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Monday, October 8, 2012


I have striven to keep this blog on an elevated plane, what with tutorials on the Critique of Pure Reason and Max Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.  I mean, you can't get much more ethereal than that, right?  But every so often the pedestrian world interrupts my philosophical meditations, and this seems to be one of those moments.  So, for the next few paragraphs, I am going to complain.  This is, as I understand it, more or less standard for blogs in general.  Consider what follows evidence that I am human, all too human.

First of all, my right knee and leg hurt.  Six weeks ago, I made the bad mistake of trying a little running [or, more accurately, shambling] as part of my morning walk.  My ego had become involved in exactly how many minutes it was taking me to complete the course of slightly less than four miles, and I thought that if I did little bursts [so to speak] of trotting I could bring my time down to 57 or even 56 minutes.  Well, I did, but I also seem to have permanently irritated my aging joints, with the result that I now take many too many doses of Ibuprofen and Tylenol.  I finally gave in and made an appointment for this afternoon with a doctor.  We shall see.

At the same time, I have been dealing with a bizarre problem triggered by the efforts of the U. S. Post Office to upgrade itself.  Three weeks ago I sent out the annual fund-raising appeal for my scholarship organization, University Scholarships for South African Students.   A number of envelopes came back marked "undeliverable at this address."  Now, this is not at all unusual.  There are always a few folks who have moved or died or gone missing.  But when the envelope addressed to my sister in Washington, D.C. came back, I knew something was wrong.  It seems the P. O. now has a machine that reads the zip code electronically.  It reads from the bottom of the envelope up, and since I have a logo [a map of Africa] above the return address on my envelopes, my zip code is actually lower than the zip code of the addressee, so the machine was sending all the envelopes back.  The post office people said it would be fine if I just scratched out the return address and remailed them [no extra postage required], but then some of those envelopes also started coming back.  I had visions of my twenty-two year old organization crashing and burning because of this technodisaster, so I decided to have new envelopes printed up with the return address above the logo.  Now, I am engaged in sending out a duplicate mailing to all the folks who have not yet responded [some of the letters got through, apparently -- how?]

While this was happening, I received word from Paris that our "syndic" [the company that manages the copropriété ] has started work shoring up the building my apartment is in.  For some years Susie and I have noticed cracks in the wall in the interior courtyard that gives access to our apartment.  Well, we have renters who arrived on Saturday [old friends from my childhood, no less] to find that the interior courtyard is dug up ["to a depth of three meters," according to a neighbor who wrote me an email], and the entire area is a shambles.  I will refund their rent, needless to say, but my little Parisian getaway, the apple of my eye, is momentarily a disaster.

Confronted with all of this, I consider it really unfriendly of Obama to so completely louse up the first debate that I can no longer luxuriate in the discomfort of the Republicans.  Did the President not know that I was already struggling with a full complement of little crises?

Oh yes, did I mention that we just called in an exterminator to deal with an infestation of humongous cockroaches?  And that it has been raining for the past two days?

Would anyone like a quiet discussion of the subtleties of the Subjective Deduction in the First Edition Deduction of the Pure Concepts of  Understanding in the Analytic of Concepts of the Transcendental Analytic?



NotHobbes said...

"Would anyone like a quiet discussion of the subtleties of the Subjective Deduction in the First Edition Deduction of the Pure Concepts of Understanding in the Analytic of Concepts of the Transcendental Analytic?"

Ummmm, no. But I would like to hear your views on "Dissertation on Canon and Feudal Laws"
Am I right in thinking that this text is not only about the absence of Feudal law in America but also the separation of church and state?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I had never heard of it1 But it is on line, and I will read it when I get a chance and see what it has to say.

Remarkable the things you learn even at seventy-eight.

formerly a wage slave said...

Congratulations on joining the legion of low road bloggers. I've been doing it for years. Unfortunately, there are times when such annoying, distracting, and unpleasant (more or less mildly so) events are so numerous and occur within such proximity to one another that blogging them is not possible......I have almost managed to collect all of the books I recently shipped to myself, but along the way I've gotten lost looking for the post office and have enjoyed the puzzled responses of local residents who would have never imagined that anyone would need to ask the location of a building which was standing almost immediately in front of the conversationalists.....

Robert Paul Wolff said...

John Adams' Dissertation is an extraordinarily overheated piece of writing. Despite the over the top rhetorical flurishes [and a good deal of inaccurate history], it seems to be mostly about the hated Stamp Act. That and the fear and hatred of Catholics. It is certainly disestablishmentarian, that's for sure.

LFC said...

Since you read Andrew Sullivan's blog, it may not be out of place to remark here that Sullivan's reaction to the first debate has been absurd: his statement in a recent post (to which my attention was directed -- I don't ordinarily read Sullivan) that Obama was "incapable of making a single argument" is ridiculous.

So while the first debate didn't go well for Obama, he did not do as badly as Sullivan thinks. Moreover, Sullivan's devoting an entire recent post to a single poll (the Pew poll) is evidence that Sullivan does not understand anything about polling. So if I were you, I wouldn't rely on him as a responsible guide to this election.