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Five thousand janitors October 25, 2010

Posted by caveblogem in Other.
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Just saw this post about a post about an article about the over-education of the American workforce and had to track down the stats myself.

Just a snippet

These are just some numbers I found interesting when browsing the data.  The full tables from which this snippet was derived can be found here.

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Backhanded Blurbs December 9, 2009

Posted by caveblogem in Other.
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Seems like I’ll read anything these days.  It definitely takes me longer to read books that don’t interest me, but that is not enough to stop me from reading them.  The last two books seem to have been sitting on my dresser for a long time, long enough for me to actually look at the marketing blurbs on their covers.  and I noticed something odd.

First, we have The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit, by Storm Constantine, which is taking me forever to slog through.  (I’m definitely in the wrong demographic for this one, wrong age and, I suspect, the wrong sexual preference.)  On the cover is only one sales blurb: “A tremendously impressive first novelist,” it says.  Ms. Constantine went on to a prolific career, publishing dozens of novels, but I think this was the only first novel she wrote.  But I’m no expert.   Setting aside the question of whether someone can be a “first novelist,” it is a shame that they couldn’t find anyone willing to say something positive about her book.  Maybe the reviewer was saying that, although impressive, she will always be a first novelist.

Next (actually not intended as a joke) we have Michael Crichton’s last (not a joke either) novel. (Unless Dr. Crichton has some posthumous scribblings I am unaware of, there will not be a sequel to Next.) The blurb in question is the only one on the cover of the book consisting of more than one word (which I’m sure you realize can be so much more easily taken out of context than a phrase) is the following: “As entertaining as anything he has written since Jurassic Park.” This phrase is rendered on the cover in all caps, but I couldn’t bring myself to reproduce it here like that, particularly given the context.  And I suspect that the Dallas Morning News did not print the review in all caps either.  At any rate, imagine this quote read by Eeyore.  It can be taken more than one way, is what I mean to say.

So, I find myself wondering if that is the real secret to becoming a widely read reviewer of media, that liminality or hidden ambivalence or whatever it is.

Staple Cover Redux December 3, 2009

Posted by caveblogem in Other.
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It’s not often my paper folding posts get comments on them. Somebody noted that my previous post on paper staple covers was difficult to follow. I put this one together counting on the pictures telling the stories. Hope it is a little more clear (although it is slightly ugly, I see).  Let me know how this works, Dave.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Step 7

Step 8

Step 9

Step 10

Step 11

Step 12

Step 13

It’s at the top of the picture there. October 16, 2009

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Snow pretty early this year

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Happy Fall October 12, 2009

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Maggie doesn’t even know it’s there.

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Wipe Board October 8, 2009

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Yeah, it’s another gray cubicle, but it came with a wipe board.

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Sloppy Taggers September 13, 2009

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Apparently the gangs of Tyngsboro, Massachusetts don’t really value artistic tagging skills.

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It is a little embarrassing when we have visitors from California here, I must say.

This end (of the universe) up August 17, 2009

Posted by caveblogem in Other.
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Finished my last final yesterday morning at 7:00am and the whole family decided to take the rest of Sunday off.  The weather was promising to be warm and muggy (but not as warm and muggy as today and tomorrow, which the meteorblahblahists are calling “oppressive.” And New England weather has no business making promises.)  Just a side note, here: You should feel free to rearrange the final punctuation marks in that last couple of sentences howsoever you see fit.  I give up. Anyway, we decided that Boston’s Museum of Science might be air-conditioned and cool, and there are films (3-D sharks, no less) and other stuff.

Special added bonus: Almost empty until like noon.  Lots of people decided the beach was the place to be.

A new exhibit on Black Holes (well, if you are capitalizing things like God and The United States, then, well, I don’t know . . .) is still in the “asking for feedback” stages.  My lovely wife thought it was a little short on saying how these things are formed in the first place (always the teacher). And I certainly couldn’t remember seeing any explanations.  She posited that maybe everyone is supposed to know this already.  I’m wondering if maybe they just didn’t think of it.  As support for this, I offer the following photo:

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Now maybe it doesn’t matter which direction they face, but I certainly wouldn’t take the chance.

Balding like an embalmed syphilitic tyrant August 10, 2009

Posted by caveblogem in Other.
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I try not to be a vain person, really.  I’ve got to admit, however, that having a little mostly bald patch on the top of my head near the back really bothers me.  Try to put my finger on what there is about it that really gets to me and I’d have to guess that it makes me feel like I look weak. It’s stupid.  I am much stronger, and in slightly better shape than any other time in my life, except possibly my late teens.  Something about having hair, but a missing patch, seems worse than no hair at all.

There are few famous people sporting this particular look, which makes it all the worse, of course.  The famous guys my age have rugs or hair plugs or were vain enough to start using monoxidil in their youth.  Some shave their heads, which my wife discourages me from doing.  I was reading last week’s New Yorker and ran across a real gem, though.  Buried in Ian Frazier’s two-part travel narrative about Siberia is the phrase, used to describe a companion, “Lenin-pattern baldness.”

With Lenin-pattern baldness I can still be intimidating and frightening. I find that a comfort, somehow. “Get off my lawn,” bellowed the big guy down the street with Lenin-pattern baldness.

*I should probably note that the title to this post is derived from a line in one of my favorite books, Microserfs, by Douglas Coupland.

One of the things that are wrong with me August 2, 2009

Posted by caveblogem in Other, Rock.
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It is a time of transition for me (as Warren Susman once wrote, “It’s always a time of transition”). I’m finishing up my second-to-last class today, and last night I was listening to the radio (all night) and reflecting upon early influences on my way of viewing relationships–the stuff that crept (slithered?) into my head during my formative years, circa 1980.

For those of you who were not there, or don’t remember, this was the time when in the suburban US, there were at least two bands whose music was ubiquitous to the point where, for a teenager, it was unavoidable: Journey, and REO Speedwagon.  There were good things, musically, about that time period; they are not the subject of this post.

The subject of this post is the way that the music you listen to (or even hear) shapes you in ridiculous ways. I’m going to paraphrase these two examples from REO Speedwagon so that I don’t ruin any young lives through exposure to the actual lyrics.

Take away the sappy music and here’s the basic message of “Take It On The Run” (from Hi Infidelity, 1980, for those of you who wish to play along at home):

I heard a rumor from someone (let’s face it, one of our local liars) via a process similar to the game “Telephone,” that you are cheating on me.  I believe wholeheartedly and completely that it’s not true.  But if you go out tonight it is over between us–frickin’ over.

And the basic message of “Keep On Loving You” (from Hi Infidelity, 1980):

Look, I tried to tell you that I’ll love you for ever, but you were cold and hissed at me like some kind of snake and basically ignored me.  But really, I’ll love you forever, you cold, evasive snake.

As someone who was a scholar of American Culture in a previous lifetime, I could drone on and on about the function of contradictory messages in blues and pop music, and the necessity to appeal to different audiences within the same song, hidden meanings, blah blah blah.  But I won’t.  All I’m going to say is WTF? WTF—ing F?

I’m sorry I’m so screwed up, hon.  I really am.  I am trying to get over these early psychotic influences.  Maybe we all are.

And I don’t know why this post is in such tiny letters, if that’s the way it looks published.  I can’t figure out how to fix it, if it needs fixing.  Oh, I could tweak the html, but I’m not getting paid for this, or course credit, for that matter, and there’s always the chance that, since I don’t know why it got small in the first place, if it is small, it might just revert to that state.

Today is my 19th wedding anniversary.  I got my wife a nice gift, but because we are both so busy right now, we’ll probably actually celebrate in a week or two.  But it is a time of transition for me (as Warren Susman once wrote, “It’s always a time of transition”) and I’m being reflective today about early influences on my way of viewing relationships acquired during my formative years circa 1980.

For those of you who were not there, or don’t remember, this was the time when in the suburban US, there were at least two bands whose music was ubiquitous to the point where, for a teenager, it was unavoidable: Journey, and REO Speedwagon.  There were good things, musically, about that time period, but they are not the subject of this post.

The subject of this post is the way that the music you listen to (or even hear) shapes you in ridiculous ways. I’m going to paraphrase these two examples from REO Speedwagon so that I don’t ruin any young lives through exposure to the actual lyrics.

Take away the sappy music and here’s the basic message of “Take It On The Run” (from Hi Infidelity, 1980, for those of you who wish to play along at home):

I heard a rumor from someone (let’s face it, one of our local liars) via a process similar to the game “Telephone,” that you are cheating on me.  I believe wholeheartedly and completely that it’s not true.  But if you go out tonight it is over between us–frickin’ over.

And the basic message of “Keep On Loving You” (from Hi Infidelity, 1980):

Look, I tried to tell you that I’ll love you for ever, but you were cold and hissed at me like some kind of snake and basically ignored me.  But really, I’ll love you forever, you cold, evasive snake.

As someone who was a scholar of American Culture in a previous lifetime, I could drone on and on about the function of contradictory messages in blues and pop music, and the necessity to appeal to different audiences within the same song, hidden meanings, blah blah blah.  But I won’t.  All I’m going to say is WTF? WTF—ing F?

I’m sorry I’m so screwed up, hon.  I really am.  I am trying to get over these early psychotic influences.  Maybe we all are. Happy Anniversary!