Archive for March, 2012

Academic retirement cards

March 29, 2012

One of our math profs is retiring soon — dear Richard, it feels so wrong to think someone who has been there always won’t be, soon — and as a consequence there has been the usual collecting-signatures-to-a-card and pennies-for-a-small-gift routine.

Which led me to think: I don’t think there’s any manufacturer of congratulatory cards that makes one specifically for retiring academics.

There’s a potential for huge profits there. Why, every academician retires sooner or later! Even Morbo the Immortal, professor of chirurgy at Stuttgart for five centuries, is an emeritus now!

So here are a few suggestions.

* * *

(front:) Whenever you gave a lecture, we grimaced…

(inside:) …because it would always end too soon!

*

Whenever we publish, we’ll think of you. (heart)

*

Your impact factor is a million… in our hearts.

*

Dear Professor _____________,

I am pleased to inform you that your paper “Everyone loves me” has been accepted for publication in Journal of True Statements.

The referee had nothing to correct or comment on, because everyone loves you.

Yours sincerely,

Luna Love-love
Editor-in-Chief
J. True Stat.

*

(star) Best Professor of Retirement Ever (star)

*

WE’LL KEEP REFERENCING YOU!!!

*

It’s time for your retirement.

At last you have time for research.

Be happy!

*

You get to rest; the dean doesn’t. Good news, eh?

*

The Administration is says you were a loyal hard worker and devoted to quality and blah and university brand. They say this is a happy occasion.

It really is; you never need to deal with them fuckers ever again.

Happy retirement! Death to administration! Chalk fist salute!

*

No more teaching ____________ !

No more _______ ________ students of _________ !

You lucky dog!

*

When we were sharing it with you, coffee was only the second most important thing in the world.

Talking with you was number one. This is not a romantic confession.

Though if it was, we wouldn’t mind all that much.

Great, now this card has turned into potential sexual harassment.

We all love you… but not like that!

News and skulls

March 27, 2012

OULU, the northern parts. Police is looking for a convenience store robber. He was a man in a black shirt, blue longjohns, and a mask made of a pair of briefs.

LEPPÄVIRTA, the central parts. Three men, two of them drunk, were involved in a fracas yesterday. The drunken two, apparently because of some earlier disagreement, tried to invade the third’s home during the night, and broke the glass on the front door. Upon them getting to the entryway, the house owner met them, hit one on the head with a hammer, and slashed the other in the face with an icepick. Then he went to the neighbor and called for help. All three are under police investigation.

ELSEWHERE, all over the place. A popular model of cremation caskets seems to be dangerous, possibly even… deadly. The model is covered with a synthetic fiber fabric, which can come undone and snap at the cremation attendant as the casket’s rolling into the hot oven. Or then the fabric can catch fire too early, which is not nice, or it can melt and jam the rails, blocking the oven door from closing and causing a fire. (This has actually happened. I hope the relatives were not watching.) Guidelines for casket materials are being looked over. Apparently elsewhere in the world only wooden caskets are acceptable.

(Sources — all in Finnish — Hs.fi, Hs. fi, Ts.fi)

* * *

A personal note: it would be nice to be mummified, then hidden inside a stuffed bear. You could arrange for the bear to be donated to a museum or a relative a few decades later, without any word of the mummy inside. That would become a nice surprise, eventually.

Or you could cremate me, but save the skull. Then save the ashes in the skull.

Then, decades later:

“I’ll take the sofa; you take granduncle’s skull.”

“I don’t want his poxy skull! I want the sofa!”

“Well someone has to take the skull.”

“Nuh uh; put it into the yard sale.”

The yard sale?

“Throw this picture of him in, too; five bucks for the set.”

Five bucks? It’s antique!”

“Listen, if you like the skull so much you take it.”

“No I won’t. Look, at five bucks it’ll just go to decorate some goth’s bookshelf, organizing some shelf-ful of late period pro-Satanist Anne Rice novels. Ask for more, and some dignified and sensitive person will—”

“You mean some collector will buy it?”

“Yes! I mean, no; what do you mean, ‘collector’? Collector of human skulls?”

“Some collector of curiosities. You could get granduncle on TV, and you know he hated that. Or if you ask too much, some poor housewife will think this’ll be the perfect premium bespoke gift for the hubby, he listened to Doom Unit Zappa when he was a wee lad; and then granduncle’s dust will be in the dumpster because the honey-wife wants to pack the skullgift with candy!

“You know, that would make a nice story.”

“Ghost story?”

“Yes!”

Independence is not good for some people

March 25, 2012

So lecturer X, for whose course “Coursename A” I am the teaching assistant, is away on a research retreat at Mt. Wolfdoom. This leaves me to spellcheck, photocopy and supervise the final exam.

I am so fighting the temptation to add one more question to the test.

Possibly this:

Essay. Inner products and me. (6 p.)

Or this:

Let P be the set of polynomials with real coefficients. What is the third element of P? (6 p.)

Or this:

Do you feel this course will prove to be useful in your professional life? (6 p.)

For the person that has not given in to the Darkness Which Is Math, the first question is ludicrous; the second nonsensical; and the third is a standard stupidity from the course evaluation form, made more exciting by the promise/threat of six points hanging in the balance.

— but probably I will resist this temptation, because after the test is over (ha!) I’ll scan the produced chickenfeet into pdf, and send them to Mt. Wolfdoom. And then thunder will flash over the mountain, and a voice dead cold and inhuman will utter many bad words.

Then again, if I said this special extra question should be answered on a separate sheet of paper…

Or if I handed out a special sheet which was the answer sheet for that question in itself —

(E1) What is the biggest natural number?

  1. one
  2. two
  3. four

(E2) The exam supervisor is thinking of a function. Write that function here:f(x) = __________

(E3) Your answer to the previous question is…

  1. Correct.
  2. Incorrect.
  3. I don’t know.

(E4) Your answer to the previous question is…

  1. Correct.
  2. Incorrect.
  3. I don’t know.

(E5) Your answer to the previous question is…

  1. Correct.
  2. Incorrect.
  3. I don’t know.

Once you think a while about the chain of those last questions, you may shudder. (“Well, I don’t know the function so for E3 “I don’t know” if my guess was correct. But what if it was? Then should I choose both “I don’t know” and “Correct”, and do I get partial credit from choosing just one? Should I hazard a guess? And if my answer is just partially correct, what do I answer the next one?”)

It’s a soluble problem, I think, but it would cause some twitching.

And then something silly

March 25, 2012

And since the previous post was a little bit exaggeratedly irritated — really, accusations of sheep fucking, no matter how rhetorical, are uncommon in non-irritated discourse — maybe I should post something cute and fluffy, just to dispel the suspicion that I’m organizing a Finland-wide boycott of kiwi fruit for tomorrow.

(Because that would show the New Zealanders, ha! Deny them the kiwi fruit markets of Finland and their economy’ll crumble! Crumble, I say!)

So here’s without any explanation something that would probably need explanation. Because, you know, what’s life without a few mysteries?

There is at least one dumb person in New Zealand

March 25, 2012

So I understand New Zealanders fuck sheep.

Hey, don’t leave, I was just speaking exaggeratedly, humorously.

Like this New Zealander person Gerry Brownlee said he did; he’s apparently the Leader of the House, which either is a parliamentary office or a fancy name for a bachelor.

Speaking in the Parliament, during the bachelors’ speaking hour prob’ly, he apparently said Finland is a place “which has worse unemployment than us, has less growth than us, can hardly feed the people who live there, has a terrible homicide rate, hardly educates its people, and has no respect for women”.

Which, you know, is accurate in the same way that saying New Zealanders fuck sheep is. Factually, yes just maybe; but as for the implication in it, eh, not so much.

But first the most obvious actual mistake, as in, an untruth, a lie. “Hardly educates its people”, huh? Tough talk about a land that ranks at the top, or even at the supreme top spot, when education is ranked. New Zealand ties at best, but usually ranks lower; so I suppose this particular comment must be the Dunning-Kruger effect in action. In case Mr. Brownlee doesn’t understand that joke, we can send a spare psychology graduate or a dozen to explain it to him. That’s the difference between first place and some ruddy loser seventh place, ey, Kiwis?

(You could quibble about how accurate those measures of education are, but “hardly educates”? Then again, I could innocently and without any malice observe that I understand Mr. Brownlee is a high school-level woodwork teacher by education; I shouldn’t demand too much knowledge of, you know, world affairs or political tact from him. It’s not like he is the parliamentary leader and Transport Minister, representing the biggest party in… oh, wait.)

And “has a terrible homicide rate”? True, but that’s just because we always invite people like Mr. Brownlee to personally observe what Finland is really like. Then there’s a little accident, and the rate goes up a bit.

And “no respect for women”? This is really unkind of you, Mr. Brownlee. I know New Zealand gave women the vote in 1893 while Finland didn’t until 1906, so we’re a pioneer merely in Europe, not on world scale; but that’s still terribly petty. In Finland, we just had a female President for two terms. How many female presidents has New Zealand… oh wait, I forgot this proud and upright land whose parliamentarian bashes us has no president but just a prime minister; their head of state is the proud, modern, democratic Queen of fucking hereditary eunuch-dictatorship England. Should I think we should have made Tarja Halonen a queen, a similarly castrated antiquated museum piece life sacrifice, to show our respect for women?

Then again, I gather the first female prime minister of New Zealand was Jenny Shipley, in 1997, while Tarja Halonen was elected President only in 2000; it really seems Finns have no respect for women, at least from the very strict New Zealander viewpoint.

And though we have legal equality, I suppose you could argue there’s a pay gap and under-reporting of rape and domestic violence and still a lot to do; but if that lets you get away with a dismissal like “no respect for women”, then on behalf of every single Finnish feminist may I suggest the various indiscretions of lonely farmland boys equate to “New Zealanders fuck sheep”.

For those that wonder, this is my calm, polite and measured mode of response; there has been hardly any swearing yet.

And as for unemployment? Round six-half in NZ; round seven-half in Finland. Curse you, you New Zealanders and your strict evaluations!

As for feeding the Finnish people, god, don’t you know how fat we are?

But since I don’t want to be too hard on Mr. Brownlee, and I want to charitably accept his later comment that his words were satirical, yet with a grain of truth in them… well, don’t worry, Mr. Brownlee. I don’t bear a grudge.

Just you New Zealanders stop raping sheep, children and your Maori slaves, which is a satirical comment with a shadow of fact in it so no hard feelings, and we’re okay.

The Artist: a movie review in three tweets

March 20, 2012

Tweet 1:

There’s a line between clever and just plain obnoxious. And #TheArtist is a looooong dive to the latter side.

Tweet 2:

And what of #TheArtist wasn’t obnoxious talk-dickery was either dully predictable or irritatingly overwroughty campy.

Tweet 3:

…and continuing on #TheArtist: if you do amplification and dickery to the level of genre parody, at least make the wretched thing funny!

And to further explain the matter, and to make this post feel more like a thing of its own: I didn’t mind The Artist being black-and-white. I didn’t mind it being a non-talkie. I would not have minded it using clever talking/non-talking tricks to be a quirky period piece.

What I minded was the cleverness of the moviemakers being ground in my face all the damn time. I wouldn’t be surprised if half the lines were about how “I SAW your movie” (O ho ho, it was a non-talkie!) and “Dear Husband, why don’t you SAY anything?” (O ho ho, because you’re the non-talkie star!) and so on and on and on. Too much of clever; not enough of subtle.

(And talking of clever, not subtle: at one point the male lead stumbles away down a street, almost gets hit by a car, and slinks away, alone and defeated. Behind him we see an establishment, a hotel or a restaurant maybe, with a honking big sign out front. The sign reads “LONELY STAR”. Because there’s a lonely star at the front of the shot, slinking away. Get it? Get it? LONELY STAR!!! Really fucking subtle, people.)

And… well, my contention is that the black-and-white period was the infancy of movies. Consequently there were a lot of things that were not done very well. Pacing dragged, or was uneven. Plotting was childish, unrealistic (in the bad way), given to melodrama and overuse of tropes and avoiding a lot of things that were taboo. It was all fresh; but it didn’t follow it was all good.

Now, as I see it, The Artist revels in all that. There’s a dog running to get help for its fallen master. There’re a lot of dramatic coincidences, a whopping amount of predictable foreshadowing and more slow suspense shots of what was fucking obvious to the modern viewers a minute ago already than I could stand. It might be charming in period movies; in this one it starts as cutesy and then moves rapidly towards annoying. When a man goes down, every single trope of classic movie downfall is trotted out: doomed vanity project, losing house, divorce, STOCK MARKET CRASH!, pawning significant belongings for booze, drunken phantoms, and the inevitable “raaar I trash everything” moment of rage: not a moment that we haven’t seen a million times before.

As per tweet number three, when you overdo something like that, when you insist on so unearthing and dressing up the corpse of a dead approach to moviemaking and insist on acting like it’s fresh, when you insist on even the fucking life-saving dog, you’d be better off doing it as a genre parody. At least then there’d be someone laughing.

Or then you could call it a “homage”, and win a coupla Oscars.

But — and here’s the caveat — I’m also of the opinion that movies are art, and there are people who are qualified to talk about that art. I’m not one of those people. Those people seem to have loved The Artist. Either they’re all high on fly agaric, or then I’m missing something. So to mangle Ebert, “Your movie sucks. And probably I do, too.”

(And though I didn’t care for the female lead, the male one, Jean Dujardin, rowr. I’m not hetero enough to not be attracted to that.)

The Big Exorcism (fiction)

March 18, 2012

I

One terrible day a German man came to the city of Rome.

The man was a priest; he had been an exorcist, a long time ago.

He was met at the airport by a shining white Rolls-Royce with the keys of Peter on the immaculate passenger-side door, and a black cardinal in a black robe waiting by it. “Father Braun”, the cardinal said, opening the door for him.

“Father Braun”, the cardinal said, opening the door when they arrived at an underground garage, under St. Peter’s.

“Father Braun”, he said, completing a trinity, opening a door to a richly, Renaissance-ly decorated room deep within that church of churches.

Two more cardinals were waiting for the German priest; their salutations need not be repeated here.

“So now you come for me”, the German said, sitting down without being asked. “Pardon that I sit without asking, but ministering to a herd of superstitious gobshites in Bavaria, the arse end of the Protestancy-ridden corpse of Germany, does erode your fucking manners a bit. Also Islam blows. What do you want of me, crowpack?”

The cardinals looked at each other in dismay; then the black one spoke. “It is a case of demonic possession.”

The German snorted. “You told me to never speak of possession again.”

“That was the old Pope”, a white-skinned, corpse-faced cardinal interjected, “the German one. We have grown wiser since.” He drummed long fingers on a folder on a table of gold and curlicues; within the folder, twenty years old, was a good reason for the German’s presence, and some facts that very convincingly argued for the side of his absence.

“Not wise enough to recall me until now”, the German growled. His black suit was crumpled by age and travel; his white collar was closer to yellow. “Not wise enough, back then, to believe your own exorcist when I told—”

“No”, the third cardinal, tanned and young for one of that set, admitted with a bland face, “not quite as wise as that. But our decision was wise for its time, as that folder documents. That the two of you, cooped up in that mountain cabin, both of you exorcists of great experience, should start reading each other for signs of possession…”

“And”, the first, the black cardinal continued, “that as the snows piled up and electricity went out and you waited for rescue, irritated and scared and angry at, uh, the organizational infelicity that had trapped you there…”

“That you would”, the third, the white, cardinal concluded, “um, go a bit crazy and one of you would kill the other, well, that would be terribly psychological.

“So now you believe me?” the German asked, affecting an appearance both sodden and smouldering.

“Well now”, the second cardinal muttered, “as it happens, now a demon of the same name has shown up, and no other exorcist has been able to deal with it. It took us a week to find your file.”

“Fine”, the German sighed. “Show me the cellar you’ve locked the poor bastard in. I’ll help if I can.”

“Oh no”, the third said, “no cellar, obviously there is no cellar; the place is very smart, and you will have all the help, all the personnel and materiel that you require.”

“What, everything?”

“Everything! But speed, secrecy and safety are paramount!”

“And so”, the first muttered, “shall we proceed to the Papal apartment?”

II

Maria Claudia Lucrezia Rossi was not a good Catholic, but she was fairly certain there could be no good reason why a trio of cardinals, sweaty and fussy, should rush into her little shop of pornographic films, Vatican credit cards in hand, and leave a minute later, each with a heaping armful of every DVD they could lay their hands on.

No, it did not seem at all proper to her. If nothing else, the cardinals should use civilian clothing, at the very least. She had the reputation of her place to think of.

III

“Well”, the German said, “that did not work.”

Next to him, the Pope levitated over a smouldering pile of burned DVDs and lecherous magazines. The Pope’s eyes were red, but not from the smoke. The place, capacious enough for the smoking and the floating, was a gallery of St. Peter’s, big enough to admit a 747 sans wings, and at the moment closed to visitors, officially because of restorations, actually because of an exorcism and a floating Pope.

“That’s the demons of lust out, I suppose”, the German declared at the cardinals.

Above them, the old man in a white-and-gold robe gibbered and rolled red eyes; a red shoe dropped off one foot and bounced into a cardinal’s shin; the cardinal grunted “Clogs!” and cast an accusing eye heavenwards.

“I think we’ll try the Big List of Saints next”, the German declared. “Get me the biggest list of saints you can find.”

“No!” the black cardinal said, blanching. “That’s the three-volume list from 1676!”

“Then get a library cart! And reading glasses for each of you, you’ll read while I waft the censer. And pray that works because the idea after that is unpleasant.”

IV

“I think”, Ms. Valmorde, the Vatican librarian of the 17th-century holy names library, said, “that those three are up to no good.”

“Which three?” Ms. Glassvitch, the assistant of the same, asked.

“Those three cardinals. Running around, heaving books… running and books is always a bad combination. Especially running with such big heavy books.”

“They stumble on the power cord too, no?” Glassvitch asked.

“One of three”, Ms. Valmorde said, with a sniff. She would need to position the cord more deviously in the future.

V

“So”, the German said, while the three cardinals were away, discreetly looking for a discreet dominatrix and seven black cats with white eyebrows, “you amused yet?”

“It is not amusement”, the other said, “but the proper way to conduct a job interview for this position of mine.”

“A pretty terrible live-fire interview if you ask me”, the German snorted.

“Hey, whatever the Boss up there wants”, the Pope said, blinking red eyes and smiling beatifically (though on that account, prematurely). “Want to bet the tan one is the first to go into a crisis of faith? Ten euros says he’ll be lord and mastering Satan before the sun is down, and it’s between the other two.”

“Heck no”, the German said, “you’re tight with the Boss, and he knows too much.”

The Pope hovered in a circle and laughed.

The Devil Inside: I liked it

March 17, 2012

Saw the film “The Devil Inside“.

Point one, as any other review will tell you, it was a hilariously bad example of (a) exorcism movies, (b) found-footage movies and (c) intrepid vigilante movies, subtype “teh Organized Religion is Ungodly Eebul so we fights Satanz alone!!”

The plot is, the main character’s mother went crazy during an exorcism twenty years ago and killed two priests and a nun; now our intrepid main character goes to a mental hospital in Rome with a camera-toting friend to Find Out Things and Peace. (The former, yes, plenty of Things; the latter, no.) They meet two priests that do unofficial exorcisms (see: “teh Organized Religion is Eeebul or at least uncaring bureaucratic basterdz!”), and bit by bit all Hell breaks loose. Then an abrupt ending.

Point two, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the thing; it was a good movie as far as I was concerned.

I loved it, every occasional jump scare of it, every jaunty fact and invoked trope and non-plot-related leering evil nun of it, all of it from the title card saying the Vatican had had nothing to do with it (well, with all its the gross inaccuracies, it would have been enough to give the Pope a stroke), to the abrupt and brilliantly hard ending of it. I laughed with it a lot, which may not be the desired reaction for a horror movie, but I didn’t laugh exactly at it.

I couldn’t shake the feeling the thing was made by benevolent trolls (as of, the Internet), aiming at making something that transcended all categories of good and bad. A bad enough movie becomes good; this movie seemed to be stuck on a carousel going round and round at that wheel of evaluation, not aiming at good plot or being true to life, but just at keeping the audience entertained by throwing everything within reach at the screen. I was thoroughly entertained, at least.

Also, as for the obligatory atheist angle: It was candy! There was no attempt to be serious about theology; the film was theology porn if anything. Then again, all I think theology is good for is plot-twisting porn as just another set of rules of fictional magic, so nothing lost! There was the obligatory thirty-second bit of maybe psychology and then it was all with the wall-crawling and the “Your mother does you-know-what in you-know-where!”; pure wacky candy.

I am happy I could write this review; I am happy I am the sort of person that can feel this way. Heck, going by the reviews written by people with the discernment to objectively know good movies from bad, I was ready to quip the only good thing about the Devil Inside was the Intel Inside-replacing sticker it brought to mind. But no, being an ignorant gobshite without the ability to discern even woody acting makes you much easier to satisfy. Ha ha!

The right to define

March 17, 2012

There are many things that have no natural cause: many things that are the way they are because people have agreed to have them that way. Nowhere is this more true than among mathematicians.

For example, the average height of a population is a simple mathematical calculation, once the population is well defined. (Over time it is a function; at least logarithmically Hölder continuous, and possibly smooth.) But the “normal height” for a population? Why, that is whatever the relevant authority decides a “normal height” to be.

Thus in mathematics the meaning of “an important discovery” is largely dependent on the person using the term; see “Important discovery in the fridge”, dept. mailing list, last week — versus “Important discovery: Destruction of Earth imminent”, math-phys. mailing list, this week.

Among mathematicians, this “right to define” has been restricted, as otherwise the results would not be pleasant. Thus only the departmental head has the right to redefine the zero hour: that is, she gets to define midnight. This is not as sexy as it sounds; merely that if she chooses midnight to be 2 pm outside time (“on the rube clock”), then 8 o’clock is 10 pm outside time, and that’s when the workday starts.

Others are not allowed to mess with the official departmental time; this has been so ever since an adjunct professor redefined his workday into a singularity and retired five minutes later.

A particularly haunting case of redefining time is the sad life of the graduate student who, due to circumstances entirely his own fault, is set to graduate in February of 1993, as soon as that comes around. Opinion is divided on whether the intransigence of his professor is admirable or abominable; the main lesson of the case is thought to be this: never let Microsoft Word’s autocomplete anywhere close to your study plan, and always proofread everything before signing.

Fields laureates, that is, those that get awarded the Fields Medal, the Nobel of mathematics, customarily have the added privilege of defining category boundaries. For an example why this is a privilege best restricted to a small set of sophisticated, sensible people, see von Sturmleben’s paper, “All penii larger than mine are ‘wangi’; by definition I have the largest penis”, Acta Math., 185 (2000) no. 2, 287–290.

As for a more mundane case of time, borderline on the departmental-head powers, who hasn’t heard a math professor exclaim, “Just a minute! I redefine a minute to be fifteen minutes.”?

And who hasn’t heard the inevitable adjunct, popping out of thin air, sneering: “So ya define x to be 15x? Solve for x, and a minute is nothing! Ya have no time! Come on now pops we gots no time!

Or the assistant, similarly appearing, crowing: “So a minute is a zero unit? Then so are all other measures of time! All of time appears in this one and same instant then! Let’s go see Shakespeare, born living and dead, right now!”

Or the lowly lecturer, shuffling to view, moaning with his hands thrust forwards: “Ah truly then this job not only feels like centuries, but is centuries — millennia — endless spans of futile, frustrating toil!”

Ah, such is the playful nature of mathematicians, for certain definitions of “playful”.

One may wonder why mathematics departments all over the world — for they all are like this — have not descended into utter anarchy as the result of the right to define. This is a question whose answer is trivial; mathematicians like their definitions to be well-defined, with nice analogues to the definitions of other people (read: mathematicians), and as the result any department exists in a slowly fluctuating state of collaborative insanity, shared by the inmates (read: faculty), and as is well known, this is but the Earth in microcosm.

After all, to offer one final example, money is a ludicrously fictional concept, made even sillier by the antics of loans and trading in futures and so on; and yet the vast majority of humanity treats money as something which makes sense! Mathematicians have long since seen through this madness, and thus require in salary only enough for basic needs plus writing implements; which the ever at least slightly puzzled administration is happy to give.

Gaga

March 14, 2012

So: a modern pop song of bizarre imagery, redone to tell of another case of bizarre imagery: Women’s suffrage to the tune of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.

(Video link)

Almost as uplifting as the French Revolution version.

Wait, uplifting? Well yes, a vote for women is uplifting and horrifying, in that order, considering how intractable and stupid the opposition was in that case. The Revolution, on the other hand, was horrifying and uplifting, in that order, the horror being that though the revolutionaries were a mob of violent fanatics I still get swept up in their enthusiasm and hope they would have won, swept over the whole world; surely, eventually, by my day, the outcome for good sense and human rights would have been better quicker than with Napoleon, Waterloo and Metternich’s dances at Vienna?

On the other hand, the amoral romantic in me is always ready to cheer for people with a Temple of Reason and rhetorics about priests, kings and entrails.

(The suffrage video is via Pharyngula and Rev. Ouabache’s tweet.)