Sunday, July 31, 2005
Saturday, July 30, 2005
These are the famous mosaics of the Empress Theodora (top) and the Emperor Justinian (bottom). They're in the Church of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy. Aren't they exquisite? I have a fascination with the Byzantine Empire and its history. Lots of colorful and interesting characters, Theodora and Justinian high among them. Someday, I plan to journey to Ravenna and see these mosaics myself. Till then, I'll just enjoy the pictures.
Friday, July 29, 2005
Thursday, July 28, 2005
It also contains, like, the best line ever: "I'm such a terrible gardener that I can't even successfully grow tired at night."
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Dudes, chill! Jon can't do everything! He tries to have a civilized conversation with his guests and, as some voices of reason have pointed out, he can't chew out every public figure he disagrees with or he'll only be able to get mindless celebrities and ideological cohorts of his to come on the show and that wouldn't be so good. Yeah, he called Tucker Carlson a dick, but that doesn't mean he should do it every night; at that point, he'd degenerate into nothing more than another smug, not-funny liberal "comic" (we already have Al Franken and Janeane Garofolo, and that's more than enough). Yet some people seem to feel downright betrayed, saying he's "too nice" and "too liberal" (i.e. trying to be nice to everyone and reasonable and openminded, a position that just makes my mind boggle) and that he "sold out" gay people or something.
Guys, I love Jon Stewart. I adore The Daily Show. But I think some have put far too many expectations on it. It's only one show and can only do so much. If you want more public evisceration of the right, try building a Democratic Party with a backbone and an original thought, okay? The Daily Show cannot be the entirety of the liberal/progressive movement and it shouldn't have to try to be.
Update: Apparently, by missing the first ten seconds or so of yesterday's The Daily Show, as I did, I missed Jon's witty and charming acknowledgement of the controversy over his Santorum interview. Now, everyone's back on the bandwagon. God, people are fickle!
-or-you'll-DIE-and-go-to-HELL, but if you read the story, it's really very sad. He worked hard for his success and was killed for it. That's just wrong.
I have to say, I'm a bit skeptical. I'm no rap hater, but I'm always a bit leary of these "let's take a classic and make it hip for the kids!" kind of thing. It's often ill-advised and a little condescending to the "youth" who would be just fine with the original, if you given the chance. Remember that "Hip-Hopera" version of Carmen MTV did with Beyonce? No? Good, I blocked it out, too.
It'd be really cool, though, if the artist used Middle English for the rapping. A Middle English rap would be cool! It'd open up a whole new treasure of rhymes, because, though recognizably a form of what we think of as English (unlike the weird-to-us-today Old English), Middle English was pronounced quite differently than Modern English. It all has to do with "The Great Vowel Shift" that took place right before Shakespeare's time.
This shift in pronunciation, BTW, is the reason for English's weird spelling/speaking split; a lot of the words today that are spelled nothing like they're pronounced were perfectly phonetic in Middle English. Unfortunately, spelling began to settle down and be codified just as the pronunciations they were based on totally changed. If spelling codification had waited a few decades, we'd probably have a much more phonetic language.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Monday, July 25, 2005
The story he tells of his "overeducated" friend rings very true to me. I wish our society could grapple with the fact that some people are meant to go to college and some people aren't. One group is not superior to the other; they're just different. But the roadmap of the middle-class American life now includes a college education, so all kinds of people with no business or interest in going to college do.
I myself am not one much for "grunting and sweating and schlepping heavy loads," but instead enjoy the "effete and not quite real" life of the mind. I doubt I'll ever have a "real" job. But so many people I encountered in college gained nothing by it except for the piece of paper. A "real" job would have made them much happier and been more productive for them than four not-exactly-wasted-but-inconsequential, years.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Friday, July 22, 2005
(BTW, what does it say about me that I always found Papa Smurf incredibly hot? Yeah, that's what I thought...)
Thursday, July 21, 2005
You can also test your knowledge of Greek mythology if you'd like.
(Via That Rabbit Girl)
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
And, yes, I must confess: I bought a copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I just finished it a few minutes before writing this post, actually. I won't bore you all with a review (I don't want to spoil anyone and others can review it much more adroitly than I), but I will say that Rowling is amazingly adept at accurately portraying teenage social life and emotions, and that the ending is very, very affecting. Her editor really needs to put a stop to the comma splices, though; I've noticed them in all the other Harry Potters I've read and it's a very jarring and irritating stylistic erratum.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Gawker adds that the NYT says (follow that?) that about seven million copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince were sold on the first day, for a take of $117 million dollars in 24 hours. Me, I think I'll wait for the Gawker version, Harry Potter and the Mulatto.
Harry's ass must be, like, totally gross after all that fucking! But Harry is, like, such a whore, so he probably liked all the pounding! I hear JK's a hard pimp to work for, though; she'll choke a bitch!
(More pics at Cute Guys from Live 8)
Monday, July 18, 2005
I think the next classic I'll tackle is Boethius' The Consolation of Philosophy. Or maybe I'll go with Gibbons' The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Or maybe both. I won't decide until I go to the bookstore and see what's what.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
More selfishly, when I find myself not liking someone, I always hear a voice in my head that says, "When you don't like someone, it's because they reflect something about yourself that you don't like and don't want to admit to." Therefore, I'm often charitable and polite, almost to a fault, to people who really don't deserve it, just so I can pretend that I have no flaws that others reflect. Eventually, of course, I give in to the hate, but it still makes me paranoid about what that says about me. I really care what other people think of me, so if I don't like someone because they have a characteristic I subconsciously think I have, that means that other people don't like me because of that characteristic. And I want everyone to like me! Because that's what it's all about. Right?
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Friday, July 15, 2005
But I can't help but give into some whining. I'm just really upset about not being able to find a man. I fully accept a lot of responsibility for this, since I'm not going out there and meeting people. But why does no one online seem to be at all interested in me??? Why do I log in to online meat markets to find nothing but empty inboxes or messages from guys a thousand miles away (a phenomenon I never understood; why bother writing me when we'll never meet?)? Why do nearly all of my messages get ignored? Am I that disgusting and unattractive? I don't have any illusions that I'm God's gift to fags, but I like to think I'm half-decent in the looks department. And what about my wit and charm? Doesn't that count for anything? (What am I saying? Of course it doesn't!)
Am I too being picky? Are my expectations of the Internet too high? I mean, I want a versatile or top man in my general area who is clean, disease-free, and has his own place. All the guys who look good seem to be bottoms, PNP fanatics, and want to meet at my place. ("Hey, Mom, Bob and I are going to my room to have sex!" Yeah...) Is an older, intelligent, articulate, well-off, slightly hairy, muscular leather Daddy with a well-stocked playroom, a nice house, and lots of creativity too much to ask for?
Seriously, it's all very disheartening. I'm horny and I'm lonely.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Some in the comments section of the article have taken issue with the ethics of this ethnographical study. I don't really see a problem, because she got permission from people where necessary and she's kept everything very anonymous. It doesn't look like she was out to embarrass or expose anyone, either. I'm neither an anthropologist nor an ethicist, though, so I may be totally wrong.
But then I think of what Cindy (aka the Unsinkable Cindy Best; aka the Notorious C.A.B.) says about anthropologists: "They make stuff up!" It makes me a little cautious about believing her and her findings, even though it all seems pretty legit. Damn you, Cindy, for tearing away my innocence!!! *LOL*
(Via Inside Higher Ed)
P.S. I realize that for someone who says he's not a freaky Harry Potter fan, I sure blog about it a lot. True. But there just seem to be so many weird stories and bloggable incidents connected to it that I can't resist! Plus, with the buzz ahead of Saturday's release of the next installment so loud a bee's nest sounds like a Zen garden by comparison, everyone else seems to be talking about it. Why not me? I'm not above peer pressure.
Zack Parsons of Something Awful gives what is, more or less, my own position on pornography in the face of those who disapprove of it.
People who think porn will turn you into a ravening sexual predator are in denial about the fact that 95% of men have watched pornography. I would go so far as to say that pornography is a healthy part of sexual development for most men. It may not present the most accurate depiction of the women [or men] they will encounter in the real world, but finding a Penthouse [or Inches] out in the woods has provided many an epiphany for hormone crazed pubescent boys wondering what all those strange feelings were.There’s bad porn, there’s bad people involved in porn, and bad people sometimes watch porn. I don’t think any of these things equate to porn being evil. If they did then we’d get rid of TV because of “Average Joe” and that fat people weight loss show on VH1 or get rid of music because some serial killer liked Britney Spears.
I'm with Gawker on this "Carnival of New Jersey Bloggers" thing. As the Gawker editors say, "We’ve [...] never thought of it as a particularly coherent state: the top part thinks of itself as adjunct New Yorkers, the bottom part as adjunct Philadelphians, and neither wants to have anything to do with the folks in the middle."
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Under Links I added World Wide Words and Astronomy Picture of the Day, two sites I've been visiting for quite some time, but, for some reason, just didn't put up here.
Under Blogs I added Learning Curves and second order approximations. I just found these a few days ago. They're both professor blog (profblogs, anyone?). The former is written by a math professor in the South (she's pseudonymous and vague about the particulars of where she is, but it seems to be the Carolinas somewhere) who's really into knitting, home repair, and "noethrian rings." I can't understand most of her math or knitting talk, but she's a very funny and compelling writer. Second order approximations is the blog of a physicist. I can't tell you too much about him, yet, because I've only just started in on the archives, but he's also funny and interesting. He uses ellipses a bit too much, but for one of those scientist fellows, he writes well.
UPDATE: I've gotten through a lot of second order approximations and the ellipses have faded away quite a bit. He's even funnier than I'd originally thought, too! Gotta love the biting sarcasm. Oh, and he actually got a grant to write a play, so that explains the writing skills. (Haven't gotten to the part where we see how the play turns out, though.)
More seriously, I don't see this working as well as they think it will. Want to bet that half of those laptops come back at the end of the year full of porn and loaded with viruses? (If they even come back at all.) And those smart whiteboard things are sooooo going to break. And the teachers won't know what the hell to do with them.
It's also incredibly sad and humorous that textbooks "frustrate" kids like Todd and find them a "time warp." Jesus Christ in Cyberspace, it's a BOOK, kid, not a clay tablet or a stone and chisel! Get the fuck over yourself and your laptop.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
UPDATE: He's now asking readers if should endorse the book at all.
I'm not really a Potter-maniac, but I have friends who are and I liked the two books I read and the two movies I saw. There's nothing wrong with a literary/cinematic phenomenon that gets people all geeked up. (For heaven's sake, you're talking to a guy who has almost literally orgasmed over Star Wars and Lord of the Rings in the past few years!). What I cannot stand is literary snobbery. I particularly hate this, "But it's not classic children's literature!" thing the Harry-haters trot out. Excuse me Mr. Snootty Critic, do you happen to have a time machine to the future you're not telling us about? 'Cause it's up to the readers of the future (ie if they keep reading) if Harry's going to go the way of Pooh and Alice, not the snobby blowhards of today.
These pics are from Naadam (aka "the Mongolian Olympics"). There aren't as many great pictures of these guys, it seems, but I think they're hot. They just need a little sun, IMHO, though that's kinda tough in Mongolia, which isn't known for its sunbathing.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Sunday, July 10, 2005
According to Michael Quinion, proprietor of the marvelous World Wide Words and all-around language guru, wiki is the Hawaiian word for "quick." Wikipedia itself adds that it can also mean "informal." Who knew? (Hawaiian speakers and the wiki founders, obviously. And I'm sure if I'd ever bothered before to look up "wiki" on Wikipedia, I'd have found out. Once again, laziness trumps curiosity!)
This is an "Island Fox" (Urocyon littoralis) kit. It's the smallest American fox species and is native to islands off the coast of California. Isn't he/she just darling?
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Friday, July 08, 2005
I've always been of mixed opinions regarding the use of silence as an implied "not interested." On the one hand, it's frustrating. An empty inbox is a sad inbox. On the other hand, it really is the kindest, most efficient way of doing things. I use it myself. And I'm much more behind the practice after an experience two days ago.
I was on Manhunt, one of the most popular gay hook-up sites. (So popular, in fact, that there's a porn movie named for and inspired by it!) I was looking through some new ads, found two I liked, and sent a similar message to both. My usual is "Hey, I like your ad. Get back to me if you're interested." I decided to mix things up, though, and sent something like, "Hey. I never know what to say in these things. In danger of being stilted or unoriginal, I'll just say that I like your ad and get back to me if you're interested." The one email: silence. The other: a very insulting reply that basically said I was fat, he wouldn't touch me with a ten foot pole, and my "begging message" was pathetic.
I'm ashamed to admit that this insulting message from a random, and undoubtedly awful, person really got to me. I have self-esteem issues at the best of times, especially with regards to my looks and (lack of) sex life. His message was perfectly calculated to bring me down. I've pretty much gotten over it by now, but the experience makes me much more grateful to the other guy who just didn't bother to reply.
Thus far, I have gotten through Flatland, by E.A. Abbott, Dante's Inferno, and The Communist Manifesto. I am currently at work on William James' The Varieties of Religious Experience and will soon begin The Praise of Folly by Erasmus. I'm going to be insufferably well-read soon!
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Oh, and isn't this the ugliest pair of underwear you ever did see? I'm not a pink person, personally, but even if you were a pink kinda guy, why would you get such an ugly-ass pair of briefs? They utterly unflattering.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
|You Are 73% American|
Though sometimes the good ole US of A makes you cringe
Still, you know there's no place better suited to be your home.
You love your freedom and no one's going to take it away from you!
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Friday, July 01, 2005
One Mr. Matthew A. Cohen comes up with "Things You Can Learn About the Plot of The Next Harry Potter Book Just By Looking At Its Cover."
SHOCKING NEWS: The original Potter fans are growing older!!! Who woulda thunk?
The BBC reports that over a million advanced orders for the book have been received. Meanwhile, mailmen across the nation steel themselves for bloodshed.
(Via Bookninja; Bookslut)
Oh, and there's some educational material, too: thanks to this report, I learned what the hell a "seersucker suit" is! (Believe it or not, I never heard that phrase until a few weeks ago, and it had been bugging the hell out of me not knowing what the hell it was.)