Memorial Day in Upstate New York

If you go to the Flickr icon in the right column and click you’ll see 7 pictures from today’s Memorial Day parade – it was colorful and nice, as usual (so far as I can tell the free version of flickr restricts me to 3 photosets, so I’m not going to create one especially for this – it’s under “Geneva”).
My upstairs neighbor usually gives a brunch on the 3rd floor balcony of our building (right over the speakers’ platform) for the ceremony, but she’s ill and staying with family. I wandered around at ground level and took some photos.
The fountain in Pulteney Park gets filled just in time for Memorial Day – and gosh was it lovely! The planting in front of the fountain forms an American flag – or will when the blue and white flowers start blooming!

Lake Trout Capital of the World

Yes, I live in Geneva, NY, Lake Trout Capital of the World and home of the annual Lake Trout Derby.
Seneca Lake is very misty this morning, but I could still see boats scattered all over the northern end at about 8 a.m. Very scenic! Here’s an interesting story, a couple of years old, about the things biologists and limnologists and ecologists in general (like the folks at our Colleges’ Finger Lakes Institute) learn from the annual fish take – and from the historical record.

With the arrival of the zebra mussel, the ecology of the lake has been changed. Smelt, for example, which only a few years ago were a major part of the forage base and a significant spring sport fishery for anglers who dip netted the tasty critters in the local streams, are all but extinct.
The competition for plankton was too great from the exotic mussel for the smelt to survive.
There has been a steady decline in the average size of the trout and salmon as the forage base was stressed.
There has also been an increase in the natural reproduction of lake trout in Seneca Lake.
The deep-water colonies of zebra mussels have made ideal spawning grounds for lake trout.

University Building

Here are two very interesting, very different articles from the New York Times Magazine about universities and construction projects – Columbia and the University of Virginia.
Columbia is dealing (rather poorly, the article suggests) with its neighborhood and a very difficult past as it tries to expand. Columbia ends up sounding much more like a real estate developer flacked by prominent architects promising urban renewal through Modern Architecture (my capitals) than like a university with space problems. I’m not convinced, and the neighborhood isn’t, either.
The University of Virginia is facing an impossible question – imitate Jefferson, or the Spirit of Jefferson. That is to say, classcism or innovation? It doesn’t help that the University is stuck in a marketing problem, too – but not with its neighborhood so much as with the alumni who have to agree to pay for the building. The article quotes the Dean of the School of Architecture: “We all love the Lawn here,” she said. “We just love it in different ways.” That sums up the balancing act pretty well.
On Columbia’s expansion project into West Harlem.
On UVa’s ongoing attempt to decide what style to build new campus buildings.

Friday Evening Weather

Oh western wind, when wilt thou blow
that the small rain down can rain.
Christ, that my love were in my arms,
and I in my bed again!

But then, on my return through the small rain from untenured faculty happy hour (attended by 3 out of some 30 eligible invitees), I find Shaun of the Dead** in my mailbox. All is not rain and darkness. Or maybe so, but in a funny way! Cricket bat as tool of salvation!

*And I got to recite the poem to a professor who specializes in Greek lyric who evidently had never heard it before – this poem which rivals: “They told me, Heraclitus, they told me your were dead…” for sheer lyric loveliness and loss.

**Netflixed on Big Arm Woman’s recommendation.

Things I’ve bought lately

I’m still incapable of typing clever thoughts for you, but here’s a list:
John Hiatt, Master of Disaster. I was motivated by looking for a deeply politically incorrect song of my youth and heard the recentest stuff.
new mugs
a woodcut from the student art show – maybe I’ll photograph it for you later.
and a Christmas present I’d better not link to – the intended recipient reads the blog and need not know that I’m gonna read it myself, first.

Let me hasten to assure you that while linking constitutes endorsement (everyone should follow my lead and the world would be a happier, more harmonious place) it does not constitute a commercial endorsement – no amount of clickage puts anything in my pocket other than the vague satisfaction that by providing a lead I may be making the world a better place.

Upstate NY Weather

Crazy weather day! (I know I’m blogging a lot about the weather, but hey – it’s something to do.) The wind is so strong that I’ve had to close down the storms – some of the casement windows blew open twice and I gave up. And brrrrrrr it’s chilly! I guess you’d say it’s a shower – not a rain – but the wind is so strong that the drops are scattered really widely. It even looks like snow!
This morning I saw one of the most beautiful effects of life walking by Seneca Lake* — the sky was very dark to the east (the far side from my point of view) and very blue to the west. The far shore was lit up VERY brightly and contrasted very strongly with the sky above it. Beautiful! By the time I decided to go home and get my camera the sky to the east began to break up, but at least I got to see the light that way.
This is the right point of view, but not the right light at all!
*Link to a flickr stream from a former Genevan.

Ah, Summer

This is the first day I don’t have a meeting, an appointment to give a make-up exam, grading, a funeral to attend, or some other term-like task. So do I sleep late? No – the twittering birds wake me at 6.18. Oh, well, that’s summer, too – sleeping with the windows open.
To work!

May in Upstate NY

Again, showers all day and grey skies which break in the evening to leave a perfectly lovely time for balcony sitting. The balcony faces due east (towards Seneca Lake), which is a tad chilly in weather like this. Later in the ‘summer’ this orientation is sometimes a blessing in the evening. Not quite yet – but it was pretty.

Oh my!

Sorry to have left my garden uncultivated! I’ve been busy beyond even my usual busyness for early May – 4 days at Kalamazoo isn’t exactly a mistake, but it does make it difficult to finish strongly!
Oh, well, I’m back on track. This was the first weekday of summer and I did work! Yay!
Graduation was dry! Yay! Not beautiful, but not what was predicted.
I’m headed upstairs to the balcony grill a little steak and local asparagus (it’s turned out to be too nice an evening to stay inside) and read William Diebold’s Word and Image again. I’m going to try to use it in my Art 270 next spring (early medieval, more or less) and I really ought to reread it. Pricey for such a slim volume, but it is good. He deals clearly with lots of the issues that I wish most for students to learn. He strudctures the book around Gregory the Great’s defense of images and its partial success in the West – and its failures. He ends with a really well-done exploration of a single object – the reliquary-statue of Ste. Foy of Conques. Here’s the later church dedicated to her.
You know, the pretorn, prewashed salad may be one of the great innovations of recent years. I am eating much more salad because of it.

Kalamazoo Aftermath

Well, I met a lot of damn medievalists, and got to see a particular damned medievalist for the first time in a decade! The blogging-medievalists-on-blogging panel went well – I’ll dig up the list and link everyone in a minute when I’m less tired!
Here we go – Weblogs and the Academy: Internet Presence and Professional Discourse among Medievalists (A Roundtable)
Elisabeth Carnell, Western Michigan University, Elisabeth Carnell
Michael Drout, Wheaton College, Wormtalk and Slugspeak
Scott Nokes, Troy University, Unlocked Wordhoard
Lisa Spangenberg, UCLA, Digital Medievalist
Alison Tara Walker, UCLA, Moderator of the Live Journal Medieval Studies community
and yours truly, the Cranky Professor
Our interrogator was Shana Worthen, University of Toronto, who maintains a list of medievalists with weblogs
Most of the folks in the room already blog – a few wouldn’t tell us who they were, a few would, and I got to meet Prof. Anne Brannen of Creating Text(iles)! Such fun!