100 Things

email me

Listen to the Deviant SynCast! [Archive]

TPCQ = Tangential Pop Culture Quote

Why I Link to Amazon

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Paradox of Good Manners 

Thanks, Mark, for this awesome picture from the DC rally last weekend! (Actually, Jenny took the picture, but she doesn't have a blog -- that I know of, not yet, anyway -- and it was on my bro's killer new design blog. Check out his other fine work.)

Speaking of killer photos, check out Durham Township, a impressive collection of farm-area shots. She must be doing some Photoshopping -- there's no way that's all unretouched. Either way, this one is on my desktop at home.

Also, peep Naomi Klein on DemocracyNow! As always, she's got really good points to say about economics (which few others are covering).
The buzzwords to listen for in terms of the reconstruction of New Orleans are “smaller”, “safer”. And the idea is that in the city, wealth really buys altitude, and so the effect of the flood was not at all democratic. The people who were able to buy land on high ground, their neighborhoods are relatively unscathed, and many of them never left or have been able to return. The people who were hit hardest were the people who we saw on television, you know, in the Superdome. These are the people who lived in the low-lying areas. So, the idea now is, okay, maybe we won't rebuild those areas at all, and when -- on September 15, when the mayor said that certain areas are able to be re-inhabited, this is before Rita presented itself as the threat that it, it was clear that the people re-populating New Orleans didn't look very much like the people who lived there before. It was overwhelmingly white, whereas the people still in shelters were overwhelmingly black.
And finally -- my buddy Jesse is guest-hosting an electronic music show on WSUM 91.7 FM in Madison tonight, and he is featuring my electronic project The Indefatigable Neural System in the Hot Seat. So tune in from 6-8 PM and check it out! (Thanks so much, J. You rock!)

The Paradox of Good Manners

As a classroom teacher, I must constantly find ways to bend people to my will. Okay, so it's more of a game, trying to figure out whether humor will work best for this person in this situation, or if I should be an evil tyrant, or go with straight logic. Of course, it's best to mix all of these (and other elements, from time to time), but I've begun to notice something interesting when I have to be an evil tyrant.

As we're growing up, we're told that good manners are essential for getting along in the world. And indeed, when we're dealing with strangers, a "please" or "thank you" can be the difference between getting good service and just getting the bare minimum. (People like being treated with respect, yadda yadda. It's all in A Piece of the Action.)

But using these Polite Words adds an element of formality to the situation, as well. And when we're dealing with people we know, being formal can sometimes translate into being aggressive. (Especially in school, where many adults use formality as a firewall between themselves and their students.) So when I'm dealing with a student who is committing some minor transgression, if I say "Please stop doing that," I sound like I'm suddenly angry or excessively severe. (Obviously tone of voice and context play a big role as well.)

I'm fascinated by this. What is intended to be a social lubricant actually becomes a fly in the social ointment.


Well, shucks. I'm at school, so all the cool Flash sites are blocked. I've been showing my students Fred Episode 1 today. Relive the memories.

Today I'm listening to: The sound of my Creative Writing students blogging!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Fresh for '05, You Readers! 

So now I got former students bugging me about why don't I post more than once a week? Well, listen, [NAME OF FORMER STUDENT], if you're willing to grade all these papers I gotta grade, then maybe I can post more frequently. So back off!

Anyway, this week's SynCast is a delightful mix of really good stuff. We've got items from..
  • Kids in the Hall
  • All Natural
  • Mitch Hedberg
  • Autechre
  • Daft Punk
  • Innerstance.Beatbox
  • The Snatch Soundtrack
  • and more!
(although I can't remember what "more" entails..)

Et Cetera

Would you believe I got Civilization III working on my laptop? Now I'll definitely get those papers graded.


Make yourself in Lego! Check me out. (Along with the other Monkeys.)

Today I'm listening to: A Public Affair!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Myriad Mythologies & Rhinoplasy Rumors 

My creative writing students are setting up their blogs tomorrow, and I'll be sending them here to see what my blog looks like. So I wanted to have a new post up for them to see, since I mentioned that I blog twice a week. (Of course, they can just scroll down and see that this is recently a pack of lies, but maybe they won't.) Anyway, I've been saving some stuff to blog about, so here it is. Bam.

Hope Davis' Nose

While watching the excellent film American Splendor recently, I kept wondering why I recognized the woman playing Harvey's lady friend Judy. Then I realized it was that woman from The Daytrippers! (TPCQ: "A pointer .. who can't point.") So I went looking into her profile (her name is Hope Davis) and I found this erudite discussion of Ms. Davis' thespian career. I urge you to read it for yourself.
The Scarecrow: I love her nose. Did she have plastic surgery?

Venus As A Boy: I love it, too. I don't think she had any plastic surgery, though. I haven't seen many noses like her and I think it's too unique to be 'handmade'.
The Venus person actually posts a link to a picture which proves that she has not, in fact, undergone a rhinoplasty. So, you know -- very important.

Creation Cartoons

No, not intelligent design. I'm talking about The Big Myth, a superb Flash site made possible by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sciences. (Ergo, it's available in English and Dutch.) Make sure you check out to Yoruba myth to see the funky mutant human beta test. And the Mayan myth is pretty cool too. And the Maori win the award for saddest creation myth ever.

Enjoy! (TPCQ: "Next I'll tell you the legend of Maggie's pacifier!")


If that's not enough Flash for you, check out StrongBad and The Cheat at TrogdorCon '97. (I recently received my awesome Trogdor polo shirt, and while none of the kids at school said anything, the saleslady at Half-Price Books was duly impressed.)

Today I'm listening to: Innerstance.Beatbox!

Sunday, September 18, 2005


To make up for the lack of a SynCast last week, I went and did another VidCast. So feast your eyes on Deviant VidCast #2. This one's 113 MB, so get ready for a bigE download. (Dialup users, just start the download before you go to bed and then watch it in the morning.)


A while back, we passed the 80,000 hit mark. Now, this includes RSS-checking hits, but I'm still very happy about making it this far. Big ups to everyone who checks in here.

Thanks to SiteMeter (the colorful one at the bottom on the left menu there), I can check out which searches (and other referring pages) bring people to my site. Apparently, my picture of Buttercup is popular, as is one I posted once upon a time of Mitch Hedberg. I also had a hit recently for "america+we+stand+as+one" and another for "henderson+valley+eggs". (I hope they both found what they were looking for.)


Did you hear the one about the Chinese cosmetic made from executed criminals and aborted fetuses?
The agents say some of the company's products have been exported to the UK, and that the use of skin from condemned convicts is "traditional" and nothing to "make such a big fuss about".
And guess who the next entry is on the list of scapegoats for HalliBush Wars, Inc? Environmentalists!


Careful there, AIBO robot dog! Flesh 'n' blood dogs don't share.

Today I'm listening to: Robin Harris!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Citizen's Guide to Sonic Defense 

Instead of a SynCast this week, I have a special treat for you: My new album!

The Citizen's Guide to Sonic Defense is an essential handbook for every aware American citizen -- and any person around the world who wishes to join the War on Audio Terrorism. Start with the Flash introduction and then download some free mp3s.

Madison music legend Jesse [CENSORED] said of The Citizen's Guide to Sonic Defense:
Spectacular! From the first track, the listener is seized up in a whirlwind of aural magic. The album is largely wordless, but the samples that do appear are well placed and never seem gratuitous. I am a big fan of track 10, Audio Fallout, as well as track 6, Testing for Bass. I am particularly taken in by the bass lines that drive each song, blending easily with the crisp, original beats that make me want to hit East Washington Ave. on a Friday night with 15" woofers in the trunk of my Prius, armed with a double espresso and the Citizen's Guide to Sonic Defense.
Thanks, J. And thanks to everyone else who has given such positive feedback. And just look at what the people at Newgrounds have to say!



That's not enough for you? Then play Virus.

Today I'm listening to: Me!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

On Teaching: Part One 

The three principles most urgently important to my working life are:
  1. Anarchist self-regulation;

  2. Zen/Taoist moment-beingness; and

  3. Freireian oppression-based pedagogy.
Of all the possible tenets of our profession, these three are the most inimical to the very concept of the school in our society at this time.

[1] Mostly, it's not my fault. Kids grow up learning according to the principle of "because I said so" -- therefore, by the time they reach me, they know very little else. So I can either invest 58 iterations of patience and repetition, in the hope of eventually, gradually, and painfully moving them 1/16th of an inch toward conflict resolution based on ideas and rational thought; or I can just keep going with the boundaries their first fourteen years have set up. After five years in the classroom, I think I see my time as too precious to try the kind of large-scale reorganization I had originally intended.

[2] Time, then, becomes the teacher's best friend and her worst enemy. Every second between bells becomes more precious than air; and the more I value this time, the more important my free time becomes for freedom (and the less relevant the other forms of time relating to school are: {a} planning for the future and {b} grading the papers of the past.

With regard to {a}, I can usually wing it okay. I've never taught a class for which I was utterly unprepared (at the very least, I have books always at the ready), but I certainly don't put the work into the future that many of my colleagues do. (And yet, I don't believe my teaching suffers for it.) As for {b}, when it comes to the mistakes of the past, I get like Lady Macbeth: Things without all remedy . . .

[3] Then there's Paulo. Reading him was like reading Chomsky -- so much we knew but didn't know we knew. My entire basic approach in a little red book. (No, the other little red book.) But who can abide anything other than the banking method in these halls of American schools? It's not called "No Fully-Actualized Human Left Behind". When the bankers call the shots, what else can we be expected to pursue? Numbers and letters become the new tyrants. The quarrel is between our masters -- and us, their men!

I defy you, stars? Not likely; not in excess of the boundaries, at least. So there I am: trapped between one set of authorities and another -- crushed by the yoke of my own oppressing on the one hand and that of the myriad creatures on the other.

Who do I represent? In the stead of that tired answer "thine self" (be true), how am I (unful)filled, what with my legions of educators, most never knowing Freire. But if it's what we know (not knowing), then aren't I there already? Freireian units, like Reggie Jackson in The Naked Gun -- acting without even realizing it. Un-uniformed allies, unknown even to themselves.

And their young. Hard to spot, harder to convince. . . .

Et Cetera

You all saw Garrett's post about Kanye West. Now see the video.

Garrett should also enjoy this cigar art gallery. But enough with that stuff -- I'm not gearing my stuff to any one individual. Who would do something like that? (BTW, I didn't include "Ribbons" at the end for you, so step off, yo. And the comic book rap was Luke Ski. You remember, I had that when we lived together.)

CafePress no longer does travel mugs. I may have to go with Lillian Vernon. D'oh!

Man, I really need a new monitor. Fortunately, the place where I got my new (used) laptop also has used monitors. I got this one used, and it's lasted me five years or so. Maybe I can afford to upgrade to a 15". Or -- dare I dream -- 17?


Garrett will certainly not enjoy Baby Got Book, a parody of Sir-Mix-A-Lot. "My minister tried to console me / But that Book you got makes (M-m-me so holy)" He may even come to Madison and throw a beating on me. (Thanks a lot, MoFi!)

Today I'm listening to: FamFeud!

Sunday, September 04, 2005


This week's edition of the Deviant SynCast is brought to you by the new Paramount Pictures film, Hijinks, starring Robert Duvall, Shelley Long, and Bette Midler as . . . The Ringmaster!

New Orleans

I don't really have much to say about this catastrophe that others haven't said more effectively. The Guardian had a good piece recently.
"I do think the nation would be responding differently if they were white elderly and white babies actually dying on the street and being covered with newspapers and shrouds and being left there," said David Billings of The People's Institute, a 25-year-old New Orleans-based organization focused on ending racism.
Disgraceful. Impeach Bush!


I gotta get me one of these Fartaphone things. (TPCQ: "Dad, I promise you: I will never get tired of this.")

Today I'm listening to: Sisters of Mercy!