Saturday XXXV: SFOWL • 15 December 2007

The best thing happened! Which was that my brother added a stop to the round-the-world game and touched tarmac at SFO just a few hours after me. He’s pulling down a contract; and I’m rooting around the superdynamic market in carbon offsets. Lots of open threads in a dissertationly direction, and sibling catchup in the interstices. Good god the world is interesting.

Meanwhile, moonlighting ashtanga. Too much to tell. Except that AYSF is a dream and so’s Eeyore. Links from the past week:

● Thursday the 13th: planes, trans and automobiles hugging the westcoast, business travelers’ noses in the Style Section with this article big and eyecatching on the cover. Thanks, New York Times. Presidential politics be damned, in some dimensions we the people really are living in the Al Gore era. I came within one degree of separation from the great gomer twice this week. Getting Americans to face the connection between their consumption and climate change: governments aren’t making this happen. Grassroots movements and marketmakers are. Which is why Gore is better as a pissed off subaltern insurgent who has faced his worst fear—losing—and moved on. And why this dissertation is on regulation from below.

● End of the year lists. Blame the internet and blame the accelerated culture: the lists are everywhere. Rex has the metalist here. The only one that really rewards me, now the third year going, is the Guardian writers’ individual favorites for the year. I always find one or two treasures in here, especially because it’s blind to genre and publication date and so not just a list about “keeping up” with the world. Delightfully, though, the man who has kept the tiny pleasure-readerly flame alive for me the past five years—with the occasional pitch-perfect tip—is now an official listmaker as well: I give you Matthew Korfhage’s holiday ménage-a-trois (readers here know MK as the Daily Miltonian). And apparently I also need to read this, this, and this.

● Oh! Deeper into geekiness: a podcast about scholar-practitioners. This is just nice: a meditator-professor discusses hyper-objectivity in religious studies, the peculiarly American tendency to divorce study from practice, and the possibilities for “contemplative educitaion.” For her, it was Chogyam Trumka who “ripped out the division” between study and practice. Some words from the talk:

If we only practice meditation we become stupid meditators, and if we only study we become arrogant scholars…. If you don’t have some kind of wisdom [e.g., reading of historical texts] dawning in your practice, then there’s a sense of “what is the point?” But if you bring some light [from study] into the practice… the thing that I hear over and over again from my longtime practitioner-students is that they feel completely re-energized.