Thanks to Matt for asking where I've been. The last few weeks have been draining and I've not been much for chat (yes, I consider my blogging time a kind of chat!) I've concluded that I need a full time staff - masseuse, housekeeper, maid of all work and a butler to greet me at the end of each day with a glass of Merlot and the day's mail, edited of all spam and junk mail. This is probably typical mid-term stress kicking in (yes, profs get it too) and I remain deeply grateful that I have a job about which to feel stressed and tired.
Oh, yes, and a cook would also be nice. I'll just sit in my study, mark-up bluebooks and dine well.
That's an easy ideal and would probably turn into something of an idol and make me idle.
I've read a couple of pieces by faculty (various institutions, not just mine) for whom the "interview and campus visit" process were little more than sherry, port, red wine, then enormous dinners, mimosas with breakfast, and then give you talk and teach a class. Any campus visit is partly a question of "can I stand to work with this person over the long term" and certainly putting them through such a thing would be one way to test that.
A professional lifetime of such weekends... it amazes me that any of the great books of that period were written at all. Then again, the topics tended to be more interesting (far less esoteric, I think) and relationships seem more convivial. I chat with my colleagues, but it's not the same. Has much been lost? Yes, but so has it been gained. Maybe that's the ideal.
Not that I still wouldn't like a butler/ masseuse who can cook.