March 9th, 2004

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I see that the Texas Steel Guitar Association has its 20th Annual Jamboree over at the DFW Airport this weekend. I will lay aside any goal of recounting my personal fantasy of playing Hawaiian ballads on a pedal steel guitar, because in my experience fantasies make better having than retelling.
The National Accordion Convention returns to Plano this year on this very weekend as well. I've missed its local appearance two years running, but I wonder if this is my accordion year. I have never been to an accordion convention, but something about it appeals.

My January chess tournament, though relatively unsuccessful in that it drew four entrants when it "needed" 14 to thrive,
got me day-dreaming about this notion of "running a convention". Wouldn't it be fun to have the Texas Kazoo Festival, or the Ambient Music Enclave? Leaving aside music, I'd love to run some kind of function--a craft show, say, or a poetry festival. I'll place that in the hat for a future lark. Collin County needs a little "oomph",and maybe I can do my little part. Of course, I have a chess tournament this weekend, and I'll be grateful if it draws 4 folks again. I'll learn and reconfigure and retool based on this chess touranment experience.

Today is primary day in Texas. My local ballot has almost no candidates running, because I am a Democrat in a heavily Republican county. I am tempted to run for something someday.
I'll bet you get good barbecue and pie in those rural campaign stops. Seriously, it would be interesting to run for something. I remember when my grandfather ran for city council. He finished something like sixth out of nine. I am a big believer in the also-ran with integrity.

I went swimming in the lazy river at the natatorium last night. This simple shallow winding flowing water pool has roughly doubled my amount of weekly exercise. All I need to get exercise done is to feel like a kid at heart, I suppose.
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This evening, as work wound down, I found myself reading web page after web page about this week's au courant Los Angeles First Amendment in the media issue. I found one weblog I thought quite interesting, and set out to write a long comment. The particular weblog engine limited comments to 1,000 characters, so I had to edit the comment down to just enough to lose the kernel of all my meaning. Indeed, the "part that fit" seems more silly and a fair bit more petty than incisive, whereas I really liked my original. But the original comment is lost in the ether now, so it's all beside the point. It's a subtle joy of weblogs that the most fervent posts and comments visit the afterlife without having been properly born.

I love reading these "paradigm" dilemmas--free speech v. community standards,
mixed motives v. pure motives, and all that. But I find so often that I agree with people on different grounds than their stated grounds, and disagree with people for different reasons than the way their opponents frame the opposition to the issue. I infer from this not that I am particularly odd or quirky (though I suppose, I admit, in true weblog fashion, that I am), but that sometimes there are so many point of views one can only be reduced to general statements like "observe the worth and dignity of each person" and "resist injustice".

I must admit, too, that I get bored with analytically unsatisfactory arguments.
Call me an aesthetic purist if you will, but I like for the arguments to justify the position more than for them to score points off someone. I dislike the school of thought that a pithy line is worth any strain of logic or ad hominem attack. I try to praise even adversaries when praise is due. I try to evolve my position when I believe that someone saying something different than me has a point.

Of course, I am suddenly reminded of the evening in which I argued my theory of bad literature--that there is an importance in self-expression unburdened by the "critical eye", with one of my wife's writer friends from college. With a delight that I can only describe as lawyerly, I changed the field of conflict so often that my antagonist did not realize I was having fun with her rather than debating with my heart. It was a wicked thing to do, I suppose, so I should not be quite so self-congratulatory.

I'm sitting here,though, thinking of an old grievance related, ironically, to the issue that intrigued me. I am pretty thick-skinned in many ways, but a few things
pierce through the the rind. It's all complex--people hurt me when they probably least mean to do so, and people sometimes fails to offend me even when I can tell they're trying. C.S. Lewis said something fun about that, but I can't remember the quote and am too tired to google it up.

As to the main issue, though, I do like when life creates a "picture perfect issue", an issue not weighted down with irrelevant details or needless cross-purposes. Then one can define a rule, and adopt a credo, and all that.

But perhaps life has too many creeds, and not enough simple kindness.