Thursday, January 21, 2016

W.E.B. Du Bois and Max Weber

In chapter 6 of his book The Scholar Denied, Aldon Morris discusses the connection between W.E.B. Du Bois and Max Weber. Here I read a portion of this very interesting chapter.


New Buffalo Bills Assistant Coach Kathryn Smith in the News

Kathryn Smith is in the news. Her new position with the Buffalo Bills is quality control coach for the special teams unit. This is getting a lot of attention because she is the first woman to be a full-time assistant coach in the NFL. A sampling of the headlines with links to the stories:

"Bills make NFL history by hiring first full-time female assistant coach" - Buffalo News

"Kathryn Smith hired by Bills as NFL's first full-time female coach" - ESPN

"Kathryn Smith Makes History As NFL's First Female Full-Time Coach" - NPR

"Kathryn Smith becomes NFL's first full-time female coach" - BBC

"Buffalo Bills Hire First Full-Time Woman Coach In NFL History"- Huffington Post

"Bills hire NFL's first female full-time assistant coach" - USA Today

"Buffalo Bills promote Kathryn Smith to first full-time female NFL coach" - Mashable

"Breaking the NFL's Glass Ceiling" - The Atlantic

"Buffalo Adds Woman to Coaching Staff" - New York Times

Here's how the Buffalo Bills Twitter account characterized it:



Saturday, December 26, 2015

Buffalo Bills Fans (Men Fighting, Men Drinking, Men Wrestling, Men Jumping Through Tables)

Deadspin occasionally posts videos of Buffalo Bills fans doing wild and crazy things. They recently posted "The Year in Bills Fans" video, which is really a compilation of men fighting, drinking, wrestling, and jumping through tables. Around the 1:30 mark, men fight near a grill and you can hear someone saying "Watch the grill, watch the grill." Priorities!

Does this video accurately represent the behavior of 70,000 Bills fans who attend games? Of course not, but that doesn't matter so much. This is clickable stuff, whether you click on it because you find it funny, or curious, or want to condemn it, or analyze it, or just be a voyeur. Most people aren't interested in videos of people tailgating quietly while having a few beers. "Bills fans gone mild" is boring. Bills fans destroying tables is more like it. It's in the mold of Jackass and I suppose it's what some guys do to get attention. I've written before about celebrities and the pursuit of attention. The Bills fans who make it to Deadspin are a good example of ordinary men doing stunts to gain attention. Their actions could be a way of getting attention in their peer group, or in hopes of ending up in someone's social media feed. Or maybe they're just drunk and having fun. If the antics make it to the Internet, people click for laughs or jeers or, in this case, for basic sociological analysis. "Here we are now entertain us" is a more relevant lyric than ever in our 24-7-365 media world.

Monday, December 21, 2015

When Insomnia Strikes

Every episode of Chopped, summarized:
Contestant 1: Your food was not properly seasoned.
Contestant 2: Your protein was under cooked or over cooked.
Contestant 3: I'm impressed with the risks you took, but I'm not sure that was the best use of the basket ingredients.
Contestant 4: Your presentation could have been better.
But I keep watching it anyway.

I couldn't sleep a few nights ago, so I flipped channels to watch episodes of Chopped, episodes of House Hunters International, and the movie Juno.

My summary thoughts of Juno: the film has held up well. Jennifer Garner is the weak link in the film. Ellen Page and Michael Cera are excellent throughout the movie. I like the ending when they sing "Anybody Else But You" by The Moldy Peaches.

One of the House Hunters International episodes took place in a town in Mexico that looked beautiful. There was a married couple and the wife's parents who were looking for a vacation home to buy together. The husband didn't seem thrilled with the whole situation. The in-laws insisted on having the master bedroom. The mother-in-law really wanted a design that she called "Mexican flair," if memory serves. The young couple wanted something modern. The compromise was a modern home, under budget, that allowed the in-laws to add so-called Mexican flair. The son-in-law and father-in-law enjoyed jumping into a terrace pool at the end of the episode. All's well that ends well.

I was tired the next day but with my semester being wrapped up I was able to have a day without doing much work. I watched American Splendor, a film that I love. The ending made me cry.

I almost forgot to mention that during my sleepless night I saw an Infiniti commercial starring Scott Conant. I was like "Whoa, I'm watching Food Network, and here's a commercial for a luxury car featuring Scott Conant." I think that's what people mean when they say meta. Check this commercial out...Scott was a head chef at 24 and he published cookbooks and he's on TV so now he drives a cool vehicle and hasn't forgot his friends. He has a winning smile and winning hair, for sure. I think I'm jealous of his hair. I know I'm jealous of his cookbooks because I want to write a cookbook.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

President Obama is Called a "Total Pussy" on Fox News

Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, "a strategic analyst" for Fox News, called President Obama a "total pussy." A total pussy. Everybody got that? I don't think this got enough attention. I saw the story here at NYMag but it didn't seem to attract a lot of discussion. Granted, there's a lot of things to worry about and infinite fodder available for water cooler talk, but it's not everyday you hear a commentator go out of his way to emasculate the president. Even on Fox News. I have no special ax to grind against Fox News. I think cable news in general is awful. But as I've written previously on this blog, Fox News has somehow become the default station at a variety of places. For whatever reason, there's many a business owner that plays this station for its customers. It's just not a station I want to see at a restaurant or a grocery store. I know there's a significant portion of the country that doesn't care for the president. But I'd bet most of his critics have little or no interest in him being insulted in such a crude way. I'm not super outraged or losing sleep over this segment. But I honestly find it disgusting to insult the president like this.

Friday, December 4, 2015

So Much Depends on the Weather

Scott Weiland has died at age 48. My college days were in the 1990s. I definitely enjoyed the "grunge" bands of the day. Stone Temple Pilots was one of those bands. I'll never grow tired of hearing "Plush." I've always loved the line: "And I feel, so much depends on the weather."

My favorite Stone Temple Pilots song might be "Sour Girl." Here's the video.


Monday, November 30, 2015

THE ELF ON THE SHELF: AN ENDORSEMENT

THIS IS THE TIME OF THE YEAR WHEN PEOPLE CIRCULATE HOT TAKERY ABOUT THE EVIL WEIRDNESS OF THE ELF ON THE SHELF. LISTEN UP, EVERYBODY. AND YOU KNOW THIS IS SERIOUS BECAUSE I'M TYPING IN ALL CAPS. I'M SERVING UP THIS ALL CAPS TAKE TO COMPETE IN THE ATTENTION ECONOMY. PAY ATTENTION, ELF ON THE SHELF HATERS. PLEASE CONSIDER MY LUKEWARM TAKE, ELF ON THE SHELF DOUBTERS. I TRIED TO TELL YOU ALL IN NICE TERMS LAST YEAR (CLICK HERE CLICK HERE CLICK HERE) THAT THE ELF ON THE SHELF IS, OVERALL, A HARMLESS PRACTICE. MY FAMILY IS DOING THE ELF ON THE SHELF AGAIN THIS YEAR. AGAIN I TELL YOU! JUST LIKE LAST YEAR, I'M TRYING TO GET AN EDGE ON MY KIDS. THEY ARE GREAT. THEY ARE WONDERFUL. THEY ARE THE BEST KIDS I HAVE. I LOVE MY KIDS. AND IF ELF ON THE SHELF HELPS KEEP MY KIDS IN CHECK JUST A LITTLE BIT THEN THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. MY  WIFE IS PROBABLY LESS CONCERNED WITH KEEPING OUR KIDS IN CHECK AND MORE CONCERNED WITH ESTABLISHING A FUN FAMILY TRADITION WHILE THE KIDS ARE YOUNG AND THINK IT'S FUN THAT AN ELF MOVES AROUND THE HOUSE. YOU SEE, THEY'RE AGES 8 AND 5 AND THEY GET A KICK OUT OF IT WHEN THE ELF MOVES AROUND THE HOUSE. IT MAKES THEM SAY "LOOK THE ELF MOVED!!!!!" THEY LIKE IT. IT WORKS FOR US. MY WIFE LIKES TRADITION. SHE LIKES FUN. I'M A GRUMP AND A GRINCH AND I HAVEN'T HAD FUN SINCE 1985 (OKAY I'M LYING I HAD FUN AT A LOLLAPALOOZA CONCERT IN THE EARLY 90S AND I HAD FUN LAST WEEK AT A STEVIE WONDER CONCERT) BUT I DON'T HAVE MUCH FUN SO I'M NOT REALLY ABOUT THE FUN. OH CRUD I LOST MYSELF IN THIS TAKE AND CAN'T SEE MY WAY OUT SO LET ME GET OUT OF HERE SOON BY SAYING IT'S COMBINATION FUN AND TRADITION AND HOPING THE KIDS WILL LISTEN SOMETIMES AND THAT'S WHAT THE ELF REPRESENTS TO US. THEY CAN MAKE UP THEIR OWN MINDS IN DUE TIME ABOUT WHAT THEY THINK ABOUT A SURVEILLANCE SOCIETY. LET'S NOT ASSUME THE ELF ON THE SHELF TRAINS PEOPLE TO LIVE IN A SURVEILLANCE SOCIETY. I LEAVE YOU WITH A PICTURE. LOOK AT ME TAKING A PICTURE OF OUR ELF ON THE SHELF. OMG SEE WHAT I DID THERE I MADE IT INTO A SELFIE! YOU KNOW WHY? BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE GET ALL WORKED UP ABOUT SELFIES. SELFIES ARE BAD, SOME PEOPLE SAY. I SAY LET THE PEOPLE TAKE SELFIES. I SAY LET THE PEOPLE PUT ELVES ON SHELVES IF THEY WANT. AND IF YOU'RE WONDERING WHY I'M WEARING A WINTER HAT IN THE HOUSE I DON'T HAVE AN ANSWER FOR YOU. SO LISTEN UP MEDIA: PLEASE DIRECT ALL YOUR INQUIRIES TO ME IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ELF ON THE SHELF. I AM A SELF-PROCLAIMED EXPERT ON THE ELF ON THE SHELF. MY ALL CAPS RANT IS PROOF THAT I'M AN EXPERT. AND ONE MORE MESSAGE TO ELF ON THE SHELF DETRACTORS: CONSIDER YOURSELF SERVED!!!!!