Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Signified Elsewhere

Tuesday, 25 December 2007


In the real world, via two consecutive days at the movie theater, Three Doors Down + Cinematography = National Guard Recruiting. It has a surprisingly powerful effect on my patriotism gene, maybe just because it’s a pretty good song in its own right. (Heck, I grew up with the national anthem playing before every movie, so maybe it just filled that gap in my life.)

In the fictional world, via Shawn Zehnder Lea: the How to Spot a Cylon poster and the Battlestar Galactica Propaganda Poster Set, the latter of which I think would be fun to hang on the walls of my office.

Merry Christmas

I realize this is a little late for readers on the East Coast, but Merry Christmas nonetheless!

Monday, 24 December 2007

Mungowitz Shorn

An event three years in the making: Mike Munger donates his hair to a worthy cause. As someone who has mocked my ex-boss’s coiffure in the past (I believe I referred to it as being the result of excessive use of hair product, but cannot locate the post in question), I have to say I’m impressed with his putting his, er, hair where his mouth is.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Office politics, Harvard style

Via Henry Farrell and Dan Drezner, I present The Department for your viewing pleasure:

My only observation: it needed more Sunshine Hillygus.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Where do they teach this stuff?

Profgrrrrl demonstrates how to use a spreadsheet program to calculate grades. This seems like the sort of skill that ought to be taught somewhere in the curriculum, but I don’t recall ever being told to use a spreadsheet in school except to calculate basic descriptive statistics (means and standard deviations) for physics labs in college in some DOS version of Quattro Pro.

Of course, I’m the sort of person who grades things with denominators like 15, 45, and 60 and who created 11 nested IF formulas in Calc to assign letter grades in my classes this semester, so I’m clearly weird.

Update: Dr. Pion also responds to the initial post that started it all.

Extra credit

Professor Karlson and Dean Anonymous both inveigh against ad hoc extra credit. I make a general policy of only giving extra credit on an “open to all takers” basis, and typically I build into my grading structures things that eliminate the need for extra credit, such as dropping low quiz grades and weighing exams so higher-scoring exams count more in the final average.

Now I just need to figure out the secret to taking attendance without having to deal with the stupid paperwork associated with absences for the spring.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Latest sign of the apocalypse

Hulk Hogan will be the king of the Bacchus Mardi Gras krewe next February. Hopefully this won’t interfere with his important duties as co-host of the American Gladiators revival.

Monday, 17 December 2007

I wanna be bad

Dan Drezner invites professors to submit the worst sentence they’ve seen from a student-written term paper. All of my candidates are in the office this evening, so I’ll have to defer my participation to tomorrow, but I’m sure I have some possibilities lurking around the office.

In fairness, however, most of the essays (and even many of the hastily-written final exams) I read this semester were quite good; I was actually pleasantly surprised, given the horror stories I’d heard from a colleague earlier in the semester.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Stealing Larry Sabato’s crystal ball

I predict the nominees at Outside the Beltway today, part of a series from all of the OTB faithful.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Adios CompUSA

As Jeff Licquia notes, CompUSA is getting out of the retail business. Granted, there isn’t a lot of stuff there you can’t find elsewhere, and compared to Newegg it’s not exactly a cheap place to get computer bits, but where else in the New Orleans area can I get a four-pin Y cable for my computer’s internal power supply or an SATA-to-IDE converter?

Not to mention that with Circuit City hemorrhaging money like there’s no tomorrow, sooner rather than later we’ll basically be down to Best Buy and the electronics section of Wal-Mart for those computer parts you just can’t live without for the 2–3 days it takes Newegg to get them here.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Free movie

When mom and I went to see The Darjeeling Limited, among the previews was one for Juno. Surely a comedy with Michael Cera, Jason Bateman, and Rainn Wilson in it can’t be bad? Mind you, I reserve judgment on Jennifer Garner’s current comedy chops, although she did OK in 13 Going On 30, and I’ve yet to see anything lead actress Ellen Page has been in.

Anyway, I guess the studio really wants to build some buzz for the movie, because they’ve got oodles of free screenings listed on the movie website, even in flyover country (including New Orleans). I’ll certainly take a free ticket for a movie I was planning on seeing anyway, particularly on a night when the competition for my entertainment attention span is the Poulan Weedeater Bowl or whatever reality crap they’ve used to replace everything worth watching Tuesday nights.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Back at the ranch

For my cyberstalkers, there are recent posts by me at my other blogging home, Outside the Beltway, at which I apparently play the role of the lefty academic—as opposed to here, where I’m generally perceivable as an aloof libertarian/conservative academic, or the classroom, where I just try to be inscrutable, all the better to throw everyone off my trail.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

LSU/OSU in BCS Title Game

In case New Orleans didn’t have enough damn LSU fans in town, they’ll be out in full force for the BCS title game against Ohio State on January 7th, when thankfully I will be far, far away from the Crescent City.

Who could hate this outcome more than a Michigan fan? Not only does their archrival tOSU play for a national title, but now there’s no way Les Miles backs out of his commitment to stay at LSU instead of going to coach the Wolverines. At least my loyalties will be less conflicted than a Michigander’s: go Buckeyes!