Saturday, 30 July 2005

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Fixing a Hole Where the Rain Gets In, or A Day in the Life In lieu of discussing why I appear to accomplish so much in a given day, I've decided to provide you with a log of my activities so that you might see the illusion for what it is: 7:05 Awake to cats wrestling on head. Throw cats off bed. Return to sleep. 7:06 Awake to cats wrestling on head. Throw cats off bed. Throw self off bed. Stumble into kitchen. Prepare mug of green tea. 7:15 Grab magazine from pile near chair. Read articles and note which are 1) of general interest and 2) of pedagogical value. 7:55 Shower. Rebel against rinse repeat. 8:00 Greet wife. Eat breakfast while watching Tivo of previous evening's Daily Show. Laugh. Feel powerless to alter the course of history. Laugh again. 8:25 Inform wife it is "time to get to work." Walk into bedroom/study. Make bed while computer boots. Douse room in lavender-scented Febreze fabric refresher. 8:26 Read email. Answer urgent missives. 8:27 Curse dearth of urgent missives. Question own self-importance. 8:28 Open 192 windows in Mozilla. Read news of Mets' latest late-inning collapse. Observe that 412 strangers read blog while I slept. Begin rebuilding sense of self-importance. 8:35 Decide today will not be the day every newspaper in America will be read. Close 191 windows. Leave "stats" page of blog open in case sense of self-importance flags. 8:36 Time to dissertate! Stare at piles of books. Read through last four or five pages written yesterday. Despair at own stupidity. Stare at piles of books. 9:41 Work up nerve to select books from piles. Choose this one and, um, that one. Open selected books. Attempt to decipher own marginalia. Curse self for poor penmanship. 10:14 Retype final four paragraphs written day before in failed attempt to remind self what self had in mind when self spent 12 hours writing gibberish. Begin to compose this entry. Wonder why "gibberish" spelled with "g" instead of "j" when "jibber-jabber" spelled with "j." Feel annoyed at trivial turn of mind. Return to retyping final four paragraphs written previous day. 10:37 Finish "the retype." Understand what was written. Understand what was written to be stupid. Despair! 10:39 Cease hyperventilation. Open new window in Mozilla. Read the Valve. 10:40 Read response to recent article mentioning Y.T. Consider potential post about being known by full name. Think of mother yelling "Scott Eric Kaufman" to alter deviant behavior. Wonder if people who read this entry will be reminded of Ben Marcus. Wonder if readers familiar with work of Ben Marcus. Decide to inform readers that excerpt from The Age of Wire and String available below fold.[1] 10:59 Return to dissertation. Remember general bearings of train-of-thought. Ride the rails. 1:13 Eat lunch. Converse with wife. Commiserate with wife about current conditions in sinuses. Remind wife of recent bout of cancer in order to diminish wife's suffering. Evoke pity from the ill. Feel like horrible person. 1:21 Finish lunch. Apologize for 19,482 time for lording cancer over wife. Acknowledge that past suffering does not diminish...
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Let the Market Speak! Market, Dear Market, How Can We Help You? or We Hate Your Ears! For reasons I recently mentioned elsewhere, I've had precious little time to develop original material for the blog of late. Such are the spoils of success. Eighty-six that. Replace it with "Such are the 'spoils' of success." Have to keep my priorities straight. Vis-a-vis the conflagration on the aforementioned elsewhere: I entirely agree with Patrick's statement that he "can understand simultaneously being pleased at the mature level of conversation, while also being disappointed at the lack of bomb throwing." Like Patrick, I think Pannapacker wanted to see a fair and professional fight, rule-governed but barely so. People wanted, if not the act, then at least the threat that someone would finish the fight with a little less ear than he or she started it with. In that respect, the event was disappointing. The participants remained civil, the essays measured and careful. Both sides landed calculated blows, but only after dancing around the ring. The audience wanted Tyson; we gave them de la Hoya.[1] They felt we had the better whiskers and they groaned everytime we followed a hook with a two-step to the far corner. They wanted ears. "We hate your ears!" they yelled at the Norton they imagined on the ropes. We politely declined to eat ears. We landed a punch and retreated, determined to fight the fair fight. I admit that the fight felt rigged; especially when, in its aftermath, every party claimed marginal status and maximal success. Then it got ugly. CR, with whom I've exchanged emails and whose opinion I respect, called Sean out for calling out the denizens of Long Sunday: This move - to call “us” (Matt/Long Sunday/whomever) out - and then when we fail to answer your claims and queries, accuse us of arrogance (or perhaps incompetence masked by a feigned arrogance...) is bad faith. Here's the thing though: Sean was initially offended—as was I, to be frank—by what seemed like Matt's flip dismissal of his argument. It did seem as if Matt had brushed aside him by saying "I'd argue with you, but I have some really important pasta to boil." As Matt later acknowledge, the thing about all this is he really did have to leave to cook dinner. Now, through no fault of mine or Sean's, the amount of faith both sides have in the other's intellectual honesty is roughly equivalent to the faith that all sides have that there are WMDs in Iraq or that Karl Rove isn't a savvy political operative but a victim of a vast conspiracy orchestrated by the liberal media.[2] But here's the strange thing: one of the few blogs I check every single days is The Weblog. Why? Because it contains intelligent and informative content—not to mention a regular and refreshing dose of hatred—and the posters don't assume anyone whose surname isn't "of Sorrow" argues in bad faith. That's it. The assumption that people will argue in good faith leads to, well, it leads to people arguing in good faith. The alternative is that...

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