Thursday, May 29, 2008

m'log | two.point.oh

M'log One.Point.Oh, signing off.

6.3.08 - UPDATE: I was reprimanded for not being clearer with my forwarding address(es), as it were. In that light, I will list them below.

The Life and Times of Varjak Paul
The Wordle Bible
my Twitter feed
my del.icio.us bookmarks
my Google Reader shared items
The Daily...ish (defunct)

That is all. Enjoy.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Meet Rebekah!

Rebekah Hope, born May 16th

I'll get back to posting regularly when I can.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

NaPwoWriMo | 21-25

aPathetic

SaMesAmE

wonderfullness

noisilly

ask
   e
          w

Monday, April 28, 2008

NaPwoWriMo | 20

pensill

(A flurry of activity in the next two days is my only hope. Don't bet too much money on it.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

NaPwoWriMo | 19 down, 11 to go

sum
   me
     r
    a
       i
      n


(raise your hand if you appreciate the quasi palindrome this title finishes. Ok, gold stars if you noticed at all.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Raison d'etre

Remember, kids: perspective represents the only country that, despite infinite time and advancement, will never be fully discovered. It's all we have left to do.

He was out there, yes, but you're kidding yourself if you think out there isn't where we should all be, too, at least part of the time.

The only thing performers have left to do, in this day of super-recording techniques, and super-recording artists, and super-recording engineers; I think that all the basic statements have been made for posterity, now. I think what we must do is try to find our way around things things, try to find a raison d'etre, that is somehow different and still somehow right, that makes sense.

Glenn Gould: a genius ahead of his time.



(and this article popped into my head again...)

NaPoWriMo

M'zart

Monday, April 21, 2008

NaPwoWriMo | Landscape(s)

mblueoon

myellowoon

snavyky

Thursday, April 17, 2008

NaPwoWriMo | A series

A series of three pwoermds:

poemoment

poemeant

poemomento
(Apparently, Geof tends to post late at night, hence my daily posts being ahead of his. Check out the series from yesterday that inspired me today: (in the order posted) 1, 2, 3)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

NaPwoWriMo | One-fer?

sphouse

--
Haven't seen one from Geof today, but there were three yesterday. Check it out.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Call it mental fidgeting

I'm messing around with colors and what not. Bear with me.

NaPwoWriMo | The Unprecedented Three-fer!

A Flow'ry Dichotomy: Two Pwoermds

1.

RsOtSoEpS


2.

SroTseOsP

--
3.

pROSepoEm

Sunday, April 13, 2008

NaPwoWriMo | A Reflection on Beethoven



(Only one from Sunday. Was working on another, to make up for Saturday, but it hit a snag. Today's to come later.

And check out Geof's from this weekend: Saturday, Sunday, Sunday2.)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Post 121 | Another NaPwoWriMo Two-fer

121... I love a good palindrome, I can't lie.

Two more pwoermds for today. Enjoy!

1.

enstrawjamberry
ment

2.

cubICKle

--
If you're keeping track at home, that makes 5 down, 25 to go. And here's Geof's pwoermd - 4/10.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

NaPwoWriMo | Two-fer

Look ma, I'm famous! Practically.

For whatever reason, I've got two pwoermds for you today (and for the life of me, I can never remember how to spell that word. Oh, well). If I keep up that pace, I might even be able to hit 30 by the end of the month!

Anyway, on to the poetry. Enjoy!

I don't know if titles are allowed for pwoermds, but if they are, I'd title this one, "The future of so many things":

aniticipquated

and pwoermd #2 -- in the spirit of the Olympic Games, of course:

torChina
(and since there are apparently only two of us, I'll try to remember to post a link to Geof's daily pwoermd, too: Geof's pwoermd - 4/9)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Link-O-Rama

Here's a whole lot of stuff I've come across recently (and not-so-recently) but never managed to make it to a post:

Greatest. Music. Ever. (via Making Light)

80 Online Resources for Book Lovers (via LibrarianInBlack)

Free the Piano Player

A Change in the Concept of Worship

vertical (in which Slow Reads introduces me to Robert Lax)

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Raise your hand if you'd like to hear your pastor preach classic sermons from time to time, and consider my hand raised! And here's the text to this particular sermon, if you're interested (via Think Christian)

Flarf Poets Still Not Dead Yet, I See. Mmm, flarf...

iT House - an Off-Grid, High Desert Prefab. All kinds of cool. Also check out the iT House blog, which contains wonderful documentation of said coolness.

Vox Day talks about his book, The Irrational Atheist. Dare I say it? Vox Rocks! Ha!

Costa Rica is 99% Powered by Renewable Energy

And last, but not least, a song/video:



It's a lot, I know, but it's all worth it, I promise.

NaPwoWriMo 1 | A Late Start

Today's pwoermd:

wHere?
(An explanation: I just stumbled across today: pwoermds and NaPwoWriMo 1. Both are awesome, and together, they gave me a reason to start posting my poetry again.

Now, I realize there are a lot of people who won't even know what to do with pwoermds as poetry and who will probably question their legitimacy as poetry, and that's ok. Throw out that skepticism, and enjoy the ride.)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Welcome to the Modern World

I am a fan of Cat and Girl; I love the acerbic wit, the razor-sharp jabs. I love that the comic, on the whole, seems something dredged from deep in the bowels of the postmodern beast, dripping with dissociation and dissatisfaction.

(Too, I am aware that my last post bemoans the omnipresence of the counter-cultural, dissociated, and dissatisfied; just as I maintain a stance of pointing toward the precariousness of that ubiquity, I maintain the stance that it can still be funny, and that there are still things worth countering)

In particular, I loved today's strip. This about sums it up:



Now, I must disagree with the idea that there is neither power nor truth in the world. Beyond that, though, I have two questions, in what may be an overly serious response to a comic strip:

1. Does anyone still think a good definition for "artist" still exists? If so, how does it jive with the antiquated definition presented here? Does it? Can it?

2. So far as I may be so allowed to think I might be an artist (whatever that makes me), does it make me a worse one for kind of agreeing with her sentiment?

Anyone?

The Orthodoxy of Awareness

Review of Sarah Moore's Ribbon Culture: Untying the 'ribbon culture'.

Now, I'm not generally one to promote a book I haven't even read, but I must admit I really, really want to read Ribbon Culture, having read the review. Seems to be from the other side of the pond, but I'm thinking that won't put a dent in my enjoyment of it (except to note that Amazon lists it at a hefty 75 bucks. Yikes! Think I'll wait on the library for this one). There's so much to think about, even in the review, that aside from brief thoughts on a couple of points in the review, I just don't know where else I could begin discussing the book without actually reading the book. Oh, the dilemma.

A few quotes:

from the reviewer: "In the Noughties, everybody wants to be counter-cultural – which presumably means that the counter-culture has become the mainstream."

from the book:

Properly speaking, we see the extension and transfiguration of the countercultural impulse in the contemporary culture, and the awareness campaigns of the 1990s more specifically. Whilst the counter-culture found expression through various consumerist items, for example, the awareness ribbon campaigns are wholly commercial enterprises, popularising dissent and compassion through slick marketing campaigns. In addition, we see the normalisation of self-awareness in the ribbon campaigns of the 1990s, its transformation, that is to say, into an unquestionably beneficial attribute.

Ha! Yes! This is a problem I think about frequently. The concept of being counter-cultural has become so ubiquitous as to almost eradicate the existence of a "normative" culture to counter. Now, I don't know enough about overarching historical trends (though I feel vaguely that I should) to say what that means, but I am pretty darned sure it's true. My problem, then, is that without a clearly stated object of derision for the counter-cultural types (read: everyone) to rally against, we are left only with the charicatures we create for the purpose of countering them.

Being counter-cultural is no longer simply a way to react against wrongs and see that they are righted, it is a means of identification, both self- and otherwise. I wonder if anyone else sees that the growing inertial force of the metanarrative (generally speaking) has shifted the larger sense of cultural identity from pro- to con-. Anyone?

Gawd, there's just so much more to unpack, I have to stop myself there.

Here's some more:
‘It is… unlikely that cultivating a sense of worry about the illness is particularly health promoting for those women who do not have breast cancer… These women’s fear has manifested itself in burdensome routines and gestures (compulsory self-examination or wearing a pink ribbon, for example) which speak of a nagging, everyday sense of worry which refuses to be resolved.’

To fear death is one thing. To advertise that fear, in the form of a kitsch fashion accessory bought in department stores that is greeted by others as less controversial than wearing socks with sandals, speaks to the thoroughly morbid undertones of our modern culture of narcissism. Moore does a great job of exposing the orthodoxy of ‘awareness’ for what it really is; challenging the sickness of our ribbon culture requires that we think beyond the pink to care about something less selfish instead.

Bam!

Here's the thing, while The Secret is basically the serpent in the Garden of Eden ("you will be like God". Gee, I think I read that somewhere...), positive thinking is a good thing, overall. Excessively negative thinking is not. That's just common sense. I don't have quite as much to say about this at the moment, but it's still an important point.

As I said, I just really want to read this book.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Phrase of the Day: Booty, God, Booty

I'm feeling random; good luck keeping up.

A full Biblical 40 years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave the last speech of his life: I've Been to the Mountaintop. A lot of people smarter than me have pointed this out, but the end of the speech is almost hair-raising:

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. [applause] And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land! So I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord! [emphasis mine]
I heard a pretty good segment about the speech on NPR this morning: Remembering MLK's Prophetic 'Mountaintop' Speech. Read the whole speech if you've got time. If you don't, at least watch this video of the section I quoted above (and don't even try to tell me it doesn't send shivers through your entire body)



I'm glad he didn't sneeze, too.

* * *

You know what I'd like? I think I could handle a week that consisted of workdays like this: 8-5:30, with an hour and a half for lunch. Why, you ask? Because if a long lunch was good enough for Beethoven and Gandhi, it's good enough for me.


* * *

16 Things I Wish They Had Taught Me in School. These all make really good, deep sense to me, and I'm sure they will to you, too. It's a whole is greater than the sum of its parts kind of thing, I think. Put most or all of the things on the list into action in your life, and you'll do just fine. Of course, it's considerably easier said than done. (via Stephen's Lighthouse)


* * *

Stuff Christians Like. An obvious direct spin-off of Stuff White People Like, and at least as funny.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April's Fool

Here's the thing: I'm kind of gullible.

I totally fell for Google's Gmail Custom Time this morning (though in the spirit of trying to justify myself, I made a comment about it to someone right after I read it, and that person promptly said "April Fool's!", so I didn't allow for much sinking-in time). I think I fell for it partially because I really liked this post at Google Blogoscoped: "Undo" When Sending Email. It's a good idea, you've got to admit, but it planted in my brain the idea of messing with email & timestamps and what not.

Mostly, though, it's because I'm gullible.

But that's not what irritates me about April Fool's Day. I'm 25, so I've had plenty of practice hiding my gullibility, and one day of risked exposure is ok by me. What irritates me about April Fool's Day is that because I work in a gray cubicle, I rely heavily on the internet to provide me with interesting things to think about, and I know that today, the most interesting things I read will not be true. How do I put it... GAH!

So, today, instead of mining for new bits of interest, I've been reading things like this:

Terrelle Pryor Arrested!
"Stuff White People Like" Bought By Target
iWash
Evangelicalism to Get Its Own Pope
and of course, Google April Fool's Jokes Galore!

I think I'll go play around with my fantasy baseball team (who got ARod again this year? That's right: I did) and wait for tomorrow, when actual stuff will actually happen.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Lists & Links: 101 Websites, 100 Books, and BookMooch

Just when I thought to myself, well, I suppose I should buckle down and focus on this afternoon's work, just when I'd approached that mythic uphoria of a distraction-free mind, I saw this:

The 101 Most Useful Websites (via iLibrarian)

Clearly, this is not a list to even think about reading if you have things to do and are remotely interested/amused by internetty things. Rather UK-centric, but still a good list.

and this:

The Top 100 EBooks Yesterday [at Project Gutenberg] (via Stephen's Lighthouse)

I find it vaguely frightening that yesterday's (3/30) 2nd most popular EBook was Manual of Surgery Volume First: General Surgery. Sixth Edition. I will accept any explanation that makes it less frightening. Anyone?

I've known about BookMooch for quite some time, now. I have yet to convince myself to dive in, and here's why: I love books, and I love owning them. The tiny Thoreau in my brain is agitated by my staunch biblio-narcissistic materialism, but I can't help it. The thing is, I cannot (yet) bring myself to give away my books. I've put a lot of myself into choosing them, and quite frankly, mailing them away to strangers seems a disconcerting and painful proposition.

That said, I hope to get there. Soon.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

More thinking about this blog

The email notification of Lindsay's comment on my post Thinking about this blog still sits in my email inbox.

In partial:

I know what you mean about not always knowing what to write or having a given "format". Often I feel the same way because I want to get past the whole diary-blogging (though I still like to go back and see what I did/read/watched/etc). I'm interested to see what you come up with.

I haven't stuck with the format I created, though largely because last week was incredibly long. By the time this week finally rolled around, I was just out of the habit. I'd be lying if I said I felt a strong pull to go back to it, in its current(?) incarnation, but I'd be just as duplicitous if I claimed not to feel any pull at all toward a format of some sort (I notice, too, while typing that sentence, a kind of grating in my mind at the word "format". Interesting).

Either way, there was something missing. Some things, really. Poetry, philosophy, religion... I honestly don't generally care about the news. That's selfish and obscenely American, but a lot of it doesn't affect me, and I can't usually pretend to affect it; we're two ships passing in the day & night, I suppose. Sports, I love, but I can't pretend to have a lot of worth to add to that conversation, at least not regularly.

Thoreau, now he's a keeper. And, he brings me to my next point or rather Lindsay's: diary-blogging. I don't know if Thoreau would have blogged, so I won't pretend to know. What I do know is that blogging appeals to me in part as autobiography, especially in ways where bookmarking tools & sites fail: narrative (don't worry, del.icio.us, I'm not leaving you) . Seems to me there's a significant difference between knowing you can find a link, and knowing you can find the same link along with some of your thoughts from the day (or hour, or minute) you found it. History is important, even if it's only my life, and even if it's only important to me. That part of blogging is just for me, though I hope it occasionally amuses/interests others.

The format, I suppose, becomes the part of blogging that's just for everyone but me, or at least that's what it can become. And I think that's why I haven't rushed back to it. I still have the desire to shape what is essentially a hyper-journal (if you will) into something more... structured. What I don't have is the desire to manufacture that structure just now. My point, of course, is that the format will not be returning anytime soon; but I trust that any needed structure will become clear just as it becomes necessary.

The thing is, I'm not doing this for money, so I don't want it to feel like work, and a format feels like work. If you're doing something for free, you're either a slave or you don't think it's work; I know on which side of that fence I'd like to live.

What I hope you will see here is more poetry, more literature in general, more philosophy & religion -- though honestly, it's a lot of work to write thoughtfully on such deep topics, so don't expect high volume -- more focus on all of the things I think about regularly, as opposed to sound-bites and websites-of-the-minute. Expect those, too, but methinks Thoreau would be disappointed if such a journal as this contained little else.

That's all for now.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Laffston

Q: How bored am I at work today?
A: I'm currently finding this very amusing: MyMiniCity.

Visit my city, Laffston, in all its glory.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Taking a Break

It's just one thing after another this week. I'm ready for Easter—the best holiday of them all— how about you?

I'm enjoying the new format, personally, but I'll be back at some point next week after a much needed break from the blogging world. Enjoy the NCAA Tournament.

Have a blessed Easter.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Thingish Things

"...when you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it."

A. A. Milne, from The House at Pooh Corner

Riffs & Notes | 3.17

On this day in 1852, Thoreau wrote in his journal:

I catch myself philosophizing most abstractly when first returning to consciousness in the night or morning. I make the truest observations and distinctions then, when the will is yet wholly asleep and the mind works like a machine without friction. I am conscious of having, in my sleep, transcended the limits of the individual, and made observations and carried on conversations which in my waking hours I can neither recall nor appreciate. As if in sleep our individual fell into the infinite mind, and at the moment of awakening we found ourselves on the confines of the latter. On awakening we resume our enterprise, take up our bodies and become limited mind again. We meet and converse with those bodies which we have previously animated. There is a moment in the dawn, when the darkness of the night is dissipated and before the exhalations of the day commence to rise, when we see things more truly than at any other time. The light is more trustworthy, since our senses are purer and the atmosphere is less gross. By afternoon all objects are seen in mirage.
* * *

From the Sporting Bucket

It's Bracket-Time! Print it out! Fill it out! Pester your coworkers! March Madness is upon us!

And don't let anyone tell you the tournament isn't the greatest postseason in all of sports. That kind of talk requires a swift reply of fist-to-face.
* * *

The News & My Opinion

I don't care about St. Patrick's Day. I can't help it, I just don't. I'm not Irish, I don't drink, and I have no particular affinity for the color green. I think I need a shirt that says all of that so I don't have to keep explaining myself every year.

* * *

Webcomics

Dinosaur Comics: The Amazing Story of Edward S. Curtis

* * *

Thing(s) from my Google Reader that May Interest Only Me

Ten Sites for Finding Wonderful Things (via iLibrarian)

* * *

Video(s) that May Interest Only Me

Today's Subject: Tiger Woods. Seriously, he may never lose again.


As you were.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Riffs & Notes | 3.14

(Second crack at the new format. Mostly small tweaks.)

On this day in 1860, Thoreau wrote in his journal:

No sooner has the ice of Walden melted than the wind begins to play in dark ripples over the surface of the virgin water. It is affecting to see nature so tender, however old, and wearing none of the wrinkles of age. Ice dissolved is the next moment as perfect water as if it had been melted a million years. To see that which was lately so hard and immovable now so soft and impressible! What if our moods could dissolve thus completely? It is like a flush of life to a cheek that was dead.
* * *

From the Sporting Bucket

Bob Costas Things I'm a Loser (again, via Dan Shanoff). Seriously, Bob? Let's keep it above the belt and within reason, huh?

Also, I may have mentioned this before, but MLB Poetry Previews are where it's at (unlike the phrase "where it's at"). I was reminded today of its awesomeness and simply want to pass on a very clever combination of two of my favorite things: poetry and baseball.

* * *

The News & My Opinion

Let's be clear: this is not news. A woman in my office came in this morning all worked up about hearing something about Heather Locklear and "suicide" and I had to stifle laughter. I cannot understand the fascination with celebrities. Yes, some of them are very down-to-earth and decent people, but most celebrities just want us to gawk at them, which is just sad. As a general rule, they should all be beneath the attention of just about everyone. (Oh, and I realize this probably wasn't Locklear's fault, and I've got no beef with her; this just brought the subject to my mind, is all.)

* * *

Webcomics

Wondermark #390: A Reasonable Solution

xkcd: The Ring

* * *

Thing(s) from my Google Reader that May Interest Only Me

Solar Tower, Anyone? (via Jetson Green)

* * *

Video(s) that May Interest Only Me

Today's Subject: More Crispin Glover, because I'm not sure if I think he's cool or a train wreck, away from which I cannot look.



As you were.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

First Crack at a New Format

Brought to you by the number 320, and the word "Schmuck"

I've always liked the idea of blogging, but I detect somewhere in my thinking a dissatisfaction with a form that, while so promising and so much fun, can easily become a rather static thing (funny how that term has become web2.0-speak for "not good").

Anyway, my thinking about a format has reminded me that among my favorite things about recurring things (be they daily, weekly, every other day, whatever) are the anticipation and the routine itself. That said, I've created (translation: I'm working on, as Blogger is giving me issues with said creation at the moment) a more prominent spot for one to sign up for email delivery of my posts. Working in an office as I do, I realize that for many of us, there's something special about getting that one interesting/amusing email every morning or afternoon, and if that's a better way for one person to enjoy this blog, then mission accomplished.

But back to the task at hand. What follows is a first crack at a new, guiding format. It will likely not stick, but it's a place for me to get my mind going at it, and at the moment, that's about all that counts. (As I'm compiling the content below, I'm struck by the riffy nature of it. I don't know why, but I am. Riffs and Notes, I could call it. Nah, too... too something.)

Here goes nothing.

* * *

On this day in 1859, Thoreau wrote in his journal:

I see a small flock of blackbirds flying over, some rising, others falling,
yet all advancing together, one flock but many birds, some silent, others
tchucking, - incessant alternation. This harmonious movement as in a dance, this
agreeing to differ, makes the charm of the spectacle to me. One bird looks
fractional, naked, like a single thread or ravelling from the web to which it
belongs. Alternation! Alternation! Heaven and hell! Here again in the flight of
a birds, its ricochet motion, is that undulation observed in so many materials,
as in the mackerel sky.

* * *

From the Sporting Bucket

Dan Shanoff proposes a 340-team NCAA Tournament. Not sure how it wouldn't devalue the regular season a bit, but I'm intrigued and amused (but hopeful is nowhere to be found...)

* * *

The News & My Opinion

I know I'm a few days late on this one, but I've just gotta say, Eliot Spitzer is a schmuck. BUT... let's not go all crazy on him. Yes, the irony of white-collar crime's arch nemesis being brought down in a scandal of white-collar crime is delicious. That still doesn't give us the right to drop the hammer like blind monkeys. Assuming he does kind of feel bad about the whole thing, what he needs more than the scorn of a nation is the support of his family and friends, and as a follower of Jesus, I sincerely hope he's getting it. He's at rock-bottom, people; how about we let that be punishment enough (aside from actual punishment, of course, should there be legal repercussions)?

And can we all just stop being shocked and disappointed when politicians, you know, mire themselves in scandal? The people work in a system that seems designed for schmucks to get ahead, so we really shouldn't be surprised each time we discover that yet another politician is, you guessed it, a schmuck.

(That'll be all the preachifyin' for today, folks, don't worry.)

* * *

I Like Webcomics

Cat and Girl: Trinity

* * *

Interesting thing from My Google Reader that May Only Interest Me

Texting Generation Gap @ NY Times (via Library Link of the Day). Again, not exactly a recent idea, or even very unusually insightful, but I found it thought-provoking as a parent (of almost two!)

* * *

Video(s) that May Interest Only Me
Today's subject: Crispin Glover is (I think) both very intelligent and possibly insane.



I imagine it is, as Paul astutely observes, basically a conceptual piece, which I find interesting, if incredibly bizarre. Regardless, here is Glover (kind of approaching) offering an explanation of the above:





And this is just way out there (though I haven't managed to get the goofy theme out of my head all day:



(By the way, note that Mr. Farr is seemingly identical to the character that appeared on Letterman in 1987 in the first clip, which is several years before the creation of this video. I don't care enough to explore that more, I just found it interesting & odd.

UPDATE: Mr. (Rubin) Farr is apparently a character Glover played in this movie. So there you go.)

As you were.

Thinking about this blog

I never know quite what to do, here, on this blog. I post things as they come to me, but I have no idea who, if anyone, reads them. I'm sure people who know me meander by from time to time, but I don't pretend to think I have a large readership, by any means. I suppose I tend to think of blogging as simply a place to get down things that interest me, if occasionally only so I can remember them again at some later date.

Perhaps, then, it's time for a change. I'm a fan of, shall I say, programmed material. That is, I like the idea and experience of a blog (or whatever) following a certain format, including the same kinds of material, possibly in the same order, on a recurring basis. As such, I am toying with the idea of doing that here. I may test out a few different formats, and regardless of the result, I will likely continue to insert, shall I say, un-programmed material along the way.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Be Where Now?

Dwelling in Possibilities, an article by Mark Edmundson, is one of the best articles I have read in some time. His myriad thoughts on the frenetic lifestyle most now embrace are eerily similar to my own (though I will admit I am likely to err even more than he on the side of Wordsworth's Old Cumberland Beggar).

Simply a great read. Perhaps because I'm in the right frame of mind—thinking a lot about pace of life (and minimalism) today, perhaps because his perspective is frustratingly refreshing, not because it is new, but because it is so seldom heard.

Take a few minutes and read it. Slowly.

(I cannot help the thought that Edmundson's perspective is largely lost on, well, almost everyone. That said, the timestamp of this post—something I normally tweak slightly but did not have to today—made me laugh.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Free Rice

I'm late with this one, but it's still cool: Free Rice. Improve your vocabulary and donate rice through the United Nations World Food Program. I like good vocabulary, and I like reducing hunger. A+ for you, Free Rice!

Friday, March 7, 2008

On Nietzsche

"That there is no God is proved by Nietzsche pragmatically, on the ground that belief in the existence of God would have made him uncomfortable. Not at all for the reason that might first occur to us: to imagine himself a lost soul has always been a point of pride with the romantic genius. The reason was that if there had been any gods he would have found it intolerable not to be a god himself. Poor Nietzsche! The laurels of the Almighty would not let him sleep.

"It is hard to know if we should be more deceived in taking these sallies seriously or in not taking them so. On the one hand it all seems the swagger of an immature, half-playful mind, like a child that tells you he will cut your head off. The dreamy impulse, in its inception, is sincere enough, but there is no vestige of any understanding of what it proposes, of its conditions, or of its results. On the other hand these explosions are symptomatic; there stirs behind them unmistakably an elemental force. That an attitude is foolish, incoherent, disastrous, proves nothing against the depth of the instinct that inspires it. Who could be more intensely unintelligent than Luther or Rousseau? Yet the world followed them, not to turn back. The molecular forces of society, so to speak, had already undermined the systems which these men denounced. If the systems have survived it is only because the reformers, in their intellectual helplessness, could supply nothing to take their place. So Nietzsche, in his genial imbecility, betrays the shifting of great subterranean forces. What he said may be nothing, but the fact that he said it is all-important. Out of such wild intuitions, because the heart of the child was in them, the man of the future may have to build his philosophy. We should forgive Nietzsche his boyish blasphemies. He hated with clearness, if he did not know what to love." (source)

I don't even remember where I found this. I've always had a problem with Nietzsche; it's not just that I think he's wrong (he is), or that there is a lack of decent criticism of his ideas (there isn't), but the second of these two paragraphs, I think, finally made me realize what it is: stupid and abnormal as he may have been, he was predicting whither society was headed. Look around and just try to tell me people don't live as though the world was their "idea, new every day." It's the sickening inevitability of his prophecy that bothers me, and likely always will.

While contemplating a return...

I've been down and out for a while. Here's something to think about while I think about my return to the blogosphere:

When I have occasionally set myself to consider the different distractions of men, the pains and perils to which they expose themselves at court or in war, whence arise so many quarrels, passions, bold and often bad ventures, etc., I have discovered that all the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own chamber. (trans: Trotter)

(via Conblogeration)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day

I don't much care for Valentine's Day. I can't lie. But, I was more than slightly amused by this product of it: My Love is a...

So amused, in fact, that I wrote a poem using a good number of the, uh, completions(?) of that phrase. I was particularly fascinated by one: my love is a yellow hammer. So strange and beautiful, I just couldn't leave it out. I actually really like the poem that resulted, and I'll probably work on it more in the future, but for now I'm calling it a found poem and leaving it at that (though there are the obvious qualifications that I tweaked it some, added/subtracted words here and there, and didn't use all of the completions).

In any event, it was a lot of fun, and I encourage anyone who reads this post and has an interest in poetry to try the same thing. If you do, leave a link to your poem (or the poem itself) in the comments.

I suppose I should lay down this one rule: the completions in your poem should probably come either from the post I've linked to, or from the results of a Google search for "My love is a". that said, go out and find some poetry!

Here's mine:

My love is a black girl
a found poem (source)

My love is a black girl living
in a cramped apartment complex,
my love is a cat suckling
marrow from a ham bone,
my love is a complicated thing.

My love is a contemporary
R&B album, my love is a
dead, dead rose;
my love is a dew drop,
a fair lad, a gift,
my love is a gentle thing.

My love is a good case study,
my love is a kite,
my love is a leopard,
my love is a song
by Paul McCartney & Wings;
my love is a many-splendored thing.

My love is a major reinterpretation
of Shakespeare's sonnets,
my love is a middle of the road album,
my love is a kind of monster,
my love is not a one night stand.

My love is a pearl of light
that grows as the morning grows,
my love is a pink, pink rose.

My love is a rock,
my love is a sailor boy,
my love is a rider, a soloist,
my love is a song & a sigh.

My love is a tree,
my love does not wander,
my love is a world unto itself,
my love is a tribute to tomorrow
even as today goes by.

My love is a yellow hammer.
My love is a tall, tall ship.

Valentine's Day = Depression Day



I seriously love the way this guy thinks.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Not Quitting My Day Job

This is one of the funnier things I've read recently, and interestingly enough (or maybe not), I found it in my Google Reader recommendations:

...we come to point two:

2. Don’t quit your day job.

Lots of wanna-be writers wax rhapsodic about how great it would be to ditch the day job and just spend all their time clickety-clack typing away. These folks are idiots. Look, people: someone is paying you money and giving you benefits, both of which can support your writing career, and all you have to do is show up, do work that an unsupervised monkey could do, and pretend to care. What a scam! You’re sticking it to The Man, dude, because you’re taking that paycheck and turning it into art. And you know how The Man hates that. You’re supposed to be buying a big-screen TV with that paycheck! Instead, you’re subverting the dominant paradigm better than an entire battalion of college socialists. Well done, you. Well done, indeed. (link)

The above made me laugh and feel a little good. Not too shabby. Plus, he touched on how much I enjoy sticking it to The Man. That'd be a double-bonus!

As you were.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Library Fines, Friends, and Smug Ideas

Those who know me are aware that I've always thought it would be great to be a librarian. Those who know me are also aware that I've finally gotten to that place where I'm completely sure it's the profession for me (though I am several years and an MLS away from that reality). That said, today's Calvin & Hobbes really made me laugh:



And because I'm now in a mood for comics, here are a couple others that I actually thought about posting last week but never got around to:



Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Del.icio.us? Again? Really?

Yeah, now that I've gotten over the novelty (and accompanying annoyingness) of StumbleUpon, I think I'm headed back to the Del.icio.us wagon.

Also, I haven't known what to do with this painting for a while, now. I found it a while back and loved it, so I bookmarked it. I'm posting it so I can share it with the meager numbers who visit this blog, and so I can get it out of my Google Bookmarks once and for all. Enjoy.

Rainy Etude, by Leonid Afremov

Wild Wednesday

I love & hate days like today. I love them because on days like today, it seems the supply of superb, fascinating things in my Google Reader is nearly infinite, each post more interesting than the last. I hate days like today because such an influx of interestingness means I am less likely to be as productive as I should be at work.

Sigh.

Anyway, here's a taste:

A PowerPoint slideshow from an OLA SuperConference Session - Building Capacity for Learning: Learning 2.0. I'm not quite done going through it yet, but it's well worth the time. (via Stephen's Lighthouse)

That'll keep you busy for a little while.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

ReadOuts

Something new at LaffertyWhistle.com: ReadOuts.

In short: I've been inspired by Litro's Emergency Books. My goal is to provide a slightly more minimalistic source of printable, short literature. I wasn't really in love with Litro's selection, either, so ReadOuts will include (in my humble opinion), more worthy fare.

The first two stories from Joyce's Dubliners have been posted, with the rest to follow.

On deck: Kate Chopin & Edgar Allen Poe

Monday, January 28, 2008

Free?

It would seem the blogger in me has taken leave and neglected to leave a note (read: I'm very busy, and I haven't been keeping up so well with things that generally provide me with interesting blog fodder). Until he returns, here's something to think about: The Danger of Free.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Today's cool things from my Google Reader

For some reason, I felt like I was reading a lot of really interesting things as I was making my way through Google Reader today. Far be it from me to create original content, so here's the cream of today's crop.

Pray4One: Extreme Walking. This guy's going way more than the extra mile for the cause of unity. Very cool. (via ThinkChristian)

Social Networking & Education Debate. True or False: Social networking technologies will bring large [positive] changes to educational methods, in and out of the classroom. Now, I'm not in love with the Economist's website for this debate, but here are two amazing posts on the topic: one by Danah Boyd, at Apophenia and one by Will Richardson at Weblogg-ed. (via Stephen's Lighthouse)

Also at Stephen's Lighthouse, an interesting take on the relative "age" of internet-related things: It's Not Very Old

From Thoreau's Journal, January 17, 1860: "Alcott said well the other day that this was his definition of heaven, “A place where you can have a little conversation."

That is all.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Emergency Books & TurnipFish

(both via if:book)

Litro's Emergency Books. "I like the idea of literature being, like cigarettes, something one can be 'caught short' without... in this age of information overload the reverse more often feels true."

And from Litro's creator: "I like to read a book, but sometimes my pockets just aren't large enough, or my journey long enough."

Amen to that. I've already printed out three of the Poe stories to have on hand when I feel like a bite to read.

And now for the TurnipFish. I haven't watched the whole thing yet, but I love the idea. Check it out:



Wouldn't want to read Moby Dick that way, but it's still cool.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Libraries and Social Networking

Apparently might not really mix, according to this survey: library web use survey (via userslib). That makes me a little sad, because I'd really like for some platform to emerge that combines both the amusing and productive capabilities of the internet. Maybe Facebook will be it, maybe Google already is, but either way, I wish people were more receptive to the combination of fun and knowledge.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Put Yourself in a Theological Box Day!

(I can't take credit for that phrase, as I stole it from this post at Think Christian: Friday is put yourself in a Theological Box Day!

Also, my friend Lindsay also participated, so check out her post: theology quizzes)

Anyway, here's what happened when I took the quizzes:

What's your theological worldview?
Emergent/Postmodern 79%
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 79%
Neo orthodox 54%

Which theologian are you?
John Calvin 73%
Anselm 67%
Augustine 60%

What is the Kingdom of God? (I added the fourth for good measure, as the first three were all tied)
The Kingdom as a counter-system 67%
Kingdom as a Christianised Society 67%
The Kingdom is mystical communion 67%
The Kingdom as Earthly Utopia 58%

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Seven Blunders of the World

1. Wealth without work
2. Pleasure without conscience
3. Knowledge without character
4. Commerce without morality
5. Science without humanity
6. Worship without sacrifice
7. Politics without principle


—Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Boycott Pat Forde

Do us all a favor: read this "article", and
send Mr. Forde an email letting him know how unprofessional it was. I'd expect it from, say, the LSU school paper–you know, people who aren't paid to be objective–but ESPN? That's bush league.