Archive for October 27th, 2004

Hell Freezes Over

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The Red Sox are nine outs away from winning
the World Series. Our emotions are strong, and mixed, and difficult to
describe. We have been a fanatic of the Sox through thick and thin, since
we moved to Cambridge in 1971, and we know, without a doubt, that a very
real and important part of our adult life is about to change forever.

A significant part of our psyche wants them to lose tonight;
to prolong the delicious anticipation of something so long awaited, to
bring the final games back to Fenway Park and a raucous local celebration,
to avoid an undefined but nagging sense of impending doom should a Sox
win upset some delicate cosmic balance and bring down some inestimal
disaster on the Hub.  Plus, if they sweep tonight, the victory parade
wiil be Friday morning, and we are planning to take our class to Salem
Mass that day for the cultural extravaganza which is Witch City two days
before Halloween.

We have tried to figure a way out of this trip, but the
checks have been cut and the tickets have been bought.  We considered
delaying the trip til Monday, but the day AFTER Halloween the streets
of Salem are a dirty ashtray full of empty candy wrappers and used condoms,
and even the ghosts of the ghosts are sleeping it off somewhere quiet
and safe.

So despite our heartfelt advice to our students to Stay
Away from Kenmore Square, where Victoria Snelgrove was shot dead by police last week after the ALCS-clinching game, if the Red Sox win the series, that is where
we are heading, if the hometown nine can nail these last 9 outs. Er,
8 now. If we can’t be part of the parade (they are talking about 5 million
people), then let us lose ourself tonight in a sea of fellow Sox sufferers,
released and redeemed for all time, beneath the light of a reappearing
moon.

7 outs to go. Stay tuned for a report from the Square

 

The Doctor Weighs In

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Hunter
Thompson has long been one of our literary heroes and role models, ever
since Fear and Loathing in Las
Vegas ripped the vinyl horsehide off of "objective journalism" and showed
what could be accomplished by diving headfirst into the moshpit miasma
of modern America and completely erasing the line between coverer and
covered.

That being said, it pains us to note that the Good Doctor
seems to be losing his edge.  Whether this be from skills eroded
by decades of alternately hard and indulgent living or the simple spiraling
of the situation beyond even the ability of one of the greatest satirists
of our age to capture in prose, is not for this humble observer to say,
his commentary in Rolling Stone on the current electoral cycle pales
in comparison to his trailblazing coverage of the Nixon campaigns in
68 and 72, in that same publication.

But then who among us is the same man we were in the late
60’s and early 70’s?  Many of us were never men, then nor now, and
many were not even born 30 odd years ago. Lord knows, if we could afford
the quantities and quality of intoxicants available to Thompson, we would
have degenerated into incoherence long ago.

Still, some of his observations are sharp and some of his
similes still make us smile, and there are flashes of the old fire. Plus,
it’s always worth reading a report from a true master who’s been there,
and done it all:

Presidential politics is a vicious business, even for
rich white men, and anybody who gets into it should be prepared to
grapple with the
meanest of the mean. The White House has never been seized by timid
warriors. There are no rules, and the roadside is littered with wreckage.
That is why they call it the passing lane. Just ask any candidate
who ever ran against George Bush — Al Gore, Ann Richards, John McCain
— all of them ambushed and vanquished by lies and dirty tricks.
And
all of them still whining about it.

from Rolling
Stone

White Women Can’t Squat

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Ever on the prowl for scientifically significant research topics, cutting edge anthropologists in Australia are deep into a precise comparison of peeing methods – modern out-house sit-down vs. indigineous natural squatting.

But researchers found westerners could not hold the squat position for more than 30 seconds without falling over.

Prof Ajay Rane, of James Cook University, said: "We were quite sure squatting would be far superior to the Western toilet position, however we have a problem now – one third of the population is unable to squat."

Equipment collected data such as how fast volunteers could urinate, their maximum speed, average speed, how long it took to attain maximum speed and the volume of urine.

Maybe they fall over because of the high heels…..

from Ananova

Cultural Diss-onence

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LHASA, TIBET—Deng Hsu, 14, said Monday that he is “totally getting into Western philosophy.” “I’ve been reading a lot of Kant, Descartes, and Hegel, and it’s blowing my mind,” Hsu said. “It’s so exotic and exciting, not like all that Buddhist ‘being is desire and desire is suffering’ shit my parents have been cramming down my throat all my life. Most of the kids in my school have never even heard of Hume’s views on objectivity or Locke’s tabula rasa.” Hsu said he hopes to one day make an exodus to north London to visit the birthplace of John Stuart Mill.

from Philip Greenspun’s Blog (Don’t forget to read the comments – they’re the best!)