Category Archives: almost certainly not worth posting about

December 18, 2011, 9:45 am


Is there some name for the intellectual maneuver of waiting till an opponent is dead, then insisting he must really have agreed with you all along? “Respect,” I’m sure, is not it.

December 14, 2011, 3:08 pm

Random History Major

Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers majored in history (with, apparently, a 3.60 GPA) and thus was able to answer a Civil War question effectively (starting at 54 seconds in):

[brightcove vid=1326328324001&exp3=1877543594&surl=,AAAAAG_pBMo~,kVIkQYQQ-Ixdy820EHHvL-Qg0GY6jd0o&w=486&h=412]

We like Aaron Rodgers.

(h/t to Of Battlefields and Bibliophiles)

December 1, 2011, 10:51 am

… and the New Deal Denialists of DOOM!

Speaking of Charles Forsman as I was yesterday (he of the brilliant Raiders of the Lost Ark/Popeye mashup) I realized that the timing of the hiatus prevented my sharing with you my own Forsman original sketch.


November 28, 2011, 9:55 am

And yet there are those who love it.

Spoiled for quadrangles by my past college experience, I could not help note on first study that the quad at UC Davis has no campanile or carillon; its clock chimes come from some hidden electronic facsimile. Its oldest buildings are the prosaically named North and South Hall, of 1908-12 vintage; most of what surrounds it are hunkering mid-century hit-or-miss structures.

October 20, 2011, 10:09 pm

Worst year EVAR.

So I heard we might be starting blogging again. I kind of want to do a roundup of what’s happened since we stopped. But that seems like work. So I’ll note instead that today, I gave a lecture1 on 1968: Tet, Johnson surrendering the Alamo declining to run, MLK’s murder, RFK’s murder, Chicago (including Ribicoff v. Daley, Buckley v. Vidal, and selected truncheons v. a whole bunch of protesters) … is it the worst year in American history?

1Lecturing is for professors who should be writing their books what writing letters was for Hemingway:2 empty calories, an excursion that makes you feel as if you’ve done something really productive when kind of you haven’t.3
2I should probably have a link for that quotation but I can’t find one. Anyway I’m not sure we’re really starting blogging again, so I don’t know if I feel committed to looking for stuff like that, you know?
3Hey, html footnotes 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 30, 2010, 9:08 pm


This is far from the usual remit of this blog, but that remit, indeed the blog in general, seem to be in abeyance, and I don’t have another outlet for such trivia.

Eliza Griswold writes, warming up to praise Gjertrud Schnackenberg as highly as she can:

Despite this atmosphere of youth and mirth, there were a small handful of things about which the editorial staff was deadly serious. Language, the rigor and talent to wield it, was tantamount.

But not, evidently, the rigor to look in a damn dictionary to check that words mean what you think. And indeed, Schnackenberg’s poetry, by the examples given, appears to measure up perfectly to such proud but fallible praise.

(Photo by Flickr user M.V. Jantzen used under Creative Commons license.)

November 25, 2010, 9:29 am

We all moved away from him on the bench …

It wasn’t two years ago, or on Thanksgiving, but this song is a Thansgiving song, so it makes sense to re-post it on Thanksgiving … anyway. Happy Thanksgiving, all.

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.


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.


October 22, 2010, 6:00 pm

When I hear Juan Williams on my radio, I get nervous…

…because something stupid is surely heading my way. First, Williams is probably right to say that NPR was looking for a reason to fire him, though he is wrong about why; it’s not so much that he appears on Fox as it is that he says inane things, e.g. Michelle Obama is like Stokely Carmichael in a dress. (The halfway serious point here is that it’s a mistake to take Williams’ firing out of the context of his general lousiness.)

Second, the people in “muslim dress” on your flight are probably the least likely to be jihadists, unless their nefarious plot involves making everyone very aware of, and suspicious of, their presence.

Third, the phrase “muslim dress” annoys me because it conflates religion and culture. There’s no religious reason to wear salwar kameez instead of a suit. Everyone knows what he meant and it’s not a big thing, but still, irritating. Oh look, someone made t

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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 5, 2010, 8:56 am

The work of friendship in the age of mechanical status updates.

On Facebook, you can hide friends so that their status updates won’t show in your feed.  Rob Walker is worried:  what kind of friend are you if you decide that your friend’s half of the conversation isn’t valuable?  Wouldn’t it be better just not to friend them? I am less concerned, for two reasons, one serious, and one legendary:

  1. “Friending” someone on Facebook is acknowledging a weak tie.  Yes, you sat behind me in concert band in high school.  You emptied your spit valve. I therefore acknowledge you as an acquaintance and accept your request to be a friend.  I will look at your pictures.  I will look at the pictures of your child in a bumblebee costume.  I will see that you finished college.  I will see that you have a new car.  I will see that you crashed your bicycle.  I will see that you need a sheep, cow, and pig for your Farmville.  I will see that you like your…

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September 13, 2010, 8:02 pm

Making Thomas Friedman look thoughtful


It may seem incredible to suggest that the anticolonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. is espoused by his son, the President of the United States. That is what I am saying….For Obama, the solutions are simple. He must work to wring the neocolonialism out of America and the West. And here is where our anticolonial understanding of Obama really takes off, because it provides a vital key to explaining not only his major policy actions but also the little details that no other theory can adequately account for.


Gingrich says that D’Souza has made a “stunning insight” into Obama’s behavior — the “most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama.”

“What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asks. “That is…

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September 8, 2010, 9:06 am

Cornell is hard.

A couple days ago I alluded to Henry Morgenthau’s premature departure from Cornell after some study of agriculture. I tried to find information about Morgenthau in The 100 Most Notable Cornellians, but discovered that the authors had instituted stringent criteria: you had to have completed an undergraduate degree. No famous faculty (no Richard Feynman or Vladimir Nabokov), nobody who got only a graduate degree (no William Gass), and no flunkouts. So no notability as a Cornellian for FDR’s Treasury Secretary and the President of the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference. Or for Kurt Vonnegut either.