I’m Phoning It In

by

I usually have to spend a few days a semester talking about the pros and cons of using websites as resources. Because they — websites — can be very useful, sometimes. And they can be utter nonsense. I almost always have to deal with the wikipedia issue. Isn’t it a good source? Because it’s kind of self-policed, no? Everyone, it seems, loves wikipedia.

So I always end up sounding like the crotchety old man I fear I am becoming and try explaining to students about the wonders of peer-reviewed articles and following the development of arguments over the span of a few journals or books, but students’ eyes begin to glaze over and I end up sounding like someone you wouldn’t want showing up at your birthday party because I might go on and on about how sugar is bad for your teeth rather than just letting everyone enjoy the cake.

Truth is: I kind of like wikipedia. It is just eat up with interesting. Here’s one of my favorite pages.

I had no idea what the longest name in the U.S. was: Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. And I didn’t know that there is a “104-foot long, 5-foot wide house in New York City built entirely out of spite for the neighbors.” It’s called, creatively enough: Spite House. I didn’t know that there is a name for the theory that the world is steadily getting smarter: The Flynn Theory. I didn’t know that toilet paper holder was so complex a piece of equipment: but it is.

Anyway….skim through the list and enjoy learning about things you didn’t even know you wanted to learn about.

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16 Responses to “I’m Phoning It In”

  1. Capt. Midknight Says:

    Michael,
    I wonderful page!
    Should come under the heading:
    “You couldn’t make this stuff up …”

  2. Whitney Says:

    Sadly, I know that the Flynn Effect is.
    But the Spite House…now that’s some serious information.

    I’m not teaching now, and so I actually really miss those first few class periods where you’re trying to be cool, yet get taken seriously at the same time. But, rest assured, you’re cool. I checked your “ratemyprofessors” page. 🙂

    Thanks for something fun, Mikey. Hope you have a great semester.

  3. DeJon Says:

    I used to love wikipedia… until last semester.

    As a part of a class last semester, I was instructed to write or add to a wikipedia page. “How ludicrous!” I thought. I got an “incomplete.”

    Point of the story being, I’ll pay top dollar to anyone willing to get that “I” off my record.

    Signed,
    “Anonymous”

  4. michaellasley Says:

    Good for you, Anonymous. Thankfully, I’ve always had professors who only assingned things that were useful.

    Whitney — I looked at my ratemyprofessor page when I was at Syracuse, but I haven’t looked since I’ve been here. I’d rather not know, I think.

    Capt. — yeahp. Some of the things on there are pretty ludicrous. I always wonder who has the time to put into creating a wiki page for these things.

  5. urbino Says:

    There’s no “I” in “record.” Maybe you, dear Anonymous, should point that out to The Man.

    It works every time in sports.

  6. aliasheea Says:

    So one of the coolest things from the wikipedia website is that tomorrow is International Talk Like A Pirate Day! It doesn’t get any better than that.

    I have to say I’m glad you posted this because I have never been on wikipedia before and it was very interesting. Thanks Michael!

  7. urbino Says:

    Isn’t every day Talk Like a Pirate Day?

    No wonder I can’t get a girl.

  8. michaellasley Says:

    Everyday *should* be talk like a pirate day. No?

    I thought girls liked pirates. They go nuts over that Orlando Bloom guy, and he’s as pirate-y as they come.

    Aliasheea — here’s hoping you don’t get addicted to wikipedia. It can be addicting. Although, as far as addictions go, there could be worse.

  9. urbino Says:

    Yeah, Kiera Knightley should be all about me by now. Unaccountably, she isn’t. Go figure.

  10. urbino Says:

    Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg

    What in the wide, wide world of sports was the idea there? There are some Welsh words that aren’t that long.

  11. urbino Says:

    This:

    Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

    is bleedin’ genius.

  12. Terry A. Says:

    Good news, Mikey. I checked out your ratings.

    You are easy. (In other news, sun rises in east.)

    You get the yellow smiley face of approval. This means you’re as good as it gets, I think.

    And the red chili pepper seems to indicate that you are “So Hot Right Now.”

    However, I noticed an unusually large concentration of peppers in the English department. Is this the Pepperdine Effect (check wikipedia), wherein all the good-looking professors migrate westward toward Malibu, or is it a department-engineered jerry-rig, or is it just — as fits my experience with such things — that most English-major chicks are a little bit — oh, how does one say this — apple brown betty?

    By the way, I tried to vote to make you look like a tougher instructor.

  13. unicorntx Says:

    Whoops

  14. michaellasley Says:

    Well, Terry, it’s kind of a SoCal thing. You have to meet certain standards of beauty before you can even enter the place. So, really, having a red pepper next to your name is kind of redundant.

    Urbino — being half Welsh my own self, I hear what you’re saying. That’s a mean word. If I lived near Lake Whatever, I’d dread filling in my address on a deposit slip.

  15. Terry A. Says:

    You should see my scores on RateYourNonProfitOrganizationPRFlack.com.

    Just yesterday, I used “cachet” in a brochure. I’m pretty sure there will be a serious ratings spike from this alone.

  16. Rusty Mc Says:

    Mikey,
    This is my first time to check out the Hungry Hungry Hippos page. You still crack me up. Thank you so much for the ridiculous stuff you share. You and T Ray make me laugh.

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