Thursday, June 30, 2005


Everything is formatted and ready, so I took one last look at the comments of my advisor (may he live forever.) Glad I did. I had somehow overlooked his "you need to scrap this introduction and write a new one" comment at the top of the first page. Oops.

Shleby Foote has died, at age eight-eight. The obituary on the History News Network site said that while Foote loved having his books, particularly his Civil War trilogy, read by so many people, he also feared that fame would change him or mean that he was taken less seriously.

On a happier note, I want to share my latest new word. I've mentioned the NPR show "Sez You" before. Thanks to this show, I learn about all sorts of neat words for which I have absolutely no use. Then again, what is a blog for if not to share such information?

owling: the act of smuggling wool or sheep out of England

Words Written: three paragraphs
Lessons Graded: forty-six

Monday, June 27, 2005

so sad...

I am very firmly in the pro-choice camp. I also think that this father is making the right choice. link to article

I would hope that if I slipped into an irreversible coma, was likely to die soon, and was 17 weeks pregnant, my family would do the same and do all that they could (medically and spiritually) to keep me alive until the child could be delivered safely.

Cynic alert: I bet congress ignores this story altogether.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

sweating the small stuff

I think (think) I might have all of the revisions done for the article. I need to go through the comments from my advisor (may he live forever) one more time, and that will have to be it. I'm sure that any journal willing to print this piece will have a few things they want changed, too, but that's for later.

Now to do the notes. I am a geek and therefore read footnotes and endnotes and citations and I do judge a book in part by how much a) information and b) humor the notes convey.

This does not mean that I am any good at doing these notes myself. Oh, I can convey information and occasional flashes of humor, and I always have the correct titles and page numbers. It's getting the correct order for the publishing house and the location and the date and all of those commas that drives me insane. (who, me? leave comments full of typos on people's blogs because I forgot to proofread? Never.)

Naturally, the notation preference of the journal of first choice rejection is a variant upon anything I've ever used before. I'm sure that this makes the reading process easier for their editors and, hey, I need all of the brownie points I can get, so onward I go. If anyone has a spare diet coke or glass of red wine, please come by in an hour or so; I'll need it.

Words Written: whimper
Lessons Graded: sixteen

Friday, June 24, 2005

an active yet brief maturity

As per the vet's directions, Sam now eats senior dog food. Ths means switching from the green bag of Iams kibble to the attractive purple bag of Iams "active maturity." Generally I laugh at euphemisms for aging, but this one I like. (I digress.) (What else is new?)

The green bag (not to be confused with Green Book, which presently sits at the bottom of a teetering stack of other books I'm ignoring) is available in small, medium and large sizes. The large bag weighs something like forty pounds and is how I prefer to purchase dog food. Most other Iams flavors are available in this size.

Active Maturity in the attractive purple bag only comes in the small size. This observation is based upon a very small sample (three grocery stores, no pet stores) but I note that most senior, er, active maturity, dog food only comes in this size, no matter what the brand.


Words Written: I hereby resolve to get the article in the mail to the journal of first choice rejection no later than July 1
Lessons Graded: seven

Thursday, June 23, 2005

clean-up time

My desk, much battered and worn, has two zones. The "computer zone" contains, as you might expect, the computer, along with an assortment of pens, diet coke cans and pieces of scratch paper. Occasionally Green Book or its kin sits there as well. It's generally quite tidy, if you accept the argument that soda cans have decorative value.

The "other zone" is occasionally empty, occasionally tidy, but occasionally attracts an assortment of clutter that never ceases to amaze me. I knew that the latest round of comments from my advisor (may he live forever) was somewhere in the pile, and it was. To my surprise, I also discovered:

-a Renoir painting of a garden party
-three postcards, all sent from England, from three different people
-two clothespins
-a Ron Weasley Christmas tree ornament
-some post-it notes I filched from a temp job about twelve years ago
-an Altoids tin full of chalk

Words Written: four hundred and six
Lessons Graded: three

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Alison's State Meme

All right, I'll join the state meme trend. It's gone through several variations, so I hope I'm sufficiently up to date.

States in which I have lived:

States in which I have spent lots of vacation time:
Washington, D.C.

States I've just visited overnight more than once, for various reasons:
New Hampshire
Rhode Island

States I've Driven or Flown Through:
West Virginia
North Carolina
Tennessee (I Think)

States I've Passed Through In Which I Did at Least Spend the Night:
New York

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Twenty-five days from now, I will be reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I just finished brushing up on Order of the Phoenix, which means I should move on to Chamber of Secrets since that's supposed to have strong background for #6.

As these are books on tape, it means Sam will get extra walks around the block, a delight for him as well.

Meanwhile I'm done reading about domestic violence, have defused some students' anger (they're still angry, but now know that I'm not the one who makes policy) and perhaps can think about something happy until dinner time... such as chickens wearing scuba gear.

Words Written: don't ask
Lessons Graded: forty-seven

Monday, June 20, 2005

query for the day

All right, wise and savvy and thoughtful readers of this blog:

Can chickens swim?

In the course of a long and roundabout conversation this morning, this question came up. It was meant as a joke, Naturally this means that I can't stop thinking about it.

Yours in poultry ponderings

Thursday, June 16, 2005

quick homage to Julia Child

From Mastering the Art of French Cooking:
The maximum amount of oil one U.S. Large egg will absorb is 6 ounces or 3/4 of a cup. When this maximum is exceeded, the binding properties of the egg yolks break down, and the sauce thins out or curdles.

#1 - I wish that I had a use for this information. Really, isn't that kind of cool to know? Do you suppose Julia figured this out, or was it common knowlege in 1966 and just something not discussed in today's fat-free world?

#2 - What a great bit of writing. It's assumed that you know (perhaps from reading other cookbooks) what "bind" and "curdle" mean, whiich I also love.The advisor (may he live forever) would not approve of this passage, as Child writes in longer, more complex sentences and he laments my inability to contruct short & declarative sentences.

#3 - Naturally I now feel an tug to make some mayonaise at home. That's Child's gift. She was able to make people feel that cooking, even a dish with an impossibly long and complex name, could be easily accomplished if taken on a step by step basis.

Instead I will pour another cup of coffee and look at my e-mail.

Words Written: zero (sigh)
Lessons Graded: lots

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

wailing and gnashing of teeth

This just in from History News Network

***Plagiarism Charged Against Bryan Le Beau: The Chronicle of Higher Education has reported a charge of plagiarism against Bryan Le Beau. Sally Greene, an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina's law school, made the discovery via a simple Google search and comments on her finding. The accusation is that Le Beau's Commencement Address at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, in December 2003 substantially plagiarized from Cornel West's Commencement Address at Wesleyan University on 30 May 1993. Greene and the Chronicle of Higher Education identify parallel passages. There is tell-tale evidence, as well, in the misspelling of the name of Toni Morrison, the novelist, in both texts. Le Beau denies he
ever read West's speech, but admits he must have borrowed the language from

You can just imagine how I feel about this.

UPDATE: A blogger has discovered that
Le Beau also borrowed in the same speech from Russell Baker.

C'mon PhDs. If we (and as a wanna-be I put myself in this category) can't behave with honor, how can we expect the same from our students?!

You remember them, right? The ones with whom we share our work so that they can go into the world better informed? The ones who might remember us and thus buy our books?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

answers to questions

Questions have been posed that I have failed to answer. I will do so now. (grin)

1) Greg wanted to know something about the Whig Party. Organized in 1834, the Whig Party lasted until the 1850s (exact dates vary from historian to historian.) Henry Clay, one of my favorite historical figures, is probably their most impressive member, though two presidents (W.H. Harrison and Taylor) were Whigs.

The party's views and aims varied from state to state, apart from agreement that they disliked Andrew Jackson and his policies on the Second Bank of the United States. If they turn up on an exam, you'd be safe to say that they supported workers generally and were kinder toward anti-slavery movements than Jackson's Democrats.

2) Rob and Alison have both been pondering their reasons for blogging and what makes a good blog. I do not pretend to have a good blog; I blog about what's on my mind, and a handful of folks indulge me by reading it.

Chiefly I started and have a blog to keep me on track, to force me to show progress, while reminding me that I really do plow through a lot of undergraduate essays in a given day. When Topor, new to my site, asked what "words written" meant and why I'd had so many zeroes lately, well, that was a good kick. Though trained to motivate thers, I am less skilled in motivating myelf, so the outside influence of reader comments has been a huge help. I'm an extreme extrovert, and the solitary process of writing is very difficult for me. Having an on-line community is a much appreciated sanity saver.

What do I enjoy in reading another's blog? A little of everything, really - a little humor, a little politics, a little education. I like a blog that has a personality, hopefully one that reveals something of the writer's in the process.

3) No, present progress isn't what I need. I've been reading, which is good, but not writing. I'm staring down another stack of essays, the microfilm ordered in March still hasn't arrived and - oh, enough of my whining.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

those who can...

TeacherRefPoet (who is much better at using teaching pedagogy terms than I will ever be) describes a teaching method in practice.

Just had an e-mail from a student, noting the F for plagiarism and asking what can be done about it.

"Think of this as a learning experience," quoth I.

"But what can I do to change it?"

I haven't yet figured out a reply, but now at least I know the name of the technique I'm trying to apply. Luckily e-mail gives me the luxury of time.

Words Written: four hundred and ninety-eight
Lessons Graded: seven

Saturday, June 11, 2005

writing on my mind

I've been doing some hard reading this week. Green Book and Brown Book may be dull as wonder bread, but there's little within them to keep me up nights. Not only are they effective sleep aids, but even if written with a more dramatic & narrative eye, they would still not be all that upsetting.

Alas, I also needed to read some essays (many of them collected into one volume, thankfully) that survey the history of familial violence, murder and other such happy topics. This is much harder going and I notice that the authors cope with the emotional element by either adopting a very clinical tone (one akin to Green Book) or by really capturing the balance between trying to understand larger trends (how did familial murder rates vary over 300 years and what are some possible explanations for these shifts) leavened with pieces of truly tragic stories. Though aware of the horror, they don't shy away from commincating its depths, while struggling with teh impact upon the survivors and upon modern readers. I am in awe of the latter group, but understand the struggles of the former, too.

An older friend often asserts that domestic violence and abuse were far less common before 1950. Would that it were so.

Words Written: six hundred pages read in six days
Lessons Graded: three

Saturday, June 04, 2005

it all comes back to food

1) Sam is not impressed by "active maturity" flavor dog food.

2) Last night at supper (a very nice restaurant) I had a thoroughly unimpressive soup with about 15, 000 ingredients and some portebello mushrooms with a three ingredient dip that were outsnading. Less is sometimes more.

3) The process of rereading (and taking notes on)Brown Book became far more pleasant when I added M N Ms. Note to self...

Words Written: lots of cutting, pasting and adding of links
Lessons Graded: zero (heh heh)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

go away!!!

No, I do not want free passes to a golf course.

I also do not want a free estimate of what it will take to make my lawn look like a golf course.

I really, really, really do not want gutter covers.

Not that I want Sam to bite strangers who ring the doorbell, but it is tempting...