Sunday, February 27, 2011

Firing up the blog again

It has become apparent to me that I can't maintain a consistent flow of writing blog entries without the discipline of meeting a deadline.

Part of my problem is having to deal with the stress of perpetually having to foil my employer's stratagems aimed at forcing me into retirement. I don't have Michel de Montaigne's freedom from care, as described in the inscription above the bookshelves in his working chamber:

'In the year of Christ 1571, at the age of thirty-eight, on the last day of February, his birthday, Michael de Montaigne, long weary of the servitude of the court and of public employments, while still entire, retired to the bosom of the learned virgins, where in calm and freedom from all cares he will spend what little remains of his life, now more than half run out. If the fates permit, he will complete this abode, this sweet ancestral retreat; and he has consecrated it to his freedom, tranquility, and leisure.’

Alas, no bosom of learned virgins for me! But I suppose that most of my problem in reliably producing blog entries is inherent laziness. As a writer, I am more like a sump pump than an artesian well.

Therefore, I am purposing to average one blog entry per week for 2011 (and also make up for the delinquent weeks in January and February). And if I can't come up with original kernels of insight and delight, I'll fall back on my usual chaff: excerpts from interesting books and articles, my casual observations, and photographs of my environs.

To kick things off, here is a pleasant anecdote from ten years ago, provided by a man who identified himself as Trader Mike on the Motley Fool trading bulletin board:

Some years ago, when the Raiders were playing in Oakland (where they belong, in my opinion), Ken Stabler was their quarterback. Some of us are old enough to remember that. Apparently, as good a quarterback as the Stabler was, the press did not consider him to be a tower of intelligence. Anyway, before one game, some member of the press was in the locker room and quoted the following Jack London verse to Stabler:

"I would rather be ashes than dust.
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time."

When he finished, the now-smug reporter asked Stabler what he thought the verse meant. Stabler didn't even look up from lacing his shoes, but simply replied, "Throw deep".