Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Slick, Willie

So Bubba rolls into North Korea and just straight resolves the latest diplomatic minicrisis Lil' Kim has petulantly caused to drum up attention. Everybody's cracking wise about Bill going in "on his own" to pick up some ladies. But I feel the real question is this: as just about the only thing Kids My Age still remember almost universally fondly from our childhoods, when will Michael Bay get his shit together and make a terrible action movie about the guy?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Too Far, Iron Chef

[Scene: Me, in my room, futzing around on my piano, about 8 minutes into the escargot episode episode of the Japanese version of Iron Chef]

Chairman Kaga's Voiceover: ...Aristocrats of Medieval Europe described the best portion of these snails as "The Lady's Sweat"
CKV: 'Lady,' of course, referring to the snail itself, and sap points to the juicy broth that collect at the bottom of the shell when cooking escargot. It is not the meat of escargot that is best, it is in fact the juices left in the shells. So, don't waste a drop of "The Lady's Sweat." [This is accompanied by softcore-pornographic shots of vaguely viscous green liquid being poured from a snail shell]

It's rare to encounter something in the culinary world that sounds as unappetizing as "The Lady's Sweat;" who would've thought it'd turn out to be EVEN LESS APPETIZING THAN IT SOUNDS?

GROSS, Iron Chef. I know you're all Japanese and stuff but COME ON. Suckling pig, abalone, those eels whose heads you have to nail to the cutting board so they won't wiggle away while you're trying to DISSECT THEM ALIVE, natto; all of this stuff is ok. But seriously. "The Lady's Sweat"? Snail spooge? Gross.

Relatedly, I volunteer "waugh!" as the interjection for situations of mingled bafflement and disgust. As in:
"Yo dude, I just shotgunned a beer that'd been sitting out open since Saturday!"
"Waugh! Why would you fucking do that?"

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I thought I'd share a bread recipe. It's adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, which is a totally rad (and totally aptly-named) cookbook. I tweak a little, here and there, obvi, but it's all for the best, I think.

1 3/4 cups bread flour
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 pkg instant ("rapid rise") yeast
2 tsp salt (kosher if you've got it and are using a food processor; regular otherwise, see why below)
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp "neutral oil" (i.e. veg oil)
~1 1/2 cups rice milk (or other "milk," dairy or non-)

*I recommend doing this in a food processor, if you've got one; otherwise, you're really gonna have to mix the crap out of it in a big bowl with a big wooden spoon.*

Integrate flour and yeast (i.e. don't just dump them in, mix them up a bit.) Add the sugar and the oil and keep mixing (I recommend pulses on the food processor, or, as mentioned above, mixing the crap out of it if you're doing it manually.) Add the "milk" slooowly, until a firm, sticky ball forms (the whole wheat means it's gonna be both firmer and stickier than white dough [plus I usually make my doughs a little wetter than some, it seems.]) If you add too much milk, just add more flour, a small pinch at a time, until you get the right consistency.

Let this hang out (in the bowl of the food processor with the top on, or covered with paper towels or something in the mixing bowl) for about 10 minutes. Go get a snack, brush your teeth, have a smoke, whatever (it could be longer than 10 minutes, whatever.) Congratulations! This is called an autolyse (or an autolysis, from the Gk. auto "self" + lysis "liberating, loosening"), and I read about it somewhere on the internet I can't find right now, but basically it's just giving the yeastlings a head start ("loosening themselves up," as it were) before the salt comes in and starts to regulate like Nate Dogg. Come back, and mix in the salt (this is why I actually recommend against kosher salt if you're mixing this bread by hand: the big crystals of kosher salt dissolve REALLY SLOWLY into the dough, so you really have to knead them in like hell in order to avoid pockets of über-salty dough.)

Pour a VERY small amount of veg or olive oil on a piece of paper towel, and rub it all over the inside of a pretty big wood or plastic bowl (not metal.) Put your newly-salted dough in said newly-greased bowl and cover (with plastic wrap, paper towels, or a clean kitchen or tea towel if you got one [ours are sketchy.]) Let this rize for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume.

Get some flour (it doesn't matter what kind, AP is fine here), and sprinkle some out on your cutting board or a clean counter. Take your dough out of the bowl and just work it, folding it in half over itself, pushing the bubbles out and around. Think deep-tissue massage. When it's more-or-less back to the size it was, and there aren't any visible seams in the dough (i.e., try to smooth it out into one coherent thing, plz), shape it into a "loaf" or a round or whatever you want, really (you could at this point, theoretically, cut it into 3 pieces, roll those pieces into long strands, and braid this sucker like challah, but that'd be a little weird.)

And now...Let this hang out (woo!) for like an hour. This is called benchproofing, and the longer you benchproof your bread, the bigger and airier it's gonna be. (I once wound up benchproofing a loaf for 3 hours, and when I came home, it was like twice the size of my copy of Bittman. I baked it as-was, and the result was an absolutely gorgeouus, gigantic loaf that completely collapsed when you tried to cut or tear a piece off. Still delicious, though.)

And now, for some roleplaying:
YOU have made a delicious BREAD DOUGH. You are in your KITCHEN. You have pre-heated your OVEN to 350 degrees. To your LEFT, there is a spray-bottle containing 1/3 cup water and a tablespoon of cornstarch. To your RIGHT, there is a small saucepan (or kettle) being heated to boiling, as well as a baking pan. Do you want to:
SPRAY the water-cornstarch mixture on your DOUGH
Put the near-boiling WATER into the baking pan and put it in the OVEN
(Here's the deal: the cornstarch-water mix, which you can also just brush on with a pastry brush or whatever, makes the outside of the bread all brown and sexy and 'artisanal.' The boiling-water rig helps to regulate the temperature in the oven, and leads to a crunchier, thicker crust. Obviously, you could do neither. But if you're someone who passes on the opportunity to improve their crust, I'm not sure you're so welcome around these parts...)

BAKE for like 45 minutes, or until it smells and looks amazing and sounds hollow when you flick the bottom (not too hard, please.)

REALLY IMPORTANT: YOU MUST LET IT REST! Please. For my sake. For like, half an hour, 45 minutes. It's worth it! Believe me!

Woo bread!

Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm Sorry, But

This post, by a seemingly well-meaning woman I have never met, nor probably will ever meet, found by some light surfing after following a link from someone I "know" on twitter, really pissed me off.

For those of you who aren't link-clickers, it's a post about "raising a non-rapist." The Moirae have given this woman the grim onus of raising (gasp!) a (probably-)Straight White Male. So, naturally, in order to save society from her son, she has to specifically, explicitly mold him into a non-rapist:
It starts with teaching him that no means no, and that only yes means yes. It means that even though his best friend is almost a year older than he is (just-3, to his over-2), and taller, and larger, and more energetic, and arguably more aggressive -- even though she is all that, he is male, and she is not, and while I don't encourage her to walk all over him either, I do insist that he really listen to her noes, or make sure he gets yeses, when he wants to hug and kiss and touch and play with her.

This all very well could be fine. It could be! Boundaries! Consent! &c! But kids are exercises in unintended consequences, and I can't help but fear for this little boy-child, taught that what's between his legs is a dangerous, potentially uncontrollable thing that he needs to be conscious of all the time, lest he hurt someone around him.

I understand that this is a tricky subject. I understand that the vast majority of rapists are men. But "raising a non-rapist" makes two big assumptions: first, that all, or at least most, rapes, are entirely the result of rational processes; and second, that "rapeyness" is something that needs to be specifically quashed in boys, separately from other character-improving efforts. I (surprise!) disagree with both of those premises, although were someone to show me a study or two proving the first one, I'd be willing to change my tune.

I guess, ultimately, the point is this: my own parents' marriage was basically a total disaster. My mother drank heavily, and my father was verbally abusive a LOT. But they were both, in their own ways, completely committed to my sister, my brother, and me. They wanted to be good parents; they wanted us to become good people. They were both (and still are) totally crazy, basically, but they put their backs into it, and we came out OK. And that's the thing: neither my brother nor I were ever "raised not to rape," my sister was never explicitly educated to fight against the constant barrage of misogyny &c. "Don't hit girls" was as close as we got, but even that was worked into the greater anti-violence agenda. My brother and I are both generally very nice to women, and my sister doesn't take shit from nobody, regardless of their gender. So, I guess really what I'm saying is that raising good people should be the goal, regardless of gender, or gender norms, or your feelings about gender norms, or your feelings about other people's feelings about gender norms, or your parents. ESPECIALLY your parents.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Maine is So Gay

SO I'm 'friends' with the Maine Freedom to Marry Coalition1 on the Prosopobiblion, and earlier today they sent me a message that started like this:
Women in Harmony, a 55-voice women’s chorus based in Southern Maine, will present its spring concert, “Seasons of Love,” in celebration of the recent passage of LD 1020, the new law giving same sex couples the right to marry in Maine.

It's a shame that when people think of the fair state I grew up in, they only think of lobsters and pine trees, and not about a phalanx of Smith Wellesley Barnard grads singing chorally-adapted folk songs and 'adapted' Passamaquoddy ritual chants in celebration of finally being able to marry their acupuncturists.

It's also another reason why I'm not too worried about any sort of Prop 8-type shenanigans, although, obviously, efforts are already underway. Maine's just too gay. Think about it:

  • 1)Assuming native Mainers are conservative enough to want to repeal the gay-marriage law3, their numbers have been dwindling as young people leave the state to go do anything else, any other place.

  • 2)Who CHOOSES to move up to the cold, ill-lit woods of Maine? Hippies, that's who. Hippies, many of whom are lesbians/have lesbian friends/had a lesbian phase. And especially since Rummy closed the state's military bases, honest red-state sentiment is bleeding away.

  • That's not to say there aren't fundies and homophobes aplenty in the Great State O', but I'm pretty sure they're completely outweighed by the little-l libertarians and the hippies/yuppies/yippies/&c. I hope.

    1Yes, the website is actually mainelymarriage.org, because why would ANYONE EVER pass up such a GREAT pun like that?!2
    2People from Massachussets, that's who.
    3And I have reason to believe that Maine conservativism is of a distinctly Yankee libertarian quality. A lot of the folks up in the woods don't seem to care what you do, as long as you don't try and infringe on their guns/lobsters/logging/&c.

    Tuesday, May 12, 2009


    “In 1972, the Clean Water Act, which called for ’swimmable, fishable waters,’ prompted a Potomac purging,” wrote Time. “But last fall, the appearance of intersex fish — which have male and female organs — renewed concerns about swimming, fishing and drinking the water.”

    ("Volvo Ends Up in the Gowanus Canal", New York Times)

    [Insert joke about Republicans here]

    Monday, April 6, 2009

    Password Plus Is Growing On Me

    Host: The clues are 'boots' and 'hairdo.'
    Betty White: 'Boots' and 'hairdo'...that could be anybody. Dolly Parton?
    Host: It's not Dolly Parton, though that's what I was thinking...
    Betty: Oh! 'BOOTS' and 'hairdo'!
    [Everybody cracks up]
    Host: See what I have to live with?

    Friday, April 3, 2009

    Sam Writes Short Fiction About International Finance

    Ahmedinejad: Hola, Hugo.
    Chavez: As-salaam-aleikum, Mahi. What's up?
    Ahmedinejad: It's that Obama guy. He really pisses me off!
    Chavez: Would you say he 'gets your goat?'
    Ahmedinejad: Har har. But seriously! He's so unflappable!
    Chavez: What?
    Ahmedinejad: Bush reacted to every little thing I did! I could taunt him all day!
    Chavez: Sure, he was hot-headed...
    Ahmedinejad: Hot-headed? He was a child, Hugo! Oh, it made me feel young again, in a way not even my Just For Men beard-dye can reproduce.
    Hugo: Ohh, my friend. I see. I miss him, too.
    Ahmedinejad: Yeah...
    Ahmedinejad: This Obama! All he talks about is "Economy this, economy that." What's a credit-default swab anyway?
    Hugo: Swap.
    Ahmedinejad: What?
    Hugo: Nevermind. Hey...listen: I've got an idea.
    Ahmedinejad: What?
    Hugo: So he cares about the economy, right? Let's start a bank together!
    Ahmedinejad: A what?
    Hugo: A bank! An anti-capitalist bank!
    Ahmedinejad: Oh man! Yeah! That'll get his attention!
    Hugo: Yeah! C'mon, Mahi!
    Ahmedinejad: Yeah! Thanks, Hugo, you're a real pal!

    Tuesday, March 31, 2009

    Sam De Horatii Carminibus Putat

    Acceptus Columbiae collegio, I've decided to start doing more latin and greek. Ergo vobis praesento primum carminum Quintii Horatii Flacci, translatum memet:

    Maecenas atavis edite regibus,
    o et praesidium et dulce decus meum:
    sunt quos curriculo pulverem Olympicum
    collegisse iuvat metaque fervidis
    evitata rotis palmaque nobilis.
    terrarum dominos evehit ad deos
    hunc, si mobilium turba Quiritium
    certat tergeminis tollere honoribus,
    illum, si proprio condidit horreo
    quidquid de Libycis verritur areis.
    gaudentem patrios findere sarculo
    agros Attalicis condicionibus
    numquam demoveas, ut trabe Cypria
    Myrtoum pavidus nauta secet mare.
    luctantem Icariis fluctibus Africum
    mercator metuens otium et oppidi
    laudat rura sui; mox reficit rates
    quassas indocilis pauperiem pati.
    est qui nec veteris pocula Massici
    nec partem solido demere de die
    spernit, nunc viridi membra sub arbuto
    stratus, nunc ad aquae lene caput sacrae.
    multos castra iuvant et lituo tubae
    permixtus sonitus bellaque matribus
    detestata. manet sub Iove frigido
    venator tenerae coniugis inmemor,
    seu visa est catulis cerva fidelibus
    seu rupit teretes Marsus aper plagas.
    me doctarum hederae praemia frontium
    dis miscent superis, me gelidum nemus
    Nympharumque leves cum Satyris chori
    secernunt populo, si neque tibias
    Euterpe cohibet nec Polyhymnia
    Lesboum refugit tendere barbiton.
    quodsi me lyricis vatibus inseres,
    sublimi feriam sidera vertice.

    (Text from Perseus)

    My translation:

    O Maecenas, with high kingly ancestors,
    both my defense and my sweet honor:
    there are those who delight in the noble palm
    and in collecting Olympic dust on the track
    after the turning-post has been shunned by the torrid wheels.
    This man, if the mob of malleable knights
    contend for the threefold honors exalts it
    to the ruling gods of the earth, another
    if he preserves whatever is swept up from
    Libyan threshing-floors.
    You could not, even with Attalic offers,
    induce one who delights in cleaving his paternal
    fields with a hoe to cleave instead the
    Mytroan sea, a frightened sailor with a Cyprian ship.
    The trader who fears the African wind wrestling
    with Icarian waves praises rest and his homeland;
    unable to learn to suffer poverty, he soon rebuilds
    his shattered crafts.
    There is he who scorns neither glasses of
    aged Massican*, nor to take away a part of the whole day,
    now stretching out beneath a green arbutus,
    now at the soft head of a sacred river.
    Many rejoice in the war-camp, and the intermixed sound
    of lituus and tuba,** and in wars detested by mothers,
    the hunter stays beneath a cold sky,
    heedless of his soft wife,
    whether a deer is spotted by faithful pups
    or a Marsan boar ruptures the smooth fields.
    Prises of ivy on the learned forheads stir me up
    to the highest gods, soft choruses of Nymphs
    with Satyrs, and icy glens cut me off from society,
    if Euterpe does not hinder the reedpipe,
    nor Polyhimnia*** shrink from stringing the Lesbian**** lyre.
    But if you implant me among the lyric bards,
    I will hit the stars in the highest pole.

    *a kind of wine
    **two kinds of war-trumpet
    ***Euterpe and Polyhimnia are musical muses
    ****not like THAT; 'Lesbian' refers to the isle of Lesbos, home of the great poet (and yes, legendary vaginal snorkeler) Sappho

    Sloppy, I know. But Perseus' english translation is particularly unhelpful, grammatical exegesis-wise.

    I feel like that's a decent use of an afternoon. More tomorrow, probably!

    Friday, March 27, 2009

    Sam Learns About Stuff

    It's been a pretty educational 15 minutes here at 1070 Bway this fine morning:

    I. So I keep hearing blah blah "stress tests for banks" blah. Right? I had NO IDEA what anybody actually fucking MEANT by 'stress test' up until just now*:

    The only way to make sense of Tim Geithner’s “stress test” for banks is to assume a kind of triage. Banks that are reasonably healthy right now -- whose assets are fully adequate to fund their liabilities, and can make new loans...

    I'm still really unclear on how exactly all this goes down, whether there's an acceptable leverage ratio vs "if everybody asked you for all of their money TODAY, could you do it?," &c. But still: a little clarity.

    II. So I've lived in a seriously Puerto Rican neighborhood for over a year now, and while I was working I worked in a room full of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and an Ecuadorean. But I'm an awkward white kid from Maine. So I've always been at kind of a loss about the best way to refer to all these people collectively. Until earlier today:
    Most Latin people know meringue like most white people know rock but some white people know good rock and underground rock..... Where a lot of Spanish people know “so much” about Latin music, there's still a lot they don't know about so we dig that up and do our own mixes.

    That's from an interview (on the excellent FreeWilliamsburg) with a DJ from La Mega 97.9, aka Car Service Radio. That is to say, he knows what he's talking about. What have we learned? "Latin" and "Spanish." I've been saying "Latino" and feeling awkward about it, so I'll stop.

    *I don't read this blog. I searched for "'stress test' bank definition" on google.

    Thursday, March 26, 2009


    So have you heard this stuff about the Chinese wanting a non-dollar global currency, and Michele Bachmann freaking out about it &c &c?

    I have a really hard time believing this will actually happen. Here're the things:

  • China is holding lots and lots and lots of dollars at the moment

  • The Euro already exists

  • So that means they would have to start this new currency using non-Euro countries that also didn't want to move to the dollar. Then, they would have to sell off their dollars. The best part is that IF their new currency takes off, they'll take significant losses on the sale of their dollars (cause who would buy them instead of the new fabulous China-backed currency?), which would actually weaken their new currency. Plus most of the countries who would sign on would be either a)poor or b)run by crazy people (or both).

    Sooo, basically, calm down, Michele Bachmann, is what I'm saying.


    OK. So: I called the Columbia Classics office, and talked to a lady, who told me I didn't get the Ph.D. OK, fine. I asked her, what about the master's. She said that they didn't know I was interested, but, she could get the file back, and since they'd just looked at my stuff, they could maybe have a decision about that by as early as TOMORROW AFTERNOON! AGH! SO maybe the future's looking brighter?

    Wednesday, March 25, 2009

    Rebel EXTREME Procrastinator!

    Looking through my documents folder to find something better to submit as my writing sample for Masters' apps, I found a transcript I made of my favorite Sealab 2021 episode of all time. So, I present to you, good reader(s), MONKEY BANANA RAFFLE:

    Quinn: So, how long has he been out there?
    Debbie: Three hours.
    Stormy: That’s frickin’ amazing!
    Quinn: It’s frickin’ impossible! The pressure should have exploded his head instantly.
    Stormy: Mmkay.
    Sparks: Holy crap, I know who that guy is! (Switches on TV)
    News Announcer: What would you do with a triiilllion dollars? Well, if you said ‘Build a golden fortress at the center of the earth to enslave Troglodytes,’ your name must be Max Stone, the Rebel Extreme Trillionaire! (Cut to Max’s press conference)
    Max: Internet! I just bought it! Ha ha ha, suckers. (Cut back to Sealab)
    Sparks: Uh, w-where the hell did he go? (Max bursts through ceiling)
    Stormy: Aaah!
    Sparks/Quinn?: Woah, look out.
    Debbie: How the hell did you get in here?
    Max: Jet pack, transportation mode of the future!
    Quinn: And how did you survive the water pressure?
    Max: It’s called mathematics! Look it up, dummy!
    Debbie: Wait, what?
    Max: Enough chitty-chat. I claim this place in the name of me, Max Stone!
    Dan: (With guitar) Extreme rebel trillionaire!
    Max: Muchayus graceeyus, Dan.
    Quinn: You—You can’t claim Sealab! It belongs to the U.S. Government!
    Max: Government? Hah, hold on a sec. (Pulls out phone; speaks into it) Hello, telephone? Get me the government. Beep boop boop. Hello, government? Buy, sell, buy, sell! Ha ha ha, you’re an a-hole. Click. (TV comes on)

    News Announcer: This just in: the rebel extreme trillionaire Max Stone has just purchased Sealab. Plus, Beeeeesss!!!
    Max: Yeah, I own this tank of crap now, and I’m taking it to the extreme!
    Sparks: Awesome!
Quinn: Extreme? This is a serious research station!
    Max: Seriously boring. So I filled the hallways with rabid alligators.
    Alligator: Rowr!
    Stormy, Sparks, Debbie, Quinn: Aaah!
    Max: A-whip-cracka! (Hits alligator with stick)
    Alligator: Uurgh. (Walks off)
    Max: If I was you, I’d get yourselves some big sticks.
    Sparks: M-Mr. Stone, let me just say: it is an honor, Sir. Whatever you need—
    Max: Well thanks for kissing my ass, head-set. (Uses jet-pack claw to give Sparks a wad of bills) Money. (Again) Some double money.
    Tornado: I don’t care who you are, you can’t take over my Sealab. I won’t letcha!
    Max: So you’re telling me I can’t, I can not do something? (Jetpacks over to Tornado) Well, folks told Max Stone he couldn’t bungee jump the Grand Canyon, usin’ a thousand deadly cobras as a cord. Guess what happened, stupid? Slide! (Slide of Max bunjee jumping the Grand Canyon with a cord made of snakes)
    Dan: (With guitar) Extreme rebel trillionaire…to the max!
    Max: Great job, Dan-O. You got yourself a real gift, son: the gift of you’re fired! Ha ha ha ha, get it? You, hair guy! Grab that guitar, and make it sing!
    Stormy: Mmmkay.
    Tornado: Belay that order! Mr. Stone was just about to leave.
    Max: Jetpack! (Jetpacks over Dan, setting him on fire)
    Dan: Aauuugh!
    Max: You mean just about to lead. You see, that’s where we differ, ‘cause I’m Max Stone, a leader of men. You women out there, hit the bricks!
    Tornado: What?
    Max: You couldn’t lead a monkey to a banana raffle! A leader needs funny catch phrases, like “Take it to the max!” and “Monkey banana raffle!” (Pause)
    Tornado: Well, uh, I got a catchphrase, I’ve just, uh, I’ve just never had a chance to use it. (Clears throat) ‘Damn, that’s cold, y’all!’ (Pause)
    Stormy: (Laughs)
    Max: Carbonite gun. (A laser gun emerges from Max’s jetpack) Monkey banana raffle! (The gun shoots a bean which encases Tornado in carbonite)
    Tornado: (Being encased) Damn that’s cold y’all!
    Quinn: (Pushing frozen Tornado) Damnit! This is not over! Aw, hell no! Gonna get him dethawed, call the government, and then—(dropping frozen Tornado, it breaks) Aw damn. Nyah-ah-ah.
    Max: (Hovering on jetpack) What we need around here is a clear hierarchy, with me at the top. Hey, you there, put my head on a dog.
    Stormy: (With guitar) Head on a do-o-og!
    Max: What’s with the blank looks, people? Remember Egypt?
    Guy: What the f*** is wrong with this guy?
    Max: Oh I am so sorry. Was that too extreme for you? Well how about this, hot shot: you’re fired, monkeyballs! (To Dr. Virjay) What’s your job?
    Dr. Virjay: I am Sealab’s medical officer. Pleased to meet you.
    Max: Well have fun in the burn unit, Dago, ‘cause you’re fired. (To next guy) What’s your deal, eyeballs?
    Next guy: I make the robots.
    Max: Well, if a big-ass robot comes up to you and says he’ll be back, you better listen to him, ‘cause you’re terminated. (Flies forward briefly, then back) Pop culture reference; look it up, stupid. (To Fire Inspector) Now, what’s your deal, Red?
    Fire Inspector: I’m the fire inspector!
    Max: Too easy.
    Stormy: (With guitar) He said ‘too easy,’ ‘too easy!’
    Max: Hey, earmuffs.
    Sparks: I love you.
    Max: You’re in charge until I get back. I’m going to the moon for a sandwich! Anybody else want one?
    Stormy: Uh yeah, I’d love a moonwich.
    Max: You got a million dollars?
    Stormy: Mmno.
    Max: So you’re not getting a sandwich, are you, jackass? To the moon! (Jetpacks away)
    Everyone: Hooray!
    Quinn: (Finishing reassembling Tornado) There. Good as new. Well kinda.
    Dr. Virjay: (Approaches, opens soda on Tornado’s nose)
    Quinn: Hey, knock it off!
    Dr. Virjay: Oh, what, so now you hate sodapop?
    Quinn: No, I’m talkin’ to him.
    Christian: (Chipping away at Tornado’s groin) I gotta have that d***!
    Max: Mm—cheese just takes better on the moon. Ain’t dat funny?
    Moon Waiter: [Moon language]
    Max: (Using jetpack arm to open briefcase full of money) Moon money. Go get yourself some more of them silver britches, moon-waiter.
    Moon Waiter: [More moon language]
    Max: Hot damn, I love this moon!
    (Frozen Tornado looking at snack machine)
    Stormy: Look, Quinn, Rebel Extreme Trillionaire Max Stone may have some quirks, but you gotta give him one thing: (With guitar) He gave me this guitar!
    Sparks: Uh, the point is, he’s been here all of what, ten minutes, and Sealab’s already running better than it ever did when the government was in charge, OK?
    Debbie: And have you seen the budget for your research lab, Quinn? (Stormy pokes Quinn with guitar neck) He increased it 300%!
    Quinn: 300%? Wow, I (Stormy pokes Quinn a 4th time) Stop it! (To Debbie) I could finally resume my genetics research!

    Flipper Guy: (Walks on) Haven’t you done enough already?
    Quinn: You get back in your cage!
    Flipper Guy: (Running off) Meow!
    Quinn: Now, well. The real point is, this is gonna go horribly wrong, and I’ll end up savin’ the day. Y’all can’t see that?
    Debbie: You’re the non-seeing one! Max is great! I mean, he helped me start a mission at the center of the earth!
    Max: Listen up, Troglodytes: there’s gon’ be a little lady comin’ around these parts, preachin’ the good word. I want y’all to be on yo’ best behavior. I’m looking at you, Gragamel.
    Steve: My name is Steve.
    Max: Now get back to minin’ my gold. A-whip-cracka! (Cracks whip, alligator bites Steve’s leg)

    Steve: Aagh!
    Max: Damnit, I told y’all to Get Big Sticks.
    Frozen Tornado: (Thinking) So…beautiful. Urgh…urgh…uh…urgh (inches way towards snack machine, tips it over on himself) Haha, haha, ha ha ha…I can’t eat it…
    Quinn: (Running in) Sparks, what’s wrong?
    Sparks: What? Everything’s fine.
    Quinn: The vaporators!
    Sparks: Chuggin’ away at 150% efficiency, my man.
    Vaporator guy: (In monitor) Hooray!
    Quinn: Uh, kelp! Problem with the kelp?
    Sparks: Harvested this morning, chicken little.
    Quinn: Beeees!
    Sparks: Uhh…there aren’t any?
    Quinn: Damnit! Isn’t there something, or someone around here, that needs saving?
    Debbie: (On monitor) Quinn, come quick!
    Quinn: Ah, here we go! ALAARM! ALAARM!
    Sparks: Eh, seriously dude, you need to calm the f*** down.
    Quinn: (Entering lab, followed by Sparks) ALAARM! ALAARM! ALAARM!
    Debbie: What the hell is wrong with you?
    Quinn: I thought there was a ALAARM!
    Debbie: No, silly stupid dumb-dumb. We wanted to show you the giant electron microscope Max got you.
    Quinn: Really? Huh. (A shark falls from the sky)
    Sparks: Oh god!
    Stormy: Aaahh!
    Debbie: Demon! (The shark bursts open, Max emerges with jetpack)
    Stormy: Ahh!
    Sparks: Holy crap!
    Debbie: It’s Max!
    Sparks: I know that dude!
    Max: First man in history to eat a shark from the inside out. Cross it off the ol’ honeydew list. (Jetpack arms emerge with pencil and clipboard. He crosses off “Become human parasite” from his “Trillionaire To Do List,” including “Trick bear into going to college” [crossed off], “Create Earthquake Machine” [crossed off], “Invent Time Machine” [crossed off], subitem “Travel to past; kill Father” [not crossed off])
    Sparks: Welcome back, Sir. As per your instructions, I fired like 100 more people and equipped all the hallway alligators with nail guns.
    Max: That’s awesome! And now I’m bored.
    Sparks: What?
    Debbie: Uh, come again?
    Max: Bored. This place sucks. I’m outta here. (Jetpacks away)
    Sparks: Wait, wait!
    Debbie: Don’t go!
    Stormy: (With guitar) Don’t leave me baaaaaayyy-byy! (Max comes back)
    Debbie: Please, you can’t leave, Sir. This place has never run more smoothly. Even flipper guy is contributing!
    Flipper Guy: I’m still sexually active! Hooray! (His phone rings, he answers it) Flipper Penis.
    Max: (Jetting over to Quinn) What do you say, eyeballs? Y’want me around?
    Quinn: Aw man, yeah, please stay.
    Max: Well, super! But it’s gonna have to be a hell of a lot more interesting in this crap of tank! Scratch that, reverse it.
    Sparks: Uhh, sir? I’m just spitballin’ here, but what about bats, made of fire, just bouncin’ off the walls all the time?
    Max: Ooh, I love it. You people keep surprising me with stuff like that—
    Stormy: (Hits Max in the nuts with his guitar) Booyah!
    Max: My balls!
    Quinn: Stormy!
    Max: No, that’s great, I love it. You totally surprised me, son. Keep up the good—
    Stormy: (Hits Max in the balls again) Booyah!
    Max: (Unphased) Nope, seen that one already, you’re boring me. You gotta think of the craziest thing you can. Set it on fire, chase it with a shark, and then you’re getting somewheres!
    Quinn: (Turns and runs) Beeees!!!
    Max: You dumb dirty bastards. Now what did I just say, people? The bee thing’s old hat. (Kicks shark carcass) Seen it. Now you just follow my instructions—
    Bs: (Rushing across screen) B B B B B B B B B B B!!!
    Everyone but Max: Aaagh! (Go under)
    Max: Ha ha ha, I love it! Never saw it coming! Ha ha ha! (Pause) Nope, bored again.
    Troglodyte (Steve?): Do troglodytes go to heaven?
    Debbie: Uhh, no. (Pause)
    Troglodyte: Is it ‘cause I’m gay?
    Debbie: You’re gay?
Troglodyte: We’re kind of all gay.
    Other Troglodyte: Yeah, there’s no lava women.
    Debbie: Then, I’m afraid you’re all going to burn in fiery lava pits for the rest of eternity.
    All Troglodytes: Hooray!
    First Troglodyte: I’m a gay man, yay.

    (What does it say about me that I apparently already had a "Max Stone: Rebel Extreme Trillionaire" tag?)

    Monday, March 23, 2009


    GOD. Have you heard about this Private-Public Investment Thingie Tim Geithner proposed today? Let's just say that had Barry waited to go on Leno until tonight, he could have compared his bowling to this instead. Basically the government asks private investors what they think a certain charmingly-retitled "legacy asset" (why not "albatross," instead?) is worth, and then they give whoever says it's worth the most 97-100% of the money to buy it, sometimes in the form of government debt (for mortgages and stuff, as opposed to the more complicated securities which you and I will be paying for in cash.)

    The thing that irks me here is, right: this crash was mostly caused by everybody pretending things cost more than they did. This program, by getting private investors to buy stuff on the company dime, completely incentivizes PRETENDING THINGS COST MORE THAN THEY DO. Listen: I have a bag of shit. You have a bag of shit. The government arrives, and says that if I buy your bag of shit, they'll give me $10 to do so. Same goes for you. Even a Special Olympian could tell you that you and I will both be $10 richer, but will still both be holding bags of shit at the end of the day.

    (HT Dealbreaker inter alios.)

    Sunday, March 22, 2009

    Master's progs

    STILL haven't been definitively rejected from Columbia, but I don't have enough time to sit around and wait to get rejected.

    SO this is the list of master's programs I've assembled so far, with app due dates:

    CUNY: Apr 14th
    SFSU: May 1st
    UCSB: May 1st
    Columbia: Jul 15th
    Bryn Mawr: Jun 30th

    2 schools in the city, two schools in Cali (one in Pennsylvania...eh.) I think I have a really good shot at a master's, cause I've already missed the deadline for applying for funding, so I'll have to pay, so everybody not having any money should be less of a problem. I like Bryn Mawr and SFSU the best, I think. We'll see. Any other suggestions (theoretical blog readers...hah.)

    Thursday, March 19, 2009

    Ups & Downs

    SO I've been rejected from 5 of the 6 Ph.D. programs I applied to, and seriously doubt I'll get into the 6th. I told my advisors this via email, and just got this response back from one of them:

    I am somewhat surprised that you have not been accepted anywhere. It is not your fault but probably the fact that you went to GW which is not considered to have a 1st rate classics department (actually it does not have a classics department but a joint department with other languages and this never looks good). In this case whatever your qualifications are and whatever good (rather best) things people have to say about you might not have as significant effect as in the case of someone who went to a 1st rate undergraduate department. It may well be that the current financial situation affected some of the fellowships too (I know from prof. Keesling that tenure tracked job advertised in September were canceled in November and there were about 8 such jobs left by December. That's down from the usual 40-60). An MA might be a good idea but note that most first rate programs tend not to give fellowships in this case. Most people in your situation would go to a post bacc. program.
    It is shorter, less expensive, and if the program is good (e.g. Penn) it helps one get into a good school. The problem is that you are such a good student that it will probably feel like a waste of time.

    So, that makes me feel a little better...