Author Archives: Dana McCourt

December 17, 2010, 11:13 am

On the Hiatus Post, in Which the Problem is Illustrated.

I.

Make a joke about Nietzsche and the eternal recurrence.  Problem: surely it’s been done before.

II.

Make list of possible farewell sayings.  “Better to burn out than it is to rust.” “So long, and thanks for all the fish.”  “Here’s looking at you, kid.”   “It’s been emotional.” “Thumpity thump thump look at Frosty go.” Problem: there’s too many.

III.

Have another cup of coffee.

IV.

Play around with formal ends of letters like in days of yore.  “Remember, gentleman, as you hit refresh, that I am pleased to remain, Yours, &c.”  Problem: would have to compose the rest of the letter, too.

V.

Go on mad hunt for fugitive Christmas cookies.

VI.

Search wildly for an appropriate poem to parody.  Candidates: Hyperion, A Funeral Elegy, the Aeneid, the Odyssey.  Problem: pretentious, also “blogga feminaeque cano.”

VII.

Plainly:  I’d rather take a break before it becomes a…

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December 1, 2010, 1:07 pm

Not to be nitpicky, but..

this isn’t actually true.  The federal government requires lots of things to prove that a foreigner wishing to qualify for a spousal visa is in a legitimate marriage, but there is actually no requirement to prove that you’re having sex.  Shared finances, yes.  Shared residence, yes.  Tax returns, yes.  Proof of a commingled life, yes.  Letters of support that you present yourselves as a married couple, yes. Sex tape? No.

(It’s not cynical if you think about it.  It is compatible with a fraudulent marriage that the two people could be copulating like rabbits; but it’s less likely if the two are sharing their money.)

This is not a defense of DOMA; people arguing that gay people could always commit immigration fraud to get a green card are making an exceedingly stupid argument.  Any marriage would have to be entered into for bonafide reasons to qualify for a green card, i.e.,…

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November 13, 2010, 7:09 am

#IamSpartacus #ButReallyThisIsNuts RT RT RT

I’m sure most of you have seen this.  What’s curious is that Chambers wasn’t convicted of making terroristic threats; he wasn’t even charged with that.  Instead he’s a “menace”, convicted for roughly the equivalent of making prank telephone calls.   I’m not quite sure how that works, largely because he didn’t send the tweet to the airline. It looks like that first they overreacted to a tweet and then they punished him for causing their overreaction.  Stephen Fry has offered to pay the man’s legal bills, but the mark on his record is standing for now.

Anyone know anything about British law and why this conviction  isn’t obviously insane?

November 12, 2010, 7:08 am

Soccer, really? Real Americans play football.

Not that I’d want to rain on the parade of the little tin god, but don’t most children’s sports have a league for the competitive types and a recreation league for learning to play, getting exercise, and having fun?  If the fate of western civilization hangs in the balance, perhaps he should encourage his son to try out for the competitive league.

It wouldn’t excuse his behavior, of course, but at least he’d be around his peers. I mean the dad.

via.

November 9, 2010, 6:41 am

The founding Fathers just LOVED stalking. And shorter cafeteria hours.

Glad this clown is gone.  Is it new to claim that stalking and harassment is protected by the First Amendment?  Sneaky penumbrellas.

 

November 7, 2010, 8:04 am

Not really sure what to make of this.

I can see the benefits of online learning, especially for certain kinds of introductory level information dump courses and for students who aren’t able to make regular class times.   But I can’t see how someone can learn to pronounce a foreign language without an instructor encouraging you to speak the language in class, and what’s strange about the push for online education is that it comes as elite places eschew traditional lecturing in favor of other methods that are supposed to be better for learning.   Things to keep an eye on:  what’s the attrition rate?   Does it lead to better or worse class performance?

This isn’t really about the technology itself.  It’s just a tool. But… look.  When boomers were graduating from college, a majority of their courses were taught by tenured faculty, even at state schools.  (If you have a tenured researcher lecture, do you get to say…

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November 2, 2010, 6:54 pm

We’re ignoring the possibility that there was a time traveler, who planted the film in an effort to discredit believers in time travel.

I am not teaching Hume on miracles for the foreseeable future, but if you are, here is a doozy of a toy example to make you with it and hip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBhN4P0mehM&feature=related

Time travel may be possible, but epistemology is a bitch.

November 1, 2010, 4:12 pm

A bit of Frye &… lorette

I think perhaps more plausibly the reason that you don’t see straight cruising sites  analogous to gay cruising sites is not due to straight women’s alleged distaste for sex (except for whores? erm. Yikes.), but that a straight woman who wants to get laid can go to a thing called a “bar”, where there might be “dollar kamikaze shots” and “men ripe for the plucking” and “music to which to wiggle.”  O the peculiar mating rituals!  There aren’t straight cruising sites because there isn’t a straight closet.

via.


October 28, 2010, 5:51 am

“This is the first time you have ever talked to me. Ever.”

Unfortunately, I think the conclusion is that English PhDs aren’t as funny as lawyers.

October 26, 2010, 7:41 am

Very quickly, because I’m using my humanities degree to get this order of fries.

You know, one of the benefits of a liberal education is that one can learn to think critically, and this article raises more questions than it answers:  317,000 waitresses with bachelor’s degrees!  Time to panic and lament like in Player Piano that one is expected to have a Ph.D. in Food Delivery and Note-Taking!

Or, maybe, the numbers don’t tell the whole story.  If you took a snapshot of me right after college, you’d see someone who was working two part-time jobs. Oh, that education, wasted folding clothes at Dick’s Sporting Goods!  Wasted entering check amounts in the bowels of the bank!   Prob’ly shoulda gone straight to McDonald’s.

Of course, I was doing that because I needed to earn money to buy business professional clothing, for my job that would start in the fall.  What I need to know in order to make sense of those statistics is how long those workers are at that job, …

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October 22, 2010, 6:09 am

You qualify for the senior coffee discount at MickeyD’s, is all I’m saying.

Here’s an interesting piece on women’s hairstyles and aging, but I can’t get past the idea of calling someone who is fifty-five “middle-aged.”  Not that she should cut her hair!  But there’s an interesting tension between flouting traditional short hairstyles for “women of a certain age” and the headline, which moves middle-aged up with the  baby boomers.

On the other hand, this should make me a young woman for another ten years or so.

October 12, 2010, 8:26 pm

Quien sabe, indeed.

There’s been some debate over whether the term “illegal immigrant” should be retired.  I think it should, largely because the bare “illegal” is used as a slur and the longer “illegal immigrant” doesn’t reliably pick out a specific class of people or what’s wrong with their legal status.  The U.S. government treats people very differently depending on the specifics of how they got here.

This isn’t just fun with intensions and extensions; it’s significant to the debate.  Around four million people who are here unlawfully entered legally; they’re people who could get visas and later violated the terms of them.   They are people with slightly more options, because in some cases having overstayed a visa isn’t a bar to becoming a permanent resident from within the country.  Some estimated number (anywhere from about two to about 30 million, depending on who you ask; having entered…

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October 11, 2010, 8:32 pm

A toastest for the mostest

Ten years?  I don’t care how much traffic you throw my way now and then (nice of a vet to acknowledge a mere newb), o bearded* one, you need about six months off and a good stiff drink or twenty.

*Still laughing at the Bluto post.  Dude, it is okay to be grizzled.  That makes you a Bloggy Bear. *runs and hides*

October 11, 2010, 5:18 am

Dislike?

Scott Lemieux says don’t pin the misogyny of The Social Network on Sorkin, because the film takes a critical stance towards Zuckerberg’s contempt for women.  I haven’t seen the movie yet, but it strikes me as relevant that in real life, Zuckerberg had a long-term girlfriend,worked with women when he created Facebook, etc.  I think even if we take it as given that Sorkin rewrites Zuckerberg to make him a misogynist and added all the details about Asian girls so mad for geeks they give blowjobs in bathroom stalls and Harvard parties where girls lose their tops all the time, and then critiqued it successfully, there’s something… off about erasing the creative role of women in the creation of Facebook completely in order to make that critique.

Whether that’s an aesthetic failure is a different question, and one that would have to wait until I get around to seeing the film (check back in…

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October 6, 2010, 5:50 am

Making visible the invisible.

A neat project at the behest of the Women in Philosophy Task Force: stories of what it’s like to be a woman in philosophy.  If you’re a woman and you have a story to share, you can submit it here.

What’s interesting is that while some of the stories are overtly horrid, some are cases where there are good intentions that don’t lead to good results.  Maybe this should go under Neddy’s request for “facts about human nature that explain a lot”, but I think there’s a strong tendency for people to imagine discrimination as something that goes on not only overtly, but with lots of bells and whistles and an identifiable villain snarling on screen, so that if there is discrimination occurring, it will be obvious to the casual (male) observer.   Thus, if he doesn’t see the problem, it must not exist.