Archive for the 'weirdness' Category

December 13th 2012
Cake Week Thursday: retro faux-fruitcake?

Posted under American history & childhood & fluff & weirdness

Erica at Retro Recipe Attempts has gone where no woman or man has gone since at least 1972:  No-Bake Festive Fruit Cake! Even back in the day, this seems like one of those recipes that people make once, and then hope everyone else politely refrains from mentioning it ever again.

Srsly, it’s like a time machine to all of those church potluck suppers I attended back in the 1970s as a child.  I swear, every single one of those hot (or cold) dishes featured either one or more of the following ingredients:  1) evaporated milk, 2) sweetened condensed milk, 3) graham crackers, 4) marischino cherries, and/or 5) Jell-o.  (And that included the main-course dishes, too.)

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to create a palatable and festive dessert with as many of the same ingredients as you can use, instead of mashing everything up into a weird ball of dough the way this recipe calls for.  Here’s your shopping list: Continue Reading »

19 Comments »

December 10th 2012
Cake week, Monday edition: Reefer badness!

Posted under American history & childhood & jobs & local news & students & the body & unhappy endings & weirdness

This past weekend was spent gathering ingredients and starting a little holiday baking, so I thought a little cake blogging would be in order this week, which is finals’ week at Baa Ram U.  More cake and baking fun will follow, but today’s post offers a cautionary tale.  Friends, although the people of this great state have voted to decriminalized recreational pot use for people 21 and older, it’s still illegal to feed your classmates and your proffie pot brownies without their full consent:

Two University of Colorado at Boulder students are facing multiple felony charges after they allegedly fed marijuana-laced brownies to their unsuspecting history class — leading to the hospitalization of three people.

The professor of the course was taken to a hospital by paramedics Friday after complaining of dizziness and dropping in and out of consciousness.

.       .       .       .       .

Thomas Ricardo Cunningham, 21, and Mary Elizabeth Essa, 19, baked THC-laced brownies for their class at the Hellems Arts and Sciences Building on Friday, said Ryan Huff, CU police spokesman.

After the professor was taken to the hospital, a student’s mother notified campus police that her daughter, who had been in the professor’s class, was in the hospital after having a panic attack.

Later that day, the parents of another student in the same class took their daughter to a hospital after she told them she felt like she would black out. Continue Reading »

37 Comments »

November 12th 2012
The culture war next time.

Posted under American history & class & unhappy endings & weirdness

Thomas Edsall has some interesting thoughts about the Kulturkampf and the jobs crisis–go read.  I don’t agree with everything he writes–for example, I’m sure that he’s wrong to declare victory on behalf of the Left in the culture war, because the beauty of the Kulturkampfen mentality is that there’s always another front to advance to when forced to retreat on other fronts!  But this part of his argument caught my eye:

On a more sobering note for Democrats, a slight majority (51 percent) of voters agreed with the statement “Government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals” compared to 43 percent saying “Government should do more to solve problems.” This despite the fact that, as The New York Times reported in a Feb. 11, 2012 story, “Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It”:

The government safety net was created to keep Americans from abject poverty, but the poorest households no longer receive a majority of government benefits. A secondary mission has gradually become primary: maintaining the middle class from childhood through retirement. The share of benefits flowing to the least affluent households, the bottom fifth, has declined from 54 percent in 1979 to 36 percent in 2007.

The story points out that many people

say they want to reduce the role of government in their own lives. They are frustrated that they need help, feel guilty for taking it and resent the government for providing it. They say they want less help for themselves; less help in caring for relatives; less assistance when they reach old age.

And yet, of course, no Americans are refusing to cash unemployment or Social Security checks!  Some of them are voting for pols like Mitt Romney and Ayn Ryan, perhaps to assuage their guilt and feelings of failure.  Continue Reading »

22 Comments »

October 23rd 2012
So exactly why did you resign, again?

Posted under jobs & weirdness

Did anyone else read this provocative nothingburger of an essay?  Michael Bérubé on “Why I Resigned the Paterno Chair:”

I read the Freeh report the morning it was released and proceeded to ignore every news-media outlet’s request to comment. A producer for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered called my English-department office, my office at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, my cellphone, and my home phone. For good measure, she e-mailed and tweeted me. That afternoon, I saw a cloud formation that pretty clearly seemed to be a smoke signal—”Professor Bérubé, this is NPR. Please call us RIGHT THIS SECOND.” Radio, TV, newsmagazines, and newspapers called and wrote. But I had nothing to say that day, and I have had nothing to say since. Until now.

If only he had clung to his original instincts!  Continue Reading »

34 Comments »

September 11th 2012
Ph.D.s from the previous decade need not apply? We ain’t got the do-re-mi!

Posted under jobs & local news & unhappy endings & weirdness

Via friend and commenter ej, I learned that a job ad run by the English department at Baa Ram U. has raised some questions among job seekers and other academics.  Sisyphus has a post about this, and so does Parezco y Digo, who industriously wrote to the Chair of the English Department Search Committee to ask why they’re limiting their candidate pool to those with 2010-2013 Ph.D.s.  (To his credit, the Chair wrote back and gave permission to print his reply in full.)

When we ran a search in the History department last year, we were instructed that we could not consider applicants who were either tenured or those who had the equivalent experience of a tenured Associate Professor, but we were not instructed to limit our applications pool otherwise.  And indeed, our four campus finalists were people whose Ph.D.s ranged from 2006 to 2011, and they ranged in age from perhaps their mid-30s to their mid-50s.  I don’t think English is interested in age discrimination.  My guess is that English is looking to hire people with less experience instead of more experience, mostly because our salaries are so low and the pre-existing faculty had zero raises–we never get cost-of-living increases, so it was merely a suspension of our merit increases–from 2008 to our paltry raise in 2012.

(That said, I agree with Dr. Crazy’s point that the English department is being lazy and short-sighted here. Continue Reading »

45 Comments »

August 23rd 2012
Everybody knows.

Posted under jobs & local news & unhappy endings & wankers & weirdness

As cynical as I try to be, I just can’t be cynical enough. Here’s what I’ve learned so far in our first week back to class at Baa Ram U.:

  • Departments across the university are offering online classes taught by grad student and adjunct labor in order to fund research and professional travel for their regular faculty and grad students.
  • Instead of “unethical” or “scandalous” or “a shocking abrogation of professional and moral values,” this is called “entrepreneurial.”  The money generated by teaching face-to-face classes doesn’t count for anything–the regular faculty have to become drummers and middle-managers of an expanded exploited class of laborers, in addition to doing our regular teaching, research, and service.
  • Apparently, the administrative class at my uni have adopted the values that bankrupted the banking industry:  sell something of dubious and unproven quality or value just to make a buck.  To hell with intellectual or educational values–we’re all about the money, honey! Continue Reading »

28 Comments »

July 27th 2012
From the mailbag: Enceinte, and doing everyone else’s job for them

Posted under Gender & jobs & the body & wankers & weirdness & women's history

Today, we have yet another irrational reaction to a pregnant faculty body.  A regular reader writes in on behalf of a colleague:

Hi Historiann!

I’ve got a question I’d like to throw open to your readership.  I have a pregnant colleague who’s due at the very end of the fall semester. We don’t have a paid maternity leave, so her plan is to take sick leave for the last week of classes, if necessary, then use our long winter break as her “maternity leave” and resume teaching in the spring. She’s already worked up syllabi for her fall classes that are structured so the last week or so of meetings are devoted to research presentations, paper workshopping, etc., and can be easily covered by willing colleagues (including myself). And because she’s a responsible person, she decided to tell our department chair and dean about this now, months in advance.

Well. The dean acted like she’d never dealt with this problem before, and was not at all happy with the arrangement. What if my colleague had to take sick leave for more than a week? She should really be prepared to have more than one week covered by colleagues. Moreover, she should rewrite all her syllabi so that the material during those weeks aligned with the specialties of the colleagues she intended to cover for her. (Note: she’s the only person in our department in her field, though plenty of us would be competent to pinch hit in her area for a class meeting or two.) The dean seems very concerned about any possible unfairness, surprises, etc., to our students.

Am I right in thinking this is straight-up gender discrimination? It seems to me that the burden of preparing for every possible contingency should not fall on my colleague. If she came down with a sudden illness in the middle of the semester, we’d have to cope, with no pre-existing plan in place. And if she had a permanent disability that affected her mobility, say, not accommodating those needs would violate the ADA. Continue Reading »

34 Comments »

July 25th 2012
I, at least, ain’t got the do-re-mi

Posted under jobs & local news & weirdness & women's history

The good news:  I got a raise for the first time in four years!  The bad news:  my total raise for all four of those years was $1,860.  Yes, that’s right:  I am worth exactly $465 more per year, if we average that out over four years.  In those four years:

  • I have taught 5 6 new courses and co-taught another new course, meaning that six seven out of sixteen courses over the last four years were entirely new.
  • I have written and published 2 essays in peer-reviewed journals, one book review essay, and one non-peer reviewed essay, plus a bunch of miscellaneous shorter essays.  I have also written seven conference papers (two of which were article-length and precirculated; all the while making progress on a book manuscript too, about three and a half out of six or seven chapters.)
  • My book won an “honorable mention” for a prize awarded by the Canadian Historical Association and the American Historical Association.
  • A chapter from my book was excerpted in Women’s America (edited by Linda K. Kerber, Joan Sherro DeHart, and Cornelia Hughes Dayton).
  • I have given four invited talks or lectures at four different universities in the U.S.
  • I have served on a search committee and put in three years on the College of Liberal Arts’s Tenure and Promotion Committee.
  • I reviewed four book manuscripts (one of them twice) and four article manuscripts (one of them twice) for publication.

At this rate, I might break into the high five figures before retirement!

Continue Reading »

34 Comments »

June 23rd 2012
Michigan mishegas over vaginas

Posted under American history & Gender & the body & unhappy endings & weirdness & women's history

Michigan border guard

I’m about to fly off for my annual sojourn to the ancestral heartland, and while I was buried in the eighteenth century last week, it came to light that some time-traveling pols from the eighteenth century have joined the Michigan House of Representatives!  Remarkable providences!  I try to prevent my worlds from colliding, but the Michigan ledge just won’t let me.  According to their thinking, vaginas should be the object of legislation, but people with vaginas should not be heard, and we sure don’t need to discuss the icky particulars.

I’ll be sure to ask every Michigander I meet if I’m truly welcome in their state.  Will there be a border check, I wonder?  Continue Reading »

8 Comments »

June 20th 2012
Mudwoman in Virginia?

Posted under American history & art & book reviews & childhood & Dolls & Gender & jobs & technoskepticism & unhappy endings & wankers & weirdness & women's history

Howdy, friends.  Since I’ve been living in the long eighteenth century for the past week or so, at least in my own head, I haven’t been consuming either print or electronic news as I usually do.  But several of you have written to ask my opinions on the unexpected and untimely cashiering of the President of the University of Virginia, Teresa A. Sullivan, last week.  As many of you know much better than I, Sullivan had been prez for only two years, and was the first woman chosen to lead Mr. Jefferson’s university.  This morning, I read something that several of you (in person and via e-mail) had already suggested to me, namely that forces on the university’s Board of Visitors against Sullivan were peeved at her resistance to online education.  (Earlier this week, other reporting suggested that Sullivan was perceived as reluctant to cut low enrollment programs such as German and Classics.)

I’m really grateful to you readers for the e-mails and the prodding on this, but since I’m actually making some research and writing progress this week on my own irrelevant and self-indulgent intellectual work, I’d like to turn the conversation over to you.  Some of you who have written to me have UVA connections, so feel free to discuss the Sullivan firing and its causes and consequences. Continue Reading »

33 Comments »

« Prev - Next »