Ready Player Three

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Baby and mom are doing well.

Miscellaneous & Sundry

  • Not dead, not depressed, just busy.
  • Betsy’s due date is September 30, so things could start moving any day now, any hour. We’ve got our hospital bags packed and ready, house clean, fingers twitching nervously. Our friends have taken to calling our Buckley-to-be “Roberto,” for no particular reason, while my mom calls him BSN, “Baby with the Secret Name.”
  • Work on Crane Girl is continuing apace, which is like regular continuing, but pacier. Author Friend Ben Trube has been offering much-needed encouragement on this front. I had been doing lots of research and note-taking and plotting (which I still am), but he’s pushed me to get back into, you know, actually writing. The new draft is now over 9,000 words.

over-9000

  • On the Bible-reading front, Betsy and I are into the Gospel of Matthew, which feels far more profound and compassionate and elegant than either John or Mark. I had somehow gotten it into my head that Matthew was one of the less compelling gospels, which is clearly not true. I also discovered something about the Psalms that I really couldn’t believe I had never learned before – that probably deserves its own blog post.
  • Lewis Carroll is mostly known as the author of the two Alice books. He is less known as the author of “The Hunting of the Snark,” which is also excellent. He is almost never known as the author of the two Sylvie and Bruno books, which is for the best. I’m about a dozen chapters into the first one, and it’s about 10% cool, 60% mediocre, and 30% awful. Have you ever said, “I’d like a version of Alice in Wonderland where Alice is replaced by an annoying pointless little boy who never does anything; and I’d like it to be a lot longer”? Me neither. But I’m reading the books because (1) Carroll fascinates me, and I’d like to know all about his work, even the less interesting parts, and (2) believe it or not, it’s research for Crane Girl.
  • Other things I’ve been reading about lately include alchemy, mysticism, St. John of the Cross, Sylvia Plath, Robin Hood, etymology, and Russian fairy tales. Oh, and I read Edward Fitzgerald’s flawed but amazing translation of Farid ud-Din Attar’s twelfth-century Persian poem Bird Parliament (or “Conference of the Birds”). It’s an allegory for mysticism in the Islamic tradition (i.e., Sufism), and it’s amazingly open-minded for the time, going so far as to say that an idol-worshipper could have a truer faith in Allah than a Muslim, if that was the only way he knew.
  • Trump is currently leading in Ohio, which is the kind of exciting news that makes me want to celebrate by shattering my sternum with a paperweight. I did finally receive the anti-Trump yard signs that I custom-designed and ordered, and currently there’s one in my front yard and (as of yesterday) one in my neighbor’s yard. This is in a neighborhood that’s otherwise exclusively Trump signs (not exaggerating). Betsy and I are considering a large donation somewhere to make a bigger impact, but we haven’t yet decided who it would go to, since we’re not extremely excited about donating to Hillary at the moment.
  • Still editing. I also had a job recently summarizing – writing a summary of a nearly 200-page document. First time I’ve done anything like that, at least professionally. Pretty interesting and a nice change of pace.
  • I just learned today – today – what “op-ed” means. I always thought it meant “opinion editorial,” that is, pretty much any editorial. But it actually means “opposite editorial,” that is, an editorial on the page opposite the paper’s staff editorial page, representing the opinion of an individual author, not necessarily aligned with the paper’s own editorial positions. Gaps in knowledge are a weird thing – it’s odd to think that I’m 31, and here’s a term I’ve heard most of my life, and I never actually knew what it meant. Makes you wonder what other gaps you still have.
  • la la la la la
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Well, Google, aren’t you clever

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Friday Links

re-aleppo

You know, I actually like Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. I would never want him as president, but I wouldn’t mind having a beer with the guy. He seems smart, compassionate, and honest. Most of all, he asks questions that are good for the national dialogue.

“What is Aleppo?” was not one of those questions.

Maybe he really didn’t recognize the name Aleppo, which is a major city in Syria and (for better or worse) a focal point of U.S. foreign policy decision-making. Or maybe he just misunderstood the question and stumbled on national TV, as anybody might. Either way, it was a Bad Day.

Or, as the Washington Post put it:

It would be easy to describe Gary Johnson’s appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday as having doomed his third-party candidacy for president were it not for the fact that his candidacy was already doomed. The English language lacks a good way to describe something that was already in very bad shape and then, somehow, becomes far worse rather dramatically. Like if the Titanic had begun sinking but then blew up.

The English language is a vast and variegated creature, and I’d like to think that somewhere in its myriad chambers is a phrase (or, better still, a word) that hits just that note. But if not, the Titanic image should do nicely.

Of course, as WaPo elsewhere explains, it’s still better to have one major blunder, like Johnson did, than to stitch an entire campaign out of nothing else, like (ahem) a certain other candidate I could name.

Stay thoughtful, my friends.

Thought for the Day

Having a blog means you can share your thoughts with all your friends.

It’s like Facebook, except you don’t have to read their stupid crap.

Try a blog today!

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Friday Lynx

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John and Jonathan

Here’s something I learned today. Maybe everyone else knew this already, but it was a shocker for me.

All my life, I had assumed that John was a shortening of Jonathan. Nope! They’re completely separate names. Jonathan is a son of King Saul in the Old Testament, whereas John is, of course, the name of at least two prominent figures in the New Testament, and is not really a shortening of any modern name.

I won’t say the names are unrelated. They’re both ultimately Hebrew, and both involve Yahweh in their meanings (John = Yochanan = “Yahweh is gracious,” Jonathan = Yonatan = “Yahweh has given”). So the roots are rather similar. But John is not a short form of Jonathan, at least not etymologically speaking.

This news was a real revelation for me. Get it? Because…because the Book of Revelation…? Was written by…no? Okay, I’m leaving.

Have a good weekend.