Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Heaving A Sigh, Looking Around For Leaders Of Plucky Resistance Factions

It took a little while, but I've reached that happy situation of waking up and being uncertain as to which city I'm in. According to the skyline, this is Washington (DC) although I can't discount the possibility that I've just been transported into a grim post-apocalyptic future again.

I'm wrapped in a blanket and stealing slices of American cheese from the Canard's fridge. I was going to write a list of seven things I habitually say, but to do so without having been "tagged" would, upon sober reflection, be unutterably pitiful. I am about to return to my home country for the first time in going on two years, and for some reason this is making me uneasy.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Airline Blanket, Saturated With Tears

I haven't just been weeping into a blanket over the loss of Lou Rawls. I've been travelling and things. Currently with the Flogs, where - in a stunning turn of events - we have been drinking various things.

Meanwhile, I feel for United Airlines, who are still going through the motions of running an airline, despite having been in Chapter 11 for years now. Something is clearly getting them down, and I'm going to charitably assume that this is it. Soon, we'll see slogans like
A certain lack of focus would be excusable, is all I'm saying. My own excuses are similar.

UPDATE: Hmmm. Maybe not.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

You've Made Me So Very Happy

I completely missed this, and now I'm sad: the great Lou Rawls died last Friday.
If I had a song, and I needed someone to sing that song, I'd take it to Lou Rawls.
That's a bastardization of a quote for which I can't remember the proper attribution - I read it in some liner notes a decade or so ago - but the sentiment was always a good one.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Other Things To Do With The Corn Cob From Sanctuary

Following up the post below, this.

I note it because it includes the phrase "So if you're a Faulkner fan, kiss a frog today," because it describes ol' Rummy McTypewriter as "the worst postal worker in the pre-David Berkowitz era," and because I'm trying to provoke an irate response from Vague.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Grad Student Flop Sweat

I've been on the job market for a little more than a year now, and I'm afraid the results have not been uniformly positive. I am still assiduously mailing off materials, references, etc to dozens of more or less obscure colleges around the world, together with febrile predictions of how awesome my research is going to turn out to be and statements of my teaching philosophy expressly designed to obscure the fact that this philosophy amounts to: Stand at front of room with piece of chalk, explain things, occasionally stroke chin in learned manner. The piece of chalk is my nod towards "using technology in the classroom", something that is apparently in vogue despite the fact that our existing pedagogical difficulties had precisely fuck all to do with our not having sufficiently cool gadgets. Now we learn... with robots!

That last bit is an example of the kind of thing it would not be good to say in an interview, by the way.

However, reading this makes me count my blessings. My current state of solvency, non-unemployment, and blissful exile from the lecture theatre is basically due to a kindly soul offering me a mulligan on last year's job cycle, rather than my having "applied" for a "job" which has "duties" beyond my own amusement. I think part of the reason that there is money floating around in the world to be given to people like me is that the New York Times can't write snarky articles about what we do.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Robots Are People Too

One of the minor subplots in the bomb-lobbing campaign between blogs of the left and of the right concerns comment sections - specifically, which side most welcomes discourse and community via a robust exchange of Haloscan abuse. Many hurtful things have been said about what a site's comment policy - and the standard of the commenters they attract - implies about the character of the site's proprietors. In a spirit of neutrality, then, I'd like to take a moment to congratulate the fine people who, despite the high levels of traffic their blogs attract, nevertheless go out of their way to engage with all of their commenters, not just those who reflexively spout their side's designated talking points. People like this guy.

Of course, no good deed goes unpunished in this world, and there's always some sneering amateur around to nitpick the details:
Neil, you appear to have started a conversation with a comment spam robot.
(Hat tip: Tim Blair.)

Hot Fun (In The Summertime)

The fourth (and by far the most awesome) subheader from yesterday's Telegraph front page:
Although it sounded fascinating, I was unable to read the story in question, as the paper then burst into flames.

Monday, January 02, 2006

I Was Reduced To Consuming My Eyes

I would like to apologize to anyone in a cool climate who has received a phone call from me within the last twenty-four hours complaining about the weather. It is an unseemly thing to complain about.

But yesterday was something else, though: the hottest New Year's hangover on record. A hundred and eleven degrees is about enough to lightly poach my eyeballs in their sockets. The gutters were running with boozy sweat all day. I made it out of the apartment precisely once, on a desperate mission for groceries, and was sufficiently addled by the heat that all I could manage to buy was three kinds of fruit juice.

I blame NASCAR.