Archive for December, 2007

Conflict of interest

December 31, 2007

I wanted an authentic Chicago hot dog, so I thought it would be a good idea to ask a local. I went into a 7-11, and bought a banana, just so I wouldn’t be completely wasting the guy’s time.

ME: “Where’s the best place to get a hot dog?”
7-11 GUY: (points to the hot dog warming case to his left)
ME: “Of course it is . . .”


Hello from the Windy City

December 29, 2007

It snowed pretty hard today for about 4 hours, but it was not too miserable outside. Spent most of the day in two hotels being interviewed by three universities. Things went well at two of them, and the third was a lesson in knowing thyself and in the interpretation of nonverbal communication.

Yesterday I ate breakfast at a fabulous place called Lou Mitchell’s. On the back of the menu it says, “Have a Lou Mitchell day!” What they mean is, “eat so much you will be feeling it all day long.” I obeyed, and didn’t eat again till about 7 p.m. I mean, they set the pace for you as you walk in the door, by handing you a donut hole with powdered sugar on it, from a wicker basket full of them. Can you say “GRUB”? For dinner, Italian Beef sandwich. Tonight for dinner, deep-dish cheese and sausage pizza.

Where does “cockney” come from?

December 16, 2007

I knew it meant “Londoner” but here’s a couple of OED quotations to flesh that out a little:

1617 MINSHEU Ductor s.v., A Cockney or Cockny, applied only to one borne within the sound of Bow-bell, that is, within the City of London, which tearme came first out of this tale: That a Cittizens sonne riding with his father..into the Country..asked, when he heard a horse neigh, what the horse did his father answered, the horse doth neigh; riding farther he heard a cocke crow, and said doth the cocke neigh too? and therfore Cockney or Cocknie, by inuersion thus: incock, q. incoctus i. raw or vnripe in Country-mens affaires. 1617 MORYSON Itin. III. 53 Londiners, and all within the sound of Bow-bell, are in reproch called Cocknies, and eaters of buttered tostes.

Buddhist monks strain credibility to prove relevance

December 15, 2007


Japanese monks and nuns held a fashion show – with rap music and a catwalk – at a major Tokyo temple Saturday to promote Buddhism.
[. . .]
“We wanted to show the young people that Buddhism is cool, and temples are not a place just for funerals,” said Koji Matsubara, a chief monk at Tsukiji.

I walk away from something like this thinking not that Buddhism is cool, but that it’s hokey, and that any religion that has to hitch its star to the popularity of hip-hop culture looks suspiciously bankrupt of native appeal.

This reminds me of something the Subcomandante Marcos wrote for our high school newspaper, though I don’t recall if it was ever printed. On some humanitarian-type student group, the name of which escapes me, he wrote a fictitious article describing the challenge it had to demonstrate its worth as a group. The group’s student leader replied, “We’re not worthless . . . we just aren’t!” I’m thinking the group was called “Interact” but can’t remember for sure.

San Joaquin diocese leaves Episcopal Church

December 9, 2007

You knew it was coming; now we know when. The NY Times has a story on the split of the first full diocese to leave the Episcopal Church. Previous defections have been at the parish level.

One quotation caught my eye:

“It will be a huge, huge legal battle,” said the Rev. Ephraim Radner, a leading Episcopal conservative and professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College in Toronto. “The costs involved will bleed the Diocese of San Joaquin and the Episcopal Church, and it will lead only to bad press. You have to wonder why people are wasting money doing this and yet claiming to be Christians.”

Indeed, Rev. Radner. Fighting to keep one’s church following God’s word is “wasting money,” and “bad press” indicates unchristian conduct by those subject to the bad press—regardless whether the argument needs to be had and regardless of the actions that prompted the argument in the first place (e.g., consecrating an openly gay bishop). You have to wonder why other people are openly rejecting the Bible and yet claiming to be Christians . . .

Note, too, that Radner is described as a “conservative.” Fiscal conservative, maybe, since he shudders to think of all that money getting spent on something as immaterial as theology . . . but I have to wonder about the depth of his conservative credentials, if he’s trying to trivialize the ECUSA’s apostasy in order to make San Joaquin look like the bad guys.

If a “tree” falls down and there’s no one to hear it . . .

December 8, 2007

Saw a lot today that was selling the following product:


I kid you not.

Iowa’s pink locker room heats up again

December 5, 2007

This is too funny . . . I remember reading about this in 2005, and it just kills me that anyone is trying to make a sexism/homophobia case out of this. ANY case, but this time it might be a court case.

Hayden Fry, the former coach at Iowa, said:

“It’s been fun to get the reaction of visiting coaches to the color of their locker room,” Fry wrote. “Most don’t notice it, but those that do are in trouble. . . . When I talk to an opposing coach before a game and he mentions the pink walls, I know I’ve got him. I can’t recall a coach who has stirred up a fuss about the color and then beat us.”

Sally Jenkins, sports writer for the Washington Post, commented in ’05:

Fry understood something Buzuvis [law prof at Iowa, and critic of the pink locker room] apparently doesn’t: The people most likely to be undone by pink walls are not straight men, women or gays, but misogynists and homophobes.

The person reviving the issue is Jill Gaulding, formerly law prof. at Iowa. Her reasoning is bogus:

“If anything has changed, I would say that things are getting worse and not better,” Gaulding said, citing an initiation ritual in which rookie Seattle Mariner baseball players wore pink backpacks this season (which “beats most initiations, like wearing a dress,” the paraphrased one player as saying).

“Once again, this idea trickles out like poison into the rest of the culture that it’s shameful to be female,” Gaulding said.

No—there’s no shame in being female. But there is shame in being a football player whose game suffers because he is persuaded, by wall color, to think of himself as weak. Or, more broadly, shame in being a human being who can be so influenced. But give me a break, shame in being female? Tells me more about Gaulding’s self perception than about widely held assumptions about men and women.

Allison Kasic comments at the Independent Women’s Forum.

I agree with Kasic: the best part is indeed Jenkins’ line:

You better know who you are if you walk into that room. Otherwise, the pink could shatter you.

Oral Roberts University poised for better days

December 4, 2007

Over Thanksgiving dinner a priest friend told us about the scandal that’s shaken Oral Roberts University in recent weeks. In short, Richard Roberts (Oral’s son) had been using the university’s money to live large. ACTA summed it up well:

The campus is reeling, and students are reacting strongly to the news that their leaders have not necessarily held themselves to the moral and behavioral standards to which they hold students. Oral Roberts students sign contracts committing to observe a dress code, a curfew, and strict rules about such things as swearing, drinking, and lying. Allegations that Richard Roberts used university resources to–among other things–finance cars, horses, vacations, and a swanky Beverly Hills home aren’t sitting well with them.

According to my friend, an ORU alum (yes, strange, given that he’s now a RC priest), Roberts would take multiple vacations a year (like 2 per month), and would fly to Italy to get his custom-tailored suits. Apparently, on the university’s dime. Well, he’s resigned now, and the Board of Regents seems committed to turning things around. Here’s to a future of upright dealing, all around, at ORU.

Leopard bug(?): “Preview” searches are screwy

December 1, 2007

This might be spun as a “feature” rather than a bug, but I think it’s lame, whatever you call it. When viewing PDFs with Apple’s Preview application, I am no longer able to do live-updated searches on multi-word strings. If I type “the end,” for instance (without quotes or comma), Preview begins searching for “the” only until I begin typing “end.” At that point, when I begin the second word of the search string, the entire search changes its focus to that second word alone, completely discarding the first.

If I want to search for the two words next to each other, I have to enclose the whole phrase in quotation marks. But this means I have to wait until I type the closing mark before Preview even begins to search the text. I much prefer the old way, where it started searching immediately, even for a multi-word string.

Any suggestions on a better way to PDF, drop me a comment, please. I was loving Skim, but it doesn’t play nice with Leopard. Just yet.