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Spreadin’ the danger

Whew.  I’m back home, having wrapped up the fabulous and glamorous Dangeral Studies Tour 2006.  Thanks to everyone who made it such a fabulous and glamorous success!

The Chicago trip was especially spectacular, even scrumtrulescent.  It marked the first time that Janet and I traveled together during the school year—that is, without Jamie, who took care of a babysitter from Thursday through Saturday when he wasn’t in school himself.  And we celebrated in fine style!  Janet spent Thursday night and Friday day throwing up once every fifteen minutes for just over ten hours, after developing a severely allergic reaction to the down pillows and bedspread in our fabulous and glamorous room in the Palmer House (which really was quite fabulous and glamorous).  I left her retching at a quarter to one on Friday afternoon so that I could go have lunch with David Horowitz and reporter Tom Bartlett of the Chronicle of Higher Education.  I had the steak; David had the halibut.  He will no doubt try to claim that he had the steak, but trust me on this one.  Tom Bartlett barely touched his food, and I just think that’s wrong.

Janet rallied in time to come to dinner Friday evening and have some nice soothing soup (not with Horowitz—with MMLA President Kevin Dettmar).  But all in all she had a Very Bad Day, spent Friday night on the down-free couch, then flew back on Saturday morning.

On Saturday I saw her off, did some work in the morning and early afternoon, then went with Danny Postel to the Chicago Cultural Center to hear Samantha Power and Azar Nafisi.  That was great.  And you know what? we talked about you the whole time.  That little get-together, by the way, was the only social arrangement I did not screw up this weekend.  Everything else I screwed up.  I apologize to everyone.

But to gauge by comment 25 in the previous thread (thanks, Anne!), at least my talk on Friday night went OK.  The film clip from Toy Story caused me no end of anxiety, though, because (a) I was pretty sure it would be the highlight of the first half of the talk (the facetious half, before I got around to the serious subject of academic blogs) and (b) I was absolutely sure that Jamie owned the film on VHS and so did not worry about getting a hold of one, and Jamie himself assured me that his copy was in the upstairs bedroom, and Jamie is never, ever wrong about such things, but this time he was, because the Toy Story box was upstairs but not the movie, which meant that I left for Chicago without the crucial film clip queued up, which meant that I had to hope that I came across a DVD of the film someplace, and I did, buying the tenth-anniversary edition at a store in the Philly airport for the low low price of $32, but of course that meant I would have to fiddle with the DVD and all its front matter while giving the talk, and because it was the tenth anniversary edition it had, as I learned ten minutes before the talk was to start, about eighteen or nineteen different features and promotions to wade through before you hit “play,” so that was a pain in the ass, but I think it all worked all right in the end and it turned out that I was right about (a).  And then a cranky old man got up at the end of my talk about academic blogging, announced that he didn’t hear very well, and asked me if he had heard correctly that I was among David Horowitz’s Most Dangeral Professors.  When I said yes, he replied that I had made his day, which led the ballroom of people to break into applause, and at that point they—and I—thought they knew where this “I have a question that’s more of a comment” was going.  We were wrong!  It was going someplace else.  The cranky man then segued into a disquisition about his red cap, which, he said, he wore only when he was on the attack, and he claimed that no one was further right than he, except for perhaps Lynne Cheney, “who,” he said, “sleeps with the Vice President.” “So I hear,” I replied.  “Well, then,” the cranky man said, “I have a question for you.  How do you feel about Israel?”

“Well,” I said, thinking of the Toy Story clip, “I think it was implicit in my talk,” thereby attempting to remind him that he had, in fact, attended a talk.  It didn’t work.  He followed up with questions about “The Israel Lobby” by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt and about the various calls for the boycotting of Israeli academics and also about fragging.  It was fun.  “You must get that all the time,” a friend said later.  “No, not really,” I answered.  “This was a first.” As it turned out, I got off light, because the cranky man was eventually persuaded to sit down and allow people with questions about the talk to ask them; he had also haunted Janet’s panel the night before, and when I met Jerry Graff later on Saturday night he told me that the cranky man had simply made a speech at his session, a speech he (Graff) timed at just over eight minutes.

I learned a couple of things about the Palmer House, by the way.  First, that although I have long lamented the $25 breakfast common to conference hotels—two eggs, $11.95, coffee, $3.95, convenience fee, room delivery fee, gratuity added (insufficient, thereby requiring supplementary tip in cash)—it appears that the Palmer House is breaking new ground with the $35 breakfast by setting the price of two eggs at $24 and working up from there.  I did not sample the $35 breakfast.  I went around the corner to Dunkin’ Donuts for a fine $4 breakfast.  Gotta keep these taxpayer-funded junkets within reason, you know, regardless of whether they’re actually taxpayer-funded.  Janet, by contrast, ordered a room-service salad on Thursday night while I was speaking at Northwestern, and reported that it was the finest $44 salad she had ever consumed.

Second, whenever I’m in a conference hotel I have a funny habit of checking out whatever conference I’m not part of.  You know, just to see.  And I have a minor obsession with miniature TV screens installed in elevators, taxicabs, minivan seats, and the backs of people’s heads, because they give me the impression that the Lidless Eye of CNN is watching me wherever I go—or, perhaps, that I should never walk for more than 30 or 45 seconds in a major US city without consulting a video screen for the latest news on missing white women or the adventures of the irresistable Ryan Philippe.  The Palmer House managed to combine my habit and my minor obsession in one neat little move.  The hotel was hosting not only the Midwest Modern Language Association but also the American Heart Association, which meant that the lobby and the ballrooms were full of the usual literature-professor suspects as well as people with some real money to spend: cardiologists, and even more important, representatives from pharmaceutical companies.  Indeed, the latter group was such a large part of the Palmer House Imaginary that for Friday and Saturday, the hotel suspended its broadcasts of CNN in the elevators and replaced it with advertising for the anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor.  What was especially strange about this was that Lipitor (or Pfizer, or, more accurately, whoever has Pfizer as an ad client) had apparently designed the video advertising specifically for this conference: it consisted entirely of still photos of various Chicago landmarks and those three-ringed Lipitor logos arranged so as to suggest that “Lipitor” was a verb synonymous with “heart,” as in “I Lipitor the Windy City” and “I Lipitor the Buckingham Fountain.”

Well, folks, I did not Lipitor my time in Chicago, though I think Janet might have done well to Zyrtec hers.  And how was your weekend?

Posted by on 11/13 at 02:24 PM
  1. Oh come on, we wanna hear what happened at lunch.

    Posted by  on  11/13  at  03:47 PM
  2. . . . then segued into a disquisition about his red cap, which, he said, he wore only when he was on the attack . . .

    Drunken Santa’s elf or coked up Shriner? Would he be good for Sergeant at Arms at the WAAGNGNP’s glorious Chris Clarke Show Trial and New England Clam Bake?

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/13  at  03:51 PM
  3. I eat far too many persimmons with goat cheese and dammit, I’d do it again.

    And, I don’t think CNN needs to have a lidless eye as long as its viewers do.

    Posted by Central Content Publisher  on  11/13  at  04:05 PM
  4. Drunken Santa’s elf or coked up Shriner? Would he be good for Sergeant at Arms at the WAAGNGNP’s glorious Chris Clarke Show Trial and New England Clam Bake?

    Bill, you know 3Tops will be our “muscle” at the CCST. She’s not gonna farm that baby out to one of her underlings no how, no way!

    But the coke’d up Shriner will make a fine addition to the CCST’s side show entertainment during adjournments. And can someone please confirm that we have the Liquer’d Up Kicker booked as well? Thanks.

    Good nite, y’all.

    Oaktown Girl
    Minister of Justice

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  11/13  at  04:41 PM
  5. “Well, then,” the cranky man said, “I have a question for you.  How do you feel about Israel?”

    That might have been the time to channel Gandhi: “I think it would be a good idea.”

    But then you might have been pushed into the *corner* (a great captcha, if you ask me) by the Man in the Red Cap. (That wasn’t a Hitchcock movie, was it? My film history is a little shaky sometimes.)

    Posted by John Protevi  on  11/13  at  04:47 PM
  6. Conference hotels. Only people who never do it can think that we all enjoy those “taxpayer financed junkets” unreservedly. Personally, I’d be happy to have every conference I ever attend at the place I happen to be living at, avoiding airport shuttles, airports, cancelled and delayed flights, more airport shuttles, conference hotels, $25 breakfast…

    captcha: “ready” as in ready for the CCST?

    Posted by  on  11/13  at  04:48 PM
  7. the hotel suspended its broadcasts of CNN in the elevators and replaced it with advertising for the anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor

    I understand that well-known San Francisco socialist Nancy Pelosi may have her eye on eliminating the ability of Big Pharma to provide this taxpayer-funded entertainment on your non-taxpayer-funded junket. What gratitude that?

    And how was your weekend?
    Well, I spent my first ever weekend with Rick Santorum as my lame duck Senator doing fuck-all*. ... and it felt great.

    *[Well, that is if you ignore the kids and I bruning an effigy of the Rickster in the backyard as our own private Cremation of Care ceremony. (a number of the neighborhood dogs joined in too, for some reason.)]

    Posted by  on  11/13  at  05:02 PM
  8. Ow. Danny Postel and Samantha Power and Azar Nafisi. Ow. I’m so jealous.

    Posted by Ophelia Benson  on  11/13  at  05:11 PM
  9. I was at the talk Friday, and enjoyed it—thanks! And I am in the ranks of those having the same initial response to Red-Hat Man. I was sitting right behind him, and when he first stood up, I thought, “My, what a charming red hat, and isn’t it hip of him to wear white Calvin Klein jeans?” and even scribbled “I [heart] red hat man” in my notes. Alas, this was before he convinced me that what I had taken to be a talk about U.S. academic labor, the academic job market, and blogging, was revealed to be all about international policy concerned with the middle east. Imagine my chagrin!

    I should thank Mr. Attack-Hat, though, since his set of questions gave me the excuse to raise my hand (in vain hopes of interrupting) for the first post-cranky-rant question, and often I get too shy to ask questions.

    Posted by Bill Albertini  on  11/13  at  05:20 PM
  10. Blogging. Hmph. It’ll never catch on.

    Posted by Ophelia Benson  on  11/13  at  05:32 PM
  11. Bill, thanks for asking your non-cranky question!  For those of you who weren’t there, Bill followed Cranky Man by saying, “I have a question about blogging,” to which I replied, ”blogging, you say?” and to which he replied, “yeah, if you can imagine that.” Thanks for re-setting the tone.  Because by that time, I did not Lipitor red hat man.  Speaking of whom:  he threatened to “Google me up” (his phrase—really), so he might be reading all this right now if he connects his Intarweb with the right tubes.  So we have to take care of some business first:

    Drunken Santa’s elf or coked up Shriner? Would he be good for Sergeant at Arms at the WAAGNGNP’s glorious Chris Clarke Show Trial and New England Clam Bake?

    Bill, O-Girl, I propose that he be bailiff.

    That might have been the time to channel Gandhi: “I think it would be a good idea.”

    Good one, John!  Better than “some of my best friends are Israel,” anyway.

    Personally, I’d be happy to have every conference I ever attend at the place I happen to be living at, avoiding airport shuttles, airports, cancelled and delayed flights, more airport shuttles, conference hotels, $25 breakfast…

    Oh, and Christian, I forgot to add that the Palmer House took all snacks out of the room, thus requiring snackers (like Janet, 80 percent of whose diet consists of snacks, the other 20 percent being salad) to order from room service or visit the bar and grill at street level.

    Danny Postel and Samantha Power and Azar Nafisi. Ow. I’m so jealous.

    It rocked, Ophelia.  Why, I envy me.  And, first but not least, Dominic:

    Oh come on, we wanna hear what happened at lunch.

    And I’d love to tell!  But (as we discussed over coffee) the Chronicle has first-use intellectual property rights over that lunch.  If I recall correctly, I am permitted to describe the entrees, David is permitted to describe the salads and beverages, and they get first dibs at the actual conversation.

    Posted by Michael  on  11/13  at  06:06 PM
  12. Well, thanks for asking. Actually, it was my first Berube-less weekend in two weeks. I zolofted my way through the mornings and Guinnessed my way through the evenings. Things were improving until I learned that I lost my my bet on Horowitz choosing Quiche Lorraine for lunch.  Hope Janet is on the mend.

    Posted by  on  11/13  at  06:06 PM
  13. Oh, I’m figuring we’ll get the Horowitz Lunch narrated sooner or later. Like Gojira, I am patient. What I want to know is who the Man in the Red Attack Hat was. Did you ever find out?

    (Wait, if comments-not-questions are bad, surely questions-not-comments are also bad. Let me rephrase: “I notice you didn’t tell us who the Man in the Red Attack Hat was.” OK.)

    Hi, Bill Albertini!!

    Posted by  on  11/13  at  06:18 PM
  14. Did you manage to get any swag from drug reps in the elevator by introducing yourself as “Dr. Berube”?  (I’m assuming you saw some flesh-and-blood drug reps as well as ads.)

    Posted by  on  11/13  at  06:33 PM
  15. At the last conference I attended, the other conference in the hotel was called “Freedom FROM Religion.”

    It didn’t look anything like what one might imagine a “Freedom FROM Religion” Conference would look like, as most everyone in attendance seemed ancient.

    Those old folks were pretty beligerent, too. On the elevator, when asked what floor he wanted to go to, a dude snapped, “All the way to the top. But God isn’t going to be there!”

    Posted by Roxanne  on  11/13  at  06:35 PM
  16. I avoid expensive breakfasts at fancy, conference hotels by taking a box of grape-nuts and some powdered milk.  It’s not fancy, but it gets the job done.

    Posted by  on  11/13  at  06:56 PM
  17. Me, I walk in widening circles through the streets around the hotel until I find a diner.  That way I get in a constitutional before breakfast and don’t have to make myself queasy imagining what the hotel might be “brewing” and “cooking.” I’ve done this successfully on four continents--even in Africa, where it generally means sitting on a bench on the street while someone fries you a couple of eggs and serves you instant coffee tempered with canned milk in a plastic cup.  Even that is much preferable to hotel food.  And the company, at least, is always amiable.

    Captcha: “leave,” as in what I would do, if I had to eat hotel food.  Or, as Janet Lyons did, when the down offended (I would have left, too).

    Posted by Aaron Barlow  on  11/13  at  07:35 PM
  18. Red Cap Guy is a confirming anecdote for another theory of mine; that people who complain that the Internet has more flamers and trolls and so on than face-to-face interaction does are mostly just cocooned.  I mean, yeah, face-to-face interaction is more civil, if you meet only middle-class, not visibly crazy people in uncontentious settings.  It’s like those people who say that racism is gone from our society because they don’t notice anything while Wandering Around While White.

    Posted by  on  11/13  at  08:10 PM
  19. Oh, how I love the seedy grandness of the Palmer House Hotel!

    I’m actually off to the windy city this weekend for a conference of my own. Thus, I hope the CCST will defer a little longer. It would be embarrassing to spend most of my time skipping out on sessions, in the Public Library, prosecuting Clarke from afar.

    Breakfast = $25
    Salad = $44
    Staircase in lobby that leads to nowhere = Priceless

    For everything else, there is the GNF

    Posted by  on  11/13  at  08:16 PM
  20. I can’t believe I have to go over to Frontpage mag to find out about Diet Coke and Cobb salad.  I want my money back!  Oh, wait.....

    Posted by  on  11/13  at  10:07 PM
  21. Aaron, I did that same thing on my first morning in Hanoi in 1998. Except there was so much chaotic traffic I couldn’t figure out how to cross the street. Fortunately, there was a little coffee shop on the same block as the hotel. Coffee & couple of eggs on a baguette. (Imperialism was awful in VN, but the French left great coffee & bread behind them.) Eventually, I learned how to cross the street.

    Posted by Joseph Duemer  on  11/13  at  10:34 PM
  22. I have a comment that’s more of a question: Is it possible that the Man in the Red Hat is the evil twin of Curious George’s caretaker? And is it further possible that he looks after an incurious, closed-off, paranoid, and not a little belligerent corresponding primate (HcEoWuHgOh)?

    My weekend? Was naught more than a comma in the long sentence that will culminate with the exclamation mark of the GNF.

    Posted by  on  11/13  at  10:41 PM
  23. I love the Palmer House.  I always stay there when the AHA is in Chicago because a) it’s not the HQ hotel and you don’t wanna stay in the HQ hotel and b) that lobby is just the best place for hangin’ out and imaging that you’re in a Theodore Dreiser novel.  I watched the tOSU-Miami BCS “championship” game in a bar off that lobby, and though I really don’t like the Buckeyes, I like the ‘Canes less, so I was delighted to see them robbed (so much of life’s pleasures are derived from forms of resentment...)

    And my weekend?  Thanks for asking!  In a desperate combination of course prep (honestly) and procrastination I finally watched the Scorsese documentary about Bob Dylan No Direction Home.  Highly recommended. ****1/2*

    But all of this is just putting off the inevitable, Michael.  Since we the taxpayers are funding you (admittedly I don’t pay taxes in Penna., but I do pay taxes, and U.No. has proven that means I get to tell you what you get to do), we deserve an answer to that Israel question.

    And when you’re done with that, what’s your position on cruise missiles?

    I just put on my OU cap.  It’s red.  I’m waiting…

    (captcha:  “son”...as in Radical Son, which Richard Gid Powers in the New York Times oxymoronically--or perhaps just moronically--called “warmly human and abrasive")

    Posted by  on  11/13  at  10:58 PM
  24. I remember one year when MLA was in Chicago—this was back in my graduate student days (when the graduate student organization at UB was called the Mother Language Association). I was walking from one conference hotel to another when I saw a sign betokening Schilke Music Products. Sez I to myself “no, it can’t be” but also “it just has to be.” So I went inside and it was.

    Schilke manufactures trumpets, very good trumpets. I’d heard about them, but never seen one, much less played one. And when I discovered that they’d let me hang out in the store and try out trumpets as long as I wished, well, that was it for the MLA.

    This was just about the time that the snarky MLA story became a standard annual item in the New York Times.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/13  at  11:42 PM
  25. cf 14: Dr. Berube should’ve got those pharma guys to buy him some $25 eggs.

    cf 15:  my grandmother was an atheist, and at her memorial service, someone came up to my mom and me and said “she’s in a better place,” and my mom said “and isn’t she surprised.”

    My weekend?  We went to our 11 year old’s basketball game, at which she drove down the court and shot.  No, she didn’t make it, but two baskets *were* scored by her team, so that makes it one of their better games.

    Posted by  on  11/13  at  11:45 PM
  26. Oh, I forgot to tell you about my weekend. I was subjected to 14 hours of the Rise, Fall and Redemption of Anakin Skywalker

    Posted by Roxanne  on  11/13  at  11:50 PM
  27. Yes, the weekend. I was planning to (a) grade exams (they make us give three midterms in each course. Horrible) and (b) watch the Bears beat the Giants. Only one of those happened.

    captcha: “reason”, as in “who needs a reason for a show trial?”

    Posted by  on  11/14  at  12:05 AM
  28. My weekend? Mostly lazy. If only I’d known of Janet’s semi-dire straits—I could have hopped a bus downtown and delivered Saltines and antihistamines. And a handful of eggs—free!—that you could have downed Rocky-style.

    I don’t Lipitor Chicago any more. My insurance switched allegiances, so I do more Zocoring these days. If only Pfizer’s ad people had gotten the rights to all those Air Supply songs: “Lost in Lipitor,” “All Out of Lipitor” ("and I’m so lost without you..."). So perfect for the elevator, no?

    Posted by Orange  on  11/14  at  01:18 AM
  29. Thank you for asking about my weekend! K hasn’t parked her car in the garage for the past two winters and it started snowing pretty hard and plus I don’t really like the idea of K putting her lovely keister into a 5-below car every morning (but not to where I’d give up my spot in the garage—she’s the one with all those obsolete computers in the way). So I insisted we make room for her car, and we did. Very weird throwing away—“recycling”—I reckon $50,000 retail in computers.

    Still, I wish I was at the table next to yours, ear cocked, dropping eaves in the direction of you and the divine Mr. H. Did you wonder what you’d do if he needed a Heimlich? Or he you?

    In a way I had face time with my own H-cum-Red Hat. At the coffee shop Saturday p.m. a pleasant man started a conversation that was delightful and life-affirming until he suddenly started filibustering on Jesus and tickets and trains and balloons and Jesus and that goddam better-safe-than-sorry argument. A bucket of market-proven metaphors for not-my-demographic. I was getting desperate for an exit when he dropped the Decalogue Is Pure Genius bomb. I got a word in edgewise: “You’d think God would be humble enough to not waste the first three adoring Himself.” (Been wanting to use that line for years.) Slacked a jaw long enough for an escape.

    A great weekend for me too!

    Posted by David J Swift  on  11/14  at  01:25 AM
  30. On behalf of cranky old men everywhere, I would like to express my outrage at the way you denigrate one of the brethren (men in red hats are on their own though). Bastards.

    No, really. How do you feel about Israel?

    Posted by  on  11/14  at  12:11 PM
  31. The Man with the Read Hat is named Ted Price from Montclair State (saw the badge).  I googled him up, so to speak, and found him at RateMyProfessors.com, where has more blue frownies than anyone I’ve ever seen.  Obviously an example of why we need more liberals in academia.

    Posted by  on  11/14  at  12:14 PM
  32. Thanks, J!  That’s interesting about the Montclair State bit.  He’d claimed, in his final question, that he taught at the same place where someone had advocated fragging.  I believe he was thinking of this story, and I hope it cheers him to recall that the someone in question resigned not long after making his remark on e-mail.  Because, after all, he was an adjunct, and as I point out in What’s Liberal?, adjuncts have pretty much the same kind of job security you find at Burger King.

    Professor Price is an 82-year-old combat vet of World War II, which no doubt has something to do with his attitude toward fools who advocate fragging.  This blog salutes his service.

    And how do I feel about Israel?  I have mixed feelings.  It should exist.  But it could be nicer.

    And thanks to everyone who’s reported on his or her weekend thus far.  I dreamt last night that the Giants tried a 52-yard field goal into the wind that was then returned 108 yards for a back-breaking touchdown, but when I woke up, I realized that would never really happen.

    Posted by Michael  on  11/14  at  12:51 PM
  33. I avoid expensive breakfasts at fancy, conference hotels by taking a box of grape-nuts and some powdered milk.  It’s not fancy, but it gets the job done.

    Me, I walk in widening circles through the streets around the hotel until I find a diner.

    Me, I walk in widening circles through the streets around the hotel until I get picked up by the police.  Whereupon they usually eventually provide me with a meal… at taxpayer expense!

    Hmm, Man in the Red Hat sounds like the right-handed partner to Professor Z, the savant who has been known to hold forth at the coffee shop.  At a Q and A with an aspiring politician to whom we’ll refer only as Ned L., he inquired about L.’s views of 9/11 being an inside job.  To his credit, L. repeated the gist of the question, commented that there were still open questions about the failures of that day, but admitted that looking into the “inside job” would be low down his list of priorities.

    Oh, my weekend?  Why, we toured the Shoreline Arts Trail, looking at the crafts of aspiring artisans, and capped it off with a visit to a Fair Trade(TM) bazaar run by the Sisters of Mercy.  Now I know why His Holiness has so much trouble with American Catholicism.

    Posted by  on  11/14  at  01:34 PM
  34. John is prescient, I tell you, prescient.

    Posted by Scott Eric Kaufman  on  11/14  at  01:54 PM
  35. adjuncts have pretty much the same kind of job security you find at Burger King.

    You, of course mean Red Hat Pizza, or Red Hat Linux, right?? And could it be that Red Hat man was simply overly grumpy because he had to compete with a red hat lady at home.  They, as a group, provided me my one bitter hassle this weekend; their large group, festooned as they were in their Sunday finest red hats and threads, slowly painstakingly eating lunch, making so many of us wait for the fine bistro food we so righteously deserved.  Red hat people are beginning to piss me off. 

    Be that as it may, i recommend that our minister of propaganda come up with the appropriate Red Hats for all defense team members of the WAAGNFNP to wear at the CCST.

    Posted by  on  11/14  at  02:26 PM
  36. I, too, googled up Ted Price (it was irresistable irresistible) and discovered this article on FIRE’s website naming Grover Furr as the supposedly pro-fragging professor. Furr does teach at Montclair State, and he’s a tenured associate professor.

    From the FIRE article:

    “I call him [Grover Furr] a Stalinist fascist and he hates to be called that,” [Ted] Price told me [Paul Mulshine]. “In letters from my chairman [Unfortunate Soul], they said that sort of thing was harassing a fellow colleague.”

    Posted by  on  11/14  at  03:32 PM
  37. Hey, when we’re done with the CCST, who wants to set up the Furr - Price cage match?  That one is gonna rock.

    Posted by  on  11/14  at  03:37 PM
  38. Red Hat society (click on link for info about the society):


    If you follow this here Google Images link, you’ll find red hats aplenty. Find one you like and display it here. The following paragraph will led you to instructions on how to do this.

    Like the WAAGNFNP itself, the WAAGNFNP Ministry of Visual Propaganda is an equal opportunity affirmative action emergent self-organizing cultural system within the body politic. That means that you too can place visual propaganda in WAAGNFNP documents, all you need to know is the use of the html img tag. Here’s a tutorial on it; note the section, Activating an Image, which tells you how to grab images from anywhere in the innertubenets. If you want to learn how to keep your images to about 400 pixels wide, this will tell you—look at Changing Image Size. If you aren’t sure of what you’re doing, I wouldn’t bother with that; it’s not difficult, but you sorta’ have to know how html works and what pixels are and that stuff.

    Bill Benzon
    Minister of Visual Propaganda

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/14  at  03:44 PM
  39. Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

    Am I sensing a Fear of A Red Hat thing developing here?

    Nina Blackburn: They say it’s the quiet ones that you have to watch out for.
    Tasty Taste: And, if you’ve noticed, I ain’t said shit for a couple minutes now

    Posted by  on  11/14  at  03:52 PM
  40. I don’t know what Red Hat is about. A friend of mine joined after her husband died. I truly fail to see the point of it. Except for the merchandising angle, of course.

    Posted by Hattie  on  11/14  at  04:05 PM
  41. Apparently the ice at St. Lawrence University is not always so agreeable: (Jonah Goldberg via TBogg.)

    Well, I gave my talk at St. Lawrence University last night. And, I should say that I don’t think I’ve ever had a colder audience. I’ve spoken to scores of college audiences now, including those with vastly more liberal reputations, but this was the iciest reception I’ve ever had

    Posted by  on  11/14  at  05:06 PM
  42. I was at the conference also, and really enjoyed your talk. Janet’s was excellent also. While I didn’t vomit on account of allergens, I almost did on account of the lunacy of some of the questions (to my mind, both you and Janet were victims of questions that went from unintelligible nonsense to downright insane rants).
    In fact, I coughed up the 20 or so bucks to call home and give my report on Red Hat (I lost it when he began with “some people have accused me of wearing a red hat....").

    I learned lots of things that weekend: the first is that people who stand to ask questions are, for the most part, complete assholes; ditto for those who wear red hats. The second thing I learned is that those who stand or wear red hats will never ask a question, but rather offer the “quomment”: a thingly veiled attempt at tearing you a new one.
    That said, you both handled it with a great deal of panache. Well done.

    Posted by  on  11/14  at  06:44 PM
  43. I appreciate that in the phrase “Jamie, who took care of a babysitter from Thursday through Saturday” the subphrase “took care of’ is supposed to take the curse off using the term “babysitter” for an adult’s attendant, but I can’t say that it works.

    Posted by Chris B  on  11/14  at  08:10 PM
  44. Well, he’s not an adult just yet, Chris.  Still only 15.

    Posted by Michael  on  11/14  at  08:36 PM
  45. I feel like Rip van Winkle awakening after years of slumber. Jamie’s an adult now? Wow. Time flies. And now I suppose I’ll have to get one of those damn red hats.

    Posted by Orange  on  11/14  at  08:39 PM
  46. Even the little kids who I occasionally watched over tended to “take care” of me, rather than the opposite way around. They are the ones who offer you snacks and show you how to turn on their complex television sets.

    I imagine that most critters today are still far more sophisticated in their own homes than the visiting sitters.

    Posted by  on  11/14  at  08:59 PM
  47. I didn’t notice the presence of the AHA Scientific Sessions until this morning as I was commuting to my adjunct position at the Arby’s in the loop. I have never seen so many buses on the road linking the McCormick Place convention center (the HQ, I’m guessing) to downtown. When I arrived and saw some of these buses up close, I noted that they too were sporting the “I Lipitor Chicago Landmarks” advertisements. Really pretty creepy.

    Posted by  on  11/14  at  09:00 PM
  48. And now I suppose I’ll have to get one of those damn red hats.

    Well, there’s this one (by Jan Vermeer):


    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/14  at  09:04 PM
  49. Bill, that’s just too fucking eerie for words.  See, I have me a National Gallery of Art appointment calendar for 2006, and for November 13-19, that very Vermeer, Girl with the Red Hat, is the Painting of the Week.  She is looking up at me from my study desk right now, just to the left of this here laptop, and she wants to know how I feel about Israel.

    Posted by Michael  on  11/14  at  09:26 PM
  50. You know, if the Israelis and Palestinians all had that hat, peace would reign. A hat like that, it solves all problems.

    Posted by Orange  on  11/14  at  09:36 PM
  51. I know you mentioned it on his birthday, but I’m amazed that Jamie is only 15.  From the stuff you’ve written about him, I thought he was like 23 or something.

    Captcha: human, as in “Some humans display bright red plumage when they are frightened or aroused, or asking a professor of dangeral studies about his feelings on Israel.”

    Posted by Heraclitus  on  11/14  at  09:43 PM
  52. Well Michael, you should know, the WAAGNFNP works in mysterious ways. It out-forces The Force, out-serenes the Serengeti, out-zips the Doo-Dah, and trumps The Donald.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/14  at  10:55 PM
  53. Bill, that’s just too fucking eerie for words.

    image hosted by thumbsnap.com

    Frankly, I think Bill’s been sneaking a look at the CCST defense team’s witness list.

    Posted by  on  11/15  at  05:07 AM
  54. Once again, the Sacred Cloud of Fission2Fusion Oneness (SCOF2FO). Only those who have been initiated into the mysteries of the WAAGNGNP will see the SCOF2FO. To all others the red hat girl in 53 is the same as that in 48, just smaller. Those of you who are among the elect now have visible evidence of your election.

    captch: “the” as in my country ‘tis of ___ I sing --- body electric lady land of milk and honey I shrunk ___ the kids

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/15  at  08:33 AM
  55. And now I suppose I’ll have to get one of those damn red hats.

    No, nowadays I’d recommend Ubuntu Linux.

    Posted by  on  11/15  at  09:51 AM
  56. While i am not particularly keen on the RedHat thang, i really do appreciate the saffron and gold threads in these pics.  Maybe the prosecution team can offset the defense’s red hat brigade with a different stylistic theme.

    Posted by  on  11/15  at  04:12 PM
  57. I am leaning in favor of this aesthetic, but can be swayed into something slightly more cheerful.


    Posted by  on  11/15  at  09:12 PM
  58. Oh cripes: I sincerely apologize for the size of this image, and will repay whatever margin-bleeding costs this humble blog incurs as a result of my grandiose googling.

    Please tell me where to send the money, and how much I owe.


    Posted by  on  11/15  at  09:14 PM
  59. Foucault -
    That’s a fantastic picture postcard! Is that your suggestion for a potential site for the CCST that our Minister of Visual Propaganda, Bill, asked folks to submit ideas for? It’s wonderful.

    And it was so thoughtful of you to show the defendant’s quarters specifically. It tells the Defense Team (and the world) how fair and generous We are: the defendant not only has a room with a view, but his own personal attendant.

    Outstanding, Foucault!

    Oaktown Girl
    Minister of Justice

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  11/16  at  12:54 AM
  60. Yes, thanks, Foucault.  And about those blog surcharges:  as I learned last month, the Internet is actually a series of tubes, and I’m not charged for any images that come from other tubes.  I am, however, charged $10 for every pixel over the text margin and $50 for every pixel that bleeds into the blue (that’s in the “don’t cross into the blue” clause of my blog contract), so please leave the appropriate amount in a paper bag outside my department office in Burrowes Building.  Thank you.

    Posted by Michael  on  11/16  at  01:26 AM
  61. Michael, the appropriate response to Red Hat Man would have been to ask him whether he was a member of the Spartacist League.

    To be fair to him, though, Grover Furr is a fairly disgusting unreconstructed Stalinist - ie he thinks the show trial victims were actually fascist agents.

    Posted by  on  11/16  at  03:07 AM
  62. Also, I too am eagerly awaiting the report of the lunch.  Although frankly, I’m disappointed in the pair of you.  I was hoping for some sort of incident which would result in a quicker news release; police reports, mysterious disappearances, or something.

    Posted by  on  11/16  at  03:12 AM
  63. I’m a bit mathematically challenged, so I’m not sure if I owe you $10 or $50. If it is $50 then I will really feel horrible. I promise never to post these images again.

    This is what you get when you start trying to do the Minister of Visual Propaganda’s job…

    Anyhow, off to Chicago this morning so I will talk to you all in a few days! Have a great weekend. Really great comments in this article about the difference between academic freedom and students’ rights and responsibilities:


    Posted by  on  11/16  at  08:30 AM
  64. And thank you, Oaktown Girl!

    I was trying hard to put myself in Clarke’s position. If more people thought about the rights of those in prison, we would have a much better chance of rehabilitating these wretches.

    Clarke will have a state-of-the-art lighting system so he can keep up with his reading. He can also have guests, who will be welcomed and illuminated by his caring guard.

    I can’t imagine who would want more!

    Posted by  on  11/16  at  08:36 AM
  65. Ah, Foucault, that’s $10 and $50 per ever-lovin’ individual pixel. But I think Michael will accept payment in Confederate bills; if not, perhaps we can arrange for him to have a chat with 3Tops. After all, not even Fearless Leader is exempt from the ministrations of the Special Projects Division of the WAAGNFNP MOJ.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/16  at  08:45 AM
  66. perhaps we can arrange for him to have a chat with 3Tops. After all, not even Fearless Leader is exempt from the ministrations of the Special Projects Division of the WAAGNFNP MOJ.

    Quite right you are, Bill. Like I’ve said before, I don’t micromanage 3Tops.

    Oaktown Girl
    Minister of Justice

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  11/16  at  10:26 AM
  67. Speaking of 3Tops, here’s a clip of Levi Stubbs (of the Four Tops) in plant drag, singing, with Japanese subtitles.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/16  at  10:57 AM
  68. Captcha word is “john” and there is just no way to not mention something about he who deserves no full name.  Unfortunately he seems to have fewer and fewer johns to extract revenue from these days.

    Posted by  on  11/16  at  02:26 PM
  69. Hey, that blue-crossin’ image was created on an Amiga?!?  (I can tell from the kerning.) You can’t run Red Hat on an Amiga!

    To be fair to him, though, Grover Furr is a fairly disgusting unreconstructed Stalinist


    So when, oh when, is the Chronicle releasing that “lunch interview,” aka fight scenes of Bérubé Man vs. Doctor Horowitz...in colour?

    Posted by  on  11/16  at  05:50 PM
  70. The following is a test of visual propaganda:


    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  11/28  at  09:32 AM
  71. nice article, great post. thanks!

    bucket elevator

    Posted by  on  09/06  at  04:33 PM
  72. Haha great article, I wanna know what happened at lunch though!

    Posted by Sleeping habits  on  09/05  at  04:51 PM
  73. yes nice article.your glamorous Dangeral Studies Tour 2006 was a good experience.

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  74. a lot of crust IS A MUST Really looks delicious I had to try this recipe as soon as possible

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  75. Thank you for sharing this insightful article.

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