Saturday, November 27, 2004

Captain Procrastinate

As I write this (and, most likely, as you read this), I am busy exercising the most useful skill anybody can learn in college, one that exemplifies the spirit of the end of the semester. Faced with two 20-page papers, another eight-pager, a presentation, two response papers and two finals, I am doing what any responsible person would do: put them off!

Like many college students, I have turned procrastination into an art along the lines of the Mona Lisa. My journalistic training allows me to write about government meetings in an hour’s time; is it any wonder, then, that I have such a hard time getting an early start on a 20-page paper? I’m more motivated to attend the Amish Gospel Jubilee. By comparison, my current bout of illness is a welcome release.

What is it that turns a student’s subject interest into a total chore? Who among us cannot think of something we were dying to do until the day we had to do it? Nothing ruins something quite like when an instructor makes it mandatory. The far right could permanently end sex tomorrow just by assigning it for homework. Just imagine the new campaign: “True Love Procrastinates!” I can testify firsthand that procrastination has been a knockout punch to my mental and physical health, as well as to others’ impressions of my work ethic.

But let me tell you, my bedroom and my truck have never been cleaner! It’s amazing how previously unendurable tasks suddenly become fun when compared to final papers; I never thought, for example, that I’d find “The Remains of the Day” to be such a gripping movie. Or that it’s so much fun to count the number of textured bumps on a ceiling (7,589,316, give or take six). I wish I could procrastinate more often, because it really brings out the little things in life.

You could say with a kernel of truth that my procrastination has and will continue to get me into scrapes. Like that time early in my college career when I literally wrote a term paper, from scratch, in the class period in which it was due, while staring at the professor the whole time. Yes, such is the self-imposed aggravation of not starting things when you have time to do so. Incredibly, I made a B on the aforementioned paper, so maybe that wasn’t the best example. I doubt that I can expect the same stroke of luck this time around. Still, I hold out on getting around to my assignments.

Come on! Haven’t I learned anything in 14 semesters here? Certainly not that college is over before you know it. That’s pure crap. I still have one more semester to go! Have I learned how to foster a meaningful relationship? Ask anybody. Have I learned how to become a civic-minded and active citizen, one ready to take on the leadership challenges of the 21st century? For America’s sake, I hope someone better is out there. Have I found a suitable choice of career for my talents? Read this and snicker among yourselves.

No, I think the best gift that the university community gives us goes far beyond grades, career skills or even personal responsibility; instead, it’s the ability in each individual to recognize priorities in life. Meeting assignment deadlines is undeniably critical to success. But at what point should that override one’s personal sanity? I, for one, have bounced through college with the ability to work hard when necessary and, frankly, knowing when to coast. Hopefully you will find that balance in your life just as I have. But you can always put that off until later.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Danke Schoen

Ever seen one turkey hold another? Posted by Hello

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! What are YOU thankful for?

That's not rhetorical, guys! I'm a little short on non-sarcastic thanks this year, aside from the godly gift of Carl P:

Carl shoots his own dinner...table Posted by Hello

I promised Carl that I'd publish his pic if he sent it to You're Welcome, Everybody! And I am most thankful that he did so with all speed.

If you are reading this today, then go away! Watch some football, kiss the one you love, get drunk, anything! If nothing else, be thankful that today is a holiday for all that good stuff!

Monday, November 22, 2004

Forget me! Meet the REAL faces of the USA!

He's a divider, not a uniter Posted by Hello

Flamingo Jones gave me the head-up on a wonderful site called You're Welcome, Everybody! This terrific bastion of conservatism offers us the beacons of the all-new Moral Murrika, including such landmark signifiers as these:

It's the law in the new GOPSA Posted by Hello

The assault rifle hides Lady Liberty's middle finger Posted by Hello

We get it! You're not sorry! Jesus H. Christ, man... Posted by Hello

Yes, this was done by a Bush SUPPORTER! Posted by Hello

YWE! is a supposed spoof of Sorry Everybody, a site where people post pictures of themselves holding handwritten signs and apologizing for Bush's reelection. On YWE!, people do the opposite: they proudly proclaim their support for Bush; the rules apparently mandate that they do so in the most arrogant, condescending, hateful and obnoxious manner possible. These people aren't interested in Uniting, Not Dividing; they want to eradicate liberals and non-Bush voters as much as they want to annihilate Osama bin Laden. They are clearly some very sore winners. I swear to the deities that I did not create this myself! I couldn't have fathomed something this atrocious even as parody.

If ever you find your resolve wavering, if ever you find yourself throwing up your hands and wondering 'What's the use?", if ever you need a reminder just what kind of mentality is threatening to destroy the world as we know it, then take a trip through You're Welcome, Everybody! Let's take a peek!

First, there's the standard-issue Republican worship:

Then Georgie woke up Posted by Hello

No more a that there gay marriage! Asses is for boots! Posted by Hello

No one desecrates a flag quite like Karl Rove Posted by Hello

The there's the photoshopped pics of hot chicks who would probably never touch, let alone sleep with, any Repub dude:

Women like this just LOVE bananas! Posted by Hello

Pictures of people with unmatching hands are never sorry Posted by Hello

Ironically, the people who enjoy bush the most are in blue states! Posted by Hello

And, of course, pictures of vicious dogs abound:

Even a dog needs a tinfoil hat to like Bush Posted by Hello

Come to Gawja, so's we can shootcha heah! Posted by Hello

The rest of the site is a compendium of ordinary approachable Americans--cammies, guns and all! Each of these friendly people want to stand up and be counted among the proud 51 percent of the voters that support everything for which America stands!

John Lennon really let go over the years Posted by Hello

Ah love mah's so phallic... Posted by Hello

...but Civil War reenactors? That's a different story... Posted by Hello

Bravely defending the empty beds of America Posted by Hello

gud spellrs can go to hel two...... Posted by Hello

An Army of One (lunatic) Posted by Hello

With all of the American pride seeping out of the seams of You're Welcome, Everybody!, it's only a matter of time before the U.S. Armed Forces takes note and taps into this goldmine of potential recruits. GOP Bless America!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

What I did in junior high

My drawing skills really blew Posted by Hello

Hmmm...perhaps a little context might help...

The following is a cartoon I drew for my middle-school newspaper. No, I'm not kidding! Paul Breaux Middle school, where I attended gifted and honors classes from 6th to 8th grades, had a newspaper! Its name was the "Advertiger" (a pun on The Advertiser and our school mascot, the elephant) and it came out six times a year. And get this--we SOLD it! At 25 cents an issue, it always sold out (scratches head). I will probably post more of the good stuff as time goes by, including the first piece of work I ever had published (which was unintentionally chopped by incompetent typists, setting the standard for years to come). From the second issue, this is my first of three cartoons from eighth grade:

A valuable resume-builder Posted by Hello

Trademarks of my little piece of artistry:
--Very dense panels (example--gags on the chalkboard)
--Books that look like pieces of bread
--Unintentionally sexually provocative drawing
--Anatomically incorrect breasts on girls
--My actual locker number

Your guide to the pile (from bottom-left):

An "F-" paper, a watch with pointy ends, a lunch bag helpfully emblazoned with the words "Lunch Bag," a wallet helpfully emblazoned with the word "wallet," a cassette, a basketball, a party invitation, a dog bone, a sandwich in a sandwich bag marked "today's lunch" (Not in the bag?), a dollar bill of some sort, a very large key, a very small car, a floating "A+," a copy of The Advertiger, a love note, a science textbook, another cassette, a calculator, a 45-rpm record, a CD, an 8-bit Nintendo game, an apparently folded X-Men comic book, a pungent bag marked "Tuna--5/93!", an old-school Louisiana license plate, a tiny bicycle of some sort, a French 3 textbook, an REM CD case and the original pile outline that makes little sense.

That's my comic for Sunday. Just so you'd understand that I was warped even back then.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

A pile of bull-GOP

"Not tonight, I have a headache...besides, sex is filthy and evil" Posted by Hello

Here in Louisiana, politics never ends. On Nov. 2, we had a practice election (known as a primary, as in "you all need primary school") for the December runoff. In the race for U.S. District 7 House seat are Willie Landry Mount (D-Lake Charles) and Charles Boustany (R-Lafayette). Want to take a stab at who is most popular here in good ol' Lafayette? (Hint: it's Boustany.)

Now, I have to admit that in the primary, I did not vote for either one of these yahoos. While both are likable and equally popular, this might truly be a case of the lesser of two evils. Man, am I really saying that? Damn...

I'm no fan of Boustany, simply because everyone in my neighborhood seems to like him. That's scary! From what I know about his platform, he is hardly George W. Bush; however, any respect I have for him diminishes further every time I hear him speak. After Dick Cheney came to speak for him just a few blocks (and several tax brackets away) from my house, Boustany went out of his way to explain how he his not in the GOP's pocket. But his TV and radio ads paint him as someone with elephant genes in his DNA. Hell, his site features a big picture of him and Dubya "talking about the runoff!" And how about this tasty bit from his bio?

A life long Republican, Charles voted for Ronald Reagan in the 1976 Republican Primary at the age of 20. The first Republican in a family of 10 children, he would cross party lines when it came to matters of the heart and he did not just tip toe. In 1979, Charles married the former Bridget Edwards, a life long Democrat. Foreshadowing his persuasive abilities, Bridget became a registered Republican in 1980.

So either Republicans are telling him to lie about his partisanship or he is a flip-flopper. I hate a flip-flopper.

I'm also weary of his lack of experience; Boustany has never held public office of any kind, having spent the last couple of decades as a highly-sought surgeon. But his dad's the coroner, which is good enough for most locals.

On the other hand, Mount isn't much better. Her platform is heavy on pro-business policies and devotes a whole section to why she is pro-life. She also supports the end of "the marriage penalty" and "the inheritance tax," which proves two things: 1) she's eager to kiss up to Republican interests and 2) she does it by using their own misleading talking points and terms. So even though Mount is more likely of this bad bunch to get my vote, she will not get my endorsement.

In light of all of this, I find the above mailer all the more amusing. It shows total ignorance on Mount's positions by Republicans, but that's not what bothers me the most. What bothers me is that they seem to take pride in not caring to know them. As tired as their endlessly repetitive phrases are getting to be, they seem even more archaic and formulaic when used against an opponent who doesn't fit their description. Let's break out the GOP attack template and deconstruct, shall we?

1) "Higher Taxes" in large words--Check!
2) "On Louisiana families." Check!
3) "Liberal Willie Mount..." Check!
4) "...voted for higher taxes..." Check!
5) "She also supported job-killing taxes..."Check!
6) "...on small businesses..."Check!
7) " our communities." Check!
8) Highlighted comment--Check!
9) "...just another tax-and-spend liberal." Check!
10) Underlined talking points--Check!
11) "...consistently supported keeping taxes high..." Check!
12) "Voting to keep sales and use taxes on food and utilities." Check!
13) "Renewing $160 million in sales taxes on business utilities." Check!
14) "Opposing tax relief..." Check!
15) " job-creating small businesses in our communities." Check!
16) "Thanks to Willie Mount, working families need to spend more of their paychecks on taxes." Check!
17) "She's just another tax-and-spend liberal." Check!
18) "Paid for by the Republican Party of Louisiana." CHECK!!

As talented as the Republicans have become at condensing so many tired lies on one small flyer, they could do even better: "Willie Mount is a tax-and-spend liberal who voted not to slash existing taxes and who wants families to suffer headaches by renewing taxes on business." Of course, crap like that only goes down with repetition, so maybe they are smart.

Friday, November 19, 2004

UL Laughingstock?

A clarification: this is my latest column for The University of Louisiana Vermilion, to be published on Nov. 24. The Daily Advertiser, our local newspaper, announced that it would offer its own take on the hotly debated UL Lafayette name issue by referring to the school as the University of Louisiana (without "Lafayette"). A letter to The Verm that following week suggested that UL's paper follow the same lead. This has pissed off people who do not approve of calling the school anything other than the University of Louisiana at Lafayette or approved variants thereof. Last week, The Vermilion's staff editorial declared that the paper will continue using the regional designation UL Lafayette, apparently in an attempt not to upset the administration. Heavens!

As someone who has attended this school long enough to have tenure, I remember when the University of Louisiana at Lafayette was known as the University of Southwestern Louisiana. On Sept. 10, 1999, USL finally saw the end to its regional stigma upon the removal of the archaic “Southwestern” from its name. However, the name change also spelled the end of a reliable moniker for our school. In the ensuing years, the exact nature of our name has remained up for debate.

In an effort to address this problem, The Daily Advertiser recently decided to refer to our school exclusively as the University of Louisiana. The Advertiser, whose editorials usually run along the lines of “School’s in—drive safely” and “Business Expo will be good for area businesses,” has taken a strong stand on an actual issue for once. Way to go! Such a move is a nice reminder of the once-popular concept of civil disobedience.

Needless to say, rival newspapers such as The Advocate have not embraced such a policy. And, as its staff editorial noted last week, neither will The Vermilion. I can understand why a Baton Rouge-based paper would not indulge UL. But why hasn’t The Vermilion? Good question.

Like many Ragin’ Cajuns, I have never been totally comfortable with the name UL Lafayette or its variations. Quite frankly, it is a bulky and awkward name that does little to remove the regional connotations from our school (which was the whole point in the first place). It smacks of the usual pro-LSU bias that increasingly defines the simplemindedness of our state politics.

Dropping that second L would go a long way toward clarifying our name in the national spotlight. ESPN, for example, never gets our name right. Over the course of one basketball season, I saw us represented as “ULL,” “LAF” and even the horrid “LAL”—none of which are officially sanctioned abbreviations. “LOU” would work, as might “LA.” If I have to hear someone speak condescendingly of “ULL, U-La-La or whatever you call it these days” one more time, I’m going to nuke the state capitol, okay?

From the outset, we should have been the University of Louisiana; otherwise, why bother changing the name at all? But we all knew the rule (written with no small influence from LSU backers) that no university could take the name University of Louisiana unless another university took it as well. Thus began our inseparable bond with UL Monroe, a school that mirrors us in every way—except that it’s a completely different and unrelated institution. Does anyone really confuse the two? I seriously doubt it.

Would we ever be able to erase the city tag? At least one well-known Louisiana school already does it! LSU has several locations across Louisiana, among them satellite campuses in Shreveport, Alexandria and Eunice. The proper name for the main campus is Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge. Check out if you think I’m kidding. If LSU can conveniently forget its regional name, why can’t we?

If The Vermilion wants to continue to live in U-La-La Land, then so be it. But as this paper’s masthead reminds us, opinions expressed in The Verm do not necessarily reflect those of other writers. I know that The Vermilion’s pro-“UL at Lafayette” policy does not reflect my views. And I, for one, refuse to let a particular “flagship” university decide for us that we should be comfortable with carrying the name of a second-tier school. And our own university community certainly should not be the ones embracing such a small-time mentality. The University of Louisiana should never be satisfied with being number two.

The ancient art of Tae Po

It's an issue of crtiical concern! Posted by Hello