Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More Lemon Demon

Ortho seemed to enjoy last month's Lemon Demon song about Barack Obama and Pokemon and asked what else my littlest lumpkin listens to. I finally got a chance to quiz her over the holidays and her answer seems to be that Lemon Demon rules.

Lemon Demon is a muscial group formed by Neil Cicierega of Potter Puppet Pals fame and I confess a weakness for them too. Their hit single seems to be "The Ultimate Showdown," but for your New Year's Eve enjoyment I'm also including "Dance Like an Idiot" for your listening and dancing pleasure.

Happy New Year!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Boxing Day!

Some of the lovely gifts the LumpenProf received this year. Have a joyful holiday!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bye Eartha

Eartha Kitt, one of the most amazing voices of all-time, died on Christmas day today. She was so much more than just Catwoman, but she did do evil awfully well...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Solstice

Tyrrhenian Sea and Solstice Sky

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Teaching, Learning and New Media

Via. A talk by Michael Wesch.

A companion lecture to this much shorter video:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Jam

A video from Wayne Henderson's 2007 Christmas party featuring Doc Watson and a cast of thousands. Let the holiday cheer begin...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Academic Austerity

As a follow-up to the scattered notes on academic labor below, here's a link I missed to a very helpful post by Marc Bousquet over on How the University Works:

On the one hand, yesterday’s major AFT report on the permatemping of the faculty urges the necessity of reversing course on academic staffing. That would imply a greater investment in higher education, almost certainly including substantial federal leadership and funding. ...

On the other hand, as education “leaders” across the country have already made clear, their intentions aren’t really to get together and demand a “bailout” or a “new New Deal for higher ed,” etc. Why not? Instead they seem all too ready with even more grandiose plans for austerity.

That’s because administrations have found four decades of austerity useful to establish greater “productivity” (more work for less pay) and more “responsiveness to mission,” which is to say, more control over curriculum, research, and every dimension of teaching, from class size to pedagogy.

This tendency can certainly be seen on my campus. Nothing shifts decision making from shared faculty governance to administrative fiat quite so quickly as a good budget crisis. The fact that, as Bousquet writes, "many administrators welcome austerity" seems all too likely. It is certainly true that many university administrators have had significantly more experience at successfully implementing austerity measures than they have had at successfully resisting such measures.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Random Bullets on Academic Labor

There's been an unusually wide assortment of blog posts, discussions, and news items on academic labor issues this week. Due to the conditions of my own academic labor, and the size of the stacks of papers and exams to grade on my desk, I can't do more than briefly list them here:

  • Dean Dad takes umbrage at the AFT report. It calls for paying adjuncts significantly more for the work they already do. Dean Dad notices this would be bad for budgets. LumpenProf takes umbrage at Dean Dad's umbrage. When workers are paid below the poverty line the way to fix this is to pay them more, not work them harder. This always hurts budgets. And just as unions managed to cut the work week in half and keep their pay the same during the depression, look for academic workers to aim at increasing wages while keeping their hours the same during the coming depression. Never waste a good crisis. Academic labor needs to come out of this crisis stronger and better organized than ever.
  • And I've been having an intriguing, if somewhat vexed, discussion over on Dead Voles about the status of the lumpenprofessoriat. When you can't even get the Marxist profs on board with the idea of unionizing, it starts to look like a long row to hoe.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Gandhi In Gitmo

Via. Here's a very interesting cyberactivist/art installation: Virtual Gitmo on Second Life, including a strange interaction with a second life reenactment of Gandhi's Salt March to Dandi. Amazing.

Monday, December 01, 2008

5028 Words

I made it to 50% of my 10k InaDWriMo pledge. However, I've decided to treat writing stats like baseball stats and consider my .500 average for the month to be awesome. Honestly, I'm very happy about what I wrote this month. This is by far my most productive bout of writing in a long time. I want to thank Dr. Brazen Hussy for organizing InaDWriMo again this year. It has been a huge help to me.

However, since I didn't make it to my goal, I will make a further pledge. I pledge to keep at it until I manage a 10k month. That may take me until next November, but it will mean a lot of good writing gets done between now and then. Here's the final wordle pic of the manuscript so far: