27 February 2010

The Seven Deadly Sins: Sin #1 PRIDE

Take a listen to this Nick Lowe song, "I Trained Her To Love Me," be aghast at the dismissive (to put it politely) attitude of the song's persona, and wonder if, in fact, he will "wind up one lonely twisted old man."

Pride goeth before the fall.

Two quick takes on the 3/1/10 issue of Sports Illustrated

1) It's bad enough that the following sentence written by Alan Shipnuck made it by the writer himself and then at least two other editors (Dick Friedman and Adam Duerson of the Scorecard section), but to make it the pull-out quote of the piece is quite shameful:

"Is there anything more mortifying for a grown man than having to talk about your sex life in front of your mom?"

Now, unless Tiger Woods was talking about my sex life in front of my mom, the sentence would've been far better, and more accurate, using "his" instead of "your," no? This kind of shift is a common error in a lot of bad writing, but, man, I read SI for the good writing.

2) In Steve Nash's interview with Dan Patrick, who asked the Phoenix Suns' point guard whether the Suns ever "joke about potential trades in the locker room," Nash responded:

"Not really, no. It's a sensitive subject, so we don't bring it up. We try not to listen to all that stuff, because it is speculation."

Compare that bit of "sensitivity" with the constant, albeit loving, abuse concerning trade talk heaped upon Tony Perez by his fellow Big Red Machinists (Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Johnny Bench) during the entire 1975 season -- which ended in, as you may recall, a seven-game World Series victory over the Boston Red Sox. (Check out the great books The Machine by Joe Posnanski and Game Six by Mark Frost for more details.)

The trade talk (and abuse) continued through the next season too (at the end of which they again won the World Series in a four-game sweep of the New York Yankees, BTW), until Reds management finally traded Tony away -- against the very loud public and private protestations of his aforementioned teammates -- and, as a result, brought to an end the Big Red Machine.

Perhaps, with a little more tough love in the locker room, the Phoenix Suns might produce a championship season? Just a thought.

I LOVE "Gobbets"!

reposted from "A Don's Life"...

and what GLG tried to reply was:

Gobbets are alive and well in at least one early American literature class in Connecticut.

Another fine song about sin...

...Eartha Kitt's "I Want to be Evil" (1962)!

I want to wake up in the morning with that
dark brown taste
I want to see some dissipation in my face

25 February 2010

I promised in my response to a comment from a recent post that I'd do a series on the SEVEN DEADLY SINS!

To get that underway, here's a clip from the 1986 musical film, Absolute Beginners.

The song is "That's Motivation," the singer David Bowie. (If you want to cut right to the song, start at about the 1:30 mark.)

Take special notice of the aforesaid sins, but please don't neglect Mr. Bowie's tap dancing or the hommage to the "Come Fly With Me" Sinatra.

On the inside of the door of the far left stall of the third-floor Willard Hall men's restroom...

...there's my second favorite piece of bathroom graffiti ever. It reads:

Toy Story 2
was okay
.

Now, while I certainly disagree with the lukewarm review of what I consider to be a great sequel to be ranked right up there with Godfather 2 and The New Testament, I heartily applaud the writer as someone who avoids the more obvious subject matter, diction, and tone usually associated with the genre. Bravo, I say.

For the record, my favorite piece of bathroom graffiti comes from the basement restroom of Marist Hall on the campus of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. There was a note attached right above the toilet which read:

If toilet continues to run, jiggle the handel.

To which someone appended:

If I do, will it wiggle Bach?!

Ah, to be so witty!


In 1713, Alexander Pope published the satirical "A Receit to Make an Epick Poem"

...in 2010, my fifth-grade daughter has been given the following recipe for responding to a Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) writing prompt:

Paragraph 1: TTQA -- "Turn the question around" (cue Vickie Sue Robinson, please!)

Paragraph 2: Include a quotation

Paragraph 3: Include a statistic

Paragraph 4: Include a sound

Paragraph 5: Restate the answer

Ah, the beauty of great writing!

24 February 2010

Esquire Magazine's 75 Best Dressed Men of All Time

One can quibble with any list, but I do think that, to make such a list, one should probably be known for dressing well for longer than a single photograph (which seems not to have been the case for at least a few of these!)

23 February 2010

Canadian Ice Dancing Gold Medalists Virtue and Moir...

...have to be the cutest ice skating gold medalists since Dorothy Hamill!

And, what's even better is that, on the podium, they sang their national anthem with joy and gusto. (Compare them with Bode Miller, for example, who, as my wife pointed out, seemed not even to notice that the national anthem was being played -- much less convey any sense of significance to the fact.)

22 February 2010

Serendipity, or How pop songs sometimes reflect committee work

You can make it your own hell or heaven
Live as you please
Can we make it if we all live together
As one big family?

"We Are London"
Madness, The Liberty of Norton Folgate

21 February 2010

Bode Miller Wins Gold! So bloody what?!

I know people (and the networks) love these stories of redemption, but I'm getting pretty tired of these phenoms (yeah, I'm talking about Lindsey Jacobellis, too, and let's throw in Dan Jansen, for good measure) who have all the skills and talent and opportunity in the world to win their first time out at the Olympics and fail (and fail badly at that!) -- NOT because they're beaten by better performers -- but because they implode on their own.

I guess I'm supposed to be pleased that, now that Bode's got a kid and is all "grown up" now, he can truly appreciate his sport and, as a result, succeed.

Well, yawn.

Please be clear: I'm not against losing and certainly not against immaturity (see any number of my Pete Rose posts), but my immature athletes had better produce!

20 February 2010

Madness' "new" album: from the better-late-than-never file...


For Valentine's Day, I received the most recent (2009) release by the British band, Madness, The Liberty of Norton Folgate, and, boy, is it good!

Madness has always had that music hall quality about them, but in LNF the band has brought it to an artistic fullness and clarity at which the Madness song everybody knows, "Our H0use," for example, can only hint.

18 February 2010

RIP, Kathryn Grayson!




What better way to commemorate the wonderful singer and actress's passing than catching her in Show Boat (1951) at CCSU on Friday afternoon, February 19th, at 2 PM in Diloreto Hall 001?

Check out (just to the right) Connecticut Wit's newest feature!

It's my library (or at least what I've catalogued thus far) at LibraryThing.com -- four books at a time!

For more details on any of the books, just click on the cover.

I almost forgot...

...last night, I shot a 6-under (for 9 holes) in Wii Golf!

Some thoughts on the Winter Olympics

1. Just imagine how much "air" that the half-piper White could get, if he actually cut his hair and wore a uniform that was something approaching aerodynamic (you know, like they do in real sports)!

2. The aforesaid half-piper didn't even have to "drop in" a second time to win gold. Good god, how about averaging the scores of the two runs, at least?!!!

3. I think no new sports should be introduced into the Olympics that are not decided by measurements of time, distance, targets, or goals. This half-pipe stuff is just the x-game version of figure skating, of which, as readers of this blog know, I am critical -- not because of the undeniable athleticism (or even the ugly costumes or pointless music), but because of its absence of anything truly measurable. Once figure skating got rid of the compulsory round (literally, the figure 8s!), they created a monster that made a) newcomers unable to win and b) skaters so eager to do more and more big jumps that they can't even land 'em.

4. That downhill skier Vonn gets injured a lot, no? (She hurt her thumb opening a celebratory bottle of champagne at some point!) While she does win, she might want to consider a new line of work...just for her own safety.

5. EVERY athlete should be Apolo Ohno.

What I'd ask Tiger Woods at tomorrow's "press conference"...

...which is probably why he's not taking questions:

Would you like a mulligan?

17 February 2010

In honor of the day...

...from T.S. Eliot's "Ash Wednesday" (1930):

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgment not be too heavy upon us


16 February 2010

Wise words from a 10-year-old

Ain't is just slang for "amn't."

Television pilots to pitch to the HG Network

My wife and younger daughter have taken to watching a variety of shows on the HG Network (which means essentially they've taken to watching the same show only with several different titles and hosts: people look for places to buy or rent or remodel and we watch the negotiations/progress/setbacks).

Here are some shows I'd like to see on HG:

"Burning Down the House" -- Arsonists look at the difficulties in getting the job done on a variety of properties.

"The Big Bad Wolf" -- Which home won't withstand strong winds?

"Squatters' Rights" -- Track the actions of three different squatters an try to guess which one will avoid eviction.

In Olympics speak, when it's mentioned that a figure skater's performance is...

...his/her "Olympic debut," it really only means that the skater cannot win the competition.

15 February 2010

My favorite line from the "tag cloud" on my page at LibraryThing.com

Comedy Natalie Wood Neo-Latin Pastoral Pete Rose Philosophy Poetry popular singing Puritans Radio Religion

14 February 2010

My new anthology, Ava Gardner: Touches of Venus,...

...now appears on the Entasis Press website! Scroll to the bottom, although feel free to consider any of the books on the page now.

One step closer to publication on 1 May 2010....

Irving Berlin Answered (Valentine's Day Edition)

How Deep is the Ocean? (Irving Berlin, 1932)

How much do I love you?
I'll tell you no lie
How deep is the ocean?
Average depth: 12, 400 feet
How high is the sky?
Approximately 220 miles
How many times a day do I think of you?
According to a UK survey, women think about sex approximately 1480 times each year, men almost 5000
How many roses are covered in dew?
Some 8000 hectares of land are dedicated to rose growing in the Netherlands
How far will I travel to be where you are?
How far is the journey from here to a star?
92 million miles
And, if I ever lost you, how much would I cry?
Men cry on the average of once a month; women once a week.
How deep is the ocean?
How high is the sky?

Uh, wouldn't that mean "FLAT"?

One of the NBC commentators commented on a German athlete's having the "perfect build" for the luge.

12 February 2010

Utterly Baseless Winter Olympics Predictions (algebra-based)

1) Norway and the United States will win as many total medals as Russia, Japan, and 2 x Sweden!

2) US Women will place no higher than fifth in figure skating.

3) There will continue to be no groundswell of support to bring back compulsories in figure skating (although there should be)!

I knew that my regular reading of...

...ProfHacker.com would pay off at some point, even though when they get talking about the latest technology I sometimes get seriously lost. But just a couple days ago, I learned of LibraryThing. How cool is that!?!

Here's how my catalogue is progressing!

Thanks, ProfHacker!

And don't even get me started on all the von Trappezoids!!

In that never-ending search for ways to make our our schoolchildren's curriculum relevant:

Hunters and Math: The Bear Trapezoid

Sports(wo)men and Math: Trapezoid Shooting

Exterminators and Math: The Mouse Trapezoid

Babysitters and Math: Shut Your Trapezoids!

and, of course, Valentines and Math:

"Love is the Tender Trapezoid"!

11 February 2010

The Worst Snow Day EVER

1. School is cancelled at 5:30 AM due to the threat of blizzard-style snow and wind.

2. It doesn't begin to snow with any strength whatsoever until 2:00 PM, but one decided not to go anywhere* since one had heard the conistent refrain, "When it starts, it'll it hard!"

3. It never hits hard, so the girls don't go out sledding until 4:30 PM.

4. Dad snow-blows the ~5"of snow at 6:45 AM the next morning.



*I did in fact make a quick run at 10:00 AM to Best Buy for a computer problem, but the streets were so deserted that, as I emailed several people, it seemed as if there was a sniper on the roof. (One colleague mis-read that, and thought I said a "stripper" on the roof...which, at the time a) wouldn't have been noticed and b) wasn't even too cold for!)

07 February 2010

Utterly Baseless Super Bowl Predictions

Final Score: Indianapolis Colts 33 New Orleans Saints 24
Number of times Archie Manning, all-time-great Saints quarterback and father of Colts quaterback Peyton Manning, is shown on television during the game:
15 (but a grand total of 22 if the Colts need to score to win in the last 3 minutes)

06 February 2010

Fridays with Ava: The Ava Gardner Film Series at CCSU (Part I)

A small but enthusiastic turn-out for film #1, The Killers (with an introduction by Hemingway scholar Dr Barry Leeds), yesterday in Diloreto Hall 001, on the campus of Central Connecticut State University! The film series, free and open to the public sponsored by the CCSU Alumni Association, drew a nice mix of current students, staff, and faculty, as well as alumni and emeriti faculty.

Film #2, with an intro by African American History and Philosophy scholar, Dr. Felton Best, is now less than two weeks away -- February 19th: SHOW BOAT!

Spread the word.

"The Secret Garden" at NCTC

Saw my younger daughter performing in NCTC's very nice production of The Secret Garden last night.

Two songs that I think should be added to the show:

Elton John's "Empty Garden" for Mary:

Who lived here?
[S]he must've been a gardener who cared a lot
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop,
but now it all looks strange...

And I've been knocking
But no one answers
I've been knocking most of the day
And I've been calling
Hey, Hey, [Colin], can't you come out and play?

and John Lennon's "Mother" for Colin:

Mother, you had me, but I never had you...

Mother, you knew me, but I never knew you...

(with lots and lots of anguished screaming).

I'll offer my alternative reading of the play in another post soon. Stay tuned!

04 February 2010

03 February 2010

Perhaps it was a fig he saw fall from the tree

Overheard at my table, while I was chaperoning my daughter's fifth-grade class on a field trip to Starbase Connecticut :

Instructor: Turn to the page about Isaac Newton.

GG (to the students at my table): Isaac Newton, this guy's really cool.

Student 1: Was he the guy that invented the cookie?

Student 2: The Newton?

Student 1: Yeah, the Newton cookie.

GG: The Fig Newton? No, I think that was someone else.

Student 3 (without a hint of irony): It was probably his brother.

02 February 2010

Ah, Cole Porter!

This verse I've started seems to be
The tinpantithesis of melody
So to spare you all that pain
I'll skip the darn thing
And sing the refrain

from "DeLovely" (1934)

01 February 2010

I know I shouldn't be carrying...

...those 20-year-old Ping square-grooved wedges in my Wii golf bag, but, man, my Mii just went 4-under on 9 holes!

It may not be cheating, per se, and I kinda feel dirty, but my game's on fire.

I'm getting very tired of the debate...

about whether Kobe Bryant is the greatest Laker ever, but then again I really like debates about ranking.

So, let’s change things up a bit.

Who, in your opinion, are the top 10 greatest 20th-21st-century literary critics?

Is Foucault better than Derrida?

What about Julia Kristeva?

Should Wolfgang Iser be ranked higher than Mario Praz?

Can Terry Eagleton be talked about in the same breath as Merritt Hughes?

What about Northrup Frye?

Should C.S Lewis be part of the conversation at all?

Can you talk about Gilbert and NOT Gubar? Wellek and not Warren?

Homi Bhabha?

Just wonderin’

It's February 1st...

1) We REALLY need to take down our Christmas tree.

2) Seven more months of chair-hood

3) The "Frank, Gil, and Friends" Groundhog Day Show is just a day away!