Post More Often!

I have a couple of friends who harass me regularly about not posting more often on this weblog. One of them is a prolific blogger himself, and manages to write more often and better than I find room in my life for. The other needs to get off his hinder and start a weblog of his own before he can give me too much grief. (I’m talking to YOU, Kelly!)

In any case, the reason I don’t post terribly often is twofold: I think there are enough people out there just posting a pile of links, while adding little to them. News aggregators have their place, of course, but there are plenty of people out there doing that sort of thing better than I’d be able to. I want to wait to post until I have something of substance to say, but it takes a while for those sorts of things to come together in my head, especially given that my life has fairly little contemplative time these days. (This would likely not be a problem if I’d shake the video game habit, but sometimes a guy has to shoot something at the end of the day, you know?)

So, in the interest of keeping a bit of dialogue going here, I’m going to post a few nascent thoughts with less thinking-through than I usually do. (And that’s saying something!)

Thought the first: I’ve been recently watching a show by Penn & Teller, the prestidigitators, called “Bullshit!” While vulgar at times (shocking given the title!), it’s an entertaining debunking of a variety of popular topics, including psychics, PETA, recycling, etc. In the course of these shows, P&T mention repeatedly that they are atheists. Penn further goes on to mention that he’s never had a drop of alcohol, and has never dealt with addiction of any sort. (Their approach to “12 step programs” is a bit unsympathetic — “Just stop doing it!”)

It struck me as I watched these shows and reflected on my experience with people of faith that the acknowledgment of need, of the insufficiency of ourselves, is one of the things that often distinguishes those who turn to “a higher power” from those who don’t. Penn & Teller seem confident that they’re up to the task of dealing well with life on their own. One of the central tenets of the gospel message, as I (and John Calvin) understand it, is that we humans are pretty messed up and need help. The aphorism “there are no atheists in foxholes” seems to mirror this idea as well, as certainly one becomes keenly aware when the enemy is firing artillery at you that there’s not much you can do to change that situation yourself.

I have a number of friends who are atheists, and most of them are smart, capable people. I wonder if being a smart, capable person makes one less inclined to seek the divine, as one feels the need for something beyond oneself less frequently. Please feel free to chime in on the topic — as I mentioned, my thought here are still ill-formed.

Thought the second: I’ve been reading The Chronicles of Narnia to [Abigail->] and [Liam->] and whomever else wanders by while the reading is in progress. (I read them with Emily many years ago, so she’s not feeling neglected.) I was thinking that, when they have kids of their own, I’d like to read some books aloud, record them, and give them to my grandkids to be able to listen to when I’m not around.

I then got to thinking about the mechanics of recording stories well, and came up with an idea that would make it pretty painless. (Those of you who listen to podcasts will note that the editing often leaves a bit to be desired; this idea would help with that as well.) The idea is this: to have audio software that will allow on-the-fly editing by setting “bookmarks” as you record by pressing a key on the keyboard. One would set a bookmark at the beginning of a paragraph, or when one moves on to a new idea. Then if one makes a mistake during the course of recording that section, one simply taps a key to erase the recording since the last bookmark and immediately starts rerecording it. If a section goes well, then the next press of the bookmark key would commit the section and start a new one. When finished, the sections would then be spliced together with quick cross-fades (to prevent pops), and one would emerge with a finished product.

Does anybody know of any software that does something like this yet? If not, I hereby release the idea into the public domain. Somebody go write it, because I’m too lazy to do it myself.