Friday, June 28, 2013

Is Your Life in Need of More Pretentiousness?

Is it still Manga if it shows fantastical boobs in big settings?

Jabba Look-Alike Classmate

He never came to class with Salacious Crumb on his shoulder; that part was an artistic embellishment.

Professor Quotations

"Dead horses have a way of coming back to life if you don't keep beating them." - Lawrence H. White

"In popular discourse, there's no difference between an admirer of Ayn Rand and a heroin dealer." - David M. Levy

"Cowen's Law says there's something wrong with everything. Not with everything in life. If you have a kitten I'm not saying there's something wrong with your kitten." - Tyler Cowen

Misselthwaite Manor's Gardens in Violation of California Law

"It is always having your own way that has made you so queer," Mary went on, thinking aloud.

Colin turned his head, frowning.

"Am I queer?" he demanded.

"Yes," answered Mary, "very. But you needn't be cross," she added impartially, "because so am I queer--and so is Ben Weatherstaff. But I am not as queer as I was before I began to like people and before I found the garden."

"I don't want to be queer," said Colin. "I am not going to be," and he frowned again with determination.

He was a very proud boy. He lay thinking for a while and then Mary saw his beautiful smile begin and gradually change his whole face.

"I shall stop being queer," he said, "if I go every day to the garden. There is Magic in there--good Magic, you know, Mary. I am sure there is."

"So am I," said Mary.

Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden, p. 294

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Gulag Archipelago, Vols. I & II: Quotations

"Every man always has handy a dozen glib reasons why he is right not to sacrifice himself." p. 17

"Pride grows in the human heart like lard on a pig." p. 163

"But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being." p. 168

"Yes, a human being hesitates and bobs back and forth between good and evil all his life. He slips, falls back, clambers up, repents, things begin to darken again. But just so long as the threshold of evildoing is not crossed, the possibility of returning remains, and he himself is still within reach of our hope. But when, through the density of evil actions, the result either of their own extreme degree or of the absoluteness of his power, he suddenly crossed that threshold, he has left humanity behind, and without, perhaps, the possibility of return." p. 175

"Even the most broad-minded of us can embrace only that part of the truth into which our own snout has blundered." p. 242

"But his unimpaired consciousness of the correctness of his path in life lent him extraordinary strength." p. 268

"But I had begun to sense a truth inside myself: if in order to live it is necessary not to live, then what's it all for?" p. 280

"Is it not true that professional politicians are boils on the neck of society that prevent it from turning its head and moving its arms?" p. 391

"Those who have condemned many others to be shot often wilt at the prospect of their own death. The two kinds of toughness are not connected." p. 410

"Own nothing! Possess nothing! Buddha and Christ taught us this, and the Stoics and the Cynics. Greedy though we are, why can't we seem to grasp that simple teaching? Can't we understand that with property we destroy our soul?" p. 516

"And crumb by crumb you are already beginning to lose your immortal soul, still supposing that the main enemies and the main issues lie somewhere ahead and that you must save yourself for them." p. 529

"Foolish relatives! They dash about in freedom, borrow money (because they never have that kind of money at home), and send you foodstuffs and things--the widow's last mite, but also a poisoned gift, because it transforms you from a free though hungry person into one who is anxious and cowardly, and it deprives you of that newly dawning enlightenment, that toughening resolve, which are all you need for your descent into the abyss. Oh, wise Gospel saying about the camel and the eye of the needle! These material things will keep you from entering the heavenly kingdom of the liberated spirit." p. 546

Submissiveness to fate, the total abdication of your own will in the shaping of your life, the recognition that it was impossible to guess the best and the worst ahead of time but that it was easy to take a step you would reproach yourself for--all this freed the prisoner from any bondage, made him calmer, and even enobled him." p. 560

"If you live in a graveyard, you can't weep for everyone." p. 584

"When our life crackles and sparks like a torch, we curse the necessity of spending eight hours uselessly in sleep. When we have been deprived of everything, when we have been deprived of hope, then bless you, fourteen hours of sleep!" p. 601

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Not a Future Egyptologist

Jerome Jerome the Metronome is freaked out by mummies lately. He takes books about mummies out of his room and places them in my room every night at bedtime. I return them to the shelf the next day. Come evening, he undertakes a hunt to eradicate them again.

Tonight I tried to get him to think of funny things about mummies (not quite like The Simpsons clip regarding Soccer Mummy, which indeed is hilarious, but isn't quite age-appropriate). I told him, "Imagine a little kid Pharaoh is saying, 'I want my mummy,' and his servants don't know if they should bring him his mom or one of his mummies."

Jerome said, "I'll imagine a little kid Pharaoh is saying 'I want my mummy' on the golf course and Phil Mickelson hits him in the face with one of his sticks." And then he laughed uncontrollably.

If that's what it takes so I don't have a bunch of mummy books in my room at night anymore, fine. Those books give me the creeps.

Another Movie That Went on Too Long

We watched "Nick and Nora's Infinite Et Cetera" tonight. When Nick leaves the one girl dancing by the river and goes to find Nora at a restaurant, that's the end of your movie right there.

Instead.

Instead they do a bunch of pointless talking, Nora tries to impress Nick with who her father is (even though she hates when people only see her as her father's daughter), and then they leave an audio recording of her first orgasm at her father's place of business for him to find when he comes in to work on Monday.

Oh, and when Reed Fish is holding onto Nora's wrist she's all, "I guess I have to do what the boy tells me to do," which is completely unlike her independent character in the entire rest of the movie. And talk about "gay best friend" inflation: movies used to have ONE, not THREE.

A sometimes-funny, sometimes-cute movie that was 20 minutes too long. And if the typical Michael Cera character is the new norm for men, we're closer to societal collapse than I thought. Hipster is the new Incroyable.

Friday, June 21, 2013

I'm Not So Dumb That I Don't See Reality

The whole "we didn't hire you for your own good" thing is an obvious lie. It's supposed to make me look on the bright side of things. The unspoken truth is that I wasn't hired because I'm not desirable to them.

I just wanted to clear it up so no one thought it was awkward that I really thought they thought they were doing me a favor. I know they don't really think that.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ladies Be All Hot for Tycoons

I have a list of books I'd like to read some day, and I'm trying to add them to my GoodReads "to-read" shelf. In searching for The Tycoons by Charles R. Morris, the following books came up as more-likely matches.

  • The Tycoon's Pregnant Mistress, by Maya Banks
  • The Billionaire's Pregnant Mistress, by Lucy Monroe
  • The Tycoon's Secret Affair, by Maya Banks
  • The Greek Tycoon's Convenient Mistress, by Lynne Graham
  • The Patrakos Bride, by Lynne Graham
  • The Tycoon's Rebel Bride, by Maya Banks
  • The Greek's Christmas Baby, by Lucy Monroe
  • The Cozakis Bride, by Lynne Graham
  • The Greek Tycoon's Ultimatum, by Lucy Monroe
  • The Last Tycoons, by William D. Cohan (the first non-romance book on the list)
  • The Greek's Innocent Virgin, by Lucy Monroe

What's the deal with the "pregnant mistress" ones? Does anyone really fantasize about being in that situation? I guess being up the spout by a billionaire could be a pretty sweet gig, but not if the term "mistress" applies to you. This means he's already married to someone else, so you're going to end up like Ethel on Season 2 of Downton Abbey, carting around some impossibly-fat toddler trying to arrange confrontations between him and his paternal grandparents. That doesn't really sound like escapist fantasy to me. That's more like Fight Club with babies (which, incidentally, is an AWESOME idea for a novel).

Making My Blog As Crappy As My Filing Cabinet

I want to clear out my filing cabinet, so I'm going to move over some interesting quotes I've got jotted down on scraps of paper. Because everybody wants to read that crap, right?

"Speak the truth, but leave immediately after." - Slovenian Proverb

"There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency." - John Maynard Keynes

"Sometimes I wonder about the Creator of the Universe." - Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions, p. 160

"There is no way a beautiful woman can live up to what she looks like for any appreciable length of time." - Kurt Vonnegut, Timequake, p. 22

"Men are jerks. Women are psychotic." - ibid.

"I couldn't help wondering if that was what God put me on Earth for--to find out how much a man could take without breaking." - Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions, p. 166

"Government, unlike private enterprise, is not in the business of seeking profits or trying to avoid losses. Far from eager to court the consumer, government officials invariably regard consumers as an annoying intrusion and as 'wasteful' users of 'their' (government's) scare resources. Governments are invariably at war with their consumers." - Murray N. Rothbard

"Joblessness is no longer just for philosophy majors; useful people are starting to feel the pinch." - Kent Brockman, Channel 6 News (The Simpsons 1F08)

"Clinton's an unusually good liar. Unusually good. Do you realize that?" - Sen. Bob Kerry (D-NE)

"[For] 32 years of my life,...every dollar I made was lost before I made it. It is a great burden, figuratively speaking, to have a dead horse, and to have to carry the horse for 32 years before you can put it under the ground." - Heber J. Grant

"Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry." - William B. Yeats

"I am getting so damned tired, Mr. President, of this everlasting yielding to popular outcry against wealth that unless we put a check on it somewhere there is no telling where it will lead." - Rep. Joe Cannon, Speaker of the House, to Pres. William H. Taft, as quoted in Paolo E. Coletta's The Presidency of William Howard Taft, p. 125

Why Do Long Ear Lobes Signify Wisdom, Anyway?

A RANDOM STRANGER: We're poor and we're going to be poor forever. The Buddha says all the pain in our lives comes from fighting against that, and the sooner we make our peace with it, the sooner we'll be happy.

MY WIFE: Why are you quoting Buddha all of a sudden?

ARS: He was a smart guy. He knew what he was talking about. Presupposing that God will never help poor people be not poor, which was not that heroic of an assumption in his day, or in ours, he makes a lot of sense. We will be poor forever.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ringing Endorsement

I finally decided to look through last semester's student evaluations, and here's what I found.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Higher Education of Women

I've written before about how college is a taco party (but I'm not sure how to find it and link to it when I'm blogging on my phone). My latest example is an Earth Week ad at my school.

Four women are sitting around, discussing how to gin up support for Earth Week. They decide to get the mascot involved. With the mascot, they recruit two more women, then two more.

In the final scene, the whole lot files quickly past the camera with others in tow. It is possible that some of the new followers are male, but I can't tell.

Aside from sex, the actresses are a model of inclusion. Skinny ones and heavy ones, black ones and white ones and Hispanic ones, ugly ones and uglier ones. I think one of the actresses with a speaking part has a speech impediment. But no one thought that maybe a dude would be in order.

Unless they're counting the mascot, which is a male character (but possibly played by a woman).

Higher education has become a luxury good that parents provide to their daughters. Victor Davis Hanson writes in "Mexifornia" about immigrant girls becoming bilingual sooner because they go to school while their counterparts go to work. This is what's happening to America as a whole.

"I Wish You'd Stop Being So Good to Me, Cap'n"

So because of their failure to communicate internally, I got rejected by a job on Saturday and again today. In today's rejection, they mentioned that because they weren't hiring me, I'd be free to finish my degree, which is what my family needs.

Funny, I thought what my family needs is food. Which is easier to come by with a job.

I hope they're not expecting a thank-you card.

Giant Disappointment

That's what she said.

I didn't blog for a while because we were waiting to hear about an opportunity. Now we've heard: I've been rejected.

I'm so angry and frustrated. And I don't want to talk about it. So we'll see if I have anything to blog about for a bit now.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Gabbo Saves

I don't even remember how I ended up on Wikipedia's page for ventriloquism, but I do remember my disbelief when I read, "Originally, ventriloquism was a religious practice." What? How did these old-timey acolytes not look at them and think, "I can see his lips moving"? I mean, unless they had SeƱor Wences doing it.

But every other ventriloquist is crap. I have a hard time believing that mumbling your way through words containing the letter B is the path to religious conversion.

As with so many other things that aren't that important, in the Middle Ages they found a way to kill people over ventriloquism. They thought it was a sign of witchcraft. Now we're enlightened enough to know it's nothing more than the sign of a not-so-hot birthday party. All the bounce houses were booked, so Weekend Dad got you a ventriloquist, Billy. Try to live this down at school next week, I dare ya.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

This Is Why We Can't Disclose That We Have Nice Things

A few months ago, Mental Floss magazine had an article about a bristlecone pine tree in California dubbed Methuselah. The article notes that the exact location of the tree is secret, to protect the tree from vandals.

What kind of people would do such a terrible thing? Well, for starters, Forest Service employees.

I don't know how I feel about this. I dislike the idea of the government keeping knowledge from the citizens because they think "you can't handle the truth!" But on the other hand, there are people who try to kill old trees for some reason. Sometimes because the rules of college football require it, but other times just because people are dicks.

It would be nice if a government of the people didn't think itself elitist. And it would be nice if people didn't try to kill trees for the lulz.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

My Faux Concern Helped Keep 20,000 Children Malnourished

When colonists first started arriving in the United States, all of New England was cultivated. Then Americans learned something: New England sucks (for farming, at least). The farmers moved west, and much of New England reverted to forest land. This is why you find farmyard stone walls in the middle of Vermont forests.

What if Europeans had told the Americans, "You can't just plow up all that grassland; that's an entire ecosystem you're planning to destroy!"? Americans would have been forced to keep farming the poor New England soil, getting less output from their labor, meaning they would be poorer than they otherwise would have been.

African farmers try to coax crops out of the Sahel while some of the richest soil on Earth sits under the Congo rain forest. Why does all the blame for African poverty get laid at the feet of Western governments and businesses, and none of it ends up attached to Western conservationists? We have this notion of Africa as a place "where nothing ever grows," but to the extent that is true it's true because the Africans face Western disapproval if they use their most-productive soil for crop production.

Monday, June 03, 2013

The Parable of the Video Game

Saturday night our family played some video games together for a little bit. Then on Sunday I had to listen to people in Gospel Doctrine talk about how Christ's atonement gets you past your sins.

It doesn't get you past your sins. It is like a video game where the character falls off a cliff. He comes back, right on the original side of the cliff. Try again. And try as many times as you need. But you don't get your new character on the OTHER side of the jump. You're going to have to make the jump.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Crap Student Update: Middle of the Night Edition

I'm just lying abed, thinking of all the different ways in which I'm a failure (they're myriad), and I realized I should probably update you on this. My student who missed the final and then failed the replacement and then complained when I generously gave him a passing grade has been to see the supervisor of the lecturing graduate students and plans to file a grade appeal. Because this is all somehow my fault.