Southern Man

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back To School

Well, the fall semester kicked off yesterday. Southern Man has only two classes (with multiple sections) so the teaching side of things will be relatively light (enough that Southern Man can sit at home in the middle of the afternoon and blog) but he also got stuck with Assistant Chair, which means Southern Man gets to do all of the really onerous chores that the Chair doesn't want to deal with. Southern Man's department is 50% brand-new hires with brand-new degrees; Southern Man is covering two classes for one of them while his immigration paperwork slowly meanders through the bureaucrazy. And our student enrollment is sharply down, which may be an unpleasant indicator of things to come. But Southern Man continues to be employed in a relatively enjoyable job that pays pretty well, so he's counting his blessings.

Lots of changes...After a fairly difficult spring and summer, Southern Man's teen son is back with his mother so Casa Southern Man seems bigger and quieter and lonlier these days and Southern Man is seriously considering moving to a smaller (and less expensive) abode. Upon being told this, Southern Man's precious little girl had but one question: will it have a pool? Southern Man's teen daughter just got her driving permit today, right on schedule to get her license right after her sixteenth birthday in six months. And Southern Man Himself is dating again, which is both exhilerating and frightening.

But that's the thing about being in education: you get a fresh start every four months or so and that attidude always spills over into the rest of your life. And Southern Man is confident that his future continues to be bright. Lord, I pray that you continue to guide and direct me in all that I do; let Your word be a light unto my feet and a lamp unto my path; and remind me always of the many blessings You've granted unto me. Amen.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Shotgun Acquisition Rules

Southern Man has three children. Southern Man's automobile has one front passenger seat. As you can imagine, this leads to almost daily strife. Thus, the Official Southern Man Shotgun Acquisition Rules:
Shotgun cannot be "called" under any circumstance. This differs sharply from most shotgun rules such as those listed at, say,, which is mainly devoted to rules on calling shotgun, not acquiring it.

These rules do not apply if there is another adult in Southern Man's company. Grown-ups get automatic shotgun.

These rules apply to any vehicle Southern Man might happen to be driving, regardless of ownership.

If only one child is present, that child sits shotgun.

If two or more children are present, the child who initially sits shotgun is determined by the date:
1st, 4th, 7th, and so on - youngest
2nd, 5th, 8th, and so on - middle
3rd, 6th, 9th, and so on - eldest
This rule applies only to the initial ride of the day.

If the child corresponding to that date is not present, shotgun rolls to the next eligible child.

Eligible child is defined as follows:
For all children who entered the car at the same time, the next eligible child is the next oldest child present. The eligible child following the oldest child is the youngest child present.

If children enter the car at different stops, the next eligible child is the child who has been riding passenger the longest. In other words, children who enter the car after other children are already present (from previous stops) go to the back of the rotation for shotgun.
At every stop in which all passengers exit, shotgun rotates to the next eligible child.

At any stop in which some passengers remain in the vehicle:
If the child sitting shotgun elects to stay in the car, that child retains shotgun.

If the child sitting shotgun exits the car, shotgun rotates to the next eligible child.
A consequence of the previous rule is that at any stop at which one or more children are already in the vehicle and additional children are picked up, the child sitting shotgun can retain shotgun. In other words, a new passenger can never forcibly usurp shotgun from the current holder.

Any child with a guest never sits shotgun but rides passenger with their guest. The only exception to this rule is if the number of guests fills the passenger seats; in this case Southern Man's child can either elect to ride shotgun or appoint a guest to do so.

Shotgun is not a right, but is a privilege that can be granted or revoked at Southern Man's whim. These decisions are final and are not subject to argument or appeal. Cries of "That's not fair!" or "I haven't had shotgun for a week!" will fall on deaf ears.
Thus endeth the Southern Man Shotgun Acquisition Rules. The actual duties of shotgun will be revealed in a later post.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hadrons and Pions and Bosons, Oh My!

CERN’s Large Hadron Collider will go online soon and the LHC crew has produced a video that will teach you more about high-energy physics in five minutes than most science courses do in a semester, so enjoy.

This video requires Flash Player.
HTML to imbed this video shamelessly stolen from Little Green Footballs.

The bad news is that when the LHC powers up it may destroy the fabric of space-time and engulf our solar system in a black hole. The good news is that if this happens, France will be among the first to go.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

James Bond: Casino Royale Body Count

Southern Man is bored. Southern Man is also watching the newest James Bond movie Casino Royale for the umpteenth time. Southern Man has searched the 'net for a body count on this movie and didn't find one. Did Southern Man mention that Southern Man was bored? So, here it is: the Casino Royale body count. "+" indicates a sure (or at least highly probable) kill by our favourite secret agent.
    +Fisher: shot after a brutal fistfight.

    +Dryden: assassinated after a brief conversation.

    That's Bond's first two kills; "007 status confirmed."

    Carter: death by cobra bite as Bond and Carter stalk the bombmaker Mollaka.

    Unknown number of deaths and injuries (including two shot by Mollaka) as Bond pursues Mollaka through a construction site and pretty much wrecks it in the process.

    +Mollaka: assassinated in the courtyard of the Nambutu Embassy in Madagascar after said pursuit.

    Unknown number of deaths and injuries in a gas bottle explosion initiated by Bond immediately after said assassination.

    +Alex Dimitrious: killed with his own knife by Bond - who has already won his '63 Aston Martin DB5 in a poker game and seduced his wife. Note to self: do not mess with James Bond.

    Unknown number of deaths and injuries during a vehicle chase through Miami Airport (including the tanker truck driver killed by the bombmaker Carlos for his truck). Collateral damage includes considerable loss of luggage.

    +Carlos: killed (or seriously injured) by his own phone-activated detonator, courtesy of Bond.

    Solange Dimitrious: tortured and murdered by Le Chiffre as a direct consequence of being seduced by Bond. Note to self: do not sleep with James Bond, either.

    "Quite the body count you're racking up." quoth M at this point. That's five confirmed kills, plus considerable property damage and collateral deaths in Madagascar (the construction site and the embassy), the Bahamas (where Solange was murdered), and at Miami Airport.

    +Steven Obanno and Obanno's bodyguard: killed in the stairwell fight at Casino Royale; bodies disposed of by Mathis, who dumping them in the boot of Le Chiffre's bodyguard Leo's car. Leo is then arrested by the local police, quite probably saving his life.

    Le Chiffre (and probably Kraft and possibly Valenka as well as other Le Chiffre henchmen and groupies): assassinated by Mr. White after the poker game. This gives Mr. White the second-highest probable kill count of the film.

    +Unknown gunman: shot in the head by Bond to initiate the Canal fight.

    +Tall Man: injured in a gunfight by one of his own as Bond uses him as a human shield, then crushed by the elevator. Not a direct kill, but we'll give it to him.

    +Gettler: shot in the eye with a nail gun during the Canal fight.

    Vesper Lynd: suicide by drowning after the Canal fight.
Southern Man counts an even ten confirmed kills. Are there more? Post a comment and let him know!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Phantom Ferret

Yes, the neighborhood ferret (star of The Ferret, The Ferret Strikes Back, and Return of the Ferret) has returned. And has been returned to his owner. Other than that blogging remains light - again, not because nothing is happening. Lots is happening. You have no idea. But it's not the sort of thing that Southern Man feels like blogging about. But perhaps someday the tale of teenage son's various misadventures might get summarized here. Someday. Perhaps.