August 24th, 2004

Daughter in Maryland

My daughter has left for her freshman year of college. She will be attending St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, a school whose curriculum could be summed up as "Great Books 24/7." I hope, very much, that she likes it there.

She is our youngest, so our nest is looking empty!

When I was at Columbia in the early 70's for two years, we had a kind of modified great books program going on. I enjoyed the books themselves as a rule, but I kept feeling that the professors saw the books through distorted lenses. This certainly wasn't something I could prove, but often it seemed like they had read a different book than I had.

Some of that is human nature and different premises, but I have come to believe that academic trends and "research programs" played a huge part in it. There is always some "new thing" in any academic area, and the "new thing" is what articles get published about, so it is what professors spend time reading and thinking about.

But the "new thing" for the students is the book itself, and they should learn the main things the book has to offer before they learn the trendy new slant on it.

Rhyme of the day:

Don't let me rant
About trendy slant!

Bigger Biceps

I did a triathlon a couple of weeks ago, and I recently got an email saying "Your Photos Are Ready." You see, professional photographers take pictures at some races, and then sell them after the race. In the email was a link, straight to my photos.

Of course, I clicked on the link. There were two thumbnail pics. In one, I was coming out of the water in my wetsuit, and in the other I was running toward the finish line. I clicked each in turn to zoom in.

The finish line photo looked about normal for me, but I was very struck by the wetsuit photo. I was especially struck by how big my arm muscles looked. Wow, I thought, I must have been really pumped from swimming! I decided to buy the photo.

But there was a problem with the photo. My face was turned away, almost, from the camera.

For some reason my attention turned to the wetsuit brand emblem. Then it dawned on me. That wasn't the wetsuit I had been wearing!

Now I understood the bigger biceps. They were some other guy's!

Rhyme of the Day:

My muscles were pumped right after the swim,
But not as pumped as the arms on him!

Here are "my" 2 pictures. Note that my race number is 220. Note also, that on his swim cap, and on his bulging arm, is a number that looks a lot like 220, but is probably 226.