Kicking it old school

More of the same today, which will almost certainly continue tomorrow, and which threatens to spill over into next week. How busy am I at the office? I have an away message up in my e-mail, even though I rarely leave my desk.

I left only briefly this afternoon for lunch and then a presentation — that’s meeting-like, so I think the Year of the Meeting will allow it — on the role of adjunct professors at colleges and universities. Apparently, it’s really on the rise, with some schools relying on adjuncts for two thirds or more of their faculty, and with tenure becoming increasingly a thing of the past. The focus, obviously, was on what that means for those of us trying to put textbooks in instructors’ hands and secure course adoptions, but it raises all kinds of other issues, like about who’s teaching (and with what credentials), how honest a university is about that (since “adjunct” can still carry a stigma), and the value of a higher education. Which isn’t to say that adjuncts — or whatever a school is calling them — are worse than tenured faculty; often enough the opposite can be true. But the presentation and discussion did reveal that higher education, at least in the US, is rapidly changing.

This week, though, seems like it hasn’t changed at all since Monday. At least tomorrow is Friday. I know I won’t be working over the weekend. (I don’t get paid for it if I do.)

Wednesday various

Thanksgiving cornucopia

  • We live in a country where pizza is a vegetable. I’m just saying. [via]
  • Harry Potter director developing all-new Doctor Who movie. Not at all a sure thing, but still, when do we stop remaking things? Maybe when the last remake is still on-going?
  • Genevieve Valentine on Immortals, which she describes as “a batch of snickerdoodles with thumbtacks inside.”

    The labyrinth and Minotaur are well turned out, and their showdown takes place in a temple mausoleum, where an archway of stairs frames a goddess’s head that’s inset with candles to make it glow from within. It’s the sort of thing where you think, “Man, that’s good looking! I wish this stupid scene would stop so we could just look at it.”

  • I really don’t know what to think about actress suing IMDB for revealing her age. They both seem to have a perfectly valid point.
  • Massive plagiarism might help your book sales [via]
  • Billy Crystal will be hosting the Oscars this year, giving me another reason not to watch. Which is not a dig at Crystal, necessarily, who I generally like…you know, back when he made movies people watched. But it’s such a safe, boring choice. The Academy really missed a golden opportunity to let the Muppets host the Oscars
  • Tilt-shift Van Gogh
  • Polite Dissent on Forgotten Drugs of the Silver-Age:

    The more I think about it, for all intents and purposes, Jor-El was a mad scientist. He espoused scientific theories well outside the accepted norm and performed numerous unauthorized scientific experiments of questionable ethics.

  • Mysterious D.C. rampage leaves smashed cars in its wake. Seriously, it looks like the Hulk went through there. [via]
  • And finally, the Center for Fiction interviews Margaret Atwood:

    I think it’s a human need to name – to tell this from that. On the most basic level, we need to distinguish – as crows do – the dangerous creature from the harmless one, and – as all animals do – the delicious and healthful food object from the rotting, poisonous one. In literary criticism it’s very helpful to know that the Harlequin Romance you sneak into when you think no one is looking is not the same, and is not intended to be the same, as Moby Dick. But stories and fictions have always interbred and hybridized and sent tendrils out into strange spaces.

Tuesday various

Thursday various

  • English Teacher Writes Racy Novels. Which…what? Should be grounds for firing the teacher? It’s not as if she assigned the novels as readings for her class, or even mentioned them to her students; by all accounts, she kept her writing life very separate, if not secret, and I don’t see why this should be anybody’s business, much less a problem.

    “Now my son knows so how is he thinking when he’s sitting in her class knowing what she does on the side,” said parent Wendy Apple.

    To which I say, maybe it’s time you and your son both grew up, then. The woman is allowed to have a personal life, and has committed no crime or obvious impropriety. And, honestly, if you’re trying to get a 10th-grade boy to quit thinking about sex, whatever the circumstances, you’re fighting a losing battle. [via]

  • Oscar Wilde takes on Jersey Shore. Does exactly what it says on the tin.
  • TSA security looks at people who complain about…TSA security.

    “This violation of my Constitutional rights in the service of fear-mongering and creating the illusion of safety is really — oh no! They’ve caught on to my nefarious plan!” [via]

  • When words change meaning. [via]
  • And finally, because it was only a matter of time, Infographic of Infographics [via]