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June 7, 2009 - 8:44pm
In discussing a nearby park, TG asked me “why did they put a hill there when they designed the world?” We saw Up on Saturday, and I have to admit, it's one of the best movies I've ever seen. Pixar has a high batting average anyway – Cars and Finding Nemo were nifty, and The Incredibles was flat-out great – but this one had a sweetness to it that the others lacked. There's a short almost-silent mini-movie in the beginning that traces a couple's lifetime together that almost stands as a movie in itself.
June 6, 2009 - 5:28pm
My acquaintance Rory has a Ph.D. in American literature and is an administrator and a poet of sorts himself. At lunch yesterday, talking around a mouthful of Chicken Tikka in a restaurant he tried to tell me was Thai, he began to dissert on those he called “hillbillies,” whom he admires very much. Despite his predilection for tasteful shirts, fad diets, Wallace Stevens, and Miles Davis, he called himself one too.
June 4, 2009 - 9:54pm
When I entered graduate school, I once proudly proclaimed to someone I had just met that “I don’t want to be normal”. I have no idea what they must have thought of that statement, or of me, but it was basically true. I saw myself as changing the world, as saving the world from its economic messes with my little equations. Who wanted to settle for “normal” when they could go down in the history books?
June 4, 2009 - 9:49pm
Most colleges set aside at least some 'professional development' money for faculty and staff. The idea behind it is that fields of expertise don't remain static, so for people to remain current, they sometimes have to be exposed to the latest developments. That can mean workshops, or conferences, or webinars, or subscriptions, or whatever, but the goal is to make sure that people don't rust in peace.
June 4, 2009 - 4:34pm
Is it the road map to a brave new world? The end of Western civilization as we know it? Both? Neither?
June 3, 2009 - 9:56pm
Via Cold Spring Shops, I ran across this quote from conservative commentator David Frum: Why are the wages of the college-educated declining? A big part of the answer is that the pool of college graduates is rapidly expanding. It’s not surprising that as college becomes more universal, the return on a college education falls.
June 3, 2009 - 9:40pm
They’re killing doctors. That’s what I thought in October, 1998 when I heard that Dr. Barnett Slepian had been gunned down in his home (in front of his family, no less) in a suburb of Buffalo, NY by an anti-abortion activist.This week, when I heard the news of Dr. George Tiller’s murder, I felt a similar sense of sick disbelief.
June 3, 2009 - 5:49am
A lot of my memory of college is a blur now, but a few things I stand out in my mind with great clarity. One such clear memory is a moment in a first-year orientation meeting, probably held one of the first days I arrived at the school. From among the descriptions of programs, facilities, people, opportunities came one message loud and clear from a faculty member: “You are all meant to be here,” she told us. “We are completely sure.
June 3, 2009 - 12:34am
No, I don’t mean this.Or this.Or this.
June 2, 2009 - 10:07pm
A regular correspondent writes:What do you do when the combination of a dean with a tentative style and an associate dean with a bullheaded style leads colleagues to draw the wrong conclusion about institutional politics?

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