||On the WNYC radio Leonard Lopate show, 01Mar05,
Leonard interviewed a singer, Ruth Gerson, who has never "made it big"
in terms of big record contracts, etc. but who has a loyal following.
Gerson said she does not do "clubs" much
because it does not provide a living wage (often
$75-100 per nite). What she mostly does is: living room concerts.
A fan will get 50 to 100 others who like Gerson's music together
in their living room and Gerson comes and performs there. She said
she can make up to $1,000 per night that way.|
This way of earning a living as a musician struck me as appealing. It seems much closer to
genuine democracy, where, instead of leaders and followers, one has peers self-organizing their shared
social world. It seems to me in ways similar to the desirable
aspects of Baroque "chamber music", i.e.,
where a person would invite friends to come to their home to hear music performed.
|What hath God wrought?
My first encounter with a Xerox machine (plain paper photocopier...) was in December 1969, when
I worked as a clerk at The Baltimore Museum of Art. They had a cartoon on the copier,
showing a monk wheeling a Xerox machine into his monastery's scriptorium. The other monks look up from
their copying. The caption read: "What hath God wrought?"|
|One of the first tasks I was given to do was to
"Xerox" (i.e., copy...) all the index cards in the museum's "card catalog", because the museum maintained
3 card files: by accession date, by artist, and by [I forget]. (This was at a time when
the idea of computerizing such records had just begun to appear over the distant horizon as a great enhancement that
would become available in a few years -- but not yet.) The museum thought it would be more efficient
to type the information once and Xerox the other two copies, rather than type the information
3 times. This was a good idea. But the Xerox machine was not fusing the toner to the copies.
I seem to remember I timidly pointed this out to my boss, but they told me to keep on
copying and inserting the cards in the
files. Consequently, the museum had very many cards in its card catalog which you could wipe all the information
off just by running your finger over the card.|
|Thus did I early learn that
employers want to get work out of the hours they pay their employees for, even
if the worker's activity is not productive. Or maybe, in my timid youth, I just did not
complain persistently enough for my "superiors" for them to "get the message"
that there really was a problem. (They never did any quality control examination
of what I was doing!) ~ Actually, today (15 March 2005), I would try to turn that (A) lose-lose situation:
doing drudge work I didn't want to do that was not producing a useful
product for my employer, into a (B) win-win situation: I would ask for the
Xerox service number, and orchestrate a service call on the copier, which
would be both (a) more enjoyable for me than copying cards, and also
(b) more productive for my employer than getting a lot of
cards you could wipe the text off. [Would I still have had to copy the cards after the copier was
fixed? Probably, but it's always possible a drudge task postponed just might go away before one has to do it
(See quote at top of this page).
That computer system may have materialized; somebody else even lower than myself might get hired
and get the assignment; some other less onerous task might arise to fill my time....
At a minimum, one drudge task postponed may well accomplish that one does not have time to do yet another drudge task
|Another true, but this time more salubious,
story from The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA):
One of the conservators once told me that their solvent of choice to try first for cleaning
[whatever foreign matter] off a valuable painting was a little saliva. I forget, but the applicator of
choice may have been a Q-tip and not a finger(?). The conservator explained to me that saliva was a safe and
frequently effective solvent, less risky than chemicals, although, if saliva failed to "take it off", then,
obviously, the chemicals would need to be used, but only after testing each first on an inconspicuous part of the
painting to see if it would hurt anything. [From my "BMA" experience, art conservators are among my "heroes".]|
|Yet another true,
this time inspiring, story from The Baltimore Museum of Art:
Once, the museum was shipping a very fragile Micronesian shell mask to another museum for an exhibit.
I made the mistake of asking our art shipper, Joe Brinkley, if he had packed it securely.
Joe looked at me disdainfully, and
pushed the box in which he had packed the fragile object off his work table, from whence
it did a free-fall about 3 feet to the concrete floor. I got the message. (Joe was a great art packer.
He had no formal education, but had received hands-on training from Carolyn Keck(sp?), one of
the great art conservators of the time.)|
How the Universe came to rest).
At first the company leased makeshift space where managers shared rooms with
employees (not always even employees they themselves managed!).
Then the company moved to larger quarters where most managers had offices and
the employees had cubicles but some employees' cubes were not near their
manager's office. Finally, the company stopped moving when it moved into a building
where every manager had an office with all their employees' cubicles right outside their office door,
and the partitions separating the cubes were all low enough that every employee's manager
could see what the employee was doing all the time.|
|Peace on earth.
Once I had a job where I was required to carry a beeper to be on call 24 hours a day.
One night I had a dream that the beeper went off in the middle of the night.
When I went in to work the next morning, they told me they had beeped me during
||To have, or not to have, an answering machine on the telephone,
that is the question. Anybody who wants to cause me trouble
will make the effort to find me even if I don't have any phone, so having the answering machine
won't likely add to my woes. But somebody who wants to do something nice for me may not have enough
motivation to call back a second time if they don't get me on their first try, so the answering
machine just may make the difference between me getting the good they have just a little motivation to
do for me, or missing it. Therefore: Choose to have an answering machine on the phone.|
||Going under the yoke.
In High School latin class I learned that when the Romans defeated an army, they tied 3 spears together into
a kind of low arch, and made each of the defeated soldiers
"pass under the yoke" as a symbol of submission
I felt similarly defeated each time I had to enter a barber shop to get a haircut. Finally, when
I was about 40 years old, it looked to me like I could let my hair grow long without fearing
losing my job or other serious consequences. I have not had a haircut now for ca. 20 years.
I wear my hair in a pony tail, in part to try to protect it from the wind, in part to
keep it out of my face, but, also, to try to make it as inconspicuous as possible to
any person who would try to hurt me because of it (minimize my "radar cross-section").
I genuinely like my hair long, and
I genuinely hate having it short [even if that did not entail going to a barber shop]. But
I also hate barber shops even if I did not have to have a haircut when I would go in one
(e.g., I would hate having to accompany someone else to get their hair cut). I also resented
the money I had to spend to get done to me that thing which I did not want. Over
time, it's true, one forgets, and today, I am rarely appreciative of not having to go under
the yoke and get scalped, and having to waste a couple hours every 2 or 3 weeks on this
and then having all that itchy hair down my shirt so that I would have to
hurry home to bathe....
But, even today (16Mar05), I still fear that "someone" will
threaten me sufficiently that I will, once again, have to pass under the yoke, i.e., "get a haircut".
03 March 2005 NPR Morning Edition (Sunday), asked John Allen,
who covers the Vatican for the National Catholic Reporter, what issues
will concern the College of Cardinals in choosing a new Pope,
after the death of Pope John Paul II. Allen said 3 issues loom largest in their minds:
(1) The internal governance of the Church, which Allen
said some felt John Paul II had neglected somewhat in his outward focus on dialog with
other religions. (2) The Church's response to contemporary secularity
we have in the West, above all,
in Europe, today. (3) The Church's relations with global Islam, which, Allen noted,
like the Roman Catholic
Church, has over one billion members. After using the word "secularity" in item #2, Allen
restated himself, substituting a word I found eloquent (and wish I had thought of myself!):
"post-religious". I like this word
because it captures the idea of getting beyond -- "getting over" -- the claims of
any and all religions that persons should not just obey
(perhaps out of fear of overwelming force),
but celebratorily alienate their locus of legitimation onto an external Authority, rather than each person
standing forthright in their own faculty of reason to assume self-accountability for deciding what is good and bad,
right and wrong, etc.|
I think it
is possible to be post-religious and still believe that a Deity exists, if one's life experience has provided
first-hand evidence one feels can only be accounted for by hypothesizing the existence of a Deity,
so long as one does not delegate to said Deity the right to
decide what one should do, etc. Also, "post-religion" may mean
just not caring any more, e.g., apathy, cynicism or much even if not all of post-modernism.
Nonetheless, I find the phrase: a "post-religious Europe" evocative
(See: Quote #258).
||Everybody has heard about "filthy lucre". $ee
banknote beauty (lux mentis lux orbis...): Pre-€uro (pre-2002)
Netherlands 250 Guilder banknote.
50 Guilder banknote.)|
15 December 1999 New York Times (p. A8),
Tourneau jewelers has an advertisement for wristwatches.
One model is the: Oakley®
(US$1,200 to 25,000).
What does such glorification of violence say about a
society which is also nominally obsessed with anti-terrorism, etc.?
(Ditto: [Yves Saint Laurent]
vis-à-vis U.S.A. anti-narcotics policy.)
latest haute joaillerie accessory: Anklet bracelet with radio
transmitter she wears whenever she's home during her period of
house arrest following jail time served for "felony conviction for obstructing
justice in a stock sale" (ABC News, Business, 03Mar05). The "'rigid' electronic ankle bracelet...
is 'uncomfortable and irritating'
and makes 'exercise difficult,' Stewart wrote in a live online chat with fans....
[Ms. Stewart] is imprisoned by the entity that her empire celebrates: the home.
She cannot walk out to get the mail or feed her horses.
Every trip beyond her Bedford, N.Y., farmhouse must be approved by her probation officer...." (Olivia Barker,
"Stewart plays host to a fan chat", USA Today online, Posted 3/15/2005 11:29 AM; Updated 3/16/2005 2:57 AM).
Ms. Barker's article does not tell the retail price of this must-have jewelry item;
|One of the great images in Western literature, which
I thought I had quoted somewhere on this website, but apparently not, so here I
write it from imperfect memory; from Gabriel Marquez's novel One Hundred Years of
Solitude (ca. p.60):|
|A woman gets so excited by
the arrival of some famous conquistador's ship in her town's harbor, that she sits down
on the kitchen stove and is useless as a wife for the rest of her life.|
|During many years, each issue of The New Yorker magazine had a small ad for
a restaurant in Watertown, Maine: "The Silent Woman". The ad had a very tasteful picture of a female figure
in colonial dress, with her head cut off (neck but no head -- like some mannequins).|
|I know a person who once told a secretary who
apparently was annoying him: "If I want any more ____ out of you, I'll
squeeze your head."|