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Me and Sylvia, walkin' down the line (May 2005)


Jeremy's journal

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.

— Sir Francis Bacon

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Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

I'm reading Crossing the Rubicon by Michael Ruppert, at Nathaniel's behest -- this is the first I am finally getting around to reading one of the huge spate of books produced by the political events of the past three years.

I have a problem with Ruppert's assertion that the human population explosion was caused by the availability of fossil fuel energy. (At least he seems to be making this assertion.) If you look at the graph that he claims shows this, the beginning of the explosion clearly dates back to the time of the industrial revolution. I believe that the availability of fossil fuels postponed the day of reckoning -- they allowed humanity to feed and (mostly) shelter its burgeoning ranks a little longer than Malthus thought we would be able to. With peak oil having passed that reckoning is now looming ever nearer.

posted afternoon of November 16th, 2004: Respond
➳ More posts about Crossing the Rubicon

🦋 Oh no! It's happened!

Well I seem to have joined a group blog, at least to the extent that my name is listed there and I have put a post up. Living the Blues is getting off the ground pretty slowly; my friend Mike ("Cavour") started it up as a response to the election and posted these inspiring November 3rd Theses but not too much else has happened there yet.

Oh and speaking of friends starting blogs: Be sure to check out Ted Says.

posted afternoon of November 16th, 2004: Respond

Friday, November 5th, 2004

🦋 A pleasant Saturday plan

Got some nice plans for tomorrow -- taking Sylvia in to the city to go to the WFMU Record Fair, whence Hova and Belinda will be broadcasting the last episode of Greasy Kid Stuff before they move to the west coast. (They will resume broadcasting after the move.) And hopefully find some cheap, sweet blues CD's. Then we'll head out to Brooklyn and go to the zoo, and have a snack with Ed, and later on meet up with Jim and Limster for Armenian dinner in Queens.

posted evening of November 5th, 2004: Respond
➳ More posts about Sylvia

Wednesday, November third, 2004

🦋 Raising Democrats

Hi Everyone -- I am dismayed over the results of this year's election and am trying to deal with it personally and socially. So here is what I am thinking: When I was growing up, I remember being encouraged by my parents to take an interest in politics. I was taught to be enthusiastic about democracy (though with a mix, yes, of Menckeny ironic detachment) and about participation.

Looking at yesterday's results, I cannot think of what I will say to Sylvia when she gets old enough to think critically about the government -- and it is not far off, I would think a year or two at most -- I really don't feel like explaining the concept of a "right-wing theocracy" to her straight off the bat...

I am hoping I will hear from some other people who feel the same way and would like to enter into some kind of collaborative effort towards making a space for trying to raise free-thinking, democratic offspring. So if you are thinking along the same lines as I am, please drop me a line and we can work on this together.

posted evening of November third, 2004: Respond

Mrs. Shashank sends a nice picture of Sylvia with Supriya and Regina, at the Children's Academy Hallowe'en parade.

posted evening of November third, 2004: Respond

Monday, November first, 2004

🦋 A thought

I have often heard the slogan, "We get the government we deserve." -- I have heard this slogan, and I believe it is frequently intended, as a snide condemnation of the voting public. But suddenly I find myself taking it to heart, and taking it very personally. I find myself absolutely petrified that Bush may win, and that it will reflect negatively on me personally. What could I have done to deserve such a government?

Update: Oh shit. The election results look really bad. Still no way of telling what the outcome of the presidential race will be (as of 11:23 pm election day) but Kerry has failed to secure the decisive victory we needed. And the Republican house and senate majorities are set to increase. Just this afternoon I was feeling on top of the world and now I am falling. Time to go read Slacktivist.

posted morning of November first, 2004: Respond
➳ More posts about Politics

Friday, October 29th, 2004

🦋 How I am spending pre-election weekend

I haven't written an endorsement (or much of anything lately), since I don't think (m)any people read my site who are not well acquainted with my politics. But here is something close to an endorsement that I wrote in the comments over at Lawyers, Guns and Money. And by the way: here is an endorsement I endorse, by the RudePundit, to which I was alerted by Michael Bérubé.

One and a half more hours of this nail-chewing today -- then I am getting on a bus up to Woodstock, where I will meet Ellen, Sylvia, and Gary, Suzie and Milo, to spend the night at their place and try to relax and forget my worries. Come back home tomorrow recharged and do a lot of phone calling for MoveOn tomorrow and Sunday. (If you're interested in doing some of that yourself, go here and create an account for yourself). More nail-chewing on Monday; then Tuesday I am working for the Kerry campaign, calling people, canvassing, and in the evening hosting a Calls for Kerry phone-banking party. (To find a party near you, enter your ZIP code here.) Jeez I hope this does some good...

If you have any money to give please donate to Election Protection, which is organizing lawyers to watch polls in contested states and discourage those who would harass voters. It is a vital struggle.

posted afternoon of October 29th, 2004: Respond

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

🦋 Flowin' by

I started writing a song tonight (well technically last night I guess, the chord progression occurred to me last night and Ellen had an idea for some words tonight, which I fleshed out to a verse):

A           E7    F           A
What do you know, what do you care
A E7 F A
What do you know, what do you care
D D7 E F
Last time I called you you were talkin bout your father
E F D D7
And you wouldn't answer straight when I asked about the water
Flowin' by.

Needs more words and perhaps more sensible words but the rhythm of it is very nice.

Update: 2nd Verse

What do you know, what do you care
What do you know, what do you care
Last time I saw you you were thinkin bout tomorrow
And you wouldn't even listen when I asked about the sorrow
In your eye.

Update: Here is a bridge, and something like a 3rd Verse

D D7 C C9 F E A

What do you know, what do you care
What do you know, what do you care
I'm always askin you how come you can't forgive her
But you won't tell me nothin, always starin at the river
Flowin by.

posted evening of October 27th, 2004: Respond
➳ More posts about Guitar

Monday, October 18th, 2004

🦋 More Jansson

For those of you not yet tired of the Moomin obsession: Here is some more.

There are two more moomin books available in English translation; one is The Book About Moomin, Mymble, and Little My, which as near as I can tell is in verse; the other is Who Will Comfort Toffle?, a short book which LiteraryMoose describes as "One of the best love stories I have ever read". Both are in print in the UK. And one more moomin story, previously untranslated, is coming soon! It is the first one Jansson wrote: The Little Trolls and the Great Flood. You can read the translation online here.

Additionally, Jansson wrote a number of non-moomin books. I am reading The Summer Book now; I think it is the only one that has been translated. A nice book -- I'll write more about it later.

posted afternoon of October 18th, 2004: Respond
➳ More posts about The Summer Book

Friday, October 15th, 2004

🦋 Thoughts about Moomins

So as of today I have read all the Moominfamily books except maybe three of them which are out of print for a long time and hard to locate. I love them. Picking up Finn Family Moomintroll back in July was one of the best things I've done in a long time. These are the books in (as near as I can determine) order by original publication date:

  • Comet in Moominland (1946)
  • Finn Family Moomintroll (1948)
  • Moominsummer Madness (1954)
  • Moominland Midwinter (1957)
  • Tales from Moominvalley (1963)
  • Moominpappa at Sea (1963)
  • Moominpappa's Memoirs (1968)
  • Moominvalley in November (1971?)

The two starting points I would recommend to people are Finn Family Moomintroll, and Moominvalley in November -- I think either one will suck you right in and that it will be impossible not to want to read the entire series. Finn Family Moomintroll is really good for reading aloud to a very young child, the others not so much. The only two that do not stand up so well are Comet in Moominland and Moominpappa's Memoirs -- you will want to read them just to fill in some details of the Moomin world, but they will not demand to be reread.

The first five books and Moominpappa's Memoirs are quite suitable for any child old enough to read them; the other three demand a little more sophistication and I would not give them to a child younger than about 9, at least not unless I were reading the book with the child and helping her understand some of the nuance. I have described the style of the later books as "a cross between A. A. Milne and Beckett."

posted evening of October 15th, 2004: Respond
➳ More posts about Moomins

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