Monday, December 13, 2004

Red Herrings On Aisle 5 

Is internal, institutional-scale consistency of knowledge a reasonable expectation in the modern over-departmentalized megacorporate model? A suit against Wal-Mart says yes:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which promotes itself as a seller of clean music, deceived customers by stocking compact discs by the rock group Evanescence that contain the f-word, a lawsuit claims. The hit group's latest CD and DVD, "Anywhere But Home," don't carry parental advisory labels alerting potential buyers to the obscenity. If they did, Wal-Mart wouldn't carry them, according to the retailer's policy.

But the lawsuit claims Wal-Mart knew about the explicit lyrics in the song, "Thoughtless," because it censored the word in a free sample available on its Web site and in its stores. The complaint, filed Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court, seeks an order requiring Wal-Mart to either censor or remove the music from its Maryland stores. It also seeks damages of up to $74,500 for each of the thousands of people who bought the music at Wal-Marts in Maryland.
It seems reasonable to assume that all departments of any corporation should be aware of, and adhere to, corporate policy. But companies like Wal-Mart are huge and fragmented. Without a warning label, I can't imagine it realistic to expect the sales-floor arm to be aware of how the promotional arm of a large corporation made a call on the relative appropriateness of one individual product among millions.

The law, of course, doesn't need to worry about realism in the face of a status quo. If Wal-Mart insists on making content-level promises its corporate mechanism cannot ensure, a judge could, theoretically, choose instead to mandate change in the corporate infrastructure. This should be an interesting one to follow for those of us interested in the study of sociology.

Easier to dismiss: In pointing readers to the story, BoingBoing pal John Parres swears this is a free speech issue. But even if this suit were about free speech (it isn't), the left-handed expectation for corporate "freedoms" is hardly a war cry. As long as there are copious places to access non-censored versions of this or any media, and as long as Wal-Mart policy is clear for consumers, it is enough to note that the suit in question doesn't address the speech issue, and assume from there.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:45 AM | 2 comments

Friday, December 10, 2004

RIF: The End Is Near 

We've been told that teachers whose positions will not be continuing will be meeting with the Head of School on Tuesday. Also that folks who get asked to stay may discover themselves doing more than they used to.

Not clear which is better. We've been complaining about a gradual creep in expectations for years; by now, many keep a 60 hour workweek. The fear of even more, coupled with administrative promise of a "very nice" severance package, seems to be keeping the scales pretty balanced, pro and con.

They're "only" cutting 25 positions out of 100. Everyone I talk to seems sure they'll be the first to go. I'd feel more confident if someone -- anyone -- had asked me what I actually do around here, but c'est la vie, eh?

Either way, I'm keeping the resume up to date. Couldn't hurt to practice those interviewing skills, either. More Tuesday.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:38 PM | 19 comments

Thursday, December 09, 2004

A Dubious Honor 

After a casual mention of this googleprompted poem in the reinvigorate chatbox, the kind folks at Asinine Poetry have pursued and, subsequently, republished my Bologna Sonnet on their own site.

I'm especially proud of my overly-caffeinated bio. It's all true, I swear.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:08 PM | 2 comments

No Peeking! 

Took a long overdue morning off and went holiday shopping in Brattleboro (VT) with the wife and wee one. Nice to be downtown without half the place blocked off by smoke and ladder trucks. Can't say much more about it, though, as some recipients-to-be, including Dad and Brother Jesse, are regular readers.

We'll be gone from tomorrow noon Saturday 'til Sunday, at my parents house for the annual family Hannukah get-together. While we're gone, feel free to peruse the "best of" archives over there to the right...or perhaps jump right to this week's rant, a plum addressing the use of the word fuck in the virtual faculty lounge -- cause everybody likes obscenity, right? Alternately, newcomers and/or those looking for some 'about me" type stuff would be well-served by starting with 30 things, 100 demons, or If I Had $10,000,000). Don't forget to leave comments!

Speaking of that old home religion -- Seth Mnookin, an old holier-than-thou enemy from Sunday School and author of a new look on just how that guy (you remember, that guy) managed to last so long at the New York Times despite such clear and present screwups (for those that don't want to read the book: it was the editor, stupid), was last night's guest on the Daily Show. Hard to know if it's just me, residual post-pubescent bias and all, but I wasn't impressed with the tired and shallow sound-bytes Mnookin managed to sneak by an otherwise bored Jon Stewart.

To be fair, though, Mnookin's a writer, not a public speaker, and some seriously impressive folks seem to like the book; I'm looking forward to reading what Stewart described as a strong analysis and an engrossing narrative. And even I gotta admit ol' Seth looks much better without the bleached tips he used to sport, back when he was 16 and sniffing glue.

posted by boyhowdy | 7:39 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Lost Writings In Old Wallets 

Cleaned out my wallet last week. In among the business cards, faded cookie fortunes and ATM reciepts a pair of paper scraps, covered in tiny blue-pen writing, stood out. Turned out to be blogfodder, written almost exactly a year ago, on holiday break in Florida.

A year ago.

My mother's father Jerry and my father's mother Florence were still alive, though both sick in their own ways. Willow could barely string two words together. My back wasn't herniated. My hair was three feet long. My job seemed safe; I was still teaching morning classes, and excited about them.

It was our second visit to Florida since Martha, the first of my grandparents, had passed; the first since I'd been to her gravesite.

And one warm night on the wicker and iron porch of our rented spanish villa, deep in the heart of the authentic 1920 neighborhood of Flamingo Park, I wrote this:
There are moments, here in Florida, when I miss her terribly -- both of them, really, but mostly her. Technically, of course, he isn't gone -- the body remains, and maybe the mind (i hope, and then sometimes, for his sake, hope to God it's not). But he's so far gone from the laughing bristle-cheeked pancakemaker he was when we were small, "he" is gone, after all.

But oh, Martha. Whose funeral we missed, in fear of having the baby that far from home.

Tonight at dinner, looking down at her great granddaughter, surely thinking of her own long-lost daughter Marion, my father's sister who passed away before his own birth, as in all such families the unattainable perfect sibling whose ghost looked and lurked over everything after her -- tonight Florence looked down at my babbling daughter, my precious Willow Myla-for-Martha, fidling with her great grandfather's shoes, and said "Have you taken her to see Martha?"

It was okay, after that tiny stoptime moment -- okay, and I said so, despite Florence's apology. We moved on quickly, and it was okay.

But it isn't, always.

Let's be tough but fair: Martha, of all my parent's parents, was the one who would have most loved, and been most loved, as she was for us. Would have been -- but she missed it, technically by two days, though if you count the time in the coma, by a month or more. For lying still and skin-stretched in that hospice bed she could not have been, would not have been to Willow the woman I loved, admired, feared.

Tomorrow, maybe, I'll leave Willow and Darcie home, and drive to Delray, and sit in the car outside someone else's home, and cry a little. God, I miss her, and the idea of having Willow see her -- presenting Willow to her, and her to Willow -- connecting the generations, proving us all through proving myself.

As I never knew I needed to do.

Until now.
What a difference a year makes.

We're off again for Florida -- same house; a different, smaller family to visit -- next Friday, bright and early. We'll stop in on my father's father, now the last of his generation; visit, too, Martha's sister Lil, still young at heart, still working at the local community college. We'll play on the beach, weather willing, and swim in the surf, and chase seagulls. I'll read on the porch again, a book a night, and breath the humid air, and try not to think too hard.

And maybe, this time, I really will drive by old houses in the night, and cry. For my own lost youth. For the three of them -- Martha, Jerry, Florence. For the surety that, as I know my own great-grands through pictures only -- Willow will be the first of a world who will not remember them, though she benefits from their love, a trickle-down theory.

We used to go for long days on grandparent porches. It's a funny mix of relaxation and reclamation that drives us to Florida now. But regeneration never comes without the bittersweet, I guess. So here's hoping this year's as sweet and summery, as cathartic and calm as the last.

'Cause this time, I really need it.

posted by boyhowdy | 5:57 PM | 1 comments

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

How To Be Depressed 

  • Ask daughter for kiss. Ask again. Say "I really have to go now, Willow." Say "I wish I had a kiss right now." Say "Please, just one little kiss?" Leave without kiss.

  • Drive 5 miles in dangerously icy conditions to sit in a library information commons to which no one comes.

  • Get coffee. Log into school network. Stare into space.

  • Stare at coffee cup -- the third cup of the day, at a buck fifty per. Try to figure out how much you spend on coffee per year. Now try to figure out how many iPods that is.

  • Realize that you spend twice that much on cigarettes. Multiply number of imaginary iPods by three.

  • Wish you had the money for just one iPod. Wish you had the money for a decent Christmas present for your wife. Wish addiction didn't cost so much. Wish you didn't have such an addictive personality. Wish wishes were horses, or, better, cash. Wish you didn't want another cup of coffee right now.

  • Leave "Be Right Back!" sign on service desk. Go to snack bar. Buy another cup of coffee. Return to deserted information commons.

  • Wonder why the library seems so quiet. Realize that the reason your typing isn't making that funny clicking noise today is that you left the pipe-cleaner-and-bead bracelet your daughter made you on the bathroom counter. Miss daughter.

  • Blog about it.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:30 PM | 4 comments

On The Use Of F*** In The Faculty Lounge 

...and other issues of appropriate speech in institutional virtual settings.

The piece appeared in our community via the Humor folder, a faculty-only space much like a virtual teacher's lounge.
Dear Faculty and Students;

God bless you for the beautiful radio I won at your recent senior citizens luncheon. I am 84 years old and live at an Assisted Home for the Aged. All of my family has passed away. I am all alone now and it's nice to know someone is thinking of me. God bless you for your kindness to an old forgotten lady. My roommate is 95 and always had her own radio. Before I received this one, she would never let me listen to hers,even when she was napping. The other day, her radio fell off the night stand and broke into a lot of little pieces. It was awful and she was in tears. She asked if she could listen to mine, and I said fuck you. Thank you for that opportunity.

Almost three weeks later I recieved this query from another teacher:
Do you think it is okay to see this kind of language on swis, in the faculty and staff humor folder?

Perhaps you can tell from my question that I find it inappropriate. F*** would have been less offensive in my mind.

With her permission, I'm cross-posting my response here.

The F Word: On Semi-Public Community Language As Media

Interestingly, I read a version of this short piece when it was first published over 10 years ago in The Quarterly, a now-defunct literary magazine of some repute. As fictional literature, the language seemed fine (and funny), because it gave a very specific voice to the older woman narrator. Worth noting, here -- some of the literature read by our students in the classroom has similar language, for similar reasons, and is similarly acceptable.

Professionally speaking, though, the field of media (which, here, would include culture studies, semiotics, etc.) is primarily interested in symbols and their arrangement in order to discuss how meaning happens, and what function it serves in the community.

Context DOES matter -- if the person who sent this joke in had given credit to the original author, that would have made a tiny bit of difference in how it might have been recieved. But, more directly, media tells us:
  • The asterix solution suggested is semiotically indistinguishable from the original. One hears the same word in one's head, and knows what it says, either way. I continue to be frustrated by the school's willingness to treat students who use this "work-around" less severely than students who might go ahead and use the actual word. The symbol is NOT the thing, nor does mere linguistic substitute of one symbol (with asterix) for another (without asterix) make a real difference in how the word is heard and experienced.

  • There is a big difference between explicit language and explicit images called up BY language. The MPAA ratings board, for better or worse, is a vehicle of this school of thought -- you'll note, for example, that graphic scenes cause R ratings, while use of this particular word does not. I have seen many "jokes" in our on-line faculty-only humor folder which bother me MUCH more than this, and many of those use perfectly legitimate WORDS to describe explicit scenes, sex, etc. In the case cited here, the word is used only to break through our stereotype of older people, and provide a broader sense of "real persona" by coupling that with the otherwise polite language of the author to the imagined correspondent -- which is where the joke gets its humor.

  • "Voice," though often misread in virtual spaces, is nonetheless key in media and meaning issues. If a teacher used this word in their OWN voice in a discussion folder or personal email, I'd be horrified. But this example is clearly not written by the person who passed it along, and it is, further, the convention of the humor folder to assume that folks who post are not doing so in their own voice. This "twice-removed" lessens my concern for this language even further.

  • The existence of a humor folder, nestled inside another faculty-only folder called "Community Circle," begs the inclusion in that folder of otherwise-inappropriate ideas, language, posts, etc. As a medium, humor is by defintion risky -- it must run counter to societal norms, or it just ain't funny. Examining the humor folder, I find potentially offensive sexism and gender-ism, subtle classism, age-ism, regional-ism, and other "ain't they funnier than us" as the norm in the folder, not the exception. And, as I suggest above, such ISMS are, by any modern social science perspective, more detrimental to the kinds of things that our school holds sacred -- celebration of difference, diversity, mediation, kindness -- than any single word could be (EXCEPT in the case of words which are by definition anti-group and thus exclusive to the point of comunity offense...which this word is not).

  • It is also true in the study of cultures and communication that every culture in the world has, and NEEDS, some outlet to "play" with their own societal taboos -- some safe place or places to explore these taboos by walking up to the line and testing the limits of aceptability. Societies which do NOT allow this are grey (think soviet communism) and die out quickly.

So. On both professional and personal levels, then, I am more bothered by explicit content than language -- as imagery has been proven, over and over, to be a greater breach of taboo, and thus a greater threat to societal norms. This example brought up here has no explicit content, merely symbols which in OTHER contexts are merely more likely than other symbols to have offensive meaning. This is, in other words, a tame example by virtual faculty lounge humor folder standards.

More, because of how humor is defined in culture, either there is no place on such virtual lounges for the underculture or we must allow that by definition anything that goes in the humor folder will be offensive to somebody, even if that somebody is not a member of our particular group. The former is certainly a possible conclusion, but to choose it seems to me a crying shame -- because it would only cause more demand for such an outlet away from each other, which creates tension in the community itself by driving us away from each other.

If we think the folder itself has value -- if we wish it to continue to exist at all -- it might be necessary to accept that this value is slightly different for everyone. I don't think we can have it both ways.

Some posts do cross lines. But, as there seems to be a real, determinant societal need -- in any society -- for exactly this release valve, I would humbly suggest that, while it would be surely appropriate for someone who felt that a given post had "crossed the line" to write, privately, to the original poster of that message and suggest that they, personally, were uncomfortable, no one offended individual should be able to determine taboo lines in a given culture or institution. It would still be important for that person to both a) be willing to accept disagreement from that poster, and live with it, and b) choose, as I know others have, to discontinue reading the folder if the trend continues, and continues to bothers them.

If it helps, in my own case, I have stopped reading several folders -- most recently, I stopped reading the faculty & staff conference folder right before the election, as things were getting politically insensitive and viewpoint-ist in there for a while -- when it became necessary.

Because if there's anything I've learned in my study of institutional communication, especially in educational institutions it is this: Ultimately, the only speech which will offend NO one is no speech at all.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:31 AM | 27 comments

Monday, December 06, 2004

Static On The Radio 

1. Used to generate truly random numbers, as reported in this week's Science News.

2. What the snow outside looked like in my headlights as I drove in to the radio station this evening. (Yes, I know you can't see radio. But if static looked like anything...)

3. A Jim White / Aimee Mann song often played on Tributary, your favorite local 10 to midnight Monday night show on WNMH 91.5.

4. An indicator that you should retune your radio to WNMH 91.5, and move to Brattleboro (VT), Keene (NH), or Greenfield (MA).

As always, here's this week's playlist, in half-hour increments -- no motifs or clusters tonight, just some plumb fine music (with a bit of pre-Christmas cheer mixed in to celebrate the first snowfall of the season).

Tributary 12/6/04

Skavoovie and the Epitones -- Fat Soul
They Might Be Giants -- Birdhouse In Your Soul
Oysterhead -- Oz Is Ever Floating
Sarah Harmer -- Almost
Manu Chao -- Me Gustas Tu
Biscuit Boys -- Me And My Uncle
Spin Doctors -- Jimmy Olsen's Blues

Jim White w/ Aimee Mann -- Static On The Radio
Pete Nelson -- You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch
Lisa Loeb -- I Do
Ware River Club -- I Love Her, She Loves Me
Erin McKeown -- Born To Hum
Mark Erelli -- This Ain't No Time Of Year To Be Alone
Great Big Sea -- Ordinary Day

Erica Wheeler -- Song For A Winter Night
Acoustic Syndicate -- Pumpkin And Daisy
Los Lobos -- That Train Don't Stop Here Anymore
Peter Case -- Let Me Fall
Barenaked Ladies w/ Sarah McLachlan -- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Crooked Still -- Orphan Girl
Peter Gabriel -- Love To Be Loved

Shawn Colvin -- Say A Little Prayer
Brooks Williams -- She Loves Me (When I Try)
Louise Taylor -- Let's Make A Baby King
David Wilcox -- It's The Same Old Song
Patty Griffin -- Mary
Nick Drake -- One Of These Things First

Tributary: It'll make you glad your radio works. If you lived here, you'd be hip by now.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:59 PM | 1 comments

Posts Pending 

Two entirely different posts coming through later today* tomorrow:

1. A response to a peer query about the appropriate use, if any, of the word "fuck" in the virtual faculty lounge. Originally written as a person-to-person email; just needs to be cleaned up a bit for the blog.

2. A short "lost" piece, nominally about my recently-deceaced paternal grandmother, written in Florida almost exactly a year ago and discovered in my wallet this morning.

Stay tuned...

*sorry, folks -- it's been a long one. I will have some time tomorrow to polish-and-post.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:58 AM | 1 comments

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Teens Less Likely To Think First 

Not really news: Scientists discover that "teenagers fail to see the consequences" of their actions. "Teenagers take more risks, because they do not foresee the consequences as adults do," says cognitive scientist Abigail Baird.

Not at all news: Not everyone is an educator. On the whole, society tends to forget that teen brains are just as gawky as their bodies.

Much more interesting: Using this info, reports this week's New Scientist, "several bodies, including the American Medical Association and American Psychiatric Association, have submitted evidence in a test case before the US Supreme Court arguing against the death penalty for juveniles."

Totally unsurprising: Mention of this article in fark ignores the test case, instead focuses on ridiculing New Scientist for "reporting" the adolescent development no-brainer...which, in turn, only confirms the mental age of fark community members (self included) as totally adolescent.

Serendipitous coincidence: Minutes after starting this post, blogexplosion brought me Flaming Teenaged, which brings us "the red hottest news on rampaging teens."

Internal query of the day: "Red hottest" couldn't possibly be grammatically correct, could it?

posted by boyhowdy | 6:15 PM | 2 comments

Christmas Bizarre  

Eight years ago we danced the hora in this very courtyard...
House of multifaith worship (on alternate days)

Up early on Saturday for a day of rural authenticity in Brattleboro, VT, nominally prompted by this year's one-room Christmas Bazaar at old haunt West Village Meeting House.

Nice to be back in the interfaith rural post-and-beam in which -- because it houses both bazaar-hosts All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church and local Jewish congregation Shir He-harim -- we got married.

And today, as always, it was fully comfortable to be a Jew among the U. Met up with Darcie's parents (also UU congregation members), took turns helping two-year-old Willow make bead ornaments in the otherwise-empty kids craft area, bought some small raw-wood-and-lichen mantelpiece ornaments despite the lack of a mantel to put them on.

Afterwards , the five of us -- in three generations and two cars -- had plans to head over the river and through the woods* to the high-commercial end of the rural shopping spectrum. But to no avail: we were stymied in our Wal-mart attempt by a thick plume of smoke coming from downtown Brattleboro, where -- it later turned out -- four townships worth of ladder trucks were dealing with a major block fire. Bridge unavailable, we headed to the local backwoods diner instead for homestyle steak and eggs.

Later, Darcie and I left Willow with the 'Grands for a trip up to the Basketville outlet -- wicker, wicker everywhere, and the smell of woodshavings. Spent almost an hour digging wooden eggs and candlesticks out of the rejects bin; at 5 cents apiece, we managed to gather in quite a collection (136 pieces!), and hope to get both present-fodder and creative play opportunities out of the lot.

Back home the roads through town were still closed, but we managed to pack in the downtown lot and walk in to see a gutted brick and a still-blocked bridge heading home, a sleepy Willow singing carols in the backseat.

Guess someone's God wanted us to stick with the authentic for the day. I missed the kitsch of the cart-and-greeter, but we'll surely make it to the mall sometime this week.

*Yes, it really is over the river and through the woods to get to Grandmother's house. It's a bit much, but what can you do?

posted by boyhowdy | 1:03 AM | 2 comments

Top 5 Christmas Carols For The Psychiatrically Challenged 

Schizophrenia: Do You Hear What I Hear?

Multiple Personality Disorder: We Three Kings Disoriented Are

Manic: Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Busses and Trucks and Trees and Fire Hydrants and...

Paranoid: Santa Claus Is Coming To Get Me

Personality Disorder: You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

A little holiday cheer blatantly stolen from Michael the Archangel's even longer original list. Funniest thing I've read in ages.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:02 AM | 1 comments

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Ironic Metablog, After The Fact: Blogging About Not Blogging
(or, What Is The Sound Of One Blog Clapping?) 

Sorry I didn't have time to write anything today.

Oh, wait. Does this count?

posted by boyhowdy | 11:39 PM | 45 comments

Friday, December 03, 2004

Am I Not Geeky Enough 

Wired's yearly compendium of cool tools includes a list of 30 toys under $30 bucks, and I don't want any of them. Except maybe the genetically-modified glowing fish. But personal ear-mounted turn signals? Ew.

Proud to be a pop culture, media, academia, and otherwise social science geek, though. Kitsch rocks my world. So if you want to get something for me this year, see Unemployed Philosopher's Guild and Archie McPhee for a much better "30 under 30" wishlist. Anything -- from either catalog -- will do.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:10 PM | 3 comments

You Put The Lime In The Cigarette And Smoke It All Up 

New fruity-flavored cigarettes from Camel. In lime, berry, pineapple and coconut.

Ew. Ew. Ew.

RJ Reynolds sez they made 'em because "Our adult consumers asked us and told us they like differentiated products," but I don't think this is what established smokers had in mind. And you gotta wonder where RJR got their info: anyone who smokes (or sells smokes) knows that brand-and-taste loyalty is stronger for smokers than almost anywhere else.

Yet the new cigs are selling out everywhere. The vast majority of new smokers start before the age of 18. Is candy flavoring a surefire way to attract young smokers? Sure -- just ask Snapple the various producers of Strawberry Bidis, which we used to smoke in high school.

posted by boyhowdy | 7:13 PM | 2 comments

If You Can't Blog Freely, What's The Point? 

Boingboing investigates the fact that MSN Spaces, Microsoft's new blogging tool, censors certain words you might try to include in a blog title or url by testing several obscene blog titles, often with hilarious results. "Lolita" is censored, but "butt" is not; "pornography" is censored, but "sex" seems perfectly allowable; "corporate whore" doesn't work, but "corporate prostitute" seems acceptable. Full post includes screenshots of some rather amusing blogs made as part of the experiment.

In the end, as author Xeni notes, the result is not atypical: A mixed bag of results that manages to do what most attempts to automate censorship do -- make fools of the censors. C.f. everything from school internet filters to, more recently, blogexplosion's shoutbox, which *bleeps* out words from damn to worse but can be sworn at using the creative workaround of compound words.

The real news here, of course, is the "too little, too late" dismissal. Why the heck anyone would bother using a Microsoft blogging tool? More consideration from all angles, collected by boingboing -- ain't metablogs great?

posted by boyhowdy | 1:21 PM | 1 comments

I Absolutely Need... 

Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap from ThinkGeek.

No, we're not kidding and no you don't eat it. The caffeine is absorbed through the skin... Yes, in the shower.

In other news, at B.'s otherwise-anonymous suggestion, I am now taking requests for blogentries. What do you want me to write about? See previous entry or leave a comment -- all requests considered!

posted by boyhowdy | 11:00 AM | 1 comments

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Hypothetical Blog Entries I Wish I Had Time For 

1. Too Many Mommyblogs, Not Enough Daddyblogs: Is Feminism Dead?

2. The UCC Advertisement Is Too Controversial For Network Advertising: Why CBS Made The Right Decision For The Wrong Reasons, And Why NBC Is Being Unfairly Attacked Despite Not Making The Same Dumb Mistake CBS Made

3. Where The Hell Is All The Damn Snow?

4. Weeding Books: How Your Local Library Uses Lessons Learned From Selling Ketchup To Determine Which Books Go And Which Stay, Especially When Moving The Whole Collection From Two Campuses To One

5. Why I Like Capital Letters

6. Why I Like Lists

7. "Why" And Other Questions: How To Handle A Precocious Two Year Old

8. Things I Want For Christmas and Hanukkah Which, For One Reason Or Another, Can't Or Won't Be On My Amazon Wishlist

9. Where Are All The Screwdrivers When You Need Them?

10. Same Old Corduroy Coat

11. This Blogentry Goes To Eleven: Top Movie Phrases I Use Regularly

posted by boyhowdy | 11:00 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Today's Best 

Randomalia from a short post-nap surf, couched in the language of awards. Yes, when I nap (which isn't often), I nap from 7:30 - 9:30 p.m. Doesn't everybody?

The award for Best Name Under Which To File Blogger Posts goes to StuckHereWithNoTV, for the tag line Typed, and then deleted, and then typed again, and then stared at for five minutes by StuckHereWithNoTV.

The award for Dumbest Matricidal Blogger goes to Rachel Waterman, age 16, for convincing two 24-year-old ex-boyfriends to kill her mother and then blogging about it.

The award for Best New Premise For A Blog goes to brand new metablog Sigmund, Carl and Alfred, which analyses blogger types from a psychotherapist's chair.

The award for Best Reason Why College Students Should Embrace On-Line Porn goes to UPenn Junior Melody Joy Kramer for her article comparing porn to Cocoa Puffs.

The award for Most Potentially Dangerous Subject For Distance Learning is shared by the great state of Virginia, which offer online Drivers Ed.

The award for Most Subjectively Surprising New Blogmark goes to Kevin, M.D., a medical weblog which mixes real case-studies and popmed analysis with literate compassion.

In a related note, the award for Most Interesting Concept In Modern Medical Practice, at least from the layperson's perspective, goes to the new global-scale Grand Rounds, a weekly top-ten cases linklist which is hosted by a different medblog each week. Bonus tie-in to Bloggercon here.

The award for Most Personally Relevant Laugh of the Day goes to the Onion for their Fighting Insomnia tipslist, which reminds us that although it's tempting to use liquor as a cure for chronic sleeplessness, be warned: Liquor is quite expensive.

Finally, the award for Best Replacement For Tom Brokaw, whose last broadcast occurred while I was sleeping, goes to Brian Williams, who was hilarious and wry on the Daily Show last night. (Yes, I know this has nothing to do with blogsurfing, but I was reminded about it by this Fark discussion.)

posted by boyhowdy | 10:38 PM | 1 comments

Words, Words, Words 

CNN notes Merriam-Webster's list of the top ten words looked-up on the Internet this year.

No surprise to find blog at the top of the list, followed immediately by several politico-electoral words. Less easy to understand why defenestration made the list at all. Neat to learn what peloton means.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:46 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

What You Want (Baby I Got It) 

I have far too much to do at work and home, so of course I'm thinking about the blog overhaul I've tentatively scheduled as a Christmas present to myself.

I'm still looking at a mostly linear layout, but I'm pretty excited about the design possibilities, and am whetting my rusty-but-1337 photoshop skills as we speak. Also plotting some "favorite entries" stuff, an updated set of daily reads and commonly used tools, and of course a long-overdue blogroll update. Perhaps some sidebar access to the most recent comments --a function I enjoy very much on other blogs, as it pulls one into discussions, and thus deeper into the chronology of the blog itself.

Most significantly, I'm also considering a second sidebar just for ME stuff. Because it turns out, that's what most people want.

Let's be clear: the redesign is for me. I'm long overdue for a better carrier for my thoughts. But though I've maintained for a long while that my blog is about the writing (and have obscured/deleted the usual "about me" stuff accordingly), after reading many informative testimonials from blogexplosion surfers about how they spend their 30 seconds, I'm thinking it's possible to balance more first-screen access to the usual "about me" stuff (photo, resume, a pithy description, reading/listening) with my preference for the literary by heavily featuring actual entries about me (for example: 30 things, 100 demons, $10,000,000).

But why guess? Since I'm plotting my redesign to serve your better enjoyment, tell me what you want to know about me. What do you want to have access to on my (or any) blog? What of me do you wish to see? Tell me, and I'll seriously consider making it happen -- let the wild comments rumpus begin!

posted by boyhowdy | 1:38 PM | 9 comments

Dear Santa 

The following is the actual letter two-year-old Willow "wrote" to Santa this afternoon, as transcribed by Mommy. (For contextual purposes, the other side of the paper is covered with several somewhat ragged quarter-sized circles, labeled, respectively, kitty, flamingo, train, and bear.)
Dear Santa,

I would like a train. I like kittens. I like flamingos. Please bring toys to Grandma Patty's house because I don't like you to come here. I'm scared of you. Please bring other people some toys, too.


Darcie swears the entire letter was unprompted; given our previous discussion, I believe her entirely. Not sure where the flamingos come in, though. Does Santa live in Miami?

posted by boyhowdy | 1:09 AM | 1 comments

Monday, November 29, 2004

Back On The Train 

The cars drove in and out all day -- slow at first, then, as it got dark, a blizzard of bright lights, a legally questionable cacophony of student drivers enjoying their last minutes of freedom. I stopped by the dorm on the way to the station for tonight's radio show to change an advisee's schedule (Spanish 4 for Chinese 1 -- don't ask) and found a horde of kids signing in for the evening, their spirits high.

It's the end of break, and the campus is full again. Classes start tomorrow for the Winter term, and though another break lies but three short weeks ahead, you just know it's going to be a long haul.

And so I say goodbye to days spent with family and friends, take up the burden of the ol' day-in, day-out 16 hour day workplace. No more snuggly afternoons on the carpet with the inquisitive two-year-old. No more sleeping late. No more late night comfortable silences, my wife in her flannel nightgown on the couch, me with a long paperback, tipped back in the faded easy chair.

Thank God for the radio, my weekly meditation.

As always, here's tonight's playlist.

Tributary 11/29/04

::energy block::
Skavoovie and the Epitones -- Fat Soul
Phish -- Back On The Train
A Tribe Called Quest -- I Left My Wallet In El Segundo
Michael Franti and Spearhead -- Everyone Deserves Music
Dave Matthews -- Ants Marching
Cake -- Manah Manah

::just for kids block::
They Might Be Giants -- Fibber Island
Dan Zanes -- Wonderwheel
Keb' Mo' -- Love Train
Trout Fishing In America -- It's Better Than That
Sinead O'Connor -- Someday My Prince Will Come
Guster -- I've Got To Be Clean
Los Lobos -- I Wanna Be Like You (The Monkey Song)
Glen Phillips -- Have A Little Fun With Me
You Are My Sunshine

::distinctive voices block::
Richard Shindell -- So Says The Whipporwill
Girlyman -- My Sweet Lord
Jack Johnson -- Rodeo Clowns
Mary Gauthier -- Good-Bye
Chris Smither -- Thanks To You
Suzzy and Maggie Roche -- Clothesline Saga
Johnny Cash -- Personal Jesus

::quiet psychedelic block::
St. Germaine -- Latin Note
Alison Brown -- The Dalai Camel
Jazz Is Dead -- Scarlet Begonias
Phish -- All Things Reconsidered
String Cheese Incident -- Take Five
Sting -- I Miss You Kate

You've been listening to Tributary, your ten to midnight Monday night show on WNMH 91.5 fm, serving the worlds most rural tri-state area.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:59 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Poll Closed 

After much angst and an overwhelming amount of support from the bloggiverse, I have submitted the caption "He'll take your order -- my pen's out of ink" to this year's New Yorker-sponsored cartoon captioning contest. Thanks to all who took the poll.

If you wish to submit any of the losing entries under your own name, I'm willing to consider it, but please contact me first to discuss fair and equitable credit-sharing.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:43 PM | 1 comments

If I Had $10,000,000 

Genuine says: 'post it on your site so I can find you!'Been saving Genuine's meme-slash-gift for a rainy day and a bit more forethought. Now the rain drums on the library roof and -- unless you want to hear Willow's Christmas list -- I've got nothin' much to blog about. So here's what I'd do with my ten million tax-free bucks:

1. Pay off mounting credit card debt. Amount remaining: $9,985,000.

2. Buy primary residence. Must be New England rural but less than 30 minutes to major shopping and restaurants; should abut state park or land trust farmland, sit back from the road, and include both open acreage and plenty of wooded areas with paths and swimmable river-runs-through-it. Spacious inside, hardwood and post-and-beam, with an open floor plan and an especially large living/dining/kitchen area. Bathrooms for everybody. Off the grid and/or private well a plus. Amount remaining: $8,250,000.

3. Outfit primary residence. Hi-tech, fully integrated wireless would include large HDTV with Tivo and DVD, surround sound in every room, and several laptops, plus one mega-computer to control it all and run multimedia development software. We'll throw in the iPod here for consistency's sake. Oh, and comfy chairs and a glass-topped coffee table, I suppose. And a Japanese-themed gazebo with Jacuzzi and massage tables. Amount remaining: $7,750,000

4. Buy vacation home. A cozy beachfront spot along the northern Nova Scotia coast with rocky ledge for summer splashing. Includes small sleep-in sailboat and sailing lessons. Amount remaining: 7,000,000.

5. Cars for everybody! A sporty BMW convertible for me, whatever the spouse desires, one of those new Porsche SUVs for the family, and a pair of Vespas for short jaunts down the lane and back again. We'll need a new garage, of course, so we might as well put a rec room in it. Amount remaining: $6,500,000.

6. Establish travel "trust fund." Figure a million in the bank will allow us to travel lightly but with relative impunity off the interest alone for the rest of our life. In the first year, this would include a month-long tour in the less obvious cities of Holland, Belgium, France and Italy; subsequent years would attempt something similar in other continents and regions until we'd hit everything. Also yearly trips to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (April/May), Vancouver in the early autumn, and Sanibel Island, Florida in February. Amount remaining: $5,500,000.

7. Establish general lifestyle "trust fund." Because you can't anticipate what you might want. Here, too, we're talking untouchable capital, but spendable interest -- at least until retirement or health emergencies. Amount remaning: $5,000,000.

8. Establish education-plus trust fund for children. This one's tricky; we'll have two kids by the end of the year, but 1.5 million in a fund now will accrue a heck of a lot of interest by the time they're ready to go anywhere. This would allow them each to go to prep school, college, grad school, etcetera...and then, after they'd all been "schooled out," would allow them to spend out the interest only as a supplement to their income for the rest of their lives. Not enough to become idly rich, or even middle-class, mind you. Just enough to make it realistic for each one to pursue a vocation, not a job. Amount remaining: $3,500,000.

9. Build Mom and Dad their dream retirement home. 'Cause they deserve it, and I owe them. Amount remaining: 2,000,000.

10: Give Darcie's Not sure, here. A new boat for Neil, w/ docking fees? A trip around the world for Patty? Refinish their house? Anyway, they deserve it, too. And I owe them a bunch. Amount remaining: $1,500,000.

11. Give siblings, wife's siblings new cars/cash. One luxury vehicle for each of 5 adults, or the cash equivalent (about 50k per person). And an additional 30k for the holidays, just for the heck of it. That's two years for my brother to pursue art full-time, and cash for my sis to put away to start her own vet clinic when she gets out of school. Amount remaining: $1,150,000.

12. Buy something nice for everyone I've ever loved. Many, many nice things. For many, many people. Amount remaining: $1,000,000.

13. Tithe, part one. Spider Robinson has the right idea, here: Call local law school, and ask them for the name of someone who was eminently qualified but fell through the scholarship cracks. Call one, and offer to pay outright for their education in return for free legal services for the rest of your life. Do the same thing for the local medical school, massage school, and business/accountancy school. Amount remaining: $350,000 (massage school is pretty cheap).

14. Tithe, part two. Call every local artist in your area and commission a relatively major work. Call the bank and offer to pay one month's rent or mortgage of every teacher in town as long as you can remain anonymous. Hit the paypal button on every blog you ever visit.

Amount remaining: zero.

Thanks, Genuine, for the gift...and for the opportunity to realize that the personal lifestyle of my wildest dreams costs no more than 5 million. Now, if I only bought lottery tickets...

posted by boyhowdy | 8:30 PM | 2 comments

You Have Reached The End Of The Internet 

You know you've been blogsurfing far too long when...
You have visted all the active sites in rotation.

Sometimes there will be short periods of time where the BlogExplosion traffic delivery system will need to adjust the current sites available for rotation. This is normal and to be expected during peak activity periods. The BlogExplosion system recognizes this is happening and is now adjusting the inventory in the system to balance traffic delivery shortly.

Please come back in a couple of hours if you want to surf more sites as it usually takes a minimum of 2 hours for the system to replenish itself. Thanks.
[Update: Wrote blogtitle before finding this similar post, I swear. But it does have shades of this old chestnut.]

[Update #2: This version is even better. This one really is the end. Do not, however, hit this button.]

posted by boyhowdy | 2:14 AM | 1 comments

Saturday, November 27, 2004

You Better Watch Out 

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Spent the evening with the family rearranging living room furniture and installing the kiddie tree. After plugging it in and decorating it with her own ornaments, Willow, a bright prodigy at two, piped up:

I have enough toys, Mommy. Santa can bring toys to some other girl instead, okay?

It's tempting to end the blogentry here, all cuteness and light. But the resulting impression of selflessness would be unfair to all of us. For behind Willow's otherwise cute outburst this evening is something much more sinister than her words would imply.

She's terrified of the jolly old elf himself.

I'm not sure where this came from, or when it started. I was first confronted with Willow's fear of Santa a few months ago at the Yankee Candle flagship store, a commercial monstrosity just down the road which celebrates Christmas year-round. Though we left for the candy shop the moment she began screaming, five months later, she won't enter the building for fear of a confrontation.

Though she's curious about the iconography -- chattering up the image on coke cans and store window holiday cards, singing the songs under her breath as she fades from consciousness in her darkened bedroom -- just the thought of meeting the "real" Santa terrifies her into her Mommy's arms. And nothing in her life is as scary. Nothing but actual pain brings on anything approaching the decibel levels.

Those unfortunates sans kiddies may not have experienced the phenom, but it turns out to be fairly common for kids to be afraid of the half-imaginary. Child development naturally involves a long process of separating the fake from the non-fictional, the real from the fairy tale; masked or costumed characters and seasonal icons confront the child with imagery in tension with this developing awareness of real/not real, which in turn brings on everything from short-term stutters to night terrors.

Disneyphiles and halloweenies beware: merely taking off the mask is no substitute. Psychologists say that until the age of six, the fear tends to overwhelm even the most cautious and deliberate attempts to reveal the reality behind the scenes.

Luckily, however, Willow sees nothing wrong with the idea of Santa leaving toys at Grandma's house for a later pick-up. We'll not be leaving milk and cookies out for another couple of years yet, but perhaps it's all for the best when your kid's a Jewnitarian -- I, for one, can certainly accept keeping the magic of Christmas mythos at an arm's length for a while.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:12 PM | 26 comments

Friday, November 26, 2004

Help Me Get My Name In The New Yorker 

We've narrowed it down to three, but the New Yorker-sponsored cartoon captioning contest only allows one submission per person. So:

All prospective captions copyright 2004. Submission of the above captions as your own may result in hairy palms, blindness, ulcers, and/or bad karma.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:03 PM | 11 comments

But Either Way, It Makes You Think 

Why you, too, should read more Harpers:
What they say: I hear what you say.
What is understood: He accepts my point of view.
What they mean: I disagree and do not want to discuss it any further.

p. 28. One of several excerpts from a guide "intended to help foreigners understand the idiosynchrasies of British English, found by a journalist for The Economist earlier this year on an office wall in the European Court of Justice."

I'd add that, in English business and theraputic environments, overuse of this phrase can result in a firm but mistaken belief in the speaker's mind that what he/she really means is "I personally disagree but respect your position as objectively valid." Such self-delusion makes the phrase exceedingly dangerous; those who are subjected to it by managers are encouraged to take deep breaths and keep their resumes updated.

Why you should read it with a grain of salt:

Minimum number of bullets that the US Military purchased for use this year: 1,500,000,000
Avergae number of bullets per Iraqi this represents: 58

p. 13. Immediately subsequent entries found in Harper's Index obviously intended to create a false impression that military spending is out of proportion with need.

Comparison of global orders with one single conflict is in no way conducive to accurate understanding of this issue. Less misleading juxtaposition would require consideration of numbers of bullets needed in conflict and in practice, and take into account issues such as stockpiling and actual bullet-per-hit combat ratios.

Both readings found in the December 2004 issue of Harpers Magazine which, in keeping with their commitment to the literate reader, does not print (much) content online, but does present each month's cover art and table of contents , a drool-worthy teaser. Your local library has a copy if you don't want to buy your own.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:48 PM | 0 comments

Life Story 

My grandfather can’t sleep.

He’s on the couch in the guesthouse lounge, staring into space when we return from a movie.

He tells us his life story – buying the farm in 1927, moving away from home in 1940 at age 14, working at the Venetian blinds place until it moved out of town, and then buying that first panel truck, taking orders, and making a business for himself buying eggs from his old neighbor farms, and selling them door to door to the folks who used to come for a week at a time, 70 at a time, to his parent’s farm.

In the winter, it was just a farm. They tapped tress and boiled maple syrup on the woodstove which was always burning, his mother always too hot, with a towel around her neck. They had 67 acres: cows, chickens, two horses. He fed them, milked the cows, mostly. He drove the Model T as soon as his legs could reach the pedals; left school at 14 against the principal’s urging because he was needed on the farm.

But the farm was just for sustenance. In the summer, the summerfolk came for a week at a time, 70 at once, to sit around all day and play cards, or just lie in the sun. They paid 25 bucks, maybe 30 for the week. His father sang tenor on the porch, and the guests said it was just like the radio. In the fall, his father, though not a religious man in his heart, was the cantor for the local synagogue at the high holy days.

His father died because he wasn’t thinking. There was an overflow pipe, a release valve, for when the water boiler got too full, and one summer day the dishwasher told him the “pipe was leaking.” In a hurry to get into town in the car, he told the guy to plug up the pipe. Later, the boiler blew up in his face from the pressure.

He met Florence there at the farm. She came up with some friends, and they fell in love. She used to play handball – be active, he says. But though my father listens carefully for the tiniest new memories each time he tells it, that’s really the only place she’s always had in his story.

And now on the guesthouse couch in his full clothes and slippers because he couldn’t sleep in the bed – the blankets were too heavy, something -- Hy struggles to fit her death into his life story. He tells of the coffin being lowered, and the guests coming from the retirement village, a surprise, unexpected; how she walked in to the hospital on Monday, and then, on Sunday, she was gone. It’s not anecdotal yet, and you can see it’ll bother him until it is.

They were married for 64 years. At home, he says, he keeps looking over at the couch to see if the TV is too loud for her.

I’d do anything to help him sleep.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:29 AM | 2 comments

Thursday, November 25, 2004

A Thanksgiving Prayer, Redux 

[insert cheesy, overused thankgiving graphic here.]

I was going to write something mundane and sappy this year, but Michelle got there first, and with Grandma Florence's passing only 4 days ago, this family prayer I wrote two years ago seemed more appropriate.

I am no less thankful for all of you, my extended blogging "family." May your turkey be moist, and your gravy sweet.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:44 AM | 1 comments

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Randomalia: A Life In Media 

At the risk of obscuring the wheat among the chaff, here's an everything-in-one final entry for the day. 30 second surfers are encouraged to skim quickly to hit subsequent entries before the clock runs out. (In a real hurry? Skip right to the joke of the week!)

1. Everything I don't like about blogexplosion is a direct result of surfing in the BE frame. Most notably, I keep losing good sites to the ether because I follow subjectively attractive external links before blogmarking -- which, I would point out, is how the web is supposed to work, and why we have back buttons and history buttons for "normal" surfing.

Also, it's difficult to revisit blogmarked blogs. This is mostly my fault -- the list is getting too long to spend real time with, and collecting RSS feeds for a new digest would be a heckofa job. But blogexplosion doesn't make this easy, either. Opening a new blogexplosion window while surfing for credit kills the login on the other window (for obvious reasons), and I tend to want to surf for credit if I'm going to be logged in...

2. Plenty of possibility in this year's New Yorker-sponsored cartoon captioning contest. So far, I've avoided the obvious, and narrowed it down to my four best:

  • He'll take your order -- my pen's out of ink.
  • Of course he recommends the shark maki. He always recommends the shark maki.
  • Tonight's special? Krill. Why?
  • No, it's not a hat. Those are his sexual organs.

Contest entries are due Dec. 20 and, for some reason, can be as long as 1000 characters, though we all know the New Yorker editors prefer a good one-liner. You're only allowed one entry, so help me narrow these down (without stealing them), will you?

3. The newgrass album I really want for Christmas isn't available on amazon, so go to The Biscuit Boys homepage to order me a copy of The Biscuit Boys: Live in Nashville, and, since you really like this song off their previous album, get one for yourself while you're there. Oh Biscuit Boys, when will you tour New England? Sigh...

4. Anna Quindlen does it again, this time making a case with aplomb and focus that I've been trying to just plain articulate for months. Yes, public debate on the abortion issue has advanced little in the past fifteen year. Yes, abortion has set the template for the vast schism in social policy discourse which plagued our recent blue/red election woes. Yes, pro-choice liberals need to be willing to recognize that it is possible to believe in abortion and yet also value life, to respect women's rights and yet also acknowledge the emotional pull of the fetus.

I, too, believe deeply in abortion as a fundamental right. But I also believe that if polarization brings us anywhere, it is to dark corners where we are faced with dichotomous arguments so black-and-white that when it comes to an all-or-nothing vote we -- gasp -- lose to a moderate majority uncomfortable with either extreme (hint: see recent election). If cultural consensus on this issue is to be reached in anyone's lifetime, it's time we all allowed for the fact that every abortion is different, and involves factors which, while not always determinant, remain difficult for all involved. It's time we turned our discussion away from the whether-or-not absolute, and back to how we make those decisions, and why, and who can get hurt...and drop the illogical assumption that, if we acknowledge the complexities of the issue, we're somehow "going over to the other side."

Hint: society is never going to get less polarized if people keep buying those damn, dumb "If you don't like abortion, don't have one" bumper stickers. On the other hand, I bet I could make a fortune selling "If you don't like murder, don't commit one" stickers to those willing to use satire and irony to stand up for thoughtful discourse. Wasn't it these same liberals who were defending Kerry as someone who recognized that tough decisions required nuanced arguments and discourse? Time to look inward, folks.

5. Favorite Christmas movie: Scrooged. Murray rocks (even) in overacting mode, but Carol Kane's brilliant bitpart as a viciously insane fairy/ghost steals the show. Added bonus: Bill Murray's brother plays Bill Murray's brother.

Okay, it's not much of a classic, but then I never claimed to be anything more than a popcult gourmand. What's your favorite Christmas movie?

posted by boyhowdy | 9:19 PM | 6 comments

Joke Of The Week 

Girl walked into a bar and asked the bartender for a double entendre.

So he gave it to her.

From my brother, who notes that it only works in past tense.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:45 PM | 1 comments

Every Baby Was Kung Fu Fighting 

As-yet-unnamed foot, 18 weeks

Quote of the day from big-sister-to-be Willow: Why is the baby in mommy's tummy coming out in the computer?

posted by boyhowdy | 1:37 PM | 2 comments

Going Public? (A Call For Anecdotes) 

In response to recent events, I am considering dropping the pseudonym and adding more about the man-behind-the-boyhowdy when I go for the total and long-overdue redesign over Christmas break.

Whether you've done it yourself or just seen it done, comments on this one would be immensely helpful. I am especially curious about how going "real" might affect the tonality of blog and blogger.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:52 AM | 8 comments

Subversive Science 

Printable disclaimer stickers for science textbooks from Swarthmore EvSci prof Colin Purrin (via Patrick) run the gamut from ominous to just plain hilarious:
This book promotes the theory of continental drift, the gradual movement of the major land masses. Because nobody observed this process, this material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.
This book was anonymously donated to your school library to discreetly promote religious alternatives to the theory of evolution. When you are finished with it, please refile the book in the fiction section.
Lest you think this is merely for fun, a recent gallup poll reports that forty-five percent of Americans also believe that God created human beings pretty much in their present form about 10,000 years ago. Scared yet? Use the stickers.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:04 AM | 2 comments

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Parenting Tip Learned The Hard Way 

Please buy me this for the holidays...

Check the kid's pockets for crayons twice before throwing them in the wash with all your favorite dress pants.

From the plethora of batik-like stains on my new brown and khaki cords, we seem to have missed a grey one, a half a yellow one, and as many as three reds. Crayola recommends some complicated procedure involving WD40 and dishwashing detergent -- useful, I suppose, if you're dealing with a single spot, have your own washing machine and a full day on your hands, but not when you've none of the above.

Here's hoping this is one of those parenting lessons you only get wrong once.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:55 PM | 4 comments

The Pros and Cons Of Turkey Tech Support 

Newsweek reports on a new Digigen phenom: this week, millions of young adults will spend Thanksgiving doing tech support for their parents while the bird's in the oven. A subsequent Slashdot discussion on the topic gives voice to those young techies, making for a neat net-based call-and-response across the generational lines while providing a solid compendium of those patches and tricks most likely to be needed while fixing mom's ancient PC.

If you want to avoid screensaving in favor of family, the easy solution here, of course, is to host Thanksgiving. Or, better, do what my family used to do: head to some quaint New England seaside country inn for the big meal. You lose the leftovers, but it's a fair tradeoff for the lack of screen-time.

That said, though these days we'd rather have time with the folks than time with their AOL account, if you're young and tech-savvy, don't begrudge or dismiss this opportunity offhand. The accrued lifestyle legitimacy opportunity is pretty solid here -- it's hard for parents to decry your lack of vocational direction when you've just saved them hundreds of bucks in tech support. And strutting your stuff might be better than sitting through Uncle Harv's war stories for the 23rd time.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:01 AM | 1 comments

Cash Money 

I'm worth $2,096,947.82! How validating. Wonder how much I could get for a kidney. Are mortgages available?

Thanks to Rob, who's worth slightly less, for the link. How much are you worth?

posted by boyhowdy | 10:03 AM | 1 comments

A Kind Of Rebirth 

So much to say. Since Friday
  • my grandmother's unexpected death in Florida

  • a whirlwind visit to brother and Brooklyn

  • the beginnings of Thanksgiving prep for 20

  • student progress reports and grades due noon tomorrow
But this is neither time nor place. We'll get there eventually.

For now, though I'm not sure what it means just yet, I'm blogging again.

And why not? The show must go on. What does not kill you only makes you stronger. Rage, rage, into the dying of the night, and all that.

The cliches may be a bit thick on the ground, like the fog that lies heavy throughout the hallowed, darkened streets of this our beloved institution -- a phrase I may never again be able to write without some modicum of self-awareness, even irony. But I'm the kind of person who does the radio show even when the students are away on holiday. The kind of guy who wanders, though society says stay. An iconoclast, if you will. And I'll be damned if I'm going to sell my soul to the company store.

So here's to beginning again -- two years to the day from the very first post here at Not All Who Wander Are Lost. And, in honor of this particular rebirth, here's tonight's tributary playlist, an otherwise unheard, somewhat shaky songset befitting a return to blogging neither triumphant nor slinkback, but as yet undefined, cautious and creative. One day at a time, eh?

Tributary 11/22/04

Skavoovie & The Epitones -- Fat Soul

::livemusic block::
Galactic -- Tiger Roll
Los Lonely Boys w/ Willie Nelson -- Cisco Kid
Santana -- Se A Cabo
Ben Harper -- Mama's Got A Girlfriend
Barenaked Ladies -- The Old Apartment
Jack Johnson -- Rodeo Clowns

::beatlescovers block::
Lonnie Mack -- From Me To You
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones -- Oh Darling
The Posies -- I'm Looking Through You
The Bobs -- Helter Skelter
Eddie Vedder -- You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
Alison Krauss -- I Will
Aimee Mann and Michael Penn -- Two Of Us

::altfolk block::
Girlyman -- My Sweet Lord
Eddie From Ohio -- Candido & America
Erin McKeown -- Slung-lo
Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem -- Turtle Dove
Mindy Smith -- It's Amazing
The Waifs -- London Still
Indigo Girls -- Least Complicated

::ain't sleeping yet block::
Cake -- Wheels
Suzanne Vega -- 99.9 F
David Byrne -- Like Humans Do
Lyle Lovett -- I've Been To Memphis
Johnny Cash -- Folsome Prison Blues
Nick Drake -- Pink Moon
Gillian Welch -- Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor

You've been listening to Tributary, your ten to midnight monday night show on WNMH 91.5 fm.

More importantly, you're reading my blog, damnit. And I'm not giving this wandering up for anyone.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:02 AM | 6 comments

Friday, November 19, 2004

All I Want Is A Couple Days Off 

I am happy to announce that the administration is, for the moment at least, "satisfied that I did everything I could do," and that "this should be the end of the matter for now."

But note the qualifiers.

There is no way of knowing what impact, if any, this will have on my continued employment.

If, when the anticipated and unavoidable cuts come down the pike next month, I am asked to leave this wonderful place, I will forever suspect that this was the tipping point, and hate myself for it.

And to think just a week ago I was worried that such a blow would come from a lack of supervisory understanding about what I actually do 'round here.

We'll be in NYC for the weekend visiting my brother. Back Monday. Not sure how it will feel to blog after this, but I guess it's better to regroup for a while, take the few days off to think and wander.

Here's hoping we can return to the joyous and cynical mediacult randomalia that you've all come to know and love here at Not All Who Wander Are Lost.

Thanks to all for the support. I love you all.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:50 PM | 27 comments

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Is This The End Of Boyhowdy? 

Two years.

1000 posts.

300,000 words.

Just once, I let myself get mad at a Troll. I even used -- horror -- the F word in a comment.

And because that Troll was a student -- an anonymous student, at that -- even though I apologized immediately, deleted the offensive comments (mine and his) within an hour of posting them, made my case again to show how he had severly misinterpreted my original words...I've been reported, and am about to answer to the authorities.

I can't sleep. I can't eat. I want to hit a tree, scream out loud.

My life is in this blog. But in the interests of still being able to teach somewhere when this is all over, there will be no new posts until this is resolved. There is a real possibility, in fact, that there will be no more posts, period.

I blog for my daughter. I blog for my sanity. I blog for the discourse, and the advanced thought it brings.

I have no idea what I'd do if I had to end it all.

Here's hoping it comes quickly.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:46 PM | 10 comments

Another Great Idea That Doesn't Fit Me 

Amidst the chaff, randomalia, and knitting blogs of today's blogexplosion surf the Mix CD Exchange stands out like a beacon. "A community for people who love putting music together in just the right order to create that perfect transition, that sweet irony, or just that amazing compilation of songs" -- how perfect! How quaint! How...inaccessible!

I aim each week to provide perfect, smooth, surprising transitions through my radio show, of course. I take pride in the perfect subject-set there. But though I continue to wish (as do some of you, happily) that I could make these sets available as digi-files for all, our show doesn't stream, and there's no burner in the radio station. It's just not gonna cut it to send cassettes in to the CD Exchange.

In the end, though I teach the subject and think about it often, I'm not really that digital a creature of habit. I listen to CDs, not an iPod; in the car, I prefer radio or (gasp) actual mix cassette tapes; I still own a rack of vinyl, and chose an LP player over a CD burner when buying the stereo. I envy those folks who can surf from bed, or walk wireless through a seamless datastream household wherein all media are essentially one, but I'm not about to become one. This is primarily because:
  1. I have an addictive personality, and thus a tendency to overattend to the Interweb when I should be spending precious hours with my wife and daughter or, say, sleeping.

  2. I'm a social science and media geek -- Ed Tech, not IT, and certainly not hardware-oriented. Sure, I like plugs and wires, gadgets and giggles -- the ADHD helps -- and the satisfaction of a job well done. But I'm not the kind of guy who's likely to home-wire the stereo into the rest of the computer. Trying to set up wireless in the house was so frustrating, we put the gadget away, which was, while humiliating, a pretty big triumph.

  3. We're broke, and have no money to pay for 'net access.

So though the laptop itself is work-provided, we're off the grid at home. When I blog, I blog from work. When someone sends me email on the weekend, I don't get it until Monday. Yes, folks, though it helps to have "work" less than 500 yards away, I may be the only media and technology teacher "out there" who is proud to leave the technology at work each day, reserving the home for family and play.

But there are days, and there are sites, that make me wish it were otherwise. Curse you, Mix CD Exchange, for making me wish I could "send" you my radio-or-otherwise thematic "mixes," download those of others, and listen to them while blogging, in the dead of the night while my daughter sleeps.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:20 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Gobble Gobble Gobble 

Since we've got 20 folks coming to dinner in the school guesthouse six miles away, but can't get permission to use the oven there without hiring a school chef, Darcie sent out a message on our school bulletin board this morning:
Thanksgiving Bird Seeks Nrthfld Oven

Do you have an empty oven for Thanksgiving??

We are hosting Thanksgiving in Moore for our extended families. I have found a near-by oven to heat potluck offerings, but I would like to find a place to cook our turkey on Northfield so we don't have to keep driving "over the river and through the woods" to Hermon and our apartment...

Result: three "reply sender" offers of oven use...and the following terse reply, publically posted for all the school to see:

"The last thing a bird would be looking for is an oven in which to be cooked."

Sigh. Can't we all just get along?

posted by boyhowdy | 1:14 AM | 2 comments

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

MetaBlog: See Previous Post 

Why does the below entry have no comments? Well, from a purely technical standpoint, I'd rather have deleted the ones we had, and started over. But blogger doesn't allow you to delete selected comments. I felt it was better to just get rid of them altogether.

But why delete any of them? People were accusing me of serious evilness -- evilness which the following blogentry specifically pre-empts, but apparently it wasn't enough. Things got out of hand, and we started calling each other names.

Okay, I started calling people names.

For THAT I am sincerely sorry.

I apologize for swearing. It was dumb and childish. But I was mad -- I was being accused of believing all sorts of things I didn't and wouldn't ever say, and all sorts of things I am not and never have been. Even the most mature of us have trouble being falsely accused, especially when being accused of such heartless evil things. I'd rather you all learn and understand that teachers are human, folks -- learning from robots is pretty silly.

For the content of the blog entry, though, I am not at all sorry. I stand by my position, and my fully appropriate tone, and the respect and care given to address not NMH or its programs, or any individual charitable organization, but a relentless issue of institutional ingrained-ness.

So please read this entire entry TWICE before emailing me with your comments. Please note, as well:

1. If it looked like I "belittled the presentation" look again. This was not about the quality of the presentation, and I said nothing about its quality.

2. If it looked like I was suggesting that I wasn't going to give to charity this year, look again. United Way is A charity, not the only charity. It's not the point, but I give plenty, and wish everyone gave more than they do now.

3. If it looked like I have problems with United Way, look again. This wasn't about a particular charity. It was about exclusivity -- so the case would have been the same for any charity or organization presented to me as "this is the one WE support, an you're one of us."

(3a. Okay, I do have some concerns with United Way and other similar blanket organizations. I'd rather advocate for direct donation to the programs that United Way supports than trust some larger organization to make the decisions about distributing those funds the way I think they should be. I'd rather give money directly to the food bank or the red cross than pay for the overhead administrative costs of United Way, too. But that's not the point, and I digress.)

4. If it looked like I was dissing the NMH Outreach Program, look again. Outreach is not United Way. Outreach is involved with more programs than just United Way, too, and I love that. I would have loved a presentation on giving through outreach, honestly.

5. If you're hurt, then let's talk. But I have read this to myself over and over again, and I find I can take no responsibility for hurting you. All hurts I have seen are based on MISreadings of the following text, and misreading is on you, the reader, not on me, the author. My complaint is with a tendency in organizations in general -- unless you are "organizations in general," then I have not suggested that anything you do or say here is problematic, wrong, or bad in any way.

If there's anything I can't stand, it's ignorance. Eradicating ignorance is why I teach. It's why I write. And it starts with close reading. So if the above italicized stuff didn't make sense to you, do us both a favor: go down to the next entry and read it. If you've already read it, read it over again. And if you have any comments about it, leave 'em here.

But try to be civil about it. And please, try not to accuse me of being stingy, uncharitable, anti-United Way, anti-Outreach, anti-NMH, or anything else that just plain isn't true and/or is specifically refuted by the contents of my actual blog post.

Thanks, friend.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:59 PM | 2 comments

'Tis The Season For Mindless Giving 

United Way? Yeah, it's okay...
All comments have been removed from today's blogentry due to things getting unreasonably out of hand. Please read with an open mind...and please feel free to send email if you have something to say. For more, continue reading.

We're a United Way school. Faculty meeting agendas prioritize pleas for United Way donation but bump curricular updates in the interest of time. At yesterday's all-school meeting, the United Way plea clashed with the tone of a serious and substantive discussion about closing one campus next year, and -- since the whole thing went long -- also cut into the vital subsequent discussion period with our advisees.

It's United Way fundraising time here at our beloved school, and I'm pissed off.

Don't get me wrong -- I think United Way is a pretty decent organization, as charities go. But I also think there are better organizations out there. And, most importantly, I believe charity is an issue of individual choice. My charitable giving is up to me, and should not be at the mercy of peer, professional, or other social pressures.

The fiercely entrenched hegemony of The Favored Charity exists in many institutions in American culture. The classic example, collecting pennies in those bright orange trick-or-treat UNICEF boxes, is so deeply entrenched that it's hard to imagine going door to door with, say, a Hadassah tzedakah box instead without getting strange looks and, more importantly, less pennies. Your own workplace probably has some favored institutions as well.

And, problematically, the origin of a given institutions favored-status is generally arbitrary. In many cases, one well-meaning individual -- usually one of those folks who believe that their causes should be your causes, too -- starts the process, guilt-tripping others into donating to her favorite charity. Or perhaps an administrator picks one, because it's a name brand charity -- one which will bring strong recognition to the institution, good press, and good credibility.

Once entrenched, institutionalized propaganda, especially in service of a broad ideal that we all agree upon, is especially insidious. Speaking out against the lack of choice involved in such charitable enterprises is so easily misunderstood as anti-charity or anti-giving, one runs the real risk of looking like Scrooge just bringing it up.

But it's time someone said something out loud. The rubric we're describing doesn't create a logical foundation for giving. It is, instead, entirely arbitrary. And that means it most often results in the institutional and cultural entrenchment of charities chosen for all the wrong reasons. And charities chosen for the wrong reasons are likely to send your money to places you're less likely to want them to.

There is real value in personalizing rather than abstracting the communal drive towards charitable acts as normative, especially in an educational institution such as ours. More importantly, though, a plea for help from one charitable organization isn't the same as a diverse set of offered choices, or, better, case for assistance in general.

Because all charities have biases. Each, from UNICEF and the United Way to NOW or Operation Rescue, has a limited amount of money to spend, and must therefore make choices about how to spend it. Such choices must involve favoritism, bias, and preference if they are not to be entirely arbitrary.

And here's the crux of the matter, then: a truly informed donation is one which is based on one's own biases. That's what makes people give - because they believe in the cause, and in the value of helping in that particular way that given charitable organization or direct in-need recipient.

And "good" charity is not given grudgingly, because of fear or professional reprisal, or unpopularity. This is even true if one thinks one is not giving grudgingly, but is nonetheless giving for someone else's reasons, to someone else's cause. With students, this is especially dangerous, as it can turn students from owning their own giving -- which, in turn, can cause them to see giving itself as an unpleasant activity. In the end, this can only result in a generation less likely to give.

So give -- because it's Christmas, because you have plenty, because you believe in it, because your religion or ethical code demands it of you. But don't give blindly. Don't give in to the relentlessness of the oft-ingrained and knee-jerk preferences of others. Drop that penny, dime, or dollar where you think it can do the best work.

So like many of my coworkers, I'm planning on crumpling up that ubiquitous envelope when it shows up in my mailbox. I'm picking my own damn charity this holiday season. And it's none of your business where I'm sending that cash, either. Find your own damn charity. That's the point, after all.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:28 PM |

Monday, November 15, 2004

The End Is Near 

Last radio show of the term, so I won't bog y'all down with the final-exam-stress details of our solipsistic prep school universe, or why the sky is clear as glass and twice as meteor-laden. If you want purple prose with your music, check out the Tributary archives there on the right. For now...

Let's get right into the music, shall we?

Tributary 11/15/04

:: world music block ::
Skavoovie and the Epitones -- Fat Soul (
Tributary theme song)
Ozomatli -- Pensando En Mi Vida
Habib Koite & Bamada -- Batoumambe
Angelique Kidjo -- Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Chris Ardoin and Double Clutchin' -- Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher
Manu Chao -- Hey Mr. Bobby
Tau Moe Family -- Mai Kai No Kauai

:: cover songs block ::
Rice, Rice, Hillman & Pedersen -- Friend Of The Devil
Keb' Mo- -- Love Train
Laura Love -- Come As You Are
Los Lobos -- I Wan'na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)
The Bobs -- Particle Man
Johnny Cash -- Hurt
Timbuk 3 -- Born To Be Wild
Sarah McLachlan -- The Rainbow Connection

:: neoamericana block ::
Natalie Merchant -- Which Side Are You On
Crooked Still -- Last Fair Deal Gone Down
Nickel Creek -- Spit On A Stranger
Gillian Welch -- I Want To Sing That Rock And Roll
Mark Erelli -- What's Goin' On
Erin McKeown -- Queen Of Quiet

:: ambient mellow latenight randomalia block ::
Patty Griffin -- Love Throw A Line
Jeffrey Foucault -- Mayfly
Norah Jones -- Don't Know Why
Tom Waits -- The Heart Of Saturday Night
Nick Drake -- Pink Moon
Gone Phishin' -- Fast Enough For You
Phish -- Dog Faced Boy
Warren Zevon -- Don't Let Us Get Sick

You've been listening to Tributary, your Monday night ten-to-midnight show here on WNMH 91.5, serving Keene, New Hampshire, Brattleboro, Vermont, Greenfield, Massachusetts, and you -- wherever you are.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:52 PM | 3 comments

Winter Comes To Shadow Lake 

Thanks in advance for any commentary -- this is a first draft! Does it work? Where? How?

That winter when it didn't snow
the lake froze clear like glass
and we walked out unnoticed by
cold fish below the radiant ice
hidden in drowned grass.

Like thought balloons in cold cartoons
the bubbles trapped beneath our feet
we shattered all the brittle tops
dropped pennies in the piggybanks
that rose for us beneath.

And now another winter finds
the laketop growing thin
good odds that it will pebble soon
but with our child we'll walk again
and not fear falling in.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:43 PM | 7 comments

All She Wants For Christmas 

Keene today, the least of our three equidistant exurban centers. Why? Too damn cold for outdoor activities, mostly. Broke but restless, we figured a trip to the boutique Colony Mill Marketplace a far more manageable indoor adventure than, say, the pre-Christmas chaos of the Yankee Candle flagship. Anyway, Willow's scared of YC's too-eager Santa, and we invariably leave disgusted with ourselves for reveling in such crass commercialism. So Keene it was.

Officially, of course, the excuse was "window shopping for Willow's Christmas list." Happily, the kid got the concept -- no buying, just pointing. After three hours hiding from the totally unanticipated A Taste of Keene crowds, and after filtering out the cheesy and cheap, we ended up with a fairly decent list of what catches the eye and heart of the above-average two year old.

All items subject to change, of course. Two year olds are inherently fickle. But I think we're ready to talk to the Grandmas, at least.

The list includes everything from books to dollhouses to an entire pet store worth of critters. I'd post it here, but better to try the experiment yourself, I think -- what's good for our kid may not be good for yours.

Alternately, if you have no two year old of your own but need to shop for one this holiday season, feel free to take ours on another excursion. Please. We'll be here, feet up in front of the telly, recovering from this one.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:39 AM | 0 comments

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Isn't It Ironic 

I finally decide to take one of those stupid quizzes, and look what happens:

You're A People's History of the United States!

by Howard Zinn

After years of listening to other peoples' lies, you decided you've had enough. Now you're out to tell it like it is, with all the gory details and nothing left out. Instead of respecting leaders, you want to know what the common people have to offer. But this revolution still has a long way to go, and you're not against making a little profit while you wait. Honesty is your best policy.

I'll take the description, I suppose. But me, a Zinn book? How humiliating.

See Cognative Dissonance and the American Left, a review of Zinn's speech here at NMH in February 2003 (review subsequently published in the now-on-hiatus American Feed) for my actual view of Howard Zinn.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:59 PM | 0 comments

The End(s) Of Media Literacy 

Excerpted from an ongoing open letter to the NMH administration -- one I wish I had the guts to send.

To develop and deliver a media literacy curriculum is to engender all use of media as thoughtful and deliberate, where, otherwise, student use of media, tools, and technologies is increasingly habitual, accidental, and dangerous.

And here I mean all media – from the visual literacies of Powerpoint to the critical eye of the otherwise-passive mass media participant; from the presenter able to play to or against the biases and needs of her audience to the student who finds herself suddenly better able to write complex papers because she understands what a paper is supposed to do, and how it is supposed to work, as a type of medium.

The student who complains that she cannot watch TV anymore without thinking gets it. But when all forms of communication are understood as media, and when both creating and absorbing media are addressed in the curriculum, media literacy is much more than this.


My work with teachers and students has but one purpose: to promote and instill media literacy into the NMH program.

There is no question in my mind that media literacy in this larger sense is a fundamentally vital aspect of development, one which must be guided and taught across the curriculum. House Directors and Deans continue to be concerned about the dangers of chat and the internet. Students celebrate the questionable value system of their mass media culture; struggle with the development of excellent product but own only the ability to make do. Teachers still struggle with developing appropriate rubrics which recognize the specific rhetorics and skill learning curves of projects developed in new media – we grade PowerPoint projects differently from papers, but still work on how differently, and why.

Through my own guidance, we have begun to incorporate the curriculum in Health and Humanities classes, Peer Ed training and research project development in classes from ESL to Math. And from there, students and teacfhers learn to seek me out for individualized instruction and guidance.

But we have only just begun. And in most cases, I myself am still asked to deliver this content. In fact, though the ideal would be for teachers in these courses to own this subject themselves, and bring it to their classes, few if any are truly “there” yet. One could arguable say that the direct delivery of this curriculum, then – individually via the Information Commons, curricularly via the odd elective minor, instructionally through class visits and teacher partnerships – is my best and brightest function here at NMH.


I came here to teach because I have a passion, a vocation, an itch.

When I was offered the chance two years ago to address this work on a school-wide level, I jumped at the chance, though it meant dropping the fully-enrolled major course in Media Literacy in order to be able to staff the delivery of that school-wide mission. It was clear two years ago that the incidental development of this literacy in our students and our faculty was not working, and I was eager to work throughout the curriculum, a change agent, to help teachers bring this more concretely into their curriculum, and to address these issues directly with students.

I took the chance because there is no other aspect of the program here at NMH which addresses these issues except incidentally. Though there are several of us setting up equipment, and teaching the skills and uses of technology, there is no other individual who more than anything teaches how to use one’s mind with these technologies – no one else who does the instruction, provides this exact class and project and faculty support, is available as a resource on this subject. I am not redundant; my curriculum is not duplicated anywhere that I can see. In fact, it has been clear to me for years that this work is far larger than I can really handle, especially when there is so much to teach, so many changes in technology every year with which to keep up, so many individual media to teach discretely.

The difference between teaching skills and teaching literacies is subtle, and the ultimate learning accomplished most often a combination of both. But though my job description is clear, I’m not seeing anyone be deliberate about the literacy involved here. And teaching skills without literacy – providing just-in-time support, and teaching vocational skills, rather than thinking and learning – is increasingly the focus of the departmental discussions in which I am involved, and how I am asked to spend my time.

Technology skill is a lot easier to teach. There are plenty of us who can and do teach technology skills. There are some who do it better.


Staffing cuts will be announced in December.

I wish I was more confident that they see what I see.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:34 AM | 1 comments
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