Saturday, May 31, 2003

Wow! A prof from my (former-though-it-may-not-know-it) university forwarded the following quotation from a student essay to the departmental list: "The existence of historical evidence may prejudice us against keeping an open mind."


"Lily (My one and only)" by Smashing Pumpkins.

Sheesh! Not one but two! of Scott's favorite fellow bloggers have flowers prominently displayed on their pages.

Let me just say that my lack of interest in flowers is one of a list of things which make me feel distant from (seemingly) every other human on the planet. I also

-- believe dogs to be useless (and dangerous) until proven useful (and non dangerous)
-- have rarely met a poem I like
-- am put off by perfume and cologne
-- don't understand the big deal about jewelry

So i'm all misanthropic about certain issues. I figure, if a plant can't live of its own accord (and I've done nothing to hinder it's life) then fuck it. I have nothing against plant enthusiasts, mind you, but I ain't one of them. As I type this, for instance, I'm sitting next to plants who only get watered when I work extra hard to remember that they exist. If it were up to me (and isn't) they would be replaced by cacti or some other less needy thing.

I heard "Sloop John B" by the Beach Boys, "Hamhock Blues" by the Buddy Rich Orchestra, "The Man who Sold the World" by David Bowie, and "Night and Day" by Ella Fitzgerald.


"One Slip" by Pink Floyd

Friday, May 30, 2003

But what about pointed sticks? SHUT UP! [bang!]

"Living for the City" by Stevie Wonder.

As the Monkees (reloaded) once sang, that was then, this is now.

"I'm Not Down" however (Clash).

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Oh, and "Tusk" (live) by Fleetwood Mac.

Never having been a fan of the NYT, I very much enjoy the current nastiness (except for the racism it is bringing out in some folks, but even that has the merit of forcing people to show their cards). I clearly enjoyed reading Firestorm in the Newsroom for that reason. I suppose the case will now be made that Rick Bragg has gotten preferential treatment because he's from Alabama. No? You think it is just a coincidence that he and Howell Raines are both from the Heart of Greggie? We dare defend our writes! Heh.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

EEEEWWWW!!! There are, apparently, people someone is referring to as Hipublicans. According to the link (or, rather, the thing to which the link leads) there is an article in the New York Times Magazine (did Jayson Blair ever write for that?) about young fascists on campus trying to be hip. I've not seen the actual article, but my first instinct is that it is based on a rather small sample of people taken from what is a rather small "movement".

By the way, in Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant Masacree", how many people did he say it would take before "they" would call "it" a movement?

My second instinct is "of course there are such people." After all, the Rick Santorums of the world didn't just spring fully-formed from the mind of Richard Mellon Scaife: say what you will about the governmental feather of the right wing in the US, but you can't say they didn't get edumacated somewhere at some point.

The article seems to have focused entirely on students at rather expensive private schools. The blogger to whom I linked takes the article to task for that, and rightly so. But there is bad news for the blogger (perhaps he knows this): there are LOADS of conservative students at public institutions ranging from the lowliest junior college to the loftiest heights of Berkleydom.

And why not? US culture (particularly middle and upper-middle class white culture) is VERY conservative on most political issues (death penalty, labor rights, minority rights, sexual freedoms, foreign policy issues, etc. [Don't say "but what about concern for the environment? Surely our students' concern for the environment is cause for some joy!" It is, but you shouldn't forget that tree hugging has not always been monopolized by the left: read up on the Nazis, for a start.]) and has been (except for a brief, and perhaps illusory, interlude during the 1970s) for a long, long, long time.

[aside: I just heard 5 gunshots. Or was it 6? Do I feel lucky?]

My point is this: the right wing has 2 main weapons: surprise, fear, and a, NO! 3 main weapons! surprise, fear, and a ruthless dedication to an ideology.

In no particular order: it has been amply demonstrated, over the past 20 years at least, that the Hipublican Party has a fair amount of political discipline (Carlton just recently blogged his thoughts on this). The party has a message and it sticks to it and, whenever it can, it makes the word into flesh. The movement behind the Hipublicans makes great hay of the fear it arouses among the Hipocrats (see what I just did there? Clever, eh?) and uses the reaction to make the reactors seem, well, reactionary ("shrill" is a favorite word used to describe critics of the right).

The first (NO! third!) main weapon is surprise: right-wing movments all over the world (or conservatives, or reactionaries, or fascists, or whatever) have often if not always used a variation of "we few, we happy few, are all who stand between the many them and the spiritual/ethical/economic/religious/political/national/racial oblivion they so desire for us." This siege mentality, I imagine, keeps one warm at night and does wonders for furthering ideological discipline (certain commies used to be all about cadres for a similar reason). This seeming paranoia surprises many people on the near or genuine left, and they then underestimate the right as kooky. They should not.

See also "fear", by the way, which was the second main weapon. The Big Brother types in Orwell's 1984 clearly understood that if you keep people off balance with the threat of imminent death (or various sorts of oblivion), they will look for leadership and eagerly follow.

What we have is a situation not unlike what I describe below. Your average rightwinger can wake up in the morning in a US where presidents he supports have run the most powerful country on earth (in history?) for 30 of the past 50 years (and JFK, LBJ, JC, and El BJ spent a good portion of their terms in office in mortal fear of being perceived as too "left" on a host of issues), where local, state, and federal government march to Sousa more often than not, where religion has the most prominent role in public life of any industrialized society, and where taxes on private and corporate income and property ownership are low by world standards and getting lower, and he can scratch his pits, eat his grits, and consider how dreadfully under-represented HIS point of view is. And he can do it with the utmost sincerity.

He can also read the bloody-minded, status-quo oriented New York Times and scoff at how liberal it is (without even bothering to consider how it could possibly be that the London Times would be down-right bolshie by his standards), watch Fox News and internalize how fair and balanced it is, and support the Guantanamo Bay internment camp while marvelling at the view from atop his city upon a hill. He can enjoy an impossibly fresh (and impossibly cheap) grapefruit, if grits don't turn him on (and if grits don't turn YOU on, brothers and sisters, then you really need to get that fixed), while muttering at how awful it is that Mexican immigrants seem determined to take "our" jobs. He can rail against big government handouts to the urban poor (who really should just get a fucking job before the Mexicans snatch them all away), while going off to work at General Electric or Boeing or what's left of WorldCom.

At some point during the day he might communicate with his son (or, if he is really into doublethink, his daughter) who has, during four years of college (at a big-government funded school, even if it is private) had ONE class with ONE teacher who seems to be a bit left of center and has brought a counter narrative into the classroom. "The last straw!" he thinks "now they are corrupting the youth!" Good job little Matthew (or Stephanie) has found a few like-minded kids on campus and that they have had a chance to *actually meet* Alan Keyes (whose life story just goes to show you that you can't let anyone hold you back just because you are a member of a minority. A guy like him? I'd have HIM over for dinner!).

I could go on and on and on, but the more I think about it, the less I want to buy a plane ticket. And no plane ticket means no chance to see my parents this summer and no chance to prove to one of Scott's readers that I do NOT idly suggest driving (anything, anywhere, anytime, for any reason, unless public transport just plain makes more sense). I am a trucker in an alternate universe, you see. I am the trucker who searches the truck stop jukeboxes for Midnight Oil. I am a legend.

I found the thing that set me off on my ramble, by the way, at Tom Tomorrow's website.

I heard, while I blogged, the following (other than the gunshots, which were totally real) -- Glenn Miller Orchestra "Tuxedo Junction" (named after a place 1 mile from where I was born); The Who "Underture"; Talking Heads "Wild Wild Life"; Fred Astaire "I Concentrate on You"; and Billy Joel "She's Right on Time".

Monday, May 26, 2003

Incurable, brain-rotting, chickens-coming-home-to-roost death: it's what's for dinner!!!

It has crossed my mind that the world may be populated (human-wise) by the descendents of Hindus, Jains, and those other more-or-less vegetarian peoples in a few decades.

I stopped eating beef (sort of) just after Thanksgiving 2000. I had thought about moving towards vegetarianism for some time for political reasons (I lurrrrrve meat) and chose to pick on beef because, I figured, I didn't eat all that much beef anyway and the cattle industry was particularly nasty. So, in Richmond, Indiana, I had White Castle burgers for dinner and made my determination to save the cows while I savored my indigestion the next morning.

I have cheated. I've eaten beef on a few occaisions since then (mostly to be polite, you understand: a good guest eats what is put in front of him!) but have been largely dead-cow-free since that morning. I weaned out other critters (more or less) over a year ago. I've cheated on that, too.

What concerns me is that I had some British beef back in 1993, and a good bit again in 1995. Of course, Mad Cow is hardly a problem exclusive to the Brits.

Anyway, as Curtis Mayfield once sang, if there's Hell below, we are all gonna go (except for the Hindus and Jains).

I hear Anita O'Day singing "I Love You" followed by "Mystify" by INXS.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Right now, various parts of western and central Africa are facing crises that are not only among the worst in human history, but also are going on with a tragic lack of coverage and outcry (at least in the sources I read). So it is (weirdly) nice to see the BBC devoting bandwidth to one of the crises. Sad, however, that their writers either didn't notice (bad enough) or got a kick out of (even worse) this really strange headline: Pygmies plead not to be eaten.

I hear a live version of "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" by the Allman Brothers (at 13 minutes, just long enough to give you a sense of how much cooler and better they were than pretty much any other group of people who have ever considered themselves a rock band).

I read Franklin's Findings regularly. I began by following a link on NoWarBlog a few months ago. I went for the antiwar talk, and stayed for the wit and comic book stuff, you might say.

Decent blog, generally (although I don't get his politics sometimes), but I'm making a special point of cut/pasting this post especially for Chris:

Franklin Harris wrote, on 23 May:

"Nothing personal, mind you, but I'd hoped that Ruben Studdard would not win the American Idol competition. I do my best to avoid contact with all of the "realty" shows currently eating up airwaves and bandwidth. I've never seen an episode of American Idol. I don't watch Fear Factor. I've seen a total of 10 minutes of Survivor. But now that the tubby singer from Birmingham, Ala., has won, I cannot avoid him. I cannot avoid people talking about him. He is on TV. He is on radio. He is on the front page of the newspaper -- my newspaper, the one that pays my bills. The Birmingham News devoted a special section to him.

Yes. I now hate Ruben Studdard. Again, though, it's nothing personal.

I can see it now. In the future, when schoolteachers assign reports on famous Alabamians, there, among possible subjects like Booker T. Washington, Jessie Owens and George Washington Carver, will be Ruben Studdard.

This state sucks."

Har! Of course, Since I've spent 90% of the last 13 years outside of Alabama (and around 35% outside of the US), this only confronts me slightly. Funny, though. And I'll bet he's right about the "famous Alabamians" bit: both Gomer and Goober Pyle were featured in my Alabama history text book.

I hear a version of the Eminem song "Stan" where some smart person has filled the lyrics bit with Vanilla Ice rapping "Ice Ice Baby".

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

By the way, I hear "D'yer Mak'er" by Led Zepplin right now and wanted to pass along something that many of you (if there ARE many of you) may already know.

I once saw a tv interview with Robert Plant and he explained that the song title is from a joke.

ONE ENGLISH GUY: My wife's gone off to Kingston.
ONE ENGLISH GUY: No. She left of her own accord.

Get it?

Plant said it always makes him laugh when Americans talk about how much they love "Dire Maker".

I forgot to mention that, just as I clicked "publish" the itunes went from "Nickel Bags" by Digable Planets to "Rudie Can't Fail" by the Clash.


Airy "the Mouth of Sauron" Fleischer has announced his resignation. Reportedly he wants to go "spend time with his family." Ugh.

Leave aside, for a moment, the frightening thought of what sort of children he and his (no doubt charming) wife might raise. Let's think about his time-spending.

Have you ever noticed how frequently people in politics and people from the higher rungs of the corporate ladder use that excuse? I have. It is used pretty damned frequently. I say "fuck them". Why? Well I'll tell you.

The very notion that they could just kick off their jackboots and snuggle 'round the hearth with the brood is a testament to the obscene wealth these people possess.

Do drive-thru clerks at McDonald's rejoice at the opportunity to spend time with THEIR families? I'm sure they do. They don't quit to do it, of course. If they have a family with which to spend time (other than their parents, with whom some of them may still live), they would probably get to spend time with them down at the local food pantry or shelter (actually, they may have to do that anyway).

It puts me in mind of my time as a lad. When I was a lad I spent a bit of time with MY family at the little neighborhood cafe my parents owned (don't get jealous: it was small, mom was there all the fucking time, and dad was there whenever he wasn't doing his OTHER full-time job, which was fighting fires). The period of their ownership coincided nicely with the all-but-closing of the local Pullman Standard factory (the factory made railroad cars and related stuff). Lots of local folks worked there (it was HUGE) or at US Pipe (also downsized) or at Bristol Steel (closed) or at US Steel (dramatically downsized).

** aside: FUCK YOU RONALD REAGAN (also sprach the coolest kidpunk band ever: Old Skull) **

Back. So the dudes (mostly) who were laid off spent a fair amount of their workdays at the cafe. They drank a good bit of coffee (free for the laid-off dudes, cuz my daddy was a union man). They spent time with their children, too, when school was out. This time was spent at the cafe.

There wasn't much happiness floating around the cafe in those days.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Of all the two-bit international targets in all the world, they had to blow up those!

Gallows humor, don't ya know.

Let's recap the successes of the Bush foreign policy since late 2001:

Afghanistan is, in many ways, NOT better off than it was.
Iraq is, so far, cruising down a similar path.
The US has two meaningful allies left in the world (UK and Israel).
Al-Quaeda seems to be really strong.


I hear "Coming Back to Life" by Pink Floyd and "Desert Rose" by Sting and that dude.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Today was "Teachers' Day" (at least here in Mex). I was unaware of such a holiday. I got a memo, but promptly filed it in my "I don't care" box. I did get some specially-printed cards which the students are encouraged to dole out to their favorite teacher.

How many cards did YOU get, Greggie Brown?

I got 6.

How many students do YOU have, Greggie Brown?

I have around 150 students.

I also got an apple with flowers stuck in it. One of my students actually paid for that arrangement. It is the thought that counts.

At Birgit's school it is a big deal (it isn't really such a big deal at mine. Really. It isn't. Why are you looking at me like that?) and the students handed out lavish gifts (we both teach more than a few wealthy children). Interestingly, the gifts were apparently somewhat less lavish, on average, than in years past. One teacher jokingly chalked it up to "wartime shortages".

I hear "He Said" by Edie Brickell and New Bohemians and "Lithium" by Nirvana.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Interesting stuff from William Pfaff.

I hear "Moving in Stereo" by the Cars (and can imagine Phoebe Cates walking slowly towards the camera).


The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very High
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate

Take the Dante's Divine Comedy Inferno Test

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

It's been over two weeks, I think, since the last time I said how little use I have for Madonna. Now is as good a time as any to mention that, I figure.

Meanwhile, Noel Redding (bassist for the Jimi Hendrix Experience) died. He was really good. Listen to the song "Manic Depression": he plays, essentially, every single note Hendrix does, except on his bass. I wonder if he could play with his teeth.

I hear "(Just Like) Starting Over" by John Lennon.

By the way, for those of you (like me) who don't usually do math right quick in your head, here are some figgers:

If you TAKE HOME 40,000 per year, every year, and KEEP IT ALL, you'd have 1.2 million dollars at the end of 30 years.

60k per year will yield 1.8 mill
80k will yield 2.4 mill
100k, it follows like the night the day, 3 million.

That's if you keep every last penny. Forget about buying ANYTHING. Fuck Bill Bennet and the stupid fucking bookbuyers he rode in on.

Assume you have 2 kids: add, for the sake of argument, 10,000 per year in various kid-related expenses. A house? Say you pay a mortgage of 300 per month (which I reckon to be a SWEET motgage or a shitty house or both): $3600 per year. A car? I'm going to go with a nice, round $5000 per year to cover paying for the thing itself, insurance, repairs, and gas (probably estimating low). That's $18,000 per year ($540k over 30 years) worth of delays in your quest towards Bennet-like mad money. And you haven't eaten yet. And you haven't clothed yourself yet. And you haven't furnished your (cheap) house. And you haven't gone on vacation. And you haven't paid for health or dental care at all.

Class war? What, me? Pacifist? GRRRRRRRR

I hear "Sweet Sue (Just You)" by Leon Redbone and "Sundown" by Gordon Lightfoot.

You know, I loathe Bill Bennett and (I assume, having not read anything he's written *wink*) everything he stands for. I have gathered that he's essentially a person who has made his fame and fortune by recycling old platitudes about morality and selling them. He has, to paraphrase an old saw in a Bennet-like manner, poured old grape juice into new bottles. Am I right so far? I think so. I don't really care too much. The Right seems to dig him, so my gut tells me to step away.

Anyway, he apparently lost around $8 million in casinos over the last ten years. I was just trying to figure out if, over the entire 31 years of my existence, I've even SPENT $8 million. I am pretty sure, upon further consideration, that if you count up all the money my parents and I have been paid over the years for various goods and services you wouldn't have anywhere near that much money. And our boy LOST that much! In only TEN YEARS! And still seems to have plenty where it came from!

Interestingly, Bennet supposedly used to be a professor at my own beloved University of Southern Mississippi. I know not what he professed. Somehow he got into the cabinet of Dubyahdaddy (or was it Reagan?) and then found the morality muse. Which of the jobs listed above pay enough money to allow for an $800,000 per year back-monkey?

This much is clear: There is an "us", and there is a "them". Bill Bennet should be one of the first "them" who gets hands laid upon him come the revolution.

I hear "This Time" by the Verve, "Wire" by U2, a Russian pop song, and "One More Time" by the Clash.

RIGHT ON! The Onion is down with the Matrixhate!

I hear some song by some dude sung in Spanish.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I forgot to mention that I heard, as I blogged, "The Wild Wild Sea" by Sting, Ali G interviewing Alexander Haig, and "This Time" by Dwight Yoakam.

I posted briefly on the NYT's lying journalist before and I didn't notice that the fellow was (I suppose he still is) black. Had I caught that, I might have been moved to wonder about the ways in which this would become part of the story. This piece in (or is it "on") AlterNet does talk about that. Tell me, people in the US: is a big deal being made of his race?

I can well imagine that the answer to my question is a big ole "yes", and I thoroughly agree with one of the things the Alternet article argues: when a black person does something for good or ill (although especially for ill), all black people are indirectly held to account for it by US white culture. The obverse is not (and never has been) true. That's precisely the sort of thing that makes Michael Moore's book "Stupid White Men" so clever: he points that out with a huge giant foamy sportsfan finger.

On a related note: those of you who have never had any real experience of being a member of a minority should get some. It opens your eyes, in a tiny way, to what people who are born into a minority deal with all the time.

On an unrelated note: Shelley has been offered a (seemingly quite good) job. Scott has made reservations on her tastefully tailored coattails. Congratulate them, even if they choose, for some reason, to decline the offer.

Monday, May 12, 2003

For those of you (and there may only be a few, but you few are important) who still doubt that Dubyah was chosen by the God of Adam himself to wield the terrible swift sword, consider this:

Not only has the US captured a dude named Chemical Ali, and a woman named Mrs. Anthrax, but now they've got Dr. Germ! Why would there be people with such incriminating names working in Iraq if there weren't overt support from the regime of Saddam Hussein? If you were just a regular old, God-fearing scientist with some self respect, wouldn't you change your name to "Smith" or something so that no one would think ill of you? But not these people! Oh no! They walked proudly into the Baghdad Crackerbarrell and had "Anthrax, party of four" and similar stuff announced over the loudspeakers!

And don't give me shit about how Mrs. Anthrax probably isn't her maiden name. It turns out that really is her name: as a professional woman of some standing, she decided to keep her name after marriage, adding only the "Mrs." to signal that she had been wed. Her husband, in fact, is none other than the notorious (and soon-to-be-caught) madman Johnny Drugdealer.

Justice is coming, however, for these dastards. Watch for the capture, soon, of not only Johnny Drugdealer (who can run, but can't hide) but also of Professor Botulism, who is believed to be hiding in Syria along with Nuclear bin Azizzi, Mahmoud Wellpoisoner, and Dyana Puppysmotherer.

I hear "Come Talk to Me" by Peter Gabriel.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

professor x
You are Professor X!

You are a very effective teacher, and you are very
committed to those who learn from you. You put
your all into everything you do, to some extent
because you fear failure more than anything
else. You are always seeking self-improvement,
even in areas where there is nothing you can do
to improve.

Which X-Men character are you most like?
brought to you by Quizilla

Well this should make a few waves: N.Y. Times Uncovers Dozens Of Faked Stories by Reporter!

I'm shocked, SHOCKED! that such a thing could happen at the NYT! You mean to tell me that you can't always trust what you read in the Times? Shocked, I tell you.

Everyone is probably scrambling around trying to figure out how this could happen. My guess is that the dude wrote the sort of stories the editors wanted to read: probably full of schmaltz and drama and "human tragedy" and heart.

I hear "Mood Indigo" by Duke Ellington.

I just finished watching Star Wars: Episode Two. I waited so long because, well, I stopped being a big Star Wars fan some time ago. I did go to the theater a few days after the premiere of Ep. One, but the memory I have of coming out of the place feeling "blah" delayed my viewing of Ep. 2. Oh well.

I hardly need to point this out (since lots of people have said it already over the years) but dialogue is NOT the strongest part of these movies. It usually works, I think, because competent (or great) actors fill out the major roles (and there have been some good folks in these). The fellow who plays Annakin in this one, however, makes Mark Hamill look like Lawrence Olivier. He's not so good at all.

In other news, I've still not gotten my email situation sorted, so if anyone who would like an email from me reads this, they should know it isn't personal.

In other other news, there's only one week of school left! Woo hooo!

I hear "O My God" by the Police.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

X-MEN UNITED - 3 (goals by Nightcrawler, 10 yds, 1’; Wolverine, 25 yds, 20’; Magneto 35 yds, 32’)
1. FC MATRIX - 0 (Keanu Reeves, Red Card, 1’)

I saw “X-Men: United”, last night. I will not likley see the Matrix movie, since I didn’t care for the first one. I just put it above as a way of knocking it.

I enjoyed the new X-Men movie. I doubt that people who haven’t seen the first one will get much out of it (unless they are comic book readers, but most of them will probably have seen the first one anyway). There is very little I can think of to complain about. I thought the acting was strong, the effects were good, the plot was solid, and the dialogue was good enough. There were a few characters I would have liked to have seen a bit less of, and a few I could have stood to see more of, but otherwise it was fine.

I’ll also echo what I’ve read in reviews about Alan Cumming’s performance as Nightcrawler: very good. Although I see no reason why they couldn’t have found a similarly talented actual German to play the role. It isn’t like Cumming is a star like most of the rest of the cast who adds name recognition to the buzz. I mean, Mistique is played by Rebecca Romein (sp) Stamos, who is famous for swimwear (I think) and for marrying sitcom legened John Stamos; Captain Picard is Prof. X; Gandalf is Magneto; the original Hannibal Lecter is Col. Stryker; Halle Berry is Storm. Big stars cast for those roles. And quite a few people know who Anna Paquin and Famke Jannsen are, too. Hugh Jackman is famous *because of* X-Men. But what (other than his talent) does Cumming bring to the table? He’s a Broadway actor, was really funny on an episode of Saturday Night Live, and was in “the Anniversary Party” (a good movie that no one saw). Otherwise? He’s English. Why not get a German (or Austrian, or even Swiss) actor? Ah well. Minor quibble. He was fine.

One thing I hated about the movie (and most big action pictures these days) is the BLATANT product placement. There is a scene where several characters hop into a car and the camera is very careful to allow us all to see that it is a new Mazda RX7. In another scene, Wolverine is drinking what was referred to (mercifully) as a “soda”, but he holds it (really awkwardly) so that we can all see that it is a Dr Pepper. Meanwhile, his conversation partner is eating from what could only be a quart of Baskin Robbins ice cream. There are other moments, too. I HATE that shit. Mind you, I don’t hate recognizing real-world brands in such films, I just hate having them shoved in my face. Am I remembering incorrectly, or did this all start with Superman II? In the big fight scene on the streets of New York, I recall that Superman got thrown into a MARLBORO truck (are there such things?) and some brand name beer truck had a big wreck. Then Superman tossed one of the baddies into a huge Coca Cola sign. Ugh. The X-Men weren’t quite that unsubtle, but close.

Anyway, I will only add that I think it is neat how the writers of the film have been careful to play Cyclops as a goober, just like he was in the books. At one point (in the Mazda, which was his), someone puts on some music and it turns out to be a Back Street Boys song! Hehehehe! Cyclops listens to the Back Street Boys! Goober.

I hear Talking Heads “Blind”.

I blogged essentially the same thing twice, below. The reason is my failed attempt to correct something the first time. I'm going to leave it like it is: I am too lazy to fix it AND you get to see what song came up next on itunes.

Right now I hear "Cause to be Alarmed" by the Fixx.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

THIS is cool and reminds me that I need to see the new X-Men movie (the link is not about the movie, so click it even if you don't find the X-Men interesting).

THIS is just waaaaaaaayyyyyy funny.

I hear "Your Time is Gonna Come" by Led Zepplin.

THIS is way cool! It reminds me of how much I want to see the new XMen movie (the link has nothing to do with the XMen, so look at it even if you find the XMen less than interesting).

Also, there's THIS, which is just HIlarious!

I hear "Moja Istorija" by some Russian pop singer. I have no idea who it is.

Over the last few years things have been revealed to the American people which have resulted in shock and/or awe.

We learned that real people, including the president (Clinton, in this case) REALLY did things which most of us had previously assumed to be safely confined to the letters section of Penthouse. We learned that you can never underestimate the depths of public taste in television entertainment (witness the "reality show" craze). Same thing for news (witness Fox). We learned (some of us knew this all along) that our vote for president really doesn't matter when it comes right down to brass tacks. We learned that there were LOTS of people around the world who thought we (or our government, at least) needed a whuppin. We learned that there were people who were quite capable of providing a whuppin, and they didn't need fancy futuristic weapons to do it. We learned that there were quite a few corrupt businesspersons afoot (again, some of us knew this all along).

I learned that I didn't want to be a professor quite as much as I had thought. I learned that Apple computers are way cool (and that PCs are not so cool).

We learned that Afghanistan exists (again, some of us . . .), although we are in the process, I think, of forgetting it again. We learned who Osama Bin Laden is (and are fogetting). We learned that Saddam Hussein was the greatest threat to humanity since the rise (and fall) of the Independence Day aliens. We also learned that he ain't no such thing. We also learned that Michael Jackson is incontravertably insane (not just quirky).

These things have hit some people right in the gut. Some discoveries hurt -- knowledge may be power, but it is sometimes like the power that surges through you when you stick your finger in a light socket. How will the American people (or that tiny slice of the American people looking at this) react, I wonder, when they learn this:

The Grand Canyon is right around 1/4 as grand as a canyon not so far from it. It is, in a sense, Grand in the same way that the AmSouth building in downtown Birmingham is the tallest building in the world (despite being similarly small in comparison to the Petronas towers). America, Welcome to the Copper Canyon!

Birgit and I (with companions) journeyed there over the (long) weekend. All the info you need about our trip is in the link, except we didn't see very many of the things one can see (grandness, you know: 64,000 square kilometers of it), and had a total ball. You should go there. NOW!

Well, maybe wait until fall. It is supposed to be even more grand then.

Our weekend was long, by the way, because we got playtime for Mayday, as did many other people in most civilized countries. If you didn't get (at least the option of) playtime for Mayday, it is because you have a shitty job or live in a country with shitty holiday priorities. Or both.

I hear "Scarecrow" by Siouxsie and the Banshees followed by "Little Island" by Elton John.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Fish gotta sing, birds gotta swim, and the British media gotta publish lists. Here's one of the top 100 movie stars of all time. I would disagree with many of the choices on the list. You? I'll say if you will.

I'm in class right now. I'll blog soon about my eventful (and long) weekend.

I hear, right now, the movie "Mississippi Burning" (which my students are watching, and which stars #42 from the list).