Kenny Smith | blog

Monday, February 28, 2005

Just took a blustery walk. Covered under dank, muted skies the whole city seems dead tired. The only colors are shades of gray. Trees blackened by rain standing in contrast to lead-gray skies behind the newest branches on trees, a different shade of gray holding no attention.

The city just feels too weary to even look for it's own pulse. Particularly down in the most ancient parts of town. Too many boarded up shops that used to sub out to textiles. Too many printing operations gone away.

Now all that remains are the occasional car shop -- rarely lively -- and antique shops that think far too highly of themselves. And the stores selling robust wrought iron sculptures. These are the stores that have moved back into historic Lakeview in recent years. On a fine spring day they might seem full of light and hope and promise. But not today.

Even winter seems tired of itself. Spring feels a very long way away.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Just eerie.
A Canadian couple who died in the December 26th tsunami took a series of digital photos of the waves that claimed their lives. The camera was destroyed, but the memory card was retrieved.
Linky appreciation: Outside the Beltway.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

An Email says the Garden of Eden has been found in Turkey. "It's actually thought to be in Iraq," I say. Brian wants to buy it. My retort: "Pave paradise and put up a parking lot? Ooooo bop bop bop bop."

"You want paradise?" Brian asks.

No friend, not just paradise. "I need two tickets to paradise."

"No" Justin chimes in. "No Eddie Money songs," as if on cue. "I'll back my bags and leave tonight." Too early in the morning for all this for Justin. He's starting to get exasperated. "No."

"Its OK," Brian says, "I gave him a pair of dice."

UPDATE: After reading the original version of this post Brooke wrote with a question. "When you get there will you have a Cheeseburger in Paradise?" Brooke is awesome.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Free Mojtaba and Arash.

Jailed for doing what we have the privilege of doing: Speaking.

Monday, February 21, 2005

"Primary emphasis should be on the succinct communication of the pertinent information."

Or: Keep it short and to the point.

These are the instructions on my article critique due tomorrow evening. Let me just say that the paper, "A Strategy of Assumed Incumbency: A Case Study" is truly a fascinating read. And not just because my department head/main advisor wrote it.

Now if I had two years of papers and projects like this, minus the windy verbage, the academic life would be perfect. Take 'em where you can get 'em though. I just hope the author of the paper doesn't walk into the classroom for this.

Actually I hope he does. He left some important material out of this article. Needs to be addressed. And he's just fun to debate with.
Seemed like it today. There'll be 15 reasons to doubt it before you know for sure, but a neighbor's dogwood is in full bloom. Tulips are a beautiful golden yellow. Winter - such as it was - couldn't dampen their color or the memory in the mind's eye. The tulips in my yard are showing bulbs. The ravens are back. Spring is here. I've got pictures of it all.

Those will be up at the end of the month, but I do have pictures to show off today. This is the beginning of the process of scanning old photographs. With the better part of the decade to get through only the best of the mediocre are making it online. So really not much different from the present. Anyway, today you can see 10 new photographs, most taken for a class in college (1997) before I'd really figured out what I was doing. So my apologies, and thanks for indulging me.

Here's a guide to go along:
Photo 1: Walls of Fort Morgan in Mobile
Photo 2: An abandoned home in rural Jefferson County
Photo 3: Interior of an abandoned home in Lauderdale County
Photo 4: An abandoned home in Macon County
Photo 5: A Lee County fisherman
Photo 6: The Old Rotation
Photo 7: An abandoned Macon County home
Photo 8: A Lee County shed
Photo 9: Circa 1930s Ford tractor, Lee County
Photo 10: A dead end Tallapoosa County road
More to come as I find the time. Now I must read a paper titled "A Strategy of Assumed Incumbency." This is marginally important; my department head wrote it.
"Imagine William Hung of 'American Idol' channeling the 'Star Wars' kid - the last big cult hit in computerland - and you get the picture," says New York Daily News.

That funny.

Numa Numa. Dragostea Din Tei.
Prickly City: a cartoon, by Scott Stantis.

This shall be my new philosophy. Your mileage may vary as this is one of those "half-empty, half-full" things.
As a by-product of years of waking up in darkest of the morning and racing the sun to work I have lots of alarm clocks. Three are in my room right now. More lie in reserve elsewhere. I'm fully covered: two digital clocks set early to confuse my still sleeping brain. They're staggered and on different stations so as to be the most annoying orchestra of thought and matter ever conceived at 4:30 in the morning.

As an aside: every time I think of that I recall the good old days of being up at 2:30. Suckers.

Across the room is a battery operated analog clock. It makes a quiet beeping sound, growing into an ever-louder avalanche of chirping angst that can't be ignored for long. Rare is the day that it takes all three to wake me up, but there they are.

More often than not, in fact, the analog clock becomes an unused redundancy. Its most impactful contribution to my life is, nightly, hearing the tick-tock of seconds sweeping away while I pray for sleep to sweep me away.

Time, the clock mocks, is wasting. Why are you wasting me already if you aren't sleeping? The clock and I don't have the best rapport. I blame him. That loud ker-chunk of the second hand is an inexorable message. A reminder of something I'll never get back. Tock. I wasted that moment staring at the ceiling.

So you can see we don't get along, the clock and I.

Until yesterday: late afternoon, rainy, lazy, and hoping for a nap. The clock's relentless march beings to register more than the rain. Finally the clock was spreading good news. The circumstance of being nowhere but right there. Comfortable in blankets and pillows and raindrops falling overhead; these were seconds that should last for a very long time.

Time is fleet. Slow it down when you can.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Governor Riley appears to be trying to shift the state's political paradigm. Here, in full, is an op-ed he submitted around the state this weekend. This is a debate a long time coming and deserves a full read. I'll be waiting for you at the bottom.
When you present legislators with a balanced budget that fully funds education and contains no new taxes, you would think they would at least want to look at it and debate it.

But apparently not many of our legislators do. Instead, many of them would prefer to mislead people into thinking the budget "takes money away from schools." Nothing is further from the truth -- and they know it.

My budget strengthens our commitment to schools by putting more money into the classroom than ever before in Alabama history. Total education spending will increase from $4.6 billion to $5.2 billion. At this level, all requests made by the K-12 system will be fully funded.

That means the budget provides the classroom resources necessary to fund the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative. It means the budget fully funds teacher testing, student testing and distance learning. It means the budget fully funds textbook purchases, and it means the budget fully funds education technology, libraries and teacher training. My budget also provides a well deserved and affordable teacher pay raise of 4 percent.

This is the first time ever that a governor's budget fully funds all these education requests.

Yet if you listened to opponents of my budget, you'd think education funding was being cut or "diverted" to some other purpose.

They are being absolutely dishonest. Every dime of my education budget goes to education and to helping our children learn. The heads of state agencies appeared before a Senate committee last week and confirmed this.

Yet the leaders in the Legislature and the budget chairmen refuse to even consider the budget I presented. Their denial of an open and honest debate is a disservice to the people of Alabama and especially to Alabama's children.

Alabamians should ask themselves why legislative leaders continue to ignore the facts about the education budget and refuse to even debate it.

I think we all know why: Too many in the Legislature listen only to Paul Hubbert, the head of the school employees' union. Hubbert's job isn't to make sure our children receive the education funding they need. His job is to make sure his union members get the money they want for a bigger pay raise.

Hubbert recently wrote all legislators and presented his idea for an education budget. Realizing that education revenue can't grow fast enough to pay for his 7 percent raise in future years, Hubbert's proposal cuts $100 million from classrooms and carries it over to next year's budget.

Where are our priorities? In his letter, Hubbert tells legislators that "school employees hope they will be your first concern."

I disagree. I believe Alabama's children should be and must be our first concern today, tomorrow and always. But they don't have a powerful lobbyist and a big war chest like Paul Hubbert does. All they have is their parents and the people of Alabama and the hope that we will fight for them.

The debate going on in Montgomery right now over the education budget is a defining moment for Alabama. There is no "raid" on education under my budget. If my budget passes, we'll be investing more in our schools than ever before.

But there is definitely a "raid" on our classrooms under Paul Hubbert's budget proposal. He wants to cut $100 million out of the education budget that I propose we spend on K-12. Legislators who are attacking this budget don't really care if we fully fund K-12 or higher education. They seem to care only about pleasing Paul Hubbert.

It's time for every parent in this state to ask their legislators: Are you going to stand with Paul Hubbert, or are you going to stand with my kids?
Kristopher is calling it a right hook to Paul Hubbert. Good a metaphor as any.

Governor Riley has decided to stand toe-to-toe and trade blows with one of the most powerful men in the state. Paul Hubbert has been the voice on high for far too many years, cowing powerful men to his whimsy for the benevolence of his voting bloc. That might all be changing in this fiscal debate, to which we should all pay close attention. It will focus on this budget and the machinations of both sides, but it could potentially have a far larger impact on the state.
Paper is done. Finally. I had the hardest time making myself write this thing. Don't know why. Normally I like to write, but not this time. Oh well. Hopefully it isn't too bad. We'll see.

And now on to other things that look productive. The keyword there being "look." We want to maintain the illusion of productivity while actually getting as little accomplished as possible.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Couldn't help but scoff at the cover of the latest Newsweek. Wasn't really looking forward to reading that story. (Or patronage -- at the end you'll learn the work is a reprint from a soon-to-be-released book.)

Thankfully, Lileks beat me to it. Go read that. I'll be here when you get back.

Thinking similar to the magazine's overanalysis has led to changes in a cultural institution. "This is a kids show intended for kids today," quotes the New York Post.

A few dated themes aside (particularly the World War II toons) the Warner Brothers cartoons hold up. No need for change here. Though some of the more caustic episodes might toe the line with the hyper-sensitive. No one would stand for some of the old antics as first-run productions these days. Bugs in black face? Bugs in drag?

However, there is a wealth of new material to choose from. Maybe Foghorn Leghorn is bipolar. Perhaps the chicken hawk is ADD. Speedy is on speed. Some character has to play too many video games, listen to too much music, shoot too many other cartoon characters and blame everything on too many of societies ills. You can see the Heroin Tweety makeover coming from miles away. Sylvester's lisp, stay or go? Maybe Sylvester is in drag. Loonatics indeed. Socializing children with the old-fashioned cartoons seems the far better choice.

The larger question goes unasked. What have we inherently changed about our society that necessitates an update of one of the most enduring cross-generational brands in contemporary media?
Jim makes fun of us.

But it falls under the Rule of Funny: make me laugh, I can't be mad.
Do you remember the old commercial with the tag line "You never get a second chance to make a first impression"? Technically that's the case, but let's deal less in technicalities and more in humanity. That "leaves" you with interaction, understanding and forgiving.

So it seems I judged one professor too quickly. Suddenly I find myself liking the guy. After an odd little discussion two weeks ago he's really warming up. Suddenly he's talking to me, asking sincere questions of me and not holding forth from his pedastal on high. So the moral, I suppose, is don't lock down your opinions.

He also gave me a commercial he just produced for Auburn's swim team. I could be the first person not associated with the production or the team to have seen the spot. That's pretty neat in an I'm-a-big-mark sort of way.

Speaking of, one of the legendary Auburn swimmers is now recovering from his recent sledding accident that's left him - temporarily we hope - without the use of his legs. He's through surgery and now beginning his rehab and the best news is that his spirits are still very high. Get the latest from Dave Denniston at his own site. Despite the accident he's now posting his own updates. Be sure to keep him close in your thoughts and prayers. The Auburn Family and the Denniston family has recently set up a fund and you can contribute here.

A former boss perhaps said it best when it came to Dave's life changing accident. "Life if precious and so is the ability to walk. Dave Denniston, sadly, now has a perspective on both." The hack you're reading now said it above: interaction.
Google, you are my friend.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Next time you're on the Southside, I might suggest trying Rocky's Pizza. Yummy and delicious.

And thank you Google Maps for making the recommendation. You're my favorite beta.
Just ouch. Not sure how to precisely categorize this. Scathing doesn't really do it justice. Read the whole thing.
It is impossible to stop and turn 180 degrees on a staircase. At least it is impossible to do this if you wear a size 13 shoe.

Just something I learned this morning at 5:30.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Butter, huh?

Well, it turns out, I can write papers all day long. I can write stories all day long. I can also write papers about stories and stories about papers until you're blue in the face. Just can't write a lit review.

It seems no one ever taught me this crucial piece of information. My undergrad was more practical knowledge than preparation for post-grad work. That's fine. Talked to the professor at the 11th hour. She got a little upset at me that I waited that late to say anything about it. Not that I delayed, I'd only come to this conclusion -- based on conversations with classmates -- moments before. So then she points to this section in her textbook which I should have read. And now I'll turn it in later in the week. Initially frustrating, ultimately relieving.

Monday, February 14, 2005

"It writes like butter. I mean actual butter is coming out of my pen."
You want to see fun? Go into a WalMart at about 4 p.m. on Valentine's Day. Watch grown men fight over leftover candy and stuffed animals. Watch grown men weep over not finding anything suitable.

Then get on the intercom, announce that a new selection of flowers, candies and "other gifts" has just opened behind the clothing section.

Make sure to not be standing between the crowd of desperate men and the clothing section.

Hilarity ensues.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

So the weekend has been a rough collection of finding things to write about for a qualitative paper and putting off that very project. I have bought groceries, burned CDs, I think I even cleaned to procrastinate.

The most fun was Saturday night dinner and board games. The chicken was overly excited -- but delicious -- and the Trivial Pursuit was a heated contest. Does anyone know, by the way, what Chris Sabo put in his bat in 1996? Not super balls.

Line of the night, either in or out of context: "As this question has nothing to do with gonads I shall continue."

Easily the line of the night.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Sitting in class tonight I notice, on the wall to my right, a faded splotch of ink. "Nobody likes me" someone scrawled. I thought to be sarcastic. Until I saw a brighter splotch. "Nope." Someone had beaten me too it.

And then I felt guilty. Over a joke I didn't make.

It gives pause. What was that student feeling? So bored and isolated in the back of a class -- possibly as boring as this one -- that he began writing on the walls. Was he amusing himself or entertaining an audience? What if he was serious?

So I felt guilty some more.

All this in the mad Brasilian's class. Thursday nights, by the way, have now brought me to several irreconcilable truths. First, Neiva does nothing to restore one's faith in humanity. "Really."

Also, the second hour of lecture is, thankfully, faster than the first. By then the mind has conceeded that this discussion will not be based on message construction (the class' title) or even communication (the department).

The professor's wandering message construction, deliciously ironic, is also habitual. Last week's topic: economics. He discussed Karl Marx and Adam Smith and the invisible hand. "But I'm not teaching a class on economics." The chalky ghosts you have evoked on the board disagree sir.

So this week we're talking sex. And, credit where due, he stays as clinical as possible. Small consolation though. Using himself as an example for some far-off point is more than a little unsettling. But maybe that's just me.

Finally, I realized once again that the last half hour of lecture is the slowest of the night. Tribute to the sadistic nature of the maintenance man who laughed while hanging a clock just over the professor's head.
We sat around this morning talking about what a really good work environment we have. This is a pretty nice feeling. Far better than the alternatives. Maybe its the age thing. We're all within a decade of one another. Maybe similar educations. Perhaps there's some other topic of middle class utopia that should get the credit.

I'm fairly certain it wasn't because one of the big bosses was in town for a bi-annual visit. He, too, has an appreciation for the great business model the corporate level has put together. He says it in a calm understated way. Most reassuring. Far better than someone fresh off a Carnegie course. Also, he works in New Jersey and uses the word "y'all." It was so obvious that I put it in my notes from the meeting.

Somehow from that meeting I also came away with connections of which I hadn't previously thought. You've heard the expression "All politics is local," but there is a further step: local equals niche.

The world -- in terms of advertising, message, media -- is continually turning to niche pursuits. Niche marketing, niche messaging, niche sales. That's rapidly yielding itself to consumer control in the Cluetrain economy. There's a whole philosophy about pretty much the world down this train of thought. Maybe one day someone smarter than I will figure it out.

Meanwhile, for a small fee I'll let you use my oh so catchy and creative phrase that I jotted down in that meeting. "Not cross country. Across the street."

I also completely forgot my mental outline of some smaller things I'd hoped to discuss. Maybe somone will remind me.

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

It was so foggy driving home last night. Why is it that the more you learn the more foggier life gets?

A metaphor within a metaphor. Brains around at least three computers are cramping with incomprehension right now. The rest are going to Gizoogle to try and translate.

Been spending a lot of time listening to Hello, friend. An easy little jazz album produced by Bill Cosby and released in memory of his son. Better, somehow still, than the music is the cover art. Maybe that the foreground is an icon of the American living room, familiar as any television set he ever graced. Maybe that the background is filled with a sly smile. A smile replaced by the sorrow of knowing a promising young man, a teacher, was taken too quickly from the world. Maybe that a father, in his grief, writes of hums in the smiles of memory-filled faces.

Picked it up at the library a couple of days ago with a bunch of experimental choices. Four sounded like music from The Weather Channel. The Cosby jazz (which sounds like a genre unto itself), a big band, a Harry Connick Jr. and a DMB were good choices.

That's the thing about a library: you always get your money's worth. And then some nice grandmotherly librarian in a smart business suit cracks wise on the silliness of others.

Speaking of which, someone felt compelled to write a paper from the postmodernist perspective of The Matrix. My, how original you are. How complex your thought process. How weak your arguments are compared to the backstory of the movie. How sad that I spent so much time considering the piece.

The Matrix piece got reviewed in class last night. The rest of the discussion and lecture got murky from there. None of this is my fault, despite asking questions like, "Society's backlash is now delivering shots to Barbie, does she get any credit? She did deliver strong independent woman Barbie and professional Barbie and huge houses, convertibles, RVs and so on. And then she ditched Ken."

But this question was quickly disregarded in favor of Barbie as a nurse. Maybe you could look up some images -- I don't care to -- but apparently Barbie did the sychophantic nurse get up. Though I seem to remember a cousin owning a Florence Nightingale Barbie. The discussion of nurses outfits, particularly for Halloween purposes, fades into the modern dissection of The Wizard of Oz and then suddenly we were eating buffalo wings.

It occurs to me that most of the meandering rambles that come up in class are my doing.

Lots of time in the school library and in a studious mindset in the coming few days. Anyone want to write a paper for me? I'm largely lost. Where's my fog? Seems apropos.

Monday, February 7, 2005

I am happy to report that my old site is the first hit on Yahoo! when you type the magic words "how do i make my butt bigger with air only."

My mom will be so proud when she reads this.

Dear reader, intrepid surfer, friend: please do not try to inflate your butt. I have no experience in this matter -- despite my high page listing -- but surely this would be nothing but bad news.

Certainly stay away from the silicone.
Geter, 23, suffered convulsions and fell unconscious after receiving injections in the hips and buttocks during a "pumping party" in Albany. He died of blood poisoning a month later.
Probably just best to avoid these types of parties altogether.
Best Super Bowl commercial: Anheuser Busch's understated "Thank You" spot.

You've, no doubt, seen laughter at commercials. But I'd never seen a large room go so deathly silent and then clap at a commercial before. And then we all sat around awe-inspired by young men and women half a world away from everything they know and love. Meanwhile, we're doing nothing and have done nothing for it. What an amazing, proud and guilty feeling.
The weekend in bullets:

  • Friday - Fake Mardi Gras and shivering under a propane heater. Who's idea was it to sit outside in 30 something degree weather anyway? Lots of fun and nice talks stretching long into the morning.

  • Saturday - Studying a bit and then Million Dollar Baby. Eastwood at possibly his directorial best. See this without knowing anything beforehand.

  • Sunday - Studying a bit and then the social event of the season: Super Bowl party. Got a free t-shirt. A new friend won $200 dollars in a pool. Lots of smoke. Lungs still haven't recovered. Shrimp boil, good company, good laughs, lots of distractions from a so-so commercial effort. And it was for charity. Best Super Bowl ever.

    Friday, February 4, 2005

    A little spooky, this. Yesterday at lunch we started talking about ancient boxers. Jack Johnson, Jim Jefferies and Joe Louis among them.

    When you talk about Joe Louis there are a couple of other names that have to be brought up. One, given the highly charged political nature of the bouts they shared, is Max Schmeling. The fighter found his name used most unfortunately in geopolitics, but Max Schmeling, the man, leaves a lasting legacy and a tremendous life story.

    We learned today that he has died at the age of 99.
    You're going to watch the Super Bowl this weekend. You're going to hear people use words like "courageous, brave, hero." Then consider Marine 1st Sergeant Brad Kasal and his colleagues.

    Semper Fi.
    On the heels of one another come two very interesting stories about state lawmakers. This can mean only one thing: the annual ceremony of grabbing up pork and earning headlines (a/k/a "the state legislature") has begun.

    First up is a story so ... odd ... I'm still not sure how one should react. Admiration or abhorrence:
    ... a number of lawmakers slipped on black T-shirts over their suits Thursday to encourage Alabama residents to get tested for AIDS.

    The T-Shirts, handed out to lawmakers by the Legislative Black Caucus, said "Got AIDS?" on the front and "How do you know?" on the back.

    The chairwoman of the House Black Caucus, Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, said she hopes the T-Shirts will cause legislators to go home and get tested for HIV infection. She said if lawmakers were tested it would encourage their constituents to find out if they have AIDS.
    Rep. Hall has nothing but the noblest of intentions, but if constituents paid attention to their elected officials in Montgomery, they'd be noticing a lot more than cute shirts.

    Oh, and the lawyers from Why Milk and the Independent Dairy Foods Association are on line two.

    Anyway, the Caucus couldn't keep the spotlight for long. One of their own members stole their thunder today. State Rep. John Rogers says Birmingham will be breaking ground on the much-lamented domed stadium in March. But Rep. Rogers has cast his eyes on a far bigger prize:
    Then, he said, he'll turn his attention to bringing the Summer Olympics to Birmingham.

    "Watch me," said Rogers, D-Birmingham.
    Rogers never fails to share his grandiose visions in a barely intelligible speech. But with Beijing in 2008 and New York City the 2012 favorite, the best he can hope for are the games of 2020. By then Birmingham might have finally overcome Rogers' obstructionist approach to keeping mass transit out of the city.

    Usually I wonder why anyone bothers offering the guy any ink, but if he's continually going to sabotage the community at least he has the decency to offer himself up as a sideshow. And gems like this make me hope he accosts reporters daily.

    Thursday, February 3, 2005

    Board meeting at St. Andrew's Place this evening. I'll spare you the details, but here's something odd to ponder philosophically. HealthSouth, buried under financial controversy and flirting with collapse, recently shut down one of their metro facilities. They had to unload some $30,000 in philanthropy to close out the books. Turns out that the treasurer of that hospital has a child living at St. Andrew's. He lobbied hard and the non-profit ultimately got a nice portion of that money as a one-time grant.

    That's cash SAP would have never seen if HealthSouth hadn't had all their problems. For all the cooking of the books that was going on, the rehab giant was doing a great measure of good for many organizations around the region. A lot of that has fallen by the wayside in the last year or so of the scandal, but still the benefits of the once (overly) proud company trickle out.

    There's something to be said here about the interconnectivity we all share. I'm not wise enough to say it, but I am awed enough to appreciate it.
    Went to see Dr. Self today. You might recall he taught Models last semester. I wanted to visit with him for constructive criticism for writing a better paper the next time out. He gave me an A for his class -- go 4.0 -- and I got a B on the final paper, but it was the first academic paper I'd written since about 1999.

    He thought I did a fine job. He then tried very hard not to discuss another professor in the department. That other professor gets not-mentioned an awful lot. I guess when the mad Brasilian isn't happy no one is happy.

    Dr. Self and I have similar academic pedigrees. Well, similar if you ignore his 180 hours of post-graduate work. I mean to say he was trained as a journalist. So, having that similarity I asked him my question about qualitive studies.

    I made the observation a few weeks back that qualitative ethnographies resembled extremely textured and rich feature stories written for an academic audience. Dr. Mills didn't disagree with me that night, but she didn't agree either. So I never had the satisfaction of realizing how (in)appropriate my metaphor was. Dr Self just laughed, grimaced, shook his head and scrunched his eyes up all at once. "They aren't going to tell you ethnographies are like feature stories."

    Suddenly it all made sense and now I know how to write one. And if I could find a link to Michael Mercer's bio I'd thank him with a link.
    If you ever take an inadvertantly long lunch, make sure there's a guy with you from outside of your office. Make sure he drives. Then tell your boss that it is that guy's fault. Have co-workers back up your narrative. Repeat as necessary.

    Wednesday, February 2, 2005

    Sitting in class waiting for things to get underway, the professor walks by. Folds up my magazine and says, "How can you read this crap and then argue with me?" in something resembling English. Newsweek.

    How do you know this is all I read?

    "What else do you read?"

    New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the BBC, the CBC. Several others. I read across the spectrum and then formulate my own decisions and opinions about the issues.

    "You're mean," he says and walks away.

    Class got all weird. One student, a nice teacher lady, gets up to give a presentation. "Ask a lot of questions so it fills my time out," she whispers on her way past. Somewhere in the midst of that the origin of the Western use of the word Caucasian comes up. Everyone at the front of the class turns around waiting for me to answer.

    I really should shut up more in class.

    Then a second classmate gets up to present. Someone asks her a question. Then a question she can't answer. So I did. And then the professor started asking me questions. About her dissertation.
    Hey y'all. Sorry for the thinness around here so far this week. Hopefully the busiest parts are over, meaning more fun and merriment here.

    Speaking of, the January pictures have finally made it up. Go to the pics page or click directly from here.

    Here's an indication of how harried things have been. Bought Eddie Izzard's Glorious that printer (scanner/copier) last weekend. So far I've installed the printer (scanner/copier) and scanned three images and watched none of the DVD. For fun I have copied three Sister Hazel CDs. Everything else this week has been work, school, sleep and library.

    Wendy is in town for a job interview this afternoon. Just got off the phone with her. Though her interview went long -- and she sounds very positive about it, go Wendy! -- we'll get to visit for a few minutes before I have to go back to class.

    And we're all terribly excited about class.

    Meanwhile in qualitative, the good class, we got approval last night to write our paper on news creation. We'll be going into a local television station to learn all about their motivations for what makes air, in what order and how. Some 25 pages later, we'll argue that the audience dictates a tremendous amount of control on the subject. Just for good measure I wrote Dr. Mills an Email today, expressing my appreciation for having being a teacher who wants to -- you know -- teach.

    Though this has been bland, I must away for now. Come back soon for salaciousness! But if you come back for that you're going to be disappointed.
    Good PR, bad lawyering.