In which I am confuzzled

Proving that I will never understand how things get popular on the Internet, the Notre Dame post from yesterday evening has blown up, getting something like four or five times the number of normal views a post gets on its first day and so far about twice as many as a second day usually gets. Why? No clue. It’s getting most of its hits through Twitter clickthroughs, which makes even less sense, as the only thing that posts to Twitter is this:

I almost wonder if the tweet got quietly featured on Buzzfeed or something like that, because with only 3 likes and 3 RTs it should barely have gotten any attention at all, but it’s getting much more interaction than my tweets usually get, and for no clear reason.

Ahh, internet, never stop being strange.

Notre Dame has reported another seventy-odd cases since I posted that, by the way, and the numbers did not show up in the county-level dashboard I usually look at, which is kind of alarming. These kids absolutely live in my county and not all of them live on campus; if there’s an outbreak (and there is), it’s not going to be physically confined anywhere. Keep in mind, too, that South Bend also has IUSB, St. Mary’s, Holy Cross, Bethel University and Ivy Tech in the immediate area. I haven’t seen numbers from those campuses– truthfully I’m not even sure they’re all back yet– but I’m sure they aren’t going to be a lot better. St. Mary’s is a women’s college so maybe we can hope they have a bit more sense, but I’m not holding my breath or anything like that.

In other news, today was the one-week mark of school starting and for the first time I’m done with everything I have to do today other than attendance and I have tomorrow’s lesson ready, and not only is it not 9:00 PM but the school day technically isn’t even over yet. I fucked up hard yesterday; today’s lesson is all vocabulary involving the real number system and in both the TikTok explainer and the video I shot I managed to both leave the word “integer” out of the presentation and move the definitions for whole numbers and natural numbers “up” in the roster, so to speak. In other words, the word “integers” wasn’t there, the definition of whole number was actually the definition of integer, and the definition of natural number was actually the definition of whole number. I mean, I noticed it, which was good, but I didn’t actually notice it until I’d started uploading everything to YouTube and it still meant I had to completely redo the TikTok and partially re-record the video, then re-upload everything, and by the time I was done it was nearly 9:30 PM.

My attendance is dropping, too, which is both predictable and alarming. I don’t really know what to do about it, though. I need to spend a chunk of time on Friday calling families; we’ll see if I can get through to any of my no-shows and infrequent flyers.

In which no one could have guessed

I’m mostly just putting this here for the sake of posterity, but Notre Dame today announced, after reporting twice as many Covid-19 cases yesterday as the entire rest of the county, that they were going to lock everyone in their dorms for two weeks (that’ll go well) and that off-campus (this will also go well) students should not come onto campus while they do virtual learning. If, within two weeks, the numbers aren’t better, they’re sending everyone home.

They’ve been back for, like, two weeks, max, and — get this — tested every single student before allowing them back on campus. And this still happened.

Go ahead. Put some money on what happens next. I dare you.

#WeekendCoffeeShare: Guess Who’s Back edition


If we were having coffee … well, I’d be really confused, because it’s 7:15, and what the hell are we having coffee for at 7:15 on a Sunday night when I have to be back at work tomorrow?  But I was gonna write this post this morning, and it was going to be my probably-not-actually-long-awaited return to Weekend Coffee Share, which I haven’t participated in in forever.  So it’s still a WCS post and to hell with making sense.

So.  If we were having coffee, first I’d tell you about this book I started yesterday, and the reason I didn’t get a post up this morning is that I couldn’t put the damn book down until I was finished with it.  Do you like Sherlock Holmes?  Of course you do.  So you need to check out A Study in Honor, by Claire O’Dell, which is a Sherlock Holmes story, only it’s set in the future after the Second Civil War (Watson is still a veteran, and in fact has pretty bad PTSD) and Holmes and Watson are both queer black women.

I read it in about three hours– maybe an hour before bed last night and another two this morning, and I’m already reloading Amazon over and over again waiting for a sequel.  Go check it out, it’s great.

After that we might get into talking about religion a bit, believe it or not.  One of my oldest friends was in town this weekend with her three kids– her oldest daughter is twelve, her middle child (the only boy) is eight, putting him more or less at my son’s age, and her youngest, another daughter, is five.  We went to the zoo the first day they were in town and took them over to look around on Notre Dame’s campus the next day which, believe it or not, was the first time I’d ever seen the Grotto or the inside of the Basilica despite having lived in South Bend for 2/3 of my life or so.  The Basilica is absolutely amazing even if you have my, uh, somewhat unorthodox views on Christianity and religion in general– I may be a mean old atheist with a couple of degrees in religious studies, which, believe me, is the worst kind of mean old atheist, but I sure as hell can appreciate me some architecture.

It turns out that they keep docents around to give impromptu tours to the people who randomly wander into the place, and once ours determined that the oldest of the four kids was interested in being an architect she got real interesting real fast.  And then we got to the reliquary, which contains something like sixteen hundred relics of saints, and … man, it has been a minute since I have been around seriously religious people in a context where their serious-religiousness had a chance of playing a major role in the conversation.  And I’m not enough of an asshole to start a fight about this stuff, but I’ll admit it threw me for a hell of a loop when she pointed at one particular ornate cross and stated that it contained all of the following:

  • A piece of Jesus’ manger
  • A piece of the table the Last Supper was eaten at
  • A piece of Jesus’ burial shroud and
  • A fragment of the True Cross

And I had this moment of oh, holy shit, you genuinely believe every word you just said is true, and knew myself to be wholly in the presence of someone who does not view any part of the world the way I do.  Which, don’t get me wrong, is fine.  I don’t care.  She’s explaining her faith to me and my family and my friends and she’s being very very nice about it and frankly I’m in her house and I’m not about to start being a dick about her believing stuff I don’t believe.  You do you, nice lady.  There’s no problem here.

And then my son started talking, and as it turns out Daddy’s Little Empiricist has had absolutely no religious training of any kind at all, and, well, there’s some stuff that we kinda just assumed the wider culture would take care of for us?  I mean, we didn’t tell him about Santa Claus, and he knows all about that, and …

… well, as it turns out my son doesn’t know a god damn thing about Jesus.  And I think this lady has probably been doing her job for a good long time and she’s probably been asked a bunch of stuff and she’s probably had a handful of argumentative old atheists in that basilica on a couple of occasions and she was nonetheless not prepared for my son and his we-stole-him-from-a-South-American-jungle level of Don’t Know Nothin’ Bout Jesus.

He can tell you anything about the Avengers, though.

So yeah.  That happened.  How’s the coffee?

In which I bullet point

ostriches-head-in-sandJust  a couple of things that are rolling around in my head; do with them what you will:

  • President Obama did the right thing– politically, morally, and legally– by going to Congress for authorization to attack Syria.  I have no idea whether he’ll get it, but this thing where we just attack other countries without a declaration of war because the President wants to needs to stop.  That said, the AUMF is probably too broad, and for it to matter Obama’s going to have to pay attention to what Congress says to do, which he doesn’t actually have to.
  • Congress should say no, and Obama shouldn’t have wanted to do this in the first place.  Not one more thin fucking dime for bombs in the Middle East; I don’t give a shit what they do to each other anymore.  Chemical weapons, machine guns, eat each fucking other for all I care.  No more goddamn Middle East wars.  There’s no good outcome from this under any circumstances– we take out Assad and bring democracy to Syria, they’re just going to elect an Islamist government– so we shouldn’t do anything at all.  Let them solve their own goddamn civil war.
  • Humanitarians are no doubt thinking humanitarian things based on that last paragraph.  I initially supported the Iraq war on humanitarian grounds; look at where that got us.  “Fuck it” is now officially a position on war.  If that makes me a bad person, I can live with it; if that means tinhorn despots will continue to use chemical weapons to ineffectively kill relatively small numbers of people I can live with that too.
  • NICE OF YOU TO SAY “FUCK IT” WHILE PEOPLE ARE DYING, ASSHOLE:  Refer to “no good outcome” response.  Nothing we can do about this.  Bombing just kills more innocent people.  I’d prefer we not do that, and since there’s no viable positive outcome that means we don’t do it.
  • I was already aware of most of the information in this useful article except for the bit where we’re pissing Russia off, which seems like another reason for this to be a nay-nay war, as John Pinette might say.
  • Notre Dame’s first home game was yesterday, which meant we got our first onslaught of poorly-housebroken drunk asshole fucks after the game, two of whom were wearing shirts that said “SOUTH BEND FUCKIN’ INDIANA” on the front and something along the lines of “IF YOU DON’T BLEED BLUE AND GOLD TAKE YOUR BITCH ASS HOME” on the back, displaying the kind of grace and class I’ve come to expect from Notre Dame students over the years.  I considered throwing them out on the spot and settled for making them turn the shirts inside out, then managed to get into a minor Twitter fight this morning while making sure I’d gotten the back of the shirts right.
  • No demolition today in the bathroom; we’ve decided to wait until measuring is done and we have a timeline on the guy coming in to do the tile.  There’s no point in wrecking the bathroom early– possibly a couple of weeks early– when there’s so much else to be done before we can put it back together, even if a three-day weekend would be convenient.
  • Here’s the front of the shirt.
  • It’s probably time to potty train the boy.  There have been Constipation Issues this week.  I don’t like knowing about other people’s poops.
  • Making snow pea beef stir fry tonight.  I am hugely looking forward to it.
  • Looking less forward to having to wade through four inches of grading HOW THE HELL DID THAT HAPPEN ALREADY.

Might add more later.  Whee!