Bon Iver Leads Hipster to Satanism

August 8, 2011

PORTLAND, OR—Brian Conlee prides himself on staying ahead of the curve. He was going to Starbucks, he likes to boast, back when it was called Queequeg’s Coffee and operated out of a single dilapidated shack on Puget Sound. He read Pitchfork “before the internet even existed. The magazine was run out of an ex-Amish guy’s barn. That’s where the name comes from.”

Part of staying ahead, Conlee says, is making sure you never get behind. “The minute people from the Midwest say they like something, I know it’s totally over. Coldplay, Jamba Juice, Whole Foods, I even stopped listening to NPR once I found out Garrison Keillor was from Minnesota. I thought he was Canadian.”

Conlee believes he discovered the next big thing while at the Edgefield Amphitheater for a recent Bon Iver concert. “Bon Iver’s starting to get big—he’s been on Colbert—but I know people would be all kinds of pissed if stole a Grammy from Justin Bieber, so he’s still legit,” Conlee said.

At the concert, Conlee heard someone complain she could not understand that Justin Vernor, Bon Iver’s lead singer, was saying. A few minutes later, someone else made the same observation. “But he added a twist,” Conlee said. “Here’s the guy’s exact words. I’ll never forget them. He said, ‘I don’t know what he’s saying. For all I know, he’s up there worshiping Satan.’”

At that instant, Conlee knew what he had to do. He pulled out his Droid—“iPhones are so done,” he said—and found out how to pledge his undying allegiance to the Prince of Darkness. “I even visited a Satanist church first thing the next day,” Conlee said. “You know, right after lunch.”

Conlee made sure his part-time barista job will not interfere with his newfound religion. “We close at ten, and the good goat sacrifices don’t get going until after midnight, so it’ll be fine,” he said.

When his parents came downstairs to confront him about his decision, Conlee decided he had to make a stand. “They threatened to make me move out, but I don’t care. I’ll do it.. For as long as I think this is cool, I’m totally committed. Being homeless is way badass, too, so I’m a winner no matter what.”


Libertarian Senator Caught Using Freeway, Resigns

August 2, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC—Staunch conservatives are reeling this morning following the resignation of Tea Party folk-hero and libertarian senator Andy Bosworth (R-IA). A tearful Bosworth announced his decision after a hidden camera caught him driving on Interstate 495, also known as “The Beltway.” Bosworth apologized to all of his fellow libertarians for using “the government-sponsored Socialist pipe-dream that is the federal highway system.”

“I’ve been so good for so long. That’s what makes this so hard to admit,” Bosworth said. “My kids all go to individually-funded private schools, I maintain a hydroponic marijuana crop in my basement, and I haven’t paid income taxes in over 30 years. But none of that matters now.

“I made a mistake. I knew it was wrong as soon as I hit that on-ramp, but I didn’t stop. I kept going, I obeyed the fascist traffic laws, and now I have to pay for this, myself, on my own, not with some handout.”

Rowling Announces Plans to Reboot Potter Movies

July 26, 2011

LONDON–After admitting that the Harry Potter movies were “not completely perfect, and not all in 3-D,” J.K. Rowling announced plans to reboot the entire franchise. Despite the fact that the most recent Potter movie, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2,”  is still in theaters and that the 8 films in the series have made roughly $20 billion, Rowling said, “It’s time to start over.”

“[Screenwriter] Steve Kloves and the directors gave a good effort this time around, but there were some things we missed,” Rowling said, “like S.P.E.W.”

Rowling assured fans the rebooted films will not “devolve into obsessive fanboy tinkering” the way George Lucas did with the re-released Star Wars movies. Instead, the new Potter movies will be entirely new, with an original cast, redesigned sets, and a new writer and director at the helm.  Also, in order to make sure nothing is left out, each book will be split into “two movies, or maybe three for the long ones. There’s a lot of stuff in those.”

Instead of the rotating roster of directors that gave an uneven character to the original Potter movies, one man will write and direct each of the new 14-20 movies. “We wanted M. Night Shyamalan at first, but he was busy,” Rowling said. “So instead, I am proud to announce the new visionary shepherding the Harry Potter franchise will be Lars Von Trier.”

Von Trier is a Danish auteur famous for establishing the Dogme movement and for creating ultra-explicit parables depicting the hopelessness of modern life and the futility of human achievement. He said in a statement, “I have accepted Ms. Rowling’s offer to bring to the screen her delightful stories of a Nietzchean iconoclast warlock who rails against the hegemonic kakistocracy typified by white men in flowing robes in order to inaugurate a new age of bourgeois nihilistic ennui. And, it will be nice to finally make a movie my kids can go see.”

Rowling expects the new “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Part 1” will be released “in 2013, or maybe earlier. Depends on when sales for the DVD box set of the first movies slow down.”

In Which I Write a Break-Up Song

July 23, 2011

I’ll start with the disclaimers:

1)   I have neither musical talent nor aspirations, although I can do some things with words.

2)   I’ve never actually dated anyone (though I’ve tried); therefore, I haven’t really broken up with anyone.

The inspiration for this came from an episode of This American Life, in which reporter Starlee Kine recounted a post break-up experience where she decided that in order to move on from the relationship, she needed to write a break-up song. Starlee has about as much musical talent as I do, so she enlisted the help of some musician/songwriter friends for the project. And since this is This American Life, she interviewed Phil Collins, as well. Collins wrote “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now),” Starlee’s favorite break-up song.

Starlee wrote several potential songs, and she discovered that the songs were worse when she tried to make them smart and sophisticated. Trying to be clever ended up burying the emotions she wanted to express. The direct, simple, heartfelt lyrics were the best. Some people think this kind of writing is the easiest kind to do. These people are not writers and have probably never tried to be.

As I listened to Starlee’s story, I started thinking about what kind of break-up song I would write, if I ever had occasion to do so. Seemingly out of nowhere (translation: I knew exactly where it came from, but didn’t want to admit it, even to myself), the concept for my break-up formed in my head. It got the point where I stopped Starlee’s story before it was over because I had to write my song, which still was officially ex nihilo. (Remember that bit about hiding behind cleverness? Me too.)

The concept behind the song—or the lyrics, since it’s not really a song unless it’s sung (again with the clever)—was this: I would rather be hated than forgotten. Given my personality, though, it’s more likely that the opposite would occur. You know, were some hypothetical girl ever to actually break up with me, I assume that’s how it would turn out.

You probably want to see the lyrics, right? I mean, that’s what I would expect from a title like the one I used. Maybe you have even scrolled down to find them, skipping all my procrastinatory (That is so a word!  Take that, spell-check!) blathering where I seem to be establishing context but am really just delaying the inevitable moment where I finally decide to post the lyrics or not. Shame on you. I’m good at blathering. It’s probably the best part of this whole post. Maybe I shouldn’t post them at all, just to teach you a lesson, imaginary reader. (You do not want to know how long I could go on like this.)

But I won’t do that. I’m a nice guy. So maybe I don’t really want to be hated. Or something like that. I think it worked for the song, anyway. Let’s see what you think:

Too Much to Ask

You watch me through the window

Both of you

Laughing while I’m crying

Because it’s something to do

You call me on the telephone

While I’m staring at the receiver

We sit there breathing in silence

Two of you, one of me

Until you just can’t keep it in


Is that too much to ask

To know that you still hate me

To know I’m on your mind

To know you won’t forget

You’ll run into me

Pretend it was an accident

I’ll smile when you introduce us

Like it’s no big deal

Since we’ve both moved on

Your happiness hurts more than my pain

And you know it


You’ll send me an invitation

Because it’s the right thing to do

We can both agree to that

You’ll ask me for my blessing

Say it like you mean it

As if it really matters

What I think about you


And I can see you when you hear this

When you know just who you are

When you hear me saying thank you

Headline of the Day: Feb 17, 2011

February 17, 2011

DEFCON, Def Jam to Merge


Headline of the Day: Feb 16, 2011

February 16, 2011

Students Who Cheat Score Higher on Tests


Headline of the Day: Feb 15, 2011

February 15, 2011

God Uses Office Building for Jenga, Hundreds Injured

Headline of the Day: Feb 14, 2011

February 14, 2011

Communist Lottery Jackpot Pays $5 to Everyone.


Headline of the Day: Feb 13, 2011

February 13, 2011

Starving Artists Resort to Cannibalism

ENG 103 Schedule

January 10, 2011

Tentative Schedule

Week 1

Jan 10: Course Introduction, syllabus, and policies

Jan 12:; Read CEL Chapter 1

Jan 14: Intro to Snap Judgment; Read BallPoint chapter 1 (pages 1-14);


Week 2

Jan 17: MLK Jr. day—no class

Jan 19: Snap Judgment reaction assignment DUE

Jan 21: Intro to rhetoric (the triangle, appeals, etc.)


Week 3

Jan 24: Read CEL Chapter 2 30-62, 530-533

Jan 26: Brainstorming topics: What makes you “you”?

Jan 28: Discuss my Snap Judgment essay


Week 4

Jan 31: Peer Review of draft

Feb 2: CEL chapter 3 64-97

Feb 4: First project DUE; Intro to second project


Week 5

Feb 7: Read CEL Chapter 4 98-132

Feb 9: CEL Chapter 13 (Research) 442-482; Using/integrating sources

Feb 11: Choosing your Artifact


Week 6

Feb 14: Read CEL Chapter 5 134-167

Feb 16: Rhetorical Analysis DUE

Feb 18: Library Day


Week 7

Feb 21: Peer Review of draft

Feb 23: My artifact paper

Feb 25: Second Project DUE


Week 8

Feb 28: Required Student Conferences

March 2: Required Student Conferences

March 4: Required Student Conferences

Note: We will not meet as a class these days. You will sign up for a time to meet with me Individually.


Week 9

Spring Break—No classes

Mar 7

Mar 9

Mar 11


Week 10

Mar 14: Project 3 intro; Read CEL Chapter 10 332-369

Mar 16: Read CEL Chapter 12 (Also: 641-651)

Mar 18 Cultural/Personality Quiz

Week 11

Mar 21: Cultural/Personality Quiz reflection DUE; Choosing your “other” culture

Mar 23: My Broadening Your Horizons project

Mar 25: Library/research day—Meet at library


Week 12

Mar 28: Peer Review of draft

Mar 30: Broadening Your Horizons Project DUE

Apr 1: Guide for reflection (how do you see differently? Have you changed? Etc.)

Week 13

Apr 4:  Read CEL Chapter 6

Apr 6: CEL Chapter 6 (con’t)

Apr 8: Reflection DUE


Week 14

Apr 11: Multimodal introduction; Radiolab “Words” video (creative/different uses of words, connotations, etc.); Stephen Fry Kinetic Text; Snap Judgment revisited

Apr 13: Choosing Groups

Apr 15: Working in Groups


Week 15

Apr 18: group conferences: Meet at library

Apr 20: group conferences: Meet at library

Apr 22: group conferences: Meet at library


Week 16

Apr 25: Presentations

Apr 27: Presentations

Apr 29: Presentations