A Different Note

I’ve been debating mentioning this hear, but I’m thinking that even though it’s been a couple of weeks, I still should say something.

I’m a very big baseball fan and baseball is a sport that is doing extremely well despite the current commissioner. Baseball is extremely profitable, again despite the dire warnings from Bud Selig. These warnings tend to drive people away, but he’s only concerned about getting money from states and municipalities to create new stadiums.

An example, when owners creatively financed their own stadiums, such as Peter Magowan of San Francisco, Selig threatened to enforce a rule long defunct that could theoretically take away the team from such owners.

One response to this was as follows:
“That lesson won’t be lost in other cities, where owners demanding new stadia will soon be explaining that while they’d love to help pay for their facilities, Commissioner Selig won’t let them. Coming in the wake of the Minnesota Twins’ argument that holding them to the terms of the Metrodome lease they renewed six weeks before the contraction announcement “derides the free market system, blasts the fundamental policies of free enterprise and private ownership, and assures this court that government knows best,” it’s apparent that MLB really does consider itself above the law: the only business entitled to millions of dollars in public subsidies with no obligation in return.”

This response was written by Doug Pappas in an article on Baseball Prospectus at:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1380. Many of you probably won’t be able to read the whole article, because it’s a subscription service.

However, at http://www.roadsidephotos.com/baseball/index.htm you can read a great deal about what Doug Pappas has researched over the business of baseball. He dispels many of the rumors and outright lies purported by the Commissioner’s office in order to get more money.

This is important in another way. When baseball collective bargaining agreement discussions begin again, the owners will make sure that everyone knows how much money MLB players are making. They’ll say they’re losing money and that they’re having to drive ticket, concession, and parking prices up in order to pay their players. It’s a seductive argument, one that appeals to our wonder at people making millions playing a game.

But the owners are lying. The articles Doug Pappas has written show the numbers and the truth behind baseball economics. The owners make millions while the value of their team rises at the same time. It’s like getting a huge amount of rent while still living at the house and being able to sell the property for 20 times what you paid for it.

Two weeks ago, Pappas died hiking in Big Bend. While I won’t assume that the Commissioner’s office is happy about any person’s death, I’ll bet there was a certain amount of relief as this happened just as Pappas was flowing into the mainstream media. The owners know that their ability to negotiate their next CBA just got a little bit easier.

Much Better

Well, having vented, and having gone into my cave, I feel much better. I still have no idea what I’m going to do in the fall, but I’ve started researching places to apply at. We’ll see what happens, I’m sure something will come up.

Saw Shrek 2 last night, that didn’t hurt either. It’s a very funny movie, and one which bears repeated watching to get all the little stuff. I didn’t see anything quite so wrong as Mama Bear from the first one, but there were a ton of great scenes.

Some quick hits:

I never realized the Fairy Godmother had such an agenda.

I want the battleaxe from the Medieval Meal at Friar’s Big Boy.

I wish they’d used John Cleese more.

Antonio Banderas does make a good swashbuckler, by the way. I need to get a hat and practice my wide-eyed stares.

Doing shots of milk at the Poison Apple.

Larry King as the Ugly Stepsister.

I hear that the movie has done so well that there’s going to be a Shrek 3 and a Shrek 4. Don’t exactly know what fairy tales they’ve missed poking fun at by now, but I’m sure they’ll think of something. Wonder if they’re smart enough to do a Puss-in-Boots movie with Banderas. I’d pay to see that.

Mama Bear? If you don’t watch closely you don’t see what happens to hear, but it’s quite funny in a completely non-Disney way. When they’re rounding up the Fairy Tale creatures, the whole family is there, Mama with her pink ribbon, Papa and Baby with his blue ribbon, Bear. That’s the last time you see her… except when Farquad is looking at the Magic Mirror in his bed, it pans very quickly over his bedroom showing a lovely bearskin rug with a pink ribbon. Subtle and twisted.

A Correction

Yesterday, Medb made a comment about yesterday’s post. She informed me that I had forgetten the support of my friends.

She’s absolutely right, and I’m not being fair to my friends. I struggle very much asking for help, but have little problem offering it. I suppose this is hubris but whatever the reason, it is something that big brother Duncan would hit me in the head for and tell me to accept that help.

He’s right too, but it’s ironic because he’s just as bad if not worse, he’s just had longer to get wiser. For a bit, though, I’m caving. I’m throwing myself into books and recharging. I’m not avoiding Latin, though I am avoiding the organization of the class and the need to take charge in the study group.

I am extremely angry and bitter at the Centre for Medieval Studies right now. I was not angry at all when I was not accepted for a PhD here. I knew it was a hard competition and though I was not happy, I could see that others might have presented better options for CMS.

I don’t feel that way about the MA application. Dr. Orchard, whom I have a lot of respect for hinted that I could still apply for an MA here, which as it would take only a year would fit nicely timewise. I could have focused on Latin and Old English, and thus while a second MA was not overly important, the skills of a year thrown into languages would have been very useful.

They said no to me again and this time I’m pissed. I’ve hung around with their MA students for two summers now. I know who they have accepted. They are good people and have the makings of fine scholars.

But they’re not better than me. They do not have more credentials. They have less experience. I started the study group in the Beginning Latin last summer. I never really tooted my horn on that, but I’m going to now. Sarah, who taught the class, has told me and many of the people around the Centre how helpful that the study group was. She told me yesterday that a girl I met at Kalamazoo, Hilary, had gotten up in this year’s Beginning Latin and said exactly what I said last year. I’m not surprised, I told her exactly what I did last year and how it helped. She told me she thought that was a great idea at Kalamazoo and that she’d probably do that in the program.

This is good. I find it ironic however, that her and her fellow students, many of whom will be taking the MA program, are benefitting from my idea. I find it especially ironic, given that I started a study group in the MA summer Latin, and once again I was the leader, the instructor, the tutor, the prime force behind it. If I do not go, nothing gets done. The irony comes from the help that my construct gave to many MA students over a couple of years at CMS.

But the powers that be at CMS do not think that I’m good enough for their program.

I don’t actually know that. It is possible I got unlucky and got put out because of numbers. That does not appease me however, as I know what I need and I would not have overly taxed them. In fact, I might very well have helped them, given I’d have continued the study group over the year.

But at least I can take comfort in the study groups themselves. I can take a lot of pride in leaving a legacy. I feel good that there are people who have and will do better because of my idea.

“In Xanadu did Kublai Khan a stately pleasure dome decree,
Where Alph, the sacred river ran,
Through caverns measureless to man,
Down to a sunless sea.”

It seems like Coleridge wrote that for me at this point. I have created something that is worthwhile in my mind, and yet it exists in the sunless sea of my anger right now.

Greetings

Well, I’ve finally decided to start this, convinced by a variety of happenings. Who knows how well I’ll continue to keep this updated, given my track record with any kind of diary, blog, or journal previously, but I’ll try it.

I have entitled this journal The Wanderer, which seems a very fit title to and for me. The title comes from the Anglo-Saxon poem which is at: http://www.georgetown.edu/labyrinth/library/oe/texts/a3.6.html in Old English or at http://faculty.uca.edu/~jona/texts/wanderer.htm in Modern English.

I do find myself adrift right now, a fact which has little to do with the many miles I have driven this year, over 24k thus far. No, it has much more to do with my uncertainty and frustration with myself and my life right at this point. I find myself not knowing what it is I’ll be doing after 22 August. I have no job lined up and no current academic prospects for the 2004-2005 year. This is extremely frustrating to me, as I felt, perhaps arrogantly, that the transition from the MA level to PhD opportunities would not be as troublesome as they have turned out to be.

While I am certain I’ll find a job teaching at some level, I worry that this will be a setback in my academic career. While a setback in and of itself is unimportant, they’ve happened before, I worry about the loss of momentum. I have never truly completed anything previously, and I worry that this is the start of the incompletion of my current goal, that being the attainment of a PhD and the career of a professor. I truly feel that I am supposed to be a professor, it fits me in so many ways that I was not able to realize earlier in my life. It is also a career that is a fitting tribute to my parents and grandparents, to whom I owe the opportunity to pursue this. Dad feels that I’m resilient and perhaps I am, but I do not know if I could bear to fail in this.

This would be less troublesome if there were any stability in my life in other ways, but that is not the case either. Recently divorced from a fine woman who I wish in many ways I could have stayed with, I am unable to commit to another fine woman who deserves so much more than I can give. I have thus excluded myself from the comfort and stability of a partner, which is troublesome not only to me in the short term but frightening in long term as I wonder if I can ever truly be a partner myself.

Thus I begin this journal on a somber note. The optimist that I am will I’m sure show it’s head soon but this is a cold rainy day following a very discouraging weekend with no place to call home in sight.

“Hwær cwom mearg? Hwær cwom mago? Hwær cwom maþþumgyfa?
Hwær cwom symbla gesetu? Hwær sindon seledreamas?
Eala beorht bune! Eala byrnwiga!
Eala þeodnes þrym!

Where is the horse? Where the young warrior? Where now the gift-giver?
Where are the feast-seats? Where all the hall-joys?
Alas for the bright cup! Alas byrnied warrior!
Alas the lord’s glory!

Opinions and fiction of person misplaced in time.