Too early

Another busy day down here at the widget factory, as a friend of mine used to say...
But listening to Jesuits while waiting for the library to open isn't my idea of a good morning.

Things could improve: the day stretches out in front of me. But first, I need to consult Turabian.


Pre-emptive Explanation

I have a ton of work to do, but I thought I'd take time for my loyal readers to post an explanation as to why--after getting criticism about "Search & Destroy" on my second CD--I would include not just one, but two songs by Iggy Pop. Here's the short version:

In high school, I listened to Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd (staples of the angst-ridden suburbanite), but also the Ramones and the Clash. My dad liked some of it, didn't like some of it, but mostly didn't pay any attention EXCEPT for Iggy and the Stooges Raw Power. I of course had David Bowie's much criticized original mix, but my dad was worried that it was damaging the stereo. Not because it was too loud, but just because... well, I encourage you to listen to it yourselves.
In any case, I can't imagine anything better to encourage an otherwise-tame 15 year old to expand his collection of Iggy Pop records.
Okay, now back to work!


Reset your clocks!

I haven't had one of these in over five years... but I was sitting on the couch late last night, reading and thinking I ought to go to bed, when I heard some people walking by outside. I can't say why that acted as a trigger: I suppose if it was a rational response it would fit into different category ("rational response to perceived threat," so something like that), and wouldn't be called a "panic attack." In any case, I was wide awake for a few more hours after that. Nothing like going to the Post Office to check your mail past midnight on a Saturday, and then folding laundry after flipping through the catalogs. (Speaking of which, few things are scarier, in this time before Halloween, than finding Santa Claus in my mailbox. Is it because, like trying to buy Halloween candy early, they know the average consumer's anxiety will prompt more and unnecessary buying?) Luckily, reading about the misfortunes of others helped calm me down, and I was eventually able to go to sleep.
As chance would have it, last night was the end of Daylight Savings Time, so I got an hour of sleep back. It's never enough, but I guess it'll have to do.


No Alter Call!

I hate to pick on people, but... well, that's not true. But typos are interesting things, particularly when someone unintentionally writes something that is probably true, such as, "there was no alter call" when describing a service at a United Methodist Church. Not to pick on Methodists... oh, why not?

In other news: my third CD, "4-track Mind," is just about complete. In order to prepare my loyal readers, let me just say that although the first song ("Chest Fever") is my favorite out of this batch, I sound drunk and off-key (and let me assure my loyal readers that, despite being off-key, I was not drunk during the recording of this song!). Watch your mailboxes!


No Fun!

Again, I think I'll just let the cartoons speak for themselves; the title of this post will have to remain a mystery until next week...

but here's a hint.


In the beginning...

I'm sure those of my readers who have tackled Genesis recently will recognize certain themes...

Bob Dylan's Highway 61 is somewhat of an odd pairing with Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, but I work with what's at hand.

The thirteen children really reminds me that this is a patriarchal culture, and that the women really did most of the child-rearing.

And Dinah... well, I'm not so keen on working on the railroad anymore.


The finer points of pastoral care for the Alcoholic

Do I really need a caption?

The Bells of St. Andrews

I've been thinking about that as the name of my next post, ever since 6AM Friday morning. I've been having trouble sleeping, and Friday was a rare day when I didn't have to get up: DING DONG, DING DONG, (ect) for about a minute. It might have been amusing if I were rerecording the percussion track for "Standing on the Moon," since I like odd background noises, but it wasn't funny then.

The New Girl asked about me liking some classes better than others, so I've posted a few from a particular favorite class... although there was another class that produced more cartoons (and helped me change my emphasis). I'm slowly making my way through a vast backlog of cartoons, but I'll try to get some of the more recent ones online--just as soon as I write and record a zombie song!
Actually, it's amazing that I'm posting at all, since I just recieved a replacement part for my favorite toy. (Watch for my latest CD, "4-track Mind," some time next week!) I'll keep working on the cartoons, though!


Arrived awry

My friend Greg--of photo fame--spent some time at Thich Nhat Hahn's Plum Village a few years ago, and was fond of quoting him, "I have arrived, I am at home."
It's sometimes good to remember that, particularly when I'm having a squirrelly day.
Like today: I didn't quite make it to Dorothy Day or Thomas Merton in class, and now I need to go read yet more about Lutheran theories of atonement (which seems to be my latest "hobby").

Usually, however, the arrival of Mr. Miro means that something has gone awry.


Just cartoons (mostly)

My loyal readers might have noticed that a lack of things to say doesn't usually stop me from writing; but rather than telling you about listening to the Rolling Stone's last great album, cranked up to 12 while I did the dishes this afternoon, I'll just give you a bunch of cartoons.

Rain, I don't mind

This cartoon would have been more appropriate during the last two weeks, when I was buried under a pile of work; however, as I think about tomorrow it still seems appropriate.
I had two dreams last night (neither of which I'll share on the blog, so don't worry--talk about obscurely self-referential!), but the songs were interesting. I woke up with a mash-up of Miles Davis' Right Off (from Tribute to Jack Johnson) with Mick Jagger singing Sympathy for the Devil over the top of it (and I've linked that recently, so I won't link it again). So that was odd.
Walking in this morning (in the rain) I was thinking about the negative imagery of rain in CCR lyrics (Who'll Stop the Rain, Have You Ever Seen the Rain) as opposed to John Lennon's Rain:
"I can show you that when it starts to rain
Everything's the same
I can show you..."


Another week begins

I had a colleague at USC named Hu who really liked Leibniz and his "windowless monads." Looking back on it, I wonder if he was shocked by the insularity of American society from the world, and the insularity of Americans from one another. He's now listed as a "Computer company manager, San Jose CA" on the department's web site (and in looking him up I found my name listed incorrectly). I, on the other hand, am not a fan: I once put myself to sleep while lecturing about Leibniz. (Well, almost.)
Facts to help the loyal reader understand: Leibniz coined the word "theodicy."
I struggle with the question of theodicy quite a bit, but I refuse to struggle any longer with Leibniz.


Theologies of Atonement

Have you ever had one of those days when you're trying to read about various competing theologies of atonement, going back to Irenaeus, up through Gregory of Nyssa and on to Martin Luther, and the whole time George Clinton is chanting, "We want the funk.... give up the funk, ow, we need the funk... gotta have the funk..." over and over and over again?
It happens to me all the time.


Friday the Thirteenth

It rarely happens, but I don't have much to say today.

Mai seems to be doing most of the talking, and that's never good.

Monk has a pretty cool jam with Sonny Rollins called "Friday the 13th," but October thirteenth pretty much just means that I'm once again late for my grandma's birthday, dang it.


Would you read this book?

"This book investigates the ethical theory of Friedrich Nietzsche in light of recent work done in philosophy of mind. While the issue of free will and communication are addressed, the primary focus is the way in which we construct the self, and the implications for ethics.
After dismissing what he calls the “soul hypothesis,” Nietzsche is left with a problem: how do we explain the sense of unity and continuity most of us experience as our identity? Drawing on recent work in cognitive science and philosophy of mind, it is shown that Nietzsche’s tentative suggestions in the late nineteenth century have been supported by late twentieth century research. These include the idea of that there is no “raw data” of our experience, and that there is no place in the brain which could conceivably identified as the “soul.” At the same time, the more recent work has not adequately thought through the implications for ethics, which is precisely what Nietzsche has largely already accomplished. While they are writing in different styles to different purposes, a unity of vision can be seen in both fields. This book aims to bring those fields into conversation with one another to the mutual benefit of both."



The tension referred to in the cartoon has to do with "loving thy neighbor." Luther was clear that we should love our neighbors, even if they're Jewish; but he didn't have much good to say about "the Jews."
It reminds me of when Lisa Simpson became a vegetarian, and balks at the lamb chops set before her. "Come on, Lisa," Homer says to her, "it's lamb, not a lamb."

For some reason, I put my class ring on this morning, and now I can't get it back off my finger. (Plain-man will certainly bust me for that!)
There's a certain irony in discussing anti-intellectualism in American culture while wearing a class ring from a top-ten school; and I'm hoping to work this article into the discussion. Not that I'm biased.


Sleep deprivation

Although a great many of my cartoons have a "not enough coffee" theme, I think today I'll just share a photo taken by my friend Greg.
Have a groovy Tuesday.


Lost poem

I often struggle to find blank paper around my house, particularly when I'm trying--this is purely hypothetical of course--to write a lecture on new religious movements in mid-19th century America, such as the Oneida Community, the Seventh-day Adventists, and the Mormons.
The ironic thing is that I have half-used and forgotten notebooks all over the place. I mention this because earlier this week I found a poem that I had written into a notebook and forgotten five years ago. The funny things is that I've also forgotten if I wrote it, or merely stumbled across it in one of the various books I was reading at the time, and felt that it fit my circumstances. In any case, this reminds me of Rocky Knob, VA and the Rock Castle Gorge.

Clouds cover mountain meadows
The way is hard to follow
Cold winds blow at night
But the dust of the world remains

And in other news, I noticed that gas prices around here jumped 13 cents yesterday; I'm afraid to check the price today.


With a name like Churchland...

I don't preach that often, and don't see myself as making it a regular part of my routine anytime in the foreseeable future, but I've had the impulse from time to time (going back to my days teaching at Radford--try turning Sartre's Being and Nothingness into a sermon for 50 bored undergrads!), and so today I preached for the third time.
I like the parables perhaps most of all in the New Testament. The Napkin Artist gave me quite a complement--perhaps more than he meant--when he said my sermon made him see the parable in a new light. That's quite a trick, and I wonder if part of that comes precisely from being "unchurched": my familiarity with the Gospels is limited (I could never imagine myself preaching out of Hebrews, for instance), but I also don't have the same ossified understandings of the most familiar texts.
In any case, my subversion of the process was to include a "highly degraded image" in the order of worship. It's a black and white image--probably copyrighted, otherwise I'd include a scan--that doesn't really look like anything at first, but at some point resolves into a bearded man who looks like the typical Jesus envisioned in various works of art. I woke up in the middle of the night last and stumbled to my bookshelf: this is the picture I need to use! The subversion is that this image came from a book called, Engine of Reason, Seat of the Soul, by Paul Churchland. Even for a theologically liberal school, I suspect that this is the first time a text by an eliminative materialist (see here as well) made it's way to the front of the chapel!


Rolling Stones

A question was raised about the previous post: as with many things, there are a variety of sources for it.
As many of my loyal readers know, I've recently changed my appearance significantly. Mac had also changed his appearance over the summer, to the extent that a person who has known him for years came up and introduced himself, not recognizing Mac at all. (This is why I questioned Mac's Badger-hood, although I guess it's still firmly in place, even if he hasn't posted in a while). I wondered if a similar things would happen to me, hence the "pleased to meet you..."
This reminded me--as so many things do--of the lyrics to a song. And of course this fit the "evil" theme of the cartoon.
That's all for today.