TITLE: Knowing and Doing Has Come Unstuck in Time AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: November 11, 2004 5:17 PM DESC: Happy birthday to Kurt Vonnegut, who has a connection to my blog that even he doesn't know about. ----- BODY: Today is Kurt Vonnegut's birthday. I've been reading Vonnegut since high school, before I even knew that, like me, he was a native the uniquely Midwestern big city of Indianapolis. Some folks have one author they can always turn to when they want to remind themselves of their humanity, and Vonnegut is that author for me. I even spent a few days one summer a few years back (or misspent, depending on your perspective) tabulating The Books of Bokonon, the phony religion that Vonnegut created in his novel Cat's Cradle. Of all the hundreds or thousands of pages that I have created for the web, this one page generates more and more consistent feedback from readers around the world. Vonnegut readers are a kindred lot. Billy Pilgrim, Kilgore Trout, Eliot Rosewater, Rabo Karabekian -- all are among my favorite characters in literature. Vonnegut has never been a haute auteur of the sort that attracts "serious" literary attention, but he can create as fully human a character as anyone I've read. Now, someone's 82nd birthday is hardly the sort of landmark that ordinarily calls for a big celebration. (Well, inasmuch as an 82nd birthday isn't grounds enough to celebrate!) But Vonnegut has a particular connection to my blog: I very nearly named my blog for one of his stories. I don't know about most other bloggers, but I spent considerable mental energy trying to find just the right name. Names are important. I wanted a name that I could live with a long time, one that would send the right message to potential readers. I ended up choosing "Knowing and Doing" in order to send a relatively straightforward message to readers, and to fit in with the mold of other blogs. But the names of three Vonnegut stories made the final cut: "Now It Can Be Told", "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow", and "The Euphio Question". I like them all. "Now It Can Be Told" and "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow" even sound like blog names. The one I like best, though, was the "The Euphio Question", but I ultimately decided that it was just too indirect to suit me. Why did I consider it?
The story includes a description of a musical device created by Dr. Bockman, which leaves listeners "inexplicably grinning like idiots."I guess that, deep down, I hoped to have a similar effect on all my readers. But that seems a pretty high bar to set for one's self before ever writing a single entry, so I settled for a name that sounds as pretentious but doesn't promise rapture to my readers. :-) -----