Tag Archives: Columbia

And that’s the way it was

19 Jul

Last week was long, important, and fun. It included petonque, councilmen, Miss New York, Zip cars, editors, Harry Potter, Stendhal, Borders, birthdays, and poetry at Bryant Park.

But, more importantly: Walter Cronkite died on Friday night. He was 92. A huge loss, still. I had the privilege of seeing him in person when he spoke at Columbia’s J-School during my first year at Barnard.

I remember this clearly not only because of Cronkite himself, but because it was it was the first time I asked a professor to make a Spec exception for me. Cronkite was a formidable, self-deprecating man, who, unsurprisingly, attracted a huge crowd. I remember my mother flipping out with excitement when I told her about the assignment. Cronkite—this is a real man. He took to the podium, and, between sips of water—he apologized, as he usually drinks “not water” but he just recovered from surgery—and slapped the media on its behind for its screwy management.

Then he said:

“The young people I see entering the field of journalism today are no less intelligent or dedicated than in my generation. … They are indeed … brave to be entering a profession with far less job security and far greater economic uncertainty … out of a deep sense of commitment to public service.”

What an inspiration, to see a hero laud my choices, despite admitting to their drawbacks.

But as the Times notes, he’s leaving us in a world where “the television news business long ago lost that kind of prestige and importance; the audience for evening newscasts has so dwindled that this year there were more viewers on an average night for “American Idol” than for the programs on CBS, NBC and ABC combined.”

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Overheard in Philosophy Hall

11 May

Tenured professor: You look happy, you’re dancing!

Young-ish associate professor: I feel so much better. I just avoided giving out my first C.

Aw!

In Butler, a waste land of sorts.

10 May

After a lovely outdoors lunch with Dan, the library is looking much dimmer.

Especially since the only place I could find a seat was by the window on the sixth floor. No outlet. The desk is positioned at a weird angle, so my arms are hurting already.

And oh, the view. A room with a horrible, disgusting view. Directly in front of me is a dirty window with a sign, advising all those inside to keep the windows shut due to noise and dust and “tar smells.” Yum. Immediately beyond this window is a red-brick wall, dotted with older white stones. Beyond that is a green (not copper) roof with horizontal slats that I cannot identify. To the left is the wall of Carman, and we all know what that looks like—from here, some tacky motel. And it took me a full 15 minutes to find this seat.

So here I am, procrastinating still.

Found on a Butler computer: “I seen her all crusty make up and sweaty pits. She don’t shower. Not often.”

5 May

I am currently in Butler Library, working on a paper. When I wanted to open up a document from the Temp folder, I found a ridiculous doc titled “Handjobs.” It’s 6 pages of dialogue between unnamed characters. See excerpts below:

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On the steps with Alix…

3 May

Just passed Dean Quigley and his wife on the way to or from some function, all spiffed up.

If you have any messages for the departing dean, let me know! We’ll make sure he reads it 🙂

my umbrella…

1 May

So we all know that “PrezBo” has a (mock) Twitter account.

But the real question is, does he?

Well, according to an interview for Spec today, nope. He said he didn’t even know what it means. He giggled when we shared sample tweets with him, including this gem: “Air conditioner in office broke, so left fridge door open.” He replied, “Ah, that’s clever.”

Later, when I caught up with him before the University Senate meeting, I borrowed at Shane’s iPhone to show him what all the hype was about. He found the entire business pretty funny, and laughed some more. (I’m writing this down here, because I don’t really see this fitting into anyone’s upcoming article…)

But I left my umbrella in his house. Wondering if/how I should ever retrieve that? I guess I could use a rain hat?

Not pretty. C’est la vie.