Tuesday, June 20, 2006


[Insert appropriate title here]


When I'm at work, there is usually some concrete problem that needs to be solved; something is broken. I find out what it's going to take to fix it and then mobilize the resources and personnel necessary to effect the repair.

In the case of a flat tire or leaking air valve, the cause of the problem is usually obvious and the solution relatively easy.

In the event of a breakdown in one of the control systems of the vehicle, the problem can also be obvious, but the cause is much less so and the solution much more difficult to effect. In fact, without the proper diagnostic tools, trained personnel, and the specialized equipment necessary to make the repair the solution may be nearly impossible.

The same can be said for the breakdown of any system, even human ones. The problem may be obvious, but the the cause and the solution may be much less so.

In a vehicle system, however, I don't have to have contend with anything other than the system itself. I don't have to worry about whether or not the truck believes it is broken, or whether in fact the truck wishes to be repaired. I don't even have to worry about the truck thinking that my attempt to repair it according to an objective standard (specifications, parameters, etc) is a sign of my own dysfunction.

The result of my effort is a truck that performs at least as well as it was designed to perform.

Truck repair is really pretty easy. Would that human systems were...

Acton University

I haven't really taken the time yet to put my experiences at the University into perspective yet, although I had a really great time and learned a lot, and not just about liberty and good government and economics. I learned a little bit more about me.

Sometimes I feel like I don't belong at such gatherings. I mean, I have no credentials and certainly no accomplishments that would lead me or anyone to believe I belonged in such company as former prime ministers and professors of theology and economics. And yet...

I don't know. Usually I feel depressed after something like this when I have to return to Mundania, but not this time. I'm just a glorified mechanic and part-time Sunday School teacher. I didn't feel overwhelmed in any of the lectures and I didn't hear any sniggering when I ventured an opinion or asked a question. In fact, I never felt less than a valued participant, and I liked that feeling.

I'm already looking forward to next year.

More later.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Yet another update! Oh happy day!

Preparing for my trip to Acton University (Grand Rapids) on Monday by reading On the Hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum (Condition of Labor) written by John Paul II (1991)

That and other essays with really fun titles like:

I, Pencil (Read)

Truth as the Ground of Freedom (Dulles)

Subsidiarity, Society, and Entitlements: Understanding and Aplication (Sirico)

and the ever popular The Law (Bastiat)

Don't get me wrong. I love this stuff. I spend amazing amounts of time stuffing this kind of crap into my noggin.

In fact, the other day I swear I strained a synapse or something. I babbled or typed stream-of-consciousness style for about a week. I'm afraid someday my wife is going to find me sitting in a pile of my own excrement and babbling incoherently about Quality.*

Or not. I'm probably not smart enough to be truly nuts.

Watched Collateral: or The Philosophy of Sociopathy, by Vincent last night.

Dang. There I go again.

Anyway -

Four twelve hour days sitting through seminars on economics and liberty, Catholic style.

(Yes, I'd like a heapin' helpin' of Aquinas, and a side of Jon Paul II with just a dash of Cicero, please! Could I have wine with that?) Oh, please, these guys are Catholics. Surely there'll be alcoholic beverages, at least with dinner!

Sounds like I'm not looking forward to this doesn't it?

Well, guess what. I am.

Next weekend, after the conference and my sister-in-law's wedding, I spend on the beach, probably in South Haven.

*If you get the reference, you're one of my kind and we'd get along just fine. If you're female, I just might propose. I'm thinking of taking up polygamy. Now all I have to do is convince my wife. And the Pope.

I'm fat, furry and fifty-ish. I like kids and don't wish to be bothered with any more pets than I already have. I have a cat. His name is "cat." He is semi-feral, although I've had him neutered and he's had his shots. No litter box; he is housebroken and even grumpier than I am.

I tend to be grumpy, although I'm not abusive.

Prospective second wives should keep the above in mind.

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