From Short-Circuit Signs: [I]t is hard not to notice how often standardized tests come up as examples of good, or at least acceptable, assessment – ironic because faculty are exhorted to take this stuff seriously on the grounds that doing otherwise will mean federally mandated testing. Sounds like a Foucauldian nightmare/farce, right? It gets worse … More Precisely

Work Ethics

§ I am not one of those people who “loves” teaching or who became a professor so as to teach. As I always say, had it been my desire to teach, I could have stayed at home or chosen a place I wanted to live. Yet I experience a flash of longing when the zydeco … More Work Ethics

Elizabeth David

Elizabeth David could really cook. I am not an accomplished cook, but sometimes I think I channel her. Here is something you can do with pork chops, thick ones without bones. Rub them with salt and pepper, strew them with fresh chopped herbs, and douse with a small amount olive oil and fresh lime or … More Elizabeth David

On Authenticity

A friend informs me that I am in utter rebellion against superficiality. It is interesting that she puts it that way; I would have only said I did not like superficiality. But it appears I am in utter rebellion against it. Reeducation said I was unfeeling but, I now discern, only meant I was not … More On Authenticity

Little Chenier

Out of patriotism and in the spirit of my resolution to see more movies, I have been to Little Chenier. I found it melodramatic and stereotype driven, and the accents are very poorly done. Then again, it is apparently very hard to represent southern Louisiana without resorting to exoticist trope. I did like the beautiful … More Little Chenier

In Class

One winter I was a visiting professor in the Midwest, where the snow falls. Before leaving here I had fleece-lined boots sent from Canada to my new home. It was January and the sky both here and there had the bleak purity of early winter. Everyone saw my boots arrive because they were mailed to … More In Class

Est-ce possible?

We have been in school for one week. All of my students are above average, all of my classes are interesting, Hell has not broken loose, and we may even be able to hire. For some reason there is time to prepare classes and to write and to have a life. I am pinching myself. … More Est-ce possible?