Producer of the Week: Eudaimonia

Posted by sdesapio 9 years, 11 months ago to Featured Producers
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An active Gulch member and top contributor since Atlas Shrugged Part 1, Rick Poach (Eudaimonia) takes a moment to share with us his appreciation for Ayn Rand as well as his latest Papa Possum verse (EXCLUSIVE).

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* Favorite Ayn Rand book:
My favorite of Ayn Rand's books is the one which I read first, “Atlas Shrugged”. “Atlas Shrugged” is also the book which I most recommend and gift. However, it was Rand's books of collected essays which really solidified her philosophy for me. I often think that these collections are overlooked, but they are excellent.

* Favorite Ayn Rand character:
Heroes: Francisco D'anconia. In 2011, I entered the Atlas Shrugged Scholarship essay contest. My entry was titled “Francisco D'Anconia and the Art of War” (http://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/32...). It is a good window into why he is my favorite Rand hero.
Villains: I believe that a great story needs great villains - so, Ellsworth Monkton Toohey and Gus Webb, both from The Fountainhead. These characters are excellent examples of the Ruling Class Left and the Thug Left. I reference them often when talking about today's Leftists.

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Q & A

* When were you first introduced to Ayn Rand?
My first introduction to Ayn Rand was not pleasant. I encountered two people, one in my late teens and one early twenties, who claimed to be Objectivists. The first used Rand as a cudgel to condemn anything which made him feel inferior. The second used Rand as a justification for mistreating people whom he believed inferior. It was not until I had actually read Rand that I realized how mistaken both of these people were in their interpretations of Rand and Objectivism.

In my mid-twenties I was given a copy of “Atlas Shrugged” by a musician with whom I jammed from time to time. He had never personally read the book himself, but said that I reminded him of his brother, and that his brother had loved “Atlas Shrugged.” I accepted the gift but left it unread for months because of my previous unpleasant experiences with people who called themselves Objectivists.

Then, of course, I finally read it, and was amazed at what I read. I came to understand the world around me much better. I even came to see how those two unpleasant people were themselves just immature and trying imperfectly to find their own way with their own circumstances and motivations.

* How has Ayn Rand influenced your life?
The ways in which Rand's works have influenced my life are exactly the opposite of what detractors would have you believe her influence produces. Rather than stifling my intellectual curiosity, I have pursued a degree in philosophy. Rather than engendering arrogance, it has taught me the humility of always questioning whether I am desiring something which I have not earned - whether I have provided value relative to what I have received or expect to receive. Rather than predation, it has taught me that each person is sovereign: to trade fairly if I expect the same - to always keep in mind that each person's motivations are deeply personal to them and to respect those motivations, even if I do not know them, if I expect the same.

Most importantly, it has given me criteria by which to choose my friends and colleagues well, and a framework by which to evaluate the world around me especially as I study philosophy further.

* What passion project are you working on now?
I am one of those scatter-shot people who always have too many sticks in the fire. I have many projects that I bounce between. It's not a perfect method of task management, but it's how I get things done. Here is a sample:

1) Papa Possum (http://www.papapossum.com): At the end of 2008, frustrated at the electoral victory of the 60's Democrat's, I started writing political satire in verse. As a nod to the political satire which we all grew up with, (Mother Goose nursery rhymes), I chose the pseudonym Papa Possum. In 2010, I decided to self-publish fourteen of these satires as a book. Recognizing that the problem with political satire is context (which is why most people don't realize that a lot of Mother Goose was, in fact, political satire), I decided to notate each included satire. The collection is titled (as a nod to the Roman poet and political satirist Juvenal) “Libellus Primus Saturarum – The First Little Book of Satires”. I am currently halfway through notating the last piece and would like to have the book (finally) finished early next year. The collection of Papa Possum satires are available on line.

2) Moving: Joan (Mrs. Eudaimonia) and I are slowly packing up our belongings in an effort to get out of New England and move to Wyoming. The move is strictly political, we are tired of living in an area which grows increasingly more socialist.

3) Education: I have always been self-educated and avoided the expected Marxist indoctrination of a University education. I decided five years ago to finally do battle and get degreed. I have been pursuing part time a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.S. in Mathematics. Unfortunately, finishing these degrees is on hold until we move.

4) Consulting: For a day job, I consult in OpenSource middleware programming on *nix platforms. As a side note, the contract which I was supposed to start this month has been pushed back to January. So, if any Gulchers have some work to be done, don't hesitate to contact me.

5) Languages: I study languages as a hobby. When I'm bored and don't want to work on one of my other projects, I will fire up Rosetta Stone or http://Duolingo.com and run through some language drills.

* Where do you go? or How is Ron?
As some of you might have noticed, I drop out of sight from time to time and for extended periods of time. Those who have asked about it were told about my father-in-law Ron. Ron is a Korean War vet who lives with me and Joan (his daughter). He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in March. Joan and I have been spending time since then dealing with bureaucracies, driving him to appointments, and caring for him. The good news is that he has been finally green-lit for an aortic valve replacement in early January. We are hoping that his strength will return after the surgery. In the meantime, Ron is doing as well as can be expected, and has no reservation with kicking my ass at Setback whenever he can. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have from time to time asked about him and us. It is very much appreciated.

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See Rick's latest Papa Possum verse: http://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/27...
Read Rick's “Francisco D'Anconia and the Art of War”: http://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/32...

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  • Posted by $ stargeezer 9 years, 11 months ago
    Congrats buddy. I appreciate the opportunity to get to know you better. And I'm very happy to hear that you have plans to make an escape from that evil land (BG). And that your future is to be found in a land that provides some of the best hunting/shooting/fishing in the country. Please believe me, if it were not for my arthritis I'd be heading to that wonderland too.

    Please pass this old soldiers best wishes to your father and to you and your wife I would offer the greatest assurance that those who care for their parents have a special place in the heart of God. Well done my friend.
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  • Posted by RogerMalcolm 9 years, 11 months ago
    Reading your description of yourself having "too many sticks in the fire" sounds like myself. Though I agree it might not be the way for everyone it certainly works out for me. Recently having moved from one town to another I found it rough getting back into my routine, as if I had one. I don't want to imagine moving to another state, especially not after my Air Force days. Good luck with the move.

    I study Japanese in my spare time. I figured if I was gonna devote so much time to Japanese cinema and puroresu (Japanese pro-wrestling) I might as well understand the language. I had never heard of duolingo.com before so I'll be sure to check it out. I too use Rosetta Stone and enjoy it.

    I'm your 7th twitter follower @papapossum and I didn't realize Mother Goose was a political satirist. Thanks for that and the information about your introduction to Ayn Rand and your self-education. The world needs more self-educated folks.
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  • Posted by $ Stormi 9 years, 10 months ago
    Rick, good luck on the move. I loved living in Cheyenne, Wyoming, but it made me too independent for Ohio tastes! Of course I also lived in New Mexico, Texas and North Dakota, which added to that independent thought. You should love it.
    Your father-in-law should feel much better after the surgery. My Dad had valve replacement years ago, and we soon took him for a visit to Wright's Fallingwater, in Penna. as a reward. He continued to thrive for many years after that.
    I am so glad to hear you are going for a dual degree, never quit learning. I started in computers, switched to business school degree in accounting, took a Vet Tech. out of boredom and because we had horses at one point, then went back and got a dual B.A. in Philosophy and English. I loved every minute of it, and it does make you realize how much more there is to learn, always.
    You are right about those original pseudo-objectivists. I still remember how ticked I was when they completely got it wrong in "Dirty Dancing", defining the theme of the book much as your friends once did. That's Hollywood!
    Looking forward to your posts.
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  • Posted by JossAmbrose 9 years, 11 months ago
    Great read Rick, I dearly wish I'd discovered Ayn Rand in my 20s. I feel like I've wasted years of my life for not knowing any better. Yes, I'm trying to make up for it now, but it's not easy, given choices made in my past. I was a very different person once.

    On a lighter note, it's interesting to hear your connected with Unix. I'm attempting to learn how it all works at present. I'm running three distros - all variants of Ubuntu, with different GUIs, & considering installing Arch Linux on my desktop, as I understand it's better for learning command line (in at the deep end). I'm a total noob so any advice would be most welcome. ;]

    Hope your Father-In-Law's op goes well & that he makes a speedy recovery.
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    • Posted by Eudaimonia 9 years, 11 months ago
      At home I run OpenBSD on my servers and Ubuntu Linux on my desktops.

      If a future release of VMWare runs on OpenBSD, then I would run OpenBSD on all of my desktops as well.

      A very good book to learn how to *think* in *nix command line is Kernighan & Pike "The UNIX Programming Environment"
      It is a bit outdated in its material, but do not be fooled - if you invest the *months* of effort required to get through this little book, you will easily find yourself a seeing GUIs as a big pain in the ass to get around ("Where's the damned command line!")

      Thanks about Ron.
      Trying to keep his spirits up.
      The 13th is still relatively a long way off.
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      • Posted by JossAmbrose 9 years, 11 months ago
        Thanks for the book recommendation, it's probably exactly what I need right now - just bought it. I'm sure it'll keep me entertained (& frustrated) for months on end. :)
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        • Posted by Eudaimonia 9 years, 11 months ago
          Good for you!
          That book will definitely open some doors.

          If you're interested in installs, system configuration, and sysadmin, I would recommend "Absolute OpenBSD" even if you don't use a BSD system.

          OpenBSD gives you almost nothing preconfigured.
          If you want it, you have to configure it.
          It forces you to learn the system, but once you do you have a great amount of control over it.
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          • Posted by JossAmbrose 9 years, 11 months ago
            That's brilliant. I've bookmarked the page & will grab it when I need it. OpenBSD sounds like the way to go. I've got an old computer I'm planning to use for experimentation but need to buy new ram & power supply for it first.

            Thanks very much for your help.
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            • Posted by Eudaimonia 9 years, 11 months ago
              As a joke, my home network internet gateway, first firewall, DNS server, and NTP server are all run on an OpenBSD box I call Frankenstein.

              It was a Win98 PC that a friend of mine was throwing out because it was obsolete.
              The hardware was, and still is fine.
              Moral of the story: don't run Microsoft.
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              • Posted by JossAmbrose 9 years, 10 months ago
                I've got three machines from circa 2005, all running beautifully on Linux. One in particular - an old HP laptop, has proven to be a real workhorse. I've used it for some quite serious music & video editing in the past. It was gutless on 95 & XP.
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              • Posted by JossAmbrose 9 years, 10 months ago
                The book you recommended arrived & I started using it a few days ago. It's very early days but things are beginning to make sense. Thanks again.

                How did Ron's op go? is he well?
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              • Posted by Hiraghm 9 years, 11 months ago
                OpenBSD and FreeBSD are not Linux :)
                (seems someone always has to point that out when one of them is mentioned).
                I ran FreeBSD for awhile for my server system. Also a variety of flavors of Linux. Currently I don't run Linux on anything, but I still follow the development of LinuxMint. I keep hoping it can catch up to and supersede Ubuntu (spit spit... that word!)
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  • Posted by plusaf 9 years, 11 months ago
    Thanks for sharing all that!
    and best wishes for a successful outcome to the operation, too. My sister-in-law had that done earlier this year (it's still two minutes to 2014 here) and she's doing just wonderfully!

    I'm glad you're here. Happy New Year!
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  • Posted by preimert1 9 years, 11 months ago
    At first I thought of Papa Possum as a grown up Pogo--subtle doggerel and swamp humor--that I enjoyed as a boy. Walt Kelly was a man of his time, I guess. When I reference Pogo and chortle about what he might be saying today, my kids look at me blankly as I try to explain. But I still have an old high school chum back in Atlanta who still remembers, and we laugh together. Thanks Rick.
    Wish you could draw (or maybe you can)
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    • Posted by Eudaimonia 9 years, 11 months ago
      Thank you, preimert1.

      I can't draw a straight line, unfortunately.
      I hired an illustrator for the book.
      He is the same illustrator who did the attached sketch of Papa Possum.
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  • Posted by squareone 9 years, 11 months ago
    I find Objectivism a very useful tool in my every day activities, whether business, my art and photography, or social interaction. Objectivism is not the same for everyone, but must be adapted (not compromised) to one's own life.
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