My New Grill – a Weber Q 200

New Grill.JPG

Originally uploaded by Michael Tinkler.

Out with the old, in with the new – grills, that is. The new cooking utensil is a Weber Q 200 – I’ll try it tonight and tell you what I think.

I like it a lot!
Should have:
1. I should get a slightly taller and broader table. The wrought iron piece under it is sturdy enough, but a little too narrow for my comfort. I may add some sticky rubber foot pads to the grill to be sure it doesn’t move. Not that it did last night, even when I was scrubbing the grill. Which brings me to…
2. I should have conditioned the grill the way I knew I should (though the instructions could have reminded me, Weber-people!). The grill is REALLY heavy cast iron. I preheated for 10 minutes and it was sizzlin’ when I dropped the marinated pork tenderloin on it.
I’m glad:
1. I’m glad the grill is so heavy – see above. My big complaint about the last grill was that putting a lot of cool meat on it knocked down its temperature too fast.
2. I’m really glad I bought the adapter hose for the 20lb propane tank. There can be nothing worse than running out of gas during the process, and those little tanks do that all the time.
3. I’m glad I bought the Q200 – the cooking surface is plenty big to do 4 big steaks or maybe 6 smallish ones. I never cook burgers for a dozen people, so I didn’t need the next size up. The lid is high enough to do a whole chicken or a pork shoulder. The heat controls seem reasonably accurate (in a high, medium, low sense) and the ignition button worked all three times I played with it, which I can’t say for the previous grill. The use-a-match ignition port is a little weird, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it if the spark ignition goes.
4. I’m glad I have a beautiful porch to grill on, even if it’s a little chilly this month to eat out there! There’s another picture in my flickr stream (down and to the right, or click and I think it links) in the set called “Geneva” of the view from the porch. I need to make a set for my neighborhood, but instead I rearranged the set so that the last 3 pictures are of Pulteney Park and my porch.

Paging Professor Soltan!

Professor Soltan might not approve even of this – the annual St. John’s College / Naval Academy croquet match. It sounds like corruption incarnate, though on an intimate scale. $120 mallets? Please!
I will say that the only person listed with a sound mind and a sound body is the “designated temptress” — if she goes to St. John’s she’ no stereotypical cocktail waitress. Not that I haven’t known waitresses smart enough to go to a great books school!

Yay! Ph.d. completion rates at 50%

Here you can read one of the first articles I remember in a newspaper about the dismal rates of completion for Ph.d. programs.

Educators said they used to believe that so many dropped out because they weren’t tough or smart enough to complete the rigorous research and dissertation course required to get a PhD, which, on average, takes six years.
The truth is more complicated, they say.
“If we knew which 50 percent wouldn’t complete their program, we’d be better off, but we don’t,” said Adam F. Falk, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University.
Some students, for example, have family, financial or health issues that make it impossible to stay in a full-time program; some students have doctoral advisers with whom it is difficult — or impossible — to work. Some aren’t a good fit for their program; others decide a master’s degree is enough to get a great job.

It’s not much, but it’s a start.
I’m glad that educators aren’t as condescending as they used to be. Not smart enough? That was never the problem; plenty of not-as-smart-as-everyone-else people finish, but it’s easy for people with a Ph.d. and a tenured or tenure track job to believe in merit – especially their own. After all, the system chose them as the best candidate for a position, right? Right?
I’m only in year 7 and I’ve seen enough job searches from this side of the table now to know that my outsider impression as a job seeker was pretty accurate – the academic job search process is deeply flawed from the get go. Maybe academics aren’t always culpable (or indictable?), but they’re very little room to argue that the process from the start, from the point when a department makes an argument about what field is to be hired for, is equitable or will generate the “best” candidate except by magic.
And how on earth can anyone say that programs take on average of 6 years, you ask? Oh, it’s the scientists. NONE of them get jobs with a fresh degree. American academe (which is far too disorganized to be a conspiracy, but what else can you call it?) can keep the time-to-completion down a little bit by graduating them quickly and then demanding several (or many, if that’s what it takes) years of post-docs.

The Alterante Year Vigil Plan

One of the joys of the two-parish church-Catholic Community model we live with here in Geneva is that the big services like the Easter Vigil alternate from building to building. This year, sadly, is at the violently restored St. Francis de Sales. The exterior is a quiet 1880s brick gothicky-with-a-touch-of-romanesque-revival pennies of the immigrants church. The interior is the worst of the early 90s – lots of pastel wall painting, inclluding the worst Resurrection Jesus on the altar wall that I have ever seen. Really. And I’m a professional – I’ve seen a lot of ’em. Maybe I’ll go down there for confession this afternoon (it is marginally further than St. Stephen’s (the 1910 arts-and-crafts-gothic-english-parish-church parish) and take a picture to post.
I’m able to overcome distracting interiors usually, but St. Francis de Sales is a little much even for me.
Oh, well – happy Easter everyone! I’m trying :)

Putting the Choreography in Islamofascism

I can’t find it anymore, but it was the photo above the fold on yesterday’s New York Times — Iranian men in ‘traditional uniforms’ (if I remember the caption correctly) dancing with containers of nuclear fuel.
I think that’s one of the definitional visual moments in fascist regimes — dancing with weapons as props. Oh – in front of big, painted doves.
But then that’s just me.

Expanding Museums

Oh my – go look at the pictures of the expansion of the Morgan Library by Renzo Piano. It reopens late this month. I’m planning to go with a friend this summer (whether we get a little grant for it or not!).
Piano is one of the architects who makes Modern work, especially (I suppose, because I’ve never been inside anything else he’s done) museums.
While they were closed the Morgan folks got their online research tools into great shape — Corsair has to be one of the best portals to a fixed collection I’ve ever used. Admittedly, Corsair focuses on a field I know reasonably well and a collection I know a little bit about, but the design is clean and effective. Medievalists should give it a try!

Fountain Pen Fraud

I look forward to the commentary at Cronaca on the below the fold front page weekend Wall Street Journal (sorry, I’m a print subscriber, so I can’t read it online myself without additional payment – grr!)

Posted in Art