October 15, 2012

Volume 7, Issue 9—October 15, 2012

BLAB 2.0

This week’s issue of the BLAB moves to level 2.0—it’s now a BLOG and readers are invited to comment about anything here.  Just think—you’ll be able to click that you “like” the issue, or to reply to something yourself—imagine the interactive fun :>)  In some cases, I’ll reply to the comment or answer a question.  In some cases, the comment may be used as a springboard for another BLAB item.  The BLAB’s new address is: https://zszafranblog.wordpress.com/.  Hope all y’all like the new format.

Go West, Young Man

This past Thursday, my father Daniel and my mother Simona came to Marietta on their annual trek westward.  Each year in April, when the weather gets too hot in Las Vegas, my parents drive to Syracuse NY, via Houston (where my sister lives) and Marietta.  In October, when the weather in Syracuse begins to get cold, they reverse the process.  It’s always nice to see them, and though I don’t love the idea of their driving cross-country (since my father is 85 and my mother is 77), they always make it just fine.

When I got home on Thursday night (late, reasons for which see below), they had arrived about an hour earlier and were eating some dinner.  We quickly caught up on what was new in Syracuse (not much), got them settled in, and went to sleep.  Friday night, we turned to our favorite two pastimes—arguing about politics and watching movies.  This was the first time they had seen the new TV, so it was time to watch “The Avengers” in 3D.   So far as I’m aware, this was the first movie they’d ever seen in 3D, and it was fun to see their reaction to some of the effects.  The verdict on the movie was thumbs up from my father (who likes adventure movies) and a big yawn from my mother, who’s more of the romance and comedy type.  To make up for her boredom, I put on a DVD of Dvorak’s 9th Symphony conducted by Claudio Abbado and played by the Berlin Philharmonic, which my mother really enjoyed.

On Saturday morning, the whole family came to the Open House.  Despite the fact that this is my eighth year here, it was the first time that any of them had come to see it.  For those who don’t know, SPSU has the coolest Open House ever, with us putting on our version of the David Letterman show.  The faculty-staff band, Friday at Five, is kind enough to let me sit in and play a little rhythm guitar at the beginning.  Something really nice was that Barry Birckhead, our drummer, made an announcement that my parents were in the audience, and had them stand up to a round of applause.  Jim Cooper (our David Letterman) then did the top 10 list—the top 10 reasons you may not be ready for college—and then interviewed President Rossbacher and three students.  The show closes with me coming out as SPSU’s “resident philosopher”, and telling the story of an SPSU grad who winds up in hell, and winds up transforming the place.  After the show, I asked my wife what she liked best.  She answered: the singer with the band (David Cline) was really good.  Some loyalty!

That evening, my parents and I went to visit Prof. Kamal Fatehi, a friend from Rotary who teaches international business at Kennesaw State.  He had heard that SPSU had a visiting faculty member (Ilyas Ciloglu) from the other Georgia—the one that used to be part of the USSR—and wanted to meet him, because he’s from Turkey and has been to Georgia and that corner of the world several times.  We all had a wonderful dinner prepared by Kemal’s wife Linda, and had a very pleasant conversation about travel, language, Kemal’s kids and his artwork, and lots of other things.  I hope that everyone gets a chance to meet Dr. Ciloglu while he’s with us—he’s a really interesting guy.

Sunday, it was shopping and more movies—this time the old movie “Cheaper By the Dozen” (starring Clifton Webb, Jeanne Crain, and Myrna Loy), followed by another 3D movie.  “Hugo” is a great movie that came out in 2011.  It’s the story of a small boy whose father (who was a craftsman) died in a fire.  He is taken in by his uncle, a drunkard, who lives behind the walls of a train station in Paris and maintains the clocks there.  Hugo’s only legacy from his father is a broken automaton that he is trying to fix, because he believes that the automaton will ultimately give him a message from his father.  The 3D effects are terrific, with lots of gears turning and chases up and down stairs and grand panoramas of Paris.  The movie has an interesting and surprising turn at the end, telling the true story of the earliest days of the movies.  Trust me—it’s a great film, appropriate for the whole family.

Monday night it was another 3D movie—“John Carter”, an excellent though a little updated adaptation of Edgar Rice Borrough’s first Mars epic, A Princess of Mars, written in 1912.  Despite the fact that it’s a science-fiction adventure movie, both my parents liked it.  Next up was a DVD of duets from the old Andy Williams TV show.  When I was a boy, the Andy Williams Show was a “must watch” in our house, since he was my mom’s favorite singer.  Unfortunately, like a number of great older TV shows, the entire series of the Andy Williams Show is not available on DVD—the best thing available is a three-disc set of duets, solo songs, and excerpts from Christmas episodes, so I surprised my mother with that as a gift.  As most of you are probably aware, Andy Williams died a few weeks ago.

My folks headed west on Tuesday morning, and I hope to see them again this December in Las Vegas.

Last Week’s Wrap Up

I want to mention a couple of cool events that happened recently on campus.  In addition to such things as very fast growth and winning statewide competitions, our Business Administration department has been very active in bringing interesting speakers to SPSU lately.

Phillip Hurd, who spoke on October 3, is the Chief Audit Executive at Georgia Tech, and spoke to our accounting students and faculty about the two major P-Card frauds that were caught at Tech, and the types of data analytics that are used to detect them now.  Even with new procedures, they still catch an average of one person a month misusing their P-Cards to steal, buying such things as iPods, wedding announcements, and CD’s.  Unfortunately, the speech was cut short by a fire alarm in the Student Center.

Carol Hunstein, who spoke on October 11, is the Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court.  She has an strong record of accomplishment, both in the courts and as the former chair of the Georgia Commission on Access and Fairness and of the Georgia Commission on Interpreters and the Unauthorized Practice of Law.  In an interesting piece of history, she became the first person to become the Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court before becoming a member of the court!  It turns out that in 1991, while she was the President of the Council of Superior Court Justices, all seven sitting Supreme Court Justices recused themselves on a particular case, and designated superior court judges to hear it.  Justice Hunstein, as the President of the Council, was designated as the acting Chief Justice.  I had the pleasure of introducing Justice Hunstein that evening and hearing her speak on the subject of “Technology and the Law”.  There was an excellent turnout of business law students and faculty, and lots of interesting questions were asked.  The talk was followed by a reception.

I had to leave the reception early, since I had made plans to eat dinner with Dr. Tom Rawski and Jennifer Murawski, both from the University of Pittsburgh, who were here for a joint conference on The Global Economy and Governance, sponsored by Pitt and SPSU and held this past Friday.  Dr. Rawski is a Professor of Economics and History and specialist on the Chinese economy.  Other speakers delivered their talks online from Pitt.  The lineup included Stephen Lund, assistant director of the European Union Center of Excellence and the European Studies Center, who gave “A Basic Introduction to the European Union”; Gemma Marolda, a political scientist whose topic was  “Between Brussels and the Capitals: The Politics of European Governance; Andrew Konitzer, the associate director of the Center of Russian and East European Studies, who spoke on “Russia in the Global Economy: Governance, Risk and Reward in an Energy Rich State”; Carolina Forero, a Colombian economist from Andes University (Bogota), who spoke on “Latin America’s Economy: Growing Strategic Importance”; and Veronica Dristas, assistant director  of Outreach in Pitt’s Global Studies Center, who spoke on “Outreach Resources on Global Studies for Professional and Curriculum Development”.

I had the pleasure of giving a brief welcome and introduction to the conference, which was organized by Raj Sashti on the SPSU side, and Jennifer Murawski on the Pitt side.  The room was packed with more than 60 attendees from a dozen USG universities.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay, since I had to dash downtown for a Shared Services Committee meeting.  The Committee is dealing with a variety of issues related to ADP, part-time faculty working at more than one university, and other equally bureaucratic (but important) things.

Those Wacky Canadians—Gangnam Style

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the latest thing in Canada is for universities to make videos of their students dancing Gangnam style.  There are quite a few of these so far, but the tip of the ol’ Szafran cap goes to McMaster University’s video, which combines lots of students, cheerleaders, and the school mascot doing a pretty good job of imitating the Korean dance craze.  To see a bunch of these things, you can go to YouTube and look up “Gangnam Style Canadian”, or simply click here for McMaster’s version.  Hey Lunk, when can we expect to see the SPSU Hornet doing his version?


Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s trivia contest had to do with the word “long”, but our winner won in a very short time! While no one got them all, Alan Gabrielli got a fabulous four correct, taking only one minute to do so!  He wins the usual jazz CD.  Here are the correct answers:

  1. University of Texas team name.  Longhorns
  2. Winner of the 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, in Desperate Housewives.  Eva Longoria
  3. Criminals are caught because of it.  The Long Arm of the Law
  4. Military retreat undertaken by Mao Tse Tung in 1934.  The Long March
  5. Longest (timewise) Beatles song on an officially released album.  Revolution 9 (on the White Album)


This Week’s Trivia Challenge

This week’s challenge deals with songs on the subject of students.  First with the most takes the prize.  No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO zszafran@spsu.edu, since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!

  1. Alice Cooper song that every student sings in May or June.
  2. In the past, students had to wear them during Freshman year.
  3. Protest movement in the 1960’s, Tom Hayden was its president in 1962.
  4. Song from the musical “Where’s Charlie”, they could have beat Napoleon.
  5. Operetta by Sigmund Romberg, it was the longest running Broadway show of the 1920’s.
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12 Responses to October 15, 2012

  1. Lance says:

    nice upgrade!

  2. Rich Halstead-Nussloch says:

    Hi Zvi,

    Congratulations on moving the Blab to the blogisphere. May you have much success with it!

    Rich H-N

  3. Robert (Bob) Tango says:

    Will archives of past issues still be available on the SPSU website?

    Will future issues?

  4. Robin Daniel says:

    Love the new blog! Do you mind if we add an rss feed from the Blab to our SPSUTeach wiki?

  5. Alan Gabrielli says:

    Was the Dvorak in 3D too?

  6. Jon says:

    Hugo was indeed an amazing movie! Such excellent visuals, and Ben Kingsley – one of my favorite actors – (among others) had a brilliant performance.

  7. Veazie says:

    Hi Zvi,
    I like the new 2.0 Blog version of the Weekly Blab!

  8. rcoleacm says:

    Looks pretty cool. The comment section is nice.

Comments are closed.