Friday, July 29, 2005

Don't ask me

I have no idea what's happened to the Nostrumite. One minute he was there, the next minute his blog says he's on hiatus. He hasn't replied to my emails. I guess he's just snowed under putting together part two of TWHS. Who knows what evil lurks in the mind of Mites?

I really am trying to get my own self in gear. I'll polish up the MHL stuff next week and make all that official. There's a dinner some time in August among the northeast coaches to compare notes and generally socialize before the heat of battle begins. That'll be fun. We did it one time before when I was around, up in Newburgh. A swell time was had by all, and some important ideas were kicked around. Also I want to get more time on Caveman. I'm up to Paul Auster! After that there's meta narratives, critical theory, boilerplate K responses and then it's off to the printer (almost).

Fortunately alumni have been keeping me entertained. Michelle Carter is doing her residency before getting her license in January. I may not be ready to die yet, but when I do, it's nice to know I'll be toasted by an ex-debater (and I don't mean with a glass of wine). Burgers' blog is most entertaining. My own offspring is about to go around the world; we're planning her sendoff on Aug 14 at Zephs. Even Pip T. W. seems more sprightly these days. We're up to 8 ccs of insulin, and he's actually walking up and down the stairs like the old Pip. He's not exactly jumping 6 feet in the air anymore, but then again, who is?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Am I decisive? Yes and no.

I could have sworn I had a bunch of demurrals and questions about this Voices scholarship thing, but I guess not. At least none worthy of response. Apparently they'll be shipping me some scholars, and that's that. My demurrals and questions regarded the idea that I would accept unchaperoned debaters at roughly the point hell froze over, and what's all that great about a scholarship to Bump anyhow, because if it was my money, I'd probably spend it some other way. Oh well, it's *not* my money, so my two cents has been delivered and whether they feed the birds or invest in plantations of ripening tea or buy paper and string is not my problem. I'll give a couple of slots to the bazoots, provided they have their own adult and not some slap-on college kid without a driver's license, and with any luck I'll be regarded as some kindly debate saint.

Gee, I'd like to be a kindly debate saint. I think that's what's missing from my life.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Little Elvis and the Frabjous Day


So I was able to install Virtual PC easily enough, but the installation of the Windows software required an awful lot of gnashing of teeth. There's this great moment where the instructions tell you that something is going to happen, and if you don't hit any key real fast, you have to start all over again. More to the point, some of the instructions tell you this; there are different instructions in the box, online, and in the application help. You picks your horse, you takes your chances. Anyhow, I eventually successfully installed the XP software from my Dell disk and entered the 2034-character product code eleventy times and kept getting told by the computer voice at Microsoft that I was up the creek without a paddle and who did I think I was, installing this bogus software, and it would give me an i.d. code when hell freezes over. I did this a number of times, including the good old start over. And last night, believe it or not, with the clock ticking away before every Microsoft program I own explodes into oblivion, the officials at Evil Central finally admitted that I was entitled to run the software I had paid them for.

Thanks, folks. Any wonder why I really don't intend to bother with Word?

The thing is, now I can run TRPC on the Mac. Either version. The Mac TRM software is so old (you need to run it in Classic mode) and undernourished (it likes to crash, it allows you to enter 300 speaker points instead of 30, things like that) that it's just not an option. But running Classic TRPC on Little Elvis seems like heaven. I'll run a test at the Bronx MHL (i.e., run it on two machines at once—very NASA). If that's a go, it'll be hog heaven for Menick and Little Elvis from that point on.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

A modest proposal

It's obviously a job that nobody wants. Since I started with debate back in the mid-90s, I have gone through more principals than I have debaters. This is unusual for a debate coach. Hen Hud is the only school I know of where the yearbook comes with those little white pieces of paper like a Playbill telling you that tonight the part of The Principal is Being Played by —. In the case at hand, Mr. Mackin, according to the local paper, will be Acting Principal.

My suggestion is that we just admit the obvious and use day laborers. There's plenty of them in Peekskill, near the post office, and we could pick one up every day and pay a good minimum wage and then we wouldn't be so suprised every day when there's a new person in there. During the busy season, we could pick up a couple. The school district would still save money on the deal, and there'd be extra hands to deal with the issues that arise.

Seriously, I just don't get it. Almost without exception the principals have been extremely supportive of forensics, and those exceptions were far from negative, just less gung-ho, so I have nothing to complain about personally. It's just ennervating. You sort of get one where you want him and, bingo, there's another one. At least Mr. Mackin knows the drill, having been through both Bump and Districts.

The coming year gets more interesting by the minute.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Mr. Roberts

I've spent a lot of time trying to get a fix on our next Supreme Court Justice. I have no doubt that he will be confirmed, and little doubt that he will be confirmed bloodlessly. Maybe I'm just being a polyanna, but I sort of feel that, given who's in the White House these days, Roberts may be the best we could have hoped for. Thank God Bush is anti stem cell research! Those pesky scientists probably would have cloned Thomas by now (Bush's favorite justice) and we'd have Clarence II on the bench.

I've heard from various people about various things. O'Cruz is in Vegas recovering from VBI, I really like Burgers' blog (and Boing Boing, to which he directed me indirectly), and Mere de Biftek thinks I have too much bile, while Video Noah seems to have completely dropped off the face of the earth. I also heard from the Nostrumite last night, who is in a state of permanent depression over the ending of session one at VBI. "The profundity is gone," he wrote me, and I could just see him shaking his head. I know what he means. You can't imagine how excited I was checking in every day to see how the Instituters were doing. Oh, wait a minute. That wasn't me. Anyhow, he almost didn't make it, what with the air of loss and all, but the Mite claims he was going to post a new TWHS episode this morning. Something about the end of Part One, whatever that means. I dont' know; if you want details, deal with him directly.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Thank God for erasers

Our story so far:

We're trying to put together an MHL schedule. Keep in mind that Bergenfield no longer exists as a hosting entity, so that opens up one or two weekends, as they had a regular invitational and the 2-day MHL.

Lakeland has declared for the Manchester/Regis weekend. Now there's a traffic jam for you.

Scarsdale has declared for the old Lakeland weekend (the new old weekend, not the old old weekend).

The weekend after Big Bronx will become an MHL weekend, probably somewhere in Jersey, concurrent with a college fair (which should make it of interest to juniors and seniors who'd be judging).

There's a new weekend opened up in January (the old old Lakeland and the old Scarsdale).

Anyone want to take one of these weekends? We could have an MHL at Craig's new house. Or maybe at Horace Mann! My theory is that any open weekend ought to have an MHL, especially when there's the threat of weather, which always strikes once or twice a year. The more rounds people have starting out the better, and that's the underlying philosophy of MHL, to give rounds to newer folk.

I posted a tentative starting point for the MHL main folk to evaluate and comment, not that there's all that much new or revolutionary about it. After that, I'll post the stuff for the world at large. Can't do anything for a while, at least till O'Cruz gets back from Vegas. He's taken the VBI profits and investing it all on the Klingon slot machines at the Hilton. Every time he rolls he mumbles, "Make it so" under his breath. Of course, Doohan's death has probably stopped him dead in his tracks. Next thing you know, Big Bronx will be at the Luxor. Great.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I took a night off, Jeesh.

I started Monday working on Caveman again. It takes a while to get back into the swing of this stuff, you know? Derrida? Qu'est-ce que c'est un Derrida? But I'll put the nose to the grindstone (mettez avec les travails) and work every night (tous les nuits) until I am finished (voila le kaputski).

But I did take last night off to see Charlie. I really liked it, although I agree that the Wonka backstory was unnecessary. Not painful, just extraneous. But the wonderful O-L material trumped it in spades. Depp was fine, but not crucial; probably plenty of other people could have done it, and while it would have been differently weird, it still would have been weird, which is fine. And sign me up for the Corpse Bride now. Pure Burtonania, from the looks of it in the preview.

I've added the Burgers blog to my recommendeds. I like that you can see the music he's been stealing/playing/whatever with iTunes. As he says, it forces him to up his taste level. No more of that Celine Dion stuff, for starters. Since I've got a PC iPod (back when it was one or the other; I don't know if that's still the case) I'm keeping music pretty much off of Little Elvis for the time being. Although mostly I've been grabbing podcasts (and was before iTunes jumped on the bandwagon—I dread uploading yet another upgrade of iTunes and losing yet another ton of previously uploaded music).

Monday, July 18, 2005


Okay, I really will actually do something on Little Elvis real soon now, rather than just loading software. I didn't even turn it on yesterday (golf, of course) but I must get down to business before the whole summer is over and I'm trying to catch up in September. It's like summer reading. Who actually starts reading the books before the last week of August? (Of course, here I'm only including the people who intend to read the books, as compared to those who will google the plots and hope for the best.)

#6 (my daughter's copy) arrived from Amazon Saturday. Good grief. I am going to save it, myself, for when I need it. Like the next time I get on an airplane. I'm doing too much reading now during the day for work; HP would simply be wasted.

Anyhow, I've been seriously considering simply adding Pffft to the HH LD palette. I mean, I worked up the new MHL rules and sent them out to Kurt for a once-over on Saturday, and we are including Pffft at MHLs. And there's plenty of Pffft elsewhere, including TOCs, for pete's sake. So it's not as if it's some poor, sad orphan going nowhere. And the topics are usually pretty interesting, and the nature of the beast means that you do have to actually address those topics in the rounds. Sort of like policy without the tubs, as in, you've got to know some stuff, but you don't have to break your back lifting it onto the bus. Definitely forces you to read the papers and do research. My thought is this: first, Pffft is open only to LDers who have completed a full novice year of LD. Second, we'll have a session a month specifically discussing the topic (open to all), plus chezzes as necessary. And anyone who wants to Pffft at a tournament is welcome to do it, but judging parents will be required, and, at least to begin with, any need to purchase judges will be prioritized for LD. I see Pffft as a potential area for folks who want to vary their approach to the activity. It's "lite" compared to LD, and allows you to keep your hand in while not becoming a debate fanatic. I've only begun cogitating on this seriously, but I will do something, one way or the other.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Claire's ahead so far

The Epson installed without anything other than popping in the USB. I haven't tried the other printers yet, but I will, if only to prove Claire wrong (which is never easy to do, on the best of days).

Virtual PC took all day, and then it told me my version of Windows was unacceptable. Humbuggery!

Ion hard drive fine once I disconnected it from the PC (which connects through the FireWire). It doesn't like to do two things at once. Neither does my modem, so I understand the conflict. I don't condone it, but I understand it.

iPhoto slide shows make me dizzy. I think I prefer Space Mountain. The French one. For getting dizzy that is, not for viewing photos.

Appleworks reads all my Word docs. Although I do have copies of Office, when I get around to it. I'm starting to get interested in actually using the computer rather than setting it up, so I may hold off on that for a while.

Poker runs niftily. I came in second, so I'm ahead about $500. Wouldst that it were real money.

This report brought to you by another happy Apple user.

Microsoft sucks.

Friday, July 15, 2005

So far

So far I've connected to the Internet. You may not think this is a big deal. I think this is bloody amazing. Next, I'll see what works printerwise (my money is fifty fifty on Claire with this; maybe the Epson will work, definitely the HP, probably not the Dell).

This thing is amazingly fast, compared even to my office PowerBook (which has to go through all sorts of Digestian conniptions when it does anything). Forget comparisons to the PC; there aren't any.

Meanwhile, life goes on for other people. I heard from the Nostrumite first thing when I got connected today; his radar is better than Optonline's, for pete's sake. He just posted a new TWHS, but he apparently almost didn't make it this week. He's in a state of permanent depression over the lack of forensics over the summer. He's not teaching at any institutes because he wasn't sure what would be up with Odelie so early in the marriage (she might actually want him around for a while for some reason), so he's mostly moping, taking the Nostrumutt on long walks and wishing it was September. I tell him to log on to OMG, but he refuses. Says he's protecting his sanity. I wish I had his fortitude. Ever since I saw that picture of me I wonder what else they've got there. Pictures of my mother? Liz? Pip? Knowing O'Cruz, I wouldn't put it past them.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

It's here

The toy has arrived. I am happy as a clam.

It's an iBook, a twelve-incher. I have been lusting after this for quite a while. I use a Mac in the office, and much prefer the speed and efficiency of the Mac OS to the perfidy of XT. If it weren't for TRPC, I probably wouldn't bother with PCs at all. As a matter of fact, I'm hoping to use the PC emulation software to bypass the PC entirely, but this may be pipe dreams on my part. In any case, nothing brings joy like spending a lot of money on something you only marginally need!

Of course, there's all the setting up to do. Getting it to work with my cable modem, getting the various printer drivers installed, plus a couple of other things, like my poker game. Should take a couple of days, just spinning the disks. And then, the road warrier will emerge. Stand back, world. (And yes, it's got 10.4. Where's my hula dancer?)

In a way, it's a miracle this arrived at all. Don't get me started on FedEx. Is it just me, or does the idea of delivering a package to one of the largest publishers in the world strike you as the sort of thing that would be right up their alley? Bah! The spalpeens! I mean, I managed to save a few bucks through the employee discount, but there was enough aggro that I would have been better off just trucking down to the Westchester and doing it all myself. The telephone calls were classic. Somehow their inability to deliver was my fault. Like I was hiding the building, some Sigfried and Roy deal where I made all 500 acres disappear? Jeesh. Anyhow, no point continuing to rake the coals. It's here. We're done. Tonight I'll start outlining MHL 2005.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Borkster's Chinny Chin Chin

Even I was growing bored looking at the DOA website. I mean, SPS and all that, and let 'em hang themselves with their own rope, yadda yadda yadda. But a few days had gone by, and I hadn't had a single forensic thought, so I'd thought I'd rile myself a bit—

And there's a picture of me in the header. The one with Justin at TOCs. That's the last time I take Justin to TOCs, and that's final!

I was also reading this wonderful interview with the Borkster on some LDS site. I had only come upon it because I was showing someone what the B looked like without his beard. Anyhow, while the B and his interviewer went on about the moral decline of the US caused by all the liberals in the media (like me, thanks for the shout out, B), I learned that there is this period when you can go either way, homosexual or heterosexual, and then apparently you just want to kill yourself because your life is so miserable (if you chose gay, that is; it's all wine and roses for the heteros, who'd a thunk it). This was in aid of discussing Lawrence (the case where Nino ranted about the Homosexual Agenda). Damn, but these gays are organized, with their agendas and their getting you at just the right moment. You wonder if the Borkster lies awake at night wondering if they're coming to get him next. How come the heteros can't get organized too? What's wrong with you people? Anyhow, the more you know about Bork, the happier you are that he's not sitting where he can do the most damage. He also seems to think that the Supes (the liberals, like Ginzie) are in the thrall of foreign courts (i.e., they consult world opinion to evaluate cruel and unusual punishment rather than saying, hell, the framers liked to draw and quarter, so just go with it). My brains start falling out when I read this stuff. Maybe we shouldn't hope for the JA topic after all. Maybe if we get it we should run a critique...

Friday, July 08, 2005

A novel?

That is the question that the Mite and I were arguing last night. Is the new Eco really a novel? After I finished it I passed it along to him, and now he's finished it, and right there we have some sort of record being set, as it's the first time either of us actually finished any Umberto Eco books aside from the short essay collections. I mean, how many people really did finish NAME OF THE ROSE? 'Fess up, fella. You know you didn't even come close. The difference between you and me (and the Mite) is that we admit our failings; you try to hide them. Feh!

Anyhow, the plot is that our narrator has suffered amnesia. He can remember nothing of his life, but he can remember all the books (and comics and magazines) he's read. So he has to recreate himself, and he does this through rereading. Along the way he paints a picture of WWII Italy that is fascinating, perhaps because it's so new to me. The recreation of his self, however, only comes about through—well, read it and find out for yourself, if you're interested. Do I recommend it? Well, there's where the Mite and I part ways. I do, for the Italian stuff. He doesn't, because he feels the novel ultimately fails as a novel. "I like the fact that the pomo is seamlessly and non-annoyingly a part of it, but it's a book with one character, and one character does not a novel make." Maybe. I might mention it in Caveman, when I get back to it, though. It does have that value.

Speaking of which, I will be starting Caveman (and a summary of MHL going forward, among other things) as soon as my new toy arrives. It still hasn't. I shoulda bought it outright, but oh no, get the employee discount, says I. Bloody cheapskate, says the Mite. Who should know about such things. He has posted a new TWHS episode, by the way (or BLT, as a dyslectic might put it in Craigian terms), for those who wonder if he was able to make it through his weekly permanent depression. The only thing that got him down this week was the thing that got everybody down, the terrorist attacks on London. "The unspeakable affects you in ineffable ways," he says, "if you don't mind the tautology." At which point he does refrains from elucidating what he is incapable of elucidating. Me either. Our London office reported to us by the time I arrived in the office yesterday that my friends over there were caught all over the London map on their various ways to work, only a couple of them actually making it in to Canary Wharf, our London office way the hell east out by Greenwich which looks sort of like a cleaned-up B Begins Gotham. But all were safe and unharmed. We live in a small world now. No matter what happens where, we have people we have to check up on immediately. We were all New Yorkers after 9/11. We were all Londoners after yesterday. We are all world citizens when anything happens to any of us. Not an original thought, but no less a true one.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


I just read an email from O'Cruz. It's a mass mailing to coaches with kids at VB institute urging them to read all about it on the website. Golly geewhillikers, I gotta check that out!

Meanwhile, Craig cannot possibly be seriously asking for the definition of LOL, but just in case my ironyometer is in need of adjustment, I offer the following definitions:
LOL: How drole.
ROTFL: How very drole.
WTF: What's all this, then?
BTW: I would also like to point out the following:
TMI: I really don't think it was appropriate for you to go into that much detail.
DMV: Where debaters get jobs if they flunk out of law school
PCBs: Polychlorinated biphenyls
PCP: The last thing you do before we attend your funeral, you bloody idiot
IMHO: Failed pancake franchise
CIA: Central Bureau of Culinary Intelligence
FBI: Domesticated version of CIA, known for brown shoes and cross-dressers
VMI: Virgin Military Academy
AKA: Wasn't your name different the last time I saw you? (Example: VMI: Virgin Military Academy AKA Regis)
VBD/BVD: Hell in a handbasket and/or fruit in a loombasket
BYO: Warning—cheap bastid throwing a party
BMOC: Someone other than a forensician

I could go on, but by now Craig is thinking to himself, how drole, as he watches the sun set over beautiful SRO...

Monday, July 04, 2005


Anyone who wonders what LOL is all about can now see clearly. No, it's not keeping you informed on your activity. It's not even keeping you informed on the so-called national circuit as if that were the ideal of your activity, the focus of your forensic lusts, la creme de la argumentative creme (of people with enough money to actually participate on the national circuit, that is; ever wonder why it's the same schools year after year after year? Think it's because their kids are so much smarter than anyone else? Their coaches are so much better? Wellllll, if you do believe that, far be it from me to disillusion you). The purpose of LOL is to make a buck, folks. I mean, how glued are you to the arrival of Smchugga Skloopki from Kanushka, fellow forensicians?

Gimme a break.

On another note, do I understand correctly that the core of next year's JV division is now living in JFK a la Tom Hanks in The Terminal? Cool!

Oh, yeah. Friday afternoon I went to Hastings-on-Hudson, to eat at Buffet de la Gare (wonderful, btw). After driving about eleven and a half hours, I passed a sign indicating the entrance to the Masters School. Says I to myself, Self, they've got to be kidding. This place is easily an hour away from Ma Hud. This, I continue to my ever-listening self, is going to be interesting. Craig's probably better off staying at JFK. It's probably closer.

Happy Fourth. Reminder: TJ quotes liberally from Locke in the document we happen to be celebrating. (I'm sure TJ would have quoted liberally from Foucault if he had had the chance -- TJ was a notorious Francophile.) Read into the thing again; as always, it's printed on the back of the Times. And enjoy the coming weeks as we select a new Supe! Your country at its best, sorta. You should be reading up on all those variations of judging styles, especially if good old judicial activism is a Fall topic. Fascinatin' stuff, eh? What else are you going to do all summer? Hang out at JFK?

Friday, July 01, 2005

Mite in the Middle

I've bought myself a new toy. More on this after it arrives. All this waiting is making me, as Herman might say, akimbo.

And this week I got the school district bulletin with pix of Justin and Ben, leading the charge so to speak. Another era ends. To think: I'll never see any of the graduates again (until early next Fall, when I start paying them). Don't forget, all, send me your college emails. Hen Hud Needs YOU! You need MONEY! It's the perfect arrangement. (Bump, btw, is mandatory for all graduates. Period.)

I've heard from the Nostrumite, who tells me he was going to post a new TWHS episode this morning. I assume he did. He almost didn't make it. He is in a state of permanent depression over the decline and fall of the Hollywood empire. "It's the glorious Fourth," he writes, "and I have absolutely no desire to send myself to the poorhouse by going to see a movie. My annual tradition is gone kaput!" War of the Worlds? "Independence Day with scientologists." Mr. and Mrs. Smith? "I'll stick to Hitchcock, thank you very much." Herbie Fully Loaded. "The only way I'd see that is if I were fully loaded myself." He's got a point. There really are few movies anymore that get one to actually go to a movie theater. So what will the Mite do instead? "Odelie and I are planning on renting DVDs of whatever's left in Blockbuster by the time we get there Saturday morning." Great idea. That three-out-at-a-time Netflix thing only goes so far on a holiday weekend. "They'll probably still have Racing Stripes in stock," he predicts.

They probably will. Frankie Muniz fans rejoice!