Monday, July 26, 2010

"There was only one catch and that was Catch-22."

A couple of years ago, Reba Place Fellowship, which is a longstanding Mennonite community out in Chicago, held a conference called "Cynicism and Hope." I wasn't able to go (I was taking the Lit GRE during that weekend, yuck), though some of my community-mates did. The interesting thing about this conference was that it wasn't focused on overcoming cynicism, but rather balancing the two, and realizing that you can't have one without the other. Unmitigated cynicism leads to destruction; unmitigated hope leads to a dangerous idealism. So on, so forth.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

This is what I do when I'm bored.

My cousin's wife, Donna, is an instructor in the CompSci department at Penn. I was in her office one day and got bored while she was grading exams, so I decided to re-make her board into an English lecture. Because, you know, I'm a nerd. Really. If it's not quite clear, it's got the Elizabethans, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, and the Victorians on there, along with a lovely stick figure and the note, "This work of splendor is how I ended up working at an art school."
(You can click on it to enlarge it.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Reading List!

This is the list that I posted on Facebook in March. I've been a bit delinquent about keeping up with it. I'm going to blame that on moving and having most of my books packed up in boxes and milk crates.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

this land is your land

Happy 4th of July.
I have this tendency to get grumpy about national holidays. Not that I think that we shouldn't have them (it's natural, after all, to have communal celebrations), but because they often come with a heavy load of blind patriotism and waxing on American exceptionalism and waving flags and such. So let me say this first: I don't like any of those things. I think any citizens of any country should view their country with a critical eye, and we Americans tend to gloss over our bad parts. I think that does have to do with our sense of exceptionalism, which (wake up and smell the coffee, fellow countrypeople) is a load of crap: we have done great things, and we have done awful things. Yes, we have freedom, and so do a lot of other countries.

Anyway, with that out of the way, in lieu of my normal complete-grumpiness, and in the spirit of peace and grace and love, I'm going to tell you what I do love about this big damn country.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I am not a kitten, stuck up a tree somewhere

All right. Let me set the scene for a moment.
Baseball practice on Sunday. It's so hot that my best adjectives can't describe it. A lot of the team can't make it, so there are only five of us (and it's only my second practice). So, you know, we do our thing. We jog around the field and warm up with throwing.