Monday, September 7, 2020

News and Updates

1. It’s starting to feel more like fall here, with crisper nights and earlier sunsets.  I like autumn – it feels like new beginnings and old things coming to an end, it has far more civilized weather than the summer, and it’s not quite as cold as the winter my old bones are starting to feel more than they used to and not as muddy as spring.

2. We dropped Oliver off at Small Liberal Arts College on Friday and he was just so happy to be with his friends again.  I hope that his college lasts longer than most are doing this pandemic season – if any school is going to make a run of things it would be a small residential college in a fairly out of the way town, after all.  But as someone said recently, all of the plans people have made have the science mostly right but not the psychology – students are going to gather and things will get called off.  But for the moment the center holds and we press on.

3. My classes are all remote this semester anyway – one because that’s the way it’s been taught since 2012 and I’m just ahead of the curve that way, and three sections of the other because my parents raised no fools and it doesn’t take a whole lot of psychic power to see where things are going and I wanted to beat the rush.  So far, so good.  Between the first class and my summer course, I think I’ve got this remote teaching thing pretty much down by now.  You’ll have to ask my students if they agree.

4. It’s very hard to be an American these days, what with der Sturmtrumper and his minions in full Fascist authoritarian mode, doing everything they can to destroy my country and turn it into some cheap racist fantasy of blood and soil.  The mere fact that his approval rating isn’t zero is a damning indictment of American morals and culture.  It will take generations to undo the damage he and his supporters have done to this country, if it can be undone at all.  And we start now.

5. Not that I can write much about it.  I’ve tried.  It all degenerates into rants so vitriolic that even I don’t want to read them.  You cannot support this tyrant and be a good American, and once you start getting into the specifics of that things deteriorate quickly. 

6. One thing I’m glad for is online games, which has been my big discovery over the last couple of months.  Old school games.  I found a site that lets me play Yahtzee against the computer, for example, and this has been a pleasantly mindless way to divert my attention from … all this.  It reminds me of my childhood, when we would always go down the shore for our summer vacations on a week where it rained at least a couple of days while we were there and my parents would have us play games, and one year they taught us how to play Yahtzee and it still smells like salt water to me.

7. I’ve also managed to read more this year to date than I did all of last year.  Lockdown FTW, I suppose.

8. The genealogy project proceeds apace, and it is nice that there are people in my family who share the interest with me.  I got a really fascinating document from my cousin this week, for example – one that dealt with his mother’s side of the family, which I know next to nothing about – and my mom and I have had fun poring over pages together.  When the present is what it is, the past is a nice place to spend time.

9. Living in Wisconsin means you can buy soda that is simply described as “Sour.”  It’s surprisingly tasty.

10. We set up the corner of the basement as a hangout space, much to Lauren’s satisfaction.  It’s got some of those interlocking square foam pads for flooring and we replaced the old futon mattress with one that you can actually sit on.  Lauren and Oliver painted the two basement walls in the corner a nice shade of blue and there are curtain walls for the other two walls to divide the space from the rest of the basement.  We just finished hanging the old television from our bedroom from the ceiling down there – we never watched it, and Lauren has already hooked up the PS4 to it.  My role in this has been pretty minimal, which is what you want if a household project is to go well, but I’ve done a few things here and there.  Mostly it’s been Kim and Lauren.  It looks nice.


LucyInDisguise said...

1. I noticed a while back that Orion has reappeared in the morning sky. A sure sign of more tolerable weather in the future.

2. Remind everyone that face coverings are not optional:

3. Student Poll:
[ ] Agree.
[ ] No Comment. (I’d like to pass the course.)

4. Double-check your voter registration status. Soon. (Two members of my family just found out last week that their registration had been canceled. Our state may be turning purple, but this county is red, red, & red.)

5. As you know all too well, frequently, when reading on the internet, my brain seizes on an author’s word choice. Usually not for any particular reason - however, when a cause presents itself, it’s usually curiosity, especially if the author uses the word frequently. So, right-click, look up word, open in dictionary:

he launched a vitriolic attack on the government

Choose One* that best describes what you really feel:
acrimonious, rancorous, bitter, caustic, mordant, acerbic, astringent, acid, acrid, trenchant, virulent, spiteful, crabbed, savage, venomous, poisonous, malicious, malignant, malign, pernicious, splenetic; nasty, mean, cruel, unkind, harsh, ill-natured, evil-intentioned, vindictive, scathing, searing, biting, barbed, wounding, stinging, tart, sharp, rapier-like, razor-edged, cutting, withering, sarcastic, sardonic, irascible; perhaps something a bit more informal? bitchy, catty, slashing; maybe literary? malefic, maleficent; rare? acidulous, mordacious, squint-eyed.

(Ooooh. I just re-discovered a word: mordacious. If I were to choose, mordacious would be my choice! That means you can’t use that one, it’s already taken!)

And, I, for one, want to read your [insert word choice here] rants - even if you don’t. Gives me a chance to scream into the void without that feeling of solitary wailing I usually feel these days.

7. WIN!

8. Any time spent with mom is fulfillment.

10. It is a wise man who understands his talents & limitations.

Also, always make sure you KNOW where the dog is BEFORE you climb up the step ladder.

Just sayin’.


* Yeah, I’m going to limit you to only one. Not two or more. Don’t care. Your Blog, My rule. Or sumthin. 😁

LucyInDisguise said...

A couple of afterthoughts:

5. Be prepared to 'defend' your choice. After everything revealed about the treasonous squatter this week (not that any of it was all that surprising ...) I'm kinda in a contrary moooood. 😁

8. Fulfilling. (Damn auto-incorrect.)

I just noticed that blogger doesn't recognize (or at least refuses to render) the double space between sentences. Not real fast on the uptake, but I'll eventually figure it owt ... almost always sometimes occasionally.


David said...

And I'm just getting back to the blog after a hellacious week (the first couple of weeks of the semester are always slammed).


2. We're failing that test as a nation, as we are failing so many others.

4. I checked it a couple of weeks ago and it was still fine. Of course the WI Supreme Court (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the WI GOP) just banned mail in voting because REASONS, so we'll see how things go.

5. I'll go with acidic, since the hope is that whatever I turn it toward will simply dissolve and get washed down the drain.

10. I just wish other people would understand them as well before asking me to exceed them.

LucyInDisguise said...

I was getting a little worried there, Big Boy! Fixing’ to call out Search & Rescue and everything. Then I remembered which year it was and decided that I should be patient and give ya another three or for days or months or so before starting to worry. 2020 has been that sort of year.

Yeah, it has!

2. I watched with what would have passed as ‘astonishment’ (even several months ago!) as security removed a couple from the casino last week. I think I lost about 15 IQ points just listening to that stream of excuses for not wearing a mask … I’ve heard better excuses from 5 year-olds.

3. Haven't seen any responses from your students ...

5. Acidic isn’t actually on the list. Acid is, but not acidic. You must therefore choose another.

Wait … Okay, oh hassled and harried one, I will choose to accept that ‘cause I like your justification. Although, I was kinda hoping you’d choose ‘catty’ - could have had a lot of fun with that one.

10. After consideration, I’ve decided that it’s really not possible to understand another person’s talents or limitations. All you can do is ask.

And have your phone ready.

And hope the video wins America’s Funniest Home Videos.

I’ll Hold Your Tea! … 😁


David said...

I need more tea. Definitely more tea. :)

My problem is that my reactions are so rarely AFV-worthy (and I have no idea where the H went - all I know is that when my kids were younger and huge fans of that show I learned that the proper abbreviation among the cognoscenti was AFV and not AFHV and now that's a thing you know too) so even having your phone ready will likely not result in Big Bucks or even Fame. Although it might be personally amusing so perhaps that's enough.

"Vitriolic" is a word I picked up from reading too many 18th-century documents, and "acidic" is precisely the meaning I want. "Catty" would be interesting, since it could mean "gossipy" (which I'm not good at, as I never catch on to such things), "feline" (not nearly graceful enough, though I could qualify on the whole "sleeping all day" thing if I put my mind to it), or perhaps "prostitute-like" on the whole "cat-house" analogy, though I rather suspect I would have starved if I had tried that career path myself. Oh well.

My students are wisely choosing to ignore me on that one. Maybe they're learning! ;)

LucyInDisguise said...

English is weird. My dictionary doesn’t even reference gossipy.

cat·ty1 | ˈkadΔ“ |
adjective (cattier, cattiest)
1 deliberately hurtful in one's remarks; spiteful: catty comments.
2 relating to cats; catlike: catty eyes.

How can there be wildly disparate definitions of a word? Such is the world we live in. Fake Words! Fake Words!

Your students have learned well, oh wizened one.

Disney and ABC really need to get their act together on the name of that show …

I just spent 45 minutes trying to reason with a pebble regarding the current political situation in this country. I enjoyed the fact that I was actually able to convince it to see the light and promise to vote Biden/Harris in the upcoming election.

Unlike the two hours I spent in utterly futile conversation* with one of my tRumpian neighbors yesterday.



* Classic misnomer. A ‘conversation’ requires two or more people capable of thinking.

David said...

Yeah, the only thing I ever get out of arguing with a Trumper is older.

A more fanatical and less receptive group of people you will never find. Say one thing for their cult leader, though - he knows his base. He told is in 2015 that he could shoot someone in broad daylight in front of thousands of witnesses and never lose a single voter and by the deity of your choice he was right about that.

When I was in college I took a class on psycholinguistics, which is not a study of how der Sturmtrumper speaks but is instead the study of the psychology of language. And after patiently walking through maybe half a dozen current (for 1986) theories of how words acquire meaning in the human mind, the professor finally just admitted that as far as psychologists have been able to figure out the real answer is that "things mean what they mean because that's what they mean."

It's kind of liberating in a way.

LucyInDisguise said...

Psychologists, Engineers, & Politicians.

Gotta Luv 'Em.

(Cause shooting them is still illegal. Under most circumstances.)