Thursday, March 24, 2005

An interesting concept...

"Can you raed tihs? Olny srmat poelpe can.
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!"

This was sent to me by someone in an online community, and while I haven't yet verified the source, it is an interesting idea. This would account for the ease of reading 1337 as well. Evidently, all you need is a signpost or two, and your brain figures the rest out contextually.

never defend your writing against criticism...

instead, try to explain what it was you were trying to accomplish.
(via)

Noam Chomsky blog

Through znet.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The grades are in...

American Lit. I: B+ (on a previous test) A for the Midterm
English Lit. I: A, A, A-, A- (four separate grades for the midterm; three essays and a short answer section)
European Lit.: A, A, B+, A (four separate grades for the midterm; three essays and a short answer section)
Ethnic Lit. of the United States: A for the paper.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Über das Marionetten Theater

Heinrich Kleist: On the Marionette Theater

An interesting essay on human movement and the gracelessness therof, due in part to the problem of human consciousness.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Government Propaganda

State Propaganda: How Government Agencies Produce Hundreds of Pre-Packaged TV Segments the Media Runs as News (from Monday, 2005.3.14) Democracy Now!

The Thirty-Six Dramatic Variations

There are probably more, but this is a good start.

The Hunting of the Snark: an Agony in Eight Fits

"Each thought he was thinking of nothing but "Snark"
And the glorious work of the day;
And each tried to pretend that he did not remark
That the other was going that way."


You have to love Lewis Carroll

More stuff, including "Jabberwocky" and "Phantasmagoria" here.

I just noticed something.

Another blogger had a really lame name for his blog, and then he came to mine, and changed the name of his. aww. I'm glad I inspired someone.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Slander.

There are some things that are really unacceptable. While I am of the belief that censorship of any type is bad, especially in a University, I also believe that there is a level of common sense and decorum that should be adhered to in an academic setting.

Today, in an American Literature class, we were discussing E. A. Poe, in particular, The Fall of the House of Usher. The discussion concerned, in part, Poe's use of the taboo against incest, and the intimation of necrophilia in the story.

As the discussion progressed, we spoke about how in the 18th and early 19th centuries, there was some question as to the connection between Phisiognomy and Psychology; that is to say that there was the belief that one's demeanor and behavior could be, in some sense, predicted or assumed by their physical characteristics.

At this point, the professor said something to the effect of "I myself do not know any necrophiliacs, so I cannot attest to the truth of that idea." He looked at me when he said this, and jokingly, I said "Well, not that you know of." He responded that that was true, indeed. How would one know?

The few statements afterward were, in retrospect, what I believe to be completely inappropriate. I felt extremely uncomfortable at the time, but as I look back at it, I get more and more angry.

He said something to the effect of "Well, you might be one. Or do you like them alive? Your victims." This was said in a joking tone, but there was a palpable stir in the room, and some muttering. There was kind of a "whoa" vibe, but that's just my impression.

I just looked at him, I think my head was cocked, incredulous. I'm not sure how I looked to everyone else, but I remember shaking my head and just saying quietly "That's fucked up."

I looked over at the student that sits next to me, and he too was shaking his head slowly, as if in agreement.

In the interest of disclosure, I should qualify the situation: I freely admit that I have internal disagreements with a lot of what the professor says, but I try to not allow it to color the subject material; I read critically and come to my own conclusions about texts, hopefully with the guidance of a professor. I don't get into pissing matches with him, as he does, in the final analysis, wield the "Red Pen", and it behooves me to keep my personal politics and beliefs out of the debate. I think he's arrogant, but then so am I; I believe that a lot of arrogant peolple, when they aren't covering up for other psychological deficiences, are actually some of the most intellectually powerful and creative people that there are.

But arrogance, when coupled with derision and pretentiousness, along with the occasional couched ad hominem, makes for a weak teacher.

On reflection, I become more and more aware of the implications of the type of statement that the professor directed at me. It borders on slander.

One can liken it to calling someone a Child Molestor. It's totally unacceptable to call someone a child molestor, even in a joking manner. Why is this? It is because once you say something like that, even in jest, you cannot un-say it. It is as if you have indicted the person by association; once it is said out loud, it opens the door to speculation. A whole potential chain of thought is unleashed, and one might find themselves actually asking the question "Could X really be a child molestor?"

Things like this can cause the loss of a job, distrust in relationships, as well as having an influence on how one is perceived among their peers.

So it is, too, with the casually thrown slur "necrophiliac". He did not explicitly say I was one, just as he did not say that I was a serial killer through the second part of his statement. But the implicit tone was that I could, potentially be one.

Why does this disturb me? I know that I am not, yet I wonder how a statement like that influences the perceptions of the people around me. It's as if an unintentional seed of thought has been planted, and while probably relatively harmless, it disturbs me deeply that such a comment could roll off of his tongue so easily. It's as if he had no governor between his thoughts and his mouth.

Words mean things, and I think it could not hurt for people to choose what they say with a little more thought for the potential effects on those around them, and the ripples that continue long after the stone is thrown into the pond.

Rant over. If you have any feedback, by all means, comment.

Blogger...

is slow as frozen molasses today.

I just took an English Lit. midterm...

....and I feel like I have been intellectually raped with a baseball bat covered in fish-hooks.

25 quotations from assorted texts.

"list author (if anonymous, specify), title of work, and what the signifigance of the quote is in terms of style, plot, literary conventions, characterization, &c."

in 30 minutes.

~1 minute per question.

there were easy ones, like:

"And Naegling snapped." (Beowulf, Anon.)

"This carpenter answerde, "Allas, my wif!
And shall she drenche? Allas, myn Alisoun!" (Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale)

"Send us the timely fruit of this same night." (Edmund Spenser, Epithalamion)

"When Offa's kinsman understood that the earl would not put up with cowardice, he let his beloved hawk fly from his hand toward the woods and advanced to the battle" (The Battle of Maldon, Anon.)

"And this they named the numbles, that knew such terms of art." (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Pearl Poet)

"The nick on his neck he naked displayed." (ibid.)

There were harder ones though.

Everyone was freaking out, thinking it had to be a joke. a minute a question? half the people handed in blank sheets. I got most of the answers, but in terms of completeness, if I was given a few more minutes, I'd have been able to do far better.

The other thing is, he only quoted from maybe eight or 10 of the readings; we did closer to thirty, so my head was polluted by all this other crap that I assumed would be on the test; like middle english lyrics, elizabethan lyrics, all sorts of short little crap things-- I am glad to have read them, but they were a waste of time in terms of studying for the exam.

Now I have to write three different papers, between now and tuesday, comparing different works from the class, and I have a Euro. Lit. midterm on Weds. that's going to be roughly the same deal. (same Prof.)

ouch.

It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have Goethe and Racine and Tasso and Danté and Poe and Hawthorne and Marmon-Silko and Morrison and all the other nonsense clouding everything.

odd morning in cyberspace

A couple of the sites I frequently visit are down, but the Internet Traffic Report says that everything is pretty much normal.


I checked the MeFi wiki for a status update, but some asshat had filled the page with pr0n links, so I had to fix that. wikis are good, but they rely on trust, and these days, well, who can you trust? Not linkspammers.

On an unrelated note, I did some calculations, and I am budgeted to $ 6.34 a day from now until the end of the semester.(not including bills; I'm pretending they don't exist.)

Anyone have any good ideas / resources for cheap vegetarian meals? Books are wonderful, but I have found that one cannot eat them.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

"Wood" as a word for insane.

This has been popping up in a lot of my recent reading, from Chaucer to Langland to the Pearl Poet. I was wondering where it came from, and now I have a better idea. Shame it's fallen out of use.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Dana Wireless by AlphaSmart

I absolutely MUST have this.


I didn't even know these things existed. It's love at first sight.

I intend to eventually get this; my laptop died today, and with the student pricing, this seems like a good deal.

Anybody want to help me out?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

History of Vegetarianism - Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals....

"I once had a sparrow alight on my shoulder for a moment while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn."

"I have found repeatedly, of late years, that I cannot fish without falling a little in self-respect. I have tried it again and again. I have skill at it,and, like many of my fellows, a certain instinct for it, which revives from time to time, but always when I have done I feel it would have been better if I had not fished. I think that I do not mistake. It is a faint intimation, yet so are the first streaks of morning."