Tuesday, November 29, 2005harry j. blige
Monday, November 28, 2005ch
Good news from San Diego, or, No sympathy please, we're communists.
My mom sent me a funny email about "the Duke," which I'm excerpting below:
"Did you see that Duke Cunningham resigned after admitting accepting bribes? Reportedly he was in tears or "near tears." Are we supposed to feel sorry for him??"
Thursday, November 24, 2005monco
i hope all those in the house and all the guests have a joyous holiday
Wednesday, November 23, 2005monco
for your consideration...
Monday, November 21, 2005ch
Fishing for comments, or, You're lucky that I'm not posting about corny jokes instead.
Last but not least, a call for reader participation: Do you think we should let the people at Brown Alumni Monthly, who are working on an article about Brown students' blogs, know about the Infamous Grouse?
Bonus question: If you ever read Althusser's "ISA Essay," under what circumstances did you do so? What did you think at the time? Do you still remember parts of it? How, if at all, has it influenced your thinking about universities or society more generally?
I Don't Know
That said, I've found a new issue to whine about. There are few things in life that I feel like I do not know the correct answer to. I don't mean, like, knowing how many miles Jupiter is from Saturn. I mean given the basic information, usually available through Google, I can say who's right, who's wrong, what's problematic, why stuff happened, and why people do the things they do. Because of this massive IQ that I have been blessed to carry around, it is very frustrating for me when I cannot figure certain things out. I've surrounded myself with fairly intelligent people to help me in these rare situations but alas, there are certain problems whose answers remain elusive.
The Browns beat the Dolphins 22 to 0. I have absolutely no idea how to feel about this. For those that don't know, I was a Miami Dolphins/Marlins/Panthers fan up until my college but since I've been in Providence I have slowly converted to being a Cleveland Browns/Indians/Barons fan. I mean what makes someone a Browns fan or Dolphins fan anyways. Is it who you happen to root for at the moment or is it something deeper? I mean I've always been a Dolphins backer so its just more comfortable to stay with what I know. This is not to say that I have had success with the Dolphins. Sure, they've been to the playoffs consistently but they haven't made it to the big game in my lifetime. The fact that Marino didn't get a ring is one of the greatest injustices of humanity. How much has this admittedly important omission hurt the career of perhaps the greatest of all time? To be fair though, its been a while since the Dolphins have had any sustained success. They haven't even made the playoffs since I've been in college.
On the other hand, the Browns have been consistently disappointing. I feel like the chances of the Browns even reaching the Super Bowl in my lifetime are slim. Watching Browns fans live their lives in constant depression because they can never win the big one does not seem like the way one should live their life. However, should I even be basing my choice on which team I think has a better chance of success? And do we really have a choice in the matter in the first place? Isn't the rule that you just go for the home team no matter what? I mean we can attempt to deny the home team and look where the grass is greener but then that's just selling yourself out. But then why should I root for a team that I don't think can win? Is it worth the chance? I mean once you switch can you switch back or is that it?
I guess this is the crux of the issue - both teams have been disappointing and the only success I've ever experienced is as a Dolphins fan and since I doubt that either team can succeed, I should probably just stick to what I'm used to. On the other hand, I feel a deeper calling to the Browns since they're the hometown team and thus the more natural choice. I also feel like if/when the Browns win, it will be all that much sweeter than with the Dolphins. After all, I was born a Clevelander - though I don't know that choosing a team is simply a matter of where you were born. In the meantime, I guess I'll just root for both and just find myself lost and confused if they ever go against each other for the AFC championship. Like that'll ever happen...
Friday, November 18, 2005monco
anyway, this is that dream i was talking about.
the dream proceeded in this way:
i was at a beach near my home in marblehead where i encountered a miniature doberman pinscher. it was no more than a foot tall and disturbingly docile. i brought it to a neighbor's house because it looked lost and unhealthy.
after a while, the neighbor suggested that this dog might be pregnant. the mere mention of this seemed to make it true and the dog suddenly found itself lying belly-up in a basket with towels lining it.
the miniature doberman pinscher began to give birth to even smaller puppies, about 3 or 4 of them. but soon the dog's chest opened up, zipper-like, and 2 or 3 full grown rats emerged.
i think the rats started to eat the puppies.
this was a profoundly creepy dream.
Thursday, November 17, 2005monco
...to a de-luxe apartment in the sky
i had a creepy dream the other night and told it to a few people at the indy copy editing meeting. they were pretty interested/disgusted. i was going to post it here but now i'm not so sure because i have no idea what it might "mean." because if dreams say anything about one's psyche, this one says nothing good about mine.
should i post it? it's pretty amusing.
Monday, November 14, 2005ch
Of Copyright, Dominic Hasek, and Ghostface Killahs.*
enjoying this 'hella' entertaining instance of spirit photography.
* This should allay fears about my ability to write blog entry titles.
Friday, November 11, 2005He Hate Me
What Are You?
In terms of politics, as Ice Cube might say, "Tuesday was a good day." Corzine won New Jersey and Kaine took Virginia in two tough fights. BTW, Corzine beat Doug Forrester, who's only major political experience was as the former Republican mayor of West Windsor, New Jersey. That's right West "Home of the Siew Crew" Windsor. Apparently, he:
"prevented West Windsor from becoming a densely packed hodgepodge of strip malls, fast-food drive-ins and liquor stores... rezoned large swaths of farmland for commercial and residential purposes... [with his work] the property values in West Windsor skyrocketed because of the [new] sewer system.
Today, West Windsor is affluent, highly educated and its schools rank among the top in the state. Nearly 70 percent of all families have annual incomes exceeding $100,000. West Windsor's train station, Princeton Junction, is New Jersey's fourth busiest.
The town's landscape is defined by large homes, upscale shopping centers and modern office parks. To some, West Windsor is a model community that demonstrates how measured growth and progressive civic planning transformed an agricultural backwater into an economic powerhouse.
Jany, who is one of its last remaining farmers, said he has mixed emotions about what has become of the bucolic town that existed when Forrester took his seat on the committee 26 years ago.
'It was sad to see the land disappear,' Jany said. I'd much rather see it the way it was. But if you're going to put jobs on Route 1, then people have to live somewhere." - NorthJersey.com Article
Alright, back to politics. Unfortunately, all four of the Reform Ohio Now issues failed to pass despite polling that showed Issues 2 (absentee voting for all) and 3 (limit campaign contributions) with 60% approval and Issue 5 (elections supervised by bipartisan board as supposed to corrupt secretary of state) at 50-50. None of the Issues even hit 40%. The next day my mom called to console me and suggested that I "give up on Ohio. It's a lost cause." Sometimes it seems like it is.
In sunnier news, California got their act together and struck down all of the Governator's ballot issues. Also, in just the last week:
- Santorum (PA-Sen) would lose 32-54 if the election were held today.
- Fox News has Bush approval rating at 36.
- ANWR is safe. For now.
- Against Cheney's wishes, the Senate passes an anti-torture bill 90-9 amidst reports of US secret prisons and chemical warfare in the Middle East. This lead to the following exchange between an angry black woman reporter (QUESTION) and Scott McClellan. As Kartik can attest, you don't want to be in the way when a black woman gets angry:
- THOMAS: Why don‘t you answer the question on the exemption?
MCCLELLAN: I just did. QUESTION: Is the Vice President's Office taboo to answer? I mean, you blanketly cover the White House. The Vice President's Office is under the auspice of the White House. Why can't you answer... MCCLELLAN: I'm not going to get into all the discussions we have with members of Congress. If they want to add additional information, you're welcome to contact their office as well. QUESTION: Well, they don't answer like you do. You are at that podium. We need to hear from you. MCCLELLAN: And I just made it clear what our views are. There is a statement of administration policy that has been put out... QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) torture, the vice president wants torture. Which one... MCCLELLAN: Wrong. That is absolutely false. (LAUGHTER) QUESTION: Well then tell us. Explain it (inaudible) to the White House. MCCLELLAN: The president's made it very clear that we do not torture. QUESTION: (inaudible) the vice president (inaudible)? MCCLELLAN: I just told you. (LAUGHTER) QUESTION: No, you have not. MCCLELLAN: If you want... QUESTION: I'm not trying to be... MCCLELLAN: No, I'm not going to let you -- you are mischaracterizing what this is about. It's put in the statement of administration policy. Look, you can keep showboating for the cameras, but we've made clear what our views are. (CROSSTALK) MCCLELLAN: Well, you are. Let's be honest about it. QUESTION: I'm being honest. I want an honest answer from you. MCCLELLAN: And you got it in the statement of administration policy. (CROSSTALK)
All the inaudible parts are the reporter getting all up in McClellan's shit. Black women tend not to annunciate very well before their about to cuss you the fuck out. The back-and-forth is really entertaining and I've spent the last half-hour looking for it. I think its on the Press Briefing page but you need RealPlayer to see the video.
- And most excitingly to me: the House rejected a $51 billion budget-cut package pushed by Republican leaders and the White House that would scale back Medicaid, food stamp and student loan programs.
- Only 360 days or so til Election '06.
Now to attempt the awkward segue...
One of the most interesting aspects about politics is trying to figure out how people define themselves, their world, their candidates, and their party to determine who to vote for. Most people for the simple liberal/conservative or Democratic/Republican distinction and while I'm all for problematic totalizing labels, I am also interested in more nuanced labels.
In an attempt to convince you that you're one of them, the Libretarian Party has the "World's Smallest Political Quiz" that places you not only left or right but up or down depending on the liberalism or conservative of your economic and social views. For example, this is where I scored.
I've become so moderate over my years at Brown from my Economics department brainwashing and as a reactionary defense against Brown pussy liberals. If you want a more complete, detailed, and objective test of your place on the political compass, try politicalcompass.org's questionnaire. Basically, the same idea but they rotate the compass 45 degrees to the left. I scored (-2.5, -2.7) so about David Cobb (Greens) and Ralph Nader level.
Post your compass numbers under comments so we can make a compass of the folk.
However, the most interesting test I found was at the Pew Research Center which breaks the American population into nine different political typologies. From conservative to liberal they are: Enterprisers, Social Conservatives, Pro-Government Conservatives, Upbeats, Disaffecteds, Bystanders, Conservative Democrats, Disadvantaged Democrats, and Liberals.
They have a 25-question test to see where you fit but I can save you the time and tell you that you're gonna test as a Liberal. That's what I got and I thought I answered pretty moderately. Classifying the different typologies on a spectrum, as I did above because as they explain by going through the different groups, left/right/up/down or economic or social liberal/conservative labels don't always work. For example, there are pro- and anti-immigration types evenly distributed throughout the "spectrum."
Segue #2... Lately I've been considering whether its just me or everyone is so focused on categorizing people and what are the reasons I feel the need to do so. For my lastest video project, I put the mic (read: my dick) in random people's faces and asked them "Who They Are" and then "What They Are." When they tried to conclude their thought, I would prod them with "What else are you?" After I'd made them appropriately uncomfortable, I would then show them video of someone else answering the same questions and ask "What is (s)he?... What else is s(he)?" Here's what I've figured out.
Foucault is a smart guy. Maybe even smarter than Oprah. Or my mama. I'll give you some time to get your mind around that and explain what I mean later. Feel free to leave theories under comments as well as your results from the political compass tests.
should have known better...
i should have known better than to think that technological fortune had begun to smile upon me.
12 hours after i "fixed" my computer, it crashed again. i can now get it to work for 2 hours before it begins to malfunction and needs to cool down for 5 more.
lisa's brother says i can fix this by getting a new hard drive for $150.
i won a flash drive in a library database fair drawing (i go to library database fairs).
it doesn't work.
on the up-side, my economist intelligence unit magic 8-ball has correctly predicted a number of events.
Thursday, November 10, 2005monco
oh my goodness
my computer is working again
i am on the internet...in my room
it has been two months
i have no software anymore
but i have my internet, my sweet, sweet internet
what will i do now?
Tuesday, November 08, 2005monco
holy crap! this thing's worth money!
this site apparently has a value of $1,238.92
why have i seen not a cent of this wad of cash?
blogshare's stats on the infamous grouse
Monday, November 07, 2005He Hate Me
"I'm Black and I'm Proud... sometimes..." OR "I'm gonna go find a white man and lie to him right now!"
Rep. Tubbs-Jones (OH-11-Cleveland area) on Colbert Report
On "The Colbert Report" (basically The Daily Show's version of the O'Reilly Factor) they did a piece on my beloved Cleveland and our congresswoman, the honorable Stephanie Tubbs-Jones. It's pretty fucking funny. Watch it here.
Mike Tyson and Bobby Brown singing "The Monster Mash"
No words are needed. Just right-click on the picture, download to disk and watch.
See the top picture on the post below.
Friday, November 04, 2005He Hate Me
Tomorrow We're All Undefeated Again
Many of the useful life lessons I use everyday come from this great institution.
- "It's all about the yards after the catch."
- "You play to win the game."
- "On any given Sunday, any team is capable of defeating any other team... THAT'S why they play the game."
- "Football incorporates the two worst elements of American society: violence punctuated by committee meetings."
That said, those of you who are still with me, let me get to the actual subject of this post. During the Super Bowl, the NFL plays this great commercial with all of the players from teams that fell short of the Super Bowl singing "Tomorrow, Tommorrow, It's Only A Day Away" from "Annie." The commercial ends with text on the screen with the simple message:
"Tomorrow We're All Undefeated Again"
Doesn't that just give you chills? I guess I should stop pretending that I'm writing toward an audience that actaully appreciates my rambling about the NFL and get to my point.
Wednesday was November 2nd. Exactly one year since Election Day 2004. At this time last year, I was completely inconsolable and barely able to function. It really did feel like a close friend or family member had died. The Republicans increased their lead across the country and there was even talk of a "permanent Republican majority." It seemed as if there was no way we could ever win.
Oh, how things have changed:
- The president's DISAPPROVAL rating is 60% (47% STRONGLY DISAPPROVE)
- Iraq war OPPOSITION rating is 60% (67% DISAPPROVE of Bush's handling of war)
- Bush MISLED PUBLIC in case for war: 55%
- War on Terror: NOT SATISFIED rating is 47%
- Economy in BAD shape: 65%
- Country on WRONG TRACK: 68%
- Bush Honesty and Trustworthy? NO: 58%
- Bush understands problems of ppl like you: NO: 66%
- Republican UNFAVORABLE rating is 50% (Dems is only 36%)
- The House Majority Leader Tom Delay INDICTED
- Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist UNDER INVESTIGATION
- Social Security Privatization KILLED
- VP's Chief of Staff INDICTED
- President's top adviser UNDER INVESTIGATION
- 2006 Outlook: Democrats 45, Republicans 32 (23% undecided)
Bottom line: Don't lose the forest for the trees. Or maybe, everybody punts.
Oh, and Happy Birthday to the Jew. Just to let you know, here are some of the things you're safe from on your day of birth:
Being Glued to A Toilet at Home Depot
Recieving A Bag of Feces For Halloween
Ramming Your Head Into A Locker (right-click, then download)
Having an Army Recruiter Call You After You Record An Anti-Bush Answering Machine Message and Cuss You The Fuck Out (right-click, then download - mp3)
And finally, a masterpiece simply entitled, "That's what asshole friends are for" (right click, download).
And this is unrelated but just plain funny.
Happy Birthday Mike.
3 pressing issues
this bullshit better stop.
2. economists like baskets. today in economics class (yeah, i take econ, that's right) we were told about consumer price index and how it is calculated based on a "basket" of items. but then there's also this rigamarole i read about of china basing its currency on a "basket" of other currencies. wouldn't something like a "wallet" be a better, more metonymic, word for currency valuing. "china will now determine the value of the yaun[?] on a wallet of currencies." or why not just say "a variety of currencies"? get rid of the whole container issue.
much like the passage of time: this bullshit better stop
3. it is mike's birthday. happy birthday mike.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005ch
A fast, not a hunger strike!
I plan to write more about it in The List this week--including some customary criticism of both myself and the campaign--but I should note here that The Grouse never fails to bring trife to even the most humorlessly political of situations. On the first day of the fast, Nathan, Kartik, and Mike came to visit me. Kartik, and possibly the other two, were still hung over from Kartik's birthday party the night before. First, they offered to bring me beer, which I politely explained was not allowed under the terms of the fast (hot water only--no keg stands permitted). Then Kartik, who as usual had not really been listening, asked, "So, what are you guys doing for food?"
Anyway, I'm posting today's Bob Kerr column from the Projo--I apologize for bumping down the posts below. Kerr is always pretty hokey, but he often has the right perspective on things: a couple weeks ago he took URI students to task for passionately protesting dorm inspections but having never protested the Iraq invasion--or anything else, for that matter.
It was the great divide, presented on a downtown Providence sidewalk so that all kinds of people could see it and think about it.
In the heart of the city's financial district, janitors sat down outside the Turks Head building to present to the hustling business community around them the face of the people who perform the work that is seldom noticed until it is left undone.
In their folding chairs, arranged tightly against the wall of the building, the people who clean for a living set up their quiet, hungry protest.
For five days, three janitors, and student supporters from Brown University and Rhode Island College, went without food to bring attention to the work the janitors do and the often poor conditions under which they do it. They chose the Turks Head building, they said, because the janitors who work there receive lousy wages under a nonunion cleaning contractor.
"What happened to them happened to me," said Jorge Cabrera, one of the fasters.
He is a janitor at Providence College. It is a good job that lets him provide for his family. But he has not always had good jobs. He has been a janitor in other places where the pay was so low that he had to take second and third jobs.
And that, he says, meant too often seeing his children only when they were asleep. That is an image carried throughout this protest. The people who do these often invisible jobs wanted to let others know that for janitors to provide for their families, they sometimes have to give up seeing their families as mothers and fathers should.
The fast ended shortly after noon yesterday with the sharing of bread and water. It ended with "We Shall Not Be Moved" in Spanish and English -- with the sound of a guitar and a sense of timeless, peaceful protest brought to the streets.
"I feel victorious," said Cabrera in the last minutes of the fast. "But it is important that the fight not stop here. Together, we can make changes in this industry."
Maybe. The five-day fast drew a lot of attention. Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence paid a visit. Ministers and political leaders and union officials lent their support.
On Monday, Judge Stephen J. Fortunato left his bench in Superior Court and walked over to the scene of the fast to see for himself if it was interfering with access to the building. The building's owner, Evan J. Granoff, had complained that the fasters were bothering building tenants.
Fortunato looked, returned to the courtroom, and invoked the names of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. in ruling that the fasters were not interfering and could not be arrested for sitting in their chairs on the sidewalk.
Granoff should be grateful. The forcible removal of the fasters and their supporters would have been an ugly and unenlightened response to some basic and reasonable concerns.
Now, the owner of the Turks Head building and the owners of other buildings in Providence have only to think about how they can best respond to these last five days. The fast brought people who do business downtown face to face with the people who clean up after them. It made invisible jobs a little more visible.
The janitors aren't asking for a lot, just for something close to a decent working wage and decent working conditions. The fast is a good opportunity to begin the process of giving people who do the work few people want to do the opportunity to have a working life and a family life.
To ignore people willing to go hungry for five days to make their point would be a very cold piece of work indeed.