THE WEEKLY BLAB
Volume 8, Issue 34 – June 16, 2014
It’s Been A While…
It’s been a while since the last BLAB, and I can only point to endless packing as an excuse. My office is pretty much emptied out (with one heavy box yet to drag home), and most of my stuff in the house is now packed up. I’m using predominantly U-Haul small boxes, which are about 1x1x1.5’ in size—they’re perfect for records, CD’s, books, and lots of other stuff. It’s amazing how many boxes it takes to hold everything. I thought it would take a lot of boxes to hold the CD’s (and it does), but it wasn’t as many as I thought since you can fit a lot of CD’s in a box. It’s the books that take up lots of space, especially the National Geographic hardcovers and the various books about comics I’ve accumulated over the years.
We’ve dropped about 50 bags of clothing and toys at Hope House (one of Jill’s favorite charities), and there will probably be at least 25 more before we’re done. I’ve given a bunch of stuff away at SPSU to the first person responding to random emails, and there will probably be a bit more yet to come. Boxes are everywhere in the house, though with so much now packed, it’s amazing how big the house turns out to be.
I’ll be going up to Canton in a little more than a week. The drive takes two days, with an overnight stop in Virginia and another in Syracuse to see my parents. I still don’t have a house up in Canton, but that’s OK, since I have two choices of places to stay there, as well as the family homestead in Syracuse. I’ll try to finalize a house when I get there. Jill and Mark are staying in Marietta until I get settled in, with the plan being for them to join me in about six months.
I officially start my new life as President of SUNY-Canton on July 1, though I’m planning on going in a few days early just to get set. I’ve gotten a lot of letters and emails welcoming me to Canton, so I’m sure settling in will go well.
I’ve said this several times before, but people keep asking, so—Yes, I will continue writing the BLAB, with this being the last issue of Volume 8. Volume 9 will start when I get there, telling the tale of my trip and no doubt other fascinating things. SPSU friends who want to be competitive for the weekly trivia quiz should sign up to follow the blog, since I won’t be sending announcements to the “academic affairs” list any longer. Of course, you can always find it at zszafranblog.wordpress.com.
By now, most people know who the new interim leadership at SPSU is going to be. Ron Koger (former VP for student and enrollment services) is the interim president. Richard Cole will be the interim VPAA, while staying as Dean of Architecture and Construction Management. Karl Staber will become interim Vice President for Student and Enrollment Services, and Jim Herbert will be interim CIO. Julie Newell will be the interim Dean of Arts & Sciences, while Becky Rutherfoord will be the interim Dean of Computing and Software Engineering. There will be new interim chairs in ETCMA, Math, SIS, Computer Science, and Information Technology too, but I’m not sure they’ve all been finalized, so I’ll hold off on announcing them.
The coming year will be very challenging, between the normal academic issues, the consolidation, dealing with SACS, and an ABET visit for the ET programs. Ron, Rich, Karl, Jim, Julie, and Becky are all eminently qualified to lead these efforts, and I’m confident that they will do a great job.
Last Tuesday at 3:00 PM, we had a very nice party to give our best wishes to Dean Tom Nelson (Arts & Sciences) and to Dean Han Reichgelt (Computing and Software Engineering) who are leaving SPSU for their new positions as Dean of Arts and Sciences at Metropolitan State University (Minneapolis, MN) and as Regional Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs at the University of South Florida—St. Petersburg, respectively. Special thanks to Debbie Patrick, who did most of the work of arranging for the venue and ordering the food. The party drew more than 100 guests, quite a good turnout for this time of year with so many folks away on vacation or at conferences. We had our usual “roast” of the honorees, with several folks coming forward to speak. I decided that our departing deans also needed appropriate parting gifts, so Tom got a heavy hooded SPSU sweatshirt for those cold Minnesota days, and Han got an SPSU T-shirt and visor cap as he basks in the tropical sunshine and tries to avoid the hurricanes. After the party broke up at 5:00, we still had some energy left, so it was off to Rocco’s with the Deans Council to down a couple of cold ones.
On Wednesday, I went to my last Rotary meeting, taking Rich Cole with me as a guest. I was asked to say a few words, so I told the membership about my new position and upcoming move, and got a nice round of applause and lots of good wishes. When I get up there, I’d like to join the Canton club (if they’ll have me!), which its website tells me meets for lunch at 12:15 every Monday at the Best Western University Inn. The Canton club was founded in 1937 (a bit younger than Marietta) and has some 45 members. It is part of District 7040, made up of clubs in western Quebec, eastern Ontario, and northern New York. I better remember to pack my passport!
Also on Wednesday, a party was held at the Architecture Gallery for me and the people I’d worked most closely with in academic affairs. Special thanks to Russ Hunt, Nikki Palamiotis, and Debbie Patrick for organizing the festivities. Jill and Mark were able to come, and Mark had an especially fun time flirting with all the women there! I got some very nice gifts—a framed drawing of SPSU’s campus, and a very warm fur hat for those cold New York winters. I’ll post a picture in the BLAB the first time I wear it.
Khalid Siddiqi also kindly gave me what he termed a “survival kit”—a bag of Indian seasoning packages and instructions on how to make some of my favorite Indian dishes. Khalid had heard from me that there isn’t an Indian restaurant in Canton, so he wanted me to be well-prepared. I’ll let everyone know how my Indian cooking turns out! Several other people have given me thoughtful going away gifts, so I’d like to take this opportunity to say thanks to all for their kindness.
World Cup Mania
In between packing boxes and catching up with back episodes of the British TV series “Sherlock” (on Netflix—check it out if you haven’t already—it’s great!), I’ve been watching several matches in this year’s World Cup. Unlike the World Series, the World Cup actually does involve the whole world, with nations from each continent (except Antarctica) comprising the final 32 slots. The Cup is being held in Brazil, which makes it convenient to watch the games live, since Brazil is on more or less the same time zones as we are in the USA.
The first set of matches is called the “group stage”, with the 32 countries competing in eight groups of four (A-H) playing a round-robin of three games each. The top two countries in terms of points (3 for a win, 1 for a draw, highest goal differential if there’s a tie) from each group move on to the “knockout stage”, which is single elimination until only the winner remains. The Cup began on Thursday, with Brazil coming back to win its first game 3-1 against Croatia. Three games were held on Friday, with Mexico beating Cameroon 1-0, Chile defeating Australia 3-1, and in a huge upset, Netherlands trouncing Spain 5-1. Han must be in 7th heaven. Spain had been one of the favorites to win the World Cup, so this was quite a shocker.
I watched the England-Italy game on Saturday, with Italy winning 2-1 and England sadly underperforming as usual. It was a pretty good game, though a bit conservatively played. England had several opportunities to tie things up in the second half, but couldn’t convert. One unusually bad play was a corner kick by Wayne Rooney (from hated Manchester United) that missed the field entirely, going into the stands behind the goal.
Later on Saturday, I watched the Ivory Coast Elephants (the team I’m rooting for) defeat Japan 2-1. Japan took a 1-0 lead in the first half with a terrific goal by Honda in the 16th minute. In the second half, things looked bleak until the great Didier Drogba was substituted in at the 62nd minute. This stretched out Japan’s defense (since you never know quite what Drogba might do) and inspired and set up the Elephants to promptly score twice, in the 64th (by Wilfried) and 66th (by Gervinho) minutes. If Ivory Coast continues to do well, it will be the first time it makes it to the knockout round. In other action, France defeated Honduras 3-0, Costa Rica shocked Uruguay with a 3-1 win, and Colombia wiped out Greece 3-0.
Sunday, I watched a surprisingly close game between Argentina (another major contender for the Cup) and Cinderella team Bosnia-Herzegovina. The game started badly for Bosnia, with an own goal in the 3rd minute by Kolasinac. Bosnia hung tough, though, and the half ended 1-0 Argentina. In the second half, Argentinian soccer great Messi scored in the 65th minute making it 2-0, but Bosnia got one back in the 85th minute on a pretty intricate play. Unfortunately, that’s all Bosnia could manage, making the final score 2-1. Without the own goal, it would have been a tie, so there are some worried folks in Argentina tonight.
The US plays its first game on Monday night against Ghana in a tough group also containing Germany and Portugal. Unless there’s a big upset, the US doesn’t have much of a chance to advance to the knockout round—Germany and Portugal are both powerhouses. You never know though, as the Spanish team can testify.
Last Week’s Trivia Contest
Last week’s contest had questions all involving the word “party”. Our winner was Jonathan Lartigue. Others getting all five right included Rich Halstead-Nussloch, Bob Brown, Jeanne Bohannon, Tom Nelson, Jamie Garrett, and from SUNY-Canton, Teresa Clemmo. Here are the correct answers:
- 1773 event featuring colonists dressed as Native Americans. Boston Tea Party.
- In the UK, the major ones are Labor, the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats. Political Parties.
- Someone who spoils the festivities. Party Pooper.
- Main catchphrase on Wayne’s World. “Party Time—Excellent” or “Party On”.
- 1963 movie starring Annette and Frankie. I have an autographed poster of it in my office. Beach Party.
This Week’s Trivia Challenge
This is the final BLAB quiz written at SPSU, so all answers feature the word “last”. 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!
- Final meal between Jesus and his Apostles.
- A procrastinator always waits until this.
- 1972 X-rated movie starring Marlon Brando.
- Debut single by the Monkees in 1966, it reached #1 on November 5 of that year.
- 1826 historical novel by James Fenimore Cooper.