Happy New Beer!


In this lost American decade, I’ve stopped hoping for better years, and have scaled back my ambitions a bit.  This way, there’s less of a disappointing mess to clean up in the morning! 

Here’s hoping you’re enjoying a lovely evening with someone you love.  I am, and I feel so fortunate.

Holiday roundup: too lazy to post edition

No posts! (How am I still upright?)

Howdy, friends!  I’m still (mostly) on holiday break here, but I thought you might enjoy some thoughts from bloggers more energetic than I am right now.  I hope to be back later this week–I just don’t seem to have any original thoughts to share at the moment.  So, herewith are my recommendations for your bloggy perusals:


No, no snow here.  It’s all up in the mountains this year so far.  Still, this is a pretty good little holiday song: “How I’m longing to skiiiii!” Remember, it follows a scene in which the principal characters are complaining about the dry, snowless weather, which explains their sojourn to Vermont to find snow.

“What is Christmas with no snow?” Continue reading

Winter Wonderland


This is about the only version of this tune I can stand–I’ve always thought “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” a pretty dopey song, but Peggy Lee jazzes it up good for the Hi-Fis of the hepcats of 1967.  I hope your winter holiday celebrations are off to a nice start and that your travels haven’t been too hampered by the horrible winter weather that has afflicted just about every part of North America save this dry, warmish patch of the High Plains Desert.  (Seriously–3 and 4 FEET of snow on the Western Slope, and we got nuthin’ here.  Not that I’m complaining–much–but a few strategic inches of overnight snow would cover up the dead, brown grass and lend a festive air.)  Continue reading

Christmas shopping for the kids just got a lot easier!

All kids love log!

Have you heard the pseudo-scientific news?  Human girls are biologically programmed to play with dollies like little mommies!  A recent study suggests that female juvenile chimps play with sticks and nurture them like babies, whereas male juveniles turn their sticks into weapons or other manly toys–it’s scientifically proven.  Echidne has the goods, as I knew she would.  She’s got an interesting follow-up post on a 2007 study of a Senagalese chimp community that found that female adult chimps led the way in tool-making and killing in their communities–but as she notes, that study didn’t go viral now, did it?  She writes, “[I]t’s every bit as significant as the new stick study, only it shows female chimps as tool makers and as killers. So are we going to draw conclusions about human society from that one, too?”

One of the aspects of these studies that purport to show the essential or biological basis for gendered behaviors in humans is how selective we are in looking to the non-human animal kingdom for justification of human behaviors.  After all, what is “natural” behavior?  $hitting outdoors, scratching our crotches, and smearing our scent everywhere is “natural,” I suppose.  Human societies have developed multiple different technologies and etiquettes for dealing with all of these “natural” needs and urges.  Continue reading

Fight against America's War on Teachers: it's Thank a Non-Cokehead, Non-Abusive Teacher Day!

Not Mrs. Obenshain!

(Probably not a teacher.)

Yes, it’s that time of the season, friends:  the first day of winter, and the day my grades are due!  I’m feeling particularly pleased and generous today, in spite of this ridiculous story that holds up one abusive cokehead teacher as emblematic of all public school teachers in New Jersey (h/t RealClearPolitics yesterday.)  You think I’m kidding?  Take a good, long, trainwrecky look at it.  The author, the newspaper, and the entire state of New Jersey should be ashamed of it.  (Why do we never read stories like this in the newspaper about abusive, drug-addled investment bankers and how difficult it is to fire them in spite of their graft, corruption, psychopathy, and danger to the global economy?  Why are stories about professional male athletes like this actively suppressed, and their victims trashed whenever stories about them leak into the media?  Gee–I wonder!)

Can we teachers, professors, and other educators let this go unanswered?  I don’t think so.  So that’s why I’ve named this observance of the Winter Solstice the Thank a Non-Cokehead, Non-Abusive Teacher Day!  The warriors against America’s teachers have loads of worst-case-scenarios like the teacher in this story, but we never hear from all of the people who are happy with teachers.  We never hear about the teachers who stoop down to help tug off boots or tie shoes, even if they’re not your teacher (or your kid’s teacher).  We rarely hear about the hundreds of thousands of teachers who are spending their own money to keep their students in crayons, glue, and pencils.  We almost never hear about the days and evenings teachers spend after school tutoring their students, addressing parents’ concerns, and/or working with social services to ensure their students are living in safe, clean, and supportive environments.  You know, the kind of things teachers do that they consider part of their jobs, for which they’re never given any credit (or even any respect these days.) Continue reading

"I'm not a feminist, but. . . "

Mary Winter in the Denver Post, in an otherwise nice take-down of the inequities in the treatment of and advertising for women’s and men’s sexual dysfunction:

Call me cynical, but when the voice-over says, “This is the age of taking action,” my bar is set just a bit higher. And not to go all feminist on anyone,but I find it interesting that the female version of Viagra — a product called Zestra — still can’t advertise on most television stations, apparently because erections lasting four hours are acceptable prime-time conversation, but allusions to female sexual desire are not.

You may have seen the story on ABC’s “Nightline” this fall: two female entrepreneurs in California developed a botanical-oil-based product that in clinical trials was 70 percent effective in enhancing women’s sexual satisfaction, according to Zestra’s makers.

Now, you would not know it from the $300-million annual ad campaign for erection-enhancing ads for Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, but women suffer more sexual dysfunction than men do — 43 percent to 31 percent, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In other words, the potential market for flagging female libidos is huge. But here’s the irony: When the makers of Zestra went to 100 television networks and stations to buy ads, the vast majority refused them. The few stations that did take their money would run the ads only after midnight or during the daytime.

(U haz editorz at the Denver Post?  Or is u now like the non-peer reviewed interwebz?)

Winter’s point is clearly and strongly a feminist argument–women’s sexual dysfunction is treated differently both medically and in television advertising.  Yet, she distances herself from the political movement that made her analysis possible by writing, “[a]nd not to go all feminist on anyone, but. . . ”  Continue reading