May 22nd, 2006

Too Late To Translate

Despite its makers' claim to the contrary, the latest Version of MacLinkPlus Deluxe does not seem capable of translating a WordStar document from 1988 into something readable:
can' wai t tal t yo o th phon tomorrow eve i
yo wil b jus frien givin m advice Tel m wha hav
t d t b wit yo again ha alread scrappe German an
wil b i Berkele al nex summe an wil onl g hom fo
wee o s durin Winte Break I' sorr fo bein difficult
bu lov yo an n on els an wan yo back Wh els
coul b lik you N on els excite me can' eve imagin
se wit anyon else Sinc Saturday whe yo brok u wit me
haven' eve though abou se o ha an interes i it
don' wan t come unles i ca b wit you don' wan
anyon else ever Thi i al stupid I hadn' overslep
Saturda afte go bac fro work m lette t yo askin yo
t liv wit m an b wit m foreve woul hav bee i th
mai whe yo brok u wit me almos stil wante t sen yo
th lette anyway becaus wante yo t see You'r th onl
perso reall car about Ca anyon els sa that don'
car abou an othe men don' min yo knowin the o
sleepin wit them a lon a ca hav par i you life
don't want to be shut out.

Yo can' completel hav los al fon feeling fo me ca
you Wha abou Chon Winte Break - yo though th sam then
DON' WAN T LOS YOU Wh can' yo see kno di lot o
rotte thing t you bu wa tryin t change t correc
myself Par o m proble wa tha alway trie t avoi
hurtin yo o makin yo angr i th short-term whic resulte
i m doin rotte thing t yo ove th long-term Yo mea s
muc t me jus can' dea wit thi biologica thing kee
thinkin tha i ha bee there th biologica thin woul
neve hav happened kee hopin tha th biologica thin wil
graduall un-happe onc I' bac an I' wit you i onl a
frien a first wan i s muc t un-happen I yea les
tha tw months Ca thing stron an slee shrive i summer
I don't understand.

Yo wer an yo ar m center Bu yo COUL stil hold i
yo wante t an wouldn' fal apart Mayb it' jus tha th
mor lov you th les yo lov me I tha it I tha th
wa yo ar wit al men wouldn' understan that Ther isn'
muc D understand Withou yo sto carin abou anything
Ho d continue Befor me yo wa mostl empty Yo
fille m u fro underneath t th poin wher th stuf tha
ha stoppe m fro bein totall empt befor oveflowe ou th
to an i wa ONL yo lef inside I hav los you I'
totall empty D yo care suppos i yo n longe lov me
yo don't NEE T KNOW wan yo bac s much don' wan
t b i Berkele withou you don' wan t B withou you
Pleas tak m back lov yo an wil mis yo to muc i
yo sto carin abou me PLEASE WAN YO BACK S I' n goo
a sex Ther ar s man othe things Bu the don' matte
without you. PLEASE!
And that should be cause for rejoicing on your end and relief on mine, because no one needs to read evidence of such total abjection. At least this way the shame gets transformed into experimental prose poetry!

Never Sell A First-Grader Short

If you've ever dipped your toe into San Francisco Bay, you know how impressive this story is:
"He's about 4 feet tall and weighs 65 pounds," Zemaitis said. "It's not that he's extremely large or super strong. But he has the determination and mental toughness to swim cold, dark, choppy water."
Then again, if I were from Glendale, I might want to chill out for a bit, even with the threat of sharks.
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Cake Taken

Every now and then professors in my building will place stacks of books they no longer want in the hall outside their offices with a "Free" note attached to the box or the wall above. Being the sort of person I am, I scour these piles for something worth taking. Surprisingly, I don't end up taking that many. My interests apparently diverge rather sharply from that of my colleagues who prune their libraries. Today I had confirmation of this distinction when I walked by a newly set out box of books that contained a copy of Djuna Barnes's Nightwood -- which, to be fair, might have been rendered extraneous by a newer edition -- and three books of theory: Jane Flax's Disputed Subjects: Essays on Psychoanalysis, Politics and Philosophy; What's Left of Theory?, a collection of essays from the English Institute featuring Michael Bérubé, Gayatri Spivak, Michael Warner, Jeff Nunokawa, and Jonathan Culler; and Judith Butler's The Psychic Life of Power.

I could never imagine giving these books up, even if I had multiple copies, which, in the case of those last two books, I now do. I like to lend books to students, but have learned never to lend my sole copy, since I often do not get books back for a long time, if ever. It's also handy to have books you use regularly at both home and work, as I do with some of my Karl Marx and Walter Benjamin texts, so that they are available for consultation or spur-of-the-moment photocopying. So I will gladly keep What's Left of Theory? and the Butler book, which derives from the material she taught in the seminar I took with her, here in my office. The thing that puzzles me most about these discards is that, while those last two don't appear to have been touched, the Jane Flax book was clearly read carefully all the way through, because it is underlined and annotated with plenty of marginalia. Why would anyone give away a book so vigorously personalized?

Question of the Day

What does it take to make Elton Brand miss? The man is money. And I'm guessing he looks pretty handsome in this year's slimmed down birthday suit too, like something you might see carved into a mountain. Not to mention that his hands are the same size, proportional to his torso, as those of Michelangelo's David. He just made another block while I was typing this. I'm pulling for the Suns, of course, but it wouldn't be that bad to watch the only ex-Duke player I never minded take the Mavericks to task.
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