Sunday, December 16, 2012

Good News, Bad News (professionally speaking)

I inherited a bunch of corny jokes from my father, and I'm trying to be faithful and pass them on to the next generation.  Among them are a set of good news - bad news jokes.  I think my dad's favorite was:
The first mate goes below deck on one of those galley ships where slaves have to row with long oars to make the boat move.  He announces to the slaves, "I have good news and bad news; which do you want to hear first?"  They say, "Give us the good news."  So the first mate says, "The good news is that we're having steak for supper!"  Everyone cheers until one guy says, "Well what's the bad news?"  The first mate says, "After supper the captain wants to go water skiing."
My favorite is:
A cowboy injured his leg while rustling cattle, and it had to be amputated.  After he had woken up from the surgery the doctor came to him and said, "Well, I've got some good news and some bad news; which do you want to hear first?"  The cowboy thought a second then said, "Give me the bad news, doc."  So the doctor said a bit sheepishly, "OK, I'm afraid that we cut off the wrong leg, so we're going to have to go back into surgery again.  Sorry."  The cowboy said, "Are you serious??  That's awful.  What could possibly be the good news in this?"  The doctor answered, "Well, there's a guy down on the third floor who said that he'd buy your boots."
This weekend for me has been one of good news and bad news in the professional arena.  Which do you want to hear first?  The bad news?  OK.  I found out that I did not get a big grant I had applied for with a couple of other people.  We made it through the first round and were invited to submit a final proposal in October.  We really thought that it was going to go through and propel us into superstardom in the world of philosophy (which isn't really saying that much).  But evidently it was not meant to be.  And unfortunately they didn't even tell us why--just the standard, "There was very strong competition and we wish we could have funded all of the proposals."

So what's the good news, you ask?  I was mailed an advance copy of Dec 26th edition of The Christian Century, and the article I wrote for them awhile back is the cover article.  That was an unexpected surprise. I wrote an article on cosmology and theology for them back during the summer.  The editor and I had some positive emails back and forth, that resulted in his saying, "we'll move toward publication of this."  Then about three weeks ago I received a pdf of the proofs, but still didn't know it was going to be the featured story.

Now, most of you reading this probably aren't familiar with the The Christian Century.  It is a bi-weekly magazine aimed primarily at the Protestant mainline community (United Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopals, and so on).  I like to read it to stay abreast of the wider Christian thinking in the country.  At some point in the two-week cycle my article should be available on their website here.  They say that they make all of the magazine articles available on a rotating basis.  Then after the following edition comes out, I think it will be permanently available.

Now I'm sitting by the phone, waiting for the Tonight Show to tell me when the jet will arrive to pick me up for my interview.


Sam Ochstein said...

Congrats, Jim! Perhaps I should renew my subscription to Christian Century!

Anonymous said...

Well done Jim! I continue to be blessed by your scholarship!