of Rom 13, but my doctor also yelled at me as I have a few issues that could make the virus very bad for me if I got it. So, I continue to pray and smile.

    I think we may find that, if we really love Jesus above our political/virus belief differences, we will have to come to some kind of agreement about church, or (and I hope this doesn’t happen) churches will split. If you haven’t attended for almost a year, it’s just as easy to find another church that is a better fit. I am praying that our better natures will respond to the fruit of the Spirit, and that we will learn to talk to each other. Nothing will improve if the yelling continues.

  25. Jean says:


    “There was an opportunity here that has passed…”

    Is that not the story of the kingdom of Judah in the OT?

    I read that story and scratch my head: How could you be so dense Judah? God have you so many signs, so many chances. If I was king, I would have got the message! LOL!

    We don’t get it! We’re no better than Judah. Now I understand something of why.

  26. Duane Arnold says:

    ” I am praying that our better natures will respond to the fruit of the Spirit, and that we will learn to talk to each other. Nothing will improve if the yelling continues.”

    I did a quick scan of video church services the other day… the yelling is continuing and increasing in volume. Given “permission” over the last several years to say anything, people are now saying everything. Facts and/or civility have been left behind…

  27. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks Duane! I do hope that if/when I get the vaccine I don’t have too much to worry about. Someday I would like to visit St. Petersburg (old Leningrad?) and go to the Hermitage Museum. Class starts March 30th and I should be getting the books today.

  28. Duane Arnold says:


    St. Petersburg is my second favorite world city! If I remember correctly, the Hermitage has 42 miles of corridors displaying art!

    BTW, I’ve always recommended Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert Massie as a great introduction. I knew his wife Suzanne in NYC. They became interested because their son (now an Episcopal priest) had hemophilia as did the Tsar’s son. Their biography of Peter the Great is also very good…

  29. CM says:

    Some observations one COVID-19, one year later (first post)

    The epidemic will accelerate the shopping mall Retail Apocalypse that has been going for the past 10 years for the following reasons.

    1. Malls are a relic of the Baby-Boomers and early Gen-Xers. Once the Boomers die off, so will many malls.
    2. Retail foot traffic in malls has been steadily declining for the past 10 years due to changes in shopping habits particularly the Millennials and the Zoomers.
    3. The rise of Big Box stores (Target, Walmart, etc.) not part of an enclosed shopping mall.
    4. Over-building of enclosed shopping malls in the 1980s and 1990s.

    Even before COVID hit, it was estimated that 25% of enclosed shopping malls would close by 2025 for the reasons mentioned above. I hate to use the overused business and marketing term “paradigm shift” but it is true here as it was with the growth of suburbs and enclosed shopping malls in the immediate post-WWII years.

  30. CM says:

    Observation #2:

    With people now used to working and schooling from home, a very large percentage will NOT want to go back to the office once COVID is over. And companies and educational institutions will have to accept that. What does this mean?

    1. Most of those businesses (like food, services, etc.) nearby and in commercial office building complexes are done. Most of their revenue stream comes from the folks in those office buildings and there will be far fewer folks going into the office as they will be telecommuting.

    2. #1 will lead to businesses reducing their commercial leasing footprint as they move to smaller-sized locations. If you have your telecommuters come in once a week or month, that is what conference rooms and the like are for. No need to have the cubical/office space for them.

    3. Same goes with educational institutions.

    4. Businesses close to residential areas (especially those whose business model is geared for take-out/delivery) will see increases (as all those telecommuters will be their new customers).

  31. CM says:

    Hindsight 20-20 Stock Tip.

    One should have invested in companies like Amazon, GrubHub, Ubereats, various streaming service companies, their internet providers and infrastructure, and paper products companies like Dart Container (they may all those takeout and delivery boxes and supplies).

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