THE WEEKLY BLAB
Volume 8, Issue 24 – February 17, 2014
It’s unusual enough for Georgia to have one ice/snow storm let alone to have two, but of course that’s just what happened. The truly weird part is just a few days before the second one, it was more than 60°, and just a few days later it hit 60° again. Because the weather report predicted a serious snow, everything shut down on Tuesday, but nothing really happened until 11:00 PM. Freezing rain, followed by snow made the shut-down on Wednesday quite legitimate—the weather was a bit ugly, and the roads were truly slippery. Thursday, we were still shut down, even though it was in the mid-40’s and most of the ice had melted away. Driving was fine, and we hit the grocery store and a few other places, just to get out. Friday, SPSU had a delayed opening at 10:00 AM, so that’s now four classes I have missed. Just before I went in, Jill went out to get the newspaper and managed to find the one little patch of ice still remaining on our driveway. Sure enough, whoop! Down she went, hitting the pavement and scraping her nose. There was a bit of blood but after a few minutes, some cleaning, and an ice-pack, she was laughing about it.
I spent part of the time off and more time on the weekend preparing voice-over-PowerPoint presentations. I’d never used the animation functions before, but it’s pretty straightforward and I’ve got several in the can on the subjects of “Molecular Orbital Theory Basics”, “Predicting Molecular Shapes with MO Theory”, “Ionic Solid Crystal Structures”, “Metal Packing in Crystal Structures”, and “Holes in Crystal Structures”. I have to admit I enjoyed making them—they bring out my creative side, such as it is. I’ll be using them to add some “hybrid” sessions to my Inorganic Chemistry class to make up for the missed meetings.
Even though we were closed, that didn’t stop me being involved in meetings. On Wednesday, I was part of a conference call about an upcoming SACS visit I’m participating in. Anyway, I know several of the other team members, so the visit should be very busy, but also a pleasant chance to catch up. On Thursday, I was part of another conference call, this time to set the agenda for the upcoming RACAA meeting, which is on February 26. Combine that with several emails that needed to be answered and some OWG work as well, and it kept me busy.
Other weekend fun included getting the flooring replaced on all three of our bathrooms at home. The floors had been covered with this wood veneer stuff that the humidity had caused to separate a bit, so every time I went in, I got irritated at the gaps that had developed in the flooring. A few weeks ago, Jill and I went to Home Depot and picked out some tile (a nice Florence Italy pattern), and on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the workman came by to install it. All went well other than having to cut down the bathroom doors a little (since the tile is higher than the previous flooring was), and the result looks great. The price was quite reasonable too, and I’ll gladly be using Home Depot’s services again.
Also on Saturday, SPSU had its first Open House of the Spring. The weather was a bit cold at first, but it didn’t keep anyone away and for the umpteenth time, we had a full house, and the students and parents seemed very appreciative of the program and of the faculty they had met. For those who haven’t seen it, SPSU has one of the best Open House programs around, and lots of people come back wanting to see it again, because it’s a lot of fun. The format is always the same—the program opens with the faculty-staff band doing a few numbers, which then leads into our own version of the David Letterman Show, with Jim Cooper playing Letterman. Guests include President Rossbacher, an alumnus, a current student, and an admission counselor. As usual, I sat in with the band doing the rhythm guitar bit and did the closing philosophical allegory/joke. We’ve been doing this for a long time—so long, in fact, that half of the band has now retired—Barry Birckhead, Dave Cline, Alan Gabrielli, and Steve Hamrick, though they all returned to play the gig. David Stone, our former bass player, has gotten a new job in Pennsylvania, so we had a new member, Justin Grech from UITS.
Cooper posted several pictures on Instagram and Facebook, one of which was of the band. One person commented: “I love Zvi”, obviously displaying some questionable taste. Still, at the ripe old age of 58, it’s good to have a fan. A copy of one of Jim’s pictures is below.
With the snow closings, we only got in one consolidation meeting, this time of OWG #21, Faculty Honors and Awards. As a first meeting, the purpose was meet each other and to lay out a general agenda. Maureen McCarthy from KSU is my co-chair. There are a couple of interesting things that came up. For one, KSU is more generous with their awards than us, and has more of them. There’s a proposal generating some new awards (and increasing the size of several awards) currently being looked at by KSU, with the top award, for University Distinguished Professor, being $20,000. The others are smaller, but still substantial. It didn’t take long for the SPSU folks to say “We agree we should use yours as the model!”
KSU also has a program of faculty leaves, similar to what SPSU does with folks who have gotten a Fulbright or a similar prestigious award, namely coverage of the full salary for one semester, or half salary for the year. Some number of these are available each year, though faculty have to submit a pretty hefty application to be considered for one.
The other interesting topic that came up was about the possibility of establishing awards for part-time faculty. Currently, part-timers aren’t eligible for awards on either campus, and one member of the committee (who is a part-time faculty member) raised the reasonable point that we should consider establishing such an award.
Our next meeting will be in two weeks, assuming we don’t have a late blizzard.
Upcoming Cross-Cultural Events
On Wednesday, February 19 at noon in the Design II Auditorium, the SIS Department is sponsoring an International Forum, Crisis I—Cuba, a talk given by KSU’s Dr. Ernesto Silva.
Then at 6:00 PM on February 20 in the Student Center Ballroom, we’ll be hosting Great Britain Consul General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford as part of our International Issues series. There will also be a reception at 5:30 PM, and you’re invited to come to that too.
Major writer Adrian Miller, the author of “Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time”, will appear at SPSU at 6:00 PM, February 27, in the Student Theatre. His book describes the history, influences, ingredients, and innovations that appear on the soul food plate.
More events are scheduled for March and beyond. A full list can be found at the Cross Cultural Conversations BLOG, here. Please encourage your students to attend these events, and come by yourself.
Last Week’s Trivia Contest
Last week’s contest had questions all had to do with the Beatles, in honor of the 50th anniversary of their coming to America. In fact, this Sunday’s New York Times Crossword was on that subject too (a pretty easy one—I did it in ink with no problems). Our winner and the only person to get all five right was Carl Snook (SIS). Here are the correct answers:
- Popular name for the frenzy that the Beatles caused. Beatlemania.
- Ringo’s real name. Richard Starkey.
- Names of the two “live” movies that the Beatles starred in. “Help” and “A Hard Day’s Night”.
- Last original album from the Beatles. “Let It Be”.
- King Curtis, followed by The Discotheque Dancers, Cannibal and The Headhunters, Brenda Holloway, and Sounds Incorporated. The opening acts for the Beatles in their only Atlanta, GA concert. Things were different then—the Beatles’ entire set only lasted about 30 minutes, a typical length for then.
This Week’s Trivia Challenge
In honor Presidents’ Day, all the questions or answers to today’s trivia challenge have to do with presidents. As usual, the first with the most takes the prize. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO firstname.lastname@example.org, since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!
- Alleged to have chopped down a cherry tree.
- Tallest president, also the first with a beard.
- Only president elected twice, but not in consecutive terms. He was also the last president to never have attended college.
- Youngest man to become president, although he wasn’t the youngest man to run for president and win.
- The only president to have the national debt completely paid off during his term.