Sunday, February 28, 2010

Real Punk for a 15 Year-old

[For those who keep campaigning for a new punk thread...]

I have a relative who is about to turn 15. He's into the usual pop-punk of the day. But now I think it's time to introduce him to the real thing. So: What's the best first- or second wave British punk album to give a 15 year-old? Note I'm trying to cultivate an interest in pursuing the genre further.

In my view, Never Mind the Bollocks is just too obvious, and the Clash are too sophisticated. Does that leave Damned, Damned, Damned and Machine Gun Etiquette? Is Pink Flag too experimental? The Buzzcocks too pop?

Should I just trash the aspiration for a British album? Then what? Walk Among Us? Plastic Surgery Disasters?

You advice would be appreciated.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Web-Only Ads

From the "web only" ads:

Teaching excellence, scholarly productivity, and communication skills necessary.

Who'd have thought???

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bibliographic Software

I just finished tracking down and checking the all references for a large writing project I've just completed. A query: How many of you use bibliographic software? Is it worth it? Which program is best? Any advice for someone who is sick of having to locate references, but doesn't want to spend a lot of time learning how to use a new program? Thanks in advance.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


A reader writes:
I hope you will agree to post this to PhilAanon. I'm just back from the non-event that was the Central APA. It was dismal in all the to-be-expected ways. But it was also dismal in a way I did not expect: no one showed up for the Smoker. Ok. That's an exaggeration. People were there. But very few. Even on the night with the free crap beer. Maybe 30 people at that height of the evening. Serious. Overall attendance at the conference was probably on the low side of normal. So what explains the graveyard at the Smoker? Where did people go instead?

Friday, February 19, 2010

JFP Doom

New JFP is up (and was up yesterday).

Lowdown: Including the "web only" ads, we're looking at maybe 15 entry-level TT jobs in the US. And if you're not in ethics or political philosophy, you're pretty much shit out of luck.

Unsolicited advice: Go to law school.

Good days... good days....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Greetings from Chicago

A reader writes:

Greetings from Chicago. Oxford is the only major university press that has a display in the book hall. The lobby of the Palmer House is empty. In a word: gloomy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The new JFP publishes on Friday, just in time for the end of the Central meetings.

25 jobs at most.

That's my prediction.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Those of you who bother reading book contracts probably have noticed that most Presses have in their standard contracts a clause which gives them the right to publish your next book if they want to. This sometimes get written as an agreement to the effect that the Press gets to look at your next project first, and you can approach another publisher only if they're not interested in it.

I typically pay no attention to book contracts beyond the brass-tacks stuff (royalty, payment schedule, marketing), so don't bother worrying about this stuff. But the "first refusal" clause seems so one-sided (to the advantage of the Press) that I wonder whether there's any reason why an author should not push for its removal.

Friday, February 12, 2010


I almost forgot...

Yesterday was Philosophers Anonymous's second birthday.

Who knows what the third year will bring. Thanks for reading, jerks.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A little ass

Since some crazy weather has everything shut down here, I spent the afternoon flipping through a copy of the super awesome classic Scouting for Boys by Robert Baden-Powell. If you have not checked this out recently, do so immediately. Here's the classic passage about "self-abuse":
And the result of self-abuse is always --- mind you, always --- that the boy after a time becomes weak and nervous and shy, he gets headaches and probably palpitation of the heart, and if he still carries it on too far he very often goes out of his mind and becomes an idiot.

A very large number of the lunatics in our asylums have made themselves ill by indulging in this vice although at one time they were sensible cheery boys like any one of you.

And the always amusing bit about smoking:
No boy ever began smoking because he liked it, but generally because either he feared being chaffed by the other boys as afraid to smoke, or because he thought that by smoking he would look like a great man-when all the time he only looks like a little ass.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Student Papers

I was just on the phone with a friend who by choice went the community college track with her career. It's a noble thing to do for those who feel that they're well equipped for it. She teaches more classes in a semester than I teach in two years, and teaches more undergrads in a semester than I teach in probably three years. She generally finds it fulfilling, but every once in a while calls to vent about the administration, the department, the students, and the other bullshit. This evening, after a long and depressing tale about the stupid administrators who apparently are in total control of her college, she began sharing amusing first lines of student papers. It's a guilty pleasure, to be sure. There were several howlers, including a quite graphic sentence about Aristotle and strippers (apparently Aristotle got into pony-play later in his life, but that;s another matter). But none of those mentioned tonight comes close to one I heard many, many years ago:

In this paper, I will argue that the mind is identical to the body, but not the other way around.

Simple. Beautiful. Classic.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Kook Magnet

It must be the weather. My penchant for attracting random kooks is back in force after a bit of a hiatus. I was just sitting at my local coffee shop, when a scruffy and intoxicated gentleman sat across from me. He said:

Can I ask you somethin'?

I didn't reply, so he added, "If you don't mind." I still did not reply, so he continued...

First, I am not insane. And I am not a religious fanatic. I am a man of common sense and logic.... What people don't realize is that there are millions of galaxies, and billions of stars. And it's all professional. Some punk-asses say it's the big bang, but that's b.s. We didn't come from no apes. Heaven is in the Milky Way. It's a planet right here in this galaxy. Have you ever heard of [the guy gives some proper names I do not recall, so let's call them John, Paul, and Ringo]? Well, they've been there. John went to heaven in his soul, but Paul went in his spirit. They were there for five days....

I broke in (and this was the first time I spoke), "How long is a day on planet heaven?"

Confidently, he replied, "They calculated it in Earth time." And then he began to continue, but I broke in:

"How can something that's not physical be anywhere? How can it be located in a physical space, such as the surface of a planet?"

He responded, "Well... spirits and souls are kinda physical. When you die, you lose 3 ounces. They're part of your body."

So I said, "If spirits and souls are physical and part of my body, in what way are they different from, say, my index finger or eyeballs?"

"That's a good question," he replied. So I responded, "Well, if you don't know how to make the distinction between physical things and non-physical things, I think your view is in trouble."
Then he said,

"You know, I think you're a little spaced out. I mean a little TOO spaced out. You should be careful. You're all spaced out on logic."

I replied, "But you said you are a man of common sense and logic!" He shook his head and walked away.

Spiros, 1; Scruffy drunk, 0.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Recruitment for hell"

This hilarious site is an awesome instance of Poe's Law.... Consider a current story:
Satan has given a cat the power to predict deaths.

According to Dr. David Dosa, a resident cat at a Rhode Island nursing home has the power to predict deaths. Whenever a patient is about to die, the cat will bolt into their rooms and curl up next to them.

It will purr Satanicly and try to invite the old person’s cold soul straight to the hottest depths of hell.

Friends, we all know the cat is Satan’s favorite animal. We saw them help the Egyptians worship false gods and it’s no secret Wiccan witches keep them as dear companions.

Now, we see Satan can train them to try to lure a person’s soul to hell with demonically soft purrs and meows.

There is nothing soothing about burning in hell for all time and it’s so sad that old people are so gullible that they can sometimes be tricked into thinking otherwise. They think this kitty means no harm but fail to realize that what’s really going here is recruitment for hell.

Cannot Implies Should Not

A friend recently did a stint in a driver's education class. A few gems from the literature:

You are the only person who can control your decisions behind the wheel. You should not give up control to other drivers.

Speeding is a choice. Somewhere between your brain and your foot, you are making a conscious choice.

Never drive faster than experience warrants.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Brian Johnson gets "all tyrannical"

Brian Johnson of AC/DC gets "all tyrannical" all over Bono's ass face in The Herald Sun:

When I was a working man I didn't want to go to a concert for some bastard to talk down to me that I should be thinking of some kid in Africa.... I'm sorry mate, do it yourself, spend some of your own money and get it done. It just makes me angry. I become all tyrannical.... Do a charity gig, fair enough, but not on worldwide television.... I do it myself, I don't tell everybody I'm doing it.... I don't tell everybody they should give money - they can't afford it....

What's "tyrannical" about any of this?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Worst Line Ever?

I made the mistake of walking in between classes through an area of campus where the college kids hang out, and I heard what must be the worst line ever delivered by a young gentleman to a young lady:

"I'm pretty sure you remind me of a famous actress, but I can't tell for sure until I know you a little better."

She seemed flattered.