• Confessions of a Community College Dean

    In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.

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Friday Fragments

Last weekend we went pumpkin-picking, and then stopped for lunch. I ordered a Blue Moon with my burger, which, to my surprise, came with a slice of orange on the glass.

October 28, 2011
 

Last weekend we went pumpkin-picking, and then stopped for lunch. I ordered a Blue Moon with my burger, which, to my surprise, came with a slice of orange on the glass.  I removed it without really looking at it, assuming it was lemon. TW asked why I removed the orange.  I responded that I thought is was a lemon.  Thinking she was helping, The Girl chimed in brightly, “suck it!”

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A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with someone who works at Yale.  He discussed this project and that project, all of which struck me as unthinkably expensive and ambitious.  When he asked me about my world, I mentioned flat state funding, enrollment declining from its spike, and unfunded mandates.  He looked puzzled and asked why we don’t just draw down more from our endowment.  I mentioned that we don’t have an endowment, and that we aren’t allowed to use philanthropic money for operations.  He looked at me like I had just grown antlers.  

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This year’s Halloween costumes are a lego brick (TB) and a washing machine (TG).  The kids chose them, and TW has spent the better part of a week building them.  The washing machine  is a front-loader, so there’s a window in the front with some socks in it.  TW picked up some spare dials at a local appliance shop and put them on the back, and printed out an “energy star” insignia for the front.  There’s also a bottle of Tide attached to the top, which is harder than you would think.  

The kids chose the costumes themselves, and I couldn’t be prouder.  TB’s involvement with Lego League is accelerating, so the lego brick makes perfect sense.  And the fact that The Girl is completely indifferent to the usual fairies/princesses/tiaras strikes me as a moral victory.  My favorite is still the veterinarian outfit, followed by the astronaut, but washing machine has to win for creativity.  Her friend will go as a ninja, so they should make quite a pair.  If you answer the door on Monday night to find a smiling washing machine and a cherubic ninja, you’ll know why.

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My modest proposal for immigration reform: give post-secondary degrees recognition as green cards.  I honestly don’t understand what’s gained by making it hard to employ the best and brightest from around the world.  If we aren’t going to fund our own public higher education system, we should at least be willing to import the educated from elsewhere.  If the next Sergey Brin winds up in Canada or India instead of the U.S., we’ll only have ourselves to blame.

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Spotify is proving weirdly addictive.  (It’s a streaming music service that lets you be incredibly specific.)  This is kinda mortifying, but true: a couple of weeks ago, missing my Dad, I decided to re-listen to some of the music he loved when I was a kid.  Juice Newton, The Carpenters, the Fifth Dimension, and the queen of his record collection, Anne Murray.  Hearing “Snowbird” again brought a lot back.  

Heaven knows it’s not my taste, but I can’t deny that it was part of my life back then.  This won’t win me any hipster street cred, but for me, Anne Murray is “roots” music.

I don’t know which memories of me will mortify my kids when they get older, but I know some will.  Beyond a certain point, they never really stop telling you to suck it.  You can only hope that at some level, they don’t mean it.

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