Thursday, April 2, 2015

News and Updates

1. If you promise a friend that you will give a guest lecture in his class, preparing it months in advance when you have all the time in the world is just silly.  Even if it is a topic you enjoy and want to know more about.  Even if you have a couple of great stories already lined up.  It’s just not right without that thrill of the last minute deadline barreling toward you like a linebacker looking for a new contract.

2. Why oh why did you start making something with pecans, oh Tastykake?  Now we have to swear off all of your products.  I has a Sad.

3. Turkeys grow remarkably quickly.  They also stink.  But as the weather gets warmer it will soon be time to take them out to the barn, and then they will be right at home.  Right now we still have four of them, but one has a bad case of splayed legs and may not be long for the world.  That would be a 50% attrition rate.

4. Teaching is so much more fun when you can work in Princess Bride references.  It’s even more fun when they get them.  We were discussing the Korean War today, with special reference to General Douglas MacArthur’s attempts to widen the war into a general conflict with China.  Getting into a land war in Asia is, you will recall, one of the classic blunders, along with wagering with a Sicilian when death is on the line.

5. Having finished a surprisingly enjoyable 500pp sociological study of English behavior (which really ought to have been “behaviour” except that they Americanized the title) I am more and more convinced that I ought to look into moving there for good.  I would probably be regarded as insufferably forward and if they actually eat the way this book describes I’d likely starve, but the conversational styles described in the book and the general sense that politeness consists largely of not bothering people too much I could definitely live with.  I also seem to have the English attitude toward religion pretty much down pat.

6. Tabitha says “Communist jokes aren’t funny unless you tell them to everyone equally.”  Parenting FTW.

7. Every once in a while Microsoft Word decides that my documents need to be spellchecked as if they were in French.  I have no idea why this happens, and even less notion of how to turn it off.  It seems to go away on its own, though.  What amazes me is how few words it tells me I need to change.  Pardon my French.

8. The local grocery story installed a new checkout machine that looks like something the TSA would have at O’Hare International.  How this is supposed to help me buy cat litter I do not know.

9. One of the things about having hens is that they produce eggs whether you eat them or not.  We tend to eat eggs in streaks, and since we are currently on a rather eggless streak we now have about three dozen farm-fresh eggs in our fridge.  They’re really good eggs.  Perhaps there will be pizzelles in our future.

10.  I am surrounded by paper.


Unknown said...

One of the things about having hens is that they produce eggs whether you eat them or not

If you eat the hens, I'm pretty sure they stop producing eggs ^_^

David said...

This is true, especially if said eggs are made of gold.

But one of the things I learned early in my life was to avoid permanent solutions to temporary problems - eventually I will want to have more eggs, and memories of fried chicken simply will not suffice. ;)

Welcome to 4Q10D!

Ewan said...

You do seem to have formed an unfortunately poor impression of English cuisine. Heck, we don't even deep-fry Mars bars (this is a Scottish thing, and to be fair very tasty; note that UK 'Mars' roughly = US Milky Way).

Moreover, UK *supermarkets* are the world's best, as far as I can tell. The gulf between them and the offerings over here is truly vast.

David said...

Honestly I haven't had a bad meal in the UK. I've been there three times (including once in Scotland) and enjoyed myself immensely.

And living as I do in the land of the County Fair, I find that I have no right to cast aspersions onto whatever things other people choose to deep fry.

I think the specific thing I was referring to in item #5 was a rather involved method for eating peas and the general sense of politeness that doesn't jibe with the rule of dinners at my house ("the bashful starve") rather than any particular quality of the food itself. Have you had a chance to read Kate Fox's Watching the English?

I loved wandering through Tescos and Waitroses and the various corner markets when I was in the UK (as I also loved the Swedish supermarkets). The "Tescopolis" (as my friend Julia referred to it) in Chipping Sodbury was one of my favorite places. What can I say? I like grocery stores. I like seeing what other people in other places have to eat.

We do have some good grocery stores here as well - oddly enough, here in Our Little Town there are a couple that are really good. I would, of course, have to go back to the UK for some direct comparisons, and that is just a sacrifice I am willing to make. :)

Ewan said...

I frequent Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. I've repeatedly been to Wegman's. None come close to your average Sainsbury's, nor even Waitrose (Tesco is a step down, although the Tesco Finest range are generally excellent quality and value).

If WI has stores that compete with those in the UK, that would be a reason to move there that might even outweigh the political fuckmuppetry.

Ewan said...

Oh, and yes: one 'should' - for values of 'should' that apply mostly to my grandparents' generation - eat peas by balancing them on the top of an inverted fork.

Yeah, right.

It *is* true that after I brought my American wife to eat dinner at my grandparents', they spent a large part of the meal trying hard not to gawp at the barbarisms she perpetrated - the concept that one would cut up food, then switch the hand one is using to hold the form and put down the knife, was a thing of horror in particular. But that was a long time ago, and besides, the wench* is dead.

{*Grandmother, not wife..}

David said...

They would definitely have gawped at me. Possibly even boggled. Thus Item 5.

When I was in 2nd grade the teacher played an old country song for us that was just the best thing we had ever heard. I remember it still. "I eats my peas with honey / I done it all my life / It makes the peas taste funny / But it keeps them on the knife." When I read the whole "inverted fork" thing, that was what kept popping into my mind.

I suspect many of those rules have relaxed a bit, as time has gone on and the creeping tide of Americanism has washed over even some of the UK. But there you have it.

I find Whole Foods too expensive and Trader Joe's puts tree nuts in everything up to and including the bottled water so I am rarely ever there, though they're nice to wander around in at times. The stores here in Our Little Town tend toward the mammoth rather than the refined, which I appreciate since I can get pretty much anything I want (even Yorkshire Red tea and Hobnobs biscuits, which are probably nothing special to a native Briton but a lovely thing to find here in the midwest, as they are both tasty and nice reminders of good times and close friends). I shall have to make a point of finding a Sainsbury's next time I am in the UK!

I definitely need to go back soon.