The late Sydney J. Harris used to run a Saturday column called “Things I learned on the way to looking up other things.” Those columns were a staple of my boyhood reading the Nashville Banner in the 70s. (The Banner is gone as well, alas, but that’s par for the course these days.) In the spirit of Harris’s columns, here are some cool things I’ve run across lately.
I’ve told the Spawn that I think I may be a member of the final generation of the tenured professoriate. I don’t need to rehearse the figures for this audience — if you follow academia, the continuing adjunctification of teaching (which goes hand in hand with administrative bloat, which in turn can be linked to various governmental/accreditors’ mandates) is nothing new. But if most teachers are now adjuncts, what advice can we offer them? Well, at the National Association of Scholars, David Randall (who knows that of which he speaks) offers some advice.
I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned that part of my younger days was spent listening to what were already nostalgia broadcasts of old radio shows, along with phonograph transcriptions that my dad bought for me. As it happens, there’s actually a radio station in the wide spot in the road that is Rumsey, Alberta, Canada, and it specializes in playing this stuff at 1580 on the AM dial. Fortunately, they offer an online stream as well, so feel free to check out Rumsey Retro Radio and give it a listen.
I posted this on FB yesterday, but I wanted to point out that if you need a stocking stuffer for someone medievally inclined, Jeff Sypeck’s poetic translation of “The Tale of Charlemagne and Ralph the Collier” works nicely. It’s a fine, funny story, and as Sypeck himself has observed, it may be the only literary instance of Charlemagne getting smacked.
Finally, this was stuck in my head this morning, and it makes me smile. Perhaps it will do the same for you. From Australia, here are the Spooky Men’s Chorale, with a Sufistic take on a familiar tune.
Stay alive, everyone!