The Weekly Tendown December 11-17 2011 (The Worst Christmas Song Ever)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dear Internet:

Unlike the previous two Sundays, I'm actually at home.

Where have I been the past two weekends?

That's the grocery store in Gadsden, Alabama.  If you look closer you'll see a special message on the glass.

For the past two weekends I interviewed 3 separate times at two separate colleges in different parts of Alabama, looking for a position for January.  The total travel expense was about fifteen hundred bucks, maybe a tick more.  Credit card bucks, unfortunately.

I didn't get either job; I don't have time to emotionally process it as a blow to my self concept, nor determine the extent to which I should re-evaluate how I practice my craft, as I'm a couple of weeks away from being without a full time job for the first time in 8 years.

I've been downsized (or "rightsized" to use the language of my employer) my full time position is becoming an adjunct position next term.  I'm not alone, not along in the broader profession of college professor, less alone within the field of for-profit education, and right alongside virtually all of my colleagues who remain employed at my particular institution.  I am the primary winner of the bread in my household and the provider of much needed and almost impossible to procure elsewhere health insurance.  The most pressure I have ever felt in my life - more than the bar exam, more than the game show - was walking into an hour long second interview with the president of a community college in Alabama last weekend to pitch her on why I should join her faculty.

I failed.  That's not done to curry reader sympathy.  That's just true.  I walked into that room fully understanding I could not leave, in a Glengarry Glen Ross type of way, without convincing those people they needed to have me on the team.  I swung hard. I failed.

Yes, Alabama would be a curious fit for me, yes.  But beneath me there is no net; there are financial numbers for which I currently do not have answers.

I haven't signed contracts yet, but I've gotten commitments for a total of 8 adjunct courses from 4 different schools, both in classrooms and online, for next term.  I think that's enough to pay the bills; I'm not sure it will cover my Cobra payment, which will begin in February.  I've got applications in to pick up a couple of additional courses; I've sent out multiple letters of inquiry for high school positions; I'm looking for college openings for fall.  I've been standing in front of students, real or virtual, for nearly 15 years.  The balance of evidence would suggest I'm more than good at it. For better or worse, I'm not sure I could be anyone else anymore.

I do not feel great about being me today.  My role in my household is really small; there's not much I bring to our partnership other than an ability to get health insurance.  It is discouraging on the shortside and defeating on the long.  I tend to run a little anxious in the best of times; watch the movie of my life and at almost any particular moment you could identify me as the most person in the room who appeared to be under the most stress.  Over the past couple of years, given the events that have unfolded, there has been more than one occasion where it seemed that all of the blood in my body was boiling.

One assumes, provided nothing calamitous happens, that something will break in my favor. That assumption will not feed my landlord's mortgage however.  Tick, tick, tick.

You'll get links today.

It's Tendown 106.  105 is here.

1. Courtesy of Gawker:

My inclination from the Top Left bracket is to go with "Two Front Teeth"; if it's able to knock off the top seed "Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" I think it cruises to the final four.  In the bottom half of that side of the bracket,  the Band Aid song has been a lifelong irritant, but the beauty of Tendown is I get exposure to awful of which I was otherwise unaware.

Ladies and Gentlemen - a song about buying one's dying mother shoes for Christmas. The Christmas Shoes.

It heads to the Final Four.  On the other side is the juggernaut that is "Grandma Got Run Over"; it goes over the date-rapey top seed "Cold Outside" in the second round (if you've yet to notice that the Jezebel folks don't know how to set up brackets, the 1 v 2 second round matchups are a clue) and makes the Final Four.

I don't know that anything in the final region is a good contender; I'll say "Hark the Herald" is the cinderella of the tourney.

As bad as "Two Front Teeth" is I can't resist The Christmas Shoes, it just brings the schlock so hard that it pulls away down the stretch.  "Grandma Got Run Over" gets to rest its starters in the 4th quarter as it makes the final game.

And then the final.  As bad as "Grandma got Run Over" is - and its bad, it's a bad novelty song.  Which raises the musical question - are there any good novelty songs?  And the answer is not really; I don't know how much worse "Grandma Got Run Over" is than "Like A Surgeon" - and sure, there is no holiday devoted to Weird Al, you aren't ever in a mall stuck listening to "Fat" - but when you think of all the reasons you hate Christmas, it being insufficiently funny is pretty low on the list.

On the other hand:

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my Mama, please
It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there's not much time
You see she's been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight

Your winner: The Christmas Shoes.

2. So, Who's Worse?
Notre Dame's Rudy Used Scrappy, Undersized Sports Drink Company To Scam $11 Million Out Of Investors

After almost a decade, the federal government finally got Barry Bonds this week.  30 days home confinement.  Our long national nightmare is over.

So, who is worse - Bonds, or scrappy, plucky, scam artist Rudy.

3. Hey, Right Wing - Welcome!
Look at conservatives hopping aboard the 14th amendment.

4. They Don't Believe in Small Government
So, in Virginia, adoption agencies can discriminate based on sexual orientation, the 14th Amendment notwithstanding.

That doesn't surprise, Florida's prohibition against gays from adopting was only recently overturned.

But there's another, sneaky provision in this language by the Virginia Board of Social Services; prospective parents in Virginia can be turned away because of "political beliefs."

Here's my guess - no one in Virginia will ever be denied the right to adopt because they are too politically conservative.

5. Your 2012 49ers Starting Quarterback

In my preseason picks post, I suggested that the Colts were a good possibility to end the season with the top draft pick, and therefore with Andrew Luck.

Which will raise the question of the destination of one of the five greatest quarterbacks of all time, Peyton Manning.

Bill Barnwell, on the short list for sharpest football writers in the country, says the result that makes the most sense is Manning being dealt to the San Francisco 49ers.

Yes, please.

6. Debtor's Prison
If you get a notice to appear in court, even if its for a debt that you are not challenging, appear.

Or they might lock you up.

Sean Matthews, a homeless New Orleans construction worker, was incarcerated for five months for $498 of legal debt, while his jail time cost the city six times that much. 

7. Toddlers and Tiaras

Fun criticism of a child by a Toddlers and Tiaras parent this week, "get your foot off your other foot."

Like an adult beauty pageant, as the kids take the stage, the announcer will tell us something about them "Tawni likes Spongebob and her favorite food is disco fries" for example.

If my next job is as child pageant host, I'm going to work that criticism into an introduction, "Jennifer enjoys grape drink and putting her foot on her other foot."

I'm getting off the stage.  I got a ton of wrestling to watch.

I'll see you next time, if there is a next time...

Your pal,


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