Friday, April 28, 2006


Things learned from watching much music's "classic albums:rumors"

1. Fleetwood Mac were a bunch of incestuous 70s swingers.
2. Christine McVie is really talented, but also ugly and British; therefore, Stevie Nicks is more famous.
3. Mick Fleetwood is a complete nutjob, and in the late 70s looked sortof like a hopped-up cross between Tommy Chong and Gallagher.
4. Despite the fact that apparently air-headed california pseudo-hippies were really into the mysticism of FM in the 70s and 80s (pers. comm. G.J.D.), Fleetwood Mac still kinda rule.

and in case you live in a hole
the duke case is the new O.J. trial
I am still twinged with sympathy for kaavya, but it is eroding quickly since I heard about the half mil advance.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


the coach said "[jon stewart], remember your role"

Margaret Stassel, one of the editors of the WSJ was on the daily show last night. Or it was on last ngiht up here, it may have been 3 weeks ago in the states for all I know. The Daily show is normally very funny. I am partial to "the Decider."

anyway, stewart has this woman on to discuss gasoline prices. He allows her to explain that gas prices are up because the global supply of oil is down due to international conflict/disaster while demand is rising due to globalization. ok. so far, so good. stewart then asks if he can be angry at the oil companies for their record profits. She attempts to explain that the profits are a byproduct of increased prices on a global fungible good offset by the fact that the companies already own the leases for oil extraction so those costs are static. (increased sale price) - (static production cost) = (increased profit). Stewart will not let her explain this. He continues to play dumb which keeps this crucial point for coming out.

He then supports her and her blatant WSJ-style, invisble-hand explaination of high gasoline prices as a byproduct of the ethanol mandate in the Energy Bill. He lets her roll off 1 full minute of iunmitigated ethanol-bashing. Now I know ethanol has serious drawbacks (it is technically a fossil fuel due to endothermic production), but jesus, Jon, stick up for some kind of long-term thinking. or at least allow some decent explanatory knowledge to be disseminated. WSJ's free market thinking needs to be questioned in public.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


note to self: learn to fight

can someone please explain why Vinnie Lacavelier was fighting Zdeno Chara last night? Zdeno Chara is 6'9" 260lbs (without skates). That must be the worst matchup since Jermaine O'Neal squared off against that fan in Pistons jersey. If you saw Chara mock the fact that he could have knocked Vinnie out forever with that last punch he decided not to throw (and let the whole world know it was his decision), you would know what I mean.


Tony Snow is a wookie, yet he lives on Endor

Now this is just weird and dirty
A Fox News commentator is going to be the new white house press secretary. The line between TV and reality gets blurrier and blurrier. Sheen '08 is looking like a sure thing.
My head is catching on fire right now. I feel like the Bush white house just used the Chewbacca defence. I understand that selecting someone who is comfortable presenting his point of view convincingly could be useful. but to pull someone directly out of the 4th estate (particularly the part of the media that is notoriously sympathetic to your perspective) seems very odd. Is there precedent for making TV personalities into political functionaries? The only ones I can think of are Arnold and Reagan.

Apparently conservatives are worried about Snow's "wavering conservatism" meanign he once said something other than reverent about Bush on the internet. Is this the complete idiocy that drove the Harriet Meiers nomination, or is it closer to the pragmatic brilliance that kept an incredible disparate voting coalition aligned for 6+ years?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

As part of a movement to stop acid-etching grafitti on subway car windows, Bloomberg has signed a law which prohibits people under 21 from having "grafitti instruments." These include broad-tipped markers, aerosol cans, and etching acid. apparently non-oil painting art is now illegal.

I wasn't in New York in the 80s, and I understand why everyone is terrified of the return of those times; however, I am not convinced that this guiliani new york is really better. Was turning Manhattan into a gated community for professionals really better for everyone, or just those with enough power to report on it nationally? Was grafitti the problem, or was it crack? (I know gladwell would disagree with me on that one). The narrow definition of success which is epitomized by the cleanup of manhattan has been prevalent nationally in the new millenium, and one would like to think that New York (a blue state after all) would have a little more measured response.

Monday, April 24, 2006

I love Juhmpa Lahiri. I also love Zadie Smith. I like to think that my fondness is for their writing. So this story piques my interest. Some girl wrote a silly novel while a freshman at harvard about college pressure on a first generation indian immigrant. "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life." Sounds amusing and topical. kudos for her. Perhaps it answers the question of how the garcia girls lost their accent.

anyway, apparently now someone is accusing her of plagiarizing bits of the book from another chick-lit book about nerds becoming cool.
Perhaps she and nic mcdonell (who wrote an autobiographical "novel" "twelve" about wild private high schoolers in New York (no word on whether bret easton ellis is suing him on similar grounds) while in a private high school in New York and got it published because his parents are publishers) hang out at the 'vard and swap stories.

I am covering this story in part because I am jealous, in part because I think the NYT's obsession with ivy league gossip is unhealthy and perpetuates the cyclical nature of cultural classism, and in part because it is sortof sad. I am sure the plagiarism was incidental. Do you remember stuff you wrote at 19? Would it have withstood this kind of scrutiny. Stop publishing children; they aren't writers. Literature is one area I would expect to show a little restraint with regards to the allure of youth culture. You reap what you sow.

in addition, I was in bridal boutique on saturday looking for a-line bridesmaid dresses (not as easy as you might imagine). 1. you have to remove your shoes before entering a bridal shop. It gives the bridal shop the aura of an eastern temple which is culturally relevant because the bridal shop is the western location where you buy the clothes to enter the actual place of worship.Some in AmStud grad school get on the cultural ramifications of this right now! 2. In the bridal shop, they were playing the song that gives the killer synthesizer hook to madonna's "hung up." It is "gimme gimme gimme (a man after midnight)" by ABBA....and it is completely terrible.

Friday, April 21, 2006

so apparently vid sees politics as a game to be played well or poorly. patch sees politics as a vehicle for the application of different economic theories. You are what you eat, friends.

Thanks, all, for your concern about my general hurtness. Everything is on the mend.

Scott Weiland is totally a rockstar (literal and figurative). Velvet Revolver was covering "Surrender" on some BS cable channel like Spike, and I found him electric. It is sad he never reached his potential--The Doc Gooden of Grunge.

While thinking about rock on tv, Dave Navarro is so hollywood it is ridiculous. He looks like a fakeplastic lead guitarist.

What is it about "surrender" that everyone digs so much? Written by cheap trick but covered by simple plan, warrant, velvet revolver, less than jake, zebrahead, and marilyn manson. Is it just the chorus (Mommy’s alright, daddy’s alright, they just seem a little weird. Surrender, surrender, but don’t give yourself away, ay, ay, ay) that gets people because the middle-way message of middle class rock endures through time? The rest of the lyrics are a dated mishmash of vietnam-era allusions that don't make much sense. It is catchy as hell.

I was in The Pyramid last night for Mod Night (60s-70s). The DJ dropped The Strokes' "Last Night." The floor blew up because it is the end of undergrad finals and the crowd was young. The track sounded really tinny next to the bowie, and I couldn't help but feel like the DJ was giving us the finger. It forced me to rethink my general acceptance of Dance Rock.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

sorry, guys. I wiped out on my bike this morning leaning into a curve which was booby-trapped with a pile of leftover winnipeg winter road sand. My wrist is sprained, my palm and right knee are weeping, and I just dug a piece of gravel out of my left index finger. There will be minimal typing.

My thought from a couple of days ago that the left is drifting rightward, as well as the need of practical leftists to distance themselves from some sort of imagined "further left" are substatiated in a slate article that uses fancy words today.

that article links to a david brooks peace about how banal suburbia is.
pretty prose, but a little light on subject matter. I think John Updike and Saul Bellow figured out that mocking the suburbs as culturally bankrupt was profitable in about 1960.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Facts learned in the dance club "Die Maschine" last night
1. the ruffled flip skirt micro-mini that looks like Jody Foster's costume from "taxidriver" (Tm senorbeavis) is still in in winnipeg 5 or 6 seasons late.
2. Up here playing "summer of '69" tears the club up and not in an ironic way. Legitimately.
3. Drunk Canadian college guys are just as stupid and unpleasant as drunk American college guys.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


are you Krups people?

michael berube can be self-involved and refers to a closed cicrle of political academics a lot, but he is a pretty smart and fun guy. and you should read what he has to say. Start with this piece on moving.

I have been felt guilty that clovers has dropped a lot of its political side in favor of sports and canadian trivia. That being said, the current political issues are of the sort that makes my commentary unnecessary. People are getting killed in Iraq, but public demonstration by a minority left has already been shown to be roundly useless in changing that course of action. Scalia is an outlandish dick, but denouncing that hardly seems worthwhile. South Dakota passed a terrible abortion law. But 2004 saw a round of anti-gay marriage amendments, so the fact that 51% of the country aren't liberals isn't exactly news. ANd because of the nature of the way national news is created and distributed, I can't help but feel that I am playing a game of "telephone." Reality happens, then something only vaguely resembling that reality is reported to me, which renders my attempt to make insights on that reality utterly meaningless. In addition, it seems that the only way to prevent getting dismissed as a elitist liberal is to adopt some conservative viewpoints to prove you aren't out of touch. This very construction is troubling.
This is what makes sports commentary appealing; the guys doing it aren't any smarter or better informed than I. The only person writing anything interesting is Chuck Klosterman. He was hired as the token quirky, hip columnist upon the suicide of Hunter S., and he who looks like the lost member of Death Cab for Cutie in his espn photo which sortof makes me hate him. But at least he had something interesting to say about Barry Bonds.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Did you know leonard cohen is canadian?
Me either.
Talk about a nation with a PR problem. They tout Brian Adams, Celine Dion, and sometimes The Tragically Hip,when they have the male Patti Smith in their back pocket. oh well.

here is a bit of prairie joy (it's a song, if you are at work):
lyrics are here:
no, this isn't great big sea, it's the arrogant worms, but canadians do seem to have a fondness for double-strummed, uptempo, silly, folk music. I guess we have Paris Hilton. check mate.

GST=Government Sales Tax (introduced under Mulroney in the 80s). It is compounded by the PST (provicial sales tax) which are both appended to every purchase to tax the living hell out of everything.

Monday, April 10, 2006

It's finals. Finals are lame. I had forgotten. everyone makes a big deal out of how lazy college students are and how easy they have it, but I think teaching school was easier than attending it. At work, doing a good job was good enough. There wasn't this abstract pressure to be doing a better job than everyone else around you.

nugget from studying: trees talk (or listen) to each other and to mites.

damage to sagebrush releases volatile methyl jasmonate into the air. nearby plants (not just sagebrush) show increased levels of defensive chemicals (toxic phenolic compounds) in their leaves even though they are undamaged.

an attack of herbivorous spider mites on a lima bean plant triggers the release of another volatile phenol as well. this chemical not only attracts a species of mite that preys on the spider mites, but also causes the spider mites to disperse in anticipation of predatory mites.

volatile means readily vaporizes at low temperature

Saturday, April 08, 2006


duke lax + slate = dumb

this man should be ashamed of himself.

We spend a lot of time here dumping of slate, but this has crossed from dumb into funny, so I thought I'd share. Dave Jamieson's cultural characterization of lacrosse players is based on a single incident of high school heckling and an innacurate allusion to "American Pie." He reasons that Steve Stifler personifies lacrosse players. Now this is stupid and journalistically reckless in its own right, but Jamieson has also applied his lens far too narrowly. If we exist in his world where American Pie is a reasonable reflection of reality, then we must accept that Steven "Oz" Ostreicher, by all accounts a better player than Stifler as well as a charming and sensitive singer and lover, is also representative of lacrosse players. Dave, even within your false, narrow construct, your characterization falls flat.

I will ignore the rest of your purely speculative characterizations about lacrosse, career, mode of transport, and locality. They do not even warrant deconstruction.

now that's occupatio.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Chris Higgins deserves fame

We don't have a lot of famous professional athletes at Yale. We are still pretty excited about Calvin Hill and Dick Jauron. Eric Johnson was the nearest thing to vicarious athletic fame the we have had in the last 10 years. For those of you unfamiliar, Eric Johnson was a very successful WR at Yale who converted to TE, because he was too slow to play wide receiver in the League. He was a favorite of Bill Walsh and had some success in his early years. He has been hampered by injuries recently.

But we had in our midst a bona fide athletic star who received comparatively little recognition.
Chris Higgins was ECAC player of the year in 2002-2003 for Ice Hockey. That year has was also the 14th overall selection in the NHL entry draft. He was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens. Chris is an american product from upstate New York which makes him a rarity in professional hockey.

He left Yale after his sophomore year and played for the Hamilton Bulldogs in the AHL for 2 seasons. 2004-2005 had no NHL season due to a labor disagreement. In his rookie season in the NHL this year chris has 21 goals and 14 assists. His play has improved as he has adjusted to the speed of NHL play. He has 20 points in 19 games since the olympic break.

He is generally considered to be 5th in the Rookie of the Year competition. This is an unusually deep year for rookies because of the strike which pushed back the rookie seasons of Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals and Dion Phaneuf of the Calgary Flames to overlap with the first season of pre-anointed Canadian (whiner) Sidney Crosby.

So take a moment and be proud of Chris. He may play in Montreal which means you will never hear about him unless he starts talking to his goalposts, but he is famous to legions of Canadians. He is not a physically outclassed underdog like Johnson, but a legitimate star with tremendous upside.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Well, the duke season has now been canceled and the coach has resigned after some new revelations about emails and other paraphernalia associated with the players were discovered. I actually think the email is a joke, but even that fact means that something is clearly wrong.
I still will yet not say that they are racially motivated gang rapists, but I think it is safe to say that there are a lot of complete jerks on the team.

Did anyone read "I am Charlotte Simmons?" The more speculative columnists have been relating anecdotes about how the book is set at Duke and about Wolfe' treatment of lacrosse players. The book was poorly reviewed in general. Criticisms usually centered around an over-the-hill Wolfe drownign in a sea of young adult tittilation. It is tempting to vindicate him now as a precient cultural critic, but that may be a bit of "sum of all fears" syndrome. (Tom Clancy's "the sum of all fears" was a fictional book written in the 1990s which detailed using a plane as a bomb to blow up the super bowl).

it was jacket-free weather in the 'peg yesterday. I got to attend a seminar on how to address scientific findings to first nations (canadian native americans), I found "Bat out of hell" at a used cd store for $2.99 CND, and mama cooked the breakfast with no hog.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


living in the middle of nowhere isn't so bad

hooray for ice fishing!

16 inches of lake ice
3 degrees above freezing
0 clouds
1 near sun tan
3 bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) latin for "white headed sea eagle" (really)
4 rainbow trout (oncorynchus mykiss) "latin for "kiss my cancerous nose" (not really)
7 perch that had to be returned because they are out of season
1 hand auger (possibly the most fun and amazing tool in the history of man. think of the giant snow cone possibilities from the shavings.)
7 fishing rods that are so short they are almost comical.
2 thermoses of hot chocolate with mint tea steeped in it

thanks jonothan

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I normally find mcsweeney's to be filled with pretention of subject, but lacking in the humor of execution. And I have tried to be anti-bush-bashing, but this piece is actually clever.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

bits of trivia learned while calculating egg volume indices for 2005.

1. Wolf Parade is darn good

2. If you unfocus your mind and imagine sigur ros are actually muppets and they sounds they are making are a muppet sketch where muppets are trying to be emo, it is really funny.

3. There is no relationship between date of lay and egg volume.

so friday I took a very middle of the road stance about the whole duke thing. I am trying to be fair to these particular students, and I still am. I think I was mild, because I have always disliked duke on a highly superficial, intercollegiate athletic level, and did not want my accusations to be colored by my feelings about christian laettner and Billy Packer's paeans to Coach K. But the more I read about this story the more outrageous it becomes. But the fact that so many people are outraged says something. This story seems to dovetail best with Hurricane Katrina. Things are just flat-out terrible, and I guess I don't think about it nearly enough.

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