Life: June 2006 Archives

Why Parableman?

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I've only once or twice explained how I got the name Parableman. Last week I went to a dissertation defense that reminded me of my secret origin, so I'm going to use that as a roundabout way to get to explaining the name. There was a very strange moment at this defense. I just have to say that it's really funny to hear an octogenarian philosopher utter the words "Your mother's a whore!" to a devout Catholic in a suit. It's even stranger given that it was a committee member addressing a question to the candidate who was defending. Indirect discourse is so fun when you ignore key elements of the context. One of the committee members was even visibly shocked to hear that exact expression coming out of his mouth, but in context it was part of a perfectly legitimate question.

What shocks about this is when you ignore or bury the context. I didn't just explain why this professor was uttering that expression. Telling you that he said it to this upstanding Catholic guy in a suit at a dissertation defense is extremely misleading. It was just such an incident that led to my recognition as Parableman. Back in college I said a whole bunch of true things about someone to some friends of both of ours. I left out some crucial information, however. If I'd done it in a different tone it would clearly have implicated some false information that wouldn't have been good, but I used a fairly cryptic and mysterious tone that clued them in pretty quickly that I was hiding something and not exactly suggesting what the information might otherwise have suggested (so it wasn't really slander by implication). They thought this cryptic approach was worthy of the moniker Parableman, and they proceeded to write an entire song about me to the tune of Particle Man by They Might Be Giants. I wish they'd written it down, because it was actually pretty good.

So it has nothing to do with parables, really. It's just that I said some cryptic things. It wasn't exactly out of character to do that, but it wasn't really anything to do with parables. Isn't it disappointing to find out that the Parableman got his name in a way entirely unrelated to anything that could accurately be called a parable?

For future reference (in case I forget) and for anyone who might ever experience this particular problem: I've been wondering for the past several days why my Firefox browser wasn't allowing me to scroll down web pages with my spacebar the way it usually allows me to. I thought there might be something wrong with my keyboard, but the spacebar worked for inserting spaces. Then I realized I could see whether it was Firefox or something else by checking Internet Explorer. It worked fine for scrolling in IE. That meant it had to be some setting in Firefox or some setting elsewhere that would somehow affect Firefox but not IE. The former seemed much more likely.

So I looked through every option in the various menus Firefox has, and only two seemed to have to do with scrolling. Neither changed anything. I even looked through the help file to see if these two functions were supposed to do something that they weren't doing. No, they did things that were unrelated to my problem. In the process I did notice something else strange. It listed Page Up and Page Dn as moving to the top and bottom of a web page. They didn't do that. They moved to the end of whatever line I was on. That should have been a clue. A little later I noticed that when I clicked on parts of a page with no text the browser was acting as if I had clicked on a line with text. That was clue #2, and I reminded me of a menu option that I had dismissed as irrelevant, which turned out to be exactly the problem.

So here is the solution: Under Options, select the Advanced tab. Accessibility Options will appear. Under Accessibility Options, one choice says "Allow text to be selected with the keyboard". That option was checked. I unchecked it, and the problem was solved. Now I can use my spacebar to scroll down web pages.

New Pictures Posted

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I'm pretty focused on figuring out racial essentialism at the moment, so I figured I'd link to some pictures Sam has posted instead of posting anything of substance. Some of these are from a while back, and I'd never gotten around to linking to them.

March: pictures from Ethan's birthday
May: Ethan eating rice cakes with a knife and fork
May: Sophia's new dress that Sam made

Prosblogion Profile

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I've finally got a profile on the Prosblogion site. So far it just lists my academic work, including teaching and research interests and then links to all the posts I've written at that blog. Most of the contributors have had profiles like this all along, but because I had my own blog my name in the sidebar has just linked to this blog. I thought it might be better to have the profile with a link within it to here, and now I do.

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