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December 30, 2008 - 6:42am
My first San Francisco MLA, I didn't get any closer to the convention than the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel. I was living in San Francisco and had just been accepted to UC Berkeley's PhD program in Comparative Literature. I wasn’t such an overachiever that I wanted to attend a professional conference before joining the profession, but my sister Libby, a grad student at UCLA (and now one of the Mama, PhD bloggers), was on the market, looking for a job teaching English literature. I offered to babysit for my two year-old niece so that Libby could get some sleep before her interviews.
December 29, 2008 - 3:27pm
For those interviewing at MLA this year, here are links to a couple of dispatches I did for McSweeney's on the conference two years ago. In which my family and I drive to the conference. In which I suffer in the wait for news. Good luck to each of you!
December 27, 2008 - 5:56am
I'm not sure when or why December 26 became Boxing Day but it always has been, at least in my experience. It's always been the day we gave presents to the postal carrier, and the newspaper delivery person, and tradespeople whom the family frequented and depended upon. Nothing like the presents key people in the auto trade or the financial services trade gave themselves, of course, but tokens of appreciation nonetheless. This Boxing Day, though, I was struck by the juxtaposition of two logically unrelated bits of information.
December 24, 2008 - 2:23am
Do you know the great children’s album The Bottle Let Me Down? Get it, even if you don’t have kids, for lyrics like these from Robbie Fulks that perfectly describe the magician at this year’s holiday party at our student union:
December 22, 2008 - 7:39am
A recent "Grand Avenue" cartoon shows a grandmother and two kids standing in front of a store window. One kid says, "Look, it's 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' DVD!" Grandma says, "Yes, it's about the over-commercialization of Christmas." The other kid says, " Cool! Let's buy it!"
December 19, 2008 - 7:29pm
I recently started getting daily environmental digests from ScienceDaily. Each newsletter has more items in it than I have time to read, but those I've checked out have been interesting, informative, and well sourced. Two items in this morning's update combined to reshape my understanding of anthropogenic climate change.
December 19, 2008 - 5:25am
The Boy and The Girl are hitting new milestones. Last week we took them to a local park, where Santa held court near a restored old carousel. The Girl was in her glory – she told Santa what she wanted, declared which horse she wanted to ride, and pretended that her horse was jumping hurdles as the carousel turned. She smiled and laughed the entire time, and all was right in her world.
December 18, 2008 - 8:45pm
We economists have great respect for “markets”, the interaction of buyers and sellers of some good or service. While sometimes, as with the mall, these markets are easy to locate, other times they do not reside in any particular time or place, as is the case of e-bay. For a few days in January each year, these economists who believe so strongly in markets meet in one city at one time to create a visible labor market. I understand from my colleagues in other fields that similar things happen for them, too.
December 18, 2008 - 2:48pm
Elizabeth Coffman posted a nice discussion on the guilt(s) associated with bicoastal marriages involving children. The "mommy guilt" and also the "carbon guilt". She's dealing with the latter, at least in part, by participating in a biodiesel generation and utilization project where she teaches (kudos, Elizabeth). But for the former, distraction seems to be the least-bad available option.

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