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January 2, 2008 - 6:50am
A few highlights from the holiday break: Words coined by The Girl: hoggy (synonym for piggy); aminal; psghettio's; velcwo (my fave) ***
December 28, 2007 - 2:06am
My brother-in-law’s grandfather was kind and had an infectious laugh, but he was also a tough old bird, and to watch him eat was to be shown what he’d endured in his time. As a young man he’d been a machine-gunner in World War I, which he spoke of as a life’s adventure, and when he came home he went straight to the mines and then the munitions factory. He was middle-aged in the Depression, in already-depressed Southern Illinois.
December 27, 2007 - 7:12pm
I'm in Poland, in freezing Krakow, a city marvelous enough to overcome even shitty weather. The old town's full of twisty streets and aromatic cafes, and UD's happy. Though cold.
December 21, 2007 - 2:02pm
Aaahhhhh. Hear that? That's the sound of no-students, the sound of final grades being deposited in a bank of computer servers. It's the sound of our cat, Gargantua, eating our Christmas tree.
December 21, 2007 - 7:55am
A few highlights of the Christmas preparation season:
December 20, 2007 - 10:30pm
I suppose this was inevitable. The unholy convergence of unaccountable tenure decisions; the up-or-out nature of tenure; anti-discrimination clauses; and adventuresome lawyers has given birth to this.
December 18, 2007 - 9:18pm
No. Oh God, no. No, no, no. Nein. Nyet. Non. Huh-uh. Negative. I'll qualify that. Extra credit that's built into the syllabus from day one, available to all students equally and in advance, can be defensible. I'd worry if it counted for very much -- a course grade should ultimately reflect performance on the core of the course, rather than the periphery -- but I can see an argument for moving a B to a B-plus in an art history class if the student does (and documents) some museum trips, say.
December 18, 2007 - 5:09am
There has to be a better way. I have what seems like thirty thousand logins, each requiring its own username and password combination. (That's not even counting PIN numbers.) Since the identity theft awareness campaigns have gained steam, some of these systems have changed their password rules to prevent anything easy toremember. As the number of username/password combinations has metastasized, I've found exactly three ways of dealing with the information cascade, none satisfactory.
December 17, 2007 - 11:57am
It's specious, writes Philip Larkin in his fear-of-death poem, Aubade, for philosophers to tell us that No rational being Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing that That this is what we fear: no sight, no sound, No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with...

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