Monday, October 16, 2017

Media studies: file drawers, notebook, EXchange name


[District Attorney Brander Harris (Hugh Marlowe), man with a notebook. From the Perry Mason episode “The Case of the Fraudulent Foto,” February 7, 1959. Click for a larger view.]

The file drawers caught my attention well before DA Harris took out his notebook. Or pocket calendar. Or whatever it is. When he finds the crucial page (whatever it is), he reads a telephone number aloud: “DAkota 6-7054.” There are many ways to enjoy television. Or whatever it is.

More EXchange names on screen
The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse : Armored Car Robbery : Baby Face : Blast of Silence : The Blue Dahlia : Boardwalk Empire : Born Yesterday : Chinatown : The Dark Corner : Deception : Dick Tracy’s Deception : Down Three Dark Streets : Dream House : East Side, West Side : The Little Giant : The Man Who Cheated Himself : Modern Marvels : Murder by Contract : Murder, My Sweet : My Week with Marilyn : Naked City (1) : Naked City (2) : Naked City 3 : Naked City (4) : Naked City (5) : Naked City (6) : Naked City (7) : Nightmare Alley : The Public Enemy : Railroaded! : Side Street : Sweet Smell of Success : Tension : This Gun for Hire

More notebook sightings
Angels with Dirty Faces : Ball of Fire : Cat People : City Girl : Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne : Dragnet : Extras : Foreign Correspondent : Homicide : The Honeymooners : The House on 92nd Street : Journal d’un curé de campagne : The Last Laugh : Le Million : The Lodger : Mr. Holmes : Murder at the Vanities : Murder by Contract : Murder, Inc. : The Mystery of the Wax Museum : Naked City : The Naked Edge : The Palm Beach Story : Pickpocket : Pickup on South Street : Pushover : Quai des Orfèvres : Railroaded! : Red-Headed Woman : Rififi : Route 66 : The Sopranos : Spellbound : State Fair : T-Men : Union Station : Where the Sidewalk Ends : The Woman in the Window

A joke in the traditional manner

Where does Paul Drake keep his hot tips?

No spoilers. The punchline is in the comments.

More jokes in the traditional manner
The Autobahn : Did you hear about the cow coloratura? : Did you hear about the thieving produce clerk? : Elementary school : A Golden Retriever : How did Bela Lugosi know what to expect? : How did Samuel Clemens do all his long-distance traveling? : How do amoebas communicate? : How do worms get to the supermarket? : What did the doctor tell his forgetful patient to do? : What did the plumber do when embarrassed? : What happens when a senior citizen visits a podiatrist? : What is the favorite snack of demolition crews? : What is the favorite toy of philosophers’ children? : What was the shepherd doing in the garden? : Where do amoebas golf? : Why did the doctor spend his time helping injured squirrels? : Why did Oliver Hardy attempt a solo career in movies? : Why did the ophthalmologist and his wife split up? : Why does Marie Kondo never win at poker? : Why was Santa Claus wandering the East Side of Manhattan?

[“In the traditional manner”: by or à la my dad. He gets credit for all but the cow coloratura, the produce clerk, the amoebas, the worms, the snack, the toy, the shepherd, the squirrel-doctor, Marie Kondo, Santa Claus, and this one. He was making such jokes long before anyone called them “dad jokes.”]

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Talia Ivy Raab


[Click for a larger baby.]

Our daughter Rachel and her husband Seth have announced the birth of their daughter, Talia Ivy Raab, born not yesterday but the day before yesterday, Thursday, October 12. Talia weighed in at seven pounds, thirteen ounces. All three Raabs are doing just fine.

[“We’re excited you’re here!”: now the blog-description line makes another kind of sense. Yes, Talia, we are!]

Adjunct lives

A recent article in The Guardian: “Facing poverty, academics turn to sex work and sleeping in cars.”

The situations described in the Guardian article may be extreme, but if the median salary for adjuncts is $22,041 a year, the general message is clear: there is, for most who would teach, no real future in adjuncthood. And there is something unspeakably mad about teaching critical thinking while having to live in a car.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the exploitation of adjunct labor is the shame and scandal of American higher education.

Thanks, Fresca.

Eyes everywhere


Franz Kafka, The Trial, trans. Breon Mitchell (New York: Schocken, 1998).

Related reading
All OCA Kafka posts (Pinboard)

Friday, October 13, 2017

The art of the con

“The most Trumpian aspect of the executive order is that it makes life easier for con men”: Amy Davidson Sorkin writes about “Donald Trump’s Terrible Executive Order on Health Care” (The New Yorker).

The Odyssey and mentorship

At The Atlantic, Gregory Nagy, classicist, talks about Telemachus and mentorship and Homer’s Odyssey:

In general, the model of stories about mentors is a model of initiation that appeals to the inherent nobility of the person who is being initiated. That’s something that the Odyssey is putting front and center.
When I taught the Odyssey, I always found that student readers are remarkably alert to Telemachus’s alienation. The first time we see Telemachus, he is sitting apart in his household, dreaming of his father, a father from whom he feels utterly disconnected. Telemachus has no older man to guide him, and no friends with whom to commiserate. And then Athena shows up, taking the form of Mentor. You must be Odysseus’s son, she says. Well, that’s what my mother says, he replies. Who knows?

When Telemachus awakens at the beginning of Odyssey 2 (having been put to bed by his nurse!), he is ’Ὀδυσσῆος φίλος υἱὸς, Odysseus’s beloved son — and a new man.

I wish this brief interview had touched on Penelope’s suitors, the elite young men of Ithaca and surrounding kingdoms. What I imagine in the way of their upbringing: “Here, take the keys.”

Related reading
All OCA Homer posts (Pinboard)
Just one look (Odysseus and Telemachus)

[You’d think that the older male relatives of Ithacan suitors must have died at Troy or on the voyage home. But male relatives, including an angry father, are present in Odyssey 24.]

“We’re drowning in filth”

Walking down a corridor in his bank, K. hears groans from a junk room. Curious, he looks in and finds the work of the court going on in his own workplace: the guards who appeared at his arrest are now being flogged. K. talks with the flogger and the floggees, steps out, closes the door, walks away, and walks back:


Franz Kafka, The Trial, trans. Breon Mitchell (New York: Schocken, 1998).

The next day, unable to stop thinking about what he saw, K. opens the door again. The flogging is still going on. “Clear out that junk room once and for all,” K. tells his assistants. “We’re drowning in filth.”

Related reading
All OCA Kafka posts (Pinboard)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Kafkaesque

The word is trending at Merriam-Webster.

A precipitation question

Out walking this morning, we saw some unusual precipitation: tiny specks of moisture, like miniature snowflakes, very sparse, and so slight that they bounced around on air currents instead of just falling to the ground. Temperature in the 60s.

Wikipedia’s descriptions of precipitation leave me with drizzle as the only name that fits. But that name seems misleading at best. Does anyone know a more specific name?