Thursday, March 31, 2005

Dudes. If any of you give me the slightest hint as to what happened on last night's Lost before I give you the all clear, I will TOTALLY pull your fucking tube with extreme predjudice.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I had a whole post ready which revolves around rather lame Terri Schiavo jokes. Most of those hinged on the word "tube" and the notion of what will be on the Persistant Vegetative State quarter. Posting didn't work out, so I will refrain, except to say . . .

for all the talk of Schiavos and Schindlers, what of the Tubes?

But on a more serious note.

The current issue of The Economist has a commentary about the poltical stylings of Michael Howard and the Tories. The details have little to do with the Schiavo case, but part of it is useful:

"Over the past few weeks, a new expression has entered the Westminster lexicon: dog-whistle politics. It means putting out a message that, like a high-pitched dog-whistle, is only fully audible to those at whom it is directly aimed. The intention is to make potential supporters sit up and take notice while avoiding offending those to whom the message will not appeal. As with many vivid idioms, its origins are Australian. It seems likely that" blah, blah, blah Britcakes.

I wasn't taking the Schiavo case particularly seriously, but now I'm thinking I wasn't supposed to. This whistle isn't aimed at me.

More ominously, an strong article in Counterpunch argues that We're Walking into a Trap ('we' being the leftish types).

I'm starting to see a pattern. We have the Schiavo case in the US (drumming up the Christo-fascist zombie brigades) and "Traveller" baiting in the UK (drumming up the racists and xenophobes). Then you may recall my post not long ago about the visa scandal swirling and bubbling around the German foreign minister, in which the right is claiming (with sketchy evidence) that a ravenous horde of drug-dealing-prostitution-forcing Slavs were being ushered in by the government. Then there is Australia, home of the road to surfdom and the dog-whistle style. John Howard (no relation to Michael) has been blowing his whistle for years now, and to great effect.

A vast international right wing conspiracy? Based in Australia? I don't know. There is that Rupert Murdoch fella. Probably just a coincidence.

In any event, I am starting to understand (or imagine) that there is some There there, and I think the left in general, and the leftish mainstream in particular, is (as the Economist says of the Labour party) "ploddingly tr[ying] to bat away one accusation, while another, entirely different, flies past its ears."

And we come back to that supposed remark from a Bush insider to the effect that the right is making up reality as it goes along while the rest of us flail and struggle to keep up.

AND we come back to George Orwell's "1984" (as we must, from time to time).

I'm depressed now. I need to pull my tube for a while to raise my spirits.

Monday, March 28, 2005

So much to talk about . . .

I reckon the Schiavo case is on the minds of many. My position, for what it is worth, is that if she is really brain dead then she should become body dead asap. If she isn’t, and there is a genuine chance that she could improve, then let’s give it a shot. From what I have gleaned, it seems pretty clear that the former is the case.

In other news, Air America Radio has given the boot to Unfilitered in favor of Jerry Springer. I was among the first wave of Jerry fans, and so I can’t be too persnickety regarding his tv show, but I think it is fairly shabby of AAR to ditch a relatively serious and often quite cool show in favor of a ratings grabber. I know Jerry is to the left, but he’s Jerry. What’s next? The Asia Carrera show? The Carlos Delgado parade of sports? Rachel Maddow (of Unfiltered) has really moved into her gig (despite the unpleasant relative silence surrounding the departure of Lizz Winstead) and Chuck D (who has lots of irons in the fire) is just plain awesome. I figure replacing a capable white lesbian and capable black male radical (straighty) with a capable white male is a bad move politically, even if it gives a small boost in ratings. I figure folks who listen to AAR listen regardless, and that there aren’t very many folks who will tune in just to hear Springer. Maybe I’m wrong. It isn’t as if I know more than dick all about the radio business. In any event, I am agin.


Those of you who know me know that I am less than keen on the idea of having a child. Those of you who don’t know me might assume that this is true based on the absence of any reference to “my kid” in a blog from a 33 year-old man. In short, I am not a kid person. But. If I had a preference . . .

Some friends of ours in Birgit’s hometown have two children. The friends are Fritz (German) and Graciela (Mexican). Their two sons are Sigfried (13) and Gottlieb (5). (Some names have been changed to protect the non me and B). Gottlieb was a spider monkey in a previous life, and carries on as if discipline was rare disease. Fritz and Graciela are the biggest pussies in the world when it comes to Gottlieb. We were over at their place Sunday night and I can offer two examples. One: Sigfried was playing with a gameboy and Gottlieb snatched it. A small fight ensued. Graciela’s solution was to ask Sigfried to let Gottlieb play with the gameboy a bit. I stepped in, and asked Gottlieb to let me play with it. He did (sucker!). I took it and immediately announced that I was giving my time to Sigfried, and then passed it back to him. Example two: Gottlieb had been put to bed but came back down anyway. His father, Fritz, ordered him to bed again. He insisted on more potato chips. Fritz said no, quite clearly. Gottlieb took some chips anyway and laughed as he ate them.

I would have been unable to pull such a stunt as a youth because it is hard to chew chips when your father has just knocked your teeth down your throat.

Siegfried is an altogether more interesting kid. First, he responds well to requests and commands (not true of his brother). Second, he is intelligent (the little’un is too young for one to be sure). Late last year, Graciela took Siegfried to an eye doctor because his grades had been falling and he had been complaining of headaches. At first they had chalked it up as puberty or stress (they were also building a house), but it seemed to be more than that. The eye doctor determined that he was showing symptoms of a brain tumor. This turned out to be spot on, and Siegfried has had several surgeries and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. He will, very likely, die within the next few years (he is the only kid in Europe with his kind of tumor, apparently).

So anyway, Siegfried is a nice, smart, funny, well-behaved kid. He is probably going to die soon, and Fritz and Graciela will be left with a monkey on their hands. If I had to choose a kid, I would take a Siegfried. I will miss him.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

UN UNEMPLOYED, and legal to boot.

Last Thursday I picked up my official work permit. The Proper Authorities had been processing it for 4 weeks (a Lost magic number!). I began the process after having shown that an employer was offering me work. The process involved the Proper Authorities checking to see whether I might be nefariously filching a job that might just as well be done by a person registered with them as un un unemployed. It appears that there were no indigent native-English speakers with teaching experience registered in the greater Dortmund area, and so I was given the go-ahead.

Today I was invited to come to discuss and sign my contract on 29 March. I am to then start a bit of training on 5 April, with a planned formal first day on the job set for 18 April.

(I have been doing a bit of pickup work in the shadows of the law in the meantime. I have been assured that I am causing no trouble, and I hope that's true.)

The bad news is that I will have to buy some grown-up clothes.


Carlton has returned.


I shall now blog about the Terry Schiavo case.

The Terry Schiavo case is a case about a person named Terry Schiavo. Someone has made a Federal Case of the Terry Schiavo case. The key to the case would unlock it, if it were an actual case. It appears, however, to be a case in the legal sense, and so in need of a different sort of key entirely than the one which would unlock, say, a suit case. I, for one, don't lock my suit case when flying. I reckon the airport security people might find the lock so frustrating that they may resort to violence. I would rather that everyone remained cool, and so no key is needed in my case. Or in the case of my case. The Terry Schiavo case is not that sort of case, of course. Nut cases are attracted to her case, as are closet cases and hopless cases. In case her case turns dative, or accusative, or genative, then I will have to refresh my knowledge of cases. That's always been the biggest gap in my language skills.

I am unsure as to whether I understand all the ups, downs, wherefores and thereuntils, but my guess is that there is a teapot suffering from a tempest. A large, powerful teapot in desperate need of a whole gaggle of new leadership.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

I failed to notice the passing of George F. Kennan at the age of 101.

I had the good fortune to stumble upon a copy of his memoirs at a book sale at the US Embassy compound in Bonn back when I worked there and I bought and read it, despite the fact that diplomatic history has never much been my bag and that I distrust memoirs. I didn't regret it. Good book. Kennan was one of those guys who was everywhere when it mattered: the OSS, Yugoslavia, India, the State Department, Moscow, etc. He was the very definition of "clear eyed", even in his relative youth, and tended to say what he thought (if only through the proper channels).

I heartily suggest that everyone who reads this take a moment to look into Mr Kennan. He helped make the world in which we live, and lived to regret it and, unlike self-servers like Robert MacNamara, he was pretty quick to recognize and seek to correct his mistakes.

George F. Kennan, Americahater, RIP.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

I found the link below on Tom Tomorrow's This Modern World, by the way.

THIS IS AWESOME!!! Word to the wise among my college teaching friends, I reckon.

Context, for those who need it: David Horowitz was a "Red Diaper Baby" and was well versed in his Stalin and Mao back in the day, and so may very well be consciously following thier pattern even though he is now a fascist. Do yourself a favor and read "The Destructive Generation", a book he co-authored with Peter Collier (a fellow traveller on the road from left to right) for a clearer idea of where he is coming from.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Well, I shant continue to speculate on tournament results, but I will point out that, if you add my awful Thursday to my respectable Friday, I come out 15-17 (including the one preliminary game). This includes FIVE upsets (including a couple of significant ones).

So? Even a broken clock is right twice a day, right? Well. I haven't watched a college basketball game since 2002, and haven't followed the news regarding this season at all. I had genuinely no idea who was good and who wasn't, and didn't consider cedeing in my decisions. Of course, I know enough to know that Duke is going to beat Delaware State 99 times out of 100, but I came damned close to going with DSU anyway. I really almost picked Bucknell, too, on the logic that its time the bison got revenge. I think the part of me that used to pay attention screamed DUDE! KANSAS DOESN'T LOSE IN THE FIRST ROUND, EVER! and so I backed off.

My point, such as it is, is that even with so many factors at play, it isn't unreasonable to just plain guess. Had I been laying money, I probably would have come out ahead without even knowing anything "useful" about the teams.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Ok. Thursday’s games sucked. I’m 5-12 (if you count, as I do, the Oakland/Al A&M game). So. It ain’t lookin’ good for my strategy. A wiser man might take a peek at things like records, seeds, scouting reports, and whatnot. But not me. I’m going to dance with what brung me: team colors, mascots, home towns, and vague quasi reasoning!


(in Oklahoma City)
The SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY SALUKIS (1869) will defeat the ST. MARY’S (of California) GAELS (1863). You have GOT to go with the Salukis on this one. I mean, that’s funny sounding. And Gaels? I used to know a Gail, and athough she was tall, she wasn’t a great basketball player.

RIGHT!!! SIU 65 STC 56
I am 6-12.

They will play the winner of the match between the OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY COWBOYS (1890) and the SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA LIONS (1925). This is a tough one, because Scott and Shelley are OSU alumps on the one hand, and Southeast Louisiana is in Houma (or Hammond), which needs a victory. Add in the fact that in a fight between a cowboy and a lion, it could go either way. A good cowboy with a pistol and or whip could, I reckon, take the lion. But a sleepy cowboy lying on the ground might fall prey to a steathy lion. So many factors to consider. OSU will win, I guess.

RIGHT!!! OSU 63 SEL 50
I am 7-12.

Then there is the UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN BADGERS (1846) versus the NORTHERN IOWA UNIVERSITY PANTHERS (1876). This battle could well happen in nature. I think the panther would take the badger, despite the badger being from an older school.

WRONG!!! UW 57 NI 52
I am 7-13.

They will play either the UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS JAYHAWKS (1866) or the BUCKNELL COLLEGE BISON (1846). The jayhawks and bison have met before, and I think we know how that worked out. If you don’t, let me just say that there used to be bison asshole to elbow in Kansas, but now? Not so much. UK will win.

WRONG!!! BC 64 UK 63. I don't mind being wrong about this one. About time the bison got revenge. I am 7-14.

In Nashville, the GEORGIA TECH UNIVERSITY YELLOW JACKETS (1885) will defeat the GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY COLONIALS (1821). Yellowjackets are mean, and there isn’t much a colonial can do against them.

RIGHT!!! GT 80 GW 68
I am 8-14.

The winner plays the winner of the UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (1798)
versus the UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE RAGIN’ CAJUNS (1898). I’m takin the Cajuns, always, even though Louisville is older.

WRONG!!! UL 68 ULL 62.
I am 8-15. This does not look good for Homestar Runner.

The VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY WILDCATS (1842) will lose to the UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO LOBOS (1869), cuz lobos are wolves, and even a large wildcat would have a problem with wolves (wolves work together, wildcats go solo).

WRONG!!! VU 55 UNM 47.
I am 8-16.

They will play the winner of the UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA GATORS (1853) versus OHIO UNIVERSITY BOBCATS (1804). I’m taking the Bobcats, despite the fact that gators are awesome. In this case my hatred for the state of Florida is overwhelming my mascot fetish.

WRONG!!! UF 67 OU 62
I am 8-17.

In Charlotte, the UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS (1789) will face the OAKLAND COLLEGE (?) GRIZZLIES (1957). This one is tough, cuz the Grizzlies have done it to me once already. I’m thinking of the fact that the Tar Heels are sortof playing before a home town crowd. Grizzles are still awesome, but I don’t know what a tar heel is or how dangerous it could be. And UNC is older. Hmm. Go with UNC, I guess.

RIGHT!!! UNC 96 OC 68
I am 9-17.

the UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS (1851) versus IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY CYCLONES (1788). I don’t for a minute believe that there was a university in Iowa in 1788, but that’s what ESPN would have me believe. I call deception. No matter: in case of a cyclone, gophers are ideally fitted to cope. They will just duck underground until it blows itself out. UM will win.

WRONG!!! ISU 64 UM 53
I am 9-18.

Not only did UNC get to play in Charlotte, but so does the DUKE UNIVERSITY BLUE DEVILS (1838) when they face the DELAWARE STATE UNIVERSITY HORNETS (1891). Bad news for the Hornets. They really never had a chance, though, because Blue Devils have supernatural powers of evil, and could likely control critters like hornets.

RIGHT!!! DU 57 DSU 46
I am 10-18,

Duke will win, and go on to play either the
STANFORD CARDINAL (1891) or the MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (1878). I’ve said before that I hate bad nicknames, and the Cardinal is among the worst ever. I don’t care for bulldogs in general, but I’ll let them have this one. And anyway, Standford has had some horrible students: Chelsea Clinton? Condoleeza Rice? Yeah. MSU.

RIGHT!!! And how! MSU 93 SU 70. This was a minor upset. My first today.
I am 11-18.

In Worchester (Mass?) neither the UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA-CHARLOTTE 49ers (1946) nor the NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY WOLFPACK (1887) got the same sweet deal as UNC and Duke. That sucks. I’m taking the Wolfpack for two reasons. One is that one of my students from Mexico is a student there now in part because I guided him through the application process. The other is that UNCC calls itself the 49s even though it was founded in 46. Can you be too stupid for basketball? Yes.

RIGHT!!! NCSU 75 UNCC 63. This was a reasonably significant upset. 2 for me today. (Apparently the losers are now just "Charlotte").
I am 12-16.

The UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT HUSKIES (1881) versus CENTRAL FLORIDA UNIVERSITY KNIGHTS (1963). So much here: my hatred of Florida, my hatred of dogs, UConn’s relative age, the likelihood that the huskies might get sworded. I’m going with the Knights on a hunch. Their armor will defend them against the huskies, I think. The trick will be moving fast enough to get some sword blows in. One to watch.

RIGHT!!! UC 77 CFU 71
I am 13-18,

Finally, the MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY SPARTANS (1855) will defeat the OLD DOMINION UNIVERSITY MONARCHS (1930). Michigan State will win because Michael Moore likes them, because they are older, because they aren’t from East Virginia, and because the Spartans were warriors, unlike the vague clump of Monarchs. I mean, who will show up for ODU? Alexander the Great, Bodiccea, Charlemagne, Saladin, and Ghengis Kahn? That would be a tough team. But what if it is Edward VI, Maximillian of Mexico, Louis XVIII, Isabella II, and the Last Emperor? Dude. Take the Spartans.

RIGHT!!! MSU 89 ODU 81
I am 14-18.

They will then play the winner of the SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY ORANGE (1870) versus the VERMONT UNIVERSITY CATAMOUNTS (1791). An ORANGE? The hell? That’s worse than a cardinal! What can an orange hope to do against a cat, much less a cat o’mount? Take Vermont.

RIGHT!!! VU 60 SU 57. This was a significant upset. My third today.

I am 15-17 in round one.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Thursday's NCAA games haven't been going my way. While I sleep, 8 more will be decided (8 is a Lost number, by the way), so it may turn out alright for me. We shall see. In any event, I have updated (and will continue to update) the post: NCAA round 1

Happy St. Patrick's Day, by the way. Erin go braless.

St. Patrick was a remarkable dood. Take my history class some time and I'll tell you about him. Short version: Driving snakes? Hard.

French top 100 reveals surprises

I don't know enough about France to do a top 100, but I can name a few of my favorite French folks without thinking too hard (in no particular order):

NAPOLEON BONAPARTE: arguably the single most important man of the last 200 or so years, if you consider creating modern Europe to be important.
MARIE CURIE: cuz of the science stuff.
VICTOR HUGO: pretty important writer, I reckon.
LOUIS XIV: makes explaining absolute monarchy a breeze.
JEAN PAUL SARTRE: seems pretty influential.
MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE: for good or ill, helped the colonists win the American Revolution and went on to play a key role in the French Revolution.
GUSTAVE EIFFEL: sort of invented the skyscraper.
JACQUES COUSTEAU: made lovely documentaries and sort of invented scuba diving.
VOLTAIRE: brought the funny with the smart.
THE ANONYMOUS MAQUIS: modern symbol for resistance to oppression, if a bit mythologized.
DAVID: painted "a Marat", one of my only favorite paintings.

I need to learn more about France.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

If you’re like me, you’re in Wuppertal, Germany. This means you are surrounded by angry Germans who DEMAND that you tell them who is going to win the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Wuppertal has March Madness. In fact, the whole of Old Europe has March Madness.

I’ll now pause while you organize your lame WWII joke.

OK. So as a service to my reader, I will now tell you who will win each game of the NCAA first round and why. If (and this is highly unlikely) I get better than half of my picks right, I’ll try my hands at the second round.

Bear in mind, when you read this, that I have adopted an unorthodox methodology. Instead of following the Mainstream Sports Media pack, I will (in the finest traditions of the Blogosphere) make shit up. I have chosen to look up the nicknames of certain teams (I knew most of them already) and the dates of the schools’ founding on to help me determine the winners.

First off:

YESTERDAY in Dayton, Ohio (home of the Flyers!), the OAKLAND COLLEGE (?) GRIZZLIES (1957) should have lost to the ALABAMA A&M BULLDOGS (1875). A&M should have won because they are from Alabama and so am I, and they are an older school, but they lost. If I had to guess, I would say that Oakland pulled it off because grizzlies are more awesome than bulldogs.

That means I am 0-1 so far.

TOMORROW (Thursday), in Indianapolis, Indiana, the FAIRLEIGH DICKENSON KNIGHTS (1942) will defeat the UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI (1867). This is the first big upset I’m going to pick. FDU will win largely because Illinois has a racist mascot, and racism is bad. Also, the chivalric tradition of wherever FDU is means that they will work better as a team. Plus they aren’t FULLY Dickenson, and so should overcome the curse which has caused all Dickenson teams to fail in the past.

WRONG!!! UI 67 FDU 55 Damn that Dickenson curse!
I am 0-2.

FDU (er, Illinois) will play the winner of . . .
the UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS LONGHORNS (1883) versus the UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA WOLFPACK (1864). Put your money on the Wolfpack, cuz Longhorns are really just big cows. And Jenna Bush went there. AND Nevada is an older school.

RIGHT!!! UN 61 UT 57. This was a minor upset. My first.
I am 1-2.

Take the UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI BEARCATS (1819) over the UNIVERSITY OF IOWA HAWKEYES (1847). Older school, bearcats sound fearsome (and what is a hawkeye without the rest of the hawk?), and Cinci wears black and red, which looks cool.

RIGHT!!! UC 76 UI 64
I am 2-2.

They will play the winner of . . .
the UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY WILDCATS (1865) versus the EASTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY COLONELS (1906). You may think I’m going to pick Eastern Kentucky because they are the underdogs, but you are wrong. I’m picking Eastern Kentucky because that is one of the saddest parts of the United States and need moral support. The mining and timber industries have fucked those people coming and going, and they need a win. Go Colonels!

WRONG!!! UK 72 EKU 64
I am 2-3.

Meanwhile in Cleveland, the UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (1831), coached by the ghost of Wimp “Bear Bryant” Sanderson, will beat the dogshit out of the UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE PANTHERS (1956). Roll your mama’s Tide, my friend. Come what may, I will remain a Tide fan.

WRONG!!! Sometimes its hard to be a Tide fan. UWM 83 UA 73. Rats.
I am 2-4.

They will BEAT the winner of . . .
the BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES (1863) versus UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA QUAKERS (1740). I’m takin’ the Quakers. Older, Quakier.

WRONG!!! Sheesh. BC 85 UP 65
I am 2-5.


RIGHT!!! WVU 63 CU 61
I am 3-5.

What a gift to be simple, what a gift to play the winner of . . .
the WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY DEAMON DEACONS (1834) versus the UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE-CHATTANOOGA MOCASSINS (1886). As much as I love their nickname, I can’t take Wake Forest seriously so long as it insists on remaining Baptist. The Mocs get extra credit for naming themselves after shoes.

WRONG!!! WFU 70 UTC 54.
I am 3-6.

Up in Boise, in the Taco Bell Arena -- wait. Why does Taco Bell need to pay for an arena in Boise? What ELSE are folks in Boise going to do late at night but go to Taco Bell? I HATE corporate sponsorships. Grrrrr.
Anyway, up in Boise, the ghost of Gene Bartow will lead the UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM BLAZERS (1969) to a thumping of the LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY TIGERS (1860). The deciding factor will be the Blazers being from Birmingham. LSU? It’s in Baton Fucking Rouge! Folks, I’ve known lots of folks from the greater Baton Rouge metroplex and NOT ONE has had anything good to say about it. If you can’t stick up for your home town, then your home town SUCKS. And so does its school.

RIGHT!!! UAB 82 LSU 68. A pretty decent upset. My second.
I am 4-6.

The Blazers will then play the UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA WILDCATS (1885), who will defeat the UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY AGGIES (1888). I have never trusted schools what can’t come up with a proper mascot. What the fuck is an Aggie?

RIGHT!!! UA 66 USU 53.
I am 5-6.

Take the young UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA GRIZZLIES (1893) over the favorite, the UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON HUSKIES (1861). Have we learned nothing from the success of Oakland?

WRONG!!! Turns out it was UW 88 UM 77. Harumph.
I am 5-7.

Montana (or Washington, as it happens) will then play either the PACIFIC UNIVERSITY TIGERS (1851) or the UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH PANTHERS (1787). I want to say Pacific, because I think they used to be called Azuza Pacific and that’s where Christian Okoye played football, but I’m going to have to go with Picksburg. Who knew that they were founded in 1787? There were only 10 people in Pittsburgh back then, but I guess they wanted a school.

WRONG!!! Damn it. PU 79 UP 71 (heh! P U! hehe!)
I am 5-8.

Tuscon will be be rocked by the mauling of TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY RED RAIDERS (1923) coach Bobby Knight. The UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-LOS ANGELES BRUINS (1919) may not be worth a damn at basketball, but they are bears. And Red Raiders are . . . what?

WRONG!!! TTU 78 UCLA 66.
I am 5-9.

And speaking of mauling, no one will be surprised when the WINTHROP UNIVERSITY EAGLES (1886) turn into the sort of animal what mauls and maul the GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (1887). Why? Because bulldogs are dogs, and I hate dogs. And Eagles are pretty. And Winthrop is older (and don’t mention their religious affiliation).

WRONG!!! GU 74 WU 64.
I am (really) 5-10.

The UNIVERSITY OF UTAH UTES (1850) will rue the day they opted to for a racist mascot when the UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS-EL PASO MINERS (1913) sink a pick in their Mormonic asses.

WRONG!!! The Mormonic asses proved impervious to pickage, and so UU 60 UTEP 54.
I am 5-11.

The UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA SOONERS (1890) versus NIAGARA COLLEGE PURPLE EAGLES (1856). I really want to root against the Sooners, because they are named after cheaters who stole land from the Indians, but I can’t resist being the FIRST person in THE WORLD (outside of the US) to write NIAGARA FALLS!

RIGHT!!! As I predicted, NIAGARA FALLS!!!! NOBODY saw that one coming! Dood. I just made soooo much money! OU 84 NC 67. (U of Oklahoma gets called OU because Oklahomans are weirder than most)
I am 5-12


Monday, March 14, 2005

The bad news is that the US is hated around the world (or, rather, US policies and certain aspects of US culture are hated).

The worse news is that Dubyah thinks Karen Hughes can fix this.

The good news is that the world is not as stupid as Dubyah.

When I saw that he was retiring, I didn't think too much about it because I don't pay much attention to professional chess (or chess at all). This is interesting, though: Garry Kasparov is apparently quitting because he wants to help save Russia from dictatorship!

In other news, Putin announced that he was castling.

All the hubbub surrounding "Million Dollar Baby" (not, as it turns out, "Billion Dollar Babies") has centered on three main, but not mutually-exclusive categories.

1) MDB is a brilliant movie, destined to be a classic, and therefore worthy of hubbub.
2) MDB endorses euthanasia, which is contrary to the laws of one or more gods, and must be hubbubed.
3) MDB essentially tells us that paralysis (or related conditions) is a living death and that people who face such situations are justified in wanting to die and should have death as an option (even if this means euthanasia). The film comes close to saying "Give me full mobility, or give me death!" and, in this way, should arouse hubbub among the less mobile and those who care about them.

I have not seen MDB, as it has only recently come out in Germany, and can therefore not take a position (except to repeat that Hillary Swank is a fox). However, I am generally in favor of "assisted suicide", which differs from euthanasia in that the former implies a well-informed consent whereas the latter can be done at the whim of the euthaniser, so point 3 both confronts and goes right past me. Point 2 is unimportant to me, as I don't believe in gods. Point 1, obviously, is moot, although people I trust (Sarah, Roger Ebert, assorted hubbubbers) dug it.

Anywho, what I haven't seen is a consideration of the movie's morality in terms other than points 2 and 3. Tim, along the road to surfdom, has presented such a consideration, however, and it has set me to thinking: "Clint Eastwood's new film, Million Dollar Baby, is good, but it's really just another vigilante movie, a species of Dirty Harry, though a kinder gentler Dirty Harry. In fact, given Clint's political pedigree, we might call it one of the defining texts of compassionate conservatism."

Read his review and then come back here and tell me if you think it is fair. It seems fair, but I can't speak to it.

I CAN say that "Mystic River" seemed to me to be resolutely anti vigilante. Likewise, "Unforgiven" is about, among other things, the lonliness and mysery that results from being a murderer.

I'm on less stable ground on my next point, but I will take a stab at it: I think one can view Clint's "man with no name" Western character as an angel or demon. (I think Carlton and I have discussed this, in fact, and I may have gotten the idea from him.) This angel/demon travels the West, giving bad people the what for. In my favorite of these films, "High Plains Drifter", the angel/demon actually punishes an entire town for cowardice (and renames it Hell, in case you didn't catch what was going on). So, the angel/demon is like a vigilante, but as a non-human figure he may be Justice. If that is true, then it is no longer "one good man" who takes the matter in hand, but the forces of not-always-instant karma.

Does that make sense?

Regardless: Hillary Swank's back for President!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Air America has been making great hay about the bankrupcy bill moving through the congress right now. As far as the new debt peonage law goes, I have the following to say:

(bear in mind that I realize that this is a serious concern for loads of folks and that most folks who need help don't have the option [or don't see the option :)] i had)

When you find yourself confronting a mountain of debt, one option is to remain un- or under employed. Nobody ever said you had to earn much money. This seems crazy, I reckon, but consider this: in Mexico, $10,000 per year (what I made, more or less) goes a long way. So I say: move to Mexico (it rocks in all sorts of ways).

Another option is the one I'm currently pursuing: hook up with a foreign woman who makes decent money, move to where she is, and take care of her. You may not have any money of your own, but you don't have to worry about paying bills. Cuz you (quite literally) have no way to pay your bills. What's more, you are abroad, so your creditors are less likely to call you to ask, again, why you aren't paying. Your answer is always going to be that you don't have any money. They will never accept that. So just move away.

Tune in, turn on, and drop out, in other words.

Wah wah, squirt squirt. I ain't got no credit!!! Folks: the world will continue to turn even though you can't afford a new SUV.

Another thing about abroad: health care is affordable! Or even FREE!!! (health care costs being a major cause of bankruptcy)

The American dream, in other words, is a nightmare. Stop dreaming it. Stop consuming. Stop worrying about your credit. Life goes on.

When they reopen the debtors' prisons, THEN you should worry.

As for those feelings of failure that may haunt you, consider the following: the banks who lent you the money even though you were pretty clearly incapable of paying them back are the stupid ones. I mean, I've never had a "real" job in my life, and yet credit cards have extended me tens of thousands of dollars of credit (I shit you not). Why? Because they were gambling on my ability to repay. Well. The house always wins, as they say in Vegas. Suckers.

Meanwhile, I reckon that filing for bankrupcy is a good idea so long as current law still applies. I should have years ago, but I was still laboring under the naive assumption that I would someday, somehow get out from under. Too late now for me. C'est la vie.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Poor old Edgar Derby.

So it goes.

Good article: "'The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus,' wrote Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 'by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.' "

Why did Thomas Jefferson hate America?

FREE LIZZ WINSTEAD! (she got mentioned today)

Monday, March 07, 2005

Today I was in line at the local Aldi market. The fellow ahead of me smelled like he'd had a bit to drink (everyday for the last several years). But hey. Not an issue. Except that he was smelly.

Anyway, he was buying three things. Two of them were identical.

He started to chat with me about the weather, cuz it was shitty today. This violated two rules I don't normally publicize: 1) I would rather not chat with a stranger, given the option; 2) I prefer not to have stank blown my way. But hey. So, having broken the ice, Fellow felt compelled to make it clear that the one thing (which was not like the others) among his three purchases wasn't for him. It was for his Buddy, outside.

I, of course, couldn't possibly have cared less (see rule 1) and would have rather not had it noted (see rules 1 and 2).

Except. The one thing was a bottle of Korn booze. It is made from wheat, is clear, and in a blind taste test you will pick it out as being nearly the shittiest thing you've ever put in your mouth. But hey. His Buddy's.

Except. The two things he was buying for himself were two 1-liter tetrapack boxes of SoopRCheep brand white wine (Winos slur for it by name!). And HE had the NERVE to hint that it was his Buddy who had the bad taste?!?!? Doods. Trust me. If you are given the choice between SoopRCheep and Korn, take the Korn.

I *almost* defended Buddy. But then rules 1 and 2 kicked in and I just grunted my understanding and, thereby, ended the conversation by misrepresenting myself. He will, no doubt, consider my grunt an endorsement of his preference, when a little part of me was really considering paying him to drink something other than what he was planning on drinking, but was silenced by rules 1 and 2.

[Birgit suspects that Fellow may have seen me frown or give "a look" and misinterpreted it as my having somehow judged him on his purchases. In fact, I was thinking about rules 1 and 2.]


Sunday, March 06, 2005

I was just listening to a replay of the (often unlistenable) "Majority Report" on Air America in which they interviewed an Army deserter. The topic of recruiters in the schools came up, as did the backgrounds of soldiers (class, family, etc).

And I started to think back to my own time as a young man.

I never seriously considered the military, but I did talk to Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine recruiters largely for shits and giggles but I wasn't ruling anything out. Well. Except the Air Force. And the Army. Army and Air Force bases are often tucked away in some boring ass crack, and I figured sailors and marines had a better shot at "seeing the world".

Anywho, the Navy recruiter was a total idiot. He made a big pitch for "nuclear propulsion" because that's where they like to send their "smart" recruits. He was trying to make me blush, I suppose, but what he didn't count on was that I had long before become accustomed to being mistaken for smart. In fact, some actual smartness had rubbed off on me over the years and I was prompted to ask, more or less, if, by nuclear propulsion, he meant the engine room. He did (he spluttered). So (sez I), you are selling me on the prospect of spending weeks on end 10 decks or so below the top of an aircraft carrier, practicing a craft with no useful civillian application. He was, in fact, but he argued that there were civillian applications for that. I pointed out that I had seen the ONLY nuclear-powered civilian ship in the world, and it was a museum piece in Charleston, SC.

He was offering me training in Monorail development.

Had he asked me a few questions, he might have gotten somewhere. Namely: did I see the movie "Top Gun"? (I graduated in 1990, so it was semi recent at the time.)

Yes. Yes I did. I liked it. (I now hate it, but respect the power of the propaganda.)

Would I like to learn to fly an aeroplane?

Yes. Yes I would.

Did I have any connection with the Navy?

Yes. Yes I did. My dad and one uncle were in the Coast Guard (which is not the Navy, but has things in common with it), and dad's ship was placed under Naval command while he was in Vietnam. And my other uncle was a Commander in the Naval Reserve at the time of my interview.

He didn't ask any variation on those questions. Had he, and had he followed the answers with appropriate pitches, he might have gotten somewhere. Praise Allah, he didn't.

The Marine, however. That guy was, as they say, squared away. He was a walkin' talkin' advertisement for the Corps. No bullshit: If you join the Marine Corps, you will learn to kill people and blow shit up. Whatever innate talents you have will be channeled into shitupblowing/peoplekilling. Anything else you learn will be somehow useful in peoplekilling and shitupblowing. It is highly likely that you will put your peoplekilling/shitupblowing skills to use while you are a Marine. You will learn to talk about all things in a this manner.

I passed on the offer, but only because I reckoned that I lacked a taste for peoplekilling. Shitupblowing struck me as interesting, but I decided to keep that on the hobby level.

If you have read this far, you are probably wondering about the payoff. There is none. I don't know how my memories could possibly add to the human discussion. I'm just sayin.


Friday, March 04, 2005

I swear to god, I never would have figured this was possible. But, you know.

Entertainment News : Denise Richards leaves pregnant Charlie Sheen

I have had a thing in the back of my head about there having been an episode of AARP bashing back during my youth. Googling brings too many hits due to the current controversy, so I am pleased to see it vaguely referenced here: Here We Go Again.

Basically, it ain't new. Or, just as in the Long, Long Trailer, Everything Right is Wrong Again (cuz They Might Be Giants rule).

And while I'm at it . . . Memo to myself: Do the dumb things I've gotta do. Touch the puppet head.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Great googly woogly! Shit? Is fucked up.

[one of Franklin's findings]

Star Trek fans, turn up your volume and check this out.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

War on Terror Ends in Surrender!!!

(pass it on)