Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The 4KS Guide to Education II

Just so you guys don't get the wrong idea, from my last post, that all my students are intelligent, well-read and well spoken future bloggers, this is an example of a note I took up the other day. Bear in mind, it's probably not anywhere close in entertainment value to the note a fellow teacher grabbed that featured a back and forth discussion between two girls about what the best strip club in Winder would be for them to work after high school...anyway, as far as I can tell, the first part is written by a gentleman in my class named Monquez. After that, though, pretty much everything seems to be written by a different person...

Hey Teresa,
What-cha-doin, Me Im good NEwayz I gotta poem for you hear I go. If you werent so gay you would be good to date. Thats triky your name is queer bate. JK WB

"You're a disgrace to black people."

fuck you portia,

fuck you wanna be cracker!

fuck you yo

from this weeks onion...

i'm still learning to wear business attire without feeling like a total asshole. having tucked in my shirt like 7 times over the previous 10 years or so, it's a difficult adjustment. as a result, i can embarassingly relate to this guy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Most of you have probably seen the movie "DiG!" by now and know how awesome it is. For those of you who haven't, it's a documentary basically about the love/hate relationship of two bands: the gifted-but-selfdestructive-and-therefore-unkown Brian Jonestown Massacre and the commercially-successful-but-really-only-in-Europe Dandy Warhols. Long story short, the movie makes you think "these are the two coolest bands on Earth, why haven't I seen them before?"

Well, in the past couple of months Il Gato has had the opportunity to see both live and he has an answer to that question: It's because in real life they both really suck. Hard.

At Friday's Dandys' show, their telegenic frontman Courtney Taylor was wearing both a CBGB t-shirt and a retro Delta pilot's cap. Somebody else in the band was doing the whole scarf-with-a-tshirt look, eventhough it was 85 degrees in the theater. Not that I'm judging a book by its cover: they then played an hour and a half set of songs that had no discernable beginning or end. Just one long mass of music played at the exact same tempo and with the exact same instrumentation. They did throw in covers of "Little Drum Boy" and ACDC's "Hell's Bells" for a little dash of irony to please the Urban Outfitters crowd. Truly awful.

On a different note, the movie "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" is a hoot. Robert Downey plays an actor trying to learn to be a detective by following around a gay Hollywood detective named Gay Perry, played by Val Kilmer. Val Kilmer is as watchable as ever. Plus, he's gained at least 55 pounds since "Top Gun" and been giving a lot of really weird interviews lately, so I think he might be in the middle of pulling a real Brando on us. Only time will tell.

Sample dialogue:

Kilmer: Do you know what you'll find in the dictionary next to the word 'idiot'?
Downey: My picture?
Kilmer: No, the definition of the word idiot, which is what you are.

Monday, November 28, 2005

announcing "high culture" in the ATH:

tomorrow evening [11/29] the go bar will be treated to a literary event second to none. the first on the bill? j. fallis, poet laureate of athens, will present a hearty portion of his refined verse. second, the incomparable spencer will read some of his alarmingly sensual prose. this "reading" shall commence at 7:30 in the pm; all are encouraged to attend.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

4KS gives thanks.

this week is a time to stop and appreciate all the blessings we enjoy. first and foremost, the 4KS staff is thankful for the livelihood and companionship of our good friend, jeremy "saucy" sellers. he's handsome, sweet, pudgy, embittered, slightly dimwitted...and we love him dearly. let our ceaseless mockery never bring that into question.

we raise a glass to you, sauceface. cheers.

ps- i'm up in philly visiting my sister, and we had the chance to see the new noah baumbach movie, "the squid and the whale". it's like whit stillman crossed with wes anderson. see it, it's wonderful.

Friday, November 18, 2005

get all up in that grill!

i just got done having some lunch with JF, the poet laureate of athens. we dined at the international grill, which occupies the space that formerly housed jamaican' me crazy. it was fucking delicious.

for those of you wondering, the international grill is so named because, in addition to strong menu of mexican options, it also has offerings from such locales as thailand, italy, and spain. and maybe france, i can't remember. the decor featured a spacious arrangement of tables and latin music playing in the background. oh yeah, and a motorcycle parked in the middle of the restaurant.

anyway, the salsa and the guacamole were the freshest and probably tastiest in athens. our host also graviously provided us with a savory and beautifully presented appetizer, on the house. it consisted of small corn tortilla chicken wraps, covered in green tomatilla salsa and accompanied by a guacamole salad. for the entrees, i opted for lunch no. 15, featuring a beef burrito, a fried taco, and a bean and chicken chalupa. tasty. JF choose lunch no. 14, featuring a beef and bean burrito [again with the green tomatilla salsa], a cheese and onion enchilada, and a soft taco. delectable in all instances.

this was some high quality grub. on the 1 to 10 astra scale, our dining excursion nets 9.8 starseeds. the 4KS seal of approval is summarily granted, and i recommend that all loyalists take in the experience as soon as possible.

have a beautiful weekend.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

what was u readin?

slate ran an article today where various quasi-famous people, primarily writers, indicate the book they liked most in college. this question is kinda trite, and certainly invites pretentiousness. but i still think it's an interesting one.

so that's what i'm asking. what is the book you read in college, preferably but not necessarily in class, that you most distinctly remember reading, the one that best did it for you at age 19. my pick: aristotle's nicomachean ethics. anyone else care to weigh in? i'm looking at you, mild-mannered classicist.

it was only a matter of time...

...'til the university of miami football team put out a rap song. that magical cut is the "7th Floor Crew". it would seem that some of the 'canes lives on the 7th floor of a campus dorm. we are also lead to believe that the squad has a pretty easy time getting laid in said dorm. give it a listen, it's ridiculous.

ps- viele dank to k. bowman for calling this jewel to 4KS's attention.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

your own back yard.

i watched this anti-walmart documentary last night. you might have heard about it, it's called "the high cost of low cost." it was decent, basically what you'd expect (effect on locally owned business, mistreatment of employees, production standards). if you get a chance, you should take a look.

anyway, the most interesting point came in the leadup to the film, when an education professor spoke for a few minutes about "the working poor." chew on this factoid: of all the municipalities in the US with 100k+ populations, athens-clarke county has the 7th highest poverty rate. yup. athens is the 7th poorest city in the US. 28% of athens-clarke residence live below the poverty level (despite the fact that athens has fairly low unemployment). the top ten was deteriorating rust-belt cities like newark NJ and flint MI. and athens. don't know what anyone should/could be done, just wanted to share.

Monday, November 14, 2005

wrong, wrong, wrong.

most political issues are complicated. as a cool OU economics professor once said in answering a student's query, "like with most important questions, the answer depends." that's true, and while i have fairly clearcut views on many things, i pride myself on being ever the relativist [a word many people use derisively]. iraq, separation of church and state, the patriot act, affirmative action, abortion, the alaskan wildlife reserve... i have very decided views on these contentious issues, but i do at least recognize the moral, ethical, and legal complexities.

there is one "political" issue, however, on which i don't think see any room for disagreement. i'm not saying it's necessarily the most important, but it is the most clearcut: treatment of detainees. or rather, the administrations assertion that we owe NO standard of care to aliens who are being detained abroad. treaties on torture, treaties on treatment of enemy combatants in time of war, the constitution... let them all be damned [or blatantly misconstrued]. the american government's position is that we can do whatever we want to these people, for as long as we want to do it. the notion is as absurd and offensive as its legal underpinnings are fallacious and fraudulent. what's going on right now in quantanamo bay [and lots of other places, only a small portion of which we hear about] will be remembered just as tragically as the WW2 internment camps.

anyway, i got started on this pontification because of a really good article in slate discussing the same. i implore you to read it. the sarah silverman piece is good, too.

Friday, November 11, 2005

joy in the face of a boy!

have you ever seen someone look happier than this bangladeshi child? i hope all 4KS readers smile like this some time over the weekend.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

the boss and the sauce.

here's ben makin and i on halloween at the 40 watt. my t-shirt reads "i used to be in a wilco cover band." can you guess who i'm dressed as? and yes, i am sucking on a tootsie pop.

time to move on.

on monday i saw the newest jim jarmusch film, "broken flowers". it was pretty good. bill murray is the man, and anything he does will always be ok with me.

however, i was a little disheartened by the film as well. this movie basically marks the fourth straight starring role in which murray has played the same character. it's a fantastic schtick, and we're all sorry he didn't get the oscar nod he so dearly wanted, but it's time to move on. bill, for the sake of all who love your work, let your next film take you in another direction.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

the saucy legend, vol. 3

it is time for another installment of the sauce's legendary tales of woo. this particular episode took place a couple years back on a sunny north campus afternoon whilst our handsome protagonist played croquet with members of the 4KS staff. in the midst of his inevitable defeat on the pitch, the sauce called our attention to a young lady sauntering by and settling down for a leisurely read some 40 yards away:

SAUCE: check out that chick.

[your humble narrator]: yeah, no shit.

S: i'm gonna go talk to her.

MCSQUARED: what are you gonna say?

S: i don't know.

[narrator]: why don't you ask her to go get a smoothie with you.

GHOSTFACE: no way, saucy.

S: that's exactly what i'm gonna do.

the sauce confidently strode directly up to the young lass and engaged her in some charming banter. sure enough, 15 minutes later the sauce was outside smoothie planet enjoying a "yo' adriane" with that same lucky lady. while saucy was not able to bed down his prey, the sauciness of that cold approach could not be contested.

Friday, November 04, 2005

this is why i couldn't be a vegetarian:

check out these guys chowing down on some delicious fried chicken.

yo yo

check out this fucking guy. and note the techno/synth pop playing in the background (reminiscent of the tunes enjoyed by a certain kooky crim law professor).

Thursday, November 03, 2005

good ol' brownie.

if there was any doubt that former FEMA director Michael Brown is a totally incompetent party loyalist fuck, there should be doubt no longer. what a bumbling asshole. sauce would have done a better job.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The 4KS Guide to Education

One of my students wrote this and I sent it to Huevos McGringo--basically so we could relive our days in Human Nature and the Social Order (OU's pretentious name for the core poli-sci course). He said I should post it, so...w/o further delay...Also, I changed the name to X (George Kennan style), to protect the innocent.

AP European History
Mr. Knight
October 23, 2005

The Philosophes in Loco's

As Mr. Knight sauntered into the pub at Loco's, he noticed John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and the baron de Montesquieu at a small table in the corner. He quietly observed these intellectuals for a moment, detecting the cloud of tension that rested around their table. Locke sat his beer mug on the table and looked up to see Mr. Knight. "Mr. Knight!" he called, "Please come join us!" Mr. Knight timidly accepted Locke's invitation and walked slowly to the table, partly excited to be in the company of these philosophes, but somewhat intimidated by their repute.

As Mr. Knight softly slid a chair to the table, Hobbes shouted to the bartender to bring one more mug and another pitcher of beer. The gentlemen toned down the conversation for a while and became better acquainted. Inevitably, though, the discussion turned to the politics of the United States.

"That buffoon can't control his own people," said Hobbes, sharply, referring to George W. Bush. "His every move has to be approved by hundreds of people..."

"As well it should be," interjected Montesquieu. "It is more just to have a balanced government than to give absolute power to one man."

"I disagree. With all of his limitations, the man can't keep the favour of his own people. This 'presidency' is hindered by its own circumstances. Give the man more power and see what he can do," argued Hobbes.

Mr. Knight laughed to himself as he listened to Hobbes reverberate the ideas of the conservative Republicans in his AP European History class.

Rousseau was obviously miffed by the irrational words of Hobbes. He calmly leaned back in his chair and began: "Mr. Hobbes, with all due respect, are you mad? Government is a corruption imposed upon the people. It is dreadful enough already; why expand the evil? I say let the people decide. The people know what is in their best interest. Why, then, should they let an illiterate buffoon try to convince them otherwise?"

"You idiot!" interjected a drunken Hobbes. "What good is a nation without a leader?"

"Gentlemen, gentlemen, please calm down," Locke began. "There is no need to become heated. Mr. Rousseau, let us not cause another revolution, and please, Hobbes, no absolutism. Government is a fine institution when conducted properly. The government of the United States of America has succeeded in protecting the rights of the people. Some minor rights have been infringed upon, but I see no just cause for condemnation and revolution. Rousseau, I do agree with you in that the people should represent themselves. Americans, however, choose to elect their representatives. This representative democracy, although it is indirect, allows a free-market economy to thrive. Because of the brilliance of our friend Montesquieu, the American government remains constant, neither too weak nor too powerful. This separatio n of powers allows the political machine to run smoothly." Locke paused momentarily and glanced at Mr. Knight. "Gentlemen, you must look at the success of this nation before attacking the specific flaws of this government. Every government contains shortcomings and defects, but this nation has remained. The first government established in the United States of America over two centuries ago has not failed yet failed its people. Gentlemen, please examine the positive aspects as you attack the negative."

Mr. Knight took a deep breath and wiped a tear from his eye. Locke's words deeply penetrated his heart and he was indeed proud to be an American. "Thank you, Mr. Locke." Mr. Knight said respectfully. "I believe this government has provided for the American people through many changes and adversities. The American government has preserved my rights. I don't necessarily agree with all of the policies the government chooses, but I still think this government is awesome."

Hobbes and Rousseau found consolation in the inspirational words of Mr. Knight. While they still retained their own opinions, both of the philosophes agreed that government is relative.

Montesquieu sat thoughtfully during the silence at the table. Finally, he broke the silence: "Mr. Knight, what is it that you do?"

"I am a history teacher, sir," Mr. Knight replied.

"United States History, I presume."

"Actually, I teach AP European History and World History. We just finished studying the Enlightenment in my European History class. All of you definitely impacted government philosophy. Thank you all for your contributions."

After a few more drinks and a lighter conversation, Mr. Knight realized that it was past Pudge's bedtime. He thanked the philosophes again and hurried home to tuck Pudge in and prepare for his awesome European History lecture the next day.