Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Sweet Smell Of Hiatus

Finally dragged my carcass back from a visit to a charming, centrally-located liberal arts college in the Northeastern bit of the country. The people were very nice, the job seems reasonable, but I'm sort of hoping they don't offer it to me. I really don't want to go through the soul-searching that would be necessary before I could turn down the job, and yet I'm pretty sure I'd end up doing just that. You see, those of you unversed in the ways of liberal arts colleges may surmise that the phrase "centrally located" means "middle of nowhere". The rest of you will be certain of it.

Now, this raises some problems. My current lifestyle suits me quite well: stumble downstairs for coffee, stumble across the street for a bagel, fill the remainder of the day with other miscellaneous stumbling, in due course stumble to the bar, then stumble (or roll) back across the street to my apartment. Now, how on earth would this work if any of these constituent stumblings took place across a distance of twenty miles or more? I'd have to possess stumbling abilities bordering on the superhuman.

Also, I've never seen so many Mennonites in my life. I have other thoughts on the Mennonite question, but they will have to wait for another post. Which, to judge by my average rate of output, you can expect in six months or so.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Problems I Didn't Encounter Working At Taco Bell

Infrequent updates here, as another week slides into a bubbly vat of margarita mix. To resort to William Burroughs' favorite onomatopoeia, schlup!

I have a job interview tomorrow. The job is a number of thousands of miles away, and the interview will be conducted over the phone. Alas, I have no recollection of applying for a job at this institution, and have absolutely no clue how to pronounce its name. So, my plan is to call them from someone else's cellphone, wait for someone to answer and say it correctly, then hang up. If I use a cellphone with a different area code, they'll never suspect a thing.

Strategies like this one didn't keep me out of the really good schools, exactly, but they probably doomed me to failure once I was there.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Superschnitzel, With Superkraut

My general rule of thumb is that nothing pertaining to the National Lampoon - this decade, at least - is funny. Imagine my surprise, then, to see this. And then to learn that it seems to just be a reproduction of, which is absolutely spellbinding. This one is particularly poignant.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

But Who's Going To Bring The Tonic Water?

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman probably won't get in too much trouble for this because, well, it's Vegas. But there is a smattering of outrage nevertheless:
That's a wrong message to send to kids that if you were on a deserted island [sic], 'I'm going to bring a bottle of gin.' That's something that you can't say to a child because now if they...
...find themselves stranded on a desert island, their escape strategy will be incredibly unconstructive? No, wait:
...look up to the Mayor or have aspirations to be a mayor, or whatever the case may be, they'll remember the Mayor wanted to have a drink.
And a valuable lesson it is, too: the mighty and the frail, the tradesman and the politican, no matter your role in this quotidian world, you trudge through it with no solace in sight beyond your next stiff drink. Particularly, one would think, if your job involves talking to fourth-graders on a regular basis.

For my part, I am grading papers and fretting. And if I could bring one item along with me on this quest, it would be a bottle of gin. In fact, I have brought one item along with me, and it is a bottle of gin. What are the odds?

Friday, March 04, 2005

The Rest Of Us Will Probably Be Wasted

Publishing research papers, especially in the social sciences, can get to be a bit on the tedious side. There's a natural incentive to try to make an otherwise dry and inaccessible topic seems modish and hip by giving the paper a ridiculous title, or by stressing a tenuous application it may have to something that everyone's actually heard of. Moreover, journalists are understandably drawn to stories pointing up the ludicrousness of academia. Put these two factors together, and the I-Can't-Believe-They-Got-Paid-To-Research-That story is born, and then blown out of proportion.

That said, come on, seriously, for Christ's sake.

A Frolic Of His Own

Eskimo quite properly rates pointless crushes as quantitively superior to actual love, by the convincing score of seven to four. I think she's onto something.

The sun is shining, rapacious flesh-eating hordes of undergraduates merrily charge to and fro outside yonder basement casement, and every single song that comes shuffling up on iTunes features an insouciant horn section. This is becoming a liability. I need to find a way to induce dyspepsia, fast. Tindersticks should do the trick; they have the least insouciant horn arrangements on the planet.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Always The First To Steve

Vague correctly identifies me as an acolyte of cartoon cats. To reiterate - and why I feel defensive about this, I do not know - there are worse cartoon role models. Without the salutary influence of Ray Smuckles on my life, I'm left with Steve.

(To be fair, redemption of sorts was at hand for Steve, here.)

"Too Much Of The Mummy Returns"

Of course the Oscars are meaningless; as the gimlet-eyed fame professionals at Fametracker remind us on an annual basis, they are constructed on the lascivious whims of five identical clones of Karl Malden. I just wish they'd give one to Martin Scorcese one of these years, because the fact that Clint Eastwood, Kevin Costner, and Mel Gibson have been so honoured is... well, the conclusion to that sentence is unacceptably hackneyed, but the beginning bears repeating now that Eastwood has been elevated even above the field of Costner and Gibson as an elite director of our times.

Certainly, Scorcese's films are becoming less and less interesting as he devolves into explicit Oscar-baiting, and this is a real shame. I am convinced that there exists, somewhere, a passable cut of Gangs of New York, one that is approximately an hour shorter and from which Cameron Diaz's character has been wholly excised. And more Daniel Day-Lewis. Can't have too much Daniel Day-Lewis. In fact, just extend the scene with him tapping his eyeball with a knife so that it lasts for five minutes. Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap! As for The Aviator, really, blah. I say this as the only person in the world convinced that Bringing Out The Dead counts as A-grade Scorcesiana, mind you.