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February 11, 2009 - 6:56am
I’ve been planning a birthday party this week with my daughter. Her birthday is Feb. 13, sandwiched right in between Charles Darwin’s birthday on the 12th, and Valentine’s Day. With Darwin and my daughter both celebrating big decades this year (my daughter her 10th, Darwin his 200th), love, family and Darwin’s legacy have been on my mind.
February 10, 2009 - 9:18pm
We're starting to use the R word in a really serious way. Even with reducing the number of deans, we may not save enough to save every faculty job. While the dust is far from settled on next year's budget, it's pretty clear that we've blown well past our previous worst-case scenarios. Now we have to start looking at faculty retrenchment, at least on a contingency-plan basis. This is nobody's idea of fun.
February 9, 2009 - 10:28pm
I’m wondering if I should make Jill Biden my role model. It’s too late, of course, but I’m impressed by what I’ve seen of her so far. Raising three kids, teaching, going back to school for the doctorate later in life — she was impressive as a senator’s wife and, to me, even more so as the “Second Lady.” News reports snark at her for going by “Dr. Biden” when she’s not an M.D., but where I live that’s the norm: I never went by Dr.
February 9, 2009 - 5:48pm
As the economy has gone into the crapper, so has the market for most recyclable materials. It just doesn't pay to ship tons of used cardboard, or even steel, across the Pacific to use in making new products (and the packaging for new products) when sales are down across the board. Plants are closing. Even the Japanese car companies are showing annual losses. And -- this just in -- the current recession is already the worst in terms of job losses since WWII, and there's no sign that it's hit bottom yet.
February 8, 2009 - 9:36pm
I remember reading once that one of the great paradoxes of American politics is that most Americans hold Congress in utter contempt, yet keep re-electing the same representatives. It's not necessarily a contradiction, in the strictest sense, but it's certainly counterintuitive. I'm finding that a similar dynamic holds with faculty attitudes towards deans.
February 6, 2009 - 2:34pm
I’m working to clear the decks for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Chicago next week, including polishing the essay I’ll read there. I had hoped to stream my reading of it for those who couldn’t attend, but as it turns out the hotel wants $8,000(!) to plug my Mac into their sound system.
February 6, 2009 - 6:19am
Every once in a while, I drop by a nearby mall on my lunch break just for a change of scene, and sometimes to play with the cool stuff at the Apple store. No good can come of playing with cool stuff at the Apple store, but like a moth to a flame... Yesterday was particularly demanding, so I made a break for it at lunch. The mall was by far the quietest I've ever seen. Plenty of parking, nearly empty corridors, ample open seating. I noticed employees draped, bored, over counters, openly complaining of having nothing to do. I've never seen that before.
February 6, 2009 - 6:17am
One of the tactics Greenback would like to use to decrease our carbon footprint in the short term is to replace our existing (largely unremarkable) fleet of campus vehicles with ones which are more fuel-efficient. Long-term, we'd like to get away from fossil-fueled vehicles entirely, but at the moment that's hardly practical.
February 5, 2009 - 9:34pm
I attended a Montessori kindergarten, and so it was with great interest that I picked up a book recently outlining Montessori Today (1996, by Paula Lillard Polk). As I read it, I was swept back to the days when I was six years old and just learning to read and write. I remembered writing words, reading simple books, and bringing “show and tell” items to share with my classmates. But most of all, I remembered learning things that led to an understanding of mathematics.

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