I write this, that blogging is hard, not because it's necessarily so hard to type one word after another, but it's hard to do it over a long period of time, like when you don't really feel like writing, or looking for something to write about, or thinking about something to write about, or even writing when you do have something to write about. I write this because a local blog has ceased publication today. MetroSpokane, as the site notes, "has left the building." It's a bummer, but having plugged away at this rather nondescript blog of my own since February of 2005, I can see why they are hanging it up. Everyone blogger does sooner or later. That's just the way it goes: birth, school, blog, work, death and back around if you procreate.
I think being a department chair, even though I'm just filling in until the new year, is different at a community college than a four-year school. I think at most four year schools, department chairs are the front line supervisors, the boss or middle manager if you will. What dawned on me yesterday, and I don't mean this in a bad way, is that the position of chair I'm serving in means the other faculty trust me to do all the crap they don't want to do but has to be done. For us, the actual supervisor, at least in title, is the division dean.
She's one of my favorite columnists, not just because I like her politics, but because she's an imaginative writer who makes her points clear and to the point.
Call them liars, because that’s what they are. Sarah Palin didn’t say “thanks but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. She just said “Thanks.” You were raised by a single mother on food stamps — where does a guy with eight houses who was legacied into Annapolis get off calling you an elitist? And by the way, if you do nothing else, take that word back. Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence. While you’re at it, I want the word “patriot” back. McCain can say that the transcendent issue of our time is the spread of Islamic fanaticism or he can choose a running mate who doesn’t know the Bush doctrine from the Monroe Doctrine, but he can’t do both at the same time and call it patriotic. They have to lie — the truth isn’t their friend right now. Get angry. Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too? It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one. And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!
Don't confuse this with a lost weekend, though I suspect some might think it as much. Today I rode just over 100 miles from Spokane to Coeur d'Alene, around the south end of Lake Coeur d'Alene. It was an organized ride, otherwise I would have been killing myself the last 40 miles because there isn't any place to stop and buy food. However, when riding the Tour des Lacs, they provide the food. Tomorrow is the second part of the ride, 70 mile in a roundabout manner from Coeur d'Alene back to Spokane. If nothing else, I'll be worn out and should sleep well Sunday night. The only bummer about today is Rachel came to pick me up before my turn for a massage and my BIL (that's brother-in-law) couldn't make it, and he missed out on a great day of riding. Here's a pic from early this morning, just after sunrise. This is one of the many wheat fields we cycled alongside between Spokane and Plummer.
Our department chair is taking this quarter off, so I am filling in and finding that despite a bit of release time and some extra (if there is such a thing), it's not all peaches and cream. Classes begin in a few days and there is a bit of last minute scrambling going on.
The September 5 issue of The Chronicle Review has a review of Stanley Fish's new book, Save the World on Your Own Time, along with an essay by Fish on his notions of academic freedom. I plan on reading Fish's book because it appeals to me in some ways, though I don't know if I can articulate it exactly. Fish seems to be someone who might be plugged into the New Critical scheme of the world, that literature and other art is to be looked at removed from the forces that led to its production and the politics of that production.
Having watched Barak Obama give his speech from Denver, I also wanted to watch the speeches by Sarah Palin and John McCain. Though I won't vote for them, come hell or high water, I had to see what they were about. The Republican speeches were interesting from a rhetorical perspective if nothing else.
I watched the Obama acceptance speech last night with a keen eye to one of the things I teach in my composition classes, or at least have taught, for the last few years: the concept of candidate mythology. I was particularly interested in this and came away with two impressions. Obama's acceptance speech seemed to focus on two primary mythologies: savior and man of the people. Keep in mind, as I tell students whenever we discuss mythology, that whether a myth is true or false is irrelevant. Mythologies are pretty much the same as ethos, or persona. It's the person we think the person is.
I turned in my summer school grades after what would look like an easy schedule but in fact was anything but. I had a hard time getting my head into the summer class. I just didn't want to work. Most everyday was a struggle and a chore to open my email and visit the class site. It's not because of the students or anything in that vein. I just didn't want to to work. my brain needs time to think about other things than essay format, warrants, thesis statements and the like.