“Higher education should be about more than gaining a credential that gives one a leg up in the marketplace. But if we are going to re-focus the debate on the non-utilitarian substance of higher learning—on the transmission of disciplined intellectual inquiry, on developing civilized discernment, on aspiration for genuinely higher knowledge—we had better be prepared to rethink our national preoccupation with mass higher education. Judged by those standards, contemporary American undergraduate education as a whole is a colossal failure.
Which is it? Do we want to run a mass credentialing service that the public increasingly views as an expensive con? Or do we want to engage in rigorous higher education as something that has intrinsic value, but which our current system is ill-suited to provide?”
December 31, 2010
December 26, 2010
A typographical poem. This is the best thing I’ve seen all day. Brilliant thoughts and presentation.
December 25, 2010
Spent four hours making a most awesome Christmas feast. A roast with carrots, garlic mashed potatoes, hatch chili corn, rolls, and a nice 337 Cabernet. And for dessert, home-made white chocolate raspberry torte:
Yum. Merry Christmas everyone. Now roll me off to bed.
December 24, 2010
December 23, 2010
Beginning my plow through the Python programming language. Thanks to Sean (and co-worker) for pointing out this free online book. I had just put the book into my Amazon basket when he pointed out the free PDF version. Thanks, Sean!
*update* Just wrote my first program (my blog software won’t indent, but you get the picture):
#this is the number guessing game
print (‘hello! what is your name?’)
number = random.randint(1,20)
print (‘well, ‘ +myName+ ‘, I am thinking of a number between 1 and 20.’)
print (‘You have 6 guesses’)
while guessesTaken < 6: print("Take a guess.")#There are four spaces in front of print. guess=input() guess=int(guess) guessesTaken=guessesTaken+1 if guess < number: print ('your guess is too low.') if guess > number:
print (‘your guess is too high’)
if guess == number:
if guess == number:
guessesTaken = str(guessesTaken)
print (‘Good job, ‘ +myName+ ‘! You guessed my number in ‘ +guessesTaken+ ‘ guesses!’)
if guess != number:
number = str(number)
print (‘Nope. The number I was thinking of was ‘ + number)
December 22, 2010
December 20, 2010
“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will not themselves be realized.”
Daniel Burnham, architect
December 18, 2010
“I don’t know why anyone would want to be 20 again. I can understand why you’d want to be 20, but not again.”
Indeed. I loved my 20’s, but I’m enjoying my 40’s just as much- maybe more?. This whole aging thing all the adults always talked about? Not as scary as the reality, apparently. I was talking to a 55ish father of a Sing chair yesterday and when I told him I’d been involved in the show for 20 years (this year!) you’d have thought I had said I was driving Archduke Ferdinand’s open top limo. He just could not believe that I was telling the truth. Did it make me feel good? Sure, but I also wondered why more people aren’t like this. It’s like the great mass of humanity has decided that dourness, melancholy, and a careworn expression are hung around your neck upon your attainment of the mighty Three-Oh and you have to wear them like an albatross until you expire. Well, nuts to that.
This has been making the rounds lately. We really are living in the future.
December 17, 2010
Just finished two days (about 20 hours) of prop building in the shop with a terrific group of Sing Chairs. A wonderful time. We breezed through the construction of six great props on day one and came back thinking it would only take us an hour or two to build the final prop. It took 8 hours. Not because we were particularly stymied, but just because we realized we had the time so why not have a discussion about the why of this prop? After talking for a while, we made the decision to redesign it and go completely over-the-top. It’s not a gigantic monstrosity or anything, but I’m really proud of it. My best description of it is that it looks exactly like the real thing- because it essentially is the real thing. I got a chance to teach the group the difference between “prop tolerances” where you can forgive an error of 1/2″ or so because the audience won’t ever see it, and “furniture tolerances” where it’s going to be viewed from close-up. They totally got into it and we had a blast being stupidly picky and perfectionistic.
Even though this prop will never be seen by the audience from less than 50 feet, it still stands up to a very, very close inspection. It’s something that most people wouldn’t mind having in their homes (if they had the, er, room).
Anyway, it was a great two days for teaching craftsmanship, doing woodworking, and getting to know each other. What does it say that I’m incredibly sore but would love to go out and do it again tomorrow?
December 15, 2010
Love the song at the end.
How to insult Harry Potter, Star Wars, and LOTR fans simultaneously.
Paradise Recovered is getting some great press. Andie Redwine (the writer and producer) won the Hoosier Award, and we got a brief mention in Variety magazine just below “The Social Network” and “Black Swan”. Not bad company.
December 14, 2010
As of Wednesday, December 15th Erin and I have been married for five thousand days. 2010 was a year that saw both my 15th K-day and our 5th.
Happy 5K, sweetie!
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