Saturday, March 1, 2008

Sumo Helpers

On the first day of class, I have the students play human bingo as an icebreaker and to get to know each other. Winners of bingo get candy or tchotchkes from Target's $1.00 bin. This year, one of the students selected a sumo wrestler-shaped stress ball as his prize.

Later, when his team was deciding their team identity, they chose the name "Sumo Helpers." Every class period, the sumo mascot sits in the middle of their table, usually on top of a discarded Starbucks cup or soda can. The entire thing amuses me greatly, so I had one of the students take a picture with his cell phone and send it to me. The picture depicts sumo on Valentine's Day with empty candy wrappers.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I'm a Vay-Gun!

Today, I went to Nationwide Vision to pick up my new glasses while wearing the t-shirt above (complete with Harvey hair). The woman who helped me looked at my shirt and said, "Cute! Chicks dig 'vayguns.'" Bless her heart for trying. I just nodded and smiled.

This awesome shirt came from Vegan Essentials.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Whole Foods, Really?

Although I know that the grammatical rule that no prepositions should end sentences is being relaxed (or, sadly, just plain mocked), I still find the use of "at" at the end of sentences or questions like nails on a chalkboard.

Consequently, when I saw this flyer at Whole Foods last night, my heart sank. I guess we're not even going to feign attention to grammar anymore. Wouldn't it have been just as easy and more elegant for the question to read, "At which store do you shop?" or "Which Whole Foods store do you most frequently visit?" These alternatives solicit the same information without piercing the eardrums of grammarphiles.

Grammar Girl on Ending with Prepositions
Red Pen Inc Blog

Fear Tactics

Did you listen to Mitt Romney's speech in which he withdrew from the Presidential race? (His supporters moaned "No, no..." much like the Emperor did when battling Mace Windu in Return of the Sith.) He explained that his surprising exit was made on behalf of the country. Bowing down would allow the Republicans to coalesce around a single candidate (the now-presumptive nominee John McCain). Such unity is important, in his opinion, so the terrorists don't win. Now, Romney is repeating this unfounded and incendiary claim in his stump speeches. Democrats in the White House = The Terrorists Win. To me, this represents the cheapest kind of fear tactics. Not only am I horrified and angry that Romney engages in such irresponsible politicking, I am dismayed that American voters may fall for it.

New York Times Article

Jarvik Out

Since 2006, Dr. Robert Jarvik, identified as an inventor of the artificial heart, has been the spokesperson for Pfizer's Lipitor cholesterol drug. Today, Pfizer announced Jarvik would no longer be the face of the advertising campaign. The New York Times reports a number of issues raised by a Congressional committee focused on direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising:
  1. Though Jarvik is a doctor, he is not licensed to practice medicine, and some viewers of the commercials may mistake his pitch as medical advice.
  2. Claims that Jarvik invented the artificial heart have been disputed, and currently, Jarvik's company advocates a timeline other researchers challenge.
  3. The ads falsely represent Jarivk, e.g., show him as a rower when in fact he doesn't engage in the sport.

I personally am glad he'll no longer be omnipresent on the telly because I find him slimy and disgusting.

New York Times Article

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nader to Enter Presidential Race

Today, Ralph Nader announced that he would enter the 2008 Presidential race as an Independent, asserting that "dissent is the mother of ascent."

In 2000, I remember the excitement that Nader's nomination engendered as well as the lore regarding "Nader Traders"--those in hotly contested states who would vote for Gore while a partner in states assumed red would cast a Nader vote. Nader wasn't on the Oklahoma ballot, and I didn't bother to become a Nader Trader, but I certainly supported the Green candidate's platform and thought that if he had been on the ballot in my state, I might have voted for him.

Given what happened in the 2000 race, though, I worry about how Nader's entry will affect the democratic candidate. Though I cannot argue that dissent can produce positive results, I wonder if entering the race is the best way to promote his positions.

NPR Story
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