Alarmed

The first nine months I lived in this apartment, I had to deal with at least two dozen false fire alarms. The first of these came before I even began teaching in Wisconsin, waking me up in the middle of the night and instantly plunging me into fear that taking the job offer here would wind up being one of the biggest mistakes of my life. By the time that autumn was over, even the loudness and shrillness of this building’s alarms had become blasé…

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White Skies

Fire and Smoke Map (airnow.gov) I didn’t require my students in my online classes last year to turn their video cameras on, not only because I don’t have a webcam (I left my old one behind in Colorado) and didn’t want to force students to do something I wasn’t doing myself, but because I’m a firm believer in students’ rights to privacy, especially in their own homes. Some of my students may have just logged into Zoom and gone off to another room to play…

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Dried Out

The West’s historic drought in 3 maps (cnn.com) One of the local news stories from this past spring that didn’t register on my radar as strongly as it should have was a prolonged fire advisory here due to lack of rain. There was actually flooding going on around here when I first came to Wisconsin nearly three years ago — so much so that the route I should have taken here from Madison was cut off, and I was forced to take a detour far…

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Like an Unplugged Cable

I’m pretty sure that I’ve already spent more time on campus after the end of this past spring semester than I spent during the semester itself. All of my spring classes were online, so it wasn’t like there was much work I needed to do on campus in those months, and it’s just generally easier for me to take care of non-urgent business there when it’s 75 degrees Fahrenheit outside than when it’s 25 degrees (or, as is usually the case here during the winter…

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Neither Free Nor Brave

Independence Day and the Loss of America’s Democratic Public Schools (nancybailey.com)Canada Day muted as country reckons with treatment of indigenous, other minorities (Reuters via news.yahoo.com) One of the reasons Mom kept using her VCR through her final years was so she could keep watching her recordings of the Independence Day shows put on by PBS and A&E every year. She didn’t care much for the holiday itself, but she always loved the music, especially the orchestral pieces that played during the show-ending fireworks displays. Even…

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