Sunday, August 30, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
The problem is, these 120 bullet points are...often the wrong bullet points. We don't teach Andrew Jackson, but we spend a week on Harding and Coolidge, we don't talk about Jefferson's presidency, but we spend 3 weeks discussing the individual battles on the western front of the 2nd world war.
This is a real problem.
The standards are set up as their own narrative, they provide a "whig" view of history (the history moves inexorably to a better place), they tell their story, and that story is how American came to be the greatest country in the history of the world.
When they do include negatives (and indeed they do), they use things that are so profoundly negative - slavery, japanese internment- that there is no longer any discussion or controversy.
The entire state-ordained curriculum is designed to remove question marks from history, to remove ideas, to remove discussion, and to replace it was explanation.
My job is to, as much as possible, but all those things back into history class...without losing my job.
I think that history holds a unique place among the high school subjects in that it is, of the specialized subjects, the one most applicable to the lives of the students.
I want everyone to know everything, but in the end, it doesn't really matter who knows calc and who never read Jane Austen, but people MUST know their first amendment rights, and to know those, they MUST understand why we have those rights and how we have had to struggle when authority has tried to strip us of them.
The goal of the history teacher is to take this subject, which, with its facts and minutiae, can seem the most esoteric, the least applicable, and convince them that the opposite is true.
To put question marks on every one of those motherfucking bullet points.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Frankly, this was a tremendous disappointment to me. It was somehow too much of everything while at the same time being too little of anything. This is not to suggest that there were no bits taht made me laugh out loud, there were, but they were somewhat too few and far between for something in the comedy section.
Basically, he attempted a sort of Al Franken book, a book where he rails against idiocy, spicing his rants with frequent hilarity.
It just did not work out. Cross's brand of venomous loathing for the right, while something I appreciate as much as anyone...just isn't as funny as Franken, who managed to hate without devolving into a sort of...spittle spewing too cool caricature of an intellectual comedian.
Maybe part of this is that I read it, maybe if I was able to hear it, in cross's voice, with cross's delivery, I would not be so bummed (after all his standup, which I do find brilliant, employs long spaces without laughs to positive effect).
When it came down to it though, he was too funny to be taken seriously, and he was too serious (in his delivery, not in the gravity of his content), to really be funny.I think I may try to download and listen to it, maybe that'll change my mind
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Pope XII (964) was beaten to death naked in bed by the jealous husband of the lady he was with
the SAME THING happened just 8 years later to Pope John XII
and my favorite:
Pope Paull II died in 1471 while being SODOMIZED BY A PAGE BOY :)!
He suggested that if you combine the love a man feels for a wife with the love a brother feels for his sister it would create in such a tremendous amount of affection as to result in unduly frequent intercourse, this constant sex-having would not leave enough time to worship God.
What is more shocking about this? The gross stupidity, or the fact that it took Catholics 1200 years to come up with a reason not to fuck your family and this is the best they could do...
This is really interesting to me not just because its funny, but because it is an instance where proper morality ABSOLUTELY CANNOT be traced to religion, it comes form science. The only real reason not to engage sexually with familial relations is because of evolution, it increases the risk of all manner of diseases, which may be why Prince Charles looks like that.
All praise science.
I'm going to be honest, if European nations were truly on the verge of religious Muslim dominance, this would be a somewhat troubling fact. It would beg the question of how one reconciles democratic principles with the possibility that the population would endorse Shiite Law or something like that.
BUT, here is the problem...IT ISN'T TRUE!
this is the problem with so many conservative arguments, they end up defining the conversation, but too often it is based on misinterpretation (if we are being charitable) or outright malicious falsehood (if we are not).
The most dramatic possible projections involve a 20 percent Muslim population AT THE MOST in Europe in 50 years.
So a conversation that seems like it is something uncomfortable but potentially important ends up being another way for racists to vent their fears of immigration based on nothing.
Friday, August 21, 2009
"Everyone knows about this place," says Jonas, a backpacker who arrived two days earlier. "My mate came to Bolivia last year and he said, 'Route 36 is the best lounge in all of South America.'" It is certainly the most bizarre and brazen. Though cocaine is illegal in Bolivia, Route 36 is fast becoming an essential stop for thousands of tourists who come here every year and happily sample the country's cocaine, which is famous for both its availability, price (around €15 a gram) and purity."
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
But released today was the news that a comet was discovered with proteins - i.e.- the building blocks necessary for life.
This means, basically (not that there was much of a doubt), that life is not the unique providence of our planet. Beyond putting the lie to the notion that we are somehow special, and making things a mite difficult for the religious, it's just sort of marvelous.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
some new yorkers were startled by our staged photo op, and for that, me, and all the good people at virgin america truly, truly sorry.
I spent 4 days in NY
I did what I could, but I can't save a whole city by myself, and beers cost 6.50 there, so I had to grab Eric and go back to where people treat each other right - Maryland.
When I got to Sterling's, a lot of people were swimming, I almost passed out with fear when i saw Danny, slowly rising from the muck
It was really nice to see Sterling, if only for one night, he's changed a lot, but he' still the same guy inside.
Julie was there
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I'm flying on Virgin, and last night when I checked in, I saw that I had enough elevate points for a free upgrade to coach premium. I got it because its in the front, there was an empty seat next to it, and it has 4 extra inches of leg room.
But that's not all.
I get: free internet (obvi!), and unlimited free food and drink and movies.
I have this many of these:
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
"This is the most fucked up company to work with in SF Bay area"
"Dont even think of joining this company"
"The most fucked up start up in an industry."
"[the boss will] smile to your face while readying her dagger. It’s all about image and that is all [she] is. And hers is quickly fading for screwing so many former employees."
"she’s a incompetent hack and failing on a massive scale."
"the worst company in terms of management, CEO claims to be a writer and “management consultant” which is fake. Company is going no where, even you get a call for an interview please stay away."
Friday, August 7, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
It's almost hard for me to think of movies that have had less of an impact on my life than those movies. For example, almost everything that Dwayne "the rock" Johnson has ever been in has impacted me more, seriously. Have you seen that movie with him and Stifler where they go to Brazil? It's awesome.
Am I alone here?
this is a really good article on Francis Collins by End Of Faith author Sam Harris.
this is a good quote on why getting people to reconcile science and faith is not the answer:
The goal is not to get more Americans to merely accept the truth of evolution (or any other scientific theory); the goal is to get them to value the principles of reasoning and educated discourse that now make a belief in evolution obligatory. Doubt about evolution is merely a symptom of an underlying problem; the problem is faith itself—conviction without sufficient reason, hope mistaken for knowledge, bad ideas protected from good ones, good ideas occluded by bad ones, wishful thinking elevated to a principle of salvation, etc
I wikipediad the school, and this is what I learned:
The school is often cited as the origin of the time and codeword 420 in drug culture; originally "420" served as a code word by a group of marijuana users who would meet in front of a statue of Louis Pasteur at 4:20 P. M. to smoke marijuana. As the usage spread, the original connotations of the word "420" faded away.
I really....I really...ok...I ...I liked this movie. I really did. I enjoyed almost all of it. I thought that Adam Sandler did a great job, I think they really did a tremendous job of exploring the...psychosis? whatever, the way that young and coming comics think and work. The best part of this film to me were those small bits and pieces that acted as sort of love letters to the world of the alternative comedy scene of the 1980's and 1990's. That stuff was awesome. Paul Reiser was awesome. Sarah Silverman was awesome.
The love story was not awesome. Somehow, it made this movie, already clocking in at a robust 2.5 hours, seem like it needed EXTRA time. The problem with the romance for me, are these.
1. There is never any sort of gradual building up or decay of these relationships, its all very harried
2. am I supposed to like Leslie Mann's character? I definitely don't think I DID like her...but I feel like maybe Judd wanted me to. Those were my problems there.
Really this was 3 movies. Maybe more. It was great movie about a dying coemdian, maybe he comes back, maybe he just dies. there is not, what he comes to appreciate is comedy, he lives in through his work kinda thing, here is where he get all these rad dave attel, norm macdonald cameos.
It was alsol a great movie about up and coming talent in the comedy scene in LA, Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen and RAAAAANDY and Yo Teach and the girl Seth Rogen likes. That sounds like a great fucking movie.
Also the movie with the love story, eh, this was not going to be so great.
I think two novel approachses could have made this work.
I think that Funny people would have workd much better as an adult, HBO sitcom.
I think that Funny People could work as a sort of trilogy that you see all at once, but like with New York Stories, you see a full storry, followed by 2 other stories (stories that in this case, will share character and motive), but will still distinctly cover one of the there aforementioned movie topics.
However, it is of some small importance to individual students who are unable to attend (or forced to attend), schools based on these rankings.
For example. Kenyon is ranked the 22nd best college in the country.
Grinnel is ranked 145.
When I was in high school, I was told that I couldn't get into Grinnel.
Obviously I got into Kenyon.
So what exactly is the equation that produces these numbers?
how is it possible that Grinnel fell 130 points in 6 years, and Kenyon climbed 20.
the whole thing just reaks of intrigue.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
This is a real problem, as (as Silver also points out), the bigger a state is, and certainly the larger the state's population density the more democratic it tends to be. There are exceptions to this, but, by and large, the least densely populated states are conservative ones like the Dakotas and Wyoming.
There are 2 senators from every state, a vestige from the time when state interests were more...slave-o-centric than they are today.
This is fucked, and is ( i think), a large part of the reason that all American political dialogue skews to the right of center, and part of the reason that the extreme right is allowed to say whatever it wants, while the far left is largely silent on television.
It's pretty crazy, because while he is mainly talking about McCarthyites, Senator Robert Taft and the campaign of Barry Goldwater, it reads as though he could have been writing about Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.
he writes, "what is at stake (to the paranoid right) is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, the quality needed is not a willingness to compromise, but the will to fight things out to a finish. Nothing but complete victory will do. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated...This demand for unqualified victories leads to the formulation of hopelessly demanding and unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoids frustration"
(This sounds like an excellent description of the war on terror, it was written about the search for domestic communists in the early 1960's).
and this sounds like Glenn Beck, "We are all sufferres from history, but the paranoid is a double sufferer, sin ce he is afflicted not only be the real world, with the rest of us, but by his fantasies as well" (40).
I like this one too, written about the fall of China to Mao, "the paranoid sees his own country as bein so weak that it is constantly about to fall civtim to subversion; and yet he feels that it is so all-poerful that any failiure it may epeience in getting its way in the world...cannot possibly be due to its limitations but must be attributed to its being betrayed" (46).
There is lots more like this.