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{ Category Archives } Flotsam

The Death Star Contractor problem and Agents of SHIELD

Watching episode 203 of Agents of SHIELD (the one with the ice guy), I couldn’t help but remember this scene from Clerks: Because this is one of the first episodes where we see very much inside Hydra, it’s the first where we realize just how much Hydra matches SHIELD.  Like SHIELD, Hydra has secret facilities […]

3 anecdotes that shape my thoughts on #GamerGate – Boy Scouts, a Cat in the Trash, and a Clockwork Orange

If you don’t know what #GamerGate is, you should be glad.  It’s awful.  Here’s a summary if you don’t know. Here’s my TL;DR for you: 1. Over the last couple years, a few feminists have been pointing out that many video games perpetuate sexist stereotypes about women, and make little room for women in their […]

In which I am cited as yet another bad example

The Journal Courier is a central Illinois newspaper that thinks college classes about popular culture are all about attracting students.  A prime example of this “trendy” move? You guessed it: A few years ago, universities realized they had to show they were more than just stuffy places with ivory towers and doctors with bow-ties. College-age […]

Railroad Crossing – 3 Tracks

New Orleans, October 2011

Archbishop John Nienstedt should be ashamed of himself.

Archbishop John Nienstedt asked Jaime Moore, the longtime music director for St. Victoria parish in Victoria, MN, to resign after Moore married his longtime same-sex partner.  Nienstedt should be ashamed of himself. We’ve long understood that the Bible is a hot mess of contradictions.  Aside from confusions introduced by its translation into other languages, there […]

Chicago in the springtime

Behold, the hoary fog of Chicago in the springtime.

Throwback – Riddikulus! (on gerrymandering and Chicago politics)

Originally published on 5 November 2011. Sometimes when I think about politics, I feel like Neville standing in front of the Boggart cabinet in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkiban.  But alas, our leaders dressed like ladies would hardly embarrass them. When I was preparing my Open Letter to Congress last week, I looked […]

Nark – where words come from

Reading “The Hands of Mr. Ottermole” for my detective fiction class today, I came across this sentence, warning why most murderers will eventually give themselves away: …your everyday criminal is seldom clearheaded and dislikes being lonely.  He needs, if not the support of confederates, at least somebody to talk to; his vanity needs the satisfaction […]

Movin’ On Up: thoughts on officiating competitions

Today I take my YMCA Swim Official Level 2 certification class.  After today, and after I take the test associated with the course, I will be eligible to perform a variety of duties at swim meets as an official, at least at meets with YMCA designation (USA swimming, the governing body that organizes swim meets […]

Throwback – The Coming Monkey Apocalypse

I’ve been keeping this blog for near-on 10 years, so there’s lots of good stuff in the archives.  I’ll make use of the common Twitter hashtag #ThrowbackThursdays to re-post links to old but great posts.  Enjoy. In the past few months, I’ve become more and more convinced that one of Avery’s children’s books is actually […]

In one end and out the other. Gulp by Mary Roach

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach; narrated by Emily Woo Zeller Mary Roach’s latest book explores the digestive process, from beginning to end, looking at what scientists think and have thought, what they study, and how they go about it.  It’s great, as usual, with lots of funny moments.  A few thoughts: […]

Happy Labor Day!

Fun facts about Labor Day (from Wikipedia): We proposed it in the US after Canada already had it, but in a stroke of efficiency, we dropped the superfluous ‘u’ from Labour. Because Labor Day has become a major sale day, “some of those who are employed in the retail sector not only work on Labor […]

I’m back, Baby

In early February of 2014, my blogs got hit with an automated hack that took them down, hard.  I was in the middle of preparing for the Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association conference, so I took them offline (along with most of my website) “until I had time to deal with the situation.”  […]

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July 2014

My blog was on hiatus from Feb 2 – August 27, 2014.  This post was written post-facto to highlight key events. July was a fun month.  We took a family trip in the pop up camper to Mackinac Island and the UP before joining friends at a campground in eastern Wisconsin.  Highlights: Playing cards in […]

June 2014

My blog was on hiatus from Feb 2 – August 27, 2014.  This post was written post-facto to highlight key events. June was a relatively calm month around the Riley manse.  A few highlights: The PCA conference year is nearly at an end.  Glad to be done with that — on to other work! Enjoying […]