Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all from the Freelanders staff!

I thought I would post a link to a great discussion over at redstate.org. I know, they are largely a bunch of Republicans. But some of them make sense. Anyway, pay special attention to the comments from Aleks311 and clarity quite a ways down. They discuss the schism between Rome and the Orthodox church. Lots of great stuff in there to read up on for those of you not in the know.

Great thread.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Re-Education

My four years of college had not really included any math (I came away with a history major).
However, during college, I had studied a lot of painting and art history. Along the way I had learned a little about the lives and personalities of the great western painters from Giotto up to Germaine. One of the things that becomes evident is that these masters of painting and sculpture did not fit with our modern conception of who an artist is and what he or she wants to do. Very few of them would have agreed with “art for art’s sake”. Art was a science to these old masters. It was a vehicle, a technology. The great masters were more akin to engineers and architects than the “artists” we have today, who fling paint mixed with whatever at their canvases and get all excited when they can see each other’s brush strokes. I realized that if Leonardo Da Vinci was suddenly transported to today, you would not be able to drag him out of the nearest public library for about ten years while he was getting caught up on everything that has happened in science. Vermeer you would not be able to drag away from a computer. Everyone else you could not convince to ever leave their laboratories. Most likely, every one of these great painters would experience zero compulsion to spend any time painting if they found themselves here in the twenty-first century.

This certainly made me a little curious about the world of science. Unfortunately, my time and energy was pre-occupied with completing the degree and getting done with school, so I was unable to seriously pursue it at the time. Finally, after having left college behind, getting married, starting a family, and spending a couple of years figuring out how to not get fired from a full time job, I got the chance to crack open an old college algebra text.

It is safe to say I was hooked from the start. I worked all the odd-numbered problems in the book (because those had the answers listed in the back). I fell in love with those eureka moments when I worked a problem backwards and forwards then turned to the back and saw that I had got it right.

Next came a book on trigonometry, then the first couple chapters from a book on calculus. By then I had been at it for a while and had worked hundreds of math problems. I desired to see the application of all this math so I delved into an algebra-based college physics book. Again, I proceeded to read and study the text, and then test my understanding by working the accompanying problems till I get them right. I am now about halfway through the book.

My wife says I am crazy and that I am wasting everybody’s time with this inane little hobby. I agree - my time is better spent doing things for my family and I do not let this get in the way of that. But it is the kind of thing that can get squeezed into the little nooks and crannies of a busy schedule. By consistently staying with it, one can get through quite a bit of material over the course of time. And it is already bearing fruit. My children see me doing this at the dining table and as a result may become interested in it at an early age. And when the time comes, I should be capable of helping them with their math and science homework.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

But I Digress...

What a trip down bad memory lane this is... I have decided, as a public service, to post some of the teenage, angsty, depressed-by-the-futility-of-existence things I wrote. I have a lot of opinions as to the causes of teenage depressions and other mental disorders affecting the suburban world. I think most of it, not all of course, but the vast majority is due to boredom. At least that was my case (mostly). Anyway, I used to think it profound to write things like this, not so much now, but I still look back fondly at the two relationships, the two potentially tragic, horrific relationships, I was spared being a part of. It kind of reminds me of Garth Brooks' song where he thanks God for unanswered prayers, but in a more suburban and less country way. Anyway, at the time of course, I was full of anger and vitriol and indignation at the injustice of the world, existence, and the God I denied and disparaged, but looking back on it, I cannot imagine a more depressed or tragic existence than if those relationships had worked out the way I wanted at the time. One last note, pay special attention to my oh-so-creative indenting. I am oh-so-picky about making sure these are printed as I intended them to appear. Hopefully, next week, I can return to a more productive discourse on how bad things are with our government.

Divine Disappointment

The light hits me from the right,
    As if God were igniting a new sun.
The conversation hits me from the left
    like a mountain in the distance, crumbling.
But where is my mind?
    it is lost in the way she throws back her hair,
    it is lost in the way she rolls her eyes,
        like the changing tide on a desolate beach.
    it is lost in what some call love,
        some call infatuation,
        some call lust,
    but I...
call it a hopeless desire,
    that can never be fulfilled,
        like the obsessed scholar,
            reading...
                 everything.
    my wanton desire will
        follow me,
            to the grave.
and is it my fault?
    or the fault of some demon, tormenting
        me?
This I cannot know...
    and should not know,
        for then,
            my life would be devoid of the ultimate goal,
    and I
would cease to exist.

April 29, 1994



Ode To Shoney's

The coffee flavored small talk rumbles on
    as the clouds sprint overhead.
The bus boy has dropped another bucket
    and the working man leaves... to do
    just that.
In threesomes or ones we sit,
    the need to flaunt our loneliness prevails.
The waitress jokes with some customers
    as she prostitutes her friendliness, because...
    there is nothing else to do.
Muzak hovers lightly in the background
    as occasional laughs are heard,
    only from a distance.
The distance is greater than at first glance,
    we might be on opposite sides of the same ocean,
    or, on the same side of different oceans,
    it is hard to tell.
Cigarettes smolder in used ashtrays
    as the white table becomes a desert
    that engulfs my being.
The jungle that is the carpet hides me
    from those things that I fear,
    the things that haunt my mind.
Should I make my way from the barren desert
    and enter the dark jungle to relieve myself of
    the goods which I have consumed,
    or, should I wait until my nemesis,
        time,
    beckons me from my suburban hideaway?
Time will prevail as it always does,
    all else would cease to exist without this drunken
    step-father,
    and time, which is the fuel for all existence,
    will dictate my every action.

April 10, 1993

Monday, December 19, 2005

FutureMe

Do you have hopes or plans for the future that might not end up coming true if you don't get off your duff? Do you have a message you want to pass onto your older (more mature?) self? Consider sending a message to yourself through www.futureme.org.

Now, granted, there's no guarantee the message will actually GET to you in the future....so you might want to consider keeping that "1000 things to do before I die" list handy as well.