Wednesday, March 31, 2010

And then T.S. Eliot came to mind...

I grow old, I grow old

I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled

--T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland

I have a rule when I'm doing my heavy iron-pumping: when one of three designated body parts loudly proclaims "Screw you, Mojo, we're done for the day," then I must immediately halt my workout session and go home. It's called Being Older And Wiser And Knowing One's Limits. I had a really good lift with the legs on Monday, but yesterday my lower back (the holiest of the three) twinged ever so slightly and so I gave myself the day off. Today I was back in the gym, merrily going from set to set acting all He-Manly, when my right elbow began to scream at me. This was a problem; I have recurring tendonitis in that part and if I don't immediately stop and go ice it down at that juncture, I will be done for at least two weeks. So I quit for the day and went home --and ended up working in the garden in my workout jeans and getting them throughly soaked at the cuffs. And as I rolled them up I looked like a total dork and the words of the poet came flooding back to me.

Man, time is starting to catch up to me.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Lie of the Liberal Arts Education

The Lie of the Liberal Arts Education: I have a sneaking suspicion that, someday, this will happen with me as well.

So I want to tell any of my former mentors who are (secretly) tracking me that A) you knew I was an eccentric and irascible soul back when I was a student; B) some of you probably realized that I had substantially more than half a brain, so you had faith enough to back me up in my endeavors; and C) any one of you is more than welcome to tell me where to get off --just as long as you can stand toe-to-toe with me in an intellectual exchange without pejoratives or non-sequiturs. (Hint: I don't need a pitcher of beer in me to confound an entire seminar.)

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Friday, March 19, 2010

A Sad Day On The Frontier

Davy Crockett star Fess Parker dies Ask my mom about my favorite wee childhood hero. Hint: we share a birthday.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Customer Service Morons

I cannot help overhearing a VERY exasperated conversation going on in the office next to mine. A colleague is having difficulties with the software package that our campus uses. [Hint: this is from a major company that supports many large universities in their online course offerings...] He spend quite a bit of time explaining the problem with the support tech. The tech was quite helpful, took all the information, offered several workarounds, and when those did not pan out, the tech put my colleague on hold, first giving a phone number "in case we get disconnected."

My colleague waited on hold for twenty minutes. And sure enough, he got disconnected. He dialed the number he had been given, only to be routed through to a completely different tech who wanted to start the whole process over again. Naturally, my colleague was a bit put out.

"Listen: I just spend twenty minutes going over the problem with XXXX, and another twenty minutes on hold. Why can't you put me through to XXXX?"

"I don't know who XXXX is."

"What do you mean, you don't know the other people working in your group? "

"No. You're going to have to start over again."

"That's ridiculous, I'm not going to spend another half-hour working through this problem with a complete stranger when XXXX has all my details --and you're telling me you don't know who XXXX is!!??"

At this point, the conversation grew slightly heated and my colleague now found himself transferred to a supervisor --who, not so surprisingly, also didn't know who XXXX was.

"So you're telling me that as the supervisor, you don't know who XXXX is, who works underneath you and answers to you?"

"Sir, if XXXX didn't give you an extension or a last name, I can't do any more than what I've already done."

"But XXXX DID give me a number and it put me through to YYYY, who has now dumped me off on you. Can YOU give me a last name?"

"No, sir, company policy prohibits that."

[And at this point one could hear the *palm* across the office.]

"Did you listen to what you just told me, at all?!? You said to ask for XXXX's last name next time, and then you just said that your company's policy forbids giving out last names. Maybe company policy needs to change a bit, perhaps?"

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And Here Is Why I Won't Let Joe and Terry Help Me Teach My Lectures

Yes, This Is My World

Myths of the Ivory Tower | The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy: I especially liked the part about which one was the real paper and which one was the fake.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

And This Is Why I Avoid Playing Certain Kinds Of Jokes On My Class, No Matter How Instructive.

Anatomy of a Rumor: The Story Behind Chief Justice John Roberts's 'Retirement' - Above the Law . I'll admit that this one gave me a Maalox Moment until it was busted. lt demonstrates again how much we live in an age of instant communications. It also reminds us that What Happens In Class NEVER Stays In Class.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Future...Is Now!

The Data-Driven Classroom « NAS Blog: but he's behind the times. The real future is iPhone and Droid clicker apps for students to use. Blackboard already has an iPhone app for its most current release, too.

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