February 2008 Archives

to all former, current, and future students

I may not be the best teacher at USF, but I most certainly am the one to have the most students appear on the front page of Tampa's daily tabloid TBT*. So I advise the addressed to avoid doing things in the future that land you on the front page of tabloids.

Your last-minute Academy Award predictions

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Best actor: Day-Lewis in the best screaming-about-a-missing-son scene since Mel Gibson demanded, GIMME BACK MY SON! My pick: Johnny Depp.

Best supporting actor: Javier Bardem for just being... creepy. My pick: Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Best actress: Cate Blanchett. My pick: YOU KNOW IT'S ELLEN PAGE, SUCKAS

Best supporting actress: Tilda Swinton. My pick: Amy Ryan.

Cinematography: No Country For Old Men. My pick: ditto. Deakins manages to avoid splitting the vote and gets recognition as the greatest living camera's eye.

Director: Joel & Ethan Coen. This is the year they get their mainstream seal of approval. Let's hope they forget about it quickly. And yeah, they're my pick.

Documentary: Sicko. I didn't see the other four. But can't you wait to see what Moore has to say about Castro's retirement? Oh, man, I'm tense in the pants.

Editing: Bourne Ultimateum. They love Christopher Rouse, and he deserves it.

Music: Worst lineup here in decades. I don't care which song from "Enchanted" wins.

Best Picture: No Country For Old Men. I told you, they're going to lavish upon the Coens. My Pick: Juno.

Sound editing: Bourne. My pick: Ratatouille, and if you've seen it, watching and listening to what happens in the kitchen, you'll know.

Sound mixing: 3:10 to Yuma. Also my pick.

Visual effects: Transformers. My pick: I guess? That movie sucked though.

Adapted screenplay: No Country For Old Men. My pick: There Will Be Blood (what? Going against the Coens? Yes. Why? The Coens had an easy path laid for them by Cormac McCarthy, that's why. PTA adapted his from a book that was like 100 years old.)

Original screenplay: Juno. My pick: Duh. I can't wait to see what Diablo Cody has to say, and how many seconds of delay she'll need to avoid breaking any FCC regulations.

7:59, and I'm not editing a thing. Check your RSS feed if you don't believe me. Enjoy the show, kiddos.

sad, but not senseless

It's strange how I've never been to DeKalb, but NIU's presence as a MAC school and active forensics community member makes Thursday's shooting particularly meaningful. If it had been at, say, Eastern or Western Illinois, I'd be less affected. (If it had been at SIU, perhaps moreso, given the number of friends I have there.)

Yet unlike the Virginia Tech shooting, this one, to me, seems less "senseless," insofar as responding to "how will we ever know what leads a person to do this" goes. Yes, it appears he planned it far ahead of time. That doesn't compute. He shot up a geology class -- despite his having been a sociology major. That doesn't make much sense either.

He was a smart kid, a grad student, and a mental illness sufferer. And he cracked.

That part, at least to me, makes sense. And privately, I've found I'm not the only one who, upon hearing the shooter was a grad student, gained a bit of understanding about what might have happened.

Obviously neither I nor any of my colleagues will ever commit something like this terrible incident, I'm simply trying to say that the experience can be very overwhelming, and for someone suffering from mental health issues, it can be overwhelming to the point of madness. I'm fortunate to have nearly unlimited mental health resources, but few Americans are afforded this.

I have this to say about health care, and psychiatry. First, while universal health care will almost assuredly improve our nation's productivity, given the millions of workers who currently do not engage in preventative care/checkups, it will (more importantly in my opinion) open the door for those who feel trapped by the chains of mental illness -- with locks held in place by poverty or the high price of mental health care -- to seek help.

Secondly, it provides me even more reason to pay attention to the ongoing efforts of "Anonymous" and their attempts to bring public attention to the Church of Scientology. I have no opinion on the cosmology, metaphysics, or belief system of Scientology. Yet when I watch Scientology leader David Miscavige speak of "destroying" psychiatry, with the same use of language and imagery our President uses to describe terrorism, I cannot help but immediately be turned against the organization.

It's now understood the NIU killer had been brought to this point by turning away from his medication. If Scientology had its way, we all would.

i love America, but...

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Nothing has demolished my faith in this nation and its government more than watching this jibberish in Washington today. Our elected officials -- the ones who write and pass the laws under which we live -- are quite possibly the stupidest and most pandering individuals I have ever had the disgusting experience of listening to. The lower third on MSNBC says "Congress grills Roger Clemens" but I think they accidentally typed "grills" instead of "fellates." If you're going to waste my money investigating this nonsense, then ask real questions, and follow up on them when you get unsatisfactory answers. I have never in my life seen such a parade of idiocy and ridiculousness as this circus that is unfolding on my television screen right now.

I anxiously await a day when our citizens are educated to the point that they elect intelligent, capable legislators instead of the goons and clowns that I see in this hearing chamber.

okay seriously this is absolutely ridiculous

Scientology has responded to Anonymous regarding their planned protests worldwide on Sunday, February 10.

The entire thing is ridiculous and clearly the result of the kind of mind necessary to believe the universe is 75 trillion years old, but here's the best part:

"Anonymous" has publicly proclaimed its guiding materials to be the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf.

*head asplode*

You'd think Scientology could hire a PR agent who knows anything about anything. It's pretty much an impossible feat to both be guided by Marx and Hitler. The philosophies are exact opposites! It's like saying "We believe in running an uptempo game, just like the Princeton offense." Or like saying "I'm a strong supporter of Alan Keyes and Dennis Kucinich."

Ridiculous.

uh, about last night

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That was a rant prompted by the projection Clinton was leading by 100 delegates.

I woke up today to find that... that does not appear to be the case.

BTW, that thing self-updates, is interactive, and is sure to make me look ridiculous as the primary season continues!

thanks for nothing, jerks

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Thanks to all of you who voted for Clinton. You've ensured four more years of Republican rule.

Seriously, I want to hear from one of you. Anybody. I want to know why you voted for Clinton. Why you believe she can transcend the vast nation of Americans who hate her guts and will never vote for her. Yes, her reputation is undeserved. But she doesn't possess the power or inspiration to overcome that.

Enjoy four more years of military-industrial complex. Four more years of restricted civil rights. Four more years of massive debt, four more years of right-wing judges, four more years of Halliburton and Blackwater and dead American boys and girls.

Defend yourself, Clinton fans. Tell me your delusion about how she suddenly becomes a superstar public speaker, who brings people to tears with her passion and hope to bring America together.

Obama speaks of not a blue state or red state but a United States of America.

Hillary is a human wedge.

Thanks a bunch, kiddos. (The demographic data shows Hillary was put over the top by women and Latinos, very few of whom voted for Obama. Since this blog is read by roughly 98% white dudes, this rant may be falling on deaf ears.)

Oh, and all those conservatives, throwing up in their mouths at the idea that "liberal" John McCain is their candidate? They'll be climbing over themselves for a third opportunity to vote in the box opposite from the one marked "Clinton."

Seriously, are you just idiots? Do you not possess the capability of rational thought?

today is a super day for something else, you know

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I grew up in a small town. I moved here from a slightly larger town, one with chain supermarkets and an actual mall. Despite this, I still did my grocery shopping at a locally-owned market, the kind where high school kids helped carry out your bags, there was a single butcher on duty, and your spaghetti sauce options numbered about 12, instead of the 48 you see in a Publix or Giant Eagle or Kroger's or (insert regional supermarket chain here).

I loved my market, but the thing I loved most about it was Fat Tuesday. Why?

Wikipedia: Paczki

Pączki are traditional Polish doughnuts. Pączki is the plural form of the word pączek in Polish, but many English speakers use paczki as singular and paczkis as plural.

A pączek is a deep-fried piece of dough shaped into a flattened sphere and filled with plums or other sweet filling. A traditional filling is marmalade made from fried rose buds. Fresh paczki are usually covered with powdered sugar, icing or bits of fried orange zest. Pączki have been known in Poland at least since the Middle Ages. Jędrzej Kitowicz has described that during the reign of the August III under influence of French cooks who came to Poland at that time, pączki dough baked in Poland has been improved, so that pączki became lighter, spongier, and more resilient.

If you're not Polish, and didn't grow up in the Midwest or another Polish enclave, then you've probably never tasted the sheer goodness that is paczki (POONCH-key!). Seriously, it's the most amazingly succulent item a human being can place into her mouth. Like most Fat Tuesday traditions (though it's actually a Shrove Thursday tradition somewhat corrupted in America) it celebrates the fasting of Lent by using up all the sugar, lard, and butter in the house. Inject some jelly doughnut filling (plums are traditional, but my market only made a few boxes of that variety; my favorite was raspberry) and you have a giant, 1000+ calorie meal that puts anything Krispy to shame.

LOOK AT THAT GOODNESS!!!

Anyway, they come five to a box, and you're strongly advised not to eat any more than two in a single day, though I know some hardcore guys from Chicago who can put down a whole box in one sitting. I'm hoping paczki make their way to the professional eating circuit soon, because it would immediately end the careers of the Joey Chestnuts and Eater X-es of the world.

There's only one place I know of in the area that has them, and it's down in St. Petersburg. I have far too much to attend to today to get down there, but if you read this, and live in St. Pete, head by Ruta Polish Bakery on Central Ave. They might not have any for sale -- it's one of those "put your orders in six months in advance" products -- but if they do, you will thank me later. Your scale or diet or significant other will not. But you, my friend, oh my goodness. You will.

Oh, and there's something political going on today.

the awesomest thing ever

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What the hell? This speech isn't even a week old yet, and dozens of actors/musicians/directors have somehow... well, if you haven't seen it yet, WATCH. NOW. Obama's speech turned into musical poetry, hip-hop but not, I have no words, I have no reaction, because what I feel goes far beyond the English language.

Fun game for white people! Try and name all the celebrities who appear in the video. If you don't get Kareem, you fail. If you don't get Scarlett Johansson, you fail. If you don't get Herbie Hancock, that just means you're white. Proceed to your nearest Wikipedia and research thusly.

As for me, I'll be the one in the corner, wiping away tears, rubbing down the goosebumps, and hoping Tuesday brings meaning to all that is meaningful.

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    This page is an archive of entries from February 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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