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"You're right, Donald. I am fired. FIRED UP FOR JESUS!"

Posted by Becks
on 12.08.07

Set your TiVos!

My BFF Stephen Baldwin is going to be on Celebrity Apprentice in January. We are all going to watch this. It will be like the Being and Time reading group, only with more air drums.


 

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Aural Distraction

Posted by Ogged
on 12.08.07

Brian Wilson recorded a rap song? Yes. Via the greatest pop music critic of all time, The Sasha Frere-Jones.

In other music, some songs that you might not have heard, or not heard in a long time. [links fixed]

From Rachid Taha's Diwan (which I heard about from Dagger Aleph's Arabic mix), the silky El H'Mame.

From Dylan's Bootleg Series 1-3, maybe the greatest what-to-wish-upon-evil-people song ever, Seven Curses.

And from Bob Marley's early Natty Dread album, Them Belly Full (But We Hungry).


 

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Just Look For The Presidential Medal Of Freedom

Posted by Ogged
on 12.08.07

I think Kevin actually undersells the depravity here. George Bush (and plenty of people in his administration) really do belong before a war crimes tribunal.


 

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A Rash of Unpublishing

Posted by Ogged
on 12.08.07

I've taken the last Ask The Mineshaft down, because of concerns about the people in the story recognizing themselves if the post gets linked around. We need to think about how to deal with topics like this. Better to not post at all, or is it ok to post then unpublish? It's too early in the weekend for me to think about this; maybe it should all remain ad hoc.


 

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That's a long time to listen to Brad Neely's voice

Posted by Ben
on 12.07.07

Some kind soul seems to have put Wizard People, Dear Reader on Youtube.


 

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I refuse to be lectured on religion by a man with no soul

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 12.07.07

As time goes on it becomes clear that Mitt Romney's utterances are completely unmoored from concerns about truth and are governed instead only by consideration of what will earn him some political advantage.

The religion speech is here. Ygelsias has more, as do Kleiman, David Brooks, Pharyngula, Rauchway and Laden.

Honestly I don't know where to start. From big annoying claims (freedom needs religion; I really believe this stuff, but I'll govern as though I don't) to internal incoherence (I won't talk about doctrine, except Jesus is awesome) to small irritants (I love the way Muslims are always washing their hands) this speech has a lot to loathe. Begin your two-minutes hate below.


 

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Who Busts The Busters

Posted by Ogged
on 12.07.07

This must have been a sweet moment for the defense attorney.

A teenage suspect who secretly recorded his interrogation on an MP3 player has landed a veteran detective in the middle of perjury charges, authorities said Thursday.

Unaware of the recording, Detective Christopher Perino testified in April that the suspect "wasn't questioned" about a shooting in the Bronx, a criminal complaint said. But then the defense confronted the detective with a transcript it said proved he had spent more than an hour unsuccessfully trying to persuade Erik Crespo to confess - at times with vulgar tactics.
Once the transcript was revealed in court, prosecutors asked for a recess, defense attorney Mark DeMarco said. The detective was pulled from the witness stand and advised to get a lawyer.

Cops do lie a lot, don't they? This video got a lot of attention recently, and if you sit through the whole thing, you can see the cop lie to his colleague at the end. Later, his chief said that the driver had made a motion as if he were reaching in his pocket, but even the lying cop hadn't made that claim in the video. Bullshit, all the way down.


 

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In Living Color

Posted by Ogged
on 12.07.07

What's left to say?

The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Qaeda operatives in the agency's custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about its secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.

The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terrorism suspects -- including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody -- to severe interrogation techniques. The tapes were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that video showing harsh interrogation methods could expose agency officials to legal risks, several officials said.

Rule of law, baby.


 

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Update Me

Posted by Becks
on 12.06.07

Before I had the internet in my pocket on my new phone, I used to use a Palm Pilot. I don't use the gadget anymore but I still use Palm Desktop as my general calendar/address book/to do list/list keeper, mostly because it's already installed on my computer. I also have Outlook installed but I think it's annoying for anything beyond email.

I realize this is some pretty old technology (I've been using Palm Desktop for this purpose for 8 years now) so I thought I'd inquire as to whether there's something better out there that I should be using.

I'm mostly interested in the address book and calendar functions. The to do lists and memo pads are nice to haves but not critical. I must be able to import my Palm data into the new program for it to be considered because I'm not re-typing all of those addresses and I don't want to lose all of that historical calendar data. (Where were YOU on the night of January 16, 2000? I know where I was!) And it should be for Windows.


 

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I'm Like 30 Goddamn Offended

Posted by Ogged
on 12.06.07

I never even played D&D.

Things that need to BE DESTROYED

Nerds that wear a black button-down shirt thinking it gives them that "formal, yet edgy" look, when in fact it just makes them look like more of a nerd, since only nerds do this. You want a bolo tie with that? Seriously, all this fashion statement says is, "I have a level 60 Druid." Sorry to break it to ya.

And this, from that men's fashion blog we found a week or two ago, sure sounds like confirmation to me.

But if you want the bad boy mysterious look, go for a solid black dress shirt and pair it with jeans for a night out with the boys or for a first date.

Jesus hell, not only do I not have anything to wear, apparently there exists nothing for me to wear. And my blog is now entirely about fashion and poop.


 

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I Want To Screw You

Posted by Ogged
on 12.06.07

Searches that brought people to the site. One of these people is more considerate than the other.

how to get someone deported

how to persuade your boyfriend to try anal


 

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Fun Fun

Posted by Ogged
on 12.05.07

I want to play this game with W-lfs-n at UnfoggeDCon.


 

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Homework

Posted by Ogged
on 12.05.07

Over at the new Edge Of The American West, Eric Rauchway has advice for applying grad students and junior professors.

If you're applying for admission to study history at the graduate level, or if you're applying for a job in a history department, you are not applying to Platonic Ideal History Department, you are applying to a specific actual one. It is not like other ones. Why is this department not like all other departments? Please find out, so you will not sound (not to be rude, but) like an egomaniacal ignoramus.

Specifics at the link.


 

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Huckster

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 12.05.07

I had been hoping for a continued Huckabee surge on the grounds that, though I agree with Lemieux that he won't win, his failure-- or, more accurately, the moneycon reaction to his bid-- will do some work in convincing the social conservative bloc that the Republican party isn't its friend. But then I read Murray Waas' piece about the Dumond issue and came to want a quick demise to Huckabee's career on the grounds that anyone who did those things just shouldn't be in public life.


 

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Let's Make It Video Wednesday

Posted by Ogged
on 12.05.07

Swimsuits from 1952. Noted: the tyranny of the small waist, the relatively advanced age of the pretty but normal-looking models, that some of the suits are kind of hot.

A video that might be amusing only if you live around here. And maybe not even then. But I laughed. (via tweedle)


 

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Oh, For A Lightning Bolt

Posted by Ogged
on 12.05.07

It's safe for work, but it will break your spirit.

via wwtdd


 

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New York Magazine Answers All

Posted by Becks
on 12.05.07

The official name is "apex measurement".


 

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It's True

Posted by Bob
on 12.04.07

Becks is so awesome. I wish I could be just like her.

Maybe someday, if I'm lucky.


 

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Veldt, Don't Fail Me Now

Posted by Ogged
on 12.04.07

You what doesn't make sense to me? That the intonations humans seem to adopt universally when they're explaining things are precisely those intonations that seem to bore listeners out of their minds.


 

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Ask The Mineshaft: Smitten But Not Bitten Edition

Posted by Becks
on 12.04.07

Dead Female President writes in to ask:

I am trying to understand the behaviour of one of my colleagues (in a different department), with whom I am close friends. Several months ago, in a cab returning from a conference, he burst into tears while telling me how much my friendship means to him (he has grown misty-eyed on this topic several times since). Shortly afterwards, he made me a little graphic storybook, with elaborately photoshopped pics, about the ways in which I had transformed his life. When I thanked him, rather nicely, he actually physically *swooned* in front of me. After coffee dates, he writes me strings of giddily happy emails about what a nice time he had. He makes me mix CDs. He says he is telling me things, and feeling things for me, that he's only ever told/felt for his wife before . . .
He would be doing a fantastic job of getting me in the sack, except that he is very clearly not trying to get me in the sack. He talks fondly and often of his wife and kids, he asks after my husband with genuine interest (I have a decadent European marriage; that's not the problem). He has also mentioned, a propos of nothing at the time, that he would never be unfaithful to his wife. Which is perfectly normal! I am not circling this guy like a shark. But I have also now developed a gigantic embarrassing crush on him, and am feeling all sad and lovesick. And whenever I try to cool off the emailery, I get rushed with "I miss you!" messages, and lose my resolve. Apparently, I have become a teenager again. And that wasn't that much fun the first time round.
Help me, Mineshaftians! Is it really possible to behave so romantically around someone you sincerely consider your best friend? Have I been in academe so long I can no longer distinguish between romantic gestures and signs of deep friendship? Am I being jerked around?
(Possibly relevant data point: colleague is a product of an English boarding school education.)
Also, how many dead female presidents are there, anyway?

 

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Covered

Posted by Ogged
on 12.04.07

This bit from the Times report about the NIE jumped out.

The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate that represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies....

16??


 

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A question you have never pondered...

Posted by Apostropher
on 12.04.07

...but now has been asked, so can no longer be avoided: What would Giuliani-meat taste like?


 

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The War At Home

Posted by Becks
on 12.04.07

I recently discovered that my father has been trying to convince my youngest brother to join the military when he graduates from high school. My brother doesn't know what careers he's interested in and I think my father believes this will let him try new things and give him some time to mature and develop some direction before going to college. As you can guess, saying that my mother and I think this is the worst idea ever is a massive understatement.

I need to shut this shit down over Christmas. How would you convince someone who thinks it's a good idea for their kid to enlist that it's a colossally bad idea?


 

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Noli te transferre*, for Caesar you ain't

Posted by Ben
on 12.03.07

Harry Mount likes Latin. So much so that his op-ed on the subject appears, at least online (I didn't check the print) in the language itself. I, with my weak Latin, can't be too too certain of what follows, but I know that there are plenty of capable Latinists hanging around, too many, in fact, to enumerate. So I ask your forbearance. Now then. I only read the first paragraph in either language:

AT first glance, it doesn't seem tragic that our leaders don't study Latin anymore. But it is no coincidence that the professionalization of politics -- which encourages budding politicians to think of education as mere career preparation -- has occurred during an age of weak rhetoric, shifting moral values, clumsy grammar and a terror of historical references and eternal values that the Romans could teach us a thing or two about. As they themselves might have said, "Roma urbs aeterna; Latina lingua aeterna."*
Primum, duces nostros linguam Latinam non iam studere triste non videtur. Sed reipublicae artem - quae principes iuvenes educationem praeparationem pro curriculo considerare excitat -- cum rhetorica exigua, moribus infirmis, grammatica inepta et rationis historicae metu congruissse fors non est; aeterna de quibus Romani nos multum docere possunt. Romani ipsi dicunt, Roma urbs aeterna; Latina lingua aeterna.*

As far as I can tell, the following things are the case:

  1. "congruisse" is misspelled.
  2. "artem" could mean "profession", but surely not "professionalization"; this is a rather important distinction.
  3. The first conjunct of "a terror of historical references and eternal values" has become singular and the second has just gone missing, so that "aeterna" seems to be a substantive referring to the list of woes which are, far from being bound to the present day, actually eternal, and it is these eternal things (weak rhetoric, infirm customs, and bad grammar) concerning which the Romans can teach us much.
Of course it could just be that these are two separate texts, neither a translation of the other, despite the Latin one advertising itself as a translation, on a similar theme (for which reason I don't point out that "as they themselves might have said" becomes "the Romans themselves say" and that "could teach us" becomes "can teach us" (for all I know that's just a matter of idiom). But if I am not misled, there is at least one confirmation of the rule that if you chide someone about grammar, you yourself will make a mistake, and two rather significant changes in meaning.

I also think it's stupid that he didn't merely Latinify his family name, but actually did translate it, Mount into Mons, and kind of funny that the translation I got for the second sentence began "it is no coincidence that the profession of politics has coincided with …"

* My teeny-weeny dictionary from 1960 (I understand the language has changed a lot since then) gives "reddere" and "vertere" for translate. But Mount uses "translatio" for "translation", and "transferre" is the origin of the English word, and it fits better with "tangere" than either of the other two, so, you know.


 

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NIE

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 12.03.07

This seems pretty outrageous. The rhetorical drumbeating happened despite (at least growing) awareness that Iran had suspended its nuclear program in 2003. Yglesias has a bit more. Drum is also pissed.


 

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Gary Farber's In A Bad Way

Posted by LizardBreath
on 12.03.07

Help a blogger out?


 

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What to say at the APA

Posted by Fontana Labs
on 12.03.07

The best thing to say, of course, is "Christ, what an asshole" or, if you're asking a question at a talk, "Sorry if this question isn't clear; you see, I'm already drunk."

If you're interviewing, however, this approach isn't ideal. At the Philosophy Job Market Blog the crew is wondering how to respond to questions about teaching, especially those asked during interviews with teaching-oriented schools.

It's a hard question because grad students usually have (a) not a lot of teaching experience; (b) experience with only a certain type of teaching situation; (c) advice from people who haven't taught at teaching-focused institutions. So a lot of people being interviewed can't really do much besides BS. Here are some thoughts. Keep in mind that I have no real expertise on this, though I've been through a few hires and have a sense of what's worked for us and what hasn't.

First, when you're faced with "how would you teach course X?" take it seriously as a chance to demonstrate that you really can. Ideally you've thought a bit about X and you can say something about various approaches one might take. "Some people do thus-and-so, but my preference now is to do such-and-such because..." is a useful frame, as long as you're not too quirky about the content. It's also helpful, I think, to have and to communicate a sense of what you want students to have by the end of the course. (E.g. you might think an intro course in ethics is really just as much about critical thinking skills as learning propositions about the work of JS Mill, and so your syllabus reflects that.) It's ok to err slightly on the cutesy side, I think, if that lets you avoid a syllabus proposal of the "week n, chapter n" variety.

Second, I think manner and presentation matter a lot. If you come across as a clearheaded and pleasant person who will interact well with students, it goes a long way and gives you some latitude in the content of your responses. Finish those sentences!

Third, it's good to think about the institution in advance in order to anticipate questions that emerge from different student populations. If you're at a "highly selective liberal arts college" you won't deal with the same issues you'll face at Branch of State U, and it's good to have a view (and examples!) about meeting challenges like, e.g., diverse levels of competence in the student body.

Fourth, I for one am in favor of (apparent) honesty over unconvincing BS, especially when interviewing people straight from grad school. Of course you won't have diverse teaching experience, and your answers shouldn't attempt to fool me. But you should be perfectly capable of sounding like a sharp person who's really done some thinking about teaching. Think about your grad-school peers: some take teaching seriously, and some don't. Sound like you're in the former category. If teaching is a large part of the job, and you sound contemptuous or bored or just unengaged when talking about it, that's a good reason not to hire you.

Finally, some odds and ends. Some places will be keen on interdisciplinary courses, so have some ideas along these lines in your back pocket. Like Ron Popeil, you should set it and forget it. The same for "a seminar for our senior majors" and "intro-level course that gets a few people to major in philosophy" and "that boring service course everyone hates teaching."

Generally, try to empathize with the department interviewing you. This is high-stakes for them too: they don't want to hire a pain in the ass (bad colleague, someone who prompts student complaints, whatever) and they don't want to seem like idiots in front of this year's bright young things. Maybe there's some defensiveness as well.

Then you can go get drunk.


 

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Chester Sounds Right

Posted by Ogged
on 12.03.07

Over at waste, there's a link to an interview with David Markson in which he shares this happy thought.

Harlin: There are some contemporary references in this book. You mention the Iraq war a couple of times, George W. Bush, and even Rush Limbaugh.

Markson: I hesitated about that; I usually don't do it. My attitude is that everybody should know even the most obscure painter or composer. But fucking George W. Bush? A hundred years from now? Who will know him any more than they know Chester Alan Arthur? ...

 

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A Landing Strip for the Runway

Posted by Becks
on 12.03.07

Speaking of spas and such, I was walking through JFK the other day and spied a spa that's sprung up there for weary passengers waiting for their flights. I can see how someone would go for that -- your flight's delayed by three hours, you're stressed and tense, so you decide to treat yourself to a massage. But, as I was looking down their list of services, I had to wonder who would think of squeezing in a Brazilian wax before their flight.


 

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Stricken

Posted by Becks
on 12.03.07

Should the writer's strike drag on through the end of December, I wonder what kind of effect that will have on the primaries, especially since they're so early this year. Given all of those stories you hear about people getting their news from places like The Daily Show and Jay Leno, and with those shows not producing new content, will that mean voters will be more likely to be swayed by advertising and real news than the caricatures that comedians develop for the candidates? Or will voters just be less informed because they'll be getting less information, even if some of the information that will be lost is somewhat dubious?


 

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Smells Like...History

Posted by Ogged
on 12.02.07

Via the well-scrubbed Ms. Catherine, an interview with the author of a book on the history of personal hygiene. Either our manicure etc. habits ain't so extreme, or we really are reliving the days of the Roman Republic.

What did clean mean in ancient Rome?

If you were a man, you would take off all your clothes, put a little oil on your body, rub it with dust and go out into the playing field to work up a sweat. Then you would get somebody to scrape off your perspiration with an instrument that looks like a little tiny rake, called a strigil. Then you would get into a tepid bath, then into a really hot bath, then into a cold bath.
You never used any soap, and it was all done in public. If you were just a normal person, you'd probably spend a couple of hours every day in the bathhouse, where you could get wine, food, sex, a medical treatment, a haircut. You could have a depilator pluck the hair in your armpits.

Of course, this all changed with the fall of Rome, because 1) Christians thought it was holy to be dirty and 2) hot/cold baths required an imperial infrastructure.

We all know the saying, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness," but there was a time when quite the opposite was true. Could you talk about that?

Christianity turns out to be the only great world religion -- great in the sense of widespread and influential -- that had no teaching or interest in hygiene. In the early years of the church, the holier you were, the less you wanted to be clean. Cleanliness was kind of a luxury, like food, drink and sex, because cleanliness was comfortable and attractive. The holier you were -- and this really applied to monks and hermits and saints -- the less you would wash. And the more you smelled, the closer to God people thought you were.
So then did Buddhists and Muslims think Christians were filthy?
Absolutely. And they were right, too.

Indeed. Lots more good details in the interview (perfume: not for other people's benefit!), so it's worth clicking through.


 

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Modern Love, Misogynistic Overgeneralization Edition

Posted by LizardBreath
on 12.02.07

This week's Modern Love is at least different; the writer isn't minimizing someone else's real problems as a backdrop to her own little personal epiphany. Instead, she's taking something genuinely terrible that happened to her -- she was raped in college by a fratboy, and her sorority expelled her for being a slut as a result -- and going someplace really weird with it: that women generally, as a class, are untrustworthy and out to get each other:

In the two decades since, I've been a full-time lawyer, a working mother and a stay-at-home mother. In each role, I've found my fears about women's covert competition and aggression to be frequently validated: the gossip, the comparisons, the withering critiques of career and mothering choices. We women swim in shark-infested waters of our own design. Often we don't have a clue where we stand with one another -- socially, as mothers, as colleagues -- because we're at once allies and foes.
I want to remain optimistic. After all, here I am with three daughters. What am I to teach them? Cautionary tales about men's harmful proclivities abound. But how do we help our girls navigate the duplicitous female maze? How do we ensure that they behave authentically, respect humanity over fleeting alliances, and squash the nasty tribal instincts that can inflict lifelong distress?

This is the odd Modern Love that could have benefited from a little more introspection, rather than less. The experience she describes could perfectly reasonably have left the writer suspicious and afraid of women in social groups. Somehow, though, she doesn't seem to have made the leap to realizing that, despite her reasonably traumatized reaction, not all women really are the sorority sisters who did her wrong.


 

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Clay

Posted by Ben
on 12.02.07

The rules for strip dreidl are simple and easy to master.

Shin: doff an article and put it in the pot.
Hey: don half the articles in the pot (round up).
Gimel: don all the articles in the pot.
Nun: do nothing.

Play continues until only one participant is clad.


 

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Bedrock

Posted by Ogged
on 12.02.07

This comment at Yglesias's about the lack of broadband infrastructure in the US cracked me up.

But if we had a high-quality broadband infrastructure, how would we stop poor people from using it?

Posted by jimbo | December 1, 2007 7:29 PM

Heh. Indeed.


 

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