Friday, November 30, 2007

Actually, That Was Me

It wasn't an oversight when the school in Spokane for got to put Christmas on the event calendar-it was me! I personally sneaked in there under cover of night (and enormous pine trees-have you ever seen how big the pine trees are in Spokane? They're huge!) and switched all the calendars to be sent out with my altered versions that deliberately excluded Christmas. Take that, Christians!

And I slipped a couple extra copies of The Golden Compass into the school library while I was there.

Take that too, Christians! Come on slowpokes, you're gonna lose the war. Na-na-na-na-you can't stop me.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

John Dewey's Favourite Things

It has been brought to my attention that as a celebrity (me? Really? I hear it's so) I'm supposed to offer up my list of "favourite things", for the holiday season. Yes, yes, I realise this is supposed to be war and all that, but everyone likes presents! Really, one needn't feel obligated to limit their generosity to the celebration fairy tales. John Dewey's favourite things make swell gifts the whole year through. Right, so let's have it then, eh? Very well. In no particular order, John Dewey's favourite things for 2007 are as follows:

1) The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy, and Other Essays in Contemporary Thought (New York: Holt, 1910; London: Bell, 1910). This is riveting reading sure to satisfy the most discriminating philosopher on your gift-giving list. Makes an attractive gift for biologists as well.

2)Art as Experience (New York: Minton, Balch, 1934; London: Allen & Unwin, 1934). Perfect for the art historian in your life, or anyone else that enjoys incomprehensible rubbish (wait, I didn't actually say that...well never mind that)-it makes a lovely gift and is currently still in print, though only in paperback. Yes, that will look cheap I'm afraid-best present the book with a box of candy and flowers.

3) Everyone Should Be Killed, an older record by a lovely little band from Boston with the curiously charming name Anal Cunt. Get it? "Anal Cunt." I just don't know why , but that really just tickles me every time I think about it. Sort of like that cartoon character Catdog. You know, a cat and a dog =Catdog. Or, in the case of the musical act, Anal Cunt. God, that's just so clever-wish I'd thought of it myself. That would have been a much better title than Democracy and Education. Regrets, regrets, life's full of them. I can't imagine anyone that wouldn't be thrilled to find a copy of Everyone Should Be Killed, wrapped-up in a sparkly bow. I know I would.

4) The Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation of Knowledge and Action (New York: Minton, Balch, 1929; London: Allen & Unwin, 1930). Oh, now this is good reading. You'll want to stay up late reading this, so a nice gift to give with it would be one of those mini-book lights that clip on the cover of a book. Of course, your bed partner will probably request you read it aloud, being unable to sleep wanting to know just what wisdom old Dewey had to impart in this hefty tome.

5) Candle-Licious, a company out of Illinois makes these wonderfully scented candles, just perfect for setting the mood to kick back and relax with a copy of Art as Experience, or the previously mentioned musical stylings of Anal Cunt. They have a wide selection of scents from baby powder to leather (ha-and you thought it was just you(!)) and even a sweet little scent of Vermont Apples, which being from Burlington myself, I can attest is a pleasant smell if ever there was one. I just can't get enough of these things, though unfortunately they don't have one scented in either anus or cunt-perhaps their research and development people can get on that.

6) Join My Society! Thirty bucks a year gets you in and a subscription to Educational Theory. Now how much would you pay? But wait, there's more!You get a book length edition of the annual John Dewey Lecture. I'm tellin' you folks, the Pedagogic Creed was never so much fun.

7) Gadgets are always terrific gifts, and here's one that I'm really impressed with. It's called a Salad Shooter. This little gadget really does make every part of every meal attractive-even Walleye. It's true! When I get home late, the last (and I mean, the last) thing I want to do is stand at the kitchen counter engaged in the tedium that is slicing cucumbers and radishes-I loathe standing at the kitchen counter after a long day cutting cucumbers and radishes-now I don't need to. It really does revolutionise the way meals are prepared. And it's safer than a mandolin-I've still got ten intact fingers to prove it!

8) Something for the kids on your list? I want to tell you about a wonderful product, it's called Baby Einstein-you know, like Albert. I can't believe I didn't think of this myself; you put the baby in front of a television and in a few months, you've got a genius. No kidding. I mean all those years of trying to instill study habits and comprehension and even good citisenship-when all I needed to do was flip on the telly. Ah well, live an learn as they say. And at these low prices, it really does democratize education. Bravo, Baby Einstein, Al would be proud.

9) Here's something for the coffee lover on your list-instant coffee in International flavours! These tasty drinks will bring back fond memories of that saucy waiter in Vienna. Best of all, you don't need to leave the comforts of home and be groped by airport security just to get a cup of coffee.

10) Finally, if your kid is going to be an Einstein, you might as well be a Rembrandt-these nifty little paint by number projects can show you how. Oh, you'll experience art all right-right at the kitchen table, and suitable for framing. Look, you have to take it seriously as an art form, it's in the Smithsonian.

Happy Shopping!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Hey Kids, Uncle Dewey's Back!

Did you miss me? Awwww.

So. It's the most wonderful time of the year again. Blech. All poinsettias, lachrymose cries of children denied their special desired toy (well, all right, that's actually sort of fun watching the greedy little bastards come up empty handed) oh and the music, the music! It almost makes me wish God did exist, if only to stop the strains of that horrible, Hallelujah! chorus. Oh Handel, there would be a special place waiting for you in Hell, if there were a Hell, instead, you just get me waving my fist in the air railing against the Hallelujah! It's bad enough with five or six, but oh no-they fill auditoriums with these idiotic musical illiterates (and I don't mean in a good way like the religious nutters with their hand bells, because that at least has some cultural value) "mumble, mumble, don't know the words....Hallelujah!"

Please, do not start in on me about "Christmas being for the children." Oh yes, the wonderful little children. Let me clue you in about these sweet, angelic "children" everyone is convinced the holidays benefit. Ahem-I do know a thing or two about the youngsters as you're probably aware. I must tell you, being completely frank, that the dear little ones are, in fact, playing you for goddamned stupid fuckers. Oh stop pretending to be aghast, everyone at Chicago curses like that-we learn it from the sweet, angelic children at the Lab School.

Now, last year, I admit my little War On Christmas lost steam well before the dreaded day, but I attribute that to the rather extraordinary sale on cordials this time of year and well, we all know I can't really resist the lure of Creme de Menthe. Usually, given the exploitative wage I'm paid (they have the chutzpah to tell me how fortunate I am to be tenured-tell it to my fuckin' accountant-so lucky I'm frigging broke) I have to resort to the medicinal, yet minty drunk one gets from mouthwash-but last year, oh last yeah was a good year for bargain cordials. Me? I'm not so "cordial" drinking cordials (unless throwing up all over the department chair's precious Oriental rug counts as being a cordial guest) but if I can pass out before spewing vomitus across campus-all the better. Happy holidays indeed. So anyway, yeah, I was far too sloshed last year to fully wage battle as I'd hoped to do. This year, economy headed straight to the shitter (oh nostalgia, just like '29) it's back to the minty-fresh drunk of Scope for me, and John Dewey's War On Christmas marches on.

Hallelujah! Ha-le-lu-jah!
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