Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Syllabi for Fall 2010 posted

Syllabi posted for fall courses: Introduction to Ethics, Philosophies of Nonviolence, The Ethics of Love.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The value of work

I have just finished reading Matthew Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft. A really interesting book. In a nutshell it is about the nature of work and why, at times, work is very fulfilling and why, at times, it is burdensome. Crawford is a motorcycle mechanic, who took a PhD in political philosophy at Chicago, accepted a job in a DC think tank and gave it up after five months. He became a mechanic again and opened his own shop in Virginia.

The book is engaging, humorous, philosophically astute, and very challenging. Crawford critiques education, consumerism, and individualism. He sprinkles his writing with insights from Iris Murdoch, Marx and Aristotle. His challenge is to rethink work, meaning and human excellence. His conclusion is that we have got it very wrong! He wants a return to meaningful humanity working with hands, learning a practice that involves an excellence internal to the practice—a return to agency and meaningful communities based around trades and skills. There is much sense in this book.

My main gripe with the book is the very masculine nature of most of his examples. It would have been interesting to think through how meaningful work and craft would look for women.

Crawford defies many of the hobbyhorses of political correctness (to the right and left). That itself makes you think. Crawford is difficult to "put in a box"—in many respects a breath of fresh air.

Read it and think!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bug bites, what to do? A seriously good recipe

I do love the warm weather, but the bugs can be a bit fierce this time of the year. We have enjoyed some lovely summer vacations in Spain (Costa Blanca). Great summer weather, no bugs. Upstate NY? Great weather, oodles of bugs!

This year we discovered a great formula to put on the bug bites. It really works.
Base oil: 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
10 drops Lavender essential oil
10 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
10 drops Rosemary essential oil

The oils we have been using are Aura Cacia. They seem to be very good quality and not too pricey.

Get a bite? Dab on a little of the recipe. Works a treat. No red swelling. No itching. Disappears overnight.

Enjoy the summer


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A good day. Very grateful!

Some days you just feel very grateful. Today is such a day. Summer teaching over. Grading done and entered. Good taiji early this morning. Nice bit of strenuous yard work. Writing about love's virtues of kindness and gentleness. Bike ride with Jane to our favorite coffee shop. Gorgeous weather. Now sitting on our deck enjoying a glass of Argentinian Malbec. Very grateful indeed!

Cycling back from the coffee shop (very gently I have to say) I was thinking about how privileged I am. Of course, sometimes I feel guilty about it, when many have so little. (However, I am finding less room for guilt, as it is not a helpful emotion.) But today, I just feel happy.

Our bikes have been fun. We bought them a few years ago for a song. We had been looking at Dahon folding bikes. Very nice and not cheap. We even took a trip to Geneva to see a couple in a bike shop and take a test ride. (That's Geneva NY, by the way, not the European version!) Great bikes. Just couldn't justify the expense, for the little cycling we do (about $500 each bike). Then a few weeks later we saw an ad in the Ithaca Journal. Two ancient folding Dahon bikes. Fifty dollars for the pair. It turns out that this elderly couple kept them in their plane and just used the bikes occasionally. They looked brand new. Very ancient. No gears. No brakes. You back pedal to stop. Perfect! So we bought them and have really enjoyed them.

Top pic is the view from the deck right now. Bottom pic is me on the ancient Dahon.

So now, a little more writing then making dinner (spaghetti bolognese with Bocca bits). Perhaps, a tad more vino. Very grateful indeed!



Saturday, June 12, 2010

England v USA

So I am getting ready for the big match!

Last time the USA made a surprising win. 1-0 in the 1950 world cup. Stanley Matthews (think 1950s Wayne Rooney only at the time better) was left on the bench. There were no-subs then and so he watched in agony from the dugout. England didn't make it any further.

Most of my English friends are predicting an England win ... something like 3-0 or 3-1. The game should be like a combined Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal team against a bottom four team. Should be easy. Then Utd were beat by Burnley at the beginning of last season. Giants do fall. We'll see. I am always worried when England think they will walk it.

Anyway, bring it on! Nineteen-sixty-six again please.


A third blog ... hmmm

So this is my third blog. Why?

The Abbot's Blog is my musings on spirituality. Way of Peace is my musings on taiji. I need another blog for general stuff. So here it is. Not sure what I will post on this blog, but my intention is to have information that may be helpful for friends, students ... that kind of thing.