Saturday, March 20, 2010

Humping USB Dog


Thanks to one of the fabulous twitter people I follow, I found this magical product, the Humping USB Dog.

This is how you can order one, too. And you know you want one!

Down Boy!

Harley and Duke are naughty doggies. They won't eat out of their food bowls; they track mud all over the place; they are constantly burying our pens; and they have a peculiar naughtiness whenever they spy a free USB port. They...well...they sort of, kind of, um... "go to town," if you will. And they won't stop until you um...separate them from the source of their affections.

Why are they like this? We have no idea. It doesn't serve any purpose, but it's what they do. They are insatiable. And that's all we really have to say. Harley is brown and Duke is black, and you can take your pick. Oh, and don't worry - if the kids ask what the doggie is doing to your computer, just say, "He's trying to jump over the computer, but he got a little stuck," or "The computer is giving him a piggyback ride." Either will suffice.

Each dog is about 2.25" tall and requires USB power to get turned on. Sorry, we had to.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

First Lady Collectible Doll

Thanks to the fabulous JEZEBEL website, I learned about a must-have addition to anyone's political propaganda tchotchke collection, the First Lady doll from Danbury Mint.

England's Poet Laureate' Ode to Becks

BBC News published an article about the latest work by England's Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, who was inspired by Becks' injury which will keep him from playing in the World Cup. You MUST NOT MISS hearing the Bard herself reading her radical poetic masterpiece as her delivery only adds to the potency of her rhymes. You can read more and watch her read the poem here:

Achilles by Carol Ann Duffy
Myth's river - where his mother dipped him, fished him, a slippery golden boy flowed on, his name on its lips.

Without him, it was prophesied, they would not take Troy.

Women hid him, concealed him in girls' sarongs; days of sweetmeats, spices, silver songs...

But when Odysseus came, with an athlete's build, a sword and a shield, he followed him to the battlefield, the crowd's roar,

And it was sport, not war, his charmed foot on the ball...

But then his heel, his heel, his heel...

Note the subtleties of her poem. First there is the tragically serendipitous nature of Becks' injury. Second is her audacious anachronism. Third is her post-Modern appropriation of Classical myth to bring such tropes closer to the British, privileging the global/glocal mass cultural form that is football. Third, her way with words. Rhyming "sarong" with "song" which although geographically incongruous might be seen as in the interests of melodious rhyme and as a post-Colonial move to undermine the hegemonic role of Western culture. She could have gone another route, the sartorial and temporal incongruity, selecting "thong" to rhyme with "song" and thus inserting a meta-reference to Posh and Becks' well-known fashionista tendencies and recent underwear advertisements. Here she would have fused several mass cultural forms - fashion, print culture, video, the internet, and football. So, one might say, in passing over "thong," she dropped the ball. Ah, her heel, her heel, her heel.......

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

AbEx Stamps

I just ordered my set of AbEx stamps from the US Postal Service. We need to support any instance of public support for arts!! When I lived in Spain, I was astounded at the everyday relevance of museums and fine art. Here, we would never see a report on a National Gallery exhibition on the Evening News with Brian WIlliams but in Spain it is routine to see segments about Prado or other museum shows. There you also have programs featuring nerdy art historians sitting around tables talking about art, in fact, I was featured in one! (as close to my fantasy of being a TV celeb as I ever got, I made the most of the cosmetic technician who was available to powder our shiny noses between takes, who knew those lights are so hot!).

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mass Graves in Spain

SOURCE: EL PAIS see link to article detailing the survey map of known mass graves. According to Amnesty International, the country with the second largest number of mass graves, after the first which is Cambodia, is Spain.

The graphic above, created by EL PAIS, is a provisional map of locations of mass graves where thousands of victims of the genocidal Franco dictatorship still lie. Survivors and witness - and of course perpetrators with impunity - have died, complicating the discovery of the sites. Over 100,000 names of disappeared people were submitted to Judge Baltasar Garzon, who requested them to open up cases against the dictatorship. There was an Amnesty law in 1977 that prevented investigation except by scholars, family members, and volunteers. To this day the government does not provide official support for excavations of mass graves or DNA testing. The judge is currently being investigated thanks to complaints of judicial prejudice brought against him by Fascists (imagine if Nazis had been able to remove Nurenberg judges claiming they were biased?)

twitter melt-down

I love this twitter melt-down screen, it's so cute and friendly! I wish there was one like this for interpersonal relationships.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Academentia can be fun!

I am mired in the annual spring semester c.f. that includes search committees (not that I should complain since many of us face salary cuts, furloughs, hiring freezes and, alarmingly, the firing of tenured professors - see Chronicle of Higher Ed for the latter), grading, and more. The term "Spring Break" is a perverse misnomer since we all use it to catch up on teaching and administrative work or attempting to write and research. So I welcomed any excuse to laugh out loud and that is what I found today in my inbox.

My fellow academentia suffering friends and I banter on-line comparing hilarious titles from our respective disciplinary academic conferences, CAA and MLA in particular are rich in this regard. But nothing prepared us for these posts from the awesome NCBI/ROFL section of the Discover blog, which re-posted an article from Wired featuring absurd-but-true science-related article titles.

For me the best one, given my recent romantic woes and fascination with game theory applications is:

The one below is priceless, file under "scientists manage to get funding to float studies to discover the obvious" (on a serious note, their salaries are way higher than those for those of us in the humanities)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Franco is not dead

The ONION video below announcing that tragically fascist demagogue Glenn Beck is still alive reminded me of a similar joke on SNL in the 1970s when Chevy Chase would announce that Franco is still not dead. Of course, this could be seen figuratively. As long as perpetrators who worked for his regime are alive, so is Franco. This include Judges that are now persecuting Judge Baltasar Garzon in retaliation for his arrest of Gen. Pinochet, re-opening of Franco-era claims, and support for those who want to open mass graves . They are doing so by accepting as valid claims brought against him by neo-fascist groups that support Franco's dictatorship. Imagine if neo-Nazi groups had brought claims against the Nurenberg trial Judges. Meanwhile, according to Amnesty International, the country with the most mass graves after Cambodia is Spain. As long as people lie in mass graves. Franco is still alive. The last family member I had that knew anything about my relatives who fought in the war and were persecuted by Franco died a little over a month ago. He had been giving me information, albeit sketchy and reluctantly, an act of extreme generosity on his part, to enable me to make some sense of the archival documents I found listing some of our relatives. These documents may be found in archives created by Franco's state terror apparatus, designed to systematically exterminate, exile, jail, starve, enslave (many things were built by prison camp laborers and successful corporations emerged and flourished after the war thanks to these workers but no reparations have been paid to them or their descendants), and criminalize former Republicans. Now he is dead, and as long as people like me are left with little information due to early deaths caused by prison torture, internal or external exile that severed family ties, disappearances, and self-censorship due to fear, Franco is still alive.