Traditions, adapted

Every year, UMM has a haunted barn attraction on campus for Halloween, with spooky decorations and a few jump scares. That’s impractical in the era of a pandemic, but I’m still happy to see they’ve just modified it a bit. Wear a mask, get a tour, maintain social distancing.

Most importantly, visit the beautiful horses.

(Yes, we have a stable on campus. It’s a good place for spiders, too.)

Welp, that puts everything in perspective

My stress levels are sky high right now, I occasionally emit an uncontrollable moan as I sit in my office, and I’m backlogged in grading still. But somehow, it could still be much, much worse.

I’m sorry, Professor Wilson, your situation does sound truly terrible, but am I bad if I say it made me feel so fortunate and happy about my situation? It’s all relative. There’s always somebody who’s got it worse.

I’m working on corrupting my granddaughter, too

An inspiring story for us all.

Although, to be honest, Iliana seems to be building her own interests without my help, and is more excited about owls than spiders. And that’s fine. We’ve just got to grow that interest in the world around us.

The Halloween fundraiser has begun!

We’re doing another fundraiser! Don’t panic, like the last one, this will be fairly unobtrusive and you can ignore it altogether, but if you like us, please do drop a few dollars in the tip jar.

We are obviously going to have a Halloween theme, with scary stories and a Halloween-themed game. Check out our fundraising page for the details!

The events have already begun. We’re gathering Fall- and Halloween-themed photos at Affinity, and reader submissions are requested. You’ll be able to view all the photos in our fundraiser in the gallery. Send in photos of the Fall colors, of your kids in their costumes, of spiders, whatever makes you think of this time of year.

Contemplate the past and how you got here

I had an hour before class, so I decided to take a short walk in the fall sun in this, the land of the Dakota peoples. On the way I met an older man holding a newspaper, and he stopped in front of me — wearing a mask, of course, and 2 meters away from me. He said, “It’s Columbus Day! They’re tearing down statues in Portland!” He seemed distressed.

I was going to say, “Good. Portland is in many ways a progressive city, and I’m pleased that they’re acting to address injustices. Columbus was a genocidal monster who enslaved and tortured and murdered native people, and we should all be tearing down the statues and the myths of our nation that have so far honored mainly cruelty and oppression.”

Unfortunately, I am unable to say that in Anishinaabemowin, which would be the most appropriate language to use, so I just gave him a thumbs up and walked around him.

A remorseful Indigenous Peoples’ Day to all my fellow colonizers! Take a moment to think about the true history of the land you’re living in!

How dare a corporation cater to a market segment that isn’t mine?

Oreo has come out with rainbow colored cookies. I hear the commercial is positive and heartwarming and appreciative of the LGBT community, but I haven’t seen it, so I’ll just have to trust the buzz.

That’s nice, but I’m not in the market for cookies myself. If I were, I’d probably like them, although they do look a bit garish. The one thing I wouldn’t do is regard them as a sign of the collapse of civilization. But then, I’m not Rod Dreher.

At least there’s a sensible take on that.

Yes, Rod sees a corporate decision to monetize apparent support for queer people and their hetero friends and family as a totalitarian act of revolution (???) because his movement demands that adherents be mad about something at all times.

But that something can’t be anything a normal person would get mad about. Normal people look at this and think “Where can I get some?” or perhaps “Yuck, Oreos.” They do not think totalitarianism or revolution because even if they are assholes, they aren’t assholes who have nothing better to do except Be Mad.

As an aside, I’m still torn by corporatized queerness. Yes, I know that this is driven by the desire to increase revenue and the production or sale of rainbow colored items is no guarantee that a company treats its own queer employees with respect. But, I’m old enough to remember the before times so I still think it is nifty.

Also, it makes dimwits like Rod beclown themselves, and that’s never a bad thing.

There are lots of things that are not marketed for me: sports video games, bass fishing boats, accordions, toupees, MAGA hats. They’re fine. You want one, go ahead, but please don’t pretend the people making those products love you personally. I’ll just shrug and move on.

One exception: if you’re trying to sell me on the weird religious opinions of a conservative dingleberry, I’ll say “Yuck, Dreher” and cuss you out.

Well all right then, Pennsylvania

I lived in Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, for a number of years, and while there were some things I loved about the place, there were others that I thought less than savory. One was that the city boasted about being a “city of neighborhoods”, where there were distinct divisions with distinct ethnic character — this place was Italian, that one is Dominican, that one over there is black, etc. The suburb where I lived was predominantly Ukrainian. Character is good, diversity is great, but I always felt like it was bragging about being segregated, and it also meant that some neighborhoods were terribly poor and dilapidated, next to others that were very tony and posh, and it was like there was a wall between them that you could not cross.

So I’m not surprised that when the wife of the lieutenant governor of the state (a Democrat) made a quick trip to the grocery store without a security escort, she was verbally assaulted and harassed.

Not everyone in Pennsylvania is like that woman, but one of the things I most disliked about the place is that it enabled residents to be perfectly comfortable with all kinds of hatreds. Now our president is working hard to make the entire country comfortable with casual racism. That harasser showed no shame about using racist slurs, and that’s where we’re headed now.

Today, I picked on the bad science of TERFs some more

They’re a cult, I tell you.

By the way, I’m still struggling with audio. I decided to just try a straightforward camera mic, since I’ve been having those annoying cancellation issues with my fancy condenser mic. I don’t like the results much. When the quality is low enough that even I can tell, it’s not doing the job. Next time I’ll experiment with a lavalier mic and see how that turns out.

The problem was compounded by the roaring loud windstorm that was howling outside all day. Someday I’ll understand audio.

Also, I’m kind of hating my hair. How can I be a YouTube star with clown hair?