Thursday, December 20, 2012


Holiday Fragments

If you can read this, the world didn’t end.  So there’s that.


As a gadgethead who’s also budget conscious, I’m frequently torn.  I enjoy the latest and coolest toys, but hate paying much for them.  Smartphones are the worst; they’re unassailably cool, but also stupidly expensive on a monthly basis.  (In my neck of the woods, Verizon is the only carrier with consistently reliable coverage.  Their smartphones start at 90 dollars per month and go up quickly from there.)  

But I found a workaround.  I got a used 4G tablet on ebay, and paired it with a cheap prepaid phone.  The phone handles what calling and texting I actually do -- not that much, really -- and the tablet offers the apps with a bigger screen.  The total monthly cost is about half of what I used to pay on an iphone.  Victory!


Speaking of budgets, the second and third graphs on this page may not suggest the end of the world, but they seem to suggest the end of something.  Apparently, student loan delinquency rates are skyrocketing.  This is not good.


Oh, sure.  This happens, and suddenly, the world ends.  That’s just great.


For the MLA conference in January, Scott Jaschik is putting together a group of IHE bloggers on Friday afternoon at 1:30 in the exhibit hall; we’ll be discussing the academic job market from various angles.  I’ll be there to chime in from a community college perspective.  If any regular readers are in the area, I’d love to meet you.

This will be my first MLA conference; as a political scientist and then administrator, I never had much reason to attend before.  From what I hear, it’s quite the experience.  

My Dad used to attend, back in the 1970’s.  In those days -- and I think until quite recently -- it started the day after Christmas.  That was not popular on the home front.  Kudos to the MLA for eventually recognizing that some humanists have families, too.


Speaking of hiring, the new year will bring searches for several new deans on campus, along with a host of new faculty.  The world may not be ending, but a generational torch is finally being passed.  The current crop is strong, but it will be fun to bring in the next cohort.  They’ll have plenty to do...


The Boy and The Girl had their first major music recital last weekend.  They each had their solo moments -- TB on guitar and TG on piano -- but they also played in a band along with a drummer, another guitarist, and a singer.

If you’ve never seen a pop/rock band comprised of 8 to 11 year olds, you’re missing out.  To their credit, they didn’t have any sort of taped backup; every sound on stage was there because they made it.  They played two songs -- “Love Me Do,” and a lyrically edited version of “I’m Glad You Came,” by The Wanted -- and did it without the usual swagger and ego that pop/rock bands try to project.  The band had three girls and two boys, and it worked together supportively and sweetly.  The music sounded good, but we were especially proud of the maturity the kids showed in working together.  I know adults who struggle with that.


Program Note: The blog will take a holiday break, so I can enjoy a holiday without deadlines.  It’ll be back on Wednesday, January 2, unless the Mayans were right.  Have a great break, everyone!

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"My Dad used to attend, back in the 1970’s. In those days -- and I think until quite recently -- it started the day after Christmas. That was not popular on the home front. Kudos to the MLA for eventually recognizing that some humanists have families, too."

1) The old MLA started on Dec. 27th and went to the 30th.

2) All of my MLA-going friends who have school-aged kids have not been able to attend the MLA convention since the "new dates" went into effect a few years ago, because kids' schools start right after the new year.

3) Even people without kids have families, and, frankly, as a person without kids, it was easier to do the holidays family-wise with the old dates

And Finally

4) When you start back to classes the first Monday after the new year, the new dates really throw a wrench into one's JOB, regardless of whether one has kids.

Now, I know a lot of people adore the new dates. And that's great. But let's not pretend that these dates are somehow more "humane" or "family-friendly" than the old ones. They aren't.
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