Friday, April 30, 2010

In which we discuss a few unrelated issues like mushrooms, baseball, and books

For your reading pleasure, we have 2 separate mushroom topics. The 1st in regards to the morels mushrooms in our back yard. When we looked @ this house for the 1st time in April of 2008, I found 2 & quickly pocketed them in case we decided not to move here. As it turns out, we did move in & each spring I've found a few more. Over the last week, I've found a grand total of 8 morels. I'll look around again this morning before I go to work, but the window seems to be closing. There are some great recipes for morels, but unless 1 has a larger quantity than 8, the best way to eat them seems to be simply sauteing them w/ butter & garlic. Prepared in this way, they are a lot like escargot. Delicious!In other morel news, I broke my morel coffee cup the other day while packing up my office for the big Pray Harrold move. The cup as my mom's when I was a kid. It had that sweet '70s mushroom pattern that looked all Allman Brothersy, but was really just a fad in 1976. I don't know why shrooms became a fad for people who never did them, but it was a cool cup none-the-less. The last thing I did was put the cup in a small box I was bringing home. Of course, I dropped the box as I went to pick up my phone & keys before walking out the door @ the cup broke into 3 big pieces & a bunch of little bits that made fixing it impossible. You may recall the time last September when I thought I'd lost it. Annette found it & all was good. My previous cup was a Kucinich 2004 cup. The 1 before that was a Women's Studies Program 25th anniversary cup. I get ridiculously attached to the cups so now I have to find 1 that will not only hold my tea/water, but also reflect my personality & socio/political beliefs. It's a hard life.While we're on the subject of Morels, I'd like to remind you that the morel is the state mushroom of Minnesota? How does this relate to anything, you ask? Well, yesterday, we went to the Tiger's game & they beat the Twins 3-0. It was a great game, & the kids had a blast. Solstice & Aiden absolutely love going down there, & even Isaiah watched the whole game w/o getting bored or fidgety. By far, my favorite play was Jackson stealing 2nd & 3rd to set up Damon's sacrifice fly. I'd never seen a 2 base steal in person before... it was sweet. Aiden was impressed by the double plays while Solstice seems to just love the atmosphere in general. Our seat were what 1 would traditionally call shit, but we actually liked them. For 5 bucks, we were in the farthest, highest section down the 3rd base line, but we could see really well, & the section only had 20 or so other people in it (including the weird dude w/ his kid & swastika tattoo). I can't wait to take them down there again, maybe w/ Elizabeth, Dan, & Sam. We're also thinking about a trip to Toledo for a Mudhens' game. Aiden & I had a blast last year, so I think we'll have to make that happen. lastly, we were talking about maybe a road trip to Cleveland or Chicago for an away game... anyone down?Finally, in other news of yesterday, I finished The Savage Detectives... at long last. According to this post, I started it on November 6th. It was hard going but well worth it. Roberto BolaƱo was clearly a genius. He has a few other things translated 7 I think I'll have to make it my summer reading project to get through a couple more. 2666 is even longer & more convoluted than The Savage Detectives, but after a short break w/ some more simple stuff, I'll give it a go. I've also read A Mercy by Toni Morrison lately, a book my students absolutely hated, but it was actually really cool. It takes place on a small farm in the 1680s & '90s & each chapter is told from the perspective of a different person on the farm. Plus, it give us a nice look into the issues of religion & slavery in the early colonies... before slavery become the established system I am more familiar w/ in the 18th &19th centuries. Last week, I also read the first anthology in a series by Alan Moore I wasn't familiar w/ called Promethea. Like Watchmen, it's a fun post-modern story dealing w/ narrative structures & the construction of narratives & imagination. Give it a go if you're into comics... you won't be sorry... plus, there are some funny references to Helene Cixous... & who doesn't love a funny Cixous reference? You can get the books right here, or wander over to Nicola's & I can help you w/ them @ your friendly neighborhood bookstore this evening after 4:30.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Get Your Verde FC Replica Kits Today!

Stephanie got her jersey today and you can get yours too. This week we have a little sale going on. For just $25.00 you can be the proud owner of a beautiful Verde FC shirt.

Friday, April 23, 2010

God & the Tigers or A Coke & a Smile

While that crazy-ass facebook group praying for the death of Obama was circulating yesterday, I also came across another crazy-ass situation. I saw this bumper sticker... for those who don't want to follow the link, it says, "God bless our troops... especially the snipers." I don't get it. Is it asking God to bless (AKA forgive) the snipers for their aggressive behavior? I doubt it. I don't usually have a problem w/ "bless the troops" type claims in that I assumed they implied protection. But the snipers aren't really in the same danger as the other soldiers. Hiding in a tree & picking people of who don't even know they're there seems like a pretty safe job. I think that if I ever enlisted, I'd certainly choose sniper over "dude who busts into a bombed out basement w/o knowing who is waiting." I don't mean this as an attack on snipers; I don't want them to get shot, I just think the bumper-sticker was odd. Why single them out like that. Is this suggesting that the owner of the sticker doesn't want the other members of the armed forces to receive an equal amount of blessings?

When I was i high school, a Priest (Fr. Wheeler) would lead a team prayer before the matches, but I always assumed it was a pray for a safe game... not for a victory. I never assumed God really gave a shit about who won or lost our high school soccer games. Dan has also been known to lead a prayer before Verde FC matches, & while I didn't take part, I assumed it was a similar situation: a prayer for safety & a good match. If I believed in God, I imagine God would certainly want to see a good game w/ beautiful passing & strong tackles... right? Who wouldn't?Back in 1984, there was a popular slogan 'round these [arts that some of you might recall... "Bless You, Boys!" This sports "prayer" is a little more ambiguous than Dan's or Fr. Wheeler's pre-match prayers. It was cool that they won the series & all, but if God was really concerned w/ the outcome of the MLB post-season & was a Tigers fan, would God really have let us suffer for the last 26 years? 2006 was close, but if God wanted the Tigers to win a few years back, I'm he'd have figured out a way to pull it off.

God may not be a Tigers fan (even God has to know when to throw in the towel... The entire Pantheon of gods must have given up on the Lions back in the mid-70s... but I'm no God. And after last night's victory, I think it may be time to make the call. That's right folks, it's now the time to announce your Visions of Ypsi 2010 Tiger! Before we do that though, you can refresh you Visions of Ypsi Tigers memory here.Phil Coke is it! It's not so much his ability as his name, his ridiculous hair, & his name. I definitely need to get a Coke shirt. I was waffling between Valverde (his name has my team's name in it), Austin Jackson (his name has not 1 but 2 Southern cities in it), & Dontrell Willis (he looks like a cross between Sol Campbell & someone w/ an internal head injury... I dig that.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A soccer post for Kristen and evereyone else who loves the soccer posts

Wenger seemed to realize, after the loss @ White Hart Lane, that winning the league wasn't going to happen this year. It's been a long 5 years w/o a trophy; "The Invincibles" won the league in 2004 w/o losing a single match, Arsenal won the FA Cup in 2005, lost in the Champions League final in 2006 after Lehman was sent off, & then lost in the League Cup final in 2007 (a match that ended in a brawl which saw Adebayor, the only person uninvolved get sent off for trying to stop it). Over all, it's been 5 years of blindingly beautiful football w/ absolutely nothing but a few broken legs to show for it.

Since they only have 3 games to go, it's time to start looking ahead to next fall. Of course, I'm doing my part by reading all of the transfer rumors. Here's what I, in my infinite wisdom, think needs to happen.

Diaby to some French club where he can dribble, dribble, dribble... lose the ball all he wants
Eboue to Italy where his lack of speed won't be an issue
Almunia to a mid-level club in Spain
Fabianski to some backwater club in Eastern Europe where he'll be forgotten
Eduardo to either Spain or Italy Silvestre is out of contract so he should be released & Wenger can then wash his hands of that putz
Denilsen should go to a club like Reading or Burnley
**There's also a rumor that Arshavin & Fabregas might go to Spain**

A new central defender to back up Vermaelen & Gallas like Sakho, Boateng, Hangeland, or Upson
A couple strikers... Chamakh is almost certain on a free from Bordeaux & then someone like Hazzard or Gignac... there's also a pretty common rumor about Higuain coming in from Madrid
A new holding midfielder to replace Denilsen like de Rossi
Clearly a goalie... Joe Hart seems to be the main rumor & he'd be great
Another winger or 2 to replace Eboue/Eduardo/Diaby like Gareth Bale
If Fabregas is sold to Barca, then they'd have plenty of money to pick up Gourcuff who already has a great partnership w/ Chamakh in France... plus he has 2 of the other traits Wenger loves... he's young & caries a French passport... in fact even if Fabregas stays, Wenger should put in a bid for him anyway

I hope Fabregas stays, & in general, w/ Wenger suggesting he'll spend more than normally this summer, the team will certainly be stronger next year. Once Gallas, RVP, Vermaelen, Fabregas, Song, & Arshavin are back from their injuries, the spine of the team will be fantastic & the upgrades can then deepen the squad & push for some trophies again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lurkers v Posters

I know a lot of my friends have blogs which I don't read as often as I'd like. And when I do read them, I often leave w/o commenting because I'm in a hurry or just because I nothing to add. I imagine this is the case w/ most people, but it might be time for a little roll call, y'all. I was recently reminded that people are reading this but not commenting, & while I have the tracker, it's not very specific, so I thought I'd dedicate a little space to this little issue. I know Jason, Stephanie, & Holly are reading this on a pretty regular basis, but who else is out there? Stand & be counted, yo! There are also occasional comments from Annette, Steve, & Cmadler. Of course, the comments go up around New Years for the big contest, but in general, I'm fascinated to know who is out there.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Few Movies

Good Hair
I watched this the other night w/ some people from my African American Lit class. Chris Rock hosts this documentary about African American hair styles. He seems a bit uncomfortable as an interviewer, but it's fascinating. They really go in depth about weaves and relaxer. Apparently, many women were really upset that their "beauty secrets" were explained, but it's definitely worth watching. At times, the conversations in the barber shop get a bit sexist, & he never seems bothered by that, but then Al Sharpton & Maya Angelou deal w/ the political side of the issue nicely.
Best line:
Rock: "So you lived your whole life & then finally got your hair straightened for the first time when you were 70?"
Angelou: "Well, it wasn't my whole life... I'm not dead yet."
There are also some hilariously offensive moments w/ Ice T.

Whatever Works
Stephanie found this on the Bookmobile the other day. Woody Allen meets Larry David! It's a fantastic film, & the pairing of Woody w/ Larry David was a genius move, but @ times it seems a bit forced. It's certainly 1 of his best comedies in years. Over the last 10 years, only Melinda & Melinda & Hollywood Ending are as good. Of course, Match Point & Cassandra's Dream are fantastic too, but they aren't comedies. My only complaints w/ it are that 1) it falls back on some pretty old WA jokes & 2) everyone is a bit rigid... not Hayden Christiensen rigid, but rigid none the less.

The Visitor
Stephanie found this one on the Bookmobile too. I'd been wanting to see it for quite some time, & I'm glad I finally did. It's absolutely beautiful. A older econ prof from Connecticut returns to his apartment in NY to find an African couple living there (renting from someone who claimed to own it). He ends up befriending them & getting tangled in their immigration fight while also coming out of his boring Econ shell. See it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Looking gift horses in mouths

Wonder Woman, Storm, Catwoman, Rogue.... Their pants have always been nearly non-existent in order to sell female heroes to 12 year old boys. When Star Trek: The Motion Picture came out, I remember thinking, "The future is gonna be sweet w/ the tight pants all the sexy, hairless chicks* will be wearing." By the time Star Trek: TNG was on, the thinking sort of shifted to "Come on... no one is really going to wear pants that tight in the future." Of course, this year my thoughts have changed a bit again as those once futuristic tight, tight pants have become a reality. Back in the mid-80s, the girls were wearing tight legging type things, but always w/ long sweaters over them. It never occurred to people that the legging things could stand alone as pants in their own right.

This year, running/yoga attire has merged w/ basic going to class or the grocery store attire into some weird camel-toe show-off sessions. Not only are the pants tighter, but they've become thinner. I now I shouldn't be so concerned (in fact, I should probably just sit back & enjoy the show), & I know I've never been the standard bearer for an appropriate fashion sense, but it's a bit ridiculous. I feel that if I can pick your whoo-ha out of a pussy-line-up, your pants might be too tight. Clearly, this is a trend designed by a couple D&D/Tasha Yar fans... & young women across the county have bought into it like fucking lemmings... lemmings in really tight pants.

Oh, & while we're on the topc of hot, hot women in tight, tight pants, I'd like to remind you all that Staphanie has created a new blog. Be sure to check it out!

*Deltans, the specie of Lt. Ilia, have no body hair other than eye brows & lashes. Their evolution has taken them to some glorious future w/o pubes or old man ear-hair. Of course, afte she became possesed by V'ger, she wore no pants at all.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

African American Cinema Celebration

You, dear reader, may recall that on MLK Day there was a film presentation in the Student Center regarding the use of African American stereotypes in American cinema. You may also recall that I thought it was rather sub-par. It seemed like a basic reiteration of Ethnic Notions, Marlon Riggs 1986 documentary about Black Face & minstrel Shows, w/ a few more recent examples. In response, my African American Lit class & I decided that we should have a bi-weekly viewing of something from the African American film cannon.

1) We started w/ Ethnic Notions in order to get a background of the history & imagery. It's pretty standard fare for college campuses, but it's really good & none of them had seen it.

2) Our next film was Bamboozled, Spike Lee's awesome lampooning of Hollywood & pop-culture. If you haven't seen it... do so! It's intense & at times hard to stomach, but it's absolutely fantastic.

3) Next up was Daughters of the Dust. I hadn't seen it since I was in grad school, & I'm really glad we picked it. I wanted something different from what they're used to, & I also wanted to expose them to part of American culture w/ which they are generally unfamiliar. It worked. It's a really cool film w/ a sort of Virginia Woolf feel to it: multiple perspectives, internal monologues, & a women's story told in such a way that undermines the traditional masculine narrative structures of contemporary films. See it if you haven't.

4) We chose to move on to something a bit more bad-ass... Sweet Sweetback's Baadassss Song. When Melvin van Peoples made this in 1970, it was rated X in an attempt to keep it out of the main-stream theaters. That didn't work, however, as it went on to be one of the highest grossing independent films of all time. Plus, it motivated Gordon Parks to make Shaft a Black character. Apparently, he was planning to do Shaft w/ a white guy. Can you imagine how different the world would be? The sexuality was a bit tough for a few of my students, but in general, they loved it... it's certainly dated though. It's slower than Star Trek: The Motion Picture. A better editor, cinematographer, & lighting crew might have helped... but also might have taken away from its cult status.

5) This week, by request, we watched Shackles, an interesting, though completely predictable little story about an out of work teacher who takes a job @ Shackleton Prison in New York & inspires the inmates w/ poetry. It was like Dead Poets Society in jail... even down to the fact that it starred a comedian who I've never seen do serious stuff prior to this film (D. L. Hughley. Although the story is pretty straight forward, the editing & split-screen stuff is really cool & works well, as does the inclusion of the poetry... from the reading of "Howl" to the street poet to the stuff @ the Slams, it's all done well.

6) Next week is the last week, & we'll be watching another documentary @ the request of the class. This time it will be Good Hair, in which Chris Rock interviews musicians, athletes & entertainers about the history & traditions of African American hair styles. People like Al Sharpton, Maya Angelou, Paul Mooney, Ice T, & KRS-1 get questioned & it sounds pretty cool. Feel free to join us on Monday night @ 7:00 in room 320 of the Halle Library... bring a snack & a beverage!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Who remembers back to a time when I didn't obsess over sports?

To start things off, I'd like to invite you to order your Verde FC replica kits. For just $30.00, you too can wear your very own Verde F.C. shirt. Come support your team! Order today and you'll have it in time for our first home game of the season. Pay here & then specify your size in the comments box (numbers and size XXL are $2.00 extra). Be sure to specify your preferred number in the comment box also.

In other sports news, the Tigers play their 1st game of the year in just 30 minutes. Verlander will be on the mound in KC while I'm in front of a class in Ypsi. I'll be sure to follow the 1st few innings before I go to teach though. Before the game starts, I do have a couple thoughts to put out there for you.
1) I'm wondering about Damon's age. He was amazing a few years ago, but he's pushing 37 years young. I sure hope this decision doesn't come back to kick us in the ass.
2) There's no clear front-runner for the Visions of Ypsi Tiger yet. we'll give it a couple weeks before we make our call. Who knows, maybe Johnny will come good & get the nod.
3) I'm always, oddly, a fan of the closers, & the new guy has "verde" in his last name... that's gotta be a good sign.

Friday, April 2, 2010

11 Arsenal Thoughts... cuz 10 just ain't enough

1) Losing Fabregas to a broken leg is bad luck, but as w/ his previous injury, I think Nasri will be a fine replacement for the rest of the year.
2) Losing Arshavin is rough too, but he's been in relatively bad form lately so it might be OK.
3) Thierry Henry still knows how to play the PR game. He claimed he didn't want to see Arsenal lose & would have rather not even played in the game. He's a class act... even if the hand ball against Ireland has tainted his reputation.
4) I got to use the word "taint"!
5) They looked like ass for 60 minutes against Barcelona the other day, but once they realized they could stick w/ them, the Gunners looked fine. I wonder if that fight back will lead to a stronger 2nd leg in Spain next week. 6) Walcott did more in his 28 minutes on Wednesday than he has for the last few months. If he can keep that up, he's a cinch for South Africa.
7) The remaining fixtures are pretty good. As long as they don't slip up against Tottenham or Man City, things could go well. Man U plays Chelsea tomorrow morning so @ least one of those teams will drop points... here's hoping for a draw!
8) We watched Fever Pitch again the other night. It's even better than I remembred. just be sure to rent the Colin Firth version!
9) I'm going to have to reread the book soon in prep for the World cup.
10) Speaking of soccer books, I just scored a copy of Desmond Morris's The Soccer Tribe from 1981. It still had the insert cor a contest to win tix to the 1982 World Cup. It's a great anthropological look @ the sport.
11) The Gunnersaurus is ridicuous.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What do Andre and Sandra Bullock have in common?

Earlier this week, I attended the EMU First Annual Celebration of Student Support. Students nominated professors who they feel made a difference in their college career & seeing as I've been teaching for 12 years but never nominated for anything, I figured I better show up because it could be another 12 years before I get nominated for something like this. There are people who get nominated for things like this all the time, & then there are people like Sandra Bullock & me... we're well aware that when we get nominated for things, we best be there.

The last award I won was "Mr. Pretty Legs in a Kilt." That was fun & drunken... this was interesting but w/o the booze. It was a nice ceremony, & I got a fancy certificate to hang on the wall. It's nice to know there is @ least 1 student out there whom I've actually affected in a positive way. In fact, I actually have a feeling there is more than 1, but I can't quantify that. In the previous incarnation of the award, they whittled all the nominees down to 1 winner based on an essay written by the nominating students. In their revamping, they (& I think rightly so) decided that a token for every nominee was better than a cash award for 1. In the end, about 50 of us (5 from the English Dept.) showed up to be recognized. We got a group photo, but I can't find it anywhere yet. In lieu of that, here's a photo of my major award.