Tuesday, December 31, 2002

While I don't want to go back on what I just said, I decided that my last post really had nothing to do with what AKMA was talking about. Just forget I mentioned him. He was discussing the nature of digital identities and how that relates both to the marketplace and to who we are as people and how those two intersect. The stuff I wrote is just stuff that has been on my mind and I happened to think of it while I was reading AKMA's site. But since Scott has already commented, I'll leave the post there.

Also, I was playing around with my blog settings. Apparently turning archives "on" makes them all disappear for some reason. Sorry to anyone really hoping to look through all my old posts. You're undoubtedly better off this way.
I was just having a few random thoughts about AKMA's latest posting. Since I haven't followed the thread of the conversation very closely, I figured I'd spare him from writing on his comments and just waste my own space to think out loud.

Thought one: economists are not exclusively interested in financial/commercial dealings. This is quite tangential to any larger points being made, but I thought I should at least point out that economics, as I learned it, is concerned with man's preferences and decision making, or to put it another way, allocation of scarce resources. This can include how you choose to spend time, how you decide who to marry, or if you should marry, etc. Related to this is the fact that our non-commercial/financial selves are not entirely separable from our money spending selves, which maens that even "the market" has some reason to care about who we are in the non-commercial realm.

Thought two: I do think that american culture, on the whole, is guilty of financial reductionism. As Wordworth said, "getting and spending, we lay waste our powers." I don't know if there is an appropriate place to lay blame for this, or even if it would be fruitful to try to find out why it is the case. I'll leave that to the intellectually ambitious. But I do see few people in my circles who are content with their place in life. This includes me as well. Everyone seems to want more income, a "nicer" neighborhood (i.e. a different one, not to try to fix up their own), a newer car/truck/SUV, new gadgets (especially I've noticed lately people fixating on stereo equipment), and on and on. Also, as I picked up from Habits of the Heart, I see few people who think about the social/religious/moral consequences of their work. Of course many people are willing to criticize other people's work, but I can't recall hearing anyone say "I gave up tobacco farming bacuse I didn't want to participate in the cigarette industry/contribute to the lung cancer rate", or "I gave up my job in the entertainment industry because it seemed pointless/didn't contribute to anyone's well being." Now I'm sure there must be SOME people like this, but they are the exception who prove the rule. When it comes to work, people usually say if it's legal and moral and remunerative, I'll do it. Some leave out either of those first two.

Thought three: I had a third thought, but I rambled too long on thought two and forgot it. Maybe I'll remember it later.

Monday, December 30, 2002

If that wasn't the best church service I've been to, it was certainly the best one on a Monday night. we went to the consecration service at Church of the Holy Family for their brand new nave. They had a nicce brass quintet starting things off with some carols, then a couple of praise songs, a procession to the new nave, blessings of the the new furniture, two baptisms, a sermon by a terrific bishop, much more singing, a saxophone group, songs written by the rector and a member of the church, the eucharist, a letter from the archbishop of Canterbury (read by Stan Hauerwas), and LOTS of incense. Lasted about 2 and a half hours. we have quite a few friends at Holy Family, so we didn't feel too out of place, plus the contractor who built the building is a friend of ours from our church, so he got invited as well. The rt. rev. Michael Curry, the bishop who preached, sure is a gifted preacher. If I thought all their services would be that good, I might become episcopalian.

Some of the locals did comment that not only is preaching skill an anomaly among anglican bishops, being a Christian isn't all that common either. For myself I can't comment on that, just passing it along.

Saturday, December 28, 2002

Just made it back from vacation. Had a good time with both families, but I think I'm ready to get back to normal life. Lots of good gifts got exchanged. Of course my favorites were the amazon gift certificates. I punched them up just a bit ago and started working on my wish list. I was thinking to myself, "wow, if I get these books from the used vendors, I can clear out about half my list." Then tragedy struck: "We're sorry, gift certficates can only apply toward the purchase of amazon items." bummer. Oh well, still got a chunk of it. But if any o you want to by me something used from my wish list, knock yourselves out.

Oh, special mention goes to Lenise for buying me a book which amazon doesn't carry, i.e. Brahms' symphonies for solo piano. Even though it arrived late, I think it will provide me a lot of enjoyment (and hard work) for years to come.

Saturday, December 21, 2002

First leg of the trip went pretty well. We made it to Columbus by dinner time despite a late start. Jason and Dawn invited us over for quite a feast. Had a great time. If any of you bloggers have to stop in Ohio, I recommend mitigating the experience with a visit to the Garretts.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Merry Christmas to all you lovely readers. To the ones who aren't as lovely, just try to keep your chin up. Just kidding. I'm leaving for Columbus in the morning. We may see Dawn and Jason tomorrow night when we are there. I hope so anyway. I guess they still haven't forgiven me for not stopping in last time I went to Columbus. We're on to Detroit on Sat, then to Massilon OH next week before we get to return to cozier climes.

On a more important note, I just got my first piece of German spam (from an address in France???). Fortunately Lenise was able to translate it for me. It said someone really wanted to meet me, but was too shy to write directly, so I should download something or other to find out who it is. Nothing says internet safety like downlading files from strangers who can't decide what country they're in.

Be good all. Don't drink too much eggnog. And if you behave, I might bless you with a post or two from my parents house.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Like it or not, I think I'll just keep y'all updated on the U of Mich. case. In this column, the school prez defends, apparently, the idea that discrimination is only discrimination if it's against blacks.
I'm becoming increasingly convinced that Avram Davidson is the greatest sci-fi writer that no one has ever read. I don't usually expect references to Noah and Hobbes in a book with a picture of a dragon on the cover.

Monday, December 16, 2002


Blogger kept eating my posts yesterday. I seem to vaguely remember that I had lots of informative, witty and inciteful things to say. Unfortunately I'm back to being my regular self now. Plus I'm coming down with a cold or something. I just hate that feeling of knowing that it'll get worse before it gets better. I do hope I'm not too miserable on Friday when we head into the frozen north.

Friday, December 13, 2002

too busy to blog right now

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

In case you are interested in the Grutter case I mentioned below, here is the U Mich lawschool FAQ on the matter. I especially like question 4 (and it's answer).
For all who aren't strict pacifists, you may find this amusing. Being against something sometime does mean being for something else.

Monday, December 09, 2002

There's a useful Frech expression, esprit d'escalier, lit. thought on the staircase, which means something really witty you think of as you are leaving the event at which it would have been appropriate. On the way home from our dark and cold (but very fun) church service yesterday I came up with this pseudo verse: It's not by light, nor by power, by by my Spirit, says the Lord.

Saturday, December 07, 2002

We just finished two full days without power, which meant two nights sleeping on the floor at Tom's house. Lenise was a little sore this morning. I', actually surprised that we got ours back already. Duke Power was saying it would be a week til they got a lot of people's power back. I guess we are experiencing another benefit of living in "downtown" Mebane.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

You are getting very sleepy...You are passing into a state of total relaxation.
Since all the cool kids are doing this--

8 things on your desk:
Picture of Lenise and me
business cards
A stuffed bat
Rob and Wendy Jacobsen tapes
rebate form from my last oil change
cd one of my customers made which I haven't listened to yet

7 things you touch every day:
a book
refrigerator door
front door
the hearts of all deaconpaul readers

6 movies you can't live without: (can't say I feel dependent on movies, but these are favorites)
The Castle
The Last Days of Disco
Wings of Desire
Repo Man

5 nicknames you have had in your life:
peanut butter
honey (only from my wife)

4 places you want to visit:
Ukraine (next year)
South America

3 things you wish you could change about yourself:
I'd like to be less lazy
I'd like to be more caring about people
I'd like to be wealthy

2 phone numbers you call most:
voicemail (work)
voicemail (home)

1 person you plan to spend the rest of your life with
Lenise Baxter
Well, with pastors like this, who needs pagans?

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

One of my former fellow church members from Michigan, Barb Grutter, is apparetly getting her day in court, again. She was denied admission to the University of Michigan law school in 1996 and subsequently filed suit claiming that she was denied on the basis of her race, i.e. being white. She lost in a close decision at the circuit court level, but now it looks like she'll get her day with the supremes. I was a bit suprised when I saw her on one of the tv news mags a few years ago (20/20 or 60 min or something). She seemed to be doing her best to look disgruntled, which probably wasn't hard to do when dealing with tv reporters.

Sunday, December 01, 2002

I have to say it is interesting to have a phone number which used to be for a Chinese restaurant. I got a call last week:
caller-- "Are you located in the Winn Dixie parking lot?"
me-- "No, I'm located in my kitchen."
caller--"So this isn't Canton House?"
me--"No it isn't."

When the phone rang one minute later I didn't feel like answering it. I'm usually caught off guard by these calls. Someday though I'll try to persuade someone that we have the best Peking Duck in the county.