• It’s really disappointing reading wikipedia articles on REM songs.  They’re honest about why they wrote a song and what the meaning is (unlike, say, TMBG).  This leads to me finding out that songs I thought were really deep are really about one of them attempting to write the most inane lyrics he could come up with, or another coming up with a song because he was learning to play a musical instrument and it seemed to fit.  Urf.  Maybe they’re still deep but it’s just a subconscious deep.  We should all stand in the place where we are.
  • We have no readers from Greenland.  At least not since wordpress started keeping track for us (Feb 25, 2012).
  • We’ve been pondering why people around here are so curious about baby nocturnal habits.  My theory was that it was some cultural thing like how Midwesterners are always talking about the weather.  DH thinks it’s schadenfreude pure and simple.  He may be right!
  • DH has been using the powerpoints of the previous 102 professor… with the new baby and teaching both 101 and 102 and him being a lame duck, he didn’t see much point in going all out.  Unfortunately, after going through an entire day’s worth of powerpoint, a student asked a question that showed that the entire day’s example was wrong.  And had been taught incorrectly for FIVE YEARS.  The students have been upfront about begging him to do his own notes (one of them even said, “You’re a better teacher than this”).  So he thinks he’ll have to make that change.
  • I always seem to get rewarded for things I did ages ago rather than what I’m working on now.  I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad thing in terms of my emotions and well-being, getting rewarded with a 1-5 year delay.
  • Related:  #2’s summaries of her work are always really down-playing her publications and excited about current and future work.   I think she should be upbeat about her pubs too.
Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 26 Comments »

26 Responses to “RBOC”

  1. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    Why do you care what REM says their songs mean? I’m pretty sure that assuming the creator has the last word on the meaning of a literary or artistic work is a thoroughly discredited principle of interpretation. Once the work is created, it exists and has meaning independently of the intentions of the creator.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yeah yeah, that’s one philosophy of being an English professor. Unfortunately the philosophy that our absolutely worst teachers in high school had. The better teachers believed in knowing about context.

      You can’t “discredit” methods of interpretation, though actually you’re wrong about which one is in favor or disfavor by a few decades. I believe you’d fit right in in the 70s/80s. And our literary PhDs may correct us, but I believe context is back “in”.

      Ugh. Althuzar. *shudders* bad memories.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Once when I went to a student art show, one of the students explained to me that whatever the artist thinks a piece of artwork is about is only one side of the story. That student loved seeing what other people thought his or her (forgot which) art was about, too. You know, like sometimes you make a pun or rhyme without realizing it, but once it’s there, you’re glad that it’s part of your thing?

        That said, I really do like to know what the artist thinks something is about (much more than what some English teacher finds is being symbolized, etc.). So, it’s too bad when knowing about REM doesn’t help you appreciate the song more like you’re hoping. But anything you did get out of the song (even if you misheard some words) still counts, especially if it makes you enjoy the song more. (And if you misheard some words, it’s fair to say that you like your rewrite better than the original. Lots of times someone is able to improve on the original.) (And if the song is a big fake, there’s nothing saying you can’t deliberately change the words a little to make it more deep.)

        I always LOVE when an English teacher’s claim on what an author meant is debunked by the still-living author. (It might be an urban myth, but I did hear of that happening once.)

  2. TSS Says:

    A grad school buddy of mine firmly believed that Greenland was a hoax. (“Do you know anybody who’s actually been there? Anybody from there? Why is it always a funny size and shape on maps? It’s a hoax!”) You having no readers there is further evidence…..

  3. SP Says:

    As someone who has never had a baby, I ask about the baby’s sleep as a weather-like small talk item. As far as i know, little babies basically just poop, sleep, and eat, and sleep seems like the most benign topic.

    Any suggestions for something more interesting to comment on or say to people with babies? I want to express interest and i know it is a Big Deal, but I honestly have no idea what to say, so I may default to asking about sleep. As they get older, it gets easier!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Another popular thing to ask which is nowhere near as annoying for a sleep-deprived parent, “What’s something cute that your baby has done recently?” It’s a bit harder to come up with an answer for said sleep deprived parent, but the answer also doesn’t come laden with profanity (mental or verbal). More weather like, a “How’s that baby doing” works too.

    • rented life Says:

      Maybe we should all start asking the baby is a good pooper instead of a good sleeper. Just shake it up a little.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        DC2 is a really good pooper.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Y’all are cracking me up! My guess would be that it was really a question about your welfare–if your baby’s not sleeping well, then you’re probably still sleep deprived and we should be nice to you. I do like your other suggested questions better though.

  4. rented life Says:

    I get disappointed when I think a song is about something more meaningful and it’s not…so I’ve stopped looking online for verification of what I think the meanings are and just assume that there are many levels. Makes me happy. Of course I’ve never assumed TMBG songs have a deeper meaning.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Sometimes I wonder if they have any meaning… and sometimes they probably do and sometimes they probably don’t. (Like, I *know* birdhouse in your soul *must* be about a nightlight. It has to be.)

      • rented life Says:

        nightlight…I can buy that one.
        James K. Polk might be the only obvious song. I played it for my history teacher in high school and he thought it was brillant :)

  5. bogart Says:

    I *never* liked REM songs (there may be a couple of exceptions, but they’re not springing to mind) for exactly the reason the band itself (apparently) expresses, and now I feel vindicated. Not that I was previously feeling unvindicated because about this, if nothing else, I was confident I was right. More than 20 years after the fact I still remain horrified that my college roommate took as a positive the fact that her boyfriend told her that “This One Goes out to the One I Love” expressed his feelings about her.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      DC2 is a really big fan, especially of “Stand” and “Shiny Happy People.”

      • bogart Says:

        Oh, Stand is one of those songs that comes on and then I think “Aha, an REM song I can (sorry) stand.” But really, I can, I kind of like it. Perky.

        Per TSS’ comment, now I’m thinking a Grumpies field trip (for authors and followers!) to Greenland is warranted. Maybe next summer …

  6. chacha1 Says:

    I never care what songs “mean” to other people. REM’s are hummable/singable, and some you can even dance to. That’s good enough for me. :-)

    Re: 1-5 year delay: In my almost 47 years I have learned a few things, one of which is: if you want someone to recognize what you’ve done, you have to remind them. Constantly.

    I actually learned this on the job after a review which began by an attorney saying “we’re never entirely sure what it is you do.” A *positive* review, mind you!

  7. oilandgarlic Says:

    I didn’t mind people asking me about baby sleep habits. To me, it is like talking about the weather.

  8. Debbie M Says:

    When I read “the previous 102 professor,” I interpreted that as the previous spring 2010 professor–been a bureaucrat too long!

    Too bad about DH having to do extra work.

  9. momkat36 Says:

    Re: the 1-5 year delay in rewards–isn’t that like practicing for the Nobel ?!?!? ;-p

  10. Rumpus Says:

    Yay getting rewarded. I say late is better than never. I think the boom in “game-izing” everything is anecdotal proof that people like feedback about their behavior, and I know that I certainly do.

  11. MutantSupermodel Says:

    That’s kind of nice DH’s students responded that way :) I mean ok the extra work thing sucks but at least it’s a good reason to HAVE extra work you know?

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