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Dr. Karma saves Vegas!
Mar 30th, 2009 by Dr Karma

Yes–we are in an economic downturn, but I made sure that one extra person went to Vegas this Spring Break.

Last quarter, my advanced composition students had to write a letter addressed to someone they knew, using what they learned about persuasion, to changed his/her mind about something. One of my students was attempting to get permission from her very conservative/traditional parents to go to Vegas.

We went over it in office hours and I made a suggestion about adding a paragraph . . .

I found out today that she sent the letter to her parents and that she indeed went to Vegas. Her mother specifically cited my paragraph.

Success!

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Spring Break is over and I missed it.
Mar 28th, 2009 by Dr Karma

Well, classes start on Monday and I’m finally ready for them, but I didn’t have a day off this week (and I won’t this weekend, either). Oh, well.

I’m almost over my frakking disappointment about the end of BSG. Almost. Maybe I just need to decide that I shouldn’t worry about it. The writer made it all weird–because he’s an angel and god wanted it to suck for some reason.

Things to look forward to: Margaret Atwood is writing a short story for the Canadian libraries. Should be able to access it online next month. A new Monty Python documentary will be available in October.

In other news, The Simpsons won me back with their latest episode. They go to Ireland and the jokes are funny and there are references to Bloomsday and the couple from Once is in it–perfection!

I was rather caught off guard by what was probably the last ever episode of Flight of the Conchords. It didn’t feel like an ending until the last couple of minutes, when everything wrapped up really nicely. Whatever angel wrote that show managed to do a good job.

Oh, wait–maybe god’s plan was to make the end of BSG suck so that I would appreciate the finale of Conchords!

Anyway, as much as I love Conchords, I’m not that upset if it’s indeed over. Season one was great; this season has had great moments, but the songs haven’t been as good (on average). I’m just going to have to get the DVDs and celebrate with them quietly every once in a while.

Flash forward to me doing so in a few decades–and then one of the songs activates the cylon part of me. And then I do some math. And then I ascend, embarrassed that I ever doubted.

Ok, I’m apparently not over it at all.

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New Matchflick column
Mar 25th, 2009 by Dr Karma

is here: http://www.matchflick.com/column/1906 Just getting my Doris Day on.

In other news, it’s supposedly Spring Break, yet I’m working about twelve hours a day anyway. I’m going to try really hard not to take any non-conference related work to the conference I have in a couple of weeks, at any rate.

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Somebody’s picking on my best friend!
Mar 22nd, 2009 by Dr Karma

Denise had the audacity to say in a recent blog that a conservative pundit shouldn’t bash McCain’s daughter on her weight (basically–you want to talk about issues, right?). Well, now some “John Doe” is calling my BFF a “fat dyke” and threatening to bitchslap her.

I know there are rude, thoughtless people on all sides of politics, but I have to say that I don’t know how Republicans think they’re going to recruit with attitudes like that. (I know–his overt position wasn’t to recruit, but what’s the point in refusing to dialogue? Isn’t the whole point to put yourself in a position where the opponent might see it your way?) (And yes, it does bother me when people from my side of issues make asses of themselves, as people then judge me by their behavior.)

You can read it all here:

http://deniseduvernay.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/laura-ingraham-quit-talking-about-our-bodies/

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What the frak?!
Mar 21st, 2009 by Dr Karma

BSG0306_JS0711Courtney wrote a wonderful alternate ending to last night’s BSG atrocity on Facebook.  I agree with her that there was too much spiritualism (any story that can be tied up with “angels” doesn’t do it for me).

Adama is going to be a ghost of a man, talking to a buried woman. Lee is going to be an explorer (good for him). Angels are going to walk around worrying about our robots. Cylons will come out of comas to deliver good byes. God doesn’t like being called God (which Biblically is his own problem since he won’t give us his name). Frak!!!  The producers said we’d be surprised and satisfied with the ending. I’m surprised it was so bad. The only thing that satisfies me is that a certain person got her comeuppance.

Courtney also mentioned that the series seems to have lost the human/cylon distinction, although neither the humans nor the cylons seemed to get that. But if we are to believe the monotheist mythology that the show is apparently grounded in, both humans and cylons are “designed” by an intelligent force. And part of God’s plan is to kill off 11 colonies and most of the cylons for . . . well, not sure. But we’re supposed to be awed by it.

I’m not sure the show is doing what good sci fi is supposed to do, which is to make us think about what being human means. The “other” in sci fi is there to make us think about ourselves, to define ourselves. The cylons became completely us by the end of this. On the one hand, we can take that to mean that the “monster” is us–which is what most sci fi/fantasy/jungian-driven stuff implies–but the mythology is somehow getting in the way. Maybe it’s that I feel that “God’s plan” takes away too much free will. So what are cylons and humans? Just pawns in some cosmic game. Why even worry about the monsters and whether we are they?

Frak.

Here’s my alternate ending:  Starbuck wakes up from a bad dream in a bed.  Her husband, Bobby Ewing, is in the shower, safe and sound. 

In other tv news, Breaking Bad is awesome; Nikki is getting caught for all her shit in Big Love. Family Guy took a swipe at The Simpsons last week (I hope the show takes it as a compliment).

And as for The Simpsons, the last episode bothered me. It was a Da Vinci Code-esque night. There were several fine jokes at the beginning, but The Simpsons, like BSG, got too religious. Lisa cracks a code–she thinks she is supposed to bring peace. She then is told that Maggie is actually the chosen one. While Lisa points out that the code only makes sense if Lisa messed it up first (which should bring doubt), the show ends in un-skeptically. It’s not sitting well with me.

No wonder I can’t frakkin’ sleep.

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Du is calling all feminists
Mar 20th, 2009 by Dr Karma

http://deniseduvernay.wordpress.com/2009/03/19/what-feminism-the-world-need-now-positivity/#comment-62

Denise–wear it proudly! We are what feminists look like!

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Am too proud of the boy
Mar 18th, 2009 by Dr Karma

I’ve been bragging to everyone about the boy.  He’s in a magnet program, he’s building robots, he’s taking violin, he loves scifi and Eddie Izzard and Monty Python and The Simpsons

His hair is long and is starting to show a slight curl.  A group of juniors (a year older than he) are starting to use his middle name (Dante) and thus he is happy, finally, to have it.

His high school put on a sort of history fair last week–they did group project on WWI.  We went, not expecting much, and were suprised to find costumes, props, videos, and a bunch of dressed up teenagers.  Someone had told them to make eye contact, which means that some of us saw the boy’s eyes (his hair was in a ponytail) for the first time in years.  The kids were articulate and when asked questions, could answer (with the correct information).  I actually learned a lot from them, though not from the boy, who wouldn’t let me hear his presentation (apparently, I make him nervous).

The most interesting thing was watching my son standing outside and getting people funneled into his group’s presentation.  My somewhat shy child was basically a carnival barker and I’ve never been prouder.

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Kristen writes for The New York Times!
Mar 17th, 2009 by Dr Karma

One of my friends had an op-ed come out today about the government’s relationship with the Taliban. Check it out here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/17/opinion/17rouse.html?ref=opinion

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Happy St. Urho’s Day
Mar 16th, 2009 by Dr Karma

urhologo

That’s right–it’s Saint Urho’s Day!  Now, some of you may notice that Finland is a traditionally Lutheran country and that there is no Saint Urho in the Church, anyway.  Saint Urho’s day is indeed made up–Finnish immigrants wanted their own day to get drunk at the start of Spring (this was back when only Irish people celebrated St. Patrick).

So they made up their own holiday.  And why not?  All holidays are basically made up and/or have changed incredibly over the centuries.  Why not celebrate that which is fake?

Reasons why St. Urho’s Day is superior to Saint Patrick’s day:  it’s the day before.  St. Patrick was a dick.  It wasn’t “snakes” he drove out of Ireland–it was Norwegians.  St. Patrick is famous for being anti-immigrant.

If Patrick drove out the snakes, the Finns decided that Urho drove out the grasshoppers and saved the wine crop.  So put on some green and purple and drink some wine.  And when people try to hand you a green beer tomorrow, tell them you’ve already celebrated (unless you’d still like to drink–in which case, you should have some decent beer or another bottle of wine).

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Twitterpated
Mar 14th, 2009 by Dr Karma

With the advent of Twitter, I don’t see how “twitterpated” won’t make it back into the regular lexicon. Denise and I are fairly twitterpated this week. A certain director of The Simpsons movie twittered us after Denise said she was working on the Linguistics section of the book.

Since, he’s asked to see my syllabus! It’s the best thing that’s happened in a relatively lousy week. I won’t go into the lousy stuff.

Instead, I’ll go back to linguistics–why do we call a twitter response a “tweet” and not a “twit”? Then we could say, “This twit says she’s eating egg salad for lunch.” And, as a friend suggested this week, is the past tense of “tweet” “twat”?

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