Rubinology Book Burning

Try to find a copy of Arthur Abell's "Talks with Great Composers".

Burn it.

There is not one shred of truth in this concocted piece of agenda-driven drivel.

Topics such as "How Brahms Contacted God" and "Puccini Tells How He Appropriated Divinity" should give one a clue as to the contents of this immoral and fraudulent use of the names of great composers.

One question posed the great Johannes was "what percentage of contemporary composers do you think really contact Divinity?" - 'two' was Brahms' response (who, by the way keeps referring to Jesus as the 'God-intoxicated Nazarene' - I think I need some intoxication after reading this dribble!).

If you want to read more about the debunking of this crap read Jan Swafford's article about Brahms: Did the Young Brahms Play Piano in Waterfront Bars? [19th-Century Music, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Spring, 2001), pp. 268-275]

I could go on but I may need to vomit now...


Rubinology Instant LOSER

So I went to McDonald's for lunch the other day with my friends Jeff and Gene. They were having that McDonald's Monopoly game going on and would you believe it? I peeled off my game piece from my fries and it was revealed that I was indeed and INSTANT WINNER! Of what you may ask? Any breakfast sandwich (except for a sausage McMuffin for whatever reason). So I had this little piece of paper in my pocket - of which my two friends were fiercely jealous - for over two weeks before deciding to use it one morning on the way to work.

SO! I get on the drive through line - I get to the menu and have NO IDEA what to order - I'm faced with a deluge of what looks like identical items - and so I just get an egg, bacon, and cheese on a biscuit sandwich. I ask the guy over the loudspeaker if it's ok and tell him I'm an instant winner and have the piece of paper and all.

I get to the window and he scrutinizes the paper like I was trying to forge my way into Fort Knox. Finally I get the thing and after the first bite I remember just why I NEVER go to McDonald's for breakfast - IT STINKS! I like a Big Mac for sure - and my kid and wife love the fries - but what the hell is wrong with these over-sized yellow and brown hockey pucks that taste like cardboard and shatter like that white packing board you get when you buy a toaster oven?

So I'm driving up-hill to work covered in egg-something-or-other and cold biscuit shards, drinking warm ginger ale out of a straw-learning-how-to-drink cup I snatched from my 2+ year old's cupboard as I rushed out the door, in 25 degree weather with about 5 minutes to spare before I have to teach my 8 am freshman class of 52 students (of which 34 show up by 8:15 anyway). Suddenly I became aware of one very painful fact - McDonald's was pointing out to me that I was an INSTANT LOSER!!!!


Rubinology Empty Seats

So I'm a teacher if you didn't know. And one COOL thing about being a teacher in the post-modern military-industrial-complex society is MASS EMAIL! Here I can email all my students at once when they piss me the hell off (which takes less and less as the years go by). Here's my latest mass email:

"Dear Students:

Reminder - class begins at 8:00, not 8:05 or later - you should be ready and quiet in your seats. Also a number of you have been delinquent in coming to class. This class moves swiftly and this behavior can result in your not getting the information. Do not reply to this email to me, just correct the behavior."

...others have begun with things like the following:

"I was disappointed reading the papers handed to me this past Monday. Many revealed a complete lack of proofreading, little effort in thought or analysis beyond merely regurgitating what I said in class. "

It saddens me to have to write these emails to be honest with y'all. But the alternative is that things can get even MORE out of hand. I just don't remember things being like this when I was in school (I know that sounds trite, but it's true).


Rubinology Ball-Blues

Ever since I was a kid I was a baseball nut. Mets Mets Mets - that's all I could think about during the summer months - that's all I would watch on TV. Pre-game. Post-game. Double-header. 162-game season. Endless playoffs. Then I didn't watch baseball for years during college and when I got a job.

Suddenly I began watching soccer - brilliant - fast - exciting - non-stop...and over in a couple of hours tops. Now I started watching baseball again for some reason. Good GOD it's slow and nothing REALLY happens!!! All now of a sudden there's even more divisions and more post-season playoffs...yadda-yadda-yadda. What the HELL was I doing as a teenager? I mean, it's fun to play - sort of - but most of the time everyone's just STANDING AROUND!!! Now I feel like I have to rethink my whole LIFE!!!


Rubinology Faux-Fone

Do you ever get tired of seeing the SAME people all the time at work and having to say the obligatory 'Hi' 1000X per day? Sometimes this gets reduced to a nod of course, but other times you get sucked into some non-discussion about nothing when you actually may be on your way to use the toilet or something. I have a solution for you! The Faux-Fone! As soon as you see an individual you recognize coming down the hall and you're pretty sure they haven't noticed you first, just take out your cell phone, and look at it pretending to text or search your contacts or whatever (just move your thumb around the pad - you don't need to really press anything). As soon as they've passed (cause they also have a desire to avoid the obligatory salutations most likely) - and they've said nothing - you can just put it back in your pocket. DONE!


Rubinology goes Republican

Wait - did everyone hear the same horrendous speech read by Sarah Palin last night that I did? Ignoring all the childish, facetious jibes and the endless 'we need a real gutsy hero for a president' jibberish and rhetoric sens any actual policy statements (amidst cowboy-hat-waving yahoos), all the reviews made it seem that she had overnight became some kind of Babe Ruth of oration.

I thought about this as I went to sleep and when I awoke I thought to myself, 'Geez! I actually PREFER CHENEY! At least his is an honest to goodness malicious and evil sentiment. Not one spoon-fed to him to satiate someone else's appetite.'

Ya know - I lived as a Democrat under McCain as a senator in Arizona for three years in the 90s and never thought ill of him...even throughout this campaign... until now. I was always going to vote for a Democrat no matter what, but this choice is just downright disappointing for an ex-Arizonan! Maybe it's not too late for him to switch and take Liz Cheney or something as his running mate...or what about Dick himself? Is there anything in the Constitution against that? FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS!!!!


Rubinology in Space

As a teacher I've realized that each school year I travel on a spinning point in space approximately 595 million miles in a circle around the sun just to do the SAME THING over and over again. I've done this 10 times since becoming a professor, so that would equate to 595,000,000,000 miles I've traveled to do the same thing 10 times in a row, albeit to 10 sets of different students. And people say I'm really 'going places'...


Rubinology Contractors

"How does gifting work in the Rubinology world?" you may ask.

First, mommy comes up with the idea of getting baby boy an 89 lb wooden play kitchen that comes in 500 odd parts. (By comparison, he being 24 lbs and I being 185, I should get a gift that's 686 lbs.)

Next, we had to find an investor for the project. Grandma, Inc., was the venture capitalist that paid for said insane-o mega-gift as daddy was too damned stinkin' cheap to get such a zany thing.

But last....ah last....whilst everyone sleeps after a long hot sweaty August day, who schleps the thing in from the porch in its tomb-like box and takes four hours to assemble it? It's time for Rubinology Toy Contractors of course.

Let's take a look at the real work here. We start with the raw materials that when spread out through the dining and living rooms sort of resembled this:

Next we open the instructions. Interesting to note that there is NO TEXT - only images with arrows and letters. Here are two actual examples that I dealt with at 2 am (click on the images to see close-ups of the cacaphonic bullcrap I was wading through at the wee hours of the night):

Well, this of course was all done by a loving father who only hours before was told by his two year old (for whom this mind-bending toil was being wrought) to get off the couch because he was sitting too close to him (meaning anywhere within the local or regional vicinity).

Now, at 3:50 am, it is done:

I like the way the instructions read "Some adult assembly required." "SOME"???? "ADULT"???? If by 'some' they mean 3+ hours of sorting tiny screws and sifting through a box-load of white, oblong particle board, lining up all the parts, discarding mountains of packing materials that ranged from cardboard and styrophome to that weird translucent wrap with tape on it, dissecting intricate directions, balancing child-sized faux kitchen parts whilst trying to screw them together in an oh-so particular way as the manual sort of visually foretells, then YES, 'SOME assembly required."

If by 'adult' they mean my 2 year old doesn't have the patience nor manual dexterity and requisite technique to accomplish a task such as this, then they either have brilliant insight or maybe consulted with a pediatrician. This of course was after they finished the manual so it was too late then either way - what could they do? Dumb it down for toddlers and reprint the damned thing? Nah....

And here I am, burnt to a crisp at FOUR am, blogging about this....all I gotta say is that I hope this kitchen thing inspires my kid to grow up to be a chef - then I'll get something from HIM to eat for a change!


Rubinology Basement

Mammoth Caves

My Basement

Rubinology Questions the Olympics

Now don't get me wrong, I've been following and cheering for the gymnastics and swimming teams and all the other stuff that no one pays attention to except for every four years during the Olympics. But I do have some questions - - like how come in swimming it seems like there's a race for every possible permutation of events: 50m backstroke, 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke, 400m backstroke, 50m butterfly, 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly, 400m butterfly, 800m butterfly, the various medleys of strokes combined, freestyles - which all just look like normal going forward to me (I thought 'freestyle' should be more haphazard) - then ten different relay races. And EACH of these bastards has a GOLD medal hanging on someone at the end of them.

In gymnastics, on the other hand, you have to do something like forty different skills - the highbar, the lowbar, the uneven parallel bars, the balance beam, the vault, the vice, the rings, hoops, loops, and floor exercise (which sounds easier than the crazy jumping around it is they end up doing - oh and by the way the men should get to have music just like the ladies methinks). These 'apparatuses' are sometimes accompanied by additional accoutrements like balls and mini-bowling pins or scarves with which you have to run around to increase the artiness of the whole affair.

You're judged on how correctly you did what you did even though everyone does something different, and with what grace and poise and composure and in the end if you smile wrong during the triple-squeegee-half-cocked-undertuck dismount everyone will gasp and you will most definitely put your whole life's work into jeopardy. And after all of this you could possibly squeeze out a Gold Medal....maybe....if what you chose to do for each of these grueling exercises had a high enough starting difficulty rating according to the fat guy from Moldova sitting with a laptop looking up at you deducting points, and you were Russian at one point in your life and the judge from Belarus doesn't take umbrage at that.

So in my opinion, the fact that this one overly glorified swimmer (who will remain unnamed) is awarded ninety-three shiny gold medals for doing basically the same stinkin' thing in every possible way in eleven seconds flat should give us pause to rethink some concepts regarding the swimming competitions in general. Here are some ideas:

1. No lanes - you have to fight your way across the pool....oh and if it's 1000m it's an 1000m pool - no more swimming back and forth endlessly.

2. Obstacles - nothing dangerous like a pointy water mine or an explosive, maybe just some schools of fish in the pool that go around randomly darting.

3. If it's a relay race, then they have to get the hell out of the pool, hand a stick or whatever to the next guy and then go - that's a relay.

4. Do it like baseball - 162 warm-up competitions, some playoffs, and ONE medal at the end for jumping in a pool and swimming straight and fast.

5. Everyone can swim individually across the length of the pool doing whatever-the-hell strokes and take as long as you want. Wear interesting clothing with glitter and a mandatory 80s era scrunchy. When you get to the other end look up at the monitor...you will be JUDGED!


Rubinology Generations

My two year old son randomly puts his bubbly bath letters on the walls of the bath tub and we sound them out for some learning fun (I know, what a pushy father - can't even allow my son to take a bath without making him learn something).

Usually the patterns look like this:

But this evening he did this (I kid you NOT)! My wife ran to get the camera:

For those of you that are unaware of the internet/texting generation's shorthands, this stands for "What The F**K!?!?" I wonder if he was commenting on our 'bathtub lesson time' idea or just the ennui of being a kid.

Rubinology Buzz Kill

Every Wednesday morning I check my pay statement now that I own a house and more money is going out then coming in (bastards). Holy Crap! It was $1000 more than I was expecting! COOL DEAL!!! Then at noon I went to the mailbox and found (amongst the various nonsensical glossy catalogs for stuff that for ONCE in my life I temporarily considered spending a small portion of that $1000 on) a hand addressed letter from my employer...which is never a good sign (click on the image to see it OK?):

Two words: BUZZ KILL!!!!

Rubinology Toy Safari

So when we moved into the new house, my wife kept on saying how it would be so much of a relief to finally have an 'adult' living room as we had a playroom set up downstairs for our two year old. 'Yeah right' I thought. This was Max - there are no bounds for his toy collection. And before you could say "Cars" and "Thomas the Tank Engine" there were Cars and Thomas the Tank Engine zachen all over the living room making it into a veritable chamber of ongoing bedlam.

Needless to say every now and then (a.k.a. every few hours) he misplaces one of the hundreds of items in the living room and NOTICES! Of course that leads to his demanding that "Mommy Daddy Mommy Daddy" find that particular one. Today, for example, he misplaced Sally, one of the Cars. He noticed this after carefully lining up all of his Cars in the first place (figure 1).

So now what? Well, he goes over to his Thomas collection and dumps it out on the floor to see if Sally's there (figure 2).

I'm glad that this is not a real event of course as there would be hundreds of lives lost in search of a single die-cast model car. But finally his parents, frantic to provide the crucial Cars car, bend on hand and knee to (successfully this time...) search for the elusive Sally (figure 3).

Rubinology Wife Facts

Fact #1: Your wife will tell you that select items that you own should be disposed of. Often these are your most prized possessions (even though most other people would think of them as being innocuous). Even if they aren't that particularly prized, the fact that your wife wants them in the garbage is enough to make them grow in importance in your life.

Please note this item that I own:

It is a beautifully polished silver night stand reading lamp with a sturdy base and frosted glass shade; an item the Czarina perhaps would have welcomed by her bedside.

My wife's objection to it is that I angle it sometimes so that the light is in her face and the cord is kind-a loose.
Is that a reason to be rid of it however? She believes so!

On the other hand since we have been together she has been accompanied by the following vile receptacle:

'He' presides besides her computer wherever she goes. He even has a mysterious Spot of Doom that never disappears. Whenever I throw something away into his bowels or need to replace his bag I hold my breath and open his jaws save I pass out from the antediluvian bacterial residue.

However I would never - no never! - ask my wife to part with it for I know that it is her personal guardian and confidant, or maybe the source of her evil powers.

Rubinology Furnace Whoas

After years of being a benign renter I've become a malignant homeowner. Within two hours of 'closing' the furnace cleaner guy from the city informed me that I needed to spend $3,500 on a new furnace (although the inspector didn't find the problem - although to his credit he did find a roof problem that the sellers did concede $3000 on).

After a host of sagas with insurance folks trying to sell me builders' models furnaces and the sellers' real estate agent trying to blame the furnace cleaner guy from the city for 'breaking' it (although it had a cracked heat exchange that was pre-existent) I got about $1,100 towards a new one. However, I went so far over on my cell phone minutes to get it that I count it really as being only $950.

Now almost two months later and going through one hassle after another I'm finally getting one. Here is the culprit (note the Red Tag it was awarded by the furnace cleaner guy from the city - it is given only to those furnaces in such poor shape that their operation would cause imminent death to the household residents if actually turned on).

Strangely enough, now that I know it will be going, I'm starting to actually miss it. My two year old son likes to look at it daily and say "Crap! Throw away! New fur-ass". I've shown it to friends and loved ones and have told my near litigatable yarns about it. But there it just stands closeted as a shamed metallic behemoth without any purpose. It's sad. But tomorrow when it's gone I think I'll regret that I'd never even had the pleasure of feeling it's heat, knowing it's particular on and off sounds like an old car one used to own. Then again it cost me over three grand to replace the bastard so to hell with it.