Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Countdown to semi-finality

Registration closes at nine o'clock tonight. If I only knew how many rooms we have at the grammar school, I could conceivably open a slot or two for LD, but my hardware engineer has abandoned me, and no one else seems to be rising to the occasion. Of course, we don't really need LD. It's just more trouble for everyone.

The housing list will go out tonight at some point. Last night was a novice meeting, and I heard their various tales of woe, but it sounds as if berths are getting notched for the arriving horde. And I do like novice meetings. At this point I know who all of them are, and they know something about debate, and we can actually talk intelligently about things for, oh, 60% of the time, which is pretty good. It's not easy being a novice, being judged primarily by the inept and the inane. If you can survive your first two years of debate, you can survive anything. Varsity debate, say what you will about it, at least allows you to do whatever it is you want to do, and to expect reasonable success based on your efforts (or reasonable failure, if your efforts are true stinkers). Unspellable told me something about an opponent of his running a critique of the word "is." Shades of Bill Clinton! I do hope it was a joke... Anyhow, one thing about novice debate, it does tend to be about the topic. Speaking of which, a new topic should be coming down the pike shortly. Here we go again.

O'C showed me an early version of the sexchange function I was suggesting he put on DOA. I was impressed. Originally it was intended to be called judgesexchange (you can figure out the capitalization), where judges and tournament directors could go to buy and sell souls, but shortening it to sexchange seems to be the way to go. I applaud DOA doing something useful, aside from its primary goal of keeping Smilin' Justin B up at night, fuming. I would have liked to have had the sexchange when starting up Bump. I've got a lively enough pool, but they are SO Hen Hud (YAYYYY!). This is not going to be a tournament to run, say, a K of the word "is," if you get my drift (this is aimed at you, you sniveling kritiker, you!).

Next week is the captain election. Hoo-ha! I gather there has been some campaigning, and that Jeanine Pirro refuses to consider going for the job and that she will stay the course running against Hillary. Which is as it should be. Pirro would not make much of a captain, if you ask me (but damn, she'd be one helluva Hardware Engineer—there'd be no begging for rooms with her around).

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I'm breathing a little today

I seem to have spent the last couple of days in a true Bumpidian fog. Losing the dome was the capper (no pun intended), but I worked out the solution last night pretty satisfactorily. I'll get it organized probably tomorrow night, which is, of course, official registration shut-down. Ha! In fact, I've now created a new mail folder for waitlist requests (after all the waitlist I've already collected). Unless the NY UDL goes out of business between now and tomorrow, I would imagine that we are mostly done. This morning I sent out a few advisories for more info to a few slugabeds; otherwise, we're set. I pushed back the closing date this year to give myself more time to catch a breather. In retrospect, that seems to have been a brilliant idea. I was due for one of those, eh?

There is other stuff going on. I've sorted out the Guertin finals, which will now be our culminating LD tournament, predicated on qualifying a la States (which we will not go to, regardless of when it is). They do allow upperclass judging, it will be hoteled, it should be fun. I'll make some preliminary arrangements after Bump is over. Tomorrow I'll make the Ridge arrangements; so far, only one parent, so one judge + whatever he can fit in the car and cover in the pool. Now we just need them to have splendid weather.

Then there's Princeton. This has been interesting, at least from my perspective. Two debaters marginally signed up on our db, then said they really didn't want to go, then they did, then they didn't. There was more hearsay evidence than the collected works of John Grisham. By the time they finally decided they would go, they were shut out of registration. I think they're still waiting to hear more; God only knows. I wish I had known that they were expecting me to register them. The object lesson here is simple: if it's an optional tournament, don't expect me to sign you up for it unless I've very specifically said I would (and you've very clearly said that you would attend). As a rule, if people go to optional tournaments it's iffy whether I'll be involved, especially when there's flying involved, although obviously nobody's flying down to Princeton. Still, I have no set approach. If you're on the team, make it clear who's doing what and we'll be fine. (To be honest, I don't see not going to Princeton as any great loss, as I have no particular fondness for the event, but that's just personal opinion. I do have personal opinions, if you haven't noticed. But normally I keep them to myself and play well with others. Yeah. Right.)

Speaking of options, I've filled out 2/3 of the forms for Emory (which I *will* register folks for, but the rest is up to them). I still need Emcee's record. I guess he doesn't want it shipped south of the Mason-Dixon line. Some people are still fighting the Civil War, it would appear.

Some day I'll publish a certain pathetic email a certain pathetic ex-HHer sent me to get out of judging a round at Bump so that she could break bread with her long lost father. Apparently he's just back from Iraq, New Orleans, Kashmir and Lexington. It brought a tear to my eye; I didn't know she had a sentimental side. Usually she just tells me what to do and I do it. I was really touched.

Speaking of which, the only two grads I'm unsure of at this point are NoRelation and Jeremy. I'll track them down; I vaguely recall them anecdotally telling me they'd be there. I can't imagine they'd have anything better to do. I mean, what *could* be better?

I did post the (I hope) final Bump job list finally. The first version was a misbegotten pdf, and I don't understand why. I ported the sheet from Excel in Virtual PC to Appleworks and it looked fine, but printing the pdf was half-baked, literally. So I just saved it out as html (I can't create pdfs in my Windows existences) and posted a link. There weren't many changes from the original. The biggest was deciding to change the majors domo to majorettes. A bow to the feminine side, if you will. It's been so long since we even needed a majordomo in LD (Averill used to md himself, so to speak) that it's taken me a while to get into the swing of it.

Monday, November 28, 2005


We can't let anyone in till school is out on Bump Friday. And we don't have the dome, which means everyone will be directed to the cafeteria.

This is a little rough, but shouldn't hurt us too much. I'm going to institute a call-in process Friday morning, where we get any last minute changes by phone. Then, when people arrive, it should be zip zap zug. At least I hope so.

We're pretty much done, at this point, as far as signups. I'm shutting it down till I get final rooms from the grammar school, but we're well over a hundred, and enough is enough. I'll make the update as soon as I save this entry.

I hope that your life is as swell as mine.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

We have policy rooms

35 of them. As always. We've expanded the building quite a bit, spending about a bazillion dollars and fifty cents on it, and apparently managed to add no new space anywhere in it.

Oh, well. At least that reminds me: If Curtis Jackson and Sean Combs ever decide to merge product lines, will the result be called Fiddy Diddy?

I've got half a day at work today, which means on to Harry Potter after I bring back my sad little lunch tray! Then on to Thanksgiving! And on to lots of stuff other than debate (little if any of which you read this blog for, except for you, you spalpeen, but you don't count). Although one day this weekend I will sit down and update Bump, such as it is. We've now got practically every graduate ever coming to judge (or eat) at some point during the weekend! Even Wedro is hanging up his mitt for a while. What a prospect! The housing requests are, I hope, being made. We seem to have enough ballots, mugs and crappy prizes. Everything is under control. Right?

What else is there?

Happy TG!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Adrift in the sea of pre-Bump

There's nothing much to do except curse that I don't have the room lists.


Tonight is the meeting I would have had last week if anyone had shown up. Or was that the week before? Whichever. Lots of general how-to business, that sort of thing.

I have sorted out Big Lex insofar as who's going and who's waitlisted, just about. Then there's Ridge, now that Matt T's dad will chauffeur. That one will require a motel. I'm also still waiting for word on the speech side of Lex; there probably will be speecho-Americans interested in attending. I did get one extra motel room, but I might need two (two buses + Dave?). We'll see. And our Hardware Engineer and Horaceman the superhero without any superpowers are heading down to Princeton, the poor things; you can debate all those Regis at home, I keep telling them. Oh well.

I was surprised to see a new version of TWHS popping up in my RSS reader. I thought the Mite was long gone. Actually, from the looks of things, he *is* long gone, and he's passed the baton completely. I did talk to him at Little Lex (he was there with a few TWHS policy novices). Odelie is doing fine, thanks for asking, and he's wondering why pregnancies have to last nine months when you're perfectly ready for the event after three or so. Why the extra six months of torture? I told him to think of them as the last six months of peace. He'll learn. Oh yes, he'll learn.

Monday, November 21, 2005

A day of rest

Sunday I got up, ate, bought a Christmas tree and a Thanksgiving turkey, then took a nap. Then I woke up again, ate, watched a movie, and went to bed. The perfect day!

Little Lexington is now history. Scarsdale joined us for the trip—all 487 of their novices—and aside from the fact that a few of them had jackintheboxitis and couldn't stay seated, I was gald to have them. It made for a bigger, tougher field (decidedly so, since they virtually swept their division). But we held our own in Pffft, with Hush and McLean proving once and for all that they're in the wrong activity, and Nicole in Open LD proving once and for all that she is in the right activity.

The high point for me, of course, was meeting the actor Claire hired to portray Phantom. This is the furthest she has gone to perpetrate the fiction that this guy exists. Whoever this actor was, though, I have to admit I liked him, even if he did drink like a fish, dress like a Hell's Angel and claimed to spend all his time watching Kung Fu movies. I also got Claire to attempt to explain what she does as a computist, thus learning that I have absolutely no idea what Claire does as a computist, or will do as a computist when she goes out to face the real world. Hell, I can't get my home wireless network to work. What do I know about SML? Give me an English major any day. How about that Moby Dick, eh?

Once again the "new" TRPC program performed beyond expectation. Unfortunately. Lynne was loaned a PC from the MFL (pronounced Muffle), which had downloaded the data from their registration site into the very utmost latest and greatest. And this was fun. Not once, not twice, but three times, teams from the same school had the same name, not only the one on the schematic that everyone can see, but also the one the program uses for i.d. in the tab room. Holy Hannah! And of course, there was one pair of geniuses that didn't bother asking the tab room which they were, so they went to the wrong round. There were other issues, too, but this was the most grievous, and together they cost us about a half hour of deep confusion. On the other hand the new version will accommodate Pffft with its shifting sides on the fly, so I say, if you must tab Pffft, use the new version and do the rest in the old version. Like the Johnny Appleseed that I am, I left a copy of the Benevolent TRPC behind on the desktop for Muffle, if they wish to come to their senses. How anyone ever uses the new version more than once, by choice, is beyond me. Then again, I am inspired to begin working on that brochure to sell that bridge down there in Brooklyn. Muffle will be my first client.

Tomorrow night, a tutti meeting to go over everything I would have gone over last week if anyone had shown up. Arrrghh! And with any luck, will have room lists (or I'm throwing my Hardware Engineer over to the wrestling team).

There's a few more Bump folk to enter on my list. I would have done it yesterday, but we're not quite at the LD limit yet, and I prefered sleeping. Some yabbo complained that our judges were too "lay." This would come as quite a shock to the assembled troops, if you ask me, considering that as far as I can tell, about the only people on the list who didn't compete at TOCs are the coaches of the people who competed at TOCs. Plus we give 'em 5 strikes (which they can use on the couple of judges who got TOC bids but didn't go). One less yabbo, I guess.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


I've posted this on my website, and sent it along with the team dues. I've also sent it to a handful of NYS folk.

An open letter to the NYSFL

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bump judges

Lots of signer-uppers among the alums, and O'C sent me a long list of independents that I'll try to snag. Which brings up the issue of the alumni dinner after Bump. There's been confusion about this in the past. Here's how it works. The alumni dinner is for present and future Forensic Team alumni. Present alumni get a free meal, even if they were too lah-di-dah to actually judge at the tournament (they grow up, they get old, they turn their back on childish pursuits, the ungrateful $%^&*%@s!). Future alumni are encouraged to come as well, except, of course, they have to pay their own freight. In other words, it is not for graduates only, but I do get a kick out of having them there. We'll probably be a bit later this year, what with the extra round, and I'm thinking we'll have to head down to Croton somewhere, depending on the time; I really don't feel the Beach Chinese is up to the class of establishment we're looking for at this grand feast. New Mexican? Umami? Justin Thyme? Whatever Replaced Elmer Sudds? Something along those lines. New Mexican sounds damned likely to me; I just hope they have a gringo menu for you know who.

Last night was the giving out of the assignments. I took a few people by surprise, I'm happy to say. There was oohing and aahing, for instance, in my choice of Policy Site Manager Slash Runner Wrangler. And my LD Major Domo is expected to be eaten alive and spit out in record time by the tabroom team. Maybe. I managed to inadvertently omit Debateismylife from the list, a serious oversight on my part as he's been doing a lot for the team this year. I will rectify that shortly. We also got the team list pretty much updated except for some speecho-American schlub who insisted that he should run the shindig then ran off when I asked for his details. So much for running the shindig.

I've reserved rooms for Big Lex, and put in for the bus. I still need to reserve for TOCs; I just have to remember to do it when I'm not wasting time typing this stupid blog. I think I'll stick with the Days Inn. It's right down the road and it just seems more...sedate, if you know what I mean.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bump Prep

Or, The Bump Preparatory School for Young Meatheads...

Last night, while the tatties were roasting, I mapped out the team assignment plan for Bump. Another job well done, if I do say so myself. There's one or two loose ends, but everyone seems to be matched to the right thing, at least as far as I can tell. And with umpty-ump freshmen this year, there will be no problem finding runners (at least, there better not be any problem finding runners). Emily J says I get grumpy during Bump. Short of temper. I say, au contraire. I say Bah! to her. Ah-ha! to her. I am like the sun on a spring morning for at least a good five minutes of the weekend. Really. You just have to catch me at the right five minutes.

Entries are still coming in at the usual clip. We're somewhere either around 60 or 80; I forget, to tell you the truth. I have had to send a few people packing (no adult chaperones), but most people are following the procedure. I do need to sell a bunch of judges, and last night I solicited the usual suspects, who I expect will attend in the proverbial droves, if for no other reason than to find out if Noah can find them any jobs in the porn business.

Big Lex is marginally set, now that Twin M's dad has risen to the occasion. Matt is right; the team should fall at his feet. Or at least at his father's feet. I'm going to reserve the rooms when I finish typing this. I still question whether *everyone* will be able to go; we are awfully large, and far be it from me to expect people to give us a special deal when I don't give anyone any special deals at Bump. Business is business, on both ends of the equation. Too many people from one school lowers a tournament's value, regardless of what school it is. Ever wonder why Glenbrooks and Emory limit numbers? They're inntrinsically elite by virtue of their selection process AND by virtue of their selection limits.

Of course, I mainain that if no schools were ever allowed to venture more than 100 miles from home, debate would be a better place.

I've also started the ball rolling for the team elections. I do believe that aligning captaincy with the calendar year is a good idea because it allows for senioritis. Last year, of course, I simply appointed our captains because it seemed pointless to go through an exercise that would take up a lot of time so that the exact same two people would end up as captains. This year, the field is large and woolly, and is rumored to include Harriet Miers.

You know, if you think about it, this is just about the expiration date for Harriet Miers jokes. On to Slammin' Sammy jokes, I guess. You've got to love a judge who believes that men rule the home roost. (Is he married, does anybody know?)

This is a busy week, over all. Tonight, Bump meeting. Tomorrow, dinner with an old friend. Thursday, the War of the Roses. Friday, Little Lex. Such a busy social calendar. The big question is, will I find time to burn the disk with the Brazilian music I promised Burgers? The crowd quivers in antici-


Monday, November 14, 2005

Newburgh Faux Academy

As I kept saying to Kaz, we could have been in Newburgh Saturday, and all this would have been hers.

In fact, it came off swimmingly. The first thing I heard when I arrived was that there was a flood in the chorus room (sewage, no less), but it wasn't one of our promised rooms, we didn't cause the flood, and help was on the way. This reminded me of the Bump that started with a water main break that had shut down all the water to the school, and they were threatening to send everyone home because they couldn't flush the toilets. My explaining that debaters never flush the toilets anyhow wasn't really seen as a reason to go on, but fortunately the main was fixed, the water flowed, and, although I wouldn't swear to this, the toilets were flushed during the ensuing event.

Mrs. DIML, Mere d'Ewok and Nicole's Mom (a pitiful excuse for a nickname—sorry) were there b & e to get the judge's lounge stocked and to handle the food. I threw some money at them and pretty much never saw them again except to get more money back at the end of the day than I had originally thrown. We actually made almost $300 selling candy, water and pizza. I was rather impressed, because I had really expected to lose money, just because I'm a glum sort of guy. But the MOD Squad (Mothers of Debaters) pulled it off. Sweet.

There were a few arrival hoops to be jumped through, what with a number of folks showing up via Metro North, but everything started when it had oughta. The strangest thing was when I made the announcement of our new rule that having your cell phone go off during a round was an automatic forfeit. You'd think I'd announced that the losers of every debate would be sterilized on the spot to prevent them from ever reproducing other bad debaters. No cell phones during the round? OMG, like, I mean, that is so not happening! Wait till next time when I tell them they can't watch Desperate Housewives rerurns on their video iPods. Am I cruel or what?

The goal was to conduct 4 rounds, with actual power-pairing on 3 and 4. And it happened. My outside goal was a 6:00 award ceremony, and if the copy machine had been faster (I was using my Dell all-in-one) we would have made it. That's quite an accomplishment, not for me but for the teams involved. Everyone hustled to make it happen, and happen it did. That makes for a much better tournament no matter how you slice it. We managed to pull off three PF rounds (a first for the league), in rather bizarre conditions over at the Dome. HoraceMan, the superhero without any superpowers, and Robbie the Hardware Engineer managed to win and go undefeated in the event, while pulling down pretty much the worse speaks of the day. The idea that this is a speaking and not a debating activity didn't necessarily get across (which, of course, is the bane of the activity's existence in the first place). If you bring debating skills to it as compared to oratorical skills, it's going to be more like a debate round than a speech round, simple as that. The Fresh Pfffs of Hen Hud will try again at Little Lex; I expect their success to be slightly attenuated when they meet teams that have actually done this before.

As for debate, our guys did fine, and Alex went undefeated for a third place. The main event was dinner afterwards, which was an education. Or more to the point, will lead to an education. I am reminded of the bleak old days, when the group presently about to graduate college first dined out with me. That was when I was forced to realign my educational goals from helping students learn how to debate to making it so that I wouldn't mind being seen in public with these people. (And if you doubt me, think spoons on noses at NFA.) And—OMG, like, I mean, that is so not happening!—I've got to eat with them twice this coming weekend. Note to self: Add ettiquette lesson to the cur for tomorrow night.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Elliptical? Moi?

It has been suggested that I was beating around the bush yesterday. Well, I didn't want to come right out and say that it is a team tradition for the novices to get tattooed at Little Lex, because there is liability involved, but there you are. Lexington is, if you've never been there, the park where all the Massachusetts trailers end up. Strip joints, pool halls, gun shops—good old Lex-Ink-Ton fits right into the tawdry downtown street scene. It has been ever thus. Why do you think Paul Revere was in such a hurry to get there? Why do you think the British wanted to shut it down? King George, a notorious bluenose, thought of the city as proof positive that the colonies couldn't be entrusted with self rule. "The Americans want nothing but a musket, a tumbler of ale and a lap dance," he was famously quoted as saying in March of 1775. On this idea began the Revolutionary War. Years later the familiar phrase "Banned in Boston" always had that hidden codicil, "But Legal In Lexington." Less than half an hour away from the center of New England puritan prudery, it still proudly flies its flag of libertarianism: the bluest city in the bluest state, their town slogan today is, "We didn't vote for Teddy until AFTER Chappaquiddick."

Anyhow, some kids find their first debate tattoos a bit of an ordeal, but most of them quickly get into the flow and it's "The Illustrated Man" in teenaged spades. They start out as timid young adolescents and three years later emerge as virtual Queequeegs! It's a proud, honored Hen Hud tradition, begun, of course, by the original Grabbo. On his back is the Battle of Waterloo, beside it the wreck of the Hesperus too, and proudly above waves the red, white, and blue... You can learn a lot from Grabowitz!

La la la. La la la.

Okay, enough of that. I haven't gone off the deep end. I'm just staring at the abyss and hoping not to slip. Why I took on another tournament is beyond me. Kurt won't be able to get the trophies up here, so I'll have to figure out something, probably ripping the tags off the Pffft trophies and hoping no one notices. We're still packing them into the Library; I'm thinking of tabbing in the judges' lounge, next to the Box o' Joe from Dunkin' Donuts. McRotty just lost his bus; he likes to leave messages on my cell phone, which I've really got to start keeping on a little more regularly. Someone who will remain nameless is sending the Slowest Judge in the East when I'm trying to get through 4 rounds before 6:00. I'm beginning to wish I had decided instead to visit the vaguely romantic sounding Coyne-Jewett-by-the-Sea instead of running my own shebang. "By the sea, Mr. Todd..."

I'm feeling very musical today, for some reason. Sleep deprivation, I guess.

Jared seems to have gotten a job at a literary agency. Hoo-ha! Welcome to the world of publishing, where the days are long, the paychecks are small, but you get to meet famous writers who like nothing better than talking about themselves. There's one on the bestseller list today, known familiarly to his editor as That $%#^&ing *&^%$#. Ohhhhhh, the stories I could tell; ohhhhh, the stories Jared soon could tell. The hardest thing is finding a place to live in the City or thereabouts. It's never been cheap, but compared to when I did it in the 70s, it seems to be ten times worse now. Speaking of which, I'm listening to an audiobook I strongly recommend, Pete Hamill on downtown Manhattan. I think it's time for a list of audio links on the right there. Why not? If you did everything I told you to do (with the exception of you, you interloping spalpeen) you'd be a lot smarter, and, of course, I'd be a lot funnier.

Lordy lordy lordy, I do entertain myself, at least.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Mass tats

Last night Joe V asked for space for 14 of his little darlins going to Sma Lex (I'd already offered them a lift). So, it's a tight fit. We'll deal with it. Scarsdale has been berry berry good to us in the past, and we can only return the favor. The real issue was the coordination of the tats. As you know, the trip to Sma Lex is the great initiation, where the novices get their first tattoos at the Lex-Ink-Ton Parlor, and all those kids getting inked at the same time... Well, Big Mo is going to be up to his eyeballs in Aff Dragons and "I Do De K" slogans. But he and his needlers can handle it. Look at Emcee and Hush: they're classics, all thanks to Mo. Of course, they haven't worn short sleeves since 2002, and Hush is the only soccer player on the team to play in Dr. Dentons, but if you can get them at a weak moment, you'll see what I mean. The two of them are considered museum-worthy in six states, thirty-two biker bars and, of course, France. I'm recommending the obvious legume for young Cacahuete. Imagine: his first p-tat! At least I think it's his first.

Noah's comment to the previous entry speaks for itself. My initial reaction was to turn my back on his sort of post-California riffraff (Schwarzenegger wins one little election and Noah runs off to Israel to become a pornographer—is there no gumption in the man?), but considering that it will keep him off the streets, and I don't recall him asking for any money, it might be a good idea. The whole We Are the Horace Men, the Horace Men, the Horace Men issue is a burning one, and Noah could solve it. Plus he'll be a good influence on the activity, a traditionalist in the best sense, since he actually believes in arguing the resolution (what a paradigm!). And best of all, it might give my daughter a Spades partner at Bump, provided she gets back in time from NZ.

Speaking of which, last night, while waiting for Kurt to show up with the MHL trophies (but he didn't because it was way too dark and stormy a night), I updated everything I have on Bump, just about. I think I've missed a few LD entries, but mostly I entered them in the db. (I don't enter them into TRPC till they're official.) Looking good so far. Actually, this is the moment when I think to myself, maybe nobody's going to come after all. But we've got some Florida and Texas (Hockaday and some others I don't know), and some goober (sorry, P) from Maryland, and with any luck we might even get some entrants from, I don't know, the New York region. We did fill up last year, after all, and I turned people away. I gave Ewok the list of the Frank G rooms to go over there with Little Red and engineer us up some hardware. Little Red, btw, hasn't proven to be exactly at the pinnacle of HE; the lack of last Monday's room is a good indication of that. He who fails at Hardware Engineering fails at, oh, I don't know, something. HE is good preparation for life, I always think. Look at the Ink Brothers: they were HEs once. Look at Ewok! The Olive! Some other people whose names I've forgotten! All great hardware engineers whose names will live forever, except for the ones I've forgotten.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

As peaceful as some really peaceful thing

I do feel peaceful. Really. All right, I did wake up screaming in the middle of last night because I haven't hired any Bump judges yet, but I'll remedy that this weekend. Mini-B is all sewn up and I'm not even fretting about it anymore. Not in the least. Really.

The next big issue, absent Bump, will be Lexo Grande. We've already got waaaaaay too many people, and waitlists are nice, but at a popular tournament like this, they're unlikely to result in attendance. Of course, if anyone on my team actually groks to the fact that bringing a parent judge is not only required for the team as a whole because of transportation, but a guarantee of a slot for said debater... But that would require deductive skills far beyond those of mere mortal Henhudians.

Whatever happened to Machiavelli, anyhow? Jeesh!

I marked up the team schedule with a number of "no-bus" messages. Harvard, of course, and Columbia (take the train, bub), plus States, too. As for that one, first of all, only Speechies will want to go, and not that many of them, and they'll need parents if there were to be a ton of entries, so there you are. Debate will handle its share of the load too. I'm thinking the Fridays of Ridge and Newark especially, and maybe Scarsdale as a whole. The busfolk made it sound like this would be an issue at least for a couple of years. On the bright side, aside from having to drive, with whatever burden that may pose, going by car is always faster and, at least in the front seat, more comfy. And we rotate front seats, so there's happy butts everywhere you look!

Kurt is trying to get the trophies to us for Saturday. We were missing various and sundry when we checked them at Monti, and it would be nice to have a full set for Mini-B. He went to Trophy Guy and picked up the full set for the next event (which would have been, I guess, 12/3, now cancelled). All he has to do is get them here, no mean feat since he's in Newark without a car. He's working on it. When he called I was at the bank finally depositing the MHL checks. And the latest check from Amazon for the team fund. I still have to find out what was in the team fund from last year; when I tried to connect with MF, I still had a blog listing in my Yahoo signature, and her AOL account simply sneered at my audacity and moved on. At the time, I didn't yet know why AOL didn't love me anymore. The bastids!

And I'm adding a new recommended book to the list to the right. Actually, think of it as a recommended author; Johnson rules, if you like opinionated, readable history. The last thing I read last night was how the Roman Empire was founded on its use of concrete. I love stuff like that. Or consider the ancient Greek considered to be the best painter of his day (no Greek paintings as such survive): he painted an equine portrait that was judged the most realistic ever painted, and the panel of judges consisted entirely of horses. Gotta love those Greeks!

Then again, in LD, we've occasionlly had to debate in front of panels consisting entirely of horses, so maybe it's not that big a deal.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Sanity returns

So last night I sorted out everything that needed to be sorted out about Mini-Bump. What a mess. People registering for the wrong tournament, coming, not coming, yadda yadda to the yaddith degree. In the final analysis, it looks like we have just enough room, although we still will use a couple of spaces in the library. We're down to two PF schools with 3 teams each, plus maybe the Elderfroshen. A little RR, so to speak. Plenty of policy; in fact, policy is Katie bar the door. LD is a good novice pool and an elite open pool. This morning I imagined what everyone on the team ought to do who has signed up for work and put that info on the db. All that's left is communicating with the parent volunteers.

Mega-Bump, on the other hand, continues apace. With Policy shut down, I'm looking at LD starting to fill up. I haven't done a count recently, but I know we're not at the edge yet. Sunday I'll sort that out. This is the earliest we've ever shut down any division; I don't know if I mentioned it, but next year I'm setting a 5-team policy limit. I would prefer more schools to larger numbers of fewer schools. Some people with big teams may not like this, but it seems to make sense to me. Anyhow, I'm hoping the school frees up a couple more rooms than last year so I can reopen and take a few scragglers. I can dream, can't I?

Saturday was the rather thin-on-the-ground Monti MHL. Way too many of the usual suspects were not in attendance. I wonder how people are expecting to have varsity next year if they don't have novices this year. Maybe it's a Star Trek thing. "Computer: coffee. Black. With two sugars." You'll order up a couple of replicant debaters. "Computer: policians. Indian. With 5 tubs." Next MHL is on the holodeck!

(Actually, the next MHL won't happen. The 12/3 one, that is. Most policians are heading up to Weston. And without a venue anyhow, we're at sea. We'll survive, though. At least HH will. After all, we've had Monti, Mini and Little Lex, plus the CFL. That's plenty of debatin' for those of the newbie persuasion. I'll send out a notice shortly. And I realized yesterday that Jeff is now States-qual'd. Not that we're going to States, but that means he'll move up next opportunity, which might be this weekend, depending on the size of the Open field.)

I met this morning with the bus folk (not to be confused with the busfolk, a race Tolkien had originally envisioned in the place of the hobbits, until he came to his senses one cold, English morning while waiting for the M10 to arrive). We need to cut back. So I did. I'll put through an announcement of what and how to the entire team, but a handful of tournaments will not have bus transportation. This should not be a terrible tragedy, and it will protect our budget for when we DO need buses. Cars will be the vehicles of choice. (If I'm driving, be prepared for Coachean entertainment of the first order).

Meanwhile, O'C claims he is going to get his blog going again. Much like, I would guess, the South will rise again. He wishes to write a diary of debate coach life. Who would want to read something like that?

Last night we had the most sparsely attended meeting since the year I imagined that high school people were too old to participate in Halloween. Yeah, right. Plugged-In is my middle name. Last night I guess everyone was doing last minute campaigning. Too bad. We had a pretty neat cut into the concept of JA, and also into the idea that you actually have to do research and know what you're talking about if you have any intentions of winning your rounds. It all started with the Cacahuete case; we are a strange group, no doubt about it. Next week is the Bump meeting with entertainment from Harrison and Charlie. But I need to get at the novices again.

I'll think of something.

Monday, November 07, 2005

News you can live by

Bump policy is now waitlist only. Ain't that a kick in the pants.

Meanwhile, a couple of policy teams dropped in MiniBump. I'm giving those slots over today to waitlisted LDers. I should be able to open a couple of those tomorrow, after I look things over tonight after the meeting. I brought Little Elvis to work, but the Tab files are on my PC. Rats!

I'll catch you up on other stuff tomorrow.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Which one?


And why the sea is boiling hot

And whether pigs have wings... (Don't ask.)

Last night was hell. Mini-Bump is to Bump as a bris is to a pat on the back. We are so oversubscribed that I had to drop people already entered, close policy, and sit in the chez dungeon banging my head against the newly painted wall wishing I could just listen to bossa nova records. I sent out an email to almost everyone I should have explaining the situation. In my inbox today are all their responses, plus messages from people I should have included but didn't. I can't bring myself to open any of them.

Is it vacation time yet?

And speaking of inertia, in the midst of all this, I heard from the Nostrumite, who tells me that he has shut down the TWHS site for a while. He is in a state of permanent depression over the team's inability to communicate any better than he had been communicating for them. Plus, he's up to his own neck in forensicia and incomprehensible novvies, not to mention the inescapable growth of Mini-Mite. "You can feel the baby kicking," he tells me. It won't be long before he and Odelie are up to their eyeballs in diapers, although I wouldn't put it past the lad to try out this newfangled train-em-the-first-week approach that's all the rage these days. Apparently babies prefer not to poop in their diapers; this is something that children and parents can agree on at a much earlier stage of life than originally believed, at least in the scrutable West. It may also be the last thing children and their parents ever agree on, but that's another thing altogether.

Tonight, for a change, poker! It's been a while since my group has gotten together because Shadowman Junior won't come unless the Fifteenth Beatle is there, and everyone else has been jumbled up for one reason or another, and poker with fewer than six is like, oh, I don't know, some kind of brisian metaphor—you do the work here for once. We're playing at Burgers' house, which is nice for me because it's right around the corner. Burgers, by the way, says that I can probably move my blog to without too much sturm und drang, and I probably will give it a shot after Bump. I did update this, anyhow. I'm not thrilled with it, but it's a start. That damned Photoshop is just not my kind of program:

Thursday, November 03, 2005


We got 27 rooms for Mini-Bump. Plus the library. So, we'll commit Regiscide. We'll turn the library into a bunch of rooms. Will they be perfect? No. Will people be able to debate? Yep. It's the best we can do, given the numbers I'm expecting, which is about 40 policians and 40 LDers. We also have the dome, but I don't think we can make anything out of that (but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

Noah chimed in with more JA analysis, which I've passed along to the team. Like everyone else whose been waiting since forever, this is the topic to die for. Too bad is not much of a topic to debate, and that we won't be debating it much at the varsity level. Our future is in the hands of our novices. AAAIIIEEEEEE!

The answer to the goober issue is, they're like Kryptonite. If you put them in a lead box, Peanuts won't be affected by them. But the closer he gets to them when they're not behind lead, the worse the effect. Then, as with Kryptonite, there's red peanuts. And yellow peanuts. (And this does raise the question, wouldn't Goober be a better nickname than Peanuts? I'll have to try that one out. And, as far as I know, the newbies still aren't reading this.)

Digression: You, of course, know the difference between raising and begging a question. I thank my lucky stars every day that there is a you who does. (This, of course, excludes the you who is you-know-who, whose existence begs every question I've ever pondered.) I only point this out because you can't swing a cat around here without some marketing person begging the question that he or she should be raising. That's why there's editors in the world, I guess. I always cringe when a typo makes it through these entries, which I don't really edit overmuch. In order for something to be read with pleasure, it must be written with clarity. If I am unclear, you are not happy.

Then again, as McG always says, If you were smarter, I'd be funnier.

Last night we had a chez meeting to figure out Pffft. At least our Cocap Tains had done it at Districts, so they had some experience. 4 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute. And it's not debate. You must get to the core of the rez and stand on one side or another. With the toss, probably best to pick your favorite side if you win, despite the Machiavellian turn the NFL instructions give to toss analysis. If you lose, well, we didn't settle on anything there, I don't think, but it seems to make sense to go first. If your opponents chose their favorite position, your going first gives you an offensive advantage of at least presenting the first arguments. Right? We'll see. We'll be Pffffting at Little Lex (for which I have now registered, although I'll keep the db live a little longer). Ahhhh, Little Lex. The rooms are rented at the Battle Green Inn (which gets its name from the fact that you have to battle your way through the green slime to get into the place), the bus is warming up, the cards are being shuffled, they're throwing the day-old sushi onto the buffet table. Highight weekend of the year, eh?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Hen Hud, the TechnoTeam

Let's start with this:

I sort of like it. Very Caveman. I threw it together yesterday in the ongoing revision of the team website. I'm using the template of the Hen Hud Forensics site, which was originally a borrow from A&L (and you can see the similarities if you stare at it long enough). I'm trying to get that unifed look, if you know what I mean. IdratherdiethanjudgeatBump had volunteered to help me out, but he disappeared when I told him what I really wanted was to move the blog to the new site. Can't say as I blame him, to tell you the truth.

Last night's meeting was all novices, plus the usual officer representation, plus the odd bodkin thrown in because I guess there was nothing good on television. The novs, it appears, not only remain blissfully unaware of this blog, but they're not even aware of the site. Techno in spades, I guess. It's not as if it's printed at the bottom of every email I send them—Oh, wait a minute. Hmmmmm. If they're not looking at the team info, I can't imagine what they're doing on their computers. I don't think I want to know.

Both Newguy and Newnewguy were there last night, but they both seem pretty insistent on not debating and, if at all possible, not coming to any more meetings. Our content last night was basic philosophy again. There was plenty of griping early on that Mr. T was teaching them imaginary numbers, and then I had to break their little hearts by explaining that all this SC stuff was merely metaphoric. Imaginary ethics. Imaginary ontology? We gave them a pretty straightforward approach to Nov-Dec, too (I doubt if any of them will really grok the Nino article I sent them, although it is a Neg in a Nutshell).

And speaking of nutshells, you gotta love Bush and Alito! I'm actually willing to go on record that Slammin' Sammy is going down. (Maybe I say this because, if he gets in, we'll be living with Bush Bushwa for, oh, the next 50-60 years or so, that being how the law works around here. If you're at all interested in due process, gay rights, women's rights or any of that useless rights nonsense, Slammin' Sammy is probably not the guy for you, bub.)

Random: Tonight we're having a small Pfffft chez. Next week we'll have a tutti on Monday on strategy and tactics. Tuesday I have to meet with the transportation czars of HH, no doubt to figure out a way to conserve diesel fuel. I continue to bang on doors trying to get a site for the 12/3 MHL. I wish I could get the room list for 11/12. If I can get enough parents, Mini-B will have Pfffters. I'm still waiting for the checks from the MHL bank account. Only one NFL district person seems to be interested in the new double-entry rule. I'm signing up for Little Lex today, and beginning to worry about Big Lex. The speech team's updated team list was, uh, unique, and remains in their hands. The Duo demo will be on 11/15 after the tutti grande Bump prep meeting. I've added a new podcast ref to the right, there. My earbud lanyard finally arrived. I need to update Grandpod and get rid of all those Track 1 through 10s by "Artist." When in the name of all that is holy will I actually read the complete New Yorker set on disk that I just bought? Calatrava's Turning Torso is giving me nightmares; I have GOT to get to the Met (and I thought that just seeing the Fra As would be satisfactory). My entire team is obsessed with learning how much exposure to peanuts is necessary for Peanuts, the team member, to roll up in a ball and die. No one seemed to know that Caveman was finally finished. And, as you can tell, it's not even lunchtime yet.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Life-changing events

Today I changed the theme on my Yahoo home page from Halloween to Thanksgiving. Talk about momentous! I also just wrote Burgers to tell him I've got my copy of RCT3 for the Mac pre-ordered. Little Elvis has been remarkably game-free till now, aside from poker. It's time to move on. I had also been considering the new Civ; Civ and RCT are the only two games I've ever really allowed to take over my life. Or maybe they're the only games that ever could take over my life. I chose RCT because I think that at the moment I've been Civ-ed out, but I've still got a few coasters left in me. We'll see.

Yesterday morning I met with one of the new APs and explained the ins and outs of Bump and Mini-Bump. She was very nice about the whole thing. One worries sometimes that the school is secretly out to get you, but in the event, we've never really had anything but the most solid support for forensics at Hen Hud. We are so much luckier than a lot of other schools, especially considering that I'm not even there to keep the machinery oiled. Then again, maybe it's better that I'm not there. The more of my oil, the less well things might work.

I haven't seen our results yet from the Home of the Albino Bagel. I did hear from CLG who—surprise—agreed with me on what the topic ought to be about. It wasn't even a bad topic, all things considered. Too bad most people are more interested in winning debate rounds with dumb positions than actually debating a resolution. Averill & Co. did do the LDEP bit to some extent, including, apparently, the much maligned (by me to the LDEP folks) point system that is supposed to average out at 25. This, to me, is such a leap past present practices as to be incomprehensible, especially since I don't see any particular gain from it. Points are the least problematic of the issues facing LD today. Top speakers at tournaments are almost always objectively the top speakers, so why would it matter what numerical device got them there? More problematic would be the assigning of rounds to random rather than rated judges (although it's unclear to me if Tim actually did this). While I certainly support intelligent lay judging in LD, I also believe that if one is running a competition, one needs to address the needs of that competition. If the first 2 rounds are random, everyone has plenty of opportunity to win over less experienced judges. Ditto if you're above or below the bubble. But at the bubble, and keeping in mind that one is playing up the whole TOC qual business, you sort of have to play the game. Hell, I'm even offering strikes this year at Bump. While I think that Mutual Judge Preference is probably antithetical to the ends of LD, I nonetheless don't think it's all that terrible, and I'm frankly not really convinced one way or another about it yet. I've heard good arguments in favor and good arguments against. Not that it matters much, I think, at a tournament like Bump, because it probably simply wouldn't work. It barely works at TOCs, after all.

Of course, I do know that HoraceMan, the superhero without any superpowers, did manage to pull down another qual. This is his third, plus he broke at Bronx. If he keeps this up, I may start to believe that it's not a fluke.

I gather that things were pretty quiet on the Lakeland front. Having two bid tournaments in the same region at the same time did seem to lower attendance at both. Which was predicted by one and all. Obviously there will be much rustling of calendar pages between now and next season. (And for HH, Nov-Dec looks so bleak, at least this year, without NFA.)

An MHL update went out yesterday, reminding the troops of Monti and Mini. I've got a feeling Mini will be oversubscribed; UDL is talking about sending 27 teams (where did they get that weird number, anyhow?). There's just so much space in the old Hud... Not that anyone concerned reads this blog other than the O'C and that piker who just wants to make trouble, but if you are of the concerned persuasion and you're thinking of waiting to the last minute, don't. We're going to have a lot of policy, at least. Obviously, the NFA gap affects everyone.