Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I have no idea what this means, but it fills me with a mixture of horror and grim satisfaction that words can not describe. Apparently, Jeb Bush has announced that he has no future, which (of course) immediately brings to mind the Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen." More irony after we spend a moment contemplating the lyric.

God save the queen her fascist regime
It made you a moron a potential h bomb !

God save the queen she aint no human being
There is no future in englands dreaming

Dont be told what you want dont be told what you need
Theres no future no future no future for you

God save the queen we mean it man (God save window leen)
We love our queen God saves (God save... human beings)

God save the queen cos tourists are money
And our figurehead is not what she seems
Oh God save history God save your mad parade
Oh lord God have mercy all crimes are paid

When theres no future how can there be sin
Were the flowers in the dustbin
Were the poison in your human machine
Were the future your future

God save the queen we mean it man
There is no future in englands dreaming

No future for you no future for me
No future no future for you

Ahhh. So, the story from Reuters says that Jeb Bush told a Spanish-speaking audience that he has no future in politics, basically because brother Dubya screwed the pooch. The Bush clan's power-grab over the last 30 years (going way back to when Bush père was head of the CIA) has culminated in one of the most corrupt and vapid Administrations in US history. And the victim: Jeb. (Jeb was the heir apparent, years ago, but somehow that simian creep from Texas took over the family business. Imagine Christmas with the Bushes this year! Whoof!)

Jeb Rotten lives!

Feh. To hell with these people.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

meme: 10 weird things about me

For as long as I've been online, doing the web thing, the email thing, the chat thing, and now the blog thing, I haven't done much of the community thing. One of the community things I haven't done much of is follow a meme. But I've been tapped to follow a meme by my sweetest one, so herewith is my attempt to follow through and provide...

10 Weird Things About Me.

The rules are deceptively simple: "Each player of this game starts off with ten weird things or habits or little known facts about yourself. People who get tagged must write in a blog of their own ten weird things or habits or little known facts as well as state this rule clearly. At the end you must choose six people to be tagged and list their names. No tagbacks!"

Caveat #1: As I begin, I'm not sure there even are 10 weird things about me, despite my loveliest's assurance that there are.

Caveat #2: These are not in order of weirdness. Not all of them seem weird to me.

1. I have to eat. I absolutely must eat three meals a day, just about exactly according to the ol' food pyramid (though consuming far less animal protein), or else I feel like complete and total crap.

2. I have lived for 8 or more years in 4 states (Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and California).

3. I played ice hockey for a couple years (sadly only a couple) in Ohio when I was a kid. I played goalie. And I was a holy goddamn terror, though I played for the worst team imaginable (we won 1 game, the first game). I usually saw 30+ shots a game, and usually allowed 4 or 5 goals a game, which gave me the highest goals-against and the highest save percentage in that league. I slashed more ankles than God can count.

4. I own several vintage manual typewriters dating from the 1920s to the 1960s. I love 'em. I wrote a few hundred pages of notes on my dissertation on two of them (and my dissertation was under 200 pages).

5. I floss. You should too, but you don't.

6. From what I've gathered, I was the youngest person ever to complete the requirements for a Ph.D. degree at Duquesne University. I get this second hand. My grad school pal Paul Swift told me that when he filed to complete his Ph.D., the folks in the graduate school told him he was the youngest ever to complete the degree. He finished his the same spring I finished mine, but he was older than me. Q.E.D. Being the youngest, and having a buck and a quarter in your pocket, would get you a bus ride in Pittsburgh.

7. I dream in color, in stereo, lucidly, with taste and smell, and in pure abstract concepts. That last one is what really throws people, perhaps because I can't explain what it's like. Once, when I was reading a hell of a lot of (German philosopher G.W.F.) Hegel for a period of a few days, I dreamed what seemed to be my understanding of the way Hegel makes concepts fit, work, and fight together. It was amazing. I woke up, tried to get some of it down, went back to bed, and in the morning, my notes made (you're expecting this) absolutely no sense whatsoever.

8. I'm terrified of thunder and lightning. More than anything else except vicious homicidal gangsters and my ex-wife, I am stone-cold afraid of thunderstorms. The only thing to do is curl in the fetal position, preferably under the bed, while covered with blankets and cuddling our stuffed bunny or the cat. My fear of thunder and lightning is, as far as I can tell, my only true phobia.

9. My oldest friend, Bob, has been my friend for 32 years. We spent lots of our childhood together in Maumee, Ohio, making ridiculous tape recordings of TV and radio parodies under the auspices of radio station WDUM. Bob was the host of "This Stupid Program," which was (he would say, as the only content to the show) 32 and one-half seconds, even though in fact it only lasted about 12. I wrote ads for products from a conglomerate called Krazy Kooks Inkorporated, which sold flavored puke, manuals on such topics as how to read, and basically anything else that came to mind.

10. Unsightly stains!

The rule is, I have to tag 6 people. There's no rule that they have to participate, but I think if they don't, that means I lose. I'm not sure. Back in the day, memes didn't have rules, you were just in the grocery store and somebody said "where's the beef?!" Newfangled contraptions!

Bobo, the Wandering Pallbearer
This Girl I Used To Know
You Gotta Be Kidding You
Bob, whose blog really puts this in perspective
Lascivious Polyphony, aka KOM, because KOM seems to need the boost.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

two more new tunes!

Whew. I don't get much chance to record stuff. But here are two more new tunes:

Christina Sorting Records and Raechel's Song.

I'll be getting a round bajillion papers over the next couple days, so we took the opportunity to put down some tracks. A whole freakin' set to come. Cazart!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

dumb ads; brain mush

We got TV for hockey season. We watch all the games we can (which aren't many), and The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Hockey games are mainly brought to us by Dodge and by the US Postal Service (or as we call it for reasons too complex to go into at the moment, Ground Chicken). Their ads share in common that they're incredibly stupid.

For the Postal Service, this is no doubt due to the fact that, as a large bureaucratic organization run by the federal government, its decision-making processes are broken. Things are bound to go wrong. In fact, you should consider yourself lucky if your mail arrives at all (although, considering the quality of mail we mainly get, maybe unlucky is the more appropriate feeling). The ads depict inanimate objects speaking in accented voices to one another. In one, the water cooler talks to boxed pairs of high-tops about how the Postal Service will handle sending them. The shoes say it's no problem, as a young female in a postal uniform enters with a clipboard, because "the lady drives a big truck." That there are only four boxes, and that she has to leave her clipboard behind, shows us just how practical and thought-out the whole process actually is. Why in blithering hell does she need a big truck to carry four boxes of high-tops? (I bought a pair of high-tops recently, and there's also no way my high-tops would have fit into one of those boxes. Are they being sent one shoe to a box?)

In the case of Dodge, the stupidity of their ads is definintely central to their sales strategy. The only car advertised during hockey on Versus is the Dodge Nitro. The whole range of dumb Nitro ads is displayed. I hate the one where the guy in the parking lot needing a jumpstart has his car blown sky high by the Nitro giving him the jump. I hate it so much I can barely refrain from screaming at the TV when it comes on. Then there's the one where the Nitro is dropped accidentally from a crane that was lofting it for no reason, and falls through the earth's crust, through a cartoon hell with a cartoon devil and a cartoon monster, arriving unscathed in (of course) China, all to what sounds like a Tom Jones loungesong. I do scream at the TV when that's on, because I am sure that if I don't, the pressure will damage my brain. Here's how clever Dodge really is: these ads are a surefire way to capture the attention of people who would think these were funny situations. That's a particular demographic group: dumb guys. Indeed, the protagonists are all men, the situations are generally manly, and as previously stated, scintillatingly inane. Dodge is cornering the dumb guy market! And marketing execs at Ford and GM are sleepless these days.

These are not the main reasons my brain is mush. I was compelled to comment on them because I am watching the Sabres/Devils game on Versus, because my brain is mush. My brain is mush because I spent 4 hours in committee meetings today. They're important committees, and I'm committed (or committeed) to them, but they mush my brain.

But now, I have to pack a Dodge Nitro in a box, so Ground Chicken can come in a big truck and pick it up.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

new tunes!

I recorded a couple tracks today. At least one of these will have a lyric soon, but both of them could be recorded again. I just had a compelling desire to post these.

"It's Usually Tomorrow There" gets its title from something Lauren said to Raechel on the phone, about Australia. The tune had already been written, and I'd been playing it a while, but this seemed like the time to append an arbitrary name on it.

"Looking Down On J St. From The 18th Floor" is not an arbitrary name, because this bit came to mind while I was, in fact, looking down on J St. from the 18th floor.

These aren't the best recordings. I'm working on that, as best I can. I'm not a recording engineer, I'm the philosopher-chef! I roast wisdom! I'm saucier than thou!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

what could go wrong?

Recently, CSU Stanislaus received a large donation in exchange for naming the new science building after the donor. During Academic Senate, the question was raised, with no hidden agenda, where the family got their money. No one knew for sure off hand. The questioner then noted that at an institution she'd previously been affiliated with, there was some sort of issue related to the way the family had gotten its wealth, that made the donation a little less than savory.

I wanted desperately to say aloud (but instead muttered sotto voce) "Well, that could never happen here, could it?" Because, near the end of the tenure of our previous president, the university accepted a donation in exchange for naming the gym after a company called DreamLife, which was supposedly a mortgage firm. Well, yesterday the president of DreamLife pleaded guilty to 122 felony counts of fraud. Good times. We sure miss Marvalene around here.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

the end is near

The Semester That Wouldn't Die is about to.

At some point, I may write about some of the Internal Turmoil™ and other Serious Stuff™ that made this semester such a treat for my inner masochist. But last night, the more important agenda, after class, was to slough off a massive amount of stress.

Let it be said throughout the land: It's especially difficult to teach Foucault on 2 hours' sleep, because he's dead.

I had to miss yet another meeting yesterday of the University Instituional Review Board, because the board decided to meet on Mondays this semester, when I couldn't come. Today's calendar includes a rollicking Academic Senate meeting, where I'll be called upon to say something intelligent, or at least audible, about the meeting of the ad hoc Committee on Constitutional Amendments. (The CoCA Committee - sing it to the tune of "Copacabana" - met Friday, when I couldn't come, but due to the miracle of Letting Students Run Their Own Group Discussion™ I went anyway.)

It looks like the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (proposed motto: "It beats flipping burgers") may make cultural studies a focus for development, which might mean the formation of a Cultural Studies Committee, which might mean another opportunity for me to be on a committee!

But seriously, no.

In other news, Lauren abides concussive, her main symptoms last night being giddiness, occasional pain and physical disorientation, with a side of unfocused perception. I had a couple concussions as a kid, but I don't remember them well enough to say whether she's on schedule or what. She's reportedly enjoying the experience (at least, the giddy part). Hey, you know what? She should get on a committee!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Michel Foucault: magnificent bastard

Different philosophers' writings strike me very differently. I want to say there's a certain feel to their work, and I want to say that that particular feel is the feeling of their thought. At the same time, I have grave reservations about saying that. If it's folly to declare what some philosopher is really saying, then it's even sillier to say how some philosopher thinks. My ascription of these feelings to the philosophers' works and thoughts might mainly be a description of my experience of reading and thinking about what they wrote. I could make the weaker claim that I'm only describing my experience, but nah, that doesn't sound right. There really appears, somewhere in the relation between the words, my brain, and the brain of the author, something like that philosopher's thinking. We really do get glimpses of that, and it's pretty thrilling when we do. (And some philosophers thrill us more than others for that reason. For me, it's G.W.F. Hegel, Aristotle, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Michel Foucault. As much as I love Jürgen "Mad Dog" Habermas and Edmund "Fast Eddie" Husserl, I don't get that thrill from reading them.)

I'm reading Foucault this afternoon, prepping for Monday night's Theory of Knowledge class. I selected a couple chapters in the first section of Archaeology of Knowledge to read, because I love that book, because most people don't pay as much attention to it, and because I haven't read it in a while. I may be alone in this assessment, but I've always thought it was Foucault's most Foucauldian book. At some points he literally out-Foucaults himself (oooh, but couldn't that be a multi-layered pun), for instance, when he criticizes his own earlier work for being somewhat naive. He gets there by doing the thing that makes me so excited about Foucault, a feeling I describe sometimes as walking a tightrope, and sometimes as perversion. And if that says more about me than about Foucault, I'm fairly sure he'd think that was highly amusing, and so would I.

The tightrope: Foucault uses the phrase "neither... nor" a bajillion times in this book, tracing out the narrow path he's following. His attempt to account for discourses of knowledge requires him to deny himself ground, foundation, or, really, justification. He lays bare how discourses follow immanent rules in forming objects, but the complex relations that lead to those objects' formation are not to be confused with the objects themselves. So he's not performing a kind of Marxist de-fetishizing of objects. He also denies himself the phenomenological option of returning to the things. He also denies himself the option of linguistic analysis. It's not clear he has a method, or could have a method, for doing this. In the book, he is attempting to say what that method is, but it's more of a denial of method than a theory.

Perversion: If you apply that non-method to his own work, it becomes evident that either it's impossible for Foucault to explain how he does it, or it's impossible for him to actually be doing it, or both. And he leaves you there. This is rather alarmingly like certain kinds of SM play, and it thrills me immensely. It does feel to me very playful, about as playful as a philosopher can get, and not only perfectly in keeping with the content of this book, but also with what I ascribe to Foucault as his way of approaching his work and his life. That self-consistency, and the way that self-consistency impels him to be self-inconsistent in this book, is nothing short of kinky. (It's well-documented that Foucault was a pervert. I'm not referring to his homosexuality, but to his very bizarre sexual practices, which, sadly, almost certainly led to his early death. And yes, I adore the fact that Foucault was a pervert, and adore him for having been a pervert. That means I like perverts, I suppose - at least, those who don't deliberately harm anyone.)

One of the oddest things about Foucault's work, and one that led me to pick Archaeology of Knowledge instead of the more likely suspect The History of Sexuality is that The History of Sexuality is less kinky. In fact, it's hardly kinky at all, in the way Archaeology of Knowledge is. I think by then he'd formulated a more theoretically grounded method, and although it's also a great book and fun to read, to me it's just a little less of a thrill.

Foucault would reject all this, of course. To analyze his discourse as though it were his would make very little sense to the author of Archaeology of Knowledge. To him, discourse isn't a phenomenon of expression but of discursive relations that issue subject positions in the context of various institutional sites. As an occupant of such positions, there may be a "Foucault," but that's not to be confused with the French pervert who died in 1984. So you see, Foucault - the Foucault that Foucault would want me to say I'm describing - really is a bastard. Woo-hoo! Cheezy Petes, I love this stuff!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Stockton Thunder 3, Long Beach Ice Dogs 1

Long Beach looked flat in the first period, and were outshot through the game nearly 3 to 1, something like 38 to 13. Stockton skated faster, played a very good puck-control, aggressive game, and never really let up. Their best player, Mike Lalonde, scored a goal and assisted on another, on his birthday.

We went to a couple Thunder games last year, and I was impressed with how disorganized their play was. This year is completely different, perhaps because most of the team was overhauled (in third-tier pro hockey, there's a pretty high level of turnover in personnel, as you might expect). A couple of their defensemen were notably good, one for being solid, big, in position, and good at making opposing players sit down suddenly (Tim O'Connell), the other for being very smart and moving the puck well but not being big enough to make all of his ideas become realities (Jeff Lang). But Lauren and I were most impressed tonight with Liam Reddox, all 5-10 180 pounds of him, because he has attributes we both adore in hockey players - speed, aggression, and (Lauren's particular proclivity) diminutiveness.

Fun stuff. We were three rows behind the team benches, at exactly center ice (my seat straddled where the red line would be). $16 seats - nearly the most expensive. Yep, I go all out, spare no expense. When we go again, we're going to try for seats one or two rows behind where we were, to get a slightly higher perspective on play.