Thursday, May 17, 2007


from the stuplime to the not-so-ridiculous.

this is a very nice (and short) opinion piece about the culture associated with the american college system. it spans a variety of topics quickly and thoughtfully without falling prey to any existing dogma. that is why louis menand is a public intellectual, and I am not. (found via magicpancake.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


It's not a matter of fairness. It's a matter of correctness.....

....that is what stu jackson had to say on why he suspended amare stoudamire and boris diaw for NOT HITTING ANYONE at the end of game 4 of the suns vs. spurs. this is the most assinine defence I have ever heard. The league is saying it has a "zero tolerance policy" for leaving the bench. I think all sentient adults can realize that zero tolerance policies are goss oversimplifications that result in comical rulings (suspended 2nd graders with tylenol and whatnot). To fall back on a policy even when the extenuating circumstance show that it is clearly generating an inappropriate ruling shows a lack of will and a real fear on the part of the administrator. this ruling is just the latest outgrowth of the fact that the NBA fears its players' "thuggishness" (see also: blackness) and must institute a reign of terror to keep them in line after the Pistons/pacers fight. Anyone who has every watched a hockey game knows that things get chippy at the end and that you can't allow lesser players to take liberties with your skill players. that is exactly what happened in to steve nash. and in that situation in a dirty series, stoudamire and diaw were right to instinctively defend their (smaller) teammate. If haymakers had been thrown, this would be another story. but to alter the course of a playoff series on a technicality is a shame.

in a fantastic bit of narrative symmetry, about 1.40 into fat joe's "make it rain" (the make it rain link from yesterday) Diddy makes a 1/2 second cameo. i figured i would explain because the likelihood that anyone made it that far into "make it rain" was very very low. l'il wayne's hook is pretty damned catchy even if fat joe's rap is repetitive and boring. I caught myself walking into school singing "I make it rain (I make it rain) I make it rain on them hos." not exactly conduct becoming of an officer.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

odd occurances of the past 24hrs.

1. met my first Eli in Winnipeg: a homosexual flight-instructor named robert who was '97 Branford. how did i meet him? He bought my table and chairs off of craigslist. and paid my exorbitant fee to use my truck to move them. coincidences. and it should be noted that he dropped all the hints about "new haven" not me. I try my damnedest to avoid being Tom Buchanon, because I totally can be and it is a bad habit. for those of you who don't want to play "literary allusions," Tom Buchanan is Daisy Buchanan's husband in "the great gatsby." He is a muscular upper-class formerfootball star who enjoys polo. he is kindof like a turn of the century banker. the descriptive line about him that always stuck with me was something along the lines of "he made it clear that it wasn't a big deal that he went to yale, once you knew that he had."I read this in 1997 well before i knew about college, so the endurance of this line is not rooted in the vanity of name recognition. rather it has come to be more and more meaningful as I have more adult social interactions and see the not-so-subtle subtleties of the sharing of information and leverage. while we are on the subject of gatsby, someone once suggested to me the P. Diddy was the new gatsby. sadly I can't remember who it was, because I loved the idea. I think this insight was also more poignant when Diddy was more relevant, say, 1999 during the height of the "white party" and such.

2. I threw the badly water-damaged rusty metal and particle board desk off my balcony. (it had moss growing on it when i moved in). it was too heavy for me to carry down the stairs alone so I tossed it. it made a tremendous crash and broke into pieces which I could drag to the dumpster. There is still a primal joy and throwing things from high places and watching them smash.

3. I read a thesis chapter from one of springy's classmates about Brett Easton Ellis's American Psycho. I read it because there was not a written word (or a stick of furniture) left in the apartment besides that. (I found it cleaning out the closet.) I am tempted to rain judgement about it, but i am chastened by wittigenstein (via tom friedman) who says "when a man tells you 2+2=5 it is a mistake. when he tells you it equals 97, he is using a whole different logic from you." and I fear this may be the case with literary academics. I will rain judgement later, once I better understand if this work was a 5 or a 97.

I am well aware that the actual expression may be "reign judgement" but I find the image of "raining judgement" like "raining men" or "making it rain" much more compelling.

the chapter did include a reference to the word "stuplime" which is a descriptive term for things that are both stupid and sublime coined by some critic named Ngai. it is meant to describe the work Samuel Beckett and Gertrude Stein as being both boring and shocking simultaneously, but i think this term can break its narrow literary shackles and be free. could paris hilton be stuplime? Bam Margera? Iraq war news? I welcome any other submissions of stuplimity (Ngai's noun formation, not mine).

Monday, May 14, 2007

never clean your oven before breakfast. particularly is that oven belongs in a rental apartment that has been passed down from dirtbag to dirtbag leaving you holding the bag when it comes to cleaning and moving out.

the grime was so strong even oven cleaner couldn't get it off. I was chipping at it with a knife (just as my mother advised. and on mother's day no less). for those curious, oven cleaner is lye (NaOH) (remember, like in fight club). so it goes down the sink with water where it turns into salt and water. however, aerolsolized in your lungs, it does the same thing it does that that grease--chemical reduction by a strong base. so wear a mask when you clean your oven and ventilate the area well.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


let's just hope it never enters a relationship with the passive-aggressive pike

ladies and gentlemen, I give you the belligerent sculpin (Megalocottus platycephalus platycephalus). found in the UK and Northern US, this fish is pretty boring except for having an absolutely fantastic common name.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

oh holy hell!

I have seen this link on not one, but two of my friends blogs. friends that are smarter than I am (and run very good blogs, BTW). This is a terribly misinterpretation of the results of a microbiological study. Apparently some dudes from Clemson thought it would be cute to test the 5-second rule for food by dropping bologna onto a variety of bacterially loaded surfaces to see how much bacteria got on the food. unsurprisingly, bolongna with its high water content and associated adhesive powers picked up some bacteria. not all that much. but some. more than the infection dose for really bad bacteria. conclusion: fear every surface in your house and never pick up dropped food!!


first, most people don't eat dropped deli meats, because of their adhesion makes them pick up dust and rocks too which makes them highly unpalatable once dropped. this study would be more useful if performed on cookies or pieces of bread or other things that are actual subjects of the 5 second rule.

second. if you douse your surfaces in high concentrations of infections E. Coli, you probably ingested it anyway at some other point when you placed your hand on the counter or ate the original bacteria laden food. it is not like suddenly leaving dropped food will save your life. the five second rule rarely applies to gas station bathroom floors (unless they are BP gas stations of course).

third, you ingest lots of bacteria all the time. sorry, it has to be said. you do. your body is designed to handle it. why do you think the pH of your stomach is 2. your caveman ancestors didn't have lysol.

fourth, the times article draws the larger conclusion about behavior modification to avoid infection from dropped food (which hopefully the scientific authors were smart enough to stop short of) only leads to this continuing microbiological hysteria. the attempt to sanitize our lives is not only futile, it is also harmful. the development of anti-biotic resistant bacteria as well as sky-rocketing rates of child allergies (no one died when I brought PB+J to camp) have been linked to overly sterile environments in early childhood which deprives the immune system of instruction and differentiation about bacteria. this study was about microbiologist showing that water-soluable bacteria is transferred to wet surfaces. wow. thanks, microbiologists. it only becomes a public health study when you see how that activity effects health. please keep picking up your dropped M+Ms. please.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

back again.
nobody likes other people's travel stories. so I will spare them. hopefully the knowledge gained will crop up in handy places later. Iceland is an interesting place.

I am now ready to tell BP to shove off. They have launched a huge branding campaign for years about how green they are. and I generally support the progmatic idea of corporations doing good deeds in the hopes of boosting public opinion and consequently sales. they actually wrote the check for me to work in equatorial guinea in 2004. that being said, if you are going to spend the bucks on the green and white logo and the singing baby ads, you have to at least be somewhere close to the top of your field environmentally. BP had spills in Prudhoe Bay, AK last summer which were easily preventable and were caused by negligent pipeline maintainance. same goes for the refinery explosions. basically, the whole branding ethos is completely gutted by the actions of the company. and that is bad. hypocrisy is a much worse brand than pragmatism.

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