Monday, June 28, 2010

Youtube vs. the infomercial

So, I've seen the infomerical for the Water Jet a bunch of times and, like I always do with these kinds of commercials, I wondered, "Does that really work?" A quick google search gave me this video. How awesome is that? I love that people are doing things like this.

Maybe my mom is right...

...and academia is turning me into a crazy liberal, because (with the possible exception of the first play), I don't see anything inherently left-wing about these plays. Simply talking about race, the wars, etc. is not partisan. (You'll notice, I hope, that they are being hosted at Shepherd.) Anyway, check out this little blurb at the Corner...

The Corner - National Review Online

(I hardly ever visit the Corner anymore--I just went there today to see what folks were saying about the Byrd vacancy. Imagine my surprise at seeing SU front-and-center on the first post!)

Here's the NPR story...

And yeah, my mom isn't right on this one. Sorry, Mom.

RIP, Senator Byrd

One of the most interesting figures in the Senate has died and I could write (a lot) about his complicated legacy ("Senator Pork," the whole KKK past, his opposition to the Iraq War, real questions about just how long he should have served once his health declined), but what's struck me most today is how many of my WV-based Facebook friends are commenting on his death. And they are sad. ("West Virginia's Angel," "We'll never have a better senator," etc.) Simply put, this guy did a LOT for this state. This campus, for instance, features no less than three buildings bearing his family name. And right outside of town is the NCTC, a beautiful facility he brought here. I mention all of this quite objectively--no commenting on the appropriateness of it. It's just clear to me that this man really mattered to West Virginians, a state that has been so poor and so neglected for its entire history. Again--I'm not endorsing these appropriations or earmarks--just pointing out how much they affected people.

Also, here's a sweet little story I heard from a colleague at Shepherd: our most recent Shepherd Byrd-named building is the Erma Ora Byrd Nursing Building, named after the Senator's wife. who died in 2006. Anyway, Byrd showed up for the 2007 dedication. This colleague says that after the ceremony was over, she saw him sitting in his car, just staring at the building, a bit overcome with emotion. This image of an old, tired man, sitting in his car, missing his wife and proud of the building that bears her name, is a powerful one for me. So RIP, Senator Byrd.

UPDATE: Here's Shepherd's statement on Byrd's death, complete with lots of pictures of his legacy here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

New living room furniture...

It's finally here! And, as you can tell, it passes inspection from the important voices in this household.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Well that was fast...

I submitted final grades for my summer class earlier this afternoon. This summer session really flew by. I had fun with this group of students, too. They were smart, funny, and pretty talkative. Not a bad gig at all. Still, I am grateful for the extra time I'll have...I really need to get my scholarship-doing act together.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Temporary Tomato Disaster!

Sometime soon, I'll post some pictures from my un-freakin' believable vegetable garden. Seriously--it's amazing (but I can't take much credit...more about that later).

But just a short story for now: my tomato plants, which are now taller than me in places, collapsed! They were in cages, but the cages got pulled out of the was like a domino effect. The big one took the other two down with him. So picture me out there, in the 90+ degree heat, sun beating down, desperately trying to get them back up! After lots of twine, several expletives, and some prayers (funny how those last two can go together), things seem to be under control. Fortunately, I could just tie the cages and some of the really big stalks to the fence. There were some casualties--lots of snapped branches, lost teeny-tiny baby tomatoes--but I think, all in all, it could have been much worse.

Ahh, the stresses and joys of gardening!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Five minutes until class... enough time to post two links.

1) Check out this interactive map of where Americans are moving. You could have a lot of fun with this. I checked out, for instance, where most of the people in Guilford County, NC (where I used to live) are coming from. No surprise--lots of movement from the Northeast.

2) As a somewhat intense coupon clipper/bargain hunter, even I was quite impressed with this guy.


Things have been busy (I know, I know, get a new tune, Heidi...) and sad and stressful around here the past couple of weeks. Nothing I can go into any details on, but needless to say, it's been tough. But you know what always makes me feel better--even as it makes me cry? The StoryCorps podcast. Ordinary people telling their stories to each other. It's just wonderful. This morning I actually re-listened to one of them (I've linked to it below) and it was just as good the second time. Check it out. You won't be disappointed. And maybe make a small donation to their fund?

Sharon DeLevie and her mother Joan

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Golden Girls Marathon this weekend...

Time for some serious Golden Girls watching. RIP, Rue.