Chris Uggen's Blog: September 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

sinful images via socimages and angie andriot

very cool g.i.s. graphs of the seven deadly sins. minnesota, apparently, is big on wrath and lust. sounds about right.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tell the guys on death row that I'm not wearing a diaper

claire cameron of the times reports on the last words of texas prison inmates prior to execution.

Nothing I can say can change the past.

I done lost my voice.

I would like to say goodbye.

My heart goes is going ba bump ba bump ba bump.

Is the mike on?

I don’t have anything to say. I am just sorry about what I did.

I am nervous and it is hard to put my thoughts together. Sometimes you don’t know what to say.

Man, there is a lot of people there.

I have come here today to die, not make speeches.

Where’s Mr. Marino’s mother? Did you get my letter?

I want to ask if it is in your heart to forgive me. You don’t have to.

I wish I could die more than once to tell you how sorry I am.

Could you please tell that lady right there — can I see her? She is not looking at me — I want you to understand something, hold no animosity toward me. I want you to understand. Please forgive me.

I don’t think the world will be a better or safer place without me.

I am sorry.

I want to tell my mom that I love her.

I caused her so much pain and my family and stuff. I hurt for the fact that they are going to be hurting.

I am taking it like a man.

Kick the tires and light the fire. I am going home.

They may execute me but they can’t punish me because they can’t execute an innocent man.

I couldn’t do a life sentence.

I said I was going to tell a joke. Death has set me free. That’s the biggest joke.

To my sweet Claudia, I love you.

Cathy, you know I never meant to hurt you.

I love you, Irene.

Let my son know I love him.

Tell everyone I got full on chicken and pork chops.

I appreciate the hospitality that you guys have shown me and the respect, and the last meal was really good.

The reason it took them so long is because they couldn’t find a vein. You know how I hate needles. ... Tell the guys on Death Row that I’m not wearing a diaper.

Lord, I lift your name on high.

From Allah we came and to Allah we shall return.

For everybody incarcerated, keep your heads up.

Death row is full of isolated hearts and suppressed minds.

Mistakes are made, but with God all things are possible.

I am responsible for them losing their mother, their father and their grandmother. I never meant for them to be taken. I am sorry for what I did.

I can’t take it back.

Lord Jesus forgive of my sins. Please forgive me for the sins that I can remember.

All my life I have been locked up.

Give me my rights. Give me my rights. Give me my rights. Give me my life back.

I am tired.

I deserve this.

A life for a life.

It’s my hour. It’s my hour.

I’m ready, Warden.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jim Carroll

Jim Carroll, the catholic boy whose basketball diaries and people who died made poetry cool and tough (again) in the skinny-tie era, died Friday.

I grew up on his angsty kid stuff and loved his first concert tour with pre-Live Aid Boomtown Rats. Neither Mr. Geldof nor Mr. Carroll could sing, of course, but they sure knew how to put on a show. In any case, here's a more recent and playful sample of his writing, courtesy of the Catholic Boy site:


The word
to be bound
to cynicism
or elaborate expressions.
snakes through our lives
to seduce
to be
released, appropriately
or something
so that it can be
your piece
to submit

Like it? Here's the backstory: when invited to submit a poem for an edited volume titled Valentine, Mr. Carroll simply circled words and phrases in the editors' query letter and rearranged them into the above poem. Valentine. I wouldn't have believed the story without seeing a scan of the letter. And, no, as a matter of fact I don't think you could get away with this sort of reply the next time you're invited to contribute to an edited volume.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

reading meters

I've been writing on work/gender stuff this summer, so this City Pages pic of the Minneapolis Meter Readers of 1918 caught my eye. Speaking of meters, the originals are still syncopating -- and working steady since about 1918 as well.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Paul Morgan Baker

Paul Morgan Baker, a 1977 Minnversity sociology Ph.D. who spent three decades at the University of Victoria, passed away recently. I only met him briefly but picked up right away on his warmth, wit, and good humor. He's best known locally for flying through the entire graduate program -- entering with a BA, leaving with a PhD -- in three short years. Though Dr. Baker graced the pages of AJS and Social Forces in his distinguished career, his obituary tells the real story:

BAKER, Paul Morgan. PhD. October 8, 1949 August 19, 2009 Morgan grew up in North Vancouver, where he excelled at ice dancing (not that there's anything wrong with that), hockey, blowing things up, and writing. He dropped out of UBC in 1967 to pursue a brief and unsuccessful music career. In 1970, he entered the University of Victoria, won numerous awards and became a sociologist (thanks Bob!). After three cold winters at the University of Minnesota, he finished his MA and PhD degrees in record time so he could return to Victoria. While helping to raise his children, he also found time to do some unusual research projects at the University, many of which were published in major sociological journals. Perhaps his proudest accomplishment as a Professor was the accolades he received on, where students were equally enamored with his humor and skateboard-inspired fashion sense. Morgan loved sunflowers, music, Guinness, South Park, his family, his Handsonic 10 electronic drum, space science, sleep, Hawaii, and Miles the cat, but not necessarily in that order. He was green before his time and rode his bike everywhere. He ate a peanut butter sandwich everyday for lunch for over thirty years. Missing him are his wife, Maureen Colgan, kids Gillian (Glynnis), John (Angela), Nick (Shelley), Kenedy (Ryan), and of course wee darlin' Harlyn, sister Leslie, nephew Max, Aunt Jerry, cousins Laurie Cameron and Brent Morgan, along with many friends, colleagues, and students. Morgan often said he had the best job in the world, and he truly loved teaching, thinking and writing. His final words: GET ON WITH LIFE! At his request, there will be no service. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the 2010 Ride to Conquer Cancer on his daughter Gillian's personal page at , the Victoria Hospice, or please plant a tree for him. Take a moment to look up at the night sky for a glimpse of the International Space Station, play your favourite music, have a glass of wine and remember Morgan; he was one cool dude.

I was planning to work up a few drummer jokes in his honor, but he evidently strang some too -- here's a link to a li'l blues shuffle. Oh, what the heck...

What's the difference between a podiatrist and a drummer?
The podiatrist bucks up your feet.

So this drummer kept getting fired for having bad time; the guy got so depressed he went down to the tracks and threw himself behind a train.

St. Peter was directing traffic at the pearly gates. The first person was carrying a backpack full of papers. "What did you do on Earth?" "I was a sociology professor." "Wonderful! Go right through those two shiny gates and to the left.
"Next Person! ..And what did you do on Earth?" "
Oh, I was a drummer." "All right, now go around to the back door, through the kitchen, up the freight elevator, down the corridor and..."

Amigurumi surf guitar w/ stringless ukelele

G-6-6-6--4-4-4--2-2-2--1~~~- x2



Monday, September 07, 2009

oh sure, but can your senator do this?

And he's not bad on health care, either:


Saturday, September 05, 2009


Yahoo news is reporting on Texas exonerees, who are receiving $80k for each year behind bars and a lifetime annuity. Exonerees often spend decades in prison before authorities are finally convinced that it would have been completely impossible for them to have committed the crimes that put them behind bars.

As the story (and a 2008 Contexts feature) makes clear, Texas is the most generous state in compensating those wrongly convicted. I can't imagine thinking that $80k/year is "generous" compensation for a year in a maximum security prison, but I suppose it beats a firm handshake and $50 gate money.

The exonerees I've met have all been more concerned with clearing their names than with financial compensation. Think about it: it is one thing to spend years or decades locked up for a crime you didn't commit; it is quite another to spend years or decades with the knowledge that your friends, family, and neighbors all consider you to be a rapist or murderer.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Berkeley somehow overcame their low ROTC rankings

Joe sends word of the washington monthly's alternarankings for colleges and universities. These are based on "contribution to the public good" in three categories:

"Social Mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country)."

in light of recent contexts pieces on rankings, i thought i'd pass along the bottom line:

rank, university
1 University of California, Berkeley*
2 Univ. of California, San Diego*
3 Univ. of California, Los Angeles*
4 Stanford University (CA)
5 Texas A&M U., Col. Station*
6 South Carolina State University*
7 Pennsylvania State U., University Park*
8 College of William and Mary (VA)*
9 University of Texas, Austin*
10 University of California, Davis*
11 Harvard University (MA)
12 Massachusetts Inst. of Technology
13 University of Chicago
14 University of Washington*
15 Case Western Reserve Univ. (OH)
16 Univ. of California, Riverside*
17 Cornell University (NY)
18 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor*
19 University of Notre Dame (IN)
20 Ohio State Univ., Columbus*
21 Univ. of California, Santa Barbara*
22 Jackson State University (MS)*
23 Yale University (CT)
24 U. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign*
25 Johns Hopkins University (MD)
26 University of Virginia*
27 Utah State University*
28 Princeton University (NJ)
29 California Institute of Technology
30 Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison*
31 Vanderbilt University (TN)
32 Iowa State University*
33 Duke University (NC)
34 Michigan State University*
35 Brown University (RI)
36 U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill*
37 Georgetown University (DC)
38 Georgia Institute of Technology*
39 Northwestern University (IL)
40 Dartmouth College (NH)
41 Univ. of Southern California
42 Columbia University (NY)
43 University of Pittsburgh*
44 University of California, Irvine*
45 University of Florida*
46 Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. (NY)
47 University of Arizona*
48 Purdue U., W. Lafayette (IN)*
49 University of Rochester (NY)
50 U. of Minnesota, Twin Cities*
51 Brandeis University (MA)
52 Howard University (DC)
53 Florida Institute of Technology
54 Clarkson University (NY)
55 Florida A&M University*
56 U. of California, Santa Cruz*
57 Rice University (TX)
58 University of Idaho*
59 University of Pennsylvania
60 George Washington Univ. (DC)
61 Virginia Tech*
62 American University (DC)
63 Fordham University (NY)
64 University of Iowa*
65 New York University
66 Syracuse University (NY)
67 Catholic Univ. of America (DC)
68 Univ. of Missouri, Columbia*
69 Clark Atlanta University (GA)
70 Tulane University (LA)
71 U. of Maryland, College Park*
72 Oregon State University*
73 State University of New York, Binghamton*
74 Boston College
75 Carnegie Mellon University (PA)
76 Mississippi State University*
77 Tennessee State University*
78 State University of New York, Stony Brook*
79 University of Oregon*
80 University of San Diego
81 Rutgers University,
New Brunswick (NJ)*
82 Tufts University (MA)
83 Indiana Univ., Bloomington*
84 Morgan State University (MD)*
85 Widener University (PA)
86 Marquette University (WI)
87 State University of New York Col. Envir. Sci. & For.*
88 Univ. of Colorado, Boulder*
89 Miami Univ., Oxford (OH)*
90 Yeshiva University (NY)
91 North Carolina A&T State Univ.*
92 U. of S.C., Columbia*
93 Ohio University*
94 Illinois Institute of Technology
95 State University of New York, Albany*
96 University of Maine*
97 Loyola University Chicago
98 University of the Pacific (CA)
99 Washington University in St. Louis
100 Boston University
101 University at Buffalo, State University of New York*
102 Auburn University (AL)*
103 University of New Hampshire*
104 N.C. State U., Raleigh*
105 University of San Francisco
106 Colorado State University*
107 Clark University (MA)
108 Azusa Pacific University (CA)
109 New Mexico State University*
110 Univ. of Southern Mississippi*
111 University of Connecticut*
112 University of Illinois, Chicago*
113 Emory University (GA)
114 University of Dayton (OH)
115 Arizona State University*
116 Clemson University (SC)*
117 University of Delaware*
118 U. of Mass., Amherst*
119 Michigan Technological*
120 George Fox University (OR)
121 Florida State University*
122 Missouri U. of Science & Tech.*
123 University of Vermont*
124 Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania*
125 Texas A&M Univ., Kingsville*
126 University of Wyoming*
127 Wake Forest University (NC)
128 Oklahoma State University*
129 Washington State University*
130 University of Miami (FL)
131 Old Dominion University (VA)*
132 University of Montana*
133 University of Mississippi*
134 University of Cincinnati*
135 University of Georgia*
136 Brigham Young U., Provo (UT)
137 Pepperdine University (CA)
138 University of New Mexico*
139 University of Oklahoma*
140 University of Texas, El Paso*
141 University of Toledo (OH)*
142 Duquesne University (PA)
143 Bowling Green State Univ. (OH)*
144 Rutgers University,
Newark (NJ)*
145 University of South Dakota*
146 University of Alabama*
147 Kansas State University*
148 Colorado School of Mines*
149 Texas Christian University
150 University of Nevada, Las Vegas*
151 University of South Florida*
152 Northern Illinois University*
153 Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln*
154 University of Utah*
155 Biola University (CA)
156 University of North Dakota*
157 Temple University (PA)*
158 University of Denver
159 Trinity International Univ. (IL)
160 Texas A&M Univ., Commerce*
161 DePaul University (IL)
162 West Virginia University*
163 Polytechnic University (NY)
164 Kent State University (OH)*
165 St. John’s University (NY)
166 Lehigh University (PA)
167 San Diego State University*
168 Seton Hall University (NJ)
169 University of Kentucky*
170 Illinois State University*
171 Southern Illinois U., Carbondale*
172 University of St. Thomas (MN)
173 Andrews University (MI)
174 Baylor University (TX)
175 Spalding University (KY)
176 University of La Verne (CA)
177 Florida International University*
178 University of West Florida*
179 U. of North Carolina, Greensboro*
180 Pacific University (OR)
181 University of Kansas*
182 University of Hawaii, Manoa*
183 Southern Methodist Univ. (TX)
184 South Dakota State University*
185 Ball State University (IN)*
186 University of Louisville (KY)*
187 Drexel University (PA)
188 University of Tennessee*
189 Northern Arizona University*
190 Long Island U., C.W. Post (NY)
191 Worcester Poly. Inst. (MA)
192 Montana State University*
193 U. of Maryland, Baltimore County*
194 East Carolina University (NC)*
195 Wright State University (OH)*
196 Oral Roberts University (OK)
197 University of Memphis*
198 Western Michigan University*
199 University of Bridgeport (CT)
200 University of Rhode Island*
201 Central Michigan University*
202 University of Northern Colorado*
203 University of Nevada, Reno*
204 Cleveland State University*
205 Georgia State University*
206 University of Akron (OH)*
207 University of Arkansas*
208 Adelphi University (NY)
209 Indiana State University*
210 Nova Southeastern University (FL)
211 Texas Tech University*
212 Wayne State University (MI)*
213 St. Louis University
214 George Mason University (VA)*
215 New School (NY)
216 Univ. of Alabama, Birmingham*
217 Texas Woman’s University*
218 Portland State University (OR)*
219 Hofstra University (NY)
220 Stevens Institute of Tech. (NJ)
221 U. of North Carolina, Charlotte*
222 University of Texas, Arlington*
223 Samford University (AL)
224 Univ. of Alabama, Huntsville*
225 East Tennessee State University*
226 University of North Texas*
227 Barry University (FL)
228 University of Central Florida*
229 Indiana U.-Purdue U., Indianapolis*
230 Louisiana Tech University*
231 Georgia Southern University*
232 Univ. of Arkansas, Little Rock*
233 University of Houston*
234 Pace University (NY)
235 Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston*
236 Northeastern University (MA)
237 La. State Univ., Baton Rouge*
238 New Jersey Inst. of Technology*
239 Univ. of Missouri, Kansas City*
240 Immaculata University (PA)
241 University of Texas, Dallas*
242 Florida Atlantic University*
243 University of Tulsa (OK)
244 Virginia Commonwealth University*
245 Trevecca Nazarene Univ. (TN)
246 Wichita State University (KS)*
247 Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee*
248 North Dakota State University*
249 Idaho State University*
250 University of Colorado, Denver*
251 University of Alaska, Fairbanks*
252 Univ. of Louisiana, Lafayette*
253 Oakland University (MI)*
254 Univ. of Missouri, St. Louis*
255 University of Hartford (CT)
256 St. Mary’s Univ. of Minnesota
257 Univ. of Massachusetts, Lowell*
258 University of New Orleans*

Thursday, September 03, 2009

i'll be sad in heaven, if i don't find a hole in the gate

As much as i enjoyed Mr. Earle Junior's plaintive take on 'matsicana, my version of choice remains the brutal Tim-era demo below. By the time Pleased to Meet Me was recorded, the feckless guitarist was long gone and the dark themes were probably too much to bear. Still, even the sanitized base track has got some life to it. After a bit of polish and some Memphis horns, Mr. Westerberg had a genuine gen-x anthem that spawned a million covers. But whenever I pass the CC club on Lyndale, here's the one that haunts me.