So I’ve been reading a book suggested by my buddy Wayne Hurlbert, The Nine Nations of North America by Joel Garreau. It’s an old title, published back in 1981 (the year before I graduated from high school). Thinking about it, I suppose most of Garreau’s theories about the nine competing schools of influence on the North American continent continue to have some relevance, the fact that they are largely argued for and portrayed in terms of the current events of the late 1970’s to early 1980’s gives this volume a very time warp kind of quality. It is not available for sale, but click on the map image for a library copy. Many years ago I read Garreau’s later book Edge City about the dynamic communities that were springing up at major freeway intersections surrounding many American and European cities in the 1990’s.
I find Garreau’s blend of geography and sociology quite interesting. I honestly find most all sports quite dull. I never had even a moments interest in football and found that I lacked both skill and interest for most every other sport out there, although I did enjoy league bowling on a couple of different occasions in my life. What I liked about bowling is that each player got a handicap so you were mostly most of the time competing with your own past performance rather than with the other players. Religion, by contrast, is a subject much nearer to me. I was mostly raised in the United Methodist Church (my mother’s faith). I went to a Catholic high school however, run by the Jesuits– an order noted for their scholarship and intellectual rigor. Academically, it was a great place to be. Socially, not so much so. Over the years of my life I’ve drifted away from organized religion, although as I’ve gotten older I’ve found that I do in fact have a deeply abiding faith in God. I believe that God is love.
I tend to care a bit too much about politics. To take it all a bit too seriously. If I let myself I can get hard boiling mad just reading about some bit of political shenanigans taking place somewhere or another. (At any given moment one of the few things one can count on is that some politician somewhere is behaving Very badly right now.) Getting angry, I long ago realized, mostly hurts the person who gets angry. (Of course to the extent that being angry encourages one to do the real work of changing the situation that offended you, it can be a genuinely useful force. But most of us just rage and sputter and do no good at all for anyone.) I continue to try hard not to say much of anything about my politics on this blog, and ask that you try to do the same. And if every now and then I or you just can’t help it, I ask everyone else to please just bear with us. And finally today my thanks to Tim Berkesch who suggested today’s words.