An Addition to the Right-Hand Panel of the Blog: A Calendar

Readers have complained that the archives on this WordPress platform of the blog are inconvenient to use. This is why I have placed a calendar on the right-hand panel. If you bring your cursor to any date on the calendar, you will see a box with the titles of posts published on that day. I hope this will make it easier for people to navigate the blog. You can press on the date that interests you and that will take you to the posts published on that day.

I hope people find this helpful!

Stupidometer

And now, dear readers, allow me to present to you, a really fantastic new invention, a stupidometer. A stupidometer is great because it shows you how much money some really stupid people are willing to pledge to make their sheer and utter stupidity known to the world.

Here is how this great new device looks:

 This is how stupidometer is described at the website where I found it:

The Truthometer shows the reward that will go to the first person to provide verifiable and irrefutable proof that Sarah Palin gave birth to Trig Paxon Van Palin on April 18, 2008, at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, as she claims. Individuals may pledge money to the Truthometer reward. By doing so, they agree to pay the pledged amount should proof be provided. An attorney will judge if any submitted proof meets the requirements of being verifiable and irrefutable. If no such proof is ever provided, pledgers pay nothing. 

To add to the pledge amount, send your name and postal address to brad.scharlott@gmail.com. 

Of course, an obsession with other people’s uteri is a sign of profound psychological problems and it isn’t nice to make fun of mentally disturbed individuals. But the stupidometer is so hilarious that I couldn’t deprive my readers of the joy of seeing it.

Finished Packing!

So in-between teaching,  holding meetings with 2 students, blogging and answering comments, I just packed up my entire office.

I have had to pack and unpack so many times in my life that I have come to hate packing with a passion. But I’m also now very good, fast and effective at it. So I just whizzed through the entire thing in exactly 2,5 hours. It’s truly best to do the unpleasant stuff as fast as possible rather than drag it out.

I’m now really happy with myself.

I have also noticed how adversity and hardship (in my case, having to pack the office) make one kinder to others. I don’t think I’d ever been as nice to my students as I was today. Maybe we should institute a regular packing exercise for all faculty to mellow us out. (This is just a silly joke, in case any of my school’s administrators are reading this.)

Am I Being Rude?

Look what I just read at J.’s blog:

Interesting…when someone’s sitting in a room, and someone else comes into the room, who speaks first?

If there is a clear divide in status, who speaks first? The “higher” or “lower” status individual?

What happens if the two individuals come from different cultural realities (not ethnicities per se, but just sort of “how one was brought up”), and in the culture of the higher-status person it is the lower-status who socially is obliged to speak first, and in the culture of the lower-status person it is obliged of that person to not speak to the higher-status person until spoken to?

After the awkward silence, I mean.

(Just had one of those moments. I am currently the lower-status person, and I am trained that, in such a moment, one waits to speak until addressed by the other. )

Is this true? Is it impolite to start talking first to a person of higher status? Because I do that all the time and I never had the slightest idea I was being rude. Are there any cultural differences in this area that anybody has observed?

The Way Not to Talk About Christianity, Part II

To continue with the list of inane objections people make to Christianity:

2. So many atrocities have been committed in the name of Christianity and so many horrible things are being done by Christians at this very moment! How can you identify with something like that?

People who raise this weird objection in a triumphant manner seem to forget that this can be said not only about many different groups of people but also about humanity in general. Human beings have perpetrated many atrocities, and truly horrible things have been done in the name of humanity. So how can you love your mother? Isn’t she a human being, too?

This kind of an argument is similar to the one radical feminists often make. Men have historically oppressed women. Many men have raped women. Ergo, if you happen to love a person who is male, you are a traitor to feminism and a collaborator in the cause of oppressing women.

I was once told by somebody who was burning with righteous indignation that after the scandals with pedophile priests, any person who identified as a Christian was complicit in the acts of pedophilia. This kind of reasoning is so mind-bogglingly unintelligent that it always stuns me when seemingly well-educated people rely upon it.

Feels Just Like Home!

I keep wanting to ask the new bus driver if he’s from Montreal because he drives the bus in a truly Montreal style. Endless rapid jerks, stops and speed accelerations make passengers almost fly around in the bus. Even if you are sitting, like I am doing right now, it’s a struggle not to pop out of the seat and roll on the floor.

And here goes another crazy bump.

Oh, I miss home. OK, I need to stop blogging now and hold on for dear life.

What Would Be a Fair Taxation Rate?

Since there is so much talk about the need for a fairer system of taxation here in the US, I wanted to ask my blog’s readers: what percentage of their income do you think it would be fair to ask people who make over a million per year to pay in taxes?

From what I understand, they are now taxed at 30%. In my opinion, this is completely fair and asking such people to pay more makes no sense. What do you think?

Now, there is also the whole issue of hedge fund managers who, reportedly, pay the tax rate of about 15% on their investments. As far as I know, the entire number of hedge funds in this country is between 7,000 and 12,000. Most of them are “boutique” hedge funds that manage less than a dozen million of other folks’ money. This means that what the owners of these hedge funds get isn’t all that huge of a sum (in relative terms, of course). In any case, the idea that hedge fund managers routinely and massively make “billions of dollars”, which many people like to believe, is preposterous. So even if the hedge fund managers get taxed at 30 or even 60%, this will be an absolute drop in the bucket for the federal budget.

Of course, “let’s tax the rich to feed the poor” is a great populist slogan. What does it mean in practical terms, though? What kind of taxation system would make better sense than the one we have right now?