Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I Teach, therefore I Am

This is supposed to be an academic blog, right? Sorta.

Anyway, winter term class is going very well. Despite the height of flu season, I had a great class recently, in which our discussion launched into some more meta issues. One student made the comment that history is not an exact science, that it's always got some interpretation. Another student had a minor freak-out about the student's statement. "How can you say it's not exact? There are facts. That's not interpretation."

He replied, "Ok, such as?"

She said, "A bunch of people signed the Declaration of Independence. That's a fact."

I added, "Yes. Why?" Long pause. "That's where the interpretation comes into it."

That led down the road to how historians, as well as the people living through the historical events themselves, all have biases that get in the way of objective history. And how we evaluate sources and attempt to get as close to the truth as possible.

"So who can we trust?" she asked in clear frustration.

I answered, "Me." They laughed. Which is exactly what I hoped they'd do.


In other splendid teaching news, registration just opened up for Spring term, and I've already got 5 students signed up. And one is a repeat customer from this term. I'll take that as a compliment.


In other other promising teaching news, I've been requested to send more information for a full-time job at the local cc. Not to the interview stage yet, but it is better than I've done thus far.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Black History Month

Aside from Nick Jr. doing some pretty cool little videos for black history month, this almost got past me. Thanks, Elle, for reminding me. And since I'm not writing a lot these days, I'm going to leave it to Nat X to make the announcement:

I just want to say that February is Black History Month. Isn't that nice? The Man gives us February because it's the shortest month of the year! Now, I'm not complaining, but I think we deserve at least a thirty-day month. It's also the coldest month of the year, just in case we wanted to have a parade.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Quinn the Idiot

Note to self: when recording the Oscars to watch after the kids go to bed, recognize that it is guaranteed to run long.

Since I missed Scorsese actually winning, I feel like I should offer some sort of tribute. And since there are too few obscure Animaniacs references these days...

We'd like to perch on Scorsese's head!
Why can't we perch on Scorsese's head?
Goodfeathers perch on Scorsese's head!
Sparrows should perch on Scorsese's head!


Tuesday, February 20, 2007


As we finish up our Presidents Day holiday and look forward to March Madness, Neel has perfectly captured the mood. Historians and basketball fans, check it out. You won't regret it.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007


I'm 33 years old. I don't need accompaniment when I go to the bathroom. And by that, I don't mean that I don't want my two year old to pay a visit. (Which I don't. But I'm used to it by now.)

What I mean by accompaniment is that he now brings in his toy piano and plays music for me.

That is unnecessary.


Friday, February 16, 2007

The Duke Blanket

In celebration of the men's victory over BC and the women's continued dominance of everybody (hopefully this weekend against MD as well), I present to you the Duke blanket. Made for college roomie's forthcoming offspring. Shh... don't tell her.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It's all about the chick history!

Drew Gilpin Faust was named president of Harvard. President! Of Harvard!

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Odds and Ends

Things you miss when you go on a news hiatus that includes the Daily Show and the Colbert Report: Bizarre Astronaut Love Triangles and the death of Anna Nicole Smith. Wha?

Things not to do when you're fighting low moods: prep your lecture on slavery, including film clips from Roots and Amistad; watch Duke men's basketball.

Things that give you mental repetitive stress injuries: "Mommy, what are you doing, Mommy?" Why does WB have to preface AND end the question with that word? Of course, it could be worse. To his father, he says, "Daddy, what are you doing, Mommy?"

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

It has arrived

Have you seen the latest commercial for Clear Blue Easy pregnancy tests?

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Blonde Jokes

Julie has a rant on her site about blonde jokes, and she makes some very valid points! (My favorite: Why is the blonde assumed to be female?) I started to comment, but then realized that what I wanted to say would be too long for a comment. So I'm making my own post. So here's my most memorable blonde joke experience:

I was a senior in high school, and still somewhat blonde (I've darkened as I've gotten older. Naturally!) I was in AP physics class, and we were taking some little practice quiz the first week of class about how fast a couple of trains would have to go to accomplish whatever it is trains accomplish in physics quizzes. Anyway, it was a multiple choice question and the answers were:

a) X miles per hour
b) Y miles per hour
c) Z miles per hour
d) faster than the speed of light.

While physics was never my strong suit, I figured out that the task was impossible. The teacher asked me what my answer was, and I said D. Several people in the class giggled, and one young fairhaired gentleman whom I had not met previously stood up, walked over to my desk, and gave me a button that read, "I'm naturally blonde. Please speak slowly."

Everybody laughed. The teacher pointed out that I was correct. I rather ostentatiously handed the button back to its owner. And the blush on the young man's face set his blonde hair off very nicely, I have to say!

That night, he called me and asked me out.

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Friday, February 02, 2007


No, I'm not doing one everyday, but here's a gem that's not in rotation these days.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

DQ makes friends

I kid you not, this is what DQ said to me tonight:

“Mommy, I found a spider and he was a nice spider and I was playing with him and being very nice to him, but he was losing legs, so I put him in a toilet and told him bye-bye and that he would meet lots of new friends.”