Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Groundhog Day

Return of the Son of Occasional Linkblogging

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With new and unexpected obligations in the last few months it’s become very hard for me to keep up with the link-blogging. Sorry! It’s bad enough that I’m considering putting this function on the blog on (likely permanent) hiatus. But, for now at least, some links…

* Wordless, but one of the best things about parenting I’ve ever read: Dan Berry’s “Carry Me.” Made me cry each time I read it.

For the night, which becomes more immense /and depressing and utter / and the voices in it which argue and argue. / For this conflict with the stars. / For ashes.  For the wind. / For this emergency we call life. All-Purpose Elegy.

* This is really good too: “the best Spider-Man story of the last five years.”

* CFP: Utopia, now!

Class, Academia, and Anxious Times. From Duke’s Own Sara Appel.

* Hugo nominations 2017! How well did the new rules do against the Sad Puppies? Meet the Hugo-Nominated Author of Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By the T-Rex.

* The African Speculative Fiction Society holds the Nommo Awards to celebrate the year’s greatest speculative fiction written by African authors.

* A list of contributors has been announced for Letters to Octavia, which has been renamed Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler (which I’m in, by the way — I’m the rascal writing about “whether we should respect Butler’s wishes about not reprinting certain works”). I’m also a small part of the Huntington’s current exhibit of the Butler archives, presenting at the associated research conference in June.

* I wrote a small encyclopedia article on “Science Fiction” for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia, which is live now…

* And some lovely, kind words for my Butler book on the latest episode of “The Three Hoarsemen”, around an hour thirty in!

Desperation Time: Visions of the future from the left.

‘Doomsday Library’ Opens In Norway To Protect The World’s Books From Armageddon.

The 43 senators who plan to filibuster Gorsuch represent 53 percent of the country.

* The history of all heretofore existing society is the history of archery dorks. Evidence that the human hand evolved so we could punch each there.

* Check out my friend David Higgins on NPR’s On Point, talking dystopias.

* War, forever and ever amen. What We Do Best. Trump’s bombing of Syria likely won’t be met with a wall of “resistance,” certainly not within the halls of power. That’s because for nearly all liberal and conservative pundits and politicians, foreign wars — particularly those launched in the name of “humanitarianism” — are an issue where no leader, even one as disliked as Trump, can ever go wrong. The Syrian Catastrophe. A Solution from Hell. Profiles in courage. There are no humanitarian wars. 7 Charities Helping Syrians That Need Your Support. The only answer is no.

* Incredible story: Hired Goon Drags Man Off United Flight After He Refuses to Give Up Seat. More details here. It’s only going to get worse.

Trump Conspiracy Tweetstorms Are The Infowars Of The Left. It is shocking how these things erupt through my timeline day after day, then evaporate utterly as if they’d never happened.

* This week in the richest country that has ever existed in human history.

Being Wealthy in America Earns You 15 Extra Years of Life Span Over the Poor.

New York will no longer prosecute 16 and 17 year olds as adult criminals.

* I loved this story about the connections that expose us: This Is Almost Certainly James Comey’s Twitter Account.

* We did it guys, we did it. But let’s not lose our heads yet.

* On Becoming a Stepmother.

* When Women Negotiate.

What Happens When Your Internet Provider Knows Your Porn Habits?

* Activism we can all believe in: Protesters raise more than $200,000 to buy Congress’s browsing histories.

* Democrats Against Single Payer.

How to Survive the Next Catastrophic Pandemic.

* An epidemic of childhood trauma haunts Milwaukee. An intractable problem: For the last half-century, Milwaukee has been caught in a relentless social and economic spiral. Milwaukee celebrates groundbreaking of new Black Holocaust Museum site.

Dolphins beat up octopuses before eating them, and the reason is kind of horrifying.

* Wild situation in X-Men Gold #1. The artist’s statement.

* If nothing else, Operation Blue Milk had me at “Nnedi Okorafor.” Everything Cut from Rogue One. The Final Star Wars Movie Will Include The Late Carrie Fisher.

* The Minnesota Eight Don’t Want to Be Deported to a Country They’ve Never Lived In. Abolish ICE. Abolish ICE Yesterday.

* 7 Tips for Writing a Bestselling Science Fiction Novel.

* Can the Great Lakes Be Saved?

Does This Band Name Start With The? A Quiz.

America’s first female mayor was elected 130 years ago. Men nominated her as a cruel joke.

Diabetes is even deadlier than we thought, study suggests.

The Biggest Employer in Each US State. Look at all those universities we don’t need!

* Already old news, but worth noting: whether out of general interest or revenge Joss will be doing Batgirl. If I had Joss’s ear I’d pitch about 20-30 minutes of kung-fu action girl Batgirl and then have her paralyzed and do the Oracle plot instead. It’d be something different in this genre and something different for Whedon too, as opposed to something we’ve frankly seen from him a few too many times by now.

* Pedagogy watch: Why won’t students ask for help?

* More on the history of sleep: Why Do We Make Children Sleep Alone?

* When Every Day Is Groundhog Day: The Danny Rubin Story.

* No thanks: Disney Could Go Westworld With New Patent Filing for Soft ‘Humanoid’ Robots.

* There are dozens of us! Dozens! The Life Aquatic might not be Wes Anderson’s best film. But it is his greatest: The director’s misunderstood classic knows that sadness can’t be defeated, only lived with.

* Star Trek: Discovery ZZzzzzzzZZzzzzzZzzzz.

* Joe Hill (son of Stephen King): In the late 1990s I asked my Dad how to write a cover letter for my short fiction submissions. He was glad to help out.

* I always call Chuck Schumer the worst possible Democrat at the worst possible time, but Rahm Emanuel really gives him a run for his money.

Margaret Atwood is dropping hints about a Handmaid’s Tale sequel. She even wrote a little bit extra, just in time for me to teach it this summer!

* KSR talks NY2140. KSR talks world building. KSR in conversation with Adam Roberts and Francis Spufford.

* Geoengineering watch. Sadly, this is probably our civilization’s only hope.

These Are the Wildly Advanced Space Exploration Concepts Being Considered by NASA.

* If you want a vision of the future.

Tyrannosaurus rex was a sensitive lover, new dinosaur discovery suggests.

* PS: Conservatives and liberals united only by interest in dinosaurs, study shows.

The proliferation of charter schools, particularly in areas of declining enrollment and in proximity to schools that have closed, is adding financial stress to Chicago’s financially strapped public school system, a new report co-authored by a Roosevelt University professor shows.

How Uber Uses Psychological Tricks to Push Its Drivers’ Buttons.

* Where the Water Goes.

Great Barrier Reef at ‘terminal stage’: scientists despair at latest coral bleaching data.

The Original Ending of Alien Was Both Terrifying and a Huge Bummer.

* Fuck You and Die: An Oral History of Something Awful.

* The arc of history is long, but New York now has more Mets fans than Yankees fans.

* Congratulations to North Carolina.

* OK. OK. But I’m watching both of you.

Teach-Ins Helped Galvanize Student Activism in the 1960s. They Can Do So Again Today.

* The kids are all right.

* The Uses of Bureaucracy. Browser Plug-In Idea. A Brief History of Theology. To thine own self be true. Stop me if you’ve heard it.

* Politics. Democracy. Art. #2017. Submitted for Your Approval. We lived happily during the war. Five years later. Pretty grim. Any sufficiently advanced neglect is indistinguishable from malice. How to tell if you are sexually normal. Juxtaposition of wish fulfilment violence and infantile imagery, desire to regress to be free of responsibility… Join the movement. Know your sins.

* And even in the darkest times, there is still hope: Spiders could theoretically eat every human on Earth in one year.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 10, 2017 at 5:53 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Official Podcast of This Arbitrary Amount of Time: “I Was There Too”

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Tuesday Links!

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This is not a glitch in the system. It is the system. Readers are gullible, the media is feckless, garbage is circulated around, and everyone goes to bed happy and fed. The Year We Broke the Internet.

* A lengthy think-piece on the place of rhetoric and composition in the modern university.

But who gets to write in The New York Times — and to whom is The New York Times accessible? If we’re talking about accessibility and insularity, it’s worth looking at The New York Times’s own content generation cycle and the relationship between press junkets and patronage.

Lately, some people have suggested that doctoral programs should take somemodest steps in order to keep track of what happens to their Ph.D.s after graduation. It’s a good idea, and these suggestions are made with the best of intentions, even if they’re coming about 50 years too late. They are, unfortunately, looking in the wrong place as far as you are concerned. You can’t just count up how many of a program’s graduates end up as professors—otherwise, the best qualification you could get in grad school is marrying a professor of engineering or accountancy who can swing a spousal hire for you. Instead, there is just one thing you should be looking at: What percentage of a program’s graduates are hired for tenure-track jobs through competitive searches?

Rutgers Boosts Athletic Subsidies to Nearly $50 Million.

Rutgers University, already the most prolific subsidizer of sports of all Division I public institutions, gave its athletics department nearly $47 million in 2012-13, USA Today reported, a 67.9 percent increase over the 2011-12 subsidy of $27.9 million. Rutgers athletics is $79 million in the red, but officials say that the university’s move to the Big Ten Conference will generate close to $200 million over its first 12 years as a member. The most recent subsidies make up 59.9 percent of the athletics department’s total allocations, and total more than the entire operating revenues at all but 53 of Division I’s 228 public sports programs.

* Sell your book, go broke.

* State-by-state misery index. Wisconsin’s doing pretty all right, and that’s counting the existence of Wiscsonin winters…

* Meanwhile, Arizona is once again officially the absolute worst.

* The latest on adjuncts and the ACA.

A New York and Chicago Mom Discover What Standardized Rigor Really Means for Their Children.

RIP Harold Ramis. A New Yorker profile from 2004.

American Aqueduct: The Great California Water Saga.

How Slavery Made the Modern World.

 

* Down an unremarkable side street in Southwark, London, is a fenced lot filled with broken concrete slabs, patches of overgrown grass and the odd piece of abandoned construction equipment. Its dark history and iron gates separate this sad little patch from the outside world. Lengths of ribbon, handwritten messages and tokens weave a tight pattern through the bars of the rusty gates … all tributes to the 15,000 Outcast Dead of London. Thanks, Liz!

2014 Graduate Scholarships and Fellowships That Do Not Require Proof of US Citizenship or Legal Permanent Residency.

* Geronrockandrolltocracy: On average, the Rolling Stones are older than the Supreme Court.

* Ghostbusters and Reaganism.

* The Digital Comics Museum.

* Is Venezula burning? Everything you know about Ukraine is wrong.

The Long, Slow Surrender of American Liberals. What the hell is Barack Obama’s presidency for?

Having a Gun in the House Doesn’t Make a Woman Safer.

The financially strapped University of California system is losing about $6 million each year due to risky bets on interest rates under deals pushed by Wall Street banks.

Here’s why you shouldn’t buy a US-to-Europe flight more than two months in advance.

@Millicentsomer announces her plan to be supremely disappointed in House of Cards season three.

* Suburban soccer club has so much money no one notices two separate officers embezzling over $80,000.

* Antimonies of e-cigarettes.

* Another Day, Another Oil Spill Shuts Down 65 Miles Of The Mississippi River.

* Department of Mixed Feelings: Marquette likely to get its own police force.

* BREAKING: Bitcoin is a huge scam. Charlie Stross schadenfreudes.

Gawker Can’t Stop Watching This Live Feed of Porn Site Searches.

* New state of matter discovered in chicken’s eye gunk.

* Your one-stop-shop for Harry Potter overthinking.

* And Ralph Nader still thinks only the super-rich can save us now.

 

Weekend Links

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* CFP: My friend Alexis Lothian is planning a special issue of Ada on feminist science fiction.

* Sunday map-reading: an index of maps from fantasy novels.

* Study: The U.S. has had one mass shooting per month since 2009.

image001* reclaimUC vs. administrative bloat.

The UC administration constitutes a parasitic bureaucracy that grows and expands by consuming those elements of the university that remain outside of it. It can only survive by extracting tuition from students and wages from university workers. In return, it does not grow the university—it grows only itself.

* Relatedly: MOOCs and university management troubles.

* So basically every college is lying to U.S. News, I guess?

Proponents of the current craze ought to think carefully about the human costs of technology before enthusiastically proclaiming the end of a system that could leave hundreds of thousands of people without work, students cheated out of a quality education, and that would further contribute to the creation of a world where virtualization is always and everywhere, without qualification or questioning, heralded as an unequivocal good.

* Ban double majors! That’ll solve it.

Year-by-Year Comparison of College and University Endowments, 2007-12. Results of the 2012 Faculty Salary Survey.

* Obama administration vs. fair use? My god, why?

* In short, I am tempted to declare the transition from the Cold War to the War on Terror the greatest example of “first as tragedy, then as farce” in world history.

* When they almost domed Winooski, Vermont.

* Film and television news! Is Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood the greatest television show ever made? Imagining Sisyphus Happy: A Groundhog Day Retrospective. The “gentleman’s F” and the scourge of deliberate mediocrity.

* Animal news! How owls swivel their heads. Depressed Groundhog Sees Shadow Of Rodent He Once Was. Burger King admits it has been selling beef burgers and Whoppers containing horsemeat.

* All about the North Dakota energy boom. Via Kottke, here it is visible from space.

nodak-oil-fields-sat

Hillary Clinton currently leads the three named Republicans (Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, and by eight points, Texas Gov. Rick Perry) in a 2016 presidential test heat. In Texas.

* Oregon Is The Only State Left That Hasn’t Imposed Any Restrictions On Abortion.

* Michael Chabon on Wes Anderson’s Worlds.

The world is so big, so complicated, so replete with marvels and surprises that it takes years for most people to begin to notice that it is, also, irretrievably broken. We call this period of research “childhood.”

There follows a program of renewed inquiry, often involuntary, into the nature and effects of mortality, entropy, heartbreak, violence, failure, cowardice, duplicity, cruelty, and grief; the researcher learns their histories, and their bitter lessons, by heart. Along the way, he or she discovers that the world has been broken for as long as anyone can remember, and struggles to reconcile this fact with the ache of cosmic nostalgia that arises, from time to time, in the researcher’s heart: an intimation of vanished glory, of lost wholeness, a memory of the world unbroken. We call the moment at which this ache first arises “adolescence.” The feeling haunts people all their lives.

Of course, on the Cornell box angle, Jaimee was there first.

* Great animated short from Disney: Paperman.

* U.S. carbon emissions drop to lowest level since 1994. In part because at this pace the U.S. won’t get back to full employment until 2022.

* Some iPad and iPhone puzzle game recommendations. I’ve been obsessed with Flow and Hundreds lately myself.

* And tempered glass can just randomly explode for no reason. The more you know!

12:01 PM

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The dad from That 70s Show IS Bill Murray AS Phil Connors IN 12:01 PM. Via yesterday’s nth annual MetaFilter thread celebrating existentialist classic Groundhog Dog, which also links to the aggressively dickish “Endless Eight” arc on the Japanese television series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

‘Tomorrowland’

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Spoilers!

As I was hashing out on Twitter this afternoon (1, 2, 3, 4) I feel as though last night’s Mad Men was a fine ending to a truly superb season that challenged the best seasons of The Sopranos, Deadwood, and The Wire. I think I may be bucking the Internet consensus on this; here’s a representative negative take from Amanda Marcotte:

The main problem with the episode is that it, frankly, sucked. Besides the abortion cop-out,* it wasn’t even really the plot or the ideas or the character development. At the end of the day, it was the pacing and the scripting, which were lazy and anvilicious. Matthew Weiner admits they just finished the episode on Wednesday, and I think that’s all you need to know about why it didn’t work. The editing was all off—the fact that they got home from California and were in his apartment in a quick cut was confusing, and we spent a lot of time trying to figure out how long they’d been back in New York. I realize they were trying to speed things up to capture the idea of a whirlwind courtship, but they failed. It’s not like the team behind “Mad Men” can’t do a swift and dirty episode. The end of last season was amazing. But this was just confusing.

Putting “the abortion cop-out” aside—which honestly didn’t bother me in the slightest—it seems to me that the actual point of the episode was precisely to capture the idea of a whirlwind courtship, as opposed to the actual thing. Don and Megan are plainly not a good match; she’s too young for him and he knows almost nothing about her except that (unlike poor Dr. Faye) she won’t ever challenge him to be more than he currently is. She’s pretty and good with the children, and he really is a person who likes “the beginnings of things,” so he went and proposed on a whim. (“The writing I most enjoy, is the writing where I can see myself in the man who is, with good reason, wrecking his life.” For the wrong take on this, see Ezra Klein.)

It’s obvious that Don’s fooling himself, and we’ve already seen from Roger how this story ends. But it’s next season that we see this self-delusion come undone; the point of this episode was to show the falseness of all this, how easy we can backslide and how hard it is to genuinely change, and how seductive lies can be when we want to believe them.

So I find it’s not a sloppy episode, or lazy, or anvilicious; it’s just that its narrative presentation is very closely linked to Don’s selfish, self-deluded perspective. But the writers leave more than enough (in Henry’s rant, in the Peggy and Joan scene, in the very idea of Roger Sterling, in the final shot) to puncture that balloon. Heather Havrilesky at Salon writes:

At the start of the episode, Don asks Faye, “Will you at least put me out of my misery before you go?” Don would choose death, or an absence of feeling, over the excruciating pain of seeing himself clearly, over the constant struggle of “trying to be a person like the rest of us.” Since Faye won’t allow him to shut off from his life, to power down and drift through the world like a handsome ghost, he chooses Megan instead. At the end, Don has found his new winning story, his new heroic role, his new, patently false proclamation of victory. The central identity parable of “Mad Men,” which seemed like a simple act of deception in the first few seasons, has deepened into something richer and more ominous. Don Draper reflects the American compulsion to sidestep the hard work of living a flawed but authentic life for the empty illusion of perfection, as shiny and skin-deep as an advertisement that promises the impossible.

I realized earlier this evening that the episode puts this together quite nicely using a visual metaphor of sleep. At the beginning of the episode—in its very first shot—Don claims to have a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach but he is able, quite literally, to sleep at night.

When Faye awakens him, he is self-effacing and charming, and they have an adult conversation, face-to-face as equals, about how he might do the tough work of making peace with his past so he can have a future.

At the end of the episode, he has Megan asleep on his chest. No conversation of equals is possible here—and for the second time in the episode, we find Don can no longer sleep.

As the “Theme from Groundhog Day” begins to play, a tracking shot towards the window makes it clear: bathed in darkness, he’s already turning away from Megan, already looking for the door.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 19, 2010 at 12:19 am

137 Uncomfortable Plot Summaries

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Fun: 137 uncomfortable plot summaries. Some highlights:

ALIENS: An unplanned pregnancy leads to complications.
BATMAN: Wealthy man assaults the mentally ill.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: Teenage serial killer destroys town in fit of semi-religious fervor.
FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF: Amoral narcissist makes world dance for his amusement.
SERENITY: Men fight for possession of scantily clad mentally ill teenage girl.
GROUNDHOG DAY: Misanthropic creep exploits space/time anomaly to stalk coworker.
HARRY POTTER: Celebrity Jock thinks rules don’t apply to him, is right.
JFK: Family man wastes life for nothing in crusade against homosexuals.
JUNO: Teen fails to get abortion, ruins lives.
JURASSIC PARK: Theme park’s grand opening pushed back.
KILL BILL: Irresponsible mother wants custody of her child.
LORD OF THE RINGS: Midget destroys stolen property.
RAMBO III: The United States provides arms, equipment and training to the terrorists behind 9/11.
RED DAWN: Despite shock-and-awe tactics, a superior occupying force is no match for a tenacious sect of terrorist insurgents.
STAR TREK: Over-sexed officer routinely places crew in danger.
STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE – Religious extremist terrorists destroy government installation, killing thousands.
SUPERMAN RETURNS: Illegal immigrant is deadbeat dad.
TERMINATOR: An unplanned pregnancy leads to complications.

Via MeFi.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 15, 2009 at 2:51 am