Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Hola, Bloombito!

Episode 4 of the COC edition of Nostrum is now available in either written or spoken versions.

We almost didn’t make it this week. The twin announcements of Planet 9 in Outer Space and Michael Bloomberg returning from outer space have put the Nostrumite into a state of permanent depression. “So there’s planets just hanging out behind the garage and no one even notices them? We go through this whole rigmarole to find Pluto in 1930, and then in 2006 we turn our back on it and call it a dwarf planet, which seems to be pretty insulting to little planets in general, and now to make up for it there’s this whole other planet of significant size and might standing under the lamppost snapping it’s fingers and humming ‘When you’re a Jet you’re a Jet all the way’ and we immediately let it into the club, and Pluto is just standing there, quietly sobbing and being little. Amazing!” Well, I guess it is amazing if you put it that way. On the other hand, he seemed even more amazed at Michael Bloomberg. “Here’s the thing,” he explains. “When you actually start thinking about old Bloomers and saying to yourself, you know, given the bad lot that is the rest of them, he’s actually looking good, you know the country is going to hell in a handbag.”

A handbag? (To be repeated in one’s best Lady Bracknell voice.)

On the plus side, the Mite hasn’t noticed that Fish has passed on to the stationhouse in the sky. We’d never hear the end of it if he had.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Thank you, Sarah!!!

Episode 3 of the COC edition of Nostrum is now available in either written or spoken versions.

We almost didn't make it this week. The Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over the return of Sarah Palin. "Oh, great," he said. "The goddess has come down from on high to appoint her champion. Palin supports Trump? I was shocked—shocked!—to hear it." At which point he dissolved into a heap of unintelligible muttering in which only the occasional wailing of the word "rogue" could be heard clearly. When I pointed out to him that Palin's endorsement had raised the D's standing in the pools, he came at me with a pitchfork.

Is this the sort of example a debate coach and father of 6 should be setting?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

At least we're staying in Massachusetts this weekend...somewhere

When we said Nostrum is back, we meant it. It’s one week later, and Episode 2 is now published, both on virtual paper and on audio. Who can you trust if you can’t trust Jules and the Nostrumite? I mean, it is Wednesday, isn't it?

We just barely managed to get these out on schedule. The Nostrumite is in a state of permanent depression over the whole political situation. “It’s not so much that you can’t believe a single thing any of these candidates says, does, thinks or farts, but that they’re the best we’ve been able to come up with.” He shakes his head. “Republican or Democrat, it doesn’t matter. Whatever happened to great people leading our country, people who stood for the good, people you could trust?”

Like the Vast Nostrumian Army trusts me and the Mite, I guess.

“You’re right,” I tell him. “Men like Millard Fillmore, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Warren Harding. And Richard Nixon. Don’t forget Tricky Dick!” The Mite narrows his eyes. “With your attitude you’re going to get the President you deserve,” he threatens. “You’re going to be thinking that Sarah Palin wasn’t so bad after all.” “No I’m not,” I tell him, and thus ends that political colloquium for the nonce.

Meanwhile, we’ll see everyone this weekend at Concord. (That doesn’t sound right.) It’s nice to have a big tournament in the neighborhood. The Mite is bringing an even dozen of his Tennessee Williams teams (“Go, Streetcars!”), and I’m tagging along to help chaperone and judge a little Public Forum. I’ve come to love PF. A half an hour of confusing nonsense, and you give the win to the first team to make an actual argument as compared to endlessly citing whatever random evidence they happen to have collected in the last two weeks. I gather the topic is something like, Resolved, Putin is shaking in his boots. As if. Flip neg, little dogies, flip neg…

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

[Sigh.] We're back.

A lot has happened since N2.

I went back to school, got both my MA and Ph.D., and am now a bona fide, certified, unemployed professor of literature. I tried to get a gig at all the usual places, starting at home base in Cambridge and working my way down to Crackhead Community College for the Criminally Connected in North Febrile, New Jersey, but with no luck. So until my employment ship comes in, I am writing freelance for the Huffington Post, as is every other out-of-work person with access to a word processor. Meanwhile I keep sending out resumes and making calls. Somebody out there needs an English Professor. Or English Instructor. Or tutor. Or junior high substitute teacher. Or hall monitor. Somebody. Please!!!

Meanwhile, I remain of the single persuasion, although the fact that there is a woman (who will remain nameless until I actually name her) with whom I have promised to share digs in a few weeks is a potential indication of something else altogether. More about that later.

The Nostrumite, on the other hand, remains gainfully employed, and even tenured, at Tennessee Williams High School right here in Cambridge, and as far as relationships are concerned, he now has six children. As does his long-suffering wife, the Nostrumate. Whoda thunkit? My guess was that the Mite, far from being the marrying kind, much less the parenting kind, would by now have left behind a string of unpaid alimony debts to more women than most men run into on the New York City subway system, but what do I know? I only work here. Or, I guess, don’t work here, here still being Cambridge, and me still being unemployed.

Welcome to the Bahamas.

The urge to go back to Nostrum resulted from nudging from our old friend and colleague Menick, who, now that he no longer coaches, was looking for something to distract him from the quiet desperation of his debate-free life, even though he is still hanging on to his day job by his fingernails and he tabs pretty much every weekend and the debate community at large can’t seem to get rid of him no matter how hard they try. He complained that our first two series never got very far into the school year, and that although we often mentioned the COC, we never even got close to being there. Why not rectify the situation, said he. Why not indeed, said we.

And here we are. I realize that we should have dumped the old goat once he gave us the idea for Nostrum Series 3, A Very Special (Set of) Episode(s)—including Joanie Marries Chichi, Rhoda's Wedding and the Simpsons Banksy title sequence—Or, the Combat of Conquerors (heretofore to be referred to always as NCOC or N3, or maybe N3COC, or something like that, but without any more references to shark-jumping “very special” TV episodes), but once again while we will be burning the midnight oil writing the damned things, Menick will be recording them for posterity, i.e., for the two people who think they should listen rather than read them, unlike the other two people who follow Nostrum, the normal ones who like to use their eyes rather than their ears on their reading assignments.

So without further ado, return with us now to the thrilling days of yesteryear, or, maybe, this year, with Nostrum, the High School Debate Soap Opera, Where Deontology is More Than Just an Idea, it’s a Rebuttal: Series 3, the Combat of Conquerors.

The written version - the garbled audio version.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

The second volume of the Kindle Nostrum is now available, as you can see from the images to the right. We are also about to launch Series 3 in the very near future.

Ain't life grand?