Friday, November 30, 2007
(9:21 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Friday Afternoon Confessional: SlothI confess that I have been lazy for several days, in the aftermath of AAR, going home for Thanksgiving, and then getting a cold. I confess that I encouraged laziness in others when I convinced the members of my French Feminism seminar to go to the pub halfway through the class.
I confess that next semester will be the first time since kindergarten that I will not be taking a course for credit. I confess that I'm thinking of auditing something, perhaps Marion's class, as a way of easing me into the non-coursework lifestyle.
I confess that I need to figure out some way to get more money.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
(3:40 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Transgressing the BoundariesI just saw a flyer for a postdoc involving, among other things, "intersectionality studies."
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
(1:45 PM) | Brad:
Writing a Novel in Four WeeksThis month, as you may know, is National Novel Writing Month. Being basically unemployed, and having completed the writing and publishing projects that had consumed my time for months, I figured I'd give it a shot. My first thought was an epic erotic poem. Not enough epic poetry written these days, and certainly not erotic poetry. In fits and starts, grunts and gasps, I made my way through a series of jaw-dropping stanzas. Write-in participants swooned at the ever-expanding girth of my word count. And then, as quickly as it began, I was finished. Done before the story was. One week into November.
The next week I began a new story. This time, I decided to go Gothic. Conjure up a little modern Poe, perhaps. If we cannot satisfy our readers' sexual appetites, we'll make them curl into a ball on their bed, screaming into the pristine-clean sheets, biting their pillow. The result: a simple story of a preacher who loves his only son, but on occasion beats him silly -- claiming later to be possessed. The son loves his father, believes him and decides that accepting his Satanic beating would be the ultimate act of love for his possessed father. I quickly realized , within a week, that this was perhaps a bit maudlin, and certainly didn't have the wheels for 70K words.
The third week I devoted to a a not-so-distant not-quite dystopian future, in which the middle class has not so much revolted as gone insane. Their employers, recognizing the high cost of fuel, and succumbing to governmental pressure to "Go Green," have granted their employees a wish: work from home. The only problem, these same employees, who are no longer able to afford the appearance of luxury promised to them by the late-20th/early-21st century, have become slaves to their suburban homes and the gadgets they've amassed. With no refuge from what they've gathered for themselves, one couple systematically destroys their possessions in increasingly creative ways -- discussing the beauty of burning HDTVs, cooking IPods while they play in their portable Bose players, and disassembling SUVS and using the parts to create a totem commemorating Mammon's death.
But then I decided this week I instead wanted to write something more socially relevant. So, this week I've poured myself into a writing a screenplay about a chef who loves his food creations so much that he cannot bear to have them eaten. So, in a madcap comedy he has to figure out a way to keep his job as a lead chef by serving somebody else's food. Finally, through a series of hilarious events, he decides to try some of his own cooking. He dies from salmonella-poisoning.
(12:00 AM) | Olivia Leigh:
Tuesday Hatred: SUPER HATE EDITION!Oh, internets, I am angry today. OH, HOW I AM ANGRY! Very, very angry. Are you ready? Yes? No? Either way, let's get to the hatred:
- I HATE THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE. Oh, how I hate them, Weblogians! I moved at the beginning on November, and mail has been spotty at best, non-existent at worst. I finally called USPS today, and was told that my address was entered with a different unit number, and consequently, I am not receiving mail correctly. I hate that all of their possible solutions--call the local branch, call my old building, etc.,--yielded absolutely nothing. I hate thinking that someone is sorting through my bank statements and TIAA-CREF forms. I hate thinking that someone cashed the $2500 in checks that were coming to me this month (plus nearly $2000 more, which thankfully was not sent yet). I hate that they said it will take 7-10 days (!!!) for them to resolve the problem. I hate that my building is so inexplicably numbered (units are E, F, G, and R--and no, there is no garden nor a west for that possible E-ast) that I cannot figure out which neighbor is the one that my mail may be going to. I hate that in lieu of my mail, I have gotten mail addressed to a unit M (which does not exist), an R unit on another floor, as well as F at the next building down. I hate that I will have to probably get a post office box due to my postman's apparent inability to read letters. I hate that there are so many expenses every month.
- I hate Comcast. I know I say it a lot, kids, but I despise them with a loathing I normally only reserve for Campari-soaked olives. I hate that my call today involved me waiting on hold for 15 minutes, followed by a 20 minute conversation that left me so confused that I had to say "Okay. I am so confused now. I think I'll just wait for the bill, and try to figure it out on my own." I hate that the representative accepted this, letting me go on my un-merry way 35 minutes later more confused than ever. I hate that he did not try to resolve my problem when I expressed my frustration. I hate that when I was stuck in the hell-hole known as customer service, I was made to resolve all problems and ensure that the customer was thoroughly happy. I hate the new "hip branding" of Comcast. I hate copy like this, which I typed in their new, "hip," Skittlestilian colours:
It's fast. It's easy. With Comcast, it's all about you. (And that's cool with us.) You know what makes us happy? Making you happy.I hate that Comcast has never ONCE made me happy. I hate that my internet at my new apartment is ricockulously slow, and I hate that when I called Comcast, they told me there was nothing they could do about it. I hate that there are apparently "too many people in my building using the internet," so I just have to deal with paying insane prices for shitty service.
- I hate canker sores. I hate when people don't understand the difference between cold sores and canker sores.
- I hate when people say "cent" when they actually mean "cents."
- I hate when people don't put a comma in a compound sentence.
- I hate prissy city dogs that are intensely regimented and scheduled, much like babies.
- I hate manipulative friends.
- I hate girls that talk in baby voices.
- I hate premature cuddling.
- I hate the pressure of Christmas shopping.
- I hate planning birthdays.
- I hate cold weather.
- I hate South Park.
- I hate Tila Tequila (see photo).
- I hate diamonds. I would never agree to marry anyone that proposed with a diamond.
- I hate that the woman at the lingerie store (where they are normally very attentive and watch out for purchase errors) let me purchase a "plus size thong" on accident, despite seeing that all of the other panties were size small and medium.
- I hate how expensive quality lingerie is.
- I hate having to spend money on new clothes because I lost weight.
- And just because I know everyone loves to love the foods I hate, I hate brie.
Monday, November 26, 2007
(12:01 PM) | F. Winston Codpiece III:
Help Yourself!My dearest readers, as you may already know, Mr. Kotsko has called upon me to save The Weblog from self-destruction. Despite my natural hostility toward the demon-spawn of my ongoing mental illness, I was eager to take up the solemn task of blogging once again. Nothing brings me quite as much pleasure as sharing my wit and wisdom with a daily audience of 400 "unique visitors" -- not even the most delicious food, the most exquisite sexual intercourse, or the most satisfying crap. It is my only joy, perhaps even the only time when I most properly exist as a thinking subject, and my life has been the bleakest emptiness in the months since my last post -- an agony that was only compounded by watching my great love, Anne Hathaway, cavorting with the detestable Steve Carrell on the set of the forthcoming film version of Get Smart.
While in the aforementioned pit of despair, I began reading self-help books. I didn't get very far in that vast body of literature -- indeed, I only read a couple chapters of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff: And It's All Small Stuff -- before realizing that the truest self-help is helping oneself to write one's own self-help book for oneself. Not having access to paper and a pen in my current setting, and being limited to only a half hour of Internet access a day, I am unable to write a proper book, but perhaps I can assemble enough pithy tips on this blog to put together a disjointed, repetitious volume that will insult my readers' intelligence upon my release. (My first tip: Do not plead guilty to statutory rape in the hopes that the problem will just "go away.")
Lend a Helping Hand
Do you feel useless? Powerless? Nothing raises my spirits quite like giving charity to those in need. Though many will donate to some kind of institutional charity, I prefer to free-lance it. That way, I can demand a thank you from my beneficiary and demand my donation back if I don't get a sufficiently enthusiastic one -- or, even better, I can lecture them on the irresponsible choices by which they earned their fate. My depression clears up instantly on realizing that I'm superior to a worthless wretch who lives on charity.
So this holiday season, why not consider extending your charity to someone in need?
Sunday, November 25, 2007
(5:35 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
The State of the Blog TodayIn the last year, The Weblog has effectively abandoned all academic content, expelling that part of itself into An und für sich. An und für sich (which, please note, is a foreign title and therefore takes sentence capitalization rather than title capitalization) has hit its stride in the last few months, and I'm quite satisfied with it. The Weblog, however, has yet to establish a new identity of its own -- it is basically "The Weblog without the academic stuff." As a result, the quality level has been in free-fall for quite some time.
The Weblog is in need of a new identity. I assume that the two weekly features are non-negotiable, but we may need to get back to having people other than me do them on a regular basis -- either someone else each week, or else (ideally) a semi-regular person who would do them for a couple months or so and then pass the torch, like Claire did with the Hatred. I am also in negotiations with F. Winston Codpiece III to see if we can get him posting semi-regularly again.
Or I could just give up and shut the thing down.
(3:15 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
SicknessToward the end of my time back in Michigan, I started to get very stuffed up and had difficulty sleeping. I diagnosed it as allergies, because my sister has a pet rabbit that she allows to run loose throughout the house. As so often happens, however, my diagnosis of allergies kept me from properly treating a cold, and much of my weekend has accordingly been taken up with sleeping. It seems that this happens to me at least twice a year -- normally once in the spring, then again in early winter, I catch something that puts me completely out of commission for a couple days.
In this case, it has completely thrown off my plans. I had made up my mind that this weekend I would "catch up" on all the lingering small stuff, in order to clear out unadulterated study time for my deconstruction exam. The biggest "small" task was writing up my notes over Hadewijch, which would bring my interminable directed reading on medieval theology to a close. I did manage to do laundry, take out the trash, go grocery shopping, and write a brief (and satisfyingly negative) book review.
I also was able to sqeeze in several hours of self-pitying IMing with whoever would listen, which mostly meant The Girl. I continue to have a lot of high ambitions for earth-shattering blog posts and for finally editing a paper of mine on Augustine and trying to send it somewhere. The actual result is likely to be a couple hours of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, followed by another nap. All I've got to say is that it had better be an episode with Goren and Eames, not Mr. Big.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
(6:44 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
New LogoEdward Williams has provided me with three of his wife Janet's sketches, to serve as potential candidates for a new logo.
"Home of the Brave"
Leave recommendations in comments.
Friday, November 23, 2007
(12:57 PM) | Brad:
Friday Afternoon ConfessionI confess that I forgot that I'd accepted confession duties today.
I confess that even though there are a fair number of nice-looking movies in the theaters at the moment, I allowed my wife to talk me into seeing The Mist. Not since I saw the Gram Parsons biopic in Glasgow a few years ago have I come across such a shitty film. The only redeeming quality of the movie is the message I got from it: blame the military for every social ill and poor decision ever made.
I confess that I found the AAR more intoxicating than anything else. I confess I spent more hours at the Marriott bar than listening to papers. And, moreover, I confess that at times I was a very dour drunk. I confess that I twice confided to Anthony a desire to cause somebody physical harm. I apologize to Adam for wishing to hurt him for his love of Judith Butler; I do not apologize to the mysterious Nazarene who haunted my table at the RadOrth party. I confess complete frustration at John Milbank's speech at this same party, and specifically my exclamatory "that fuckin' fucker!" as I stormed to the bar for more whisky. (A video of the speech and the official Weblog response can be found here.) I confess an undying love for the bartender at this party, and fully own up to the disgusting desire to nuzzle her breast-implant scar.
I confess that I ate pork for my Thanksgiving meal.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
(9:47 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
AAR/SBL: In BriefOverall, AAR/SBL went well. Anthony and Brad's panel was well-attended, despite being scheduled against a session that included both John Milbank and Catherine Keller, and it went really well on pretty much every level -- Brad, in his capacity as presider, was even labelled "a hoot." My paper was significantly less well-attended, but generated some good discussion. In other "business" matters, I met my editor from Continuum and, among other things, got to see the archetype for the "Philosophy and Theology" series cover design. (Apparently each book will have a different X-rayed item on the cover -- in discussion this weekend, I became convinced that a skull would be the most appropriate item for Zizek, but I am open to suggestions.)
It was good to finally meet Eric Lee and to enjoy his hospitality, and to meet Mrs. Old Doug Johnson. I also was able to spend some time hanging out with Philip Goodchild, Lissa McCullough, Clayton Crockett, and Marcus Pound, all of whom are great (those whom I met only briefly -- please forgive me for excluding you from this run-down). And finally, I had ample opportunity to reflect on the profound injustice that I only get to hang out with Brad, Anthony, Josh Davis, and Nate Kerr on rare occasions.
And now I'm turning around and going home for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Hopefully my family won't be offended when I sleep until 3 pm on Friday.
Work on next year's top-secret "Weblog panel" has already begun, and I have reason to believe that one of the AAR groups will be hosting a session on Jean-Luc Nancy. More importantly, it's going to be in Chicago, which is better for me on virtually every level.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
(7:24 AM) | Richard McElroy:
Thank You For Tuesday HatredI kind of hate that Adam asked me to do the Tuesday Hatred this week. It's not that I don't feel capable of coming up with things to hate. I can list a whole bunch right off the top of my head:
- Filling out weekly reports at work
- Car repairs that spread out over a month total more than the value of my car
- Silly arguments in favor of the right
- That somewhere sometime ago bars decided that pool was the game they should have not table tennis.
- That the majority of my Tuesday Loves are just a list like this
The list could go on and on, I might even be able to add to it a little each week, but then it would just start to look like the original Hate List, and I'm a fan of this instead. I really hate that Adam asked me to do the Tuesday Hatred because I'm feeling more thankful than anything, everything I try to hate is usually countered with some sort of thanksgiving. Like I really hate traveling for the holidays, I would just like to stay at home and rest, but I'm really thankful that I get to see my family, and I hate that turkey makes you sleepy, but at least it's a better excuse than overeating or too much wine. Like the list before hand, I could probably continue this, but you aren't really coming here for that. So help me out a little, put some good juicy hatred in the comments section, and I'll just go work on the Tuesday Love.
Friday, November 16, 2007
(12:40 PM) | Old - Doug Johnson:
AAR/SBL ScheduleI suppose I'll see whomever of the webloggers is in attendance at this years weblog panel. I'm especially looking forward to meeting APS. Is there a plan again for hanging out afterward? Would be great to run into some of you earlier in the conference. Here's how I think my schedule will run:
9:00-11:30 - Bonhoeffer: Theology and Social Analysis Group, especially to see Rachel Payne's paper Chronos, Kairos, and Jubilee in Bonhoeffer and Andre Trocme
11:45-12:45 - The Tavis Smiley show
1:00-2:30 - Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah Section, Roland Boer is on a panel discussing two books including one by a Mennonite prof. Will also probably duck out for a bit to catch a friend from Duke's paper for the Pauline Epistles section entitled The Isaianic Roots of Pauline Apocalytpic.
4:00-6:30 - North American Religions Section, a discussion of Catherine Albanese A Republic of Mind and Spirit
9:00-11:30 - Scriptural Reasoning Group, Pragmatism and Biblical Hermeneutics: A Discussion of the Work of Peter Ochs
1:00-2:30 - Wildcard, Restorative Justice and the U.S. Penal System
3:00 - 4:30 - This one's tough, my wife and I are going to split going to the Wildcard session with Millbank and a friend of ours from Duke (Theological Readings of Economics) and the Theo. and Cont. Phil. Scholar's Session with Judith Butler. I'll be at the latter, but this means I almost certainly will be missing A. Kotsko's paper which is in a SBL section beginning at 4:00.
Evening - dinner with a friend at a Mexican food place in Old Town, perhaps making it back in time for the panel including Richard Horsley (A People's History of Christianity series) at 7pm. Almost certainly will be there for some part of the Duke reception at 9:00.
9:00-11:30 - still deciding between the Philosophy of Religion session with Cornel and Butler commenting on Kyuman Kim's Melancholic Freedom and a Relgion, Public Policy, and Political Change consultation session on homelessness (the former is certainly more sexy, but then there's my job)
1:00-3:30 - Theology and Continental Philosophy Group, a friend of mine and lurker here is presenting at this session on Agamben and Messianism
4:00-6:30 - the weblog panel (Bradley Johnson, U. of Glasgow Presiding, Theme: The Political and the Religious: Exploring Recent Turns with Clayton Crockett, Philip Goodchild, and APS, Tyler T. Roberts responding)
9:00-11:30 - Romans through History and Cultures Group, Focal Points in Readings of Romans: Eschatology, Apocalyptic, Messianism (including Doug Harink's Messianic Time and Readings of Romans by Giorgio Agamben, Karl Barth, and N.T. Wright)
Anyone else know where they're going?
(10:24 AM) | Adam R:
Friday Afternoon Confessional: No But Seriously FolksI confess that I'm posting later than I intended, but not for nothing -- it's because I'm fucking sad people.
Hahahaha. "It's because I'm fucking sad people," I confess, is an example of fine and true comedy.
Truth is, I've only been sad since yesterday. (I've been fucking sad people since 1999, or at least that's what the sign above my bed claims.) The dentist got me down, all with her, "Oh, we can't get an impression for the crown because your wisdom tooth is leaning into it," not to mention the fact that she kept stabbing me in the lip with her tweasers.
I was a bloody mess, dear friends. I stand before you having been a bloody mess.
I confess that what if I buy a house, just a cheapie, in the ghetto -- and what if it has a tits wireless network? Bidness is good, no it's great, and it involves large numbers that are growing small.
I confess that The Fastbacks are, and were, and shall be -- almost to the exclusion of every other band, ever.
I confess that, through my sadness, even famous women couldn't keep me out of bed.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
(7:33 PM) | Amish Lovelock:
Yasushi Yamanouchi......who I posted on a while back now, is starting to say that Heidegger's kehre represents a move away from the early praise he placed upon kairos and is very similar to what a Nietzschian inspired Weber was looking for in his studies of Ancient economy and religion - i.e. not an attempt, like Junger's, to overcome the age of technology, but to find another time scheme, one of re-enchantment, the source of which is Ancient Greece. Yamanouchi does this specifically with reference to the work of Christian Graf Von Krockow - who is famous for grouping the early Heidegger with Schmitt and Junger as thinkers of the Entscheidung within the state of exception.
As for myself, being all for fantasistic intellectual confrontations, I believe that I am the only person in the world right now who is reading this development as a direct challenge to the prevailing of the Agambenesque. Yamanouchi, an environmentalist sociologist, who is now 74, and far more interested in re-radicalizing social science as an academic discipline, probably couldn't care less.
Old's comment on the previous post mentioned a quote from Foucault along the lines that "if Nietzsche is so important to me its because he was essential for Weber..." This new comment from Yamanouchi's on the kehre made me think of Foucault again too. And not Agamben's Foucault...
Is the age of the kairos over? Or is the Weberian-Heideggerian doomsday lament for the comtemporary tied inextricably to the instant that time ends rather than the time of the end?
The Hellenistic or the Hebraic?
Yes. That's what I want to know on this fine sunny afternoon.
(12:20 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Tuesday Hatred: Computer ComplaintsThe theme of this week is computer-related complaints:
- When I type into the Firefox search bar too quickly after clicking on it, sometimes it will "select" the first two letters I type, meaning that they get overwritten as I continue to type. I hate that.
- I hate every single minor change they made in Gmail last week. One of the top ones: they got rid of the purely chat-free mode. Now I have the stupid chat box showing me signed off (I use another software client for Gchat), and every e-mail conversation including other Gmail users shows their chat status as "unavailable," every single time. Why did they make such a stupid fucking change?
- I hate it when my mp3s skip, and more generally when I lose my connection to the wireless router. I especially hate it when this happens and then it says that I'm reconnected, but nothing will load -- and so I click to "repair" the connection, but that just sits on "Disabling wireless adapter" forever and ever. And then when I try to reboot, it hangs on "Windows is shutting down," so I have to manually turn it on and off. This happens every two days. I hate my computer.
- I hate it when Windows shuts Firefox down and it asks me if I want to restart the previous session. I also hate that some Firefox skin that I don't even use apparently upgrades every week and asks if I want to update it.
- I hate Apple Software Update. I also hate that I've accidentally hit okay to update my "somehow obtained" copy of Adobe Acrobat. I hate how collossally slow the full Acrobat is -- and I hate that Reader is almost as bad, for reasons that are not at all clear. Everyone should be using Foxit Reader rather than the official Abode viewer! Everyone! Download it immediately! It makes PDF files usable! (The only thing it doesn't have is the "full search" feature that gives you little clips of where a string appears -- a really great tool if you happen to be making an index.)
- I hate when I paste from a website and MS applications keep the formatting -- including links, stupid font sizes, etc. I figured out a workaround on Word, but I don't want to re-figure it out for Excel. (I know that you can select from the little drop-down menu, but I hate that it takes multiple steps to get a paste function that actually makes sense -- you should at least be able to change which paste mode is the default, then select "idiotic paste" from the drop-down menu in the one in a million chance that you want it.) Relatedly, I hate how fucking slow Excel is on my computer and I hate that I can't listen to mp3s and use Excel at the same time without experiencing heart attack-inducing slowness.
- I hate the HTML code generated by Microsoft Word. I'm forced to either manually reenter the formatting or else manually edit out nonsensical tags that aren't picked up as tags by any browser I've ever used. Is it really so hard to parse out that the whole document is in plain text, except that there is italic beginning here and ending here? Why do we have to have a million redundant "span" tags that randomly begin and end the normal formatting? And why this trend toward using "span" tags for italic and bold anyway? I mean, my God!
- I hate that the computers at CTS are set up so that literally every time you log on, it's like it's the first time you've ever used the computer -- so it asks you, every fucking time, if you want to save passwords, if it's okay to view non-secure items, etc., etc., etc. It even asks if you want to delete unused desktop icons -- even though student accounts don't actually have the security level required to delete them! I mean, what the fuck? I have complained about this a couple times every year, and they never change it -- even though the fucking thing boots off the network, so you'd only have to change one thing! (I also hate that I didn't get the tech support job at CTS because of my lack of "experience." Where was nepotism when I needed it? Everyone says that the person they actually hired sucks ass!)
- I hate using Gmail on Internet Explorer -- I always have to hit refresh three times to get it to finally redirect to my inbox. Where is the U of C tech department on this? A great university should use Firefox (despite my complaints above).
- I hate how angry I get at computer malfunctions.
Monday, November 12, 2007
(11:28 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
A Netflix QuestionHas anyone ever received a Netflix movie on a Monday?
Sunday, November 11, 2007
(1:43 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Larry DavidWatching Curb Your Enthusiasm, it has become clear to me that Larry David's behavior is completely consistent and predictable. Two questions arise from this observation:
- Is there a possible world in which Larry would fit perfectly, rather than being regarded as a borderline sociopath?
- Is there a sense in which we are actually already living in that world?
(12:42 AM) | Brad:
Football Blogging: One More Boring Thing To Do On SundaysThe only good thing about Monday Night Football's snooze-fest between San Francisco & Seattle is that it means I won't get stuck with two horrible Bay Area football games. We dodged a bullet last week, when enough Raider fans decided they'd rather see the Colts-Pats game -- preventing the much-dreaded sell-out that would've put the Raiders-Texans game on my tv instead. Ever since the Warriors playoff run last spring, this area has had some horribled sports. Be it the A's or the Giants, Raiders or the 49ers, and now an 0-5 Warriors team that can't hit free throws, either way I'm stuck with a lot of bad sports. We had hopes for Cal. But reality struck quick, and since then it has struck often.
A few interesting games this week:
(1) Cleveland @ Pittsburgh: The Steelers are giving up 9.5 points here. I'm leery, but for some reason (in defiance of good reason, I might add) I've not trusted the Steelers at any point this year. Oh well, I'm jumping aboard this week. Willie Parker should have a field day. Weird to think, though, that the Browns are a couple of draft picks and free agent moves away from a really quality team.
(2) Jacksonville @ Tennessee: This is one of those really significant games that hardly anybody gives a crap about. One of these teams will likely make the playoffs as a wildcard, and will almost certainly get destroyed. Neither are especially good. And yet, there they stand, halfway through the season, and they're currently AFC powers. Albeit, incredibly ugly powers. Fortunately for Tennessee, they're a little less ugly. They'll give up the four points and breeze.
(3) Indianapolis @ San Diego: Take heart, Indy fans. You held your own against a Pats team that only had to play eight minutes of quality offense in order to win -- but you did it w/out future Hall of Famer, Marvin Harrison. Unfortunately, this week both he & Alex "Who Burned Down My House This Week" Gonzalez are out again, and Ugoh & Clark are questionable. One of those last two need to play for them to win this game, against a SD team utterly & completely embarassed by Adrian Peterson (and him alone) last week in Minnesota. I'm very curious how they approach the Colts defensively, and whether they'll have anything close to an answer for Addai. Merriman, I'm sure, will take an extra dosage of his "supplement." At the end of the day, the Chargers need this game too badly -- not to mention, they're pretty great at home (during the regular season, anyway). Their getting 3.5 points. I'm taking them and calling Chargers here -- if we're lucky, maybe we'll see Tomlinson cry out of joy. How odd will it be to be over halfway through a season and, potentially, seeing the Colts & Titans w/ the same record -- the Colts in first only by virtue of head-to-head matchup? Maybe only for a second. Personally, I don't think it's significant at all, because there's no way the Colts lose any games to their divisional chumps.
(4) Dallas @ New York (Giants): I don't know what to think of this game. I don't really like this Dallas team too much. But I don't yet have any faith in this Giants team -- even though I've thoroughly enjoyed watching their defensive line dominate the trenches. Romo might be too mobile for them, though. Though, I wouldn't be too surprised if he had a 3 interception day. Sigh. Too tough to call. I'm going w/ the home team to take the points (1.5) and run.
[Is there even a fifth game of consequence this week? I guess, the MNF football game kind of is. If SF can somehow win -- HA! -- they'll only be one game back in the West. But, no, that game is on the level of bukkake midget porn. I refuse to comment on it. But, hey, let's stay in the West!]
(5) Detroit @ Arizona: Every year for the past five or so years, the pre-season cool pick for the playoffs is Arizona. And every reason they slurp shaggy balls. This season is, thus far, no different. What's odd, though, is that they remain one of those teams that people keep expecting to make a late run to end the season. And apparently Vegas agrees. A 6-2 Detroit Lions teams that has won three straight is going against a 3-5 Arizona Cardinals team that has lost three straight, and Detroit is getting a point? I mean, I know it's in Arizona, but c'mon. Chicago is favored by 4 this week in Oakland, and Detroit is the underdog in Arizona? Oh god, I just realized I've drank the Kitna Go-Go-Jesus Kool-Aid. Onward Christian Soldiers, marching on to ten wins!
BONUS: I'm not picking this game, but I'm really curious what you think about it. Carolina is giving up 4 points to Atlanta. This is one of the shittiest games of the week, but it's a line that really intrigues me. Am I crazy to even think Atlanta has a chance of covering? Also, for your consideration, will Jake Plummer be next year's mercenary formerly retired QB? Or are there contractual obligations, what w/ his lame out-of-the-blue retirement, that makes this impossible?
Saturday, November 10, 2007
(12:16 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Cultural SensitivityAt long last, Jack T. Chick is providing new versions of his classic comic tracts featuring black characters. They've already met with some success in the field:
Pastor Jerry Thornton, who pastors a black church in Southern California tried some of the tracts in his ministry before they were officially released. He says, "The black tracts were especially useful to tell the people of color that they are special enough for Chick Publications to make a special edition of the tract line just for them. They often feel neglected and marginalized and appreciate the special attention when it is given."The black versions have slightly altered names, presumably to help make sure that white people don't accidentally order them.
Sadly, they do not yet seem to have translated The Gay Blade.
Friday, November 09, 2007
(10:25 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Friday Afternoon Confessional: Splendid VicesI confess that I'm sleeping too much lately, but it feels like not enough. I confess that finally becoming conscious of the fact that I feel depressed every year during November and December has not helped anything -- in fact, it has contributed to a growing sense of dread. I confess that the holiday season always makes me wish I was married, though the feeling dissipates soon afterward.
I confess that I wish we could just skip Christmas altogether -- maybe we could just downgrade it to something like Easter, where you just go to church and then out to eat. I confess that I may punch anyone who sees fit to remind us that Christmas is really about Jesus (a cock-punch for anyone who uses the slogan "He's the reason for the season"). I confess that I have an exaggerated sense of duty.
I confess that I still have no clear idea on what to write for my French feminism paper. I confess that I'm increasingly unlikely to go to any SPEP sessions. I confess that I'm losing my ability to read in anything but marathon all-day sessions, with the notable exception of reading on the CTA. I confess that I just reread Louis Dupre's Passage to Modernity (on the CTA), the first text I read for my first class with Craig Keen -- judging from the underlinings, brackets, stars, marginalia, etc., I really read the hell out of that book at the time. I confess that I probably should've been reading this book on Origen that I'm supposed to be reviewing, but instead I've been keeping the Origen book in the bathroom.
I confess that someone needs to propose a "Doomsday" budget for Gov. Blagojevich's office.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
(12:20 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Hermeneutical TestDoes Zizek endorse a Third Way approach?
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
(1:28 PM) | Brad:
Mid-Week Jazz: The Thanks For Waiting EditionIt has been a while, too long, since my last jazz post. I apologize for this. The in-laws have been in town for nearly a month, and the visit has sapped my will to do much of anything. Ah, but brighter days are ahead. They leave tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn. And next weekend I set my sails south, bound for San Diego. So, it's a time for jubilee! A time for jazz!
The last time I posted, I was high on a Herbie Nichols kick. I still am. Somewhere there is a disc of him and Monk together. If you have it, let me know. At the moment, though, I'm digging his Love, Glooom, Cash, Love -- recorded just after his Blue Note period. A different vibe than on those: more ceremonious, but also more straight-forward, I think. Two representative slices, since you've waited so patiently:
"Too Close for Comfort", & "Beyond Recall".
After that, from (I think) the first disc of the Live Trane: The European Concerts box-set that I recently picked up, an electric version of "Mr. P.C.". You really need to get this box-set, either through legitimate or illegimate means. It is fabulous. We're talking twenty-six minute variations of "My Favorite Things" and ten-minute versions of "Impressions" -- all w/ Eric Dolphy rounding out the sound. It's amazing.
And last, because a little jazz calls for a lot more, Charles Mingus' epic "Pithecanthropus Erectus".
(10:38 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Lecture ReportLast night, CTS hosted Namita Goswami of DePaul University, who gave an excellent paper entitled "On the Limits of Postcolonial Identity Politics."
At dinner afterward, I mentioned that I had recently met a DePaul student with similar interests and who, as it happens, is going to be her TA next quarter -- and made the mistake of telling her that I met this person through "my blog." Despite my warnings to the contrary, she has threatened to "check out" The Weblog.
At least I have advance warning this time -- it's not as bad as Eric Santner unexpectedly showing up to read a thread in which he was numbered among "the worst-dressed group of adult men" a certain commenter had ever seen and in which he witnessed the creepy fascination with Alenka Zupancic evinced by many in our blogo-social circles.
In any case, anyone wishing to find more serious and academic materials is encouraged to visit the other blog, An und für sich. Those who are content with petty griping, occasional political rants, and (apparently) football picks are welcome to leave their browsers pointed here.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
(7:16 PM) | Brad:
Letter to the EditorThis afternoon I happened to read the Letters to the Editor section in the newspaper of the Midwestern city I used to call home, and came across the following insightful words:
I saw the article in "Good Things Happening" where an individual was being recognized for her excellence in dedication to Planned Parenthood. How in the world is this a good thing happening? Abortion is America's Holocaust. Why not honor a member of the Third Reich for his dedication to Hitler and his mission?
I'm really happy that this fair city's newspaper has the balls to print a letter maliciously ripping into the character of somebody who sought to follow her moral conscience and help women and young families deal with the questions associated with all manner of pregnancy, wanted and unwanted. So, in that spirit, I have just penned this follow-up, in eager expectation that they will do me the same courtesy:
I saw the recent letter to the editor where an individual compared the work of a Planned Parenthood volunteer to that of a Nazi knowingly complicit in the systematic murder of 11 million people. Is she really so obtuse? I hope a Holocaust survivor rapes & impregnates her with a baby that pre-natal doctors discover is not only severely retarded but Satan himself and will, obviously require a lifetime's (indeed, an eternity's) worth of care, and that her husband who clearly cannot deal with this level of drama and stress is openly scornful of her, resents having married his unfuckable hag of a wife and ends up looking at gay porn on his laptop when she asks him, "What should we do?"Do you think they'll print my letter, too? I mean. I've entered along the same level of a) absurdity and b) offensiveness, right -- the perfect mixture for the fair city's paper of record apparently.
(10:14 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Tuesday Hatred: Beware the Anglo-CatholicsI hate that I'm apparently back to watching Prison Break, and I hate that they're back to their old tricks of making you think that they're going to break out, but then something goes wrong at the last minute, etc.
I hate feeling sick. I hate being on the verge of fiscal insolvency. I hate not having quarters to do laundry.
I hate being so unmotivated to hate.
Monday, November 05, 2007
(12:13 AM) | Brad:
The Dead Father
The Dead Father's head. The main thing is, his eyes are open. Staring up into the sky. The eyes a two-valued blue, the blues of the Gitanes cigarette pack. The head never moves. Decades of staring. The brow is noble, good Christ, what else? Broad and noble. And serene, of course, he's dead, what else if not serene? From the tip of his finely shapoed delicately nostriled nose to the ground, fall of five and one half meters, figure obtained by triangulation. The hair is gray but a young gray. Full, almost to the shoulder, it is possible to admire the hair for a long time, many do, on a Sunday or other holiday or in those sandwich hours neatly placed between fattish slices of work. Jawline compares favorably to a rock formation. Imposing, rugged, all that. The great jaw contains thirty-two teeth, twenty-eight of the whiteness of standard bathroom fixtures and four stained, the latter a consequence of addiction to tobacco, according to legend, this beige quartet to be found in the center of the lower jaw. He is not perfect, thank God for that. The full red lips drawn back in a slight rictus, slight but not unpleasant rictus, disclosing a bit of mackerel salad lodged between two of the stained four. We think it is mackerel salad. It appears to be mackerel salad. In the sagas, it is mackerel salad.
Dead, but still with us, still with us, but dead.
No one can remember when was not here in our city positioned like a sleeper in a troubled sleep, the whole great expanse of him running from the Avenue Pommard to the Boulevard Grist. Overall length, 3,000 cubits. Half buried in the ground, half not. At work ceaselessly night and day through all the hours for the good of all. He controls the hussars. Controls the rise, fall, and flutter of the market. . . . The left leg, entirely mechanical, said to be the administrative center of his operations, working ceaselessly night and day through all the hours for the good of all. In the left leg, in sudden tucks or niches, we find things we need. Facilities for confession, small booths with sliding doors, people are noticeably freer in confessing to the Dead Father than to any priest, of course! he's dead. The confessions are taped, scrambled, recomposed, dramatized, and then appear in the city's theater's, a new feature-length film every Friday. One can recognize moment's of one's own, sometimes.
The right foot rests at the Avenue Pommard and is naked except for titanium steel band around ankle, this linked by titanium steel chains to dead men (dead man n. 1. a log, concrete block, etc., buried in the ground as an anchor) to the number of eight sunk in the green of the Gardens. There is nothing unusual about the foot except that it is seven meters high. The right knee is not very interesting and no one has ever tried to dynamite it, tribute to the good sense of the citizens. From the knee to the hip joint (Belfast Avenue) everything is most ordinary. We encounter for example the rectus femoris, the saphenous nerve, the iliotibial tract, the femoral artery, the vastus medialis, the vastus lateralis, the vastus intermedius, the gracilis, the adductor magnus, the adductor longus, the intermediate femoral cutaneous nerve and other simple premechanical devices of this nature. All working night and day for the good of all. Tiny arrows are found in the right leg, sometimes. Tiny arrows are never found in the left (artificial) leg at any time, tribute to the good sense of the citizens. We want the Dead Father to be dead. We sit with tears in our eyes wanting the Dead Father to be dead--meanwhile doing amazing things with our hands. (Donald Barthelme, The Dead Father, 3-5)
Sunday, November 04, 2007
(1:45 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Procrastination Carried to its Logical ExtremeAs I attempt, haltingly, to write my paper for SBL this year, my desire to procrastinate has reached such a fever pitch that I have now officially caught up on all the episodes of Prison Break season 3, which our DVR recorded out of habit. There is apparently a two-hour special tomorrow, at which time the intrepid Michael Scofield will most likely break out of prison for the second time. I must say, I don't have much of an emotional investment now that Sarah Tancredi has been unceremoniously offed -- though I am holding out some hope that the show is comic book-like enough that it will somehow turn out that it wasn't her head in the box.
I have not yet reached the level of procrastination seen on a recent episode of The Simpsons, where Marge was seen to be replacing the filaments in all their burnt-out lightbulbs ("Your father, the millionaire, was just going to throw them away!"), but I'm close.
(1:03 AM) | Brad:
Week Nine Football BloggingYou will not believe, and why should you, but I actually did pretty well in my picks last week. Of course, I didn't do well in the ones I published here. But, all in all, I was 9-4 -- and should've been 10-3, where it not for a weird brain-fart that kept me from picking Indy to cover the spread against Carolina. (It helped, too, that in my official Pick 'Em picks, I took the Patriots; whereas here I had the temerity to suggest the 'Skins defense had a chance against them.)
The only thing we know so far is that it is stupid to pick against either Indy or the Pats. Everything else is almost completely at random. And, of course, this week's epic game makes things all the more difficult. But, we'll give a try, eh?
(1) My first upset pick of the week is Denver (+3) in Detroit. It's really hard to make this pick since I dislike Denver so much. But, I think (a) Detroit is bound to lose a game they're expected to win, and (b) Denver will surprise us all, as they did two weeks ago on Sunday night, and bounce back from their humiliation at home against Green Bay. Kevin Jones is the obvious X-factor here -- though putting your hope in Kevin Jones is on par with trusting your wife's affirmative grimace to the question, "Was it good for you?"
(2) I really do not understand why Vegas is giving one point to Buffalo AT HOME against Cincinnati. The same Bengals who have not won in Buffalo during the regular season since 1985? The real bet to be made here is whether a loss this week finally loses Marvin Lewis his job. I'll say no, but I think more than few resumes will be secretly requested.
(3) I've had some reasonable luck picking against Pittsburgh, so I'm going to try again this week. I'm leery, if only because they're at home, as a general rule you should never bet against them up there. But, this is a do or die game for Baltimore. I think they stink, but I'm pretty sure they think otherwise. At least enough to take the 9.5 points Vegas is giving them. Between Matt Stover and their defense, surely they can cover against a divisional team.
(4) One of the favorites I'm taking this week is Kansas City (-2.5) at home against Green Bay. The Chiefs have a legit defense, and a halfway decent offense. Surely that's got to be enough to hang with a NFC powerhouse w/out a running game.
(5) And last, of course, there's the Patriots-Colts game. I'll offer no commentary here. Both teams can definitely win this game, no question. If you care about salvaging a competitive season of NFL football, you want the Colts to win. Too bad I don't, and would like nothing more than to see the Pats win and cover (-5). So, I'm breaking one of the rules and I'm picking based on desire. It's as good a criteria as any with this game.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
(5:11 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
Saturday Random Video
(10:05 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Daylight Saving TimeIn the past seven years, the Bush administration has taken only one action I agree with: extending Daylight Saving Time in both directions. Daylight Saving Time is clearly superior to Standard Time, particularly for those among us with seasonal affective disorder. Moreover, Daylight Saving Time stands as a testament to the irrepressible human spirit, which expresses its rebellion against scheduling its activities around nature's implacable laws by scheduling its activities one hour off from nature's implacable laws.
In order to seal his legacy, Bush must, in one last unilateral declaration, extend Daylight Saving Time to the entire year, blotting out Standard Time once and for all.
Friday, November 02, 2007
(12:00 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Friday Afternoon Confessional: DebasementI confess that the confessional format has become debased and degraded, due in no small part to my own poor example. I confess that it pissed me off when a commenter pointed this out last week and that I am specifically confessing strictly to personal failings as a screw-you to that person, because (and I'm confessing this) I have a tendency to be slow to "let things go" at times. (Can I confess to the malice that structures my confession, within said confession itself? Have I opened up a vicious cycle of meta-confession from which we will never escape? Or did I instead close it?)
I confess that I am hopelessly internet-addicted. I confess that sometimes I purposely wait to respond to e-mails, just because I'm embarrassed at the idea of being perceived as someone who is always hovering over the computer. I confess that I am sometimes insensitive to those with learning styles different from my own. I confess that I am prone to self-pity and general self-dramatization when I am sick. I confess that I do not get enough exercise and that my cholesterol is probably very high. I confess that I do not eat enough green leafy vegetables. I confess that I hope that a daily vitamin supplement, combined with a sporadic routine of push-ups and brisk walks, will make me "healthy."
I confess that if I were married to my computer, it would have left me and gotten a restraining order long ago. I confess that I probably should cut back on coffee somewhat, but I really, really like it. I confess that I neurotically check the mail every hour or so, even though it absolutely never comes before 3 (and only rarely before 4). I confess that I'm worried I'll never see The Girl again now that she's moved to a less conveniently-located neighborhood.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
(4:33 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
In Rainbows: Further ReflectionsI have listened to In Rainbows many times since my initial post on it, and my opinion has softened somewhat. In large part, I owe my greater open-mindedness to Kriston Capps -- by the time I read his review, I had basically decided that "15 Step" and "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" were the only two tracks I wanted to listen to, and the article drove me to listen to the other songs more closely. Perhaps it's not exactly the function of a review to convince people who already know an album to reconsider it, but it's close.
While the number one and two slots in the ranking of Radiohead albums are basically locked in at this point -- obviously, it's Kid A and OK Computer, respectively -- In Rainbows may be a strong contender for number three, but somewhat by default. After all, at this late date, The Bends hardly counts as a proper Radiohead album anymore, and the only other real contender, Amnesiac, appears to be in large part an experiment in actively driving listeners away. (For whatever reason, Hail to the Thief seems to have failed to attain a real place in the Radiohead "canon.")
Yes, I do have a mild addiction to ranking.
(9:58 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Academic Blogging Article at Inside Higher EdAn article of mine adapted from my contribution to Holbo's panel earlier this month has just appeared at Inside Higher Ed. Scott Eric Kaufman's sadly deranged response can be found here.
(9:35 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Razorblades and CandyLast night, in discussion with M. Leblanc and her boyfriend, I expressed my incredulity at the idea of people putting razorblades in Halloween candy. I went so far as to say that, in some counter-factual situation where I had a steady job, I would bet $100 that razor blades had never once been found in actual-existing candy.
As one who has read a lot of John Calvin, I know that the heart of man is depraved, so my argument is certainly not that no one would be so sick. The problem, rather, is a logistical one. First of all, wrappers pose an obvious obstacle, but even if there were some way to reseal them perfectly, standard razor blades are too big to fit even in a "fun size" candy bar. Last night, I received the objection that one could use full-size candy bars, but I don't think that the girth of a regular candy bar is sufficiently bigger to be able to hide a razor blade.
Candy apples are another possibility. We discussed various ways of getting the razor blade into the apple, but I think that the most significant point here is that most children are just going to eat the caramel part and discard the apple altogether. Even if, by some freak accident, they end up eating the apple, I daresay that any child is going to be familiar enough with apples to know that a metallic object should not be in there and thus to pause and inspect the apple. There's a very narrow chance of some kind of small cut in the mouth area, and perhaps a worse cut if the child tries to remove the razor blade in order to continue eating the apple.
Overall, I think that even if razor blades are routinely put into Halloween candy, they pose only a small danger to our nation's youth. More children die in car accidents every single day than have ever died from swallowing a razor blade in their Halloween candy. Our hypersensitivity on this issue stands in stark contrast to the attitude of Israelis, who have become inured to razor blades in candy after decades of routine Halloween candy tampering. If we allow ourselves to be paralyzed by our fear, the terrorists have already won.