Clumsy Criticism

Of course, it’s good to see students try to engage in literary criticism but the initial attempts at providing readings of their own are very clumsy.

“The characters in the short story are very happy,” a student writes. “Their joy symbolizes the happiness that the people of Spain felt when dictator Francisco Franco died.”

Of course, the story was written decades before Franco died, but who cares about a small detail like that?

“The protagonist’s paralysis stands for the paralyzed state of the Spanish economy after the global economic crisis of 2008.”

Yes, a paralyzed boy in 1961 totally embodies the economy in 2008.

Gamer Raffle: Call of Duty Black Ops II – FREE

Dear gamers,

I have a brand-new, unopened DVD with the recently released Call of Duty Black Ops II. You can see it in the pictures. It’s a PC version, and I want to give it for free and in return for absolutely nothing to a deserving gamer who wants to be reunited with the game but can’t buy one for whatever reason.

All you need to get the game is participate in the raffle on Clarissa’s Blog. Just leave a comment with any nickname of your choice and an email where I can contact you to tell you that you have won. After everybody submits their request, I will draw a random name and send the DVD to the winner. Remember that you will eventually have to give me an address in the US where I will send the DVD.

There is a bonus Nuketown 2025 map included.

The winner of the raffle and the happy recipient of this great game will be announced on this blog within a week.

P.S. I want to reassure my regular readers that this game was not taken from N. against his will. He has his own copy of the game that he is happily playing right now.

This post will remain sticky while the raffle continues, so please scroll down for new posts.

On Term Papers and Idiots

If you want to spice up your day with a spot of righteous indignation, see this egregiously idiotic article that claims we should stop assigning term papers to our students. Instead, the article’s idiot of an author suggests that we should get students to write book reports. Generating original arguments is a waste of time, this clown says. Instead – just get this! – students should summarize the contents of books. We are talking about university students, not third-graders.

And just to think that this lazy freak has a job while so many bright, talented academics can’t get employed.

It’s always very entertaining how people are willing to blame anything but themselves for their failures. If you can’t make a term paper work and deliver something of value to your students, the concept of a term paper must be to blame. Yes, that makes a lot of sense. Let’s take this argument even further. If you can’t get your students to write good English (Spanish, Arabic, German, etc.), something must be wrong with the language. But never with you.


So how are you doing the turkey? Or are you doing it?

I’m doing mine in brine, following this recipe but making it a lot more complicated. And there will also be my trademark blini-caviar-smoked salmon cake.

I’m forced to buy these small turkeys that only weigh 14 lbs for the moment but I dream of getting to cook a huge, enormous bird one day.

Small Thanks Meme

I was inspired by this blogger to contribute to a “Small Thanks” meme where people list small, easy-to-overlook things that make them happy. So here are things I’m thankful for today:

– I have an excuse to prepare a long and elaborate meal.

– I have just received the most recent season of Law & Order: SVU on DVD which will make grading a breeze.

– I have finally discovered how my pension fund works and it exceeds my wildest expectations. It’s like a Socialist dream, or something.

– N. has received a new version of his favorite video game and he’s happy. And when he’s happy, I’m happy for him.

– My niece Klubnikis is turning 3 years old on Saturday.

– Our departmental party will, for once, take place at a really good restaurant.

– I have been so productive this week that I feel justified in reading a new mystery by Peter Robinson.

– There are only 2 weeks of classes, after which I will have a semi-sabbatical until the end of August 2013.

Feel free to list your small thanks!