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Friday, December 15, 2006

What’s going on around here?

Last year, during Weblog Awards Week, I switched templates and blog formats and even prose styles with Sadly, No! in order to . . . well, I forget why we did it, exactly, but it was convoluted and in-jokey and involved all kinds of wacky hijinx that demonstrated once again the amazing frictionlessness and vertiginousness of the Internets.  But I couldn’t do that again this year—it would be too obvious!  Also, I’m not in Sadly, No!s category this time around.  They’re in some kind of “humor” competition that involves one smart and principled conservative blogger, Jon Swift, along with a bunch of wankers—but the category doesn’t even include The Poor Man Institute, so, I mean, come on already.  You call that “humor”?

Besides, my student papers came in on December 5; I spoke at The Tank (and journeyed to Lands Unknown on December 6; and I’ve been grading papers and preparing exams and doing sundry other end-of-semester things ever since.  So I knew there was no way I’d be able to do any serious posting this week, and it seemed like bad manners to go on hiatus when I’m supposed to be some kind of educamacationalist blog.

So Oaktown Girl and spyder and Bill Benzon and Peter Ramus and Chris Clarke (yes, even Chris Clarke—he has confessed his crimes and has been readmitted to the fold) stepped in, first with the Ted Haggard Cage Match and then with the Chris Clarke Show Trial.  Dozens of regulars and irregulars chimed in with brilliant comments.  And on my side, papers got graded and exams got prepared and even one long-overdue essay got written.  (No, not that one.  Another one.)

Now, I know that some of you found all of this kinda convoluted and weird and maybe even offputting.  “I don’t get all these in-jokes,” you said.  “What, is Bérubé assuming we’ve read every single last one of his comment threads for the past three months?”

To you I say this:  you know, in-jokes get lonely too.  I thought it was really nice of Oaktown Girl and Associates to convene this forum so that a massive bunch of in-jokes in the progressive blogosphere could get together and have a year-end reunion.  “The in-jokes they’re using to run this show trial could power the entire town of Elko, Nevada,” Clarke wrote.  “It’s just wasteful.” Wasteful to whom, might I ask?  Those in-jokes were just floating around unharnessed until this week.  And Elko didn’t mind the rolling blackouts, anyway.  We told ‘em it was all Enron’s doing.

And was it all too convoluted? Compared to what? Goodness gracious, people, two years ago a mysterious blogger known only as Tristero mock-accused me of inventing a batshit insane essay by David Gelernter and creating a parody of the Weekly Standard website, and in response, I mock-confessed to the forgery, and the whole exchange was festooned with Borges and Nabokov allusions and hyperlinks that went nowhere and lots of sly Pynchonian puns.  Now, that was convoluted.  This here Show Trial and Cage Match was sincerity itself by comparison.

But what you didn’t know is that, quite apart from the end-of-semester crush, I’ve been in no shape to blog this week.  Every keystroke is an agony.  OK, not an agony, exactly, but a bit of a pain.

Here’s why.  Last Saturday morning, I showed up to my regularly scheduled Nittany Hockey League game.  I was tired and distracted and not at all in the mood for hockey.  Worst of all, I hadn’t worked out all week—and thanks to my insane schedule since mid-October, I’m barely in any kind of game shape anyway.  How distracted was I?  I forgot to pack nice thick skate sox in my bag, and therefore had to play in my thin black dress sox, and I didn’t notice that the attachment doodads on my garter belt had disappeared, rendering the garter belt next to useless.  “Just let me get through this one,” I thought, “and get back to paper-gradin’ and overdue-essay writin’.”

So you can guess what happened next, right?  Ten minutes into the game, I came deep down the left wing alone, cut hard toward the middle, and, just as I was crossing the goalmouth, shot five-hole to give us a 2-1 lead.  One shift later I flipped in a rebound to make the score 3-2.  A few minutes after that I came down the right side this time, and, instead of repeating the move from goal number one, cut across the goalmouth, waited for the goalie to commit, and then tucked a little backhand in the far side from a sharp angle.

“Yikes,” Janet said when I told her this tale later that day.  “That goalie must’ve hated your guts.”

Well, yes, he did.  He began slashing me in the crease and uttering imprecations of all kinds, and though I probably shouldn’t admit this, those imprecations really hurt.  Anyway, with the score now 5-4 I came in alone on a breakaway, having stripped their defenseman of the puck at the point, and because I’d already used Move One and Move Two on goals one and three, simply shot high glove side over his left arm for goal four.  And what do you think this goalie did?  Fully extending his right leg (for those of you keeping score at home, that would be the limb furthest from the shot, a limb whose extension was not at all necessary to stop the puck), he neatly sent me flying through the air to the left side of the net and into the boards.

The right-shoulder crash into the boards didn’t do any damage, but let me tell you, that ice is hard and unforgiving.  I got up unable to extend my left shoulder, with which I’d hit the ice when I was all done with flying through the air.

Just for good measure, though, I put yet another rebound off the far post and in with five minutes left to make the score 7-5.  We added another late goal as well.  Heh heh heh.

I haven’t had a five-goal game in three years—since a wild 6-6 tie on December 13, 2003.  And it was only my third since moving to Pennsylvania.  But just as I injured my hip in a game in October in such a way as to make it very difficult to get in and out of cars, I injured my shoulder in such a way as to make it very difficult to close car doors from the driver’s seat—or raise my arm above my head, or put on a jacket, or blog.  All this week, I’ve been typing hurt, people.  So I owe an extra special thanks to Oaktown Girl and Associates for stepping up in my time of need.

Besides, people have been complaining for months that my blog is graphics-poor.  “What I like about your blog,” said one reader, “is the endless columns of scrolling text, followed by more endless columns of scrolling text.” So my thanks to peter ramus and Bill Benzon and company for fixing that!

And last but not least, thanks to everyone who’s voted for me in the Educatic Blog race.  Today’s the last day for voting, so please stop by and help PZ and the Giant Squid defeat the Bad Half-Naked Astronomers from Planet Xycron, too!  Right now that wonderfully diverting race is 7418-7382 in favor of the shirtless ones, and the drama is only gonna get better as the day wears on.

Posted by Michael on 12/15 at 08:57 AM
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