Saturday, May 28, 2005

Lagniappe: Radiohead

A slow week for wetware loops, but a classic can't be kept down, or in this case, un-looped:

-Eddie Money, "Take Me Home Tonight," especially the wetware invading "Just like Ronnie sang: Be my little my darlin'...oh, oh, oh, oh..."

I don't think I have seen...

...women professors still working in their mid 70s and beyond; it is almost always the men who, as a colleague once said to me, "have a hard time thinking of themselves as anything but professors." professors driving old cars.

...someone being unequivocally pleased about a teaching award. intelligent defense of the Bush administration.

...a year go by without a student or faculty member offering support of fundamentalist Christianity.

...colleagues catching themselves and being discreet to secretaries and others about their summer vacations and sabbaticals abroad.

...a faculty meeting without the usual hot air from a few colleagues, guaranteed to extend "discussion" by 25%.

...a dean who was asked to leave without getting a golden handshake.

...a time when I didn't hear each day a word that begins with "nano-."

So, dear 2.5 readers, what have you not seen?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

In the Groove

About to finish my second week of summer teaching. A semester crammed into four weeks. I like the intensity of it. I get to know my undergrads (23 instead of 135 or so). I get to try out some new things with them, and they are a mixed bunch in the summer, more varied than during the AY: career changers, older students, some who are repeating the course for the grade they need to stay in the teacher ed program. I have one student who is both pregnant and a newlywed, writing her paper the day after her wedding last weekend. Baby kicked today while we were discussing Ben Franklin.

Though 2.5 hours a day, four days a week, for four weeks (and I do it again in Module 2) is tiring, I feel in the groove now. I am making very good headway on my book on Albert Schweitzer and his legacy. My journal's next issue comes out in a few weeks. I haven't blogged much lately, but I have read some great stuff out there. I am getting back into The Little Professor, after a hiatus, and I love Miriam's take on things. Michael Berube's blog exhaustion and subsequent emergency appendectomy make me want to find out "what's next??" when I click on his link. And I don't know how Maud Newton finds so many interesting things to report on her blog, or where she finds the time for a bazillion posts a day. But I sure appreciate it!

Tidbit: I note that John Merrow will have a new documentary about the current state of higher education on PBS airing June 23, called Declining by Degrees. A snippet about it is available here.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Lagniappe: Radiohead

OK, this week's wetware loops, if you are an OCDer, you know what I mean:

-Some powerpop anthem (no, not Heart or Steve Perry or...) whose wailing chorus goes something like "you're bringing on the heartachhhhhhhhhhhhheeeeeee." Keeps loopin' in my noggin. Okay, had to find is Def Leppard's "Bringing on the Heartbreak," but "heartache" also figures in there.

-Eric Clapton's "Mainline Florida," courtesy of hours of listening to "The Drive" while up and back twice to Chi-town last weekend.

Perpetual Peddlin'

If you are a parent, you know the routine. Your kid comes home with a school "fundraiser," meaning YOU, not the kid, get stuck with peddling wrapping paper, magazine subscriptions, food, etc. to your colleagues at work. I always groaned when I had to do this, but would say to colleagues that I would buy their kids' wrapping paper, subscriptions to popular magazines I didn't want, or coupons for simple carbs restaurants, where I shouldn't eat.

Thinking that our only child is now in college, I would be free from requests for such...BUT NO...Last week a young woman from my daughter's school whom we hardly knew and who grunted a few words in our direction over the years wrote us to ask if we would support her college soccer team. And today, one of my daughter's HS classmates but not a close friend, who moved away with her family 2 years ago, asked us to sponsor her in a leukemia and lymphoma triathlon fundraiser.

Good you got us this month our financial advisor has put us on a strict budget!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Lagniappe: Ike Predicts

Via Corax:

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are [a] few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

-- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 11/8/54 (documentation at )

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Latest from the Blog Casualty Front...

This exceptionally well written blog caused the author to lose her job as an adjunct at SMU. But lucky for readers, she will keep the posts coming, and plans to write a book. Spot on about facets of the uni life.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Lagniappe: Jury Duty

I may be called for jury duty next week. Will have to listen to the recording the night before to see if I am called up.

Funny story from my bud Alan Beck. Herb Brown, the late Nobel Prize winning chemist here at Purdue, left to go to Sweden to collect his prize, while his wife stayed at home. She got a call from the police, asking where her husband was, and they were going to pick him up to bring him to jury duty, which he had forgotten. She exclaimed "He's in Sweden getting a Nobel Prize!" Pause at the other end, and the caller said, "Lady, now I have heard everything!"

Lagniappe: Radiohead

Okay, this week's wetware loops:

"Bus Stop" by the Hollies...especially the lines "Ev'ry morning I would see her wayyyyting at the stop/Sometimes I stopped and she would show me what she bouuuuught."

"Waiting on a Friend" by the Stones, especially the "hoohoohoohoohoohoohuhooooooooo..."

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Lagniappe: Wolf Whistle

I have been thinking for about a year about the 50th anniversary of the murder of Emmett Till, and now read that his body will be exhumed in Chicago for an autopsy. Till was the black teenager who allegedly whistled at a white woman in Money, MS in August 1955 while visiting, and was dragged from his bed and brutally murdered. His mother insisted on an open casket at the funeral, so the world could see what had been done to her son.

I teach about Emmett Till in my undergraduate class, and have been thinking of a hook for this August, for writing, or teaching, or both. My wife just told me that she read an interview with Shannon Ravenel, founding co-editor of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, and someone we avidly followed especially when we were living in NC and part of its burgeoning literary scene.

Ravenel spoke about how certain authors do not get their due (I suppose because of the tsunami of attention paid to the Da Vinci Code and such). She said that Lewis Nordan's Wolf Whistle, about the murder of Emmett Till, was her favorite novel, and that Nordan was not more recognized. There is my hook...I just ordered Nordan's book and plan to review it here and see what else I can do for August.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Why are we so unhappy...?

...oh why, oh why, pray tell?
Oh why not be nearly sappy?
With that intellectual garden to till?