How much paper DOES each Senator use?

The Senate’s secret handbook of procedures revealed!

And “each Senator receives annual paper allowances for blank paper, letterhead paper and envelopes” based on population with a formula of “one and one-third sheets of blank paper per adult constituent.” Thus the Illinois senators each receive 11,605,333 sheets of blank paper; the West Virginia senators receive only 1,874,667.

via Instapundit.

Campus Open House

It’s all hands on deck this year for open houses.

After the story about a rape at HWS was on the front page of a Sunday edition of the New York Times this summer, we lived in anticipation of a global-warming melt of admitted students. But no! The theory out of Admissions is that they were already committed enough to come anyway.

Here’s the problem. Campus visits are down something like 25% so far this year. Usually a very high proportion of those who visit campus eventually apply. What no one knows (because colleges don’t disclose this sort of thing) is whether it’s JUST US or whether other colleges and universities with similar cases are having recruiting trouble. There are something like 75 now with public investigations by the Office of Civil Rights – from Yale, Amherst, Swarthmore, on down. We also wonder why WE got the NYT front page story, when plenty of other campuses are under investigation for more than one complaint – we have only one complaint, horrific though it is.

Whatever the case, I was on campus today giving tours of the art facilities to prospectives and their families.

Click here for a page from the campus website – which is clearly linked from the splash page – talk about disclosure! The organization is a bit messy – the NYT story is at the bottom.

The annual “omigosh that’s where I left it!”

I’m having that annual “Omigosh, that’s where I left it!” moment. It’s 55 degrees and overcast and I need to run downtown to drop off some dry cleaning and buy some coffee beans. I put on my leather jacket and THERE IT IS! A little box I bought in Rome that I figured I’d left in Rome, since it wasn’t in any of my suitcases.

Lots of fun!

I don’t think I had seen my brother-in-law without one or more of the children since child number one (and godson) was born. My sister came up here with him and spent a couple of nights, mainly to spend Saturday winerying with some of his old friends (he’s from Syracuse, and B.A. at U of Rochester). It was lots of fun to see them this way!

Long first day

My MWF class this semester met from 9:05-10:00. Good group! Too many…let’s hope I was scary enough. Then I had to hang around until 5 for Convocation. Honestly, the speeches were more pedestrian than usual. The keynote was mildly inspiring, but he certainly didn’t say anything everyone who reads news doesn’t know about HIV/AIDS.

Where are all those polls of historians about presidential rankings?

Remember what an world-class awful president George W. Bush was? American historians and political scientists eagerly published polls that proved he ranks with Millard Fillmore and James Buchanan.

Somehow, I haven’t seen any recent rankings of Obama.  Cowards.

There are going to be some very interesting actual histories written of the first decades of the 21st century, but it will take a long while for honesty to set in.

The First Year students get here tomorrow –

. . . and as per usual, I’m more worried about their parents than about them. The little lambkins will be shell-shocked and ready for a nap by the time I see them at 2:45 p.m. In fact, I always think I might just as productively play soft music and let them snooze for an hour as try to talk to them about their college careers on the first day they arrive.

One week and counting…

The First Year Students get here Friday, but classes start a week from today. Syllabus time for almost everyone. Some of the architecture students who are back (I guess folks who are TAs or assistants) were cleaning out last year’s models. Construction was going ahead noisily for the Performing Arts Center on Pulteney – and I’m afraid Pulteney is going to be an awful mess all weekend.

I did a good bit of laundry this afternoon to try to get ahead of the curve!

New Faculty Orientation

I attended a reception yesterday evening for new faculty members and their families. For a good number, this will be their first year of a tenure track job. For the rest, it’s the start of a year of the temporary appointment system (I think all these folks were full time). At least at an event like this we make no distinction, but it’s just under the surface.

Of course I started here at these Colleges on a one year contract, which transmogrified into a 2 year contract by November (they had already figured out that I wasn’t an axe murderer). I didn’t get on the tenure track until year 5, and came up for tenure in year 8. In other words, I’m an unrealistic optimist about my own career, like many people who start Ph.d. programs. More depressing to think about than how closely we’ll stick to these syllabi this semester!

One down, two to go.

Syllabi, that is. I have European Studies 101 laid out – just need to add a new type of quiz and fiddle with the percentages.

further: Religious holidays! I forgot religious holidays. Our chaplain emails a list. I don’t think I’ve ever had a Jain student, but I know there has been a Sikh student (no classes from me). Zoroastrians? Not sure. Once again, she left John Henry Hobart’s day, September 12 in the Episcopal Calendar, off the list.

It’s a fallacy, but it’s one to which I fervently subscribe

I will do better work in a prettier library / better tricked-out study.

Not usually. But I live this way.

I got home from Rome to find my back bedroom/study a big ol’ mess. At least since mid-November I’d been stacking stuff everywhere and the desk and guest bed were entirely invisible.  I dumped a few more things and left it.

For the last 10 days or so I have been working to restore it to usefulness. I’ve shelved and re-shelved books. I’ve recycled a bunch of paper. I hung things in the appropriate seasonal closet.

I had already ordered my new laptop. The black MacBook I took to Germany in 2009 with the cracked LCD screen has been running the external monitor and speakers since that summer – and it was time to replace it with my retired 3 year old MacBook Pro (in between was a MacBook Pro I passed on to my mother as soon as I was eligible for another interest free computer loan on campus).

So I hook up the MacBook Pro to the monitor – and the monitor is dead. As in doornail. Well, it’s at least 10 years old itself, so I bought a remarkably inexpensive replacement (less than $100 at Staples). Then it turned out I didn’t have the right dongle! Well, I went to the office and dug through my electronica there and found a likely candidate – which worked!

So I replugged everything, sat down, and tried to configure the Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. The mouse paired up immediately. The keyboard was recalcitrant. I decided to change the batteries – only to find that they were corroded in place in the oh-so elegant battery-compartment cum keyboard angle-stand.

So, I had to order a new bluetooth keyboard. I’m ashamed of myself, but for once I paid for Amazon next-day delivery.

And here I am typing at my newly restored desk set-up. I’ll straighten more later. I promise I’ll do better work on a sharper screen and with a new keyboard!