Friday, January 30, 2009

Archelaus Examines Fiscal Crisis

The Archelaus Cards light-hearted blog Ruination and Despair has lately been focusing on historic cartoons about the Great Depression. Check them out at The Stock Market Crash, Prosperity is Just Around the Corner, Hard Times, and Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Now It's Online

There's nothing like saying something hasn't happened to ensure that it will. Or so it sometimes seems. I was expecting it to take three or four months for my dissertation to go online at school, but it went up today. So, for those who really want to read about Toyen, Czech surrealism, and related topics, it's available for download. And now I really need to get back to work on writing the book proposal. Or at least thinking about how to grade the papers my seminar students just turned in discussing what Miloš Jiránek (1900) and Bohumil Kubišta (1911) had to say about Czech nationalism in art. Because the next set of papers to grade are on Romantic landscape in relation to the ideas of Burke, Hazlitt, and various German critics.
Meanwhile, the car refuses to start and the phone refuses to acknowledge that there really is a dial-tone coming in. That's just great. Fortunately I've been able to borrow an alarmingly high-tech phone so that if anyone tries to reach me to schedule a job interview, I might actually get the message. (It's all mystifying because no rabbits have chewed any cords and the internet still functions. So it must be the phone itself.)

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Another Done Dissertation is a Good Dissertation

I'm not the only person with a newly done dissertation. My friend Christine finished hers and defended beautifully to a whole roomful of people the first week of class (I'm not sure whether that full roomful was due to the time of the semester, to her being in Communication instead of Art History, or just to her personal magnetism... we'll say the last was a key factor). Christine even has a book contract already. But neither Christine's dissertation nor mine are online yet as the university moves slowly on that and Proquest moves even more slowly.
Danah Boyd, whose blog posts I sometimes note, has also just finished and as her dissertation is on social networking, it is hardly surprising that it is already online. Check it out and learn all you ever wanted to know about teenagers and social networking sites. I think the next topic to be dealt with is how the rest of us use these sites, a thing that has been intriguing me of late (when avoiding actual work and importunate rabbits).

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

I'm quite thankful to our departmental secretary for scheduling my classes so that I wasn't teaching during the presidential inauguration. I had not bothered to watch the last two (in fact I'm not sure when I last watched an inauguration), but we had the CNN internet live coverage coming into the Fine Arts auditorium and invited all and sundry to join us there. At least, I invited all my students and some of them definitely came along.
As inaugurations go, I'd say this was a pretty good one. Well orchestrated, pretty good choices of performers and speakers, and a historic, articulate president-elect with an attractive family. It was good watching the event in a group and having the sense of collective excitement and optimism.
Given the state of the world these days, I think the new administration will more than have their work cut out for them, but I'm looking forward to seeing what they do and how they do it.
Later on my advisor and I went out to dine and celebrate feeling generally positive about the future (which includes our general hopes about my employment prospects as well as the larger picture). After all, we have a new president, my courses are going along pretty well, and so despite the rather arctic weather and having too much to do, we feel pretty good.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

UPS Comes Through

Orion examines an eagerly awaited item that arrived for his human today and suggests that its frame might be considered edible. His human says no. Oil paintings are not edible. Paintings are not the province of the lapine community. Especially paintings by and of people we've known.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lapines Complain Bitterly

Ms. Spots and Orion would like to make it known that their human spends far too much time "working" when she should be attending to their petting and other needs. They are not altogether sure what this "working" stuff is all about other than that it involves going to places called "school" and "the cafe" and spending way too much time on that stupid laptop, but they state categorically that they are utterly opposed to this misuse of their human's valuable time.
The Spotted Pair admits that the negligent human did finally buy them fresh hay, pellets, and litter the other day, and came up with a passable selection of greens (collard, dandelion, and parsley) recently. The human has been very recalcitrant about confessing where the cookies were hidden, however, and seems to be hiding a bar of chocolate in one of the backpacks.
The Spotted Pair supposes that maybe there will be a letup sometime soon, but figures it's best not to lay bets on that. They are tired of hearing "I'll see you rabbits later."


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Ruination & Despair!

I realize that many of my readers believe in making New Year's resolutions (a thing I don't believe I have done myself since I was about 17), and indeed my friend Dirk says he has resolved not to replace any more of his joints in 2009, while my father, on the other hand, resolves to replace his other hip as soon as he can get the surgeon's attention.
Certainly, it's important to start the new year off right, and I'm happy to say that my friendly local rheumatologist has not suggested that any of my own joints need replacing, although I'm sure my dentist would be happy to give me another crown or two.
On the other hand, not everything in life can be fixed, so right around now one of my relatives is going off her respirator and getting the last painkillers. We hope it's a comfortable exit (her son says she will "expire," which is definitely a step up from "passing away") and that she ends up where she'd like to rather than in what is sometimes referred to as "the other place" (although in my immediate family "the other place" now refers to New Zealand after my father's memorable remark that not only did we know people who had lived in Australia but also in "the other place"--our apologies to the inhabitants of New Zealand).
And I've been invited to a year-later memorial for my friend Milt Wolff. I won't be able to attend due to my hectic teaching schedule, but I've been contemplating getting a framed enlargement of one of my livelier photos of Milt, which I think would look nice somewhere on the wall. It would definitely be better than the photos I took the week before he died, anyhow.
In the general spirit of getting everything off to a good start before we all get too excited about the Obama inauguration, I direct everyone to the new Archelaus blog, Ruination & Despair. You can discover the perfect name for your six-fingered child, learn the correct diet for walking on water, and even find out which new Archelaus cards have just debuted. It's just the thing!


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year and the Like

Orion and Ms. Spots wish everyone a Happy New Year. Their human is sniveling considerably (both literally and figuratively) and wants to know why the internet has been acting so dial-up-like in its speed these past few days, causing her to take hours and hours to do things with Artstor and Blackboard that would normally only take... well, fewer hours and hours.
In the New Year there will be additional postings of Who Should Do Your Portrait. We are also planning a new, somewhat similar game also invented by the intrepid art history grad students. Stay tuned!

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