I hate reading a blog, finding it very interesting, and then being unable to find out anything about who writes it. Now that I’ve started writing my own, I’m not sure what to say about myself. Funny, huh?

I’m forty and a few, live in Germany, and make my living teaching English, because that’s the kind of work I can find. I love language, and I love writing, but I hate teaching English.  But I love my students, and try to give them my best.  OK, I don’t really hate teaching English.  I’d just rather be playing rock and roll on my banjo.

If you’ve read some of the blog, you know my interests are varied. But basically I live in the past, whether it’s sitting on the Acropolis listening to Aristotle or in a saloon in Tombstone. Yes, I have fixations on the ancient Greeks and the Old West. And booze. And baseball.  And playing cards and cups and balls.  And Elvis—though Elvis is much too important to blog about.

I play the banjo, but in the category “banjos” you’ll find not only banjos but music-related themes in general. You also might find a few posts on the “banjo state of mind”, which—contrary to stereotypes arising from Deliverance—has nothing to do with backwoods retardation, and more to do with a spiritual search for something which only playing the banjo can reveal. A philosopher with a banjo is a remarkable thing.

Not that I’m REALLY a philosopher. I was raised—by my professors, not my parents—to think that those who study philosophy are perpetual students, and that a true “philosopher” is something more profound than the average academic can lay claim to. True enough. Those typical professors over in the philosophy departments of colleges and universities are no more philosophers than I am Doc Holliday.

And yet….

Not a single one of my professors, as far as I know, played the banjo.

It makes a difference.

I finished my Ph.D. in 1992 at the University of Dallas (I only include this for the sake of googling—perhaps some alumni will find this site and find it amusing), and I cherish what my professors gave to me. If it was not wisdom, at least it was a set of skills, tools and mindset which make wisdom more possible.

But they did not teach me the banjo.

Or maybe they did. I’ll have to think about that.



7 comments on “me

  1. you read mine I see and got that really great justin timberlake video! i’m glad you like it! i’m also jealous you live in germany. love it there! i spent some time in munchen and frankfurt (wiespaden actually) and miss it….

    i have to ask… how did you find me?

    p.s. love the deliverance reference in your about me section.

  2. Rupert Bair says:

    Dear Jeff, I love what you’ve done with the place, its very you.

    May I suggest an article on Ant raising for a new blog?

  3. Dan Smith says:

    Hey Jeff! Long time, no see! This is Dan Smith from Hawaii. You are still in Germany?

  4. Henry Davis says:

    Banjo-playing philosopher. You share these activities, and possibly more, with The Space Wanderer, the main character of Kilgore Trout’s “Venus on the Half-Shell”. Yours is a fortunate combination for the sake of the rest of us. It is a heady business with which few of us can be entrusted.

  5. Selina says:

    Have you seen the latest Star Trek movie? Would love to hear your thoughts on Trek-Mania. =D

  6. cookie says:

    Happy Birthday Jeff!

  7. James says:

    I was reading your blog Sept 4 2006 in reference to cast iron cookware, in particular, the fact that Skeppshult do not make a pan with a cast iron handle.
    Well I was lucky yo come upon an 18cm Skeppshult with a short integral cast iron ‘bulb’ shaped handle.
    It arrived today…with a bloody great crack up the side.
    I had instructed the seller how to pack it well and was assured that they would do this.
    It arrived with one layer of bubblewrap plastic wrapped in plain brown paper. How miuch of an embecile would they be? It is beyond reason!

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