What do the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM) and the typical roleplaying game player’s handbook (PHB) have in common? The character typographies that both articulate are what Kenneth Burke would call “recipes for wise living, sometimes moral, sometimes technical” for fantasy worlds. Burke got this idea of recipes for living by analyzing proverbs through a sociological and rhetorical lens. He concluded that these short, pithy statements were a form of literary medicine, and that their medicinal quality could be found in all things literary. According to Burke, the medicinal quality of proverbs comes from their “naming” function, orRead More →

People. The people who helped me get to the Northwoods of Wisconsin this year – people who wrote letters of recommendation, proofread job application packets, and held my hand; committee members and HR staff who held a job search; family, friends, and my partner who packed and moved me here; my cats who didn’t run away. This is where I need to be and I’m grateful I got here. The realtors, bankers, and inspectors of Rhinelander who got me into a home in time for Thanksgiving. The Louisiana students who have told me this summer and fall semester that they miss me, starting from theRead More →

Why do you add flour to the oven bag when you bag baste a turkey? According to Reynolds Kitchens: to blend the fat and juices and to protect against bursting. That did not explain enough. Crowd-sourced answers say that it keeps the bag from sticking to the bird. Still not enough. Also, doesn’t make a lick of sense. Dr. Greg Blonder – physicist, inventor, scientist, entrepreneur, author, and all-around fascinating guy – did some experiments on various cooking methods that have to do with various meats and weights of wrap in pressure cookers, convection, oven bags, thermal whatevers, and blahty blahs with or without waterRead More →

Relationship advice on the internet is worse than something in Cosmo or Ladies’ Home Journal, mostly due to sheer volume and banality. The 9 Smartest Marriage Tips Ever from Salon bobbed through the data streams today, its author claiming to provide new, useful information derived from experts who ranged from her grandmother to the latest research. The article disappointed on that front. Two things are worth noting, though: Marriage is like a credit card. Indeed. The economic model is a common trope for relationships. Turning this metaphor into a credit card is both crass and dangerous given today’s economy. Too many people spend beyond theirRead More →

view from the pop dash

When it comes to cars and other things involving agility, dexterity, or getting stuck on the roadside, I have low uncertainty tolerance. As a weak adventurer, I’ve been nervous about my adventuring companion, the Fiat Pop 500c, and how it will handle the snow. After as much research as possible about the car’s capabilities, I realized that my quest for certainty and comfort comes only in the doing and not the reading. Here on The Wall, aka Rhinelander, winter is fierce, and now it’s time for the first doing. We got more snow yesterday than Rhinelander gets on average every November. Fortunately, as of lastRead More →

There is more to Clarence Darrow than I thought. As the old story goes, the famous litigator slyly distracted juries with his cigar. He supposedly threaded a thin wire through the cigar to keep the burning ashes from falling. Enthralled juries would watch the ashes with anticipation instead of listening to the opposing counsel. True or not, the story has longevity for every negative attorney stereotype. Darrow’s most famous cases – The Scopes Monkey Trial and the murder trial of Leopold and Loeb – are noteworthy for their fame and sensationalism. For these bits of trivia, I quickly dismissed Darrow in my early days ofRead More →

snow kiteboarding

Today is day four of new home ownership. It has snowed real-snow once, and I went to an empty parking lot to practice driving in the Pop. The Pop is at the dealer getting an “undercoating” to keep from rusting. It is colder than a Baton Rouge winter. I have worn everything warm that I own and winter is just beginning. Today is the day I stepped outside and said to myself, “I want to go home. What the hell did I do?” It’s only November 4. Fantasies of a snow mobile in the future brighten my day, though.Read More →