Syncretism in action

In an earlier post about Dr. Sharon Crowley's book, Toward a Civil Discourse, I pointed to the the religious syncretism I witnessed during earlier evangelical Christian experiences. The New York Times has a nice story today documenting how Rev. Gregory A. Boyd in St. Paul, Minnesota embodies this syncretism. Conservative by most measures of the word, Reverend Boyd is radically separating Apocalyptsm from his congregation's evangelical practices:

Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.

“When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.”

Mr. Boyd says he is no liberal.

Perhaps this is a version of the invention Dr. Crowley calls for. I saw this (and participated in this) this kind of religious invention throughout my spiritual life (I still do, to a certain extent). Looking for these kinds of articulations in the everchanging streams of politics, thought, and religion will, I think, provide those interested in building bridges a few more places to build. Heraclitus was right.


Why do we meet at conferences?

My experience as part of the VR@RL has been somewhat diffuse. There has been a bit of a cool vibe, but mostly I have felt a bit detached from the proceedings. This could be partly because of the false start that occurred when the meatspace winter conference was cancelled, and probably has something to do with the fact that many of us are making the transition from vacation to "oh-my-goodness-I-need-to-finish-prepping-my-scholarship/classes."

Still, I feel a little detached from these proceedings. It is a little TOO easy to catch glimpses here and there and go right back to my own course/scholarship prepping. Meatspace synchronous conferences isolate you and then force you to dress up and try to act cool on the off chance that you might make a lasting impression on SOMEBODY. I think these social events are mostly good for us. English folks are notoriously introverted, and it is good to air us out in public spaces near restaurants and bars that require some sort of dressing up.

Of course, Alex and Alex helped us out by filming themselves in their presentations (and even putting pretty cool soundtracks together). Maybe next year's call should include the requirement of some sort of avatar and cool music. Just sayin...


Congratulations Eclipse

For those of you unfamiliar with my work, Eclipse is one of the companies I have been studying. They may have just won the race to the starting line (!) for the Very Light Jet market. Unsurprisingly, the announcement was made at an airshow:

Complete article here
FAA clearing the way for mini jets

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new light, cheap and fast jet is expected to be certified for flight Thursday.

Eclipse Aviation's E500 will be the first "very light jet," or VLJ, to receive a provisional certification by the Federal Aviation Administration. Thousands more are expected to take wing over the next decade.

The announcement, at the annual AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is one of the biggest things to happen to general aviation in years. Acting Transportation Secretary Maria Cino traveled to the show to make the announcement....

The big question surrounding VLJs is who will use them and where they will fly.

Vern Raburn, the founder of Albuquerque-based Eclipse Aviation Corp., predicts VLJs will be used as air taxis: for-hire limousines-with-wings that will take off and land at thousands of small airports. Businesspeople, he says, will be attracted to them because they will get where they need to go faster and with less hassle than on a commercial flight -- and cheaper than on a chartered business jet.

VLJs can land on runways as short as 3,000 feet (900 meters), compared with the 4,000 (1,200 meters) or 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) required by the smallest jets now being flown. The FAA says there are more than 5,000 small, underused airports in the United States.



Alex commented that:

I think you strike upon something important here in the notion of these bloggers as ghostly figures, both virtual and material (in the way Derrida remarks about the spectral). They haunt Rt. 66, visiting their haunts. And as you note in another post, it is their haunting (their frequent, periodic inhabitation) that establishes their ethos, their identities, both within the blogosphere and the "505."

I couldn't agree more. I wish I could take credit for this idea, but as you mention Derrida discusses this. A major influence on my thoughts is Steve Pile's book Real Cities. He does a nice job looking at the spectral (he uses the term phantasmagoria for its historical and performative connotations), AND does a nice job of connecting it with "on the ground" experience. I think this was what I am reaching for more generally in my own perspective (and one of the reasons I am looking at epideictic ethos, rather than, say deliberative, or forensic ethos. It's about those we share share space with, celebrate with, warn, etc. rather than just argumentation).

I also like the way that the Route 66 combines an abstract sense of movement and speed (something Baudrilled noted was key to understanding Americanness in this travelogue America) with the material realities of the automobile. Route 66 is celebrated (it is the most covered American song), and is famous for its nostalgia, but it was a BLOODY and dangerous road. There are probably more than a few ghosts, both happy and angry on this road.


VR@RL starts today

My piece is over at Tech Toledo, a domain that was going to host the CityBlog that my second student charette team created (don't ask, go over there and explore). If you want to see what other new media-types are creating for the virtual conference, there should be are links at the conference front page soon.

Please feel free to leave a comment at Tech Toledo, as I'll be cross-posting about the project (here and) there all week.


Sunday BakeBlogging

Sport and I made a strawberry and rhubarb tart (from Once Upon a Tart, using Shamie's crust), using rhubarb from the local Farmer's market.

We also spent our time making these two monsters:

We used the Cooking Light 2006 compilation for this recipe (and substituted zante currants for raisins). We hoped they would rise well, but LORDY!


So last night...

Sport and a few friends of ours were walking back from the Fargo Street Fair (and some pretty woot desserts and Nicole's Fine Pasteries), when we walked by a building that usually has a bunch of older men sitting out front. Earlier, I had observed that this probably signified subsidized housing and that a lot of those guys were probably vets. Sport seemed a little surprised, at which point I ribbed her inability to ascertain veterans without their uniforms. When we walked by, I remarked that these men might also be disabled vets (my father is a disabled Korean War veteran, so "disabled vet" is a category I use fairly frequently, and with a great deal of respect). As we were all walking by and looking at the building and the men standing out front, I remarked (no lie) "there are the epaulet-less epileptic vets."

Say that three times fast.


Wednesday Fargoblogging

Been here for about a month (off and on), so I thought I might want to give you all a bit more of a glimpse of Fargo life than just the garden in front of my building. So...

Sport and I went to this place called The Red Raven Espresso Parlor. Yes this place is in a basement (hence the elevated signage).

It's the sort of establishment that definitely does NOT see many perfessers of my ilk frequenting the place. In fact, the only thing non-edgy about the Red Raven was me taking photos with my digital camera.

The cappuccino was pretty darn good (and the only place that I have ever been that has an 8 oz. serving outside of Italy [and the milk was properly steamed--not hot milk and not beaten egg whites]).

I definitely appreciate a coffee place that opens after noon and closes well after midnight (and is next door to a comix store to boot).


Long Run Today

After a breakfast of coffee and Moosewood puffy pancake (with carmelized apples and fresh blueberries), sport and I struck out for our long run.

Under overcast skies and 60 degree temperatures, we ran to downtown, south on Broadway, to the river, past the rapids, over the pontoon pedestrian bridge, into Moorhead, through the river neighborhood, to Concordia College...

and back. It was beautiful, even if we didn't like squeezing out the miles.

Next on the agenda:

Catch PHC
Make and freeze pizza dough
Cook big batch of ribolitta


Blog On Demand

Last night, sport and I went with about half of my department to the local Red Hawks minor league baseball game (complete with midwestern "O Canada," "God Bless America," "Star Spangled Banner," AND musically-accompanied fireworks). After the extremely pleasant evening watching baseball players get ejected and random crowd members getting beaned with merchandise and baseballs, my colleague Marshall turns to me and asks "so, you're going to blog about this tommorow. Right?"

I don't blog on demand, my friend.


Huzzah for my peeps

Glad to see my peeps getting together with government and industry to do what Martha Stewart might call "a good thing":

Tech Project Builds Peace

By Charles D. Brunt
Journal Staff Writer
U.S. efforts to employ former Soviet Union weapons scientists in peaceful research projects is creating new technologies and products for worldwide markets, ranging from temperature-resistant batteries to robots that detect land mines.
Seven technologies and related products were on display Thursday at Sandia National Laboratories for Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M. He is chairman of a Senate subcommittee that helps secure funding for such projects through the Department of Energy.
The U.S. Industry Coalition, a nonprofit association of U.S. companies engaged in commercializing technologies developed with former Soviet weapons scientists, sponsored the event.

If you want to read the whole story, you'll have to sit through a short ad.



Sport and I ran our typical over-river route, but added an extension past the Broken Axe Metal Bar and stopped by Scan Design to see about getting a cheap bistro table for my office (I'm going deskless...how metro of me).


Of Tornadoes

I don't know if Dr. Hawhee figured the ultimate significance of her tornado dreams, but I know some colleagues in Ohio who wish their recent brush with tornadoes was only a dream.

Sport's former colleagues at Ohio Northern University crowded into her old office (settling the debate of who has the worst, most subterranean office). One of my earlier "Friday Blog Teacher" awardees managed to keep teaching his summer class during the storm, even with faculty and the dean crowded in the tiny cubicle of a basement office. That may propel Dr. Scott to his second blogaward. He's definitely a finalist now.

Stay safe, residents of Tornado Alley.


Back to the Grind

If there any of you "I want to be a professor so that I can get summers off" crowd out there, vacation is officially over (if you can call a 1,000 mile move followed by a week of fun and a week of grading over 1,000 Advanced Placement Rhetoric and Composition exams "vacation").

It's back to course prep and scholarship (and yes, this blog post counts as one of my "breaks").

Chop chop!