Sunday, October 27, 2013

The "Wisdom" hashtag

Quite some time back, maybe when I first en-'twittered, I got into the habit of using hashtag sparingly and specifically, and seldom/never the hashtags that were "trending" ("yes, please, let me tag along on the daisy chain of lemming-like shiny media objects!"). More often, I used them a little more like keywords or tags--that is, as ways of identifying particular items as addressing one or another topic I knew I'd revisit and which I inferred others might possibly treat similarly. The first of that series, I think, was the #NuminousMoment hashtag--just a way for me to record and remind myself of certain mindfulness realizations, as or nearly when they occurred. A lot of time they are realizations about the natural world, weather, animals, and other close-to-the-senses moments--the sort of things that can be the kernel of poems.

But the "#<>Wisdom" hashtag is a little different. In my life, as I suspect in those of many others, certain professions--certain jobs--have taught me certain skills and provided certain insights: maybe even "rules for living." So #CarpentersWisdom, #ProfessorsWisdom, #BandleadersWisdom, #ITMWisdom ("Irish Traditional Music Wisdom"), #CooksWisdom are insights that come out of my having held those jobs: e.g., "Pay Attention" might be good practical safety advice under the heading of #CarpentersWisdom or #CooksWisdom, but it's probably also sound, if more metaphorical, when you're dealing with the moment-by-moment improvisation of the bandstand or the classroom.

At the same time, the "#<>Wisdom" hashtags do not only connote "here's the magisterial advice upon which, from my position of vastly greater and meaningful life experience, I will pontificate" (though sometimes such vanity slips through). It connotes, at least as commonly, the self-directed advice "hey, dummy, remember when you learned through painful error not to take your eye off the Skil-Saw blade? You wanna remember that accident the next time you find your attention slipping, please?"

In other words, the #<>Wisdom hashtags can connote: "here's something I learned in the trades, and which either you or I might do well to remember." But it can also connote "hey, dummy, your profession is particularly prone to this or that stupid unnecessary error" (more commonly that's the "Professors" or "Bandleaders" tag) "and maybe you oughta avoid it, huh?"

So if, in my social media stream, you see a #<>Wisdom hashtag, you can figure that it means either "hey, here's something I learned sometime that's worth remembering," e.g., "Professor's Wisdom" for others, but equally likely "here's something you yourself, Coyote, ought to know well enough to remember."

It's a not-bad way to cultivate a record of some minimal degree of mindfulness. As much as one can.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

They shoulda listened to Orville Faubus from beyond the grave

If anybody in GOP leadership had any historical memory whatsoever, they coulda predicted what would happen when they legitimized fanaticism in service of their own greed: "Tactics being discussed among Republican strategists, donors, and party leaders include running attack ads against tea party candidates for Congress; overthrowing Ron Paul's libertarian acolytes dominating the Iowa and Minnesota state parties; promoting open primaries over nominating conventions, like the ones that produced Republican hardliners like Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli and shutdown-instigator Mike Lee of Utah; and countering political juggernauts Heritage Action, the Club for Growth, and FreedomWorks that target Republican incumbents who have consorted with Democrats."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

"Graduate Program Review for Faculty"

Don't ask me survey questions like this on a Thursday evening after a hard week and a glass of wine unless you want an honest answer (and I suspect you don't):

"What changes, if any, could be made to improve the quality of your graduate program(s)?"

Graduate stipends within my Unit (as set by the University) are scandalously low. Too few graduate TA lines are available. Too little financial support (especially TA positions) is afforded graduate students. Improvement in this area is essential. 

More money for outreach. More money for national & international visibility. More money for graduate student research and conference travel. We produce a phenomenally high-value product with a shockingly low level of financial support from the university as a whole.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Le mont real

Monday, October 07, 2013

Autumn Equinox, edge of the continent

Edge of the continent, after the gale blew through. Gulf Coast, just after the Autumn Equinox.