Thursday, September 28, 2006



"[Theory] attracted quite a lot of opprobrium. I never thought it should be taught to undergraduates. In those days teaching graduates what was then essentially French theory was exciting, as long as you were in control of what you were doing. I'm reminded of what Wayne C Booth (another of those once-famous critics) said: 'The really difficult thing is to understand why one has to work so hard to understand something that you do every day without the slightest difficulty' - reading a book, that is.

"I don't at all think that the time we spent on Theory was wasted. One of the great benefits of seriously reading English is you're forced to read a lot of other things. You may not have a very deep acquaintance with Hegel but you need to know something about Hegel. Or Hobbes, or Aristotle, or Roland Barthes. We're all smatterers in a way, I suppose. But a certain amount of civilisation depends on intelligent smattering".

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Warning: First Impression Commentary

Maybe this is a poor, jingoistic, stupid, superficial, or inaccurate first impression, but I get the feeling that France is going to get killed in the world economy.

I will explain this more in the future.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The drug war is fucking ludicrous.

“These two men were responsible for importing more than 200 tons of cocaine into this country over the course of many years,” Mr. Gonzales said. “While at the height of their power, the intimidation and violence of their cartel held the people of the Colombian countryside hostage to fear.”

Mr. Gonzales said the two brothers also agreed to pay $2.1 billion in forfeiture.

“The brothers’ guilty plea effectively signaled the final, fatal blow to the powerful Cali cartel,” Mr. Gonzales said. “There are always other traffickers and thus continuing challenges for law enforcement, but this is a day of pride for the people of Colombia and for international law enforcement.”


Monday, September 25, 2006


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Now that's something you don't hear in America

I am watching a Renault commercial, and the background music is Devendra Banheart ("I feel like a child").

So sweet!!!

I am watching the World Cycling Championships on France 3 TV!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

First Post


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Least Favorite Quote of the Day

"Have you ever tried this EPO?" - My mother after reading this NY Times story about US Postal doping.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Least Favorite Quote of the Day

"One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror," Bush told Couric, exclusively. "I believe it. As I told you, Osama bin Laden believes it. But the American people have got to understand that ... if this government [in Iraq] fails, the terrorists will be emboldened."

Thursday, September 07, 2006


"I [mention] Arthur Schopenhauer's well-known fable, a story Freud liked enough to cite in his book on group psychology [and] I paraphrase the fable as follows:

" 'A troop of porcupines is milling about on a cold winter's day. In order to keep from freezing, the animals move closer together. Just as they are close enough to huddle, however, they start to poke each other with their quills. In order to stop the pain, they spread out, lose the advantage of commingling, and begin to shiver. This sends them back in search of each other, and the cycle repeats as they struggle to find a comfortable distance between entanglement and freezing.'

"The story spoke to Freud as a lesson about boundaries. ("No one can tolerate a too intimate approach to his neighbor.") It also spoke to his belief that love is everywhere a thorny affair. Freud wrote: 'The evidence ... shows that almost every intimate emotional relation between two people which lasts for some time--marriage, friendship, the relations between parents and children--contains a sediment of feelings of aversion and hostility, which only escapes perception as a result of repression' ...

"All relationships ... require us to contain contradictory feelings for the same person. As the poet Molly Peacock observed: "There must be room in love for hate."

Deborah Anna Luepnitz, Schopenhauer's Porcupines, Basic Books, 2002, pp. 2-3.

Word of the Day

pervicacious \puhr-vih-KAY-shuhs\, adjective:
Refusing to change one's ideas, behavior, etc.; stubborn; obstinate.

In fact, I'm a word nerd. I get a kick out of tossing a few odd ones intomy column, just to see if the pervicacious editors will weed them out.
-- Michael Hawley, "Things That Matter: Waiting for Linguistic Viagra", Technology Review, June, 2001

One of the most pervicacious young creatures that ever was heard of.
-- Samuel Richardson, Clarissa

The language of the bureaucrats and administrators must needs be recognized as an outgrowth of legal parlance. There is no other way to explain itspervading, pervicacious and pernicious meanderings.
-- New York Law Journal, May 27, 1909

Pervicacious is from Latin pervicax, pervicac-, "stubborn, headstrong," from root pervic- of pervincere, "to carry ones point, maintain ones opinion," from per-, "through, thoroughly" + vincere, "to conquer, prevail against" + the suffix -ious, "characterized by, full of."

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Possibly the deepest sentence ever written?

"Occasionally, the whole class struggle may be summed up in the struggle for one word against another word." - Louis Althusser

Watch Inside A Cell!

Link to a video of the inner workings of a cell.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Cycling is Beautiful

Gerolsteiner sprinter Robert Förster learned on Sunday that the hardest thing about a race is not the rivals or the course itself, but "the fight against yourself." And he won that fight yesterday, telling proudly, "We all survived! A great feeling."

After only 15 or 20 km, he was ready to throw in the towel and "get in the plane, go home." Directeur sportif Raimund Dietzen persuaded him to try it a little longer. As they started up the first Cat. 1 climb, it was teammate and roommate Marcel Strauss who helped him along, saying, "Just ride, Frösi, don't even think about it."

Eventually he caught up with teammates Markus Fothen and Heinrich Haussler, and the trio made plans to drop out at the feed zone. But before that, they joined the Petacchi group, and realized they weren't the only ones who wanted to take the easy way out. "It's just that, in this kind of a situation, no one wants to be the first to give up. If you drop out and the other 14 make the finish, then you can't look at yourself in the mirror. The others are torturing themselves just like you are. So you keep on going."

Things got better on the next to last climb. Förster felt that his only chance to survive was to ride at his own rhythm, which just happened to be a little faster than that of the grupetto. So he, Haussler and Staf Scheirlinckx of Cofidis took off together. Once they hit the top, they went for all-or-nothing, riding "80 or 90 km/h in the curves, even if you don't know what's there. Heinrich and I are both good descenders. Some colleagues say we're crazy. I'm not afraid, I find it fun," he said, but conceded, "But it is dangerous, you have to admit that."

The trio stayed together for the final climb and made the finish 32 minutes down. "I don't know why we ride such stages. Sure, those in the lead like Vino or Valverde put in great performances. But I think that someone like my teammate Strauss accomplished even more than they did. He rode 205 km behind everyone else, never saw more than an 8-man group. You need a lot of morale in order to get through that. In those six hours you age a few years. It is not only the physical stress, but also the mental, the fight against yourself."