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December 9, 2007
This is the time of endless speculation about which division I-A college football team is the best in America. We have polls, computer rankings, conference championships, and the high profile BCS (Bowl Championship Series) program. Our experts (which include just about everyone who follows college sports) argue with great passion about which scheme is the appropriate method for anointing the “best college football team in America.” This controversy lives and repeats itself because we can never get it right.
December 7, 2007
I know that on the page “my pud” sounds nasty, but you should see it in person. Better yet, drop by and have a taste.
December 7, 2007
The Fall rubber chicken circuit is in full swing again. Lots of evening events, celebrating all manner of good things. Each one worthwhile in itself, though they add up.This morning, at home:The Boy (weakly): I didn't get to play with you last night.Ouch.I'm going in late today, so we can walk to school together.
December 6, 2007
"I go back to professional baseball and Alex Rodriguez making $25 million a year. Or to Julia Roberts and $20 million for one movie. Are those people worth it? Of course not. But if that's what the marketplace is and enough people are willing to watch Alex play or Julia Roberts in a movie, they have a right to get that."
December 5, 2007
When I enlisted in the Army years ago, I was offered half-a-dozen duty stations for my first posting. I chose Fort Campbell, Kentucky, home of the 101st Airborne Division. The Screaming Eagles were famed for their service in World War II, especially at Bastogne, where General McAuliffe made his famous retort—“Nuts”—to the Germans demanding surrender.
December 5, 2007
A long-suffering correspondent writes:
December 5, 2007
A new correspondent -- and apparently the kind of student we'd all like to have -- writes:As a student, I have gotten a lot more careful over the years with how I fill out student evaluations, because I know more about what they mean for the instructors. I've read a lot of complaints on academic blogs that students do not carefully fill out the evaluations and that their criticism is sometimes unfair. I try hard to be both constructive and fair. I almost always include written comments, unless I've got absolutely nothing to say.
December 3, 2007
A new correspondent writes:I am a new department chair. The staff love to decorate for any and all holidays. Recently they have put up the tree, tinsel and various other baubles. One of my faculty members has objected to the "religious" decorating. I am aware that the Supreme Court ruled that the tree is not a religious symbol and the staff haven't put up angels or anything of that sort. However, I am sympathetic to the complaint. What would you do?It's a great question, and I hate it.
December 2, 2007
Search Committee Chair: The job starts next semester. Can you do that?Candidate: No problem! Rarin' to go! Woo-hoo!(skip ahead)Department Chair: The job starts next semester. Are you okay with that?Candidate: Great! Can't wait! Let's go!(skip ahead)Dean: The job starts next semester. Are you okay with that?Candidate: You betcha! Ayup! All systems go!(skip ahead)VP: The job starts next semester. You're sure you're okay with that?Candidate: Abso-freakin'-lutely! Bring it on!(skip ahead)
November 30, 2007
[ Recently I asked writer, editor and teacher Dinty W. Moore to join the conversation on teaching creative writing, and it's my pleasure to bring you his response today. Dinty is the author of several books, including Between Panic & Desire (U of Nebraska/American Lives, 2008).



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