October
2nd 2011
Sunday Round-Up: Endless Summer edition

Posted under: American history, book reviews, jobs, students, the body, wankers

Where there's smoke. . .

Howdy, friends.  It’s just another gorgeous, clear, warm, sunny, dry, earthquake-free, hurricane-free, and (of course) tsunami-free autumn day here on the High Plains Desert.  The crickets are chirping happily, and there are a few lawnmowers humming in the distance.  I’ve got a stack of student essays to mark while I sit outside trying to extend the tan on my gams, but here’s some fun links to keep you amused if the weather (or something else) is keeping you indoors.  To wit:

  • The Denver Post apparently has reporters who listened to Grace Hood’s story last week on KUNC radio, as they went out and either plagiarized or simply replicated her reporting on the K12 Inc./Colorado Virtual Academy online schools.  Guess what?  No accountability and high dropout rates, but K12 Inc. is  making big money on their for-profit hinky schemes!  I’m glad the only surviving major Colorado daily has picked this up–but I’m kind of stunned by how closely the DP story hews to Hood’s reporting.  Then again, as we noted last week, the results of online education are pretty predictable and repeatable, wherever you look.   
  • Notorious Ph.D., Girl Scholar has some funny (as in LOLSOB!) reflections on her days as a server and remembrances of “the verbal tip,” and how this is curiously relevant to Excellence Without Money.
  • I believe Squadratomagico made it back alive from Burning Man–but she hasn’t posted a report on this year’s festival yet.  What gives?
  • I for one sure as hell hope New Jersey Governor Chris Christie doesn’t run for president, not because I completely disagree with him about pretty much every political and policy position (and you know I do), but because the U.S. media is going to be awash in stupid fat jokes for the duration of his campaign and/or presidency.  We went through this in 2008 with Sarah Palin’s Vice-Presidential run, friends.  Just as I told you then–and have continued to tell you–calling Republicans stoopid is clearly not an effective strategy for electoral success–or would President Adlai Stevenson, President Walter Mondale, President Michael Dukakis, and President Al Gore care to disagree with me?  Similarly, calling the political opposition fat seems pretty stoopid, especially since the majority of American adults–who are all eligible voters, BTW– are by many studies considered overweight or obese!
  • Speaking of presidential politics:  Eric Wemple thinks that the news media should actually read Ron Suskind’s book and his documentation instead of just recycling White House pushback claims.  (Claims which upon examination of the actual book look pretty ridiculous, according to Wemple.)
  • Call your shot for the Republican primary next year:  Who’s it gonna be?  The handsome guy from Texas with great hair, or the handsome guy from Michimassachutah with slightly stiffer and silverier hair?  (Handsome for grandfathers, that is.)
  • My one concession to the fact that summer is over:  Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good.  Never mind that the name invites a George Carlin-style “jumbo shrimp” routine–it’s what’s for dinner!

18 Comments »

18 Responses to “Sunday Round-Up: Endless Summer edition”

  1. shaz on 02 Oct 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    a) I am SO making that pumpkin dish. Everything is better with bacon.

    b) Did you read Frank Bruni’s piece on Christie: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/02/opinion/sunday/bruni-chris-christies-weight-and-the-oval-office.html

  2. Historiann on 02 Oct 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    “Everything is better with bacon,” says the former vegetarian!

  3. Historiann on 02 Oct 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    p.s. Bruni is right, but his argument is hardly controversial or novel. Sadly, it still bears repeating. The only part of his column I didn’t like is when he wrote this:

    I’d prefer a big fat president, governor or senator to one who’s constantly darting behind closed doors for a makeup touch-up or posing at a predetermined flattering angle for the C-Span camera. Ever been to the Capitol?

    Because makeup and concern for appearance are feminine, and regular guys like a regular guy, I guess. It seems to me to be thoroughly predictable that people who are photographed a lot might pay particular attention to their appearance–but I guess that would only occur to a vain, shallow female person like me.

    It’s interesting to think about how public/media concern with Christie’s physique is somehow permitted in ways that comments on the bodies of other male politicians is not–it’s almost like Christie is a woman! He’s pretty unusual among even male pols these days in being as large as he is, but I think it’s important to note that there is *no such thing* as a morbidly obese female pol. Christie has no female peers, and I find it completely unsurprising.

  4. Belle on 02 Oct 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    Republican candidate? Gee, how does one choose: ignorance? misogyny? blustering? cruelty poorly disguised as tough love? that doesn’t even narrow the field! I choose all of the candidates NOT. Is there a sane pol out there, or do we want another W-type? That would be Perry as far as I can tell. Invade Mexico? What, because our most recent wars have shown just how good we are at that? Or are we returning to our most Monroe Doctrine-ish days? Because that turned out so well…

  5. koshembos on 02 Oct 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    Handsome for grandfathers, that is. Why insult this reader?

    Don’t read Bruni or any other NYT op-ed writer except the Krug. The average quality is lower than my elementary school classmates. (It was a good class.)

    I am interested to know who will win the Democratic primaries or why we don’t have them.

  6. Western Dave on 02 Oct 2011 at 5:57 pm #

    For all of Christie’s bluster he’s done the two things in NJ that every gov before him Dem and Rep tried and failed at since as long as I can remember: he’s forced consolidation of micromunicipalities and ended double and triple pension fund dipping (NJ pension fund is based on years of service, if I understand it correctly, and by holding two or three covered jobs you could retire in half or a third of the time – many of those jobs were no shows that paid token salaries whose only benefit was counting towards the pension.)

    That said, everything else blech.

  7. Historiann on 02 Oct 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    Heh. Sorry, koshembos. My husband informed me that he’s getting a little jealous of Rick Perry, with all of my comments about his handsomeness, so I had to throw him a bone since I wrote Rick Perry and handsome and great hair again in the same sentence.

    Interesting point, Western Dave–that’s a reform worth doing, for sure.

    Belle: so your pick is James K. Polk, did I get that right?

  8. Spanish Prof on 02 Oct 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    Mitt Romney. But the biggest mystery to me is why American women would consider him or Perry handsome. Seriously, I don’t get it. John Hunstman is OK (among Republicans), but Romney and Perry?

  9. Indyanna on 02 Oct 2011 at 8:30 pm #

    We haven’t got any pumpkins.

  10. Susan on 02 Oct 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    Every presidential election year I think the republicans can’t get worse, and then the next one they surprise me, so….
    While I think the establishment will try to pick Romney, I wouldn’t count out Herman Cain. He had the decency to admit he *should* have called out the boos on the gay soldier. And that’s probably the nicest thing I can say about any of them.

    I loved that pumpkin recipe when I heard it on the radio last year, but tonight I made Notorious’ kabocha stew, which was yummy and will feed me for another week….

  11. Notorious Ph.D. on 02 Oct 2011 at 11:28 pm #

    @ Susan: Glad to hear it worked out! How long did it take you to break into the kabocha?

  12. Historiann on 03 Oct 2011 at 5:41 am #

    Why is working with winter squash such a pain in the butt? Srsly. I’ve had those kabochas before, and you pretty much have to stew them or use them in soups because they’re quite dry otherwise.

    Will make a note of the Notorious Kabocha recipe, though.

  13. quixote on 03 Oct 2011 at 6:34 am #

    Who’ll be the Republican candidate? I keep thinking the primary will be a good test case for whether their insiders have as much control over the process as I think they do.

    If, as the general election comes closer, it looks like they could win it, they’ll bend heaven and earth to make sure that someone who could actually win is the nominee.

    If it looks like Obama is a good bet to win (could happen if the economy unexpectedly improves), they’ll let the process throw up whichever candidate it wants.

    I have my easy chair all set up to watch the show, and a large bag of popcorn just waiting to be popped.

  14. Susan on 03 Oct 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    @Notorious, I think I didn’t get a kabocha, but something even bigger (I ended up with about 8 cups that I used in the stew, and 14 cups that I froze for later recipes.) It took me 45 minutes and a bruised finger. The stew I made will probably make 8 or 9 meals (I’ve given one container to my mother, so I won’t have to eat all 9 meals!)

  15. truffula on 03 Oct 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    The name leaves something to be desired but “sweet meat” is the best winter squash ever. 10 to 15 pounds, great keeper. I roast them in halves and freeze what I can’t use right away.

  16. Roxie on 03 Oct 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    I would like to vote for Pumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good for president, please. Assuming the running mate is a nice Oregon pinot noir. And that the heavy cream has zero calories. The official Recently Overweight Person of Roxie’s World is pretty carful about that kind of thing these days. Alas.

    Thanks for the links, cowgirl. I’m thinking this is going to be about the most depressing election season ever. Glad we’ll be spending it together, up here on our high horses, as per usual.

  17. Historiann on 03 Oct 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    Heh. High horses, indeed!

    I cheated last night, faute de mieux, with half-n-half, and I’m betting that no one could tell the difference with all of that cheese and bacon in there, anyway. I bet even a good local & creamy whole milk could substitute just fine–just make sure your bread is plenty stale.

  18. Shelley on 04 Oct 2011 at 7:55 am #

    Christie’s fat is no joke: the public seems to subconsciously discount meanness from overweight people (like Rush) as being simply funny, rather than seeing the viciousness underneath.

    As someone whose writing is about the era of the greatest Democratic President, I have to say that the Republican lineup, standing there in perfect silence as the debate audience booed a young serviceman, strikes me as moral midgets. (With apologies to Litte People.)