Aldon Hynes's blog

One Man’s Meat

(Originally posted at Greater Democracy)

I am sitting at a beach house out on Cape Cod. Half the family has gone out whale watching and the other half is still sleeping. We spent much of yesterday at the beach, playing in the sand and the waves. It seems like a perfect setting for reading E.B. White’s One Man’s Meat. It is a collection of essays that White wrote while living on a saltwater farm in Maine during World War II.

In the foreword, his stepson, Roger Angell writes, “Who amongst us can be certain that when another time as vivid and dangerous sweeps us up we will find an E. B. White somewhere to talk to us in these quiet and compelling tones?” While I may be a long way from being an E. B. White in what seems to me to be another vivid and dangerous time, I do strive for his tone.

This morning, I read White reflecting on the war coverage of Hendrick van Loon. White writes, “I have liked his reports on the day’s events because he has made them seem like part of a whole, not like an isolated moment in time.” It has seemed to me that much of the coverage of 9/11, Al Qaeda, Afghanistan, Iraq, and this year’s presidential election has been ‘breaking news’, isolated in this post turn of the millennium moment.

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Sunday in August

It is a lazy Sunday morning in August. Kim and Fiona are on the Cape. Mairead and Miranda are on their way back from Michigan. Hurricane Charley, now a tropical storm, or even less, is on his way out into the North Atlantic. I should probably be at church, but I am doing a little last minute packing and cleaning as I await the kids’ return and then head out to Cape Cod with them.

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Creating political maps

Recently, I’ve been interested in using computers to generate maps for political purposes. Folks from CCAG helped train me in using ArcView. ArcView is a very impressive mapping program. It is very powerful, and hence very complicated. I’ve used it to produce turf maps like this.. I still feel as if I’ve barely scratched the surface. I am hoping to see some integration between mapping software and projects such as CivicSpace or Advokit

About patriotism...

A recurring theme I've been running into is taking back patriotism. Samuel Johnson's quote, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" has often been brought up. Many people claim that his barb was really aimed at those false patriots who equate patriotism with their specific political philosophy.

On one mailing list, I sent this as my reply discussions about flag waving at the Democractic National Convention:

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My Social Networks

Today, I receive an email inviting me to join I'm on many online social networks, so I thought I would provide a few comments about them here.

I've been on Ecademy for a long time. It is based on an early version of Drupal, and is a pretty good group of people. It has a strong focus on ebusiness and particularly in England.

I've been on Ryze for quite a while as well. It seems very business oriented, particularly in the States. A lot of people are on both Ryze and Ecademy.

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