Monday, November 24, 2008

I Can't Dance, I Can't Walk


So, if everything went as it should today, my cousin Robby got married in Paraguay today. If there were no last minute bribes needing to be paid, I welcome my first Hispanic relative into the family.

¡Felicidades primo!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Llegamos a la casa humilde de una familia de la rama Guácimo a las cuatro de la tarde. El padre, quien trabajaba en el corte de banano desde el alba hasta la tarde, nos enseñó un verdadero tesoro, un estereo nuevo que acababa de comprar.

Era lindísimo, un estereo de moda para ese entonces, con lucitas brillantes en todas partes, dos parlantes enormes, cassette, AM/FM y CD. Él había sudado litros de sudor para poder comprar algo que a mí me cuesta dos días de trabajo y sólo sudo en el trabajo si las otras profesores tienen frío del aire acondicionado y lo apagan. No quiero llamarlo "orgullo" lo que ví aquel día en los ojos de mi hermano (en la fé), pero el sentido de confianza y satisfacción del hombre y de su mujer eran palpables. No tenían discos compactos, pero no les importaba, ahora tuvieron un tocadiscoscompactos; podrían comprarlos ya con más sudor y ahorros. El futuro les era lleno de pensamientos de los lujos que iban a alcanzar. Los vecinos se congregaban en la puertilla de la casita para escuchar.

Pasamos una hora allí mientras nos enseñaban todo lo que tenía que ver con el estereo: los botones, la calidad de los parlantes (incluso el volumen máximo, por supuesto), el casset y hasta nos enseñaron la caja de la máquina. En ese momento ví una calcomonía pegada a la caja y mi compañero de la misión la vió a la vez. Abrió la boca para decirles lo que quería decir la calcomonía, pero lo callé, en inglés, con un "Elder, don't you dare tell him." Como no hablaban inglés, ni la familia ni los vecinos, todo el mundo esperaba que yo les dijera lo que le había dicho a mi compa. El padre, sospechoso, me preguntó, "Elder Williams, qué quiere decir 'Refurbished' (Ray-fur-BEE-shed)." Pasó un microsegundo en que tuve que decidir si iba a decirle la verdad o mentirle. Escogí y le dije, "Hermano, es una palabra especial que quiere decir que es de tan alta calidad que lo inspeccionaron dos veces."

Espero que Dios me perdone el pecadillo.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

South Beach Update Week Three

Weight on Monday October 27, 2008 = 425.3 lbs.
Weight on Wednesday November 19, 2008 = 405.3 lbs.

Total loss = 20 lbs.
WLPD= .86 ppd
WLPW= 6.66__
% of body weight = 4.7%

I had to switch to Phase II of the diet. I was getting massive muscle cramps every night from a lack of carbs, and I was getting really damned bored. I'm eating some carbs now and I feel much better, but I still don't feel any better than I did when I started the diet.

Dieting sucks. I hate it. I hate it more than the Dodgers, more than injustice, more than canned tuna; hell, I hate it more than dieting.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Life on Mars

Not that it's anything new, but ABC's retelling of the BBC series Life on Mars has me hooked. For those unfamiliar with either show, it concerns detective Sam Tyler, who after being struck by a car in 2008, wakes to find himself in 1973. He is the same person, retains all his knowledge of the future, is a detective using modern techniques and procedures in an "old-school" environment, and occasionally sees a little robot toy thing following him.

The show is filmed in a yellow washed-out style that makes it look like old photographs from the era, the music is just awesome, and it's a thinking-man's show. You don't know if he's dead, in hell, purgatory, insane, and so on.

I recommend it, and you can watch all the episodes you've missed online.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Grumpy Advice for Applicants for Foreign Language Tenure-Track Professor Jobs

When you apply for a job as a professor, and your field is in a foreign language, DO NOT have your letters of recommendation sent in languages other than the official language of instruction of the university. A letter in German, Italian, Arabic, Farsi, Rumanian, or Greek isn't going to help you, at all. I'm a professor of Spanish and all my letters were in English. If I were applying to a school in Spain, I'd ask people to write letters in Spanish, or provide certified translations. It seems pretentious, and not everyone on search committees might speak the language. Some colleges make it a regular practice to invite people from outside the Department to sit on search committees. If your recommender cannot write in another language, by all means, pay someone to do a certified confidential translation.

Also, if you've earned a degree from a foreign university, such as a Diplome de etudes profundises, provide a local equivalent. While I know that the degree means "Diploma of deep studies," I don't know how that translates into the American academic system. I could go and look it up, but when I have 80 applications times 20 pages to read, I don't want to have to take the time. Help your committee out.

If it's a teaching college, don't start your letter with, "In my dissertation..." I cannot stress enough the need to tailor your letter to each institution. Know your audience. Look and see what kinds of classes are being and have been offered recently in your field. K N O W your audience.

Be smart; keep it simple. ¡Buena suerte! (trans. "Good luck!")

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A "Sort of" Rastafarian Tribute to Judy Blume

I especially enjoy the part where he stops singing when he walks past authentic rastas. For further reading I recommend:

1. Mario Vargas Llosa, "My Son the Rastafarian"
2. Timothy White, Catch a Fire

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weight-loss update

Weight on Monday October 27, 2008 = 425.3 lbs.
Weight on Monday November 10, 2008 = 407.1 lbs.

Total loss = 18.2 lbs.
% of body weight = 4.3%
PPD= 1.3 lbs.

I don't feel any different other than I'm eating less naturally, i.e., I get full quicker than when not dieting. No improvement in quality of life.

Dieting sucks.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Two Classics

Oh, how I love Bubb Rubb, how he almost wrecks when he pulls away at the end. Sigh. WOOOO WOOOOOOOOO

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Alright, knee-jerk reactionary conservatives, Obama is not the damned Anti-Christ. If you actually read the Bible instead of just talking about how much you love Jesus, you would know this. I challenge anyone who calls Obama the Anti-Christ to give me a Biblical definition of what it means, including the original meaning in the Greek. Hell, I challenge any of you to tell me where in the Bible the word antichrist even appears.

According to Paul, and maybe Daniel depending on how you read him, the antichrist will try and rebuild the temple, so unless Obama plans to raze the Dome of the Rock, get out Solomon's blueprints, rebuild the thing, go sit on his ass in the Holy of Holies while demanding we all go sacrifice sheep and doves to him for our sins, he's not the farking antichrist. Mindless sheep.

The Second Coming isn't going to happen in the next four years, or eight if he's re-elected; too much Scripture isn't fulfilled, which again, you'd know if you read them. Enough already. The Anti-Christ is real enough; it's anyone who puts himself in place of the Savior and works against him. I don't think Obama or any other president is the Anti-Christ. Isn't it a little presumptive of you to assume that he/they'll be from America? Why not The Gambia, Bhutan, the Maldives, or even Pitcairn Island? Clinton was the antichrist in 1992, Kennedy in 1960, I assume many a Southern lips slandered Lincoln with that moniker. You could fill libraries with lists (in many languages) with the names of election winners that people have called the antichrist.

Ignorance is my enemy.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Monsieur, does your dog bite?

This is me being silly


Audacity is awesome and free.


Now that we've elected a president who can separate his personal beliefs from his politics, and I've spent far too much time delineating my firm belief in secular government, it's time for me to clarify a few things.

While I think the government should stay out of legislating and enforcing morality, I should mention that although I don't believe certain things should be illegal, I think many are sinful. For example, I don't think two unmarried people who want to have sex with each other should face civil punishment, but it is fornication and a sin, and I cannot "support" them in their selfish decision, for I view sex without a marriage covenant as wholly selfish, and no amount of sophistry or soothsaying will convince me otherwise; my loins burned like everyone else's in my youth, but *I* waited until marriage. Abortion is an abomination and horrific. I want nothing to do with someone who has one (unless they truly repent), because there is nothing so selfish as killing an innocent, but that belief comes from my religious creed, so I can't force said belief on others. If people want the right to die when they are terminally ill, so be it, but it's not for me. Get drunk, get high, waste your money and impede your ability to exercise your divinely-granted free will all you want, but I'll not join you in your partying; I want my faculties about me. Adulterers cannot be trusted, but shouldn't go to jail (though I think an adulterer forfits rights in a divorce by nature of breaking the covenant). I could go on and on. Just because I voted for Barack Obama does not mean that I abide or am tolerant of sin. (Notice I didn't say sinners)

Before you think I'm condemning others, those who know me well, know that I don't condemn other people, because I am not perfect. But you don't have to be perfect to judge; that is a fallacy, in spite of the common translation of John 8. I do judge actions, and I know which ones I won't do because of my faith, which is wholly separate from my politics. Damnit, we should want to be good and serve the Lord and keep His commandments because we love Him, and not because of the law or centuries-old cultural hegemony from Judeo-Christian enculturation of our nation. Do what is right; choose the right because you want to be a good person. If someone sins you can love them and still not approve of their actions. They won't care about your approval, and not-approving isn't the same thing as "tolerating." I love my friends, in spite of decisions they make that I find sinful. I don't huck rocks at them because they didn't resist, rather I try and have an influence on them, for good, by the best example I can muster in the face of my own innumerable imperfections. If they ask me what I think, I will tell them, and it can seem blunt, but my judgment isn't unrighteous, and I'm no better than they are, because all sins are the same to the Lord (save murder and adultery). Some have harsher consequences (telling a white lie vs heroin addiction), but my sins of pride and swearing are just as bad as any others. I'm just trying to get better. Calling out others' sins is the work of prophets and apostles; I am neither. I'm just a man who sees a world full of sin, full of people who care nothing for the wisdom of the commandments (Love the Lord thy God, Love thy neighbor as thyself), and I'm a man who sees himself struggling against life, his own sins, and willful ignorance. Sin is sin. You have to struggle against it, against the toils of life, and against ignorance in yourself and others.

Obama is not a savior, but he's the right man for the job, right now. For the record, the next person who tells me (in person) that Obama might be the Anti-Christ will not like my reaction.


Stupified. Speechless. That was such bad acting, oh my goodness! They didn't even have name tags.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I don't know about yall, but I'm more glad that Cynthia McKinney didn't win than I am that Obama won.

I Think I'd Be Smarter

If National Geographic published weekly rather than monthly.

Monday, November 03, 2008

South Beach Update after One Week

My weight 7 days ago = 425.3 lbs.
My weight today = 413.8 lbs.

Total weight loss = 11.5 lbs.

I don't feel any better, not sleeping all that well with CPAP and getting bad leg cramps every night.

Dieting sucks.