So I'm sitting here, having my morning-java-equivalent, checking my email and some blogs, basically being all snoozy and getting reconciled to the idea of being awake, when I click through apostropher'slink to this spectacular version of 'O Holy Night'. Always nice to start your day with a laugh.
I haven't felt much like blogging lately. Don't really know why. I was feeling kinda blue lately bco no grad school funding; maybe it was a delayed reaction to things not working out this year. I did think I was handling the disappointment almost too well. So maybe that's why I haven't been into blogging. Let's see...what's going on here of late?
Kevin's off next week. We were supposed to go to Big Moose Inn, but they're not open for the season until the following week. Their website accidentally allowed us to make reservations for when they're still closed for winter. They apologized ten times over and will make nice for us if and when we do go there. We'll prolly go there in maybe late spring or sometime during the summer. They did tell us when they expect to be crazy bco the 100th anniversary of Grace Brown's murder on the lake there, so we'll avoid those times. We're seeking peace and quiet. Next week, then, will be a quiet week with Kevin at home; maybe take a day trip here or there.
My young-at-heart buddy, Mrs. S, turns 105 next week! I'm looking forward to seeing her on her birthday.
Wrt grad school, a plan is in place to make the most of the time before the application rigmarole starts anew. In addition to what I mentioned before:
I'll prolly take one, maybe two, courses at one of the programs which accepted me, but did not come through with funding.
I might do an independent study with someone...just have to find a willing person and a topic agreeable to both of us. If I do this, I'll prolly just take one course in the above bulletpoint.
Review and prolly revise the list of places to which I apply.
Our Socrates Cafe at workstarted up last week, but, alas, no one came. :( Actually, Kevin came, but I guess he doesn't really count, since he came more for moral support. And Lisa, a reporter for the very local newspaper, came to check it out and do a write up of it. She covers our town and has been to previous library events. Since there were no talkers last week, she did an interview; perhaps that will draw some interest.
I've learned that I need to be clearer about what we'll do at the Cafe. In publicity and staff communications, I made it a point to stress that it's not a class; there's no homework; no required reading; no prior exposure to philosophy required; etc. I want all kinds of people to feel comfy coming. There's been interest and patrons are curious, but I don't think I gave staff enough info to well equip them to answer questions. I need to describe it positively, i.e., what it is, not just what it's not. E.g., some folks have remarked that they're not 'smart enough' or 'deep enough' to engage in philosophical discussion. But, bottom line: people do it all the time, even with themselves in their heads, they just don't realize it.
An example I've been using is something that happened to me about 6 months ago. The short story: I, along with others in the restaurant, saw a parent do something wrong. A father was being a verbal jerk to his family...there was a wife, two teen sons - maybe 14 and 17; it was kinda hard to tell if the older one was a big 15 or 16 yo; he coulda been 19 yo - and what I'll guess were one set of grandparents. At one point, the father punched his older teen son in the arm, hard. Not a joshing kinda punch...it was a real, angry punch. I didn't do anything. I didn't even think about doing anything. It wasn't until a few days later that I thought, hey, maybe I shoulda done something. Now, at the Cafe, we'd use this as a starting point to discuss, not simply the question of responsibility in this instance, but questions surrounding responsibility in general...public responsibility, responsibility to certain groups of people (e.g., children), group responsibility, etc.
So, yeah, we all have experiences and thoughts which would translate into Cafe topics, even if we don't know it.
As an aside, I'd always liked to think of myself as someone who would do something in a situation like that. And look what happened. Nothing. I was so shocked...that was my overwhelming reaction at the time. Fat lot of good I was to that kid. Guess I'll have to rethink my self-perception and what I would do the next time such a situation arises.
I wasn't too surprised that no one showed up; I will be surprised if, a few weeks from now, there still are no participants. According to the website, it's common for Cafes to have slow starts; I hope that's all it is bc I think it'll be fun and interesting.
I recently ran into Tom, owner of the Darress Theatre, located right next to the library. He's planning to start up his own chat group, oriented around independent films, including documentaries about things most of us have no idea are going on. The documentaries, I imagine, will often be depressing bona fide reality shows...the kinda stuff I feel I should watch, but can't take too much of it at one sitting bc it can be overwhelming and I might just have to end it all already to make it stop. There'll be fictional movies, too.
I see that, this weekend, there's a political fundraiser at the theatre for some Tom Wyka character. Hmmm...let's see who this guy is.... Oh, he's a Democratic challenger to longtime Republican incumbent House Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen. Huh. I had no idea someone was challenging him. They have some interesting - and different - stuff at the theatre. I meant to ask him if he planned on having another Bugs Fest. Yes, it's a Bugs Bunny festival. He held them for a coupla years...it feels good to laugh like that for a whole night. 'Hillbilly Hare': classic. See Bugs fiddle and hear him call the dance here; transcript here. Excerpt:
Bugs: (Singing.) Grab a fence post, hold it tight, Womp your partner with all your might. Hit him in the shin, hit him in the head, Hit him again, the critter ain't dead. Wop him low and wop him high, Stick your finger in his eye. Pretty little rhythm, pretty little sound, Bang your heads against the ground.
Ah, good stuff, good stuff.
Well, I gotta drag my lazy arse onto the treadmill for a while.
What it comes down to, I think, is this: While the Vice President is an avid hunter, he may not be particularly up on gun safety. After all, it’s not as though he’s had any military training.
Yes, bc as Cheney himself said wrt his avoidance of military service during the Vietnam war (he had five deferments), 'I had other priorities'. What an incredibly insensitive thing to say. Even for Cheney.
We've had a few dark and stormy nights here lately. Always reminds me of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, out of San Jose State University's Dept. of English and Comparative Literature. Bulwer-Lytton is the man responsible for the phrase, 'It was a dark and stormy night', just the beginning of quite the sentence:
"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."
--Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford(1830)
To what end such a contest?
The goal of the contest is childishly simple: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels.
Submissions are divided into several categories, e.g., romance, detective, western, etc., plus an overall, general category. For 2005, the overall winner is Dan McKay, of Fargo, ND, a 43 year old quantitative analyst. His winning entry:
As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual.
I admit, I'm jealous. I've often thought, 'One of these days...' about this contest. One of these days I'll settle down to writing something so awful, yet so good as to merit submission to this contest. Of course, I hope to write something this bad on purpose. Hmmm. What genre should I try? Being a mystery fan, I could probably come up with a few good mystery/detective entries. The Purple Prose category is quite tempting. The 2005 winner:
Horatio Keelhaul sailed buoyantly up Cutter Street ironclad in his resolve to torpedo the reviewer of his literary launches who threatened his Titanic reputation with accusations of relying solely on nautical parlance to propel his gondolaic characters through the sinuous canals of his plots. - Rick Holinger Geneva, IL
Sure, you may think anybody can write that bad. But is that really so? I'll guess that such bad writing appears deceptively simple. I'll bet it's not so easy to write badly well. Well, if I do try to work up a few entries, I will certainly post them.
A man walks into a bar and orders a drink. The bar has a robot bartender. The robot serves him a perfectly prepared cocktail, and then asks him, "What's your IQ?"
The man replies "150" and the robot proceeds to make conversation about global warming factors, quantum physics and spirituality, biomimicry, environmental interconnectedness, string theory, nano-technology, and sexual proclivities
The customer is very impressed and thinks, "This is really cool." He decides to test the robot. He walks out of the bar, turns around, and comes back in for another drink. Again, the robot serves him the perfectly prepared drink and asks him, "What's your IQ?"
The man responds, "about a 100."
Immediately the robot starts talking, but this time, about football, NASCAR, baseball, supermodels, favorite fast foods, guns, and women's breasts.
Really impressed, the man leaves the bar and decides to give the robot one more test. He heads out and returns, the robot serves him and asks, "What's your IQ?"
The man replies, "Er, 50, I think."
And the robot says... real slowly..."So............... ya gonna vote for Bush again?"
George Bush has started an ill-timed and disastrous war under false pretenses by lying to the American people and to the Congress; he has run a budget surplus into a severe deficit; he has consistently and unconscionably favored the wealthy and corporations over the rights and needs of the population; he has destroyed trust and confidence in, and good will toward, the United States around the globe; he has ignored global warming, to the world's detriment; he has wantonly broken our treaty obligations; he has condoned torture of prisoners; he has attempted to create a theocracy in the United States; he has appointed incompetent cronies to positions of vital national importance.
Would someone please give him a blow job so we can impeach him?