The Carl Online

Odds and Ends
June 13, 2009, 4:09 pm
Filed under: PDF Posts | Tags: , , , , , ,

I know this site has died, and I take most of the blame for the CarlBlog going dormant, but this is my attempt to make ammends. Here are two issues of the Carl 09. I would have put the other four issues not yet on the internet, but security won’t let me into the Carl office and someone from facilites has already swiped the key.

New Executive Editors will no doubt do better than I have done to make this site real.



-Alex Sciuto

The New Northfield Option
January 27, 2009, 4:01 pm
Filed under: Campus

Along with room draw numbers coming out today, I finally saw Carleton’s new Northfield option policy. With the new dorms going into use next year, I think everyone expected a reduced number of students receiving Northfield Option, but as someone who doesn’t pay much attention to the inside politics of Carleton, I was surprised by how thorough and restrictive the overhaul is. The two main points: only 100 students get to live off-campus and the 100 golden tickets are alotted just like a normal campus room (the person with the highest room draw number can draw in up to four other people with them in Northfield).

What do you guys think about this? As a person with no personal stake in this, it seems fair to all except those juniors who chose to live off-campus this year and assumed they’d more easily get Northfield Option their senior year. With this change, it seems there will be at least a few kids who were living off-campus but will be denied their request for next year. What will they do with all their junk from their houses!!?

-Alex Sciuto

The Office T-shirt Contest
January 18, 2009, 11:44 pm
Filed under: Internet, TV | Tags: , , , , ,

Lindsey Shaugnessy e-mailed me that The Office tv show is having a t-shirt design contest. Well, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try my hand at designing a t-shirt that could possibly be sold by! Of course, giving the winner royalties or something like that would be just too much, but the social critic in me is immediately silenced by that humorous Jim (Like that? That’s called subtle sarcasm…).

I would include a link to the web page where you can vote for my t-shirt, but I don’t think there’s any voting mechanism. The contest seems as well-thought and serious as the many contests the Carl claims to have.

But here’s my entry:


-Alex Sciuto

December 27, 2008, 11:43 pm
Filed under: Internet | Tags: , , , , ,
Aren’t you amazed when one of your really smart friends, or really smart people on tv or in magazines throws out some idea or tidbit so obviously cool and interesting that you think “Why can’t I think of this. It’s so obvious.” I’ve noticed that lots of cool blogs usually have that same Ah Ha! moment. To showcase one of these conceptual jewels, here’s the fourth installment of Why Didn’t I Think To Make That Blog. Of course, if you find one of these great blogs, you’ll shoot them our way won’t you?

(stairs, and nothing but)

About (from the site): stair porn is a weblog featuring cool stairs from around the world. Posting will be relatively sporadic, so we recommend subscribing to the feed for updates. >> If you came here looking for sex, you’re plumb outta luck, bub.

Why It’s Great: This site first caught my eye when a really cool staircase was posted on MAKE Magazine’s blog. The image to the left really sums up the gestalt of the blog. The images are exclusively stairs, and having flipped through the blog’s archives, all the stairs are stunningly beautiful. But the images tell a story so much more expansive than just a device for altering personal elevation. They sum up entire buildings succinctly and beautifully. I don’t know who the photographers, but they all can really spot great architectural shots. It seems sometimes a coincidence and afterthought that a stair takes center-stage in the photo.

-Alex Sciuto

…Nor will it ever be a music blog, but…
December 23, 2008, 12:47 am
Filed under: Music | Tags: , ,

Well, here’s the third music related post in a row. I apologize. I know Tom and Greg can write cogently about music, but I can’t so I’ll keep this short. Everyone loves the Beatles and everyone loves Sufjan Stevens, right? Well, I found this track of Sufjan covering What Goes On, from Rubber Soul. It’s from an anniversary album of a bunch of different artists covering all the songs from Rubber Soul. I think the track sounds pretty cool.


-Alex Sciuto

CarlMall? SkyNorthfield? Ack.
December 17, 2008, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

When I’m flying, by the time the plane begins to land and I can see the buildings or farmland, I’ve usually got whatever was keeping me entertained packed-up. Because I can’t stand to sit quietly for even the twenty minutes before the plane lands, I pull out SkyMall. Everyone knows what it is.

But maybe I was particularly bored this flight, I started trying to think about items that a college/young-people/Carleton specific SkyMall would look like. I didn’t come up with any clever enough to share. But I’m wondering if any of you can think of any comletely useless items that every college dorm can’t be complete without.

-Alex Sciuto

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever
December 14, 2008, 8:37 pm
Filed under: Food | Tags: , ,

Seriously the best chocolate chip cookies ever. This is for real cookie lovers. If you like your cookies gooey and boring, go buy some Toll House ready made dough and just eat it. But if your taste buds have grown beyond the kindergarten level, this is the recipe for you. These cookies are crispy yet buttery, and melt in your mouth after a satisfying crunch. It’s also the easiest baked good in the world to make, probably.


I would rotate the image 90 degrees, but it would take 20 minutes of waiting on my computer, so use the power of imagination to rotate it yourself!

  • 1/2 stick of Crisco
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • As many chocolate chips as you like

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using an electric mixer, combine the Crisco and the butter.

Add the white and bown sugar. Mix some more.

Add in the 2 eggs and vanilla. Mix some more.

Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix some more.

Add the chocolate chips. Mix some more. You might have to use a big spoon at this point.

Spoon little mounds of dough onto a cookie sheet. The size is up to you, but the right way to do is a moderately heaping spoonful.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until gold brown, and closer to the brown than the golden.

-Alex Sciuto


Toll House Drizzle™ cookies burning in the Hell Fires.

Book Review: Tales of Beedle the Bard
December 13, 2008, 11:07 pm
Filed under: Literature | Tags: , , , , ,

Tales of Beedle the Bard

Tales of Beedle the Bard

J.K. Rowling’s seventy-page third supplement to the HP series took me an hour to read, and a good part of that hour included checking updates on my Google Reader. With shockingly large margins, even knowing the proceeds are going to some European charity, I still felt kind of ripped off at having to pay thirteen dollars for it (Alright, my dad, a true Harry Potter lover, actually bought it, but still).

If you can get over the physical lightness of the book, Rowling presents five short fairy tales followed by commentary by Albus Dumbledore. The stories are straight out of Aesop’s fables, and like in the rest of the series, magic instead of helping to solve problems only obfuscates and makes the solutions harder to come by. Dumbledore, whose end notes’ primary purpose is to make the morals even more obvious, often quotes his signature final speeches from multiple endings of the seven books. Love, sacrifice, and the concupiscence of the human spirit dominate his interpretations.

But if the lessons learned from the stories are neither surprising nor novel, the stories themselves have the stamp of Rowling’s imagination. From pots that have feet to Babbity Rabbity the wash-witch, each story is wonderfully imagined and concisely told. Remember the opening of the fourth book when Harry goes to the Quiditch World Cup and how interminably long her narrative is? She’s learned her lesson, or maybe just gotten lazy.

My favorite parts of the book are the rare new insights that we gain into both Dumbledore’s thinking months before his death and insights into the immediate myth of the Deathly Hallows and their relationship with the seventh book. While the stories themselves have no relation to the seven books, Rowling pretty deftly weaves the series’ events into Dumbledore’s analysis of the stories. There’s nothing essential in this short book, but the added information enriches the experience. While much of it is rehashing what we already learn from the books, I gained a little bit from the new retelling.

So, overall. A good waste of forty-five minutes.

-Alex Sciuto

Seven Lessons from the Public Policy Scholars Program
December 7, 2008, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

This past Tuesday morning at 8am, myself and fifteen or sixteen other Carleton students were sitting down bleary in Washington D.C. about to listen to a Carleton alum and two friends talk about their experiences working for Save the Children and talk about how they ended up working there. It was the first of about 20 organizations we would visit in the next three days in a blitz of information gathering about careers in public policy. I won’t bother you with the details or specifics of the different agencies, but there were some cool jobs for the aspiring James Bonds and some not so cool ones for the aspiring professional term-paper writers. I also won’t bother you with the specifics of how to get a top-notch job at the Treasury or State Department, but there were a number of very generalizable lessons the sixty or so people’s lives had in the common that we had the chance to learn about.

Here they are:

Follow Your Love. Yep, college romances are usually short, bittersweet, and end with the conferring of an undergraduate degree, but many of those who were successful got their start in Washington simply because they had a significant other who was heading there themself. It seems like it’s the combination of having no set plans mixed with the safety of a relationship that allowed these people to find jobs fields they had no previous interest. Most of the time, the jobs were short, but anchored to a place by another warm body, they kept finding new jobs until one stuck.

Leave the Country. It really doesn’t matter where you go, but get out of the country for at least a year or two. And Canada/Mexico doesn’t count. Whether it’s getting a reporting job in Rome, graduate school in Australia, or wandering around Asia finding yourself, the people we talked to traveled far and wide. Most of the time they planned ahead and got fellowships or jobs, but quite a few also just showed up in country and found a way to make ends meet. The traveling had two great benefits for their post-traveling Washington jobs. First, they knew a foreign culture the way an expert does. They spoke the language, knew the customs, and knew who to talk to in the country to get information if they needed it later. Secondly, the experience made them smarter and more adaptable. Without the benefit of the security of a permanent residence or job, these travelers were more open to suddenly moving again if the opportunity arose.

Don’t Immediately Go to Graduate School. Not a single person argued that after college, they were happy immediately returning to grad school. Only one man argued to attend grad school as early as possible, but that was predicated on knowing, and I mean knowing, what you wanted to do with your life. After four years of college, Law school or Public Policy school is three more years of the same critical thinking and improving of writing. You’re burnt out now, seniors, why do you expect that when August rolls around you’ll want a fifth, sixth, or even seventh year of this? See the two above lessons, make some mistakes, go to Alaska if you want. Find what you want to do, then go back to school to really learn to do it.

Is grad school useful? Opinions varied from a minority saying it was harmful to most saying they learned a lot, but they could have done without it. Grad school exists to prove you went to grad school. It’s the credentials. Maybe physicists and economists need graduate schooling, but it seems like lawyers and public policy experts learn most of what they need to know doing their jobs and experiencing new places and difficulties.

Never Waste an Opportunity to Make Friends. This applies to all people, but it especially applies to Washington, where we were told over and over, it matters more who you know than who you are. The people we talked to got their jobs because they were in the right place, knew the right stuff, and knew the right people. No one asked for GRE or LSAT scores or all those numbers. If you were an intern, you would get the job the next year. If you showed up in NPR’s offices every day touting your journalistic skills and experiences, you’d eventually get a job. In D.C., there’s a lot of turnover, and while college grads may think that hiring takes place only once a year, every year, the reality is that often times, whomever is there to fill the interim will end up staying if they like the job and are liked themselves.

Write Write Write Write and Learn to Speak Speak Speak. You might have the best ideas in the world, deep ideas that would progress humanity to the next epoch of evolution, but if you can’t write out or speak your thoughts, they’ll go nowhere. Look what I’m doing now. Hopefully someone reads this and see my name, and says, “That Alex, he can sure reflect and generalize from his experiences. And not only that, he can write an article about it!” The more you write, the better you get and the more likely people will read your work. The more stuff you put out, the more likely you’ll find an audience. So if your dream is to work in development, start a blog about development, submit your comps paper to journals, turn it into an article for a magazine. It won’t be the New York Times or Newsweek, but you’ll eventually find an audience. The same goes for speaking. Learn to speak well and succinctly. People can skim an article, but they’ll quickly get bored listening to you ramble about all the great lessons you learned while visiting Washington D.C. Make it brief, to the point.

Seriously though, we met more than a few people who got jobs because of their amateur blogging. It’s not completely without precedent.

Be a Problem Solver. A journalist mentioned that 90% of people out there are mediocre and cause more problems than they solve. Don’t be these people. If you dependably make your boss’s life easier, he’ll love you for it. The fewer questions and micromanagement decisions the boss has to make, the better you’ll look.

Find Your Love. Bouncing from job to job is fine. Some of the people we talked to haven’t held a job for longer than two years, but the jobs just slowly get better. But through all that bouncing, you’ll eventually discover what you love to do and everything else. The task then is to find the jobs and tasks that are that narrow column of love and avoid the rest. But you need to know what you love before you can know what to go after.

Whew. I didn’t expect this to be so long. Sorry dudes, but it was a crazy three days jam packed with meeting really interesting people.

-Alex Sciuto

Norm Coleman Loves The New Yorker
November 26, 2008, 9:19 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , , ,

But Im hot on the trail of my Google Doppelganger

On the drive home from Minnesota, in order to pass the time in the back seat of a Volvo driving through hours and hours of cornfields and the occassional Iowan town (Waterloo 4EVA!), I read for the first time a New Yorker magazine front to back. While the shock of realizing all that ten-point-font restaurant/concert/theater/movie front matter had maybe 5% more relevance to a Midwesterner like myself than I expected bringing the total relevance to a grand 5%, what I came away most remembering are the uniquely long physical descriptions of anyone mentioned moderately prominently in the magazine’s main articles.

Anyone who reads the magazine casually knows about the paragraph long descriptions of how a person looks and talks and walks that give the story a bonanza of incidental details that I guess the New Yorker’s editors think is the essence of its journalistic brand. The article about the crazy rebel who starts a brewery needs a description of his chiseled jaw and the swagger of his walk just like the profile of T.I. needs a description of his rock-hard abs to go along with coverage of his weapons charges. I don’t dislike these paragraphs, and they often give the New Yorker’s writers, all of whom are excellent, the chance to flex their descriptive powers.

I wanted to note in this post the frequency of them, but also how they vary. There’s one about a Chinese restaurant proprietor (square jaw, cigarette in his mouth, dark bushy hair, and a good socialist name that no one uses opting for his nickname), one about the restauranteur’s chef (gruff-voiced, thick eyebrows, sense of humor). Another character, a BBQ restaurant owner, also gets a paragraph devoted to his nickname and his ramshackle resume.

Listed and delineated with commas, the details are all similar, but the blending of details into narrative differs with each author. None of the writers drop a description into the story. The best one in the issue I read concerned the rebellious brewer because of how Burkhard Bilger brought the description back into the story. He ended describing the brewer’s voice (“his lips twist slightly to the side and his voice comes out low and wooly”) and, the final line was a quote. The quote, in relation to the description, appeared just as an good example of his diction, but when the next paragraph was read, the quote started the next part of the story. The description served not only to illuminate, but also served a structural purpose, denoting a new setting for the article’s narrative.

It was a lovely moment for me. I started the paragraph expecting the normal, but the end twisted my expectations making the descriptions something more than prettily arranged observed details.

Oh and Al Franken/Norm Coleman. Here’s a post from containing a primer on all the ballot challenges that are being mentioned in the news and on the web. If you don’t want to take the time to read the entire post, the gist of the post is that the numbers being mentioned daily of who is winning and by how many dozens of votes is meaningless. One type of challenge (the most popular) gives a candidate an immediate additional vote that will probably be dismissed when the challenge is actually arbitrated. We all know that the numbers are provisional, but until I read the post, I didn’t realize how provisional they really were.

-Alex Sciuto

Teal Corn #1
November 18, 2008, 12:57 pm
Filed under: Campus, Cartoons | Tags: , ,

treeTeal Corn #1 (by Mag/Rao)

Popular Titles
November 1, 2008, 10:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I found this list on the Gould Library Media Blog.

86 Most popular DVDs at the Gould Library

1.    The wire. The complete second season
2.    Starukhi = Old women
3.    The endless summer
4.    Fargo
5.    Becoming Jane
6.    House M.D. Season one
7.    Titanic
8.    Last tango in Paris
9.    Blood simple
10.    Se7en
11.    The wire. The complete third season
12.    The wire. The complete first season
13.    House M.D. Season two
14.    Planet Earth. The complete series
15.    Das leben der Anderen = The lives of others
16.    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
17.    Sjunde inseglet = The seventh seal
18.    Elizabeth
19.    Muslims
20.    Ali Zaoua
21.    Secrets of a soul = Geheimnisse einer Seele
22.    The wire. The complete fourth season
23.    The princess bride
24.    Blowup
25.    Schindler’s list
26.    North country
27.    Twilight of the ice nymphs ; Archangel ; The heart of the world
28.    Mulan
29.    The Joy Luck Club
30.    A prairie home companion
31.    Alien
32.    The Syrian bride
33.    Carrie
34.    Some like it hot
35.    Bride & prejudice
36.    O brother, where art thou?
37.    The usual suspects
38.    Blue velvet
39.    Le scaphandre et le papillon
40.    The wire. The complete fifth season
41.    Todo sobre mi madre
42.    Mujeres al borde de un ataque de “nervios” = Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown
43.    Rosemary’s baby
44.    Lust, caution
45.    Persepolis
46.    Funny girl
47.    The notebook
48.    Monty Python and the Holy Grail
49.    Funny face
50.    Dirty filthy love
51.    Indiana Jones and the temple of doom
52.    Labyrinth
53.    The little mermaid
54.    Brief encounter
55.    Funny games
56.    Stroszek
57.    The Godfather. Part II
58.    Spirited away
59.    All quiet on the western front
60.    Pocahontas
61.    Great expectations
62.    G-men
63.    Cars
64.    The Godfather
65.    Good Will Hunting
66.    Pride and prejudice (BBC/A&E)
67.    Laura
68.    Once upon a time in the West
69.    Un long dimanche de fiançailles = A very long engagement
70.    Patton
71.    Dead poets society
72.    Infernal affairs = Wu jian dao
73.    10 things I hate about you
74.    Chasing Amy
75.    Saving Private Ryan
76.    Primary colors
77.    Good bye Lenin!
78.    Lord of the rings. Return of the king
79.    Clueless
80.    Batman
81.    Chinatown
82.    Architectures 3
83.    A beautiful mind
84.    The pianist
85.    The Matrix
86.    Clerks

-Alex Sciuto

Pictures of Another Wednesday Night
October 22, 2008, 10:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
People working hard
People working hard

Matt and Dan working hard... OR HARDLY WORKING?
Matt and Dan working hard… OR HARDLY WORKING?

Flashcards I just made!
Flashcards I just made!

-Alex Sciuto

Weird Thing I Found on Wikipedia
October 22, 2008, 4:20 pm
Filed under: Internet | Tags: , ,

While searching wikipedia for the exact dimenions of half of a legal sheet of paper, I ran across this set of traditional names for various paper sizes, I think it’s perfectly charming, and I might perhaps name all my future children using only this list.

  • Emperor
  • Antiquarian
  • Grand eagle
  • Double elephant
  • Atlas*
  • Colombier
  • Double demy
  • Imperial*
  • Double large post
  • Elephant*
  • Princess
  • Cartridge
  • Royal*
  • Sheet, half post
  • Double post
  • Super royal
  • Medium*
  • Demy*
  • Large post
  • Copy draught
  • Large post
  • Post*
  • Crown*
  • Pinched post
  • Foolscap*
  • Small foolscap
  • Brief
  • Pott

-Alex Sciuto

Jazzmaster Tribute
October 20, 2008, 1:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Times Style Magazine has a really nice tribute to the Jazzmaster on its fiftieth anniversary. I don’t know much about guitars, but the article gives you a nice education on the guitar used by just about every band. For example, the jazzmaster was designed for… can you guess it… masters of jazz. But they didn’t like it one bit. Fortunately, jazz players rejection of the guitar opened it up for the likes of everyone from the Smiths to Elvis Costello to Yo La Tengo.


-Alex Sciuto