What I had for breakfast

As you may have noticed, I’ve been blogging less than usual these last few days. Usually, when that happens, you can expect one of my chatty “What I had for breakfast/lunch/dinner” posts, which serve as the blogger’s equivalent of the contact call of the black-capped chickadee. In this case, instead of the little bird poking around the backyard feeder and chirping to its kin, it’s me, your blogger, poking around your RSS feeder and chirping at you.

There has been an extensive and intensive back room discussion going on about the Berry Go Round blog carnival, among those who have been involved in creating and maintaining it. BGR is a plant blog carnival. It is a small carnival with a touch of an identity crisis and an acute sense of inadequacy, owing to the fact that the carnival gets relatively few submissions and turns relatively few blogospheric heads. Could this possibly be because plants, their biology and evolution, are so important that life itself would be impossible without them? Could this possibly be because plants are everywhere, and any nature or science information you encounter at some point involves a plant, if only in the background and making it all work? Well, were that true, then The Blogosphere would certainly be Bizarroland. Which is a distinct possibility.

Any way, I’m hosting it this month, and I hope you will write a post on plants and send me the link.

I went out earlier this week for an extensive and intensive activity, for the very first time since the morning of February 16th, when I accidentally had an accident that accidentally caused what would be the hardest step in the amputation of one’s lower leg to happen in a single second, fully retracting (i.e., cutting in half) the tendon that hooks my upper leg to my lower leg, right side. I prepared for the trip with several short drives and walks, including one very grueling trip to the supermarket.

The activity was meeting up with my student and friend Charlotte and her husband Pete over at the Science Museum of Minnesota to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. Charlotte and I are hoping to write up a review of the exhibit, though we’ve not yet settled on where we would publish it. Likely, we’d do a couple of different versions. In any event, we are already discussing with Stephanie Zvan and Mike Haubrich the idea of doing a Minnesota Atheist Talk Radio interview on the topic. And, of course, there will be blog posts. Get ready to learn all about the Second Temple Period.

The result of the event, during which I was on my feet for more total time and more continuous time ever since Feb 16th, was that my knee hurt in new and amazing ways all the next day. Which I consider to be progress.

I heard via email that Huxley said “mama” today. I replied that most cultures have words like mama, ima, afa, aba, apa, papa, baba, and so on and so forth to denote mother or father, and that these are among the first sounds a human baby utters, over and over, with slight variations. In other words, this is parents cheating, by defining the word for themselves as very similar to random sounds almost all babies produce copiously. It did make me wonder, though, if there is historical competition among males and females as to who’s word is likely to emerge first. Or, if females manipulate the situation so they can make the baby say “father” in front of “husband” before saying “father” in front of the “Maytag repair man.”

Speaking of the Maytag Repair Man, I hope you have been enjoying, or at least, noticed, the series I’ve started over at Quiche Moraine. I’m culling short bits of 1960s period TV shows that were widely watched and likely influential in the development of American culture. Unfortunately, since I’m using Hulu clips, the clips themselves may be visible only to those in the US. That is one of the reasons I’ve put this informal study on Quiche Moraine rather than here. QM is, in theory, slightly more oriented to a regional audience (but only slightly so).

One of the interesting things is this: I can find lots of sexism, classicism, racism, authoritarianism, and so on, but almost no explicit anti-gay stuff. So far I’ve only seen one item, where the police chief in Dragnet ends a tirade about the collapse of community enforced morals with a phrase like “… they’re even trying to tell us that homosexuality is to be lauded.” Unfortunately for my Hulu Project, this phrase comes at the end of a long sequence that I would otherwise not bother with.

More interesting, of course, is the fact that homosexuality is almost invisible, both as an explicit genderizer for normal day to day character development, but also as a social or personal evil. Sure, there’s lots of manly stuff which partly defines the path around Teh Gay, and there is the occasional eyebrow twitch over this or that bit of fruitiness, but homosexuality is more or less treated as one might treat pornography on TV in the 1960s. Don’t. Shades of Amazon book classification schemes.

The fact that there is almost no explicit antisemitism (but too much Christian-like god worship) together with the lack of gay bashing could just be an outcome of the fact that TV was already controlled by the Gay Jewish Conspiracy. Just sayn’

(Is it possible that my laptop, as I type this, is sending signals to my Roku and making it do things? Or are these pain killers better than I thought…)

Anyway, the reason that I’ve been blogging less is simply that I’m more engaged in longer term writing projects, and work thusly related. Don’t worry, though. That involves developing projects that will be represented here on this blog as well.

And, one of the maintenance things I’ve been working on is related to my desktop computer and the blog cave. I’m totally redoing the way I hook up my computers, peripherals, and the ten thousand miles of cable that make this blog possible. Before the computer boxes were on the floor, and the monitors/keyboards/etc were on the desk, with the cables forming a huge blob like mass partly engulfing both. Now, everything will be on the desk (which is a hollow core door suspended on 2-drawer file cabinets) and the cables will be running between things in bundles held together with cable ties and suspended beneath the desk on hooks. Today, I installed the power sources and started putting in the LAN.

This is harder than it sounds, because to do some of this work I have to be on the ground working under the desk. Given my leg injury, that means creating an “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” scenario every now and then. I’m just glad no one is watching this. It’s pretty funny. Funny-Pathetic, not Funny-Ha-Ha.

How do you have your cables hooked up? What tv shows do you think influenced your cohort’s cultural development and how? Do you find the Dead Sea Scrolls interesting and would you like to know more about them? And, finally, why is everyone so indifferent to plants?

Comments

  1. #1 Lynn Wilhelm
    May 6, 2010

    Does Horticulture count?
    I call it a Growing Science.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    May 6, 2010

    Horticulture counts.

  3. #3 Terry Hoffmann
    May 7, 2010

    Very interesting point about total nonexistence of gays represented on TV in that era. My first recollection must have been in the mid to late 70’s (would have been one of those dinner hour sitcoms or light dramas) where the male character comes out announcing “I’m gay!” I remember turning to my mother and older brother and saying, “what’s gay?” I would have been in late elementary or early jr. high school at that time. Funny

  4. #4 Interrobang
    May 7, 2010

    The clearest example of anti-gay messages in vintage television I can think of is (weirdly) in a GM commercial for the Renault Dauphine (available at archive.org here), where it’s strongly implied that anyone who’d rather drive a small, very maneuverable imported car that gets excellent gas mileage (even by today’s standards) is a big big pantywaist sissy who really shouldn’t be taken seriously.

    (The reasons why GM would make such a subversive “anti-ad” for its own product are complicated and somewhat tangential to the current discussion.)

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