Friday, September 22, 2006

Ideas Man Gets Propositioned (?)


So, I went with Ms. Doctor Ideas Woman, Esq. to the hospital when she had to get some lab work done. And I was just standing there while she got registered in. Now, naturally when I say "just standing there" it goes without saying that I was "just standing there being handsome. So, whenever Heather wasn't looking, the woman who was checking her in kept on smiling at me (actually, the smiles persisted even when Heather was looking) and giving me gigantic, extremely obvious winks --- the kind you'd expect to see in a ribald skit on Sabado Gigante.

As it happens, Heather's lab work took so long that I probably could have gone back and "sealed the deal" if I had been so inclined.

Now, it should be noted that even if I weren't in a happy, committed, monogamous relationship I very much doubt that this particular woman is the sort of woman I would have been to inclined to follow through with. But this strikes me as beside the point. I am nonetheless flattered.

This brings me to one of my many objections to the religious right, who seem to be horrified by the notion of men hitting on other men. (Of course, we all know that's because the anti-gay movement in the religious right is full of closet cases. I hear that Focus on the Family is one big orgy of repressed tension. Haven't we all lost count on how many interns have been raped by James Dobson's eyes? That's a different story though.) I was perfectly appreciative of the guys who would hit on me when I was working as a barista at the Starbucks at Dupont Circle (Washington D.C.'s "fruit loop.") It's nice to know that someone is noticing, and a little harmless flirting never hurt anyone (unlike, say, rampant discrimination).

What about the notion about keeping gays out of the military because straight men would be afraid of being "J. Dobsoned" in the shower? Now, I should mention that I am horrified by the idea of public showering in any way shape or form (this, along with my total wussiness, is the reason why I conspired to avoid ever taking physical education in high school): so I'd be uncomfortable showering with gay men or straight men, gay women or straight women --- I think that covers pretty much everyone (although I guess it leaves open the possibility I might be o.k. showering with bisexual transexuals, but I somehow doubt this). But take away the horribleness of public nakedness and ask yourself, is it any worse to be admired by someone of the same gender?

No. Admiration is flattering from any quarter.

Which leads me to wonder. Do beautiful people get "propositioned" all the time? If so, no wonder they are such narcissists.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

These are the people in your neighorhood

A Very Special Episode:

I don't know about the rest of you, but Ms. Ideas Woman, Esq. and I constantly invent stories about our neighbors. . . sometimes they turn out to be true.

For example: One day there was an ambulance at the house next door (we happened to notice this because we were driving Ideas Girl around very late at night). So we postulated that our neighbor, a severely obese (and almost certainly abusive) insane Christian Fundamentalist had died (remember this is all fantasy so the callousness of these postulates should go unremarked upon). When people showed up later in the week we were nearly convinced.

Now, the way I am describing it, this is obvious. But it should be noted that other people on our block noted one or both of these events but didn't connect them. It's merely my attaching a significance to them that makes it obvious.

Now, some people might do the nice thing and see if the family needed anything. Lest you judge us too harshly, this thought crossed our mind. But, because the husband had isolated the mother and daughter (they would hurry inside if they saw anyone) we hardly knew them.

So, what do you say? "Hi! We've invented a whole life for you wherein the domineering patriarch has recently passed away. If that's true, what can we do to help?" Now, when I phrase things in this way, the obvious answer pops up: "You can say nothing in the first place."

So, being kind, compassionate people, that's what we did.

Then we theorized that they would eventually be much happier. We were surprised to discover how quickly this happened. First, there was the string of changes: Comcast rolls by within the week. Garbage is hauled out. An old, rusty car that probably singlehandedly lowered the property value of every home on the street by at least $10,000 is towed off. Just the sort of changes you might want to make if you're getting on with your life. That doesn't indicate happiness, does it?

But then mother and daughter start hanging around outside, weeding their garden, chatting with each other on beach chairs on their porch, walking their cranky German shepard (who hasn't hitherto left a tiny enclosure in their backyard) and waving at their neighbors.

We wonder whether they realize that they are in fact much happier.

Then, our other (relatively) normal neighbors need a babysitter and the usual suspects are unavailable. Another neighbor (whom I don't know) recommends aforementioned daughter. In passing, I refer to our insane theories.

Which turn out to be true (well, the happiness part hasn't been verbally confirmed but it's woefully obvious).

So, what other theories are probably true but uncorroborated?

Well, our neighbors across the street are the Family of Mutual Beards . . . and their daughter is clearly a LEAG (Lesbian Even After Graduation [from an elite formerly-all-girls-college) --- too paraphrase Seinfeld, not that there's anything wrong with this. Our gossip is nonjudgmental. So, the running question is --- is the younger son (Snoopy) the only straight member of the family or not. Only time will tell.

But . . .

There is one way in which our gossip is highly judgmental. WHAT'S UP WITH THEIR CAR SITUATION? They have a fairly large driveway (for the area) and a two-car garage. But, without fail, morning and evening they engage in some sort of shenenigan which involves backing all three of their cars successively onto the road, moving another one of the cars and then pulling back in. Their is no possible logistical rationale for their behavior, since they could easily park all three cars in the driveway and/or garage in such a way that none blocked the other.

I think it's some sort of elaborate sign system having to do with aforementioned beardedness.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Return of Ideas Man

After a long hiatus, Ideas Man is announcing his return (albeit with a fluff piece).

It's possible that the hiatus has been too long and his meagre readership has left him. If so, all the better. Then the bitchy claws that I've been sheathing can really come out.

Those of you who think of me as a mild-mannered, nice fellow know that they are there, beneath the surface.

Whether they come out or not actually probably depends on the November elections. Which reminds me. In the near future, I'll probably have to contribute to the bloggy buzz about what a tool Joseph Lieberman is. Because really, truly, he is.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Identity Theft and Fraudulent Posts

Folks, it's happened. Manfredjensen has struck, and my identity has been stolen.

Just think about it. Would I ever sell myself out to become some kind of corporate shill? The very thought. The Ideas of Ideas Man are not for sale to the highest bidder. Manfredjensen, however, that's another story. He's never had an original idea in his life, so he's perfectly happy to sell himself out.

That said, since Mandfredjensen's corporate bonanza was announced on my site, I'll meet any potential buyers halfway. You can still give me whatever you want, but I won't do anything in exchange.

We'll call it a fair compromise.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Brand New Blog

I recently stumbled across this other blog that I thought I'd direct your attention to

  • Serial Novel

  • I am in favor of nothing if not serial novelization.


    Ideas Man, Ph.D. is looking for a corporate sponsor. Consequently, I am now announcing our first annual:


    To enter, simply post a comment to this entry, explaining why you’d like to sponsor me, what you’ll give me, and what you’d like from me in return.

    The Ideal Corporate Sponsor of Ideas Man, Ph.D. will:

    1) Like giving me money.

    2) Like giving me non-monetary gifts.

    3) Like to take responsibility for any tax-obligations I’d have on any non-monetary gifts they provide for me.

    4) Have an inability to identify irony.

    In return you will get:

    1) Exposure on the newest medium, called the Information Super-Highway or “Internet!” This exciting new resource is used by literally billions (probably --- our research budget here is limited). Just think! Any one of these billions could stumble across this blog. (Legal Disclaimer: Ideas Man, Ph.D. makes no warranty that even one of these billions actually will do so. If, however, you are dissatisfied with the number that do, you can simply call my toll free number to be put on hold by customer service representatives who speak English as their third language, have never actually heard of me, and aren’t empowered to do anything to help you. Have fun with that. N.B. The toll free number can be obtained by searching through every tiny corner of my website, writing down every letter you see, calculating its numerical value according to a code that only I know, and then dividing by the amount I pay my customer service reps every month. Here’s a hint to help you calculate that amount: it’s equal to one-third of the monthly interest they owe me for the loan I provided them to help them cover the fee I charge all my employees for the privilege of working for me.)

    2) A total willingness to spit back your propaganda. I’ll be such a toady, I’ll make Tucker Carlson look like his own man! And unlike Tucker, my logical fallacies are hard to spot (Legal Disclaimer: Ideas Man, Ph.D. makes no warrant that his fallacies won’t be readily identifiable to the trained chimpanzee. That still will make his fallacies harder to spot than Tucker’s. And I can think of at least 57,000,000 people who will still be fooled).

    3) An uncomplicated relationship that need not be governed by any legal niceties. There are no ethical rules that govern discourse in the blogosphere. So we won’t have to go through all the silly measures you take with members of Congress to pretend like they’re not in your pocket. I have no intention of giving you even a nominal fee for any gifts you provide me! (Legal Disclaimer: Actually there is no legal disclaimer. This promise comes with no strings attached).

    Hurry now! Contest Ends whenever the comment function is no longer available.

    Friday, May 05, 2006

    Professor Ghetto-Star. That is what I are.

    I am so tired that I actually replied to an email in the following way:

    A student had asked me (among other things):

    "How does Nietzsche argue that all reality is a matter of interpretation?" (a question from a study sheet, so rather than answer it, I was just going to point him in the direction of the answer

    Here is my response (which I've already sent):

    "4. See his discusison of physics, etc. Again, he wants to emphasize that what we take for granted as fact has to pass through some sort of more immediately cultural medium."

    Here is my "damage control" email (which I've also already sent):

    "Sorry. With 4, I meant that even facts have to be interpreted to mean anything to me (this is the idea that I had behind my idea as cultural medium, but it's unimportant now).

    Thanks again,"

    You know how in Bullworth, Warren Beatty goes crazy simply because he's so tired. That's me.

    Thanks for a third time,

    Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    Ideas Man Saves the Government Billions

    One thing that conservatives and I share in common is our love of efficiency in the government. This is why I was so chagrined to hear recently that old folks were having so much trouble making sense of the new prescription drug benefit. Well, I’ve been hearing that for a while (I’ve been hearing that since before there was a prescription drug benefit.) But I was chagrined to hear recently that HHS is trotting out a fleet of RV’s to take the show on the road, old folk style. What a waste of money!

    Now, while I might disagree with the primary purpose of the prescription drug benefit (to funnel money into the hands of insurance companies and drug companies), I accept that my side has lost that argument through fair (and balanced) public debate. But I have an idea for the Bushies (I actually have a lot of ideas for them, but some of them might get me arrested): Why not go about fulfilling your purpose in a more direct way? Why not simply take money from the elderly and pharmacists (see yesterday’s NY Times) and put it in the big pockets of Big Pharma (we all know how much you enjoy fishing around in those pockets anyway)?

    In fact, this idea is a general idea for how to run government under Republicans generally. Think of all the lost money and lives that could be saved through a little efficiency. Rather than wasting lives and looking like idiots in Iraq, we could just appropriate money for Halliburton and Bechtel. Rather than letting flunkies from the Heritage Foundation ruin another country, we could simply write them big fat checks for cutting classes (this would also help keep them from spending all their time taking notes on the “propaganda” their “liberal” professors are spouting.) And idle hands are the devil’s workshops, so I’m sure those little hellions will find plenty to do.

    Of course, we’d run into problems when we tried to apply this approach to the privatization of social security, since the amount of money that the Bushies want to funnel into Wall Street simply doesn’t exist. Oh well, we could just give them everything we do have in Social Security (still much more than they claim) and at least not go bankrupt immediately.

    Some will object that the sheer, naked greed that I’m advocating would render the idea of a Republican presidency virtual impossible and harm two party politics in America. To them, I have two things to say: 1) You underestimate the ability of Fox News et al. to lie on behalf of the Republican party. As long as Rupert Murdoch lives and breathes, we’ll all have the privilege of listening to O’Reilly bluster on before patiently explaining the benefits of “trickle-down charity,” as my proposal would come to be called. 2) If in fact, such honesty makes it impossible for the Republican party to control the executive branch, then two of my ideas would be accomplished at once. Because I do believe that it should be illegal to have Republicans in anything other than the legislature. But that, my friends, is a different idea.

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    There should be a taco shop in Bryn Mawr

    There should be a taco shop in Bryn Mawr. I'm not sure that this suggestion needs much more elaboration, but nonetheless, I ought to point out:

    1) That tacos are delicious.

    2) That many different demographics find tacos to be delicious, including (but not limited to) kids of all ages (youngsters, hipsters and students alike): Bryn Mawr College, Villanova University and Haverford College are all within walking distance of the Main Line and all cost considerable coin. And many of the kids who actually call the Main Line home are also flush with cash.

    3) That there is a dearth of taco shops in the Main Line. When I first started agitating for there to be a Taco Shop in Bryn Mawr (in 1998) this was true of the Philadelphia area in general with the exception of a hole in the wall in Norristown. The hole in the wall persists although it has tragically tried to go upscale and destroyed its charm. There are more Mexican restaurants in the city (including a growing number in Philadelphia's historic Italian Market). While this might meet the taco needs of some, I find it difficult to cart my young daughter into the city around mealtime since mealtime is soon followed by bedtime.

    4) That, needless to say, I would frequent a decent taco shop in Bryn Mawr.

    If you are a kindly taco cook who happens to have stumbled across these ramblings, please consider my humble request. I am lazy and have no culinary skills worth speaking of. You, however, might just hold the keys to my dreams.

    Dreaming of Tacos

    Monday, February 27, 2006

    Professors are People Too

    Some days, teaching can be extremely draining. The effort of putting yourself out in front of all those people and being "on" for such an extended time can be exhilirating, but can also be difficult to come down from. But on days when students take out their stress on you ... well,

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    You get the idea. I do think that part of the problem is that students don't recognize that professors are people too. If you invest a good deal of time into a course and (say, for example) work a good deal on a study sheet which you believe accurately reflects what a student should have learned, it isn't particularly encouraging to be told that it in no way bears on what they think they've learned. While this sort of revelation might, at times, be necessary, it is made worse when said students don't bother couching these problems in polite discourse, perhaps since they don't realize that:

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    Professors are people too.

    Saturday, February 25, 2006

    The Many Ideas of Ideas Girl: Part One

    Suffice it to say, Ideas Girl has many ideas of her own. Since she cannot type yet, I will try to convey some of them on her behalf:For the following idea, a little bit of background is perhaps necessary (well, a very little bit of background). You see, Pampers Cruisers have pictures of Sesame Street characters on front of them, a sensible design given the excellence of Sesame Street characters.

    Ideas Girl models her diaper (12 Months Old)

    To help Ideas Girl consent to get her diaper changed, it is necessary to present her with a choice between two of them. However, the ratio at which these characters appear will shock and appall you. In a 74 pack, there are 17 Elmo's (sometimes pronounced Ohmo or Yelma), 16 Big Bird's (BiBir), 16 Cookie Monster's (KeeKee), 16 Ernie's (Amy) but only 9 Grover's (Groger or Grogro)! While all of the characters are good, Grover is clearly the best. So, no matter what choice you offer Ideas Girl, she will often simply insist on Grogro. At the very least, Grover should be given equal representation. And preferably, there should be an all Grover box. This way, no matter what two character choices you are given, you can rest assured that if you veto both choices and insist on Groger, your demands will be met. Also, Ideas Girl has pointed out the following problem: What up with there being no Oscar (Oker) ? She demanded an Oscar after rejecting four of the five other choices. Oscar lives in a trash can, so being on a diaper is really a no brainer! We can overlook the lack of Zoe (ZZZo --- who until recently was on the departing end of the diaper) or Bert (Amy or Bird). But some insults cannot go overlooked. Pampers should give Grover equal representation and include Oscar in the regular Cruisers packs. In addition, they should make an all Grover pack for special occasions.

    Friday, February 24, 2006

    A Genetic Account of The Stylings of Ideas Man (With a Husserlian Shout Out to Joe)

    Perhaps you've been wondering why after years of keeping my ideas to myself, I've decided to inflict them on the Web. I was going to initially write, "inflict them on more people" but this wouldn't be technically true, since I have been inflicting my views on my students for years, and they outnumber my meager readership by far. But why have I finally decided to inflict my ideas (and, more frighteningly, my stylings) on others?

    The answer (and this is the most frightening thing of all) is that I was inspired by my mother-in-law's blog:

    To be more precise, I was inspired by how seriously she is taking her various blogs as a money making enterprise. To be painfully precise, I was inspired by the thought of her leading my poor, impressionable nephews in a karaoke version of "Who Let the Dogs Out." Who let them out indeed? You did, Mary Ellen.

    Thursday, February 23, 2006

    Ammon Manfredjensen (A Total Bastard Who Will Someday Die)

    Jnet's comment reminded me that I should inform you all of an evil man who may occassionally try to masquerade as me (you can tell the difference because all of his ideas are derivative of mine. They look exactly like what my ideas would be like if I were trying to imitate myself).

    His name is Ammon Manfredjensen. (See, he even stole his identity from Fawlty Towers). He is so derivative. I hate him.

    Ideas ideas

    It goes without saying that I have lots of ideas. I do not, however, yet have an idea as to what sort of ideas I will post here on-line. In the meantime, here's a highly scientific personality quiz. This quiz has been designed to be able to tell everything about you. If by some amazing chance of internet serendipity, you happen to read this blog, please take time to post your results. I am always curious about the demographics of my (fictitious?) readership. And perhaps this will help to decide the direction of future ideas.

    1) The first word I would use to describe myself is:
    a) outgoing
    b) shy
    c) intellectual
    d) Rastafarian
    e) happy
    f) none of the above

    2) My favorite color is:
    a) red
    b) blue

    3) I find other people:
    a) interesting
    b) loathsome
    c) good to eat

    Score as follows:

    1: a) 500; b) 400 c) 300; d) 200; e) 600; f) 100

    2: a) 10; b) 20

    3) a) 1; b) 3; c) 2

    If you scored:

    100-210: You are unworthy of living. Ditch this whole notion of individuality, get with the program, and maybe there might be some hope for you.

    211: You are a communist Jamaican. Dye your weed red, mon and pass it around!

    212: Doesn’t your religion forbid cannibalism?

    213-220: You are a Jamaican, and a communist, but you find the masses vulgar. Keep the red Mary Jane to yourself!

    221: You like beaches

    222: Don’t eat all the tourists!

    223-310: You are one mellow Rastafarian who does not like crowds. Find a quite spot, look at the sky, and light up!

    311: You would spend all of your time analyzing all the reasons you liked “red,” except you can’t help but get distracted by others! Focus more on them and less on your work and maybe when the revolution comes you won’t be denounced as a secret burgeousie.

    312: You are the sort of cannibal who a) likes to try lots of recipes and b) likes spicy food. Try toe served with a fennel ragu spiked with Sriracha.

    313-320: Looks like you’ve chosen the right profession for you! You’ll have plenty of time to let your misanthropy grow as you sit alone in the stacks, wondering how you can get your colleagues to exempt you from faculty meetings and sipping your Ruby Red Squirt thoughtfully.

    321: You should live in New York City: It has many good libraries, you are bound to meet someone interesting, and it is in a blue state.

    322: You should live in New York: It has many good libraries, you are bound to eat someone interesting, and it is in a blue state.

    323-410: You should live in New York: It has many good libraries, it is in a blue state, and it will confirm all of your worst suspicions about humanity.

    411: Try to overcome your fear of talking, because this will be the only long-term way to deal with the lonely emptiness that fills you up as you walk through the bustling city streets, looking at all the happy smiling faces of people deep in conversation with the ones they love. Oh, and stop wearing that red hat. It makes you look fat.

    412: If you lurk in the bushes, you can often catch your victim without having to say a word to them. Do this at night while wearing infra-red goggles: It makes hunting your prey more efficient and more attractive!

    413-420: That mountain-fortress you bought for yourself in the hinterlands of Wyoming is paying for itself already! If Dick Cheney comes by and tries to commandeer it for his new “undisclosed location,” that trip to the gun-shop post Assault Ban expiration ought to pay off in spades.

    421: You are a sad, lonely person with a deeply poetic side. Go to the beach, look at the blue waves, and listen to the happy people, laughing and playing in the ocean. Look at them longingly. When someone comes up to you and accuses you of being “pervy” sigh at the sadness of constantly being misunderstood, “spontaneously” break out into that poem you’ve been composing for the last six years (the one that rhymes “lacking” with “khaki”). Maybe they’ll see deep into your soul and become your soul-mate. Maybe they’ll kick you in the teeth.

    422: If you lurk in the water, you can often catch your victim without having to say a word to them. Do this at night while a snorkel mask and plastic-fin: Everyone will just think you’re a shark (this will also clear out the beach and leave you that mealtime privacy you crave).

    423-510: You make me sad. You are a twisted, hateful, misanthropic soul. Oddly enough, you are also a Metrosexual. That’s right, I am talking about you, Mr. Rumsfeld. Now get us out of Iraq.

    511: POW! That is the one word to describe you! You are just like how Tom Cruise would have been in Top Gun, if only he had worn red Rayban’s (because you do!).

    512: Finding people to meet, greet and eat is never a problem for you! Here’s a tip: Stick to Cabernet Sauvignon: It pairs nicely with the cuts of meat you crave.

    513-520: Hello, Mr. President! Thank you for taking my quiz! You thought I didn’t know you secretly hate everyone but yourself, Dick Cheney, and Kenneth Lay, didn’t you? But you are wrong. I am a scientific quiz. I know all.

    521: You are more like Iceman than Maverick.

    522: You are like Iceman would have been, if he had liked to eat people (In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that according to certain Lacanian readings of Top Gun, perhaps he did).

    523-610: You are an enigma. You are always the life of the party, but you have a deep mournful soul. You go home at night and torture yourself for all the witty urbanity you display.

    611 or higher: Get out of my sight! I have no use for you. If you’re so happy, why are you even taking a personality quiz?