February 9, 2009

This tree is far too overbearing...

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... but let's curl up here anyway. There are so many things we could talk about.

AND: Alternate view:

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61 comments:

john said...

I volunteer to be the Althouse Journalist at Obama's next news conference. Will you pick up my expenses?

Simon said...

Grenwald is bloviating about some nonsense Obama has done to annoy him and increase his blood pressure, according to memeorandum. So, y'know, the press conference might not have worked out, but at least Obama did something useful today.

Simon said...

What do you want to talk about, Ann?

Jason (the commenter) said...

I think it's interesting how different people can see the same thing and have amazingly different interpretations of it. Like a political performance or one of Althouse's pictures. But I probably only think it's interesting because I'm young and inexperienced.

Ann Althouse said...

I was thinking about whether lawprofs these days lecture more than they used to. I've noticed more law students refer to a class as a lecture.

I have this ingrained sense that it's wrong to "just" lecture, but also, I love to lecture.

Ann Althouse said...

Well, Jason, does that tree disturb you? It disturbs me.

MadisonMan said...

I will make a statement, and then ask a question. Then I'll write more qualifying statements.

I'm fairly certain that I have seen the hostess of this blog mention more than once that she does not like being called by her first name, but visitors still do it. Why?

I'm not picking on you Simon; it's more a reaction to all the questions in the thread preceding this one with all the questions starting "Ann, ...." Now, it's possible I dreamt reading the anti-Ann commentary by the professor.

I have written a statement, asked a question, and then written some qualifying sentences.

This has been an exercise in clarity. The world needs more clarity.

Simon said...

Prompting questions seems more likely to tease out the interesting issues (and make the student think) than lecturing - reiterating - the materials, doesn't it?

Jason (the commenter) said...

Well, Jason, does that tree disturb you? It disturbs me.

It has some dead wood. But you know, it's seen a lot of hard times and it's still alive. And that's kind of reassuring.

MadisonMan said...

Students call things lectures when they just sit back and expect to be spoon-fed facts (but only if the facts are on the test! Nothing superfluous please!). Lazy students!

Simon said...

MM, you're right, but in my case, it's force of habit predating that particular command. To me, addressing someone by just their last name seems inappropriate unless it's someone I'm particularly close to.

MadisonMan said...

The kind of tree that disturbs me? There's one down at the end of my block. A huge Pin Oak -- very very straight trunk. About 40 feet up is a mammoth branch that is dead. I imagine the tree shedding this dead weight at an inopportune time.

Ann Althouse said...

I prefer to be called Althouse (or professor). Mainly for blog purposes. In real life, people do call me Ann, and I'm not insane about it. But I do think it's an absurdly boring name. Like The.

William said...

I have been wondering about Superman's cape. What is the purpose of Superman's cape? Does he need it to keep the rain off? Does it make his aerodynamics smoother? My feeling is that it's strictly decorative--an adornment to perfection as it were. I think, as such, Superman's cape has some theological significance. If Superman can add to his perfection by wearing a cape, then it follows that God could add to His perfection by creating the world.....What got me thinking about Superman was Obama. To me Obama looks like Clark Kent. I don't see the Superman in him. But Michelle saw the Superman in him when he interned at her law firm. Why after all those years could Lois Lane never see the Superman in Clark Kent?

Ron said...

Why after all those years could Lois Lane never see the Superman in Clark Kent? They came up with an explanation for this; Superman unconsciously uses his super-hypnotism (ahem) to convince those closest to him to not associate Clark Kent and Superman.

I mistrust trees myself...what are they up to?

Jason (the commenter) said...

Fig trees disturb me. A seed gets shat by a bird into a palm and starts growing. Once the roots reach the ground it gets bigger and bigger; covering the host in wood that looks like melted wax. In the end you see a few leaves of the original tree, just waiting to be snuffed out.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I think, as such, Superman's cape has some theological significance.

In the comic books there are different versions of Superman in alternate universes. Some of them are villains. I wonder if we can be sure we live in the best possible world.

Lawgiver said...

Ann is a boring name, ha. If you have grandchildren do you want them to call you Althouse or some boring name like grandmother or mima? I called all my grandparents by their first names, I thought they were all cool.

Chip Ahoy said...

Fooled me. I assumed that's how the tree really looks, but Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8 is the fisheye lens.

Being fooled forced me to make some cupcakes to look like kittens.

Beth said...

I've recently come round to writing "Althouse" because I finally noticed you'd requested that. Is that what you go by in class as well?

I write my name on the board during the first class, and point out that I'm not a professor and please don't address me as such. This being the South, and New Orleans in particular, about 1/3 will call me Ms. B_________, but the rest use "Miss Beth." I let my love of local culture overcome any professional discomfort with that.

We adopted a new textbook in Freshman Comp, and I opted for a canned topic for our first paper, something on the lines of argue for or against the benefits of a new technology. The first paper I opened for grading this week was titled "Blogging is Dangerous!" Sigh.

Simon, on the lecturing/questioning balance, I prefer a nice mix. Today was my "Grammar and Style Errors in Today's Society" discussion - the first item is "Don't use "In today's society," or any form thereof or I'll hit you." Well, not exactly. Then we moved on to it's versus its - that led me to use questioning to get across a mnemonic device: We go over the pronouns. Then, Do you know," I ask, "that there's only ONE pronoun that forms its possessive with an apostrophe? You have to remember only ONE. Which ONE is it?" Blank stares as I went through at least two more lame attempts at repetition, gesturing for emphasis, until someone ventured, "Oh. It's 'one,' as in "one must watch one's grammar?" At that point I said, "I'm not this geeky in the real world. Class dismissed." Lecture is so much more dignified than some other classroom exercises.

EDH said...

I found most of Obama's responses at tonight's press conference to be "shovel-ready."

What is the purpose of Superman's cape?

It hides his "plumber's crack" when he bends over. Those tights are, well, tight.

William said...

Does Superman want Lois Lane to love him for who he really is or does he want Lois to love him for his persona Clark Kent? Does Clark Kent have an obligation to tell Lois Lane that he has another, hidden identity as Superman? It's a pretty significant fact to not tell the woman you're wooing. Or does she have to admit her love to Clark Kent before he is obligated to fess up? But if she falls in love with Clark Kent isn't she really being unfaithful to his true, real self which is Superman? The entire relationship is a conundrum.

Synova said...

I don't recall which version of Superman it was but they went back in time somehow and Lex Luthor, I think it was, tells Lois that she's known as the stupidest woman alive because she never figured out that Clark Kent was Superman. He put glasses on and said, "Clark Kent," took them off, "Superman", put them on, "Clark Kent," took them off, "Superman."

I thought it was very funny. ;-)

Beth said...

I'm disturbed and awed by some groves of young, slender cypress trees that bent during the winds of Katrina. The bending is in a swooping, circular pattern that you can see from a stretch of raised highway.

Along I-10 between Lafayette and New Orleans, I have the same mix of distress and awe looking at the many trees snapped about halfway down. Like the bent ones, the breaking reveals the wind pattern of storm's movement.

I take these as reminders that nature endures.

Chip Ahoy said...

Death by coconut. What a way to go.

A group of friends and I rented a house in Cancun that was built on the front of a stone jetty within a gated area of private homes right outside of the old town at the very beginning of the peninsula where all the hotels are located. The center of the gated area was uncleared forest primeval with a deeply shaded path running through it, and on that path I beheld a coconut that fell onto the path and germinated with just enough light to send up a spear that unfolded into a frond followed by another spear, spreading its roots out laterally under the ground cover but over the soil. I studied it and marveled. I devised plans to take it with me, but abandoned them, my friends wouldn't have liked it, US customs and all the rest. Pffft.

But I've been curious about those coconut ever since. In Hawaii I asked a lot of questions, and I wouldn't have customs to worry about, but I never saw another germinating coconut, and boy, did I ever look for one.

Ron said...

William, you ask good questions that could apply to all our relationships... but most of the time its the Green K that gaks us, instead!

William said...

EDH makes an interesting observation. Who besides Blago wants to run around town in spandex all day? Perhaps the real attraction for Superman in the Clark Kent persona was that it gave him a chance to wear a loose, comfortable Brooks suit. That's all those superheroes ever really want anyway: truth, justice, and comfortable clothes.

Chip Ahoy said...

Superman went back in time by flying around the earth counter to the way the earth normally rotates so fast that the rotation actually stops and then spins backward. That's the way I understood the pictures, anyway, at ten years old.

traditionalguy said...

Lectures given with confidence and with authority build the very structure of the law into the minds of students drinking in this new legal world. You cannot want to learn for them, and you cannot listen for them. All you can do is present the law as it is in its historical context, implying its future growth is also possible along certain lines. That's gold. Let them feel the weight of your certainty of understanding. Don't shrink from playing your role because some students are not enjoying being taught law when they want to play.There may be such a thing as overbearing Trees, but a law school prof's job is to communicate deeply the overbearing authority of the law, with self confidence.

1jpb said...

I had a friend named The.

His "American name" was Craig, but he only used that for a few years after he came here from Vietnam. Then, he decided to be The (pronounced Tay), again.

I also had a Taiwanese friend (Jack) who stuck w/ his American name. He chose his name because of the sitcom Three's Company. His sisters ended up as Rosie and something I can't recall--they could have been Chrissy and Janet.

chickenlittle said...

But I do think it's an absurdly boring name. Like The.

The Svedberg was a Swedish physical chemist and Nobel laureate (1926). He even had a Madison connection, having done a sabbatical there.
But I guess he was kind of boring.

William said...

Technically speaking, isn't Superman an illegal alien in the truest sense of the word? Isn't the Superman backstory kind of an allegory for immigration and assimilation? We have our American identity and our family identity. Our family identity (which is often foreign) gives us secret powers but also makes us susceptible to krytonite. For example, I knew a Chinese guy who was very good in school because his family absolutely insisted that he study hard. That was his secret superpower. His kryptonite was that they didn't speak English very well and were kind of dorky. He was a little embarassed about them. That was his kryptonite.

blake said...

Superman went back in time by flying around the earth counter to the way the earth normally rotates so fast that the rotation actually stops and then spins backward. That's the way I understood the pictures, anyway, at ten years old.

A lot of people still cling to that. I remember thinking the same way and thinking it was really stupid.

But, in fact, the idea was that he was flying so fast that he was going back in time.

I think the purpose of the cape is so that you have something not to tug on when you're not messing around with Jim.

blake said...

Also, no capes!

Kirk Parker said...

Althouse, if the tree disturbs you, why in the world to you say "but let's curl up here anyway"? Don't you remember how poorly that worked out for Frodo and his companians?

And regarding being called "Althouse" rather than "Ann", why don't you change your blogger profile so that your posts and comments are identified as just "Althouse" rather than "Ann Althouse"? Surely that reduce the frequency of "Ann" being used.

William said...

Ireland is a land rich in kryptonite but almost barren of superpowers.

jaed said...

In real life, people do call me Ann, and I'm not insane about it. But I do think it's an absurdly boring name. Like The.

"How did you become estranged from your own name, to regard it — as opposed to yourself — as [absurdly boring], and to think of that in a negative way?"

One could think of the name Ann as classic, simple, traditional... even vanilla, a fine and subtle flavor.

john said...

Chip -

an "uncleared forest primeval"

and "on that path I beheld a coconut"


Just wondering, shouldn't it be "And lo, upon that path I beheld..."? And should uncleared forests primeval (forest primevals?) even have paths?

Finally, ever been hit by one? I have, and I don't look downward for coconuts anymore.

Revenant said...

I'm fairly certain that I have seen the hostess of this blog mention more than once that she does not like being called by her first name, but visitors still do it. Why?

Because calling somebody by their last name, in their presence, feels very uncomfortable to me.

Our hostess may prefer it, but that's cuz she's weird. :)

AllenS said...

Those trees are great, and have a lot of potential. Grab some nails and 2 x 4's, build a deer stand, and then blast one when it casually walks by. Thereby feeding your family and helping to minimize deer/car collisions. Saving the insurance companies lots of money. Win win.

When given lemons, make lemonade.
When given a tree, build something, or burn it for fuel, afterall, it's wood.

Donna B. said...

I love those trees. I have never found a tree to be overbearing in any way at all. I think in another reincarnation I could be a tree hugger.

Rocks also are fascinating. Statues waiting to be carved, if only in my imagination.

And water. Water Rocks Trees. I am happy.

Ann Althouse said...

lawgiver said..."If you have grandchildren do you want them to call you Althouse or some boring name like grandmother or mima?"

I've always assumed Grandma, though I called my maternal grandmother Grandma Beatty -- with the last name -- and my paternal grandmother Mom. We never used Mom to refer to our mother, only our grandmother. Perhaps the baby -- if there is ever to be one -- will come up with his/her own pet name.

Mima is the grandmother's name in "Pecker." I love that movie. But Mima is wacky.

Chip Ahoy said... "Fooled me. I assumed that's how the tree really looks, but Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8 is the fisheye lens. Being fooled forced me to make some cupcakes to look like kittens."

Ha ha.

Beth said..."This being the South, and New Orleans in particular, about 1/3 will call me Ms. B_________, but the rest use "Miss Beth." I let my love of local culture overcome any professional discomfort with that."

Yes, that is a beautiful way to mix respect and familiarity. Actually, my mother called me Miss Ann when she was scolding me -- but I can only remember the mildest scolding. My mother never once yelled at me (or hit me). Neither did my father.

As an adult, I learned that "Miss Ann" is a slang term.

traditionalguy said..."Lectures given with confidence and with authority build the very structure of the law into the minds of students drinking in this new legal world. You cannot want to learn for them, and you cannot listen for them. All you can do is present the law as it is in its historical context, implying its future growth is also possible along certain lines. That's gold. Let them feel the weight of your certainty of understanding. Don't shrink from playing your role because some students are not enjoying being taught law when they want to play.There may be such a thing as overbearing Trees, but a law school prof's job is to communicate deeply the overbearing authority of the law, with self confidence."

So I should emulate the overbearing tree... Am I to present the law through a fisheye lens?

1jpb said..."I had a friend named The. His "American name" was Craig, but he only used that for a few years after he came here from Vietnam. Then, he decided to be The (pronounced Tay), again."

I don't think that is boring at all "Tay" is a good syllable, and it's edgy to have it spelled "The." You have to have a good feeling about it though. I can see how a child might not enjoy it.

chickenlittle said..."The Svedberg was a Swedish physical chemist and Nobel laureate (1926). He even had a Madison connection, having done a sabbatical there."

The is at least the definite article. I like to think I am The Althouse. But to just be an Althouse. Blah! Frankly, you can called me The Althouse. Or L'Althouse.

But let me not exaggerate it. I'm not that alienated from my own name. My sons call me Ann (to each other and outsiders). On thing about Ann is that people pronounce it different ways. Some pronunciations are better than others.

There's also the issue of spelling it. People need to know whether to put the e on it, and yet you feel like you're insulting someone when you spell such a simple 3 letter word.

jaed said..."One could think of the name Ann as classic, simple, traditional... even vanilla, a fine and subtle flavor."

Thanks. That's helpful. Vanilla is a brilliant smell/flavor. The best!

Donna B. said... "I love those trees. I have never found a tree to be overbearing in any way at all. I think in another reincarnation I could be a tree hugger."

This tree only looks like this because it did hug it. I had to get all the way in close to make it look like this (with the fisheye lens).

fcai said...

I hug trees. That is the best way to see which way they are leaning. Then I can fell them using their natural lean everything works out well.

I don't let trees disturb me. My saw and I disturb trees. Major stumpage, oh yeah...

traditionalguy said...

Dear Professor... Yes, you are bigger than than Ann the Althouse's little girl. Adults are the Supermen/women in a child's eyes. The concept "Legal Ethics" rises and falls on the deep respect we feel for the examples set by honorable Supermen/women. When we lose that respect, we reenter the jungle of might makes right where a few not yet sold out persons are safe for the moment.So your teaching as if a giant-tree begats giant-trees .With best regards, I remain Traditionalguy.

Simon said...

jaed said...
"One could think of the name Ann as classic, simple, traditional... even vanilla, a fine and subtle flavor."

That's a nice way to think of it. Vanilla is a much-maligned and underappreciated flavor - so much so that it's become (unfairly, in my view) a synonym for ordinary, bordering on bland. But it's delicious!

traditionalguy said...

Speaking of trees, the pictures we have all seen of the northern California Redwood forests is nothing like the awe you feel when walking thru these forests in person. No one expects to be in awe of a tree, but it still happens.The tree rings of a fallen redwood go back 1000 years. That deserves some serious respect. and standing next to these families of 350' tall living organism puts human lives into a new perspective.

Henry Buck said...

"Perhaps the baby -- if there is ever to be one -- will come up with his/her own pet name."

That sentence was depressing. Maybe it's the term "the baby" which makes it sound as if a particular child exists, but then vanishes, rather than "a baby" which has more distance. I don't know, but it really jumped out at me as something profoundly sad.

How about "Nan" for a grandmotherly name, though? It is traditional and is a nice play on Ann.

Ann Althouse said...

@Henry Buck What was sad? The fact that I don't know if I'll have grandchildren? I don't even know if I will survive until tomorrow. We're lucky to have whatever we have now.

Henry Buck said...

No, I thought I had explained it. Just the way "the child" sounded, rather than "a child." It sounded like a particular and specific human being, who then vanished between the dashes, that's all.

Ann Althouse said...

Oh, are we back to my problem with my name, an Althouse instead of the Althouse?

jdeeripper said...

This tree is far too overbearing..

Like a cathedral designed by Gaudi

Brad V said...

Where's Tom Bombadil when you need him?

reader_iam said...

Then, Do you know," I ask, "that there's only ONE pronoun that forms its possessive with an apostrophe? You have to remember only ONE. Which ONE is it?"

OMG, Beth. That is almost word-for-word something I said to my son not long ago, during grammar instruction. LOL. Luckily, I only had to use the exaggerated tone and not the gestures.

peter hoh said...

Speaking of vanilla, and the need to economize, my new favorite ice cream is Target's house brand, Archer Farms Madagascar Vanilla. Especially when they knock a dollar off the regular price.

Revenant said...

Vanilla is a much-maligned and underappreciated flavor - so much so that it's become (unfairly, in my view) a synonym for ordinary, bordering on bland. But it's delicious!

It is also, weirdly enough, the second most expensive spice by weight, after saffron.

Which makes it kind of exotic! :)

reader_iam said...

I think it's because people confuse imitation Vanilla extract with the luscious flavoring that comes from scraping out and using the contents of the real thing.

Beth said...

You're lucky to have a captive audience of one. I have 20, each at a computer; I have yet to do an interpretive grammar dance, but it could happen any day.

reader_iam said...

interpretive grammar dance

If and when, pictures pretty please?

Could come in handy any day now ... .

Beth said...

Good vanilla is exotic, and a worthy flavor.

My favorite snoball is orchid cream vanilla, topped with condensed milk, from Plum Street Snoballs. Other places have a similar flavor, but theirs reigns supreme.

The link is to a discussion forum with pictures of some great snoball stands, including Plum Street. The first, Tee-Eva's, is also a soul food joint. When I was in high school, there was a different snoball stand there, where you could order a chocolate shake with a lid, for $10. You would get a cup with a lid on it, and a lid in it. Tee-Eva does not continue this practice. She is on the up-and-up.

Beth said...

reader, should I ever, I promise pictures.

Kirk Parker said...

Beth,

By "pictures" you mean "Video", right??? :-)