Friday, August 19, 2005

Thoughts in Solitude

Stuff on the brain this morning:

There is a lot to like in the world. Just like there are more good things to invest your life in, and more people worth the effort, than you will ever have time or emotional space for, so there are just a ton of things to like. I'm thinking of the start of "Amelie" as an example.

But I like Reed's Extra Ginger ginger beer, the new beef marinade we've been using with shishkebabs the last couple of weeks, the fact that every time Gandalf acts in a quasi-angelic way in Lord of the Rings the music is a boy soprano, and Dawn's new brown sweater and city trousers. In amidst my well-informed griping--about Karl Rove, about the fact that every imagination of the hearts of mortgage loan guys seems to be only evil always, about the absurd absence of a train to Denton and the even more absurd lack of a smooth rail connection to DFW airport--it's good and pleasant and blood pressure-controlling to say again, there is a lot to like. Parting thought along this line: there is a cantaloupe growing in one of the front yard flower gardens, because the compost we used was from our kitchen garbage of last year.

Also on the brain: what to do about the laudably disabling emphasis in academia in at least formally knowing what you are talking about when you write? On the one hand, every sort of loon and nutcase in the world seems to be able to publish--is this because they can just put everything in standard form bibliographically? Are editors that immunized against content of their own journals? Is it just footnoting Rawls correctly that makes you a political philosopher? Yet, those who think, as the old self-referentially critical comment goes, that they know everything are especially annoying to those of us who do. Yet that leaves me qualified to talk about...Habermas, and only with asterisks and footnotes everywhere, because I have three of his historical studies, one major work of theory, and four volumes of interviews, essays, and occasional pieces (wasn't it George Carlin who said those were nice to have around the office now and then?) yet to read, let alone the secondary literature, and I've got a bloody Ph. D. in the guy. So I feel like I know him, but don't think I can say so very loudly or confidently til I finish slogging through the 8 books and at least some of the secondary literature on him. On the other, for people who really don't know jack about him to talk about him grates on me. So I find the requirement of competency 'laudably disabling.' Yet I still have to find a way to write now, when I'm always going to be writing a least a bit beyond what I've really got control of.

And money. Dawn and I had a Come to Greenspan meeting with our checkbook two weeks ago. We had opened a second checking account for the explicit purpose of paying all bills out of the second account for a month so as to let our main account settle, so we could then arbitrarily reconcile it with our checkbook, which was too far out of synch to ever dream of balancing. Great. Done. So then one month later, new statement for main account comes--and I'm $50 irreducibly off again. Can't find any math errors, anything included or omitted. Yet $50 off. Just once I'd like to feel I'm not back at the Sleepy Time Inn in Durham, working the night shift and failing yet again to match the till count to the room receipts for the day. On the bright side, we and the kids watched "Office Space" the other day, Dawn made a wad of dough last paycheck, and God gave me Gerald Borchert years ago echoing in my mind ever since: "Money stuff always works out. Not always like you want and you often have no real idea how. But it always works out." And he didn't even qualify it by saying for Christians, although I don't know how those without more to rely on than the economy and themselves handle the pressure. Hats off to them, because I'd do terrible without being able to talk to and trust God about it. Of course, this sounds weird coming from a guy who lives in 2300 square feet on Swiss Avenue, maybe. And for sure, God works just as hard to make us content with the much we have now, as he did making us content with little (600 square feet on Belvar in the "Mockingbird Valley servants' quarters" in Louisville) before. We'll doubtless have little again. I think our yard sale tomorrow is a little act of faith in that regard...but I'd still like to be able to balance my checkbook to the penny just once :).


Blogger scott said...

mmm...Reed's Extra Ginger ginger beer...

2:32 PM  
Blogger kalhoun said...

Balancing is over rated. Use the Force Luke.

11:40 PM  
Blogger kalhoun said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:41 PM  
Blogger kalhoun said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Hm. Never sure how to take author-removed posts, but okay. Lovely friend Gail has always said her best metaphor for hell is having to balance her checkbook while listening to an endless loop of Michael Bolton tunes.

7:03 AM  
Blogger Brad said...

wow! only $50 off? how'd you manage that? i need a how-to sheet ...


10:19 PM  
Blogger some chick said...

well shit. endless michael bolton loops sounds like hell even WITHOUT trying to balance a checkbook. joshua does ours. if he ever dies, i'm (insert colorful word here).

9:15 AM  

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