more than a few days late, more than a few dollars short.

The following letter to the editor appeared in the “Viewpoint” section of our student paper yesterday, the second to last issue this year:

I have worked in Building Services for two years, so most of this is about the people there, plus food service, lawn care and laundry.

South Bend has one of the highest numbers of children living in poverty as compared to other towns around the U.S., and our children are also some of the worst-educated, as reported by the South Bend Tribune. The chances of them going to college are very small. In that Notre Dame is the largest employer in South Bend, they must help stop the poverty. It’s good that they help all over the world, but take care of home first. Continue reading “more than a few days late, more than a few dollars short.”

i am furious

I am so mad, that I can’t even think straight. I don’t have anything productive to say other than a string of expletives. But really, what can you say, or what needs to be said, against such utterly contemptible falsehoods?

Why am I mad?

Scalia says “Get over it. It’s so old by now” regarding Bush v. Gore. I am utterly speechless.

The Wall Street Journal endorses Scalia’s old school breadwinner/distant father/supportive homemaker mother model of a family. Thank you, oh prestigious paper covering our nation’s politics and economy, for saying something that is so clearly progressive, modern, and reflective of today’s economic and social realities.

I need to throw something or break something right now.


Is there anything sweeter than a 4-year-old playing soccer? Maybe, but I still have to share this photo of the Kid’s first soccer game with you:

It makes me think that I should organize more activities in which the Kid runs around without a clear purpose other than for my viewing pleasure. Do they make cat toys for kids?

watch people die, sociologically

Here. Click the now button for the most compelling version, especially if you just let it run while, say, being on the elliptical trainer.

Anyway, if you aren’t in the mood for tragedy, can you at least tell me if you have any opinion either about the Amazon Kindle or these new Flip Video cameras? Both have been recommended to me recently, and pre-ordering a Wii Fit this afternoon was apparently not enough to slake my gadgety thirst.

BTW, if I make it to 3.5 miles on the ET, this will be Day 62 in my pledge either to work out 200 days in 2008 or donate $25 to the George W. Bush Presidential Library for each day I fall short. I’m about four days short of where I need to be to be on pace for 200, but I’m maybe 50 days ahead of where I would be if I hadn’t made the pledge to begin with. I’m thinking about making some similar kind of pledge about writing.

the end of the semester crutch.

It might not explain Jeremy’s recent behavior, as he’s still slugging through spring quarter, but I’m sure a lot of us are suffering from end-of-the-semester burnout. You know, when you need something mindless to keep you going. Omar’s on the other side of the wall, cleaning his office. I wrote my syllabi for the fall and started filling in next year’s planner (yes, I still use an old-fashioned one, and yes, it’s the same kind I used as a student). I’m about to finish up my students’ final exam. Because I’m not ready to tackle office cleaning, it’s time to add other mindless tasks to my “cognitively easy” list because I just can’t handle anything “not-so cognitively easy” this week. What are some of your end of the semester crutches, those mindless things that keep you moving?


As further evidence that I am in the throes of the lamest midlife crisis ever, I have spent much of the weekend spurning pleasant social opportunities in favor of working alone on a new hobby so geeky/dorky I cannot bear the idea of talking about it publicly.  And given things I have mentioned about myself over the years in blog posts, that’s saying something.  (No, of course, not filking.  I would hope that in this world I have the sort of friends who would perform a serious, if necessary fatal, intervention if I ever became involved with filking.)  I feel like somewhere in my early thirties I took a wrong turn and have since been careening toward becoming a de-Enidized variant of Seymour from Ghost World.

OK, while I still don’t want to talk about it, part of what I’ve been doing involves some computer programming.  I say this only because the thing with me and programming is that when I’ve got something I want to program, I can work for 12 or more hours straight without any especial need for social interaction, websurfing, reflexive e-mail checking, food, or hygiene.  (This does not always mean that I will have a great deal to show for those 12 or 14 hours, depending on if I’ve gotten stuck on something.)  If I could fire up the time machine and go back to age twenty and start an alternative career fork, computer programmer would probably be it.

I was telling a friend about this and she promptly said, “It’s not too late!  You could still go become a computer programmer.”  Oy.  I really like being a professor.  Partly precisely because it’s a job title so broad and with so much autonomy that you can shape your actual work into a number of different things.  Why I don’t actually do more programming in my work is a different question.  As an assistant professor, I was doing a lot of programming-like work for awhile on a certain large survey I’m involved with, but then I cut that way back on that because it seemed like it was taking too much time away from other things with clearer external rewards.  Perhaps I should revisit that decision.

Does anybody else have a counterfactual career they wonder about?

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