Archive for November, 2015

What A Finish!


565a758f7fe85.imageKadie Rolfzen gets a trademark kill

Last night Nebraska swept Penn State in three sets in front of 8500 vans at the Devaney center. The Husker women played the best volleyball I’ve seen outside of championship matches. If they keep this up, the fifth-ranked Huskers have a chance to make a serious mark on the upcoming playoffs.

Halfway through the first set, I asked the cat “What’s wrong with Penn State”?  I started watching college women’s volleyball back in the ‘nineties in PSU’s dilapidated Rec Hall (before Nebraska was part of the Big Ten). The Lions were so dominant I was hooked–they own a raft of national championships.

But then so do the Nebraska Huskers. So before last night’s game I worried that the Lions would give Nebraska a hard time in the last game of the regular season.

Not. Nebraska beat them on their home court at the beginning of the season and finished them off with panache in Lincoln last night. I watched in amazement as the Huskers neatly blocked nearly every would-be kill from the Lions and served up ace after ace.  What a match!

And oh yeah, gotta love Kadie’s red manicure and taped fingers–a wonderful visual signal of postmodern women’s attitude.


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The Romans Had The Right Idea


So yet another Christian fascist kills and maims people. This one also killed a cop, so maybe this time the punishment will be commensurate with his crime. I’m not holding my breath, though, because the crime occurred in Colorado Springs, home of Focus on the Family and their militarized subsidy, the Air Force Academy.

How do I know these things about Colorado?  One of FF’s  anti-abortion cranks visited me when I was recovering from a tubal ligation in a Colorado hospital. It did not matter to her that I had had the surgery in order to avoid the possibility of abortion–as far as she was concerned my duty in life was to procreate (within marriage if possible), and my surgery had invalidated my reason for living.

If we don’t want to abuse lions and other wild beasts, as the Romans did, history (along with today’s news) offers some other solutions to the problem of Christian fascism:

Force all fascist Christians to register in a database.

Forbid fascist Christians from speaking on the public airwaves.

Force fascist Christians to wear identifying badges.

Herd fascist Christians into detention camps.

Deport fascist Christians to any country that will take them (these may be hard to find).

These tactics will not silence them, but they might stop the freaks from bothering the rest of us.













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Let’s see if I can recall my Derrida after all these years of not thinking very hard.

The engine that moves human thought is not “the same,” as most Western philosophy would have it. No, that engine is difference. The simplest example comes from structuralist linguistics:  we know “cat” is not “bat” or “hit” because the letters of each word differ from one another.

Now if thought depends on language (and it does) it makes sense to infer from this that difference sort of matters in that realm as well. N’est-ce pas?  Before Plato tried to stabilize everything in The Forms, Heraclitus stuck his foot into a creek and noticed that it was never cooled by exactly the same water. Some two thousand years later Derrida took up Heraclitus’ way of seeing, and thought through the implications of differance. After all, he reasoned, if difference were not at work, there would be no change. And the world would be far less interesting. Right?

I’m wandering in this garden of the abstruse this morning because I am struck, once again, by Americans’ fear of difference. It is so easy for politicians to drum up fear and loathing in this country. All you have to do is scream “difference” and the guns come out (unless they are to be sold to Muslims). No matter if the perceived difference is gender, race, religion, country (or county) of origin, etc. etc.

I am so tired of the hysteria. I am so tired of being bullied by loudmouths who don’t know shit about anything, who have no appreciation for subtlety, who think the world should have become absolutely stable in 1953.

You can all go straight to the hell you believe in.

(The photo of Derrida is from a wonderful Spanish site about writers and their cats: http://losgatosnoviajan.blogspot.com/2013/09/curiosidades-gatos-y-escritores-amigos_30.html)





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I have no background in foreign policy so my opinion about ISIS is probably not worth very much. However, I take inspiration from Rethugs, who say whatever they please about world affairs despite their appalling ignorance.

ISIS appears to me to be a religious cult fueled by testosterone. Given that the religion from which it sprang regards it as an illegitimate offshoot, and given that the cultures in which it is spreading still have laws against heresy, why not let those governments deal with the insurgents in the traditional ways? Beheading, for example. This is the only cure for testosterone poisoning that I know of, beyond waiting for the infected person to grow old.

I’m not entirely kidding here. Something has to be done–not because ISIS is so militarily powerful–they’re not–but because they know how to engender fear. Remember the hysteria that ensued after 9/11? And how the right-wing response was to bomb the shit out of somebody? Which they did, which, in its turn, led to the creation of ISIS, among other things? If that level of fear begins to work on Europeans, they may elect right-wing governments, which go by their correct name there: fascist.

We’re getting a hint how right-wing rhetoric about the attacks plays out here in the USA, as the usual Rethug mouthpieces for total war (McCain, Graham) are all over the teevee this morning. The Rethug meme that “Obama is weak” keeps recurring, because he is trying to do what the American people profess to want–stay out of this. And this is being said at the very moment Obama is conferring, in person, with Vlad and other world leaders about this very issue. We should all thank the goddess that some world leaders still insist on trying to figure shit out.

Of course, to anyone who want to bomb, bomb, bomb, “talks” seem like very weak tea indeed. Talking is not macho, while bombing is. Talk is feminine, hence weak.

Given this analysis, what, exactly, separates the hawks from the terrorists?

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Inky Update

I had no idea this slogan was a thing until I went looking for an image to grace this post.

My vet finally found a cat food that seems to calm Inky. Or it may be that he was hurting because he was nearly blocked and now feels better since he’s been eating food formulated to keep this from happening. In any case in the last few days he has been sleeping more and crying less.

I am relieved that he seems to be feeling better. I’m still a nervous wreck, though, hovering over his litter box to make sure he’s able to urinate and listening for any cry of pain. If he blocks again the consequence is very serious.

He also became aggressive when he was hurting, and I got in the habit looking over my shoulder to make sure he wasn’t stalking me. I’m still doing it.

None of this is/was fun.  I hope like hell it’s over.

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We Sure Needed This!

Huskers celebrate after winning over seventh-ranked Michigan State.

Nebraska FINALLY won one.

The party in the stadium went on for a half hour. As far as I can see, nobody left while it went on and on. (There’s video here: http://www.huskermax.com/games/2015/vid/10/12celebrate.html). I can only imagine how late the celebration lasted down on O street, where partiers wouldn’t be restricted to GatorAde.

What a win it was! Time is winding down. Tommy Armstrong starts a drive from his own end zone. He throws a long one, and it’s caught by his roomie, Jordan Westerkamp. Halfway there. Tommy throws again and misses. Tries again and hits Brandon Reilly near MSU’s end zone. Reilly scampers in to make the score 39-38. Hooray!

MSU isn’t done yet. Their talented QB, Conor Cook, throws a pass from the 20-yard line, connects at midfield. Just a few seconds left–if he can get a bit closer they can try a field goal. Under pressure from Nebraska’s defense Cook tries again, scrambles, and throws out of bounds!  Game over!

Twelve hours later and I’m still hyperventilating.

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Back in my grad school days I knew a guy who had an NDEA grant. These prizes were established by President Eisenhower to help Americans become educated enough to compete with other countries. By the time of LBJ’s presidency NDEAs were awarded to people in the humanities as well as in science and technology, and they were hefty enough to buy books, housing, and food for otherwise strapped students.

Ordinarily I and my fellow students would have been happy for this guy (if a little jealous). But he was an absolute prick. He took every opportunity to let the rest of us know how privileged, and hence how superior, he was to the rest of us poor slobs who had worked our way into graduate school.

One Saturday afternoon as my colleagues and I were visiting a local watering hole and dissing NDEA guy, one of us suggested that, for a change, we find something nice to say about him. Silence. Then someone said:  “He dresses.”

That, my friends, is a masterful use of litotes. The cool thing about litotes is that it can cut both ways as it does in this example–our NDEA fellow posed no threat to Beau Brummell (there it is again!)

I was put in mind of this incident while watching Odious Joe this morning. The group was discussing Donald Trump, and Gene Robinson said “Well, he does have a conventional view of ancient history.” This was, of course, a fine litotic hit at Ben Carson which also subtly scored on Trump.

I don’t know why Carson thinks any ancient engineer or farmer would design such a huge structure with such difficult means of access for storing grain. But then my question assumes that Carson’s claim is rational. And of course it is not.  Ben Carson, it appears, is a creationist. You know, one of those people who makes up stuff so that historical artifacts can be fitted into their narrative about God resting on the seventh day. Etc. It would be nice if fundies would put their fertile imaginations to work in positive ways–like creating funny litotes, for example.

P. J. Myers over at Pharyngula has given up. Quoting Carson (whose prose is barely legible):

My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain, Carson said. Now all the archeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it. And I don’t think it’d just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain.

Myers comments:  “There are Americans right now who hear that, and think, “Well, that’s a mighty sensible theory, I think I’ll elect that man to be President of this here United States!”, and I just don’t think I can bear the widespread stupidity any more. I think I’ll just close my eyes and pretend he doesn’t exist. But if I open them a year from January and discover that this flaming nincompoop has actually been elected, I’ll have to spontaneously combust.” (http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2015/11/04/i-give-up-ben-carson-you-have-defeated-me/#ixzz3qcn5i7HJ)

I suspect that we are now hearing what and how the good doctor “thinks” because his opponents are digging up his shit to use against him. One can only hope.

In the meantime, I’ll say this about Ben Carson:  he dresses.

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