Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday Stuff

A Wet Dream for Nerds Everywhere. More than a century's worth of issues of Popular Mechanics, available free online.

The College Gravy Train. Earlier this year, I caught Ohio State president Gordon Gee's presentation to Akron's version of the Cleveland City Club. Sure enough, the subject of his pay came up (he's among the highest paid college presidents in the country, and the highest paid among public universities, at more than a million dollars a year). He dealt with it mostly by deflecting the question, which he no doubt hears often. But with higher education budgets now under pressure everywhere as never before, how do these folks defend their ridiculous pay levels? After all, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that at least 21 states have implemented cuts to public colleges and universities, resulting in faculty and staff cuts, and tuition increases of 5 percent to 15 percent. Don't you think it's perhaps time to share in some of that larger pain, dear presidents?

Here's An Interesting Idea...Borrowing a device from movie promotions, someone is promoting the idea of making video trailers for new books. It couldn't hurt.

Half Geek, Half Scribe. My friend Dan Hanson, a.k.a. Great Lakes Geek, held his annual holiday gathering last week, an event at which he gathers his unique assortments of Cleveland characters. The Chinese buffet was good, and the company even better. You can check out the photos here.

Finally, we end as we began, on a wet note, as we bring you this heartwarming story, about teenage KFC employees using sinks as hot tubs. It's sure to cause Colonel Sanders to turn over in his grave.

7 Comments:

At 12:29 AM, Anonymous Julie Cajigas said...

I think the idea of video trailers for novels is intriguing. My only concern is that it would ruin a person's ability to form their own image of the characters and the setting using their imagination.

Oh, and that dog was adorable. I'm not sure about the soundtrack, but I love the dog.

 
At 3:54 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Good point, Julie. I think a lot of people would have the same concern about ruining their own mental image of a favorite novel.

 
At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Dennis said...

the kfc thing was almost gross.

 
At 9:37 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I'm not sure we need an almost in that sentence, Dennis. Good to see you joining us as a first-time commenter. Welcome.

 
At 9:52 AM, Blogger Theresa E. said...

Commenting on university presidents making more than a million a year...I'm glad my tuition dollars are being put to good use. I couldn't possibly expect them to give up a few thousand a year for my benefit. THAT would be selfish of me. Hell, what's another school loan anyway?

 
At 11:04 AM, Blogger Art Durkee said...

Hah! Now we know what you look like!

P.S. I think video trailers for books is somehow inherently wrong. I say that as a former marketing graphic artist and a current videographer. The reason it's wrong is because it's a fundamental category error. It defeats the whole point of reading being evocative on the screen of one's own mind.

 
At 2:39 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Theresa, the good news is that the prez of your college makes nowhere near a mill. But I'm guessing he does bring home perhaps about half that (I'll try to remember to check the public tax record when I get a moment, and post the exact figure). So your point is the right one: for just a few thousand less, a relative pittance to he and his presidential brethren, they could fund one student's entire tuition for a year. I know there's a market for these kinds of skills, and I'm a believer in free markets (up to a point, I guess). But I also think this market has been rigged a bit by backscratching boards of directors who aren't always looking at the big picture when these outrageous pay packages get approved. As is the case with boards everywhere these days, more independent scrutiny and less going along with the whims of the CEO seems in order. And a full disclosure: I'm also speaking as a parent now helping to pay college tuition for two sons, including one who attends Theresa's college.

As for you, Art, I see we have yet another skill to add to your creative portfolio. Didn't know you had videography in there, but I should have guessed. You're a true renaissance dude.

As for my likeness, we never knew you cared. But ironic that you bring that up in this context, since the paucity of photos of me (online and elsewhere) is intentional (as you may have gathered), and does actually flow from an old school writerly principle, or at least instinct, of mine: that the work and the name/byline should speak for themselves, not the face. As Andrew Sullivan wonderfully put it in a recent Atlantic Monthly piece about blogging, "people have a voice for radio and a face for television. For blogging, they have a sensibility." I heartily endorse that notion, and would emphasize the sensibility part applies to all my writing, not just blogging or online writing. To me, sensibility (and its cousins, logic, persuasiveness, etc.) is what counts. Everything else is simply a distraction. That would CERTAINLY include my mug.

 

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