21 December, 2006


mmm...tea, toast, cloth-bound cheddar, stilton and salami.


12 December, 2006


of all the ways i ingest tobacco, i must confess that a well-packed pipe is my favorite. tastier and more relaxing. and though i work from home, and thus can puff away all day, it's still more soothing to light up once the work day is done.

as it is for today. debugging is done, for the time being, code is checked into source control and the batch jobs on the mainframe aren't going to be finished till late, and so can wait till the morrow to be checked and have the output processed.

the bowl is packed, the sparks have lit into flame, the smoke curls up from the briar and from the curl of my lip. now all that is left is to relax and wait for my lovely perse to get home. and perhaps think about what to make for dinner.

ah, who am i kidding? i'm going to play oblivion till she gets home. then i'll think about dinner.

05 December, 2006

White Collar Blues

another rough draft.

White Collar Blues

Weary. Oh not
with the bone-ache
of working men,
that day-end drain
and strain on all
sinew and tendon
and limbs longing
for langorous ease.

Weary. Of thought
neverending, never
slowing, ever
racing around
the hamster-wheel
of the forebrain
while always, only
wishing for the
clarity of glass,
empty. Blank.

And glass, full.


edit: 12/12. see. told ya i'd work in hamsters. [grin]

04 December, 2006

a giant christmas-time peeve

we're deep in the heart of the "holiday" season now, and once more, amongst the garland and tinsel and silver bells a twinkling, my biggest christmas-time peeve rears it's ugly head.

betcha ya wanna know what it is, doncha? no?

fine, well, i'm going to tell you anyway.

it's the use of "scrooge" as a noun. not so much that scrooge has become a noun; that's a terribly common sort of thing in english, and one of the ways the tongue evolves. no, it's the meaning that irks me. we've all used it this way, likely myself included. but it still bothers me when "scrooge" is used to indicate someone who dislikes the christmas season, or is generally miserly, miserable and misanthropic. why? because any semi-sentient being who has read "a christmas carol", or seen one of the many stage and/or film adaptations (muppet version included) should know the point of the story is the fucking redemption of ebenezer's soul. the book ends with scrooge being remembered as a man who knew how to keep christmas. yet, all we seem to have retained in our collective, cultural memory is "bah, humbug!". why is that? do we just not, as a people, honestly believe in redemption? or is the name just too evocative of miserliness? it certainly has the right sound for it.

regardless, it irks me. for if nothing else, it says something about reading comprehension.

01 December, 2006

baseball writing: anti-intellectualism and conservatism

i've been reading a good deal of the posts on fire joe morgan (damn you bacon!) lately, and it got me to thinking about american anti-intellectualism. how (or perhaps, why?), you may ask? it's very simple.

baseball, while no longer the most popular sport in the good ol' us of a, has long maintained the myth that it is the thinking man's sport (as well as being the national past-time). this is highly debatable. yet the perception (less vaild, i think, in the era of fantasy sports) is that baseball has always been the most statisically obsessed (major american is and will be implied) sport. most people who at least causually follow the sport know about batting average, rbi's, era, home runs. in the context of this, efforts in the past decade or so have rachetted up to develop improved statistics to evaluate players and their impact on the team's chances of winning.

enter the backlash. for, while baseball may be staticially obsessive, it is also an extraordinarily conservative sport. no modern player can ever be considered superior to someone who played in the golden days (say, the 20's). the older players "knew how to play the game" and didn't cheat like they do these days (only cause they didn't know about steriods. oh, black sox anyone?). and while statistics are good, these new fangled stats aren't. let us also not forget intangibles. ah, glorious intangibles!. the old stats were good enough (for moses!) then, so they are good enough now. the biggest knock though, is they have been developed by "nerds" who never played baseball professionally and thus cannot really understand the game (this comes often from former ballplayers turned analysts).

why does this attitude exist? partly because, like news in general, sports reporting and "analysis" has become all about TV ratings. so, if you use information readily availible to the public, where is your job security? you need an angle. that angle has become the idea that stats, particularly newly developed stats, cannot be the sole basis for player evaluation. nevermind that no one has ever claimed that they are anything other than an objective toolset to be used amongst a variety of criteria. they can't tell you about a player's heart and grit, damn it!

ah, heart and grit. we're tying ball back into the mythos of the american "self-made" man here. this, i believe, is where the anti-intellectualism of american society is best reflected. we worship the self-made man. the kind of person who suffered through hardship and succeeded when all others thought he'd fail; getting by not on skill or talent, but on grit and determination. we love the sort of guy who doesn't go to college, but winds up a millionare businessman (likely because of natural talent and skill, plus some luck, but no matter).

what causes this? my opinion is that intelligence is a method of creating an elite class. that is, it falls prey to the twisted interpretation of "all men are created equal". this phrase should rightly mean that we all start with the same chance. not that everyone is equal, in the end. those who are more intelligent often are more successful (not always, naturally, but that's a different discussion). those who are gifted thusly do not have the struggle of the common man, and this creates a sense of inequality that must be stiffled. moreover, we, as a nation, seem to still suffer the lingering effects of puritanical conservativism. intellectuals challenge the status quo, and for conservatism, that's a no no. the old ways are the best, don't try to change them. let experience be the yardstick. and so on.

had more to say, but work has distracted me. any comments are welcome though. plus, read that blog, even if it's just for the humor value.