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On Women's Groups

Posted by Becks
on 06.20.09

The latest brouhaha about Sotomayor, where she resigned from a women's organization because of the stink being raised by Republicans, really irks me. As I've mentioned on the blog before, we tried to start an informal women's club at my previous job to promote networking among female employees, help women find mentors in the company, and provide a forum to help each other address issues we were facing in our career. We were told we had to shut it down because men complained that the women were being given networking and career development opportunities that they weren't...right before the company-wide golf outing with the VPs that happened to be almost entirely men (but it's open to everyone! not discriminatory!)

This is where the affirmative action stuff really gets to me. I can see people disagreeing about whether we should provide institutional support to right past discrimination, such as quotas or giving race or gender special consideration during hiring decisions, but I'm sick of people calling foul when women or minorities try to create their own communities to provide each other support. It's like the new rule is that you can't ask for help leveling the playing field from institutions or the government AND you can't do it yourself through trying to better yourself with your peers and creating alternate networks to compensate for the lack of access you're getting. How's someone supposed to get ahead?


 

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The dark side of hybrid vigor

Posted by Ben
on 06.19.09

I know that Brokencyde has come up here before, but until now I'd never gone beyond simply sniggering at their ridiculous myspace page. Now, however—now I've actually listened to one of their songs. If you haven't done so yet, I recommend it highly, especially when paired with the somewhat similar Attack Attack!. Fortunately, they have already been brought together here.

I suppose there's no a priori reason to think that death metal/metalcore/grindcore√ęsque vokill expectorations couldn't be rhythmic or lyrical components in a shitty pop tune, but it would have to be one whose other components aren't so bright and bubbly. (Less obvious autotuning would also help. Maybe if Ulver teamed up with Buried Inside and a Swedish songwriter.) In Brokencyde's lamentable case, it really does just sound funny. And the, uh, I guess it's the bridge where two of the singers just say "liar" repeatedly in that metal way is not helped by the fact that the bleached-hair guy is really bad at it. Also, the video is stupid!

The Attack Attack! tune is basically the same idea except the metal parts predominate and the poppy autotuning is more the visitor—or so you might think until you do as Brandon suggests and get 2:46 in. That this song could have been produced by a single musical sensibility is really marvelous.

Let's have some value! added! I was looking on emusic for the Christof Kurzmann/Burkhard Stangl album Neuschnee, but they didn't have it. They had, instead, an album Wegweiser by a band called Neuschnee and, won over by this in retrospect way too high praise, I downloaded it. It's not bad! Naturally, I can't understand 95% of the lyrics when I listen while doing anything other than attending to them in particular, and I fear that if I tried listening while attending to them in particular I would discover that it booted little, so I haven't done so.


 

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In Michigan, they celebrate 'Sweetest Day' which is way, way lamer

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.19.09

Happy Juneteenth! Which I had never heard of before moving to Texas. But it's pretty big here. And worth celebrating.


 

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OK, guys? This is going to suck

Posted by Standpipe Bridgeplate
on 06.18.09

Gentle readers, I refer you to Joshua 5:2-9. Our hero has just led the Israelite host across the Jordan in advance of beating the tar out of the Canaanites. The Israelites' 40-year hopscotch through the desert is about to end in an orgy of righteous conquest, and they are stoked. But it seems there has been an oversight. Joshua has some bad news.

At that time the Lord said to Joshua, "Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites a second time." So Joshua made flint knives, and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath-haaraloth.
That's "Hill of Foreskins", if you wondered. You may also wonder: WTF, Lord?
This is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the males of the people who came out of Egypt, all the warriors, had died during the journey through the wilderness after they had come out of Egypt. … So it was their children, whom he raised up in their place, that Joshua circumcised; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way.
At least the Lord wasn't just setting himself up for a cock joke.
When the circumcising of all the nation was done, they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed. The Lord said to Joshua, "Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt."
And so that place is called Sucks-to-be-an-Israelite to this day.


 

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The only ship that matters is the successor ship

Posted by Ben
on 06.18.09

Since Clifton Fadiman, "public intellectuals", etc. were brought up in an earlier thread that's since moved on in response to our beloved lost bread's lamenting that "intellectual gourmand" isn't the title of a well-paying job, I bring your attention to an admittedly rather old piece by the greatest of all critics, Scott McLemee.


 

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Ask The Mineshaft: Hey Hey You You I Don't Like Your Girlfriend Edition

Posted by Becks
on 06.18.09

Do you want to know the number one most frequently asked Ask The Mineshaft I get? It goes a little something like this (paraphrased):

My best friend started dating this girl a few months ago and we all hate her and she treats him like crap. We didn't say anything because we figured it was just a fling but now they're serious and we're afraid he's going to propose. What do we do? Say something? Keep our mouths shut? I wish I could Ask The Mineshaft but I'm afraid it will get back to him that I put this on the internet so...nevermind - please don't post this.

Somehow, you all can share all kinds of random stuff on this site but this is what you're worried will get back to your friends. Anyway, I was listening to Avril at the gym and was reminded of this and figured it had been about a month since I'd gotten one of these so it's safe to pose the general question without outing anyone.


 

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"Think smaller. Think 'more legs'."

Posted by Stanley
on 06.17.09

I ate some of these last night. Verdict: not terrible!

The soy stuff is pretty much there only as a vehicle for the (possibly too-sweet) barbecue sauce. And, as a vegetarian, I don't encounter a lot of barbecue sauce, even though I do like it. There's just not a whole lot of non-meat I'd think to slather with the stuff.

Basically, it was probably a lot like a McRib, except I knew what I was eating. I mean, sort of.


 

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This is fantastic

Posted by Ben
on 06.17.09

(via.)


 

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Work/Study

Posted by Becks
on 06.17.09

'Dredge did such an excellent job of explaining why this article grated on my nerves that I'm going to excerpt large bunches.

The idea behind Unithrive is that current Harvard students ask for no-interest, $2,000-max loans from Harvard alumni, to help them make ends meet during the school year, or for special projects or trips over the summer. Since Harvard already has a terrifically generous financial aid policy for its undergraduates...this is more about these financial aid students asking for help paying the $2,000 a year that the school currently asks them to contribute through some sort of work-study program.
...
Having to work 10 hours a week to help contribute a token amount to your free ride at Harvard isn't asking a lot. 10 hours is not a lot. Like, seriously - not a lot. It allows for plenty of time to go to class and do homework and take on all sorts of resume-enhancing Harvard-approved extracurricular activities. The point seems to be that working in a dining hall or a coffee shop is a waste of time, contributing nothing to one's higher education experience. As someone who worked 10-15 hours a week all throughout my undergraduate education (except for my year abroad), this grates. You learn things when you wash dishes, or clean bathrooms, or work at the campus computer center (all of which I did - true!) Things like: how to be on time, how to interact with a wide variety of people, some of whom are snotty and/or unhelpful, how to do things efficiently, how to think on your feet.

 

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Screw Butter; Where's the Guns?

Posted by Stanley
on 06.17.09

Reacting to Becks' quite appropriate post on California's budgeting woes, I'm wondering: where should we be looking for cuts on federal spending?

My natural response is: Defense. Because I'm a DFH. (By the way, I have been growing my hair out a bit, and this whole wash-and-condition-your-hair-everyday thing seems bogus. I used to be able to skim by every other day, but now it's just tangle-tangle-tangle if I don't pay it due regard. It's annoying.)

Is there some good source that speaks to where we might trim our Defense budget (of course, while not fucking with our troops overseas)? I'm guessing there is. Certainly, there should be.


 

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Pause

Posted by Becks
on 06.16.09

This article on people (especially state workers) being pressured to work through furloughs pisses me off. The point of a furlough, in my mind, isn't just to save money but to make employment tradeoffs explicit. In manufacturing, it's to bring production down to match demand. For state workers, it should be to show the public what they lose if they don't have a fully-functional government so they either pay up or decide to live with reduced services. They can't have it both ways.

I'm looking at you, California. All this talk about bailing that state out is obnoxious. Raise your own fucking taxes instead of taking mine. If a state's finances aren't sustainable, the Feds should step in and restructure them like a failing bank or auto company. Of course, there's the fact this would be explicitly rejecting the will of the people who (stupidly) voted for these budget rules and, of course, it would set a terrible precedent and surely the next GOP administration would go and create NCLBish laws that would eventually trigger every state to need restructuring and require the restructuring to take the form of some brutal no-tax, no-service screw-the-poor model so I can't in actuality support that.

But I can hope California finally gets its act together on its own. And the only way to do that is if people stop doing their jobs if they aren't getting paid.


 

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Transgressily confessily

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.16.09

Ogged might have made up stomach cancer, but this fruitcake made up that she was pregnant, then made up that the fetus was terminally ill, and then made up that she was going to carry it to term anyway. No pretend late-term abortions for this anti-choicer. And she blogged it as she made it up. And became something of an internet darling to pro-lifers, who prayed and prayed for a made up miracle.

And as if touched by some made up God, the pretend baby lived for a few miraculous hours before pretending to die. Unfortunately, right after her death, she was photographed with her nutty mother, and when the photo was posted to the blog, a few of the readers recognized the poor dead pretend baby as being one of these glassy-eyed creepy crawlers. All was exposed, and everybody had a hearty laugh and went home for supper.

(Of course, it is kind of wildly sick that this fictional experience is what anti-choicers want real people in this situation to be forced to go through.)

Via Especially Messily Cecily, who also points out that chimp mothers need someone to love as well.


 

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If there's something strange in your neighborhood...this summer!

Posted by Stanley
on 06.15.09

Encountering someone new who hasn't yet seen Ghostbusters is a wide-door invitation to make that person watch the movie.

Having re-watched the film I predict a remake, prequel, or sequel within the next five years, but I also make the following predictions about that new movie:

(1) There will be be fewer people smoking cigarettes.

(2) There will be less hating on the EPA and, generally, "The Bureaucracy".

(3) There will be fewer "keymaster"/"gatekeeper" references, with all the attendant sexual overtones. I mean, seriously.

(4) The city of New York (or whatever city) will once again have no choice but to employ a fleet of private-sector d00ds to fix the problem, except, this time they'll be way more super wizard cocksucker aweseome and shit.

(5) The Biblical part of the story will be waaaaaay more coherent.

(6) The Evil side will have way cooler weapons than slime and lightning.

(7) There will be a much better explanation of why it was okay, in the end, to cross the streams.


 

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Quaestio quid …

Posted by Ben
on 06.15.09

Why "juris doctor" but "legum magister/ra"?


 

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P/tch Sk/lls

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.15.09

One time I coached a youth soccer team. The league in our town was run by a couple I'll call The Smiths, and while I'd never been on any of their teams when I was a youth, I knew them well enough. (They'd run a team in each age group. Their teams always won everything.)

So I was a junior in high school, with a gaggle of 7 and 8 year olds. The second week of practice, our three best players were missing. I didn't see them again until we played the Smiths' team. Apparently the Smiths would form their teams by waiting until the first week of practice, and then cherry-picking the best players. Really.

So the Smiths' team creamed us. We lost every game, but that one especially badly.

On the last practice, I was screwing around and had them do some trust exercises, like fall back and have someone catch you. One of the parents totally tore me a new one afterwards for not even having them get touches on the ball, when they clearly needed the practice. (They had used the balls earlier, just not since the parent had showed up.) I sort of stuttered out some meek apology because I was so taken aback. We didn't really have a base of competitive parents - this asshole was pretty out of the blue. Anyway, at the tournament that weekend, we won our first three games ever, and came in second. After the Smiths'. In your face, jerk-butt parent.

(Another pointless anecdote brought to you by Heebie's desire to share.)


 

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Downer

Posted by Becks
on 06.14.09

We went to see Up on Friday and, boy, was that the saddest, most depressing film I've seen in years. I don't usually cry during movies and, if I do, it's mostly just a welling of tears but I was openly bawling for almost half of it. It would have been easier to watch a 90 minute montage of Bambi, Nemo, and Simba's parents getting killed over and over and over.


 

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