Yet more thunderstorms

May the Farm be with you!
Perhaps next week will provide greater opportunity to elaborate on my frustration with the question of "free will."
But maybe not: it's not really in my hands, now is it?


Decompensation station

I'll keep this as short as I can:
we don't have free will, at least not in the sense that most people think.
Perhaps that's too short... but no one seems to be reading (or posting) these days.


Multifaceted and complex reasons

I wanted to write something about why I changed my emphasis, and also the story about why I need to tell a bit about the story of changing my emphasis, but first: You Duped Me Lord (which features such recent post as, "The Holy Spirit is Wrong Wrong Wrong.") Who knew Jesuits read Lester Bangs? (Don't let Plain Man see the picture of Lester on the right-hand side of the above-linked web-page!)
Anyhow: I like hyperbole, and often use it to comic effect (or at least make the attempt). Recently I was at a gathering of people where I said quite bluntly that I changed my emphasis for one unambiguous reason which need not be repeated here, partly because, as indicated by the title of this post, there are many reasons: scheduling at this institution, profound miscommunication with the liaison at another institution, and a general sense that I need to modify my life's direction (or rather, that Spirit is leading me down a path other than the one I originally thought). Many reasons, not just one. I'm sorry I ever indicated it was as simple as I suggested.
Actually, I'm just sorry that I said it to one particular person. It's not that I don't like this person: on the contrary, she's quite nice. But I belatedly realized that she was perhaps the worst person I could have made a hyperbolic attempt at humor concerning the changing of my emphasis, precisely for the reason that she's also the most likely to repeat it in inappropriate circumstances.
Maybe this is Spirit working in an entirely unexpected way: keep your mouth shut! (James 1:19)


Jewels and Binoculars

I've been meaning to write about the similarities between fundamentalists of all stripes--particularly Christian and Muslim--but it's too humid to do much other than sit.
I should have added at least one link to the previous post: thank you Julie for tracking down something on Aristotle's conception of friendship. A friend is another self, a true friendship is part of what makes life worth living; but you can't just go up and ask someone to be your friend.


I followed her to the station...

Here's the missing cartoon.
I hope everyone is having a better Thursday than I am.



No cartoon, but I do have a word for the day: "iatrogenic."


Oil consumption

If we really want to end the U.S.'s dependence on foreign oil, we need to ratchet up the level of xenophobia and hostility.

Now, that's not my usual approach: I'm a pacifist and tolerant to a fault. However, how do we get the people with oversized pickups and SUVs, hauling around their motorboats and ATVs--the "Git-R-Done!" people--to realize the importance to reducing our oil consumption? Given the history in this country, making it a racial issue is probably the best choice. The trick is to firmly connect the "camel-f***ing towelheads" with gasoline in the minds of the average redneck. I don't understand how can they continue to waste gas as if there was an unlimited supply of oil, even as they constitute the part of the population most likely to die in Iraq or elsewhere? I don't understand how can they exhibit so much racial hostility towards Arabs (among others) while sending so much money their way? And have people forgotten that bin-Laden is from Saudi Arabia, and thus benefits more or less directly from our oil-consumption? Screw the sand-n*****s: buy a Prius!

I don't want to give anyone the wrong impression: Don't take any of my racial epithets seriously. I think you have a moral obligation to both love our neighbors and to take care of the earth, and that kind of xenophobia is a big part of the problem. But this seems to be the language of the people who listen to John Boy and Billy, and we need to get them on board if we're going to do anything. (I keep forgetting about NASCAR, though: maybe we need to bring back gladitorial combat.)
And of course, you're reading a tax-raising, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show of a blog. What do I know?


Drumming for the mud-people

The highlight of my summer so far came this past Saturday evening:
I was sitting by the campfire, strumming some Grateful Dead, when the mud-people arrived and demanded a drummer. Not wishing to disappoint, I put down my guitar and started drumming (I'm not sure why, but there was a djembe nearby). And then they began to dance as the night slowly fell. I probably drummed for over an hour. Good times.
A few notes: first, I realize that some people use the term "mud-people" as a racial epithet. I'm not using it in that sense here. These were mostly middle-class whites; I just don't know how else to describe them--there were perhaps 20 of them--covered from head to toe in mud. Except for one little sprout, who kept her dreadlocks and glasses mud-free.
Another note: I was eventually by two other drummers. Two of us had PhDs, the other was a PhD candidate. I usually don't equate intelligence with education (I mean, really), but of course there is some correlation, and I thought it wise to particpate by drumming rather than actually immersing ourselves in mud. Some might say this shows the dangers of academia, watching rather than participating. But that's my personal vice: I'm a 5, remember? And, none of the drummers had to run off to take a shower before going to bed; since they're solar-powered showers (I can see Matt smirking now), they weren't very warm by 10PM.
Last, but not least, and not related to the mud-people: my friend Terry has finally launched his website: Philosophy in the Service of the Good. There is much more content there than I expected--it's no mere blog!--so I haven't fully investigated it myself, but I trust Terry (most of the time).
Oh, the cartoon: I tell people that I take notes by drawing cartoons, and usually they evoke a complete picture of what was happening at the time. I have absolutely no idea why I drew this particular cartoon, but I thought it was vaguely amusing.


Just a quick note

It seems like I shouldn't go this long without an entry, even if few people are reading the blogs right now...
What have I been up to lately? Pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth. No, wait, those are the seven deadly sins I said I was going to look up last week. As it turns out, they have their own website. Who knew?
I've been getting chemical burns and assorted cuts, and my hands are black as tar (and no, not because of my sins). And playing guitar, although not quite as much as I had imagined I would these past two weeks.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July; I'll be cringing under a table somewhere. No, wait, that's my dog Biscuit.