Monday, October 31, 2005

Assessment

In conclusion, my humanities course came to an end yesterday. What a great bunch of people . . . well, for the most part.

On the first evening (just 3 weeks ago), I expressed my view that “literal interpretation” was an impossibility because if one is to “literally” interpret anything (say, the Bible), then every “A” is literally an upside-down ox head. Perhaps I can send my lecture notes to the White House and/or the Supreme Court--or my own professor who expressed great glee in Bush’s new nominee today--since Alito (nicknamed “Scalito”--and no, that is not a good thing) is interested in “[literally] interpreting the Constitution and not legislating from the bench.” Blah blah blah. [For those of you interested in what the US Constitution "literally" says about presidential powers, I recommend this op-ed by Bacevich.] “We the people,” by the way, would literally read:

Hook-window mark-fence-window mouth-window-eye-mouth-goad-window

Yeah, good luck with that. By the way, a goad is a long stick with a pointed end used to prod animals. It seems like a most useful tool for those in Washington. [As for me, I’ll stay down here in Texas away from the herd animals with the other Nietzschean--[literally] a somewhat silly girl who decided it would be appropriate to “supplement” my [already] 5-hour lecture on postmodernism by reading an online dictionary definition of “postmodernism” and mispronouncing words like “rhetoric” after misquoting me and Nietzsche. Good times. I can’t wait to grade her final exam.]

One of the assignments for my humanities students was to make seven entries in what I called a “landmark journal” over various landmarks in the humanities: the Venus of Willendorf, a statue of Zeus, Siva Nataraja, Jerusalem, Hamlet’s soliloquy, Rodin’s “The Thinker”, and Laurie Anderson’s “The Dream Before.” I thought it was particularly telling (and not in a literal way) that the majority of entries on Jerusalem included statements like, “I don’t know why the three main monotheistic religions can’t get along when they share so much of a common theology and history. If I were in charge, I’d kick them all out of Jerusalem and let them know how stupid they were acting.” So much for insight into the problem. I expect to see some of them appointed by some future administration to things like the Department of Education, or the State Department, or perhaps as ambassadors to the United Nations.

Check out Shmonk’s site for a photo of this year’s Jacks. Mine's the one in the middle.

Finally, happy birthday, Uncle Frank. R.I.P.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Random Number Generator

If I were forced to evaluate my Latin professor, it would read something like this: “Inarticulate exasperation does not a pedagogy make.” To prove what a great student (as well as a great teacher) I am all by myself, my average thus far is 99.4. I have learned nothing from her. [No, I never provide written documentation of my professors’ performance ever since my grade was significantly lowered by a couple of teaching assistants I tore apart in an evaluation of a course several years ago.]

[As for the rest of my graduate experience…] Defining myself in opposition has gotten me fairly far in life; however, I’d now like to be in a place that would challenge, not irk; inspire, not dictate.

“Exhaustion” is probably overused these days, but there’s no better way to describe how I feel with the fulltime graduate work + teaching (I covered a mere 1500 years’ worth of culture this past weekend; the previous weekend, I managed about 5000 years’ worth) + preparing exams + reading dense philosophical texts + managing my courses as well as my time + popping cup after cup of afternoon coffee into the microwave for 90 seconds at a time.

Had a blissful conversation with my friend & confidant Chrzanka-kan (I wanna rock you; it’s all I wanna do.) a couple of days ago. It’s the little things (like 30-minute conversations with people you like) that make life beautiful. [As opposed to the email from people you wish you’d never met that sits in your inbox waiting for a reply. What was I thinking?!?!]

November 8: If you are a [legal] resident of Texas [and an eligible voter], I encourage you to vote NO on Proposition 2. [I’m still working out my thoughts on the other proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution. Considering, though, that Texas voters have approved 432 amendments thus far to the Texas Constitution, I’m willing to recommend we vote NO on all 9 proposals—unless one of them is to wipe the Constitution clean and start from scratch.]

Today is brought to you the number 2000. Welcome to Iraqnam!

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Constitution of Love

Don't expect too much brilliance (if ever such a thing had been expected here prior to this post) over the course of the next couple of weeks as I spend almost 20 hours each weekend on my feet teaching a mini/intensive humanities course out in the suburbs. I love teaching. And this class has taught me what I hate most about the courses in which I'm currently a student: lack of diversity. This course I teach has 25 student--all from completely different backgrounds/countries/religions; the courses I take are filled with self-righteous Catholics who I fear would take me out on the edge of campus and stone me should they every fathom the depths of my wickedness. Que sera sera....

Nevertheless, it's time to choose the best love song ever. I won't accept wimpy, pedestrian love songs. Feel free to either vote from the choices listed below, or submit your own tune with some sample lyrics that deserve a second listen. There's only 1 rule: the song must contain the word "love" in the title.

The Best Love Song Ever:
  • Led Zeppelin's "All My Love" - "Yours is the cloth, mine is the hand that sews time / His is the force that lies within / Ours is the fire, all the warmth we can find / He is a feather in the wind"
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "The Power of Love" - "I'll protect you from the Hooded Claw / Keep the vampires from your door / When the chips are down I'll be around / With my undying, death-defying
    Love for you"
  • Olivia Newton-John's "I Love You" - "If we both were born / In another place and time / This moment might be ending in a kiss / But there you are with yours / And here I am with mine / So I guess we'll just be leaving it at this"
  • The Cure's "Lovesong" - "Whenever I'm alone with you / You make me feel like I am free again / Whenever I'm alone with you / You make me feel like I am clean again / However far away / I will always love you / However long I stay / I will always love you / Whatever words I say / I will always love you"

Friday, October 7, 2005

Land of those with the opinion of freedom

First things first: congratulations to the IAEA and its chief Mohamed ElBaradei for the Noble Peace Prize. I think Mr. ElBaradei now needs a Congressional Medal of Honor (not that that’s worth its gold veneer any more) for “speaking truth to [the perceived] power” of the Bush administration when they wanted him to lie about Iraq’s atomic program, and for putting up with having his telephone bugged [US taxes hard at work again] in the Bush administration’s attempt to assassinate his character and credibility [if not the man himself].

It seems the Catholic Church got my memo. They now will allow homosexual priests to serve as long as they meet the following requirements:
  • Celibate for the previous 3 years—even though heterosexual priests do not have to pass any such test
  • Do not “publicly manifest” their homosexuality—I guess that means they can’t wear those fancy dresses at their opulent cathedrals with sculptures and icons of a shirtless Jesus; only the straight ones will be able to do that now
  • Show an “overwhelming attraction” to homosexual culture—yeah, that’s right: culture, not merely just a “lifestyle” any more!—even if it’s only intellectually—I don’t even know where to begin with this one!
Reminds me of a joke Dick [the person, not the organ] told me in Prague:
A priest was summoned to the Vatican for a meeting. Unfortunately, the only substitute available was a young priest with no experience whatsoever.

“I feel up to the challenge, Father,” he said, “but I am not sure about how to run the confessional. What form of penance do I prescribe for the various sins I will be confronted with?” The experienced priest left him a list coordinating sins and penance, and reassuring the young man, he left for Rome.

The young priest's first confessional was soon upon him, and he was quite nervous as he stepped into his booth clutching the list his mentor left him.

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. I have had impure thoughts about a woman I work with,” came the first voice.

Nervously the young priest checked his list: Impure Thoughts: see also Adulterous Thoughts, Disrespectful Thoughts, Murderous Thoughts.

He then referred to Adulterous Thoughts and found that 4 Hail Marys were appropriate. Relieved, he prescribed the penance and waited.

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned,” said the next person. “I took $50.00 from my employers desk!”

The young priest looked to his list again, and immediately found: Stealing: <$10.00 – 10 Hail Marys; <$100.00 – 20 Hail Marys; <$1000.00 – 50 Hail Marys; <$1000.00 – 80 Hail Marys and 5 rosaries.

After assigning the appropriate penance, the young priest calmed down and felt confident in his list to provide him with the appropriate answer. He waited a while until his next confessor arrived.

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned,” said the next person. “I was butt-fucked by another man!”

The young priest again consulted his list. To his dismay, Anal Sex was not listed. He checked for Rectal Intercourse – nothing. Homosexual Experience also wasn’t listed.

Finally, he grabbed a choirboy, who just happened to be walking by. He asked quite hurriedly, as he knew the confessor was waiting, “What does the priest give for a butt-fuck?”

“Oh, sometimes a Mars, sometimes a Snickers.”
Finally, I’d like to dedicate today’s entry to the 464 Mexicans—a 43% increase over the previous year—who have died this past year trying to enter my country. If I had my say, the gates would be thrown open, and the bridge over the Rio Grande would be paved with gold from the coffers of our two political parties. Because despite the fact that our two countries are allegedly bound together in free trade agreements, we all know that trade only applies to mega-corporations that get tax breaks [read: a free ride; i.e., they don’t pay their fair share for American resources and infrastructure even though they get to use our network of highways and interstates to move their “goods” across the borders of both countries, completely bypassing their people who are not granted the freedom that commerce affords]. It seems I’m the only American who knows you’re not trying to steal my job (just how many of you want to be professors of political philosophy anyway?). Someday we will all be as free as most Americans merely think they are now, and I’ll welcome you all with open arms.

(In the distance, a Journey song plays....)

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Just who exactly won?

Python vs. Gator

I've got my eyes on you . . .

"No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices." --Murrow
Last night, S. & I went to a preview of Good Night, and Good Luck, George Clooney's biopic of Edward R. Murrow, defender of truth, justice, and the American way--an "old world" Bill Moyers, if you will: good film, slow but subtle, graceful & right on target without beating you over the head.

We've learned that the [unfortunate] secret to half-way enjoying a sneak preview is to get in line early, which meant I headed for the bus stop shortly before 5:00. Despite the heat--which thankfully has since broken--I didn't mind waiting for the bus. But what is the deal with people stopping and offering me rides?!?! I wasn't particularly dressed well, and my looks have seen better days. Plus I've gained a good 10 lbs. in the past few months. "Thanks, but I'm good," was all I could reply. Perhaps I should've said, "This isn't the Delta, and it's not 1947! I'm 10 minutes from downtown fucking Dallas, and it's the 21st century! I ain't gettin' in your hooch-mobile!"

I arrived at the Angelika--which no longer has restrooms on the "ground" floor but yet retains an ATM that charges almost $6.00 in fees to withdraw any money--around 5:45, placing me very near [and yet somehow not at] the front. Who are these freaks that get in line for a free movie more than an hour in advance? Don't they have jobs?

We were allowed to enter the auditorium around 6:30. The film was scheduled to begin at 7:00, which meant we had a good 30 minutes to endure "those 2 crizzy bitches" [someone else's quote; maybe the quote was actually "crazy," but I prefer the "new" term "crizzy"] behind us, one of which felt it appropriate to plop her painted red toenails on the back of S.'s seat when he went to the restroom. One look and loud exclamation from me was all it took for her to immediately remove them. You'd think being born in a barn or trailer park would have made you disinterested in watching independent films on a weeknight for free, but I guess the freebie gene kicks in no matter what your upbringing.

I hate people. And to think, I used to want to be a minister or a diplomat or a porn star--anything that showed how much I cared for the plight of humans [or the march of penguins [or the plight of [flightless] penguins--who are not monogamous nor particularly bright [it would seem]--if anything that film proved the stupidity of God [if there were such a thing as intelligent design, the fucking birds would've used their wings and flown to the Bahamas! [but this is not an entry about ignert people and their ignert beliefs in pseudo-intelligence ['cause if you want good design, hire a fucking decorator!]]]. Thank g-d I got over that.

[After that little rant, I feel I should wish my various readers a blessed Ramadan, Rosh Hashanah, a late feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, or upcoming Diwali. [Sorry if I left out your own ooga-booga holiday . . . it's just too hard to be political and correct these days.]]