Saturday, October 14, 2006

Ahoy, Ahoy!

My former student, Pete Hopkins, has long been pushing me to create a blog. I've learned a great deal from Pete so, even though I can't convince myself this isn't just a private joke among some cabal of alums, I'm going to play along.

There are many reasons I've put off creating this. For one, I'm a stickler about software and URLs and permanency and coherent responses and such things, and most blog software fails me in most respects. (But I've decided to let go, as an experiment, and see how it feels after a while.) Second, so many of the blogs are so...boring, and I'm afraid of contributing to the global ennui. (Nolo contendre.) And finally, I'm terrified of running out of things to say. Hal Varian quotes Russell Baker:

Notified that I was now free to write three columns a week about almost any subject on earth, I was exultant. After fifteen years of living under reporter's constraints, I was at last free to disgorge the entire content of my brain.

Somewhere between the third and fourth weeks, having written fewer than a dozen columns, I made a terrifying discovery: I had now disgorged the entire content of my brain, yet another column was due at once.

Likewise, how many times can one gloat about the glories of a New England Fall, which I'm basking in right now?

But everything, given enough time, always ends in failure, and that should not keep us from trying. I'm in the midst of a sabbatical year, so that should keep me in material for a while. And I'm going to post very infrequently, stretching out what few thoughts I have over as long as possible. All we can do on this earth is try our best to survive, etc.

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