1. Lax security is one of many appealing aspects of train travel that will disappear if train travel ever becomes mainstream in the U.S. The fact that you can walk right on is awesome, but you can’t use it to argue that everyone should ride trains.
2. The neighborhood I just moved to is split by a major interstate. The speed of newly de-highwayed cars and the fluidity of ramps present new dangers for bicycling, even in what should be the justifiable no-helmet radius of home. On the bright side, it feels like I’m living in a case study about community intimacy despite urban planning folly; approaching my routine with an accordingly empirical attitude is good fun.
3. Three coincidences: My bus into the city left me standing with an unwieldy bicycle box at the doorstep of a bike shop. On my third day here, I was served coffee by someone on the third day of his job. I’m working at a place that concerns itself entirely with the study of the Internet, and I have horrible Internet access.
There is good reason to suppose that responsibility has to be installed in the foundation of your mental equipment — at the level of perception and habit. There is an ethic of paying attention that develops in the trades through hard experience. It inflects your perception of the world and your habitual responses to it. This is due to the immediate feedback you get from material objects and to the fact that the work is typically situated in face-to-face interactions between tradesman and customer.
An economy that is more entrepreneurial, less managerial, would be less subject to the kind of distortions that occur when corporate managers’ compensation is tied to the short-term profit of distant shareholders. For most entrepreneurs, profit is at once a more capacious and a more concrete thing than this. It is a calculation in which the intrinsic satisfactions of work count — not least, the exercise of your own powers of reason.
Ultimately it is enlightened self-interest, then, not a harangue about humility or public-spiritedness, that will compel us to take a fresh look at the trades. The good life comes in a variety of forms. This variety has become difficult to see; our field of aspiration has narrowed into certain channels. But the current perplexity in the economy seems to be softening our gaze. Our peripheral vision is perhaps recovering, allowing us to consider the full range of lives worth choosing. For anyone who feels ill suited by disposition to spend his days sitting in an office, the question of what a good job looks like is now wide open.
1. Goals can even be good for extended leisure. If you don’t set goals for your extended leisure, you end up frittering it away doing the same stuff you do in the cramped leisure spaces of your everyday life.
2. The woman who cut my hair today was inspired to become a hairdresser after a single bad cut ruined much of her high school experience. “All I had going for me was my hair,” she said. Her mullet lasted three years.
You know that Vonnegut book Timequake? It’s sort of about a ‘timequake’ which sends us all back ten years. Finding ourselves in the past but unable to change the course of events, we all mentally sit back and enjoy/suffer the show. Finally, after ten years of space-time autopilot, we’re back where we were before the timequake, and chaos ensues, because everyone’s gotten so used to in-agency.
All this is to say that’s sort of how I feel this beautiful afternoon, after five days of family-role automation (Grumpy Baby) on account of a wedding in Canada.
Bart slaps himself in class after the exam is over.Martin calmly turns in his test, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and wearing shades. Bart answers the final few questions as Ms. Krabappel asks him to turn in his exam.She pulls out `Old Red’ and grades the exam as Bart watches sadly, cringing at every X-mark. Bart got a 59, another F.Bart can’t believe it.Neither can Ms. Krabappel. ”Another year together.Ugh, it’s going to be hell.”Bart stares at his exam and cries.Ms. Krabappel doesn’t understand, “I figure you’d be used to failing by now.” Bart explains that he really tried this time, but it was no use.Ms. Krabappel tries to reassure him, “Well, a 59 is a *high* F…”Bart laments, “Now I know how George Washington felt when he surrendered Fort Necessity to the French in 1754!”Ms. Krabappel is shocked.She looks up the reference and announces, “My God, Bart, you’re right!”She rewards him with an extra point on his exam, bringing him up to a D-.
Ms. K: Just barely!
Bart: [Gasp] I passed! I got a D-! I passed! [crying tears of joy]
BTW, from Wikipedia: “Bart Gets an F” was the first episode of the show’s second season, and the first head-to-head between The Simpsons and The Cosby Show. Despite summer predictions that Cosby would clobber, the shows basically tied in the Nielsens, and “Bart Gets an F” is to this day the highest-rated episode in Simpsons history.
Deer Tick is the first band featured on Brian Williams’s new web series, BriTunes. I’m in the library without headphones, but it looks like you might get a kick out of it. In any case, this is way better than Charlie Gibson’s lame GibzJamz.
A buddy was saying last night that grad school has forced him to reconsider his conception of his own masculinity, since it has prevented him from acquiring the conventional signifiers: steady and substantial income, property ownership, and a female significant other.
I thought that characterization seemed outdated, and a bit of an exaggeration. But here’s a datum to sort of support it: by far, the most viewed photos I have on Flickr are thesetwo—completely unexceptional, but for their display of women and property.
Wikipedia: Armstrong recorded ‘Stardust’ on November 4, 1931, and on an alternate take inserted the lyric ‘oh, memory’ just before an instrumental break. This version became prized over the issued take among jazz collectors, including the song’s composer Hoagy Carmichael.
We lost a lot when we lost skilled craftsmanship as a viable set of career paths. Imagine being a cobbler, say. Seems like just the right combination of intellectual stimulation (a novel problem every so often), meditative mindlessness, and the potential for pride in work.