Thursday, March 05, 2009

Omnibus Titbit Post

Some weeks, there's just too much to share with you, the Fosco Lives! reader. That's why you are now reading a "news digest" post, consisting of a bunch of stories that Fosco just can't not comment on.

  • Guess who's back at Stanford! Hint: she's a lesbian war criminal. No, not Rosie O'Donnell, but good guess. Nope, it's Condi, who has returned to her life (and lifepartner!) at Stanford (aka America's anus). Her teaching load is still undetermined, but she eventually hopes to get back into the classroom:
    As a professor, Rice has said, she hopes to lead future courses on international politics, with a focus on decision-making. Specifically, she seeks to teach "decision simulation," where students are pressed to think about real-life questions and choices and not just abstract policy.
    You know, decisions like: "Which war is the right war for you?" or "How many dead Iraqi civilians is too many?". Come to think of it, she's going to fit right in at Stanford.

  • There's more financial mumbo-jumbo to explain why Harvard is in trouble and it appears to have something to do with "dry powder." Fosco isn't quite clear on this concept, but he assumes it has something to do with the gunpowder that Harvard has amassed in the basement of Widener Library for the inevitable apocalyptic war against Yale in the End Times. Yale delenda est!

  • Fosco went to prom in high school, because who doesn't love a little heteronormativity? For his senior prom, Fosco chose a lovely corsage for his date; the day after Fosco ordered said corsage, the date and her stepmother went to the florist and redesigned the whole thing. Guess who still paid (Fosco could afford it, but still!).

    Which brings me to my point: prom would be pretty silly and ridiculous if it weren't so damned expensive (and mainly for the girls). But, as per this article in a recent Santa Cruz Sentinel, things will be easier for girls in Santa Cruz this prom season: Free Prom Dresses! Yes, thanks to a city councilman and a local dry cleaners, a buttload of donated prom dresses (and yes, the appropriate grouping adjective for a collection of prom dresses in indeed "a buttload"--look it up!) has been assembled for girls who cannot afford to purchase their own. Which is actually a pretty good thing, right? I almost think everyone should wear a recycled prom dress. After all, why should you buy a new dress when it's only going to get covered with alcohol/vomit and ripped by an overeager date rapist? Ah, good prom memories...

  • Speaking of prom, did you realize that one in every thirty-one American adults is now in the corrections system? As the brilliant Jonathan Turley goes on to note, Georgia is the leader in this statistic (1 in 13 adults in the corrections system), followed by Idaho and Texas. (Hmmm, is it me or are those all red states?) This is a shocking statistic, no? I don't think anyone believes that this kind of rate is sustainable--the burden on our society is just too great. I don't know what we need to do, but I'm willing to listen to proposals for increasing education spending and decriminalizing marijuana.

  • Speaking of prison, did you see that former football-star Maurice Clarett is blogging from prison? You may remember Maurice Clarett as a star running back at the Ohio State University, who as a freshman, helped to lead that team to a National Championship. Or you may recall that Clarett then sued the NFL to allow him to enter the NFL draft a year early (he lost). Well, a few years later (after getting cut from several NFL teams) Clarett apparently committed an armed robbery and is now serving a seven and a half year sentence.

    Now Fosco has never been a fan of Clarett, but there is a surprise here. (And no, the surprise is not that an Ohio State player ended up in prison...) Fosco was prepared to make some comedic hay from Clarett's blog, but, well, he can't--it's actually pretty good. It turns out that Clarett is using his time in prison for self-improvement, including working on his college degree. He's been reading philosophy(!) and doing a lot of thinking about life. He's been counseling some of the younger prisoners. And you know, he's actually a pretty decent writer. I actually find the whole project to be both serious and positive. I don't want to make fun of someone who is clearly taking his mistakes seriously and thinking about what he can give back to society after his release. I'm a little impressed and, to tell you the truth, I've subscribed to the feed... You can find his blog here.

    (I wonder if the crooked administrators and boosters at Ohio State who took advantage of this kid will ever end up in jail... Yeah, I suppose not.)

  • A Santa Cruz aerial photographer just swept the "2009 Professional Aerial Photographers Association print competition," according to this piece in the Sentinel. You can see one of his winning images at right. The story behind the image itself is actually pretty amazing:
    Back in May, David Sievert flew to the Black Rock Desert of Nevada to preserve for posterity one of the ephemeral creations of Santa Cruz sand artist Jim Denevan.

    Sievert circled for 40 minutes over a dry lake focusing on what Denevan hoped would be the world's largest freehand drawing. He spent a month and a half, using a stick to draw a series of circles, creating a composition three miles wide.
    Crazy! Think of the work involved! And think about all of the ways that the drawing could have been destroyed:
    Then a variety of circumstances could have smashed Denevan's composition, sitting unprotected in the wild.

    A ranger from the Bureau of Land Management drove out, wondering why Denevan had camped there and potentially jeopardizing the drawing.

    "He didn't know what we were doing," said Denevan, who tried to explain. "We told him, Hey, when you leave, would you follow the lines?'"

    Three days before Sievert was scheduled to arrive, a group of 30 machine gun enthusiasts in Hummers and pickups kicked up dust, heading straight toward the drawing.

    Luckily, they turned toward Denevan's camping bus, assuming their leader was inside, thus leaving the drawing intact.

    Even the weather cooperated.

    "It rained like crazy a week later," Denevan said.
    Fosco has always had a soft spot for good "nature art" (like Robert Smithson or Andy Goldsworthy). And while the circles thing is indeed pretty cool in its ambition, I wonder if it could have been a little more interesting. Like what about a giant Oprah head? Oh wait, that's been done...

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