Thursday, April 14, 2016

No, Bernie is simply not a presidential first name

Episode 12 of the third series of Nostrum, AKA the COC edition, is now posted here. Sadly, once again it's only the written version. Menick has once again left us in the lurch with the audio, but we're starting to get used to it. Maybe he thinks we can't do this whole Nostrum without him? Feh. Look up the word useless in the dictionary and they've got his picture, although nowadays it probably makes more sense to say, Google images for useless online and they've got his picture. Whatever.

We didn't make it last week, and we almost didn't make it this week. The Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over the demise of American Idol. I find this rather unexpected, considering he's never watched a single minute of the show in its fifteen-year run. "It's all pop music," he explains. "And if I'm listening to music, you can guarantee it's not popular." Having been around him when he's had control of the music machine in the room, I can attest to that. "Still," he continues, "you've got to like any show that is marginally a variety program. Variety shows were once the bread and butter of network television. Everyone had one. Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Ed Sullivan, of course." At which point he begins humming a few bars of "Hymn for a Sunday Evening." "People were exposed to new things, or at least things they weren't familiar with, like opera or plate juggling or Topo Gigio." Topo Gigio? I checked it out on YouTube, and strongly advise that you don't. "I mean, even though cover versions of Celine Dion and Taylor Swift might not really count as truly 'variety,' it's better than the Real Wives of Nighten Township, isn't it."

I guess you have to agree with him on that. I've been binge-watching Real Wives of Nighten Township, and I've hated every minute of it. The good news is, I only have 13 more episodes to watch.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Pulses? Pulses? You mean there are more pulses? You're in America, now, you bozo!

Episode 11 of Series 3 is now posted, although at the moment it's pdf only. Maybe some day Menick will get back to recording. Maybe not. What a bum!

We didn't make it last week, and we almost didn't make it this week. The Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over this whole political spouse debacle. "Not only is it mean spirited, it's also beside the point," he moans, not that politicians not sticking to the point is something to be surprised about. "And worse, there's no future in it. Think about it. Let's say that Trump runs against Hillary. What's he going to do? Say he's going to spill the beans on Bill? Or publish beefcake Bill pictures? I mean, how many more beans can there possibly be left?"

If you ask me, the Mite's been remarkably quiet on politics this election cycle. "What can anyone say that anyone who ought to listen to will actually listen to?" Or something like that, maybe with fewer iterations of the word "to." "If this doesn't cause us to have a new constitutional convention and move over to a parliamentary system, nothing will." He's got a point there, you've got to admit. Then again, he usually does have a point, somewhere, and it's just the part about any of us admitting it that causes any problems.

Sacre bleu, as the Crapaud theorists like to say.



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

We're back and we're mad


Okay, we're not that mad. But we did miss an episode, which makes neither of us happy. And we almost didn't make it again this week, either. The Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over yesterday's designation by our nation's most famous group of inactivists as National Speech and Debate Education Day. "Yeah," he mutters. "Congress really cares about speech, debate or education. And for that matter, if they had a vote on whether we should acknowledge the existence of days they would probably disagree about that along party lines, as they do with everything else." That's not his real beef though. "We've been doing Nostrum since the Eisenhower administration," he says. "Where's National Nostrum Day? What's wrong with these people?"

If there ever is a National Nostrum Day, you'll find us out celebrating at the nearest gin mill, a la Tab Ularasa, who is featured once again in our latest episode. (That is a bad sentence. It makes it sound like he was already featured once before in our latest episode, but I can't see any way of making it clearer. Maybe "back once again" would do it, but featured is more of an action word, and Sister Patricia, before she quit the nun business to take up dry cleaning, always told us to use action words, and I wouldn't want to let her down now.)

Meanwhile, Menick hasn't gotten around to doing the audio yet, the lazy #*&^$$!)@. With luck, he'll have it done before you click on the link. Or not. Which may be even luckier, as far as you're concerned.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

We didn't make it this week

Which means we're both in a state of permanent depression. Then again, last week the COC ground to a halt. We see you quiver with antici

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

"I voted, and now I feel all dirty"

The latest episodes of Nostrum Series 3, the COC Edition, are now posted — audio / pdfio.

We almost didn't make it this week. The Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over the results of the Massachusetts primary. "I realize that there's only 19 Republicans in the entire state, and half of them identify as Democrats if you wake them up in the middle of the night from a deep sleep, but half of them voted for Trump?" Well, yes they did. "Who are these schmegeggies? Can we get their names so that we don't inadvertently invite them for a sleepover or tea and toast?" Well, no, you can't get their names, because the US employs secret ballots. "Well, that doesn't matter. People show up for Trump rallies all the time and they're happy to get their pictures in the paper. Especially the ones he throws out for being not white or stupid and who are only there to protest. Is anyone paying attention to any of this?" Not exactly: It's American politics, and the American electorate. They are about as well informed as earthworms. "In Australia they make people vote," he says, although his point is unclear. So? "We should have the Australians vote in our primaries. They'd straighten things out."

Sure, Mate. Whatever you say. (Uttered in a high church Australian accent.)

If you think the Mite is bad in an off-year, you know he's beyond the pale when there's an election. And now that the election cycle begins on the 21st day of January every leap year and lasts until the final polls close in Hawaii on the first Tuesday of November four years later—Feh!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Hot/Cold Enough For You?

Episode 8 of Nostrum Series 3 is now available in audio and pdf versions. So is War and Peace, but why would you want to read that piece of junk when Nostrum is just sitting there, ripe for the taking?

We almost didn't make it this week. The Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over the whole global warming thing. "It's not that I don't believe in it," he says. "I'm not an idiot, and I understand how science works and that wishing and hoping and not believing in reality does not, in any way, affect reality—" and then he digresses into a whole long evaluation of epistemology which we need not concern ourselves with at the moment— "but I would like it to either be too bloody cold or too bloody warm. Two weekends ago three of my ears fell off from frostbite from marching across Harvard Square for exactly one minute, and this weekend I was lollygagging about in my Speedo and wifebeater." Now, I know for a fact that the Mite owns neither Speedo nor wifebeater, but he is nothing if not prone to hyperbole. "These weather changes just provide fuel to the deniers. And they don't need fuel because—" and then he goes on to talk about the quality of education in backwater America, which for him includes everything but a couple of schools on the east coast, this really weird work farm for adolescent geniuses somewhere, I think, in Nevada, and the Convent of the Wholly Unwarranted Assumption in Boise.

There's no talking to him when he gets into this sort of a mood.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Notes from the high-fidelity first class traveling set

Episode 7 of Series 3 is now available in a fairly well-typed pdf and an execrably spoken mp3. This time out we examine the finances of circuit debate, and introduce the lovable character Winnable Rugrot, owner of the Brotherly Love School for Highly Intelligent Teenagers.

We almost didn't make it this week. The Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over the ridiculous expenditures of this last weekend, with circuit debate tournaments spread all over the country. "I don't mind people going to tournaments," he says, "but when schools send seemingly infinite numbers of adolescents across the country at great expense seeking TOC bids, well, if that's not a violation of the Mann Act—transporting minors across state lines for immoral purposes—I don't know what is." There's no talking to him when he gets into this sort of mood. It's probably a result of working on the latest episode, where we explain how the average circuit debater spends twice as much on a debate addiction than Utah spends per student on all that student's education. "Utah might be a bunch of cheapskates, but the real problem is that all the money spent on going to fancy universities to compete could have been spent locally on, I don't know, classes for everyone else? If forensics is so damned good for people, why don't we aim our sights on more people having it rather than fewer people doing it further away?"

See what I mean? Where's the logic in any of that?