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Monday, May 10, 2010

And you thought my blog posts were too long

Just finished typing up the last of my comments on the eleven seminar papers I received this semester, and learned to my surprise that the document “finalpapers.10” is fifteen thousand words long.  And now I have to write that paper on Rorty, without making the same damn mistake I always make.  So I’ll pick up the arguments in the previous thread (and many other threads!) eventually—but right now, I have to get back to work churnin’ out prose.  It’s just what we do around here, I guess.

In the meantime, here’s Jamie on the dance floor, from a dear colleague’s Saturday-night birthday-party bash:

Night fever, night fever, he knows how to do it.  Here he is, prayin’ for this moment to last, livin’ on the music so fine, borne on the wind, makin’ it his.

Posted by Michael on 05/10 at 01:08 PM
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Friday, May 07, 2010

Friday I’m in disguise

When I shop for vintage clothes in New Haven, I shop at Fashionista.  And when I shop at Fashionista, I shop incognito:

Photo credit:  the elusive J.L.

This one is for you, mds.  And no, I’m not in town now—this was taken sometime back in April.

Two or three things for a lovely Friday in May.  One, this is a good debate on Afghanistan. I agree with much of it.  Two or three, the Slacktivist’s two-part discussion of the Proctor & Gamble Supports Satanism hoax is one of the most intriguing things I have read on the Internets in a very long time.  Here’s part one on the nonsense itself, and here’s part two on why people engage in it. It is not often that a couple of blog posts change my sense of how the world works, but these two seem like they’re doing it this week.  (Hat tip to Doctor Science, and I see that John Q. picked it up in his followup on agnotology.  Good to see the term “agnotology” getting so much play!  It’s much better than that “epidemic cloture” people were talking about.  I met Robert Proctor, who coined the word, a few times back when he taught at Penn State.  He worships Satan, of course, and because I am a follower of Moloch we had a great deal to talk about.  I’m only mentioning this openly, on a blog, because there aren’t enough Christians in the United States to make a difference.)

Oh, and one tiny extra added thing.  I don’t think Digby needed to to go to this length to reply to one of her totally-off-the-rails critics.  It was a great and decisive response, yes, but I don’t think the issue is whether people can have opinions about places they don’t live in.  It’s simply that there are some people out there who, when you say things like “this senator from Louisiana is bad,” or “the governor of South Carolina is a creep,” or “you need to go three blocks south and then make a left,” or “Africa is to the south of Europe,” will get all up in your grill about how you’re an elitist coastal snob who shouldn’t be so arrogant about the South and also you shouldn’t stereotype and dismiss an entire area of the country just because you live in one of those decadent out-of-touch chardonnay-sipping places like the West Coast or the Northeast or some kind of urban area.  It’s Mudcat Saunders Syndrome, and no, there is no cure—only reasonable accommodation.

Posted by Michael on 05/07 at 10:48 AM
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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Round two:  the chastening

Readers have begun to respond to my predictions for the first round of the NHL playoffs.  Here’s alkali, from yesterday (comment 20):

Speaking of which, how much longer does New England have to wait before someone walks back the line, “Please, get these weak-sauce excuses for Bruins off my radar ... your early-May tee times await”?

And jfxgillis from three days ago (comment 16):

Michael:

Pundit accountability moment:

Bruins, Flyers, Canadiens—your early-May tee times await.

I do not know what “pundit accountability moment” means, but it does seem as if this would be a good time to issue a “clarification.” By “early-May tee times” I meant, of course, “conference semifinals.” It is now early May, and I see that the Bruins, Flyers, and Canadiens are all in the conference semifinals.  I apologize if anyone misunderstood the plain meaning of my words.
__________

No, I don’t think I can brazen my way out of this one.  My first-round picks, based firmly in the belief that the East contained only five teams worthy of playing in the postseason, turned out to be terrible—basically, smug, weak-sauce rehashes of conventional wisdom.  I was wrong, wrong, wrong.  Indeed, I have never performed so badly as a prognosticator, and it hurts.  It hurts personally, but more importantly, it hurts hockey: thanks to Halak’s soul-leasing arrangement with the Prince of Darkness, which enabled him to stop 131 of 134 shots in the final three games of the Habs-Caps series, hockey fans will be denied the explosive Caps-Pens conference final they had every right to expect.  Of course, the Penguins fans around here are all ecstatic, because they think they’ve just gotten their tickets punched for the Stanley Cup Finals.  They’re probably right ... but whatever you do, don’t take it from me.  How bad have I gotten?  Here’s how bad.  Last night, after grading graduate seminar papers and doing about an hour of homework with Jamie (he’s now doing reflexive verbs in second-year French, so that he can understand why Québec license plates say “I buy a souvenir for myself”), I sat down to watch my DVR’d version of the Sharks-Wings game.  After the Wings went up 2-0 on a goal with 90 seconds left in the first period, I said, “OK, that’s the game—no way the Sharks are coming back from this.” Guess what?  I was wrong.  The Sharks scored with seconds left in the period, and then erased a 3-1 deficit in the third, tying it on Logan Couture’s shot from somewhere in section 118.  (Yes, it was a weak and flukey goal.  But then, so was Zetterberg’s in the second period, going in off a body after being shot from somewhere in section 124.) What a game!  My recording mysteriously ended with five minutes left to go in regulation, but I feel pretty sure that the Red Wings pulled it out in OT.

For a while there I was feeling pretty full of myself, what with my six-year streak in the Super Bowl and my daring, world-historical “Penguins in 7” pick last year.  Why, it was only last June that Pinko Punko stopped by to say (in comment 32), “Your powers of prediction are impressive.  Disturbing even.” And they were!  But not anymore.  This year I totally suck at predictioning.  In fact, the only series I called correctly in round one was the one I was unsure about.  That’s some serious total-suckitude.

So I will simply say that I am happier than I should be, because in round two I am rooting for the Sharks, the Bruins, the Penguins, and ... and ... that’s funny, I can’t decide.  On the one hand, the Hawks are the same fun, unpredictable, feisty young Hawks they were last year, and I was rooting for ‘em last year.  On the same hand, I believe I have written on this very blog of this year’s Penguins - Blackhawks final.  But on the other hand, I find that I am not utterly opposed to the idea of a Vancouver-San Jose conference final.  So I will watch Nucks-Hawks with interest, that’s all.

Non-hockey blogging will resume after I have finished grading my papers (lost two days to a weird little illness and lots of back spasms) and writing my talk for this conference.

Posted by Michael on 05/05 at 11:06 AM
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Monday, May 03, 2010

Off their game?

Here it is May 3 already, and still no glibertarian pundit has stepped up to argue that the disaster in the Gulf was caused by excessive regulation.  And I understand that Stanley Kurtz is hard at work uncovering the connections among ACORN, Frances Fox Piven, Obama’s senior thesis, and the sabotaging of the oil rig by ecoterrorists, but so far, nothing on that score either.

How much longer do we have to wait?

Posted by Michael on 05/03 at 08:34 AM
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