Chicago, Athens, and Jerusalem

Economics/Politics, Math/Sci/Tech, and Religion/Music/Arts

‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world

Posted by erweinstein on August 31, 2015

Five years ago, I wrote a post marking my “Five-Year Blogaversary”. That five-year mark was measured from August of 2005, when I originally began blogging, posting on politics and current events as part of a now-defunct group blog. (I explain a bit more about this in the Five-Year post and in the About the blog page.) Recognizing that these milestones are dated a bit arbitrarily, I still feel a need to note the passage of another five years.

Calling this post my “Ten-Year Blogaversary”, even with the tongue-in-cheek awareness of what a blogaversary is or might be, strikes me as inappropriate. Two main reasons:

  1. I have not been actively blogging for most of the last four years. I allude to this in my About recent changes page. There are quite a few reasons why I haven’t kept posting, but they fall in to two broad types: the good (e.g., I had some other really important and rewarding things occupying my time) and the bad (e.g., I anticipated being in a very different place with my career–one that would present a natural synergy between me doing my actual work and me blogging about some of my favorite topics). Either way, this reflects a kind of failure, as I like writing on self-imposed deadlines and I would benefit from doing more of it. As I mention a bit mysteriously elsewhere, this will change in the near future (maybe not exactly in the form of more blogging like this, but that’s still a possibility).
  2. My wife and I just had our first wedding anniversary earlier this month (we were married in August of 2014). Going forward, this will continue to be a time of year when I celebrate important anniversaries, but the non-blog one is the more important of the two. Indeed, the difference is so vast, the juxtaposition so staggering, that mentioning a blogaversary (except perhaps briefly in jest) in this context is disrespectful. Not to mention weird. What even is a “blogaversary” anyways? I understand what it means by analogy to “anniversary”, but…did I make up that concept as a joke once and now I’ve been utilizing it for over 5 years?

I’m a bit impressed that anyone still visits this site, because I haven’t posted with discipline and regularity (here or on other sites like Facebook or Twitter) since the primary elections in 2011-2012 that determined Mitt Romney would be the Republican candidate to challenge President Obama in the 2012 US Presidential Election. However, some reflection on the past five years is needed.

My discussion of the political beliefs of William Shatner (the incomparable actor known for his portrayal of Captain Kirk, TJ Hooker, Denny Crane, The Priceline Negotiator, among others) remains by far my most visited and most searched-for post. In this spirit, I promise that to the extent that this blog continues in any fashion whatsoever, I will ensure that it remains a leading source for information on William Shatner’s views on politics. I vow that there will be more discussion of William Shatner, not less.

Yes, I remember the valuable insight of The Simpsons on the nature of promises (especially political campaign promises) embodied in the speeches given by the aliens impersonating politicians:

Tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom…

Even so, the people demand more blogging about William Shatner, so that seems like as good a topic as any (especially when it connects the arts, broadly defined, to politics, again broadly defined).

As for topics other than Shatner, I feel that I had a good run of reasonable and interesting posts in the year or so immediately following the five-year blogaversary. I’m fond of my two-posts series, “How terribly strange to be seventy” celebrating the 70th birthday of pioneering musician Bob Dylan, and then the 70th birthday of his slightly younger peer and sometime-rival musician Paul Simon. In hindsight, I think the one about Dylan is too dry and terse, while the one about Simon is too personal and discursive. I also feel that my post about the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War was very timely and necessary, and while I’m proud of it, I appear to have written it with the wrong tone, in that I sounded much more hesitant that my knowledge of the subject necessitated and more casual than the gravity of the situation deserved.

Objectivity regarding one’s own writing is difficult (understatement of the year, nominee). However, combining the metrics of: 1) how important was the information I conveyed, 2) how useful was the analysis I presented around that information, and 3) how well did I express myself via the written word, I would say that the best blogging I did in past five years would be found in my posts about prominent economic commentators weighing in on the second “Quantitative Easing” debate and about Arnold Kling’s thoughts on the solvency of Social Security. Please note that Arnold Kling blogs at a different site now from when I was quoting him then.

While I’m sorry for the mistakes I made that reduced my potential blogging time and output over the past few years, I’m not ashamed of what I did get to write, and I’m very glad that I have the chance to do even better going forward.

There will be new and interesting things coming to this site (or equivalent) soon. Thanks for your patience, and please stay tuned! Some of the pseudo-mysterious ways that I’m hinting at changes (mainly to this blog) will only make sense with some time.

And because important milestones in my life always seem to connect to the works of Tennyson somehow (although fortunately not The Charge of the Light Brigade, in this instance), here’s the inspiration for the title of the post, from the famous final third (public domain, via Wikisource) of Tennyson’s Ulysses:

   There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

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