Yes, that's what you are. You have moved this poor pundit to tears. I cannot begin to tell you how touched I am by the comments in the previous post. Thanks to one and all. It means more to me than you can image.
But, enough of that! We've got a lot of work to do.
While I'm waiting for the contractors to come by and take down a living room wall so I can get my head inside, I thought I'd give you a quick update:
The softcover book proof arrived a few hours before I left for the airport. I have to say it is really cool. The Great Hairy Silverback is about half-way through the final proofreading of the text. Over the weekend I will do the hardcover re-design, which shouldn't take long since the softcover looks so damn good. The colors really pop, and it's just a much more professional effort, inside and out. As soon as I have the proofed text the softcover will be ready, and then I need about half a day to re-format that to the hardcover dimensions. The hardcover proof should take about five days, and then we're in bidness again. I am very, very pleased.
I went back to Gainesville for the weekend to celebrate the retirement of a theater professor who started a few years before I arrived in 1979, and who for three decades has been the spine of that department. I found myself surrounded by 220 people I had not seen for anywhere from 10 to 25 years. Imagine a class reunion for every class from 1976 through to 2009 in the same room at the same time. An absolutely incredible experience, which I will touch on in YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I mention it here only because it strenghtens even further for me the incredible need we have in this society to feel at home with people we share so much with.
So again, thanks for the kind words, and just as an experiment in this idea of networked intelligence, I did a little test…
I needed a Latin translation for an idea I had for an E!3 motto. I put out the word and had a response within ten minutes.
Sure enough, Hive Mind Unit and classical scholor Penthesileia (and that is a screen name, people!) e-mailed me before the electrons were dry. I sent her the motto in English, and within no time at all I got back four possiblities which I will put up for a vote. As a student of the classics, she has taken a first-rate mind through endless hours of hard work and study, motivated no doubt by the prospect of that fabulous four-figure annual income. Well, not so fast! She has earned a free book with a street value of $24.95, which I hope she can convert into enough SPAM to keep her in a thin, watery, ham-and-MSG-flavored broth for several months — long enough to finish her studies, at any rate.
Thanks, Penthesileia. I deeply appreciate it.
Now what we need — attention Hive Mind! — is someone who can tell me or show me how to set up one of those internet polls so that we can vote on which one we like. The Batsign is again on the clouds — contact the Management at [email protected] if you can help.
Obviously, I'm giving away a taste of what this new book — in fact, this new idea, this experiment — is all about. On some websites the idea of distributed intelligence looks like nothing so much as 100 IQ points distributed among 50,000 readers. But here — and elsewhere, obviously — there exists so much raw intelligence and expertise that I am knocked breathless at how much waste is generated every millisecond. This is something we should try to change.
So, while we are still getting the sets and costumes ready, let me issue another small challenge. Think about, when you can, something very simple and yet very deep — and that is this: What are you good at? That's not necessarily even what you get paid for.
What are you good at? Can you teach it?
Think it over.
Because despite my undying gratitude for the many kindnesses you have shown me over the years (and the last comment section is almost beyond my ability to read without choking up completely), I want to stress again and again something of critical importance, and that is this:
THIS IS NOT ABOUT ME.
This is about us, our country and our civilization, and in what practical and achievable ways we can protect, defend and improve her and her people.
I'll close this small update with a little tease: We need all the help we can get. To this end, I have called upon Miss Rachel Lucas — a voice of clarity and humor long and deeply missed around here — to be the first of many guest writers here, and she agreed.
This is not going to become a group blog! Unless started that way intentionally I find they tend to lose all focus. However, we will be putting on the front page anything of importance from anyone who has found a voice to help us achieve our goal — and in this regard I am especially excited. Again, more on all this very soon when we open in earnest.
I am preparing myself to step up, because I fear the times ahead are going to call for that. We'll explore how we can do that together, in this common forum. But for now, think about your strengths, and how you can best employ them.
Your country needs you, now. It will need you a great deal more in the times to come.
How wonderful is that?
UPDATE: We're in business:
UPDATE: We're outta business! The poll went away! Poof! NO IDEA what happened whatsoever. I'll try another! (Although my personal favorite was running away with the voting 3:1)
UPDATE: We're in business: