Friday, June 27, 2008

College Football in a Whole New Light

This (warning, these pictures are dis-turbing) site has re-done a bunch of Anti-Meth ads to relate to college football. The Alabama one is my favorite, but U-Dub (kinda rapey) is a close second.

Vocabulary Test

Can a woman who refers to other women as "fat girls" still be a feminist, or is she just an asshole?

My vote = Asshole. Or postfeminist. I get those two confused.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Boo Obama

I am disappointed in Barack Obama.

The death penalty is vile and should be abolished. Obama disagrees.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Hermeneutic of Superstition

Would be a great band name. I think it might also work as a philosophy for life.

So, I'm watching "Dawn of the Dead," like ya do, and I start thinking about my phone. My ring is Stevie Wonder's "Superstition," and people (well, Steve and E!) sometimes tease me about the message I'm sending when I answer every call with a superstitious wink. But... like casuistry (the application of general, ethical reasoning to particular situations--or--the recognition and application of contingency), superstition (depending on the source, mostly definitions of superstition read something like this: overly zealous and irrational beliefs, especially having to do with religion--emphasis on lack of thought and irrationality) has gotten a bad rap--mainly because of its reliance, it seems, on things outside classical reason.

But it's interesting to think about the outside-rational significance of little moments, the strange connections between our thoughts, our actions, and the particular events that make up our lives.

One example: today I was talking with a friend about the therapeutic effects of teaching. He had been thinking about a certain recent crisis in his life, and, on the day in question, class discussion just happened to include that exact situation as a theoretical point, a way to analyze and explore the topic of the day. As he was teaching the class, he said, he had to pause a couple of times--keeping the theoretical discussion and the actual situation separate in his head was more challenging a task than he had thought it would be. And that wasn't such a bad thing, he said. It kind of helped him understand the theory and the moment more clearly. The hermeneutic of superstition, in this case, allowed for a clarifying dip into both theory and practice.

Another example? A couple of weeks ago, I went to an AA meeting with my sister. It's called an "open source" meeting. Most AA meetings are closed, designed to increase and accentuate the feeling of safety-in-community for which AA is so lauded. But open speaker sessions welcome any and every person interested in learning more about the warp and woof of addiction. Anyway, the speaker that day was this cool lady, probably in her forties, talking about her life pre-, during, and post-realization that she is an alcoholic. Coincidentally, earlier that day, my sister and I had just been talking about some of the topics the speaker addressed (the differences between social and addictive drinking, the various definitions of "party" and "problem," the difficulties of "hanging out" in a culture so centered on mind-altering substances). The speaker's story, like many of the stories one hears from and about addiction, revolved around loss and redemption, failure and success--as well as the issues my sister and I had been talking about earlier.

These stories, these moments of clarity, are reasonable, at times. They are often, after the fact, easily designated as instances of rationality and enlightenment. But the mechanisms of the connections, the links between moments of clarity and our interpretation/reception of those moments, is not always a rational, causal thing. Sometimes, it's a mystery, and mystery--as much as it gets suspicioned and ogled and sliced out of our enlightened, reasonable world--can be a situation-saver... keeping us, perched as we are on the edge of the abyss, sane... mostly.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I do not want to be in high school again

But I would kill for my high school butt.

My sister and I were looking through old pictures this morning (bad idea, captain), and now I am sort of melancholy. Not because I want to go back in time--that would be weird, and, honestly, if I could go back in time, I would go back to see Cleopatra and Caesar, or F Scott Fitzgerald, or the defeat of the Spanish Armada... Why spend all that cosmic energy to go back fifteen years?

That said, I do miss the girl I was ten, twelve, fifteen years ago. She had heart, and she was brave. I have a more diplomatic face now (I've been practicing, so I'm not quite as unhinged in argument), but I am pretty sure I've lost heart over these last few years. I guess that happens.

And now for something completely different:

Friday, June 6, 2008

On Feeling at Home

So, tomorrow I fly home to Alabama. Via Newark. Yech. I must say that American is going to get quite a bit of my money and irritation (and not necessarily in that order) during the LONG day of travel in store.

Regardless, I am looking forward to being home again... in a different home than this one. I sometimes wonder about the propriety of using that word, "home" to describe so many places (NYC, Austin, Huntsville). But, I think, if it feels right in my mouth when I say it, then it must not be an incorrect description, right? The things that seem to make the word feel right are the same in every place (people that I love, places to sit that are comfortable, food that is familiar and delicious, animals I want to hug)... That said, there are disparate things to get from each of these homes. (And, I wonder, when dear E! moves to Chicago this summer, will Austin still feel like home? I'm thinking maybe not.)

And, on an entirely separate note (perhaps, or there may be something about not-home that is working in this book), you should read A Practical Guide to Racism by C. H. Dalton (but actually by Sam Means, an Emmy-winning writer for the Daily Show). It is hi-larious and super-disturbing, all at one time.

The thing that keeps me coming back to Dalton's book, though, is the very very very thin line he walks. In order for this book to be effective, he has to be funny and sneaky. Similar to "America, The Book," this work is a disguise... a palimpsest for leftist thought/social critique. And it works because it makes you laugh and feel uncomfortable about laughing and think about the reasons that you're laughing and then tell your friends about laughing. There are multiple levels here, people.

Either way, here's a mental image for you: an Alabama blonde, sitting at a bar in a Mexican restaurant in Queens, reading a book called "A Practical Guide to Racism."


I'll take "Ways to Meet Scary People" for a $1000, Alex...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

It is good to be home

I woke up this morning to a warm, summer breeze on my face and a soft kitty cuddled up beside me. This week is going to be another crazy one--tying up all the loose ends at school, getting ready for the next trip (I fly home on Saturday--whew!), loving on this stupid cat (who really missed me, despite her best efforts), and unpacking/re-packing suitcases.

I vow to take only three pairs of shoes. And pack lightly. By damn.

However, right now, we are sitting here on our red chair. Tea is brewing. The sun is up and the day is going to be gorgeous and long. I get to see my dear NYC friends whom I have missed.

It is good to be home.