Sunday, June 28, 2009


Joey: A gazzoom is part rabbit part flamingo. It is white and always eating nothing.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Joey Picks Up Taglines

All day Joey has been saying "Creepy? Creepy is my middle name!" I recognized this as a line from Scooby Doo II, which is the kids' new favorite movie.

Then Joey started adding "Look for it at Creepy Dot Com!"

This is not from the movie.


Me: Joey, do you need to use the potty?

Joey: No.

Me: Then why are you dancing around holding your penis?

Joey: Because that is my favorite kind of dance to do.

For variety

For variety, we are now watching TV at the library.

I told them they couldn't watch any more TV until they ran around outside for a while. So, we decided to all bike to the playground. The training wheels just came off Caroline's bike, and I've been looking forward to actually riding places with her. It took about an hour to get everyone wrangled up, with Caroline helmeted and on her bike, and Joey was in the trailer. We rode about four blocks before Caroline said she was tired and that her bike didn't work. It turns out her brakes were grabbing the rear tire, so we turned around and went home.

I was still insisting that we had to get out of the house and do something, so we hopped in the car and went to the library. Once here, the kids plopped down in front of a computer and started watching kids videos again. So its just like sitting around the house, except I can't get any work done, because everything I need is on the machines at home.

Big Weekend

It is just me and the kids until Tuesday. The question: will i get through the weekend without simply indulging every desire of the kids. So far, not good. We had cupcakes for breakfast, played the wii, and are now watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The opening of the video is a simple ad for the trading cards game.

UPDATE: I'm trying to grade student comments while the kids watch TMNT. TMNT actually sounds pretty cool, judging by the audio. Triceratops space aliens. Parallel dimensions. Demonic laughter.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Operation Rescue in 2007: "Together we can put an end to George Tiller"

In 2007 Operation Rescue produced this video (warning, extremely graphic content), which doesn't quite call for the assassination of George Tiller, but it comes close. (Here is the link to the video on the OR website, where they take credit for making it.) The video opens by calling Tiller a "Murderer, Liar, Profiteer, Drug Addict, Corrupt, Unethical, Perverse, Alcoholic, Drug Addict, Malicious, Evil, Defiler, Foul, Blasphemer, Butcher." It ends with "Together, we can put an end to George Tiller, Abortion and these horrific crimes."

It is probably, as with abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolph, that Scott Roeder had material support from pro-lifers in his long campaign to assassinate George Tiller. It is certain that he was actively encouraged by the most prominent pro-life groups in the country.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Moral Status Survey

I use short surveys on philosophical issues as conversation starters in my classes. I've adapted one below for the intertubes as a part of my online bioethics course. The first two parts are Likert scale questions, and the third part has a few examples of discussion questions I use in class after I give out the quiz. I am grateful to any passers by who want to check it out and give feedback.

part 1

part 2

part 3

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Free Translation of Plato with Commentary

John Holbo and Belle Waring have produced a translation of Euthyphro, Meno, and Republic I, with extensive commentary and introductory material for students! And very pretty illustrations! The electronic version is free, and a paper version is coming out from Pearson Asia.

Here is the books official site. You can click on the preview above to get the page for the book from the self-publishing site ISSUU, or click here.

Since I teach basic Plato once or twice a year, this is a natural textbook for me to adopt. Recently I've just been doing the death of Socrates sequence, but I've done Meno and Republic as well, so this would be no problem to fit in.

But there's an on the other hand. Cathal Woods and Ryan Pack have published the death of Socrates sequence (with only the final scene of the Phaedo) under the Creative Commons License. Both books have free e-versions, are written and translated by people I have met once in real life, and basically fit my course plan. Which to choose?

My goal for all my classes is to use only texts that have free electronic versions and paper versions that are cheap. I haven't really decided on a line for "cheap" but right now I'm thinking no more than $25 non-recoverable costs overall (that is, the cost of the book minus the amount the student can reasonable expect to get reselling it). John and Belle aren't releasing their book under the Creative Commons license, but the book's website says that I can make a free e-version available to students as long as I also stock the paper version in the book store. I can't find a price for the paper version, and I doubt my students could get much in resale for it. I'm not even sure if the LCCC bookstore can order from Pearson Asia. The Woods and Pack book doesn't have a paper version at all, but with the liberal CC license I can just take it to Kinkos. So far, my experience has been that LCCC students prefer a paper copy, if they can afford it. But both Chrysler and GM are shutting plants down around here as a part of their bankruptcies, so everyone is trying to save money. And most of the technological literacy here is at the cell phone/text messaging level, not the "I read all my books in my Kindle" level.

Well, at the very least John's illustrations are gorgeous, and I'm looking forward to reading his Plato commentary while I decide what book to use.