Category Archives: Attempting to Stay Sane

Ready to be a dandelion?

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I’ve just been pointed to science fiction writer Cory Doctorow’s blog post in which he claims that the characteristics of intellectual work in the Internet age (ease of duplication and transmission, immediacy of reach, lack of reader focus and followthrough, an immense ocean of choices) means that artists of all… Read more »

Another Burden of Administrative Life

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I have half a dozen experiences a day that convince me all over again why I’m grateful to not be an administrator in higher education any more. But a new one occurred to me today. Or rather, over the past couple of weeks but they coalesced into an idea today…. Read more »

31 and 38

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I’ve been writing a lot of fiction in the past few years, mostly stories of men who’ve reached a point of comfort and stability in their lives, and find it a little hollow. And without my intending it, all of my protagonists have been the same two ages. Robert is 38. Clay is… Read more »

Post-Dissertation Support

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Every summer, a friend and I lead a writing workshop for faculty at a college near Baltimore, helping their teaching-focused faculty develop journal articles, convert dissertations into books, and write grant proposals. Along the way, I’ve learned an infinitesimal amount of chemistry, enough nursing practice to be better able to… Read more »

Sectarian Violence

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The comedian Emo Phillips performed a routine (click that link) that has been voted the greatest religious joke ever written. Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?” He… Read more »

The Genius of Bureaucracy

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I’ve been working at a faculty development retreat all week, and the stories at lunch are always the best part. And one of the things that struck me was the number of great ideas that have been turned into bloodless procedure. Yes, it’s brilliant to name the learning outcomes that… Read more »

Inevitable Setbacks in the Equally Inevitable Victory

After the 2005 London subway bombings, there was a vast and immediate response by the English, which spread almost worldwide within days. We are not afraid. We can hold onto anger and fear. Or we can recognize that it won’t be long until those who hate become irrelevant. We are at… Read more »

Class Traitor

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It’s the little things that you notice. I’d gone to visit my brother in Michigan while I was in grad school, for the first time in a decade. It was Tuesday evening, 9pm, and he invited us to watch a little TV before he got ready to go off to… Read more »


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A colleague recently shared with me a model of triage that comes from public health management. The model posits that 80% of people with a problem will come through it just fine; 15% will need some special attention to manage their specific context; and 5% will be in real crisis. Hold… Read more »


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I love driving. It was the first thing I remember really, really wanting as a child. Now that I live in the boonies and have a big yard, I have a riding mower, which is the perfect eight-year-old fantasy toy: a combination of loud vehicle and coloring book, back and… Read more »