Personal Dispatch in the Time of COVID-19 II

I have left my apartment exactly once in the past week, just long enough to drop some recycling in the bin outside of my apartment complex. Our apartment doors open straight to the outside, so we don’t have any closed shared spaces here, and apart from the one student who was coming down some stairs as I dropped my recycling off, I haven’t seen another human being this past week. This wouldn’t be so ordinary for what became a Spring Break week for me when…

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The P-Wave

If you’ve never seen videos of Japan’s earthquake warning system on their television stations, I highly recommend it. Although the warning comes just seconds before the worst tremors hit, those few seconds are often long enough for most people to get to a secure location, to say nothing of assist with the stopping of surgeries and the like. These systems work because earthquakes are preceded by an initial, smaller tremor — caused by what is called the P-Wave — that moves much more quickly than…

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Quitting Rage

[The following blog contains mentions of bullying and child abuse.] I have a “that’s not funny” reaction to a lot of viral videos and memes, simply because they display deep-rooted problems in our broader culture that need to be addressed seriously. There are certainly boatloads of funny videos out there on the Internet, but a lot of the stuff people laugh at on YouTube is of people with deep psychological issues. Not only do I find it cruel for people to laugh at those kinds…

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Giant

James Lipton, ‘Inside the Actors Studio’ Host, Dies at 93 (Daily Variety) I started teaching at around the end of Chappelle’s Show being part of the larger American cultural zeitgeist, so when Dave Chappelle broke his silence after leaving his Comedy Central show by appearing on Inside the Actors Studio, I pretty much had to watch. I’d heard of Inside the Actors Studio and seen commercials about it, but I hadn’t paid it much attention since I’ve never really been a film person. Something about…

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Certified Gatekeeping

It’s not exactly a secret that a lot of the coffeehouse baristas and restaurant waitstaff you may run into during the course of an average day are people, like me, with graduate degrees. Many of them went through the unadulterated hell of graduate school, and all the associated trials and tribulations (student loan debt being the most pernicious of all), with the intent of staying at colleges and universities as an educator themselves. (This is probably more common in the humanities, but it happens in…

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