Wednesday, 03 October 2007

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Impulse Control Issues; or, the Sum Total of Fun Had Today It seems turning a forty-five page chapter into an eight page talk is easier than I thought it would be. Remove the questionable material—the argument you're still not altogether satisfied with, the claims you think a little too bold, &c.—and you're left with about twenty pages of solid material to choose from. Of that twenty pages, about five of them contain material that won't work without the expunged bits ... which leaves you with about fifteen pages to re-sculpt into something talk worthy. Tomorrow begins the process of repeatedly reading the thing aloud in order to slough some dross and smooth the rougher bits. However, what I really want to talk about is The Nightmarish Frog Thing. Hold on—that's not right. What I really want to talk about is disbanding all theology departments everywhere. Wait—that's not right either. What I really want to talk about is this brilliant mash-up of the old Batman series and Frank Miller's ridiculous All Star Batman and Robin; in particular, I want to talk about this one: My apologies. That's still not right. What I really want to talk about is this picture Laura took, and the five minutes of Photoshop fun it provided me. So, without further ado, I present Leonard Cohen's Songs of Love and Hate, via LOL: That's the sum total of fun I had today. All five minutes of it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to start reading something aloud until I can no longer stand the sound of it.
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... You Edit Nightmare Down, You Edit Nightmare Up, You Edit Nightmare Down, Then You Shake It All About ... For those who'd like to attend my panel, please consult the official program. Or show up in Garden Room I of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Newport Beach at 2:00 PM this Saturday. Either will work. As for what you'll be treated to should you choose to come, well, remember what I wrote yesterday about condensing forty-five pages into fifteen? Remember the hubris implicit in my declaration that it'd be easy to whittle those fifteen pages down to eight? The Gods certainly did, as today I received my comeuppance: over the course of six hours, I managed to edit fifteen pages "down" to sixteen ... but only after casting aside of the rules of evidence, the laws of logic, and the integrity of my argument. Just as you can only fold a sheet of paper so many times, there's only so much you can nstrip from an argument before it resembles Ann Althouse. (In seriousness, not literally.) I'd hit that point around 14 pages. No matter how many times I took out this bit about Lamarck necessary to understanding Spencer or this bit about Spencer necessary to understanding London, I found myself confronting the same thing: Utter nonsense. Without A there could be no B. Without B, C and D make no sense. Since C subtends E and D's foundational for F, I could no more remove C or D than A or B and ... then, like an Angel from Heaven, a heavenly angelic email descended upon my inbox informing me that one of the participants will not be able to make my panel, leaving the remaining two panelists an hour and twenty minutes to work with. Life is good. See you Saturday. (Or not.)

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