Friday, September 28, 2012

Riding off into the weekend

We've talked about Landmark Entertainment before. They're the folks who wanted to build the Starship Enterprise in downtown Las Vegas. (Damn, but that was a good idea.)

This piece is a collection of concept art for some other projects that never got built, drawn by former Imagineers. The Monopoly park is just one of them; maybe this one never got built because a lot of visitors weren't able to throw doubles to get out of jail.

Check out the rest of it (and it's all gorgeous) at When WDI Legendary Imagineers Designed Landmark Entertainment Projects

Spike Lee's first big break

From Media Bistro:

More articles we didn't finish reading

These headlines are all real, directly copied from our RSS feed without editing. When we say we didn't read them, we mean it. They didn't exactly pull us in, for some reason...

  • Mitt Romney: Richer Than You Think
  • Finger found inside trout traced to owner
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Tights
  • Filling your forehead with saline solution is the grossest way to cosplay as a Klingon
  • America’s Most Successful Bank is a 40 Person Operation in Queens

More links with little comment: SFF art, "Ed Wood", Mad Ave 70s, design 40s, Bond music

More good stuff that speaks for itself:

  • A Visual History of the Best Professional Artist Hugo Award Winners: Luscious stuff.
  • Ed Wood is Burton's best film? Well, yeah. This essay might convince you, too, if you need convincing. (What were you thinking? Mars Attacks? Ed Wood (1994)
  • These look more 60s to me than 70s, but Madison Avenue usually took a little time to catch up with the real world, at which point they spit it out in their imitative fashion and the originators made sure they had moved on completely. Anyhow, interesting snapshot of a time and style. Bedding Ads, 1970s
  • On a similar (but different looking note) graphic design in 1942. Quite intriguing. Selling Design in 1942
  • After 50 years of Bond, we need to look at all the theme songs, regardless of whether they were covered by GNR. The James Bond Theme Song Dossier

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Debate: This and that

Princeton is beginning to simmer. There's a template up on tabroom, copied from last year, and the Tiggers are playing with it and drafting an invite. Looking to a 10/15 opening. Last year we opened registration in the middle of Big Bronx, to the annoyance of many and sundry. This year we successfully got O'C to move his little tournament away from our registration date. The noive of these people!

I'll definitely be tabbing Monticello. As I've said before, I think this is a great opportunity for younger debaters to get some rounds in at an invitational without having their heads handed to them. And the judge food is excellent, although I don't guarantee that we will once again see the Official Meatloaf of the MHL. I'm hoping, though.

The MHLW registration has picked up as we head into the event. Even I have a couple of people, a Pfffter and a Plebe LDer. I think Jake is coming along just so that my novice won't have to suffer through driving down with me solo and having to listen to the Baroque Hoedown over and over all by herself.

On the technical brilliance front, I turned on my television Monday to discover what I had suspected a week earlier, that I wasn't getting reception, or more to the point, getting only some channels. I had only sort of noticed it earlier when I was flipping around trying to watch a DVD; it's not like I really watch TV that's actually on. I dread getting old (okay, older). In the Aged P's nursing home, TVs are everywhere and always on, and everyone seems to be following every precious word, especially when it's on Fox News. For that matter, will I start watching Fox News when I switch to Depends? Oy. Anyhow, when we dragged in the cable guy to fix our reception problem, it turned out that someone, presumably Tik (pronounced teek) had undone something behind the television. He's the only one who ever goes back there on a regular basis, after all. So I ended up fixing the problem myself. As I was doing this, I managed to pull out three cables that seemed to be connected to each other, and nothing else. After I did so, everything was working fine. If you need me to set up your TV, just let me know.

And you thought only actors were in movies

Dangerous Minds calls this the "Worst (best!) movie death scene in Turkish cinema, ever?"



I didn't want to toss this into a pile with other entries because I just love Thurber way too much. Most people can't write funny. Thurber could, consistently. I don't know how much he is read these days, but most of his work is timeless. Certainly "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is probably tossed about in classrooms somewhere, as it should be. Pocketa-pocketa-pocketa and all that.

I wasn't the only person rather taken aback by the idea of a Ben Stiller Mitty movie. Nor was I the only person who was taken aback by the old Danny Kaye movie. This is Thurber writing about the script: "He [the notoriously inarticulate Sam Goldwyn] told me the first sixty pages were all right and asked me not to read the last 100 pages, which he said were too 'blood and thirsty.' I read the entire script, of course, and I was horror and struck." Thurber wasn't particularly fond of the finished product either, needless to say.

The Hollywood Life Of "Walter Mitty" by Maria Bustillos does a great job of profiling Thurber, then talking about the disaster that was the first movie. Read it, think of Ben Stiller, and pray.

A new series is born on the CL blog. Dozens cheer.

Those of you who know my DJ will appreciate this. For years, the magazine was filled with regular articles like "Life in These United States" and "Humor in Uniform." During those years, my buddies and I wondered why we couldn't start a new feature, which we would call, "So-and-so, What an Asshole."

Separated from the DJ in this blog, I realize that I am free to do that thing I longed for lo these many years ago. I was reminded of it when I saw this book trailer. On the other hand, I feel marginally compelled to watch my language, given that I do not believe in public expressions of vulgarity. Ergo, some softness must be put into play. So, what can I say to kick this off, other than:

Arnold Schwarzenegger: What a Schmuck!

The Firesign Theater

I don't know if anyone is aware of these guys anymore. Those of a certain age will at least remember them ("I never lie and I'm always right"), I hope.

Their first album came out when I was in college, and we thought it was the coolest thing ever. Thanks to the wonders of technology, you can now listen to it yourself while staring at nothing on your computer screen. When we listened to it, we didn't have computer screens, and had to stare at nothing in empty space. You kids today are spoiled rotten!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mr. Saturday

So this kid shows up last night, a sophomore, hot to trot as a debater. Only one problem: he's not available on Saturdays. Every Saturday. Until the beginning of June. For the next three years. He does, however, enjoy Dvorak. (Speaking of which, I had thought old Tony had written the New World symphony for the 1893 expo, but it turns out that it premiered after the White City had shut down. Part of the piece did become the BIE anthem, however. You unlearn something every day.)

I told Mr. Saturday, after we had established that his schedule was not congenial to forensics within a radius of five hundred miles, that he was free to vacate the premises, but he insisted on hanging around, primarily because he didn't believe us about the whole Saturday thing. I hate losing a live one: you know how some people just look like debaters? Anyhow, we finally shooed him away. If you want to catch up with him, he'll be receiving at home starting sometime in 2015.

(Curiously enough, he was a legacy, but when he told me his sister's name, it rang not a single bell. She must also have been similarly unavailable on Saturdays.)

On the other hand, good old OK turned up again. I'd love to get him seriously back into the fold, but he might have just showed up because all his friends are Jewish and were otherwise engaged. Speaking of which, my team is either more Christian than I thought, or else they're all lapsed Jews. The only one who didn't show up just assumed there was no meeting. Go figure.

The MHL workshop is shaping up well. HarrisonDD is now onboard for the demo rounds and working with JVers. I hope the JVers show up in decent numbers; this is an opportunity not to be missed. At the moment, this is our only really light division; policy, novice LD and PF are booming. I'm looking forward to it, of course. It's a fun day. What we may definitely not have is parents. Too bad, but you can't have everything. I'll at least have one plebe along with me, and maybe a second plus Jake Who Doesn't Have a Nickname. Won't know till closer on.

Meanwhile, I'm still at death's door with this ridiculous cold. I trust I will be back in the pink by the weekend. Time will tell.

The best Hitchcock film ever made by Martin Scorsese

That says it all. Watch it to the end. Brilliant!

Walmart 3

Pet gerbil, margarita mix, eye dropper

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

More Pups

So what else happened?

Well, my favorite thing was discovering the game where you have to come up with only three purchases (excluding lubricants and contraceptives) guaranteed to freak out the cashier at Walmarts. This is the sort of thing that can engage the sick mind for quite some time, and there are a lot of sick minds in tab rooms.

I was having trouble sending attachments (which I later discovered to be because of a setting in my mail program), so I took to walking things over to JV, who was working on the sweepstakes. Sweepstakes, for teams big on speech, are important. Sweepstakes, for teams big on debate, are some damned thing for teams big on speech. Still, at a lot of places it's important to include sweepstakes awards, and the Pups is one of those places. In one of my runs over to speech tab, Catholic Charlie told me that he had finally taken to reading CL, and he thanked me profusely for not treating him badly. As if I would say something untoward about anyone in the forensics business...

I like working with the same school representatives year after year. Continuity is important, especially when you have good people you can rely on. You like seeing them again the next year. The Pups is definitely of that persuasion. They also kept us pretty well fed, picking up shawarma at Bob's Deli (really) and nice sandwiches from Atticus, keeping us fueled up for the weekend. No cold drinks, though. As they said at the concession table, the only cold thing that they had was pizza.

As usual, I took a quick art tour before things started with my two lone lorn Pffft creeturs (who, by the way, acquitted themselves admirably in the competition). The gallery was being redone somehow, but a goodly batch of the art was still on display. They do have a little bit of everything. I'm not sure the Sailors appreciated it, but my feeling is, the more you put them in front of a Manet, the better the world will be for it. They weren't particularly taken with Claire's, the vegetarian Mexican place though. They did, however, appreciate that the amount of beans on the plate was copious. You can't have too many beans before a debate tournament!

Mostly it was an uneventful weekend, to tell you the truth. This coming weekend is the MHL workshop, which is shaping up nicely. I'll actually get to sleep in my own bed all weekend. Gotta love a home event.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pups 2012

By the time I got home last night I was at death's door. A cold began sometime Saturday morning and hit escape velocity Sunday afternoon. No doubt the business of the weekend didn't help any.

We got off to a fine start. Some Pups yabbo lent us a PC that was, in a word, the sort of computer that you wouldn't mind lending to someone at a debate tournament because it would mean not having to look at it yourself. Every time I touched it I felt one step closer to leprosy. I let Ari use it for JV. This was, of course, Ari's first time in one of our tab rooms, and he kept repeating that he enjoyed the experience, and for all I know he was telling the truth. Then again, I was getting progressively sicker as time went by, so I could have missed the irony.

We started at the school where we spent most of last year. Having a sense of the place this time meant that we didn't have the startup problems of figuring out where to put what. Unfortunately, there was no wifi and marginal cell service, so a lot of the best laid plans aglayed on us, like tweeting and posting on tabroom. Throughout the weekend CP was clicking away on the new Starship Enterprise version of the program, and he showed us all sorts of nice features, but unless you are actually plugged in, so to speak, you might as well do your flowing on a shovel with a piece of chalk. It was entertaining to watch him code, though. First of all, he's fast as hell. Second, he has this keyboard from the Land of Lost Prosthetics, where he sort of sticks his hands up the rear end of the computer— But you don't want to know about that.

MJP went like a charm. We got mutual pairings up through about round five, at which point we had a couple of 1-2 pairings, but all things considered, if you debated, you debated in front of a judge your opponent had ranked as you had. 4 rather than 5 categories helps with that. Next time, though, we'll get clearer on what it means to be "circuit."

The second day we were at our old Hillhouse venue, which I've come to know and love because it's familiar and there's refrigerators, sinks and microwaves in the tab room. Again, no wifi, though. We ran maybe a half hour late when everything was said and done, but this is entirely ascribable to judges who take their own sweet time picking up their ballots. A couple of people were repeat offenders. The official name for this people is unprintable in a family blog, but feces above the neck should help pin it down. These are the people who make everyone late. We can turn a round over in about 15 minutes, with MJP, from last ballot to new ballots on the table. Sitting around waiting for the last ballots to come in? Ain't no way of speeding that sucker up. A couple of people are notorious in tab as slowpokes, and we hesitate to give them ballots at all if we can help it. We like to be in bed at a reasonable hour, and considering that we're the first ones in and the last ones out, well, you get the picture. I'll provide you with a list on request, if you're thinking of creating a blacklist for your own tournament.

My favorite no-show was a Pup, of all things, on Sunday, where I really wanted to rip him a new one, but instead our wonderful judgemeister simply made him feel like total crap and we gave him a JV round as a reward for sleeping in. There is no sleeping in at tournaments, especially your tournament. Especially when I was up until two—

Oh, yeah. So after Saturday was in the can, JV and Ari and I went out to dinner, and I got back at 12:30 to my hotel to find that we missed the inevitable lpw back in round 6. The best news was that it was among top seeds, meaning neither of them debated in the run off, and when we switched them, the runoff break point held, so no problem there. But simply correcting the error didn't help. I had to reenter the entire runoff, and then re-pair the entire doubles round. Oy. I guess we should be happy that it was a reparable error, but still, I could have been sleeping. Missing lpws is the one most consistent error in tabbing. Come to think of it, it's pretty much the only error. From now on I'm writing on the ballots that judges need to write LPW at about the size of the Ritz, to insure that we see it. The tiny checkmark just doesn't hack it.

Anyhow, Sunday went okay, and since CP's kid was in finals, I was able to hit the road, confident that he could handle any emergency. If he were willing to pull his hands from out of the wazoo of his computer for any length of time, that is. On my trip home I got about a million texts about the Panivore's lost wallet and Panivore Junior winning DI. In an organized world, instead of Noah getting a trophy he would have gotten Sophie's wallet, but I gather that they worked all that out. And as I said, I arrived home ready for the undertaker. Today I did indeed not go to work, and sat around blowing my nose, napping and writing this. And calling in to a 2-hour DJ meeting. Sigh...

More articles we didn't finish reading

These headlines are all real, directly copied from our RSS feed without editing. When we say we didn't read them, we mean it. They didn't exactly pull us in, for some reason...

  • Foxes Chew Up Shoes Of London Cabaret Dancers
  • The U.S. Conducted Atomic Weapons Tests on Beer
  • The One Crucial Test That Any Judge Dredd Movie MUST Pass
  • Marx and Breast-Feeding
  • Jill Biden's Long, Unintentional Description of Joe Biden's Penis Earns Cheers from Crowd
  • Flaming Dance Swords Might Be A Little Bit Dangerous

Movies to watch on whatever you're reading this on

I prefer my movies in movie theaters, but nowadays, it is what it is. As a service, we'll collect links to movies you probably will enjoy, or should see. or whatever, including, as we used to say, selected shorts.

  • Paths of Glory: Early Kubrick, with a fine Kirk Douglas.
  • Duck Amuck: Arguably the best Warner Bros cartoon ever (unless you prefer What's Opera, Doc?. Certainly the best Daffy Duck cartoon ever. The link comes from this page, with a nice article to go with it.
  • Charade: Anyone not in love with both Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn should watch this movie, in which they are both at their quintessential Grantness/Hepburnness. Still not in love with both of them? There's no hope for you.
  • The Straight Story This is a really sweet David Lynch film. Let me repeat that: A really sweet David Lynch film. Then again, he also wrote and directed The Elephant Man. It ain't all severed ears on front lawn.
  • A large collection of pointers to Chaplin: Annotated Filmography of Charlie Chaplin. When she was quite little, my daughter went to school on Halloween dressed as the Little Tramp. Looked just like him—and no one knew who she was supposed to be. Sigh.

Jim Henson

Henson's dates are 9/24/36-5/16/90. Amazing: he's been gone for over 20 years, and he is still a beloved personage. May it ever be thus.

Some early work:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Riding off into the weekend

We need to get classic again with a roller coaster. Not a woodie, but a steel coaster that I, for one, would like to ride. Not too extreme, and quite long, which is what I like. Say hello to my little friend Shambhala:

More articles we didn't finish reading

These headlines are all real, directly copied from our RSS feed without editing. When we say we didn't read them, we mean it. They didn't exactly pull us in, for some reason...

  • Lindsay Lohan Has Been Arrested
  • First Look: ‘The Smurfs 2′ New Little Monsters The Naughties
  • How Applebee’s Rebooted Its Marketing With an Inflatable Doll
  • Grumpy Old Movies: Great Moments in 'Get Off My Lawn' Cinema
  • 50,000 Facebookers can’t be wrong
  • ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,’ Season 1, Episode 9, ‘Ah-Choo!’: TV Recap
  • Name That Meat Slicer

Fraggles rock

I don't often post a video that, dollars to donutskis, you've already seen (this is borderline viral), but sometimes one needs to make sure.

Chuck Jones

There are those who suggest that What's Opera, Doc? is the best Warner Bros cartoon of all time. It was directed by Chuck Jones, born on this date in 1912. Don't watch this without a box of Kleenex nearby: it doesn't end well.

I know. You will now be forced to sing "Kill the Wabbit" to yourself for the rest of the day. Sorry about that. Then again, while this may be the filet mignon of Jones's animation, I have always enjoyed the everyday hamburger of the Roadrunner cartoons over the more accepted Bugs Bunny: sorry about that, but on a desert island, if I can have either the complete Bugs or the complete Roadrunner, I'm opting for the latter. Beep beep, and all that.

If you're seriously interested in Jones, here's an in-depth interview. If you're not seriously interested in Jones, you probably shouldn't be following this blog.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pack 'em up, we're going to balmy Connecticut

There’s a Facebook page for TVFT? Who knew? I just got an email from Zuckerberg, or one of his servers, about the TVFT page, telling me that no one likes it, no one is talking about it and it has no weekly total reach.

I’ve got to put an end to those emails.

For reasons that elude me, I decided I should hook up an extra little HDTV that’s been hanging around the chez to my MacBook. I mean, I have an extra monitor at work, which comes in handy when I’m setting pages and need to see things like ,, instead of , although I never use it for anything else. I think the challenge that drew me at home was finding the right cable to the mini-whatever built into the Mac. Easy enough, as it turned out. So I tried it a couple of days, looking at a version of as big as the Ritz. I have to admit, it didn’t look much different from the 13-inch version except, of course, that it was bigger. I watched some YouTube videos, which were a mixed bag, some being of too poor quality to blow up that much, others looking quite good, but as I’ve said before, I’m not one to sit at my computer watching movies when there’s a comfy chair ten feet away and a TV screen that works just fine. I imagine this will come in handy when I’m editing photos, though. We’ll see. In any case, I’ve got it when I want it. Now all I have to do is want it.

I'm going to put off OS6 for a little while; I don't want to head to New Haven with too much new untested technology. Meanwhile, when I loaded Mountain Lion on the chez Mac (which is not the same as Mac and chez) I decided to start using the Mail program, since it now worked with non-POP Yahoo. Well, after a few weeks I'm going back to my plain old Yahoo mail again. I didn't see any great advantage in having another program open, and I've never been that big a fan of threading, so there you are. Simplicity is my middle name.

On the Sailor front, we met last night instead of Tuesday because of the holidays. No new Sailor debaters, and a perplexing inability of the new Speecho-Americans to understand that when I said to send me an email what it meant was that they needed to send me an email. That's a real poser for some people, I guess. They couldn't for the life of them find the information on the Yahoo page that they didn't have access to because, not knowing who they were, I hadn't given them the rights to see it. How do you explain this to people who seem inherently incapable of understanding it? Beats me. I dearly love Speech events and Speecho-Americans, but I seriously wonder if they are, as a species, living in a different dimension.

Anyhow, for the debaters we started at the beginning once again. I do love rights and the social contract. And unless you know this stuff, you can't really move on to more complicated concepts. And given that the Modest Novice topic and October Pfffft both seriously require this initial understanding, it's time well spent. Of course, when I hear myself utter the words legal positivism I know it's time to change the subject...

And off to the Pups tomorrow. MJP opened fine and everyone seemed to get in ok. I haven't looked to see if my imploring brought in some of the holdouts. I hope so, but then again, Rome wasn't built in a dies.

Coachean Feed: hate speech, guns, animals and 3 climate changers

More links of interest to the debate community.

  • Hate (8): Tolerance and Hate Speech Some awfully solid reasoning in a short essay, with links back to other articles. As always, Spagnoli is an intelligent voice.
  • Our Romance With Guns From the NY Review of Books, for PFers everywhere.
  • Wild Justice We have a very strange history of dealing with animal attacks (i.e., they attack us, not the other way around), including very real trials. How do you get a locust to swear to tell the truth?
For PF Octoberists:

More articles we didn't finish reading

These headlines are all real, directly copied from our RSS feed without editing. When we say we didn't read them, we mean it. They didn't exactly pull us in, for some reason...

  • Lindsay Lohan Has Been Arrested
  • Men Who Feel Bond With Batman Studied
  • Justin Bieber’s Mom
  • L.A. Chef Killed His Wife, Boiled Her for Four Days
  • Regis Philbin gets a new monthly gig with Rachael Ray
  • Slash 'Embarrassed' by Story About Mom Naked With David Bowie

Today's birthday: J Troplong "Jay" Ward

I admit that I got Jay Ward's full name (today would have been his 92nd birthday) from Wikipedia. As I wrote yesterday, the site has its uses. For instance, this paragraph, lifted in its entirety:

An eccentric and proud of it, Ward was known for pulling an unusual publicity stunt that happened to coincide with a major national crisis. Jay Ward bought an island in Minnesota near his home and dubbed it "Moosylvania," based upon the home of his most famous TV character Bullwinkle. He and publicist Howard Brandy crossed the country in a van, gathering signatures on a petition for statehood for Moosylvania. They then visited Washington, D.C. and attempted to gain an audience with President John F. Kennedy. Unfortunately, they arrived at the White House just at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis and were escorted off the grounds at gunpoint.

So, a sampling of Ward's work. There's lots of other people involved, of course, but there's something about his shows that is just him. We've got to start with Moose and Squirrel. Mr. Know-It-All was a regular feature.

This is pretty much the origin story of Mr. Peabody and Sherman and, of course, the Wayback Machine.

After Rocky and Bullwinkle went off the air, Ward returned with this character. Short-lived, but beloved by all.

And the advice in the George cartoons still applies today: Watch out for the tree.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Les temps perdu: Snow job

I had a friend in college named Dennis who told me one day that he had decided he wanted to be student body president. He might as well have told me he wanted to bounce on his head across the quad until his spleen turned into a watermelon. Student government was about as useful as, well, a splenetic watermelon. Student government was absolutely powerless, and its number tended to draw from the ranks of the terminally dull. You imagined frat boys and sorority girls with sweaters tied around their necks and sunglasses propped up on the tops of their heads and a life ahead of them full of martinis, country clubs, nasty divorces and dinner parties with the other bank vice officers. Why would anybody want to be student body president?

“You get free housing in the student government building,” my friend Dennis explained.

I understood immediately. It had nothing whatsoever to do with student government. It was all about the perks.

It became the job of a small group of Dennis’s friends and associates to get Dennis elected to student government. None of us really cared much, aside from wanting our buddy to have a place to sleep for free, but there is something about a challenge that has amazing appeal. We considered ourselves as smart as can be, so why couldn’t we get him elected? All we had to do was figure out how to run a political campaign, and then run it. How hard could that be?

It turned out that our opponent was not cut from the country club cloth after all, the stereotype that probably had little basis aside from bad Fifties TV shows, but was instead one of those really political type of guys who knows everything that’s going on in the Beltway and wants to be either president of the United States some day or the assassin of the president of the United States some day, depending on how radical his politics remained over time. In other words, a Leftie from the get-go who would win the Trotsky look-alike contest without even bothering to add an ice axe. When he looked at the student body presidency, he saw a chance to make a difference in the way the university was run, not free housing. We thought he was nuts. Nobody had ever made a difference in student government. Now this guy and his team of likeminded anarchists was going to change the world? We didn’t think so.

The game was on.

Despite the fact that student government politics was mostly imaginary, student government campaigning very much existed in the real world. The candidates had to promote themselves, give speeches, even debate. Dennis’s last name was deSnoo, so we came up with tee shirts that said “deSnoo job.” There were those among us who suggested that this might not come off as serious enough, but the heads of the operation could only play the game so far. In fact, it didn’t take long before there were quite a lot of us who, as far as I know, had not been attached to us before. What started out as a band of friends quickly acquired all sorts of fellow travelers. Presumably they supported Dennis because of his politics. I didn’t even know he had any politics, aside from the general left-leaning, anti-Nixon, end-the-Vietnam-War sentiments that were pretty common on college campuses, and he was certainly not the radical his opponent was. He was a likeable guy, though, and he attracted followers. Which was good, because a campaign needs warm bodies. A handful of pipe dreamers were not enough to make it happen.

We played the game for real, for the most part. I became the classic war room guy, monitoring the campaign from afar, tracking the candidate as he moved from place to place speechifying and whatnot, keeping an eye on activities where he should show up because it would look good if he showed up there, even if he had no previous interest in the undertaking at that particular place. It didn’t last long, and it felt like a real political campaign. It culminated in a debate, and this being 1970, the issue of what we should do about the Vietnam War and what seemed to be going on in Cambodia came up, and our opponent was full of ideas and Dennis was of the persuasion that it was unlikely that the Syracuse University student government would be pulled into it one way or another. Student government should stick to student government and be realistic, was the thrust of his argument.

All the play-acting in the world wasn’t going to win the election and get Dennis that free housing. So we had an ace in the hole. Simply put, just about everybody we knew thought student government was a farce, and had no intention all of a sudden to start voting. So in the stretch, we went out and made personal appeals to all of our friends, explaining that we agreed with them, and we knew they didn’t give a rat’s heinie about SG, but, as friends, would they do it? For us? They’d be on the campus that day anyhow. Just drop in and vote. It’ll take two minutes. Do it for me. Please.

I don’t remember the exact numbers, but as I do recollect it, what made the difference were those personal pleas. Dennis got plenty of votes from the hoi and the polloi, but it was the friends who said What the hey that made the difference.

He got his free housing.

Of course, that wasn’t the end of it. It turned out that his opponent had been pretty wise about the way of politics, and before we knew it, there was a general strike at the school because of Nixon’s incursion into Cambodia, the same strike that hit campuses around the country. Things weren’t terribly tense for us, and the administration handled it well, but the next thing we knew, we were in the middle of it, manning barricades that had arisen virtually overnight. I spent a bunch of time driving the student government van around making announcements (there was a pair of loudspeakers on the top until I drove under a tree that hung a little lower than I had estimated) and providing coffee and doughnuts to the protestors. Our erstwhile opponent was one of the leaders of the strike. What can I say?

Things quieted down eventually, and there were a couple of perks for yours truly from all of this. Included in the political spoils was a sinecure that I was neatly eased into, making a few bucks for simply showing up once in a while to represent SG on some committee or other. I also took over a record coop business, which is a story in and of itself. Best of all, I got to run a campus festival for a week, another self-contained story. But ultimately I was unimpressed by the whole political side of things. Not so Dennis and a bunch of my other friends. After college they went off into real campaigns, and a couple of them became professional campaign managers, the kind that couldn’t just ask their friends to vote for their other friends, but who had to win real votes with, well, whatever it is that politicians win votes with.

For me, aside from the financial benefit, the best thing to come out of it was to be able to say that I had been involved in the campaign and in the running of student government when it came time for me to head out into the world and apply for jobs. It looked really good on paper, and was probably about the only thing I had to report on my resume from my college years aside from going to classes like everybody else. It didn’t get me a job, as far as I know, but it didn’t hurt.

Walt would have loved this

The Ig Nobel Awards

Good grief. The Igs are this week. We almost missed them.

First of all, here's a list of past winners. You'll note that last year the biology prize was awarded to the team that discovered that a certain kind of beetle mates with a certain kind of Australian beer bottle. There are many other achievements of this nature that are honored by the awards.

Long acceptance speeches are not allowed at the Igs. To prevent them, Miss Sweetie Poo arrives at the podium after a minute has elapsed, announcing that she's bored. Why the Sweetie Poo idea hasn't caught on at other award ceremonies is beyond me.

A tip of the hat to Slate for starting us on this path.

Wikipedia, and beyond

It wasn't too long ago when the idea of Wikipedia was pretty much anathema to everyone in education. I was reading Why Wikipedia Doesn't Belong In The Classroom, which raises the question again, in the context of what Wikipedia is today (would you accept the word encyclopedic?), versus what it was a couple of years ago (an encyclopedia wannabe).

Times have changed, times haven't changed. But I do find Wikipedia useful for a number of things.

First of all, casual subjects. If you want to find out what songs are on an album, or Mel Torme's birthday, or anything of that nature which is simple fact about which no one could possibly argue, Wikipedia is your first stop. They may or may not correctly measure the influence of Jim Morrison on existential philosophy in Montmartre cafe society, but they do know he sang with the Doors a couple of times. The scope of the thing is ridiculous. There's hardly anything you can look up that isn't there. The same could be said for the internet itself, of course, but at least there's a veneer of objective fact to a Wikipedia entry, versus any random site that happens to pop up. And let's face it, on almost any search, Wikipedia will be in the top ten, if not the top one. There's not a lot of getting around it.

I think it's not a bad starting point for serious research, either, at least on debate subjects. Obviously, much of what we talk about in forensics is controversial, so I'm not looking to Wikipedia as a source, because I don't know precisely who, exactly, the source is, or where they stand on an issue. But if you want to learn about a subject about which you know little, it's a perfectly acceptable place to start. It will no doubt provide pointers to articles and the like that are usable as sources, and there you are.

If I'm doing personal research on a rez, in other words, I usually do start at Wikipedia to focus the mind. Then I like to search on specific terms from the rez or related to the rez. That's where the good stuff comes from. Of course, I also recommend Google alerts to keep up to date, if you can find a phrase or two that does the job. Of course, I don't do a hell of a lot of research; that's the job of the debaters, in my opinion. My job is pointer. And when you think about it, that's ultimately what Wikipedia is, a pointer. Nothing wrong with that, as long as we don't expect anything more.

More links with little comment: other Oreos, jive, Jack Bruce, odd museums and Ezra Pound

More good stuff that speaks for itself:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thank goodness for Randy Newman

The truth about the Village People

O’C must have awakened in the middle of the night last night with the MHL Workshop on his brain, because the next thing I knew I was barraged with emails. Whatever. The agenda hasn’t changed much, but we have moved a few things either hither or thither. I was going to confirm everything over the weekend, but this is fine. It fills up the empty hours.

His insomnia also held for some questioning about the handling of the Circuit/Traditional/Newcomer paradigm for coach ratings of judges preparatory to MJP. He and Dunay (who apparently also couldn’t sleep, or maybe Japonica was offering its legendary midnight buffet) pointed out that a couple of people were ranked as circuit who were unquestionably traditional, and I also talked to someone off the reservation about this. I think some folks might have interpreted the designation circuit as someone having circuit experience, rather than circuit affinities. What I’d like to see is a set of clearly separated categories that anyone looking at them would say, oh, that’s me, and then anyone doing their prefs (short of looking at the paradigms) would say, yeah, I want that kind of judge as my 1s. Suggestions welcome. This is the first time out with this, after all. We’ve got MJP hacked, but now we need to get everyone on board with it, otherwise it’s just a tool of the (circuit) devil.

Come to think of it, I was insomniacal myself last night. Had some DJ stuff going through my mind, enough to motivate me down to the computer to work it out. Plus I had to, for the umpty-umph time, collect paperwork in aid of the Aged P’s Medicaid application. Trust me on this: the dadgum guv’ment is out to git ya. On the positive side, reading Infinite Jest on the Kindle makes looking up the footnotes easy as pie. Plus reading Infinite Jest on, well, anything, will occupy the mind for at least, oh, a day or two. I’m hoping to finish in time for next year’s Big Bronx, but I may be way too optimistic.

The march to the Pups is now a raging footrace. Confirmed the hotel, doublechecked the bus, chivvied a few Speecho-Americans to get their damned medical forms in my hands sometime before I have to rush them to the emergency room, etc., etc., etc. MJP open, I’ve been tweeting (although once I tweeted through the wrong account—it’s been a while), people are pestering me about their bills. Ah, September.

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Green Lantern, Arab-American

Sometimes I think that the only people in the world who aren't crazy are in the comics business. Not all of them, mind you, but some of them.

I fondly remember Green Lantern from my youth, primarily because his backstory was seriously deep and his powers, derived from his bling, were relatively limitless (within, of course, the limits of comics always trying to find a limit to limitlessness). I was very much a DC kid, but then again, this is really before Marvel hit its Golden Age in the 60s. I shamelessly admit that Superman was my favorite, but I liked almost all of them. This may be a shocking revelation, but Batman was probably at the bottom of my list. The Batman of my youth was a pretty dull character; it wasn't until he became a virtual psychopath in recent iterations that he became interesting.

Anyhow, back to GL. If you don't know how it works, I'll try to summarize. Various people are picked as Green Lantern, and there's comparable other Lanternists in different colors from different planets, and maybe other green ones as well, across a whole spectrum of good and evil, and to be honest, the last time I tried to follow the overarching story, it ranged across so many books with so many characters that I simply failed to sort it out. In any case, the latest human to be chosen as GL is Simon Baz, an Arab-American. (Here's all the details.) If you read the whole article, you'll find out that the original GL, Alan Scott, has recently been outed as gay.

Arab-American superheroes? Gay superheroes? A total disregard for the tastes of small-minded folks in aid of populating the unreal world with relatively normal (aside from the superpowers) people from the real world? I find it nicely refreshing that even the comic book stands are sending a message, albeit one that is probably subversive, of acceptance and individual freedom in today's America. Now if we could only get politicians reading comic books, maybe the country would be a better place.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Important update on the Village People!

When I put the Village People in the subject line of a recent post, I more that tripled the normal CLreadership. When I examined this closely, everything else about the post was the same old boring nonsense. So, in an effort to increase traffic, from now on it’s Village People subject lines every time. If it takes guys dressed like gay icons to increase my readership, so it goes. (But how come the gay guys I know don’t dress like any kind of icons, gay or otherwise? They obviously just don’t understand the whole gay thing.)

I don’t know if I mentioned that I got a new MacBook at the DJ. Thing goes really fast, and it’s not particularly souped up. One wonders about computers going even faster. I mean, once you’re running at lickety-split, lickety-split plus two doesn’t exactly get the eyes to light up. That’s all of a piece with the fact that I’ve gone off my latest technolust of an Air. When shush comes to pove, it’s not that much lighter than the MacBook I already have, and I don’t travel all that much, and while it’s nice for a crush, I wouldn’t want to go through a messy divorce in order to marry it. I’m also standing pat on the iPhone 4 for a while, because while I’m sure the new one is cuter and younger, the one I have that’s already paid for (so much for the marriage metaphor, I think) is still plenty productive. Come to think about it, I’m not looking to buy much of anything these days, except maybe a photo printer. Technolusts come and go; one needs to be careful about succumbing to them.

As one might expect, business is heating up over the Pups. I sent out my plea for more MJPing last night, and got at least one reply (of the “explain more,” not of the stfu, variety). I’ve gotten the conflicts on the hireds from Diana and I’ll toss them into the system tonight. A couple of people have asked me questions I can’t answer about tournament mechanics, and I’ve passed them along. I see that we’re at the Mr. Ed* school on Friday night, but at Hell House on Saturday. Whatever. I prefer HH, especially for Saturday, so I won’t complain. Mr. Ed wasn’t terrible, but I hated that it was between the campus and the hotel; very wrong for organizational purposes of team and dinner and so forth. This year, with no LDers of my own, I only have to worry that the Sailors find their way from PF to bus. They won’t be alone, so I won’t worry too much. Just text me like it’s going out of style so that I don’t worry. It’s the worry that gets you every time.

*Any school with the name Wilbur in it is going to be Mr. Ed to people of a certain age, and is going to be pronounced Will-brrr-errr-errr and nothing can be done about it. Similarly, if I were taking a hike and happened across, simultaneously, a moose and a squirrel, I would have no choice but to report this in the accent of Boris Badenov. We are the products of our time.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

An organization that is REALLY for LD

Toto, do you think there is such a place?

Palmer eloquently explains the LD situation, and why the activity is on its own trying to solve its problems. It need not be. His article is Why LD needs the NDCA

We've talked about this on TVFT, and I've certainly whined about the other organizations often enough. The thing about NCDA that truly sets it apart is that it is run by its membership. There will never be serious change in LD from NFL or TOC; the most earth-shattering thing NFL has done in (not terribly) recent memory was dictate that there is no presumption and that there are equal burdens in LD: a lot of good that did. And as CP says, TOC perhaps has the power to change things, since everyone and his monkey wants to be a TOC debater, but they judiciously withhold this power because it is only tangentially warranted by the importance of their tournament (and to be honest, if someone can name a more political and dubious operation than the TOC advisory committees, please sit next to me, because I really want to hear it). NDCA, on the other hand, by its nature can address serious concerns in the activity, and has proven so on the policy front.

The thing is, unless more schools recognize and join the NDCA, it won't happen. I can't imagine any serious LD program satisfied by NFL as the "strong central authority" CP claims the activity needs.

Read the article.

Join the group.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Riding off into the weekend

Well, you can ride this. Me, I'll stand as far away as possible marveling that people paid good money for it. No, it's not malfunctioning. It's supposed to do that. (I'm pretty sure it's somewhere in Russia. They gave Pussy Riot the choice of this or jail, and the ladies chose jail.)

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More links with little comment: Rushdie, patent wars, apples, fried everything and F.M. Ford

More good stuff that speaks for itself:

Coachean feed: Special climate change edition

More links of interest to the debate community.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New lamps (or LD) for old

And so, we TVFT’d last night.

It’s been a while. We had started on this year’s potential LD resolutions, and did the first six, and then vacations and whatnot came along, so there you are. Voting is over, but it wasn’t as if we were trying to get people to agree with us. We just had stuff to say, so we went on with the final four. We also talked a tad about Sept-Oct.

One thing that came up was what is becoming a clear distinction between old and new LD. I can’t exactly articulate it yet, but it goes beyond the simple ability to label the parts of the machine. That is, in the past, we always had to deal with abusive cases and turns and whatnot, but we did it instinctively, whereas now, the rhetorical tools are more in hand and clearly defined. This may make rounds clearer, in some instances. No, it’s more a sense of how a topic is handled overall. For instance, we talked about no gov v. bad gov. In the past, it was always extremely philosophical, and one of the joys of the rez was its unreality. But in today’s environment, either it would not be run philosophically, or its un-real-worldness would be used against it in theory arguments. The bottom line is that the real world has absolutely taken root in LD. I’m often saying how a topic looks more PF than LD to me, but I may be offbase on that. The approaches in rounds may be different, but LD looks just as much to the real world these days as PF does. We start talking about policies, not qua policy debate, but simply as government actions, and then analyze the desirability of those actions or the lack thereof. It’s hard for me to shake off the dust of old LD, especially as I do less of it and move over to PF. That doesn’t make it go away, though. It just means that there are things in the world I might not know so much about anymore. So it goes.

I’ve launched the Navy into another bout of recruitment, as much as I can between now and next week’s meeting. Hearing O’C talk about the ten thousand noobs that turned up at his first meeting does make me a tad jealous. In fact, during the recording he was spending a lot of time answering their emails. He claimed he was multitasking, but the amount of time he was spending with us versus them led to the suggestion that, in fact, he was simply tasking elsewhere.

I’m taking this weekend off, starting tomorrow, the last opportunity before the machine is engaged. The Pups looks fine, with a nice strong VLD judge pool. The numbers are getting where they belong between drops and waitlist fixes. Then it’s on to the Workshop the following week, which I think will be especially filled with new teams this year, from all the interest we’ve been getting in the region. New teams, alas, don’t necessarily stick for the duration, but you won’t get anything if you don’t try. The fact that the MHL is free to new programs is, I think, very encouraging. I would encourage other organizations, especially in today’s economic climate, to think along similar lines. Once we get people hooked, then we can soak them. But let’s get them hooked first.

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Philip Roth

Ryan wonders if, from my Nobel odds, I was actually pushing Roth.


Read a few, that was it. There's a lot of them, though. Maybe it's in the ones I didn't read.

I was simply saying that he's been pushed for so long, and revered for so long, that he's probably the most likely American. He may be too cranky, though. McCarthy seems too self-conscious, if you ask me (and also cranky), but then again, postmodern self-consciousness is the core of Murakami, who I sort of like.

In the end, I'm no judge of literature. I do happen to edit books for a living, but I've long ago gone off reading because my brain is so fried by, well, so much reading. Since the DJ is in the business of popular fiction, that's where I live, and when I get away from it, I tend to read either nonfiction or debate stuff or SFF. Serious fiction? Not often. I can't take it seriously.

For Roald Dahl, on what would have been his 96th

You used to be able to watch Way Out on YouTube, but it's been pulled. It's the TV show Dahl hosted in the '60s, introducing the weird tales with his appropriately weird commentary. For a short while the show followed The Twilight Zone on Friday nights, but I think Dahl was just too wickedly British for the room, as compared to Rod Serling's gritty American pugnacity. It's too bad you can't see just a little bit of Dahl doing the show. He was perfect.

You can find various takes of his filmed work on YouTube, of course, but better you should read him if you wish to celebrate. Personally I would recommend Boy and Going Solo, both biographical works. And for your surfing pleasure, here's a couple of worthwhile pages that haven't been pulled down:

Big Sometimes Friendly Giant

Roald Dahl's 10 finest hours

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

It's all the fault of the Village People

What's their fault? Dissuading people from joining the Navy. There was an ocean of new Speecho-Americans last night, but only a drop of a single freshman debater, a senior no one had ever seen before, plus a pair of middle schoolers. (Naval ROTC? NOTC? Years from now they're going to wonder why I refer to them as the Nazis.)

I'll betcha things aren't much better at the YMCA.

Anyhow, I'll push for a little more recruitment this week. The fact that Speech is thriving is good, but debate needs its souls as well. I don't hold out a lot of hope, but we'll see what happens.

In any case, after going through my usual rigmarole about the team to the assembled multitude, we broke off and I talked to the debaters, mostly about the October PF topic. Yesterday was the first time I more than glanced at it. It is, as is often the case, a tad problematic: Developed countries have a moral obligation to mitigate the effects of climate change. Originally I was thinking about what I thought it said, but look at that phrase "mitigate the results of climate change." Let me quote from NASA, which is the first result on Google for "results of climate change":

Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner. Effects that scientists had predicted in the past would result from global climate change are now occuring: loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves.

In other words, Developed nations have a moral obligation to mitigate the effects of shrunken glaciers, shifting fauna/flora ranges, accelerated sea level, more intense heat waves... You can't change the weather, but you can deal with the results of the the changed weather?

Look up the word elide in the dictionary. Then again, you might not have to. It's one of the things debaters do instinctively. Sometimes because they don't want to really run the resolution for purposes of weaselness. Other times because they sort of can't. Sigh.

The resolution very specifically asks if the nations that historically caused climate change (you don't otherwise achieve development) ought to now deal with the harms. Well, yeah, except for instance that a recent harm is increased tornadoes in the northeast of the US. Maybe the government should go out there and stop them? Na'ah. Go out and sweep up afterward? I guess so.

Climate change looks like a great topic, and there are great topics in the ideas of development versus environmental protection, which this sort of glances off of. But I do wonder if anyone on the proposal side of this business ever bothers to write the proposed resolution on the board and then parse it, like we do at meetings. They would have seen pretty quickly that, first, the last phrase is a mess, and second, that there's virtually no good argument to say that developed nations aren't obligated. One could (and maybe will have no choice but to) argue that governments don't have any moral obligations beyond social contract (which isn't very PFish), but then again, since there's nothing in the res that says nation to other nation, it would be protecting one's own citizens—

So far the Menickean navy has not signed up for any October debates. Looking at this resolution, they may never do so. Oh, well. I will gird my loin chops and head blindly forward. Mine not to reason why, and all that.

I eagerly(?) await the November topic.

Betting on the Nobel Prize for Literature

Ladbrokes is the largest betting organization in the UK. You can bet on a lot of things there, but more to the point, they give you the odds. Obama is 3/10 vs Romney at 4/9, for instance, that is, three will get you ten versus four will get you nine. They've also got the odds for the electoral vote tallies.

I was more interested in betting on the Nobel, to be honest with you. And specifically, the odds thereof. I had seen an article that Bob Dylan was going off at 10/1, and he's in second place, with the smart money on Haruki Murakami at 7/1. That makes me wonder. I guess Murakami is sort of due in a way, but poor Philip Roth, who I think is the Americans' best bet, is running with the pack down at 16/1 with Cormac McCarthy. Come to think of it, a hedge bet on McCarthy might not be a bad idea.

There are plenty of other names you'll know on the list, and even more that you won't know. Word on the street is that if you haven't been translated into Swedish, you don't have much of a chance, which is why I'll pay anyone double to translate Lingo into that noble/Nobel language. You never know, right?

Of course, if you're like me, you had to look at the bottom of the list. Running way behind the field, all alone at 500/1, is E.L. James. I can think of a hundred things to say here, but what's the point?

Check 'em all out here.

Maria Muldaur

I reckon that I've now been listening to Maria Muldaur, born on this date in 1943, for over forty years, even before her solo debut in '73. She's had quite a career, working with all sorts of people, and while she's obviously a performer, she's also something of a musicologist, digging deep into attic for classic blues and jazz. The best album she's done lately is, I think, Heart of Mine, a collection of Dylan love songs. When we saw her not long ago, she was doing most music from Maria Muldaur & Her Garden of Joy, very lively and jug-bandy.

As you'll see, she is not behind the door when it comes to putting together a good band:

This is this first of a series. The rest are all on YouTube. (Debaters take note: she went to Hunter.)

And why not dip back to one of her biggest hits?

I'll see you in the audience the next time she hits the East Coast.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Everything new is new again

While some of us were at the NYCFL meeting Saturday, others were at the Virtual-Vassar RR, which takes place annually at Virtual Vassar. Some of us, like Ari and JV, went directly from one to the other. Around here, it really is the first shot across the bow for actual debate, occurring the first week or so in September, usually only a couple of days have school has started up. (We commence the Wednesday after Labor Day.) O'C, who obviously feels he doesn't have enough tournaments in his life, has been running it for ten years now. Ten years? Yoiks. CP went down with his Lexwegian entry (who won Carl Kassel's voice on his home answering device as the result of the adventure, by the way), ostensibly to tab the affair, but mostly he spent the weekend whining about being in NYC. He thinks Times Square is too touristy, for one thing. These Bostonians... When they come to the city that never sleeps from the city that occasionally raises its head, looks at all the traffic and then crawls back under the covers, they are at a loss.

Me, I went home and, for reasons that I can't quite parse, installed Windows 7 on my Mac. I guess it boils down to upgrading just about everything once I installed Mountain Lion. I've been running XP since when? The Truman administration? It seemed like a good idea to jump onto what will apparently be the de facto Windows standard going forward, if the advance press on Windows 8 is any indication. I'm a Fusion person, and getting the OS up and running was seamless. Then I made the mistake of trying to install TRPC and the elusive comdlg32.ocx file. In XP, this missing piece simply needed to be downloaded from Microsoft and dumped into the systems directory. In W7, with all the permissions and whatnot, one simply bangs one's head against the wall until the computer or one's head gives in, whichever comes first. I kept thinking to myself that Kaz had figured this out, so I ought to be able to. Finally I found the trpc99 file that has been solving this problem since Vista, and it all worked fine. Another hour of my life reading support docs at the MS site that I'll never get back.

For the hell of it, I tried to install RCT2, but it just wouldn't show on the screen. Even though I vaguely remember trying in the past, I then went on and tried to load it in the XP partition, and shockingly enough, it ran fine (except silently, as compared to W7, where I could hear it but not see it). Then I spent way too much time playing the damned thing. It's always been one of my favorite games, which is probably not surprising to anyone. I was really happy to have it back. RCT3 wouldn't run on the MacBook Pro, but even back when I had little Elvis it wasn't all that great: they had really ruined a winner. So where is RCT4? Or RCT for iPad?

And so, back to business. Tonight is the first meeting of the year for Sailors new and old. I am praying for a full navy. Please join me in that prayer.

A little day music

David Byrne and St. Vincent. Intriguing.

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Harry Connick, Jr.

Today's birthday boy is known for a lot of things, which is all fine and dandy, but if you ask me, the best thing he does is sit down at the piano and just have at the thing:

You can decide for yourself whether or not you agree.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Once more unto the old breacharooni

Saturday was the NYCFL meeting. Nothing came out of it to shatter the earth, but it did make it feel that there was forensics in the late summer air.

Everything in the schedule went about as expected, although we moved the Christmas Debate CFL to 12/22 because of conflicts at Regis, our regular venue. This might be good, keeping down the numbers slightly, as some folks will have tootled off to their estates in the Highlands or whatever. Given that last year's Christmas CFL was the debacle that brought about the rules changes, that can't be a bad thing. Loyal members of the VCA will recall that this was the tournament where some poor schlub novice got three byes in a row, thus bringing me to the decision to shut it down after round three, and go ballistic on the folks who had no idea who on their teams was present and/or accounted for. Henceforth we began finializing registrations on the morning of the MHLs, and it turned out to be not a slap on the wrist but a step towards greater efficiency in the electronic age. Who knew? Anyhow, the rules will be changed similarly for the CFL in the debate world, and no doubt before long in the speech world as they transition completely to

Much of Saturday's discussion was about congress. I have heard people claim that congress is sort of dull. I can't speak to that, but I can attest to the fact that discussing congress, at least at NYCFL meetings, makes dull look like Coney Island. Seven of the coaches in the midst of the discussion swore a suicide pact and cut one another's throats before we'd even gotten around to the question of reusing legislation. I'm suggesting that next year, to protect what throats are left, congress be discussed separately from everything else. Somewhere else. Far away. Of course, one of the great highlights of meetings past was the discussion of the use of your old OOs by someone else's Declaimers. For those of us who have judged OO, ninety percent of which is suicide pact material and the other ten percent of which is just teeth-gritting stuff, the idea that they're being reprocessed into Dec speeches, two hundred percent of which are suicide pact material, is beyond imagining. That was the second most painful discussion ever. Number One? Buy me a drink and I'll tell you in person.

Ari P was there for the first time. I managed to stay his hand right when he was finishing his stropping and singing loudly "Raise your razor high, Sweeney." Ari wants to learn to tab, and we're going to throw him into the Pups with me and Palmer. Given that we have two pretty large divisions, that should help things enormously, as well as provide a little baptism by northeast fire to the lad. Good tabbing requires a lot of skills that are pretty useless as a general rule, so we'll see how he likes it. A couple of other folks were new to the group, with teams they were just putting together, and JV and I made sure that they showed up at the MHL Workshop with whatever noobs they can dig up.

Pups in less than two weeks? Wow. And first meeting tomorrow night at the school. It occurred to me to look at the calendar: there are enough Jewish holidays, and days off from school, over the next few weeks to choke a goat. Much dancing around will ensue. So it goes.

Coachean Feed: Privacy, Judith Butler, Jared Diamond, social no-nos and high school subjects

More links of interest to the debate community.

Some more handsome devils

Another set of folks you ought to recognize.

Answers: #1

Friday, September 07, 2012

Riding off into the weekend: '64-65 World's Fair

Ground Zero for World's Fair buffs is probably the New York '39 fair, as one that most worked its way into the culture of the day and at the same time transcended that culture with its mix of modernism and hope on the eve of war. From the beginning of the era of big exhibitions, starting with the Crystal Palace in London in 1851, fairs were a really big deal, most of them doing their best to outdo the previous one. The creation of landmark objects became very important: the Eiffel Tower (originally 1889 Paris), the Ferris wheel (originally 1893 Chicago), the Atomium (1958 Belgium), the Trylon and Perisphere and the Unisphere (New York, 1939 and 64-5). Countries exhibited their wares, the world was made smaller, and ideas for future progress were presented.

There were a lot of fairs and expositions from the Crystal Palace on, but then they sort of petered out. For one thing, the need for international exchange wasn't what it used to be, and countries simply didn't want to spend the money in this sort of demonstration. Secondly, guessing the future is progressively more and more of a mug's game, and most people are flummoxed just guessing about the features of the next iPhone. They still have fairs and expositions, used mostly for the host countries to get support to build some much needed new infrastructure, and for developing countries to drum up business. They aren't the world destination they used to be.

New York '64-65 was one of the last of the really big ones (although it wasn't officially sanctioned by the governing body, as if promoter Robert Moses would care about that). The author of our little ride into the weekend today sums it up well: it came to town the same year as the Beatles, so for folks of a certain age, it was a game-changer. For me, it was less than an hour away via public transportation. I won't say I lived there, but I visited as often as I could.

So, return with us now to that golden couple of years: Promises Made: The 1964-65 World’s Fair

Oh, yeah. Did we mention that this particular World's Fair brought us this?

More articles we didn't finish reading

These headlines are all real, directly copied from our RSS feed to here without editing. When we say we didn't read them, we mean it. They didn't exactly pull us in, for some reason...

  • Concept Artist Uses Yeast to Clone Lady Gaga, President Obama
  • See the Trailer for Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged: Part II’
  • What Famous People Smell Like
  • Morgan Freeman, 50 Shades of Gray Fan
  • Miley Cyrus & Pink Have The Same Haircut

More links with little comment: original movie titles, SFF art, movies online, bad movies offline, Jimi gets rebellious

More good stuff that speaks for itself:

Any scream you can scream, I can scream louder

Tom Jones and Janis Joplin? What? Via Dangerous Minds.

Buddy Holly and the roots of rock

Holly was born on this date in 1936, which means that he is closer to my mother's age than my age. Then again, look at him and the Crickets in tuxedos, with an army of prom queens (?) in the background.

In this next clip he absolutely gets down on the guitar in a way not normally heard. And I don't know about you, but personally I don't need the words on the screen

How influential was Buddy Holly? Don't ask me. Ask this guy:

Don McLean, like him or not (and I"m on the meh side, myself), should not own Buddy Holly. Considering Holly's influence—be yourself, be a group, get down, write and perform your own songs—he belongs to music. It didn't die. You can listen to Buddy Holly songs any day of the week. And you probably should.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

A little bit on tournament identity

I was going to put together something rude about Big Bronx, just to get the season going, but my heart wasn’t in it. I was thinking of mocking up a page that looked like TripAdvisor but rating the tournament. I just couldn’t get myself to do it.

Maybe I need to see the doctor or something. Maybe I need a colonoscopy. Maybe just a semicolonoscopy. Whatever.

I did go to the meeting of the Speecho-American Sailors last night. When I got there they weren’t doing much, just admiring one of the finer specimens who happened to be wearing a What Would Menick Do? shirt. The lad knows his threads. There were also five or six new faces, which is sort of crazy because we haven’t done the recruiting yet. A couple were little sisters, which I guess I understand, and the rest were that army of faceless gray novices that one sees early in the year before they realize that, wait a minute, there’s work involved in this!? I didn’t sign up for no work!!! We went over this and that, and Spons told me who her Coca Ptains are this year, which is good. Panivore Junior told me he was looking forward to my “You don’t exist” speech next week, which made me realize that my brain is completely hardwired for certain things. I don’t write down anything more than bullet reminders for speeches and then I extemporize, but somehow I manage to extemporize the same thing every time, year after year. It’s sort of like an Oliver Sacks case. Next thing you know, I’ll start mistaking my hat for a PFer.

I see that O’C has created the Vassar tournament on tabroom. There doesn’t seem to be invitation or website, though. I’ll be curious about this one. If you look at the each weekend in the season as having a personality, having to fit in with all the other personalities, then November around here becomes an escalation process, at least in terms of $ircuitry, progressing from Vassar to Bump to Glenbrooks. As a short month, most people get only two chances to debate, three at most. The Sailors always head up to Wee Sma Lex on Glenbrooks weekend, because I need a place where my young ‘uns can get some experience, since they will not, of course, have gotten any at Bump. I do sorely miss the old days, when NFA was Bump (or vice versa) and I got to send my novices into their first two-dayer somewhere else. Anyhow, Vassar competes with Apple Valley, and we also have an MHL for the youngest, so its identity remains to be carved. And that’s key. Tournaments do need an identity. Who is this sucker for? Who will benefit from it? And will it be enjoyable? With O’C running things, enjoyability won’t be an issue (as in, it’s guaranteed, not that it’s never gonna happen). But who will come, not this year but five years from now? That’s the big question. It will be fun to watch it find itself. Honestly, there are some tournaments around here that really haven’t found themselves, and they suffer for it. The most grievous mistake is thinking that all tournaments need to attract the region’s top circuit types, thus somehow making the tournament less, in debate language, random. This is predicated on the belief, first of all, that having a lot of circuit debaters is a good thing, and second, that we have all these circuit debaters sitting around wishing for a tournament. What we do have is all these not-so-circuit debaters, second-years for instance, and third-years who have never been to a debate camp and are aiming only for local success, not TOC or NDCA but simply their state organization of choice. These are the people we most often shunt aside, but these are the tournaments I try to support as much as possible, often selfishly, in that I have a lot of these sort of folks on my team. But so does everybody else. The National Circuit Delusion (which I’ve never named before but which I’ve gone on about in one way or the other for generations now) is powerful, and harmful. Oh, well. We do what we can.

And Saturday is the fun moderators’ meeting of the NYCFL. Apparently a lot of newcomers to the region will be showing up. This means we’ll have an opportunity to dispense more bad advice and misinformation than normal. I’m looking forward to it.

More links with little comment: a trove of Troma, expensive comic books, WIllie Wonka, lunch boxes and Stoppard

More good stuff that speaks for itself: