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Final Tweet

Posted by Ogged
on 02.27.15

Some analogies have been earned.



 

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London

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.27.15

Witt sends in this link, a billboard campaign quoting people who are leaving London. Basically decrying the unaffordability of the city. They're interesting, though.


 

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Job, jobby job

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.27.15

The Department of Labor links to this quiz on mynextmove.org about what job you might like to do next. I thoroughly enjoyed it - it's very specific, and at the end asks you how much training you feel like doing.

My generated list of jobs all sound great - all versions of puttering around with machinery, by myself. Model Makers, Wood. Patternmakers, Metal & Plastic. Patternmakers, Wood. Mechanical Drafters. Fabric Menders. Furniture Finishers. These hands-on jobs have the appeal of quitting, grabbing two beers, jumping down the inflatable slide from the plane, and starting anew and finding new richness in life. (Although I quite like my job, lately, Monday aside.)

I endorse this job quiz.


 

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A Question

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.26.15

There seems to be an axiom that businesses ought to increase their profitability every year. Not just stay at a level profitability, but increase it. Obviously a business always has to stay sharp and on its toes, because the world is constantly changing out from under you, and you must be flexible and adaptive and so on. But that doesn't a priori have anything to do with increasing profitability versus maintaining profitability.

Obviously, stakeholders. My question is: is there any benefit to society or some scale larger than the company itself, of demanding that profitability be eternally ratcheted up?


 

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Temperature

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.25.15

Why Fahrenheit is superior to Celsius. The graph at the very bottom made me laugh even though it's seriously not that funny. But I'm convinced on the author's basic point!


 

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From The World Of Television

Posted by Ogged
on 02.25.15

--Olbermann's original tweets about PSU were way better than his bullshit apology. Also, ESPN is the very face of evil.

--Sadly, the explanation is 100% believable. Dude's facial expression is priceless.


 

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Various

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.25.15

Little Lending Libraries must be destroyed, presumably because they smack of sharing and caring.

Let's put 100 kindergartners in a single classroom and pretend it's disruptive innovation or something. At least it's disruptive.

This week is unusually stressful for assorted dumb work reasons. Sorry if I've been grouchy.


 

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Black Sites

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.24.15

Is this common knowledge for everyone but me???

The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

...


"It's sort of an open secret among attorneys that regularly make police station visits, this place - if you can't find a client in the system, odds are they're there," said Chicago lawyer Julia Bartmes.

What. the. fuck.

Via delegar, elsewhere


 

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Seasonal lag

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.24.15

February has got to be the coldest month. Every daycare closure that I can remember for the past five years seems to happen in February. Similarly, September seems to be the most miserably hot month, and I don't think that it's just summer fatigue. Why is it so delayed from the solstices? Is the planet really net-gaining heat or net-losing heat on a daily basis in a way that accumulates?No, as soon as I wrote that I realized it's nonsense, what with the opposite seasons per hemispheres. I suppose I could google but you could say that about every post I've ever written, and please don't.


 

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Grow Up, You Kids

Posted by Ogged
on 02.24.15

I was going to write a post asking "what's it called when you assume a persona in order to mock it?"--you know, like Sean Penn was doing, and like Justine Sacco was doing--figuring there must be some obscure Greek term for this very complex satire that no one on Twitter seems to have ever encountered. Then I had what the Greeks called a "duh" moment: that's parody.

Now, parody is risky, and done poorly, it can veer into recapitulation (this was the problem with Colbert's "ching chong" joke) but it is a thing, and can be a very amusing and effective thing.

I'm old enough to remember when blogs were all about The Daily Outrage, and then most people seemed to realize that that was a boring and unproductive way to make a public space, and moved on to other things. Maybe the twitverseosphere will get there too.


 

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Deferred Action

Posted by Stanley
on 02.24.15

I was looking at state-by-state driver's license policies for undocumented immigrants, and the big red Nebraska surprised me. Did you guys know the Cornhusker State denies the Dreamers access to licenses? Some details:

Circumventing the state's law for promulgating regulations, Governor Heineman announced in a 2013 press release that DACA recipients were ineligible for driver's licenses in Nebraska. [...]

In a majority of states, DACA recipients are able to obtain driver's licenses since, as was confirmed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in January 2013, they are considered lawfully present in the country. Nebraska is the only state in the nation that denies these young immigrants access to driver's licenses, thereby imposing enormous burdens on their educational and employment opportunities and their ability to assist their families.

That's a real jerk move, Nebraska.


 

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I see people were talking about movies recently

Posted by Ben
on 02.23.15

One of the things I like a lot about the album Kew. Rhone. is that Peter Blegvad's attitude toward the lyrics seems to have been that a song can be basically anything. If one wishes to refer the listener to figure B, kindly reproduced in the album art, one can; if one wishes to write a song consisting entirely of an obtuse list of "fifteen objects and their titles", that's cool too; anagrams and palindromes are fine—as long as you can get someone to sing it, it can be a song. You can do whatever you want and there doesn't even have to be a reason! I mean, maybe there is more design than I know—there's even a dang book now—but I find it pleasing just as a statement of the autonomy of the songwriter to do his or her own thing.

Consequently, I find the number of reviews of Birdman that focus on the significance of its apparently being filmed in a single take puzzling. (I also find it puzzling that so many reviews say it does seem to be filmed in a single take, since it is clearly not.) I mean—very few of these reviews have said what the significance is supposed to be, and none have made a plausible case for its significance. This review, whose author at least as the grace to acknowledge that one can detect the cuts, bafflingly compares it (negatively) to Russian Ark, apparently solely because of the long take thing. (Its diagnosis of the long take's purpose, claiming that it "would like to penetrate its hero's consciousness", doesn't account for the fact that the same strategy is used whether or not the hero is present.)

This is strange; one wouldn't think to take two random movies that employed more conventional shooting styles and set one up as a foil to the other just on that ground, and if the justification is supposed to be that employing such long takes obviously needs to be significant and insofar as it calls attention to itself means that comparisons to other long-taking movies are fair game, one will wish to know why this is so. On twitter the author of that review called the shooting style a "gimmick", which means it's bad, but, I mean, couldn't it just be a way of making a movie that Iñárritu wanted to employ? Here's a thing we could do! Why not? Is there something wrong with being stylish, even if the style isn't directly supporting or related to the ``substance'' (groan) of the flick? (I ask innocently, knowing that lots of people, probably including myself in other moods, would say "yes".) Also on twitter the author justified the comparison to Russian Ark, as against my suggestion of the also not actually shot in one take Rope, by saying that both RA and Birdman are or want to be about art, which is ok I guess but does rather raise the question why RA in particular is an apt comparandum, rather than any of other scads of movies that are or want to be about art. Why not, for instance, Top Five, also a movie about an actor known for low-rent roles trying to find an audience as a serious artist?

I am also puzzled by the number of reviews of Birdman that seem to think it's really important for the film that it stars Michael Keaton, and that Michael Keaton was Batman, and (fewer reviews have noted this, but some have) that Ed Norton apparently is an intolerable method actor in his own life, and all that—why this is anything more than a neat little metatextual thing that people can pick up on, or not, without its affecting the success of the movie in any way. Lots of critical responses have insisted on it (usually by way of further accusations of gimmickry), but I confess to really not seeing how it's supposed to work.

On the other hand, I'm not really sure what work people think Birdman is supposed to be doing; everyone seems to think it's trying and failing to say Deep Things about Art, which seems … well, maybe, but it could also not be trying to be particularly deep while still portraying someone putting on a show. The fact that the various justifications and defenses of his project, and against the attacks of others, that Keaton's character gives are often kind of weak and familiar I thought was to the movie's credit. It would have been nice if the villainous NYT reviewer had been less cartoonishly villainous, but the basic point she and Norton's character make against Keaton's, that trying really hard and being genuinely interested doesn't mean the thing will be any good, is after all correct, as Keaton is correct to insist that he anyway be given a hearing. (I recall thinking during one of Keaton and Norton's on-screen conflicts that it was good that their argument was so recognizable and, basically, not profound. Why would it be profound?) For which matter, the complaint in the above-linked review, "it made Raymond Carver's story look like lurid dinner theater", is hard to make out: why should it have made Carver's story look like anything else? Is the answer that Carver's story is in fact a great work of art? But that doesn't mean that Keaton's character can successfully translate it to the stage, and if he had made it a luminous success, wouldn't that be even cheaper, for the film?

On a vaguely related note, I found this slate article to be hilariously overheated, especially around this paragraph:

But sometimes the academy blows it. That's the epochal travesty. It was an epochal travesty when Citizen Kane lost in 1941. When The Graduate lost in 1967. Cries and Whispers, High Noon, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction. In one truly awful stretch in the late '70s and early '80s, the academy blew it four years in a row, as Apocalypse Now, Raging Bull, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and E.T. all somehow lost Best Picture.

I have no particular opinion about most of those, but can't really see myself to caring that E.T. and Raiders of the Lost Ark didn't win. And, I mean, one can't help but note that the films overlooked in these epochal travesties still seem to mostly have decent reputations.

(The second, I think, in a series of rants about movies.)


 

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Aging

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.23.15

Your group of friends ages right along with you, as does your family. But at the work place, people older than you leave and get replaced by people younger than you, and it creates an odd sensation of being a stationary object in a world that is growing younger.* (It's true in your family that people die and people are born, but the babies don't fill the slot of the great-grandmother the way this new young secretary fills the slot of that older retired secretary.)

Also, in the height of cliches, children sure do change fast, don't they.

* I erased a painful analogy about sitting in the parked train, and feeling like you're rolling backwards when the train next to you starts to roll forwards, because I can't remember the name for that kind of phenomenon, although this wikipedia page on vestibular illusions was an interesting detour.


 

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ATM: I argh.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.22.15

Tomorrow evening I have to do one of these current events discussions with students. (LAST ONE!) The topic is #blacklivesmatter. I've discussed it with the co-organizers, and we all feel like, in order for the students to grasp what happened, they need to see the videos of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, John Crawford, and the South Carolina guy at the gas station. Not just because of the emotional horror of the videos themselves, but so that the students can understand why the protesters have such an intense response to the events of the last few months.

Here's the problem: I have not watched any of these videos. I just tried to watch Eric Garner, and watching him standing around and arguing, knowing what was coming, was too much and I stopped.

Is it okay for me to set this up, and then leave the room while the videos air? What if I give the students the opportunity to stand outside the room with me, if they find the idea of these videos to be too much? Do I just need to face up to reality and watch these videos? I feel like they will give me nightmares, but maybe I am just being pleasantly privileged or something, I don't know.

I hate these current events evenings. Next semester they will be done by someone with more stomach for this kind of thing than I have.


 

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How Did You Two Meet?

Posted by Ogged
on 02.22.15

God hates a liar.

All was going well at the wedding ceremony of 25-year-old Jugal Kishore, a resident of Moradabad, and his 23-year-old bride Indira from Rampur. That's until the "varmala" ceremony, where the groom garlands his would-be wife, began.

Just as he extended his arms to do that, Kishore had an epileptic fit, falling to the ground in front of the whole gathering.
The young bride, angry that her family had been kept in the dark about Kishore's medical condition, promptly changed her mind and announced that she would happily marry at the same ceremony a guest at the wedding, a man called Harpal Singh.

 

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Guest Post - Rate My Professor

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.22.15

Ydnew sends in: Via a friend who's a VAP, this siteallows you to search RateMyProfessor evaluations for terms and displays them (normalized) segregated by gender and by field. The default display is "funny." Turns out male profs are listed as "funny" 2X more frequently than women across fields. I know you're doing your best, but maybe you need to up your humor game a little? "Smart" was the one I found most depressing. (NB, the query field is at the lower left, and the site doesn't work on my mobile browsers. It displays the first graph but doesn't have the query field, so you can't search.)

Caveats/methodology notes here.

Heebie's take: Depressing! Also I have 6 ratings and nobody calls me funny.


 

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