About stuff (including me and writing)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

bouquets of sharpened pencils

I'm back from vacation.

Besides gaining 4 pounds, reading "Corbin and Cobbes" comics to my 4-year-old Calvin-like nephew, packing all my liquids and gels into checked luggage, and the other usual 107-degree Texas-vacation-y stuff, I reminisced about Returning to School.

The day I flew back was the first day of school for two nephews, a niece, and a junior high teacher-brother. A couple of days before, my (computer programmer)-brother and I took a walk through town which included the back-alley way "home" from our short-ceilinged elementary school. I miss the excitement-nervousness of starting a new school year. I miss the new clothes and supplies and teachers and schedules and locker. I miss the cafeteria.

School starts for me here in about two weeks. On my to-do list: get excited/nervous about it. (No new clothes or supplies to speak of, but plenty-o new colleagues and students.)

And I find myself, as always, musing about what is up with the apparent cultural equalization of the academic with the professional with the financial/material/successful.

One of my top five most required and most despised responsibilities as a college professor (especially one with administrative roles) is addressing the ever-present demand, "And what can I/my child do with a Communications degree?" Patooey! Be an intelligent, effective, responsible, human being who contributes to society, that's what.

I joined a new online dealy at gather.com. You're welcome to visit it and read my "article" (Rambling Rant) about learning for the love of it (for the love of pete) if you feel like getting into the question of the purpose and practicality of education. It's not really about learning for the love it; rather, it's about being confused and a teacher.

Meantime, it's back to the grindstone, beloved and humanistically-spiritually beneficial as it is, for me.

(p.s. for a take on understanding/living "humanist" in non-oppositional ways to "spiritual," you can check out my current top-10 favorite book "Hollywood Priest," the autobiography of Ellwood Kieser, which is out of print but you can get, according to my sister, for about $1.40 through amazon.)

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