May 15, 2006

I'm Steve the LLamabutcher, and I'm an idiot

But you knew that already.

Random grab-bag for a Monday night:

1. Immigration speech? Too tired right now. I'll watch the stream later, but to be perfectly honest I've had trouble getting motivated on this issue one way or another. That's just me, Senor Vegas.

2. Mother's Day at Rancho Non-sequitor was a big hit. With four kids under 9, and two under 3, breakfast in bed is just not a good idea (unless you use a drop cloth perhaps). I gave The Dear One the best gift I could give: absolute peace and quiet for about 4 hours, as I scattered the kids around the neighborhood like an angry and vengeful Zeus tossing knucklebones with the fates. And no, I have no idea what the heck that means, but it just popped into my head and sounded zesty. I did score major points, though, by getting her as the real present some books from the store that just happened to be on her amazon shopping cart list, but that I hadn't seen. Perfect strike. Sometimes you just get lucky, I guess.

3. Next Monday brings the neighborhood book club to our house, so naturally I had to spend the day repainting the living room. Grrrrrrrr. I've been dropping hints that the long range weather report has it raining/thundering next Monday so to get me out of having to restain the deck. The Dear One is in two book clubs---one is the olde time one that she started back in '94 after we got married (and for a number of years, blissfully, met on Monday nights, freeing me with unfettered Monday Night Football quality time), but this one is the dreaded neighborhood one. Why is it dreaded, you ask? Well, the olde time one is practical as all get out: they figured out as they started the key to longevity was to not meet in anyone's actual house, so as to supress the Martha Stewart Arms Race (aka the Mad Murtha Martha impulse) that is the bane of chick lit booke clubbe experience. Twelve years, 120 books, and @45 members later (Charlottesville, being a college town, is a transient place, and they've been very good about cycling new blood in), the olde booke clubbe rages on. The neighborhood book club, however, is the bane of my existence. The only thing I can say is that at least they've gotten past the Oprah phase, which, to be perfectly honest, was quite painful to watch. Now, mind you, there are level headed folks in the Neighborhood Book Club: besides The Dear One, Left of the Dial's "Top Management" is rumored to have joined (she is the Nora of their Nick and Nora Neighborhood blogging dynamic duo). But still, there are the other ones, who---somehow, I don't know exactly how---are always costing me money. I would rig a perimeter of claymores to keep the NuSkin/SouthernLivingathome/ Merry Chef/Happy Harpy out of my yard, except that's probably against one of the numerous onerous covenants. Having a politcal campaign sign in your yard=a serious affront to the "harmony" of the neighborhood. Having your mailbox and phonebox stuffed with glossy crap being peddled by neighborhood hausfraus=a serious part of being a good American. Now, mind you I don't have anything against kids coming by and selling stuff: I felt it my duty as a devotee of Uncle Milty Freidman to buy boxes of cookies from each and every Girl Scout that came to our door over a three month period, but my patience for such peddling ends when the kid is old enough to push a lawnmower or lift a snowshovel. Want an easy $20 from the proprietor of Stately LLama Manor? Edge my damn lawn. Want to make money as a grownup peddling cheesy crap on others? Get your ample arse on ebay like everyone else. Geez, what would you think if I went door to door with these people trying to peddle our official LLamabutcher Industries brand of LLamabutcher Thongs?

Now that you think of it, that might be the makings of our first podcast.

Anyhoo, I'm trying to wrassle up some righteous indignation tying the imperative to paint the living room to the impending arrival of the book club, but Occam's Razor would cut to the fact that 1. it's been on my to-do list now for about 6 months and B. the semester's finally over so I have a bit of time schedule flexibility for awhile. (The Dear One likes to point out that I have a fast-paced, pedal to the metal 24/7 job---that's 24 hours a week, seven months a year. I say, she's grossly exagerating. I mean, after clearing tenure three years ago, I've got the routine down to 19 hours a week, tops.)

But hey, to thine oneself be true and all, I've just found that there's nothing like a little righteous indignation to focus the mind on clearling the backlog on the to-do list.

Damn bookclub.

4. Stevie cried doing the Carnival of the Bauer---and not because I screwed up and didn't include about six entries that came earlier in the week and hence lay unexamined in the Tasty Bits Mail Sack. No, while doing research one of my oldest and most important core beliefs, not to mention easy lay-up jokes, lay shattered like so many delicate Hummel figurines after someone told Hugo Chavez there was a Lil' Debbie Snack Cake hidden somewhere in the warehouse.

You see in college I was a bit of a geek: I was in this program where we did a Politics, Philosophy, and Economics thing, and were a wee bit hardcore about it. To blow off steam, we made fun of English majors. Now, some of my best friends were English Majors (Robbo, to name one, not to mention The Dear One---did I mention she's in two book groups?), but English Majors, particularly at the Glorious People's Soviet in Middletown were a bunch just asking for ridicule. And for some reason, "English Major" as a synonym for "effete wussy" not to mention "incompetent and incapable" just kind of stuck, with the phrase, "What English Major came up with this literary theory?" as my own personal version of FUBAR.

And then, I saw this. The ass-kickingest English Major in the Western canon.

D'OH UPDATE: I have a longer bit in the comments section on the actuarial prospects of different types of majors in 24, but I missed the identity of "TDP," so let me give a little background. You see, TDP was a history major undergrad, only because he got his forms in late (it might have had something to do with me, in the lower bunk and seriously hung over, breaking the alarm clock radio with a random shoe. Fortunately, those were the days before camera phones). So he wound up being a---wait for it---history dude, specializing in European Imperialism in the Third World. Fortunately, he listened to me and my dulcet tones of evil, and did his senior thesis as >"European Imperialism in the Third World II: Getting it Right this Time." It was a pure work of genius, as everyone thought he was kidding. Yet, now he is a major insurance/health care exec. I would say, "Heh, indeed" but then I'd owe Glenn Reynolds a quarter.

Anyhoo, Tomas, I'm glad you're hanging around, and you're on my list (along with long-time commentator and new dad Keith S.) to get set up blogging. The world demands your evil be vented, mon!

Posted by Steve at May 15, 2006 08:00 PM | TrackBack


How easily you have been misled by Jack Bauer's deliberately misleading bio. He is clearly poking fun at English majors just as you did in your youth on the Education Collective. Final evidence: He supposedly also got an MS in criminology from UC-Berkeley. Please.

There are only three possible scenarios here. One, that UC-Berkeley -- as one of the few remaining outposts of Marxist foolishness (North Korea, Cuba, and Hilary's book club being the others)-- has established a strict Orwellian nomenclature to its course listing. 'Criminology' would be translated in our world as 'study of corporate oppression of disadvantaged peoples, the environment, and the Dixie Chicks'. Doesn't sound like Bauer.

The second possibility is that UC-Berkeley offers no course in criminology. Think about it. A real course in criminology just doesn't fit Berkeley. So-called 'criminals' are really victims, as anyone at Berkeley can tell you. We must protect their rights. Studying how to catch them isn't the point; we need to be designing outreach programs to meet their needs. Sociology, not criminology. So no room for a Bauer here.

The third possibility is that Jack is following your example and poking fun at both English majors for his undergrad and Berkeley in general. C'mon. Can you really imagine Jack in either setting? Medevac choppers would have been in heavy use at either institution if Bauer had to sit in a room with self-absorbed effete wussies like that.


Posted by: tdp at May 16, 2006 07:53 AM

There's always an exception to the rule, the one in a billion.

I'd still be willing to bet the farm the rest of them still sit down to tinkle.

English Majors never were as manly as those who chose the manliest of manly majors: Computer Science.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to go polish my mouse.

Posted by: phin at May 16, 2006 08:15 AM

I thought Bauer would've majored in something darker. Like History, or maybe his school's version of the Mortimer Adler Great Books program (we called it Program of Liberal Studies at my school, and it was chock full of neo-Platonist proto-fascists).

Or Art History. Memorizing 500 slides of Sumerian, Akkadian, and Babylonian art is enough to push anyone over the edge.

Posted by: The Colossus at May 16, 2006 08:54 AM

See, this is where it gets weird: Berkeley does have a criminology program if you count their law & society program, which is a pretty rocking program. Plus, Bill Buchanan was listed as an English major too.

Computer science majors are plentiful in the 24 cast roster, but most have a difficult problem with staying alive for long (Edgar, etc.) Which worries me, as Chloe---the coolest uber hottie chick geek since Lt. Uhura---clearly then has a big target on her back (although why they would kill her off is beyond me, as she's carrying the show by providing comic relief. I mean, she's made "snippily seductive" a new watchword, for goodness sakes!) Plus, you also have Kim Bauer, if you count community college grads, and while clearly she's never going to die, she's not one you want necessarily in your corner.

History majors don't do well on the show, as President Logan is one, from Princeton no less (which has to be some sort of inside joke on Sean Wiletz).

Art history majors---Martha Logan and Jack's wife. Clearly morgue bait.

Which brings us to God's majors---the p[olitical science geeks. So far, of the major characters, you're one confirmed dead in David Palmer (or is he...?), one extremely soaking wet in Sec. Heller, and one we all were wishing was dead in Audrey Raines.

Which leads me to the CTU red shirt security guys: I'm betting Philosophy, each and every one. Or classics.

Posted by: Steve the LLamabutcher at May 16, 2006 09:17 AM

I'd bet on the red shirts communications majors. Lawd knows they're a dime a dozen, second only to basket weaving and business administration.

Posted by: phin at May 16, 2006 10:41 AM

Don't forget, if you didn't have us bio majors, you'd have no syntox. Or the deadly glow-in-the-dark viruses from last season (the glowing was a nice touch don't you think?). Can't take credit for the nukes though...

Posted by: LB Buddy at May 17, 2006 11:02 PM