22 Dezember 2007

Really a Sad State of Affairs...

when you consider that SDSU is the second largest university in California and the largest and oldest in San Diego--the sixth largest city, supposedly "America's Finest." A fellow victim of grad school delusions penned this back in August 2004. The peeling veneer, folks. By the way--what is a shredder boy?

Run-don't walk-to another graduate school for history! The budget has destroyed this program. No meaningful seminars are available. You will probably be taught by some overworked part-timer because they are too cheap to hire tenure track faculty at this school. You will probably get rounded up with other overloaded grads to teach undergrad courses at high workload and low pay. The old-timers are finishing up their careers here as broken men and women who see a stupider class of freshmen coming to SDSU every year. If you like belly rings, flip-flop girls and shredder boys, this is the school for you. If you want a grad program you can be proud of...move on!

21 Dezember 2007

Now THIS was a tough one

Specialized German translation. Not for the faint of heart:

I. Deutsch-Englisch

Voraussetzung für die Teilnahme am Seefunkdienst bzw. Binnenschifffahrtsfunk ist der Besitz einer Frequenzzuteilungsurkunde zum Betreiben der an Bord eines Schiffes installierten See- oder Schiffsfunkstelle. Die Frequenzzuteilungsurkunde entspricht sowohl für den Seefunk als auch für den Binnenschifffahrtsfunk inhaltlich der international geforderten Genehmigungsurkunde zum Errichten und Betreiben einer See- bzw. Schiffsfunkstelle. Für Seefunkstellen wird die Frequenzzuteilungsurkunde auf Antrag von der Regulierungsbehörde für Telekommunikation und Posten, Ausenstelle Hamburg, ausgestellt.

Prerequisite for participation in deep-water radio service and/or inland navigation radio is the possession of a certificate of allocation of a frequency for operating a deep-water or shipboard radio station that is installed aboard ship. With respect to content, for deep-water radio as well as for inland navigation radio, the certificate of issuance of frequency corresponds to the internationally required authorization certificate allowing establishment and operation of a deep-water and/or shipboard radio station. The certificate allocating frequency will be issued by the Hamburg satellite station of the regulatory authority for telecommunication and mail.

II. English-German

Watch the sail and when the boom starts toward you, duck under the boom and move toward the new windward side by standing momentarily and pivoting around facing the bow (it is important to be able to watch the luff of the sail and see just where your bow is pointing). Bring your hand holding the SHEET (the rope which controls the sail) behind your back to collect the tiller, letting the sheet slide through your hand and maintaining only enough pressure on the line to keep it from running out. Do not straighten the tiller until the sail stops luffing or the boat swings further [sic] to some point you now wish to head for. Straightening the tiller before the sail stops luffing will leave the boat stuck IN IRONS (stopped headed into the wind). Failure to straighten the tiller after the tack will cause the boat to keep turning until it jibes.

Betrachten Sie das Segel; wenn die Spiere anfängt, nach Ihnen zu schwingen, beugen Sie sich schnell darunter und bewegen Sie sich windwärts, nach der neuen Seite. Um das zu schaffen, stehen Sie schnell auf und drehen Sie sich um, bis Sie direkt nach vorne dem Bug gegenüber anschauen. (Wichtig ist, das Vorliek des Segels betrachten zu können, damit Sie wissen, genau in welche Richtung der Bug stößt.) Nehmen Sie diejenige Hand, welche die Schot hält (d.h., dasjenige Seil, welches das Segel reguliert) hinter Ihren Rücken, um die Pinne zugreifen zu können. Sie sollen die Schot durch die Hand rutschen lassen und das Seil nur so straff ziehen, dass es nicht ausläuft. Sie sollen die Pinne gerade machen, erst bis das Segel zu luven aufhört, oder bis das Boot weiter manövriert, bis zu jenem beliebigen gewünschten Kurs. Man darf die Pinne nicht gerade zerren, ehe das Segel zu luven aufhört, denn eine vorzeitige Einstellung davon wird das Boot in einem hart am Wind und gestoppten Zustand lassen. Das Versäumnis, die Pinne nach der Wende gerade zu zerren, verursacht ein unaufhörliches Drehen, bis das Boot sich halset.

Figured out something big

It has dawned on me that most of us despise each other based on our profession, occupation, trade, and so forth. Or, to put it another way, most of us despise large swaths of occupational categories. Admit it: don't you really hate--and perhaps blame for all manner of social ills--at least some of the following: business people, police officers, debt collectors, lawyers, real estate salespeople, bank tellers, truck drivers (or all other drivers), insurance adjusters, auto mechanics, IT monkeys, telemarketers, government clerks, dentists, politicians, union organizers, bosses, teachers, preachers. . .the list is virtually endless. Yet how many of those who profess to loathe, for example, attorneys, somehow somehow fail to apply the rule when it comes to their own spouse, son, daughter, or parent who just happens (ahem!) to be one?

20 Dezember 2007

Forgive me

An extract from Jerry Farber's notorious 1969 tract. Much as I'm loath to admit it, the screed contains the ring of truth. Just this past fall I was requiring my Coastie charges to write "argumentative" essays about lowering the drinking age.

Or what about Freshman English? What actually gets taught? The purported subject matter is usually writing. But consider, up front, who teaches the course. It's usually some well-meaning instructor or TA whose own writing achievements have reached their zenith in a series of idle and heroically dull papers, written in pretentious faggot-academic for his graduate classes. And how does he teach? What's his method? Well, that depends because things are changing. Somewhere in some college there is undoubtedly a heavyweight, on the verge of being fired, who is teaching silence to freshmen so that they can hear themselves. Maybe somewhere else a teacher has renounced grading and is letting the students write what they want. Most Freshman English teachers, however, are doing the standard thing. They're demanding and then grading "themes" on capital punishment and on lowering the voting age. They're compelling students to drudge through topic-sentence exercises, outline exercises, library exercises, inference-judgment-report exercises, and a flood of oth er dreary busy work. They think they know the difference between a B minus essay and a C plus essay, and they teach their students to believe in such foolishness. They "correct" their students' work with ex cathedra judgments, none of which a student is at liberty to ignore.


Man hat uns nicht gefragt
als wir noch kein Gesicht
ob wir leben wollen oder lieber nicht
jetzt geh' ich allein
durch eine große Stadt
und ich weiß nicht [einmal]
ob diese Stadt mich liebhat
Dann schau ich in die Stuben
durch Tür und Fensterglas
und ich warte, warte
auf etwas

Wenn ich mir was wünschten dürfte
käm' ich in Verlegenheit
was ich mir den wünschen sollte
eine schlimme oder gute Zeit
Wenn ich mir was wünschen dürfte
möchte ich etwas glücklich sein
denn sobald ich gar zu glücklich wär
hätt ich Heimweh nach dem Traurigsein

warum glaubst du bloß
grad dein Leid, dein Schmerz
wären riesengroß?
Wünsch dir nichts
dummes Menschenkind
Wünsche sind nur schön
solang sie unerfüllbar sind

Wenn ich mir was wünschten dürfte
käm ich in Verlegenheit
was ich mir den wünschen sollte
eine schlimme oder gute Zeit
Wenn ich mir was wünschen dürfte
möchte ich etwas glücklich sein
denn sobald ich gar zu glücklich wär
hätt ich Heimweh nach dem Traurigsein

17 Dezember 2007

Benny Hill, Genius

It amazes me that out of the 8 billion or so webpages, only one had the following wonderful Benny Hill ditty posted. Then again, one is all one needs.

Fad Eyed Fal

By Foloman Faint Ftephen.

There'v a ftreet near Plymouth Ho where failorv like to go,
They've an inn there called the Faufy Puffy Cat.
With a broken-hearted gal by the name of Fad Eyed Fal,
On a feat befide the bar you'll find her fat.

Fhe will whifper fweet nuffingv in your ear, fip your wine and fwig your beer,
Or fing a fimple fong though flightly flat.
Fhe ufed to juggle with a carrot, four bananav and a parrot,
But fingv got hard 'cauve fhe had to eat the act.

Oh fed a tear (fed a tear)
For Fad Eyed Fal (Fad Eyed Fal)
All her hopef and dreamv will fade and fall apart (fall apart)
And be finfere (be finfere)
To your own gal (your own gal)
Remember in your hand you hold your lover'v... heart

To the feamen fhe wav a prive, a real fight for fore eyev,
And the offiferv, they fmiled on her av well.
And Captain Fidney Fmart took one look and loft hiv heart,
Though he fwore he'd marry Lindy Fuvan Fnell.

One night he felt her foftly figh, Fal faid, "I'll love you till I die,
Let me feal it, let me feal it with a kiff."
Foundv of anger filled the air, Fid and Fal faw Fuvan there,
Fhe had a knife and , "Fo it hav come to thif."

The knife wav aimed at Fal'v foft puffom, fhe carried with a cuffion,
And fpinning fomerfaulting through the air.
It ended up in Fidney, juft below hiv kidney,
Through that fcreaming Lindy faw him lying there.

But fed a tear (fed a tear)
For Fad Eyed Fal (Fad Eyed Fal)
All her hopef and dreamf will fade and fall apart (fall apart)
And be finfere (be finfere)
To your own gal (your own gal)
Remember in your hand you hold a young girl'v... part

Fal ruffed to Fidney'v fide, "Oh fpeak to me," fhe cried,
Fhe poured fome whifkey down him from a nearby glaff.
And fhe nurfed him night and day, and difcretely turned away,
When fhe gave him hiv injection in hiv calf.

To hiv cheekf there came a fluff, he kiffed her hand, that made her bluff,
Fhe fmiled fo happily to fee him looking fo well.
Foon he could ftand on hiv own feet, and walk unaided down the ftreet,
Fo he went off and married Lady Fuvan Fnell.

Fo fed a tear (fed a tear)
For Fad Eyed Fal (Fad Eyed Fal)
All her hopef and dreamv will fade and fall apart (fall apart)
And be finfere (be finfere)
To your own gal (your own gal)
Remember in your hand you hold another'v... heart

If you're ever Plymouth way and down that ftreet you chanfe to ftray,
And you feel foolhardy and adventurouf.
Fink carefully before you venture through the door,
Beneath the fwinging fign of that fly old poof.

Don't drink with filthy Farah, or cattle market Clara,
Or knickerv Nell, they're all fweet and refined.
But if your heart iv filled with luft, and drink with Fal you muft,
Remember fhe hav fuffered fo be kind.


And if, when fhe'v had a few, you hold her clofe to you,
And you fenfe you're in a dream though you're awake.
Don't be taken by furprive if, when fhe'v cloved her eyev,
Fhe callv you darling Fidney by miftake.

Juft fed a tear (fed a tear)
For Fad Eyed Fal (Fad Eyed Fal)
All her hopef and dreamf will fade and fall apart (fall apart)
And be finfere (be finfere)
To your own gal (your own gal)
Remember in your hand you hold your lover'v... heart

16 Dezember 2007

Jeder Hund hat seinen Tag

Die weisen Worte Hermann Hesses sollen mich mit 42 Jahren trosten; leider bin ich allzu unaufgeklärt und "unaktualisiert", viel Nutzen daraus zu ziehen:

Zu ihrer Zeit und darf nicht ewig dauern.
Es muß das Herz bei jedem Lebensrufe
Bereit zum Abschied sein und Neubeginne,
Um sich in Tapferkeit und ohne Trauern
In andre, neue Bindungen zu geben.
Und jedem Anfang wohnt ein Zauber inne,
Der uns beschützt und der uns hilft, zu leben.
Wir sollen heiter Raum um Raum durchschreiten,
An keinem wie an einer Heimat hängen,
Der Weltgeist will nicht fesseln uns und engen,
Er will uns Stuf um Stufe heben, weiten.
Kaum sind wir heimisch einem Lebenskreise
Und traulich eingewohnt, so droht Erschlaffen,
Nur wer bereit zu Aufbruch ist und Reise,
Mag lähmender Gewöhnung sich entraffen.
Es wird vielleicht auch noch die Todesstunde
Uns neuen Räumen jung entgegen senden,
Des Lebens Ruf an uns wird niemals enden...
Wohlan denn, Herz, nimm Abschied und gesunde!

Fun fact

Still alive at the age of 89 is the father of famous rock-and-roller Jim Morrison, who died in 1970 of a drug overdose in Paris at the age of 27. Morrison père is a retired U.S. Navy Admiral, and a longtime resident of Coronado, California. I used to drive to North Island (Coronado) every month for drills while I was in the Navy Reserve. Probably drove right past Adm. Morrison's house. Had no idea.