Friday, January 31, 2003

For More Balance on Campus by Christina Hoff Summers - great stuff!

Reality Series: The Reality Series from FoxTrot - considering the fact that I don't watch most of these shows except as I pass by them using the remote - this is funny!

KeyNote vs. PowerPoint; the iMac and iBook in original formulations were my first Macs. Now they're wetting my PC-appetite again. :}

And InterWrite looks really neat!

Computer Game Ads points to some interesting ideas that might develop into an educational angle of interactivity. Could any of these be adapted to a learning environment? I think so. Now to develop my skills to know how to get it done. Thanks again to Kairosnews. Also pointed to MozBlog. Weblogs: A History and Perspective from Rebecca's Pocket.

Some great stuff from Scrappleface:

Recalling Waco, Reno Slams Bush for Stalling

(2003-01-30) -- Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, recalling her handling of the Waco siege, said today that if she were president, Iraq would be engulfed in flames by now.

"What's the hold up?" she rhetorically asked George Bush. "You've surrounded a pseudo-religious maniac who's got dangerous weapons. Set the place on fire, Mr. President. Hussein's not even an American citizen. Come on! Light her up!"

Ms. Reno called Mr. Bush a "timid Texas mouse who keeps saying 'Time is running out.'"

"Well, hickory dickery dock, let's blow up the clock, for goodness sake. Flick your Bic and let's get on with it. My boys in the BATF would have been in and out weeks ago."

Ms. Reno's publicist later indicated that the medications would soon be in balance.



NPR to Seek Democrat Presidential Nomination

(2003-01-29) -- National Public Radio (NPR) announced today it would seek the Democrat nomination for the Presidency. The decision was made by the whole staff "in communal fashion" after listening to President George Bush's state of the union address last night.

Veteran correspondent Daniel Schorr will likely serve as the titular head of the ticket, since only one name can appear on the ballot, but the entire staff will share the Oval Office if elected.

"While we were doing the post-speech analysis, we suddenly realized that we believed in all the same things the Democrat party believes," said Mr. Schorr. "It's only logical that NPR should be the party standard bearer."

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, whom Mr. Schorr referred to as "Nancy" and "Dear" during last night's post-speech coverage, endorsed the federally-funded news organization's candidacy. She will introduce legislation next week to provide additional funding to NPR.

Spokespersons for CNN, MSNBC and the New York Times said their organizations are considering presidential bids as well.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Another blog pointed out this web site to find out which OS you are.

Here's the Linux Experiment. Kairos News describes it this way: She's a woman on a mission and she's blogging about it. A woman at an unnamed "laptop university" has decided to take the laptop on loan from the university and install linux. Her mission for the year to see if Linux can really do everything that Microsoft products can without getting herself in trouble.

From the same source: Digital Storytelling: The University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s Institute for New Media Studies has created a site providing a

* Taxonomy of digital storytelling.
* Analysis of current practices.
* Clearinghouse of effects research.
* Showcase of innovative story forms.
* Forums for discussion.

Seems like a great resource in the making. The site is also beautifully rendered using php, but a little too slow to load (can't imagine it would be very usable over 56k).

I'm really excited about my teaching methods course this semester. They call came in on top of their game for Monday's first class (because of the MLK holiday I don't see them until the third week of classes.) and they just seem like interesting people. They have divergent viewpoints and backgrounds which will make for an interesting class.

I'm almost well and am still sleeping way too much without medication - which seems to confirm it.

Dad is such a sweetheart - just as I was leaving the farm Monday he showed up with my straw. I had some time yesterday to spread it around when it was in the 50s. It's a little colder today but should get the rest of it done - and some more firewood near the house. I wish I could work on the rock but I think that would be pushing it.

Should have a meeting next week on the AP History course.

I'm almost at a loss now that there is no large deadline I've missed that I'm trying to catch up to. I do need to do the technology work for the PT3 program Phase 2 so I qualify for Phase 3. And it's not that there's not a lot to do - it's just that I'm back to being able to do it as the mood strikes me which is ultimately more productive and enjoyable.

One of my biology colleagues called about assessment issues - the head of teacher ed referred her to me and we'll get together on campus tomorrow. I referred her ot the Alverno College web site since they are national leaders in the area of assessment.

Back to work and time to eat some breakfast now that I've had my Ovaltine and my tea this morning. :}

Monday, January 27, 2003

I like this quote: It's good to be open-minded; it's better to be right. :}

We Know Baghdad is Lying and here's how.

Finished Kansas Women last night! I'm still fighting the sore throat and it's driving me nuts - I have too much to do. But I will try to balance the next few days so that I can actually get well. I meet my teaching class for the first time this afternoon. I won't be talking very much or my throat won't be able to take it. But I am anxious to meet the group - 5 is a nice size. The last two semesters it's been 14 and then 2 - too much of the two ends of the spread.

From Critical Mass today:

George Will's Diversity Quotient

George Will argues that by its own logic, the University of Michigan should be giving conservative applicants preferential treatment. Noting that conservatives are grossly underpresented at UM, Will suggests that admissions officers should work to correct the lack of intellectual diversity on campus by subjecting applicants to a handy political litmus test:

The university should ask all applicants the following 15 questions, awarding each applicant 10 points for each diversity-enhancing answer (150 points being a perfect Diversity Quotient):

The Supreme Court's principal function is (a) to wield the Constitution as a living document to right all wrongs (b) to protect the Second Amendment.

Do you wish to enroll in UM's ROTC program?

U.S. policy toward Iraq should be: (a) give peace a chance (b) pave it.

The UM Wolverines athletic budget ($54 million) (a) is too small (b) should be contributed to Greenpeace.

True or False: Ohio State is part of the axis of evil.

Were you home-schooled?

Do you watch Fox News Channel?

America's coolest anchorman is (a) Tom Brokaw (b) Dan Rather (c) Peter Jennings (d) Brit Hume.

Do you read National Review while listening to Rush Limbaugh?

Can you tell the difference between The New York Times front page and its editorial page?

The most socially beneficial development in America in the past three decades was (a) Roe v. Wade (b) the University of Michigan speech code (c) ESPN.

The nation's worst failing is (a) racism (b) sexism (c) inequality (d) imperialism (e) respect for the United Nations.

Given a choice, would you own (a) an environmentally friendly hybrid car? (b) a Ford F-150 pickup truck?

Who is the more plausible president: (a) Martin Sheen of "The West Wing"? (b) John Edwards of North Carolina? (c) Any of the Dixie Chicks?

The Miller Lite ad in which the "tastes great" woman and the "less filling" woman duke it out in a bodice-ripping cat fight is (a) fascistic phallocentrism (b) a hoot.

Dear applicant, if your answers optimize your Diversity Quotient (b, yes, b, a, true, yes, yes, who are those first three guys?, yes, you're kidding -- right?, c, e, b, c, b), well, then: Welcome to Ann Arbor, you wonderful addition to Wolverine diversity.

Had a great email exchange with Karen McComas: Blog Squatter yesterday. She has lots of great ideas on how to make blogs work in class.

I think now we will have enough cold weather that winter will seem to have existed. Now I will probably be ready for spring sooner than it arrives! :}

Am anxious to get back to other projects. My bouts with these infections the last two months have really screwed up what I hoped to have ready to go at the beginning of the semester. But I can get back to several things and start getting ahead - as long as I remember not to work so much that I don't get well and/or get sick again.

For most of my time at PSU, my Mondays have been my most hectic days. I decide to take a different tack this semester and wait to go in for class on Monday afternoon - I usually have class MWF mornings but don't this semester - and come back Tuesday morning for office hours. I hope that will help establish my more balanced mode. I remember one of my toughest profs in graduate school that I thought was a workaholic telling me that if you looked under workholic in the dictionary, you'd find my picture. I keep trying to remind myself that my work will be better if I'm not doing it all the time. Got to get back to quilting before the winter is over.

Dad is bringing the straw over to the farm tomorrow. I'm really glad. I was afraid I'd lose all my landscaping if I didn't get it over here before the winter was out and it's not something I can do myself because I need too much of it. What a guy!

Here's the expert on the history of southeast Kansas.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

It's snowing - the first time I've been at the farm to see it start and it's beautiful - I hope the pictures come out! I'm so glad I came out yesterday - I thought I'd missed all the snow for the year since we've had so much already.

The headline of the day: Obesity Suit Against McDonald's Dismissed
Quote: "U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet said the plaintiffs -- including a 400-pound teenager who said he eats at McDonald's every day -- failed to show that customers of the world's largest fast-food chain were unaware that eating too much McDonald's fare could be unhealthy" Do ya think so?????

My cough and sore throat came back so finishing Kansas woman is a little more difficult since I need a clear head but it pales in comparison to my misery yesterday (see previous post.)

Roads to the north are snow/ice-packed...........and some Missouri roads are closed!!!! It could get interesting tonight. I need to go back to town in the morning for bowling league (I've gone from double digits last year to a 160 last week - although I alternate current bowling scores between that and 80!) and a department meeting. I'm bringing the pizza. I've pre-bowled so it should be fine if I have to miss that part. says we're on the very edge of it so it shouldn't overwhelm us - it's amazing how the weather patterns fall along I-44 in Missouri, Detailed Forecast says we're still in for just flurries; the bigger concern is the -15 wind chill - unusual for us. Glad I've got the fireplace going.

Shawn Hannity made an excellent point yesterday - we're fighting back against Iraq (since Clinton wimped out in the foreign policy arena unless it was time to distract us from Monica, etc.) to prevent them from becoming another North Korea. And it is NOT a pre-emptive strike - the Iraqis are the ones who broke the last "ceasefire" agreement. We won't be wimps!!!!

Just found Ann Coulter's web site - pretty and smart and the liberals don't know what to do with her! She was on Donahue awhile back (and I watched mainly because she was on) and kept having to remind him she wanted to talk about her current book and not the leftist and sometimes ridiculous attacks made on her previous book by people who hadn't even read it.

I love Dr. Phil - everyone makes choices - life doesn't just happen. I know I've been overresponsible most of my life (and thus over-stressed but I'm working on that - ie by watching snow fall and playing with fireplaces!) but it amazes me how many people just act helpless. That drives me nuts! I'm glad someone is calling on them. I used to like Dr. Laura but finding out that she was trying to get pregnant by her current husband while he was still married to someone else and had young children still at home really disappointed me. Yeah, Dr. Phil, it's more important to be effective as a parent than to be right!!!!! He's making a father state what he has to do not keep repeating what he thinks his wife should do.

Kelly Ripa was great this morning. Regis announced his absence tomorrow and she teased him about going around telling people he was scouting out new cohosts so he could get free luxury treatment and food! She's good!

OK...back to Kansas Women before the day is out!

Teacher: Year One is back and up and running for the semester. I love her Jan. 16 quote: "If you thought law school was hard, you should try fourth grade." I agree!

Been busy getting my annual report done - quite frustrating as I'd realized all I'd done and knowing that with the state budget crisis, there will no money for raises. But I have one more promotion down the line and want to do everything I can to not endanger it. Academia is a tricky business!

I'm still finishing my entry on Kansas women - I'm finding them more interesting than I imagined. I grew up in southwest Missouri and only really saw the old coal mining area of Kansas or "western" Kansas and its flat terrain. Although I'm proud to assert that you have to "show me, I'm from Missouri" - I love the wild spirit of Kansas. We're not too far from anything and, atlhough I like traveling out west (a few years ago I made it within an hour from Montana on my own in the Explorer) it's just a tad too isolated. But I love the people. I also like the central local of southwest Missouri/southeast Kansas - 2 hours to Kansas City and Tulsa, 6-7 to Dallas, and 9 to my email friend in a Minneapolis suburb. I also have some great relatives in Cincinnati that is almost within a days drive. Yet another tangent!

Now that I've been able to remember my correct login to use Internet Explorer on the farm computer, I'll be posting on and off today as I take breaks from my writing. I hate missing deadlines which is making it even harder. But later this week I will be setting up my action plan for the spring to keep it all manageable!

Saturday, January 18, 2003

Both conservatives and liberals last night discussed how much they liked Mr. Sterling and last night's episode wasn't a disappointment. It's nice to find good tv that is also just plain fun to watch.

The snow is still on the ground thanks to sub-zero temperatures. Am heading to the farm hoping to enjoy a day of it out there. Dad is going to join me and bring some straw to cover the groundcover before winter is over.

I spent time tracking down ways to get rid of the squirrels eating my deck and, although there are no permanent solutions, I did talk to some one at Cash Grain who had the same problem. So I now know what hardware cloth is - I used to just call it metal screening - and I will take that out along with some repellent. I'm concerned about doing the weatherproofing when it will still get so cold even after it warms up to the fifties later in the weekend.

We've had more snow than we've had the last several years put together and if this is el nino, I love it!

Friday, January 17, 2003

How I Joined Teach for America—and Got Sued for $20 Million is Joshua Kaplowitz's story of "An idealistic new Yale grad learns up close and personal just how bad inner-city schools can be—and why" - great reading.

I hate to show my pre-service teachers the downsides of teaching but I also want them to prepared for the real world. And, while the rural schools where most of them will spend their careers do not have the same problems, they do have their own set of problems. In addition, I hope these views help them appreciate the challenges their colleagues in other settings face.

There's a blogger out there who joined in Arianna Huffington's campaign against the SUV. Shawn Hannity asked a relevant question on his show - what type of energy supports her 9,000 square foot house? Today, an online columnist, Jacob Sullum, points out that the series of ads she supported just happened to come out at the same time as her new book and wondered how her book tour would save gas.... :} Disclaimer, I drive an SUV.

I love the exhilaration of the first week of school but am also glad to get them going. We did get the winter storm and I was glad to not have to get in it. Unlike the last few times, it will be a day or two before it warms up so maybe the snow will stay around awhile. Back a tangent - I spent most of yesterday getting my online class and have two student apointments set up this afternoon. I guided one student away from a general studies degree - a sort of leftover 60s degree that worked at the time but now just keeps graduates from getting a job or at least creates more obstacles.

Right now I have five in my teaching course which is a good number. The last two semesters I've had an imbalance - either too many or too few. I also have double digits in my online class plus it's a course I've taught regularly so I can enjoy the actual flow of the course more than struggling to constantly keeping up with preparation.

The Beaver Kings meet late this afternoon - will be nice to see everyone after the break. The restaurant is apparently going to de-franchise. We'll see if this guy makes a go of it - he likes being at the center of attention and he has some more recent competition from a family dynasty here in town. The other restaurant, Bricktown, is run by partners, one of whom is the son of the famous steakhouse in town. Another relative was implementing change for the sake of cost-cutting which usually leads to a decrease in food quality - which doesn't make sense since labor is usually the biggest cost at a restaurant, not food. That's why supersizing is no big deal and why most sit-down restaurants bring out plates with 3 full servings on them at once. :}

A few people are responding about blogging on H-Teach - if only to ask what it is. It has potential in teaching but there still is some structure needed aka Blackboard so that everyone knows where to find stuff. I'm hoping my learning Dreamweaver will help me figure out better ways to develop web applications for class. That and Flash.....

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

We're under a winter storm warning. The last two have actually hit - and harder and sooner than expected. We get that wonderful mix of snow, ice, and rain. This time, Kansas City just might get the worst of it. I bought a greasy hamburger from 1106 ( I had planned to pass on the suzy qs but just couldn't) on the way home just in case we're snowed/iced in tomorrow. I have plenty to do on the computer although I will miss bowling if it is cancelled.

I have my online class ready to roll - my biggest number ever - 14. Although there is a higher attrition rate than F2F, it is still a good number. And students are hearing that online courses are not the ones to take if you want easy courses.

I sent out a query to a listserv I help edit, H-Teach and hope at least a few of the 1400+ subscribers have some experiences to share - even if it's just reading other people's blogs.

Despite my non-Democratic tendencies, West Wing is one of the my favorite shows. Mr. Sterling, however, promsies to be even better. Here's the official site link.

Now I still need to work on my 30page entry on Kansas women and get more done on the AP Government course and THEN I'll be on top of things. Didn't plan to be up at school all day but had fun (besides advising students :} ) talking with friends and colleagues in the library and in the education building.

Stay safe!

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

I love Tightly Wound's commentary on Beowulf/Tolkein (see January 14). It points to the same problem we have in history - teaching students that we all look at history through our own value system/time we live in and we have to see PAST that to better understand the proper historical context.

Was at the office most of the day working with enrolling students - some actually showed up. Also started work on assessment paperwork...........people will start dreading me showing up at their doorstep but at least I will try to make it manageable. The dept. went to eat lunch at our new Thai restaurant - our little town of under 20k will hopefully keep it going. They have the best fresh food around.

Am going to go watch the Lifetime Intimate Portrait of Kelly Ripa. I just like her and when I need a break, the Live show is great to watch. I've usually been on the computer since 4:30 or 5am and that's a great morning break - gives you some perspective on life - or at least shows you how to laugh at it a little.

Saturday, January 11, 2003

Ok - I just read the FAQs and figured out that if I'm in IE and not Netscape, I can post URL links - couldnt' be much easier! I'm just a little slow sometimes!.

Anyway, here's our TAH grant site for Project Mine:

Sign the guest book there and let us know what you think!

Just returned from buying my first pair of Carhart insulated bib overalls. I need to haul some rock on the farm and now that we're back to a normal January with highs in the 30s, they will be well worth the investment. Two years ago I learned all about the difference between Red Wing boots - non-insulated and insulated. My feet were freezing! I love my Carhart jacket - nothing is warmer. I'm a wimp now about the cold weather after having lived in Florida and Texas - my blood must have thinned out. I much prefer the four seasons, though.

Just went to lunch with Karen, my neighbor and friend who teaches fourth grade - we have fun sharing "teacher stories."

More on the AHA in Chicago- I ran into my major professor and I haven't seen him in a couple of years so we had a great time catching up and doing some actual work since he is one of the leaders in H-Net. I brought up blogs at our meeting but the people running the servers made a good point - most of our audience is still interested in "push" technology - in other words, they want the email to come to their box. My H-Teach colleague and I, however, are going to explore it more for our list and see if we can make it work - it would make discussions less linear.

Ate some great food - including the classic Berghoff and a neighborhood Italian place my uncle took me to. He had fun showing me the funeral home that took care of Al Capone.

Lots of interesting and worthwhile sessions - especially about the Teaching American History grants and assessment. The Teaching American History grant I'm involved in:

has provided outreach opportunities to the local schools beyond my wildest imagination. I love working with real teachers and that in turn will help me do a better job working with our university's pre-service teachers.

One of the teachers picked a wide variety of students, not just the "A" history students to take his local history class. He already has a waiting list for next year. He won't take on any new ones at semester because of all the work he would have to review and I don't blame him!

Many of our students live in the shadow of Big Brutus and yet have no idea of its significance. Besides helping enhance their understanding of this, we are preserving the history of our area. A former master's student from our university interviewed black coal miners back in the 60s and has moved back to the area. He is a former teacher so he works with the students well. His original transcripts were lost in a fire and the original tapes have disappeared in our department somewhere (the faculty member is no longer living). So we are working really hard to preserve the region's history. Also, the students are able to talk to neighbors and relatives in way a professor can't.

But, I am learning lots of stuff about coal mining.......never thought I'd develop an interest in labor history but it's been quite intriguing - especially since Upton Sinclair wrote for the locally published Appeal to Reason. I've also enjoyed reading about Mother Jones and John L. Lewis. There is still a group of men who belonged to the UMW District 14 that meet every month here in town.

Back to the AHA - it was a blessing to be reassured about assessment - we've gone through the roughest part and now we will have a much more workable "conceptual framework."

I've also been keeping to my plan to learn more technology and my copy of Macromedia Dreamweaver Studio MX arrived the other day. I have been reading my Hands on Training book from Lynda Weinmann and company and am learning a lot.

I am the dept. webmaster and will have to redesign our web page to make it accessible and this book had a chapter finally explaining what that really means. We have just been told we "have to do it" without any context - something we guard against doing ourselves as teachers. But now it, too, seems doable.

I'm sure I'll think of something else about the AHA but for now it was quite simply the best AHA I've been to. I'm really looking forward to the OAH this spring - especially since Memphis is driveable. In addition, the TAH project director will have a meeting there and so it may be a fun road trip, too. That's another advantage of the TAH grants, I'm working with a local education expert who works at Greenbush and she is teaching me a lot and is all you could ask for in a project director - she has insight as well as knowing how to get the job done.

From Tightly Wound

Would someone please explain that the reason women and minorities are underrepresented in the Western Canon is because they weren't taught to read and write on a regular basis until about 100 years ago? Why must we overlook the realities of history, which would incidentally give students a much larger appreciation of writers like Jane Austen and Frederick Douglass, in order to make everyone "feel good about themselves?"


The same thing is happening in history. Students know about all the minority groups WITHOUT knowing the bigger picture - which is JUST as bad as thinking only a dead white male lives in the country and runs it all by himself.

Critics are forgetting a fundamental idea - students need CONTEX for what they are learning.

We've gone overboard "under" stressing memorization. Many student no longer learn times tables because the calculator can do it form them. And yet this is actually a skill we can use in every day life as we pay our bills, shop, etc. - not to mention the discipline of actually having to acquire new material.

Sorry to start off on such a rant but I definitely agree. (Also see Tightly Wound's rant on traffic snarls on January 9 - I agree!)

Have been busy researching Assessment this morning. We have NetLibrary available through our university library and it's wonderful. The online Interlibrary Loan Forms are also wonderful. And I still actually visit the library and browse the shelves. I had the pleasure of serving on a university-wide library strategic planning committee last year - largely (I was told) because I'm one of the few faculty that actually uses the library and makes my students go there..............anyway

I am bound and determined to make this assessment process manageable and worthwhile. While our on-campus ed folks are wonderful (with a few exceptions :} ), there is still the cliche that ed folks make something complicated that doesn't have to be. At the AHA meeting, one of the best sessions I went to included folks from CSU-Long Beach and Alverno College (the god of assessment! - since instructors are actually rewarded for assessing and do not have some of the same irrelevant publication expectations that are enforced other places). The most important piece of information I came away with was the following conceptual framework:

Measure student learning based on:

1. Knowledge
2. Use of Sources
3. Analysis
4. Presentation

I think this is

a) a workable framework
b) can be applied to our state teacher licensure standards

The most interesting part of all this is that genuine assessment is based on the premise that you come up with your own standards ........we don't have that option. However, I am also relying on the fact that historians like me know how to research and as long as we can back up our approach and it fits within the state framework, we should be good to go. After twisting in the wind last year and having to literally sit by while evaluators actually did NOT read what I prepared, I figured I have nothing to lose. Besides improving student learning, we have to work to prepare for the on-site visit from the state department of ed and NCATE in Fall 2004. They have already let us know they don't want us to "over-document" so the word of the day is sampling - and we can do that!

More later.

Friday, January 10, 2003

I'm glad I was able to start this prior to the new year.

I went to the American Historical Association meeting in Chicago last week. Had to get out of here early to beat the storm out so we could catch the flight the next day. Haven't driven on an snow or ice since I flipped an Explorer end over end a few years ago (I'm a living poster for air bags) so I think I've suffiiciently conquered that fear without becoming overconfident. Luckily, my Cox internet connection makes it possible to get more work done at home than anywhere else.

It was a great meeting all the way around - great company and lots of good ideas which I will eventually share here.

Dealing with two large airports on a end-of-holiday Sunday was more than I expected so was still worn out Monday and part of Tuesday. Did get some collaboration done on the online governmnent class on Monday, though. Tuesday I tried to catch up around the house and headed to the farm. Once I got there, I discovered I had neglected to pick up the computer but maybe it gave me a needed relax break - since I was busy reading, etc. and not getting as much eye strain from the computer screen. Will go get it today.

My home town is 45 minutes away. Finally had my Christmas lunch with my high school buddy - we trade some interesting stories with our contrasting lives - she's a stay at home mom with 4 wonderful kids. She, too, survived a much more disastrous wreck five years ago (Paramedics left her for dead for 45 minutes as they worked on other accident victims) so we both have a lot to be thankful for. We had our 20th high school reunion in October and were both glad that high school was NOT the highlight of our lives.

Am heading back that way to celebrate my mom's birthday with the family.

School starts next week and although the actual on-campus schedule will be more flexible, I still have a lot to do. But I plan to do more invigorating work rather than the frustrating, mind-crashing work I've had to have central to my life the last year.

The AHA meeting was a great refresher as I met online and other assorted colleagues.

I need to get some work done now that I'm finally back on the fast connection. Will post more in a shorter time lapse than last time.

Happy New Year!!!!

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

An interesting historical "twist" in a New York Times column today:

In "Pox," Ms. Hayden, an independent scholar and marketing executive, presents the fascinating thesis that many eminent figures in history very likely suffered from syphilis and that the disease may explain at least some aspects of their behavior, their career decisions and how they accomplished their feats of divinity or defiance. Her parade of likely or possible syphilitics includes Beethoven, Nietzsche, Flaubert, van Gogh, Schubert, James Joyce, Goya, Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln, Al Capone, Ivan the Terrible and Hitler.

On a tech note - was able to get my parents set up on their cable modem and their wireless network.... I'm getting is connecting the new printer to the network.

An uneventful new year's is welcomed for me as more than one has been more eventful than I could hope - two car wrecks (neither caused by drunk driving) and other assorted mishaps....will hang out for awhile today before I get ready to head to Chicago for the American Historical Association meeting. For more info:

Have a happy new year! :}

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