5 posts

Friday Night DJ Party: The Twitch Mix


It’s been a while since I’ve hit the kids with some new music. Here’s a mix I put together with a bunch of bass/trap tunes. I used my Novation Twitch to mix this up, which is a great tool for glitchy bass and electro music. I’m still getting used to playing on it, but I think this one came out sounding pretty TURNT UP. Continue reading

Question of the Day: What’s Your Favorite Miniseries?

Welcome to the Crasstalk Question of the Day. Each morning we ask you a different question and you the Crass Nation provide an answer. Particularly good answers may even be featured in future QOTDs.

Since I’ve heard a bunch of people talking about HBO’s “Mildred Pierce” miniseries, let’s find out what you like.

What’s your favorite miniseries of all time?

Miniserieses are bananas. Their just long enough to really dig deep into a subject and develop all the characters and all that shit… and they’re just short enough that they don’t clog up your Netflix queue for six months.

My personal favorite is “Roots.” I love epic American stories that take place over multiple generations. And Ben Vereen as Chicken George is just fucking amazing.

So what’s your favorite?

No One Should Ever Go To Grad School… Ever

Last week, we heard from grad school rock star GrandInquisitor, who showed you how to make grad school your bitch. Now, I know for a fact that GI is one hell of a grad student and that you are getting absolutely top-notch advice.

But first let’s get one thing straight: Grad school is bullshit and under no circumstances should you listen to your annoying thick-framed-glasses-wearing friends who are telling you to apply to it. DO NOT GO TO GRAD SCHOOL. Here’s why:

1. Law school is the ultimate exercise in bullshit.

Don’t even think about going to law school. Don’t listen to your parents, they just want to be able to say there’s a lawyer in the family, even if it means ruining your life. There are already way too many law school grads and not nearly enough legal jobs.

“When the economy first went down, students saw law school as a way to dodge the work force,” said Ryan Heitkamp, a pre-law adviser at Ohio State University. “The news has gotten out that law school is not necessarily a safe backup plan.”

And perhaps worst of all, graduating from law school with huge debt has a tendency to turn you into a huge douchebag.

2. A journalism graduate degree is even bullshittier than a law degree.

Having gone to an undergraduate j-school program, I cannot even imagine wanting to go back and get a master’s in journalism. First of all, journalism school (even at the undergrad level) is pretty silly. Everything you really need to know you’ll learn on the job. Most of the best journalists I’ve met actually studied something else in college. Second, Journalists make dick. The money at most traditional journalism jobs will have you living the social worker lifestyle. I hope you enjoy driving that 1990 Hyundai!

But the real reason you shouldn’t study journalism in grad school is that the industry is changing so fast that university departments aren’t keeping up. Journalism is not a hard science. The big ideas are coming out of places like Gawker and, not college faculties. In fact, for a large swath of the industry, having a graduate degree counts against you.

Also, as a rule of thumb you should always do the opposite of whatever an unpaid HuffPo blog-jockey tells you to do.

3. The world does not need more literature professors who specialize in obscure shit no one cares about.

Expecting a career in academia is an absolutely terrible reason to go back to grad school. Yeah, yeah, you probably read “Mysteries of Pittsburgh” and thought you could get yourself into some kind of cool faculty intrigue. But in reality you’ll just end up as a non-tenured adjunct professor, which is the academic equivalent of a mall security guard.

Here’s a Brown University Ph.D student’s take on the experience:

The prevailing culture of graduate school, if not always the experience itself, is one of misery and deprivation. Most grad students genuinely believe that theirs is a particularly difficult existence. I myself have been guilty of this. My theory is that this is partly due to the discrepancy between high seriousness and low stakes. One spends a lot of time racking one’s brains about serious questions without anyone particularly caring about the answers. One can devote anywhere from two years to a decade on a dissertation, pouring all one’s intellectual energy into the project, for the reading pleasure of exactly three people, two of whom will only pretend to read it.

Sadder still is the way in which the horrible process of academic professionalization encourages grad students to define themselves by their work. Conference rooms and seminars resound with the sound of socially inept people introducing themselves by their subjects. In one of the most heinous crimes against humor since the last time Dane Cook opened his inexplicably large mouth, I once heard a political scientist respond to a colleague’s remark with, “You would say that — you’re a comparativist!” The seminar room exploded with laughter, making me drop the free sandwich I was there for. You want no part of this.

4. Grad school is not the answer to the piss-poor economy.

Fleeing the shitty job market is a common justification for going back to school. Maybe you’re a few years out of college and just got laid off. Maybe you just graduated from undergrad and are terrified of searching for a job. Don’t let your circumstances (no matter how frustrating or scary) convince you to take the wrong path out of desperation. If you go into grad school out of fear about the economy, and without a rock solid career plan, you’re making a huge mistake.

In addition to the opportunity costs associated with taking yourself out of the workforce for years and losing all those wages, you’ll mostly likely be taking on huge amounts of new debt to pay not just for tuition but also for living expenses. That debt ain’t interest free, which can result in downright startling amounts of money being owed. The juice is always running.

As our 7-year grad student from Brown put it:

I don’t think that I could, in good conscience, recommend graduate school, especially a doctoral program, especially in the humanities, to another soul.


5. The grad student lifestyle is not actually all that cool.

It’s a well-known secret that a large percentage of grad students go back to school because they miss so much of the campus experience. Eating Ramen noodles and riding a Huffy around town while hammered was pretty fucking awesome when you were 19. When you’re 25 or 30… not so much.

Look, the grad school lifestyle mostly sucks ass. You will be completely broke. You will earn less net income than porno shop jizz-moppers. That cool turbo’d Subaru Impreza WRX with the all-wheel drive and fat sound system that you had your eye on? FUCK YOU, GRAD SCHOOL BOY. You’ll drive your old used 1989 Dodge Shadow and wear thrift shop clothes and you’ll like it! And the parties… at the grad school level the parties aren’t really that fun unless you like drinking cheap shitty wine while listening to some guy with a soul patch recite John Berryman poems. And if that sounds like fun, I will personally come to your house and stab you.

6. Working isn’t nearly as bad as everyone makes it sound.

I know every single person in the world bitches about his or her job. Getting up early and going to work in a cubicle does kind of suck. We should all be free to spend our days writing songs about our favorite days of the week or sexting, or whatever it is that the kids are doing these days.

But if it weren’t completely socially unacceptable to do so, most people could tell you at least a few of the parts of their job that they find truly fulfilling. And while classroom learning for its own sake is great, actually doing something in this world is not to be shat upon.

And, oh yeah, you actually will have a lot less debt and maybe even a bit of money in your pocket, unlike your friends in grad school. So instead of spending your late nights writing papers about Pre-Columbian llama herding in Peru, you’ll be out at the club ordering bottles of Santana Champagne and dancing to this song. My first job out of college paid a paltry $25,000 a year and I felt fucking rich at the time.

7. Grad school has nothing to do with learning or enlightenment or any of that bullshit.

Grad school is about credentialing, not learning. Stop romanticizing the idea of studying a bunch of obscure, theoretical bullshit that no one cares about. You’re an adult now, you already should have the critical thinking skills necessary to Mapquest your nearest library and crack open a book. And if your local college has some professor whose ideas really do fascinate you, you can always read his book or audit his course without signing up for a lifetime of debt.

8. There’s a fine line between educated and overeducated… and it’s called “grad school.”

Grad school will train you in economically questionable skills such as writing things like this.

They Used to Let Kids Play in Caves

Profound silence; silence so deep that even their breathings were conspicuous in the hush. Tom shouted. The call went echoing down the empty aisles and died out in the distance in a faint sound that resembled a ripple of mocking laughter.

“Oh, don’t do it again, Tom, it is too horrid,” said Becky.

“It is horrid, but I better, Becky; they might hear us, you know,” and he shouted again.

The “might” was even a chillier horror than the ghostly laughter, it so confessed a perishing hope. The children stood still and listened; but there was no result. Tom turned upon the back track at once, and hurried his steps. It was but a little while before a certain indecision in his manner revealed another fearful fact to Becky— he could not find his way back!

– Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

A comment by SusanBAwesome on an open thread, about visiting Carlsbad Caverns, reminded me of one of my best memories of childhood. See, as a kid my local Boy Scout troop would make an annual “caving” trip. I always looked forward to this trip. It was the highlight of the year.

We didn’t go to a place like Luray Caverns. Where we went, there were no handrails, or electric lights and there sure as shit was no gift shop. There was a hole….  in the side of a hill…. somewhere in central Pennsylvania. It was far from anything else. I remember we camped the night before in a field next to a cow pasture.

To access the cave, we parked our cars on the side of the road and climbed up the side of the hill. My high-tech spelunking equipment consisted of:

  • 1 Philadelphia Phillies souvenir plastic batting helmet
  • 1 K-Mart brand flashlight that my dad wired to a 6-volt lantern battery. (Do they even make those any more? Probably not.)
  • Duct tape. For attaching the flashlight to the helmet, natch.
  • Extra candles. Just in case.
  • Matches. Just in case.
  • 1 waterproof match case
  • 1 souvenir Philly Phanatic fanny pack, to carry my battery, candles and matches

When I think back, this sounds ridiculously crazy but at the time it made total sense. The souvenir helmet would protect my head, the big battery would last longer than D-cells. I was set!

So we got to the cave, and we went in. Now, when people think of caves, they think of giant caverns and passageways you can easily walk through. That is horseshit! Most real caves are nothing like that. These caves were tighter than a nun’s birth canal. Even us 12-year-old boys had to suck in our stomachs to fit through some of the spaces. Oh, and there was standing water everywhere. I’ll never forget the time we were crawling through a section on all fours and I looked up and there was a baby bat just hangin’ out six inches from my head. He was surprisingly cool with having a bunch of hellions tearing up his cave.

And tear it up we did. I don’t think you can really cause that much ecological damage to a cave just by crawling through it, but we were allowed to run wild. I still remember walking into a room and seeing one of the kids squatting in the corner. Apparently last night’s dinner wouldn’t wait. (When word got back to the dads about the cave-pooping…. there was hell to pay.)

But for the most part, the dads let us just wander off to explore the passageways. At least it seemed like it at the time. Maybe they were keeping an eye on us… but I doubt it.

Now that I think back to those cave trips, I wonder if they’d still let kids do that today. Would parents let their children wander through caves without adults holding their hands? And this was the early 90s. That’s not even a long time ago! Are we really changing that fast?

As an adult I think back to how my great-grandfather had worked around the mines all his life. He was an Italian immigrant who became a blacksmith for a mining company in West Virginia. His trade spared him from a life spent underground, but the world of mining was all around him (actually, he apparently was an organizer for the UMW). Kids not much older than us little Boy Scouts were actually working the mines back in the bad old days.

And now that I’m older, I think I am at least a slightly better person for having gotten a little taste of what it’s like to spend time under the Earth. I’m glad I never had to work in a mine, but I’m also glad that my parents and the other adults around us as kids didn’t take away our ability to explore the world in the name of keeping us always safe.

Utah does something crazy… for once

I know what you’re thinking. It’s Utah. What craziness could ever happen there? It’s totally not an insane mix of hillbilly death cult and fly-by-night Xango pyramid scheme zombies.

Well apparently they took a break from telling their third sister-wife to “STFU MARGENE OR YOU’RE GOING BACK TO THE “BAD” COMPOUND” and finally got around to some important state business:

(CNN) — Until this week, Utah had 24 state symbols, from tree (the blue spruce) to insect (the honeybee) to even cooking pot (the Dutch oven).

Now it’s added an official state firearm — the John M. Browning-designed M1911 pistol, becoming the first state in the nation to have one, according to the state legislator who sponsored the law.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed the new symbol into law this week.

Look out, Arizona. Utah just made you its BITCH. Apparently this initiative was the brainchild child of something called a “State Rep. Carl Wimmer, a Republican who was a police officer and SWAT team commander.”

“There was more controversy than I anticipated, but it really passed with bipartisan support,” Wimmer said. “One of the biggest comments from the critics was that we should not honor an implement of death. And my response to that has always been that this firearm does not represent an implement of death. It represents an implement of freedom.”

YEAH. Guns aren’t deadly weapons. They’re all about giving freedom. Such the freedom to defend America from your fourth sister-wife WHO JUST FUCKING CANNOT LEARN HOW TO WASH THE DISHES RIGHT AFTER DINNER.

Where’s my gun at?

(Hat Tip: Mr.Anansi)