Heading Out

Seeking the winds that help to sail on Shakespeare's tide.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

32 Years

Oh, my. There is nothing like 7 gallons of water on the utility room floor to bring one back to reality. How do I know it was that much, well I picked it up a bit at a time with a sponge and put it in a bucket. Turns out the hose from the water softner had fallen out of the drain. Mutter. While, unlike the Edwards, we didn't go to Wendy's to celebrate, but we did eat out, and the Actress had a corned beef sandwich. After the flood I had a glass of Abelour and started the Thomas Frank book. It's supposed to be written with humor, but can't find any yet. (Though it does ask the interesting question as to why those in Kansas vote Republican against their best interests. Seeing the President claim that Kerry will raise everyone's taxes goes some way to perhaps explaining why, and a vicious editorial in our local paper last night claiming that "Kerry got out of Vietnam as soon as he had received three minor flesh wounds" might also indicate another contributory factor).

Later today I'll intall the Magellan and we'll see where it will lead us. But first, here I am, back at the office on a Saturday. (One thing that I said I would no longer do a year ago). But now the folk from Indiana will be here Monday, the folk from Boston want to be here the following Monday and the Oklahoma folk will be here the week after. Oh and in all that we have to keep the Ohio work running and doing creative things, and get the Michigan and Big City efforts consolidated. So I need to write the draft presentation for Indiana today, and maybe review the course for the Oklahoma folk.

One of my colleagues with responsibilities similar to mine said with surprise yesterday "Folk actually come to you, " which I find odd since he currently is bringing in vast sums more than I, and is considered probably the current star of the campus. Must think about that some more. We had a heated discussion at this level on whether it is better to focus resources in a small number of efforts to raise them to National and International level, or to distribute the resources at a smaller level of funding to more faculty. I spoke for the former, since it can be made to work, whereas if you give faculty a grad student it becomes seen as a right and often is not enough to make them move very far (a comment that comes from sad experience).

The press office is playing down the Administrative changes, but the underlying change has been made and we will, no doubt, soon be going through the motions that will lead to getting a new Number One. And in regard to the discussions on oil that I will occasionally alude to, it is interesting to see that Keith Miller a historian and Member of the Council of Energy Advisors, suggests that we have already hit the peak of World Oil production. I am not sure that the argument is completely valid, since it is predicated on reaching the 80 million barrel a day mark, but it surely can't be that far off, and one wonders again, how this will play out.

And there has been another little political play in the e-mail I saw today, and I must now decide whether to pick up another hat or to let it lie as one of my colleagues who seems to excel at this sort of activity tries to pull another political trick. Unfortunately this time he has left it a little late to achieve anything productive.

(From all this chatter you might correctly assume I don't want to write this report, but I guess I'd better).


At 9:58 PM, Blogger bitchphd said...

I find your musings on allocation of resources really interesting. Here I am so grateful for my grad student--such a new idea! help with research!--and haven't yet thought about the question of targeted vs. broad funding stuff, or what kinds of big things beyond getting my own personal writing done might be important. Well, not quite true, I have thought a bit about the mysteries of getting folks to campus to speak or do conferences or what have you, but all that is still something I see others a few years ahead of me doing without knowing how or even really why to do it myself yet.

So I am finding reading you quite educational. Merci.

At 11:36 PM, Blogger Heading out said...

Graduate students have been one of the greatest joys - I can still remember first going to a conference where the official American delegate was someone I had advised on a Masters, and still savor their success.

I helped with my first national conference after I had been here about 4 years and then ran a couple about a decade or so later. I was very glad I did them, but one led on to greater things and the other did not (though that could have been because it was the first, though maybe also because of the personalities). But have not been motivated to run any more as the one in charge.

The real stories behind some of the stuff I am sort of generalizing about are quite a bit more interesting but unfortunately for a whole variety of reasons I have to be circumspect. I had not anticipated anything like this last month when I started this.

And yes, I do try and read your entries every day - Merci aussi.


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