Friday, August 30, 2002
That's right chill'in, the Virginia Tech "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" t-shirt is back! Rumor has it that last year UVA requested that we stop selling it, and the bookstore gave in [fools]. However, what to my wondering eyes should appear today, but that very shirt! Apparently, having mollified the Wahoos, the shirts are back! Basically, this is the design of the shirt back:
THE GOOD: [Hokie Bird logo]
THE BAD: [West Virginia University logo]
THE UGLY: [UVA seal]
As you may or may not know, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is one of my favorite films, and so I was mightily distressed to find out that I couldn't get one of the shirts last year. However, all is right once again, and virtue triumphs at last.
Semi-relatedly, when I worked at Ft. Hunt Animal Hospital, we'd occasionally receive newborn kittens that had been found abandoned. We would keep them for a few weeks, and then sell them for a nominal fee. Since most people brought the kittens back to us thoughout the cat's life, it was a good investment. In any case, one of the first things we would do is name them. Generally what would happen is that I'd come in for the afternoon shift and find "Linus, Lucy, Patti, Schroeder, Charlie, and Woodstock" in one of the cages. Other times included "Heath and Thatcher" (from A Knight's Tale) and names of the participants in Survivor II. Well, I'd been getting sick of this, so I resolved that if ever given a chance, I'd suggest some decent names. Lo and behold, one day when I was the senior staff member that day, some kittens had been dropped off that morning, with a reminder that they needed to be named the next day. Being the acting-manager for the afternoon, I was the last one to leave. I had noticed that one of the cats had one blue eye and one green eye, and so inspiration and opportunity consumated their blessed co-incidence and bore the fruit of my desire (man, that was a fun sentence to think up). I named the normal cat Tuco (The Ugly from the movie) and the mismatched cat Angel Eyes (the Bad). The next day, people kept asking me what was up with their names, and I had to keep explaining that they were gunfighters from a spaghetti western. There were some half-hearted attempts to rename them, but I parried their blows like a master and carried the day. Of course, the people who adopted Tuco didn't really like that name. In a fit of enlightened inspiration, they decided to name him...Mr. Bojangles. Sigh.
Thursday, August 29, 2002
God Save the King!
According to my Latin teacher, the following are the present indicative forms for Latin (and French, Spanish, etc.):
He's from Minnesota, too. Yes, soon our plan will come to fruition, and the South will rise again.
Yes, HokiePundit has had another bright idea, quite possibly due to listening to the Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back too many times.
I'm considering going back to London next summer. My goal is to get a flat, get a job, and experience England from the perspective of a member of the workforce, and not just as a student/tourist. If I can take a course in English History at King's College or UCL, that'll be even better, but not essential. My rudimentary calculations show that I should be able to afford it without dipping into my savings, though I'll have to get detailed figures to make sure I'm not planning on going to the Land of Make-Believe instead of England. I'll probably start hitting up the people I met in England for information in the near future and talking to the Study Abroad people here at Tech pretty soon, too.
It's not like I'm addicted to Britain or anything. The way I see it, going to another country (Canada most certainly does not count) for more than a few weeks is a rare and valuable experience, and should be jumped upon if possible. Also, by being able to see America without actually living in it, a unique opportunity is there to better understand my own culture and to further develop my own thoughts. Besides, over there (over there, over there...) I'm considered an Exotic Foreigner and am thus much in-demand. After several years of this, I'll also be considered a Well-Travelled Sophisticate back home, and thus further employable. I think that I'd ideally like a job with a British company this summer, get my Master's at an English university, and then work for an American company or the US gov't in England for several years.
You know, it's weird to actually have a five-year plan for once. Making it work will be even weirder.
Monday, August 26, 2002
Virginia Tech apparently owns a very rare Corpse Plant, which is just about to bloom. This is an extremely uncommon event, and only lasts for a day or two. I went over today, and the husk had fallen off, meaning that the bloom should probably open tomorrow. If you've got a few minutes to spare and live anywhere near Blacksburg, you might want to visit the greenhouses on Washington Street. Just go behind the glass greenhouses, and there's a plexiglass bunker that says "Biology Department." It's worth a visit.
Okay, I was wrong.
In an earlier post, I said that I was very hesitant about discussing theology here, since I'm not entirely among Christians, and I felt that discussing it in the presence of those who don't understand it would be harmful to them (for the record, I still believe that while academic recognition of the ideas is possible for nonbelievers, actual understanding ("grokking" for you Heinlein fans) is impossible).
However, I was judging when I shouldn't have been. I'm not the judge. I'm just called to be a witness. My job is to say what I know as honestly and clearly as I can, and leave it to others to decide which end of my alimentary tract I'm speaking out of. I was thinking earlier that I wouldn't write much on theology in the next few weeks, since my mind was summer-numbed and I'm still in a bit of a funk (curse you, impossible summer romance!). However, as you may have gathered from the post immediately following this one, things are starting to warm up again. You know when you turn on the lights in an office bathroom, and the fluorescent light flickers for about a minute before finally snapping on? That's about where I am right now. Soon, you'll see HokiePundit back up to full speed, and capable of linking and even permalinking things that he's been long overdue in doing.
Thanks for your patience, and here's to a stellar Junior year with an all-expenses-paid trip to the Fiesta Bowl this January!
I'M BACK IN SCHOOL!!!
Yeah, I know I'm a dork, but I'm not really happy unless I'm learning. Summer is always a challenge for me, since it's harder to learn, and so I have to motivate myself to do a lot of reading. As you may have noticed from reading my posts over the past three months, my brain tends to turn off when I'm not being challenged. I don't think it'd be too much of an exaggeration to say that virtually all my posts over the summer were craptacular. As I was looking over my "Best Of" stuff, I noticed that the early Theological Forays were significantly better than the later ones. However, after Plant Biology at 8AM and then Elementary Latin at 9, my brain has been jump-started (much like my car on Saturday, but that's a different story).
One of the things I started thinking about in the middle of Latin (while of course paying attention to my professor) when he mentioned that English and Romance languages differ in that English doesn't do much declining of verbs. I thought to myself that he's right, and that English solves the problem by simply appropriating or creating words to fill in the gap (English has over twice as many words as any other language, with second place going to German), while Latin tinkers with what's already extant. It then occurred to me that this can also be applied to the Anglospheric (I really would like a better term for that, by the way) and Western European ways of thinking (actually, I think that the Germanic people are still somewhat awkward in their acceptance of Romance thinking, but that could be a whole post in and of itself). Anglos value economy over conservation, though if conservation is efficient, it becomes economical. Europeans are more inward-looking and tend to go more by what they already know. Both of these can be useful for different applications. In recent memory, it has been the British and the Americans who've been kicking donkey and taking names while the French and Italians get embarassed in the World Cup. C'est la vie. When it comes time to do something, Anglos will build up overwhelming power (force, intelligence, skill, etc.) aided by strong economies, while the Europeans will try and appeal to the better nature of their opponents. This is the difference between the aggressive mentality of Anglos and the defensive mentality of the Europeans. There's a reason why Americans are considered go-getters and the French are considered talkers. Again, both have their applications, and I don't just mean using Europeans as slave labor (must...resist...easy...sarcastic...remark...nnnnnnnngggggghhhhhhh). Do the Europeans have anything useful to contribute to the world or American life? Of course they do, but when it's bookended with nasty, rude, and ignorant remarks and actions, we tend to tune out. After hearing a certain amount of "Americans are 5% of the world's population but consume 23% of the resources" and "you had the attacks coming," we naturally get a little pissed off and our response is to tell the world that they can suck it. We don't want to hear about how to wage economic war by poor and/or socialist nations, and we don't want to hear about how to wage military war by countries several generations behind us in tactics and weaponry and who have virtually no independent capability to project their own power. We eventually get to the point where we simply say that if X is such a great idea, then why aren't people doing it of their own free will?
A lot of good philosophical ideas have come from Europe. The problem was and is that, not being democratic by nature, the European mentality is to have these ideas imposed on the masses (commoners, proletariat, plebes) by the elites. If you try that in Anglospheric nations, you're going to provoke outrage and quite possibly open revolt. The Anglo way is persuasion first, with coercion as a last resort. If, like the Europeans, you first try to coerce, you'd better succeed, because persuasion is no longer an option. Take logging, for instance. When large stands of trees are declared off-limits, loggers will either try to get them declared okay for logging or will simply go and cut down trees elsewhere, which in the end only moves the problem without solving it. However, if companies see that planting trees to replace the ones they lose guarantees them a resource in the future and even makes people think more highly of the company, you'd better believe that they'll plant forests, and may even start trying to put forests where none existed before.
I think a lot of the European frustration comes from the fact that they're attitude is somewhat all-or-nothing, and so they inevitably set themselves up for a lot of disappointment. With disappointment comes resentment, and that resentment is directed at countries that are more successful. Most Americans don't eat French food, while quite a few Frenchmen eat McDonalds. Americans don't really hate the French, but we're sick of being disliked for (to us) no apparent reason. That we expect some small gratitude for helping save their country twice in 30 years only heightens this feeling. If tomorrow the French started saying that "Tu sais, the Americans really aren't that bad. They're a little rough around the edges, but they've always been there for us [brief note: if Marseilles was nuked or sprayed, do you really think that America wouldn't be on the phone offering to deliver some cruise missiles by express airmail to the perpetrator, to be followed by troops by shipping and ground transport? What was the French response to 9/11?]. Maybe we should rent Batman and get some Whoppers and see if American culture is really as bad we've all been told," I'd bet that Americans would suddenly start talking about taking cruises on the Riviera, visiting Provence, and going to the Louvre and Eiffel Tower. Heck, we'd probably even talking about how sophisticated and suave the French are. Simply put, we're sick of always being the bad guys, and if other people would let up for a second, I think we'd all get along a lot better.
(this post was partially inspired by a post at Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler)
Sunday, August 25, 2002
Yes, if you were in the stands at the Hispanic College Fund Football Classic at Virginia Tech vs. Arkansas State, in addition to seeing a 63-7 (56-0 at the half) rout, you saw the Marching Virginians dance during Monster on a Leash. Of course, you'd already heard Superman, Carry Me Back to Old Virginny, VPI Victory March, and you later heard Tech Triumph, and had seen us turn the Commonwealth of Virginia into a VT, into HOKIES, flip HOKIES around, and then form a VT facing the opposite direction, but it was the dance that you loved. For your edification, a description:
4 counts "White Boy from NOVA" (that thing where one arm goes behind your head, the other grabs your ankle, and you sort of convulse)
4 counts Sprinkler to the left
4 counts Sprinkler to the right
8 counts Monster Clap
8 counts Butt to opposite stands
left slap, right slap, pelvic thrust, pelvic thrust
4 counts Dirty Sanchez (nose wipe)
8 counts Burro to the left
finish with feet in a Meaningful Spread (now defined as "big enough for Fez [a tuba player] to crawl through")
Oh yes. We got a standing ovation.
Friday, August 23, 2002
Monday, August 19, 2002
How come the Left has such a bad sense of humor? When was the last time you saw anything written by them that made you laugh out loud? For your reading pleasure: Mr. Dietato
Sunday, August 18, 2002
I Guess the Light Bulb Didn't Go Off...
Governor John Rowland is the Prince of Darkness? Leaving aside the more obvious choices of Hillary, Rosie, Terry McAuliffe (I really hope he's not related to General Anthony McAuliffe, and Barbra, what about Governor Gray Davis?
For your viewing pleasure:
I Guess the Light Bulb Didn't Go Off...
Governor John Rowland is the Prince of Darkness? Leaving aside the more obvious choices of Hillary, Rosie, Terry McAuliffe (I really hope he's not related to General Anthony McAuliffe, and Barbra, what about