Gradeapalooza Interruptus

In my previous incarnation as a magazine journalist, I spent a lot of time writing about environmental graphics (or as some call them, “signs”) and interior design in a variety of environments, from retailers to museums and various other venues. Consequently, I had to learn a little about architecture, spatial design, and other similar stuff. I only got one full-on opportunity to write about architecture during that part of my career — an article I wrote for the Toronto Globe and Mail about a hip downtown restaurant (now sadly departed). Although I learned a lot about writing during that part of my life, and I’m glad I had the experience before I returned to grad school, I don’t miss it.

Even so, I still occasionally check out writing about architecture, design, and the like. Some pieces are more fun than others, and there’s always the pleasure of reading a well done hatchet job. Case in point, courtesy of Dr. Dalrymple, who also has some comments on the role of a critic:

Not only does Kimmelman make the building sound like new, but unpleasant, cancer therapy, he also forgets that public executions were also “a populist [or is it popular?] hangout,” and probably would be still if carried out.

With architectural critics like this, no wonder celebrity architects get away with it.


Speaking of design, I have a crush on a line of drums Gretsch produced a couple of years back, a series they called the Renown 57. They were priced at pro levels, and I have no idea how they sound, but I’d just about be willing to have a kit just for how cool I think they look.


And the coolest part? They came with a matching throne:

renown 57 blue

Truly cool.


And for Saturday’s music selection, I’m going to add a personal reflection. During my doctoral program, I was very fortunate to have professors I actually liked all the way through. One of my favorites, however, was Dr. Frances Mayhew Rippy, who introduced me to Johnson, and who encouraged me throughout the process of chasing the degree. She was one of the last scholars of her generation, and she concluded her 42-year run at Ball State while I was there. She died at the end of my first semester at Mondoville, but I was fortunate enough to have called her a month or two before her death to let her know I was doing okay, and that I appreciated what she had done.

Her children, meanwhile, have done well for themselves, and one of her sons is an entertainment attorney. As it happens, she mentioned in class one afternoon that her son represented the estate of a musician who had drowned in the Mississippi river. Because I’m a music geek, I picked up on that and asked after class if she had been referring to the amazing Jeff Buckley. She was, and mentioned that her son also represented the estate of Jeff’s equally gifted father, Tim. I don’t know if she listened to either of them, but I do know that at her retirement lecture, she wore a corsage sent by Tim’s widow, Jeff’s mother.

As I said, both the Buckleys were astoundingly talented musicians (although rather different in their music.) Because of my 60s-flavored musical tastes, I hear Tim’s work fairly often, and when I do, I always think of one of my favorite teachers. So this one’s for you, Dr. Rippy, and for all of us. From 1966, here’s Tim Buckley.

Back to my grading.

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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