Weekend Wonk


Words, Words, Words

  Jerome Shea       November 25, 2011

Again I wake up in the small hours, but instead of waking up with a snippet from a Vachel Lindsay poem in my head, I wake up with a word. The word is “rollicking” and all of a sudden I dislike it intensely. “What a stupid word!” I hiss into the darkness: “What a stupid, fatuous word!” You don’t hear the word in conversation, thank goodness, unless someone is being intentionally fey, and I for one would put a quick stop to that conversation.

When Metaphors Go Bad

  Jerome Shea       November 25, 2011

Last week (Metaphors Be With You) I signed off with a question: “If metaphor is a strategy for thought, what are we to make of [mixed, butchered, metaphors]?” I’m still trying to answer my own question. What does “Spare the rod, spoil the broth” tell us about the person who offers us that piece of garbled wisdom? And that fellow who protested, “It’s not rocket surgery!”…what, as your mother used to wonder, was he thinking?

Vachel Lindsay, Prairie Troubador

  Jerome Shea       November 25, 2011

I have a old friend who lives in Liberal, Kansas, a brave little outpost at a crossroads just north of the Oklahoma panhandle. Being an Albuquerque sophisticate, I like to tease Bill for living out in the boondocks. And so it was that, lying awake in the small hours last week, I remembered some lines from a poem: Of the babies born at midnight In the sod huts of lost hope,

Tiger Mother

  Jerome Shea       November 25, 2011

By now almost everyone has heard of Amy Chua, the self-proclaimed “Tiger Mother.” She is the Chinese-American mother and Yale law professor who just published Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. When an excerpt from the book appeared last month in the Wall Street Journal, all hell broke loose. But in case you have been off-planet since the new year dawned, here are some highlights. Her daughters, Sophia and Louisa (Lulu), are not allowed sleepovers, playdates, TV, or computer games—the sorts of diversions that most parents take for granted.

This, That, and the Other Thing

  Jerome Shea       November 25, 2011

Ok, we’re done with the argumentums, and I thank you for indulging me. To make it up to you, none of that will be on the test, ok? This week a potpourri, a grab bag, some stuff that I have been filing away but none of enough moment for a full wonk. At least I don’t think so. Best put on your Kevlar vest, because we are talking bullet points.

Theft

  Jerome Shea       November 25, 2011

A few nights ago—early morning, actually—a friend of mine had a good-sized ceramic pot stolen from his front stoop, one of a matched pair. Neighbors coming home in the small hours surprised the thief before he could get the other one onto his truck. The slamming of the tailgate woke Charles up, but by the time he had got his bathrobe on and got out the front door, the guy was gone.

The Wages of Sin

  Jerome Shea       November 25, 2011

This was supposed to be a lark, an easy summer wonk. Perhaps an account of my week in Louisville reading the Advance Placement essays, and then of our road trip to SoCal to visit son Dan and some old Albuquerque friends who recently moved to San Diego. And then the fecal matter collided with the oscillating device. I refer to the astounding scandal here at UNM, the fascinating saga of the “Southwest Companions.

The Neanderthals Next Door

  Jerome Shea       November 25, 2011

An excellent article on Neanderthals in the current issue of The New Yorker (August 15 and 22) got me thinking about this creature from the dawn of our history. That’s easy to do. I don’t know anyone who can resist imagining these very early humans—for humans they now appear to have been—and speculating on what they were like, what became of them, and—on the fringes—whether they still survive somewhere. In one sense they do indeed survive, if we can believe the latest findings.

Tears, Idle Tears

  Jerome Shea       November 25, 2011

Let’s hear it for sadness. No need to whoop and holler, but let’s hear it anyway. Sadness is sadly underrated. Let me quickly say that I am certainly not talking about depression, and if you have ever been clinically depressed you know what I mean. Depression is a thirsty leech on the soul and we will speak no more about it. Sadness—the sadness that I am talking about—is a condition of living and can affect even the determined optimist.

Smorgasbord

  Jerome Shea       November 25, 2011

Time again to clean off the workbench. So, in no particular order… I hated to leave the topic of miniatures, and I got some good feedback, too. Joe calls my attention to nanotechnology, a big (pun intended) recent development. Scientists are getting so savvy at the molecular level that they have developed, for example, a one-molecule engine. (I think that’s what I had in my Geo Metro.) Now THAT’s a miniature!



© 2021. A Matt Cone project. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Made with 🌶️ in New Mexico.