Wednesday, April 25, 2018

“Volunteer adjuncts”

Says one professor, “It looks like an attempt to outsource work to unpaid labor.” I agree. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is looking for alumni with terminal degrees to serve as what the school calls “volunteer adjuncts”:

In an email to department chairs, Michael R. Molino, associate dean for research, budget, and personnel, asked for help in finding alumni with terminal degrees who would apply “to join the SIU Graduate Faculty in a zero-time (adjunct) status.“

Alumni who accepted the three-year positions might serve on graduate students’ thesis committees, teach graduate or undergraduate lectures, or collaborate on research projects, according to Molino’s e-mail.
I suggest that Associate Dean Molino visit the SIU School of Medicine and have his head examined.

“What would I have done
without the library?”

Sixth-grade, and Beverly Cleary (then Bunn) has moved from fairy tales to the Myths and Legends shelves of the Rose City Branch Library:

There I came upon the story of Persephone and her mother, Demeter. The flowers that enticed Persephone to stray from her companions reminded me of our pasture in Yamhill, where I had often been enticed to run on to a thicker clump of buttercups or a patch of fatter Johnny-jump-ups. In my imagination I became Persephone. Turning into the daughter of a Greek goddess was easy — I had had so much experience turning from a brown-haired girl with crooked teeth into a golden-haired or raven-haired princess in fairy tales. At home, the wet Oregon winter with its sodden leaves became the dark underworld, and somehow Mother’s telephone soliciting kept the world from blooming. Demeter’s search for Persephone comforted me. What would I have done without the library?

A Girl from Yamhill: A Memoir (New York: William Morrow, 1988).
Related reading
All OCA Cleary posts (Pinboard)

[“Telephone soliciting”: selling magazine subscriptions.]

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


“Worse than a travesty, it’s a tragedy”: Bryan Garner writes about the trend of “deaccessioning” books from university libraries (ABA Journal).

This trend threatens public libraries as well. A nearby library was the site of a disgraceful adventure in “weeding” a few years back, when the library’s director ordered the removal of all non-fiction more than ten years old. The library board ended up removing the director.

A related post
Preventing discards

LY 1–7116

Sean at Blackwing Pages and Contrapuntalism passed on this photograph of the back of a photograph. Two contributors to the Telephone EXchange Name Project identify Irvington’s LY as LYric.

You’d wonder about Daniel Berry too, wouldn’t you? Emmett Daniel Berry (1927–2011) worked as a photographer before devoting himself to the cause of fire safety. For more than fifty years, he was a volunteer firefighter in Irvington, serving as chief from 1973 to 1974. His obituary describes him as strong advocate for fire-safety legislation, “responsible for sprinkler code legislation throughout municipalities in New York State.”

Hot pillows

Beverly Cleary (then Bunn) continues to make her way through school:

The third-grade teacher at Gregory Heights Grammar School soon became ill and was replaced by a substitute who stayed the rest of the semester. Schoolwork was easy, but the substitute, I felt, could not be very bright. One day she asked a boy to make a sentence using the word “hot.” He answered, “My pillow is hot.”

“Don’t be silly,” she said. “Stoves are hot. Fires are hot. Pillows can’t be hot.”

Yes they can, I thought. I felt sorry for the little boy, who looked ashamed. Pillows could be very hot. Dumb teacher.

Beverly Cleary, A Girl from Yamhill: A Memoir (New York: William Morrow, 1988).
This substitute reminds me of the student teacher who told fourth-grader Bryan Garner that shan’t isn’t a word and refused to acknowledge otherwise. Dumb teacher.

Related reading
All OCA Beverly Cleary posts (Pinboard)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Learning styles

A study of 426 undergraduate anatomy students finds no correlation between preferred “learning style” and learning:

Results demonstrated that most students did not report study strategies that correlated with their VARK assessment, and that student performance in anatomy was not correlated with their score in any VARK categories [visual, aural, reading/writing, kinesthetic]. Rather, some specific study strategies (irrespective of VARK results), such as use of the virtual microscope, were found to be positively correlated with final class grade. However, the alignment of these study strategies with VARK results had no correlation with anatomy course outcomes. Thus, this research provides further evidence that the conventional wisdom about learning styles should be rejected by educators and students alike.
Or in plainer language: Most students did not keep to their supposed learning style when studying. Students’ grades showed no correlation with keeping or not keeping to a supposed learning style. And certain study strategies led to better grades, regardless of a student’s supposed learning style.

The study, by Polly R. Husmann and Valerie D. O’Loughlin, is behind a paywall. But here’s an article that summarizes its findings.

I remember some years ago being told that I am a “visual learner.” Yes, I prefer to read a text than have it read to me, though in VARK terms that makes me an R, not a V. But if I’m really an R, how did I ever manage to get so much from all the classes in which I sat and listened and took notes as professors lectured? Or how did I figure out fingerpicking patterns by listening to Mississippi John Hurt records?

As Husmann and O’Loughlin write, “the adage of ‘I can’t learn subject X because I am a visual learner’ should be put to rest once and for all.” I look back at this post and cringe.

Sean Hannity’s “property empire”

The Guardian reports on Sean Hannity’s “property empire.” And here I was, thinking that Hannity was asking Michael Cohen for advice about buying that cute little split-level ranch in the new subdivision.

From my dad’s CDs

I’m still making my way through my dad’s CDs: Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, Ivie Anderson, Louis Armstrong, Fred Astaire, Mildred Bailey, Count Basie, Tony Bennett, Art Blakey, Ruby Braff and Ellis Larkins, Clifford Brown, Dave Brubeck, Joe Bushkin, Hoagy Carmichael, Betty Carter, Ray Charles, Charlie Christian, Rosemary Clooney, Nat “King” Cole, John Coltrane, Bing Crosby, Miles Davis, Matt Dennis, Doris Day, Blossom Dearie, Paul Desmond, Tommy Dorsey, Billy Eckstine, Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, Gil Evans, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Erroll Garner, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Stéphane Grappelli, Bobby Hackett, Coleman Hawkins, Woody Herman, Earl Hines, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Dick Hyman, Harry James, Hank Jones, Louis Jordan, Stan Kenton, Barney Kessel, Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross, Peggy Lee, Mary Ann McCall, Susannah McCorkle, Dave McKenna, Ray McKinley, Marian McPartland, Johnny Mercer, Helen Merrill, Glenn Miller, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Thelonious Monk, Wes Montgomery, Gerry Mulligan, Red Norvo, Anita O’Day, Charlie Parker, Joe Pass, Art Pepper, Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, Boyd Raeburn, Django Reinhardt, Marcus Roberts, Sonny Rollins, Jimmy Rushing, Catherine Russell, the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, Artie Shaw, George Shearing, Horace Silver, Frank Sinatra, Paul Smith, Jeri Southern, Jo Stafford, Art Tatum, Claude Thornhill, Mel Tormé, McCoy Tyner, and now, Sarah Vaughan.

Here are two Vaughan performances from the 1961 Roulette recording After Hours: “Sophisticated Lady” (Duke Ellington–Irving Mills–Mitchell Parish) and “In a Sentimental Mood” (Ellington–Mills–Manny Kurtz). Accompanying Vaughan: Mundell Lowe (guitar) and George Duvivier (bass). Recorded in New York City, July 18, 1961. Hypnosis!

Also from my dad’s CDs
Mildred Bailey : Tony Bennett : Charlie Christian : Blossom Dearie : Duke Ellington : Coleman Hawkins : Billie Holiday : Louis Jordan : Charlie Parker : Jimmy Rushing : Artie Shaw : Frank Sinatra : Art Tatum : Mel Tormé

[No, Irving Mills didn’t write a note. But he got his name on the songs, which meant royalties.]

Sunday, April 22, 2018


Fans of Van Dyke Parks should know that Turner Classic Movies is airing The Swan (dir. Charles Vidor, 1956) today, 6:00 Eastern. VDP plays young George.

See also VDP in The Honeymooners.

Related reading
All OCA Van Dyke Parks posts (Pinboard)

Bad mail days

The opening paragraph of a story in today’s The New York Times:

A mail carrier in Brooklyn stashed about 17,000 pieces of undelivered mail for more than a decade because he was “overwhelmed” by the amount he had to deliver, the authorities said.
“The authorities”?

And if you read the article, you’ll see that it’s never made clear who “the authorities” are.