Monday, October 31, 2005

The Secret to a Good Monday Night... sorely needed when you're facing potential b.s. from an article in your sodding school newspaper the next morning. When kids stand up and start making sense, that's bad enough, but early in the week, it's death for me. So how to take the mind off the ensuing headache?

1) Drink to excess. (Well, duh.)
2) Exercise. (Can't. My back. You know.)
3) Therapy. (The last one jumped out the window.)
4) Immersion. (In drink? I'm there.)

I recommend (4). I took an hour and a half off and watched David Cronenberg's Spider. I'd just blown sixteen bucks on the double-disc edition of The Fly (outstanding, by the way), and figured, since I was on a role, I'd stay with it. And man, am I glad I did.

Brief blurb: "Spider" Cleg is recently released from a mental institution, and makes his way back to London to make sense of his childhood with his friends. The adult Spider, in extended flashbacks, finds himself a bystander to what happened twenty years before, watching his younger self deal with his surly father, powerless mother and his father's "fat tart" Yvonne horning in on the family. There's enough visual symbolism and semiotics to keep a geek English teacher happy, and there's enough feeling packed in Ralph Fiennes' (Spider) mumbling to out-Lenny Lenny Small. A smarter man than myself might have seen the ending coming--not that that's saying much--but according to Cronenberg, there are greater questions abounding once you realize Spider's therapy isn't finished.

I was so impressed, I immediately ran out and picked up the book from the library. I'm thirty pages into it now, and once I finish off The Economist, I plan to finish it before collecting a set of papers on Wednesday.

So, as for stress busting, a good story does it almost every time.

Oh yeah, and I haven't had any trick-or-treaters. Maybe I can turn the lights on now.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Warning: WASP complaints about to follow

What with my new frenzied reading schedule (news magazines, newspapers, BBC), I don't know how media-saavy people can manage to eat three squares a day, let alone hold down jobs. I had a conversation today with a co-worker that was right out of West Wing:

Him: Did you finish grading those papers?
Me: No, I have to get through these reports on the oil deal for Russia. You know, it's only a few million more than the most conservative estimates?
Him: I think you're shirking your duties...
Me: That's crap.
Him: you can act like a guy who has a clue.
Me: I'm waiting for the guys with clues to act that way. I'm waiting for the president to act that way.
Him: You know about Russian oil, do you? What about your lesson plan for next hour?
Me: Ha. That's a trick. I don't have one. Sucker.

So my reading schedule is thrown completely off whack. But how can I discard it all? It's just so damned entertaining:
Item: President Bush appoints Harriet Miers to be the Supreme Court justice replacing Sandra Day O'Connor, in the wake of Rehnquist's death and Roberts' appointment. I guess Billy, the cool kid down the street with the nifty Tonka truck, wasn't around, and he was running out of other cronies to appoint, so his own pet lawyer was a good move?

Item: House Representative Tom DeLay got slapped with another charge yesterday: on Fox News Sunday, he referred to a "left wing political machine" driving him out of office, and assured viewers he'd be back on his job. Funny. President Clinton had a conspiracy against him too. He just finished writing an 800-page book about it.

Item: President Bush is facing the worst political numbers he's ever seen, and only after a botched hurricane response, a prolonged war with no end in sight, a shelved Social Security renovation plan, an economy that looks like a deep-sea fish brought up to the surface only to explode, and a bad guitar solo in September. Pretty radical of the public, wouldn't you say? I would have waited until he did another victory lap around Ground Zero, once it's been rebuilt.

Item: Some dumbass public figure (Dr.Bennett, wasn't it?) made some dumbass comment about aborting black babies to cut down crime. Seems to me, spreading condoms throughout the Republican Party would be a better first step.

Item: The whole religion-in-the-science-class debacle is being tackled in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. If the court case goes smoothly, it should settle that nagging question: did God create the earth, or was it evolution, or was it evolution masked by the hand of God, called "intelligent design"? Hey, why stop there? I think there's room for "semi-intelligent design," "quasi-intelligent design," "dumbass design," "hung over on Monday morning-design" and "I forgot my homework but I came up with a sort of design-design."
All this peace and quiet in my new place is great. I waste even more time.