Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Archive for August 2006

Where has He Gone?

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Perhaps you’re wondering one or both of the following two things:

1) I wonder why Further Musings hasn’t posted recently.

Well, last weekend was the move to the new house. We had loads of help, both in preparing the house (packing, patching, priming, painting and cleaning) and in moving from our old apartment to here. Our strategy has been to work as hard as we can to get in a livable space. Thankfully we’re in, out of boxes, have slept a lot and are now slowly making the house more organized. We’ll post some pictures when our pictures, prints and mirrors are hung.

2) I wonder if he will be posting again soon.

Probably not for the next several weeks. Posting will be sparse at best. On September 11 and 12th I have a comprehensive exam that is currently sucking all my energies into studying for it. Throw in the start of the semester and a few other pressing work matters and busyness seems to be the order of the day.


Written by furthermusings

August 20, 2006 at 7:09 pm

Posted in General

As Found in My Thesis

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So maybe writing till 1am the other night wasn’t the greatest idea:

Instead these terms are meant to be descriptive of what they are said to be. Later the specifics will be discussed but sufficed to say here that this definition is not one.”

I think there is a point of diminishing returns that I must have passed well before this was written.

Written by furthermusings

August 7, 2006 at 6:19 pm

Posted in Political Science

Fiasco?

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Brad DeLong linked yesterday to a radio interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tom Ricks, the Pentagon correspondent for the Washington Post, about his new book Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq

I’ve been listening to it this afternoon and it grieves me deeply to do so. I’d recommend a listen, even though it’s been hard and uncomfortable for me to listen to.

I like the way Ricks mixes his clear respect and enjoyment of specific military commanders and policies with his criticism of others whose actions make one wonder what was being thought of at the time.

One of the many interesting perspectives was his criticism of the Congress as “the dog that didn’t bark.” I was impressed by his historical analogies to the Congress’s behavior in the Civil War and World War Two. He rattled off statistics about the activeness of the Congress in questioning the actions of the executive branch and the military.

I wonder also about the role of the media in today’s society which seems so polarized. The sober consequences of how we relate to the media, how we get the information we process and our lack of debate (at least in my circles) about a topic so vast, they all make me stop to think. I wonder a lot about the systems and individuals that participated in the war and the occupation. No good answers just lots of thoughts.

Written by furthermusings

August 4, 2006 at 9:15 pm

Posted in Politics

Photos from Caddo Lake

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(Note: Picture clips link to full pictures.)

This weekend Charity and I have been in Shreveport visiting my mother’s side of the family. On Sunday night my aunt and uncle treated us to a tour of Lake Caddo. It was amazing. The tour departed from one edge of the swamp, gliding us out to the main channels through the cypress groves draped in Spanish moss and through vast fields of water lilies in a quiet, electric powered paddle boat.

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Our tour guide pointed out wild life and plants as we went and gave us a history of the lake and its people. We saw huge wood storks with giant black beaks, blackened wings, and stark white bodies. We saw pure white egrets; fuzzy, shy beavers; great blue herons staring intently at dinner and then flying low and away from us, touching their wingtips to the water at the end of their huge wingspans as they flew; striking fish; a shy nutria, and a doe and faun just visible in the darkening woods. It was great.

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Written by furthermusings

August 3, 2006 at 12:23 pm

Posted in Pictures

Visiting the Island

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egret-in-tree-small.JPGLast weekend we went to a wedding in Southport, NC just south of Wilmington. When we told a friend we were headed down he suggested we stay at his beach house on a private island. We accepted.

evidence-of-cribbage-small.JPG It was a fun and interesting experience. The fun part was being on the beach, flying kites, playing cribbage, driving a golf cart and enjoying the peace and the views. The interesting part was feeling so very far out of our socio-economic realm.

To get to the island you have to take a passenger ferry. When we arrived late Thursday night I could tell by the corked high-heels, make-up and lacrosse sticks accompanying various teenage girls that this wasn’t our normal scene. This was reinforced when we arrived on the island as we were whisked away to our house by polite young men towing us behind their small, electric truck in an open tram.

golf-cart-small.JPGOf course we had our own golf cart to whisk us to the beach, which we quickly made use of. We dodged cartfuls of drinking, polo clad teenagers who hooted at us as we made our way to the moonlit beach. It might have been a romantic walk except that I was promptly pinched by a blue crab. My hooting, sprinting and swearing of revenge upon all crab-kind reduced Charity to compassionate laughter and me to walking gingerly for the remainder of the stroll.

a-look-small.JPG The rest of the weekend we enjoyed the beach, the wedding, each other and some tasty seafood (crab legs included). I think what has been incongruous to me is that we were in a house that we would never be able to afford unless we changed the focus of our energies and thoughts. I enjoyed enjoying it. Thinking about the incongruous feelings keeps me wondering about money and if it’s ok to want large amounts and if to give what it takes to pursue large amounts.

I’ve been wondering a lot lately about finances and wealth, how to make money and what to want. There seems to be a mindset of doing one’s job and budgeting from there and that there is a mindset of seeking out money and financial buying power. Lately I’ve been thinking more and more in the second of the two mindsets and I’m not sure what I think about myself and the transition. I wonder about what it says about me and if it’s changing me.

When I transitioned from a “spend as little as possible” budget to a more thoughtful and forward thinking budget I was uncomfortable as well. I used to think that talking about money was boring, droll and was a lack of thinking about what one should: art, God, relationships. Now as Charity and I discuss how much to put towards loans, savings or eating out I’ve accepted it as a normal part of life. I’m beginning to understand that how one spends is a fundamental outworking of what one values. Talking about how we spend is talking about what we value.

The pursuing money mindset brings a different swirl of questions: should one try to increase one’s income? How can you do it? What is being sacrificed to pursue it? What is being gained?

Written by furthermusings

August 1, 2006 at 3:21 am

Posted in Pictures, Reflections