Thursday, July 28, 2005

Academic Pet Peeve

Are you tired of seeing "curriculum vita" when it should be "curriculum vitae"? Course OF one's life? Or, sadly, is it just me? This, from the career center folks in Blacksburg VA:

Curriculum vitae
A curriculum vitae (singular), meaning "course of one's life," is a document that gives much more detail than does a resume about your academic and professional accomplishments. Curricula vitae (plural) are most often used for academic or research positions, whereas resumes are the preferred documents in business and industry.
Note about plural / singular forms:"Curricula vitae" (vee-tie) is the plural form; "curriculum vitae" is singular. The informal shortened form, "vita" standing alone, meaning a brief autobiographical sketch (Webster's), is singular, while "vitae," is plural. The abbreviation is often used: CV or CVs.

Ezra's Progeny

Two from the gorges of Ithaca on the tube last night...Ann Coulter, interviewed on Fox's Hannity and Colmes, worried, tossing blonde tresses, that John Roberts would be another David Souter. And then there was "Dim," grunt soldier in Iraq on FX's new drama, Over There, called such because, as a Cornell graduate, he wasn't smart enough to not go into the Army.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Jerky Writing...

OK, let's see, want to start on a conference proposal on listening...

Listening on cell, come over to mortgage company to sign some documents we forgot to ask you to do last week when we closed on your refi...leave computer, go 'cross the river, then back...okay, listening has several dim...okay, call from daughter to say she is stuck in LA freeway traffic, okay, dear, but I did suggest you get a map and find streetway to get to your internship...okay, where was I...listening has several dimensions, one of from home, old first mortgage company left message to remind us that our payment is overdue, okay, no problem, the payoff is "in the mail...,"...okay, listening...ooops, forgot I need to get hold of Paul Woodruff's Reverence in order to work meaningfully on this proposal, out the office, across the torrid lawn to the library...back, sweaty can of Diet Coke in hand...where was I??

And I thought my life as an academic administrator was fragmented!

Friday, July 22, 2005

The (Not Just) Womanly Art of Negotiation

From the jobs section of the CoHE, a nice tidbit on negotiating salary for a new job. And hey, it ain't only women. I have usually meekly taken what I have been offered, as I always felt fortunate to get an academic job. But no more!

Here's a snippet:

Over lunch, one of the top women in my field told me about her experience switching jobs just a couple of years ago, when she was already famous and hotly recruited. She described her first meeting with her new department chairman this way:
The chair said, 'We're giving you this much in start-up."
She said, "Great!"
He said, "And we'll give you a postdoctoral student."
She said, "Great!"
He said, "And we'll pay your summer salary for two years."
She said, "Great!"
He said, "You're not very good at this, are you?"

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Lagniappe: David Thomson on Hollywood

Stimulating interview with David Thomson, whom I have just discovered on a friend's recommendation that I buy his The New Biographical Dictionary of Film. Thomson talks about the decline of film, the rising quality of television, and many other interesting tidbits. Via Arts and Letters Daily.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

When I should have been writing my book...

My wife and I got new cell phones yesterday, on my suggestion, with camera and video capability. We stood in line to buy the phones and exchange the SIM cards out of our old phones, getting interrupted 5 times by calls from our daughter as she attempted to navigate the LA freeways for the first time, arriving safely though frazzled in Santa Monica, where she will intern a few days a week til Labor Day.

Of course I realized there would be a learning curve with new gadgets, but I did not think it would be Sisyphean. This morning, I went to the cell office twice (fortunately it is a block away from our humble abode), but then stood in line endlessly, and then spent a total of 40 minutes on the phone with tech support when the office guys couldn't figure it out, all for what, you ask, dear 1.5 readers? To be able to send out-of-focus pictures of our cats or whatever to my wife's phone and to her email address! It was finally solved after going through 65 menus and inputting 45 characters here and 87 there. Seems we both had wrong IP addresses in our phones. Why were the phones given to us with the software wrongly configured? Oh, never mind. If you must ask, you must never have had the pleasure of being celled.

Monday, July 18, 2005

'Noles aim for top in creative writing...

Article about the ambitious creative writing program at Florida State University, via Maud Newton. The 'Noles aim to be #1 when the NRC ratings come out in 2007, endeavoring to overtake the "granddaddy of them all," the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

I enjoyed the online writing of a short story done by faculty member Robert Olen Butler a few years ago. Did anyone else watch this over the Internet? It was fun listening to how he crafted a story, and then also watching his computer screen as he wrote and edited the story.

Lagniappe: Background Noise

I am working on my laptop, and have Fox News on in the background, for comic relief usually. I hear these two gravelly voices, and it is Hannity interviewing William Bennett! Time to mute the sound and get back to blogging...

Helicopter Parents

The most emailed article in today's CoHE, link will expire in 5 days, about hovering parents who must be kept at bay as junior goes through orientation. Well, it is a two way street...our daughter still calls on her cell sometimes 5 times a day, and she is a rising junior! :-)

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Lagniappe: Groovy Harry Page

This page is informative about Harrymania; I especially like the AS Byatt essay, which I have discussed before. Also, check out the article about Harryologists among academics...notably missing in the discussion is former colleague Elizabeth Heilman's book of essays about Harry, published by Routledge.

Brad vs. Tom, and other diversions...

I enjoyed reading David Ansen's column in the July 11 Newsweek, "Is anybody making movies we'll actually watch in 50 years?," especially thinking about the longevity of current bankable stars. Ansen and others think Tom Cruise is a very good film actor, and will have longevity, while he praises faintly the work of Brad Pitt. I agree, though my housemates hate TomKat, and greatly prefer Brangelina.

I think much of Hollywood fare is fun and interesting in the same way as a trip to DisneyWorld or the Mall of America, two vacation "destinations" at which our daughter insisted we spend scarce summer free time over the years. Fun, but not somewhere I would like to frequent, fundamentally unintellectual as they are, says this stuffy academic.

I did enjoy reading from a new acquisition, David Thomson's The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, and agree with my friend, Courtney Dimwiddie, that Thomson is razor sharp and his assessment of Cruise is spot on. Dimwiddie is a smart fella, a fellow academic in another state who has some Hollywood acting credits to his name.

I urged Dimwiddie to read the Ansen Newsweek essay, and this is his reaction:

Well, I am now in the library having read the Ansen article, and I confess that I don't think many of these movies are worth talking about, much less the actors involved. I believe that actors are not very important pieces to the cinema puzzle and that Hollywood movies generally ought to be buried in the deepest part of the sea, along with organized religion, Fox News, and the Bush Administration. I admit to being a little bitter about the election (what seems to me to be the possible end of democracy in America) and about the continued commercial vitality of the Hollywood fantasy-as-reality movie industry. Hollywood is like McDonalds, I think. They convince millions of people a day that what they pass off as food is nutritious. The fraud exasperates me. I hope I haven't offended you.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Lagniappe: Radiohead

OK, late on this irregular Friday feature, my poor offerings instead of cat blogging, the tunes that rattle around my wetware and from which I have no exit, and aging boomer that I be, am prone to listening to oldies radio while tooling about:

  • "Rock and a Hard Place," Stones: Crafted pitch perfect for arena rock, I dare say one of their best sounding tunes...can just see Mick strutting to this one.
  • "Once in a Lifetime," Talking Heads: One of my all time faves, just wonderful on a good car stereo, brings back raw memories of seeing them at the Aragon Ballroom in Chitown in their heyday...same as it ever was, same as it ever was...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Lagniappe: Male Fantasy?

Just finished the July 17 front page NYTBR review of John Irving's new novel, and can't say I am at all motivated to read it. It is too long for poor me, and the review, at least, makes the book appear to be a succession of scenes where the main character has his penis held by various women throughout his life. The reviewer wonders if the boy, who first had this handling effected at age 5, will ever grow out of this...but no, he does not, and is handled continuously into adulthood. I think I will pass on Irving's latest.

The early history of blogging

I was on vacation last week when the drivel of Ivan Tribble was masticated and spit out in the blogosphere, but this is a wonderful antidote to Tribble's cautionary tale, and very useful to my history of education lectures on the early Republic, where I have said that Ben Franklin would have loved blogging.

Lagniappe: Pet Food - What's In It?

For all you pet owners, read and weep. Due to our pets' allergies, we switched to Wellness pet food, expensive, but made with human grade food.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

What the few experience...

I just returned from a quick trip back East for my father's birthday. My parents now live in an assisted living community in Williamstown, MA, just 25 miles or so north of the family home sold a year ago. Their apartment overlooks Mt. Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts, and they are pleased with the move, wrenching though it was at the time to leave a home, 10 acres of land, and 40 years of memories.

Williamstown, of course, is the home of Williams College, the Clark Art Institute, and a magnificent theater where I have seen Christopher Reeve and Blythe Danner act in summer productions. These places are a major draw for the seniors who make up the assisted living center where my parents now live. I knew Williams a bit from growing up nearby, visiting high school friends who went there, such as the novelist Jay McInerney, and now coming to the town and college as my parents' new home.

I was struck by how removed from the experience of most people a Williams education is. The town exudes old New England charm. The stores and restaurants all cater to a sophisticated crowd. Professors drive Toyota Priuses. The curriculum is strictly liberal arts.

Having attended a similar kind of place (Dartmouth), I can't help but compare this kind of education to what I have experienced in my working life: an isolated comprehensive university with which I was loosely affiliated while working at a contiguous institute, located in an even more spectacular setting (Cullowhee, North Carolina) but with little of the charm of a Williams or Dartmouth; and now, an enormous midwestern Moo U. with students studying everything from philosophy to "building construction management."

This same feeling came to me when I recently watched "Declining by Degrees" on PBS, the John Merrow produced and narrated examination of higher education today. How different Amherst College, one of the "Little Three" along with Williams and Wesleyan, is to the other institutions portrayed in the show (a community college in Denver, Western Kentucky University, and the University of Arizona)! A Williams or Amherst education is certainly only experienced by a rare few, and yet, in many places, including this show, it is either explicitly or implicitly held up as an ideal against which others are measured.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

What happened to the rehab?

The online vita (update 7/6: As I thought might happen, the page was taken down by NDSU soon after the holiday) of the kidnapper, a convicted sex offender, of Shasta Groene, the 8 year old girl missing for 6 weeks after the brutal murders of her brother, mother, and mother's boyfriend in Coeur D'Alene, ID. Shasta was recognized with Duncan in the early morning hours in a Denny's restaurant, and police were summoned.

Hard to read about how he wanted to set out on an IT career, and was doing well in college.