Monthly Archives: September 2008

O tempora, o mores!

I would like to illustrate, from my own life, the absolutely untenable relationship between wages and prices that is the norm in this beleaguered country.  The other day, at the Elite Grille on the Waco Traffic Circle (a place known to anyone who has driven through the town), I was charged for the ice in my bourbon.  The ICE.  One dollar for, as the receipt put it, “rocks.”  

They also charged me for the dessert that they had run out of, so I got that one stricken from the record.  But mind you, I’ve seen many other people complain about their restaurant experience, only to be showered with free food, gift certificates, Circiassian slave girls, and so on.  I, however, got nothing but a pedantic manager out to explain to me, as though I were the most pathetic of country simpletons, how there is more alcohol in the drinks that have ice.  Why do I have this sneaking suspicion that that isn’t actually true, but that rather this guy hasn’t even discovered displacement yet?  “Look, sir.  You’ll see, it is manifestly obvious that when I add these obloids of frozen liquid to your potation, the booze line undergoes elevation.  So how could we remain in business in this land of Opportunity if we did not charge you for the utterly obvious increase in liquid in your cup?”

And of course, my salary remains the same even in a world that charges you to put some ice in your drink.  Oh, the sacrifices we make in these trying times: I may have to begin taking my bourbon neat (or just ordering scotch).  Bernacke and Paulson, where is your 700 billion?  Is there room in that figure to buy me some ice?


“Deliciae Baylorensis” …?

I want to register a complaint.  No, this isn’t going to be a complaining post.  This is no great moral umbrage on my part, just a failure to understand.  There is not, to my knowledge, a single building open 24 hours on Baylor’s extensive, Palladian, be-columned campus.  I know because the maintenance worker who closes up the SUB every night and I are almost on a first-name basis.  Or at least, he calls me “Chief.”  “Closing time, Chief,” he’ll say in a jubilant voice, and while I want to remonstrate that he is denying me Wireless Internet, which has got to be on the Bill of Rights somewhere, he’s just so nice that I have to smile and wave goodnight, like it or not.  So the question is: how come my venerable undergraduate institution, with an endowment approximately the size of a good tip at P.F. Chang’s, was able to keep its student center open 24 hours, even in the bitterest, most lonely lacunae between terms?  And monstrous Baylor, with a budget that includes entries like “Bear Habitats,” “Artificial Bodies of Water,” and “Columns & Pediments,” can’t do it?  Seriously?

In other news, teaching college freshmen is both incredibly rewarding and tremendously exhausting.  I’d thought that I would be a nicely hard grader – not the sort who keeps you down in the mud with one be-tasseled foot while reciting a litany of your shortcomings, but just the kind who doesn’t flinch at issuing a couple D-minuses to shock everybody into “business time.”  Actually, though, just the concept of placing an objective value judgment on someone else’s thoughts (even the “thoughts” that one manages to gather at 4am the night before class, whilst still hung over from two nights ago) is proving terrifying.  Don’t let’s even mention the negative judgments.  But I’ll manage it somehow.  And I really, really like my students in general.  Sure, some of them are a pain.  But in a promising way.  I hope they all succeed; I really do.

The result of all the time I’m allocating to grading and such is that I’m currently trying to write a paper that proves that Hemingway uses France and Spain as analogues to the spirits of Lent and Carnival, respectively, and that he simultaneously does not do so.  Ample attention is being given to the Confessional Mode in Literature, to Moral Cartography, and to Tipping Waiters.  Yeah … this one is definitely going to the ALL NEW WRITING CENTER GOONS.  Just wait until you have to edit my rough draft, newbies! 🙂

Okay, time to go to bed and wake up all too early for last-minute lesson-planning/Common Grounds therapy.  Au revoir!

A meme I bogarted from the bro.


1. Books

2. A ratty mattress

3. A sound system

4. A screwdriver (the tool, more’s the pity)

5. A microwave

6. A kitchen (my apartment is just one room)

7. A many-headed hydra lamp



1. Water

2. Coffee

3. Beer

4. Poetry

5. Classical music

6. Friends

7. Family



1. Go to India

2. Live in a monastery and contemplate for a couple months

3. Move to a new city on pure impulse

4. Publish a book of poems

5. Publish a novel

6. Eat haggis

7. Sleep in a wilderness without a tent



Do You:

1. Believe in God? Yes.

2. Had a dream come true?  Not so much; mine are horrendously surreal.  But if you see a disembodied hand walking itself down a handrail, you’ll know one did.

3. Read the newspaper?  I read Slate and the BBC online and I pick up a WSJ at school sometimes for token conservative bias. :p

4. Pray? Yes.

5. Have a job? Teacher of Record, Baylor U.

6. Go to church? Yes.

7. Wish on shooting stars? Sometimes I wish that the given asteroid will not land on me …



1. Cried? No.

2. Had fun? Depends on how you define “fun.” :p

3. Been kissed? Negative, more’s the pity.

4. Felt stupid? I felt other people were stupid, if that counts …

5. Talked to an ex? Two.

6. Missed someone? Sure. 

7. Hugged someone? Yes.



TEN random things about me:

10. I can, and do, blink my eyes independently of one another.

09. I think the world “culvert” is the English langauge’s ugliest.

08. I frequently tap tunes with various body parts.

07.  Despite what you’re thinking, I actually don’t have Tourette’s.

06. I despise, with frenzied passion, any form of melted cheese.

05. I find skeletons endlessly amusing (thanks, Con-man)

04. I am the best driver on Baylor’s campus. 

03. I prefer slow movies to fast ones.

02. I am less interesting than you’d think upon first meeting me. 

01. I once won a 5k only because I was the only person in my age group to show up.


NINE ways to win my heart:

09. Be endlessly deep.

08. Listen to and/or play music with me.

07. Don’t force me to spend hours in awkward social situations.

06. Read my poetry and show me yours.

05. Read other people’s poetry and discuss it with me.

04. Love to travel.

03. Share your doubts.

02. Be capricious in anything except interpersonal relationships.

01. Share your faith with me and respect mine …


SEVEN ways to annoy me:

07. Talk through my class.

06. Block me from merging on the highway.

05. Pretend to know things that you don’t.

04. Pose as a critical cynic just because you think liking things is “unfashionable”

03. Criticize modern art/poetry/prose without understanding it

02. Use a platitude (especially about politics or religion)

01. Walk around in dressy locales whilst wearing sweaty athletic gear.


SIX things I believe in:

06. The idiocy of most people.

05. The dignity of most people.

04. The unmitigated brilliance of J.L. Borges

03. God.

02. The conviction that virtue is (and must be) its own reward.

01. The transience of pleasure.


FIVE things I’m afraid of:

05. Anyone driving a car (besides me)

04. Rejection.

03. Four more years of Republican rule

02. The dreadful allure of fascism

01. Disease


FOUR of my favorite items in my room:

04. Collected Poetry of Czeslaw Milosz

03. The Art of Fugue (arranged for saxophone quartet)

02. My MacBook

01. My rad old-school speakers


THREE things I do everyday

03. Stress out about teaching

02. Go to the coffee shop

01. Cogitate


TWO things I want to do right now:

02. Be done grading

01. Have more money


ONE person I want to see right now:

01. Anyone who will have a deep conversation with me.