Friday, December 17, 2004

On pordjet di libe eciclopedeye e lingaedje walon

I found the Walloon segment of the Wikipedia while performing a Google search as part of brainstorming (procrastinating?) for my thesis. The Mwaisse pådje (Main page) is intriguing, and is also quite readable for the cultured Francophone (and amateur phoneticist and etymologist). My dad did his undergraduate work in Liège, the center of Walloon culture, and spent most of his formative years in Namur, the capital of the modern Belgian province of Wallonia, so this explains part of my fascination.

Another smoking ban

The small kingdom of Bhutan, wedged between India and China, has banned smoking in public, as well as all commercial sales of tobacco. This is the logical extension of most smoking bans, and the potential repercussions for commercial and personal freedom are many. The most ominous aspect I've noticed is that a majority of respondents on a CNN online poll support a similar ban by their home governments. I wonder what Europe will do.

Personally, I'm torn. The tortured cigarette quitter in me is intrigued, but the rest of me, especially the libertarian side, is dead against this. At the heart of the matter is the perennial problem of morality being enforced by the government. And in pluralistic states - which are the majority of modern societies - this is very controversial. I guess the crux of the problem is to what extent tobacco usage impacts the other members of society, and is that impact harmful enough to prohibit in the form of legislation (or decree)?


Those of you returning to Dartmouth for the Winter term will notice two new construction sites, one near the "Shower Towers" (Bradley and Gerry). These monstrosities of architecture are due to be replaced by the new Kemeny Math Building, to be located adjacent to the two towers. Ground was broken for the new building towards the end of Fall term, and at the moment, there are at least three pieces of machinery at work preparing the site.

Also, the parking lot at the corner of Maynard and College streets has been cordoned off, and construction has begun on the McLaughlin Residential Cluster. This will expand the number of beds for undergraduate students as well as a new dining hall; both much needed additions to Dartmouth's residential environment. But it looks like my senior year will be marked by construction just as my freshman year was. 05's and older will fondly remember the corridor through the Baker Stacks, with the Paradiso (new Berry) and the Inferno (old Baker) marking each end. Ah well, growing pains. Can't avoid them...

AP wire

The dealing with the media is a fine art, one that can only be taught so much, and the rest must be learned through my trial and their error. A couple of observations: Decide what you want published, and repeat it often. Get a good quote, and try to work it into the end of each answer you give. Be nice to an extreme, especially during phone interviews. You can ignore their questions, and reply with what you want, as long as you are polite to a fault. Develop a rapport with journalists. And feel free to tell them things "in confidence," or "off the record," as long as you want it possibly published. After being interviewed by numerous local and regional papers, and finally making it to the AP, I'm still constantly working on the best way to get across what I want to say, while still making sure I'm relevant enough to be published. It's a delicate balance.

Monday, December 13, 2004


Darned writer's block. I need to write something like 25 paragraphs for my thesis introduction and I don't know where to start. The toughest part is the opening paragraph, which is most important. I should write it first, since everything else is dependant on it, but I should also write it last, since I need to write what follows, to make sure it all makes sense, something I'm not making at the moment either.

Maudite espece de these!

La loi...des chiffres

So I got a ding letter from Georgetown Law. It wasn't entirely unexpected, but I had hoped that applying Early Decision would help to some extent. Ah well, there are twelve other schools that have my application in their hands. Although only half of those are schools I'd be ecstatic to attend (read: top 15). Life goes on.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Writing and the reading thereof

The 2004 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to the Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek. If her acceptance lecture is an example of her prose, I have no doubts that the Nobel Committee's collective mind is still floating way out in the ether. Which is a distinctive possibility when you consider their choice for the Nobel Peace Prize was the poster girl for Arbor Day. What the heck? Peace for the trees and the Ents. It's all good, man. Read some of this, and pass it to the right....
When will it silently make off? When will something make off, so there’s silence? The more the language over there makes off, the louder it can be heard. It’s on everyone’s lips, only not on my lips. My mind is clouded. I have not passed out, but my mind is clouded. I am worn out from gazing after my language like a lighthouse by the sea, which is supposed to light someone home and so has itself been lit up, and which as it revolves always reveals something else from the darkness, but is there anyway, whether it is lit up or not, it’s a lighthouse, which doesn’t help anyone, no matter how hard that man wishes it would, so as not to have to die in the water. The harder I try to make it out, the more obstinately it doesn’t go out, language.
(From Elfriede Jelinek's Nobel acceptance lecture.)

Fin de semaine

This afternoon, I was elected to the Grafton County Republican Committee as the Young Republican Representative, as well as selected as one of forty-seven representatives from the county to the NH Republican State Committee. This means I will be largely responsible for working closely with the rest of the Committee to enlarge the extent of youth participation in the political process, and especially facilitating a rapport between the County Committee and the local interests they represent and young people who are interested in becoming involved in the political process. Democracy in its purest form is found on the local level, and involving young people on this level is a great introduction to politics. I look forward to working with the rest of the committee on this, as well as the task of developing a strategy for the next two years, as we approach the midterm elections in 2006, as well as laying the groundwork for 2008.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Rage is often a misnomer for what Dartmouth students do. Rage is a monosyllabic, multiuse verb that conveniently describes partying without limits. For example, last night, I started playing pong at 5:30, went to dinner with friends at 7, and was back in the basement playing pong at 9, just until 1 am. Sobriety was lacking throughout, as was sloppy drunkeness. The average age of those in the basment was 22 years, and I have never seen a less destructive or a more responsible evening of merriment. If that was rage, what about my 12 hour bender after taking the LSATs? Or that evening at the beginning of the term of which I have no memory after a certain point? To extend the moniker of rage to a normal night of moderate merriment is to seriously devalue the ponderance of a wild and ragey night of rage.

Monday, December 06, 2004


So today inaugurates indisputable adulthood on my part - 22 years. As one of the many resolutions we usually make on birthdays, I have started this blog. I've long resisted starting my own blog, as I've barely been able to post with any consistency on the team blogs that have invited me. However, moved by the entreaties of friends, and foreseeing the pragmatics of post-Dartmouth communication, I have begun this endeavor. Anything and everything may be posted, yet these pages shall not receive my entire confidence. With that disclaimer, everything here posted shall be truthful. Nuff said.