Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ask Mike, debate geek edition

In this edition of Ask Mike we answer an email from one of the debate students I judge. (For my non-debate geek readers I will give editorial translation in parenthesis. That and insert pithy remarks here and there.)

1) What are your author quals? (Translated: If I use you in round as a source, what can I say when someone tries to verify your qualifications.)
2) Why is seniorcorps such a horrible program?
3) Does in-round discourse - especially kritiks of the debate system - actually mean anything? (Translation: I spell critique weird because I was taught by a snooty intellectual elitist? Oh yeah, do you judge on them?)

Dave, your spelling of critique made my brain hurt trying to figure out the question on three. I am guessing you learned that spelling from a scholarly nerd type. That kind of crap gets you a wedgie in no time. Onward and upward:

1) My author quals, personally, are that I am God, know everything worth knowing, and know that nine out of ten judges don't check quals. Oh, yeah, I am also a published political pundit, expert at trivial pursuit, and have an I.Q. of 165. (Editors note: All true. I am my own personal God...) I wouldn't use a card from me to build your entire case but to instead flesh it out and strengthen your evidence.

2) Poor organization. Giving old people a reason not to die is on paper a good cause. Using fiat a properly run affirmative can totally win with it but in reality Senior Corps is under funded and thus overworks the volunteers it has. As long as an affirmative has cards to defend against the obvious euthanasia attack it can be a strong case.

(Translation: The current CX debate resolution states that the US Government should substantially increase the number of persons serving in various service organizations and Senior Corps is one many debate teams have chosen. In my explanation I discuss a bunch of debate )

3) Critique is like topicality for me, it has to be flawless, elegant, and clear to score any points. Often it is silly and as long as Affirmative at least touches on it, it falls. One team ran a topicality against re-instating the draft that said that military service did not qualify as service under the resolution. This directly contradicts the resolution as it specifically mentions armed services and thus falls the moment it is uttered. In place of a weak critique or T I would suggest a DA, inherency, or even a nice solvency attack. Sometimes a well worded counter-plan is nice.

Speaking of which, I have been thinking about the Chuck Norris CP and if the fake silliness is pulled out it could work. Replace the "Chuck Norris supports the FDIC" junk with actual facts about his own volunteer work and assistance with Federal volunteer programs and you have a CP that kicks as much ass as he does.

(Translation: Blah blah blah, bunch of debate specific crap that doesn't translate.)

Well, that's all for this time kids. Remember, send me your questions on any topic and I will make fun of... I mean answer them.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Behold! Rising from the dust! It's....

The Ask Mike column is back for the first time since December of '05. This is the column where my readers (all three of you) email me questions and I make fun of... I mean answer... them. Seriously, send any question to me via email (mclarksonazATgmail.com with the @ character in place of AT), blog comment, myspace message, or carrier pigeon and I will answer it in a future blog post. Hopefully my new minions from speech and debate tournaments will post topic related questions (hint, hint, nudge, nudge) that I can answer for their enlighenment and use in rounds (free speaker points for quoting me). In fact, what I would like to see ultimately is all of the students who have the address here refering their entire team. My goal is to have kids I have never met using my thoughts in debate and speech rounds the world over. Ambitious goal I admit but a worthy one. We future rulers of the world have to have dreams...

"Gee, Brain, what are we going to do tonight?"
"The same thing we do every night Pinky, try to take over the world!"

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hope for the future

I spent the weekend judging debate at GP. It is rejuvenating to be reminded that the next generation is in fact not full of idiots but minds that fill me with hope. These kids actually care and are just waiting for the information they need to go out and change the world. I get so psyched when I watch these kids light up at stuff so many adults only pretend to care about. Politics, values, and looking at otherwise mundane facts from fresh new angles. Makes me wish I had taken the teaching path in my career life. When I get a chance I will be posting information on some of the topics these kids are addressing this year.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Out of the random randomness

I was going to post something on Kim Jom Nitwit in North Korea but I was tired. I was going to post something on Mark Foley but the media really beat that horse to death and then started kicking it. I have had a myriad of topic ideas that I started to write about until the ADD kicked in and it was like, "Kim Jom Il is a poopyhead blah blah blah...Oh look, a new post in the Wired Table of Malcontents..." I swear sometimes I have the attention span of a three year old.

Then my wife brings home her friends from work and I start to feel so old. All of her new work friends are at least 7 years younger than me. These people are fresh out of high school and still a bit wet behind the ears. It is the first time ever I have had parties where I am the first to call it a night. Every day I look in the mirror and see more gray hair in my beard. If I did not color it the hair on my head would match. I feel a little better when a clerk checks my ID for beer but then I am brought down when they proceed to ID the 50 year old behind me.

As I get older I have started noticing, it is truly the small things in life that get me by. A cold beer in the fridge or warm kiss from my wife, a wave and smile from a stranger or a hug from a friend. For instance, each morning I drive my little girl to school. On the way I pass a crossing guard. There is nothing out of the ordinary about this crossing guard, just a nice middle aged woman, and I wouldn't know her from Adam, yet every time I drive by she has a wave and a nice smile waiting. I never even noticed that we wave at each other every day until today when she had gone to her car and wasn't in her usual spot. It was like a little hole in the day. That got me thinking and hence you have this post.

What little things get you through your day? Watch and see if you notice the small things you would ordinarily take for granted and then imagine your day without them. Then reply with those things here.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Fun words

Wanker. Kolache. Poop. Wenus. Booger. Some words are just so much fun to say. I was chatting with the coolest chick from Ohio who now lives in Texas and used the word wanker and it made me laugh. Being the attention deficient bozo I am, my brain derailed from the conversation at hand to funny sounding words.

Dave Barry had the theory that any sentence could be made funny just by a properly inserted use of the word booger. For example, the sentence "Kim Jom Il just tested a nuclear device, much to the chagrin of President George W. Bush" is quite serious. We could make it funny just by inserting booger thus, "Kim Booger Il just tested a booger device, much to the chagrin of President George W. Booger." Suddenly we have comic gold. Try it sometime. Next time you have to give a speech, randomly insert the word booger. Even if they don't laugh, they will give you funny looks and that just means they are laughing on the inside.