Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
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.
- 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
- 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?
- 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)
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
Thursday, August 23, 2007
- 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
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
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.
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.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
"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)
...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
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
- Don't Believe the Hype: Al Gore is wrong. There's no "consensus" on global warming. BY RICHARD S. LINDZEN Sunday, July 2, 2006 Wall Street Journal opinion article by a professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT
"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."
- From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype By WILLIAM J. BROAD Published: March 13, 2007 New York Times article about scientists questioning An Inconvenient Truth.
"...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.
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
Bordeaux, Port of the Moon (France)
Central University City Campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) (Mexico)
Ecosystem and Relict Cultural Landscape of Lopé-Okanda (Gabon)
Gamzigrad-Romuliana, Palace of Galerius (Serbia)
Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape (Azerbaijan)
Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its Cultural Landscape (Japan)
Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes (Republic of Korea)
Kaiping Diaolou and Villages (China)
Lavaux, Vineyard Terraces (Switzerland)
Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Old Town of Corfu (Greece)
Parthian Fortresses of Nisa (Turkmenistan)
Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians (Slovakia) *
Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Madagascar)
Red Fort Complex (India)
Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape (South Africa)
Rideau Canal (Canada)
Samarra Archaeological City (Iraq)
South China Karst (China)
Sydney Opera House (Australia)
Teide National Park (Spain)
Twyfelfontein or /Ui-//aes (Namibia)
Friday, August 10, 2007
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"
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
- 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)
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
Monday, August 6, 2007
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.
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
Here's the interview in video and written out:
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