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Unclog the blog!

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A few notes, each of which could be a longer entry, and may still be, depending on my mood this weekend:

-Kindle rhymes with swindle: why I won't be indulging my gadget fetish on Amazon this holiday
-Poster sessions at MLA: a good idea whose time may not be here yet
-The likelihood that 3 or 4 of my least favorite NFL teams will be vying for Superbowl spots this year
-The gratitude that the Texas Rangers must be feeling for Scott Borass, now that they no longer have to subsidize the AL MVP's presence on another team
-Communication As..., my new favorite book
-Web3.0? Seriously? (A strong maybe)

We'll see. Happy Day of the Turkey.

You Gotta Be In It to Win It

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Or so the New York State Lottery would have me believe.

Two days later, I still enjoy a lightly stunned amazement over the fact that Dale is one of the four finalists on Top Chef. I wasn't particularly surprised that he and SaraM were the bottom two, and I don't really think that she deserved to stay any more than he did, but still. Hard to believe he's going to Aspen.

My theory on Hung (whom I still believe will be in the finale with a decent shot at winning) is that he's got enough technique to do well if others fail, but not really enough creativity or vision to outright win it. Sort of the culinary equivalent of book smarts, I suppose, which is why last week's challenge was tailored perfectly for him. I think Casey and even Brian have more upside, but Hung has been steady. And yes, steadily annoying. It was almost more than I could take watching him break out the "root for me, the poor immigrant who wants nothing more than to make good on his American dream" goofiness. On the plus side, though, I was a little surprised that Dale took umbrage at the fact that Hung wasn't willing to help the others in the Quickfire by telling them how he did it. Evs.

Ah well. The other "in it" I've had my eye on is of course my Cubs, who have somehow both stayed on top and magically, inexplicably, become the team with the largest lead over their 2nd place contender. I want to personally thank both the Mets and Sawx for performing some of the most epic chokes in the history of MLB, because it's taken all the attention off of the Cubs' own penchant for air flow restriction. No one cares whether the Cubs might choke when the Mets and Sawx are doing it in such style.

That's it for now.

If I were in a different mood today, perhaps I'd have something a little more witty to write about the fact that Jean Baudrillard and Captain America died within a day of each other. Instead, a snippet from Cool Memories 2:

Something is there from the beginning, runs like a spiral through a whole life, but one day, most often unexpectedly, it is over. The whole system merely hung by a thread. It only took a detail to obliterate it.

Ken is posting some entries about JB over at Ghost that are worth checking. But I suspect that other quality observations about JB's career will be tough to find for a while at least. Like Diane, I think that Seduction is still an important read, although I'm also partial to a lot of his earlier work, including SimSim, Fatal Strategies, and Shadow. Not coincidentally, I suppose, these are all pretty close to one another in terms of chronology.

Given the relative amount of attention that each has received in the US media over the past 24-48 hours, I'm sure that JB would be amused about being overshadowed by the "death" of a fictional character.

That is all.

Odds and ends

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A bunch of small pieces, loosely blogged:

Congrats to all my friends in Gator Nation. Last night's "championship" was hardly one at all after about 10 minutes. Florida exposed OSU even more radically than USC exposed Michigan. Maybe it was selective listening on my part, but I didn't hear all those talking heads who were calling for the Big 10 rematch apologizing for wasting our time. That's why two teams from the same conference in college football shouldn't play for the title--unless we get past a system that rewards weak non-conference schedules, you simply can't trust that a given conference is the best.

Unfortunately, this year's BCS came courtesy of some of the worst announcing I can recall in recent years. I like Alvarez okay, but he's got no experience announcing. Charles Davis was audibly checking rosters for the names of the players during his commentary. And you could practically hear Brennaman getting corrected in his earphone when he demonstrated his complete lack of knowledge about college rules (as opposed to the NFL). I understand that the BCS runs on greed, but giving the majority of the games to FOX, when they don't run games during the year, is absurd. And the commentary was in places unbearable. They should be embarrassed, the BCS should be embarrassed, and we should get some announcers next year who actually have some minimal familiarity with the game itself, the teams, and the profession. I'm not asking for stars, just for competency.

Speaking of stars, I should note the passing of Le Blogue. Like Donna, I'm a little sad that Michael's taking it offline, but I understand, too. Timothy's discussion, of some of the challenges of blog celebrity, makes a lot of sense as well, though. Our tendency is to differentiate among blogs according to the topics they take up, but there is an important distinction (or series of distinctions) to be made among blogs at different points along the distribution curve as well. Even down here on the Tail, the owners of relatively popular sites can find themselves spending a lot of time managing conversations, comment threads, etc. In other words, there's a lot of invisible work that goes into sites as popular as Michael's, and that makes it hard for me to begrudge him his retirement from blogspace.

Finally, regardless of what happens this year, I'll be on a new contract. And you're absolutely nuts if you don't think that new contract will include some provision for this. I'll most likely spend the first month or so just cycling through all the features and showing it to anyone who will look. shiny....

That is all.

The blog and I, we

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The blog and I, we
Will soon post something better
Than crappy haiku

Arrived home with minimal trouble, although it was a long day behind the wheel. Listened to the other two elite 8 games--GMU a colossal surprise, Florida not so much.

In our department pool, not a single person picked a single Final 4 team. This softens (a little) any embarrassment I might personally feel about my dismal pickins this year.

Found out today that I'll be part of the Division on the History and Theory of Rhetoric and Composition panel at MLA, and speaking to the theme "Rhetoricizing Technology, Technologizing Rhetoric." Hard to imagine a more appropriate theme for my work, so I'm happy that I'll be a part of it.

More soon.


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What better way to flip the calendar here than by welcoming Debbie officially to the neighborhood? I know that I already cited her new blog, but hey, there's a difference between citation and welcome, yes?

Without naming names (since the only one I can think of right now would probably get me into trouble), let me just say that the worst thing in the world is to see a great title used up for a bad movie, CD, or book. No one will ever be able to use that title again--it's wasted. Had I not seized upon Collin vs. Blog as a title, and grown into it, I would have wanted to title my blog something like Blogos, as Debbie has, and so it should definitely be read as a compliment when I say that that's not a waste of that title.

It's also appropriate for me to welcome Debbie to the blogosphere at this time of year, because she and I met for the first time at MLA, maybe in Toronto. I had seen her a time or two at CCCC, I think, and so, when I saw her in a hotel lobby waiting (as I was) for an interview, I walked up and introduced myself. (My feeling was that this may have skewed her subsequent impressions of me, since I've introduced myself that way to no more than 3 people my whole life...) Later on, I placed an essay in the JAC issue she and John M put together on posthuman rhetorics, and we've chatted on and off ever since then.

At this year's MLA, I discovered that she may be the only person I've ever met who's more openly and explicitly nervous about public speaking than I am. While I wouldn't wish that status on anyone, I must admit that it's a little comforting (although it won't make me any less nervous).

So there you go. You know a little more about Debbie, and now you must go to her blog and show her a little love. Leave a comment, wish her happy new year, etc.

That is all.

Common Census

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Here's a groovy little information visualization (hat tip to infosthetics),

a collaboratively generated geographical map of the US that visualizes how the country is organized culturally, as opposed to its traditional political boundaries. the map attempts to show how the country is divided into 'spheres of influence' between different cities at the national, regional & local levels. in practice, it is based on the collective 'votes' from thousands of users about which city they belong to, what they consider to be their local area & which major city most influences their area, as well as their life.

You can cast your "vote" over at their site,

Me? I just like the pretty colors...


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This is my question:

Is there a term for people who are spatially challenged? I've always been pretty good with maps and with translating them into physical location--several summers of pizza delivery will do that for you. But I also encounter so many people who claim that they have trouble with space (including a random carload of strangers last night). So, somewhat in parallel with dyslexia, my proposal for such a term is dyschoria.

There are certain parts of Syracuse that flip me around direction-wise, which I will henceforth describe as dyschoral, for all that they induce in me temporary dyschoric episodes.

I'm sure that there's another term out there, what with all the emphasis in recent years on multiple intelligences (spatial intelligence is one of them), but if there is, I haven't found it yet. And "dyschoria" leads to only one result on Google, at least until this entry cycles through.

That is all.



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