Recent comments


- The Mothership
- The old Wordpress site
- Our RSS feed
- Recent comments RSS feed

Version: 1.0
(July 25, 2005)

You are viewing the archives for January 2008

Scarlet R

Jan 29, 2008 by OCSteve | 8 Comments

Well I went from unaffiliated back to Republican. Wayne Gilchrest is having a tough time in district 1. I had been thinking about it for some time (and KCinDC reminded me a while ago) but this pushed me over the edge.

So I'm back to wearing the scarlet R so I can vote for him in the Feb. 12th Republican primary.


2007 Global Warming Year in Review

Jan 27, 2008 by OCSteve | 87 Comments

I'm not going to make any structured arguments here. Rather, I'm going to try to summarize via a link round-up why I continue to stand by my position on GW.

There have been developments in the past year that I believe strongly support us skeptics. In fact, 2007 may well be remembered as the year the other side finally started to be heard. I think that anyone who reads all these articles with an open mind and an eye on the science will have a hard time dismissing it all out of hand.

It's long and it's below the fold. I don't intend to defend every word in every linked article and I don't expect to make any converts around these parts. All I'm trying to do here is demonstrate that there are legitimate grounds for skepticism. Baby steps...



Manga! A weekend open thread

Jan 26, 2008 by libjpn | 7 Comments

A little late, but here it is. I've been spending a lot of time reading Japanese manga [cartoon novels or serials, very very popular here] in preparation to trying to convince my library to order English translations of them on the notion that students might really enjoy reading a Japanese manga they know in an English version.

I would also like to order a range of graphic novels in English, because I think some students would really take to them, but I'm worried that some may have some graphic sex scenes (Japanese pornography laws permit the portrayal of virtually anything, as long as you aren't showing a portrayal of the actual bits).

So I'm looking for recs for graphic novels that don't have any male or female bits in them, but you are free to talk about anything you want. 

Your mid week cheery post

Jan 24, 2008 by libjpn | 13 Comments

From Chalmers Johnson, that master of mirth...


There are three broad aspects to our debt crisis. First, in the current fiscal year (2008) we are spending insane amounts of money on "defense" projects that bear no relationship to the national security of the United States. Simultaneously, we are keeping the income tax burdens on the richest segments of the American population at strikingly low levels.

Second, we continue to believe that we can compensate for the accelerating erosion of our manufacturing base and our loss of jobs to foreign countries through massive military expenditures -- so-called "military Keynesianism," which I discuss in detail in my book Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic. By military Keynesianism, I mean the mistaken belief that public policies focused on frequent wars, huge expenditures on weapons and munitions, and large standing armies can indefinitely sustain a wealthy capitalist economy. The opposite is actually true.

Third, in our devotion to militarism (despite our limited resources), we are failing to invest in our social infrastructure and other requirements for the long-term health of our country. These are what economists call "opportunity costs," things not done because we spent our money on something else. Our public education system has deteriorated alarmingly. We have failed to provide health care to all our citizens and neglected our responsibilities as the world's number one polluter. Most important, we have lost our competitiveness as a manufacturer for civilian needs -- an infinitely more efficient use of scarce resources than arms manufacturing. Let me discuss each of these.

As someone was heard to say, read the whole thing, and then get back to us here. 

Omedeto Gozaimasu Turbulence!

Jan 21, 2008 by libjpn | 13 Comments

Or congratulations in Japanese and the best wishes of TiO.

My advice: I wanted my wife to meet the members of my far flung family, so every holiday, we went to meet relatives scattered all over the globe until my first daughter was born, and this was a big mistake. We should have had a vacation where we went somewhere where we didn't know anyone. 

More advice? That's what the comments are for! 


Jan 20, 2008 by OCSteve | 25 Comments
Riffing off of Hilzoy's post...

I got crap again about this last night. My wife is genuinely upset that I have online friends she does not know. It baffles me because I do not do typical guy things. I don't go to a friend's house or a bar for football. I don't exclude her intentionally from anything in my life. But she has no interest in politics. So I do that online.

I have online friends and that seems to be a real problem for her. I wasn't keeping it a secret, OTOH she likely would have never known except for the fact that I was so upset about Andrew there was no disguising it.

I don't do <i>anything</i> without her. But she was genuinely upset that I knew someone online well enough to shed tears for. Most of my friends are online these days.

Can one of you folks with two X chromosomes explain this to me?


Answering the call

Jan 19, 2008 by libjpn | 2 Comments
Jeff invoked the power of the brown M&M and here you are. Have at it.

What brown m&ms really mean.

Jan 18, 2008 by libjpn | 13 Comments

I feel guilty, because, in going for a laugh, I propagated an urban myth. My distress is inversely related to how humorous it might have been, (I'd relate this to a response by Dick Cavett who I thought, when asked if God exists or not, replied (at least in my mind) "Which is funnier", but googling to see if he actually said it, I found Blore's Razor, which states: Given a choice between two theories, take the one which is funnier. Oh well.)

At any rate, I realize that I made a joke about brown M&Ms based on the image of drug addicted rock groups making bizarre demands. However, I did realize that the brown m&m test does exist and I point you to a page at To summarize, the absence of brown m&ms functions as a metric. If they read closely enough to remove the brown m&ms, they had read closely enough to follow the important instructions. And I knew that because I'm a big fan of brown m&m tests. I often employ them because it allows me to easily and quickly identify students who haven't listened to instructions. F'rex, I ask students to mail attachments to me with their name and the last 5 digits of their student id number. A quick look tells me whether I will be dealing with a student who is serious enough about the assignment or a student who started and finished it an hour before it was due.

The problem is that if the brown m&m test is sufficiently separated from the actual content of the task, students believe that if they get the brown m&ms out of the punch bowl, they've completed the assignment. Along with the related problem when my colleagues ask me if I failed a student just because he put his name before his student id number.

Unfortunately, this weekend, I will be proctoring (or, in British English "invigilate") the Daigaku Nyugakusha Senbatsu Daigaku Nyushi Center Shiken, (un)fondly referered to as the Center shiken, which is roughly the equivalent of watching paint dry for two days in a row. So I might not be able to mix it up with you, but this thread is for brown m&m tests, examinations and anything else you want to talk about.

OCSteve argued here

Jan 17, 2008 by libjpn | 18 Comments

I didn't mention the seconded, thirded and, I think, fourthed suggestion that OCSteve be added to the ObWi roster. This post is to give you an oppotunity to submit your warm fuzzy feelings about the reflected honor TiO gets for this or discuss the sheer terror I feel when I try imagining that I might have to try and find someone else willing to hand out over here.

[update] there's been no word of the negotiations between OCSteve's agent and the ObWi combine. Rumor has it that OCSteve is holding out for a lifetime supply of M&Ms (sans brown ones) and a structured salary that would make his bonus tax free. Plus a general overhaul of the place, and an espresso maker, an idea which he shamelessly stole from here.  

BBcode and recent comments for me and thee

Jan 16, 2008 by libjpn | 6 Comments

Well, I've added two plug ins, one to allow the use of BBCode in the comments and another to add recent comments in the sidebar. I have been trying to find a plugin that would interpret HTML in Nucleus comments, but BBcode is the best we can do. It uses square brackets rather than the angled brackets, and is supposed to allow more control. I like the ability to blockquote, but I am worried that this is just one more damn thing to remember. Documentation of BBCode is here, if you are curious. The first comment below gives the range of possibilities, though the markup for preformatted text gives a very tiny font size, so it isn't any help at all. I bring your attention to the markup

 [quote name="Chico"]Everyone knows there is no sanity clause[quote]

And see what it looks like in the comments. Pretty neat, I think.

The other code is below (as an image, I can't get the preformatted tag to work), with examples of how they look in the comments

Also, I'm going to add a blogroll to the sidebar, if you want to be on it, let me know


Fort Carson, Colorado January 15, 2008 2:30 PM MST

Jan 16, 2008 by OCSteve | 11 Comments

This is timed go up as the service starts. Call it the virtual version I guess.

It's been 11 days since hilzoy put up that shocking post. Watching the sidebar today there are still comments coming into the Remembering Andy Olmsted thread...

I just opened a Coke, and offered a toast to the memory of the man, the son, the husband, the soldier, and yes, the blogger. Coming up with early eighties tunes was a little trickier. Probably not what you had in mind Andrew but I threw on Long Distance Voyager by the Moody Blues. I'm in that kind of mood.

My thoughts are with his family and friends. I'm so glad that hilzoy and Gary were able to make it to the service. My thoughts are with them as well - this moment can't be easy for them.

Andrew: Your final words moved many thousands hundreds of thousands [upate: based on a comment from hilzoy] of people all over the world. We'll never be able to get an accurate tally of just how many people read your final post, or articles about your final post.

And in the end, what final tribute is more fitting for a blogger?

RIP. You'll be missed.


Your Obama/HRC free discussion thread

Jan 15, 2008 by libjpn | 18 Comments

A recent and profound joy of late is that my 3- year old daughter has discovered Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes, and revealed a genetic disposition that I knew was there. And she has also figured out how to go to the related videos on YouTube and amuse herself, though I do discreetly watch to make sure that she stays on cartoons. To be driving in the car and say 'Duck season' and have her immediately say 'Rabbit Season', well, what can I say.

Another one of her faves below and this is your thread to explain why they don't make them like that anymore.



On Thullen's reading list

Jan 12, 2008 by libjpn | 8 Comments

Apparently is Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. Which he should get to reading immediately, though much more Thullenesque would be Travesties.

Also (and I'm thinking of me, not Thullen), I glean some hope when I read Stoppard's Wikipedia entry and it says "In Bristol, he became known more for his strained attempts at humor and unstylish clothes than for his writing" There's hope for me yet!

Your Stoppardesque comments below

pissing in the pool

Jan 12, 2008 by libjpn | 108 Comments

Obituary for Desmond Derbyshire

Jan 11, 2008 by libjpn | 3 Comments

This obituary for a linguist named Desmond Derbyshire. The obituary is written by Geoff Pullum, who I had the pleasure of taking a class from Geoff Pullum at the Linguistic Institute at OSU (where I also met the woman who would be my wife) You can read him at Language Log, a group blog of linguists, where you get an idea of his acerbic wit, which makes this obituary, at least for me.

[corregium-'touching' should be after 'obituary', but in adding the last phrase, I accidentally deleted it - lj]

The obituary is below the fold, but the link is here Read More...

And on and on it goes

Jan 10, 2008 by libjpn | 16 Comments
I had stopped reading the Remembering Andrew thread because it seemed to be nothing but people who had found Andy's last post and felt moved to express themselves, of which there is nothing wrong, but that 3rd or 4th hand mourning seems to me to be like white noise in the background. However, I woke up this morning, and looked down it and found this comment that I put below the fold, not only for the regulars who might not have seen it, but with a few thoughts. Read More...

January 2nd, many years ago

Jan 09, 2008 by DaveC | 5 Comments

Gucci Dumpters, Jordache Dumpsters

Back then you had to use spray paint (I didn't do it!) 

festive dumpster


looking back at Eurydice

Jan 08, 2008 by libjpn | 29 Comments
Well, we begin to put the pieces together, move back to the world above, but I, like so many others, keep glancing back. It is hard to know where the mourning for my mother ends and that for Andrew begins. It feels seamless and extends in all directions.

But we try to put one foot in front of the other and move on, and one thing I've been wondering about is what it means that Andrew touched so many people, beyond what qualities of Andrew had that touched them. Several people, just visiting, have wondered/been awed how they could be so moved by Andrew's last post. For most of us, I think we take the emotion as a measure of the true worth of Andrew. But I find myself wanting to unpack this, so I'll venture some thoughts and place them below the fold.

Mistaken identities

Jan 07, 2008 by libjpn | 14 Comments

A number of people have noted that they didn't realize that G'Kar and Andrew were the same person, so I thought I would start a thread to collect those stories. Here's mine.

When G'Kar appeared on the scene, Gary sussed him out immediately, and I (tending to be overly sensitive to tension) stopped following the discussion because I didn't want to know something that I thought someone didn't want me to know about themselves. There was also the Enrak thing, and I thought this was a B5 related notion that I wasn't following, and so, tossed it in the back of my mind, which is as helpful to recall as putting a document thru a shredder.

I'm now not sure if just before the email spat or as part of it, but I hadn't put 2 and 2 together, and somehow, I classed G'Kar as one of the people who came with Publius, and got into a bit of a kerfluffle with him, at which point Hilzoy gently pointed out offlist (by passing a link to Andrew's blog) that G'Kar and Andrew were the same person, . I recall trying to surf it, and it not coming up (and when I go to Andrew's blog address even now, I  get a 403 error) and, not looking at the link that Hilzoy sent me, saying that I couldn't get it and would try later and by the time I figured it out, a few days had passed so I figured Hilzoy and Andrew didn't need their inboxes filled with email from me explaining that I got it. So yeah, Hilzoy had to point it out to me.

Related to that, with the previous discussion of IP addresses and such, I just looked into the member admin pages to see what information was there, and found that when Andrew came over here and registered, in the field of 'real name', he wrote 'Andrew, yes, that Andrew', which brought a rueful chuckle, because it was funny, but it also highlighted another reason why we might have bumped heads harder than we should have, which is that he felt he told me that he was Andrew and I just ignored it.

But that possible missed connection is really the subject for another post, maybe my next one. Here, I invite everyone to share how they knew what they knew when they knew it. 

RIP Andrew

Jan 05, 2008 by libjpn | 149 Comments
As everyone is undoubtedly aware, Andrew/G'Kar was killed in action. We once got into a email brawl that started at ObWi and then moved over here a while ago, and a number of random things aggravated that, including him getting caught in a spam filter and the time zone difference. That blog spat comes to mind now, and one of the things that bothered me the most about it was that every time I replied, I felt like I was saying that I didn't respect him, but any reply other than 'you are right, I was wrong' would be taken as partaking of the same disrespect. I'm not sure what the answer is, it seems like there is no way to rachet down conflict and I'm left wondering if there was something, anything to have been done. It sucks to have such a regret now, so all I can suggest is be good to each other.

Open thread: New Year's Resolutions

Jan 04, 2008 by libjpn | 3 Comments

Interesting, I have seen very little talk of New Year's resolutions among blogs this year. It might have been because I haven't been reading as widely as I might have. (We got a Wii Fit, so a lot less more time in front of one tube and a lot less time in front of this one), but if there hasn't been, I wonder what that says about the state of current domestic politics.

Anyway, here, it's the same ol' same ol', so I've got a ton of New Year's resolutions. They are

-lose some weight (hence the Wii Fit)

-start blogging in Chinese (this is simultaenously as an example to students, who I ask to blog in English and a spur for me to learn both Chinese and work on my chinese character proficiency)

-get control over my multiple computers (Well on the way, thanks to Leopard)

-improve my Japanese, especially my ability to write briefs for faculty meetings.

So, unless there is some ban on resolutions, put 'em up here. Or better yet, if there is a ban, we are your site promoting the flauting of such bans.

Country music for furriners

Jan 01, 2008 by libjpn | 11 Comments

Some gems in the comments, Phil and Cleek shared some of their music. Phil's first clip is labeled alt-country, which leads to this post.

I have to revamp a basic english class that I teach part time at a nearby university, and one of the things I use is song lyrics, and I'm thinking of doing a term of country music, a genre which I only have passing familiarity, so I'm not sure precisely how I will proceed. My ideal would be to take a famous country singer, find a signature song that has cover versions and a bio or appreciation essay, and have the students work thru that, along with some other exercises (perhaps on rhyming, song structure, etc) I think there are a range of essays and information on the internet, but here is an example.

 Have students read Beck's tribute to Hank Williams 

Then have the students work with lyrics of one or two songs

Cold cold heart

hank williams   

norah jones 

Tony Bennett 

or Elvis (or is it elvis?)

interspersed with some other exercises (metaphors for heart, adjective that collocate with heart frex)

These would be the basic lessons, but we might do a few different lessons, a la a lecture style about the origins of country music, evolution of country music, etc. So, any suggestions as to 

1)artists to consider

2)songs to use

3)other topics that might be interesting to students

4)Or just your thoughts on country music

Don't leave me cryin' in my beer!