Professor J's Place

30 January, 2008

Political Posting Alert!

I just looked at the news to see this announcement on the BBC website. The title of the article: Edwards to Quit White House Race.


I recently talked to a young (27 or so) friend of mine who said that he really got interested in the last two elections, and four years ago he had his heart broken, so he just didn't think he would care about politics quite as much anymore.

I told him that my first presidential election was Jimmy Carter losing to Ronald Reagan. I told him that I had become accustomed to getting my heart broken on a regular basis. I told him that a true democrat was something like an Aggie: faithful in the midst of crushing and regular defeat.

But the truth is, I still don't get it. John Edwards is handsome, intelligent, concerned about human beings, and he has a kick-ass wife. His ideas are progressive, and he (as is said about Sen. Obama) appeals to the better angels of our being. I know that sometimes he got a little heated, and I wasn't always nuts about the way he jumped on the anti-Clinton bandwagon, but he is a good, good man.

And he can't win.

His loss is our loss.

Okay, Senators Obama and Clinton: show me what you've got.

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29 January, 2008

Happy Birthday Germaine Greer

Germaine Greer, the author of The Female Eunuch, turned 69 today.

While Ms. Greer is often the object of ridicule and hatred for her sometimes outrageous statements, she was an important feminist voice and continues to think and read and write about women's sexuality.

I don't often agree with Greer, but she influenced my early feminism, and for that, I am grateful. besides, I have to love an aging feminist who likes her wine. There are too few of us. Here's a nice (but rather old) article on Greer in Salon.


28 January, 2008

Yet another reminder that I am a "woman of a certain age"

Dateline: San Antonio

I get on to the elevator this morning with a striking blond woman of, say, 35-50 years of age. We smile shyly. She makes eye contact and says--not, "what do you teach?" --or even, "lousy weather we're having, isn't it?"

She says, "I am having the damnedest time getting used to my bifocals."

Oh yeah. Conversation in the elevators has changed.

I'm old.

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27 January, 2008

Friday Music on Sunday: I love this man!

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26 January, 2008

A Bit of Emily

Portraits are to daily faces
As an evening west
To a fine, pedantic sunshine
In a satin vest.

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23 January, 2008

Updates all around

Anastasia Beaverhausen asked her readers to add her new site to their blog rolls if they hadn't done so already. I read and obey. But while I was there, I realized that there are several blogs I read everyday that haven't made it to the blog roll. So, I've updated the roll. I may still need to add you--Let me know if you've been left out, will you?

ALSO a student from my developmental writing class stayed after class until I got my things together and walked with me as far as the library building--JUST TO TALK! I am so happy. Happy, happy, happy. I shall dance and sing.

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20 January, 2008

Artist of the Year!

Well, Susan and I went to a local art group for their annual Artist of the Year celebration today. Artists who had won artist of the month were eligible to bring those paintings for judging. There were several nice paintings. Take into account the fact that the lighting was not especially good, so any work under glass had a glare, and take into account that the photographer is a bit cockeyed.

Susan really liked this painting of a doll with a flower and shell. It didn't do much for me, but what do I know?

This is a nice vase of sunflowers by a woman I know.

I loved this jazzman.

And this pleased me.

There were others that didn't photograph well. What, these were well photographed?

But this brings me to the highlight of the afternoon. The artist of the year at Coppini Gallery is. . . (drumroll, please):

Yes, the lovely redhead is my Susan. And she won for her painting "Evening Comfort." I am very proud of her.

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18 January, 2008

Presidential Quiz

I was listening to the developer of this quiz on Talk of the Nation yesterday afternoon, and then I got the link from The Domestic Goddess.
85% Mike Gravel
83% Dennis Kucinich
73% John Edwards
69% Barack Obama
67% Chris Dodd
66% Joe Biden
64% Hillary Clinton
59% Bill Richardson
26% Rudy Giuliani
25% Ron Paul
23% John McCain
16% Mike Huckabee
16% Mitt Romney
16% Tom Tancredo
6% Fred Thompson

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz


Developmental Writing Update

Well, my friends, I have survived two more days of developmental writing. What's more, so have most of my students.

On Wednesday, I entered the class, sat down with them, and had a talk. I told them that I knew that none of them had voluntarily chosen to take developmental writing. And, I said that this was my only Monday, Wednesday, and Friday course, so I drive across town at six-thirty in the morning just to see them. "So," I said, "Let's try to have some fun in this class. Let's try to enjoy the process." I asked if any of them had any ideas for making the class more enjoyable.


Then we listened to David Sedaris reading an essay about when he was an elf at Macy's.

Silence. No smiles.

So, I had them write. First they did some freewriting. Then I asked them to write about a time when they had a conflict with someone. I had them read this to the person sitting next to them. Then I had them write about the same conflict from the point of view of the other person. Then I had a couple of people read their writing. It was okay.

This morning, I talked for a couple of minutes about why I think writing is so important. I then showed them a film with speeches by Sojourner Truth, John Ball, and Martin Luther King, Jr. We I talked about what made those speeches so effective, and then I let them go.

I did hand out some journals, per Kim's advice. We didn't have time to write today, but I told them that they should expect to write in the journal every day and to turn it in every once in awhile for my comments.

The attitudes seem a little more open, though my young woman did spend the last five minutes of class loading her backpack.

Thanks for all the wonderful hints and ideas. I'll continue to fight the good fight and to update you on our progress.


15 January, 2008

Seeking Your Advice

Well, the first days of school have passed fairly well, with one notable exception: Developmental Writing. Our class was at 8:00 on Monday.

When I walked in the room, there were seven of the fifteen enrolled students there. Not an auspicious start. A girl came in about fifteen minutes into the class; she was a fine addition. She sat and stared off toward the side of the classroom and occasionally made remarks to the person sitting next to her (followed by snickers--and not the delicious chocolate kind). The other kids were more polite, but it took dynamite to make them respond to anything. Of course, non of them had their books or paper to write upon.

I did find that most of the students in the class had failed dev. writing last semester. With attitudes like that? I am shocked.

Anyway, we need to get a handle on this--AND FAST. Ideas? Suggestions?

I meet with them tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!

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13 January, 2008

Album Cover Meme

I got this meme from Susan.

You design the cover of your band's album using these links:

1. The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover. You then take the pic and add your band name and the album title to it, then post your pic.

I believe I cheated. I used more than four words from the quote--and it was the quote I wanted to use rather than the last quote, and I used the second picture. Hey, it's my album cover, after all.

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11 January, 2008

Busy Getting Ready for the Spring Semester

I've been working on syllabi, attending meetings, going to the dentist, and all sorts of fun stuff this week, so I've been away from the blogs.

But I DID purchase Photoshop yesterday, so I'm looking forward to some fun!

Anyway, here's a little something

You Are a Cupcake

Cute and fun, you never take life too seriously.

People are constantly surprised by how delightful you are.


08 January, 2008

At the "Asian Buffet"

Susan: "I wonder what the cat says."

Karen: "I don't know."

Susan: "I wonder what the pig says."

Morgan: "The cat says meow, the pig says oink."


04 January, 2008

The Little People

The lovely Anne, over at Almost Quintessence has asked a question about the pups. And since she doesn't have an email address listed on her profile (What's up with that, Anne?), I'll just inflict share my answer with all of my sweet readers.

The beautiful dog pictured above is Alice. She is a Walker Coon Hound, or a Walker Fox Hound, or simply a Walker Hound. She does, indeed look like a beagle--on stilts. She bays like a beagle, too. She is a sweet, gentle girl, unless you happen to be a cat or a raccoon.

Alice adopted me. Several years ago on a Thanksgiving afternoon, my mother and I took our dogs to a park on the south side of San Antonio. It is a great park with a big field where we would let the girls run while Mom and I walked the path surrounding it. Because the park is in an area just south of town and the neighborhood is wooded, there are several stray dogs running about. On our way back to the car, we saw this lovely animal standing in the middle of the road. Mama said that we should bring dog food the next time we come to this park, and we promptly forgot the incident.

The day after Christmas that same year, Mama and the dogs and I went to the same park. On our way back to the car, there was that dog again. After I got Mama and the girls safely into the car, I sat down in the driver's seat. Before I could close my car door, Alice was draped accross my lap.

What could I do? I put her in the back of the car and drove to my vet's office, and asked them to give her shots and spay her.

When we got to the vet's, the woman at the desk told us that our new dog was a Walker Hound. "Then we must call her Alice," my mother said. And so she is.

Mama, Ursula, and Ruth are all gone now, but I still have Alice and Dinah to love. Oh yeah, and Susan and Morgan and Joel Grey Cat.


Mom and Ursula at the park


Al Pal

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03 January, 2008

Aww Shucks

Mary Alice over at From the Fronlines has given me this award

for my post "Mothers and Daughters."

Thanks, Mary Alice! And, as always, I'd like to thank the little people

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02 January, 2008

When Life Gives you Lemonade

In response to my last post, many of you kind readers mentioned that I was good at bouncing back from adversity, landing on my feet, making lemonade, etc. While I like to take credit for emotional strength whenever possible, I would like to posit another possible scenario.

At the beginning of 2007, my work was not making me happy. I took pride in it, and I loved my students, but I did not enjoy supervising other people, and my dean had made it clear she wanted change, but every change I suggested was shot down. I just did not feel I was getting the support I needed.

And so, two days (TWO DAYS, dear readers) before my meeting with the dean, I went to a large box-shaped book store and purchased these two books.

Did I know that the dean was going to let me go? Perhaps. I wasn't exactly surprised when she told me.

But, as the result of many conversations with Susan, I have come up with some alternatives to that line of thought.

Because I was unhappy, because I was thinking about different jobs, because I wanted to be more creative,

the universe gave me what I asked for. An opportunity to think about what I really wanted to do and to claim it.

It is true that I was offered teaching jobs just DAYS after deciding that I wanted to remain a teacher.

So perhaps that is reality. Perhaps I asked for what I wanted, and I got it.

Of course, that doesn't mean that I didn't feel rejected, sad, angry, and bitter for much of the rest of the semester, but the idea that I had something to do with the changes did help me to weather them.