Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Authors Behaving Badly

Here's another highly amusing case of an author (fiction) reacting badly to a less-than-favorable review of her book.... Hilarious.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Someone Seeks Advice

A reader writes:
I just took my first tenure track job. I'm moving to a department that has a graduate program, thought it's not NYU or any place like that. Do you have any advice for someone making the transition from grad student to assistant professor (other than the usual stuff)?
This seems worth replying to. I don't know what the "usual stuff" is, but here are two tips. The first is obvious, but I've seen junior faculty mess it up often enough that I think it should be stated.

1. Do not say anything about any of your colleagues (or anyone in the profession, for that matter) that you would not say directly to them. Grad students get into habits of gossiping, trash-talking, bullshitting, and the like. That's fine as a coping strategy. But once you're on faculty, it's a different ballgame.

2. Learn your work habits. Moving into a faculty position brings with it lots of adjustments. Since your job is in a department with a graduate program, you are expected to do research, write papers, attend conferences, and publish your work. I've seen a lot of junior faculty waste a lot of time spinning their wheels. Self-examination now about how you work will pay off. Do you work best at night, or in the morning? Do you work best at home or in an office? How long does it take you to read (closely) a 25 page journal article? How many philosophically solid pages/words can you write in a weekend? Do you work best on the computer or with a pen and paper? What distractions are you most vulnerable to? How does your teaching relate to your research, and are there ways to bring the two into greater harmony? Which journals are absolutely central to your research program, and does the library at your new University subscribe to them? Knowing things like these before you begin in September can help a great deal. Good luck.

Anyone have other tips?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kook Mail Returns!

Like clockwork... once spring arrives, I begin getting strange mail. Today's is especially noteworthy.

Thank you, whoever you are. I very much needed a copy of Habermas's Between Facts and Norms. That you took the time to mark the text up with your notes ("nobody believes that") and other emendations ("dumb") is greatly appreciated. I also am grateful for the fact that you saw fit to remove full chapters from the book (by simply pulling out pages)-- the book was indeed entirely too long. The pages with large X's over them will also be skipped. I'm lucky to have anonymous friends like you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor

Has a posse.

Another Classic Opening to a Book Review

From today's Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews:
In 1968 Andy Warhol is supposed to have said, "In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." The book under review appears to be one philosopher's attempt to cash in on that exciting possibility.
An added bonus, later in the review:
Turning to a more critical appraisal of the book, it is at best somewhat disappointing.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Two items of DOOM:

1. I just received in the mail an envelope, ostensibly containing a student's official transcript, which says in large letters on the front "void if opened."

2. At a restaurant earlier today, I ordered a beer. I was asked for my ID. I asked why. The waiter pointed to a sign displayed at the front of the restaurant that says, "All patrons under 40 years of age must show ID in order to be served alcohol." I pointed out that I am not under 40 years of age, and so the rule does not require me to produce ID. (I wound up not getting a beer....)

Spiros, 0; World of Ever-Expanding Fuckedupness, 2

Monday, March 21, 2011

Plato Was Right, #203892

Behold. Last year, a lawyer in Ohio had a hard time getting a witness to say whether the county recorder's office had a photocopier... A bit from the transcript:
Marburger: During your tenure in the computer department at the Recorder's office, has the Recorder's office had photocopying machines?

Cavanagh: Objection.

Marburger: Any photocopying machine?

Patterson: When you say "photocopying machine," what do you mean?

Marburger: Let me be -- let me make sure I understand your question. You don't have an understanding of what a photocopying machine is?

Patterson: No. I want to make sure that I answer your question correctly.

Cavanagh: Dave, I'll object to the tone of the question. You make it sound like it's unbelievable to you that he wouldn't know what the definition of a photocopy machine is.

Marburger: I didn't ask him to define it. I asked him if he had any.

Patterson: When you say "photocopying machine," what do you mean?

Marburger: Let me be clear. The term "photocopying machine" is so ambiguous that you can't picture in your mind what a photocopying machine is in an office setting?

Patterson: I just want to make sure I answer your question correctly.

Marburger: Well, we'll find out. If you can say yes or no, I can do follow-ups, but it seems -- if you really don't know in an office setting what a photocopying machine is, I'd like the Ohio Supreme Court to hear you say so.

Patterson: I just want to make sure I answer your question correctly.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Where Eagles Dare

If you're not watching the Eagle Cam right now, you are a goddamn son of a bitch.

Think about it, baby.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


An avid reader writes:

It is my distinctive pleasure to reveal unto your doom-loving ass a tragedy of cosmic implications. Fuck Sammy's autobiography. That's small potatoes. Behold some real Doom. I just heard on my local rock radio station an announcement for a tour with the following line-up: Motley Crue; Poison; The New York Dolls.

You read that correctly. By my estimations from varied clues in your posts, you are probably old enough to have been a fan of the Dolls first time around (and that's fucking old). You'd better check to see if this world-destroying-justifying travesty is coming to your city. If it is, and you do not, personally, assassinate at least one member from each band (using the term loosely), you're a poseur and a disgrace.
I have to say I agree that this constitutes DOOM of the highest order. Is there anything worse than Punk Rock nostalgia? Yes. Proto-Punk Rock nostalgia. I also agree with the injunction to assassinate. However, I have now checked, and the tour isn't coming to my city...

DOOM: Ides of March Edition

Someone please end the world now. Twice.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Channeling Glenn Danzig

Put yourself in my shoes,
For one warlock nanosecond.
At some point there is nothing to say.
Only war to wage…
The winds are howling tonight.
The gods are hungry.
The beast is alive.
And awake.
And deadly.

--Charlie Sheen


I caught the following sentence in an interesting review on Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews:
There is a section discussing Richard Dawkins, but atheist philosophers could reasonably maintain that Corlett's focusing on Dawkins is straw-personing atheism.
Straw-personing? I must be getting really old, because I cannot for the life of me see what's wrong with straw man as the name for the fallacy.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Someone Please FWD to Billy & Sammy...

Good news: Phil Collins has announced that he's retiring from music!

"I don't think anyone's going to miss me.... It's hardly surprising that people grew to hate me." What an understatement.

Someone please forward this bit of good news to Billy Joel and Sammy Hagar. Maybe they'll for once get a good idea.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bi-Winning Genius

If you're not following the Charlie Sheen madness, you're not winning. And therefore you're not bi-winning. His brain is not from "this particular terrestrial realm." Put down Zizek, stop acting like "droopy-eyed armless children," and take up the real thing....

Sheen gets my vote for next Dewey Lecturer at the Eastern....

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

DOOM Returns!

With the disaster that is the academic job market behind us, I think it's OK to resume the DOOM...

A fetus has been scheduled as a legislative witness in Ohio on a unique bill that proposes outlawing abortions after the first heartbeat can be medically detected.

Faith2Action, the anti-abortion group that has targeted Ohio to pilot the measure, called the in-utero witness the youngest to ever come before the House Health Committee at nine weeks old.

Faith2Action president Janet Folger Porter said the intent is to show lawmakers who will be affected by the bill, which is opposed by Ohio Right to Life and abortion rights groups as unconstitutional.

An aide to committee Chairman Lynn Wachtmann said a pregnant woman will be brought before the committee and an ultrasound image of her uterus will be projected onto a screen. The heartbeat of the fetus will be visible in color.