Sunday, 24 March 2013

How to remove a ring from your finger without a firearm [An astute reader brought the sad tale of Alfredo Malspini III to my attention, and lest any of you shoot off a finger to spite a ring, I thought I'd share some practical advice about ring-removal that I wrote up a few years back.] There you are on a Saturday night, futzing with your wedding ring because your wife thinks your trichotillomania makes you look mangy: off your left ring finger, onto your right pinkie; off your right pinkie, onto your left pinkie; off your left pinkie, onto your right ring finger; off your right ring finger, off your right ring finger, OFF YOUR RIGHT RING FINGER, non et cetera. You pull and you twist; you pull while twisting and you twist while pulling all to no avail. You look at your wife and you tell her, “I’ve misplaced my wedding band.” She will look at you, j’accuse burning in her eyes, until you hold up your right hand. She will then enter the kitchen and return with the ingredients required to perform Step One: 1. Apply cold water and a little soap. Gently work the soap under the ring and twist. If the ring still does not come off, massage the area of the finger below the knuckle to remove some of the fluid from the finger. Wait a few minutes, then repeat. Continue until the finger is good and chafed. After fifteen minutes of repeated failure, your wife will walk back into the kitchen and return with the materials needed for Step Two: 2. Dry the chafed finger with hand towel, then apply the following in any order: water-based lubricants, oil-based lubricants, semi-solid fats, hydrogenated vegetable oils, as well as any lard, suet, ghee, tallow, or schmaltz you find lying around. As with the soap and water, work the slippery substance under the ring and twist and turn. Carefully slip a knife under the ring and try to slide it over the knuckle. If the ring-bearer cries in pain, ascertain whether its source is the ring jamming on the knuckle or the knife slicing into it. This too will fail. Your wife will walk back into the kitchen yet again. Take this opportunity to try to wash your hilariously lubed finger. The water-based lubricants will dissolve quickly, but the oil-based lubricants, semi-solid fats, suet, schmaltz, &c. will take some time. Expect to find an oily residue scumming the top of the bucket used in Step Three: 3. Thrust your hand into the bucket of ice water which your wife has brought in from the kitchen. Leave it in there until the ring-bearer screams. When he does, shoot him a look of unconcealed embarrassment with a hint of disappointment, then allow him to “tough” it out for another three minutes. Once he passes out, remove his hand from the bucket and check to see that the desired amount of vasoconstriction has occurred, then repeat steps one and two. You may notice that despite the intense cold and vigorous oily...
Game of Thrones, only anime I haven't shared a student's RIP project in a while, so I feel I should remind you of what they are: The final assignment of my visual rhetoric course is called Rhetoric in Practice (or RIP). It has two components. To paraphrase the rubric: the students create their own rhetorical performance, explore questions of how to target an audience, follow the conventions of a genre, choose the medium for their message, and all the while, use the critical tools they’ve been learning all quarter to develop their ideas. They then perform a rhetorical analysis of their own work via a detailed writer's memo. The pedagogical theory behind this is sound: by forcing them to do something fun at the end of the quarter, I get better evaluations the tools I taught them over the course of it become more solidly ensconced in their brain-space. Only this time, instead of deducing the rhetorical intent behind someone else's decisions, they must decide how to communicate their message to their target audience most effectively. One of the highlights of this quarter was a remake of the Game of Thrones opening credit sequence, only intended for an audience of the sort one finds at the University of California, Irvine: I hope that, as a student project completed in a little under two weeks, this doesn't violate Fair Use and won't be taken down, but I can't be sure. Also, I'll credit the student when I hear back from her about whether she wants credit for it. Given that I've already had a Disney animator think it worthy of praise, though, I'm fairly comfortable sharing it with the world.

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