Sunday, April 13, 2008

Special Birthday Wishes for TJ

Friend of the site Hilary reminded us today that it is one of the most special days of the year, not only because I had scrambled eggs for breakfast instead of my usual yogurt/splenda/tears concoction. It's Thomas Jefferson's birthday! You may or may not be familiar with our feelings here at MG about TJ (pronounced Teej), but if you are not, let me explain: We f-ing love him, and though we'll be the first to acknowledge his faults (had an affair with his slave Sally Hemmings, had slaves), we'll defend him until the end (she was his beloved dead wife's half sister ok, the situation was COMPLICATED) as a great thinker, scientist (love that copying machine!), architect, President, and all around cool bro. Happy birthday TJ, why today is not a national holiday is blowing our minds.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Nostalgia for Disappearing Knowledge: Part one of a series

I generally embrace the relaxed dress code of today's American society. I think it's swell that people are free to explore the frontiers of fashion and the limits of how tight pants can be in order to express themselves. I like not getting laughed at (to my face) by anyone for the clothes I wear. But as an ardent nostalgaist and a dabbling sartorialist, I sometimes wish for times of stricter dress codes. The times when dinner jackets were worn to dinner, hunting jackets for hunting, smoking jackets for smoking, and morning jackets for riding horses.

This does not mean I wish everybody looked the same. Individuality still exists, just in a less obvious way. Wearing an ironic t-shirt that nobody has is one way to show everyone how cool you are. But I'd rather be in olden times and wear the same fedora everyone else wore except fold the brim low and cock it to the side. If everyone is wearing a tuxedo subtle differences make things cool or not. So many decisions to make. Peaked lapels or notched? Shawl collar or wing collar?

This piece originated as a flash in my brain that said "what's up with all these different kinds of Jackets? Let's write a history of Jackets." That I would have to undergo historical research tells enough. These conventions are not widely known. College libraries and academic databases don't even know. I resorted GQ for background information. It almost makes me sad that this kind of information is disappearing. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to research nineteenth century sailing terminology.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Caption Contest

What is going on in this picture?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Other Considered Titles for The Wasteland

Eliot on the set of Batman

1. The Garbage Can
2. Why is Everyone Such a Lamesauce Except for Me?
3. The Extraplace
4. The Waistland
5. The Princess Diaries

Monday, April 7, 2008

Today in History

The north beat the south at the battle of Shiloh in 1862. Ulysses S Grant got to take Shiloh home, and she was the prettiest baby the world had ever seen.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Love or Confusion?

How could anybody not love him?!!?!? Oh I will tell you how.

Guys, I am really stressed out. Like more than when my Valentines day didn't exist because of a difference in opinion over whether our Valentines day should exist. What do you do when you think someone is so awesome and then it turns out they hate the stuff you like? Do you just say goodbye? Do you try to work out the differences, accepting that different people have different tastes? At what point does a difference in opinion mean more than taste, and signify a completely different outlook on life?

Point being, I'm reading Boswell's Life of Johnson (sidenote: that book is f-ing heavy), and I love Dr Johnson so much, but he doesn't like Hume or Swift, and I'm really stressed out about this. I can get over the fact that apparently Dr. Johnson was really fat, and he ate like a beast and would just shovel food down his throat without talking and his veins bulged, and I can even look past our differences in religion. But hating Hume and just thinking Swift is not funny is too much.

If you have any suggestion for how to get over this moral crisis I am currently experiencing, please help me.

Note: I wrote this before reading this, which is about a similar topic and quotes a really good family friend.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friend of the Site Thursday (Friday): Birth/Worth of a Nation

Betsy Ross, moments before going into labor.

This is Drew. Here's something he wrote.

Any scholar knows that the birth of a nation draws many parallels to the birth of a child. Let me extrapolate. The colonies of the New World were a part of the English Empire, just as a fetus is a part of its mother. That would make the settlement of Jamestown the moment of conception. However, England tried to "impregnate" the New World previously, so I guess that would make Roanoke Island some girl who totally freaked out and thought she was pregnant even though she actually wasn't. In truth, her freak out was probably more annoying for her boyfriend than Roanoke Island was for the English. Nonetheless, after the settlement of Jamestown, the colonies grew geographically and economically, like a fetus growing in size and strength. Mind you, this was mild growth. The fetus cannot just punch a hole through the abdominal cavity and march out of the womb throwing Earl Grey into the ocean. The relationship between the colonies and England was always strained and uncomfortable; much like a woman's morning sickness. But at certain point the fetus decides that it's had quite enough of its dark, gooey, powerless situation, so it writes a Declaration of Independence, and induces labor. The baby can't just slide out; the USA can't just be independent. The mother fights through labor, England fought through a war with the colonies. They both lose. But America had some help from the French and Spanish, which are the equivalent of some French-made birthing forceps and a Spanish epidural. And that is how America was born. It was not until many years later that America matured enough to experience the embarrassment of unexpectedly "sailing at full mast" during gym class (the Vietnam War)