Tuesday, August 30, 2005

monco

oh internet, such amusement, such danger



i've encountered a few amusing items in my internet comings and goings lately so i figured i'd post them here.

first up is this e-mail i received at my work e-mail account. it was very long but the first part of it will give you a good idea of what's going on:

"From: longminghui [mailto:chenjiadin@21cn.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2005 10:23 AM
To: Venture Intern
Subject: Request you denounce and prevent the American DuPont impudently forcibly occupy intellectual property of Mr.Huang!

Request you denounce and prevent the American DuPont impudently forcibly occupy intellectual property of Mr.Huang!


impudent DuPont CO.! impudent Holliday!impudent! impudent!! exceeding impudence!!!
DuPont and CEO Holliday are transnational scoundre!

Seek response from E-mail:
info.china@chn.dupont.com
http://www1.dupont.com/NASApp/dupontglobal/corp/contactEmail.jsp
president@whitehouse.gov
Postmaster@doc.gov

Does DuPont dare to deny openly? It does not dare, absolutely does not dare. With ironclad evidence before it, what qualification does it has to deny? There is a proverb saying “Qui non improbat, approvat”. Without open objection, DuPont is openly admitting itself to be a transnational scoundrel, trampling on the human and national dignity of creditors.

repudiate a debt + vilify = scoundrel

repudiate a debt + vilify + threaten = impudently forcibly occupy"

it goes on to relate the plight of Mr. Huang and his patented non-toxic farm pesticide. i especially enjoy the equations at the end up there as well as the accusations of "exceeding impudence!!!"
nothing excites passion in Mr. Long Ming Hui like the impudence of scoundrels.
and i guess he thinks the postmaster will be able to clear this whole debacle right up. perhaps he can; i really know nothing of the duties of the postmaster general.
though he does use language our president may relate to.


second up is this site that's been up for something like 10 years but i just came across it yesterday and was thoroughly entertained: most wanted paintings
they have the "most wanted paintings" for various countries based on some corporate-style market research.
China's is particularly bewildering: why is that portrait there?

I found that site when i was using technorati to look up random terms (including my own name, which, unfortunately, has not appeared on any blog). when i typed in Brown Student Radio i got another blog which linked to this site.
what this guy did was search all the positive reviews on pitchfork fro the most common words thn created a couple songs that met all the criteria. he has the mp3s up. they aren't that funny, but it's an interesting project.

Monday, August 29, 2005

He Hate Me

Summer Cleaning

I've got a long list of shit that I've planned to blog about that I want to get out of the way before the school year starts. Topics I've given up writing on include:
  • Jews and Dogs
  • Fat Piegeons
  • Denzel Washington and Conservative Subversion
  • College as a referendum on your first 18 years and burden on the remainder of your years
  • Un-Intellectual Diversity
  • Why I Hate People
  • Confessions

If I hear a public outcry to resurrect any of these topics, I will appease the masses and blog it/them. Now to some stuff I did find blogworthy.

Links
Here's some links I've been trying to stick in a post but haven't yet:

The Future
After Brown, I'm thinking of getting into the political game and either:

a. working for a guy from America Coming Together (which recently closed down) who's running for state rep.

b. working on the campaign of whoever challenges Mike DeWine (OH-Sen-Republican). DeWine is vulnerable and hopefully Paul Hackett, an anti-war Iraq war vet who almost won a special election for the U.S. House in one of the most republican districts in Ohio (OH-2-Cincinnati area), will run and I can work for him.

c. working on the campaign for governor - our current governor was just convicted of failing to report golf trips he was given and is being pushed to resign by the left and right. Because of term limits he can't run again but hopefully his bad reputation will rub off on the new Republican nominee.

I've been keeping up with all the political races through dailykos.com and mydd.com, the two biggest liberal activist blogs and meat-eating leftist where they believe:

"It's time to give the left a backbone... we've had it with mealy-mouthed, spineless, politically-correct liberals who... listen to public radio [and] Air America... Now is not the time for retreat, now is the time to speak loudly and carry a big brick... Contrary to how the media and the right portrays the left, we are not bong-smoking, Birk-wearing, sitar-playing misfits. We have families, we have careers, we have balls. We are you."

Bottom line, they are the thug liberals that I think the Democratic party needs. I don't think that that means we have to comprimise our values but there definitely needs to be a reframing of them. For example:

Pussy LiberalThug Liberal
Environment

Don't cut down the forests.
I like trees. You might hurt the cute animals.

Don't cut down the forests.
I need somewhere to shoot deer in the face.

Gun ControlI don't want anyone to be hurt so we shouldn't have any guns.Guns are for pussies; If anyone fucks with me, I'll just shove my foot up their ass.
AbortionI believe that women should have the right to choose.I believe the government should not have the right to choose.
Gay MarraigeI think everyone should do whatever they want. Gay people are cool.I dont care what those fucking faggots do. As long as its not my son.
TaxesIf we don't pay taxes then we'll run up a deficit and that's not good.I hate rich people. They don't deserve nothing and we should tax the shit out of them.
Social ServicesWe should take care of the less fortunate.For all the shit we get from our bosses, those bastards owe us social security, unemployment, welfare, etc.
Church and StateThere should be a strict division of church and state becuase the legal decision of...I don't want the government backing its ass up into my church.
TortureWe shouldn't torture enemy combatants becuase its wrong. Plus the Geneva Convention says...We shouldn't torture them because I don't want them torturing my kid.
Death PenaltyThe state shouldn't be allowed to kill people. Plus sometimes they execute innocent people.Don't execute them. That's too easy. Let them get gang-raped for the next 60 years.
Raising the Minimum WageWe should do it because its right.We should do it becuase I'm broke.
National DefenseI believe in peace. We should not support the military industrial complex.I don't give a fuck about those Arabs - I'm not sending my son to die for them.
Unilateralism/
Multilateralism
We should work with other countries to do whats best for everybody instead of just for us.We're #1. We shouldn't have to do everything, let those French bitches do some of the work.


Comments are welcome.

Don't Drink and Drive
From the Atlanta Journal Constitution (subscription required):

Lt. Gov.'s son charged after fatal crash
The son of Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, a Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, has been charged with felony DUI in South Carolina after a one-car wreck killed a man the younger Taylor described as his best friend...

Charleston police said Taylor was driving at a high rate of speed when his 2000 Lincoln Navigator hit a retaining wall, rolled onto its roof and slid along the roadway.

Joseph Victor Gennert, 22, of Charleston died at the scene, police said.

According to the report, Taylor told an investigating officer, "I was in Charleston Beer Works. I killed my best friend. I might have had four, I might have had three. Either way, I killed my best friend. . . ."

Anna Marie Gennert, the victim's mother, said in a telephone interview from her home in Willoughby, Ohio, she was unaware her son and Fletcher Taylor were friends. "I've never heard that name mentioned by my son," she said.

Joseph Gennert, her middle son, lived in Charleston and was beginning his second year at Trident Technical College, majoring in business, she said.

Police told her her son wasn't wearing a seat belt and was thrown through the sunroof and crushed when the car rolled over on him, she said.

"It could have easily been my son driving," Gennert said. "I don't think anything was intentional. They're kids."

The incident comes at a politically sensitive time for the lieutenant governor, who is preparing to launch a well-financed campaign for the 2006 Democratic nomination for governor... The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue in the general election.

- - - - - - -

Joe Gennert was a year above me at my high school. We struggled together through French class with Dr. Yedid and Ms. Thibonnier (who also recently died actually) Freshman and Sophomore year. We both had no clue what was going on half the time but we both had a sense of humor about our inadequacy.

He actually was "asked to leave" from U.S. after he got caught selling weed. Funny story: he tried to call the school on their bluff and hired a lawyer to sue the school for trying to expel him. One of the kids he sold to ratted him out though so he "left voluntaily." He was a good guy and he'll be missed by a lot of people. I'm really fucking tired of kids my age dying for preventable reasons so PLEASE take care of yourselves. Rest in peace Joe.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

monco

end of summer


i declared the summer over last saturday. at least for myself. i figured it would be easier for me to narrativize these past few months by giving it start and end dates marked by mirrored events: the two times seeing cory branan [pictured to the right with the porn guy] perform at jake's.
i can now rest a little easier knowing that it's useless to complain or worry about the coming of fall because, symbolically, it's already here.

i promised myself i wouldn't talk about luck any more on here because it's starting to get more than a little old. but it was a summer filled with both the good and the bad varieties in plenty. i guess it doesn't hurt that i'm living in a city whose very name attributes luck to divinity.

but it's done now. wrapped up. adam (a more physical manifestation of the presence of summer) has left, swapping coasts with mike who will arrive (and make his blog-debut, right mike?) shortly.

on top of it all, my childhood home [left] just went on the market and will be "mine" for not very much longer. i'd think this is a good time to say that the summer is over and that the daunting final year of school has begun.

let's hope i'm employed, or at least a big-time lottery winner, by the time this indomitable season returns.



p.s. adam - we found the dave matthews band and oasis cds. shame on you.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

harry j. blige

Kanye: Vlad, baby, check out this new dance step: I call it "One Step Forward, Two Steps Back"


"...with Lenin we come to a Marxist who is specialized himself as an
organizer and fighter. Like most Russians, Lenin was sensitive to
music; but Gorky tells us that on one occassion, after listening to
Beethoven's Appasionata Sonata and exclaiming that he 'would like to
listen to it every day: it is marvelous superhuman music--I always
think with pride . . . what marvelous things human beings can do,' he
screwed up his eyes and smiled sadly and added: 'But I can't listen to
music too often. It affects your nerves, makes you want to say stupid,
nice things, and stroke the heads of people who could create such
beauty while living in this vile hell. And now you mustn't stroke
anyone's head--you might get your hand bitten off.'"

--Edmund Wilson, 1938

Funny, really, because the wallpaper on the inside of Lenin's Moscow mausoleum consists of Jawbreaker and Kanye posters. I guess his friends and relatives figured he'd sell out in the afterlife to the extent that he'd admit how badly he wanted to shake it with his heroes. So they put up the posters--and he's been dancing ever since. RIP, baby Vladimir: it's cool, I like "Late Registration" too. And I'd rather have Kanye on the cover of Time magazine than someone who Isn't self-obsessed: after all, isn't that why he's just like you and I, Mr. Lenin? Because he loves himself?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

ch

"Only in Los Angeles can you drive to an Assyrian palace to buy blue jeans and leather goods."


A couple 'real' winged bulls.
Originally uploaded by cdhu.
Well, true. This is yet another reason why southern California, despite its appealing quirks, is not the kind of place I want to return to permanently.

In Commerce, CA, along the I-5 freeway from San Diego to LA, there is an outlet mall called the Citadel Outlets. Unlike the average shopping complex, this one features an Assyrian theme, complete with giant winged bulls strung along its fortified walls. There is also a giant LED screen, which helpfully "[delivers] high-impact messages to the many thousands of commuters who pass the property on the I-5 northbound and southbound each day."

Despite my gushing affection this summer for certain aspects of American capitalism (the unionized grocery store, mostly), I've never liked outlet malls. But what I do like, more than almost anything else in history, is the Assyrians. In ninth grade, I wrote a highly verbose research paper on them, complete with an awesome drawing of them beating up on some hapless Phoenecians. As Kartik knows, every time I go to an art museum, I contemptuously steer clear of the Egyptian art and head for the Ancient Near East. Every time I see a stupid hipster beard, I think of how lame it is compared to the fearsome curly beards of dudes like Ashurbanipal. And so on.

Lisa mentioned that this might have once been a tire factory--which turns out to be not only true, but part of a very weird history. Though I'm a little curious why, having made this same trip north on the I-5 many times since 1990, I've never seen the mall before.

Monday, August 22, 2005

He Hate Me

Trump

WARNING: This post is really long and not very well done. I was sitting bored at the airport for three hours and just kind of rambled on for awhile. Its mostly just an excuse to insult my housemates. Unless you’re really bored, I wouldn’t read this one.

This past weekend I took a trip with the parents to Atlantic City. I won’t bore you with details and pictures but rather introduce a theory of human behavior in the context of our current mass media.

For the most part, the trip was pretty boring (you can’t drunkenly stumble naked down the Boardwalk with the parents around). Most of the trip was spent meandering through the Trump Hotel, Trump Taj Mahal, and Trump plaza. We even had a sighting of the Trump-copter.

I’ve learned that the way to deal with the montony and mediocrity that my parents can perpetuate is to bring along my own entertainment. Last time it was Freakonomics, this time it was a book that I had skimmed through (read: read an online summary) for my senior year high school English class but Lisa has urged me to complete: White Noise. No, it has nothing to do with the recent horror movie of the same name. It is actually about a college professor who pioneers a Hitler studies department in his small liberal-arts college and spends his time deconstructing the meanings of car crash movies, TV commercials, death, fried chicken, consumer culture and mass media. Basically, it’s a book about the inner-monologue of a Brown student. And Lisa was right, it was totally worth reading and often laugh-at-loud funny. Now I want to write a book named Black Noise.

A quick aside before the theorizing: to Adam, the Hu, and other pro-book people, I must admit now that there is some worth to fiction books. However, I would say that fiction is only worthwhile in relation to understanding realities and would be improved in television form.

Alright, now to my theory. Like all of my theories, this is basically a restating of something you already know in different terms. Let’s begin:

Q: 1000 people are offered $50 if they can guess the number from 0 to 100 closest to 2/3’s of the average response. (Only whole numbers can be guessed, the correct response will be rounded up, in case of a tie a random method will determine the winner.) What number would you submit and why?

A: Obviously, there is no one “correct” answer here. And no this isn’t some kind of trick question thing. Simply put, your goal is to guess what other people would guess and then submit 2/3’s of that number. In experimental economics there are multiple methods that would explain the thought process one might go through to come up with an answer. I will focus on two: iterative dominance and the Nash equilibrium.

Iterative dominance is a simple concept that means thinking one step beyond your opponents. In this case, it may work out like this:

Iteration #1: Unless you’re a complete idiot you would have to guess less than 67 because even if everyone chose 100, the correct answer would be 66 2/3.

Iteration #2: You know that everyone knows iteration #1 so you know that the answer must be less than 2/3s of 2/3s of 100 or less than 2/3s of 66 2/3 or less than about 44.

Iteration #3: You know that most people will realize iteration #2 so you know that the answer must be less than 2/3s of 2/3s of 2/3 of 100 or less than 2/3s of 44 which is about 29…

And it goes from there. Simple enough.

Now its application. In my time in Cleveland and at Brown I’ve figured out how many groups define themselves and their world. Blacks are defined by struggle and opposition. Asians are defined either by isolation or self-hate and shame. Jews are defined by fear of failure and self-deprication. Preps and jocks are defined by living up to the standard of being preps and jocks. Women are defined by active self-commidifization, submission and incompetence. However, I’ve been trying to figure out the culture of the sect of White people that I’ve designated as indy. They are also referred to as hipsters I understand. Living with three of them this summer gave me insight into their culture and schema and I think I understand the driving force behind their culture: iterative dominance.

In a world where it is increasingly difficult to exist independent of mass culture and commercialization, the indy people are desparate to find that which is authentic. That was crystallized to me when I admitted to one of my housemates that I enjoyed Linkin Park despite the fact that they are a corporate creation meant to appeal to disillusioned white teenagers. His response was: well then why do you like them? Apparently he felt that liking a band should not be based on enjoying their music but rather on their claim to authenticity. If that means listening to random mind-numbing sounds in the kitchen rather than listening to commercial radio, then so be it.

The indy people are are smart enough to realize that they cannot exist outside of the pop culture hegemony so they subvert it by calling it into question. However, their coporate opponents have learned how to repurpose that very opposition into consumer culture. It then becomes the challenge for the indy subject to find the next iteration or lose their indy capital.

For example (circa 2000):

Iteration #1: Pop music is cool and fun. I will listen to Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys.

Iteration #2: Pop music is for pussies. I will listen to Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park.

Iteration #3: That rage rock shit is for whitey. I’m going to listen to DMX and Eminem.

Iteration #4: Popular rap artists have sold out, I’m going to listen to this underground rap music.

Iteration #5: All of today’s rap music is too derivative, I’m going to kick it old school.

Iteration #6: Only kids who think they’re cool/black listen to rap, I listen to rock music.

Iteration #7: All of today’s rock music is derivative. I listen to the Beatles and the Who.

Iteration #8: Everyone does that, I will listen to country and hardcore. I’m sooo indy.

Iteration #9: Music is for pussies, I like listening to random sounds and trying to enjoy it.

And so it goes…

Several points on this:
First, you eventually get so far down the chain that you begin to move back up and enjoy popular culture ironically in a phenomenon known as “camp” (i.e. the Hu’s fascination with Ashlee Simpson and Paris Hilton).

Secondly, it is unfair of me to cast this phenomenon as strictly characteristic of indy people. It is something that we all do. In my experience people that are lower than us on the iteration chain tend to be predictable and mediocre while those higher on the chain can be pretentious and unwilling to enjoy simple pleasures. I am making no statement here whether being higher on the iteration chain is normatively better or worse.

As Brown students, and certainly as MCM students, we pride ourselves on being smarter than everyone else and being able to figure out things that the average American idiot overlooks (i.e. of being higher on the iteration chain). I would argue that the goal of the Democratic party is to appeal less to those of us at higher levels of iteration and take a lesson from the Republicans and play dumb (more on this in a future post). Of course, to take this it will take a master of interative dominance who can come off as a “common man” (Clinton).

Third, by writing this article, I make the implicit statement that I am higher on the iterated dominance chain than those I criticize. I am.

Basically, my argument is that the hope of the indy personality (and all of us to a certain extent) is that through enough reaction and iteration we can cut through all of the crap to find the authenticity hidden inside culture. It’s sort of like looking for corn kernels in your poo.

Extra Credit question: What are the iterations behind “poo”? I counted six.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

monco

i told her i was hard to get to know...

this is going to be a picture-based rambling sort of blog entry, though not as epic as brandon's certainly.

first up is this photo of my fucked-up wheel: notice that the holes for the lug-nuts are all warped out of shape.

if you're reading this i've probably told you all about the events of the evening of monday the 8th so i won't repeat them. but as i was driving to the nearest repair shop, shortly after i took this picture, driving at walking speed, people would call out "hey, there's something wrong with your car."

"yes, there is certainly something wrong with my car, it lets out a deafening crack with every rotation of the wheel and i'm driving at the same speed that you are walking while my emergency lights flash their little hearts out and i wave the car behind me around. thank you; thank you for telling me"

though some bystanders were a little more observant, if a bit patronizing, and offered me encouragement, assuring me i'd make it there before the wheel fell off. i did, thankfully.

so i guess i'm chalking this one up to another example of some karmic debt i mysteriously owe this summer. but, hey, i survived the trip on this wheel from boston to providence so that's something to be thankful for.

here's picture number two: possibly the highlight of these past few days. two very nice posters received in the mail today.

i ordered the one on the right for obvious (aesthetic, musical etc.) reasons and was sent the one on the left for free.

the way it is pictured it is a hand rising from the ground, lazarus/zombie-style. upside-down, however, it is the hand of God reaching down to snatch the living from this earth.

i guess i prefer to see it the first way, offering the hope of life after death, so i will keep it in that orientation even if it turns out to be wrong.


picture number three: this is the guy i'll be interviewing saturday night.

i'm pretty pleased with this, he writes real well and seems to have an interesting career so i figure i can come up with a bunch of good questions.
i really should get on that.

he'll be playing at jake's at 8pm opening for the revival preachers in case anyone's interested in coming along to the show; it's good stuff.

i had planned on making a harpers index style entry summing up various events but, as i could have predicted, chris was the only roommate to respond to requests for info and adam told me that he "just doesn't think it would be funny".
so much for that.
i do enjoy the harpers index though.

oh, and the mouse is dead.
much like marat here:

kartik came in telling me "the mouse is dead". but he'd said that at least 3 times before when it wasn't true, so i told him that before checking.
yeah, it was dead.

it was all rigor-mortised with a fearsome grimace on its face. definitely dead.

i threw it into the outdoor trash can.

He Hate Me

Watch Big Brother Tonight

For those that haven't been watching:

There are two alliances that I will refer to as the good guys and the bad guys. Kaysar (the Iraqi guy) was voted out by the bad guys two weeks ago but through a twist was let back in the house after America voted him back in. When he got back, he competed in an endurance challenge (holding down a button) to win Head of Household with Jen, from the dark side. Jen promised to get rid of James (the loss prevention manager, i.e. Adam Delahanty) becuase he was playing both sides so Kayser let Jen win. Jen broke her word and put Kaysar and his partner Janelle up for eviction.

The good guys (and America) are pissed. Shit hits the fan tonight (Thursday) at 8 on CBS. This should be the best episode since the Eric/Michael fight.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

He Hate Me

136.25 Hours in Cleveland (Finale)

I don’t want to be one of those people that starts large projects and then flakes out (Mobilize anyone?) so I will conclude the story of my last trip to the FORMER mistake-on-the-lake. When I last left off I had spent my first 24 hours attempting to save the REACH closing ceremony.

Friday
1:00 – Showtime
The ceremony begins with the kids on stage singing “Shining Star” by Earth, Wind, and Fire. Click here for a short clip.

Then, the speeches. After hours of practice, rewrites and panic, everything actually managed to work out exceedingly smooth. The first couple speakers did solid jobs and the keynote speaker hit every line perfectly.

He put in such an amazing performance that d the crowd gave the kid a standing ovation. Crisis averted.







4:00 - East Coast Frozen Custard
Best Ice Cream Ever. You don’t have to throw a bunch of shit in ice cream to make it delicious Ben, Jerry, and Coldstone. Just make it taste good.

6:30 - Rally's
Do they have these on the coasts? If not you are missing out on delicious fast food for cheap. It beats the shit out of White Castle.

Saturday
12:30 – Coventry
After finally getting a night’s rest I decide to go for a run in the 95 degree heat to Coventry. Speaking of which, according to the am-i-fat.com (where you can figure out how many calories you lose doing "sex: moderate effort) body mass index calculator, I am no longer “You are overweight!” I am simply “Hmm..Marginal!”

Coventry is the stetch on Coventry road between Euclid Hts. Blvd. (my street) and Mayfield that is like Cleveland Heights’ Thayer Street. Home to Hunan on Coventry, it is our cultural and culinary hub.

One of my favorite places is Big Fun, our version of Shades Plus, just better. Basically it’s a store with all the useless shit that you never knew you wanted.

Wearied by the weather and the REACH debacle, I pass out for the rest of the day. I wake just in time for my Saturday episode of Big Brother. I’m rooting for Howie to take it all. Why you may ask?

“As loud as his mouth, Howie is also the house “farter”, farting on Kaysar’s face leading Kaysar to comment that he was going to start working on Howie and his manners.” – Live Feeds Update on mortystv.com

After BB6 I took a trip to the exurbs for a reunion with some of my high school jews. In the process, I learned a lesson about post-modern culture, human behavior, and experimental economics that I will elaborate on in a future post.

A few quick notes on the geography of Cleveland thanks in part to Google maps:
The red area is Cleveland proper, the yellow area the so-called inner-ring suburbs, and the the areas outside of the yellow are the exurbs. Cleveland is one of the top ten most segregated cities in the nations because as blacks moved into the red area, whites fleed to the yellow area. When blacks moved to the yellow inner-ring suburb area (such as Cleveland Heights, my house is marked by the red pointer), whites flocked to the exurbs. Exurbs include Hunting Valley (circled in green to the East) where I went to high school and Parma (to the southwest) which is a major hub for the KKK and home of Extreme Futuristic Wrestling. The exurbs are supposedly what tiltled the election in Bush's favor.

Sunday
11:00 – Inn on Coventry
Tell me that this doesn’t look delicious. Big-ass pancakes filled with fruit and spices, and omelettes with spinach and feta chesse served at reasonable prices. This is what those bourgeois (pronounced buh-zhee) fucks at Rue de l’Espoir need to learn how to do.

I spend the rest of the day catching up with family and watching TV with Eddie.

Monday
9:55 – Back to the PVD
136 hours and 15 minutes after I’d landed, I was back on the plane. I would say something very deep and retrospective right now but since I’m back in Cleveland as I write this, its hard to be nostalgic.

Instead, I will solve one of the mysteries that I presented at the beginning of this series. You may recall that Nathan caught me jerking off about a month ago and I said that I would explain the circumstance of that masturbatory occasion.

The site is http://www.sickogames.com/. I don’t want to prejudice you to the site so I suggest you explore it yourself but make sure to download the rules video and "requiem" video and read through the concept of the site and the "games". The circumstances, social significance, and how this will relate to my senior year thesis will be discussed in a future posting.

In the meantime, a homework assignment for our infamous readers. Y’all need to start leaving comments. Perhaps you don’t leave comments because you don’t have any specific question to prompt you. Well here’s one:

What pleasures (textual, sociopolitical, sexual, or otherwise) do sickogames.com seek to fulfill? What deeper social/cultural/psychosexual needs and desires may be responsible for these pleasures? What greater social significance may the game structure of sickogames hold for social/political/genderistical structures? If you need help, you might want to check this out for some research. Leave no assumption unquestioned.

Finally, a few quick links.

Friday, August 12, 2005

ch

Three beers + free time =


Gordon Brown
Originally uploaded by cdhu.
Today was my last day at work, and after returning my borrowed textbooks, backing up my files, saying my goodbyes, reconfiguring my email account—after shedding all of the trappings of office life that I had so unexpectedly come to enjoy—I had 20 minutes or so to kill.

So I found myself on the Guardian website, reading Gordon Brown’s eulogy to Robin Cook, the former British foreign secretary who died last week, at 59, while hiking in the Scottish Highlands. Despite my often rampant Anglophilia (though really, of course, Cook was a Scot), I knew next to nothing about him until he died—only that he had quit the Blair government over the invasion of Iraq.

But rhetoric, and particularly the eulogy, have always affected me deeply, despite my well known lack of publicly-displayed emotions. I’ve read whole books about the Gettysburg Address, and Derrida’s collection of eulogies for all the intellectual co-conspirators who died before he...and that funeral oration of Pericles, way back in high school? Middle school? Brown’s address was repetitive, politically self-serving, hardly literate, indicative of how far New Labour has fallen...and yet I found it touching and evocative. I searched for American comparisons—Gordon Brown as a sort of Al Gore, the perpetually thwarted lady-in-waiting, Cook himself a mix of elfin Robert Reich and principled, tragically short-lived Paul Wellstone—

And I ended up thinking about myself—how's that for self-serving—finding similarities, however tenuous. Horse-racing enthusiast, proponent of intervention in Kosovo but not Iraq, educated in English literature, the Scottish Presbyterianism I’m (only) five generations removed from...but most of all, shy, as one of his advisors wrote today:

One of the keys to understanding this became apparent to me several years ago when Robin confided that he often found it difficult to overcome his own natural shyness in dealings with others. This translated into a certain awkwardness that was too easily mistaken for aloofness or arrogance. It is certainly true that he had immense intellectual self-confidence, yet he always seemed to doubt his ability to inspire affection and respect in others.

And it seems he must have shared my love of furious contradiction, and my fear that I will receive a religious burial:

But Mr Cook, like the late Scottish first minister, Donald Dewar, might reasonably be described as a ‘Presbyterian atheist,’ Bishop Holloway added. He would surely have enjoyed the irony of a church funeral in much the same way that he would have enjoyed singing the Red Flag at a New Labour rally, he said.

Unlike the novel I’m reading now, its overwhelming intellect directed at a fascination with death, this kind of thing is cozy, not-so-ironically life-affirming, even as it brushes over political problems and obscures personal failings...exactly the kind of thing I should really start doing if I want to avoid being thought aloof or arrogant until my own unwanted church funeral.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

monco

kickballery

lisa got some good pictures from the BSRmadillos most recent kickball outing so i figure i'll post a a couple here and suggest that you all visit the Providence Kickball League site for hilarious recaps of the games here's a few sentences from one:

"As the Game got underway, the Word Nerds shouted at Sharks v. Jets, rattling Boggle Cups and holding up large, felt letters that spelled: FUCK MARIA.
[ed. note: Unbeknownst to The Word Nerds, a member of Sharks v. Jets had a friend, named Maria, visiting from out of town and playing in her very first Kickball Game that day. Welcome to Providence Maria - it doesn't get any easier.] "

yeah, our team isn't as dramatic as some (any recap of a Daggers United game will surely entertain), and they rip on our affiliation with Brown pretty often, but we do have a finely crafted papier-mache armadillo pranced about on the head of our deliquent blog-member.



kartik with armadillo to the left (chris and lisa did a fine job)

robin and some drunk guy who wandered onto the field mid-game up above


we won the last game so now we're second in our division and will be going to the playoffs.

our chances of winning?

probably not that great.

Monday, August 08, 2005

He Hate Me

Ode to Jolly

Now that I've (hopefully) passed my two summer Econ classes and am ready to go back home to Cleveland Sunday morning, I can begin blogging more regularly and eventually wrap up the tale of my last trip home to the land of LeBron.

However, this post will not be as upbeat. Upon my return to Cleveland, I was informed that John Jolly, the head chef of University School passed away at the age of 41 from a brain tumor. For those that did not know him, the single best adjective I could use to describe him would be his own surname, Jolly.

As most of you well know, I was not happy with most of my time at US and often sulked through the hallways anticipating the next obstacle in my daily struggles. One time at lunch I went to the lunch line for seconds and one of the lunch ladies stopped me and asked, "How come you don't ever smile?" The kitchen staff began laughing as their inside joke at my expense was revealed. I responded that I often did smile (a lie) but she refused to serve me seconds on food until I smiled. I obliged and recieved my food. From then on, everytime I went through the lunchline John would come out from the kitchen and yell, "Smiley! How's it goin?" That always brought a smile to his face.

I never remember seeing him without a smile on his face and I never remember being around him without a smile on mine. As one of the only four black men in the building (the other three being the head of the REACH program, my track coach and a janitor named Walter -- there were no black women faculty), he became a mentor and a friend to me. When I wanted to do a reality show for our Junior year Variety Show I turned to him to do a kitchen staff vs. students Iron Chef episode with the theme ingredient of peanut butter and jelly. They managed to crank out some really good food but more importantly, we laughed the whole afternoon and had a great time.

In HI51, we often talked about contingency and how history could have been very different if it wasn't for relatively minor influences. When thinking back to my days at US, I think about all the things that had to go right for me to survive that place. And I do mean survive in the most literal of senses. It was some time around senior year that I finally learned one of the most important lessons of my life: how to survive. Instead of attempting to instigate revolution or looking to historical figures or Big Brother castmembers named Will for the answer, I should've observed the mentors I had around me. I should've learned to smile.

As Reverend Bowens once put it, "If you have a so-called problem or obstacle, you bless it and allow it to bless you. Only then will you rise above it." That is, instead of letting life's challenges defeat you, you laugh in the face of them and move beyond them. Often a smile is the most effective means of resistance and subversion.

Bottom line, people are about as happy as they make their minds up to be. John decided he wanted to live his life in happiness and through that choice brought joy to so many of us.
I'm tired of having to rationalize myself through death after death of really good people in my life. I've gotten a little too used to this practice over the last five years from the Heights car crash of Junior year to the tragic passing of John. I'm always comforted by a really corny line from Star Trek 2 (later repeated on a Seinfeld episode): "He's not really dead. As long as we remember him." Whenever I moon someone, I think of the mischiefness of Mike Davis. Whenever I play soccer I think of the atheletic spirit of Brennan and his friends. For too many others I've lost, I have special memories and special lessons.

For John, I will always remember that smile and laugh that came up from his belly straight through his soul. And I will remember the lesson he taught me -- in the words of Julia Child, another late great chef:

Above all else, have a good time.

Friday, August 05, 2005

harry j. blige

Hard Knock Life

Across from my post at the library pasted on to the marble wall is a quote from John D. Rockefeller Jr.--another John ______ (a blonde), my co-worker, called it his "credo". I don't know what to make of the quote, but if you run out of reading material on the job and take snapshops from some of the sentences, all of a sudden there is poetry:

"I believe that Thrift is essential.
I believe in the Dignity of Labor.
I believe in the Sacredness of a Promise.
I believe that Love is the Greatest Thing in the World."

I'm pretty sure that's the Roc-A-Fella motto, too. It would be nice if I didn't have to paraphrase--if that right there was the essence of the qoute... but it's not. Too much of it has to do with God, and the Law, and Mankind--words I've never been able to wrap my head around (where does that phrase COME from?!! shucks) And so our library was built not on the four lines above but with a far different credo in mind--which I'd prefer not to dwell on.

As I am writing this, a very young girl--perhaps four or five--clearly revelling in her small-ness--clearly terrified of her parents' ivy league aspirations--wearing what I can only call "tights"--ostensibly following her big sister on a tour of the University--has become fascinated by the text on the wall, which is in relief; she has been running her hands across the letters, trying to pull them off the wall--and of all the words in the three-paragraph-long quote, her attention has centered on one: "sacrifice".

Just another day at the office.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

monco

the infamous...mouse?

we have, temporarily at least, taken in a severely neurologically impaired mouse.

i found this mouse yesterday morning on my walk to work. it was huddled in the middle of the sidewalk. i gave it a bit of a nudge with my foot but it didn't seem to care much so i went on my way.
i was surprised to find it still there on my way back from work, still alive and blinking but not moving much. i figured its time was near so i left again.
then, on my way to east side minimart for some nyquil at 8:45 pm last night the mouse was still there. and it still appeared alive.
here is the mouse when i found it yesterday evening:






with the help and encouragement of chris (who i suspect has more of a soft-spot for helpless animals than me) and his mouse-glove, we got the mouse into a carefully constructed habitat [read: box with shredded newspaper] and brought it into the house, an act that worried kartik greatly. we saved this mouse from the fate of the owl's talons or the icy grip of the skunk!

after providing food and water we noticed that the mouse does very little but roll around a lot and walk in tight circles. it'll just start spinning and convulsing at random moments. so our best guess is that it has a severe neurological impairment.

here's a picture of the mouse as s/he is currently: not moving too much.
click on the picture to see a video of the mouse turn a cirlce. not one of the spastic roll-overs or spins, just a regular old circle.




in other news i've written an article for the blog belonging to the professor i'm working for this summer. this is like a real-deal blog, no names based on fictional whiskies there, here's the link: InfoInterventions.

it's about blogs, bombs and camera-phones.
so it's a blog entry about blogs, which i'm plugging on another blog.

i need to get out more.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

monco

fully clothed


in response to recent questions regarding the whereabouts of my shirt in several photographs, i present this picture. clearly (as my finger indicates), i am wearing a shirt as i more often than not do.
shirtless pictures of me are few and far between, so usually there's a decent explaination.