Friday, July 22, 2011

See you in the funny papers

There's an app for the iPad called Comic Life. I think they used to give it away with Macs back in the day, but now, as I said, there's an iPad version, and last week it was half-price, and, well, there you are. I spent this week giving it a road test. I am happy with it. I wish now to thank O'C for providing enough content to last until, oh, 2032, give or take a month or two. I won't post them every day, but when the spirit moves me, Bronx Funnies it will be.

Other than that, we're closing in on opening the first tournaments of the year, with both Bronx and Yale getting out of the gate on 8/1. O'C is going for the every-screen-in-the-cineplex-Harry-Potter approach, meaning that if you're not signed up by about twenty minutes after midnight, we'll see you in 2012. CP is going for the you-sign-up-for-the-waitlist approach, which I know others, including Bietz, have done. I'm agnostic on approach, to tell you the truth. One thing is certain, though, the rise of the electronic registration has taken a lot of the mystery out of things. Of course, while registrations may close the minute they open, forensicians themselves are not so efficient. Not yet, anyhow. The Sailor Speecho-Americans are all of the maybe-might persuasion, and few have committed to actual events. But they can't just sign up in general... [Sigh.]

Things at the DJ have heated up so much that I've boiled over, which is uncharacteristic for me, as the VCA well knows. I like to maintain a detached, mellow attitude, but lately I've been reduced to an attached stridency. I'll be taking some days off shortly, and that may help. If not, just try to stay out of my way. JUST TRY!

And on the home front, so to speak, I have finally gone to the movies this year. I think this is the first time, but I don't know anybody who's not running out to see HP7.2. What are we all afraid of that we have to see it practically the minute it comes out? Spoilers? Like we don't all know? The only surprise was that Kaiser Soze was actually Snape. To be honest, I couldn't remember all the details from the book or the last movie about what piece of YKW was where, and what that sword was all about, and the chalice or whatever it was at the bank. But it didn't matter, because as one watched the movie, there was stuff our heroes needed and they were trying to get, and that much was clear, and it didn't really matter why. It was nice to see every actor in England assembled for the finale except, as my daughter has pointed out, Alan Cumming, the only living British thespian who wasn't hired for the series.

Over the next week or two I've really got to get Bump organized. A couple of major changes need to be thought through; if you followed TVFT you may know what some of them are. If so, could you please remind me?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A rare Saturday Morning Post

Ah, Saturday. This being a glorious morning, and since I don't have to go to an MHL or something, I cleaned the inside of my car, something I do once every year whether it needs it or not. I uncovered, among other things, schematics from last year's Big Bronx (which O'C will be sorry to hear I threw away), a pint of blueberries, Altoids, an extension cord, thirty-five cents, a Tiger Wood how-to cassette (golf, that is), and a freshman Speecho-American that I had wondered what had ever happened to him. He was none the worse for wear and I let him loose in the woods behind my house.

Meanwhile, the discussion about the names of the events at Big Bronx continues. In the comments someone pointed out that Student Congress is referred to as Legislative Debate. (Thank God they don't use the US Congress as a model, in which case it would be called Stick Your Finger Up Your You-Know-What Debate.) I stand marginally corrected, since O'C, in one of the 836 messages he's already sent about the upcoming tournament, refers to it as Legislative Debate parentheses Congressional Debate. In any case, I can't speak too knowledgeably about the activity no matter what you call it, having only sat in once or twice for a mere few minutes. My general impression was of a lot of people waving fingers and a lot of judges taking naps, but I could be wrong about this.

On top of that, Oral Interpretation Debate will, apparently, be called Prose & Poetry Debate. I've always felt that e.e. cummings would be a great disad against Keats, and God knows that the Walt Whitman kritik is pretty much unbeatable unless the neg pulls a Dickinson RVI out of his hat.

If I'm not mistaken, once upon a time I wrote a piece of humorous intent about O'C naming every round. The humor must not have clicked, because I hear that this year he actually is naming every round. (It's all because of the bloody Emory key.) Maybe I should do that at Bump, except instead of naming the rounds after people, I'll name them after failed Vice Presidential candidates. The Muskie Tutorial. The Palin Malaprop. The Eagleton Shock Treatment. We'll see. Anyhow, Bobby Darin, Stokely Carmichael, Miss Hong Kong 2007, Robert Moog, John Cryer and Herb Stempel all really did attend Bronx Science. Any one of them would make a fine name for a round. Who wouldn't want to win their Bobby Darin round? How could you hold your head high if you lost your Miss Hong Kong 2007 round? I don't envy O'C the challenge of coming up with the right round names.

Of course, I shouldn't joke about Big Bronx. O'C treats this event more solemnly than Pope Benedict treats Catholicism. Last year he put on hired guards to make sure I didn't sneak any jokes into the schematics, like referring to double octos as SexyEskimos or something, which if you ask me makes as much sense as what he calls it. He's a stickler for tradition, but I don't see him using his own LD topic, which is what they used to do in the not so distant past. Not that I recommend that he do so. It would be some damned Star Wars Trek thing that only he understood, or else it would be a resolution named after some really famous Bronx Science person who's done a lot of resolving in their day. We can live without that.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Coming back

This isn’t going to be easy, but one way or the other I’m going to get back into the debate business.

I like to think that July is an absolute month off, given that I have nothing to do with any camps. There just isn’t all that much happening this time of year if you’re not doing campiness, but it’s not exactly debate-free. First of all, there’s Yale. I got a nice note from the hotel, and by the time I responded maybe three days later, they were already down to thin gruel. You’ve got to move fast these days! Registration opens August 1, and I gather that it will be a rolling process under CP’s management rather than a two-minutes-late-and-you’re-shut-out. One wants an equitable signup system, so I can appreciate this. I'll be sending out my last call to the Sailors shortly, but most of them are signed up.

Even Bigger Bronx is also opening registration on 8/1. O’C is already driving himself crazy, I think, which is always an entertaining prospect. This year he’s adding IEs, apparently because he doesn’t get enough agina from debate events. Or maybe he’ll just call them debate events. He’s always scrupulous about refering to Congress as Congressional Debate. Maybe he’ll do the same with IEs. Humorous Interpretation Debate. Oral Interpretation Debate. Original Oratory Debate. Why not? They have funny names for everything else at that tournament, like sexyeskimos and the like. Might as well do the same for IEs.

Meanwhile, the DJ continues to dominate my existence, but I’m happy to report that the Aged P has settled very nicely into a nearby nursing home and is doing quite well. I think she went in thinking that it was something between Mordor and the Russian gulag, but in actuality, it’s just the providing of the necessary personal care and therapy to bring her back to her old self (no pun intended). It’s good to see her happy and on top of things again. The fact that they only serve spinach once a month seems to have sold her on the place.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Live from WTF!

WTF2011: Schmucks of the Day — Jon Cruz and Jim Menick

July 14, 2011

Each day, we profile two students at the Victory Briefs Institute so you, dear reader, can learn about the debaters from across the country who have joined us here at UCLA. However, we’ve run out of debaters (although we have sent LAPD out to look for them), so today we profile instead a couple of coaches.

Name: Jon Cruz
 School: Bronx Scientology (Location unclear)
 Class: Some
 Coaches: Come and go like fireflies
 NFL Degree: Nth

How did you first get involved in debate?

On learning that there was going to be a gap of sixteen years between the classic Star Wars films and the JarJar Binks (aka the most deservedly underrated George Lukas character except for Howard the Duck), I had nothing better to do, so I signed up for forensics at my high school on Long Island.

What is your proudest achievement in debate thus far?

Turning standard debate ziti into “Foods of the World: Mediterranean.”

What are your hobbies beyond debate?
If you have to ask, you don’t want to know.

What are your main goals for WTF?
Making enough money to buy some really ridiculous Star War thing made out of Legos, or some ridiculous Lego thing made out of Michael Jackson.

What is your favorite thing about camp?
Proximity to Disneyland and Star Tours (damn you, Carpocalypse!)

Name: Jim Menick 
School: Montrose Naval Academy (New Yawk) 
Class: Less than ever after this 
Coaches: Not if he can help it NFL Degree: World’s Worst District Chair

How did you first get involved in debate?
I tried to get my daughter to join the chess team, the football team, ROTC, the Daughters of the American Revolution, SPECTRE, the Benedictines—but no, she had to join the debate team.

What is your proudest achievement in debate thus far?
Convincing Jon Cruz that it would be the end of his debate career if he even considered working for Bronx Science.

What are your hobbies beyond debate?
Litotes, hyperbole, sarcasm, alliteration, onomatopeia, mendacity, synecdoche, carminatives.

What are your main goals for WTF?
More fish, fewer ankle bracelets.

What is your favorite thing about camp?

When everybody dresses up like Liza Minelli and—Oh. You don’t mean that kind of camp…

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Off for the Summer?

More or less.

Somebody asked if we'd be doing more TVFTs during the dog days, and I would say probably not. It's not that we take a lot of winding up—we just flip on Skype and you can't shut us up, not no how—but everybody's got other stuff going on at the moment. My new DJ blog has been murder on the free time, such as it was, although I should be able to get everything under control by the beginning of the new season. We are doing a few things in the background like working out the MHL schedule, getting Sailors signed up for the Pups, etc., but little of it is noteworthy. (Remarks that none of what I say is noteworthy are uncalled for!)

So, don't expect much from this quarter for the next month or so. Just go about your business. Nothing to see here! Please move along there.