Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Opportunity missed

About a year ago I wrote a post about the traditional pardon for the National Thanksgiving Turkey.

I had suggested that maybe this time Bush could not issue the pardon. He did.

Opportunity missed to have a nice fresh turkey dinner.

Have a great Thanksgiving America.

How do some people get their jobs?

Have you ever wondered how some people get their jobs? I often do.

If you are in charge of getting polar bears to breed, you might want to, for example, be able to tell the difference between boys and girls. Just a thought. Apparently, in Japan it's not important.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oh, to be a fly on the wall.

There has always been an interstate rivalry between Minnesotans and Iowans. It is sometimes unfair because Iowans are too easy to pick on.

Last weekend the Iowa Hawkeyes demolished the Golden Gophers of Minnesota in an American football game. The score was an embarrassing 55-0. But, apparently there was not enough action on the football field for a couple of fans.

My favorite part of the story was:
"Walsh was released to his girlfriend and Feldman to her husband, police said."

Oh to be a fly on the wall in either of those homes.

There was one part though that really surprised me:
"Both were intoxicated, said Deputy Minneapolis Police Chief Chuck Miner."

Stupid Iowans.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

5 things about me

Abel Pharmboy over at Terra Sigillata has tagged me with this meme. His was insightful and interesting. Since it has been a while since I posted[1] I figured this would be a nice easy post to do even if it isn't insightful or interesting.

5 Things I was Doing 10 years Ago:
1) Getting geared up to marry my first and only wife
2) Trying to decide if I should return to grad school and finish my Ph.D..[2]
3) Singing excessive amounts of karaoke but getting paid in drinks to do it.
4) Finishing my first fall semester of teaching
5) Trying to figure out how I was going to pay off my student loans.

5 Things On My To-Do List Today:
1) Finish building the bar in my basement
2) Formulate objectives and expected proficiencies for our Chemistry Major
3) Grade the exams from my Chemistry of Art class.
4) Sleep[1]
5) Take over the world

5 Snacks I Love:
1) Keebler Toasted crackers
2) Anything from my childrens' Halloween bucket
3) Beer
4) Aged Cheddar
5) Smoked sausage and Diet Pepsi.

5 Things I Would Do If I Were A Millionaire:
1) Give it all away to charity[3]
2) Pay someone to finish the bar in my basement.
3) Buy some kick ass science equipment my department can't afford and put auto-samplers on everything. EVERYTHING.
4) Buy a lot of cheese and sausage.
5) Give my wife the things she really deserves.

5 Places I've Lived:
1) In a tiny rural, farm town
2) In a major metropolitan area
3) In Husker territory
4) In the shadow of mountains
5) In a state of denial

5 Jobs I've Had:
1) Bean walker[4]
2) Cell phone part builder
3) Oat bran bar packager
4) Movie theater cashier
5) Edumacator

I'm going to tag 5 people to do the same thing I just did, but I'll have to do that later.[1]

[1] I've learned to spell the word "colicky" if that gives you any idea what I've been dealing with.
[2] I did.
[3] Unless I actually had the million. If I did, I'd be like, "stay away from me, charity. Get your own million dollars. This one is mine."
[4] Back before Round-up ready beans, kids like me would be hired to walk through bean fields and pull weeds.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"BBA" is for...

Bad Bond Angle!

There are a few things I insist on in Organic Chemistry. One of the big ones is that I expect students to draw realistic bond angles. I am always reminded that this must be very hard for students to do. Even my best students draw impossible bond angles.

Things look like this:

These present teachable moments. I don't bring the sledgehammer down. Just a calm and stern correction. What they have drawn is wrong, and they can learn from their mistakes with proper guidance.

Eventually, when they should know better, I take points away. I once had a student ask me why I took points away. I told her it was because her answer was wrong. She didn't like that. Apparently she felt her ability to put something onto paper was worthy of credit. I had to convince her otherwise.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Information... it is everywhere

My modest experiment to see how long I could go without finding out who won the presidential election lasted only a few hours. All I wanted to do was see if it was even possible to avoid what would be historic news (one way or the other). After all, Obama was going to be the first African-American to either win OR lose a presidential election.

Well, I found out who won thanks to the scroll on ESPN. I was just trying to watch a little football.

I could have avoided finding out if I would have shut off all electronic devices. If there is one thing that defines our modern times it is the relentless flow of information. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it sure is something that makes modern society unique.

I recently read Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose. Even as recently as 200 years ago[1], It would take days for news to travel from the East Coast to Missouri. Nothing moved faster than the speed of horse. Now information is instant. The fact that I was unable to avoid the presidential information is not surprising but yet impressive.

[1] in the grand scheme of human events, 200 years is nothing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


If you are eligible to vote in the USA, please do so. I did. It took me 3 minutes, literally. I walked in, they checked my name and ID, I signed, got a ballot, voted right-wing-ultraconservative-nut-job across the board and dumped my ballot into what looked like a shredder. I'm assuming it was a shredder.

For those of you who stood (or will stand) in long lines, ha ha!!!!

Now, how long do you think I could go without finding out who won the presidential race.

I'm going to try a little experiment and see how long I can go without finding out. Any bets on how long I can go? I have a meeting first thing in the morning, so that will be tough. If I don't turn on my internet, I should be OK. It's worth a try.