Thursday, August 30, 2007

Along with the whole menswear thing I've been feeling lately (for some inexplicable reason, I want to wear basketball jerseys all the time, like the boys in 5th grade did), I'm thinking that pleated pants are going to make a comeback.


Proenza Schouler Fall RTW '07

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Question: Who coined the word 'God'?

The Germans?

Wikipedia: God (word)

JOHN ASHBERY ON MTV-U

What this means, I don't know. But I think it's a good thing. What's funny is Slate.com's write up about it:

John Ashbery wrote his first poem when he was 8. It rhymed and made sense ("The tall haystacks are great sugar mounds/ These are the fairies' camping grounds") and the young writer—who had that touch of laziness that sometimes goes along with precocity—came to a realization: "I couldn't go on from this pinnacle." He went on, instead, to write poems that mostly didn't rhyme, and didn't make sense, either. His aim, as he later put it, was "to produce a poem that the critic cannot even talk about." It worked. Early on, a frustrated detractor called him "the Doris Day of Modernism." Even today a critic like Helen Vendler confesses that she's often "mistaken" about what Ashbery is up to. You can see why: It simply may not be possible to render a sophisticated explication de texte of a poem that concludes "It was domestic thunder,/ The color of spinach. Popeye chuckled and scratched/ His balls: it sure was pleasant to spend a day in the country."


Bahahaa...And then, this is the most helpful thing I've heard said about poetry:
The best thing to do, then, is not to try to understand the poems but to try to take pleasure from their arrangement, the way you listen to music. It's only then, for most readers, that the meaning begins to leak through.

CHRISTIANITY vs. SOCIOLOGY: Round 2

Sociology has always been difficult for me at Mizzou. I still haven't figured out really (in 3 years) whether Christianity and Sociology can get along with each other. Here are a couple disjointed thoughts about the whole thing:
  • Sociology might be the most developed athiest social metanarratve that culture has given us.
  • It's not so much that there is no objective Truth in sociology, it is more that: if humans are the truth (or meaning) makers -- as they are without God -- and humans can only be subjective, then "truth" is subjective.
  • Where are the Christian Sociologists??
  • If sociology speaks honestly about reality, than it's God's reality that they're talking about and that should be studied.

In other news, some stuff that came up in class that I had to look up:

  • ephemera: something with a short life span, temporary
  • parsimony: something that is so simple and most likely to be correct.
  • Larry Craig: Idaho Senator who tried to pick up an undercover cop in the Twin Cities airport. "Craig then extended his fingers into Karsnia's stall. Karsnia placed his police identification by the floor where Craig could see it and pointed to the exit. " (slate.com - Larry Craig Bust)
  • eristic: someone who enjoys arguing for argument's sake

Monday, August 27, 2007

THINGS I'VE HAD TO LOOK UP FOR CLASS, Part 2, vol. 1

  • Ibn Khaldun's Outline of Theory of History, or An Arab Philosophy of History: 13th Century historical sociologist.
  • That I should invest in US Ethanol because the US has high tariffs on importing it (except for Brazil, who can do it tariff-free). Renewable Fuels Association report on it.
  • The Chesterfield Valley: Wal-Mart doesn't actually own the buildings in the valley, like I thought. In my dad and my series of discussions on the ethics and business practices of Wal-Mart, we had just assumed that Wal-Mart bought all the land in the flood plain and insured itself. *Okay, a woman behind me in class said this, but I just checked on it and the CEO of the company developing the Valley (THF) is an heir of the Wal-Mart fortune. Clever. Also, THF CEO said that he is "absolutely convinced it will never flood again." (STLtoday.com) Haha. THF also offers private insurance to its tenants.
  • Times Beach, MO: A town near Eureka that was evacuated in the 80s because of a DDT scare. My professor said that DDT is pretty much the reason that there isn't yellow fever or malaria in Missouri. And it was just because of unhealthy levels of DDT that things went wrong, otherwise it is quite safe. What about Silent Spring?

THINGS I'VE HAD TO LOOK UP FOR CLASS, Part 1, vol. 1

  • Hemingway's A Movable Feast: mentioned in my Intro to Critical Theory class. Prof. Ronci said that he loved the book in college and basically took it to Paris and used it as a city guide as to which bars and restaurants to go to. Classy.
  • Black Elk Speaks, a narrative of American history from the perspective of a Native American. Ronci used this to illustrate the point that no perspective on history is more valuable than others. And that often undervalued opinions are the most telling.
  • Pruitt-Igoe Project: Also from Ronci - example of modernist utilitarian architecture used in a St. Louis housing project (1954-70) that made people feel dehumanized -- so they trashed it. I had NO IDEA about this.
  • Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States: Ronci says this should be required reading for being a human being. History from the perspective of the non-white poor non-males.
  • Julian of Norwich and the 'cloud of unknowing': 13th C. English female mystic, author of the first book written in English by a woman (Revelations of Divine Love) famous for the phrase: "...All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well"
  • badjocks.com - website that criticizes college atheletes because of their behavior posted on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace.
  • Sage Francis: hip-hop artist that my professor's son has recorded beats for.
  • McPoem: another one of the things in postmodernism with the prefix of "Mc-" Basically meaning, totally generic.
  • HBO's Rome: Ronci says it's the best TV series in years, and he doesn't watch TV. (NYTimes review)

DEPARTMENT OF GOOD IDEAS


(Jonathan Kozol)


This is from my scary (but increasingly more enjoyable) Culture, Identity, and Interaction Sociology class:

It's an article called From affirmative action to outreach: Discourse shifts at the University of California (2000)

"In addition to the shift away from individualism the embrace of outreach, atleast in the current context, reflects a move away from the discourse of racetowards the discourse of class. While the Outreach Task Report begins with a ringing affirmation of the value of diversify, it is social class which quickly emerges as the dominant analytic trope. Thus the most significant recommendation of the Task Force Report was that the university pursue an aggressive intervention policy according to which each of the campuses would select a set of K-12 'partner schools' within their catchment area and make a commitment to allocating significant resources to enhance the likelihood that graduates of these schools would be able to successfully compete for admission to the University of California. ... In effect, the Task Force's recommendation was that the UC focus its efforts on helping raise the competitiveness of students stranded on the bottom rungs of the California public education system. In this respect, the logic of outreach draws upon the rhetorical power of an increasingly visible social critique of what Kozol (1991) has called the 'savage inequalities' of the American public educational system."

This is amazing, what a terrific idea. It makes total sense. Now, this article was written in 2000 and the law was passed in California in 1995. I am ashamed that I haven't heard of this yet. But anyways, I think it makes total sense to focus on class and not race. Focusing on race in affirmative action (I think) is racist. To assume that people of a certain ethnicity automatically need more 'help' in their education is embarrassing and offensive.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Weather Trivia! (from the Weather Channel)



I always wondered what the meteorologists did when they ran out of letters in the alphabet to name storms after. Well, the answer is that they move to the Greek Alphabet.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Little known facts about MU

  • If you rub the nose of the statue of Governor David R. Francis you will receive an 'A' on your next exam.
  • The 'M' at Faurot Field was built in about an hour as a freshman stunt the night before the 1927 Homecoming game.
  • If a journalism student talks while walking through the Journalism Arch they will receive an 'F' on their next test.
  • At one time ivy grew on five of the Quad's columns. The sixth remained barren because, as the story goes, during the Civil War a soldier fighting with another other the love of a woman is supposed to have been shot at the column's base.
  • If you step on the engineering Shamrock next to Switzler Hall you are destined to love an engineer.
  • If you walk across the bridge in Peace Park with someone while on a date, you are destined to fall in love.


Source: MU Alumni Association website


Man A Masterpiece by J.H. Kellogg
Today in my Cultural and Intellectual History of the US class we learned about a book called Man A Masterpiece which was the book in the Victorian age. The title cracks me up. I think this illustrates how much the cultural and intellectual climate in the US can change. In no way could a book be published with that title today without heavy irony.
The book outlined, among other things, how a man was to become a perfect "Christian Gentleman" through hard work, self-discipline, and sexual purity. He was apparently very extreme and it is from his work in a sanitarium that he developed the theory that masturbation caused blindness.
Unfortunately it is out of print.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007



Erving Goffman


Sociology is frustrating again. I kind of accidentally enrolled in a graduate-level sociology course on Culture, Identity, and Interaction. For the first 15 minutes of class when I started realizing what I had gotten myself into, I was panicking. However, the professor is amazing and hilarious (and wrote one of our texts for the class: Peacocks, Chameleons, Centaurs: Gay Suburbia and the Grammar of Social Identity) and all of the articles we read are super-interesting sounding. Oh, and did I mention that we have to write a 25-35 page publishable Sociological research?

But all that is not what is frustrating. I feel like I can't really grasp sociology or take it seriously because it has no boundaries to thought. It seems ridiculous. During the class discussion, twice someone said "Does this even really matter? It's all socially constructed anyway." What? Maybe we should decide whether what we're putting time into actually matters before coming to class.

I feel like I'm just not getting something. I began to appreciate what I study so much more after coming back from L'Abri. Maybe I'll go read over my notes again from that semester and hopefuly recapture whatever that was.

But, all that aside, grad students are hilarious. They're definitely a different breed than undergrad. All of them smoke and have some kind of counter-culture marker on them (boxed-in tatoos are the most popular, along with various piercings).

...After thinking about it for awhile, I think what L'Abri gave me was the ability to hold my own beliefs loosely in favor of finding out what reality actually is, not spending energy on forming arguments in my mind while the professor is speaking about postmodernism like it's a good idea. This is extremely hard.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007




They're turning Gabriel García Márquez's novel Love in the Time of Cholera into a movie.

http://imdb.com/title/tt0484740/

I read this in the middle of my freshman year of college during Christmas break and almost couldn't finish it. I love Marquez's writing, it's wonderful. His short stories rock. However, I couldn't stand the pedophilia in Love in the Time of Cholera, it was heartbreaking.

"Back to school, back to school, to prove to daddy i'm not a fool..."

Welp, i'm on my second day of classes and work and things are pretty cool. Being a senior is a strange thing. My classes ROCK and are all pretty much on the same thing (culture) except covering different angles and perspectives on it. I love it. I've had 4 of my 5 classes so far and they are all terrific.

A quote from my professor of Social Change and Trends:

After talking about how in class discussions we shouldn't shy away from religion and politics one student in the back said something about how those aren't discussed in polite company. "In polite company is the only time you run into people who don't absolutely agree with you."


Also in the class we split up in groups and discussed a question that ran across my mind this past year but I was too afraid to really rest on it and think about it. It came from Jared Diamond's book Guns, Germs, and Steel. The question is basically this: why is it that out of all of the races and cultures on planet Earth, it seems as though White Westerners have dominated all others. Or, as Diamond phrases it, "why did human development proceed at such different rates on different continents?" I have an immediate bad reaction to the question, but one can't deny that it begs to be asked.


So we discussed it. In Diamond's book he rules out the possible answers of genetic superiority (thank God) and climate/environment differences. I think the direction he is going is that it was geography and the type of animals indigenous to the region (horses are better than muskrats for farming, for example) gave certain people groups an edge until around 1500 and then established culture took over after that.

If your culture values dominance, independence, and competition over family, not getting stressed out, and peace, then chances are you will be able to take over more land in your region than other people. But will you be necessarily happier because you have technology and "guns, germs, and steel?" No.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


This is something interesting about Crocs (I inherited a pair from my mom, I wear them with embarassment):


"And the Croc fad, like the Ugg fad, benefits from the shoe's appropriation of an ethnic look (in this case, the Dutch clog) that one could deem "authentic." Ugly is OK, it would seem, as long as it's imported; then it's considered "practical" and earthy. In a classic cultural inversion, Ugly becomes Good: It represents an authentic critique of the marketing and branding that surround us every day. (Think of Ugly Dolls.) And so Crocs even ran ads in Rolling Stone proclaiming "Ugly can be beautiful." Finally, whereas Uggs were embraced by the fashion world, and became a status symbol, Crocs are a bottom-up brand, embraced by ordinary Americans everywhere. It is a democratic purchase. It looks painful to wear—like something you might find in the rock-bottom bins at Kmart—but is actually soft and high-tech, defeating class-based assumptions." (Slate.com "The Croc Epidemic" July 13, 2007)
Oh...my...gosh. Wikitravel is here. Of course. All my wildest dreams are reality.




...or are they?
"That's when another difference between Wikitravel and Wikipedia hit home. If you're like me, you use Wikipedia to look up errant stuff you hear about randomly, like the band the Hold Steady or the last mission of the Battleship Yamato*. But you don't actually rely or depend on Wikipedia, any more than you rely on Michelle Malkin's views on Iraq. If Malkin or Wikipedia are wrong, no big deal. If Wikitravel's wrong, you're sleeping on the streets. " (from Slate.com's "Can Wiki Travel" Apr. 6, 2007)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I got this off of http://www.megustalamoda.blogspot.com/ It's fantastic. Nike did a great job. Also, for those who don't know, this is reggaeton.

this post will be about consumerism and the book Affluenza and why it is important to work with west county teenagers and help them look at reality as it truly is and separate that from the media.
this post will be about how action heroes are so much more emotionally approachable now: Jason Bourne trying to recover from the trauma of killing so many people by trying to remember their names with his girlfriend Marie; James Bond and emotionally dealing with the act of killing with whats-her-face in Casino Royale
this post will be about a theory of why st. louis counties are so socially isolated from each other: tax law?
To take a small break from global warming...


I LOVE trailers. I don't know why. I love how they make me feel something in under two minutes. They're wonderful. Here are two that I'm especially excited about:








Enjoy!

Monday, August 13, 2007


FOLLOW-UP: Here are some articles and excerpts from them in a further effort to figure this thing out. Most of the links came from Wikipedia's article Scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming

"Alpine glaciers have been retreating since the early 19th century, and were advancing for several centuries before that. Since about 1970, many of the glaciers have stopped retreating and some are now advancing again. And, frankly, we don't know why."

"A general characteristic of Mr. Gore's approach is to assiduously ignore the fact that the earth and its climate are dynamic; they are always changing even without any external forcing. To treat all change as something to fear is bad enough; to do so in order to exploit that fear is much worse. Regardless, these items are clearly not issues over which debate is ended--at least not in terms of the actual science."

"...these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism." "...there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”

I don't know, I'm getting kind of sick of this. I think the general consensus of what I'm reading is that the media and politicians tend to exaggerate circumstances in order to get people to do what they want. Scientists know that something is going on but good scientists won't presume that they know EXACTLY what is going on. Human irresponsibility and pollution are not helping the situation.


Sustain Mizzou, a green student organization at my school, showed An Inconvenient Truth last spring and I went. Determined not to make Global Warming a partisan issue, I kept an open mind and tried to find out what I could do to keep the world from overheating and killing itself. Most of the calls to action the organization gave were vague and hard to carry out. They included not buying meat from South America (because they have the unfortunate practice of slashing and burning trees to make more grazing land for cows), and using less electricity (bought energy saver lightbulbs, check). But, overall, I left feeling panicked and useless.
I am all for biking whenever you can and using less. But ultimately I want to know the truth of what is going on. I was over at my brother and sister-in-law's house last night and we were talking about global warming and they brought up Michael Crichton's book State of Fear and that they've heard that most of An Inconvenient Truth has been debunked. What?
I found this article in the National Post (Canada):

The gods are laughing:Scientists who work in the fields liberal arts graduate Al Gore wanders through contradict his theories about man-induced climate change

Tom Harris, National Post
Published: Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Albert Einstein once said, "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."

While the gods must consider An Inconvenient Truth the ultimate comedy, real climate scientists are crying over Al Gore's new film. This is not just because the ex-vice-president commits numerous basic science mistakes. They are also concerned that many in the media and public will fail to realize that this film amounts to little more than science fiction.

Gore's credibility is damaged early in the film when he tells the audience that, by simply looking at Antarctic ice cores with the naked eye, one can see when the American Clean Air Act was passed. Dr. Ian Clark, professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Ottawa (U of O) responds, "This is pure fantasy unless the reporter is able to detect parts per billion changes to chemicals in ice." Air over the United States doesn't even circulate to the Antarctic before mixing with most of the northern, then the southern, hemisphere air, and this process takes decades. Clark explains that even far more significant events, such as the settling of dust arising from the scouring of continental shelves at the end of ice ages, are undetectable in ice cores by an untrained eye. read more...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007

STOCK MARKET



My dad and I opened up a Scottrade account for me, to get me jump-started in the world of the Stock Market. My boss at work is wonderfully helpful in explaining things of this nature, but I still don't grasp the whole idea of the market. He said that, basically, what drives the whole market is how much people think each company is worth.
I plan on doing a lot of wikipedia self-education on this. They were extremely helpful when I was reading for an account at work on an insurance company. 'Stock Market' on Wikipedia.

Right now, my approach to investment is what my boss calls "Street corner investing." Where, basically, I look at the businesses that I see doing well and that my friends and I use a lot. Right now, that is Google (GOOG), Chipotle (CMG), J. Crew (JCG), Apple (APPL), and JetBlue Airlines (JBLU). Unfortunately, the market is currently down, so all of my favorite stocks are down too.




Saturday Night Live: "Straight Talk About Today's Investments"

DREADLOCKS

So, I want dreadlocks again. It kind of comes in waves, usually every 3-6 months I get the urge again. I'm trying to watch myself and see if there are any emotional triggers to this, I haven't seen any yet.




In order to become a Dreadlocks Guru, I must learn all The Dreadlocks Academy at Dreadlocks Educational Headquarters can teach me.

I don't plan on being noticeably dirty, or wearing no makeup, or changing the way I dress. I just think they would look cool.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

FUNNY FINANCIAL TERM OF THE DAY: "Dead Cat Bounce"


  • found in: Daily Telegraph (UK)

  • meaning: A 'dead cat bounce' is a rather unpleasant term used to describe a small, short term recovery in a falling stock's price. Why? Well, if a cat was dropped from the top of a tall building it would bounce when it hit the ground - but it wouldn't bounce much and it would still be dead. (defined by Capital Performance Partners)

This is a BEAUTIFUL bathroom:

this is from my sister-in-law Liz's blog Los Pilgrims in America

TURKMENISTAN ON NPR

My coworker said she was listening to NPRs Morning Edition talking about Turkmenistan, so I looked it up. This guy is ridiculous. He invented his own religious text, the Rhunama, which you can buy on Amazon.com, which makes up one third of required education in Turkmenistan.




TURKMENISTAN


"In Turkmenistan, nearly six million people are still caught in the iron grip of an eccentric dictator who is no longer even alive. His name is Saparmurat Niyazov, but he called himself Turkmenbashi, or father of the Turkmen. Niyazov died last December and was succeeded by his personal dentist, but like so many things in secretive Turkmenistan, little is known about how that happened.


The Central Asian state has long been one of the most isolated countries in the world. This vast, gas-rich former Soviet republic is probably best known for a Stalinist cult of personality created by Niyazov, its first president. Stunts such as holding a press conference to denounce the phenomenon of lip-synching and re-naming the month of January after himself only added to his stature as something of an international joke." (npr.com) read more



Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ahhh! I can't wait to go to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I leave on my 22nd birthday, only one month and one day away.








All images © Lonely Planet Images

Monday, August 6, 2007

This look is coming back, I can feel it:


(j.crew)


It's very similar to the Pendleton skirts my mom used to wear in high school/college in the late 50s and early 60s. She said that they used to cost close to half of her monthly allowance, around $30. Now they cost around $150. She still has a couple in the basement, too bad the waists are tiny.

I'm very excited about my Fall lineup of classes for this coming semester:

English 3100 - Intro to Literary Theory
English 4320 - 20th Century American Literature
History 4200 - American Cultural and Intellectual History since 1865
Rural Sociology 4335 - Social Change and Trends
Sociology 4320 - Culture, Identity, and Interaction

The only one that I'm doubting is the 8am 'Cultural and Intellectual History of the US since 1865' It's the only one that I don't know much about the teacher. If it happens to suck, my two options are:

Plant Sciences 2025: Home Horticulture
Food Science 2195: Grapes and Wines of the World
J. Crew got all Anthropologie-ish for Fall. About time, they were getting very tired.






photos at jcrew.com

I knew it...

I watched an interview with JK Rowling on Dateline and towards the end of the interview she admitted that the religious undertones were kind of on purpose. If I remember correctly, she said something along the lines of in writing Harry Potter she was struggling to believe the story of Christianity. In the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry is kind of given over to sacrifice himself for everyone but is resurrected. And throughout the book Harry struggles with whether to believe what Dumbledore said and if Dumbledore really cared about Harry or if he was just a tool. Interesting. I love it.
Here's the interview in video and written out:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20001720/
J.K. Rowling reads 'Harry Potter' book


Author J.K Rowling reads from the second chapter of her new book, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.' SPOILER WARNING


ORLANDO, Fla (May 31, 2007) - Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Universal Orlando Resort are partnering to create the world’s first fully immersive Harry Potter themed environment based on the bestselling books by J.K. Rowling and blockbuster feature films from Warner Bros. Envisioned as a “theme park within a theme park” and titled “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” the new environment will become part of the experience within Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park at the Universal Orlando Resort. read more.