in a perfect world of yancies: May 2006

29 May 2006

Mizzou? Well, congratulations anyway.
And for dinner: beans!

This past weekend, we attended a graduation party outside of St Louis for Emily's cousin Diana. Now, she's going to Mizzou in the fall (they even had black & gold cupcakes), but that can be forgiven; Columbia, MO, is, after all, a pretty cool town. . . .

The proud graduate, Ms Diana Bolser

The proud grandfather, Frank Campbell, and mother, Janet Bolser

The proud father, Dave Bolser

Outside the party, Fran lifted herself right up onto that truck bed as Mimi looked on

Fran & Dave as the party winds down

Todd & Brandy, who met us for a late dinner Saturday night on St Louis' hip (?) Delmar Street

Don't know why Brandy didn't want to be in this photo . . .

Upon our return to town, we did our best to return Jesse's hospitality by preparing dinner for a few friends. What did we serve? Well, of course the salsa verde, and for the main course some Brazilian Black Beans, based on the Joy of Cooking recipe (no sausage for us).

Scott, Nathan, Jesse, and the remnants of our dinner

Fabulous evening. You can, reader, enjoy a bit of the music that accompanied our dinner, as the song now playing is from the Hommage à Piazzolla album, which played through much of the meal.

PS, Dave had a disc with him full of photos of the Hughes' place in Indiana; Emily and I have been adding them to the website--feel free to explore the newly updated Black Oak Farm website.

PPS, I don't want to get anyone too excited, but I thought I'd add a note on my job search: a KU professor I know recommended me to the University of Alabama in Huntsville recently; I called and spoke with the chair of the department for almost an hour, and it seemed to go quite well (& he assured me that Huntsville is actually pretty cool . . .). While we were talking, the Dean at Augustana College left a message, asking that I visit this week for a follow-up interview.

Not a bad day, that. I'll keep you posted, reader.

22 May 2006

Dumps Like a What?

Look--it was Deron and someone! ;)
Deron flew in this past weekend for someone's graduation (congrats again). Although we failed to get any gown-shots (feel free, Ms someone, to pass them along if you'd like), we did have a great time Saturday.


Jesse almost always has funny tales about life as a reporter in Bonner Springs, KS. Recently, in fact, he was approached by a (supposedly) up and coming musician/celebrity in Bonner Springs:

Hushmouth. Now you may not be able to tell, but we were told that his gold teeth actually spell out his name (or maybe just the 'hush' part?) . . . fabulous.


Someone, Deron, Nathan, and Mimi

Nathan, with Deron, um, on the side

Mimi, looking quite nice in my jacket


Towards the end of the evening; Jesse, myself, someone, and Deron

And what goes on at such a festive gathering? We talked about the merits (and demerits) of small town journalism; we talked about the Times Book Review's story on the Best American Novel of the last 25 years; we tried to stop Deron from liking Temple of Doom; and, of course, we discussed the Thong Song.

If you'd like to hear a sample of the scintillating conversation from Saturday night, take a listen:

For those more interested than they should be, you can read a definition of 'dumps like a truck' at Turns out the Thong Song was released in February 2000 (wikipedia entry here). I have no idea who the young lady with the 'explanation' was, but it sure seemed entertaining at the time. If you think you want to hear Sisqo sing it (am I really about to do this?) click here.

Oh, and if my faced looked unusually hairless, why that's because I shaved; and don't worry, Emily documented the event.

21 May 2006


I know that this a bit Leno-like, but this AP photo (taken by Andrew Laker) is just too funny:

The accompanying article, of course, is about the debate over making English our official language. . . .

18 May 2006

Now that's a Sweater; Dinner at Jesse's; Braxton in the Sun

As many of you (how many of you, readers, are there? at least three that I know of . . .) know, I am too busy to be blogging. I have, however, put this post together bit-by-bit over the last few days, when time allowed. Enjoy.

Mimi finished her sweater last week--well done!

You might notice in this photo, though, that the neck was a little off; what to do? Add buttons? A zipper?

Well, the stitching (as you can tell) is pink; why not add a patch of pink to the neck?

Mimi creating the patch.

The fabulous finished product.

In other news, Jesse had us over for a homemade pasta dinner the other night. Sadly, I only had my phone to document it, but take my word for it--we had a great time, and it was all quite tasty.

Mimi and Scott enjoying their pasta. How safe Emily must be, riding her bike at night with such a reflective leg-tie! (It's on her wrist here for safe-keeping.)

Nathan and Jesse dining.

Lastly, I aquired some photos of the Iwanski's trip to the Grand Canyon.

What I'm told is a (or 'the'?) 'desert tower.'

Magen and 'Brax.'

The Iwanski's: Dave, Braxton, and Magen.

14 May 2006

A Bookish Joy:
Every Book to Every Person

This story, by Kevin Kelly, about the digitization of books from the Times Sunday Magazine is incredible. It must be read. Imagine the possibility of a 'universal library,' containing all the billions of books, articles, films, and images that have ever been created. Absolutely incredible. Read the article—seriously.

One of the beautiful photos accompanying the article, by Abelardo Morell.
It's apt title is "Book Stacks in a Very Large Space #1, 2001."
A sample from the article:
In short, the entire works of humankind, from the beginning of recorded history, in all languages, available to all people, all the time.

This is a very big library. But because of digital technology, you'll be able to reach inside it from almost any device that sports a screen. From the days of Sumerian clay tablets till now, humans have "published" at least 32 million books, 750 million articles and essays, 25 million songs, 500 million images, 500,000 movies, 3 million videos, TV shows and short films and 100 billion public Web pages. All this material is currently contained in all the libraries and archives of the world. When fully digitized, the whole lot could be compressed (at current technological rates) onto 50 petabyte hard disks. Today you need a building about the size of a small-town library to house 50 petabytes. With tomorrow's technology, it will all fit onto your iPod. When that happens, the library of all libraries will ride in your purse or wallet — if it doesn't plug directly into your brain with thin white cords. Some people alive today are surely hoping that they die before such things happen, and others, mostly the young, want to know what's taking so long. (Could we get it up and running by next week? They have a history project due.)

Incredible (did I mention that already?).

If you have not guessed, I am securely among the second group Kelly mentions, eagerly anticipating this universal library. Such a beautiful democratic vision.

Inevitable, too, as Kelly points out: whatever legal issues remain unresolved, "Whether this vast mountain of dark books [that is, books of unknown legal status] is scanned by Google, the Library of Congress, the Chinese or by readers themselves, it will be scanned well before its legal status is resolved simply because technology makes it so easy to do and so valuable when done."

(That last, ironically, is from a page currently unavailable in the online version as a result of some technical troubles—I hope for your sake, reader, the Times soon makes the end of the article available.)

Don't get me wrong, I love books (and they won't become obsolete, I should think--as Kelly points out, they are the most durable and most dependable medium for storing information, requiring no technology to use and consisting in good, sturdy paper). The possibilities both for scholarship and for making information available to any and all, however, that this universal library promises are magnificent. "Every book to every person," to again quote Kelly: beautiful.

Every book to every person.

06 May 2006

Happy Birthdays; Haley Harrison; and How about this New Media

Some birthdays of note:
Sunday 7 May--Deron Lee
Monday 8 May--Chris 'Leeroy' Lee; Thomas Ruggles Pynchon; Harry S. Truman

Happy day to all.
And what middle name tops Ruggles?

again, Feliz Compleaños

Speaking of Spanish, we had some fun the other night, the 5th of May, with a pretty fun crew--Jesse, Nathan, Scott, and Haley Harrison. Now Haley is about to graduate from KU (congratulations!), and you may be wondering what she's up to: here's a clip from Friday's KUJH broadcast, anchored by the talented Ms Harrison, which also discusses the 5th of May:

KUJH, if you're wondering, is the KU tv station. And Haley, if you're wondering, is off to DC soon, where her knowledge of things political should serve her well as she starts her internship with Kansas 3rd district US Representative Dennis Moore.

That Hispanic American Leadership Organization (mentioned in Haley's story), by the way, did a fund-raiser recently which involved selling us some absolutley delicious tamales. Damn good stuff.

Finally, the Economist ran an excellent series on 'New Media' recently. They discuss, among other things, the advent and explosive popularity of blogging (see graph), the wiki phenomenon, the rise of podcasts, and the impact of all of those on the mainstream media (or 'MSM,' as the kids call it).

An excellent Economist setup and zinger, from the piece on wikis:
Somebody who reads Wikipedia is “rather in the position of a visitor to a public restroom,” says Mr McHenry, Britannica's former editor. “It may be obviously dirty, so that he knows to exercise great care, or it may seem fairly clean, so that he may be lulled into a false sense of security. What he certainly does not know is who has used the facilities before him.” One wonders whether people like Mr McHenry would prefer there to be no public lavatories at all.

The straight version of that sentiment appears in the concluding article:
Generally speaking, people who have faith in democracy welcome participatory media, whereas people who have reservations will be nostalgic for the top-down certainties of the mass media.

A good bit of reading (8 stories in all), but very interesting stuff--start reading here.

02 May 2006

Friends, Family, and Conferences

On Wednesday morning (26 April), Emily and I set out for Illinois, on our way to see family, attend conferences, and visit with friends.

We arrived at my mom's place that evening, and began fixing a fabulous dinner: filet mignon, accompanied by a risotto made with shallots, fresh asparagus, and some of the great rice Merrica brought from Japan. Tasty.

Emily and my mom, watching over the risotto while I take a photo.

The next morning, Emily dropped my off at the train station and headed down to Bloomington-Normal for the Midwest Archives Conference (or MAC if you're nasty). She saw some excellent presentations, and got to compare notes with archivists from around the midwest.

Bloomington-Normal is, among other things, the proud home of State Farm.

Emily's conference roommate and fellow KU Museum Studies grad Audrey, with a gentleman whose name I do not at present recall (apologies).

Meanwhile, I rode the train into Chicago for the American Philosophical Association's Central Division meeting, a huge conference involving hundreds of philosophy paper presentations, a book fair, and the chance to interview with schools for teaching positions.

The meeting was held downtown, at the uber-swanky Palmer House Hilton (lobby pictured).
I dropped off some copies of my CV that morning, chatted with some fellow job-seekers, and took off for the suburbs again. Once there, my mom and I went out to enjoy the nice weather by way of a hike at the recently opened Pleasant Valley Conservation Area, located just outside of Woodstock, IL.

My mom on the trail.

Friday morning, I took the 7:30 train (!) into the city, and found out I had been invited to do three job interviews! I interviewed for a one-year position at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL (quad-cities, if that means anything to you, reader). I also interviewed for a tenure-track position at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan: a community college isn't ideal, but they pay, and Ann Arbor is supposed to be a hip ville. The gentleman I spoke with, Charles Johnson, was very friendly, and the interview seemed to go well. . . .

Lastly (actually, it was the first one I did, but whatever), I interviewed for a one-year spot at Carleton College in Northfield, MN. Now that one would be just awesome. The interview went very well, as far as I could tell--the woman I spoke with, Angela Curran, was very nice, and does work in Ancient Philosophy, so we had a great time discussing Plato together. I found out later that there may be an inside candidate, but it was a great experience either way.

Later on, I participated in a focus group for a publishing company: they asked around 15 or so Intro to Phil teachers from around the country to talk for a couple of hours about teaching approaches and about textbooks. It was actually very interesting to hear how other professors teach their Intro classes, and the publishing company paid me to be there (!). That evening, I joined some philosophy friends (well, two of them were professors who served on my dissertation committee, but I think I'll call them friends now) for dinner at the restaurant Russian Tea Time, a pretty fun place downtown (generally downtown doesn't please me much, but we did have vodka for an aperitif, so that's cool).

Afterwards, I met up with the fabulous Chris Lee in Wrigleyville. We had some drinks, talked until very late, and Chris and his wonderful fiancée Carrie let me crash on their couch. At this point, the photos are not my own, alas.

Chris (top left) and his Improv Olympic team, the Cougars.

The lovely Carrie Barrett, who also is on an iO team, Little Room.

The next morning (Saturday), I woke up early enough to make a nine am paper I was interested in (on Wittgenstein and Kripke, if you're wondering), but decided to skip it . . . so I went back to sleep. I did hear a couple of good papers on Aristotle that afternoon, then Emily met me and we had dinner with Chris. We ate at a place up north of Uptown called Ethiopian Diamond--delicious. Delicious. We then talked with Chris and--as a special, unexpected bonus--Carrie. We ended the night with a trip to Bucktown to see Dave and Diana, who rock. Sadly, we had too much fun talking to take any photos. . . .

After driving back to McHenry (we got in at like 2 am), we awoke Sunday, enjoyed talking with my mom over breakfast, and drove home--by way of Springfield, IL, where we stopped to see Eric and Christy. Again, too much fun to take my own pics:

Their house in Springfield. Eric is just finishing his first year on the faculty at MacMurray College, and seems to be doing very well there, which is awesome.

Eric with his KU PhD diploma.

It was, in all, a great trip; we really enjoyed the conferences, and the chance to see so many excellent people.

On a totally unrelated note, if you missed Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, you should really check it out; why not watch it at the Truth Will Out blog?