Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Ha ha. [Web Sites Shut Down in Spam Fight.] Is it wrong that I get pleasure from reading the following?:

Executives of NetGlobalMarketing were quoted in an article in The New York Times last week on the efforts by e-mail companies to block spam. The article quoted company executives saying that all of the e-mail messages they send are to people who have requested e-mail offers. Nonetheless, the company has received thousands of angry and threatening e-mails and telephone messages over the last week. And personal information about company executives has been placed on anti-spam Web sites.

      >> 1:23 PM

What is my fucking methodology?

Every time I watch the ending of ["Becoming, Part Two"], I cry. (It aired on FX this morning.)

      >> 10:59 AM

Monday, April 28, 2003

AH HA HA HA HA!!! I'm done with HEL! Turned in the final. Turned in the crappy paper. I'm pretty much done with teaching for this semester, too! Just one errant student's papers to grade. Woo hoo!! Now I just have to tackle this massive annotated bibliography of some 25 books that I haven't yet read by Wednesday. :P

I was being a pain in the ass this morning. I kept letting out these scream/yelp things. I sent Rob cowering under the covers. I have a lot of stress to let out. Yuck.

      >> 1:43 PM

Ack. Am taking HEL* final now. Very difficult. Even though it's open book, open notes, open whatever (she even said we could use the web), just as long as we don't talk to each other about it. At least the professor is letting us take the exam wherever we wanted. That's nice. I'm hiding in an empty classroom in the building. All by my lonesome. With a big table to spread out my material.

* Our diminuitive for "History of the English Language."

      >> 9:41 AM

Sunday, April 27, 2003

The obligatory monthly cloud shot.

It's hard getting out of bed.

      >> 6:19 PM

AH HA HA HA!!! [New Fox Reality Show to Determine Ruler of Iraq] 'Nuff said.

      >> 11:47 AM

Leaving the apartment this morning for Elmo's.

Driving to Elmo's.

We dream of moving into this empty Wheel Cover World next to Elmo's, rolling out of bed, and walking a few steps to breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Pulling into Elmo's parking lot this morning, a row of cop cars.
(The cops were having breakfast.)

Drinks, jam, stuff.

So much fucking green stuff here.
Someone popped outta the foliage right after I snapped this shot.

      >> 7:30 AM

"Imre" is the coolest name EVER.

      >> 5:48 AM

Saturday, April 26, 2003

I walk by this sign everyday going to work.

I am a cactus killer. :(

      >> 5:49 AM

Friday, April 25, 2003

[The Fine Art Of Being Come Out To: A Straight Person's Guide To Gay Etiquette]:

1. The novice will want to have the conversation in private. S/he will decoy you into your office, the supply closet, or an abandoned nuclear fallout shelter--anywhere s/he can be sure there are no authority figures listening. The experienced outcomer is perfectly willing to shout the news to you over the strains of Nine Inch Nails at the local dance club. "I'm gay!" "You may what?" "No, no--GAY!" "Yeah, I'm OK, how about you?" "No, listen to me--GAY, as in Enola!" "Granola? Where?"
. . .
"That's all right, son, God loves even perverted fornicating demon spawn like yourself."
. . .
However, one does not choose one's family. One is thrust, willy-nilly, into its bosom, and whether one is then nurtured, stifled, or dragged howling and wild-eyed through a Freudian psychodrama of pain, shame and polymorphous perversity is not under one's own control.

HA! From my friend Fuzzy who got it from Sarah who wrote, "Find a quiet half hour on a fast computer, and prepare to laugh yourself sick," and "P.S. to the overworked and too stressed for email: Reading this in installments will provide a cathartic cackle a day for at least a couple of weeks."

      >> 3:10 PM

[Hear the One About the Mayor Who Wanted to Ban Lying?]:

"I'm for God, motherhood, apple pie and honesty. That is my agenda."

Too funny!

My students are filling out evaluations forms for me and the class now. Yippee. Done with teaching for the semester!! (Though still have to grade last paper and calculate final grades.)

      >> 7:41 AM

Thursday, April 24, 2003

OMG. Coolest pictures. From [nytimes.com] slide show on SARS:

"A Taiwanese woman put a mask on her kitten to protect her against SARS. Taiwan's health department has banned all people with SARS from entering or leaving the island."

"Mannequins in a clothing shop display in Hong Kong."

So I guess that means I'll be struck down for sure now, to think the responses to SARS are funny.

      >> 3:47 PM

[Jocelyn Enriquez's cover of Yaz's "Only You"]

      >> 9:36 AM

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

[Oh no!] I think I feel a fever coming on...

      >> 2:58 PM

I'm checking my e-mail obsessively. But there's nothing.

      >> 2:49 PM

Yeah, so I have a few pairs of these [Gavin chinos]. I was excited to find them because I could actually wear them off-the-rack; pants are the biggest pains-in-the-ass to shop for because I am just not the proportions of ready-made clothes. The right waist size usually guarantees about an inch in excess leg length. I almost always have to get my pants hemmed after I buy them. In any case, that's why I was so excited to find these Gavin chinos that I bought three pairs of them at once. They're great. But you know, they have the weirdest right pocket. There's an inner "coin" pocket at the bottom. And it creates the biggest havoc in my pants. I keep my keys, pens, and coins in that pocket (pickpocketers take note). And for some reason, I have the hardest time retrieving anything from the pocket without having to haul everything out. Sigh. Pocket woes suck.

      >> 2:46 PM

SLASH KILL DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!

      >> 1:59 PM

There is this very unnerving, grating rumbling at work. It's coming from a construction site nearby -- some sort of foundational work with a big truck. In another hour fifteen minutes, I'll probably be homicidal. Fear me.

      >> 1:40 PM

I sent the picture of me below to my dad and siblings. All of them who got it yesterday responded by noting that I have hair now. I guess they're used to seeing me with a shaved head....

      >> 8:54 AM

Monday, April 21, 2003

[White House invites Yalies: Bush to host Ivy League classmates for their 35th reunion.] I have no comment.

      >> 3:18 PM

[Local Officials Rise Up to Defy The Patriot Act]:

The proposed addendum to the Patriot Act, which the Justice Department has insisted is only a draft of ideas, would enlarge many of the controversial provisions in the first Patriot Act. It would give the government authority to wiretap an individual and collect a person's DNA without court orders, detain people in secret and revoke citizenship, among other powers.

Gee. That would be great. Revoke citizenship, whydontcha?

      >> 10:43 AM

Sunday, April 20, 2003

A paper on Poe's "The Raven" and Blake's "The Tyger."

Dinner tonight at BK. My life is full of excitement.

My hair is much longer than it's been since I moved to NC in 2000.

      >> 10:12 PM

The reason, I suspect, I am in literary studies as a career is that there's nothing quite like immersing myself in a story or a poem. There's nothing like the feeling of descending into other-worlds, other-feelings, other-knowings. This could be the effect of historical periods, different places, alternate ways of living. But mostly, it's the sense of engaging life beyond my personal, mundane life, beyond the experiences of a here-and-now that is safe and predictable, but ultimately not so stimulating. It is the dullness of the everyday that deadens my senses and creates a most palpable dread of non-feeling. I guess my sensibilities are highly Modernist in this sense; I crave intensity of life, even as the choices I make for myself are always guarded, doggedly calculated to guarantee an uneventful life.

      >> 9:52 PM

[Gay Rappers: Too Real for Hip-Hop]:

Mr. Simmons says there is a chance, if a gay artist can find the right niche. "The hip-hop hardcore kid may think it's funny, may buy a single," Mr. Simmons said, "but he's not likely to buy an album because you're not speaking to a lifestyle that they're aspiring to. All these rappers are talking about a lifestyle that people relate to or aspire to. I don't think the average straight hip-hop consumer is going to buy it, but there's a lot of gay consumers buying rap records."

Hmmmm. Very interesting. Music that speaks to a lifestyle...

      >> 1:40 PM

I'm generally more comfortable around lesbians than gay men.

Yesterday I went to a seder. I got to see a few friends with whom I've been out of touch. The semester's been so busy we've never been able to set up a dinner to catch up. We used a social-justice themed haggadah for the seder. It was great, but also hokey, in its recasting of Passover, the oppression of Jews, and the importance of historical memory in terms of other kinds of injustices. Interestingly, it also made a point of calling out the occupation and oppression of Palestinians.

So at the seder, there was only one other guy there once Rob left to go to work. All the women there were fabulous lesbians. They spent a good chunk of time talking about what "butch" means after the meal. Good fun. One of them gave me a ride home (Rob had to leave early and took my car) in her truck.

      >> 1:22 PM

Friday, April 18, 2003

We try hard to keep things in perspective, to understand that the oh-so-difficult burdens of our lives are not the whole picture. Not just that other people suffer more than we do, but that the solipsism of reading our lives out onto others' does a disservice to any attempts to understand the world of messy, uneven lives. Our work is to expand experiences, connections, and possibilities.

      >> 5:07 PM

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Dot dot dot.

["Those Extraordinary Twins," by Mark Twain]:

A MAN who is not born with the novel writing gift has a troublesome time of it when he tries to build a novel. I know this from experience. He has no clear idea of his story; in fact he has no story. He merely has some people in his mind, and: an incident or two, also a locality. He knows these people, he knows the selected locality, and he trusts that he can plunge those people into those incidents with interesting results. So he goes to work. To write a novel? No -- that is a thought which comes later; in the beginning he is only proposing to tell a little tale; a very little tale; a six-page tale. But as it is a tale which he is not acquainted with, and can only find out what it is by listening as it goes along telling itself, it is more than apt to go on and on and on till it spreads itself into a book. I know about this, because it has happened to me so many times.

      >> 5:23 PM

Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah. Yadda yadda yadda. Yadda.

Some intense avoidance of grading has actually lifted my spirits. Looked on Pick-a-Prof Dot Com and read that one of my students last semester posted a comment. I got a 3 out of 5 rating as a teacher. S/he said, "Overall, Paul is very dry and boring." Darn it. Guess I'm not earning my entertainer stripes this year.

      >> 4:45 PM

No luck with the music. No luck with the malaise. Off work in twenty minutes. Will browse books. Down some coffee.

Trying hard not to ask the question, "What's the point?"

      >> 2:41 PM

Profound malaise. Probably avoidance mechanism in overdrive. Much work to do before end of semester in two weeks. Beautiful day outside. Can't seem to turn this frown upside down. Off to find some [Rheostatics] and maybe [Chantal] at the tune shop.

      >> 10:22 AM

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

I hate telemarketers.

      >> 3:35 PM

Was in [Toronto], one of the concentrated sites of SARS, this past weekend for a conference on manifestos.

Leaving RDU.

Inside Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.


I took a train between airport terminals.

Up and down.

Airport chairs are weird.

I took the bus around Toronto.

In a shop window at the student center/mall on [York University's campus].

The squirrels in Canada are scary.


Downtown Toronto.

It's long and hard.

Up on the observation deck of the CN Tower.

Very cool glass floor in the tower.

Cityscape from tower.

I watched the sun set from the tower.

Ain't it pretty?

*checks forehead for fever*

More more more.

Lots of glass buildings.

I also took the subway in Toronto.

At the heart of downtown Toronto.
Went to an [Artists Against War] concert outside.

      >> 3:26 PM

Monday, April 14, 2003

[Vanishing Liberties: Where's the Press?]:

How many Americans know that if the bill is passed (and Bush certainly won't veto it), they can be stripped of their citizenship if charged with giving "material support" to a group designated by the government as "terrorist"? Sending a check for the outfit's lawful activities—without knowing why it landed on Ashcroft's list—could make you a person without a country and put you behind bars here indefinitely. As Chief Justice Earl Warren said, "you lose the right to have rights" when you lose your citizenship.

      >> 3:48 PM

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

[Study finds sex differences in relationship between arousal and orientation]:

The purpose of the study, says Bailey, was to explore a basic question about the relationship between sexual arousal and sexual orientation that has its roots in studies conducted in the 1960s. That research, says Bailey, showed that heterosexual and gay men could be distinguished on the basis of their erectile response to pictures of nude men and women. The effect is so robust, he notes, that it can be used forensically to detect men's sexual orientation, and it probably plays a significant role in shaping men's self-identification as gay or heterosexual.
But similar research on women has not been conducted until very recently. Now, however, new evidence has emerged to suggest that "category specificity," as Bailey calls it--the tendency for gay men to become aroused only to same-sex images and heterosexual men to become aroused only to opposite-sex images--is not true of women. If so, it means there are fundamental sex differences in the relationship between arousal and orientation.

      >> 2:11 PM

Old people tickle me.

      >> 12:43 PM

Monday, April 07, 2003

[For Immigrants, a Special Sacrifice: War Takes Toll on Foreign-Born in Armed Forces]:

As they explained it to their families, the attraction is a blend of wanderlust, economic aspiration and adoptive patriotism.

Adoptive patriotism. Adoptive patriotism. Let me think about that a little...

This article is amazing. It stimulates the thoughts I've been swimming in for a couple of papers I'm writing. Aliens and sedition. Immigrants and betrayal. Genetic loyalty. Diasporic identity and patriotism.

Of course, it is a bit disconcerting that Bush would issue an executive order to waive the waiting period for citizenship applications to enlisted immigrants while clamping down on other legal aliens (students, laborers, etc.). It also emphasizes that equation of patriotism and miltiary service, casting (once again) dissent and anti-war ideas as unpatriotic.

      >> 2:36 PM

[Declaration of Independence]

[Emancipation Proclamation]

[Gettysburg Address]

[US Declaration of War (WWI)]

[Wilson for League of Nations]

[Lodge Against League of Nations]

[Executive Order 9066]

[Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History, and Diplomacy]

      >> 8:48 AM

[FDR's Flag Day Address, June 13, 1942]:

Today on Flag Day we celebrate the declaration of the United Nations-that great alliance dedicated to the defeat of our foes and to the establishment of a true peace based on the freedom of man.

So much stuff to read, so much to sift through. What is freedom?

      >> 8:14 AM

Eek. Eek. I'm afraid to draw up a to-do list for this week. There's never enough time.

      >> 8:10 AM

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Yesterday, everything suddenly was green. My allergies continue to exert their stifling influence on me, a continuous sinus headache that only waxes and wanes in intensity, never chased away entirely by antihistamines and decongestants.

Ideological warfare is always bleak. No one wants to think of life and politics as simply this struggle between worldviews. But sometimes, it is. And sometimes, I think liberal/progressives need to assert their views more dogmatically rather than cowering behind ideas of free and open debate. I think every time the dominant voices in this country drift towards conservatism, it is because their rhetoric of absolutism and morality seems safer than the idea of debate and openness. And frankly, sometimes what we need as a society is a clearer sense of what we should and should not do.

For example, I got a flyer about a talk this week about "The Freedom of Dissent." And while I believe wholeheartedly that dissent from the ruling elite needs to be affirmed and allowed in a democracy, I think all we get caught up in by couching an antiwar stance in those terms is this ineffectual idea of freedom of ideas, freedom of thought. What about our belief in a different morality, a different kind of world peace?

      >> 12:27 PM

Saturday, April 05, 2003

One of the first questions that comes to my mind when I read an article like, [Couple Guilty of Assault in Vegan Case], is what kind of health care do these parents have? What is the culture of health care in their community? Are doctors, clinics, hospitals accessible? Are they affordable? Because really, to expect that everyone has the same faith and access in Western, institutional medicine seems so utterly naive.

      >> 10:04 AM

Friday, April 04, 2003

[Pudd'nhead Wilson.] For future reference. This summer I plan on doing some research on Chang and Eng Bunker, the conjoined twins from whom we get the term "Siamese twins." They settled in North Carolina after their traveling exhibition days. Thus, UNC's library has both a [manuscript collection] and a [print collection] of material on them.

      >> 3:43 PM

Depressing: [James Ridgeway's War Log: U.S. Soldiers Who Died in Iraq]

Want to See More: [A Solider Named Desire (Photographs by Adi Nes)]

Our homegrown warriors are not as hardened as the Israelis, or as sultry—not yet. Gazing at their exuberant faces, I don't know whether to feel moved or repulsed. This complex of emotions has become very familiar to me, I tell Nes. He nods: "Me, too."

      >> 2:24 PM

Thursday, April 03, 2003

[Imperialism Is Easy] by John Dewey (March 23, 1927):

The average citizen of the United States has little knowledge of the extent of American business and financial interests in Mexico. It does not occur to him that, from the standpoint of intelligent Mexicans, that country is, or was, in great danger of becoming an economic dependency of this country.
The ease with which imperialism follows economic exploitation is indicated by the almost unanimous sentiment of Americans resident in Mexico, including those who do not own concessions and who are not directly affected by the new laws. They would deny, and as far as their conscious intent is concerned, deny sincerely, for the most part, any imperialistic taint. What they want is simply "protection" for American rights.

      >> 2:12 PM

I'm loving [bartleby.com] with its full-text poems, encyclopedias, stories, and more!

According to The Columbia Encyclopedia entry on the site, [The Marshall Plan] was authorized on this day in 1948 when President Truman signed the Foreign Assistance Act. I think the [photo] of him doing so is rather famous.

How much US History do you know?

The Marshall Plan was monumental in the post-WWII Cold War era in its building of certain kinds of common sense about industrial development, war-recovery efforts, democracy, and global economic strategies.

      >> 2:04 PM

Wednesday, April 02, 2003


      >> 9:53 AM