The Birds and The Bees and The Lions and The Tigers

Back at Valentine's Day we all heard about my fascinating trip to the zoo for the show on animal lovin'. Well, you folks with penis bones in your dresser need to pay attention. It's coming to town again in November.

I recommend it. It's very funny and very informative. Beats the hell out of the old 'birds and bees' talk.

Does the title of today's post remind anyone else of ligers?


I Like Waffles

I was just listening to an interview that Jerry Springer (acclaimed liberal) did on the Bob and Tom show last Friday. Jerry thinks the election would have the same results if held today, as it will if we wait until November 7. He doesn't think anyone is undecided.

Where have you been if you're not yet decided whether you think this governement is doing a good job or not?
I'm undecided. I don't think it's quite as simple as Jerry says. It's not simply about whether or not the folks in charge are doing a good job. It's also about whether or not the other folks can do it any better. That's what they haven't convinced me of yet.

The point of the interview was to plug Jerry's stint on Dancing With The Stars even though it moved over into politics. If you haven't seen the show, Jerry ain't very good. He's moved on through all the eliminations because of audience votes, not a decision by the judges. One of the show hosts, speculated on the appeal of Jerry. His theory... Jerry is the only guy on the show that "exudes heterosexuality". So we're back to the theory that guys who get into ballroom dancing are gay. Personally, I got into ballroom dancing to meet chicks.


Confidential To Brittney

I like the new categories and layout at Nashville Is Talking, but I can’t find the search button. Did you guys remove it?

Am I Snarky Enough Yet?

I like the Scene's Best Of Nashville Issue. It relegates the sex issue to second most favorite because it covers all those other areas. But I do have to take a little issue with Tracy Moore and her little vendetta against bloggers.

In explaining the Scene’s pick for Best New Local Blogger, Tracy says several nice things about the winner, Nemisboy. That’s to be expected, he did win after all. But then Tracy takes the opportunity to slam a few people by saying:

And when Nemisisboy showed up at the local blogger meet-up in a Darth Vader
mask, some bloggers were miffed – proof that intelligence has nothing to do with
sense of humor.

Really Tracy? If so, I think you just proved that sense of humor has nothing to do with intelligence. The fact that Gallagher, Carrot Top, Bill Cosby, and Jerry Seinfeld are all considered successful comedians proves that there are a lot of different kinds of humor in the world.

I wasn’t at the meet-up for the Darth Vader incident. But I heard about it, and the former 12 year old boy in me thought it was pretty funny. Your attempt to make fun of people who don’t share your humor is one of the lamest things I’ve read lately. (And that means a lot because I also read my own lame post on Battlestar Galactica.)

I suppose the Buddytown comment fits the high school yearbook theme of the issue, but Brittney is right. Your article was caused all the damage. And did you really think people were going to react well to the whole ‘exclusive club’ thing? Ask the board of directors at Augusta what they know about that.

So what do you think? Am I snarky enough to write for the Scene yet? Or should I keep sharpening my knives?

We Own You Now Punk

These days everyone is up in arms about the Nashville teacher’s union* declining free money. The reactions range from cynically amused Liz Garrigan, to righteously indignant Kay Brooks. Apparently a private donor wanted to give the schools some money for a pilot program which rewards teachers whose students improve.

I think it’s sad that we now are resorting to rewarding people for doing their job right. I thought that was what a paycheck was for. But I’m not going to go into the difficulties of a program like that. No one has really addressed what I consider to be the only legitimate reason for turning down the money.

The consensus seems to be “why turn away free money?”. Well my answer… there’s no such thing as free money. Ask Vanderbilt or Belmont about what happens when you take someone’s money. Money is power, and more money is more power. Both Vandy and Belmont took large donations from private entities. Now those entities want some control. And there’s no statute of limitations.

The Daughters of the Confederacy raised $50,000 for a building on the George Peabody College for Teachers campus which eventually became part of Vanderbilt. I’m unclear on the exact year it was done, but sources say it was during the great depression. For convenience sake, we’ll assume 1936. So 70 years later Vanderbilt is stuck with a building having a name that offends a lot of people. Because the grand-daughters of the original donors won’t let them change it unless they pay back the original donation, adjusted for inflation.

Belmont has been taking donations from the Tennessee Baptist Convention since 1951. The price? The Baptists get to pick the board of trustees. Honestly, I’m not sure what the board of trustees does at a college, but they’re going to have some serious influence. Recently Belmont decided they want trustees that reflect the mix of religions of their students, so they proposed changing to a board of 40% non-Baptists. The Baptist reaction? Lawsuit. They want their money back for all those years. It’s not enough to just quit giving Belmont money. They still want all their money back for the last 50 years, even though Belmont did exactly what they wanted for all those years. The message here? Well just see the title of today’s post (edited from the language I wanted to use). It seems more like punishing an upstart than anything else.

So really, this seems like a pretty good reason to turn down ‘free’ money. It ain’t free. It comes with strings. What’s the big idea putting conditions on your donation anyhow? If you want to help, help. Let the person you’re helping decide how to spend it. And why is a raise for clerical and janitorial staff in Metro schools contingent on a vote by the teachers anyhow?

Now I don’t want to be accused of supporting the teachers union. From all I’ve heard and read, they’re very cutthroat in protecting all their members, even the incompetent ones. And the plan they turned down would certainly help expose some incompetent teachers. But I think there is at least one valid reason for them to turn it down.

*Technically, it’s not a teacher’s union. It’s an association. The key difference being, teachers aren’t allowed to strike. It’s the same for most government employees.


Need A Job? (But Not A Paycheck)

This afternoon I got a broadcast email for all state employees. Now I'm sharing with you....

Full disclosure: This is the text of a press release. It appears to be legit. Especially since the web link says they don't pay interns.

PLEASE DISTRIBUTE Do you know bright, motivated college juniors and seniors who want to contribute to a team atmosphere and learn more about the govermental, political process? If so, please do not delay in sharing this amazing opportunity with them! The Governors Office is currently seeking applications for our spring internship program. Governors Office interns have the opportunity to work in the heart of Tennessee politics. There are three opportunities throughout the course of the year for students to be considered for full-time internships in the Governors Office- fall semester (mid-August to December), spring semester (January to mid-May) and summer semester (mid-May to mid-August). Applications for our spring 2007 internship program are due November 1, 2006. Interns have the opportunity to work in one of the fast paced departments in the Governors Office. This allows interns to focus their experience in a specific area of the political process. Internship opportunities are available in the following departments: Boards & Commissions Communications Constituent Services First Ladys Office Governors Office/Deputy Governors Office Legislative Policy SchedulingWe regret that funds are not available to provide stipends to Governors Office interns. Our staff is willing to assist students in receiving credit for their work in the Governors Office.

Past Governors Office interns have had backgrounds in political science, communications and public relations; however, we encourage any self-motivated individual from any academic major to apply.

For more information and to apply online, please visit here.

Commuter Musing

Two profound thoughts that entered my mind on my commute from Antioch to downtown this morning....

Right now sunrise in Nashville is at about 6:45 AM. And your car doesn’t glow. That means if you are driving I-24 at 6:20 AM you lose all right to complain, give me the finger, or curse me and the horse I rode in on. I cut you off because I COULDN’T SEE YOU IN THE DARK. Don't assume I'm sort of see-in-the-dark-traffic-sensing mutant just because Mom is from Oak Ridge.

Sitting in traffic on the way to work could make the Pope lose his patience. But I think it’s a special kind of hell when you work for the Agency responsible for the construction backup. Even though it’s their fault I’m sitting in traffic, I’m still in trouble if I’m late for work.


The Joys of Multi-Vector Thrust

In case the title didn’t make it obvious enough, I plan to geek out a little today. The inspiration for today’s geek out….. Netflix sent me the miniseries that started the new run of Battlestar Galactica. Specifically, the starfighters used in Battlestar Galactica.

Everything has a center of gravity. Force applied to that center of gravity will cause the object to move in the direction the force is pushing. If force is applied anywhere other than the center of gravity, then the object will tend to turn. For a simple example… if a person is pushed in the center of their shoulders, they’ll move forward. If you push their right shoulder, they’ll tend to turn toward the left due to the imbalance of force. You can fix this by pushing on both shoulders at the same time. It’s a principal pilots in multiengine aircraft always have to be aware of. If you have two engines on each wing, and one on the left goes down, then you have to shut one down on the other wing, or compensate in some other way.

If I was a physics teacher, I’d be tempted to use footage from the dogfights in BG to illustrate the effects of force vectors and balancing of forces. Because BG has excellent visual representations of these principals. The starfighters actually show the maneuvering jets. The main thrust is in the back of the fighter, but in the nose they have several small jets. The key here is the vector (direction) at which the force is applied. The main thrust is along the center of gravity, so it makes the craft go straight ahead. But the maneuvering jets are all at angles to the center. So when they trigger, they make it turn.

Now if you’re still with me, all this mumbo jumbo boils down to something simple. It makes those things maneuverable as hell. It means they can be flying north, and with a quick kick of one of their maneuvering jets, they’re facing the opposite direction. It’s not that important if you’re going to the liquor store for more scotch, but it comes in handy if there’s an enemy behind you with guns blazing. And it makes a pretty visually spectacular scene to watch, especially when used in three dimensions instead of two. So I guess I went through all of that to say…… the dogfights in Battlestar Galactica ROCK.

I think one of the things that makes BG good is that it just feels more real than most science fiction. It uses principles that we use ourselves now. Vectored thrust and maneuvering jets are used in cruise ships, and the space shuttle. The spaceships don’t shoot magic, colorful lasers. They use good old fashion bullets. And the radio communication they use is scratchy in a way anyone with a cell phone understands. It makes it feel within reach from where we live now. I suspect this is one of the reasons the Cylons on the new BG are mostly human looking (and look like fashion models), rather than the boxy robot forms used in the old version. The unworldly futuristic appearance was great in the 70s, but it moves it from something real to something surreal. The new BG does a good job of portraying the technology so that it’s more in reach, and makes it easier to picture yourself in the action. I think that’s one of the reasons it has done so well this time around. But great writing and character development don’t hurt.

Just in case my clumbsy, geekish praise has convinced you to watch. Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica starts this Friday. And if you want to catch up, they have a 44 minute synopsis called “The Story So Far” available for a free download on iTunes and various other locations. ( I think I actually scooped Michael on that one.) UPDATE: Okay, so I didn't exactly scoop him, but I was a bigger geek.

Okay, I think I got the geek out of my system for now. Do me a favor and pity The Lady Friend when I make her watch with me this Friday.