Saturday, September 29, 2012

From the "Recommended for You" box:

1. Irving Adler, Author of Science and Math Books for the Young, Dies at 99

2. Billy Barnes Dies at 85; Helped Revive Revues

3. Chris Economaki, Rumbling Voice of Auto Racing, Dies at 91

4. Herbert Lom, Frustrated Boss of Inspector Clouseau, Dies at 95

5. Robert Newton, Maker of Racing Tires, Dies at 85

6. Maurice H. Keen Dies at 78; Redefined Chivalry

7. Dr. Griffith Edwards, Addiction Specialist, Dies at 83

8. John Silber Dies at 86; Led Boston University

9. ORDINARY PEOPLE A Life Distinguished by Enthusiasm, Not Disability


Suddenly, I'm not feeling so well.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Teabags Go Fleabag

At the Idiot's Corner, John "Thumb" Fund forwards a report on the conditions of the FEMA Camp hotel to which wingnuts were "assigned" by the DNC:

The Knights Inn was the worst hotel I have ever seen, and I've stayed in many bad motels in my life. Two guys were dealing drugs in the room next to me, and a prostitute was working out of the parking lot. And this was in the early afternoon. The room itself was dirty, full of other people's stuff, etc.

I have never requested a hotel change in 3 years at NR. This was the first time I felt absolutely compelled.

Morgan Pillsbury reports on the kind of accomodations John Fund prefers:

His apartment, she reports, was full of "dirty dishes, unopened mail, and bottles of alcohol from hotel minibars"; the floor was "covered with piles of black socks and dirty underwear."

Perhaps the Knights Inn doesn't stock its rooms with booze.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Roger's Pedagogical Corner

During my daily review of popular "Mommyblogs," I came across series of queries:

Filling out the lists of “summer reading” their teachers required as the school year began, my children and I ran across a quandary of our own. For school reading purposes, do books listened to, as audio books, count as books read?
Whether listening to an audio book counts as reading it has long been debated on blogs and at book clubs. I’m torn; I enjoy absorbing my books one way (words on a page, please), but as far as the content goes, I don’t see any difference in listening to it, although I admit to perceiving the reader/listener differently depending on the circumstance and the choice. (Maybe I shouldn’t, but there it is.)
But here we’re talking about something slightly different: for a student, is there a difference between reading and listening to a book? Should a listened-to book go on a “books enjoyed over the summer” list? If a student is required to read “The Hobbit” over the summer, does a student who listens to all 11 hours and 6 minutes of it, unabridged, fulfill the requirement?
We’ve resolved the question for back-to-school purposes (we went for disclosure), but it’s sure to come up again. Is it a different question for different ages? What about for a book report — can a student listen to the book rather than read? What about the student who wants to do both?
Which raises an interesting question. (I'll be the judge of that.)

When did schools start issuing summer reading lists? I never had one in grade school or high school, either as a suggested or mandatory list. Is this something fairly new, or did I just go to crappy schools? (Or both.)  Is this limited to schools populated by the children of the kind of overachieving wankers who live to get their brats into  prestigious colleges?  Is it just a way for schools to get parents to buy the books?

As for audiobooks, back in the day, the audiobooks would have been on cassette, rather than mp3 or CD, so it probably would have been more expensive to go the audio route.

Our Benevolent Masters, Part One

The SCL New York Times op-ed page gives us a new hero for social justice: Henry Ford:

IN the rancorous debate over how to get the sluggish economy moving, we have forgotten the wisdom of Henry Ford. In 1914, not long after the Ford Motor Company came out with the Model T, Ford made the startling announcement that he would pay his workers the unheard-of wage of $5 a day.
Not only was it a matter of social justice, Ford wrote, but paying high wages was also smart business.
The only thing missing is a tribute to Ford's visionary efforts on behalf of racial equality, religious tolerance and workers' rights.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Billion Dollar Moonies

The Korean Sheldon Adelson, the Wingnut Messiah, the spiritual father of Wes Pruden and the man you don't want to borrow a towel from, has died:
Building a business empire in South Korea and Japan, Mr. Moon used his commercial interests to support nonprofit ventures, then kept control of them by placing key insiders within their hierarchies. He avidly backed right-wing causes, turning The Washington Times into a respected newspaper in conservative circles.
In the church’s view, Jesus had failed in his mission to purify mankind because he was crucified before being able to marry and have children. Mr. Moon saw himself as completing the unfulfilled task of Jesus: to restore humankind to a state of perfection by producing sinless children, and by blessing couples who would produce them.
Mr. Moon struggled against bad publicity. He was sent to prison on tax evasion charges and accused of influence-buying and maintaining ties to the Korean Central Intelligence Agency. He denied both allegations. In the late 1970s he was caught up in a Congressional investigation into attempts by South Korea to influence American policy. There were battles with local officials over zoning for church buildings and tax-exempt status.
Prominent people were paid to appear at Moon-linked conferences. The first President George Bush did so after he left office. Others, like former President Gerald R. Ford, Bill Cosby, Mikhail S. Gorbachev and Jack Kemp, attended banquets and gatherings, sometimes saying afterward that they had not known of a connection between Mr. Moon and the organizations that invited them.
The extent of his holdings was somewhat of a mystery, but one figure gives a clue: Mr. Moon acknowledged that in the two decades since the founding of The Washington Times, in 1982, he pumped in more than $1 billion in subsidies to keep it going.
The Moonie Times, such as it is, has a sanitized send-off for the convicted criminal and right-wing sugar daddy, complete with a tear-stained tribute from Neil Bush, a lover of all things Asian. Among other things the Moonie e-rag forget to mention: Moon's divinity, his anti-semitism and his unusual laundry practices.