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Closed for repairs

Not really.  Just swamped with stuff.  I’m looking at a pile of the usual letter-of-rec stuff, all of which is due yesterday, and I have a review of this book due by Friday.  It turns out to be quite hard to squeeze a review of a 500-page book into the middle of a semester.  Or maybe I’m just getting old and slow?  And two-day MLA meetings, followed by an extended-family weekend, will tend to wreak havoc on one’s schedule.  So I won’t be telling the Tale of the Broken Hockey Stick until next week at the earliest.  In the meantime, feel free to comment on the public option, the Rangers’ reasonably good start, the complete and utter exposure of Don Draper Dick Whitman, the Yankees-Phillies showdown, the question of whether Bill Ayers wrote Obama’s senior thesis, the continuing degradation of the Washington Post, the Buccaneers-Rams-Lions-Raiders-Redskins-Browns-Titans-Chiefs Consortium of Awful, and/or the delightful and effervescent way your humble blogger manages to combine an insufferable pretentiousness with an embarrassingly juvenile sense of humor.  Trois loups et la lune, people!  I’ll be back when this place is all fixed up and ready for visitors.

Posted by on 10/27 at 07:33 AM
  1. "All fixed up and ready for visitors”?  You’re not replacing the G.L.H. are you?  Cause [captcha] if you did you’d need some other way to manifest (visually, that is) your delightful and effervescent, yet embarrassingly juvenile, sense of humor.

    Anyway, while I still miss Theory Tuesday, I do have four words for you: Series MVP Jayson Werth.  Also, the directionality of the paternal relationship between the Yankees and Pedro Martinez may turn out to be more fluid than these things usually are.  Just saying.

    And I’m not usually football-conscious until playoff time, let alone before the Series is over, but the Consortium in question did breach my awareness the other day in the form of the Jets-Raiders game, and all I can say is, wow, they looked like Heidi out there.

    Posted by Dave Maier  on  10/27  at  10:31 AM
  2. And I’m not usually football-conscious until playoff time

    Too bad. You’ve missed some really fun stuff so far this season (Clusterfuck of Awful not withstanding).

    For folks here looking to fill in the gaps while this place is semi-inactive, you can get a good Mad Men fix over at Alan’s place talking about the recent epic episode. And of course I always enjoy reading Amanda’s take as well.

    And for even more ways to kills hundreds of hours before you know it, I’ve just discovered this massive time suck. If you weren’t already aware of that, don’t blame me if you click on it.

    captcha: later

    Posted by  on  10/27  at  11:43 AM
  3. On the hockey front, I’d like to point out that despite the fact that the NHL denied my hometown of Hamilton Ont. a team this season, with roughly 10 percent of the season gone, we are still only three points behind the freakin’ Leafs

    Posted by rev.paperboy  on  10/27  at  11:54 AM
  4. Wolf the 1st--a review of this book: Wow, the Nabakov guy, and very fraught subject matter.

    Wolf the 2nd--Football: My son pointed out to me last night that Philadelphia was the first team Washington had played this year that had won a game before the Redskins had played them ( NYG, StL, Det, TB, Car, KC --yeah, so they caught the Giants week one, but still). Our speculation was that this was the longest such streak ever and that to emerge from it only 2-4 was quite the distinction.

    Wolf the 3rd--Mad Men: A nice site I found via WAAGNFNP-program-related activities was CONELRAD, concentrating on representations of the atomic side of the Cold War in pop culture. Recently they have been collecting images of fallout shelter signs in movies and TV shows. And they caught a Mad Men boo-boo, Jon Hamm as Don Draper at a hospital in a Labor Day Weekend, 1960-set episode of MAD MEN ("Long Weekend,” originally aired on AMC on 09/27/07). The usually impeccable Mad Men set dresser goofed as the first Fallout Shelter signs were not posted until 1961. (The next in the series is a Mad Men shot which was OK on the timing.) Kind a fun to look through the whole set.

    Posted by  on  10/27  at  12:09 PM
  5. I’m filled with a sense of impending doom these days. It all started with the election of an African American President. Then the Rangers are a few weeks into the season and they have a player who is tied for the league lead in goals. These are signs from the end of the world section of the Book of Celts, if you read it very carefully.  Even then, only two signs are nothing to worry about.  Sure, some scholars would throw in the collapse of financial markets, peak oil, and global climate change.  But I find no textual basis for worry on those counts. What sealed our immanent demise, I have to say, is Bob Dylan releasing a Christmas album.  I’m selling everything and heading into the mountains.

    Posted by  on  10/27  at  12:37 PM
  6. Regarding Boyd’s book: I read Eagleton’s review in the LRB a few weeks ago, and the snippet on Amazon doesn’t really do justice to his overall criticism. Sure, Mr. Sourpuss is on his usual culture-is-bad-so-let’s-get-back-to-some-nature-stuff, but ultimately he thinks the book’s premises, while innovative, produce sad and banal conclusions about literature. (For better or worse, Eagleton is still a literary critic at heart.) I have a small bone to pick in this vein: If we humanists are constantly being spanked for our forays into science (that dreadful debate about “Science Studies") and told that having read Thomas Kuhn doesn’t give us a free pass to challenge the validity of quantum mechanics, why do evolutionary biologists and psychologists get to paw our beloved literatures for incredibly boring insights about “competition” and “human nature”. I mean, sheesh. The best you can say about the Iliad is that it shows the survival of the fittest? Really?

    Posted by  on  10/27  at  12:41 PM
  7. I feel it’s my duty to stand up against the extreme New York City bias this blog has taken (Yankees AND Rangers in one post?) to say the following:

    Go Sabres!!!

    Posted by Mr. Trend  on  10/27  at  12:42 PM
  8. Well, if Mr. Trend is going to open the door to my ny yankee hatred, I’ll go ahead and walk on through:
    May the Stankees go down in soul-crushing defeat to the Phillies. Huzzah!

    JP - thanks for the Mad Men/bomb shelter link. I’ve reported it to the Mad Men Blog of Record, Basket of Kisses, on their most recent “Anachronisms” thread. I wasn’t able to determine if they’d already covered it or not. I’ll report my findings and make sure you get ample credit over there if it’s news.

    Posted by  on  10/27  at  02:07 PM
  9. These are signs from the end of the world section of the Book of Celts, if you read it very carefully.

    Who cares about that?  This year, it’s Lakers all the way.

    May the Stankees go down in soul-crushing defeat to the Phillies. Huzzah!

    Indeed, it’s at times like this, when I am forced to root for the Phillies, that my theological skepticism wars with the sneaking suspicion that God exists, and has an embarrassingly juvenile sense of humor.

    Posted by  on  10/27  at  02:58 PM
  10. You’re not replacing the G.L.H. are you?

    Never!  But I suppose I should put up a link to the New Book if people are going to start throwing tomatoes at it.  We don’t want those tomatoes to get lost in the tubes.

    we are still only three points behind the freakin’ Leafs

    who are themselves part of the Axis of Awful, extending to the Panthers, the Islanders, and the North Korea Nighthawks.

    why do evolutionary biologists and psychologists get to paw our beloved literatures for incredibly boring insights about “competition” and “human nature”

    Well, Boyd is actually the go-to Nabokov guy.  So far I’m reading his book as a kind of combination of Nabokov’s afterword to Lolita and a translation of Schiller’s Aesthetic Education into the language of ev-psych.  You know, about how we’re hard-wired to take pleasure and evolutionary profit in reading stories about apes drawing the bars of their cages.  Something like that.

    I feel it’s my duty to stand up against the extreme New York City bias this blog has taken (Yankees AND Rangers in one post?)

    I’m sorry, did I say anything in favor of the franchise that kicked Joe Torre to the curb just when it should have signed him to a lifetime contract—or, better yet, allowed him to work, like Don Draper (until recently!) without a contract altogether?  I simply noted that they were playing the Phillies.

    Then again, since O-Girl’s “Stankees” are playing a team that (a) comes from Philadelphia, (b) has handed the Mets a series of beatdowns that has plunged the franchise into severe clinical depression, (c) has fans who live in Philadelphia, and (d) plays in Philadelphia, go Stankees!  Besides, I hear that Derek Jeter is practically perfect in every way.

    Posted by Michael  on  10/27  at  03:04 PM
  11. I hear that Derek Jeter is practically perfect in every way and ARod is *clutch*.

    Posted by  on  10/27  at  03:25 PM
  12. Sorry to hear about the Mets’ history with the Phillies. I do root for the Mets on GP simply as the NY team that’s not the Stankees.

    Besides, I hear that Derek Jeter is practically perfect in every way.

    Honestly Michael, that level of cheap shot, eye-gouging, dumpster-diving tastelessness is really beyond the pale. Have your eardrums stopped bleeding from the sound of my screams all the way out here in CA? Well, I hope not.

    Posted by  on  10/27  at  03:28 PM
  13. You know, they ought to come up with some kind of moniker for this kind of clutchiness.  Something involving a formal title and a month of the year, like “Dr. November.”

    Posted by  on  10/27  at  03:29 PM
  14. Honestly Michael, that level of cheap shot, eye-gouging, dumpster-diving tastelessness is really beyond the pale.

    Not for this blog, it isn’t!  Also, you forgot “narcissistic.”

    The simple truth is that Derek Jeter is kind and humble.  His swing is perfect, his defense impeccable, and his clubhouse demeanor a delight to all.  Furthermore, he loves puppies, rainbows, long walks in the sand, well-made cosmopolitans, and sustainable growth.  He favors a phased withdrawal from Afghanistan, supported the extradition of Pinochet and the trial of Milosevic, and has long believed that Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad was wrongly decided.  He is also physically attractive, but does not know this.  What, exactly, is not to like?

    Posted by  on  10/27  at  04:12 PM
  15. With rhetorical occasions like #14, Professor B. should write product reviews for Amazon.

    Sincerely,
    Still Crying on the Inside

    Posted by  on  10/27  at  04:28 PM
  16. Also, you forgot “narcissistic.”

    I did not. It’s implicit. Also, you’ve got nothing on Joe LIE-berman on the narcissistic front. That man should give a clinic.

    Posted by  on  10/27  at  04:50 PM
  17. and has long believed that Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad was wrongly decided.

    He even knows that the decision itself in the case is uninteresting, but rather it was an obiter dictum statement in the headnote which is so notorious. Jeter, however, has class enough not to write a comment on a very busy man’s blog quibbling with such a minor point. As one random blogger I found says:

    Once upon a time a famous athlete made a commercial telling kids that he was no role model. Derek Jeter needs no commercials to try to send any messages- he, like Yoda told Luke Skywalker to do in The Empire Strikes Back...he doesn’t try. He just does.

    Posted by  on  10/27  at  05:05 PM
  18. To this thread of topic spawn i add my two bits (was 12.5¢ really a US coin, or just a clever way to get rid of Canadian shillings?).  From the summaries of two reports issued in the last four days (each with their own flavor of sadness and cringing):

    the Department of Defense announced that 72 members of the U.S. military had recently died while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, the Seychelles, the Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Yemen, as well as at Guantanamo Bay.


    And we thought that Afghanistan and Iraq were the focus of our Empire? 

    Chicago rats fed a diet of sausage, pound cake, bacon, cheesecake, and Ho Hos began to behave like rats addicted to heroin, consuming increasing amounts of food to feel satisfied and continuing to eat even when to do so meant that electric shocks were delivered to their tiny paws.  When switched to healthful food ("the salad option") the rats, which had become obese, their brains numbed by junk, simply refused to eat.

    Since this sounds vaguely like a Philly diet (albeit Chicago rats), it might be best to hope for the salad eaters of the Big Apple.

    Posted by  on  10/27  at  05:18 PM
  19. this sounds vaguely like a Philly diet

    Not without scrapple it doesn’t.  Or cheesesteaks.

    Posted by Dave Maier  on  10/27  at  06:12 PM
  20. Jeter, however, has class enough not to write a comment on a very busy man’s blog quibbling with such a minor point.

    Don’t worry; you’ll always seem classy to me, Stormcrow.

    [DRIVES THE RUMBLE STRIPS]

    Posted by  on  10/27  at  07:09 PM
  21. . . . but ultimately he thinks the book’s premises, while innovative, produce sad and banal conclusions about literature.

    The banality isn’t inherent in the psychological underpinnings. If you want to read a more challenging piece of criticism based on evolutionary psychology, try Comeuppance, by William Flesch.

    As for Boyd, my guess is that he’s still having a whale of a time reading and synthesizing all that evolutionary theory, primate ethology, cognitive psych, development psych, and neuropsych. The first half of the book is a review of that stuff and it’s really quite interesting, and I say that as somehow who’s been dealing with those psychologies longer than Boyd has. In the second half Boyd discusses two texts, the Odyssey, and Horton Hears a Who! I’d bet he had twice as much fun writing that as he did writing the first half. It was fun because it afforded him an opportunity to gather all those specilized psychologies into one place and knit them together into a single story–someone’s got to do it. What fun.

    Unfortunately the fun was more in the psychology than in the literature. That psychology fun obscured the banality of the literary insight. I fear that we may be in for a spell of this kind of criticism. It’s going to take awhile for literary critics to burn through all that psychology to the point where it is no longer new, to the point where the psychology itself has become banal. At that point those critics will have to face the banality of their literary insight. I have no idea what they’ll do then.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  10/27  at  09:21 PM
  22. ....what’s not to like???

    I am going to spell this out one letter at a time

    H E P L A Y S F O R T H E Y A N K E E S

    captcha “position” as in you can’t measure both position and momentum simultaneously beyond fundamental limits placed on us by the laws quantum mechanics. And for those of you who thought this captcha should have been about a position in baseball you were dead wrong

    Posted by  on  10/27  at  11:27 PM
  23. ...began to behave like rats addicted to heroin, consuming increasing amounts of food to feel satisfied ...

    Since this sounds vaguely like a Philly diet (albeit Chicago rats), it might be best to hope for the salad eaters of the Big Apple.

    Demonstrating that our beloved spyder either knows very little about the gluttonous, avaricious stankees, or has too much first hand knowledge of heroin.

    Posted by  on  10/27  at  11:43 PM
  24. (was 12.5¢ really a US coin, or just a clever way to get rid of Canadian shillings?).

    The Spanish dollar, or milled dollar, was a big silver coin that was minted all over Spanish colonial America and was common legal tender in the US and around the world up to the 1840’s.  In 1792 the value of the US dollar was set at one Spanish dollar. It was called the Spanish dollar because it was the same size and weight as the Maria Theresia Thaler, a widely circulating silver coin from Austria, which also had silver mines ("dollar" was the English equivalent of thaler and had been for several hundred years).  The official Spanish name was the Peso de la Ocho, or piece of eight, because its value was set at eight reals, the real being the most common unit of money. No decimal currency for the Spanish!(The modern word “peso” comes from the piece of eight.) The name piece of eight was known in English, so the US quarter dollar coin, introduced in 1796, became known as two bits. 

    You will read that the Spanish dollar was literally chopped up into eight 12.5 cent “bits.” I very much doubt this - the reason it was universally accepted was its milled edge, so that it couldn’t be clipped, or trimmed and passed off as full weight. Chopping it up would have destroyed the point of having a coin.  And who ever heard of chopping up coins, anyway?  I think this is a myth based on an over-literal understanding of the name piece of eight.

    Posted by  on  10/27  at  11:50 PM
  25. Thanks for the link, Bill. I didn’t mean to suggest the psychology, primate ethology, etc. were boring, rather only the literary applications. I’m a classicist, so perhaps I’m a touch sensitive to banality masquerading as innovation in the study of the Odyssey. I happily entertain non-specialist interventions, but only when they produce something interesting (see: Achilles in Vietnam)…

    Anyway, I’ll be interested to see how you respond, Michael. Will you be hamstrung by a 1000-word limit again?

    Cheers!

    Cheers!

    Posted by  on  10/28  at  12:40 AM
  26. Totally OT:
    Drummer Berube,
    If you want to fall in love with playing again and would like to play whenever you want, get an edrum kit.

    I have a 12 year old yamaha dtx set, a new mac, a midi interface, and a new software called toontrack superior drummer.

    The sounds are incredible.
    It’s like Christmas everyday being able to pick out snares like ludwig black beauty, Rogers wood, slingerland 70’s,piccolo snares, etc.
    Good headphones and your listening to the real deal.
    This old geezer is stoked again. What a treat to play at 11 at night.
    The computer based software and the fast processors is what has totally changed it to a real instrument.

    Posted by  on  10/28  at  12:57 AM
  27. No problem, Ric. In fact, as a classicist, you’re the guy to review Boyd’s book. My sense is that Boyd didn’t have anything to say about the Odyssey that couldn’t have been said 40, 50, or even 60 years ago and, for all I know, it pretty much was said. What he did do was recast those observations in evpsych terms. But I’m no classicist and so have little idea of what’s in the Odyssey literature. (FWIW, here’s my review of the book.)

    The point of my comment above was to try to explain, as much to myself as to you or anyone else here, why a smart guy like Boyd is content to offer such banal literary criticism. I do think that at least part of the answer lies in the fun of the psychological chase and synthesis. When you’re deep into it, it’s difficult to see that the literary analysis as such is rather dull. Moving beyond literary analysis as a vehicle for multidimensional psychological synthesis is difficult.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  10/28  at  07:36 AM
  28. not only is Derek Jeter a fine, fine baseballer, but if memory serves, he once dated the oh-so-talented and beautious Mariah Carey while she was between spates of finishing her double Phd in Quantum Physics and Cultural Studies and writing her screenplay of “Pierre Menard, author of the Quixote”, by Borges, so obviously I wish him only the best </fucking sarcasm>

    Posted by rev.paperboy  on  10/28  at  10:23 AM
  29. finishing her double Phd in Quantum Physics and Cultural Studies

    You’re just jealous that Ms. Carey’s groundbreaking work on the Higgs boson and the rise of Thatcherism was published before yours, rev. paperboy.  Nyah nyah nyah.

    Yanks in 6.

    Posted by Michael  on  10/28  at  10:36 AM
  30. Yanks in 6.

    6 ... 5 ... 4 ...

    Posted by  on  10/28  at  11:37 AM
  31. You’re just jealous that Ms. Carey’s groundbreaking work on the Higgs boson and the rise of Thatcherism was published before yours, rev. paperboy.

    I thought we had already established that causality is meaningless in the context of Higgs bosons.  Similarly, Thatcherism tried to take the UK back to the late Nineteenth Century.  So “before” doesn’t really apply.

    Posted by  on  10/28  at  11:53 AM
  32. I just read an excerpt of Louis Menand’s forthcoming book on the profession (this one, not the oldest one) and found it very dense, and somewhat more depressing than your characterization of it.  Maybe the bit I read (the slump from 1970) is prefaced in the book by the rise.  I’ll be interested to hear your take on it when it’s out, though you probably have a good idea of his take already (I don’t).

    Posted by  on  10/28  at  05:22 PM
  33. Before the game begins I should make it official (besides the series MVP call in #1 above): Phils in 7.

    As for Derek Jeter, I like when he was on Saturday Night Live in a skit playing a Yankee wife (I forget which one).  One of them says she thinks Derek Jeter is cute, and Jeter says “Jeter?  He looks like The Rock had sex with a Muppet,” which I think is not a bad thought at all.

    Posted by Dave Maier  on  10/28  at  07:49 PM
  34. Demonstrating that our beloved spyder either knows very little about the gluttonous, avaricious stankees, or has too much first hand knowledge of heroin.

    Dragon chasing in Asia, particularly Afghanistan, is required reading for those seeking possible solutions to US involvement in various fertile: triangles, deltas, flood plains, and poppy fields (save the legal ones in Tasmania which are bedeviled by opiated wallabies).  As for gluttony at ballparks, it strikes me that the brand-stanking-new stankee field must have fine cuisines all over the place (with the exception of the outfield bleachers). This would be unlike the Philly-cheesed steak grease pouring down the stands in that city of brotherly distaste for any not one of “them.”

    Thanks Bloix for the numismatics lesson, though i am still trying to find a shave and a haircut for that odd two bits. 
    Do we get a repeat of the 36th Superbowl when Mariah’s bosons shattering our ears??  We got Yogi in a WhiteHouse sandwich at the moment.

    Posted by  on  10/28  at  07:56 PM
  35. You’re very welcome, spyder.  I enjoyed writing it.  Isn’t it nice to know what pieces of eight are?

    And since this is an open thread, may I nominate a new candidate for the truly very worst album of all time since albums were invented and before that too:  Christmas in the Heart, by Bob Dylan (deluxe with greeting cards!)

    http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Heart-Deluxe-Greeting-Cards/dp/B002MW50KY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1256779871&sr=1-1

    Posted by  on  10/28  at  09:35 PM
  36. You guys have it all wrong, Sidney “Hat Trick in 2 Periods” Crosby for MVP.

    But this game is reminding me of the late ‘70s when you watched the Yankees in the postseason to see all of your favorite Cleveland Indians on the big stage. Too bad Jim Thome’s not in Philly anymore.

    Posted by  on  10/28  at  10:08 PM
  37. You’re just jealous that Ms. Carey’s groundbreaking work on the Higgs boson and the rise of Thatcherism was published before yours, rev. paperboy.

    You’re damned right I am! I worked so hard on that - and it wasn’t easy with physicists from the future timetravelling back to sabotage my work on the Higgs boson either. Oh sure, I might have finished sooner if I hadn’t spent every night watching “Glitter” and crying bitter, jealous tears in my popcorn, but that’s central to my point. One which has never been made which has never been made in such in such detail or with such care, that Derek Jeter is a hard worker, a loyal husband, and an all around fine person.

    But this game is reminding me of the late ‘70s when you watched the Yankees in the postseason to see all of your favorite Cleveland Indians on the big stage. Too bad Jim Thome’s not in Philly anymore.

    As a third generation Indians fan, that really hurts Stormcrow. It’s completely true, but it hurt just the same.

    Posted by rev.paperboy  on  10/29  at  01:55 AM
  38. and it wasn’t easy with physicists from the future timetravelling back to sabotage my work on the Higgs boson either.

    Okay, people, once again, the two kooky theoretical physicists weren’t initially talking about time-traveling people.  The future production of the Higgs particle will’ve causen reality itself to send sabotage ripples back in time in order to preserve its own existence.  Which is why I rejected your draft submission for the Physics of Apocalyptic Bosons in Social Theory blue-ribbon edition, rev.paperboy.  And I’d do it again.

    (Why yes, I will have another peeled grape, Dr. Carey.)

    Sincerely,
    mds
    Senior Editor, PABST

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  09:15 AM
  39. mysteriously
    no higgs particles appear
    LHC broken

    Posted by  on  10/29  at  12:06 PM
  40. Secret English court seizes billions in assets from the mentally impaired

    http://joshfulton.blogspot.com/2009/10/secret-english-court-seizes-assets-of.html

    Posted by Josh Fulton  on  10/31  at  02:56 PM
  41. There was something about Breaking Bad tonight that was just so incredibly real and staggeringly intense.  It made me completely forget the previous hour of crazy males. 

    Unless Philly plays better tonight, Michael’s prediction of Stankees in 6 will not reach fruition (3-1 in four games makes game five seem predestined). 

    Consortium of the Awful:
    Buccaneers- thrilled they had the week off
    Rams- beat up on a more awful team
    Lions- a truly awful team
    Raiders- tried so hard not to be awful, then succumbed
    Redskins- living in Tampa at the moment
    Browns- must have the worst starting QB in football
    Titans- was that an anomaly or a sign???
    Chiefs- visiting WA in Tampa this week

    new candidates for the Consortium
    Giants
    Seattle
    Jacksonville
    Green Bay

    Posted by  on  11/02  at  05:11 AM

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