From Round to Square (and back)

For The Emperor's Teacher, scroll down (↓) to "Topics." It's the management book that will rock the world (and break the vase, as you will see). Click or paste the following link for a recent profile of the project:

A new post appears every day at 12:05* (CDT). There's more, though. Take a look at the right-hand side of the page for over four years of material (2,000 posts and growing) from Seinfeld and country music to every single day of the Chinese lunar calendar...translated. Look here ↓ and explore a little. It will take you all the way down the page...from round to square (and back again).
*Occasionally I will leave a long post up for thirty-six hours, and post a shorter entry at noon the next day.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Just Do It Over (15)—One Thousand

Click here for the introduction to the Round and Square series "Just Do It Over."
A year ago on Round and Square (22 September 2012)—Academic Autobiography: Working the Field
Two years ago on Round and Square (22 September 2011)—Endings: The Sense of an Ending
[a] Many RF
Driving through Minneapolis (on my way back home to Wisconsin) in May of 2000, I happened to catch a local sports discussion on WCCO Radio (830 AM). It seems that Minnesota Twins manager Tom Kelly had just notched his one-thousandth win as a major league manager. The various pundits all had "takes" on what "one-thousand" meant—both within the world of baseball and beyond. If I can be so bold as to sum up a conversation that spoke of the impossibility of "one-thousand" in the world of football wins—and as a distant dream in basketball and hockey—I would say that they all agreed that it was a pretty good thing, and meant, basically a lot
[b] Lots RF

A bunch of stuff.

You see, in baseball, as in much of the "real world," one-thousand is a lot. I will not pause long here to consider that Mr. Kelly's overall record (which included two world championships, for which he will always be remembered) was 1000-1093 on that spring morning. Even when he retired, he had lost about a hundred games more than he had won. It is worth considering that a record that juts under the .500 marker (the fiftieth percentile) says a lot about a life that is regarded as a success by just about everyone.

That deserves a blog post of its own.

And it shall come later.

For our purposes, Tom Kelly's thousand wins over a fifteen year period was a very big deal. It was a lot of wins. And this got me to thinking. When I am not pondering baseball history or fine red wines or professional cycling...I spend a lot of time studying Chinese history and culture. And that made me think about the character 千. It most definitely means "1,000." It certainly can mean "the number one reaches after counting to 999." On the other hand, one of the first things I learned when studying Chinese was that 千 could mean exactly one-thousand or (and far more frequently and even "importantly") a lot of stuff. 
[c] Thousand RF

And that brings me to today's point. 

Round and Square celebrates its one-thousandth post today. That's a lot—and not just in terms of posts. It's a lot of time, too. Somehow, some way, this has all been easy and "fun" so far. My wife, Pat (Zody), sometimes says that writing blog posts every day has calmed me down

Think about that. "Calmed...down..."

Anyone who has ever met me would probably question the characterization (my colleague, Ellen Joyce, replied "Hmmm. 'Calm.' Is that what we're calling it these days?). Pat has a serious point, though. She reminds me that in late-July and August of every summer that I have known her, I started to miss the classroom. I had developed the bad habit of using, say, our meals together, to "teach" various lessons in social and cultural theory or Chinese historiography. 

She is far too kind to say that it was oppressive, but it is with relief that she talks of my "calm" these days.

A post a day keeps the ennui away. 

Since 2011, I have enjoyed normal family meals, and "calmly" posted my blog.

And that is what has been happening on these "pages" for the past two-plus years. It is a sea of calm—a thousand, mostly thousand-word—posts meant to probe the little backwaters of our shared cultures and histories. 

If you do the math, it's a little scary (a thousand...times a thousand...equals...a whole lot of stuff).

And just the beginning. 

"We're" just doing it...over and over. 

That's the whole point.
[d] Whole bunches RF

No comments:

Post a Comment