Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Ethicist

Minorities for Money?

I teach at a state university that offers financial incentives to hire minority candidates. A department receives $1,000 for completing a tenure-track hire but $5,000 if it hires a minority candidate. I’m concerned that colleagues will make recommendations based on the financial reward rather than pursue the “best” candidate. Should the institution offer these bounties? — DR. MARK E. CHASE, SLIPPERY ROCK, PA.

There’s nothing discreditable or even unusual about using financial incentives to prompt estimable conduct. Governments use tax codes to promote desired activities. Businesses offer bonuses to encourage certain kinds of job performance. (Full disclosure: I have a “financial incentive” to write this column. It’s called a “paycheck.”) Be wary of skewing your argument with a loaded word like “bounties.”

It is admirable of your school to acknowledge that some minorities are underrepresented on campus, that this is unjust in itself and that it subverts the school’s mission: it is important for students to encounter professors (and fellow students) of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. In pursuit of this goal, the school may try various things. There might be better ways to genuinely expand faculty diversity, but until such methods are on the table, and unless the danger you worry about actually emerges, financial incentives are worth a try.

Be comforted that hiring a new faculty member involves so many layers of scrutiny, so many opportunities for colleagues to weigh in, that the hazard you invoke is minimal. Remember: this tactic is not meant to lower hiring standards but to broaden the pool of people considered for the job.

For so long there has been so much social (if not legal) pressure arrayed against hiring such folks — in effect, incentives to hire white men — that it seems hypocritical to object only when incentives benefit minority candidates. --

The New York Times Magazine
January 27, 2007

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Press Past

"Allan Smithee" makes an anonymous stage cameo...

"The first time I met Neal Medlyn was in late October, when I went to a performance in Wooldridge Square called "It's Like We Are Infiltrators." It was the 28th public performance that Medlyn had staged since his debut on the Austin scene six months before (see p.45 for the complete list). Audience size at these self-produced shows varied considerably. At this particular show, for example, my roommate and I were the only ones in attendance. But that didn't stop Medlyn. In the Wooldridge gazebo, Frank Sinatra was on the boom box, COPS was on TV, some guy who I thought was in the show but who was actually just a local drunk nodded off onstage. Medlyn and his friends Michelle Dean, Farris Craddock, Trevor Bissell, and others took turns reading stories, singing songs, and doing little puppet shows. Dean's five-year-old son Jacob was performing that night, too (Jacob's sure-to-be hit is "Boogers on Butts"). The whole thing was a chaotic mess of sensory overload, seemingly random bits of conversation, and occasionally terrific jokes.

"In the car on the way home, my roommate and I talked about how startlingly rough the show had been. Then we started pretending to be one of the puppets in the show, the one who shrieks "I love you!" We also tried to figure out what Medlyn's private life was like based on the snippets of dialogue, which were perverse and endearing and bespoke a profound obsession with trivialities. We decided he was deeply complicated. We also decided he was completely insane. Still, we were full of an odd, profound respect for Medlyn based on the fact that he would perform for just two people. Not including the drunk, the cast outnumbered the audience more than two to one."

Austin Chronicle, December 29, 2000

Tuesday, January 22, 2008



>>>>>>>>If you're still interested...
would like to write a (site name edited) entry for next week.

Let me know.

(name withheld)

>>>>>>>I'm interested. Tell me more...

>>>>>>Plan to visit a bar for four days (tues/wed/thurs/fri) and chronicle the free food they have during happy hour. Will list each day's food serving plus drinks (couple of beers etc.) and anything else I find of interest.

after the jump (cont. reading link) will give the recipes for each daily dish.

will be straightforward though "Happy Hour Chronicle" will, I think, be sort of humorous.

Won't have access to a computer till Tues. morning. What do you think? Should we hook up sometime early Tues. afternoon or not. Also, my computer time is limited to only an hour on Sat./Sun. so realistically could e-mail you the written piece Sunday (Monday latest)

>>>>>OK, which bar?

>>>>A bar called The Last Shot on Alleghany in Port Richmond.

>>>OK, go for it. You wanna do the $(edited) deal? You around today?

>>Yeah, that sounds good. won't be able to meet you today nor tomorrow at the library so perhaps we can meet early afternoon either on Thurs. or Fri. Will then start going to the bar on Mon.-Thurs of next week. (like the idea very much of consecutive/cumulative days for an extended period)

Will then hopefully have the piece in for you next Fri. or latest Sat.

All right by you?

>yeah, works for me. Hit me back on Thur. and we'll coordinate a meet-up.

Living on a Budget ($5.32)

Monday, January 21, 2008

1 pack of Gold Coast - full flavor - cigarettes... $3.33
1 cup of cappuccino coffee (24 fl. oz.)... $1.49
1 copy of the Philadelphia Inquirer... $0.50

total: $5.32 (tax included)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Word of the Day

Saturday January 19, 2008

quietus \kwy-EE-tuhs\, noun:1. Final discharge or acquittance, as from debt or obligation.2. Removal from activity; rest; death.3. Something that serves to suppress or quiet.

Consider a small police-blotter report from an 1875 issue of The Grant County Herald in Silver City, N[ew] M[exico]: "We learn that on Friday, Jose Garcia, who lives at the Chino copper mines, caught his wife in flagrante delicto -- we leave the reader to guess the crime -- Jose, then and there, gave her the quietus with an axe."-- Thomas Kunkel, "The Pen Is Mightier Than the Six-Shooter", New York Times, August 30, 1998

Monday, January 7, 2008


Food Consumption and Miscellany

Sunday, January 6, 2008

lg coffee (light/sweet) 24 fl. oz.
1 lg cuban bread (net wt. 10 oz.)
med coffee (light/sweet)
1 Checkers fish sandwich (lettuce/tartar sauce)
1 Checkers hamburger (lettuce/tomato/pickles/mayonaise/ketchup)
1 Checkers chili-cheese burger
lg cappuccino (24 fl. oz.)
2 pints of lager
med plastic cup of fountain coke (same location)
slightly less than a pack of cigarettes

Books Cont.

recently acquired freebies:

The Art of Plain Talk by Rudolf Flesch
duplex Apartment - David Greenberger
Essays of Francis Bacon
Galapagos - Kurt Vonnegut
Gods Behaving Badly - Marie Phillips
I'm a Stranger Here Myself - Bill Bryson
Life Itself (Its Origin And Nature) - Francis Crick
Louder Than Words (Anthology) edited by William Shore
Nature, Man & Woman - Alan W. Watts
The Orators - W.H. Auden
Snow Country - Yasunari Kawabata
Three Who Dared - Tom Cohen
The Universe and Dr. Einstein - Lincoln Barnett
We Think The World of You - J. R. Ackerley
Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenacne - Robert Pirsig