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Soft Drinks

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.27.13

People are chatting elsewhere about this dialect quiz, and I don't have anything else to post. It annoys me because it pegged me as being from metro-Dallas. (Irving, Denton, etc. All my cities were metro-DFW.) I don't actually have a Texan accent, whatsoever. Jerks.

One of my students came to class with a big old dark hickey bruise on his neck, though. That amused me.

Also, sometimes I pronounce Mary/merry/marry correctly, but less so when I'm talking fast. Sometimes I say coke, other times soda. Occasionally soft drink, because the I like the term.


 

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Occasionally there is good news, too.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.26.13

Remember the woman who was sentenced to 20 years for firing at the ceiling, while her abusive ex-husband was trying to get at her? And she didn't qualify under Stand Your Ground? She's getting a new trial.

The prosecutor in her case was Angela Corey, who also prosecuted George Zimmerman who was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin. After an outcry at the apparent racial double standard in the application of Stand Your Ground, Corey told the Washington Post, "I think social media is going to be the destruction of this country."

That quote is infuriating. (Also she'd given birth one week before the attack, which makes the whole incident doubly terrifying. And also means this whole arrest and imprisonment prevented a newborn from being alongside her mother since 2010, so presumably they've been apart for the first three years of the baby's life. Un-fucking-forgivable.)


 

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Fucking pumpkin eaters

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.26.13

When I catch someone cheating in my class, I'm irate at a level that's disproportionate with how angry I am when kids cheat in other people's classes. Therefore, I think I'm taking it personally, (ie I'm not that worked up about scholastic integrity or how the cheater is wrecking the curve.) It's funny: if a kid completely slacks off and wastes my time, and fails the test, it doesn't make me bother me. If a kid gets the material naturally and doesn't really need me to pass the test, it doesn't make me mad. It's not obvious to me why cheating on a test is so much more infuriating.

Also don't think I don't realize that, by choice of title, this is to become the decorative gourd post.


 

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Lovelives

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.25.13

How's your dating life? Or your sex life? I feel like we need to rouse up some lurkers who aren't so hopelessly settled as most of us rut-dwellers. Tell us your stories so that we may live vicariously through you. Ask us for advice so that we can pretend to play along.


 

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Thanks, Obamacare!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.25.13

It's kind of exciting to anticipate all the exchanges rolling out, isn't it? I assume somehow that's middlebrow. I should probably be deriding this already.


 

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Various

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.25.13

What shall we discuss? How Teach For America sucks? The Kenyan hostage Shabob terrorists situation? How beautiful, large, Native American rugs are too expensive for my budget? Surprise me.


 

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And a mechanic named Fixit.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.24.13

I will never get sick of quotes about success, or leadership, or inspiration.

The road to success is not straight. There is a curb called Failure, a loop called Confusion; speed bumps called Friends; red lights called Enemies;caution lights called Family. You will have flats called jobs. But, if you have a spare called Determination; an engine called Perseverance; insurance called Faith, and a driver called Jesus, you will make it to a place called Success!!

From my fabulous facebook feed.


 

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"In every way, [they] seem to live by the saying, keep it light."

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.24.13

Every romance needs a pivotal moment, right? right? This column is possibly the worst Vows column possible. (Originally I called this post "The bride described the color of her dress as 'pigeon-blood red'," but it's making my stomach knot up to imagine seeing that phrase down the sidebar all day.)

Via Oudie, elsewhere


 

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Reds Under The Bed

Posted by LizardBreath
on 09.24.13

This NY mayoral campaign is going to be interesting in terms of figuring out exactly how far I am outside the political mainstream, even around here. The Times did a profile of DeBlasio over the weekend that, while it doesn't seem unfair or wrong on the facts in any way I've seen pointed out, looks like it's meant to damage him by pointing out what a wildly radical Sandinista-supporting commie pinko he was in his youth:

Mr. de Blasio became an ardent supporter of the Nicaraguan revolutionaries. He helped raise funds for the Sandinistas in New York and subscribed to the party's newspaper, Barricada, or Barricade. When he was asked at a meeting in 1990 about his goals for society, he said he was an advocate of "democratic socialism."

And today there's a followup, talking about how the other candidates are attacking him on the basis of the history described in the profile. It looks like an attempt to keep the ball rolling on any damage the profile might have done him.

I'm really interested to see if this is going to hurt him. Supporting the Sandinistas (in the way one supports any political movement, meaning that it was better than the alternatives rather than being perfect in itself) seemed at the time and still seems obviously right to me. And calling yourself a democratic socialist also seems entirely unobjectionable. But I figure conventional wisdom is going to be that even in NYC, those are still politically damaging things to say about someone.

I figure if DeBlasio wins, and particularly if his past doesn't blow up into a big political problem for him, the New York City electorate is at least a little further left than the Times had been assuming. On the other hand, if this does prove to be an effective way of attacking him, I'll return to my regularly scheduled program of complete political despair.


 

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Organizational tips for disorganized people

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.23.13

I'm only linking this because it's the type of thing that I've harped on before. Be warned: it is overwhelming for a disorganized person to read a list this long.

Some of the items are brilliant:

  • Don't fold things that don't need to be folded
  • Understand that putting an object into an opaque box with a lid is equivalent to throwing it into the cauldron of a smoldering volcano. You will never see it again.

Some of them are overwhelming:

  • Keep pre-packed bags that contain essential items for your regular activities (e.g. a pool bag with goggles, sunscreen, and bottles of water).

I think you have to already be organized in order to handle something like that.

Here's one from me to you, personally. Here's how I file everything: I have one document box per year. Everything goes into the trash or the document box. At the end of December, I put a lid on it and buy a new box. Done.


 

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Guest Post - Jellification

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.23.13

Nick S writes: I'm a bit of a sucker for stories of ecological catastrophe (like the sort that Harper's does occasionally). I suspect that I just respond to the narrative of inexorable decline -- it's a potent trope for all sorts of reasons.

That said, I was slightly terrified reading this article in the NYRB.Compared to most ecological horror stories this one seems father along -- a story of the present as much as the future.

Even sober scientists are now talking of the jellification of the oceans. And the term is more than a mere turn of phrase. Off southern Africa, jellyfish have become so abundant that they have formed a sort of curtain of death, "a stingy-slimy killing field," as Gershwin puts it, that covers over 30,000 square miles. The curtain is formed of jelly extruded by the creatures, and it includes stinging cells. The region once supported a fabulously rich fishery yielding a million tons annually of fish, mainly anchovies. In 2006 the total fish biomass was estimated at just 3.9 million tons, while the jellyfish biomass was 13 million tons.

...

Gershwin leaves us with a disturbing final rumination:
When I began writing this book,... I had a naive gut feeling that all was still salvageable.... But I think I underestimated how severely we have damaged our oceans and their inhabitants. I now think that we have pushed them too far, past some mysterious tipping point that came and went without fanfare, with no red circle on the calendar and without us knowing the precise moment it all became irreversible. I now sincerely believe that it is only a matter of time before the oceans as we know them and need them to be become very different places indeed.

Heebie's take: Want to get thoroughly creeped out by jellyfish?

It's now known that the brush of a single tentacle is enough to induce "Irukandji syndrome." It sets in twenty to thirty minutes after a sting so minor it leaves no mark, and is often not even felt. Pain is initially focused in the lower back. Soon the entire lumbar region is gripped by debilitating cramps and pounding pain--as if someone is taking a baseball bat to your kidneys. Then comes the nausea and vomiting, which continues every minute or so for around twelve hours. Shooting spasms grip the arms and legs, blood pressure escalates, breathing becomes difficult, and the skin begins to creep, as if worms are burrowing through it. Victims are often gripped with a sense of "impending doom" and in their despair beg their doctors to put them out of their misery.

and

One of the fastest breeders of all is Mnemiopsis. Biologists characterize it as a "self-fertilizing simultaneous hermaphrodite," which means that it doesn't need a partner to reproduce, nor does it need to switch from one sex to the other, but can be both sexes at once. It begins laying eggs when just thirteen days old, and is soon laying 10,000 per day. Even cutting these prolific breeders into pieces doesn't slow them down. If quartered, the bits will regenerate and resume normal life as whole adults in two to three days.

and

When Turritopsis dohrnii "dies" it begins to disintegrate, which is pretty much what you expect from a corpse. But then something strange happens. A number of cells escape the rotting body. These cells somehow find each other, and reaggregate to form a polyp. All of this happens within five days of the jellyfish's "death," and weirdly, it's the norm for the species.

Whoa.


 

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Chart-reading

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.22.13

Yesterday I was helping a friend with the math portion of the GRE. Embarrassed, she confessed that she found the chart problems hard. Or at least time-consuming, given that you have 30 minutes to complete twenty problems.

I looked at one, and got angry, because this chart is designed to obstruct comprehension in every sense. What the fuck. (Obviously, the fuck is that ETS questions have to produce a normal distribution of scores, and so they need questions that trip people up, which isn't necessarily the same as testing whether or not someone can read a chart.)

Enjoy.



 

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