New on the roll

The weather here has been so nice lately that I can’t resist going outside to play, thus relegating schoolwork to nights and early mornings. That’s been keeping me too busy to update and will for a few more days yet, but in the meantime here are a few new additions to my blogroll:

Steve is an occasional commenter on this weblog. He also has one of his own and it may be the best-designed weblog I’ve ever come across. The layout is easily readable, the entries are amusing, and there are lots of features. My favorite is the list of odd search queries that bring visitors to his site — hilarious.

Meredith Gray is the current editor in chief of The Slant and has a new tattoo that says “me.” in Baskerville bold 72 pt. font. She also has a new weblog, not in Baskerville bold 72 pt. font.

Ceaf Lewis is another Slant writer, now blogging as Nigel DelManticore. Deuterocanonical!

Finally, Michael Podguski was one of my fellow interns in Washington. He’s just begun a collaborative weblog where he and a friend debate various policy issues. It’s fittingly named Policy Debate.


Ugg, what a dilemma

I knew that my return from Washington, D. C. to Vanderbilt would carry with it some culture shock, but nothing could have prepared me that first week back for the newest trend in VandyGirl fashion: the ugg boot. Iím officially declaring ugg boots the nadir of VandyFemme fashions during my four years here. While I can see the appeal in, say, the Australian outback, they just look silly in Nashville. They look even sillier paired with an expensive short skirt and shaded into pastels, sometimes giving one the distinct impression that the footwear has been recently excavated from an abandoned ABBA show trunk.

In this photo, Kate Hudson does a pretty good VandyGirl impression. Just make the boots baby blue, change the plastic cup to a Nalgene bottle, and give her a Kate Spade bag with sorority letters embroidered onto the side and youíve got the picture. Multiply that picture by several hundred women per acre and youíve also figured out why Iíll be in therapy someday.

But that still leaves me much better off than the traditional Australian ugg cobblers, who are under attack by corporate America. The American Deckers Outdoor Corporation has trademarked the word “ugg” and is threatening to sue Australian manufacturers who continue to employ it. Thus my present dilemma: on the one hand, anything that stems the tide of uggs flooding over our borders canít be a bad thing. On the other, I feel sympathy for these Down Under craftsmen, who know not what their bonzer work hath wrought on Vanderbilt fashion.

I ponder this important question and recall that as the Nashville spring arrives the race will be on among the VandyGirls to wear as little fabric as possible Ė hopefully including the swaths of sheep skin that currently prevent their treadmill-toned calves from catching the eyes of passing frat boys. So I must side with the makers of the original, genuine, dinky-di uggs, and fly this banner of solidarity:


Best of luck, mates.

[Thanks to Adam for the article link.]


Mr. Blobby

Everyone say hello to Mr. Blobby. Isn’t he cute? He sort of reminds me of an unhappy Ziggy — unhappy because he’s just been decapitated.

I found Mr. Blobby when I was searching for pictures of a fangtooth, a deep sea fish with fangs so big they’d impale its own brain if it didn’t have special head sheaths for them. The kind of fangs you don’t mess with. The kind you’d use to catch a Ziggy fish. Scary, huh?

Why the sudden interest in fangtooths? (Or is it fangteeth?) Because a friend sent me this article about deep sea creatures newly discovered in the Tasman Sea. The article describes the very strange sexual practices of a certain angler fish, even stranger than the orgasm faking trout. We’re really into the sexuality of fish, my friend and I. It’s a thing we have.

More denizens of the Tasman Sea can be viewed here.


Oil wells that end well

Zhubin posted a comment below challenging me to respond to this website about the supposedly imminent oil crisis. I could write everything I know about energy policy on the back of a small postcard, so I was just going to ignore it.

By a fortunate coincidence, however, Andrew David Chamberlain has come through with a post on his redesigned weblog The Idea Shop (“where the dismal science gets groovy”). Here he outlines the free market perspective on decreasing oil reserves. Sorry Z, his analogy will still leave you thinking libertarians are nuts, but his point’s a fair one.

Still no indication of Andrew’s perspective on the fake orgasm.


Talented friends

Nothing new from me at the moment, but a few talented friends from Vanderbilt have some projects up on the Web. First is Bradley Metrock, who has released his second album. This time he’s playing relaxing piano music solo; listen to sound samples from Maintain Radio Silence here.

Second is Laurel Staples, who has a new site up to showcase her photography. She’s the one who took the photos of me on the welcome page and my magic promotional site.

And last but not least, a new issue of The Slant.


World famous

If you’ll pardon the somewhat ego-driven post, I have to say that I’m amazed at the attention received by this silly satire piece I wrote about Lou Dobbs back in January. It took off with two references on The Agitator via The Bit Bucket, somehow made its way to a webpage of the South Asian Journalists Association, and recently this blogger made a neat little graphic declaring “Outsource Lou Dobbs.”

What really gets me, though, is that it was quoted a few weeks ago in an article in The Times of India. India! Read it here, or if that link isn’t staying open for you read it copied below. Isn’t the Internet great?
Continue reading “World famous”



My dorm has a “Wall of Shame” where students display the rejection letters they get from schools, jobs, and internships. It’s a way of sharing the stresses and sometimes miseries of being a graduating senior with no guarantees about what the next year will bring. Well, I haven’t applied for any jobs or grad schools, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a spot on the wall. I just wish my parents weren’t so harsh in the postscript.


Note from the road

As promised, hereís the update from the road. Itís Friday morning and Iím enjoying my second cup at Common Grounds, the coffee shop in Clarendon that I was visiting nearly every night by the end of my semester in D. C. Itís good to be back, and even better to be able to take advantage of their free wi-fi network.

The day trip to Memphis began with a touristy stop at Graceland. That was fun, but not nearly as fun as being completely drunk in the middle of Beale Street by 6:00, listening to the live blues. Once our group was (mostly) recovered from that, it was on to Texas de Brazil churrascaria. I knew it was going to be a good night when the first gaucho approached and said, ďSir, filet mignon wrapped in bacon?Ē That was just one of the 14 meats presented on skewers in unlimited quantity, all of them delicious. (Note to all you Atkins dieting libertarians: this is the place for you in Tennessee.)

After a few days back in Nashville the Aztek and I were on our way to D. C. Ten hours later, it was time for dinner with my food soul mate at The Melting Pot fondue restaurant. This is a great place for a date or a slow-paced dinner and the chocolate fondue makes an unbeatable dessert.

Since then itís been a full couple of days catching up with friends and getting a little bit of schoolwork done. A return to this city after graduation grows increasingly likely, though my mind is still not made up on the matter.

In a few hours Iíll be on my way to the colloquium in Richmond, then back in Nashville late Sunday night.


Spring break road trip

Spring Break begins today, and once again I find myself ready for a (mostly) solo road trip away from Vanderbilt.

Tomorrow — day trip to Memphis with two friends with dinner at Texas de Brazil, a very cool Brazilian churrascaria my family went to back in August.

Sunday to Monday — Back in Nashville.

Tuesday — Leave early to drive to D. C.

Wednesday to Friday morning — hanging out in D. C.

Friday to Sunday — in Richmond for Libery Fund’s colloquium on “Liberty and Modern American Conservatism.” I have no idea how I came to be invited to this, but it should be interesting (and only slightly more tame than Venice Beach, I’m sure). Back to Nashville Sunday night.

Of course, no road trip would be complete without a few new CDs for the car. Topping the list this time is Jen Cohen’s Far Enough Away. Jen is a Nashville singer with an amazing voice (and a great smile, too — I still remember being greeted by it, before the show, the first time I saw her perform at Vandy. That was over two years ago). Her other CD has long been one of my favorites and I’m liking Far Enough Away just as much.

I’ll also be listening to the last of the Barenaked Ladies albums I didn’t have till now, Billy Joel’s debut Cold Spring Harbor, and, of all things, The Vogues: Greatest Hits. It was “Five O’Clock World” that sold me on it.

I have no shortage of things I have to read for school and the colloquium, plus I have an ever-growing stack of books I’ve been wanting read on my own time. Even so, over break I’ll be reading Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet . This is at the recommendation of a good friend who says it “could be worth checking out at this crossroads of your life.” A girl at the bookstore today agreed — she read it on a beach in South America last year — but cautioned me not to expect any answers from it. Not answers, but perhaps some inspiration as I try to figure out what I’m doing post-graduation.

That’s all for now. Expect an occasional update from the road, thanks to the marvelous combination of wi-fi and espresso that makes the modern coffee shop such a great place.


Dust settles on Kennewick Man

Getting a bit esoteric, my most recent column for The Torch is “Dust Settles on Kennewick Man.” It’s about the 9,000 year-old human remains found in Washington in 1996 that scientists and several American Indian tribes have been fighting for control over. The Department of the Interior ruled in favor of the Indians, but the courts have decided in favor of the scientists.

In writing the article, James Chatters’s book Ancient Encounters proved an invaluable resource. Chatters was the forensic anthroplogist who the remains were brought to for identification. Though written before the controversy was wrapped up, it’s a fascinating read.

The rest of the new issue is available on the weblog.


Online dating fun

Via Court, it’s the Physical Attraction Test. I can’t say I learned anything I didn’t already know, but it’s an interesting test. And yes, what my friends have always told me is hereby officially confirmed:

“It’s official: You’re “picky.” The fact is you are drawn to the most beautiful of the beautiful. You know what you like in women and are more selective than most men your age. Your tastes seem instinctual. You’d make a great casting agent, because you have a good eye for women who have “star quality.” In real life, your high standards may be an obstacle for you. It’s hard to find a woman with the strong features you like, who’s also well-rounded in other ways. Still, you know the importance of a real physical “spark” in a relationship, and aren’t willing (or able) to settle for less. The challenge is finding a woman who really wows you physically, even if she’s not the most attractive woman in the room.”

According to the test I’m among the top 1% of men in terms of selectiveness, ranking every photo it showed one or two points below the average. Maybe that’s the “Vandy glasses” I’ve acquired after nearly four years here. Unfortunately, four years of VandyGirls haven’t caused a corresponding decrease in selectiveness for women with depth, so the “well-rounded” part remains difficult.

Apparently I also have something of a repressed Asian fetish: “Your choices show a consistent interest in a wide variety of Asian women.” Well then, it’s a good thing I decided to go to school in Nashville, TN!

The test is right in finding that I’m attracted to “ecto-mesomorphs” and “mesomorphs.” These scientific labels just make me think of GhostBusters, but they boil down to strongly-defined, angular features (a common preference).

The test only covers the physical, so I guess it’s up to me to describe what I like in a woman’s personality. I’m looking for someone with panache, chutzpah, spunk, moxie, and that certain je ne sais quoi.

And by “je ne sais qoui” I mean Asian.