La Kid, Galway, This Morning

William Gass. There was absolutely no one like him.

1924 – 2017

If someone asks me, “Why do you write?” I can reply by pointing out that it is a very dumb question. Nevertheless, there is an answer. I write because I hate. A lot. Hard. And if someone asks me the inevitable next dumb question, “Why do you write the way you do?” I must answer that I wish to make my hatred acceptable because my hatred is much of me, if not the best part. Writing is a way of making the writer acceptable to the world — every cheap, dumb, nasty thought, every despicable desire, every noble sentiment, every expensive taste. There isn’t very much satisfaction in getting the world to accept and praise you for things that the world is prepared to praise. The world is prepared to praise only shit. One wants to make sure that the complete self, with all its qualities, is not just accepted but approved . . . not just approved — whoopeed.


I know of nothing more difficult than knowing who you are, and then having the courage to share the reasons for the catastrophe of your character with the world.


But really I loved him because he understood the greatness of my even greater love, Malcolm Lowry:

When one thinks of the general sort of snacky under-earnest writers whose works like wind-chimes rattle in our heads now, it is easier to forgive Lowry his pretentious seriousness, his old-fashioned ambitions, his Proustian plans, [his efforts] to replace the reader’s consciousness wholly with a black magician’s.

Would You?

Sing it.

Get hired for your womb.
Would you? Would you?
A woman’s just a room.
Would you? Would you?

He wore a three-piece suit.
But you? Well, you just wore your ute.

Who will bear the boss’s fruit?

He’ll ask you with his eyes.
Would you? Would you?
Your egg I’d fertilize.
Would you? Would you?
You ask him with a throb
Is that the way I got this job?
I would. Would you?

‘The combined buyouts for fired head coaches in college football this season could eclipse $70 million.’

That seems like a lot when vanishingly few people go to the games.

‘Why is FAU letting Tracy teach this class? Do they know what he really is teaching?’

There’s a reason they call it Find Another University.

Really. Sincerely. If you’re looking to attend a university, find another university.

‘Should the Heisman Trophy be a character award?’

[Johnny] Manziel … won the Heisman in 2012… Other recent Heisman winners with questionable off-field problems include Auburn’s Cam Newton, who was in the middle of an NCAA eligibility investigation when he won the 2010 trophy.

In 2013, Florida State’s Jameis Winston was being investigated for a rape accusation in the middle of his Heisman run. There are more than 900 Heisman voters, and Winston was left off 115 ballots entirely. He still won the award with the fifth-largest margin ever, and he was never convicted in the investigation.

Other Heisman winners include O.J. Simpson, who was charged in an infamous murder case and later convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping in a separate 2007 case. Then there’s LSU’s Billy Canon, the 1959 Heisman winner who later in life spent more than two years in federal prison as a result of a massive counterfeiting scheme.

But the only player ever to have to vacate a trophy was USC running back Reggie Bush, who was found guilty in an NCAA investigation of taking improper benefits from an agent while at USC.


[Last February, University of Oklahoma Heisman candidate Baker Mayfield was arrested for public intoxication.] In a dash cam video that went viral, Mayfield was seen shouting and cursing at police officers. When confronted, he attempted to run, only to be tackled into a wall. The video also showed him on the brink of crying in the back of a police car.

… Mayfield grabbed his crotch and shouted expletives in OU’s game against Kansas. Combined with the arrest and Mayfield’s flag-plant at Ohio State that caused a stir, Mayfield was forced to deliver his third public apology in less than a year.

‘Last year, Harvard’s dining service workers went on strike for several weeks before the university agreed to a modest pay increase and affordable health care. The richest university in the country, with an endowment of over $37 billion, agreed to raise dining service workers’ salaries by 3.5 percent only after a 22-day union strike.’

How d’ya think we got so rich, whippersnapper?

UD is offering an extra credit module to American professors …

… to help them understand what “extra credit” means, and how it differs from “extortion.”

Through the long life of this blog, UD has read one account after another of some professor somewhere offering extra credit if the kids will help her husband distribute campaign literature (he’s running for school board!), or if they will show proof that they gave blood (blood donation is a virtue, and I want to encourage it!), or will show proof that they voted (it’s your civic duty!), etc., etc. But just like professors who force students to buy the very expensive textbook they themselves wrote, professors who exploit students politically or materially ARE DOING SOMETHING WRONG. (Lesson One: Forget ‘Beyond Good and Evil.’ Let’s Start With the Basics of Wrong and Right.) The very fundamental idea that a classroom of students does not constitute one great big desperate business/political rally opportunity seems beyond the grasp of many professors, if the daily paper is anything to go by.

So for instance this Kutztown University professor thought it would be a great idea to offer to up the grade of any student who attended an anti-GOP tax rally on campus. I mean, you want a lot of people there in order to make a statement, and there are all these people sitting right in front of you, ready to be organized in exchange for an A for Political Effort on My Behalf.

She’s had to revoke the deal.

UD will add that she doubts any of the professors who do these things understand that they’ve done anything wrong. Remember that Doonesbury title, “But the Pension Fund Was Just Sitting There”? It’s like that. But My Students Were Just Sitting There.

Balthusian Catastrophe

The effort to throw out the Balthus
Is warming the ghost of Sir Malthus:
“Our art’s overbreeding.
Too much painting needs feeding.
You empty the too-crowded salle thus.”

Coulda woulda ‘cept for probation; post death-penalty, no one goes to the games… University sports in our time…

There’s a reason [Texas] A&M hasn’t won. I think the reason is because they haven’t had a coach this good. When they had Bear Bryant in the 50s, if they hadn’t been on probation in ’56, they would’ve gone to the national title game then, or they would’ve been in the running for it…

I tell you what, and this is going to make [Southern Methodist University] fans mad, but if you want to keep your coach, if you really like Chad Morris then you’ve gotta get off the Boulevard and go to games… [H]ow are you going to bring recruits in there and the place is not even half full?…

I took my kids to the tailgating scene on the [SMU] Boulevard. It was amazing. We had been to Arkansas two weeks earlier and I would tell you that that was a better scene than what I saw in Fayetteville.

… It’s just as good as the one at Ole Miss that everyone talks about.

… It’s scenic with the trees forming that canopy. It’s great. The band comes marching down. And I’m looking around, there’s all these people, young guys and young girls, with dogs on leashes at these tailgating parties. I’m like who’s bringing their dogs to a tailgating party, and what are they going to do with them when they got to the game? Then I got my answer. Nobody goes into the game. They have got to find a way to get people from that tailgating scene into the stadium. How you get those people to take that five minute walk? I don’t know. But if they could, they could create a really nice atmosphere. The stadium’s nice. The tailgating scene is nice. You could sway some recruits. That grass berm behind the end zone. That’s all really nice, but they’ve gotta get people into the stadium.

… Listen, you people have gotta go and you’ve gotta fill up this place. That is a shame. It’s a disgrace.

… The disgrace is that you don’t walk five minutes off this boulevard to get in that game. If you’re not going to do that for your team, well shame on you.

Secure Destruction You Can Trust

Snapshot from Home.

Daily Life in a Theocracy

Zion! Zion! Look away!
Do not let your eyes betray!
Would God that this Shekel
Bore on it a schmeckle
Than a Jew a shiksa led astray.


And if you have any doubts that Israelis live in close-to-theocratic conditions, with fatwas routinely issued by idiots who have state backing, review the history of Beit Shemesh’s WOMEN OUT! signs. A long, long saga of the pointlessness of Israel’s Supreme Court, it presents itself today as having been resolved

“The order to remove the signs with a police escort and a constant police presence will send a strong message that the rights of the women of Beit Shemesh are important,” said [one attorney]. “The ruling is a victory for the rule of law over the rule of lawlessness, a victory for the rights of women for respect and equality. We will continue to monitor and combat all instances of exclusion of women in Israel.”

— except that the police won’t show up, or after a little time they’ll give up, or their presence will generate riots after which the government will let them put up the signs again. Read a similar saga involving Women of the Wall.

None of it means UD gives up. She’s a fervent WOW supporter. But that Israel is currently basically a theocracy is hard to deny.





Updated Exhibit to Feature Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Saddam Hussein, Moammar Gaddhafi…

… Timothy McVeigh, and Nicolae Ceausescu.

From Joanna Soltan’s Collection of Wojciech Fangor’s Art…

this painting is now on sale.


That was quick. Sold.

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