I wrote my last memo . . .

I wrote my last memo as Chair of the Department of Art and Architecture and dropped it in campus mail today. Hurrah! Then I sent emails to all sorts of people on campus who contact me as chair (you know, the Registrar, the Business Office, Communications, and the Deans of Hobart and of William Smith Colleges) and reminded them that they should be contacting someone else from now on!

Tauroctony and You

The Mithraeum under the Baths of Caracalla will reopen soon – and with a Michelangelo Pistoletto site sculpture involved. Talk about layering Rome!

And guess who will be teaching in Rome Spring of 2014?

By the way, read the whole article. Skylights are ALWAYS a problem. Always. If an architect suggests skylights, fire him. If you’ve always wanted skylights, you’re wrong.

The Diplomat’s Life

Few foreign secretaries have faced more difficulties than those which faced Sir Edward Grey from 1906 to 1914 and few grappled with them more steadfastly.  The first of the various charges from which Grey should be exonerated is that of insufficient concentration, a charge based on the somewhat irritating frequency with which he expressed his preference for bird-watching at Fallodon compared with his duties at the Foreign Office.  The evidence is rather that this was no more than an oblique and wholly creditable method of expressing his sense of the magnitude of his task and of the distatesfulness of the men and the tendencies he had to deal with as Foreign Secretary.  To express, however frequently, a preference for studying the habits of wild birds and ornamental ducks in the midst of a working life devoted to coping with the consequences of policies controlled (if that is the right word) by men as unreliable as William II, Bülow, Kiderlen-Wächter, Aehrenthal, Conrad von Hoetzendorf, Izvolsky and the rest is evidence not of idleness but of an acute and understandable sense of strain.

L.C.B. Seaman, From Vienna to Versailles, London, 1955, p 157.

My course material in the news…

A previously unknown Constantinian basilica has recently been excavated in Sofia, Bulgaria. No meaningful photos at link. If I hadn’t already made and distributed the take-home final I would turn this into a question for Arth 270: Art and Architecture of the First Christian Millennium. Something like:

The deputy mayor would like the discovery of this substantial basilica to mean that Serdica (Roman Sofia, Bulgaria) was in the running with Byzantion to be Constantine’s Nova Roma. Examining our list of the buildings Constantine did build while turning Byzantion into Constantinopolis (and don’t forget the walls!), evaluate this claim.

Oh well, lucky them!

Tis the season . . . for university presidential salary news

Four of the first five stories on my Google News dashboard for “university president” concern salaries:

Report lists Ohio’s highest paid private college presidents

Fallout from Sandusky child sex abuse case carries price tag of $83 million

BU President’s Pay Tops Chart at over $1M

Some private university presidents earn more than $1 million a year

Vanderbilt president keeps top 5 compensation ranking

Read and see.