Like a Knight in Shining Armor

When my sister got married, she hired a video artist to record the festivities, edit the footage, then put it to music my sister and her husband provided. The video was good stuff and when my sister got her CDs back, she got a little extra. She got a CD back that wasn't hers. How did she know it wasn't hers? Well, it was Peter Cetera's Solitude/Solitaire album, that's how she knew. Somehow, the album ended up with me. Probably because I hardly had any CDs and accepting one that no one particularly wanted increased my CD ownership by 20%. I kept it through college and pulled it out every once and a while, to show friends and family the intensity of the cover or to listen to the song from Karate Kid (Glory of Love) in order to bring back the memory of Daniel-son and his girlfriend from the rich neighborhood. Now out of college, I've pulled it out again, and let's just say, I've listened to it more than once, enough to hear his brother's faint yet rockin' backup vocals.



Man, this is already a nerdy post. But still, I'll continue. I remember once, I heard one of my friends from college mentioning that he had a computer programming assignment to do, that it was taking him days to finish it, and that in the end, try as he might, he would probably get a C, at best. I also remember going through the QA library book shelves, showing computer science students where to find their C++ or Java or SQL books. They always looked so mundane. Now, at work, I'm in a SAS class, learning some easier programming (so I can review files that make up about 15% of my work). Man, it is brutal! You need to add a '.', don't forget to close all of your parenthesis, make sure you stop the loop, end the pointer, merge correctly, enter the commands in the right order, think about what's going on in the PDV. I must say, I am in the dark (even though my teacher is quite good and actually makes programming seem fun - did I really just type that?!?). Anyhow, I thought I had a grasp of the basics of SAS and maybe I can write some small programs, but I have determined that it was definitely the right decision to never ever consider computer programming as a major, a hobby, an interest, but only as a subject for a short blog post.



The other day I heard about aphorisms on npr. James Geary, the author of Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists, describes an aphorism as following five laws, "It must be brief. It must be definitive. It must be personal — that's the difference between an aphorism and a proverb. It must be philosophical — that's the difference between an aphorism and a platitude, which is not philosophical. And the fifth law is it must have a twist. And that can be either a linguistic twist or a psychological twist or even a twist in logic that somehow flips the reader into a totally unexpected place." Either I just wasn't paying attention in English class, I haven't been in literary circles much, or my memory just didn't find it important, but I have never heard of this term (or I don't remember it). After hearing about aphorisms, I've become a fan. All of us have heard them, in fact, you're very familiar with many (some I know the author, others I don't): Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country - JFK. Judge not that ye be not judged - Matt 7:1. Better late than never. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. In fact, we've probably used a few this week: Great minds think alike. If you snooze, you lose. Never judge a book by its cover. Some not so familiar ones are great too: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent - Eleanor Roosevelt. The root of materialism is poverty; the well-fed remain idealists - Karol Bunsch. Don't always follow the crowd, because nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded - Yogi Berra. When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace - Jimi Hendrix. Can you think of any?


The Karamazov Brothers

Last night I felt like I had a book report due. You see, I checked out The Brothers Karamazov during the end of July. Not once, but three times I received the pleasant email from the library: "The following books are due on mm/dd/yyyy. Please return the items listed below to avoid incurring a late fee." Three times I quickly entered my several digit library number and clicked on "Renew Items." Ahh yes, three more weeks (times three) to finish! Well, my time was up. Due on 10/01/07, and still not completed with 100+ pages to go. I must interrupt at this point and recognize that some of you may be wondering why I just didn't take upon myself the 10 cents-per-day late fee. The truth is, I've never turned in a library book late and why destroy the record now? Anyhow, 100+ pages left, so I read through lunch, worked, ate some dinner, talked, and then read some more. Reading, reading, at some times skimming, all the time feeling like my AP English teacher was asking me, wiggling her fingers, what are the themes, what are the motifs, what is Dostoevsky trying to say about mankind, what about the conflicts of man vs. man, man vs. society, man vs. self? The Epilogue is here, the final pages! I finished 15 minutes before the assignment was due. I rushed to the library and deposited my books into the receptacle leading to the entrails of the library. And now for the thought provoking essays to be completed in my brain. I've been thinking a lot about this book. In some ways I think I understand what Dostoevsky was trying to say, in others ways I'm still trying to figure it out. If any of you have read this book, do you want to form a study group via comments? I'd like to hear your thoughts.
Dostoevsky's notes for Chapter 5 of The Brothers Karamazov, wikipedia.org