27 November 2006

waging academic warfare on two fronts

By which I mean fieldwork (domestic) and the job market. Fieldwork resumes next semester, as the wonderful folks at the LBJ library are going to fund me to visit their library as well as some others in the spring term. So I have nothing to report on that front. But I know that my upcoming trips to the LBJ, FDR, and Reagan libraries don't hold the possibility of meeting the former president himself, unlike when I was at the Carter library and JC showed up randomly one day.

The second front of the war, job searching, is going ok, but I'm fairly paranoid about posting about it due to my fear of jinxing myself as well as my wish to avoid the stupid, stupid job blogs. So email me if you're interested in an update.

On a more political note, has anyone noticed the trend of "zones" in our lives - free speech zone, child safety zone (having to do with laws about where convicted sex offenders can live), drug free zone? Shouldn't we at least strive for these to be universal? I feel like the upper-middle class populations who seem to be claiming these "zones" are simpy giving in to the privatization of basic rights; that this is on some level an acknowledgement that these concepts are not universal, and an acceptance of that fact rather than a commitment to fight. Is this new? Where did the idea of "zones" come from and when did it emerge? Has anyone else noticed this? I know the free-speech zones thing got some press (as being patently ridiculous), maybe around the beginning of the Iraq war?

tis the season...or not

so this was posted on slate's round-up of other magazines, from Time: "Hunting is on the decline, according to a piece. As Americans move to cities and hunters age, the number of hunting-license holders has dropped. Regulations, lawsuits, and the allure of video games as a substitute have turned many young people away from an activity the author cherishes: 'It's hard to kill something, but you develop deep appreciation of animals and the outdoors when you do it regularly.'" !!!

rob, i'm really glad you're helping to curb this disturbing trend. meanwhile a second cousin was apparently successful on his yearly hunting trip, and my brother mocked me when i told him "jay caught a deer."

22 November 2006

happy fanksgiving

friens, here's a picture from my recent trip to medellin.
i hope lots of pumpkin pie and other fall foods are being thoroughly enjoyed. what is everyone thankful for? me? for political pirates, obviously.

14 November 2006

i really do work...

...and then this happens. honestly. features what might be the best line i've read related to game theory: "if not, the proposer is thrown overboard on the pirate ship and dies, and the next most senior pirate makes a new proposal to begin the system again." yeah. life and death and game theory. arrrr.

13 November 2006

go bucks.

this saturday i will be *busy* watching the buckeyes beat michigan. probably with some marines at tgi friday's, since that's the only place i know of that broadcasts games here (i wish i was joking). that should be interesting. or frightening. or productive. all three? here's to hoping.

07 November 2006

midterms from medellín

so i'm in medellín at the moment -- the city of "eternal spring," as it's called, but also of the most infamous coke kingpin and cartel, as it's known...but i digress. i am experiencing physical manifestations of my nervousness about the midterm elections. sweaty palms, gittery belly. and the worst is that our hotel only has FOX news. boo. watching the returns tonight will feel even more masochistic than usual. november madness anyone?

hopefully i can settle down enough to appear normal in the archives. tons.

02 November 2006

Best. Poll. Question. Ever.

Stepping into history for a moment, here's a gem from the Dec. 14, 1936 Gallup Poll:

"Which of the European countries do you like best?"

I am not making this up.

I heart Tim Russert (that's for you Abbey)

Oh, how I love Tim Russert. The way he asks those cutting questions and won't let politicians spout meaningless platitudes in response. Damn, he's good.


Election day is almost upon us, and Brookings is buzzing buzzing buzzing. The superpundits in my office are all a-twitter -- Thomas Mann (superpundit extraordinaire) roams the halls between televised interviews muttering poll numbers and telling everyone he can corner that the Dems are going to win HUGE. EJ Dionne, Washington Post Columnist, is a bit more cautious. Not everyone here is a Democrat (although there's a definite lean), but these are all people who share a love of all things political. These close races have raised the energy level WELL above the usual flourescent light-induced stupor.

I'm guessing that even for our own resident non-Dems (that means you, sausage boy), seeing these particular nut-job Republicans get their due is at least a little bit sweet.

I'm feeling guilty for having not voted in the DC mayoral primary, which is the only election around here that really counts for anything (voting in DC is so depressing). So I'm going to Virginia to work the polls for Jim Webb on Tuesday -- not because I really like Webb (he's as much of a cowboy as George Allen), but because Allen scares the living daylights out of me. I find that this is increasingly the case for me. I used to be more gung-ho about Democrats. Now they're just Not As Bad. But when the bad is really bad, even third rate alternatives seem worth prostelytizing for.

So go out and do stuff on Tuesday, all you political people! There are so many close races. Change is in the air, but it's SOOOOO not a given. It's got me all a-twitter.

01 November 2006


i'm not the only one who honors my great state for halloween.