At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Friday, November 12, 2004

I've got three book reviews to write this month, so Biblioblog posts will probably be even more sporadic than usual for the next few weeks. A few tidbits in the meantime:

I applied for a job at my alma mater. Wish me luck, although I'm trying not to get my hopes up only to have them frustrated. The university is on a pretty campus in a medium-sized town within reasonable driving distance of two metropolitan areas.

Guitar lessons are coming along. My tutor is a fellow approximately my age who was a grad student in classical guitar at Texas Tech until a mysterious wrist ailment forced him to quit. He's not an expert in jazz but he knows more about it than I do, and also teaches me techniques which are applicable to guitar playing in general. I'm making simple solo arrangements of Thelonious Monk ballads with the help of a fake book. I thought I knew my chords but Monk's abstruse harmonies occasionally present an unfamiliar one (e.g. Bb7b9#11, which I fudge as [6x645x]). Good stuff. I'll probably buy a new guitar in Dallas over Thanksgiving.

Guardian: Website helps drinkers tot up their units.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Book Reviews

Walzer, Michael. Arguing About War. Yale.

Choice: “Compelling. Although the book is based on previously published articles, it nevertheless provides fresh and cogent moral analysis of the role of force in the postmodern era. This accessible and elegantly written study is essential reading.” First Things: “Walzer is a committed man of the left with a talent for challenging leftist illusions.” Library Journal: “Highly recommended.” Publishers Weekly: “Walzer’s consideration of pros and cons can be so theoretically oriented that it is difficult to tell where he stands precisely. Events are outpacing some of Walzer’s deliberations, but his case studies put the issues at stake in relief, regardless of whether one accepts his conclusions.” Foreign Affairs: “Of particular importance is Walzer’s identification of a new postbellum category that demands as much attention as the more familiar areas. Walzer writes with admirable clarity, elegance, and common sense.”

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Spanish study suggests that red wine consumption is associated with lowered lung cancer risk. Beer and spirits had no effect.

The Incredibles (2004)--Exciting, witty, and beautiful CGI film about a family of superheroes trying to live a normal life in a governmental relocation program, after litigation has forced all caped crusaders underground. The father's altruistic impulses are frustrated at work, where he is forced to deny benefits to insurance policy holders; and the rest of the family suffers in ways nicely appropriate to their superpowers (the lightning-fast son is disruptive, the daughter with the power of invisibility is a wallflower, and the wife, formerly known as Elastigirl, feels stretched trying to hold the family together). The subversively conservative moral of the tale is that society loses when it suppresses excellence through a misguided egalitarianism. In an Aristotelian spin on self-esteem doctrine, it is only when the Incredibles brave the envy of others and accept themselves as gifted that they find contentment--and, of course, Save The Day. Cool early 1960s decor! A-

Beer expert, during trip to Prague, says Pilsner Urquell has gone downhill. It's still a good beer, it's a very good beer, but it was a great beer.