Catch Scalia On 60 Minutes Sunday?

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:33 am

Whoo-wee, what a judge-and-pony show that was! Seriously, though, it was quite worthwhile to get to hear Mr. Scalia talk about his life, his judicial work, his long-time friendship with fellow Supreme Ruth Bader Ginsberg, undsoweiter. I doubt I had ever actually heard the man talk, only read his opinions and transcripts of his many sessions bumping uglies with the panoply of lawyers who have argued cases before the Court. He certainly seems like an intelligent person (the very, very least I would expect from someone in his position), and displayed a dry sense of humor that I did not expect.

He seemed to steer the interview—conducted by CBS’ Leslie Stahl—away from some of the more controversial rulings in which he has been involved as of late, only brushing up against them briefly (convincing his fellow justices to help hand the keys of the kingdom over to the Clown Prince comes to mind). He did however wax judicial on his personal philosophy of Originalism and how it might relate to questions of Constitutionality in certain high-profile instances. Abortion, for instance.

In fact, Judge Scalia brought up Roe v Wade in this context at least three times during the interview, stating over and over again that a woman’s right to an abortion was not outlined in the Constitution and should therefore not be protected as a right under the purview of that document. He goes on to say that legislation on the other end of the spectrum, making an unborn human fetus subject to all the protections of a fully-developed and delivered human being, would be equally unconstitutional. This is supposed to make him appear very even-handed and impartial, I imagine. However, this is the same guy who, after the overturning of Texas’ anti-sodomy laws in Lawrence et al vs Texas in 2003, in his written dissent groused that same “effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation”, which one must assume he believes to be a bad thing. Interesting then that the word “moral” does not appear in the Constitution anywhere. Neither do the words ethical, righteous, virtuous, or any of their derivations. So where does this impulse to protect “morals” legislation come from?

Funny, isn’t it, that the right of police to break into a home and arrest a couple of consenting adults for anal-genital copulation is no better represented in the US Constitution than is the right of a woman to an abortion, and yet Mr. Scalia interprets this most sacred of texts as being in support of one while in opposition to the other. Just sayin’ is all.

However, this was hardly the cake topper of the evening. That came when Stahl brought up the allegations of torture of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, asking Scalia whether such allegation, if true, would violate the Constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. His answer, in a nutshell: no, because interrogation is not punishment.

I won’t bother adding the record-scratch noise to this post; just imagine that you’re hearing it now.

Okay, Tony, I think your slavish adherence to the letter of this most treasured of national user’s manuals certainly has its charms, with its heady, well-aged redolence of simpler times and better days, when men were strong and women were disenfranchised, etc, etc. But Originalism, much like a blisteringly literal interpretation of the Bible, simply must have its limits. Just as no rational human being believes that those who work on the Sabbath should actually be put to death, I think most folks would tend to agree that oh, say, breaking someone’s fingers during interrogation is by any reasonable definition a form of punishment, and a cruel one at that. If nothing else, it acts as a punishment for the “crime” of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even if one abandons this argument, there is the unimpeachable assertion that the freedom on the part of law enforcement to inflict bodily harm on a suspect during questioning will often as not result in a false confession and imprisonment. Under this scenario, is not the entire process, by its very nature, cruel and unusual?

It is just this sort of ossified, black-and-white thinking, masquerading as clarity of vision, that gives me a massive case of the crawls. I suppose it’s too much to ask that someone who has been appointed to the highest court in the land comport himself in a wishy-washy, shades-of-gray kind of way, particularly while being interviewed on a prominent national news program (even is Stahl did little more than lob him softballs; where’s Mike Wallace when you need him?). But going on national television and saying in front of God and everybody that torturing people isn’t unconstitutional because it isn’t punishment is just a hair too much clarity for my taste.

That’s the kind of clarity of vision that, in its purest form, makes the cattle trains run on time.


Delirium Musings

Filed under: @ 2:54 pm

I caught the office Crud….that’s Crud with a capital “C”….. just in time for my weekend.
Well, okay, on Wednesday in between amputating a leg and dealing with the cardiologist who had come to do cardiac ultrasound exams for us I was coughing until my eyes popped out (ew!), but fortunately the capital “C” part of the crud didn’t get me until yesterday morning.
As it has been since I had scarlet fever as a toddler, if any virus does so much as look crosswise at me I’ll run an astonishing fever. So, true to form, yesterday I was running somewhere in the 102 F range. Which left me loopy, achy, and subject to some deep and vital ponderings while David The Contractor worked on putting our upstairs bathroom back together. He’s done a fine job of taking it apart…. it looks like a bomb went off in there and there’s still a bathtub in my garage, but the putting it back together part of the whole charade is taking a bit longer.
Pondering the First: If you’re feverish enough and in enough need of distraction, a dude in the other room spreading and sanding drywall mud can sound remarkably like surf on a distant beach.
Pondering the Second: If one must be at the feverish “kill me” phase of a virus, it is helpful to have a stash of Tylenol with codeine left over from a root canal. While the acetaminophen part of a Tylenol with codeine doesn’t do much to knock down the body aches of the office Crud, the codeine part is a FINE thing. I spent much of my time yesterday asleep in the soothing depths of codeine which was remarkably welcome (if not very helpful in keeping me from being loopy).
Pondering the Third: It is considerably less lonesome to be sick if one has cats with which to do it. This is the first time in close to 20 years that I’ve had to spend large amounts of time in bed during the day without a cat. I was pretty convinced several times yesterday that I was, in fact, being kept company by an invisible critter that was crawling up onto my chest and stomping on my ribs before settling down to purr at me heavily (maybe it was just the codeine). I mean, for heaven’s sake, if I’m going to be horizontal, piled in blankets and pouring off heat, it really seems wasteful to not have someone else to appreciate it.

I have close to 200 onion starts that I desperately need to get into the ground, I need to continue working on peeling the wallpaper out of my study, and there’s a load of crap that really needs to go to Goodwill. Somehow I think that none of this is going to get done this weekend.


How To Tell If Your Suet Feeder Needs Refilling

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 3:10 pm

ur backyard suet feeder is a popular day spot for a number of local birds. It’s specially designed to resist the depredations of starlings, crows and other birds who, though beautiful creatures and deserving of sustenance in their own right, would eat us out of house and home in no time if allowed to impose upon our largesse unchecked. The feeder only dispenses suet from its underside, which means that birds that are unable to feed while hanging upside-down are excluded. (We do get the occasional adventuresome crow or starling who will attempt to hover underneath the basket, flapping wildly and pecking feverishly at the bounty contained therein. I hardly feel it seemly to begrudge them what little they are able to glean from their efforts, hard-won as they are.) The suet feeder is thereby left largely to the delectation of chickadees, wrens, bushtits and flickers.

The only problem with this suet feeder is that, given its orientation, I am unable to tell from any distance whether it actually contains suet. I’m usually pretty good about wandering up and checking it at frequent if irregular intervals, but sometimes other distractions get in the way and I may forget to do so for a week or more at a time.

Fortunately, the flickers—possibly because they are the single largest consumer pound-for-pound of suet among our various outdoor dinner guests—have at times taken it upon themselves to let me know when I have dropped the ball:

For those who may not have this particular variety of bird in their area, let me just fill you in: when your flickers have resorted to eating sunflower seeds out of your seed feeder, it most definitely means that you have run out of suet. 😀


I’m Not An Ageist, But I Play One On YouTube

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:07 am

I can’t decide whether it’s discriminatory of me to laugh at this or not. On one hand, I don’t think that there should necessarily be limits placed on public office based on age, particularly since my own father is both a) a respected gerontologist and b) older than dirt, and he raised me better than that.

On the other hand, the only person I’d want in the White House less than John McCain is the yutz who’s already there. And it is pretty amusing. I’ll let you decide.


Blood (Boils) On The Highway: Your Niceness Endangers Us All

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 10:46 am

This will be a familiar scenario for many of my readers, but I imagine that my take on it may be somewhat unique.

So Margaret and I are sitting in my car at the bottom of our street, where it is bisected by a major thoroughfare, 1st Avenue South, also known as State Route 509. The speed limit on 1st at our longitude is 45 miles per hour, and plenty of motorists seem to take that as a polite suggestion rather than a matter of local ordinance, so cars are rocketing past us in both directions at a clip ranging between respectable and downright scary. We are waiting to make a left onto 1st. Across the street from us is another vehicle, who arrived at their end of the intersection shortly before us, also waiting to make a left turn but, naturally, heading in the opposite direction from us. Since we were last to arrive at what is typically a fairly busy intersection, I settle in for a bit of a wait, chatting with Margaret and searching the radio for something to while away the time.

Just then, something catches my eye. I look up to see the driver of the car across the way gesticulating at me in the universal semaphore for, “go on, go ahead!”

What the fuck?

I got to the intersection last. There is no physical way that our intended path could be safe to pursue without hers being clear as well. Her car seems to be running, has not suffered a flat and is not currently on fire.

So why the hell is she sitting there like an idiot, waving me through ahead of my turn, while oncoming traffic draws ever closer?

I mouth as clearly as I can, “JESUS CHRIST, WOULD YOU JUST GO??

After which, she finally gives up trying to help an obviously under-appreciative Visigoth such as myself and putts imperiously out onto 1st. Shortly thereafter I am able to make my left turn in the other direction and off we go.

Another classic example, which took place only hours later: I’m zipping down an on-ramp onto a state highway. In my driver’s side mirror I see a fast-approaching sedan, moving too quickly by my estimate for my 2.5 liter 4-cylinder engine to safely outrace to the ramp’s insertion point onto the highway. There’s plenty of room behind the sedan, though; no other cars in sight. So I reduce my rate of acceleration to let it pass.

But for some reason, said sedan does not leave the visual range of my mirror. Growing concerned—and quickly running out of on-ramp—-I slow down further. Another glance at the mirror. It’s still there!

Has some mischievous art student painted an approaching vehicle onto my mirror as some sort of trompe l’oeil practical joke? Has light begun to bend strangely in the immediate vicinity of my vehicle, perhaps the result of some sort of tetrion particle anomaly, allowing me to see the car in my rearward-facing mirror even though it has long passed in front of me? Has a leaky exhaust manifold left me in the hallucinatory stage of carbon monoxide toxicity?

Why, no! What has actually happened is that the driver of the car behind me has taken it upon himself to slow down to let me in, instead of letting me make adjustments to my speed and acceleration, as is customary and expected for those who are entering the highway in deference to those who are already on it. My natural and lawful instinct to slow down at the sight of another vehicle quickly overtaking mine has subsequently caused the driver of said vehicle to decelerate still further so as to allow me to enter the highway ahead of him.

By the time one of us (me) manages to break out of this ridiculous feedback loop, we are both going about thirty-six miles per hour in a sixty zone, with aggravated motorists cutting around and zooming by impatiently in the lefthand lane while the two of us feebly struggle to get our mutual automotive shit together.

This type of person invariably looks a trifle miffed when you don’t tip them a little thank-you wave for their efforts.

I don’t know how often this happens in other communities, but here in the Puget Sound region this is a fairly common occurrence: people violating the rules of the road in the name of “courtesy” and “neighborliness”….despite the fact that such behavior is “dangerous” and could “get people killed”.

I often leave little Public Service Announcements here on my blog for those whom I feel most desperately need them. This is primarily an exercise in catharsis, but there is a small chance that one of these clueless do-gooders might stumble across Uncle Andrew dot Net whilst scouring teh Intarwebs for something else….probably Erin Esurance porn. So, based on the assumption that this may happen (in fact, that it already indeed has, just now), allow me, Dear Reader, to offer my personal input on your driving philosophy.

There are, of course, much worse things to be on the highways and byways of this great nation of ours than too nice. Being a drunk, for instance; or an aggressive asshole. Or a homicidal maniac. So I don’t mean to imply that you have sunk to the level of this sort of human hemorrhoid through your misplaced kindness.

On the other hand, let us entertain no fantasies about this: THE RULES OF THE ROAD HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED FOR THE SAFETY AND EFFICIENCY OF EVERYONE. If one person violates them, even in the name of spreading sunshine and joy everywhere they go, then we might as well throw all of the rules out the window, because at that point NO ONE CAN TRUST ANYONE ELSE TO BEHAVE IN A PREDICTABLE MANNER BEHIND THE WHEEL.

Chaos and anarchy will ensue. Mashed fenders, burning wreckage, twenty years of darkness, the works. All so that you can feel like you’re brightening up the corner where you are.

Look, niceness is nice; no doubt about it. However, when it comes to the interaction of multi-ton hunks of metal and plastic hurtling along at high rates of speed, common sense and attention to established convention are even nicer. A little more of the latter would actually provide a synergistic enhancement to the former. Give it a try sometime. Motorists everywhere will thank you.


Remodel Week 6-9

Filed under: @ 10:15 pm

My deepest apologies to any of you who may have been following our continuing remodel saga. My absence over the last (oh dear) three weeks has primarily been because each time I sit down to write any entries my internet connection decides to go tits up. For some obscure reason my connection doesn’t seem to like the chaos on the home front.
In fact I’m starting this post in Microsoft Word because despite having a good connection otherwise, for some reason Word Press doesn’t seem to want to connect with my computer.
Andrew has promised some sort of fix for this.

Three weeks later we have a new shower in the laundry room.
New Downstairs Shower
That is working quite nicely, thank you.
New Shower Door
And since the door closes with magnets instead of a tension snap lock like the last one did, it doesn’t even set off our house alarm by triggering the glass break sensor.

Three weeks later we have a functional, attractive, energy efficient, and fully powered washer and dryer.
New Washer and Dryer
My somewhat belated rant about Sears goes like this: On March 17th I called Sears to order a stackable washer and dryer. I made sure to ask the phone monkey whether or not the models we were ordering could be stacked since we have very limited room to work with. Phone monkey assured me that the units could be stacked and told me that our delivery date would be that same week.
NEATO! Sign me up.
I called to confirm the order on March 18th. They confirmed that I had ordered a stackable washer and dryer and told me that my delivery date would be March 29th.
OOOOOoooooKAY, and 11 days from now is the end of this week…how?
I got a little bit terse with this second Sears phone monkey because in the mean time we’d disconnected the washer and dryer and bunged them out in the garage so David could move the 240 volt dryer outlet and the dryer vent. Phone monkey told me that she’d do her best to put us on the expedited delivery list, but couldn’t (or wouldn’t) tell me what that meant or how I’d know whether or not we’d get expedited delivery.
Take a short break to go through the gyrations described in my last post in figuring out how to get the washer and dryer out of the garage, back into the laundry room and running.
On the evening of March 28th I got two different calls from two different Sears robots (actual robots, not just robotic phone monkeys) telling me that my delivery date was confirmed for the 29th between either 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. OR between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. I guess that’s what the second phone monkey meant by “expedited delivery”.
We got up at 7 a.m. on the 29th and got a call from the Sears truck monkeys (this is not entirely fair of me, they were nice guys and tried hard to compensate for the corporate fuckup, but I’m still irritated) saying they’d be in our driveway by 7:30. They pulled up at 7:15, proceeded to tell us that they couldn’t use the (brand new in the package) woven stainless steel water hoses for the washer because they weren’t allowed to install the washer with anything that they hadn’t provided. They couldn’t hook the dryer up to the vent that David had put into the ceiling, and oh, by the way, had we ordered a stacking kit?
A “say WHAT now”?!
A stacking kit, for those who haven’t had the pleasure, is a little plastic dealie that allows one to stack the dryer on top of the washer. When I ordered my STACKABLE washer and dryer from the first phone monkey and asked whether or not I could STACK them, he had failed entirely to inform me that I needed a stacking kit. And what further irritated me, in this era of computerized inventories and order processing, was that his computer hadn’t alerted him to the fact that these particular models required a stacking kit (some don’t) and why didn’t he sell me one?
So the old washer and dryer are in the truck, the truck monkeys and the new (crated) washer and dryer were in the garage, it was 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday, and the local Sears outlet didn’t open until 9 freaking 30.
All sorts of *very special* delivery words got said at this point.
When the paint stopped bubbling I found that the main truck monkey was on the phone with his supply warehouse trying to find out if they could go back and get a stacking kit.
They could not.
They didn’t have one at the warehouse.
I’d have to order one.
And it would take two weeks for it to show up.

At which point we told them to unload the old washer and dryer, re-load the new washer and dryer and bugger off. I called Sears to cancel the order, got the runaround because their computers indicated that we’d already had our delivery, and was told, finally, that they’d be crediting my purchase back to my credit card within 7-10 business days.
It finally showed up as a credit on my Visa account *YESTERDAY*.
I am disenchanted with Sears.
Especially since when we went to Albert Lee Appliance and spoke with Craig Mims their sales associate (blatant plug), he listened to our story, checked his computer and said: “Well, I don’t think I can get you delivery for tomorrow, but will the day after tomorrow do?”
They sold us the exact same models at the exact same price, they agreed to install the washer with the stainless steel hoses, and when their truck monkeys showed up without the stacking kit they went away, came back half an hour later with the stacking kit and installed the damn thing!
For those of you who are Google-ing “Albert Lee Appliance” to find people’s opinions before you make a major appliance purchase. Go with it, they’re gold.

As it stands, Andrew’s office is finished, the laundry room cum downstairs bathroom is finished (well, okay one wall still needs paint and the floor badly needs scrubbing, but these are things that will get done eventually), and David The Contractor and his buddy Cass The Contractor have been making great strides on the upstairs.
But the most exciting news I have so far is:

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bucket O’ Bile Saloon…..
Bucket O\'Bile Saloon 1

Is O-ficially CLOSED FOR BUSINESS (add ye-haw here if you so desire)
Bucket O\'Bile Saloon 2

For those who haven’t had the pleasure (?) of experiencing our somewhat eccentric decor, the upstairs bathroom had a saloon style swinging door that separated the front part of the bathroom with the bathtub and sink from the back part of the bathroom with the toilet. No, I don’t know why, I didn’t put the damn thing up, so don’t expect me to explain it.
I had a LOT of fun ripping it off the wall however. Took the door off the hinges, took the hinges off the mounting post and then spent about half an hour with a pry bar and a good deal of interesting language to get the mounting post off the wall (it had been secured to a stud behind the drywall with eight, count ’em, EIGHT four inch by 3/16″ nails). I even managed to do it without putting any huge divots in the drywall.
And I must say, it is interesting to watch the deconstruction of the bathroom.
On Monday morning I got up, took a shower, and went to work. I came home and there wasn’t a bathtub in the bathroom anymore and the wall had been stripped to the studs.
On Tuesday morning I got up, took a shower downstairs and went to work. I came home and while there was green board over the studs where the tub surround had been, there was no sink, no vanity, no mirror, no toilet, and no door. The floor underneath where the tub had been was stripped to the sub-flooring and the bathtub, the sink, and most of the toilet were in the garage. 😯
Weirdly, the shower curtain, the mirror, and the tank lid for the toilet are currently at rest amongst the chaos of Andrew’s upstairs study.
Oh, and my living room is covered in plastic because while David works on the bathroom Cass is working on the shelves in the living room. Everything is covered in dust. Tomorrow I’m going to have to move the coat closet into my study again because the insulation guys are coming back to figure out what is wrong with the can light in the upstairs bathroom. The plumbers from Bath Fitters are coming to install the piping and the valves for the shower, David will be ripping out the hideous linoleum, and I have to go and talk to the city of Normandy Park to figure out whether or not we can build the retaining wall across our north property line that will keep my front yard from eroding into the drainage ditch.
We are having SUCH fun. 🙄


It’s Office-ial

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 2:12 pm

I’m moved into my new office. Not completely, but far enough to be fully functional.

Brief synopsis: after Shawn moved out of our basement, we took out a loan to do some major home improvements. One of these was turning the basement utility room where Shawn had hung his hat into an office for me. As anyone who has peeked through my old office door upstairs can attest, I desperately needed more room for my shit. Out contractor laid drywall over the bare studs on the ceiling and a few walls, threw a couple of phone and coax jacks in, replaced the buzzy old fluorescent lights with track lighting and painted. The result is light years ahead of where I was.

New Office 1

In case you’re in the market, the wire shelf racks they sell at Costco (at the left of the picture above) make excellent improvisational server racks. I’ve got four desktop computers of varying pedigree on the bottom shelf (well, next-to-bottom; the bottom shelf is reserved for Uninterruptible Power Supplies), my printers on the next shelf up, networking equipment (routers, switches) up from there, and the top shelf for storage. The whole thing’s on casters so I can move it away from the wall with ease.

New Office 2

I picked up a couple of used industrial-strength desks from Action Business Furniture down in Tukwila, including a nice corner desk with plenty of room for my three monitors. I pimped it out with a sliding keyboard drawer and was good to go. Between the two desks I have my keyboard, mouse, monitors, scanners, external drives, speakers, MIDI keyboard and fax machine at my fingertips, with room to spare.

New Office 3

One of my favorite innovations is pictured. Back when Shawn was living here we picked up this EXPEDIT bookcase from the scratch-N-dent section at IKEA. I discovered that small moving boxes from Public Storage fit the cubbies to a T, making a perfect storage shelf for all my cables, joiners, hubs, switches, PCI cards, power supplies, et-God-help-us cetera. I plan on filling the bottom 12 cubbies with highly organized crap, leaving the top 4 for incidentals like backpacks and the top for use as a charging station. I even got all of my chargers on a single multi-outlet strip so I can turn them off when not in use, thus saving electricity and keeping Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio off my back. Fernando approves!

There are, of course, a drawback or two to my new digs. I’m sharing the office with a noisy roommate: the furnace. It can get pretty rumbly at times. But I’m working on some potential plans to cut the noise down, and even if I can’t do a lot to ameliorate the din, it’s still worth it. And since we just sunk a big wad of cash into upgrading the insulation in the house, the use of the furnace should be far reduced over previous years as well.

All in all, I am utterly delighted with the move. Now, all I have to do is separate all of the pounds and pounds, miles and miles of obsolete chaff out of my technological silo and cart the resulting bales of stuff off to RE*PC to be recycled and finish cleaning out my old office so Margaret can mover her stuff in there in preparation for redecorating her office. The nightmare continues…. 😯


Yeah, Yeah, Yeah….

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 11:48 pm

My server was down for most of today. I was moving my office downstairs to it’s new and hopefully final location, in the basement room where our housemate used to live. It’s much larger than my previous office, and down below ground level where things ought to stay much cooler during the summer. We’ve done some minor gussying up in here, and it was just time to go ahead and take the plunge. I’ll be moving the rest of my stuff (shudder) down here over the next week or two and getting the old office ready for its new job as an actual, bona-fide guest room. Gosh, aren’t we all growed up! 😛

Anywho, don’t expect tonight to be the last outage here at Unclean Drew dot Net—I still have to get the contractor to look at the wiring for the phone jack her put in down here and figure out what’s wrong with it—but further disruptions should be in increments of minutes, not hours. So if you find yourself unable to connect, give it a few and try again.


The Twilight Of The Mind

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 3:03 pm

….is a rewording of a quote from Sci Fi writer Harlan Ellison, “The Twilight of the Word“, describing his take on the advent of the Internet and Net culture, but I think it’s appropriate in this scenario as well.

I was listening to NPR this morning when I happened to overhear a story on the results of the past Saturday’s NCAA semifinals. Normally any story centering on sports fails to register on my sensorium at all, unless it happens to include certain key phrases, such as “raise public funds to tear down a still-unpaid-for sports stadium in order to build a new sports stadium“. Much like the eye of the frog in the famous McCulloch-Lettvin study, I do not merely ignore the majority of sports-related input; my sensory apparatus actually filters the telemetry so that my brain never receives the signal at all. So it was pure chance that this sports-related story triggered enough of a stimulus-response to garner my attention. Lucky me.

Apparently, the much-ballyhooed University of Memphis Tigers managed to trounce their rival, the UCLA Bruins. In a story in the New York Times, freshman point guard Derrick Rose was quoted as saying of their victory, “We knew that we was going to win, so, ain’t too much to say.”

Wait, what? Did he really just say that?

I had to go online and find the article in question so I could make absolutely sure that this was, indeed a player from a team in the NCAA, the National COLLEGIATE Athletic Association. Upon the release of this story and its attendant notable quotable, I can only assume that Tigers coach John Calipari promptly resigned his position in shame, perhaps even going so far as to commit seppuku in the center of Dunavant Plaza. Nothing on the news feeds so far, but I remain hopeful.

I’ve been saying this for years, but the time is finally, irrefutably at hand to dissolve the bonds between professional athletics and academics. The two are completely and irreparably antagonistic to one another. If young people with ability and promise want to hone their skills in the hopes of wringing a career out of their efforts, I have absolutely no problem with that. How fortunate, then, that there exists a ready-made avenue for this sort of endeavor; it’s called professional sports, and it’s an umpty grillion dollar per year industry. Plenty to go around.

How this pursuit might complete or complement the honing of one’s intellect in the hopes of finding personal and financial fulfillment through that, I haven’t the faintest fucking idea.

And since the cultivation and promulgation of the life of the mind was there first, I think it is the responsibility of collegiate athletics to graciously leave the academic sphere and strike out on its own. I’m sure it will have no problem making a name for itself out there beyond the protective walls of the ivy citadel.


Just Couldn’t Resist…

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:15 am

Okay, so generally I find the practice of Rickrolling to be ridiculous and unhelpful. On the other hand, I find this to be fricking hilarious, and since I warned you in advance, it’s not actually Rickrolling.

This was posted on YouTube as “Hilarious Muppets Bloopers!”:

I’d never noticed before how many physiognomic traits Rick Astley and Beaker actually share:

Beaker Astley Rick Astley


Some April Fool’s Humor, Only Not The Assholey Kind

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 1:53 pm

I’m not a big April Fool’s Day kind of guy. Never have been. I tend to think of jokes that prey on and highlight the gullibility and credulity of others to be just about the lowest rung on the humor evolutionary ladder. Perhaps this is because I myself am gullible and credulous, and always seem to end up the butt of these kinds of jokes.

Rather than turn my trauma back on my oppressors by stabbing them in the face with a ball-point pen, or turning it outward by visiting similar offenses upon others, I choose instead to break the vicious cycle and refuse to participate. The last practical joke I pulled was on January 1, 2000, when—with my boss’ blessing—I replaced fungi.com’s Home page with this (and boy, did we get some nasty email as a result).

Actually, mention of Paul is rather timely in this case, because the humor I intend to pass on comes straight from him. Folks who know me are aware that I spend a fair amount of time kvetching about my boss. He is impulsive. He is inordinately fond of buzzwords (particularly technical buzzwords) and uses them incessantly and often improperly. He is a walking example of the dangers of multitasking. But for all that, I hold him in very high regard. For one thing, he is a genius, a real mad scientist. He is a visionary. And he really does want his company to do well by doing good. Striving for something more significant than “enhancing shareholder value” is a great reason to get up and go to work every day. Also being able to work in my pajamas. 😉

His sense of humor is another of his many endearing qualities. Case in point: Paul and his wife take walks in their rural neighborhood practically every day, and have taken to collecting roadside trash as they go along. They have recently been spending a lot of time cleaning up at what is obviously a popular hangout, where there exists a perpetually-replenished cairn of empty Rolling Rock Beer bottles. No matter how many times the two of them clean this site, they return to find it freshly crappified.

Yesterday Paul instructed me to produce three outdoor-quality aluminum signs, which he plans to seed around the aforementioned hangout. We dickered over the wording for a bit, ultimately coming up with this:

If You Must Litter...Please Don\'t Breed!

This more than makes up for every time he uses the term “Home page” when he really means “Web site”. 😀

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