Wednesday, December 31, 2003

now I feel old and broke

Bought my son a car today, scary but needed. After some looking, we decided on a 2000 Chevy Blazer. Dark blue, cd player and 4 wheel drive. It seems to drive well and rides good and seems OK. Yes, I got the extended warranty.

Muse to retire

Muse decides not to take faculty position in ECU business school

Former ECU chancellor and Auburn president will retire effective tomorrow. His health has not been that good.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

63% of U.S. is online --ah the potential

The Internet hasn't reeled in everyone yet | csmonitor.com

electric guitars to go digital?

Wired 12.01: The 100-Megabit Guitar

I sort of understand guitars and sort of understand digital technology but not the two in the same package. Someone please explain this to me. The gibson company apparently thinks this is a good thing.
Next a digital banjo??
FedEx to buy Kinko's

FedEx to buy Kinko's for $2.4 B in cash - Dec. 30, 2003

When UPS got mailboxes back, this changed the landscape. FedEx needed retail outlets and Kinko's just might do it. There seem to be less of them than the old mailbox stores but that might just be my impression.
On the whole and on the surface it seems like a good move.
where U.S. beef is banned

Las Vegas SUN: Nations That Have Banned U.S. Beef

We banned beef from Canada and that might have caused higher prices. Now many countries have banned our beef, that should lessen demand and prices should begin to fall. I bet we hear a million reasons why this should not happen but it should.
Not much blogging today-- my son and I are supposed to be used car shopping. however, we aren't making much progress. At this rate he will be moved out before we can find one. And don't even mention a 67 'vette.
diet update

Well, I got home and hit the scales. Needed to know how much I had gained over the Christmas trip. Much to my surprise, the scales indicated that I had lost weight. What? Lost? This can’t be right! How could I have lost? These are the home scales and not the “official scales of unfreezing the blog”, those are located at the rec center on campus. Still, the home scales showed my wife had gained a pound but that I was at the lowest point ever, ever being the last 15 years. The only explanation I have is that the scales are wrong or that I have come down with a fast acting, fatal wasting disease. Will keep you posted.
I also saw some new low-carb products on the trip. WalMart, in Panama City, had some granola that was only 4 carbs for a half cup. I plan on trying in a little while.


Monday, December 29, 2003

back in town

Birmingham was nice -- so was Panama City but I'm glad to be home.
Great change and bore blogging will resume tomorrow--I think.

boy am I glad I was out of town!
someone is killing the Jim Smith's of Greenville

While I was gone a James Smith, Jr. [my name] died. He was 88 -- whew not me. Also, a former prof. from the university W. James Smith died a few days later. I hope the grim reaper was not here looking for me, I'm not ready to go.


Saturday, December 20, 2003

gone for a while

We are leaving in the morning to visit relatives in Alabama and Florida. I think we will return about the 29th or so.
Have a Merry Christmas everyone.
The change blogging and the dull bore blogging about the diet and workouts and other stuff will be back around the first of the year.

Friday, December 19, 2003

the semester is over

Most of you mark the passing of the days and years with calendars and the like. Things such as end of the year and fiscal year have meaning. In my world there are two main time periods. Fall semester and spring semester. Summer terms don’t really count.
In some ways it is like being in school all your life, which is what most academics really want.
One down side of this is that I can’t get in any sort of Christmas mood until the semester ends. By then it is usually crowded and way too busy. If you couple that with the fact that I am not really a Christmas type person, it’s not a great season for me. But I can still fool some of the people all of the time and all of them some of the time, only have to do it once a year.

sometimes he shows some insight

My 16-year-old son and I were talking, on the way to school this morning. We were talking about the man, in our church that died. I said that seeing him on Sunday always made me feel good, as he was so nice and friendly. My son agreed, and then said something I did not expect from him. He said that Alston always made you feel that him, seeing you had made his day. He stated that he always felt that no matter how bad Alston had felt, that talking to you had made him feel better. Alston made you feel that seeing you was the highlight of his day.
Not bad for a 16 year old and not a bad way to be remembered, for anyone. I want to be remembered that way, guess I had better work on it.


Thursday, December 18, 2003

ruby tuesday's

They lost Mr. Possum but they have gained my family. The new low carb menu will get me back again. After a long night of shopping my wife and I went to ruby tuesdays for dinner. I had the burger wrap and salad. The menu said only 8 carbs and it was good.
The nicest, sweetest and most kind man, I have known in years died yesterday. I have known him, at church, since we started going there in about 1980. He was active in many things and always had a kind and supportive word. He was 80 and had lived a full life. Right now that does not help; I will miss him as will all of us in the parish.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Mobile's ship comes in

al.com: News

And it is a 1,452 passenger one from Carnival lines. Trips to Mexico are planned. This should be a nice point to departure.
time to relax from all the work I have done

Set of grades in and time for a snack. Wal-Mart type pork skins, Mexican brand?, really crunchy, pretending that dark mustard is dip, a diet pepsi and listening to Alison Krauss. Does it get any better than this--maybe a nap.

Snack update--bore blogging at its very best
ran out of dark mustard but found low carb candy bar- if i don't get sick it will not be from lack of trying.
close to being finished

All the discussion tests are graded and the grades turned in. We turn them via the web now. The only exams left to do are op-scan graded. I'm just waiting to access the email, to an entire class, and let them know the grades are posted. Let the whining begin.
Robinson update

Las Vegas SUN: Episcopal Bishops to Protest Gay Decision

The bishop of Pittsburg is forming a network of like minded parishes and dioceses that oppose Robinson. They say they are not leaving the church but this might be the start. This will give a test of their numbers and strength.
I do know many of you don't care but there are some episcopalians out there who do.
powered flight

100 years ago, a few hours from here, the Wright brothers flew their plane. The world was never the same again. That really was an unfreezing moment. We would never be able to look at time and distance the same way, ever again.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

given this it is posible my son will eventually be able to make a living

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | South Korea's professional gamers

Lots of stuff on the blog tonight, are you getting the idea the paper is in the mail and the semester is winding down?
atkins burgers--yummy

'Low-carb burgers' are wrapped in lettuce

Hardee's/Carl Jr.s , quick serve places will offer a big burger wrapped in lettuce. I wamt one now. It might work; many of us buy the burgers now and just toss the bread. It does make you use a knife and fork or be really messy.
BTW, the original Hardees was near campus. It was started by a local guy and he sold early. Never made the big bucks or so I hear. He had other places over the years and he really could make a great burger. Winning idea, good meat, good bread, well cooked and keep the condiments simple.
beautiful women make men irrational--like this was news

WRAL.com - Family - Beautiful Women Make Men Irrational

Real honest to goodness research now show it. It is nice to show things you already knew, are true.
morning-after pill to become OTC?

WRAL.com - Health - Advisers Recommend Nonprescription Morning-After Pill

That is what FDA advisers are are recommending. This is a moment.
a visit from the shrub elves

While I was at work, busily pushing back the frontiers of knowledge and generally stomping out ignorance, someone came and put shrubs in the yard. It could not have been me as I have a congenital defect. My hand does not fit yard implements. My wife did not know this or pretended not to care, when we were dating.
Never the less, it was either the landscape and generally great yard guy [Mr. Hicks] or it was the shrub elves. The shrub elves come to some houses in the neighborhood and where there was a plain, nothing yard –there are now green shrubs. All of this is accomplished without a quest.
I love my shrubbery.

I want the reference

Everyone tells me that working out and walking will make me feel better. I think this is only hearsay. I want the reference; today just about killed me, I think.

Monday, December 15, 2003

copy room blogging

I have nothing to say but it is nice to know if i get an idea while in the copy room, I could blog it.

I now have something to say-- the stapler on one of the machines went haywire and the instructions don't work for me. They, the instructions, are the picture type. Small picture type, at the bottom of the copier, hard to see and they, the pictures all seem to be the same.
thank goodness, I never had to use this one
windows 98 support to end

The Beaufort Gazette: Microsoft ending support for Windows 98

At present in hte house or office, are XP, Me and for now just one version of mac OS. At one time it was also nt and another mac OS. I might not be smart but I can be dumb in several platforms.
an on-going concern for McDonald's

The Beaufort Gazette: McDonald's taking some non-core business off plate

They are going to "do fewer things, better". This would apply to the menu also. The constant struggle at a place this is, do we expand[menu or operations] to take advantage of opportunities, at the expense of being cost efficient?
The issue here only accounts for a few percent of revenue, so no big deal. However, the admission of change is a big deal.
now back to regular change blogging
another company cuts back on outsourcing to India
The Beaufort Gazette: Lehman stops outsourcing computer help desk to India

This looks like a trend; although not all will come back. I have had a few run-ins with Indian call centers. The encounters were not pleasant. Most call center episodes are not pleasant but these went on for days and sere really dumb. The bank in charge of the Wal-Mart credit card, bugged me for days about an account I did not have. They seemed not to understand that Jim Smith was not charles Smith and that I did not even know him. We lived in the same town. Lack of knowledge of the culture just might play a role here.
In a few minutes, I am off to a review session. I only plan on taking questons, the time for teaching has passed. I'm not sure if anyone gets help from this but they seem to appreciate the effort.
Then back to run off the tests, no my grad student is busy with his own exams. Better planning on my part might have cured this problem.

Making out another exam. I'm just a test making fool.

Test complete--test banks are a true gift.
exam blogging

They are taking an exam and I am watching. Not really so much to catch cheaters but to answer questions if they have some. I try and trust my seniors; in a few days these people are going to be managing people and money for others in the community. If I cannot trust them to take a test, how can I tell a potential employer to trust them as employees?
I am putting the last of the paper in order to send out, getting ready for a review session for the intro management course and going to a college curriculum meeting. When I get back to the second part of the “academic institution” series, I will explain why we have so many committees. Yes we probably do have more than you do, maybe not.


Sunday, December 14, 2003

weekend update

Did I mention that I hate to grade tests, in fact most of us do. We do it with the same relish that you managers approach performance appraisal. I would rather take 5 than grade one.

Sunday, at work, grading exams

I am currently in my “spider hole” grading exams and getting another set ready to give later in the week. Graduation was a royal pain in the rear but well worth it. The place was packed for the undergraduate ceremony, yes we do hold the graduation before exams are over, that is a topic for later. When you see the families and friends of the graduates it makes the dumb stuff worthwhile.
I was a faculty marshal this time. My job was to get them started up the steps to the stage, not too soon and not too late. Basically pushed, nudged each of them in the back. We will see tomorrow if I get a harassment charge.
I was glad to see they got him; since I have not blogged on the war I will not start now as I don’t think this is a real unfreezing event.
One last thing for now, my ads are now for academic regalia—neat.
The next dull installment of the academic institution will come later in the week. It promises to be even duller than the first, I can hardly wait.


Friday, December 12, 2003

end of the day

Well, the day went pretty much on schedule. Test made out—test given, wish it was self grading. The paper is mostly done; just some citation work left. The reception for the graduates went well. However, [you might want to make a note of this] do not forget to eat all day, (no the Atkins shake does not really count) then have cheese and two gasses of wine. I am stuck in my office for a while.
Tomorrow I get to be a faculty marshal at two graduation ceremonies. That should take all day but might be interesting. It is a big day for the students and their families; I should not put it down. I will post this at the top but regular blogging will be under the post about academia, I really would like feedback to that. The post below is rather simple but starts the foundation for some later things.
Have a great weekend everyone.
Remember, new stuff will be below the post called “the academic institution”.


While reading articles concerning the ongoing problems at Auburn University, it occurred to me, that many people do not really understand the workings of the university. Many of these people attended college but were perhaps not aware of the workings inside the institution. In fact, undergraduates and masters’ students have no real reason to concern themselves with how the work was done or what was being done, for that matter.
Thus I plan a series of a few short [note to self, short really does mean short] posts on the university. Let me say, at the start, that not all professors would agree with my assessment, nor should they. My first topic will be the purpose of the university. From there, I will attempt to deal with faculty governance and the topic of change in the university. If this topic does not drive away the readers I have, I will appreciate comments and try to answer them.

Why does the university exist? What do the people of each state expect from the vast amounts of money spent to fund each campus? North Carolina has about 16 institutions of higher learning that are part of the state system. We have many more private colleges and universities. Remember, I will be talking about universities and not junior colleges or technical schools. There are many views of what the university should provide for its stakeholders.
A former chancellor of ECU said at the opening convocation one year [not original to him] that he had three jobs, to provide the opportunity for: a good football team for the alumni; 2. parking for the faculty; and 3. sex for the students. While this might be funny, it probably does sum up what some see as our role. A journalist in North Carolina said that faculty was hired to do what you do not have the time to do. That is you hire us to think, for you. Do not take this to mean that you do not think but you do not have the spare time, working in the real world, to do what you pay us to do. Do you really have the time to ponder what some poet really meant, what is the nature of DNA, what affects attitudes toward recovering alcoholics as managers [a personal favorite of mine], what forms of business organization work best in certain environmental conditions or the nature of human nature?
Do you hire us to do this because you are not smart enough? Hell, no! You hire us because you don’t have the time; you pay us to have the time. Thus, a major part of our job and the job of the university is the creation of knowledge. The other main part is the transmission of that knowledge. This is just another way of saying teaching and research. To my mind, the other things a university does are secondary to its main purposes. Those other things are important, things like sports, cultural events and economic development but they are not our primary outputs. We teach and we research, most major decisions of a university are related to those two issues.
I described the university, to a group of students, as the one safe place to show your ignorance. In fact, we demand that you admit your ignorance; together we will try and alleviate it. The admission of ignorance, not knowing, is the start of understanding. So we should be safe places to say “I don’t know”, from there we can find out.

yes, I am up early, thanks for asking

I got up very early this morning, to try and get everything finished. My wife made me go somewhere with her last night and that put me behind. I should get most of it finished today. I am always slow, I told you what I do for a living, I never claimed to be great at it. At least all the time.
face scanners at schools?

Las Vegas SUN: Ariz. School Installs Facial Scan System

AZ school will put in face scanning technology in an attempt to catch sex offenders. I don't know if this will work but I can hear the ACLU gearing up now.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

is this guy serious?

al.com: News

The editor and publisher of the Montgomery Independent, says Auburn should sue SACS. Put them on the stand, make everything known. His positions is that only the trustees can do anything and Auburn should not be bound by SACS, essentially.
Is this supposed to be tongue in cheek? Is this man ignorant? Is he serious.
Later, if anyone cares, I will be gad to explain how a university is supposed to run, at least to my knowledge. Let me just say it is not run, on a day by day basis by the board.
Those of you in Alabama will know the editor and can tell me if he really meant this editorial.

going crazy

I am in the process of going crazy. The proceedings paper needs to be in the mail tomorrow. We might make it but the format is what is driving me out of my mind. Not to mention the test I need to make out, the committee meeting I think I’m missing and the graduation practice this afternoon. Throw in, the way I feel, like I’ve come down with a really bad cold and you see what is going on. It will all get done I’m sure but the quality might stink.


Wednesday, December 10, 2003

big trouble for Auburn

al.com: News

SACS, southern association of colleges and schools, has put Auburn on probation. This is a very serious matter, in our world. It could have far reaching effects on all currently enrolled students. The article mentions, that federal financial aid would stop, if Auburn loses its accreditation. Also, graduate schools tend not to accept students who graduate from non-accredited colleges. I am not even sure professional associations would accept students for their certifications.
Auburn, must remedy this, my guess is that the board will try and fight it. You can fight SACS but you will never win.

change in nursing home populations
Nursing Homes Face Challenge as the Young Fill the Beds

In NY and to a degree, across the nation, more and more young people are being placed in nursing homes. Over 40% not over age 65, this is causing problem for the whole industry. It is stated in the article that the homes are becoming the dumping ground for psyc patients. Nursing homes are not meant to deal with these problems.
When we closed most long term psyc institutions, years ago, for whatever reason, [there is still debate on that point] we were not prepared to handle them in the community. Now we get this.
If you have a relative in a nursing home or are getting on in years, read this article in the NY times.
Yes I did it, I raised egg prices and probably meat too

Experts Say Diets Bring Record Egg Prices

Those teaching econ now have some new examples of demand at work.

Monday, December 08, 2003

support dropping for EU


That is support in Europe itself, it must be our fault. Support is still near 50% but this was always going to be iffy. While there are gains to be made, the EU rulemakers are crazy. I also assume some are worried about loss of national idenity.
30 minute workout can build muscle

Training Workouts Help Build Strength

Study shows that a speeded up workout can actually help. Now i just need to start-- the other stuff I'm doing is just to get the heart started.
snowed under

The snow storm, I’m under, has reached blizzard conditions. Maybe something later today. Probably not.


Sunday, December 07, 2003

my local cable system to carry Telemundo

Telemundo grabs spot on area's basic cable

This was years in coming here. The cable company said the rates asked were too high for a real niche channel. The other side said all sorts of things. Most spanish speakers got satellites. It might be interesting, my spanish is poor and this might help.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Saturday night

My wife is out of town, gone to a baby’s first birthday party, in Charlotte. My son is out with friends and I am home alone. Boy, am I having a wild night. I just got finished fixing two sleeves of sandwiches for the homeless shelter. In a few minutes I’m cooking a rib-eye for me. The irony is not lost on this fat boy. I assume, they would like my steak and I dearly coveted a sandwich. The bread felt great in my hands. I still want a sandwich but must thank God for my life.
More great bore blogging and progress reports on the paper, remember the one due Friday, as conditions warrant.

If the football games stay close, there will be little work on the paper.
I ran out of gas for the grill, so had to cook the steak inside--might be the best I ever cooked.

The K narrows loss

Kmart Reports Smaller Loss in 3Q

The loss was smaller in Q3 but the signs are still not good. It might be too soon to make a judgment about the new strg. but so far it does not look promising. There comes a time to get out. Escalation of commitment is not a pretty thing. K-Mart mgmt might in that trap.
a few updates

First the charity auction—
We raised almost $7,000, more than we had in the past. The people who attended, looked and sounded like they were having a good time. It was festive this year. Providing money for programs for families with special needs children is a serious thing but we can enjoy doing it.

The paper—
My co-author and I must turn this thing around by next Friday. Time is short, so we must get in gear. I hope to finish the intro, lit review, sample description and method by tomorrow night. We have finished the data analysis and need to write that up along with the conclusions. We should make it.
Note to Vachon, it is another alcoholic paper. I will send you a copy when it is done.

The diet
I did not really get to eat yesterday so I am the lowest in years. The main break through is that I can now get my wedding ring on. I have not been able to wear it for years. Well, I could get it on but getting it off was a different story. It involved much liquid soap and feeling that sort of like I should be made king. That sword was nothing compared to a too small ring. Excalibur by rear end.

More later as I am in my office—working. We are having classes today to make up for a day lost to Isabel. Not many people around—we are having a review for the final which is next week.


Thursday, December 04, 2003

slow blogging for a few days

Just an update to let you know thigs will be light here until saturday night, or so. The Festival of Trees party is tomorrow night and I hope my plans for the auction go well. I keep thinking I have "over designed" the process and at the same time am thinking I have not covered something. I hope it will all work out.
I got the paper presentation today, so I now have about a week to finish that u, in their format. Classes are getting to the end and the final push of knowledge is on.
Back in a few days.
tobacco purchase intent down

Gadsden Times

This is all tied in with the quota and the like but really means farmers will be hit hard. Tobacco farms up here can [could] make money on small plots. This will kill off some of them and since my county is a big flue cured producer we are likely to be hurt. Tobacco doen't dominate the local economy, as in the past but it remains important.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

better their festival than ours

ABC 7 News - Tree Made of Beer Cans Draws Controversy at Tree Festival

We have some neat and unique trees but thank goodness not this one.
Florida woman update

Little Hope Given Brain-Damaged Woman

Appointed overseer in case says there is little hope of medical recovery.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

up trend in laptop thiefs

Neat Thieves Are Zeroing In on Laptops

On the job not while they are off site. I know we lost some at school over the summer, not at night but in the daytime when everyone is there.
bronze age community found

Scientists Unearth Urban Center More Ancient Than Plato

No not with people--on the Greek mainland. This one is very old and should provide great info about life 4,500 years ago. What is going on, first the Inca thing and now this.
changing medical practice

Cases: That Ounce of Prevention Grew Too Big

Nice article in the NY Times about the current practice of medicine and trends. An M.D. wrote it and provides insight into current and future problems. It is also short and to the point.
online sellers expect a big year

Online Retailers See Big Holiday Sales

Seems we hear this every year and they are growing. This year might be the one with the economy imporving. I plan to buy less online this year, just because most things i plan to buy are easier bought in person. I did my part however, I got a new camcorder online just last week.
FAO Schwarz--an idea whose time has passed

Toy Chain FAO to File for Bankruptcy

Second filing in a year, this thing is dead. They are looking for a buyer and trying to blame discounters like Wal-Mart. Article says that FAO has "struggled to compete with doscount stores that sell many of the same toys at lower prices." God knows how this would be difficult to do. the idea of a big specialty toy store is jsut about gone. More and more people seem to buy on price. Ads and the internet have taken away the advantage of an FAO, of being the first to know and have a new item. Get info into the hands of the buyer and then stand out of the way as they search for the best price.
does anyone drive cars anymore?

Trucks, SUVs Boost Ford, Chrysler Sales

Sales at ford and chrysler are up because of non-car sales but car sales are flat. I don't know how it is in your town but here cars are in the vast minority. Next time you are stopped at a light count the cars on one hand and the SUV's pick-up's, and vans[mini and otherwise] on the other.
pepsi cuts jobs and does some org. changes

Pepsi Plans 750 Job Cuts, Plant Closing

I was looking the hidden agenda behind this but could not find it. From the article it looks to be a plan to tidy up the operations.
Kodak & IBM to team up

Kodak to Join Health Imaging With IBM

Medical images, Kodak technology and IBM storage. On the surface this seems a good idea. I don't know the market however, are they behind, ahead, what? This should provide some advantages, if they can work as one on this.
Ohio shootings

Police Say 12 Shootings in Ohio Are Connected

Wonder if these are connected to the West Va. shootings, earlier this year. Probably not, might be interesting to find out. I have not seen anything about the type of rifle used, maybe missed it.

Monday, December 01, 2003

GIBSON makes a comeback

ajc.com | Business | Gibson cashes in as baby boomers rock on

Interesting article about the rise, fall and rise of Gibson. A nice read.
another Florida QB wants out

AP Wire | 12/01/2003 | Gators Quarterback Martin Wants Transfer

One came to ECU this past spring and now another. Will two points define a trend.
is CART going down?
there should be a CART link here but it will not show up--maybe if I try real hard it will come back

AP Wire | 12/01/2003 | CART postpones 2004 return to St. Petersburg
maybe this did it

Cart, who had most of the cards in its battle with the IRL, is looking for a buyer. They had the teams and the drivers, the IRL had the 500. Cart had a problem with its drivers, however. They were not Americans and perceived by some as formula one rejects.
The first race is not going to be held until April. Cart is trying to say that canceling the Feb. race is actually a good thing. They have a buyer, a group of CART team owners. This series still has sponsors, how we do not know, and some races. But it is now as relevant as the trans-am series, is that still running?
A buyer is lined up

a long week ahead

It promises to be a long week, in most areas of my life.
Yesterday, after two church services, it was off to the Greenville Convention Center to put up trees for the Family Support Network, ENC, Festival of Trees. This is our main fundraiser for the year. We “sell” trees and people decorate them. We put up 100 trees Sunday, take that Terry. For a write-up of last year's festival go here--The East Carolinian - Greenville Festival of Trees displays spirit of giving.
The party and auction is Friday night and I was told that I must figure out how to do the auction, this year. I thought last year went fine but it is a long story.
In among all this non-work stuff, classes end next week and I need to teach up a storm to finish all the material. Maybe I should have had a sense of urgency, earlier in the semester. Also, we hand out the ever popular, student opinion of instruction survey, this week. Yes they are factored into raises, if we ever really get any.
So, blogging will be sporadic this week. I forgot to mention, I’m waiting on a notice about a paper for a meeting, if accepted that must be done by the middle of the month.
At least blogging is relaxing.

not much today

The holiday was fine and I do want to report on the ball game. However, I am very busy today and will have little time.

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