Thursday, December 01, 2005

They Time Me with a Sundial

I'm here doing this.

Holla at yo boy.

Limbo in Limbo

No limbo? But what will I do after luaus?

Money well-spent?

Hey, if Moveon can doctor photos...

That's A-Rod. Here's what he makes.

{Alex Rodriguez has earned $114 million (excluding incentives) over five years on a 10-year, $252 million contract.

How that breaks down:

$16,492.58 per inning
$142,144.64 per game
$121,925.13 per hit
$180,665.61 per RBI
$115,971.52 per putout
$37,145.65 per at bat
$276,699.03 per team win
$475,000.00 per homer
$184,466.02 per run scored
$175,654.85 per strikeout}

Not gay. Promise #2.

No, really. Just because of the Peyton Manning thing? I mean, c'mon.

I scored really, really, really, really low, naturally. Because I am very, very, very, very straight. See if you can out gay me.

When the Levee Breaks

No, not the Led Zeppelin song.

Michelle's got some Hurricane Katrina (you may know it as Hurricane Republican Conspiracy to Kill Black People) follow-up.

This just in: I love Michelle.

{That miscalculation was so obvious and fundamental, investigators said, they "could not fathom" how the design team of engineers from the corps, local firm Eustis Engineering and the national firm Modjeski and Masters could have missed what is being termed the costliest engineering mistake in American history.}

"I write big books because I have a tiny penis."

For you Vollmann fans, today's NYRB has a look-see.

{The element of craft is notable throughout the book, and Vollmann himself points out that the whole collection is arranged "palindromically": "the motif in the first story is taken up again in the last; the second story finds its echo in the second to last, and so on." At the center of the book is a story called "The Atlas."

Here he is—as the narrator of a story in The Atlas—left holding the jacket of a prostitute who has gone out onto the streets of San Francisco to look for crack. He riffles through the lining, into which all kinds of objects have fallen: lighters, Vaseline, tissues, a hamburger wrapping, a broken cigarette, some matches, "and finally, like some sweet secret, a little Tootsie Roll." He is touched by the Tootsie Roll, and says he doesn't know why. But in the next sentence he knows why. "It was like her, the dearness of her hidden inside all the greed and the lies, the goodness of her that the badness drew on and exhibited and used for its own selfish work."}

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Face for Radio

A very flattering likeness. But the guy can write like Ray LaMontagne sings.

On Salon today...

{One reads books in order to gain the privilege of living more than one life. People who don't read are trapped in a mine shaft, even if they think the sun is shining. Most New Yorkers wouldn't travel to Minnesota if a bright star shone in the west and hosts of angels were handing out plane tickets, but they might read a book about Minnesota and thereby form some interesting and useful impression of us. This is the benefit of literacy. Life is lonely; it is less so if one reads.

I once got on the subway at 96th and Broadway in Manhattan and sat down opposite a handsome young African-American woman who was reading a book of mine. The train rattled along and I waited for her to smile or laugh but she didn't.}

The Slow Death of MSM

That's the chart for NYT stock, last 12 months. I'm sure it's merely coincidental, but 12 months ago...that's when my blog went online. I'm just sayin'.

Not gay. Promise.

Gawker's got this today from The Daily Show. Sure...I admit to man crush on Peyton Manning...the name-calling begins.

{3. How can you make a gay man scream twice? F*** [redaction Comedy Central’s] him real hard. Then wipe your dick off on his curtains.

5. Why do so many gays have moustaches? To hide the stretch marks.}

Reverse Discrimination

Someone emailed yesterday asking me to repost this from the old Bloglines site. It was a report I made to _________ University's internal audit people. Postscript follows.

{Tragically, I've seen genuinely concerned colleagues of mine question certain administrative actions only to be quickly labeled "troublemaker"--a tag not easily gotten rid of; therefore, I'll take the anonymous route here.

Please, please, please, if my statements in this report fall outside of your areas of concern, I beg you to forward them on to the appropriate entity.

The _______ department Bigwigs sing the blues to us adjunct faculty people every semester: "We're broke. Boo hoo. No money. Boo hoo. Can't hire anyone else. Boo hoo. Classes may not 'make.' Boo hoo."

Fall 200_ I was told to my face that the _________ department did not have the money to hire any new faculty. Less than a week later at a day-before-classes-began department meeting, a new face stood up to speak: "Hi. My name is _______ _______. I've just been hired to teach full-time here." The face was black and female. Pins and pens dropping in the room could not only be heard, they were witnessed; a few were flung.

More than a handful of us "part-timers," those of us in the trenches semester after semester, biding our time and paying our dues, waiting for a full-timer to quit or keel over, pining for the full-timer's health insurance, retirement, benefits, respect, . . . well, to say we were peeved should add weight to that word's definition.

In May Ms. ________ was teaching English to eighth graders in _______ City. With no experience teaching college whatsoever, three months later she is teaching English to freshmen at ________ University.

NOTE: I have no problem with Ms. ________ at all. That is, if she is/was the most qualified person for the position. My problem is this: No one else was even allowed to apply for that position. As far as I can determine, no one else was even notified or made aware that a position was available. In truth, we were told no position was available.

What I know about federal labor laws and practices one could write on the lid of a two liter Coke bottle using a fat tipped magic marker, but something about that whole thing high-heavenly stinks, to me. (Isn't the position supposed to be advertised in a state-wide newspaper for a certain number of days, et cetera?)

Here's one more, uh, "troubling" concern. One of the more courageous adjuncters in the department actually went to our dean over this issue. This person reported back to me that Dean ________ told him/her that in part Ms. _________ was hired because she was interested in pursuing a Ph. D. in our ________ Studies program here at _U and that, *catch this*, they needed to get a black female into that program so its diversity numbers would "look better": They could hire her to teach; she would enter the ________ Studies program; the ________ department's diversity numbers would "look better"; the _________ Studies' diversity numbers would "look better."

I could go on for days here.

I want you, dear reader, to know that I am not a complaining person. That is not my nature. In truth, I am waaay hesitant to click the "send" button at the top of this page. I am scared that if all this amounts to anything it will be discovered that I was its instigator. I do not like the thought of that one bit, for I will be a pariah at any faculty event.

Know this: If proper protocol was followed w/r/t the hiring of _______ _______, if no federal or state labor law was transgressed, if she was hired appropriately and within the boundaries of _U policy (insofar as _U's policies are in agreement with federal and state law (?)), then I'll shut my mouth (as indeed I've kept it shut for the last five months) and _U will hear not one mouse click out of me.

However, if the hiring of ________ ________ has violated any or all of the above, I *will* open my mouth. I'll open it to the [local news channel]. I'll open it to the [major state-wide newspaper]. And I'll open it to a pretty damn good lawyer.

Thanks for your time and consideration."}

Postscript: Of course, this resulted in absolutely nothing.

That's not true. It resulted in me being called a racist by a now-former friend who fingered me for the above letter. Isn't it great that the university is so welcoming to a free exchange of ideas.

"They all look alike to me."

Moveon can't tell American soldiers from British ones. But it can doctor photos.

Here's the story.

Nice Work If You Can Get It

Not since my mom was photographed pointing at a rat turd have I run across a picture that has in it both my favorite thing and my least favorite.

Today's Chronicle features Moore fahrenheiting Phi Beta Kappa.

{George Mason has remained "disappointed" over Phi Beta Kappa's rejection of the bid for a campus chapter, said Daniel L. Walsch, a spokesman for the university. "The decision to disinvite Michael Moore had nothing to do with freedom of speech," he said. "It was just the money." Mr. Moore planned to charge the university $35,000 for his lecture.}

Get Your Eye-Black On

For the record, I was doin' the 619 eye-black thing back in my Pop Warner days. Reggie is my bitch. Shit, I sometimes wear eye-black to lecture.

Nice feature in today's NYT, including some sick high school video, on the man named Bush everybody but Vince Young likes.

{Bush was practically born into the backfield. He grew up in Southeast San Diego, the same part of the city as Terrell Davis, the former Denver Broncos tailback. As a kid, he watched Marshall Faulk run at San Diego State. Then he started training with LaDainian Tomlinson, the San Diego Chargers' tailback.

"I noticed some of myself in him as far as creativity," Tomlinson said. "He likes to express himself and do different things with the football."

At Helix [Bush's high school], coaches used Bush as their punter, trusting him to take off whenever he saw an opening. Recruiters seem to remember Helix faking about as many punts as it attempted. "Reggie would line up back there and make 22 people miss," said Kennedy Pola, the former U.S.C. running backs coach. "That's 11 twice."}

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Atoosa the Abusa

Dear Mrs. Seventeen,

If I see you at a camp, I'm gonna call you everything but a child of God and then draw this on your face, furr realz. And if you then decide to go jump in the lake to wash it off, I will go on national television and say stuff to make you cry.

All your kindness and charm lumped together would still be something no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence.

Warmest regards,

Jen's Future Husband

There are assholes. And then there are assHOLES.

Richard Clarke is the latter.

And, believe me, I would not be giving him blogger coverage except that this review by Michiko Kakutani in today's NYT might stop you or someone you know from buying the "novel" he shit out, thereby supporting his evilicity and allowing him to go on eating tiny children and buying cigarettes for the devil or whatever he does on the weekend.

{Its [his novel's] often absurd plot is primarily a vehicle for its author to lay out his views about the current Iraq war...

Why has Mr. Clarke turned to fiction as a venue for his arguments? No doubt it's a way to say - or imply - things about the Bush administration that he can't quite come out and say in an essay, as well as a way to satirize the intelligence bureaucracy and neo-conservative policy making.

"The Scorpion's Gate" still reads like a journeyman effort: there are awkward passages of exposition shoehorned into the early portions of the story and stilted conversations meant to convey key information to the reader. Although one of Mr. Clarke's heroes, Rusty MacIntyre, is a credible enough creation, most of his characters have the cardboardy feel of generic figures in a thriller.}

"Dr. Namewithheld, We Need a Cleanup on Aisle 9"

The Peters book we all had to read.

Excerpts below from today's Chronicle.

{The number of earned doctorates awarded by American universities jumped 3.4 percent in 2004, the largest one-year increase since 1992...

42,155 new doctoral recipients in 2004...

The median time-to-degree, according to the survey, is 8 years, although that varies substantially by field. Doctorates in the physical sciences take an average of 6.7 years, while degrees in education take 12.7 years...

The University of California at Berkeley awarded the most, 769...

Women received 45 percent of all doctorates...

More than 3,200 doctorates went to citizens of China -- the most of any other country. About 90 percent of them said they intended to stay in the United States.}

The full report should be available here.

Baby Got Back

I am ashamed. Truly I am. But it just seemed to fit my favorite story of the day.

Saved by the Boredom

Not my students. But they may be his.

{While boredom is normally considered the result of a situation gone bad, Mr. Baghdadchi writes that, in academe, it is actually the product of things gone right. He says that uninteresting work creates a "defensive moat around a paper" because people are rarely apt to scrutinize a boring topic. Because it is free from any inquiry, lackluster work can survive criticism.

"Sometimes it even seems as if we have a Mutually Assured Boredom pact," he writes. "I get up and bore you, you get up and bore me, and at the end of the day we are all left standing."}

Told You

Colts 26, Steelers 7

"As Peyton knows we'll all be turning over to MTV at 9:30, look for lots of scoring early."

{On the Colts' first offensive play, Manning found Marvin Harrison streaking past Pittsburgh cornerback Ike Taylor for an 80-yard touchdown.}

Monday, November 28, 2005

Casey at the Bat

Instapundit cites one of my favorite Casey Stengel quotes today:

{The current political situation often reminds me of an old saying by Casey Stengel about how to successfully manage a baseball team."The key to managing is keeping the 50% of the players who hate you from talking to the other 50% of the players who aren't quite sure they hate you."}

Perfect Peyton

I'll admit to having a man crush on Peyton Manning. Shit, I got two cousins named after him.

Tonight it's Colts v. Steelers, and, as Peyton knows we'll all be turning over to MTV at 9:30, look for lots of scoring early.

Help Me with My Viagra Prescription, Ma'am?

"Postage-stamp skirts." This makes me smile downstairs.

{Anyone who has seen the parade of sales representatives through a doctor's waiting room has probably noticed that they are frequently female and invariably good looking. Less recognized is the fact that a good many are recruited from the cheerleading ranks.

Known for their athleticism, postage-stamp skirts and persuasive enthusiasm, cheerleaders have many qualities the drug industry looks for in its sales force. Some keep their pompoms active, like Onya [at left], a sculptured former college cheerleader. On Sundays she works the sidelines for the Washington Redskins. But weekdays find her urging gynecologists to prescribe a treatment for vaginal yeast infection.}

If She Builds It...

Professor Namewithheld is not as crazy about architect Zaha Hadid as he is about Jen from Miss Seventeen, but he likes Hadid's latest, the Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburg, Germany, Volkswagen's birthplace and headquarters. Here's today's NYT piece on it.


From John Miller's op-ed in today's NYT...

{Conservatives never would have risen to prominence without their compelling critique of the welfare state, their faith in the power of free markets to create economic prosperity, and their belief that religion can play a constructive role in the public square.

The economist Thomas Sowell once joked that Hank Aaron was a lucky man, because he was always stepping up to the plate when a home run was about to be hit. Likewise, conservative ideas took flight not because wealthy philanthropists were suddenly willing to finance them, but because they identified actual problems and offered sensible solutions.

If liberals now want to create a counter-counterintelligentsia, it's going to take more than money; what they truly need is a set of really good ideas.}

And Speaking of Peace...

How 'bout resting in it.

Today's Chronicle tells me I can let college bury me once again.

{Back on Campus, for Eternity

The most loyal of college alumni would live and die by their alma maters. Recognizing an opportunity in that sentiment, some institutions are offering their graduates burial plots in campus cemeteries.

Institutions like the University of Virginia have long had cemeteries where distinguished faculty members and administrators are laid to rest, but until recently the options for alumni were few. The University of Notre Dame has had a cemetery since 1843, and recently decided to expand it and sell burial options to its graduates. An alumni survey indicated "overwhelmingly strong interest" in such purchases. Hence the Coming Home Project was born.

"So many people say that Notre Dame is like home to them and that they'd like to be buried here," says the Rev. William D. Seetch, alumni chaplain. "But we're still in the design phase of the project, so we're encouraging everybody to wear the sunscreen and eat the oat bran, because we're not ready for them yet."}

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Now That I've Passed the Tryptophan

I am thinking I should have my back patted, along with maybe a lighthearted punch to the arm, that on Thanksgiving--a day when I hurl aside all restraint and moderation of any kind--I didn't stab a relative.

9 kids under age 6. Is infanticide a word?

My fundamentalist--eagerly so--Christian father followed up a shocking story he told last week, about getting drunk in his twenties on moonshine, with another one that stunned young and old alike involving a marijuana cigarette. By Christmas he'll, what, come out of the closet? Introduce us all to his illegitimate Puerto Rican son? Reference knocking off a Piggly Wiggly?

My crazy, orange-haired, Merle-Norman-ed, costume-jeweled, 85-yr-old great aunt, Jayveen, was in. She smokes Virginia Slims and highballs cocktails. By 2 p.m. she was telling yet again, revisiting really, her near-tryst with Elvis. "You know," she began, fighting back tears, "I saw The King in Vegas." She likes to call him The King. "His buttocks had swelled up so big--looked like he had two balloons in his pants."

And then things began to go downhill.

I need a passport and an interpreter to talk to these, these people.

525,600 Minutes (Seasons of Love)

Speaking of the Baby Jesus, here is Raphael's Madonna and Child, ca. 1503.

Today is of course the first Sunday in the season of Advent, my favorite season next to the one baseball has.

I wish you all the best this Advent, and, if you haven't already, get your ass to a church and do yourself some worshippin'.

Sittin' on the Lock of the Bay

While you can't buy stamps picturing that evil Baby Jesus or those sonsabitches, the Three Wise Men to mail your shit this Christmas, you can add .05 to this baby at left that just screams Happy Holidays and use it.

But as for peace on earth, this video ain't bad.

Chappelle Fix

For those of you missing "loosies," "badunkadunk," and "The Niggars," the NYT's has a (not great) piece on Dave today.

{Mr. Chappelle, a lanky exclamation point of a man, ...}