Merry Christmas 2006!

Merry Christmas! Merry warm, rainy, miserable Christmas! I should have gone north for the holiday. Oh well.

Too much turkey sausage at dinner, I nearly collapsed at the table. Kosher makes me sleepy.

My family is starting to warm up to the idea of not getting each other presents next year. I think that with roughly eleven months until the next Christmas buying season, there might be enough time to convince them.

Two days from the trip up to the Cackalackies and Virginny. I’ll get to see all my college buddies for the first time in a long time, and maybe, with a little luck, get to see some snow.

3 Responses to “Merry Christmas!”

  1. Doctor Hmnahmna Says:
    December 26th, 2006 at 11:00 AM

There’s no snow in Hooville, and none in the forecast either. It’s been unseasonably warm.

  1. twink Says:
    December 27th, 2006 at 5:04 PM

“My family is starting to warm up to the idea of not getting each other presents next year. I think that with roughly eleven months until the next Christmas buying season, there might be enough time to convince them”

If I miss my Hickory Farms basket next year…..

  1. gatorbob Says:
    December 27th, 2006 at 10:12 PM

Merry Christmas, my friend. Over the past few years KC and I have started treating each other to one big gift to each other that we talk about before the fact rather than trying to race around in November and December looking for things to put under the tree. So last year we did a day at the spa for each other and this year we’re going down to Miami for the first time. One of my Gainesville buddies is having a birthday bash on New Year’s Eve that we’re gonna crash. Should be fun. Here’s hoping you have a happy and productive 2007!

If you decide to accept this award, turn to page 36.

Looks like Time just isn’t trying anymore. They went the Choose Your Own Adventure route and named “You” as the Person of the Year—that’s right, you!

Henceforth, you will be mentioned in the same breath as the Ayatollah Khomeini, Deng Xiaoping, Gorbachev, Hitler, the “Endangered Earth,” the Computer, American women, the “Middle Americans,” the “Generation Twenty-Five and Under” (now aged 40 to 65), U.S. scientists, “the American Fighting-Man,” and Bono!

Mommies will tell their children to grow up to be just like youYou will appear on all the weekday morning talk shows, the Sunday morning politalk shows, and Oprah! You will be the hot topic of discussion at water coolers! You will be read about in waiting rooms and hair salons for two whole weeks! Congratulations.

Unfortunately, “Person of the Year” does not entail a prize, so you will receive no reward beyond the accolades of your friends and families–who are also yous, and thus were similarly honored by Time, creating a recursive loop of congratulation and appreciation.

Imagine if the Nobel Foundation gave a prize to you. Roughly $1 million divided by 6 billion people would come to one-sixtieth of a penny per you–which happens to be just enough money to get a splinter trying to pick it up.

4 Responses to “If you decide to accept this award, turn to page 36.”

  1. ticklemeelmo Says:
    December 17th, 2006 at 11:32 PM

Are you sure that “Time” didn’t award the ewe as person of the year? I mean, it IS a sheep after all, and who doesn’t like a nice tea cozy this time of year?

  1. Doctor Hmnahmna Says:
    December 18th, 2006 at 6:52 PM

Well, considering the runner-up was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (I’m-a-dam-nutjob, as Bob Arail put it), I’ll take it being YouTube et al instead.

  1. gatorbob Says:
    December 20th, 2006 at 3:10 PM

Quite a postmodernist move from Time, particularly coming only a month after The Atlantic Monthly’s “100 Most Influential Americans” list, which conforms to the “Great Man Theory of History.”


You’ll notice that there is one African American in the top fifty (MLK, natch, at #8) and have to wait until #30 for a women (Elizabeth Cady Stanton). The list would have us believe that American culture is dominated by politics (and Presidential politics at that) whereas an argument could be made that our lives have been much more fundamentally altered by scientists, musicians and writers.

  1. VDV Says:
    December 20th, 2006 at 5:23 PM

I think that humans have an inborn tendency to see politics and power relationships in terms of king and subject, or parent and child, therefore we think that the most important American at any given time is the President. Thus, the list has 17 Presidents.

Scientists and businessmen are probably more likely to make the list than musicians and writers because it’s easier to identify the individual founder of a particular company, discoverer of some scientific law, or inventor than it is to signify a particular individual as the “inventor” of jazz, or method acting, or of a particular genre of writing, etc.

I do think that American culture is dominated by Presidential politics–it’s the biggest sporting event of them all, and it only comes around every four years. Like the World Cup, but with a multi-trillion dollar budget and the fate of the free world on the line.

I’ll never forget when one of my coworkers sincerely blamed George W. Bush for the leak in her ceiling, or when another one blamed him for the distribution of my school’sFCAT bonus money. If that doesn’t show how much politics dominates our psyche…

Response to “You’re awesome old student.”

A former student who seems not to have mastered the concept of homophones recently e-mailed me for advice. I tried to reply, but kept getting nasty messages from some guy named “Mail Delivery Subsystem” explaining that my e-mail didn’t go through. So I am posting his letter and my reply in a last ditch attempt at contact. First, his e-mail:

Hey Mr. V,

It’s [name deleted]. Yeah, bet you’re thinking “what does he want” and all that stuff. Thing is, I have to tutor someone at APUSH, who happens to be in your class, and have never done this sort of thing before. Any recommendations? It would be much appreciated. Also, glad you liked the new Bond movie.

You’re awesome old student you hate

My response:

I would recommend charging a very high fee. I would also recommend working with an APUSH test prep book such as Barron’s, Princeton Review, or Cliff’s Notes. My favorite is the “Amsco Flag Book”:


When he’s reading a chapter from The American Pageant, advise him to read the first two or three introductory paragraphs and the last two or three paragraphs beforereading the rest of the chapter. If he knows “where he’s coming from” and “where he’s going,” he might be better able to understand the chapter in terms of cause and effect.

Also, there’s a timeline at the end of every Pageant chapter. He should copy that timeline onto a sheet or two of paper, skipping a few lines between each event. Then he can go back and add dates, information, notes, whatever he wants, and have his own annotated timeline.

Final Recommendation: if he or she is one of my students, tell him or her to come by before school every once in a while and ask me questions. That’s part of what I get paid for. I hope it helps.

–Mr. V.

Please note that this advice is only for this former student and whomever he is tutoring. Absolutely no one else should heed it.

2 Responses to “Response to “You’re awesome old student.””

  1. ticklemeelmo Says:
    December 4th, 2006 at 10:23 PM

My spidy-sence is tingling! Is Mr. V actually offering HELPFUL suggestions? Well I must say I am in awe. Looks like Mr. Scrooge is in the Holiday spirit.

  1. twink Says:
    December 5th, 2006 at 4:57 PM

I would skip the tutoring and brush up on my homophones.

On Clemson vs. South Carolina.

The game itself was disgusting, but here’s why the Tiger-Gamecock rivalry might have become the best in college football:

Man kills friend over $20 football bet.

That article is from si.com, but here are some juicier details from the Charlotte Observer’s subscribers-only website:

James Walter Quick watched the South Carolina-Clemson game Saturday at his friend’s house in Lexington, S.C., about 100 miles south of Charlotte. The Gamecocks came from behind and won, 31-28.

Quick celebrated.

But his friend, Clemson fan Richard Allen Johnson, said the Tigers shouldn’t have lost and refused to pay, authorities said. So Quick left the house and retrieved a high-powered rifle from his Chevrolet Corsica.

“He went back in and told Richard, `I want my money or I’m going to shoot you,’ ” said Lexington County Sheriff James Metts, adding that both had been drinking beer.

Metts said Johnson’s wife and several friends told police that Johnson then said: “You can’t shoot me, I’m invisible.”

And Quick replied, “No you’re not.”

What did I tell you? Seriously, how many murders occurred over this year’s Notre Dame-USC game? Or Ohio State-Michigan? Or Florida-Georgia, or Florida-FSU, or any other games?And even if there were any murders, how many of them were over a bet of twenty dollars? And how many of them featured the welcher claiming to be invisible? He should’ve said he was bulletproof.

Let’s do a little math. Mr. Quick can plan on living another 26 years, based on three assumptions:

1. The State of South Carolina chooses not to execute him,

2. Average male life expectancy at the time of Mr. Quick’s birth was 68 years, and

3. He is not sentenced to serve life in any prison in upstate South Carolina.

So, assuming 26 years in prison, his time in prison divided by twenty bucks yields a result of approximately 475 days in prison per dollar rightfully won. Throw in Mr. Johnson’s shattered family and Quick’s own ruined family, and you’ve got a downright principled man in James Walter Quick.

2 Responses to “On Clemson vs. South Carolina.”

  1. Andrew Jackson Says:
    November 28th, 2006 at 11:47 PM

Aye, many a man would shriek all sorts of absurd remarks when facing the barrels of my dueling pistols. My personal favourite was “But I’m as immortal as the Bank of theUnited States!” And when I did, in fact, destroy that wretched bank, I dare say that Whig needed new trousers.

Hold fast,
Andy J.

  1. gatorbob Says:
    December 4th, 2006 at 8:03 PM

How ’bout those Gators!