Monday, February 28, 2005

University of the South Image Change



As I penned my last post, I wrote it with full knowledge that my alma mater was in fact undergoing a similar type of image transformation as Governor Dummer. While The University of the South has not yet taken the drastic steps carried out at Governor Dummer, our situation is relatively similar. A hired northern consulting firm's concern that our southern identity is somehow damaging, resulted in their recommendation that, "our research has revealed that the South can often raise negative associations before it sparks positive ones, so the weaker its connection with the University's name, the better." Needless to say, this consulting firm's recommendations have created quite a controversy among students and alumni who feel that it is vital to hold on to the school's heritage and storied academic traditions.

In an article written on February 13, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote about our situation. Here is an excerpt:

Sewanee, Tenn. --- The recent convocation at Sewanee's All Saints' Chapel was a majestic display. University hierarchs in medieval garb spoke Latin, their words echoing throughout the nave. New honor students donned black robes, marking their entrance into the prestigious Order of Gownsmen. Everyone sang: "Alma Mater, Sewanee, My glorious Mother ever be."

To the outsider, nothing in the rites intimated any threat to this 148-year-old school's role as a champion of Southern aristocratic heritage. To traditionalists, however, there were treacherous modifications to Sewanee's old school way of doing things.

Flags of the Southern states had been removed from the chapel. The University Mace --- a ceremonial baton covered with Confederate symbols that is supposed to be carried by the Gownsmen president --- was gone.

And signs all over campus show the school's revamped marketing logo, which reads "Sewanee" in large letters. Smaller letters below spell out the school's official name, "the University of the South."


The article is a good summary of the situation that we face and I suggest reading it in its entirety. For more on this issue, I will advise you to visit Forever Meridiana. It is a website owned by an alum, aimed at preserving the revered traditions of The University of the South.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Governor Dummer No Longer



Governor Dummer, an esteemed boarding school in Newberry, MA. is going to change its name by removing the word Dummer. The name change is due, in large part, to jokes which are often told, playing on the word Dummer/dumber. The school was named for a Massachusetts governor, William Dummer, who donated the land upon which the school was built. Being the traditionalist that I am, this name change is upsetting to me, and I hope that an alma mater of mine never does anything like this.

Friday, February 25, 2005

A Crazy Blog

Somehow my web browsing this afternoon took me to Cheating on Fernanda. This is some guy's private account of how he plans to cheat on his wife because she cheated on him earlier. I couldn't believe this stuff. Anyway, to keep up with this guy's cheating escapades, check out the site. The main desription of the site is:

Six months ago I found out that my wife, Fernanda, had slept with another man. Though I’ve forgiven her with words, I can’t bring myself to truly forgive her. After much thought, I’ve decided to cheat on her. This is the chronicle of my infidelity.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Society is dead, we have retreated into the iWorld



So says Andrew Sullivan of Times Online. Here is his take on the iPod-ization of Americans after a recent trip to New York. The thing is, he is dead on correct. I see people tuned into their own little world all the time, oblivious to everything outside of their headphones. I'd recommend reading the article - it is interesting, scary, and most importantly, thought provoking. By the way, many thanks to a good friend in Scotland who sent me this article. Anyway, here's a small preview:

There were little white wires hanging down from their ears, or tucked into pockets, purses or jackets. The eyes were a little vacant. Each was in his or her own musical world, walking to their soundtrack, stars in their own music video, almost oblivious to the world around them. These are the iPod people.

Even without the white wires you can tell who they are. They walk down the street in their own MP3 cocoon, bumping into others, deaf to small social cues, shutting out anyone not in their bubble.

Technology has given us a universe entirely for ourselves — where the serendipity of meeting a new stranger, hearing a piece of music we would never choose for ourselves or an opinion that might force us to change our mind about something are all effectively banished.

Ordering Pizza in 2008

This is a some kind of animation deal which parodies what might happen to our privacy in the future. I am certainly not promoting the ACLU here, but just found this to be interesting.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Ectasy Proscribed to American Soldiers


The military is giving soldiers MDMA, the main ingredient in ecstasy, to soldiers on a trial basis to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and to help free them of flashbacks and recurring nightmares. Here is an excerpt from Defensetech.com

Scientists behind the trial in South Carolina think the feelings of emotional closeness reported by those taking the drug could help the soldiers talk about their experiences to therapists. Several victims of rape and sexual abuse with post-traumatic stress disorder, for whom existing treatments are ineffective, have been given MDMA since the research began last year.

More on Jeff Gannon

Those of you following the Gannon story will be interested to know that a senator, Minority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL) has written a letter to President Bush calling for an investigation into how this "fake" news reporter got access to the president. He is trying to get as many other senators to sign the letter as possible. For a copy of the letter, click here.

Tom Wolfe Remembers Hunter S. Thompson

This is a very entertaining piece by Tom Wolfe in today's Wall Street Journal. Wolfe reminisces about some of the times he shared with Thompson. It is a fun read which shares some light on the character of Hunter S. Thompson. Below is a small sample.

The next time I saw Hunter was in June of 1976 at the Aspen Design Conference in Aspen, Colo. By now Hunter had bought a large farm near Aspen where he seemed to raise mainly vicious dogs and deadly weapons, such as the .357 magnum. He publicized them constantly as a warning to those, Hell's Angels presumably, who had been sending him death threats. I invited him to dinner at a swell restaurant in Aspen and a performance at the Big Tent, where the conference was held. My soon-to-be wife, Sheila, and I gave the waitress our dinner orders. Hunter ordered two banana daiquiris and two banana splits. Once he had finished them off, he summoned the waitress, looped his forefinger in the air and said, "Do it again." Without a moment's hesitation he downed his third and fourth banana daiquiris and his third and fourth banana splits, and departed with a glass of Wild Turkey bourbon in his hand.

When we reached the tent, the flap-keepers refused to let him enter with the whiskey. A loud argument broke out. I whispered to Hunter. "Just give me the glass and I'll hold under my jacket and give it back to you inside." That didn't interest him in the slightest. What I failed to realize was that it was not about getting into the tent or drinking whiskey. It was the grand finale of an event, a happening aimed at turning the conventional order of things upside down. By and by we were all ejected from the premises, and Hunter couldn't have been happier. The curtain came down for the evening.

More on Jeff Gannon


It appears as if this story is picking up some speed. I just saw a segment on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC about Gannon and have read various articles on the internet. The MSNBC bit mentioned that Gannon may be thinking of filing suit for libel and slander; however, it is unclear exactly how suits work with bloggers, who were the ones that first linked him to the homosexual websites. Here is another article by Frank Rich of the New York Times. It gives a good account of everything that is going on - how Gannon was apparently hired by the White House to ask the easy "softball" questions, and so forth. Also, here is an excellent blog which gives as much information as possible into the secret identity of Gannon. As one of my readers mentioned on my first post about Gannon, it appears that he is in some way connected to the ousting of the CIA agent Valerie Plame. What a strange thing this all has become...and its not over yet.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Name That Caption

Can anybody explain to me what in the world happened here?

Sunday, February 20, 2005

What an Insane Commercial


One of my devoted readers brought this insane Honda Commercial to my attention. This is a two minute Rube Goldberg that is made completely from the parts of two Honda Accords. It took 606 takes before it worked perfectly. To view this ridiculous commercial, click here.

Gay Imposter in the White House Press

This a pretty crazy one. Here is an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times from last Thursday that one of my readers sent my way. Apparently this guy, Jeff Gannon, or really James Guckert, was a welcomed member of the White House Press corps as a conservative reporter for two political websites. The only thing is, the same guy is a contributor to homosexual escort websites, and even had naked pictures of himself posted on the internet. This is pretty weird in my opinion. In case you don't have a subscription to the Times, I'll include a fe paragraphs.

I am very impressed with James Guckert, a k a Jeff Gannon.

How often does an enterprising young man, heralded in press reports as both a reporter and a contributor to such sites as Hotmilitarystud.com, Workingboys.net, Militaryescorts.com, MilitaryescortsM4M.com and Meetlocalmen.com, get to question the president of the United States?

Who knew that a hotmilitarystud wanting to meetlocalmen could so easily get to be face2face with the commander in chief?

It's hard to believe the White House could hit rock bottom on credibility again, but it has, in a bizarre maelstrom that plays like a dark comedy. How does it credential a man with a double life and a secret past?

Friday, February 18, 2005

Georgia Tech Joke

I'm down here in Atlanta, visiting Georgia Tech for the weekend and I happened across this joke that you would only find at a school like Ga Tech, MIT, or Cal Tech. Let me share it:

A neutron walks into a bar and orders a beer...the bartender hands him his beer, and the neutron asks "How much?" The bartender replies, "For you, no charge."

Quote Time

To usher in the weekend, I am going to post one of my favorite quotes.

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.

- Benjamin Franklin

Another McDonald's Followup

I have decided that because McDonald's only gives away one chicken finger per visit, it is not worth taking the time to drive all the way to the nearest McDonald's to get it. So, I am not going to get any more chicken selects from McDonald's this weekend. It was a pretty neat marketing idea though, and I am sure it brought a lot more customers to McDonalds than would normally come.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

McDonald's Chicken Update

A quick update for the chicken enthusiasts. I stopped in a McDonald's in Monteagle, TN this afternoon, and they had a whole table filled with Chicken Selects. The stipulation was you could only have one chicken finger, not a whole order. However, if you are surrepticious enough, I am sure you can grab two or three. The chicken itself was just fine. Nothing great, but pretty good for being free. Its still nothing to change me double cheeseburgers and dollar menu fry habit.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

McDonald's Chicken Giveaway


Starting tomorrow and going through the weekend, McDonalds will be giving away its Chicken Selects during the luncheon hours of 11:00a.m.-2:00p.m. The intent is to lure more chicken lovers to come to the hamburger joint. I plan to stop by as often as possible. I've never had the Chicken Selects...always go for a few double cheeseburgers and a dollar menu fry, but if they're giving away the chicken, I'll obviously have to eat several orders of it. I suggest you do the same.

Some Horrible Freak of Nature


According to this article, those German gay penguins won't go straight. This makes me very mad. If the penguins don't want to procreate, then no one should feel sorry when the race becomes extinct.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Not Just Alcohol...



According to this news report, a lady drinking listerine was 3 times over the legal limit (bac was .30). Apparently she had consumer 3 glasses of the stuff before rear ending a vehicle at a stop light.

The Craziest Optical Illusion

Here is this optical illusion I found. When you look at it at first glance, it looks like all the circles are spinning, but then try focusing your eyes on one specific circle. Its pretty crazy. Have fun, but don't stare at the thing all day.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Comparing Bush and Hitler's Policies


A high school kid in Rhode Island received an A on a project where he compared the U.S. invasion of Iraq to the German Blitzkrieg. Well, the intentions of the two actions are as completely opposite as humanly possible in my mind. Bush is trying to spread democracy to Iraq; whereas Hitler was trying to conquer Europe and spread fascism. The only way they are at all similar is that they are both military invasions of other countries. Any comparison between Bush and Hitler, or their policies is mind boggling to me. This is along the same lines of Ward Churchill's paper where he called those working in the World Trade Center "little Eichmans." In absolutely no way are the productive, hard working citizens of America "little Eichmans." I really am tired of people comparing all facets of American life to Nazi Germany. Give me a break.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Gay Penguin Protest


This is a very wierd article that one of my readers thought I may enjoy posting. So, for his thoughtfulness, I will put my two cents in on it. Read the following excerpt:

BERLIN (Reuters) - A plan by a German zoo to test the sexual appetites of a group of suspected homosexual penguins has sparked outrage among gay and lesbian groups, who fear zookeepers might force them to turn straight.


Alright, this is so weird. In the first place, why do people care what the sexual orientation of penguins are? Do people not have enough things to worry about in their lives that they have to be concerned if a gay penguin is being forced to procreate? On a second note, it is my opinion that homosexuality does not exist in the animal kingdom. I feel it is some strange mental illness of sorts - along the lines of schizofrenia or manic depression. I do not believe it is a gene, and therefore not applicable to other animals. Click on the link, read the article, and give me your take.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Bush's Huge Budget Proposal


I know this story is several days old, but it's obviously an ongoing and important issue. On Tuesday Bush sent his budget plan to congress for their approval. The highlights of this propsal are, first, the enormity of the budget. Bush's plan totals 2.7 trillion dollars. However, the proposal also eliminates many government programs, which makes me pretty happy. The less government spending the better. Feel free to tell me what you think.

Another Crazy Mother/Baby Headline

FORT MITCHELL, Ky. - A nine-months' pregnant woman fought off and killed a knife-wielding woman who may have been trying to steal the baby, police said Friday.

What is the deal with people these days? I really can't believe this stuff.

Baby Story a Hoax


If this isn't the most insane thing ever. It turns out the baby wasn't really tossed out of a moving car. Rather, some insane lady gave birth, then made up the story in hopes that she could turn the baby over to the authorities. At least the baby wasn't tossed out the car, but the actions of this lady still prove to be bordering on unfathomable.

Baby tossed out of Moving Car

Alright, folks, this one makes me very mad. Apparently a couple tossed their newborn baby out of their car, only hours after the little baby was born. He even still had his umbilical cord attached. This is one of the worst thing I've ever heard of in my life. It seems every morning I wake up and stumble across news stories that make me furious. What is wrong with people?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Welcoming in the Weekend

With today being Thursday, I feel that it is appropriate to welcome in the start of the weekend with a quote from the ever humorous W.C. Fields.

"Back in my rummy days, I would tremble and shake for hours upon arising. It was the only exercise I got."

- W.C. Fields

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

'Anti-Racist' Message in Mass. Math Class

This is some ridiculous article that I stumbled over this morning. Apparently a public high school system in Newton, MA is using math class to teach other things besides your usual mathematic concepts. Rather anti-racist, political correctness has been indoctrinated into their curriculum. If this isn't about the most absurd thing. The top priority in the class is, not to teach the students math, but rather to teach the "students to 'live out the system-wide core value of 'respect for human differences' by demonstrating anti-racist/anti-bias behaviors" How ridiculous. Of course there is a place for teaching cultural awareness, but not in the poor children's math class. A parent complained that, "my children do not know Christopher Columbus, except that he was a racist who caused the death of many innocents or the founders of the nation. They have hardly heard of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln even though we live in the area that began it all. What they do know about is the wonders of Ghana, Mexico and China." Go ahead and read the article to have all the fun I had this morning.

UK Defeats Florida


Tonight's game between UK and Florida was a real thriller that was very difficult for me to endure. Down 13 in the first half and 7 at half, UK was able to use its patented defense to claw its way back to victory. ESPN had been touting the game as part of it much marketed "Rivalry Week," but as any Kentucky fan can tell you, there really is no rivalry at all between UK and UF. Including tonight, UK has won 10 of the last 11 games. Gimme a break ESPN.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Poem Time

Ozymandias
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear --
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.'

Monday, February 07, 2005

Pats a Dynasty?



Well, earlier tonight the New England Patriots won their third Super Bowl in four years. The big question everybody from ESPN to SI is asking: does this win give the Pats the right to be called a dynasty? Well, I really am not quite sure. I guess you would call the Bulls run in the '90s a dynasty, although the two three-peats were with completely different teams, except for Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippin. Those two were the only constants. I really don't know if personnel has anything to do with a dynasty...I tend to doubt it does. Rather, consistency seems to be the real focus. The Patriots have been a dominating football team for the past four years, that is for certain. The real question is whether a team dominant for four years is dominant for long enough to be called a dynasty? I think four years is about the minimum time of dominance a team needs to achieve before being a certifiable dynasty. If they win next year, I no doubt will call the Pats a dynasty. Till then, I am going to rest on them having been a consistently good team for four years in a row.

Friday, February 04, 2005

A Bear on a Trampoline



The above graphic shows a bear falling onto a trampoline. A few of my friends have been arguing whether this is real or not. As for me, I doubt it, but feel free to give me your take.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Nancy Pelosi's Face and Other Random State of the Union Thoughts


These are some thoughts, comments, etc. that weren't exactly relevant to my last post, which was a more "academic" look at the President's speech. This is a collection of some of the odder things I noticed last night.

- First, Nancy Pelosi's face was remarkably static during her Democratic response. Every time she spoke, you could only see her mouth move. And how about her eyebrows...those things were going out of control.

- Did you see all the lawmakers with purple fingers, ties, and ladies suits last night. An interesting tribute to the success of the Iraqi election.

- As I mentioned below, last night was the first time I can remember members of the minority raising their voices in dissent of the president's policy. I can't decide if it was disrespectful, or to embrace it as our freedom of speech. Probably a little of both.

- To show how incredibly serious Bush is about his Social Security plan, he has embarked this morning on a 5 state, 3 day whirlwind tour, aimed at promoting his ideas for Social Security. This is something you would expect from a president who is running for reelection, not from one merely pushing his agenda.

- If the crowd hadn't interrupted the President more than 60 times with applause, I would have been able to watch a significantly larger amount of the Wake Forest - Duke game.

State of the Union Reaction

I had to write a reaction to last night's State of the Union Address for a political science class I am taking on the presidency, and I thought I would share it on the old Mint Julep.

My overall impression was that President Bush did a good job giving the speech last night. Known for not being the best public speaker, I thought that Bush seemed in control of the situation and at ease with himself.

As far as policy and some of the focuses of the speech, I was not surprised to hear him concentrate on the Social Security and foreign relations (particularly those in Iraq.) More on these two things in a bit. I was very pleased to hear him mention, early in the speech, that he would focus on alternative forms of energy, so as to lessen our dependence on foreign resources, i.e. Arab oil. In my opinion, that is one of the most important things he could focus on. Our reliance on middle-eastern oil is very scary.

As for Social Security, Bush has made this one of his special projects. He is very serious about passing reforms to improve social security. I was surprised to hear him say he would take suggestions from anyone (implying yes, the democrats also.) I was also surprised when I heard him speak of past Social Security suggestions that other politicians have made, and then heard him give a list of several democrats, including Clinton and Moynihan. It seemed as if he were trying to appeal to the Democrats to make the Social Security reform a more partisan action, instead of Bush and the Republicans bullying their approach down the Democrat's throat. That certainly says something about his dedication to the task at hand. Now we'll see if there really can be any partisan cooperation on the matter. A side note on this topic - I found it comically similar to English Parliament when the democrats booed when Bush claimed Social Security was broken. Obviously there is serious disagreement on this issue, and I just thought it was amusing that the dissenters in the crowd actually vocalized their objections. I don't think I remember that ever happening at a State of the Union Address.

It appeared to me that the Bush administration is milking the Iraq election for all that it is worth, which I suppose they are entitled to and should do. The election certainly was a success. I thought it was clever of the administration to bring in the Iraqi lady to sit next to First Lady Laura Bush. What a picture when she was recognized and waved her ink-stained finger in the air. That was a pretty good use of public image. It makes us all want to be sympathetic to Bush's cause.

These have been the main points which stand out in my mind from the speech last night. It is obvious that Bush is serious about his agenda - primarily wining the war on terrorism, and then working on Social Security and other domestic issues. While he does have a significant majority in congress, it will be very interesting to see exactly how successful Bush will be at achieving his goals.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Marijuana Lobby Grows



Before the post, I want to say that these are some general thoughts which I hastily jotted down. Of course my opinions are not limited to what I wrote, but I just figured I would bring up this topic while it was on my mind.

This title of this post is the headline of a Fox News article today, and really this growing lobby is fine with me. Personally, I don't see why marijuna should not be legalized. Alcohol is arguably a much more dangerous substance than marijuna. Think of how many spousal abuse situations are the result of abusive, alcholic men. Now think about how many abusive situations are in some way resulatant from marijuna. The truth is, the effects of marijuna are much less dangerous then those of alchohol, and it goes much farther than abusive situations...drunk driving fatalities, cirrhosis of the liver, depression, etc. Abuse is merely an example which lies at the tip of the iceberg. It does not seem consistant that the government has legalized alcohol, but not marijuna. If alcohol were to be illegalized, then the government would be taking a consistent approach to these harmful substances. However, I contend that it would be ridiculous for the government to outlaw alcohol.

It is my belief that the government should not limit what individuals do in their own free time with their own bodies. If the actions are harmful to themselves, then they only have themselevs to blame. If someone wants to go smoke their brains out, why shouldn't they be able to? Alcoholics are allowed to habitually drown themselves in their brew.

My basic premise: I don't think indulgence in alcohol or marijuna is good or healthy; however, people should be allowed to do whatever they want to their bodies without government intervention.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Poem of the Moment

Instead of a Poem of the day, or week, or any other set time, I am just going to call this the poem of the moment. The same title will probably go with quotes, songs, or anything else that I feel like sharing at the moment. As for this particular poem, I always enjoy Frost, and wanted to share this with all my readers.


Fire and Ice
by Robert Lee Frost

Some say the world will end in fire;
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.