November 30, 2004

A sick return.

No posts? My wife and I have been taking turns being sick for the last week, and we just got back from Maryland yesterday (Ah, the fun of marriage). I've made that drive on one hour of sleep once, but I did it yesterday on no real sleep at all. It's extra fun in the rain and sick and after an hour's back-up in Indiana, too. Despite my affection for the concoction that is our car, I didn't want to look at that damned thing today. I was attempting to upload some photos from Gettysburg and other things, but Blogger and Hello are acting up. Only one made it. At least the dapper fall color scheme is gone. I was actually freezing in flip-flops today and am delighted to discover that the new Mazda has great heating. Toasty. Winter seems like it's trying to take hold of the Heartland. Fine with me. I don't usually get sick much these days, especially since going veggie. The only thing that gets me sick is consistently not getting enough rest. It never fails, and travelling makes it worse. I suspect that not eating meat has little to do with my improved immune system; it is probably that not eating meat encourages one to eat more thoughtfully and that my nutritional intake has improved as a result of what I do eat, not what I don't. Or something like that. I cranked out the rest of a Husserl (AH!) draft this morning at 7 a.m. -- too damned tired to toy with those photos tonight.

November 26, 2004

Going to Gettysburg.

Headed to Gettysburg today, for the tradition Day After Thanksgiving Get Away From Shopping Escape. All apologies for the sudden silence. Holidays and all that. Photos of the battlefield and assorted Pennsylvania goodies.

November 24, 2004

Badges, we don' know.

It's dark, but you get the picture (oh, god). The 'Stang. Again. Too tired to write. Drove over 1,200 miles in the last week. Got an oil change in the Mazda at 7:45 a.m. -- more than wee mornin' to a grad student, to be sure. Had three 16 ounce cups of coffee and a 24 ounce (!) cafe' au lait. Hands shaking. Gotta pee. Head itches. Sweating. Heard the best "Why did the chicken cross the road?" joke lately: Some Random Dude: Why did the chicken cross the road? Ernest Hemingway: To die. In the rain. Thank you.

November 23, 2004

New Mustang.

A preview of my mother's new 2005 Mustang. I've been too busy travelling, visiting, sleeping, being sick, in Baltimore to post much lately. More soon, though. Enlarge that Mustang photo. It's pretty.

November 18, 2004

Home home home.

Leaving at dawn for Baltimore, my hometown, to celebrate the holiday and to see family and friends from the coast. Stay tuned for some goodies from the city. A family member has a new Mustang that is coming in this weekend from being ordered and built, just in time for her birthday. If you haven't seen the 2005 Mustang yet, check it out.

November 17, 2004

Daydreaming: Not so bad?

Why Does Daydreaming Get Such a Bad Rap? Apparently, there are several benefits to be had from some good time-wasting, er, daydreaming: relaxation, managing conflicts, maintaining relationships, boosting productivity, "cementing" one's beliefs and values, boosting creativity and relieving boredom. Swell. Cementing one's beliefs does not sound like a benefit to me at all. St. Augustine writes in Against the Academics: "What the wise man maintains and follows he should hold not only with qualification but also steadfastly." What a bunch of crap! I prefer some kind of pluralism or fallabilism to being an ass about my so-called beliefs. Recall what Mr. Keenan says about beliefs, i.e., that they are "dangerous" and "allow the mind to stop functioning." Even good old Thoreau doesn't necessarily claim that we should cement our beliefs, only that we should always act consistently with them. But I ramble. And I have to rest for my 13-14 hour drive Friday to the East Coast. For someone with ADD -- like me -- this news of daydreaming not being such a bad thing is welcome information. I'd hate to think that I'm doing something harmful to myself during most of my "waking" hours. Now, if only I could score me some of that "boosted productivity," I'd be in good shape.

November 14, 2004

Return of The Darkness.

With how unhappy many people seem to me to be becoming in post November 2nd America, I hereby predict a return to Sartrian Existentialism in the near future. I was talking to two old friends of mine from my first grad school at our philosophy conference this weekend, and P. says that Sartre is not really in fashion anymore. To be sure, he just might be right. I had a hell of a time finding Sartre's book on Baudelaire, and there's still only one English translation of Being and Nothingness that I know about. But I suspect that some people are going to become so...discouraged with the outcome of the election that they will start to "question" things, as the cliche' goes. "Mr. Bush was elected seemingly fairly. What does that say about our country? The Constitution is meaningless. The soul of our country is dead. It's all meaningless. I need to buy some black turtle-necks and thick glasses, and I need to learn French."* Or something like that. I don't mean to imply that I will be going over to the dark side or that I necessarily espouse a gloomy world view, however. I only own a few black peaces of clothing. I don't speak any French. And the Christian Right scares me a hell of a lot more than Bush does, really. Nonetheless, I predict a spike in the sales of Sartre's books and that the chromatic tide among the philosophically-inclined segment of the population will become darker and more be-spectacled. Personally, I love Sartre. It's not perfect, by any means, but his account of our encounter with "the other" is superior to any other such account with which I am familiar, from Husserl to Levinas to Hobbes. I'll write about that one day on this here bloggy. Wanna read some good stuff? Come to Carbondale, and I'll let you borrow some good books. This is going to be the future, anyway. Don't you want to be prepared? If, on the other hand, my prediction is incorrect, well, then, it's just....uh....a joke that you didn't get. Yeah. That's. It. *[Not my views, honest.] --------------------------------------------------------------------- It seems that I may have implied that I thought Existentialism was itself The Darkness, per a thoughtful comment. To be sure, Sartre categorically denies charges of pessimism in "Existentialism Is a Humanism" also contained in this book, both of which are excellent and very accessible introductions to Sartre's philosophy. Sartre's philosophy is not The Darkness itself but is, rather, a response to or way of dealing with The Darkness. Sartre's philosophy could not have achieved the popularity and attention that it did were it not for the pre-existing Darkness. Sartre seems to me to pick up where the "existence is meaningless" claim leaves of, since he largely pre-supposes such a metaphysical position, in addition to the assumption of the absense of God. Implying that Sartre's philosophy is itself The Darkness was clearly my mistake, and I apologize accordingly.

November 13, 2004

Baby got back.

At the rist of sounding piggish, the possible consequences of this just make me so happy that I think I'll finish my coffee and do a little dance before I head out to our conference today: "Big-Bottomed Mannequins Boost Profile in New York."

November 11, 2004

DSL is rad.

DSL is very nice to have. Yes. It is. Really. This photo was uploaded with exceptional speed. Isn't that nice? Those are my feet on the Ohio River in Paducah, Kentucky. Pardner. Have to get up early and drive to St. Louis tomorrow, which is actually a fun drive through farm country. I have two CDs of good road music to keep me company.

November 10, 2004

Reaching across lines.

Despite the differences in our political views, I heartily recommend this post from Fray Dog. He's right. We all need to reach out. Leaving for Canada (or France, or Germany, or Australia, etc.) at this point really doesn't make any sense. And so long as Pat Robertson and company are not in power any more than they are, leaving is really the cowards' way out. For now. Ask me in five years, and, if the Christian Right weilds more power (which I doubt and which can't be very desirable for anyone in either party who is not some zealous nutjob), and you may have to find me far far away. Now, though, is the time to reach across those lines and work something out. We have a hell of a mess to clean up in Iraq and plenty of other work to do. Okay, no more politics from me for a while. I don't usually rant like this. Oh, but one more thing that I can't resist. Good riddance Mr. Ashcroft. Thank you, and goodnight.

November 07, 2004


The Taliban is evil because they are a group of religious nuts who do mean things like kill people and bomb stuff. We like to think of them as nuts -- not evangelists or even zealots -- because they don't love Jesus. They took over a country/region and then condemned everyone who failed to conform to their wacked-out beliefs. They took away some people's rights just because of who they are. Okay. But it's perfectly fine for Americans to do it, so long as such facists (ah, the F-word!) like James Dobson are "good Christians" and are looking out for our kids and the "sanctity of marriage"? I dont' hold any degrees in linguistics or philology or etymology, but does "sanctity" mean "for some, and we get to choose who"? Why are we handing over control of our country to religious nuts, some of whom used to be drunks (i.e., Dubbya himself) and are thereby supposed to somehow understand Jesus more? I've heard the argument made that our country was "founded" on "Christian principles." I'm damned sick of getting emails (from people who know my religious tendencies) which argue that we should have prayer -- Christian prayer -- at everything from public schools in Massachusetts to NFL games, because "most" of us are Christian, and everyone else is as free to shut up their ears as some are to pray that their team wins over the public address system. Anyone who claims that our country was founded on explicitely Christian principles has simply never taken the time to read our nation's founding documents. The fact that some of the first crazies over here from Europe were fanatical Christians and that the Founding Fathers were Christians does not mean that our country was founded on Christian principles. Read the Constitution for crapsakes. Patrick Leahy hates God's people? And? What does that have to do with the US Senate? Who the hell are God's people? The Taliban thinks it's them. But no, we say, they don't even believe in Jesus! Jesus! It's up to James Dobson and that bastard leprechaun Pat Robertson to tell us how we manage to be right about being God's people and that everyone else is wrong and that a US Senator can hate God's people and manage to fool everyone and get elected by the God's people that he hates and that is why he is evil and that Bush is a hero for bombing people to death and destroying an entire nation but that Bin Laden is an evil terrorist sent by the Devil himself for doing a very similar thing. Geez, these guys have a lot of work to do? What are they doing on television and the internet? Osama says, "Terrorist? Bigot? Evil? Hold the fuck up. I know you are, but what am I?" I have nothing against Christians or Muslims or atheists or anyone else, just because of what they believe or don't believe. While people like the Family Guy and the Leprechaun give a lot of good Christians a bad name and while killers like Bin Laden give lovely muslims a bad name, I like to think I am capable of seeing that such haters and bigots are the exception and not the rule. I never said the contrary, nor did I imply it. So don't tell me that I hate God's people please. I love most of God's people, really, sucka.

November 05, 2004

Photo Friday: Radiant.

For this week's Photo Friday Challenge: Radiant. The sun reflected in a pool of water under the cliff near Devil's Standtable trail at Giant City State Park (that's a mouthfull). Here also is some water dripping from the cliff into another pool, shot with a very high shutter speed (you have to click and enlarge it to really see the water).

November 04, 2004

Finally cold enough for shoes.

It was finally cold enough for shoes and socks today, well, for me, anyway. I noticed people staring at my sandals yesterday (as they scurried around in scarves and coats), and I realized that maybe I should break in my new shoes. The last time I had socks on was on a camping trip in Maryland in May, and that was only while I was getting the gunk out of my Tevas from a long hike along the Gunpowder river. These are, of course, standard issue shoes for any and all vegetarians, though that's not the only reason I wanted them.

November 02, 2004

Tired of watching the poll results?

Me, too. Here are some fun diversions, with which I am diverting myself in posting thereby, uh, for your diversionary pleasure, er, you get it, right? This is one of the funniest things I have ever seen on the internet, sent to me by my very good friend Dan. (See that dude above? That's Dan.) Make sure you have your sound on, and, yes, it's safe for work -- no foul language, honest, not that there's anything wrong with foul language, etc.: Badger. Further, some interesting pages on how the top two American pencil manufacturers make their pencils: Papermate Dixon Ticonderoga And did you know that Thoreau was instrumental in bringing American pencils up to the standards of the then-superior French and German pencil manufacturers? See this article and this article. And here's why pencils are usually yellow. I hate yellow pencils. I like unfinished or black-painted ones. Yup. Bored more with these too-much-coffee typings? Blame Dan, my fellow pencil aficionado.

DSL, baby.

One of the crappiest things about living in a relatively isolated area is the lack of certain amenities we take for granted when living in the city. Thanks to Dave, I now know that we can get Verizon DSL in the southern-most end of Carbondale. We are too...dependent on MSN Premium to give it up, but I was not and would not be jazzed about the idea of paying for DSL and then paying again for MSN. Our apartment is only three years old, and it's already wired for a local DSL provider. Now, I have nothing against local or regional businesses, which I like to support whenever I can. But I am not going to pay more money for less service, i.e., no 24-hour support, no free hardware, etc. Getting a cable modem was out of the question -- too tempting to get cable networks and watch too much television. So, we are getting the same service we already have (which I have been happy with for three years and in two states), much faster, and it will cost only coffee-and-a-treat-for-two more a month than we are paying now. Delicious.

November 01, 2004

Later, October.

I wish I had been born in October. I was born at the end of August, but I was born several weeks early and should have graced the world with my whining in mid-to-late-September. October is my favorite month, and I'm sad that it's over so quickly. I got to the state park and out of doors a bit early on, but it got humid, hot and grey after the second half of the month. I wish I got outside more this October, at least to sit on my balcony and watch the sunset over some coffee or tea or beer. That photo is of dried leaves on my balcony at sunset this past Saturday. Here is one of my favorite Thoreau essays, for your reading pleasure: "Autumnal Tints." The essay speaks for itself, and it contains one of my favorite Thoreau quotations, which I have on a coffee cup I bought at The Shop at Walden Pond in October of 2001 (did I mention this mug before?): "October is the month of painted leaves. Their rich glow now flashes round the world. As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight."