Thursday, January 29, 2004

Random thought: If you have a few extra dollars and would like to purchase some good rock and roll music, please buy it from Jaycob Van Auken (click this one for the web site, or skip the web site and get straight to the music buying). Or I guess you could just spend that money supporting Beethoven, again. Like that guy needs any more money.

Forgotten New Year's Resolution

10. Read Robert Musil's The Man Without Qualities (vol. 1 and vol. 2) from start to finish. I do not know how many times I have started that book, but it keeps kicking my butt. It's huge. It is so long and convoluted that I get about 200 pages into it (say, chapter 46, "Ideals and morality are the best means for filling that big hole called the soul," or chapter 47, "What all others are separately, Arnheim is rolled into one") and stop reading for a while (only 2,200 more pages to go), but then if I try to pick up where I left off I cannot remember what is going in the story. So I go back to the beginning, read about 200 pages, and stop. (NB (to self): Musil did not finish the book, and that makes it even more frustrating since I know that when I get to the end--and I will get to the end--it will not really be an end.) You ask, "Why does he not sell the book and give it up?" and I reply, "I have sold the books once, and then I bought them back." In the end, it cannot be explained at all.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

It feels good to be back in class. I do enjoy the "thrill" of reading and studying; in particular I enjoy reading and studying the great works of western civilization. This quarter my energies are primarily directed toward Hobbes and Kant, two names that don't particularly inspire the masses, I know, but all that's needed to rectify that is an ardent PR campaign.

Yesterday, did something had not done in a while: hung out with a bunch of guys without any women around. Sheldon Vanauken noted two things about male friendship that represent the spirit of our age. (1) Egalitarianism has so penetrated our society that men cannot be away from the sound of a woman's voice anywhere. (2) The acceptance of homosexuality has jaded people's opinion about the possibility of true and deep male friendship. My wife keeps pestering me to start a gentleman's club similar to the ones of aristocratic England. Of course, the phrase "gentleman's club" now denotes a place where no true gentleman would be found dead. It now means something very ungentlemanly. Similarly, Dorothy Sayers describes Christianity as a religion for adults, meaning by this it is a religion suitable to intellectually mature, rationally sophisticated, and deliberately logical reflection. Here we see the same twisting of words: "adult" now means something that stands in opposition to its former meaning. Consider the surprise of many if upon entering into an "adult bookstore" they were confronted with logic textbooks and intellectually challenging literary works in philosophy and theology. Now "adult" implies "sexual," but that implication is obviously spurious: even the juvenile may be "sexual" whereas today's "adult" may not be rational. By the by, I've always found the description "adult situations" on a movie to be somewhat funny. Adult situations? You mean like balancing the checkbook, going to work, taking care of the children?

But anyway, the plan for a true gentleman's club is on. Sorry, no ladies (or any other sort of women) allowed.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Rafael Ferber

For some reason, every time I try to fill in a form on the web, the name Rafael Ferber appears as an "auto complete" option in my web browser. I don't recall ever searching for Mr. Ferber, and I'm afraid to do so now. What kind of business is he in? Is it reputable? The frustrating thing is that I cannot figure out how to remove Raffy from the list of auto complete options. So he keeps dropping down. In fact, he's the only one dropping down, so when his name appeared as an automatic option for the subject of this entry, I decided to give him his due.

Tomorrow after church, I'm going to the wedding of Amanda Cunagin (soon-to-be Hamilton) and Andrew Hamilton (still-to-be Hamilton). They are both artsy people, and my expectations are high for an artsy wedding. I understand the rationale for short weddings, but it seems a little cheap when they're only 15-20 minutes long. I mean, you might as well hit up the justice of the peace. I also think weddings could be billed as potlucks: last name A-H bring salad, I-N bring side dish, O-T, brings drinks, U-Z bring deserts, main dish provided.

I am feeling pretty manly lately. While at my parent's house in Michigan for Christmas, my dad and I built a coffee table for our (my wife's and mine) apartment in Irvine. We built it from some planks he had made from a walnut tree that fell down near his church. We did use power tools, but contra Tim Allen that did not create my feeling of manliness. I trace the source of my machismo to using old hand tools that were passed down from my grandfather to my father. There is nothing like the feel of using a sharp hand planer. For an Impressionist rendition of my feeling, see Caillebotte's painting of floor scrapers.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

New Year's Resolutions

1. Don't let the dishes pile up in the sink.
2. Complete reading for classes ahead of time.
3. Write first drafts of all my major papers and solicit criticism on them.
4. Study Greek one hour a day.
5. Study Latin one hour a day.
6. Stock music collection with classical music again.
7. Write a letter to Jaroslav Pelikan asking him for advice on how to succeed as a scholar.
8. Acquire good art for apartment walls.
9. Find new prime number.

The Man in Black

Eulogy for Johnny Cash.