Friday, November 19, 2010
Posted by Matt Haggard at 2:40 PM
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I feel like this again.
Posted by Matt Haggard at 12:02 PM
Monday, September 27, 2010
My niece came over to Grandma's yesterday with a Disney princess sand pail. I asked her the names of all the princesses on the pail, which she knew. She even knew who Sleeping Beauty was. I don't think I could pick Sleeping Beauty out in a lineup.
Posted by Matt Haggard at 1:21 PM
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Along with purchasing a lawn mower, I also bought a house. The house gets zero miles per gallon and doesn't cut grass nearly as well as the mower. Despite those defects, though, I think I'll keep it for a while.
A few things I like about my house:
1. There's a sink in the garage! I repeat: a sink in the garage!
Posted by Matt Haggard at 5:40 PM
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I like this -- you should watch it:
For those of you who didn't watch it, stop reading this post and watch it.
I've been thinking a little about gun control lately (largely because of Miri's post; it wasn't actually the point of her post, but I managed to completely derail it by my comment -- sorry, Miri). I don't think I actually care so much about gun control as I do about the legislation about gun control. I don't own any guns currently. I might later. Shotgun shooting is really, really fun. But if I never own a gun, I'll be okay. However, some people really want guns, and I'm fine with them owning and using them responsibly (<--- deliberately vague term).
These are guns painted like toys:
Hello, Kitty. May I borrow your knife?
Though I don't particularly care about guns, I do care about excessive regulation and legislation. Like Mr. Howard says, "Life is too complex for a software program. All these choices involve value judgments, and social norms, not objective facts." Laws that attempt to cover every eventuality never will... but in the process of trying, they will restrict freedom rather than secure it. Says Mr. Howard: “we've been trained to squint into this legal microscope, hoping that we can judge any dispute against the standard of a perfect society, where everyone will agree what's fair, and where accidents will be extinct, risk will be no more. Of course this is Utopia, it's a formula for paralysis, not freedom.”
I listened to this speech while I was driving to St. George over the weekend. As I was driving, I started to think about the laws for driving. Cars pass me. I pass cars. Cars speed past my car within a several feet -- but it doesn't worry me. And what prevents me from worrying? Paint. Yellow paint and white paint. Yes, sometimes cars cross the paint when they shouldn't. Accidents happen. (I'll use “accident” and “crash” interchangeably, though they aren't the same -- most things people call accidents are avoidable crashes; but that's a tangent) We could try to prevent all accidents by putting cars on rails and making them all go the same speed. That would be insanely expensive and impractical... and idiotic. And, even if cars lived on rails, we would still have malfunctions, and bad weather and accidents.
How beautiful is paint! It's flexible and cheap and works well. In the cases where a human needs to use their judgment and break outside of the boundaries to avoid an accident, he can.
Let people have agency. Let some use it poorly. Let most use it wisely.
And lest you think I'm advocating anarchy or getting rid of all law, I'm not. I am advocating simple paint solutions. Draw some general lines and let people fill in the spaces. It is not a government's job to eliminate all pain or possibilities for pain.
This one about octopus and dragonflies was interesting. So was this one about simplifying legal jargon; and it's short.
...now I'm hoping that I don't get in a car accident tomorrow... or accidentally get shot.
Posted by Matt Haggard at 9:28 PM
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I forgot to write about The Brothers Karamazov! That book is the second, long, boring, Russian novel I've read (Anna Karenina being the first). It took me about a year to get through. I recommend it if you're patient. By boring, I mean that the book is slow, and relaxed. There are times of intensity and suspense -- but it's largely a whale chewed bit by blubbery bit. For example, the opening paragraph informs the reader that the story is about the murder of a man. But that man isn't actually murdered until almost exactly halfway through the book.
I actually finished it before East of Eden, but never got around to reviewing it. Like East of Eden, here's a few favorite quotes:
Father Zossima, quoting a doctor he knew (p.49-50)
Father Zossima, to a lady (p.50)
Ivan speaking to Alyosha (p.218)
Father Zossima (p.296)
Prosecuting lawyer in final "sermon" (p.703)
And here are the words (there's a little overlap from Eden's list):
abashed, abject, abnegation, absolution, accede, acquisitive, adroitly, affable, affably, afface, anathema, antipathies, antipathy, apiary, apprehend, apropos, aquiline, arch, archimandrite, ardent, ardour, arrogate, ascetic, aspect, asperse, aspersed, austere, austerely, avowal, balsam, balustrade, barrister, benefactor, benumbed, bereaved, besmirched, brooked, burdocks, caddish, callous, calumniated, calumny, caprice, cassock, casuist, casuistry, censer, censorious, censure, charing, charlatanism, chattel, churlish, consiliating, convalescence, copse, coquettishly, coxcomb, crape, cupola, cursory, decoction, demur, demurely, derision, derisively, despatch, despotic, diffidence, diocesan, dirge, disavowal, dissipated, dissipation, dissolute, doggerel, doles, drivelling, dyspeptic, echeat, effrontery, effusively, emancipation, emasculate, epoulettes, equanimity, erudition, evinced, expansive, expiate, extant, extenuate, extortionate, extraneous, fain, fixity, foundered, freak, gesticulating, gibes, gibing, goading, gratuitous, hetaira, homeopathic, hurdle, ignominy, imperious, impertinence, importunate, importunity, impudent, impudently, impunity, incisive, incorrigible, indefatigably, indignation, indolence, ingenuousness, ingratiating, inoculated, inscrutable, insolent, insolently, insoluble, inveterate, irascible, jackdaw, kaftan, ken, knout, laceration, lackey, latent, lavished, lenten, licentious, listlessly, locker, lorgnette, loth, loutish, lumbago, lurid, mawkish, morass, mummery, novitiate, obdurate, obsequious, obtuse, opined, opulent, paltry, paragon, paroxysm, parricide, parsimony, particoloured, pedantic, pedantry, pernicious, peroration, phlegmatic, pining, piquant, piquante, poseur, prate, prating, precocity, prevaricate, privation, profligate, propitiate, prosaic, punctilio, pusillanimous, quadrille, qualm, rapacious, repine, reprobate, repudiate, requiem, restiveness, sallow, salutary, samovar, scrupled, scruples, seething, self- effacement, self-immolation, sententiously, solicitude, solidarity, sordid, sot, sottish, sphinx, spleen, staid, stint, stole, stolidly, straitened, subterfuge, suffused, supercilious, superciliously, surmise, surplice, swinishness, tallow, timorous, unexampled, unmannerly, veriest, verst, vociferated, vogue, voluptuary, vouchsafed, waggish
Some of these words I've included because they are used abnormally. For instance: freak and apprehend. From the book:
I like books that are smarter than I -- almost as much as I like "I" supplanting "me" in an effort to sound smarter :)
Sometime soon expect a post more about me and less about me reading.
Posted by Matt Haggard at 9:27 PM
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Blog Post Section 1
There's a small test I run against various things to probe their greatness. It's highly scientific. If, after experiencing or using or seeing a certain thing, I find myself spontaneously exclaiming, "that was amazing!" or, "I love that," then I know that thing is great. Once or twice I've shouted at myself, "Man! That was fun!" after an exceptionally fun date. Frequently at work, "I love git," escapes my lips unprovoked.
Monday night, East of Eden by Mr. Steinbeck, passed my test-o-greatness. What a fantastic story! I like John's writing style -- how he moves quickly, leaving some things un-described. And the characters in this story seem both realistic and metaphoric. How can I describe that? He has embodiment-of-evil Cathy that could actually be someone you know -- though I don't actually know anyone that evil. Make sense?
And I feel inspired reading the book. Timshel! I can make my life wonderful!
I didn't like Steinbeck's crudeness and vulgarity, however. In fact, due to unnecessary crudeness (I use this word as it's used to describe oil, not stupid bathroom humor), I loathe The Grapes of Wrath. This book had some "rawness" (that seems to be the current, politically correct way to describe something that's not politically correct) that was not needed -- but it didn't flavor every swig of the story as it did the Wrathful Wine.
So, setting that aside, I give East of Eden five stars and a hearty recommendation.
Blog Post Section 2
My last English teacher once remarked that some people spend their whole lives reading the scriptures like they read bumper stickers. I'm considering making a bumper sticker with something like that on it. Therefore, when I share these nice, bumper-sized snippets from the story, don't let that be your only encounter with this book -- these are, after all, only a few of the many that I recorded:
Narrator speaking of weather in Salinas Valley (p.6)
Samuel Hamilton remarking about the chickens being killed by Lee in celebration (p.258)
About Sheriff Quinn when he came to see Adam (p.559)
Abra speaking to Cal about Aron (p.576)
Blog Post Section 3
When I read good books, I often write down words I read that I (1) couldn't use in a sentence of my own making or (2) like. Here are those words from East of Eden: abetted, acumen, alluvial, astringent, bacchanalianism, baleful, battens, bellicosity, bindlestiff, bollixed, brogue, bumptiousness, busby, caisson, chiseler, cloy, coagulate, codicils, concupiscence, convalescence, coquetry, dawdling, demure, derisively, dissemble, dour, doxology, efface, entrained, eructation, ferment, foppish, freshet, garrulousness, incipient, incontrovertible, indefatigable, inimical, inscrutable, intransigent, inviolate, latigo, litany, lucent, obsequious, opulence, palaver, panocha, pantomime, paragon, paregoric, perfidy, pique, plait, poultice, precocious, preternaturally, ptomaine, puling, querulous, quirt, rakishly, ribald, stultifying, surrey, swagger, swale, tarpaulins, toilet water, torpor, tractable, trestle, truculence, truculently, valise, and vulpine.
Please consider including at least one of the above words in a comment you make about this post.
Posted by Matt Haggard at 9:25 AM
Sunday, February 7, 2010
The Internet doesn't visit the place I'm living right now, and for this cause I haven't posted to my blog. It's refreshingly nice and surprisingly tolerable to disconnect from the tubes while I'm at home. I can't email or blog or check the FacenBok or mindlessly surf. However, did you know you can download the entire Wikipedia? Well, you can, and I have. So I can browse the Wikipedia despite my webless abode.
Another great thing about my current home is its proximity to work (and Apollo Burger). Most days, I walk to work. I love walking to work. I absolutely love walking to work. And thankfully, I also like walking home from work. A few times, on my way home, as I've passed the Catholic ... I'm going to call it a church even though it's labeled "Catholic Center." So as I've passed the church, in the dimming light of the evening, the bells start ringing while people go inside to worship. It makes me smile.
Penultimately, I'm now the proud owner of a piano. I've been considering buying one for several months and have been saving up for it. Finally, yesterday, I got it. It's electric (thinking that I'll probably still be living in apartment-style dwellings for a least a little longer and should use headphones), but the action and weighting is nearly true to an acoustic. Also, the title of this post corresponds to this paragraph and should be attributed to Barb, who, if I remember right, coined the term for Mr. Hill's benefit.
Finally, since the Super Bowl's going on today (right now, eh?), I must offer an obligatory cheer to my team:
Posted by Matt Haggard at 3:49 PM