Saturday, January 29, 2005

Offensive Lit.

On Thursday a student complained to me about the reading list on the syllabus for ENG 103 at Clermont College. ENG 103 is technically not a literature class but a "writing about literature" class. The amount of readings are much lighter than a straight lit. course and the number of text books we can use is very limited.

For the poetry section, I have two weeks of poems by Robert Frost. For drama, I torture them with the longer-than-they-can-believe Hamlet, and for fiction with "Sonny's Blues," "To Build a Fire," and "A Rose for Emily."

Yes, I know. Why didn't I replace Baldwin with The Turner Diaries and have the deadest, whitest, most masculine reading list outside of Bob Jones U?

Partially it's the book and partially it's the course objective. This is the first time I've taught this class and I tried to make assignments around basic elements of literature and these were the best selection from the textbook.

I started to explain this but this wasn't the issue.

"Sonny's Blues" uses (in the student's words) "G.D." and "A Rose for Emily" uses "the N word." This was an insult to "Christian beliefs."

On the one hand, I'm glad he included racial remarks as something that Christians should object to, but this is probably the least offensive reading list he's likely ever to encounter.

I don't mind him speaking his mind but what makes me wonder is that we're not set to discuss the stories until February 24 (after Hamlet). Did he read everything on the syllabus, just skim through looking for bad words, or is there a list somewhere of "godless works of blasphemy that liberals want to force you to read"?

I wanted to talk to him about it after class but he left before I was able. I wasn't planning to discuss Live, Nude Shakespeare, but now I'm tempted.
Cincinnati Weather Strikes Again

So few people came to my class today that I cancelled it (after years of teaching on Saturdays, I just found that they have no policy for officially canceling Saturday classes). More work to rearrange the syllabus.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Still in Limbo

All at once we came into some unexpected money and my wife has a potential job offer for Chicago. I had the thought of bribing my sister-in-law into temporary custody, moving to a blue state, and even if she reneged, it would be tied up in court for longer than the 627 days until my niece's birthday. I doubt if it would work. Apparently my niece made a remark about not being able to wait to move out and her mom is taking it out on her.

Strange new twist to the story is that she isn't going to the Christian Academy as planned (tuition was too high). Incidents where she wasn't allowed to talk to Children's Services at school happened in the local public school. My mom and my aunt are retired from Cincinnati Public, I have another aunt still teaching there, I substitute taught and attended, and for all CPS's faults, it would never allow something like that. Either there's more to the story than I've heard or the administration is stupid beyond words.
Bonsai Kittens

How gullible is the American public? This is taken seriously.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Status Report

Nothing much happening. I left Clermont College pretty abruptly the other day (the security guard either mistakenly told us that the hill to the highway was getting impassable or just wanted us to clear out).

Only nine students of 23 showed up for my Intro. to Lit. class today. I guess that's understandable but it's going to be a hassle getting everything straightened out.

My niece is home for the weekend for the first time in a while. My sister-in-law apparently is still mad at my wife for causing all her kids to make trouble (I suppose through mind-control) after watching them last week. My niece has 630 days until she can legally move out so any passage of time is good to that extent.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Library File

If you're one of the people interested in what I have checked out from the library but not a close personal friend of Ashcroft, here's a look:

Kids' Videos
Pokémon Johto League champions. Crash of the dairy [videorecording]
Barney. Happy, mad, silly, sad [videorecording] : putting a face to feelings
The Wiggles. Cold spaghetti western [videorecording]
Pokémon Johto League champions. [Distance to the Johto League champion] [videorecording]
Maisy. Good morning Maisy [videorecording]

Kids' Books
Maisy's train Cousins, Lucy.
Maisy drives the bus Cousins, Lucy
Maisy cleans up Cousins, Lucy.
Magical Pokémon journey
Big Little Patricelli, Leslie.
Bumposaurus McKinlay, Penny.
T is for terrible McCarty, Peter.
Fish eyes : a book you can count on Ehlert, Lois.
The dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins : an illuminating history of Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins, artist and lecturer : a true dinosaur story in three ages, from a childhood love of art, to the monumental dinosaur sculptures at the Crystal Palace in England, to the thwarted work in New York's Central Park-- it's all here! Kerley, Barbara.

Wife's Books
Blood canticle Rice, Anne
The mammoth book of haunted house stories
A Muggle's guide to the wizard : exploring the Harry Potter universe Boyle, Fionna.

My Books
Extreme weather : a guide & record book Burt, Christopher C.
The book of fantasy, Borges, Jorge Luis
Irish fairy and folk tales, Yeats, William Butler
Forbidden knowledge : from Prometheus to pornography Shattuck, Roger.
Art of the 20th century
The Uncanny X-men
The Macmillan illustrated encyclopedia of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals : a visual who's who of prehistoric life
The complete T. rex Horner, John R.
The new illustrated dinosaur dictionary Sattler, Helen Roney.
Found : the best lost, tossed, and forgotten items from around the world
A nursery companion Opie, Iona Archibald.
The encyclopedia of vampires, werewolves, and other monsters Guiley, Rosemary.
The everything tall tales, legends, & outrageous lies book Segaloff, Nat.
The book of imaginary beings Borges, Jorge Luis

The mysterious rhinestone cowboy [sound recording] : Once upon a time Coe, David Allan.
Dance and sing! [sound recording] : the best of Nick Jr
Blue's big musical movie [sound recording] : soundtrack

Who Checked This Out?
Dead witch walking Harrison, Kim.

On Hold
30 days of night Niles, Steve.
Arkham Asylum : a serious house on serious earth Morrison, Grant.
JLA. New world order Morrison, Grant.
A history of nursery rhymes Green, Percy B.
Chased by sea monsters : prehistoric predators of the deep

Thursday, January 20, 2005

IMDb Bottom 100

Okay, I lied. Due to Stephanie's Blog, I got caught up in this silliness. It almost seems inappropriate but this is the sort of stuff I used to live for:

1. Daniel - Der Zauberer (2004)
2. SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004)
3. 'Manos' the Hands of Fate (1966) Subject of one of the best Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes ever. To establish that the protagonists were taking a long car ride, the director decided to show them driving for something like 45 minutes. Not interior shots with dialogue but long shots of the car crawling down a rural highway. But it introduced the world to Torgo and Torgo simply rocks.
4. The Wild World of Batwoman (1966) Another MST3000 masterpiece. It was supposed to be funny and sexy but was just weird. The Batwoman looked more like a ferret.
5. Stjerner uden hjerner (1997)
6. Nuevos extraterrestres, Los (1983)
7. From Justin to Kelly (2003)
8. Future War (1997)
9. Night Train to Mundo Fine (1966)
10. Space Mutiny (1988)
11. Girl in Gold Boots (1969)
12. Eegah (1962) MST3000 again. Got it on DVD. Technically it's Eegah! with an exclamation mark. Incredibly disturbing scene of a scientist with his grown daughter on his lap allowing her to be groped by a caveman. Meant to be funny (I think) but went horribly wrong.
13. Troll 2 (1990)
14. Hobgoblins (1987)
15. You Got Served (2004)
16. Backyard Dogs (2000)
17. Santa with Muscles (1996)
18. Glitter (2001)
19. Werewolf (1996)
20. Going Overboard (1989)
21. Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997)
22. Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994) I think I saw this but they all run together.
23. Uomo puma, L' (1980)
24. Gigli (2003)
25. Kazaam (1996)
26. The Giant Spider Invasion (1975) I thought I saw this but Shatner was in it. The IMBd says that Alan Hale jr. (the Skipper) starred. Maybe I'm thinking of another spider invasion.
27. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) Pia Zadora in her first (or at least one of her first) starring roles. Meant to be appealing to children and adults but fails miserably with both.
28. Leonard Part 6 (1987) I think I saw part of this. Bill Cosby rides on an ostrich. Not very funny but all I remember.
29. Robot Monster (1953) Now this was a classic. The director didn't have enough money for a full alien costume so he put a space helmet on a guy in a gorilla costume. Instead of being a bad Bad movie, it's a good bad movie. Terrible but fun to watch.
30. House of the Dead (2003)
31. Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 (2000)
32. Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (1996)
33. Baby Geniuses (1999)
34. It's Pat (1994)
35. Hercules in New York (1970) I'm pretty sure I saw this (with Arnie billed as "Arnold Strong" but maybe I just watched a preview. This occurred in a time that left very few brain cells active.
36. Cool as Ice (1991)
37. 2001: A Space Travesty (2000)
38. Jaws: The Revenge (1987) I used this in class. Ebert gives it a fitting review.
39. Simon Sez (1999)
40. The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1994)
41. Dis - en historie om kjærlighet (1995)
42. Bolero (1984)
43. Shanghai Surprise (1986)
44. Steel (1997)
45. Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989) I'm virtually positive I saw this one but again differentiating between Police Academy movies is not my strong suit.
46. Mitchell (1975) I've got this on tape via MST3000. The movie is terrible but it's Joel's last episode of the show.
47. Rollerball (2002) Saw the original.
48. Teen Wolf Too (1987) Saw the first one.
49. Marci X (2003)
50. Vercingétorix (2001)
51. Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983) I think this is the one without Burt Reynolds . . . and it actually hurt.
52. Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach (1988) See #45.
53. Piranha Part Two: The Spawning (1981)
54. Captain America (1991) I saw a terrible Captain America movie but it had to be before 1991. Were there two of them?
55. Mannequin: On the Move (1991)
56. Ringmaster (1998)
57. Bride of the Monster (1955) Ed Wood's greatest movie. How could they list this and not The Violent Years (the movie where teenage girls abduct a teenager and and force him to have sex with them).
58. The Master of Disguise (2002)
59. Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981)
60. Spice World (1997)
61. Rhinestone (1984) Dolly teaches Sly to be a country singer. As bad as it sounds.
62. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)
63. Out for a Kill (2003)
64. Plump Fiction (1997)
65. The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962) I have this on DVD from MST3000 once more. The last five minutes of the movie brings in a previously unknown monster which resolves the storyline. Inane but watchable.
66. Problem Child 2 (1991)
67. Street Fighter (1994)
68. Mr. Nanny (1993)
69. Torque (2004)
70. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)
71. Cop & 1/2 (1993)
72. Double Dragon (1994)
73. Barb Wire (1996)
74. Crossroads (2002)
75. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)
76. Cyborg 2 (1993)
77. Jaws 3-D (1983) Not nearly as bad as Jaws the Revenge but still pretty bad. The director tried to milk the death of a baby great white as a tear-jerker.
78. An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1997)
79. RoboCop 3 (1993)
80. The Foreigner (2003)
81. The Mangler (1995) Of all the movies based on the writing of Stephen King, this is the worst. . . and I've seen Maximum Overdrive.
82. Silenzio dei prosciutti, Il (1994)
83. Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1993)
84. Universal Soldier: The Return (1999)
85. Soul Plane (2004)
86. Iron Eagle II (1988)
87. The Cat in the Hat (2003)
88. FearDotCom (2002)
89. Derailed (2002)
90. Bats (1999/I)
91. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) As bad as it was, it was still better than Batman and Robin (the last horrible movie with Arnie as Mr. Freeze).
92. Mac and Me (1988)
93. Ticker (2001)
94. Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003)
95. Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
96. Mr. Magoo (1997)
97. Best Defense (1984) Pretty dumb but I wouldn't list it as one of the absolute worst.
98. Surf Ninjas (1993)
99. Pokémon: The First Movie (1999) This made the list of my worst five children's movies, one of my first posting on this blog. Curiously, most of the sequels were somewhat better, as if they slapped together the first one for a deadline.
100. The Avengers (1998)
Snow Emergency

They just cancelled my 6:30 class on account of snow. Normally I do my blogging during my office hours (zero calls or visits all of last quarter). With the roads getting worse, I won't stick around long. No new developments anyway.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Tuesday Update

After we watched (and fed and took them to The Incredibles) her three nieces for the weekend, my sister-in-law got in a fight with my wife so relations should get shakier. It turned out that it was the accused birthday this weekend and she wanted a way around the restraining order.

It also looks like I send out several e-mails about this on a system that wasn't working/installed right. I'm going to have to go back to my home system.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

More Weird Twists

My wife had the niece I've been writing about and her two sisters stay over at our place last night. This was unexpected (at least for me) and I don't know if my sister-in-law is considering giving up custody or was just lazy. Ideally it would be good to get all of them including their brother out of there but with my wife still unemployed, I doubt if that could/would ever happen.

To try to answer some questions:

The case going to court is criminal (not directly concerning custody) in Clinton County, Ohio. I could find this terrible web site and contact information. My wife and mother-in-law talked to the Children's Service people here but I'm not sure to what degree they can help.

When I asked my wife what exactly were the charges in the case, she had no idea. I'm assuming that this would be public information but I'll have to find out. He at least is under a restraining order--which probably means he got to go home to yuk things up while she's away.

From what I understand, my niece called 241-KIDS (or the Clinton Co. variation) to get this started. Her mother either doesn't believe her or is trying to cover it up. I'm not sure how the legal procedure operates with a minor in a case like this (I know I sound like an idiot but I do have eight years of experience with legal publishing--just nothing remotely like this).

I had my first Intro. to Lit. class and showed the Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" for an exercise. I've never identified so much with Shatner.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


The saga continues while the defense delays. My sister-in-law has been trying everything to make my niece recant and it's highly likely that this will buy her the time she needs.

Children's Services haven't done much and my niece actually refused to talk to them when they tried to meet with her at her school. I don't expect much at this point.

I was trying to wait until the trial until giving out more particulars but here's some of the background. A while back I posted about relatives who had a house of abused, psychotic cats. A couple of people understandably wondered if I was joking. This group is far beyond that. If you can imagine Larry Flynt producing a sketch comedy skit about trailer trash, you're probably still not reaching their level.

My sister-in-law had the niece in question from a list of suspects. She told my niece that her father is dead but to say the least there are doubts. Years (and many stories) later, she married a toothless and presently unemployed gentleman. During this period, my niece frequently "walked into doors." One of the forms of discipline that they openly admitted to was sitting on her chest "to settle her down" (which under the Ohio Revised Code appears to be legal).

Two daughters later, my nearly 40-year old sister-in-law met a graduate of the class of 98. She divorced husband number 1 but after a few years allowed him to move back to their two-room apartment, essentially as a nanny. Husband number 2 produced a son who is now little more than a year old and already has had a skull fracture.

Sis-in-law claims to be a good Christian while never going to church or anything that might be associated with religion other than refusing to let her kids have trick-or-treat on Halloween or read Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling is out but she listens to heavy metal (the only subject she or husband number 1 seemed to know anything about was the history of KISS, although he seriously thought Spinal Tap was a real documentary). As I mentioned before, Bush wasn't enough for her. She's behind Buchanan.

Before the Matrix or the Truman Show, I came up with the idea that reality as we know it is a construct of a more advanced race. They made this world as a place to house their insane or mentally retarded. Every so often, they create situations meant to challenge the inmates to advance to the point of leaving the asylum. When people seem to die here, it really means that they've moved to the true reality. I wanted to make this a story but I'm to the point of preaching it on the streets. All this is just an incentive to leave the nest. There's a reason for everything.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Tomorrow's the Day

Unless anything gets held up, the court case should be tomorrow. I'm not expecting much but I'm still hoping for a change of custody.

Thursday, January 06, 2005


Thanks to the Museum of Hoaxes, phoning Jenny. This makes me feel better than I have in days.
Molesters: Not Just Priests Anymore

The UC Law Library has a book that details the best legal techniques for lawyers to get rapists off the hook. If the publishers decide to publish a book for child molesters, I know who would get my vote for author.

My sister-in-law is blocking her daughter from testifying in court, from talking to any sort of counsel, from attending her old school, and other tricks to protect her fuck-toy. The same sort of things saved him when he was charged with fracturing his one-year old's skull so he'll probably walk.

That's Red State rural values for you.

The Terminal

Does a movie exist that is worse than The Terminal? Why do people watch movies like this (I did because my wife turned it on and my dog didn't want to be walked in the rain).

If I took a piece of cardboard and spraypainted "Cute/Funny Guy" and smacked it against another one labeled "Empty Authority Figure," I'd achieve thousands of times the artistic merit as Hankberg. In Spiderman 2,Dr. Octopus is far more complex and multi-faceted than the characters in The Terminal. Even The Exorcist isn't so explicit in establishing "I-am-the-good-character" and "I-am-the-bad-character" moments.

My daughter has watched the same Pokemon DVD for a week. I'd rather watch that continuously for the next three years than hear Tom Hanks give his pseudo-Russian impression.

On the other hand, I'm glad I had to listen to it because it took my mind off of everything else.
Signs of Clinton County

I'm used to the anti-Catholic yard signs during the drive up to my wife's parents' house. This year someone put up one that reads "White is Right/Praise Almighty." I'm hoping that it refers to Ralph White being correct about something but I haven't much hope left.

Outside their Family Dollar store, the management put up a sign barring the use of credit cards: "Credit cards not excepted." Seems appropriate.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Has It Been Two Weeks?

The Jerry Springer Show-esque situation that caused my wife's 16-year old niece to live with us for two weeks looks like it's coming to a close. I don't have full details yet but apparently the girl's mother is claiming that she falsely accused her step-father of sexually abusing her because he really was severely physically abusing her. In other words, "You can't believe what she says about him molesting her--she's just mad that he beats her."

That's just one of the many plots and sub-plots of the sick soap opera of my last two weeks. I'll get back posting regularly on Thursday.