Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

young eugene levy


happy holidays

worth reading

intro to Richard Dawkins's new book

"Imagine that you are a teacher of Roman history and the Latin language, anxious to impart your enthusiasm for the ancient world- for the elegiacs of Ovid and the odes of Horace, the sinewy economy of Latin grammar as exhibited in the oratory of Cicero, the strategic niceties of the Punis Wars, the generalship of Julius Ceasar, and the voluptious excesses of the later emperors. That's a big undertaking, and it takes time, concentration, dedication. Yet you find your precious time continually preyed upon, and your class's attention distracted, by a baying pack of ignoramuses who with strong political and especially financial support, scurry about tirelessly attempting to persuade your unfortunate pupils that the Romans never existed. There never was a Roman Empire. The entire world came into existence only just beyond living memory. Spanish, Italian, French, Portugese: all these langauges and their constituent dialects sprang spontaneously and separately into being and owe nothing to any predecessor such as Latin. Instead of devoting your full attention to the noble vocation of classical scholar and teacher, you are forced to divert your time and energy to a reargaurd defense of the proposition that the Romans existed at all: a defense against an exhibition of ignorant prejudice that would make you weep if you weren't too busy fighting it.

If my fantasy of the Latin teacher seems too wayward, here's a more realistic example. Imagine you are a teacher of more recent history, and your lessons on twentieth cetnruy Europe are boycotted, heckled, or otherwise disrupted by well-organized, well-financed, and politically muscular groups of Holocaust-deniers. Unlike my hypothetical Rome deniers, Holocaust deniers really exist. They are vocal, superficially plausible, and adept at seeming learned. They are supported by the president of at least one currently powerful staTe, and they include at least one bishop of the ROman Catholic Church. Imagine that, as a teacher of European history, you are continually faced with belligernet demands to "teach the controversay" and to give "equal time" to the "alternative theory" that the Holocaust never happened but was invented by a bunch of Zionist fabricators. Fashionably relativist intellectuals chime in to insist that there is no absolute truth: whether the Holocuast happened is a matter of personal belief; all points of view are equally valid and should be equally "respected".

The plight of many science teachers today is not less dire. When they attempt to expound the central and guiding principle of biology; when they honestly place the living world in its historical context- which means evolutionl when they explore and explain the very nature of life itself, they are harried and stymied, hassled and bullied, even threatened with the loss of their jobs...

Richard Dawkins (taken from Free Inquiry magazine, December 2009)


Friday, December 25, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


oh. my. god.

The story takes place at East Great Falls High, ten years after the first American Pie movie. The new protagonists of this movie are three brand new hapless virgins: Rob (Bug Hall), Nathan (Kevin M. Horton) and Lube (Brandon Hardesty). One night Rob accidentally sets fire to the school library, and finds the bible, Mr. Levenstein's (Eugene Levy) creation. Unfortunately for them, the book is ruined. The book had incomplete advice, and embarks them on a helpless journey to lose their virginity. After trying and failing for most of the time, they pledge to restore the book, and to do this, they must find the original author of the book (Levenstein) and all the other people who wrote on the book, and start the restoration.

The film was said to be the most similar to the original trilogy, with three new 'hapless virgins' and a copy of the original Stiffler.

drinking on the plane


I'm not sure how this keeps happening to me, but this is the 5th out of the last 6 flights I've been on where I've gotten to drink for free.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

more on econ

ugh, I'm trying to plan my first lesson (definition, scarcity and opportunity cost), and already I'm at a brick wall.

The main takeaway from lesson 1 is the idea of scarcity - which i am to teach is the fundamental problem that economics addresses. But wait! Is scarcity the number one problem that economics addresses, or is scarcity a product of our economic system!? oh man I hate this.

somebody please teach this class for me. thanks.

I'm gonna get fired!

being told I need to teach econ

is like being told that you are starring in a play. Opening night is in two weeks, you need to write your own lines, and they need to match up perfectly with everyone else's (which you cannot see)

Friday, December 18, 2009

my top albums of the year

6. tUnE-yArDs - BiRd-BrAiNs

5. Loudon Wainwright III - high wide and handsome


4. Vetiver - Tight Knit

3. Raekwon - only built for Cuban Linx...Pt. II

2. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca

1. Green Day - Dookie


Thursday, December 10, 2009

I wanna blog like Kevin

New Matt Taibbi article

"The point is that an economic team made up exclusively of callous millionaire-assholes has absolutely zero interest in reforming the gamed system that made them rich in the first place."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hey Now! Hank Kingsley


been watching a lot of this while working over the past couple of days. It's great, but you do need to get into the characters, for a bit before you really start to love it.


Kevin James, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schnieder are making a film together.

They are five best friends who for whatever reason have not seem one another since Middle School, its a tale about aging and friendship, new families and old.

I'm not sure if I just don't care about it all, or if it makes me sad.

didju know?


When Ben Franklin invented the lightning rod, clergy on both sides of the Atlantic proclaimed it to be an insult to God, who, as we all know, uses lightning to punish sinners. Pastors said that the dreaded "iron points" would allow criminals to escape heavenly justice. When The north east was rocked by earthquakes during the mid-late 18th century, the church took this as proof (not unlike Katrina) that God was punishing the New Englanders for thwarting his will by erecting lightning rods all over their towns.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Economics and Me

So the administration at San Rafael decided, with no new information, and with only 8 days left in the semester, that they don't want student teachers running a class of English Language Learners, so I'm going to be teaching econ instead.

I have a number of concerns with this.

1. I have never, at any point, taken any class on economics, and my knowledge of the subject comes mainly from the newspaper and what I have read in my own time. That's all well and good, but it hardly helps me with things like the supply and demand curve

2.My conception of economics is diametrically opposed to the conception of economics that is taught as fact in public high schools.
The California Standards say : Students will Understand the role of a free market economy in establishing and securing personal liberty...

this is an issue, as I believe that the statement "free market economy establishes and secures personal liberty" is, at best a lie, and at worst, a malicious lie.

3. I am going to be teaching second semester seniors (very different from first semester juniors), who have literally never met me or heard of me and who have no idea that they will have a new teacher for the second semester.


i wasn't going to watch it

until A--m mentioned that he liked it. But Zombieland was great pulpy fun. I recommend it heartily.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I want to see this movie

Star Trek

I planned on putting this on to have some background stuff to pay attention to while I copied some notes i have taken into one big notebook. After the first 30 seconds, I was unable to do anything but sit and watch, which is exceptionally rare for me.

Holy shit. What an awesome fucking movie.

I never watched star trek growing up, in fact I don't think I have ever watched more than a few minutes of any episode of the television show, and the only movie I ever saw was the one with the Borg. Matt and I saw it in the theater. But this was just about the best thing ever.


film: Collision

this is a documentary that's getting a lot of press between Christopher Hitchens and fundamentalist pastor Douglas Wilson. The content is fairly good, but the filming and directing is nauseatingly awful. I mean this literally, not figuratively, the intentionally shakiness of the hand held camera, the zooms in and out, and the bizarre out of focus shots made watching it a physically unpleasant experience.

As might be expected, Hitchens easily wins the day, something I feel comfortably saying despite my bias, as all of the religious sites I investigated (belief.net for example), conceded that Hitchens won the day.

Worth listening to, but don't try to watch unless fortified with a strong stomach.


AH- filmmaker is Darren Doane. He is a fundamentalist christian who has directed music videos for Blink182, AFI, and BuckCherry! There you go!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

so there's gonna be a big roommate change

I'll miss Brian

but i still have Julie


and danny


and I look forward to welcoming back Billy


a tweet by Questlove

questlove puttin my $ where my rep is (rashida is daring me) Parks/Recreation is the Wu Tang of comedy. an ensemble cast of which all the cast shines.

2 new books

that have been quite well reviewed have come out recently about Eastern Europe in 1989. I'm fascinated often by the retrospective obviousness of history, the quote (I cannot remember to who it is attributable), is that 'all revolutions seem impossible until they occur, at which point they become inevitable".

I was thinking about this today because I'm reading some essays of Bertrand Russell's from the late 1940's. Russell was talking about the future of the "global anarchy" between the forces of Russian totalitarian 'communism' and American capitalism, and the how this conflict would, in short order, lead inexorably to the end of life on earth as we knew it.

Not that this renders prediction useless, we can learn a great deal from the exercise of prediction even if the predicted results have no bearing on actual events, but it struck me as a reminder of how dramatically unpredictable events can change the course of history.

Friday, December 4, 2009

John Oliver

interviewed a Swiss official in the most recent daily show, it wasn't particularly funny, but he got a little gnarly with the whole "neutral on Hitler thing"...check it out umm, about 7.5 minutes in I think.

youtube comments on Ron Isley's contagious

feat. R Kelly.

swarre3 (1 day ago) Show Hide
dnt hate on diis ohkey hater!

cece01262008 (1 day ago) Show Hide
Leave R.Kelly alone shct he on his grind thats all that matters. hawt sonqq . 16yrs !

CameranBernard (2 days ago) Show Hide
this is the ISH man!!! and im 17!!!!!


I think Art 's Garfunkel's voice

sounds better now than it did 40 years ago. Or at least I can't get enough of that sort of wispy, almost hoarse quality it has taken on in his middle age


embedding is blocked for some reason

i was at Borders today

and I skimmed through Tracey Morgan's "I am the new black". I didn't have time to read too much, but I did notice frequent instances of the word "pussy", and that he called Chris Kattan a "faggot", so you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be back for more


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Book Review (sorta)

Anatomy of Fascism.


Robert Paxton

If I ever go to Berkeley to get a degree in History, this guy can teach me!

I decided to read this to prepare for some lessons I will be teaching in the spring on Fascism in Europe between the wars. Specifically, i wanted to make sure I could explain as best as possible why Fascism and Socialism might appeal to different citizens at the same time.

Fascism is fascinating in that, out of all of the "isms", its the only one that appeared in the 20th century, additionally, it had never occurred to radical political theorists that a mass movement could be rightist. For seventy years, marxist, socialist and anarchist groups had monopolized the issues of class resentment and workers' anger, this all changed after the Great War.

As Paxton writes, "Fascists rejected the view that economic forces are the prime movers of history", instead relying on a burgeoning nationalism and xenophobia born of the resentment of what was seen as an unfair peace at the end of the first world war. Russia was never a workers' state, Trotsky wrote that Socialism had moved forward on the path of least resistance, i.e., as Czarist Russia was least capable of stopping socialist revolution, it was in Czarist Russia that the first socialist revolution took place. Socialist internationalists had long promoted the ideas of class solidarity, Fascistic politicians relied instead on middle class fear and resentment. They used that classic political trick, to make those who have little fear encroachment from those who have nothing, the same trick used by the right in the United States to make the working poor fear immigration, socialism, and black presidents.

Also interesting were the links between Fascism and Socialism, often thought of as diametrically opposed political philosophies, many Fascists had been under the influence of socialism before the war, Fascism was not so much a movement of the right as it was a movement opposed to centrism and leftism, sort of allying itself with conservatism because centrists and leftists wanted no part of it. But a surprising number of Fascists wanted the same sort of nationalization and well, socialization that the communists did, the key difference (beyond the pomp and militarism), was nationalism versus internationalism. Many early fascists were socialists but for the fact that they desired the supremacy of there own nation over the freedom of the workers of the world.

Resentment caused by the loss of empire stirred a nascent nationalism in the citizens of Germany, Austria, and Hungary (whose territories were often more than halved), and Italy (who lost know territory, but also gained none). Paxton remarks on this, "Italy, exceptionally, had belonged to the victorious alliance, but it had failed to achieve tha national expansion that the Italian nationalists who led Italy into the war had counted on. The victory was, in their eyes a vittoria mutilata.".

As a materialist, I agree only to some small extent with the notion that nationalism can be stronger than class, but only in that nationalism can SEEM to exert a stronger influence. In actuality, I believe that this sort of nationalism is an aftereffect of economic discrepancy.

Paxton goes on to discuss the possibility of some sort of fascist or neo-fascist movement arising today, including in the United States. He makes the point that any such movement will be defined not by the traditional memes of Fascism, but by patriotic ones. e.g. in the US, a neo-fascist movement will have as its symbols the stars and stripes and the Bald Eagle, and will be marked by pledges of allegiance, etc.

Obviously the notion of the American Right as fascist has become a cliche, but it is instructive to note how many of the traits of fascistic society are common the the neo-conservative movement.

Paxton defines Fascism on the final page of his book as,

"a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with a community decline, humilation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence, and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion".

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

hey art garfunkel

you sound fucking amazing

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I saw you last night

you didnt see me


Monday, November 23, 2009

Seinfeld reunion

was everything I hoped it would be. No matter how many shows I watch, or how good they are, there is nothing I can ever love the way I love Seinfeld and the Simpsons. I think its probably because those are the only two things that I loved when I was 9 years old that have not only completely held up, but are significantly funnier to me now. (the last 12 years or so of the Simpsons notwithstanding).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Intervention Blog

Bill. We (I) have gotten together (alone) to have an intervention.

Your drinking has started to hurt as personally.

We had a plan to watch the wire. Because of your drinking, we could not watch it.

That is the way that your drinking has hurt me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


so I met a guy with a friend who works at Pandora- I know this has come up in conversation with Danny recently.

They DO in fact have a number of employees who are paid only to listen to music all day and then say what different things sound like. It's not done with some sort of program.

Neat job!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

quote of the day

after the vice principal came into the room and made some comment, the teacher that I work with said, (after he was out of earshot), "the only thing you know about teaching is that its too hard for you motherfucker"


I taught two classes this week. by myself.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

thanks to the onion

for this picture:

U.S. Deports Lou Dobbs

Lou Dobbs

CNN Host Had Been Living Illegally In Country Since 1961

why is it

that children feel obligated to have a favorite color.



I went to Mendocino Tuesday night.

Wiley- they sell pot brownies at the grocery store and I met a girl with dreadlocks named Autumn. Try to contain yourself.

on Khrushchev: the man and his era

After reading through Deutscher's Trotsky Prophet series, any biography would seem like a disappointment, particularly one whose subject matter was so similar. This was certainly a thorough treatment, but I found myself having to slog through it quite a bit.

I felt that the book suffered from a lack of economic or social theory, something which can only partly be laid at the feet of the biographer, as Khrushchev contribute basically nothing in that regard. Taubman's Khrushchev is perhaps not as boorish or loutish as I had believed before reading, but it was a sort of animal instinct and cunning that allowed him to succeed, not any sort of true intellect.

Khrushchev's rule seems sort of aimless, and I had a hard time figuring out what (beyond perfunctory references to a future communist utopia) his life and leadership really had to do with socialism.

I suppose I think that Khrushchev is most interesting when playing a supporting role, in describing Khrushchev's part of Stalin's court intrigue, the cognitive dissonance he was forced to take on during the 20th party congress, and in his struggles for power against Molotov and Beria, the book is fascinating.

When Khrushchev stands alone, like in his early life and his autonomy when running the party in Ukraine, or even atop the largest country in the world, the narrative seems to fall flat.

All in all, it is an excellent biography, as far as such things go, but something less than an excellent book.


this was on max fun

new show from TPB actors:

For those of you going through withdrawals since your favourite dope-smoking, rum-and-Coke drinking, sailor-mouthed characters left the small screen in 2008, Showcase has given the green light to six episodes of The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour (working title), brought to you by none other than the former Trailer Park Boys.

The sketch-style show is written by and will star Mike Smith, Robb Wells and JP Tremblay, which you may know as Bubbles, Ricky and Julian, respectively.

JP Tremblay, Mike Smith and Robb Wells as the Brutto Family, three of the many characters they play in their new Showcase series Drunk and on Drugs set to premiere in 2010.

Monday, November 9, 2009

my great day with billy

boy we had a great day.

12:00- Billy came over
12:30-took medicine (for our backs)
1:00 walked to the park near my house
1:15-3:15- read about krushchev
3:15-5:00- ate sandwiches outside
6:007:00- grocery shopping
7:00-10:00- billy made me dinner and bill and brian and I watched the 1st 2.25 episodes of the Wire

what a great day

Sunday, November 8, 2009

on text messaging and intonation

text messaging can be really frustrating because you can't hear what people are saying. The other day, Julie texted me about a bag of garbage, I thought she was being really passive aggressive, but she was trying to be extra nice.

I find that I use exclamation points in my texts, because otherwise too much of what I say would seem sarcastic.

Brian - design an app for this.

all soviet leaders, all the time

now I'm reading this.


one of the shitty things about teaching in a lot of public schools is that the funds do not exist to teach classes other than: 9th grade geography, 10th grade world [european] history, 11th grade us history, and 12th grade govt and econ.

It was pretty rad that I got to take journalism and creative writing and russian history, and its whack how rare that is.

I think I may need to eventually go to private school (or try to teach college), so that I can design my own classes, which seems infinitely more satisfying than just designing my own way to teach other people's curriculum.


A man snorting cocaine

reports that when combined in the human body. Cocaine and alcohol combine to make some sort of new, previously unknown third chemical..

...duh, its called fun.

I really like it

when wikipedia has sentences like this one, about Tim Buckley's last days

On June 29, 1975, after a spirited evening, in both the metaphorical and alcoholic sense...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

on my high school creative writing class

you all remember Kourtney.

well she just facebook posted that our creative writing class made her a great writer.

wow! holy fuck.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

book(s) review: Isaac Deutscher Trotsky biography

the prophet armed 1879-1921
the prophet unarmed 1921-1929
the prophet outcast 1929-1940


I am not yet quite finished with the third book, but these/ this is certainly the best biography I have ever read. Few people are aware today the extent to which Trotsky was isolated and marginalized during his own life. People on the right had no interest in one of the two most prominent living Bolsheviks. And the vast majority of the left sympathetic to socialism/ communism was taken in by Stalin's lies that Trotsky was an enemy of the people (or if not convinced if this impossible-to-believe notion, ambivalent about whether or not they should criticize the USSR).

Deutscher, a Polish Trotskyist active in the 1930's was one of the first public figures to successfully rehabilitate his Trotsky's character (it didn't hurt that the books came out around the same time of Stalin's death, when Kruschev gave his "cult of personality' speech about the Soviet Leadership of the past 28 years.

Trotsky did not shy away from brutality when he found it necessary, but I have a hard time agreeing with recent re-revisionists like Robert Service who wrote, "the only thing Trotsky didn't like about Stalin was that he was shooting the wrong people".

Trotsky was an unwavering Bolshevik, but as early as 1923 was deeply critical of the monolithic aspect of party politics, desiring a more free exchange of ideas. He was in favor of repression, but not liquidation, of censure, but not of censoring.

He was the first writer (of any political leaning), to understand the dangers of Hitler's National Socialism, protesting as early as 1930 (Hitler took power in 1933-34) that if Hitler tried to take control, the USSR should provide troops and arms to communists dissidents – for this, he was labeled a fear-monger.

He spent the last ten years of his life exiled from the country he had helped to found, using all his energy to write in favor of permanent revolution, and to pick apart the lunacy of Stalin's purges.

The following, taken from Deutscher's second book was written about Trotsky's banishment in 1929, sums up the differences between Stalin and Trotsky

"Here indeed the film of revolution ran backwards, at least in the sense that Stalin represented an amalgamation of Marxism with all that was primitive and archaically semi-Asiatic in Russia: with the illiteracy and barbarism of the muzhik on the one hand, and the absolutist traditions of the old ruling groups on the other. Against this, Trotsky stood for undiluted classical Marxism, in all its intellectual and moral strength and also in all its political weakness– a weakness which resulted from its own incompatibility with Russian backwardness and from the failures of socialism in the West. In banish Trotsky, Stalin banished classical Marxism from Russia."



Top 5 senses

1. sight
2. hearing
5. the sixth sense

(sorry smell)

top 5 episodes pf bored to Death to watch

before you die, from the first five episodes of this season

1.episode 1.
2. episode 2.
3. episode 3.
4.episode 4.
5. episode 5.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I had a paper to write today, but instead, I opened up a bunch of windows in dictionary.com where you can hear words pronounced and made it say sentences.

some real gems include: Jerk. My. Butt. Off.


I. smell. poop.

Monday, November 2, 2009


I watched this today.

it was, I guess not as bad as I expected, but it was pretty crazy. Structurally I think it reminded me of playing a video game, particularly a scene where Wolverine has to box the blog in order to get information about the wehreabouts of a secret island while being coached by Will.I.Am with a western accent...yes that is really a part of the movie.

The whole film can be easily divided into 10 minute (or so) adventure segments connected by brief plot development, totally like every superhero adventure video game ever.

It was pretty shitty.

That being said, it was roughly 4 million times better than Fantastic Four, and from moment to moment was fairly entertaining.

I give it a 3.9 out of 10


Saturday, October 31, 2009

funny onion article

Man Dies After Secret 4-Year Battle With Gorilla

October 26, 2009 | Issue 45•44

Sunday, October 25, 2009


which of these people will Billy turn into in 30 years?

1. shrivelled wealthy businessman

2.No limits guy

3. tie on head party guy


4.cactus penis

boner1.jpg image by 413some

5. a hot chick


6. THE hot chick


7. an actual monster


movie I watched today

I'm really working on a theme right now


Warren Beatty stars as John Reed, an American socialist from the 1910's who edited The Masses, he went to Russia in 1917 and wrote 10 Days the Shook the World about the Bolshevik revolution (which I am reading right now).

It has Jack Nicholson in it as Eugene O'Neill.

It's interspersed with interviews of old as shit socialists who knew Jack Reed and Emma Goldman and went to Russia to fight.

I think a lot of the appeal is how desperately interested in the subject matter I am, but it's definitely worth seeing.