I basically took the month off from this blog in January, so I hope I haven't lost too many of you. Making the transition from sabbatical life back to full-time teaching was more formidable than I had anticipated, and before I knew it, this blog had lapsed a lot. My apologies for that. For whomever may still be reading, here's some quick bullet-list coverage of the last month, which I hope can serve to bridge the gap and allow me to get back to regular, real-time blogging.
••>It's been SNOWING in Memphis! Four major snows in as many weeks here has been strange to say the least. Throw in a few days of almost-70 degree weather with that and the strange only gets stranger. Because of my teaching schedule and my College's refusal to declare any "snow days" (despite the fact that practically everything else in the city was closing), the winter weather hasn't affected me as much as it could have... but I did have to break down and dig through my old life-in-the-Northeast boxes to try to find a pair of gloves.
••>Football season is over. Auburn won the BCS championship, which made me very happy. But for the first time in a long time, I couldn't have cared less about the Super Bowl. All of my favorite NFL franchises got knocked out in the playoffs, leaving only the Steelers and the Packers, both teams I like but don't love. Oh, if you didn't see the complete DISASTER that was the Super Bowl halftime show, consider yourself one of the lucky few. Ah well. On the upside, this year's game did feature one of the greatest Super Bowl ads I've ever seen. Here it is:
••>Major stuff has gone down in Tunisia and Egypt. Like most people, I've been watching the revolution on YouTube and Facebook. Considering how many wonky politico-bloggers I have for friends, I'm surprised that not many of them have written much about Tunisia or Egypt. (Then again, I haven't been blogging about it either.) There was this from Anotherpanacea, which is thoughtful and reflective as always. But one of the best things I have seen so far is the video below from a protest in London, in which an Egyptian ex-pat speaks about and to his compatriots in their struggle for freedom and democracy. This is one of the most moving declarations of solidarity I've ever seen:
••>I won the Student Lottery in two of my classes this semester! For the last several years, I've incorporated blogging into all of my classes. This semester, I've got a really impressive group of students in two of my courses, as evidenced on their course blogs. Check out what smart students thinking hard about difficult things looks like on the Philosophy of Race course blog and the Humanism and Human Rights course blog.
••>"True Grit" should win the Oscars, but won't. Every year, I try to see all of the films nominated in the Academy Awards' "Best Picture" category. This year, there are a few worthy contenders (among which I count "The Social Network" and "The King's Speech"), but the Coen brothers' remake of "True Grit" is one of the best films I've seen in a long, long time. Unfortunately, it won't win, but it should.
••>My already high-tech classes are now SUPER high-tech. As readers of this blog know, I'm a big fan of utilizing new media in the classroom. This semester, in my Advanced Topics seminar on "Humanism and Human Rights," I'm having my students make documentary films about some human rights issue to accompany their seminar papers on the same topic. I'm both excited and terrified to see how this turns out. More updates to come.
••>The Avett Brothers are amazing. Fellow blogger Scu recommended the Avett Brothers to me a little while ago in the comments section of my 2010 Year in Music round-up, so I downloaded their album I and Love and You (which sounds like an Irigaray-inspired title). After only one listen through, was absolutely IN LOVE with this band. I've since downloaded all of their albums and can't remember the last time I've been so excited about new music. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Scu!
That just about brings us up to date. Re-mark this site on your web browsers, as more regular updates are forthcoming soon.