One of the biggest problems faculty complain about is student absenteeism and late work. I’ve been whining about this problem all year, so I decided to turn to the POD list for advice. The community offered many creative suggestions, but the most compelling one made the point about connecting with students on an individual level to find out what was underlying their performance. The issue is why the student isn’t attending or submitting work Answering this question raises the difficult concern about balancing accommodation and spoon feeding. But it also made me reconsider something I’ve long thought to be a bane: Bonus points. The oldRead More →

1. Our avatars, our projected selves — A Jezebel bit about how men respond to female avatars, and a discussion of racism and sexism in Second Life. Rather predictable, but still something to talk about. One blogger inaccurately cites another writer’s claim that 40 percent of the folks come to SL looking for sexual activity. The writer corrects the mistake; a more accurate number would be closer to 15 percent.  Sorry, I call BS on that. If you have to purchase genitals for your avatar, you can bet there’s lots of

1. I had 89 items in my desktop trashcan. 2. I was 12 minutes late to office hours this morning. 3. I got home at 9:39 tonight. 4. I have lost 2 of my favorite earrings in the past two weeks — not from the same set, of course. (Not about today, but who’s counting?) 5. My 220 exam should have opened at 9:00 tonight as per adaptive release. It didn’t. 6. I gave a thumbs down to 3 textbooks for the textbook adoption committee. 7. Wendy’s did not give me a straw, ketchup, or a tomato even though I paid them $6.53 for myRead More →

The sex war debates still prickle feminists, and I’m predictably on the fence about porn. The title of the book Pleasure and Danger remains relevant because porn is both those things, a crucial point about sex that we should always remember. For example, recently on WMST-L, the Women’s Studies discussion list, someone posted a call for papers about porn culture. The call was clearly anti-porn, and the posting provoked a brief but rapid pro-/anti-porn debate before the moderator shut it down for being inappropriate to the mission of the list. The pornification of consumer culture, which is not the same thing as porn culture, isRead More →

Students stumped me this week over my information literacy quest about how to peel a hard-boiled egg, which is now a homework activity for public speaking. First, a bit about the activity: The homework requires the students to follow a list of the sources and determine the best way to peel an egg. The point of the assignment is to evaluate the credibility of internet cites and learn that (1) the first Google hits aren’t necessarily valid, and (2) credibility isn’t necessarily obvious at first blush. A colleague who is a librarian mentioned once that people rarely look past the first page of search engineRead More →

I spent my high school years in a small Texas town named Splendora. Splendora, Texas. You have to say the name that way when referring to a small town in Texas. The whole thing, town and state. Humble, Texas. Conroe, Texas. I don’t know why, you just have to. Moving to Texas from New York City was traumatic. For a myriad of reasons, I never fit in. No need to go into that now. I’m sure you can imagine. From then on, that hybridity stayed with me. Here is one tale that encapsulates the quality of daily life in Splendora. I rarely cut classes. MostlyRead More →

Baton Rouge has a new radio station: 103.3. Well, not a new radio station, but an old station with a new format. The new format is “Music for Generation X.” The old format was “Divas.” It’s quite a Frankenstein’s monster of genres, playing everything from Nirvana and Guns-n-Roses, to C+C Music Factory, with pit stops at Salt – n- Peppa, and REM, not to mention mid to late 80s disco, hip hop, rock, and the weird, bad music everyone forgot existed. Funny, though, because I recognized every song, which demonstrates the way that music in the 80s and 90s was homogeneous despite the generic differencesRead More →

It is our tenth year of making Valentine’s Day cookies. I can’t believe how long it’s been. Ten years of making nipple cookies. There’s something to be said for the holiday rituals of married couples. These things sustain us and keep us whole when the world outside is unstable and cold. To use one of our couple idioms, we protect each other from the elements. It’s a good thing to remember on this wintery Valentine’s Day. Nipple cookies make staying inside and warm just the thing.

1. Unhappy Hipster: It’s Lonely in the Modern World — Ever look at Southern Digest at Home or Architectural Living and wonder who lives like this? And what do they do with themselves? Unhappy Hipster offers Stepford families and interior design porn/architecture porn settings. Great captions.

2.  Whole Foods Biopower — Whole Foods is tying employee discounts to employee health such as BMI, smoking, and blood pressure. The amount of your discount is contingent on how you measure up. One commenter suggested that government-run healthcare will adopt this model. Scary