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February 26, 2006


That's how I felt about Match Point, Woody Allen's latest (and by some accounts, best) film. It's message? There is no meaning; everything comes down to luck. The protagonist is never happy, despite the stream of "good" and "bad luck" that happens to him. Even when he taunts it, it goes his way, despite his Dostoevskiesque maunderings. Ultimately, Chris performs with seemingly extreme rationality to maximize his agency. Yet one must wonder, since he never rejects an offer of apparent good luck, if he's not in thrall to some deeply-ingrained suspicion or fear that ultimately rules his every "choice". Does it come down to the difference between love and lust or is that merely another rationalization to justify his violent resolution of good luck gone bad?

Allen is sanguine about the role of luck in the making of the film:

"Woody on luck: The entire film was permeated with luck. The film is about luck and the film is permeated with good luck, that it came through in London, that the weather was good every time I needed something. I got lucky with the actors and actresses in the film. The film came out pretty well I thought and I'm usually a harsh critic of my films. This one I felt positive about."

Posted by Steph at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2006


I enjoyed TransAmerica with friends at the Pleasant St. Theatre last night. We had alternative opinions about its smooth resolution. Was it just a typical Hollywood happy ending? Did it resolve too quickly, too painlessly, the awkwardness of a son trying to seduce the only person who's been consistently kind to him - who he doesn't know is a biological parent? I was impressed by the clean, clear and morally unhesitating response of the parent, who is instantly all too aware of the horrible reality her son will now face: "I don't want it. I don't want to like it. I don't want it at all."

My buddy asked me if my family was that entertaining. Don't I wish! :-/ Searing honesty about mutual disappointments could have made caricatures out of them all (mom/grandmother is a bit over the top), but in the end there is a bond that supercedes mistakes and character flaws.

Posted by Steph at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2006

dealing with challenging content

"Wanda" and I have faced a couple of interpreting challenges recently. One is the perennial issue of not knowing the subject matter. "I feel like he's poured out a bag of multicolored M&M's with every sentence and I have to sort them."

It isn't that one has to know every subject in great depth and detail, but one does need to be conversant with the general types of thinking that go along with a particular setting. For instance, I think I was mistaken a while back when I said one shouldn't take a job involving "gay history" without knowing gay history...it isn't that the facts need to be known, but the general issues and concerns of the group should be familiar, as well as important terms commonly used in the community.

Similarly, interpreting for graduate level classes means one must be prepared for deep theoretical discussions. Of course we can't know each and every particular theory, but the larger framework of concerns about thought, thinking, research, the construction of knowledge and questions about what it means "to understand" span most coursework at that level. These broad concerns may not come up all the time, but we ought not be caught off guard when they do. My M&M-sorting colleague had a bad day (normally she handles this stuff with aplomb). But the event clarified for me a way of talking about what "minimum qualifications" mean in a given setting or for a particular assignment.

And - speaker's sentences can feel like multicolored M&Ms needing sorting for other reasons too: for instance, their own lack of organization! As Seleskovitch writes: "The message is naturally conditioned by the person who originates it". If a speaker doesn't provide a framework or fails to explain transitions from one topic/subject to the next, meaning is hard to grasp. In these instances, one has to wonder if the speaker themself knows what they mean or even has a point that they are trying to convey!

The worst situation is when both conditions collide.

Posted by Steph at 6:00 PM | Comments (0)

tracing interpreting theory

It's time for me to dive in to the literature on the theory of interpretation. The obvious starting point is with Danica Seleskovitch who published the first descriptive (explanatory) materials for training purposes in 1968 (blurb from a google search - the URL won't open). I've got Interpreting for International Conferences (1978) with me now. There are updates, expansions, digressions, and alternatives on the AIIC website, where I'll soon spend considerable time.

Daniel Giles has divided interpreting research in the West into four periods, with a particular emphasis on the "Paris School," which theorized interpreting as based on meaning (French sens) and renamed (when?) "La théorie interprétative de la traduction", the interpretative theory of translation." This is the primary theory informing the practice of professional simultaneous interpreters at the European Parliament.

What intrigues me is the way that interpreters phenomenologically constructed theories of language based on their work that parallel important philosophical conceptualizations arrived at by other intellectual processes: rationalism (?) and structuralism, most clearly. I've got a hunk of work to do to sort these out and make a coherent argument! Does anyone know of a biography of Seleskovitch's life and/or career? (There's a master's thesis for someone!) She "exists" in discourse, her own authored works, and the legacy of her training methods and style...but has anyone tied it all together?

Her concerns in 1978 (as reflected in her text) involve mechanization (the 'threat' of machines taking over the work of translation and interpretation) and of explaining the process of interpretation to laymen and trainees. Her purpose, she explains, is "to shed light on the mental processes which make possible the virtually instantaneous transmission of an oral message into another language" (9). There are four kinds of "problems" that complicate this transmission: "problems of comprehension, problems of knowledge, problems of communication and also problems of language" (10). She provides the metaphor of painting (instead of photography) to encapsulate these problems and the processes which resolve them. "Photography captures every detail and prefectly reproduces all that falls within the range of the camera's lens...Painting, on the other hand, seeks to discover a meaning, to convey a message and, of course, reflects the object as seen through the eyes of the painter. Just as painting is not copying, interpretation is not a word-for-word translation" (19).

Posted by Steph at 5:28 PM | Comments (0)


Squeeze number three. But today someone mentioned an alternative screening possibility, so I checked it out with the radiation tech. Lisa hadn't heard of it...thermasomething, but she did say ultrasound is used at a certain point to determine if a lump is cystic (has fluid) or solid (biopsy time). A lot of stuff is being done with MRI technology now, but nothing new in this arena. The most interesting part of the conversation (I thought) was comparing European and US research. We both had the sense of the Europeans being much more broadly interested and even experimental with a wider range of concern while the US is more invested in high-profile crisis research.

The other point had to do with the doses of radiation used these days compared with the old days. I did ask (according to my rights, posted on the wall) for the exact dosage.... it's calculated in millirems and she cited some comparitives to emphasize the minimal risk involved. It reminded me of concerns someone had at some point when I was a kid with all kinds of dental work being done and a few concussions....that we needed to be careful of the number of xrays I had. Lisa said dentists used to use very high dosages (apparently not so anymore). At any rate, I wondered - is that what happened to my memory? Some of my synapses got fried or otherwise 'mis'configured? :-) That would explain a lot...

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anti-war rally at UMass

March 8, 2006
12:15 at the Student Union Steps

Join us in presenting Chancellor Lombardi and the UMass Administration
with a list of STUDENT DEMANDS & signed petitions in support of those

Our demands:
1. We DEMAND that this University prohibit ALL forms of MILITARY RECRUITMENT on our campus. No more preferential treatment of the US Military!
2. We DEMAND that the University remove the F.B.I. agent currently on its payroll. Keep education and law enforcement separate!
3. We DEMAND that the University REFUSE TO ACCEPT all future research grant funding provided by the US Department of Defense and its subsidiary agencies. Money for education, not war.

You can read the complete text of the letter to be delivered to Chancellor

Posted by Steph at 5:08 PM | Comments (0)

Missing Sam :-(

It's a weird sense of presence - his absence. I note things I want to tell him, catch myself thinking about the next visit ... remember odds and ends, tidbits of memories from this story or that anecdote. Received emails from various folk, "Sam's People". He put so much fun and love and all-around good feelings into circulation. :-)

The formal obituary with details of his life will be submitted to the papers soon. Lee asked me for some kind of something...what I wrote doesn't follow the obituary format so probably won't be included:

Sam left this life as he lived it – quietly and without inconveniencing anyone. His heart was huge and his needs modest: good wine, good friends, and lots of laughter. Sam had his foibles, no doubt, but he never lost sight of the things that matter most, such as dealing with the immediate, listening well, dropping a well-timed joke, encouraging people to get along, pointing out the sheer absurdity of life’s many twists and turns. “Twas ever thus!” he would pronounce. If he liked something it was “bitchin’”, and if he didn’t you’d find out about it sooner or later (unless he thought it would hurt your feelings, then he wouldn’t say). Sam had a talent for appreciating the struggles everyone faces in life. He had a great deal of empathy and compassion – it was never hard for him to imagine himself in your position and comment on some redeemable - or absurd! - aspect of it. Not that he was saintly! His irreverence is probably what most endeared him to the many people fortunate enough to know him. Life is often inexplicable or ridiculous: Sam flirted with this boundary whenever he could – playing practical jokes and expressing his affection through an incongruous mixture of teasing, innuendo, and outright confrontation. He appreciated what he received from people, and never looked back on his conscious choice to love generally rather than specifically.

Never married, Sam’s chosen family spans the globe, extending from friends and colleagues in Massachusetts and Vermont, blood relatives in California and Colorado, old college buddies in Washington State, to his Brazilian family and countless other host families in a dozen or more countries throughout South America and all across Europe. Sam got around! He wanted nothing less than for others to also experience the joys of connecting across national and cultural differences.

Posted by Steph at 9:40 AM | Comments (0)

North Country

This "most important movie for women to see in 2005" was too intense for light banter throughout. Although a few flip comments did float out into the darkened living room at La Guarida, for the most part we were a quiet and attentive audience. Banter was intense before and after . . .

Prior to the screening, Consuela Bananahammock was asked, "Do you want a piece of my bottom?" - apparently because she didn't appreciate the coconut on top of the homemade carrot cake. A late arrival, after getting a synopsis of what had happened so far, thought he'd "seen the end of this before" and was promptly informed how such could not be possible. One of our hosts spent most of the time out of the room on the phone. He did inquire as to the media effect of this particular film at this particular time - is it attempting "to do" something? I almost wondered if there was a subtext: sexual harassment is so DOA? Don't we wish. :-( I speculated about the number of social justice-themed movies up for one kind of Oscar or another. Now, I wonder, this may or may not be a direct effect of the type of movies selected - many of which (so I'm told) are smaller production affairs than the typical Hollywood glitz.

# of rapscallions in attendance? Nine.

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February 23, 2006


I showed Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room to my mass media class last night. They spoke vigorously among themselves in pairs, but were hesitant to speak to us all - shyness or were they overwhelmed? The emotions named were mad, sad, and scared.

We spent the most time discussing the link between Enron and the (manufactured) California energy "crisis". How deliberate was coordinated planning between Bush's political allies and Enron's economic motivations? Speculation also arose about the timing of September 11. Were the attacks coordinated on purpose to distract the public from the upcoming scandal? I don't personally think so but certainly the media's agenda-setting function kicked right into gear (not to mention the dialectical response of Bush et al which has escalated more tensions than it resolved).

I asked students about the actual presentation of the documentary - is there a "liberal" or "conservative" bias? A few speculated liberal, but I wonder if that is simply because the obvious thrust of the film is overtly critical of a political and economic process that permitted such extreme abuse. I do not know the ideological leanings of this film's producers to be able to make such a claim, however a kneejerk labeling of them as "liberal" would seem to me to discredit all the conservatives who are also appalled.

I found an (incomplete?) review by VariaGallery (whoever that is) that ends with an intriguing comment about Martha Stewart. I kept thinking product placement.

Anyway, I've been pondering the collective response of the class since I was very jazzed up thinking that the timing of showing this was perfect as we've just been really getting a handle on the interplay of social/cultural, economic, and political dimensions of national and global human organization. But it could be that my anticipation was "ahead" of where they could be, since they needed a cushion of time to integrate all the information.

Posted by Steph at 9:12 AM | Comments (1)

February 22, 2006

Dialogue under Occupation (DUO)

I want to go to this conference in Chicago next fall.

Posted by Steph at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

no vanity here!

It was some kind of bowling night. Not only did we have to wait forever to get a lane, but only two (2) people broke into triple digits! Well, unless you count Anuj, a.k.a. Robin Hood, who bowled a perfect 100 in his last game.

For some reason, tonight was the night I finally remembered to take the informed consent forms. Since we weren't bowling (!), everyone had plenty of time to dispute my intentions. LB did his level best to dissuade folks from giving permission of any kind...I don't know if the fact that most everyone did sign a form means I have a higher trust factor than he does? ;-)

We did a tandom note-taking process. I like it. I leave my notes out where folks can see and add to them. There was only one addition - in addition to whomever folded the notes into a paper airplane, - an arrow from "Lava" (who loves his King and described his game as "a dog day for bowling") to "asexual reproduction", which was the conversation I had with Alenka (a plant biologist) about parallels concerning the way pollen tubes grow through elongation of one cell rather than cell division. I likened it to the process of a person without a partner seeking to extend their morality into the world.

Meanwhile, Jake the Anarchist refused to sign a form, taking his chances with my interpretation without constraints. Welcome to the real world! It's an on-going puzzle: who's reachable and who isn't, by whom, when, where, and how. [Reprise: Speaking of the real world, I'm teasing my friend about his non-political stance in the world but actually things appear a bit grim in his home country. Me, the naive American, didn't have a clue. :-(]

David of the exotic name (from Spain) is working on environmental engineering concerning water but can't do a dang thing about droughts. He did pick up a strike in his second attempt at bowling ever and I think we need to watch out for him. Then there's "Paul" - who had Big Concerns about his bowling performance but not so many about his pool game. After he whipped me and JIT he decided I could use his real name. Ha! As if! ;-)

We did have a conversation about amperes being just a part of the equation that produces watts. I thought I understood it at the time but I'm not sure it stuck. He also told me Newton and Einstein are actually not in conflict.

Zeynep entered the competition for most frames in the single digits but needs to do better to beat the all-time high of seven. Right after she accused me of beating her "by 100" she threw a strike, although maybe that was becuase she'd just had her arm shortened? "Sara" got the girls going on this - I thought it was a het thing at first, but my arm shortened too with vigorous elbow-rubbing. Then she got the guys involved, but it didn't seem to have quite the same effect.

There was a bit of a concern that I might "go crazy now" that I had official consent from folks. (Shhh, I'm gonna string 'em on a while longer!)

Luscious Larry was not on tonight. It's bound to hit everyone at some point. Juan couldn't integrate the info about the informed consent form but he did arrive long after the melee in which my character was dissected and my aim questioned. "Amy is dangerous?" Juan missed the consultation with advisors and requested a special meeting. In the meantime, LB scored a 144 and then a 162, decimating "the professionals" who he said "can take it." I missed some high fives after a lone strike and caught some flack for waiting on the green, 11 lb. ball. Fine then! That 10 lb orange got me another strike!

I didn't stick with it, but maybe that's something to consider for next week...

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February 20, 2006

The Probable Future

I confess. I liked it. I wasn't so drawn in at first, but it grew on me as I listened. I think the reader's voice may come across too cheerfully? I'm not quite sure how to characterize it. She was consistent though, and pulled some nice tonal inflections which did add to the storytelling, especially near the end.

I can't locate my notes, which is kindof a bummer, so I can only report the line I remember:

"Love is not a mistake,
even when it is not returned."

I agree.

What's interesting about the story is that the women all expect their gifts to somehow protect them from ... something. Maybe it isn't that they're afraid, actually, but that the gift seems so sure and steady that they believe it will guide them into making all the right decisions. Which I guess are decisions without consequences? Hard to say. We don't have much motive from the author, only the characters' experiences.

This is the 'true to life' part, I think. What Annmarie recently described as "the universal value...the difference between a scream and giving form and rhythm to a scream so that your scream can become anybody else's scream..."

Each of the main characters has to make choices, in-the-moment, that have ramifications for the future whether or not they're aware of this temporal fact. Many of their choices, we infer, are predicated upon past experience - the link back. A lot of the choices seem, in retrospect, to not have been so well-considered? And yet, ultimately, these characters find that their impulse to love does lead them eventually to someone who can meet them where they are and participate in creating a mutual happiness.

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February 19, 2006

for Dad

Feel free to share this link to the "Presidential Warp".

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"Let's Have a Party with The Blues"

This was the encore number at "Remembering Ray," a mixed combo, big band, and solo vocalist who performed at the Academy of Music this afternoon. Cynthia Scott was fun (if a wee bit heterosexist - I sang with the women and the men).

I liked Come Rain or Come Shine, then she followed it with Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying. Romance don't last long, does it?

Fathead was hot. Kinda bold too, announcing that Ms. Scott was not one of the Raelettes who "let Ray." Can you imagine that price of fame? No no no, I never slept with the lecher.

I especially enjoyed the third song played by the Jeff Holmes Big Band. Was it Walkin 'and Talkin'? Then there was the best small group moment: Yoron Isreal refusing to come out the groove after his first drum solo. Radam and Scott checked him out and laughed.

Music : Remembering Ray
Now in its 14th season, The Northampton Arts Council presents the Four Sundays in February Series has become a winter tradition at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton. On Sunday, February 19th we will present Remembering Ray, a tribute performance to the late Ray Charles with Ray's sidekick saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman, former Raelette, Cynthia Scott along with the Jeff Holmes Big Band, Radam Schwartz, Yoron Israel and Scott Sasinecki. All seats $10 in advance, $12 at the door, day of show. Sponsored by Smith College. For more information visit www.northamptonartscouncil.org.
Sunday, February 19

Posted by Steph at 7:28 PM | Comments (0)

up for Oscars

I've seen many but not all of this year's nominees.

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life, and living

Watched two movies this evening, Bulworth, and Diary of a Mad Black Woman.

I enjoyed Bulworth's assault on the current state of political-economic affairs, but mostly I empathized with the fact of making personal mistakes on the grandest public scale possible. I wish I could learn well in a more discrete fashion but it just doesn't seem to be my modus operandi.

I'll confess, "Diary" just made me sad with it's them of love gone wrong. It's hardly a comedy, as my fellow movie-viewers critiqued, it is falsely advertised as such. It's more a proselytizing film for Christianity - and not necessarily in its most radical/humanizing form. Nonetheless, once we've made people "pay" for their sins against us (real or imagined?), we do have the option to forgive and move on. Best would be to forgive before any degree of retribution but such requires true sainthood, yes?

Posted by Steph at 2:48 AM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2006

U.S. fundamentalism

The assault on learning continues. Now, the administrators of Notre Dame University wish to ban events for fear of endorsing "values that conflict with Roman Catholicism."

Contrast that attitude with the Hebrew-Christian collaboration between two colleges in Massachusetts. The partnership assumes "interrelation with others is a source of enrichment that expands us rather than threatens."

Meanwhile, McCarthiesque efforts to shut down so-called "liberal" professors continue throughout the US.

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Truman was a messed up dude, as far as I can tell from the depiction in the movie. He was brilliant, understood the power of media (as in McLuhan's infamous "the medium is the message") and apparently had no compunction in using people's lives as fodder for a good story - to wit, In Cold Blood.

His own life wasn't so glamorous, which isn't an excuse for being nonchalant with others' lives - regardless of their own choices. The most compelling line of the movie, to me, was when Capote explains the similarity between his life and the life of Perry Smith - who turns out to be the one who committed all four of the cold-blooded murders. "One day he stood up and went out the back door, while I went out the front."

Yes, and. Truman Capote may have walked out the front door and led a life that didn't violate the law, but that doesn't mean his actions didn't violate other persons. He needed Perry Smith and Dick Hickock to be guilty and die for their crime. They were, and they did... does it excuse his lack of compassion? His book was more important to him than their lives. But they were guilty - most especially Perry, to whom Capote became most close.

It has me wondering about an accusation from a "friend" some time ago - of my blogging something and them feeling "like a character". My movie-goig compatriot tonight said sometimes what I blog is annoying, but being reduced to a character is an overstatement. What I wonder is if its possible to live a life that doesn't violate something, sometimes?

But then, I'm still seeking forgiveness, so perhaps my pleading is itself suspect.

Truman Capote, in this representation, knew what he was doing. He knew he was on to something new, something big, something significant about media and its use. He was correct. And in the course of his ambition he made intellectual connections and he let people down. Must it always be an either/or choice?

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February 17, 2006

goat test

Six Rapscallions gathered again at La Guarida last night to dissect The Constant Gardener. A seventh left before the movie, not wanting to "ruin it" for the rest of us by talking through it. As if! Some of us struggled with the British brogue and the low/muffled sound of much of the dialogue. After the first rewind and debriefing (in which it was determined only 30% of us "caught it" the first time around) we turned on the captioning. Oh my.

There were too many examples (talk about an object for analysis!), but "She adored Tessa" becoming "the goat test" is near the top of the list. Not to mention him being "large of house" instead of "large of heart". I was reminded of the old Deaf School communal activity of watching movies before there was any captioning at all. I'd have loved to have seen some of the reenactments! The kids in the dorm would watch an entire film and then invent the storyline, plot, and dialogue. Apparently, the stories they came up with were always better than the "actual" movie. :-)

Anyway, I personally thought "Gardener" was well done on all the other counts. I'm surprised at the range of like/dislike in the reviews. I was thoroughly corraled (!) when I wanted to explore the blatant racism that is the structural feature which enables taking the movie as "just a movie" - distracted as audiences often are by classic depictions of romance and heroism. "Let's watch a happy movie next time!" I don't mean it as a barb - clearly we all knew and reacted to the grim parts of pharmaceutical company/government collusion. The power of the movie is, I think, how insidiously it both depicts a continuing political economy of profiting through racism and insulates us from it with familiar tropes.

I don't know how "happy" North Country is, we determined that it will be released in time for the next gathering. Meanwhile, can you guess which of our hosts shaved his head? Which one wants to have short curly hair? Which guest displayed handstand talents and almost created a new breakfast nook? Who thinks soap is inadequate to wash dirt off spoons? Who's been banned from eating cake? PS - the alpha male's room was inadvertently on display. And wouldn't you know, there was the exact same Picasso print of Don Quixote that Sam had forever and ever and ever. :-)

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February 16, 2006

Liz and the Library

Careers for Communication Majors Ref P916.3...

Career Opportunities in Advertising and Public Relations Ref HF5828.4 F54 2002

Occupational Outlook Handbook Ref HF5381 U62

Who's here today? Jashua, Lawrence, Ryan, Monica, Burda, Perry, Christopher, Chris, Perry, Scott, Katie, Nina, Kara, Estelle, Kim, Joe, Brianna.

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A Job Well Done

So said my fortune from Chinese dinner on Tuesday night. Lee, Pat, Phil, Lorraine and I completed the clean-out of Sam's belongings yesterday. The weather could not have been more congenial for moving. Did Sam plan it all? :-)

The staff at Eden were wonderful. Many came in to share condolences and reminesce: his editorship of the newsletter and presidency of the resident's council, all the teases (too too many to recount!), his attention to detail and concern for fairness. "It will never be the same," one aide said. Several folks from Eden are working on tributes to Sam for the next newsletter; I'll share that when it comes out.

Sam's largest plant was placed in the downstairs windowbay, by the lobby. May it thrive.

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February 15, 2006

"Want a banana for your monkey?"

"Peace is a fabric and people must work their way into the fabric," says Sam. One man cannot make world peace by himself, but he can find inner peace without the help of others.

~ Inscribed on the back of this double exposure by Evan when he was as middleschooler at Hilltop Montessori. The deck is the upstairs balcony at Sam's home in Putney.

Sam double exposure.jpg

And here's an old photo of Sam with all his siblings. Sam would be the one rubbing his eye. Such a cutie-pie!!

Sam's body was cremated today. Lee dressed him up all spiffy, and included three pinecones from the land around his Putney home and a few other special tidbits.

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two ball bowling

It was an eventful evening, perhaps capped off by the new ricocheting-ball technique invented by the newbie who "got the link [last week] but didn't even check". Alex helped the cause tremendously when she confirmed, "It was kindof rude." [Gasp! The nerve!]

Responses to the blog continue to range from none (with its vast range of possible meanings) through varying degrees of puzzlement to statements of ... well, appreciation is an overstatement, mild enjoyment perhaps. As I've heard, sometimes anyone can read and understand, sometimes the entries are sensible only to those who were at the event, and, as Anuj says: "Sometimes no one knows what's going on!" Rumor has it (btw) that his spin "turned the corner" this week. Such was noted - independently - both by LB and Lava, who said "watch his spoons." I don't really know what that meant, but I watched anyway. He was tied with Lava at 43 in the 4th frame of their first game....

Broughton equated coming out to bowling on the night before her thesis defense with eating raw sea urchin. "That's adventurous enough for me!" She's a "Monkey" according to the Chinese calendar: "clever and skillful to the point of genius, practical and given to detail..." Perfect for the defense!

Just in Time showed up NOT on time, but promises he'll be back and actually bowl next time. uh hmmm. ;-) Max showed up in his cowboy boots drinking beer. Meanwhile Sabina was here for two days worth of work for some study abroad program (for some reason she was shy to give me a link to it...?)

I scored my highest ever - 161! I decided to bowl right-handed from the get-go tonight. LB discounted it, even though he arrived while the score was still up - he "didn't see each frame with [his] own eyes." It's true, actually, that I accidentally bowled in Broughton's 10th frame, and so she bowled for me - getting a strike which I followed with a spare. Wouldn't you know, some minutes later, LB nudged me to look at his score from his first game. He scored 161 too!

Meanwhile, Alenka got directly out of the single digits and even averaged (nearly) ten pins/frame. Not bad! Not bad! John Raymond had the high score last night, with 178. Alex was pleased we didn't have to compete for the correct bowling ball since we were in the same lane, and she was thrilled to have the chance to nudge me about it being my turn. "My turn? Again?" Anuj: "You never finished the second frame!" oops

He also had the nerve to ask me if I'm feeling ok. He was being solicitous - or so I thought. When I confirmed that I actually was "feeling ok", he said, "Then why aren't you bowling better?!?" Uncle Sam would have loved that. :-) He'd also have liked talking with Jake about "the real world."

Finally, two odd bits: "history in the making" (coined among our very own hovering over my notes, and claimed as a competitor for original coinage) and, "It's all about the style, Steph." I'm not sure, but there was a bit of nuance in the tone...rather like, "haven't you gotten it yet?" I still think Cata wins the style contest but notice how I hedged the statement since someone threatened to "sue the blog" if the content wasn't suitably flattering...

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February 14, 2006

Leonard Peltier

"I am everyone who ever died, without a voice, or a prayer, or a hope, or a chance. Everyone who ever suffered for being an Indian, for being human, for being indigenous, for being free...." The audio track continues.

Apparently there was a hearing on his case yesterday but I don't find any news about the outcome yet.

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Vote for Swati!

There will be a run-off election for secretary-treasurer of the Graduate Employee Organization (roughly, the student union) this week. Read Swati's statement.
(Yes, read her competitor's as well.)

Then vote!

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February 13, 2006

Circle of Sam

He couldn't have choreographed it better, leaving on a wintry Vermont night under the full moon. Lee didn't know that Sam had told me way back that he wanted to leave listening to Mahler - she mentioned to me that she'd taken some CDs over to the hospital and that was one of them. It all just came together. I hadn't remembered this until Lee said how much Sam loved Mahler - it sparked that memory from Sam's first year in the nursing home, when we spent so much time talking about death.

I spent several hours with Lee at Eden Park. She's been taking care of business: paperwork, at the funeral home, serving as the communication node for everyone, and sorting through his stuff. One of the nurses, Sue, came in. She was on vacation last week. It was hard on the staff here that Sam went over to the hospital because they weren't able to say goodbye. It was the right decision under the circumstances, but hard all the way around. Dani and Paul came in and we toasted Sam, remembered many special moments. We listened to Marvin Gaye. Danced. Laughed. Just like Sam would want us to. Paul said, "He didn't want nobody to feel bad for him!" Lee described Sam's parties - how "he always wanted all of his friends to be friends with each other: the circle of Sam."

There are so many memories in this room, with Sam's belongings. I remember painting his wheelchair - we made it groovy. :-) That first year I visited every Wed night after hours (!), and we'd talk and hang and talk and laugh. Sometimes we'd watch movies - his favorite of all time, The Princess Bride. We once gave him Nosey Parker. Some ofher movies we enjoyed together: Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Fight Club... and then the music. Josh Groban, Johnny Adams, Annie Lennox, Gregorian chant, opera, blues, on-and-on...so much happiness here.

Lee hasn't taken the paintings down yet. It's odd to walk in here and feel Sam and know he's gone. He sure claimed this room! His energy's still in it, in his things and the memories they spark. In us.

Posted by Steph at 8:40 PM | Comments (0)

moral imagination

Just peeking at the introduction to a collection of essays, The Grammar of Politics, which attempts to apply Wittgenstein's reputedly conservative politics to more radical practices.

A quote from his later work speaks to my writing students and to my own linguistic evolution (if I can be so bold as to hope certain changes are an improvement).

"But how many kinds of sentences are there? . . . There are countless kinds. . . . And this multiplicity is not something fixed, given once and for all; but new types of language, new language-games, as we may say, come into existence, and others become obsolete and forgotten. . . . Here the term 'language-game' is meant to bring into prominence the fact that the speaking of language is part of an activity, or of a form of life. (PI $ 23)" (p 5-6).

A bit later, the term "moral imagination" (coined by Sabina Lovibond) is introduced to describe a commitment "for creating and sustaining immanent yet sometimes oppositional political languages" (6-7). Indeed (referencing James Tully's Political Philosophy as Critical Activity, and aligning with Quentin Skinner, Charles Taylor, Jonathan Havercroft, & David Owen), "This approach starts from the rough ground of practice rather than theory: from political language games that are experienced as problematic and are called into question to become the site of struggle" (8).

The goal of such engagement (genealogical in some respects) is "to change our conventional way of looking at problems in which we are entangled and to enable us to think differently about them" (9).

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Fighting Xenophobia

The Immigrant Solidarity Network is organizing protests TOMORROW against upcoming repressive anti-immigration legislation.

Specifically, protests in Pennsylvania tomorrow will try to raise public awareness about H.R. 4437 Sensenbrenner-King, which passed the House of Representatives last December. According to the email I received, the bill will

"***make any relative, employer, student, coworker, co-congregant, or friend of an undocumented immigrant into an “alien smuggler” and a criminal. The legislations “smuggling” provisions go way beyond any common sense definition of a “smuggler,” and include average people going about their business. For example, it makes criminals out of the: soccer mom who drives her neighbors to the grocery store, the local ESL teacher, the neighbors who has a live-in nanny, landscapers who drive workers to jobs, etc.

***To make 11 million undocumented immigrants-and legal immigrants who have temporary status problems-into criminals that local police can arrest.

***To make it harder for legal permanent residents to become citizens

***To turn state and local police into immigrant agents.

***To require employers to verify workers’ legal status, without providing access to legal workers through immigration reform."

Sam used to recall the discrimination, verbal epithets, vandalism and threats of violence his family experienced as immigrants when he was a boy. Maybe that's one of the factors that played into his deep conviction that people are people and borders are a nuisance at best and a curse at worst. His interest in politics never flagged, although he was more prone to just go out and help people become friends rather than engage in direct collective action. He would support and encourage us to do it, though, wanna bet? (If anyone knows of his participation in public rallies like this I'd sure like to learn about them. Did he have a civic action phase?)

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February 12, 2006

Peacefully, in his sleep

“He’s gone, Steph.” Lee's voice was thick just before 7 am this morning. "A nurse came in at 4:30 and told me." Lee had dozed off in the hospital bed next to Sam, who hadn't really been "with it" since her arrival yesterday. He had been responsive when the Eden staff made the decision to send him to BMH but Lee's not sure he was aware of her presence - at least, he was no longer able to give any signs. His decline began during the night shift Thursday night/Friday morning. Lee told me last night about the excellent care Sam was getting from the staff at Brattleboro Memorial; she was glad he was there being ministered to so attentively.

An email from Pat late last night said Lee "is his angel for now til he gets to the real ones..."

It will take a while for scheduling any kind of event. Sam had some specifications about what he did/didn't want...have to work those out.

Lee was imagining Sam in his VW, driving around Vermont, wearing jeans, and getting out to walk around with his hands in his pockets.

I remember our last few conversations, in which he expressed gratitude for our friendship, and told me to "get on with your life." Of course, that is what he will want us all to do. Lee summed it up: "A lot of people loved him. He will be missed."

Posted by Steph at 11:10 AM | Comments (9)

February 11, 2006

medieval history

when Lee and I were going through these slides with Sam, I had the weirdest moment....that looks like my mom, that's my dad! Those are my parents! In the backyard of our house in Denver. :-) It might have been Sam's last visit before we moved to Florida...circa 1976.

mom&dad in Denver.jpg

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Sam and Einstein

Here is is, the infamous photo taken by Tom.

As you can see, Sam's early academic career did not indicate that he'd be rubbing shoulders with genius:

Sam's report card 1935.jpg

Sam's grades.jpg

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more pix of Sam and Co

Captain Neary appears as a young 'un in this photo with Sam and a family in ... Turkey? I forget. Lee knows!

brazilian family.jpg

Alvino, is this you? We weren't sure and Sam's vision isn't clear enough to tell...

And here's a great shot of Sam in his Putney living room.

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UTI #3

Well all, Sam's back in the hospital with another urinary tract infection. They have not been kind to him. Send thoughts. Meanwhile, enjoy these pix:

Sams lumberjack.jpg

Sam's dog.jpg

Young Sam blurred. Lee and I had fun checking out the hairstyles, glasses, and other fashion trends. :-)

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friends discuss "the cartoons"

When I learned of these cartoons (via two headline stories in the NYTimes a week ago), I inquired of a journalist friend. I then summarized our conversation to another friend via email:

"We agreed that provocative humor is important but ought (?) to be wielded with an eye toward some 'higher' goal rather than the mere incitement of xenophobia. My pal also talked about the editorial responsibility of making the decision to publish. In the current political context, there needs to be complete assurance that no one's job is going to be sacrificed to appease the predictable public outcry. In other words, the decision to publish carries a lot of ethical weight. It must be clean and clear enough to be justifiable and withstand criticism."

She responded:

"I agree on your point about editorial accountability/responsibility, in the muhammad cartoon debate. I also find it very interesting to think about how the issue has been conceptualized in terms of minority/majority cultural conflict; however, who constitutes the threatened minority (muslims in denmark or danes in the world?) and who constitutes the majority in power (danes in denmark or muslims in the world) changes continously, depending on whose perspective is assumed."

Meanwhile, I received an inflammatory anti-Muslim email from another friend, which I passed on to my journalist buddy with the comment:

"I became friends with this woman, a Jew, who impressed the hell out of me on every level.... our friendship has cooled some since I learned of her rabid views but I'm intrigued.... how can such contradictions be possible in one otherwise kind and wise?"

The response was both sharp and insightful:

"Yup, and then there's that. How easy it is to be asking "But why aren't they rising up?" of downtrodden people, uneducated and unemployed, whose lives have, for generations, been mired in helplessness, forced and ideological submission to clever thugs... cosntantly searching for something spiritually meaningful (if material welfare is not to be had at any costs)."

I had all this in mind when I was reading the comments posted in two British web-forums last night (excerpted in Dr Suess and WAR). Toward the end of a long, detailed, markedly "rational" discussion, someone blames the media for making it such a circus. Of course, the participants neglect to notice how their own comments inflame and enliven the very tensions they bemoan.

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Dr. Seuss vs WAR

Who knew? Dr. Seuss was overtly political? I know there are metaphors for social relations in his popular children's books but not that he also sketched editorial cartoons. Cool. I wonder if he'd take a pro/con side in the Mohammed cartoon bisaster? Here's some disturbing anti-Muslim discussion on the Sheffield Forum and a bloglink to The Daily Ablution's roundup of UK news coverage from Feb 3rd, which includes some streaming video.

A friend recently lauded Robert Fisk but not so Scott Burgess, who takes Fisk to task.

The debate in Burgess" blog is dense but not very dialogic. Attempts at real problem-solving appear to be made at times but are either not joined or turn out to be posturing. Well into it Henry Barth finally widens the scope:

"Fisk is sloppy. Scott is also. The long term causes of the mess in the Middle East are imperialism and Israel. The proximate cause of this uproar was the Danish imams - I heard one of them being interviewed on the BBC, and he had no coherent response to the question about the three extra cartoons. The Islamic world is going through a civil war. We are in on it, too, because we've been meddling there for decades. Our ham-handed actions help whoever opposes us the most forcefully. The Moslems aren't stupid. They know that without oil we'd pay no more attention to them than we do to sub-Saharan Africa. A pious Muslim is not a fundamentalist is not a terrorist. It doesn't take many people to start a riot. And the media makes the circus. Remember the supposed end of the world fury in Pakistan last week over the attempt to get #2 terrorist with OBL ? I finally saw print journalism that pointed out that maybe 1000 people protested in Karachi. That's nothing - I could hire that many Pakis to protest anything out of petty cash."

From here it devolves again into blame and some kind of partisanship. Fisk does eventually have a few defenders: "First, what are you missing from Fisk comments about the middle-east is the fact that HE IS in the middle east. For many commentators their only contact with the region and its people is the the TV News" (Muslima Voice).

and longsword: "Your comments re: Fisk's article suffer from a lack of context. It's a little like counting the buttons on the tunics of those who fall in battle, or identifying the botanical names of the trees along the parkway where the insurgents fell, and presuming thereby to know the causes of the war. You do not undercut someone's thesis by pointing out that he has spelled a few names wrong.

But, let's get to one of those more egregious contextual omissions which caught my eye:

"Remind me - which "corrupt regime" did we impose on Iraq? On Palestine? Have we "imposed" Mubarak, or the Iranian government just prior to this new clerical one?"

Why yes, of course. The Shah of Shahs (not to mention other such imperial meddling in the Middle East of which I am sure you have some historical awareness -- certainly, the Arab world does). The British collaboration with the United States in order to overthrow Mossadegh and impose the Peacock Throne over the Persians and salvage their oil concessions which Mossadegh had nationalised(British Petroleum (BP) which, over here in North America we knew as British-American (BA)).

"Every action has an equal and opposite reaction". What makes us think this law does not apply to ourselves? It's a little irresponsible of us not to acknowledge and accept responsiblity for the inevitable blowback effects of our own actions."

And here's part of a commentary by a neighbor: "Hello, I am Canadian. I live next door to a fundamentally retarded democratic theocracy. I think that when the United States Democratic Party consolidates all opponents of Republican theocracy they can safely remove the m from their name. I do not think that atheists or Satanists would mind joining the Deocratic Party, to counteract Republican theocrats who hide behind so-called revealed religion, as long as the political authority of their own gods remain unrevealed. I think peoples around this world could apply this to their political aspirations as well."

The last word that (long!) day goes to Besty: "What a crock of s.h.i.t........what a stupid comment, what dictatorship did we yadda yadda.gee the yanks supported hussain,surharto.marcos,noriago,how about the world court desicion about nicaragua or how about chile. U might fool your dumb righty mates but not me.GO FISKY U LEGEND"

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February 10, 2006

arab history through fiction

Yasser sends this New Left Review article about his father, Abd al-Rahman Munif, explaining "It's almost an accurate account of Munif's work and political views." This leaves one to wonder where it is off! But for a generally naive american like myself, it looks like quite an impressive corpus demonstrating a good deal of personal courage.

Mr. Munif died a year ago.

The author of this piece, Sabry Hafez, makes many laudatory claims: they convince me I ought to read at least some of these works. For instance, "Ard al-Sawad is by far the best Arabic novel on Iraq."

"Here and Now is a hospital in Prague where ex-political prisoners are sent by their parties for treatment, to seek a cure for their bodies and souls. The hospital, however, is no isolated cosmos, but a locus of contending forces in which external political powers are also at work."

Munif is most famous for Sharq al-Mutawassit, East of the Mediterranean, "whose public impact was deep and immediate."

A close second for fame might be the quintet, Cities of Salt, which Hafez describes as "construct[ing] a fictional universe of remarkable imaginative coherence that is a passionate cry against what Munif once called the trilogy of evils afflicting the Arab world—rentier oil, political Islam and police dictatorship—and a profound call for justice and freedom."

"A World without Maps offers a fresco of a huge city that has descended into obscurity and chaos."

"Endings remains one of the most advanced fictions in contemporary Arab literature."

"Hin Tarakna al-Jisr (When We Abandoned the Bridge, 1976), already showed his restlessness and capacity for formal reinvention."

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February 9, 2006


This is what happens when I'm not feeling well but resist going to sleep. I would swear that I selected three spam comments to delete but NO, I erased a whole 17 good ones along with them. An irretrievable error. Did someone say something about a slow learning curve? :-(

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"presence" conference

I might have to check out the International Society for Presence Research. Conference in Ohio this fall. Online publication and print publications... focused more on what they describe as "(tele)presence, commonly referred to as a sense of 'being there' in a virtual environment and more broadly defined as an illusion of nonmediation in which users of any technology overlook or misconstrue the technology's role in their experience."

Posted to AoIR by Cheryl.

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"harm and offence" by media

A resource on New book on evidence-based media regulation in a converged world was posted to the AoIR list today by David.

It looks especially useful for folks interested in regulation.

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February 8, 2006

Building on Koppel

I assigned this essay by Ted Koppel, And Now, A Word for our Demographic, to the writing class. We discussed it yesterday, and today a student in the Intro to Mass Media class posted a link to this sharp article, ACCESS TO THE DEBATE: PUBLIC EDUCATION IN A POST-POST COLD WAR WORLD by Robert Nolan. The opening paragraph reads:

"SINCE THE EVENTS OF September 11, 2001 ushered in a "second" post cold war period, Americans have failed to reengage with the world at a level sufficient to maintain its role as a leader of democratic states. As potentially dangerous doctrines are put to the test with a largely consensual and uninformed pubic, it is imperative that educators and concerned citizens examine the role of the media, think tanks and the academy itself in shaping public attitudes towards America’s role in the world. Only by creating a richer, more accessible and more internationalist vernacular that draws on common values can the United States continue to lead the increasingly globalized and democratic world it is largely responsible for creating."

Koppel's main point is that journalism is supposed to tell us "what is important", not cater to the whims of consumerist/profitistic desire. Interestingly, he concedes that the most practical strategy might be to use the economic power of the largest demographic, e.g., to work within the paradigm because "That's the way it is." Yet, the title of his piece suggests a more subversive motive. What "word" is he trying to spread?

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night of the left-handed spin

Somehow, my balls started curving . . . not that it did me much good, a 107 and a stunning 73! I did come back to 137 once I switched to the right...but LB still blew me away by 30 pins. None of the spinmeisters was on, :-(, leaving the hottest competition of the night to Alenka and Renee, who struggled to stay in the single digits for the longest number of frames. Renee's 1 in the first frame held until the 5th, but she didn't break into double digits until the 7th! Amazing. Alenka's streak was a bit shorter - she hit the doubles in her 5th frame.

Qiao scored 70 in her very first game ever, and picked up both a strike and a spare before the night was over. Eli, I mean Steve, started with a high 120 and did the sine curve to 73. Alex kept trying to steal my ball - picking up some strikes of her own when she was successful. Dan was busy showing off the scarf he knitted. I was wondering about making an offer but thought that might be a bit presumptuous...?

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February 7, 2006


I don't have so many rituals in my life. Wikipedia notes the adjective is related "to the noun 'rite', as in rite of passage." Such as a birthday.

I found a bottle of Jubilee- Hugel 2000 . . . from the superb 2000 vintage, by the best known Alsace Company, founded at Riquewihr in 1639."

From "winespectator.com, The

HUGEL Riesling Alsace Jubilée Réserve Personnelle 2000 90 $33
A little reticent in aroma, yet more pine and mineral notes than fruit. Firm and racy, with the flavors locked tightly by the rapierlike acidity. Best from 2005 through 2020. 1,400 cases made. -- B.S.

is probably not quite as good as the

HUGEL Riesling Alsace Jubilée Réserve Personnelle 1995 92 $28
This has the deepest gold color of the flight. Exotic and rich, it exhibits ripe apricot and honey flavors and plenty of acidity to keep it all balanced. The finish is crisp, with a mineral aftertaste. Drink now through 2012. 1,050 cases made. -- B.S.

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February 6, 2006

OD and power

The Implications of Multiple Perspectives on Power for Organization Development.

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the love law and the silence of snow

"The law laid down who would be loved, how, and how much." I recently finished listening to The God of Small Things on audiotape, so I missed the "stylistic tricks [such] as capitalizing Significant Words and runningtogether other words." I've also been reading Snow, at a significantly slowed-down pace since the advent of the spring semester: "How much can we ever know about the love and pain in another's heart?" (259).

I found both foreign in certain ways. It turns out I had an abridged version of Roy, and Pamuk's novel is translated from the original Turkish. Perhaps it is worldview, sensibility, perception - so shaped am I by faux middle-class anglo-americanness. Perhaps it is content: "What was the difference between love and the agony of waiting?" (Pamuk, 247). There is "a time when the unthinkable becomes thinkable and the impossible happens" (Roy).

Death figures prominently in both novels. In Roy, memory of the drowned child herself fades, and "absence and loss grow more full and robust" over time. In Pamuk, death is a casual backdrop to mundane and grinding poverty: "heaven was the place where you kept your memories" (289). Memory forms one of the three axes of Pamuk's snowflake rubric of human life: "Like a snowflake, he would fall as he was meant to fall..." (86). The other two axes are Imagination and Reason, "all of which meet in the centre, the poet's self."

The selves of Estha and Rahel, the child protagonists of Roy's textual dirge, use reason, imagination, and memory to construct "the god of loss" from the "small things" of unpredictable and inexplicable living.

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February 4, 2006


I'm reading someone's brilliant prospectus, and he uses the term, homology, several times.

It's a term common in biology, and in mathematics. It's range is specified here.

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Miles from Nowhere

Whatever Cat Stevens' actual politics, his music has been meaningful to me. In particular, I've always enjoyed Miles from Nowhere.

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I know those of you who know Sam will not be surprised, but he's going to give a strong and unyielding show 'til the end.

I tried to upload the slides tonight but there's some technicality I can't quite figure out. Darn.

Anyway, I saw him yesterday. Just as I arrived, Tom was leaving. We met in the parking lot, and he explained he's created a letter board for Sam that has the letters listed in order from most used to least. Sam's first words? "Fuck Me."

I needed a lesson though, as Sam and I struggled to use the durn thing. I should say, I struggled. It was uncomfortable to feel myself being mother hen-ish trying to confirm that a particular letter was a "yes" or a "no". :-( Eventually, I did get the beginnings of what Sam wanted to tell me, but by then about two hours had passed. In the meantime, he squeezed my hand to let me know he still thought I was alright, even I was a bit slow with the letter board. :-) He's still Sam.

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La Guarida

I will not reveal the identities of the eight rapscallions who recently gathered at the department's new pseudo-gay couple's lair to view Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. Quips and clarifications occurred during the viewing, but the most pungent statement was made after it was over, to the effect of Lay and Skilling being appropriate candidates for capital punishment: "if we've got it, why not use it?"

Let me mention, briefly, that there were two sets of (coded) directions to the lair, which is part open, "come and see my room", and part closed, "guided tours only." A meal for one was, however, generously shared with drooling onlookers. Rumor has it we'll watch Junebug (?) next week.

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February 3, 2006

It was Trent Lott

making the comment about Strom Thurmond that became the historical moment of blogs challenging traditional journalism. I found a blog reference with the offending quote from December 2002.

I also found a story citing a study of blogger's role in Lott's resignation as the US Senate Majority Leader. "The report does not portray the blogs as lead actor, but as intelligent reactor to an event of neglect (similar to an act of omission) within professional newsrooms, where the story of Lott’s remarks languished and nearly died. The case study is largely about herd thinking in the press, and the illusion that “news” jumps out at everyone simultaneously."

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David sends neural.it, a McDonald's videogame.

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February 2, 2006

Oscars soon

Here's something that could be fun, Jon Stewart hosting the Oscars.

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February 1, 2006


This is the most appropriate Romanian way to say "Good job!" (It is left to the imagination what a literal translation might mean...) It was some kind of bowling night. Anuj opened with a strike - although this might surprise you if you came in on the 8th frame of game two when he was crowing about his score: "22! Twenty-two!" Luscious Larry got another turkey and even rolled a strike with his left-hand! I think he does deserve honorifics for it, since he's a serious righty. Let me note, however, that I pulled off four (cont 'em, 1, 2, 3, 4!) left-handed strikes tonight. Unfortunately, they didn't help my overall scores too much: at one point I was told, "You're a disgrace to The Final Countdown." This was before LB managed NOT to beat me in the last frame of the last game, even though I'd told him it was his game to lose. We ended up tied, 109-109.

Zeynep started collecting high fives before her turn, leading to apparent improvement, Cesar and Cata played with characteristic understated style, and Claudia pulled off a couple of strikes in her very first games! Luscious Larry thinks, superstitiously, that he bowls best when there's a new woman joining us who has never bowled before. He also said, "Green is out; blue is in." This does not account for the pink ball he was using near the end of the evening.

Burcu also managed a very strong showing, considering she's still recovering from the sledding mishap that is apparently all Don's fault. Or the fault of Don's shoes. Or some other agentless whimsy of the universe.

Luckily Elena was there to make sure I knew when it was my turn. I'm not usually (?) so distractable. Or perhaps I am and last night it registered? :-) Somehow I found conversation more engaging than actually bowling...the topic? Organic chemistry.

Ok, maybe you're not so thrilled about it, but I was fascinated. Did you know they're working on making plastic magnets? Seriously! If they can just get enough molecules stripped down to one electron - a free radical - and get them all spinning in the same direction and somehow combined, these can produce enough force to function as a magnet, attracting substances with it's solo electron spinning in the opposite direction. Such would lead to innovations in all kinds of fields where iron is now used, because plastics are lighter and take up less volume than iron.

Now, you know me and my penchant for social metonymy. I was just imagining all of a person's free radicals spinning harmoniously in the same direction (the state of being at peace with oneself?) and attracting someone else who's free radicals are also spinning harmoniously in the opposite direction. At least more, rather then less, of time spent together. Wouldn't this provide a different basis of attraction than pheromones? (Some are used in pest control.) Perhaps there is a correlation between electron spin and the production of pheromones?

Now, who in their right mind would think a turn at bowling is more important than such romantic speculation?!!

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