Pickard, M.D.

I find that watching the unfolding of “Depression II: The Global Meltdown” is a little like watching House M.D. Teams of highly-credentialed experts offer proposed diagnoses, each of which appears plausible as long as the expert is talking. I don’t know nearly enough to evaluate whose ideas best fit the circumstances, but I watch with interest as they try them out, one by one, and nothing seems to account for the mysterious malady. Every now and then, I’m alert enough to think, “But if it were malaria, she’d be…” and anticipate a plot twist, but usually I’m quite completely out of m y depth.
On the other hand, when Lee Pickard points out that the very investment firms whose precarious health is giving the world economy an acute illness are the ones that the SEC exempted from minimally common-sense investment restrictions, I hear Hugh Laurie’s voice barking out the ingeniously improbable etiology of the dire disease. Unfortunately, they haven’t devised antibiotics to combat the effects that privileged parasitic greed inflicts on complicit hosts.

Under Chrysostom’s Watchful Gaze

After a deliciously restful night, I drifted down to St. Chrysostom’s to get ready for the big Homecoming service (the day after Rome observes the Feast of St. John Chrysostom). Fr. David Hefling had his deacon, his seminarian, the full choir (of about six souls, I think) and a crucifer and thurifer for us, so we made a majestic procession. I had realized yesterday that I haven’t preached at a regular Sunday service in ages — more than a year, I think. And there was no 8 o’clock service to warm up with.
No matter; everything worked out fine. (I’ll add the sermon itself in the extended portion of the post.) I felt my pacing was rusty, and the lip of the pulpit desk was slight enough that I had to catch slipping pages a couple of times, but I don’t recall losing my place at all. And after the service, as I stood in the narthex nodding and shaking hands, who greeted me but Dylan! I knew she might attend, but I didn’t recognize her because I was looking for the 2001 version, not the new and improved 2008 version. I’m actually relieved I didn’t know she was there, because I wasn’t focusing on her (the one known attender in the midst of an unknown congregation). The windows at St. Chrysostom’s are lovely depictions, devoting special attention to early theologians. I’ll Flickr-post some of the pictures I took as soon as I get home and upload them; unfortunately, Chrysostom himself suffered from lens shake that I couldn’t overcome. All in all, though, the service was lovely and the opportunity to visit with David and Michael, and to meet Dylan, all made for a fine trip.

Dame Julian of Norwich (St Chrysostom's, Quincy))

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I’m theologian, not an airline executive, but if it were my job to rescue a struggling airline, I think I’d not nickel-and-dime customers, but would try to impress them and earn their loyalty and appreciation. I guess that shows how little I understand about the airline industry.
Later: we’re sitting on the plane at the gate, watching a team of mechanics try to bend a strip of wing metal back into place with their hands. Oops, here’s an older guy using a real tool! And now they’ve all left, abandoning their ladder at the wing.

Out Of Spec

Later still: this plane deemed “out of spec.” Uncertain what they’ll do with us.
End of the story: we boarded another plane a half-hour or so later, and made our way to Boston safely and without further mishap. I still feel bad for the bird.


A few weeks back, David pointed to We magazine, an online enterprise that includes webcasting and print versions of their periodical — all in all, a very cool thing, and I really meant to link to them right when David called my attention to them.
My apologetic tone derives from the fact that after I gave my talk in Linz, Ulrike Reinhard of We was excited by my proposals, and she asked to interview me for We-TV, which made me feel extra bad for not having blogged them right away. But aha! It turns out that the microphone we used for the interview was out of whack, and they didn’t get any footage they could use — so I can link to them afresh without risk of self-promotion.
The segment on which I would have appeared is Ars Electronica Day Three, for which you can see Jamie Boyle’s introduction of the panel, hear Ulrike’s characterization of the goings-on, and see a few seconds of David Weinberger’s presentation.

Scott? Scott?

I was chatting with Beth this afternoon about my lightning visit to Austria, and our conversation reminded me of my respectful-but-oh-so-rusty efforts to communicate in German to the inhabitants of Linz. At first, I was perplexed by their habit of addressing me as “Scott” — till I remembered that this was “ ’S Gott,” short for “Grüß Gott,” which in turn is short for “Es grüß dich Gott”: roughly, “God bless you.”
Mostly, though, I just like using the eszet key. I ♡ Unicode.

Cautiously Ready

Margaret picked me up at the airport yesterday afternoon, and brought me directly to the Hall-Utz house where dinner was a-making. I had the opportunity to catch up with John and Rachel and Amy Laura, and the high vitality level of that family kept me wide awake until nearly twenty-four hours after the alarm had sounded for me to rise and shine Sunday morning in Linz. Went to bed at a normal-ish time, and woke up at about 6:30, exactly when I usually do.
So although it’s likely that I’ll experience waves of intermittent weariness and disorientation — I’m already having trouble figuring out which day was which in the weekend — I starting off my re-acclimation process pretty well. We’ll see how my Greek class at 2:30 this afternoon goes.

Home Safely

All travel arrangements went uneventfully (it’s amazing how efficient and understated European airport security is compared with U.S. and U.K. airport security). The trick will be seeing how I sleep tonight and whether I konk out in the middle of tomorrow’s Gospel of John class

Goodbye, Linz

What sounds like Polyphonic Spree performing a piece by Philip Glass written in German, performing on a barge, hyperamplified, with fireworks and a light show, for an audience of about 150,000? Evidently, the answer is Herzfluss, which was going on right outside my window, I mean immediately outside my window last night as I was lying down to coax my confused metabolism to try to sleep a while before I leave Linz to return to Durham.
I have to run now to catch the ride Ars Electronica has arranged for me — take care, and I’ll catch you on the other side of the Atlantic.