21 November 2008

Free Dr. Pepper!

According to the AP, the manufacturer of Dr. Pepper is making good on their promise to give free soda (or, as I prefer, pop) to every American, provided that Guns N' Roses releases their new album in 2008.

In their defense, it seemed like a safe bet. GNR fans (and yes, the do still exist) have been waiting for this album since they began recording it in 1994. Whether or not you're jazzed for "Chinese Democracy," you can now enjoy the cool, crisp, refreshing taste of a Dr. Pepper on the house. All you must do is visit the Dr. Pepper Web site starting on Sunday the 23rd of November, print a coupon, and use it on or before February 28th.


19 November 2008


Last night I was able to attend what was dubbed a Transnational Panel hosted by a professor at West Chester University. Presenting in the panel were three professors--a British man who focuses on postcolonial literature, an American woman who focuses on 19th century American women authors, and a woman of Korean descent who focuses on critical pedagogy and gender studies--who have formed a group of transnational scholars on our campus in an effort to move our academic discourse beyond nationalistic literary boundaries that have long dominated our discipline. The three papers presented were, all in different ways, enlightening and informative. Had I gotten nothing out of the panel beyond the information found in the papers then it would have been well worth my attendance. However, I had a bit of a scholarly revelation during the presentation.

My scholarly interests are pretty varied. Right now, I imagine that my focus is late-20th century American literature. It's where I feel most at home but that's not to say that I don't want to branch out. I have a great deal of interest in postcolonial studies, African American literature, and gender studies but I worry that I will be unable to contribute in these other fields because I am so terribly regular.

Here's where my revelation comes in. Last night, the aforementioned professor of Korean descent presented a project she has been working on that explores representation of Chinese women in American society. My initial reaction was to question why she wasn't working through Korean culture instead of Chinese culture but I quickly realized that I was being incredibly racist. There is no reason why her ethnicity should determine whom she studies and I was just being ridiculous. After my initial shock at my surreptitious racism, I realized that my scholarship, too, had been liberated! Just because I'm straight doesn't mean I have no place adopting Queer Theory, or that because I'm a white male I can't add to the conversation about black women writing in America. I can perform the scholarship that I want. I'm excited.

So for now, I'm off to class.

18 November 2008

Graduate Study Lounge

Found on the sixth floor of the main library of West Chester University is a graduate study lounge. The graduate study lounge comes complete with a standard library table suitable for six people, a love seat, and a fairly large padded chair to match the love seat. To gain access to the room, one must have the appropriate five-digit keypad code. Luckily I possess the correct code. I'm not exactly sure how one goes about legitimately gaining access to the room, but I was told the code early last Fall by a recently graduated graduate student and I have happily used it since.

What brought me to write this post is the way students refuse to share the room. There are over one thousand graduate students at West Chester University and, based on a terribly unscientific poll, only a small portion of those students are aware that the graduate study lounge exists. I trust this is the case because those that know about it guard the secret of it like a middle school crush.

It is wonderful to sit in said study lounge and see the faces of people who walk up to the door, only to see someone else occupying the room. There is plenty of room for at least five people to study privately and quietly with adequate room for their computes, books, notepads, etc but people refuse to share the space.

I may never understand people but at least they're fun to watch.

14 November 2008

Arts & Letters Daily

Just last week I discovered my new favorite Web site. It's a fantastic aggregate site called Arts & Letters Daily. This may be an over-generalization, but it is my humanities-oriented answer to Drudge Report (or Drudge Retort, however you are politically inclined). Found on the site are book reviews, literary criticism, history debates, music news, philosophical discussion, and articles exploring politics in our lives.

The motto of the site, "Veritas odit moras," means "Truth hates delay." With that in mind, delay the truth no more!

12 November 2008

Kings of Leon

So I realize that the episode of SNL that aired last Saturday was a few months old, but it was new to me. That being said, I was fairly excited when I heard that Kings of Leon were performing as the live musical guest on the show. I've heard a few of their songs on the radio and generally like their sound.

While watching them perform I wasn't blown away by their sound but it was good. What was terribly disappointing was their look. The picture to the right doesn't do justice to their look on SNL, but it was as if each member of the band was a terrible parody of what they considered to be rock. The lead singer had some ridiculous wide suspenders, the bassist had an awful Elvis-type hair, the drummer had long hair a la Dave Grohl circa 1992, and the lead guitarist had a leather jacket under which he was flashing some stunning white chest. I cannot imagine being able to watch a live show of KoL and not feel a sense of lacking.

That being said, there are plenty of bands that I enjoy that I would rather have not seen them in person. My primary example is Jimmy Eat World. There's little that is visually appealing about that band, but they make such catchy music that I can't let them go.

On the opposite end of the spectrum there are artists whose looks perfectly fit their sound. Both Sufjan Stevens and Sam Beam (aka Iron and Wine) look exactly like I had imagined they would.

I realized immediately after writing the above paragraph that it's quite possible that I saw pictures of the artists before I had imagined their appearance so my judgment would be faulty. In order to be more honest, I conjured mental images of the looks of three bands: The Airborne Toxic Event, Ra Ra Riot, and Vampire Weekend to see if their images match their sounds. The verdict: they do, especially The Airborne Toxic Event.

On a different note, I would highly recommend all three of these bands.

08 November 2008


"I reject the notion of football as warfare. Warfare is warfare. We don't need substitutes because we've got the real thing."

-Don DeLillo in End Zone

05 November 2008

More humor!

Wow, some people can be so reactive and unoriginal.

I may be wrong, but they should probably use 17 instead of 13.

I can't stop smiling when I think about the results of last night's election return.

Good job America.

04 November 2008

The American Bard

"Election Day, November, 1884"
by Walt Whitman

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest
scene and show,
'Twould not be you, Niagara--nor you, ye limitless prairies--nor
your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite--nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyser-
loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon's white cones--nor Huron's belt of mighty lakes--
nor Mississippi's stream:
--This seething hemisphere's humanity, as now, I'd name--the
still small voice vibrating--America's choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen--the act itself the main, the
quadriennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous'd--sea-board and inland--
Texas to Maine--the Prairie States--Vermont, Virginia,
The final ballot-shower from East to West--the paradox and
The countless snow-flakes falling--(a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome's wars of old, or modern Napoleon's:) the
peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity--welcoming the darker odds, the dross:
--Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify--while the
heart pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell'd Washington's, Jefferson's, Lincoln's sails.

A little election humor

This has to be the worst political website ever.

No, seriously. There cannot be a worse, legitimate site created in an effort to get someone elected. If there is a more terrible site out there, please let me know.

O, and apparently we should vote for Mike Muhammad.


Here's my friendly reminder to let you know that if you're able, you should vote today. Plus, if you vote (or even if you don't) you can get a free tall coffee from Starbucks. The coffee giant in West Chester is brewing a nice Thanksgiving Coffee (which is a tasty blend of Sumatra and Guatamalan coffees) that nicely hits the spot after waiting forty-five minutes out in the 45° dampness outside my polling place.

That's right, I awoke at 5:45 this morning in order to get to my polling place in time to get to work on time. I still contend that Election Day should be a national holiday, but that's for another post. Last night I looked up directions to the Ridge Road Fire House in Pottstown, PA but it turns out that googlemaps is a dirty liar. What should have been a ten minute drive ended up taking thirty which put me further back in line than I would have liked. I arrived at said polling place at 6:45, fifteen minutes before it officially opened, and was about fifty people back from the front. The energy of the people in line was incredible.

At the front of the line was an almost-giddy black man who I would guess is around fifty in age. He came prepared with a folding chair, thermos of coffee, a portable heater, and lots of enthusiasm--and the wonder didn't end with him. All through the line people (most, but not all, were people of color) were asking strangers to take pictures of them on this historic day (as is noted on What's Left Now, no matter who wins, today's election is certainly historic). Though it was far too early in the morning for me to muster enthusiasm, I couldn't help but get caught up in the moment of voting.

Just after casting my ballot, I walked out of the building and took great joy at the sight of the long and growing line outside. People of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and political leanings were together to make their voices heard. Never mind the bickering, mud slinging, and negative campaigning--this is the beauty of the democracy in which we live.

No matter what you say, I will not be disenfranchised. Not today--I voted!