Monday, August 30, 2004

Bump invitation

So I updated the invitation this weekend, online and hardcopy. Still need to proofread it, but you can check out the online version if you're interested. I am assuming that we'll have more space thanks to the construction. I'm also assuming that we can run final rounds this year, if people want them. My thing has always been not stretching past 12 hours (which already seems ridiculous, but it is coin of the realm). We ought to be able to do it, given our tab rooms, if we continue to break to quarters in policy. And keep the judges' bloviating to a minimum in all the divisions. And if we actually have the judging available. Anyhow, I'll polish it all up over the next few days, and then we're ready.

I also moved the wav file so that I'll have access to it from anywhere. This means I can update it more regularly, which means that I can start offloading more of the crappy prizes in my closet.

We should have a Yale deadline shortly. After that...

Thursday, August 26, 2004

The word of the day...

... is morganatic. This is a great word. Unfortunately, one hardly ever gets to use it in everyday speech. (Reminds me a little of the discussion of the beautiful word carminative in "Point Counterpoint," if I remember correctly. Carminative is a word that you *prefer* not to use in everyday speech.)

Pip has been very listless lately. Considering that he's usually quite listful, I'm not quite sure where this lacksadaisicality comes from. I trust he will be his old eager self in time for the new season. I mention this because I am figuring, on the assumption that there will be another boatload of newbies, that we will have more breakout sessions of varsity at the old chezmoi, and they aren't the same without PTW. And also, we never finished up the demo rounds last year, for one reason or another. We probably should.

You've noticed that the S-O topic says claims on both sides. No mention of rights whatsoever.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The days dwindle down

School starts real soon now. I'm thinking we'll probably do a newbie event on 9/8 or 9/9. Everything's so late I'd hate to lose a week. I'll confab with MF after the wedding, which I would imagine is concentrating her mind at the moment.

I've been marching the new topic through my brain on off hours. There is a 600-pound gorilla, which is that there is no worthy argument against abridging RTP when boarding a plane. I ask interested parties to consider this. I've got ideas, of course, not for arguing the above, but for the topic overall. I'll put them down shortly, but they stem from that gorilla. (If you think I'm wrong and you can argue the gorilla, remind me not to fly with you any time soon.)

It's been a bit of an old-home week. Had a lovely lunch with CLG and K2. Katie is on her way to Italy for a semester, which I hate her for. I want to go to Italy for a semester. I could study something. Food? It's a great thought. CLG has already signed up to judge Manchester and Harvard (and Bump, if she knows what's good for her). Also heard from the Nostrumite again. He's in a state of permanent depression over the Olympics. It's not so much the doping or bad judging (sounds like LD) or even the fact that every time he turns the TV on he has to look at Bob Costas. "There need to be more synchronized events," he says. He loved synchronized diving, and is a well-known collector of tapes of historical synchronized swimming competitions; he's never gotten over the end of MGM's run of Esther Williams movies, or so he claims. But why are all synchronized sports wet? "You could have synchronized everything," he says. "Synchronized shot putting, synchronized pole vaulting, synchronized marathon racing. For that matter, the running events could even be three-legged, like field day when you're a kid. A three-legged twenty-six mile race would be a real test of teamwork." Perhaps. My favorite field day event was always potato racing, which unfortunately is no longer an Olympic event. Synchronized potato races would be a real crowd pleaser, if you ask me.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


So I threaded my way through the various monsoons last Friday to Eagle, among other places. Had a lovely chat with the powers that trophy. In a nutshell, the acrylics cost about what everything else costs, and there wasn't a lot of point to changing things. Using more smaller ones was an option, however, and I will do that. We'll save a few bucks, anyhow. I'm especially concerned about the cost of Districts, since I went way out of pocket last year. Shrinking them should help even things up. I'll continue to get mugs for the lesser Bump awards, but I'll upgrade them a little, and get them from Eagle instead of the source I used last time. One-stop shopping and all that.

They had some nice stuff there, but mostly inappropriate. People do give out lots of trophies to themselves to mark their passage through life. There were some new ones that struck me as tres Franklin Mint, metallic things with figures on them busily hitting tennis balls or gazing into outer space (both of which are, apparently, trophiable). If there were one of these just jabbering, we could call it debate and be done with it. Expect to see them soon at least somewhere. Maybe we can get O'Cruz to use them. He can upgrade from the Croix de Po'keepsie and the French cheek kisses. (Although, to be honest, they really don't do the cheek kisses. Or French kisses. They just hand people the medals and look embarrassed as if they should have kissed them. Think of the germs!)

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Why did I know this would happen?

It didn't take long for the Nostrumite to get in touch with me after that interview in O'Cruz World. Nothing would be guaranteed to put the lad in a state of permanent depression more than yet another spalpeen claiming that the Mite and Jules don't exist. Tell that to the Moldovans (Moldovites? Moldwegians?), the Mite exclaims. That's where Jules is now, working as a Peace Corps volunteer. Apparently he's helping the Moldwegians set up small internet businesses. Not that the Mite claims to know much about Moldava, and I can't say as I had ever even heard of it. Oh, well. The Nostrumite is doing quite well on his own, these days, thanks for asking. He's working on his novel, which he claims is coming along swimmingly. He is not happy about losing Nicky after her recent trip to the altar, however, if a Vegas wedding chapel can be said to have an altar. The Mite has always had high hopes about marrying money, and now his only hope as far as the Hiltons are concerned is Nicky's older sister. "I'm praying that she's mine one day," the Mite reports. "I'm even going to church regularly. Paris is worth a mass, if you know what I mean."

He also points out that a quick Google search did not come up with anyone else attempting that lame joke. I don't believe him for a minute.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Another reason to love Melville

"It is better to fail at originality than to succeed at imitation." That's a Melville quote. Of course, I got it secondhand, through Legal Affairs magazine, my latest favorite journal, or at least my latest favorite journal in a dead heat with Gourmet. (If you're not interested in chevre avec habitants there's always the David Foster Wallace article on killing lobsters.) Is it time to read Moby Dick again? Some of us are constantly asking that question, although since my ETA on finishing Caro is 2006, I'm not too atip at the prospect yet.

How to drive to work: Listen to the unabridged Bergdorf Blondes. I'm sorry, but it's funny. Who knew?

Sunday, August 15, 2004

What more could you ask for?

"Individual claims of privacy ought to be valued above competing claims of societal welfare." So reads the Sept-Oct topic, and by George W., it's a winner. Mixing standard philosophy with current events. Handmade for novices. And a great get-back-into-it for everyone else. As soon as I find out when school opens, and when the first meeting should be, I'll dip my brain into it.

I'm getting more misinformation on next year's sked than I would have thought possible. Lakeland has become the Flying Dutchman of Forensics, now appearing on every weekend possible, with the exception of Christmas. At least Newark and Emory have settled down. The new sked I've posted is pretty good, but it still can't accommodate O'Cruz's flight of fancy until one knows where all the other chips are falling.

The good news is, no one has signed up for Yale yet. We'll probably shut down registration before school opens. Oh well, if on one wants to go, I can't force them. The Rothsteins will have the place to themselves.

Is there any way the new name for Ewok isn't Hunk?

And I think I'll block the wave file for a little while. Enjoy the latest obvious selection. Try not to talk back to it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

How important are Gummi ship upgrades?

My day is getting odd. First, there's three miles on the treadmill watching part of an old Enterprise episode. Then there's work, editing our version of the next Fannie Flagg book and promising not to reveal the contents of the Godfather sequel, et al. Then there's messages from Claire only slightly longer than the contents of the Godfather sequel, and trying to find J.C. Glendinning's home address to send her a Duo tape, and some bezoot from Edgemont trying to get info from me on the Georgetown Day tournament. A nice quiet dinner that usually requires stopping off at Turco's—but I love stopping off at Turco's. There's fish in the air tonight, so to speak. What kind depends. Then there's hitting the old Yamaha for a while. Then a marginal moment of guilt for not having sorted the Family Night pix yet (or the Scandinavian pix, or the World's Fair pix). Then a little TV (a West Wing rerun, in honor of it being Wednesday and WW being pretty much the only regular show Liz ever watches, new or old), then I'll look at those damned instructions for building Gummi ships. At least I'm pretty much done with phase one of the game, and am apparently about to visit Agrabah (although there's still the issue of the bell and the gizmo shop that I haven't sorted out yet.) And finally, a little time with the Caro Robert Moses biography which I've just started. Caro is the nuts, as literate poker players might say.

My understanding is that Kant lived a similar life.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Crappy prizes

We're moving our offices at the Digest, which means true bounty in the c.p. area as people start casting off the bric-a-brac. I think I've already found next year's topper: a 15-disk unabridged audiobook bio of Jim Morrison. Altogether now: "Mr. Mojo risin'."

I visit Eagle next Saturday to negotiate down the trophy costs, presumably by negotiating down the trophy quality. Oh, these are troubled times!

And I hear there's a new principal. This will be my 48th. I hope he's into forensics. Shanker was an old congress hand himself, so he was a presold supporter.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Back from Scandinavia

And there's a bunch of messages about debate in the old in-boxes. There's the MHLs to sort out, and O'Cruz is moving his shindig around, and I have much conflicting information about Emory... It'll get organized soon enough.

This is the month when I get the odds and ends done. We do need to negotiate new trophies, both for Bump and NFL. We're spending all our (or in the case of NFL, my) money on acrylic. I hate to reduce the level of tin distribution, but we are only in this for the money.

Bronx, of course, is now totally bereft of TOC bids. And Columbia has one at finals. So there's a net stasis in the northeast, as far as I can tell. But I'm betting that Columbia will conflict with Newark (it always does), and there's no way I'm supporting a college above a high school. I may be the only person in the universe who thinks that this high school activfity should, when there's benefits to accrue (e.g., revenues from tournaments), benefit high schools. And while I have no first-hand knowledge of Columbia, as a rule the college tournaments aren't all that great. Yale has too few prelims for the numbers, Harvard has the triple octos judges from hell, Princeton has the worst pool of home-grown judges imaginable... AND most of these folks charge a premium, not to mention that they don't feed, they don't house—you get the picture. Every time the TOC decides to promote a college tournament and demote a high school tournament, I think they do so in (perhaps willful) ignorance of the impact on the high school community.

Am I beginning to sound more and more like someone who just thinks the TOC is more trouble than it's worth?