Presidential Debates: Obama/Edwards Tagteam?

This could get fun.

UPDATE: It appears to have legs, too. Weird. Usually anything that might be bad for Clinton gets instantly deep-sixed. Staffers beware: this is a real risk for Senator Clinton. “Take-down-the-leader” is traditional primary politics. Suggestions that this is unfair are going to come across as very whiny.

The conventional wisdom says that if “the men” pick on poor little Hillary, they risk turning off voters. But if they don’t do something, and do it impressively fast, they stand no chance of getting the nomination. And they can’t go after her on qualifications (because Obama and Edwards are themselves notoriously thin in the resume department).

So why not tag-team her on the real issue when it comes to the general election? Put bluntly, character is the issue with Senator Clinton, just like it was with her husband. Hillary’s a vicious, manipulative, conniving, two-faced bitch. And everybody knows it. The only difference is between those who support her because she’s their vicous, manipulative, conniving, two-faced bitch, and those who would crawl naked over broken glass to vote against her for just those reasons. (more…)

Congratulations, Sgt Powers!

The Factory’s best wishes to the recovery of a guy hung heavy enough to get stabbed in the brain and still put down the guy who came after him.

Best of all, he seems to be just fine.

Though if you listen to the commentary, you’ll figure out that a lot of folks’ zombie plans just went right out the window…

This just in: Russia Sucks

The Guardian suggests we’re back to old-school Russia:  show up to the protest, or else.

Russia sucks.

In other news, trees are known to generate energy via the exposure of large, flexible plate-like surfaces to the sun, in a process referred to as photosynthesis.

Disquiet on the Danube?

Full disclosure: I am a CEU alumnus, and on the off chance that my commentary isn’t preserved on pajamas media (my writing’s not always good enough to make the cut), I’m preserving it here… because another ex-pat just got sold down the river in the following commentary on Hungarian politics.

“They are using this holiday for their politics, but today shouldn’t be political.”

Mr. Hayes is getting sold a bill of goods, and said student is talking out of his or her collective butt cheeks. (more…)

Aesop and Plato

Do you ever have moments when you wonder whether the entire pseudo-manichean strain in Western Culture that survives within the various Platonic schools exists basically because Plato’s reaction to the disheartened old men in Book One of the Republic was fundamentally flawed?

Maybe he got that line upside down because he forgot to read Aesop?  Sour grapes and all that, and just because we gradually lose our ability to participate in the world in a form other than inspiration or tomato food, doesn’t mean that the world itself is any the less amazing and significant?

But NOOOOoooo, we had to get a philosphy by Mister Grumpy Fox, idealizing retreat into a world of supposedly-more-real “Ideals,” more or less established as axiomatic nomenclature, in which the Philosopher understands the world… he just refuses to lower himself by enjoying his relations with it.

Or, to paraphrase an acquaintance of mine, “the perfect Platonic ideal of ‘chair-qua-chair’ would be incredibly uncomfortable, unless of course one happened to have a perfectly Platonic butt.”

Things Students Taught Me: WWI and the Roaring Twenties

“Also racism came to a head with the development of the KKK.  They could now publicly hate everyone.”

“Industrialism helped US become more industrialized.” 

“The US entered WWI because of Communism.”

“WWI was caused because of the Holocaust.”

—-

Q:  “What’s different about the ‘Roaring 20s?’ ”

  • “Henry Ford produced a car every 10 seconds by WWI.”
  • “People did social things again, enjoyed themseles more, and had more children”
  • “It was at this time that the oops began.”
  • “I believe the roaring 20s were said to be the best century.”

Cash for hitting people…

I wonder, next spring, if I should plunk down 80 bucks for the possibility of making a grand in one day?

Would Happycrow beat up people with a wooden sabre for money?  Oh, you betcha…

Of course, Technogypsy might come out with his spear, and then I’m screwed.  But, still.  Could I take sabre against the longsword people?  I think so… and in continuous action where you’re not being separated, it’s all about “get past the spear.”  Might be do-able.

Dallas to allow druggies as cops?

Not that I particularly care about pot, but do we really need anybody with a known history of breaking the law in a notable way being recruited… in Dallas, a.k.a., the home of the lookalike scandal and the closest thing DFW has to Louisiana-corrupt cops?

Ultimately, though I’d like to see some of the drug laws get changed in a major way, this is just a recipe for the real bad apples to start slipping into the force.

How Cats wake you up.

Actually, they wake me up by getting my wife out of bed, who then putters around like the morning person she is before making coffee… but this is pretty realistic…

Movie Review: 30 Days of Night

This was a kick-ass movie.

Unfortunately, now millions of people know my zombie plan, which is a lot like Simmons’… but Grif’s not going to do any better, seeing as how there are now vampires in Alaska.

But, survival, as Richard Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs character describes, is very often merely about “getting to the next screen.” Well, your chance of doing so if you’re an inhabitant of the fantasy version of Barrow, AK when this goes down are nigh infinitesimal. You think zoombies are bad? This makes zoombies look like a cakewalk. (more…)

Ninja Turtles (no, the other ninja turtles)

Every campus where I work has its own set of notable life-forms.  Tarrant County SE has bunnies, Dallas has turtles, and Collin has crows.  (Meaning I’m definitely going to wind up working for Collin long-term, right?)  The campus in Dallas has turtles that sit there, for minutes at a time, without moving.

Staring.  Necks up.  At Nothing.  Until you blink.

It’s pretty weird, man.  On the other hand, maybe they’re just trying to get the last real heat of the year, since the weather has very definitely broken here, and we’re dipping down into the 60s at night, and only going up into the 80s, with plenty of wind and clouds.

Or, they’re secretly looking through the windows at tasty students.  It’s possible.

Springtime schedule more or less set

Looks like I’ve got five sections for Spring, plus any MW/MWF sections I want to pick up over in Tarrant.  So that’s a success.  The down side is that I can’t even begin to match my wife’s salary at this rate, and basically have to work a consistent seven sections or so in order to even come close — and this without benefits.

I may be changing careers again, unless I manage to hit the lottery and get into a full-time position within the next two-to-three years — difficult, since I’m a white male and have to be “supercandidate” in order to survive any stage of the process, and I still can’t work even as a part-timer on my hometown campus (not a whine: these are just the facts on the ground, just like it was a fact that the shit-ignorant fratboy investment bankers I used to work for ran a lily-white little operation within the office and weren’t shy about tossing around the kind of racist remarks that would get mere mortals like yours truly canned, and justifiably so, in a heartbeat).  Teaching is nice, and I definitely enjoy it… but its sustainability on a part-time basis is going to be predicated upon an ever-increasing number of sections taught per semester, and although I’m handling seven right now, to match the Bunny I’d need nine, minimum, and I don’t think I can consistently get that many unless I’m very lucky.  Seven is probably sustainable, and eight theoretically possible if I were to pick up dual-credit work again (though that raises timing issues, it’s a growth industry as we continue to replace the high schools/do their jobs for them).

Some hard strategizing is going to be necessary:  I’m either going to have to manage to build my CV up to where I can hit paydirt in a couple of years (and that’s being worked on, since I’m on a committee and registered for significant additional pedagogical/classroom training this winter), or else start looking for a field in which I can leverage what I do into something beyond a menial position.

“Drive Friendly”: Or, how Not To Die on the Texas Highways

I’m a crap driver.

But I’m an awesome commuter.  I’ve had people spontaneously gush about how I somehow manage to drive as if my car were surrounded by a “bubble of peace.”  I’m pretty sure it’s because my Dad, whose job it was to drive multi-thousand-ton ships, constantly emphasized that the technical skills of driving are the least important part of the job.  That’s the easy part.  In addition, one needs to develop:

  1. A sense of what other drivers are going to do.
  2. The ability to consistently perceive “1” and make decisions that minimize conflicts while driving.

Well, after years of griping, I’m going to bite the bullet and put up my own humble contribution — driving problems for teenagers /new drivers.  A lot of the traffic and commuting problems out there are caused by drivers making their commute slower for themselves by failing to observe some simple principles.  Especially around Dallas.  Texas is known for its courteous and friendly drivers…. except for Dallas, where Chaos Reigns and you routinely see drivers pulling the weirdest crap… that gets people smashed-up and killed.

Well, here goes:  DF#1 — The Pitfalls of Parcheesi

Scenario #1:

df-1.JPGYou are cruising along the highway in the green car (center).   Relatively speaking, you’re going slightly faster than the blue car way over in the slow lane (you passed her about a quarter mile back), and about the same speed as the yellow car.

There is a red car in the fast lane coming up on you, and there isn’t room for it to get over (safely) between your car and the yellow car.  What do you do?

(more…)

Gratuitous

Feed me a cow, call it a burrito

You know the difference between a furniture mover and a reporter for CNN?  The former can eat breakfast at Hardee’s without irony.

When I worked manual labor, I would have killed for something like this.  Whether work was hodey-ho, or else an excursion through hell, was often directly related to how well you’d eaten for breakfast…

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