Tuesday, July 22, 2014

DOOM: Billy Joel

I just heard on NPR that Billy Joel is being awarded the "Gershwin Award for Popular Song" from the Library of Congress.  End the world now.

Fuck you, Billy Joel.

Spiros: 0
Hack Songwriter: 1

Monday, July 21, 2014

DOOM # 3410.0002

Bertrand Russell says somewhere that most people would rather die than think.  Here's a report on an experiment that suggests that many would rather shock themselves than think.

Happy Monday.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

IKEA or Death?

Improve your mind and make the world a better place.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Too Tough to Die

Tommy Ramone has a posse.  Here

And that was the last of them.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Duty to Retire?

I was recently talking to a UK philosopher about her quickly-approaching retirement, and the question was raised of whether there might be a duty to retire.  Forget about the easy cases of old cranks who can no longer do a competent job of teaching their classes and who long ago checked out of the research tasks.  Think instead of someone who is highly competent and research-active, but in his or her mid-to-late 60s.  Imagine that this person could continue splendidly at least another five or six years.  Also stipulate that there's no real financial need for the person to continue.  Might there be a duty to retire?  Might there be weighty enough considerations regarding things like the good of the profession and the need for young blood that might in some cases rise to the level of a duty?  Is there a point at which one has a duty to make room for new people to enter into the profession?

To put the question the other way around: Is there no point at which a sufficiently wealthy and perfectly capable but aged professor becomes morally non-admirable (to put it most mildly) by declining to retire?

Monday, June 23, 2014

DOOM, #59221023

I was at a mall earlier buying some clothes, and had the following exchange with the clerk at the counter. I of course expected plenty of DOOM, but I got more than I anticipated.

She: Will you be paying with your [Store Name] purchase card today?
Me: No.
She: Do you have a [Store Name] card account?
Me: No.
She: Would you like to save 10 percent on your purchase today by opening an account?
Me: No.
She: Would you like to save 15 percent?
Me: No.
She: 20 percent?
Me: No.
She: How about 25 percent?
Me: No.
She: OK....
Me: How is that fair?  Those most interested in getting a store card get the lowest discount!
She: You get 25 percent off for opening the card no matter what.
Me: Oh... So the series of questions from 10 to 25 percent was a lie.
She: No.  It's not a lie.
Me: OK.  It was a deception.
She: It's not a lie if we're doing something good for the customer.

Today's score:
Spiros, 0
Clerk, 1
DOOM, 1,000,000

Monday, June 16, 2014

Casey Kasem Posse

Casey Kasem has a posse.  Here.

Apparently he was also a distinguished Plato scholar....
"It's so simple: what do people love?" Kasem said to the New York Times in a 1999 article. "Plato said it best. 'People who tell the stories rule society.' And we tell the stories, and people love to hear the stories. Of course, we've got tremendous responsibility to become accurate with those stories. And in most cases to be wholesome."

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

APA Nudges

You have recently renewed your APA membership online.  Or perhaps you're about to do so.  Either way, note the Nudge in the renewal form: The webpage default is set so that unless you (un)click a certain box, you are agreeing to make an additional contribution to one of the organization's special initiatives.  

Libertarian paternalism in action?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Posse Confirmed: Ann B. Davis

Although there initially was some doubt as to whether an Ann B. Davis posse would form, sources confirm that Ann B. Davis, indeed, has a posse.   Here.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Sardonic Comment

Now that Hilary Putnam is blogging, I am reminded of the 2010 wisdom of the dipshit who calls himself an artist:
"The internet's completely over.... all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you."

Friday, May 23, 2014

Pathetic Asshole

Just look at this pathetic asshole.... A "respected artist"?  Bullshit. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Another One Bites the Dust?

A reader writes in to ask me to ask you:
Does anyone out there know what's become of Philosophy in Review?  It allegedly publishes every other month, yet it hasn't yet had a publication in 2014.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Death on a Plane

I was on a short flight last week, and I was seated next to an especially inquisitive woman.  I'm typically pretty good at blocking conversation with flight mates, but it was an absurdly early flight and apparently I was off my game.  So, unfortunately, a real conversation emerged.  When I was eventually asked what I do for a living, I did the stupid thing and replied that I'm a philosopher. 

This elicited a surprising response. The woman instantaneously asked me "So... how often do you think about death?"

I replied: "I'm not sure.  Do you mean to ask how often I think about my own death, or the death of certain others (perhaps those that I care about, or those I profoundly dislike), or do you mean to ask how often I think about death as a general phenomenon that afflicts living things?"

She responded: "You own death.  How often do you think of that?"

At this point, I feared I was about to be subjected to some kind of Jesus / eternal life bullshit.  But I was wrong.  I replied that I don't often think of my own death, and began explaining that I'm not even sure what it means to think of one's own death, but was interrupted.  She said, "I think about my own death all the time.  Like, maybe fifty times a day."  She continued, "I think about how I might die, and when.  Who would attend my funeral.  Where I'd be buried.  Who would take care of my kids, how they would grow up.  Stuff like that.  All the time.  Am I sick?"

"Well... I don't really know...," I replied.  And then I was told a long and personal narrative about an odd upbringing, a strange career choice, a failed marriage, a harrowing divorce, a cross-country and impulsive relocation, and much else that went far beyond the polite chit-chat one encounters on a plane with strangers. 

Anyway, at the end of the flight, the woman asked me for a business card.  I asked her why she would want such a thing.  She replied, "Well, I assume you have a practice here. Are you taking new patients?"

I replied that I don't take any patients.  She replied, "What kind of psychologist are you?"  I told her that I'm a philosopher, not a psychologist.  And then, just like that old SNL character, she responded, "Oh. Never mind...."

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

H. R. Giger Posse

H. R. Giger has a posse.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Worst Student Comments, Part II

Ok.... for some of the requested end-of-year levity, add your best worst comment from a student evaluation.  Here's one I remember nearly verbatim from back when I read my evaluations:

The class is false advertising.  The professor had absolutely no interest in helping us to develop our own philosophies on life.  He just came in every day talking about the reading.  I hate to tell you, but [Spiros] began the class saying he doesn't even know what philosophy is.  Fire him.