Saturday, December 29, 2012

How To Stay Young

According to the late, great Satchel Paige (via):

"Avoid running at all times" is a life lesson I have taken to heart. Now I'll be young all my days!

Monday, December 24, 2012

There's A Lot of Crazy Stuff on That Internet

Apparently, these are the 66 internet-based things you should have seen this year.

It's like a cheat sheet for being able to keep up with sitcoms three years from now when they get to this. It doesn't include Grumpy Cat, which means it's not really an exhaustive list, though...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Guns, Guns, Guns

So I'm going to stop writing about gun control for a while, because it seems to be getting covered pretty well from every angle in the broader national discussion and I have little of substance to add right now.

That being said, fuck Wayne LaPierre and the entire leadership of the NRA. Whenever there mass shootings happen (which are a disturbingly regular occurrence, it seems), the most rage-induicing moments (besides the actual crimes themselves) are always the NRA responses. I'm reminded of the bit from Bowling for Columbine wherein Marilyn Manson discusses how he cancelled a scheduled concert in Colorado shortly after the Columbine shootings out of respect. Although his music likely had little impact on the shootings, he knew that was a popular opinion with some, and given the perception (correct or not), he used some tact and compassion and decided it would be best to remove himself from the situation. All in all, a pretty classy move from a shock rocker.

The NRA, of course, was not so subtle or caring in their response. Instead, a few days later, they held a major rally in Colorado, talking about how they would re-double their efforts to make sure there were no new gun regulations passed. Regardless of how you feel about the possibility or desirability about gun control, that's a pretty dickish move. I think most people would say you might want to give enough time for the multiple shooting victims to be buried before you set up shop in their backyard to talk about how awesome guns are.

I mean, think about that for a minute -- Marilyn Manson responds to a tragedy with far more grace and class than you do. Does that not make you stop for a second and think about what an asshole you are?

If you are an executive of the NRA, it does not. By now, I'm sure you've seen some of LaPierre's incredibly tone-deaf commentary on what happened, but I wanted to share this one because it so succinctly takes him down with just the right amount of snark. From the incomparable Sean O'Neal of the AV Club:

"Here's another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal: There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows violence against its own people, through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse," said LaPierre, head of the powerful lobby that uses outlandish political donations and threats to ensure the continued flourishing of an industry that sells things to people whose sole design is to maim and kill, and which have been used repeatedly to sow violence against other people.

"Rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize lawful gun owners, amplify their cries for more laws and fill the national debate with misinformation and dishonest thinking that only delay meaningful action and all but guarantee that the next atrocity is only a news cycle away," LaPierre said while directing attention away from any discussion of meaningful change on gun policy and toward demonizing the media instead, with no trace of irony. As he spoke, the next gun-related atrocity arose in Pennsylvania.

Go read the whole thing. And then make sure to buy yourself some cyanide-tipped, armor-piercing bullets and an AR-15 capable of firing hundreds of them per minute. You know, for hunting.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sigh...Something, Something Gun Control

Well, I'm guessing we all agree killing a bunch of children is wrong, so let's leave it at that.

Grumpy cat says: "Hey, let's stop killing each other!"

Monday, December 03, 2012

I Am a Doctor and You Are (Probably) Not

The suckers I was able to con into giving me a degree
According to the 2010 census, a mere 10.6% of the adult population over the age of 25 has a graduate or professional degree. Figuring out the percentage of those that have a doctorate involves too much math for right now, but suffice it to say, when you remove the master's degrees and whatnot from that number, the percentage of those with a doctorate has to be in the mid-to-low single digits. Point being, it's not something that many people do, relatively speaking, but now I have done it.

As Dad would say, that and a buck will get you a cup of coffee.

This is also the reason for the continued radio silence on the ol' blog, as it turns out they don't just hand these degrees out, but instead expect you to do a fair amount of actual work. And a shitload of pointless paperwork, but that's a post for another day. But now that it's all done, it feels more anticlimactic than anything. After all, nothing has really changed; I still have the same work to do, the same class to teach, the same syllabi to prep for spring, the same research to keep up with, etc. All that really changes is that I get to call myself "Doctor" now (though don't get me wrong, that's pretty fucking awesome and the novelty of it has definitely not worn off yet).

That being said, it is a relief. Maybe I'll be a bit more jazzed about the whole thing once I don't feel so damn exhausted. As you can see in the pic there, my distance-running advisor gifted me his finisher's medal from the 2012 TC marathon (as well as the sweet game-worn Twinkies hat also in the pic). As Chris explained, all dissertations are like marathons, but it may have been especially the case with a project like mine, which definitely took a little bit more legwork than the average study.

I feel like the marathon analogy is a pretty apt summation of the dissertation process, and getting the medal was easily the best part of the defense. I feel like every doctoral defense should end with a medal; it feels way more official (I may or may not have continued wearing the medal long into the night of drinking that followed). Sure, I may personally not be able to run more than a mile or so, but I sure felt like I earned it.

So anyway, there's really no point to this post beyond bragging about having finally accomplished some sort of goal in my life and explaining why I haven't been blogging.

But if there's any point, it's that, while again maybe this will all feel a bit more momentous when I've caught up on my sleep and don't have piles of tests to grade, I will say it is cool to have finished if for no other reason than having achieved something relatively rare-ish. Even if my life completely crashes and burns from here on out and I never accomplish anything ever again, at least I can say I'm a doctor.

It'll still take a buck or so to get that cup of coffee, though.