Presidential History

I’m about willing to hear historians speculate on the Gerald Ford legacy or Gerald Ford as a president now – after all, it’s actually a legacy rather than current events once someone is dead. How could one evaluate Jimmy Carter without his most recent publication, for instance? If there’s not some distinction between history and journalism I don’t want any part of the former.
Though from my point of view most American history is current events, and talk of presidential i.q. and presidential rankings are the intellectual equivalent of squabbling in the departmental mail room. That’s a medievalist for you, though.

Christmas Eve shopping

I don’t know about the other parts of Chattanooga, but out Hixson Pike to Northgate Mall and the environs is not crowded at all – I’m glad not to be a retailer today! I think I would be frustrated.
Someone paid for billboards all over town: Buy your wine and liquor early! Liquor stores closed Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve!.
Useful advice – I shopped early.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Snoops for Cash

Sorry I didn’t have my camera with me, but I saw a great billboard in Red Bank, TN, for a service provided by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation advertising their willingness to sell you a background check for $29.00. Yes, the state agency does it for a fee. Download the form, fax it in, wait for the results and know what’s up. Their webpage asks, “Why Judge a Book by its Cover?”
I did click on the FAQ and find this, which suggests that the TBI isn’t all that thrilled about doing this kind of work either:

Why is there a fee associated with the checks?
The TBI was forced to launch a new unit to process background checks for the general public. A portion of the $29 fee is used to cover salaries and other administrative costs. Any money earned above and beyond that will be used to offset budget cuts sustained by the Bureau over the past two years.

Note that “forced”.
Of course, given the long, narrow shape of Tennessee (Chattanooga’s metro area runs into Georgia and Alabama isn’t far at all, Memphis is next to Mississippi and Arkansas, and Nashville is spitting distance to Kentucky) I wonder how useful a one-state-only background check would be.

The price professors pay for progress

I submitted grades electronically yesterday. This process that saves many steps – I don’t have to go by the Registrar’s office in person, the Registrar’s folks don’t have to key in the grades, students can check their grades online rather than waiting for reports in the mail. The price? The first query came at 5:04 p.m.

Iron law of ladder storage

I’ve had to haul the ladder out of the closet on 4 occasions in December. The trauma of maneuvering a 6 foot ladder past the the partial case of wine, the little Igloo cooler, and the bag-of-shopping-bags has finally motivated some rearranging back there, which is good. And now I have two (2) new light bulbs in the kitchen installed on separate occasions with separate incidents of ladder maneuvering. I also had to remove a battery from a smoke alarm (during a party! The salmon glaze was smoking! I guess we could call it a floor show!) and then put it back the next day. I rehung a pair of prints, too. Oh, well – the closet is a little bit neater.
The iron law of ladder storage dictates that I will now not need to use the ladder until my resolve has weakened and things have piled up in front of it again.

Seeking Christmas gift suggestions for the brass-inclined

O.k. – I’m a little stumped. Can anyone think of a good gift to give a sweet nephew who has recently taken up the trombone? You see, his father’s side of the family is musical, not us. Still, I want to be supportive.
Update – I found a great little wooden box to buy him that holds a polishing kit I found at a music store! Yay! Thanks for the suggestions.

Hard December

Sorry for the slow posting, but this is a fairly bad endgame as semesters go. The only best thing that’s happened to me this month is the airfare for my family trip – it’s only going to run me $240 round trip from Rochester to Chattanooga. I don’t think I’ve ever done that well!
I shouldn’t whine so much – my department had a wonderful and sweet surprise farewell party at my house for a colleague who is leaving us (kinda, sorta, for a year’s leave of absence and then probable final resignation). We managed, despite some email bumbling on my part, to keep it a surprise. That was a good thing and happened this month.
Alright, alright – I’ll go home and light a scented candle or something and grade.

Cold Snap

We got our first real accumulation on Friday night – an inch or so. I am eternally grateful that I live south of the Thruway – we don’t really get Lake Effect. So if you’ve read about Upstate New York this week, it’s really not me suffering.
On the other hand, it was bitterly cold for a night or two. Today is in the mid 30s already and might get higher in the sunshine. Yay!