Monday, January 30, 2006

Some delays 

Today is the first day of classes, but, as my first one is at 11 am, I have time for a quick blog entry. The inteneded writing I mentioned earlier has been somewhat delayed by my duties on the personnel committee (we had thirteen candidates to evaluate for retention, tenure, and promotion) and by continuing problems with my house. Whilst I was at the MLA Convention in Washington DC, my wife discovered a leak in a copper pipe inside the living room wall. She had to have someone come and rip open the wall to repair it, but the damage was done. Dehumidifers under the brand new carpet installed after the last flood prevented any mould growth, but our place is trashed. However, the laminate flooring which makes up approximately half of our floor space, has started to come up, and the nature of the beast is that the entire floor must be replaced. I am estimating that all the repairs will cost about a tenth of my annual gross income, and I am not sure how much will be covered by insurance.

Wish me luck in dealing with the money pit where I live. In the meantime, , since it's pretty obvious that I'll have to abandon any hope of substantive research activity in the near future, rest assured that I will get around to writing something more substantive here in a few days.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Not what I needed to read 

Looking through the film reviews in The Week (a journal which gathers assorted media views on a wide range of topics). I came across one for Tristan and Isolde -- sorry, Tristan & Isolde -- which quotes David Germain in the Associated Press as follows: "Great, now Hollywood's handing out homework." The review continues: "Tristan & Isolde may not be quite as mind-numbing as a weekend assignment to read the works of Thomas Malory, 'but it's close'."

I have no opinion on the film -- which I haven't seen -- but isn't it lovely to know that one's subject matter is viewed with such sustain, and that great literature is nothing more than a boring chore?

On a slightly less critical note, the review points out that, although the story "packs as much longing and dramatic pedigree" (I think they're still quoting Germain here) as the stories of Romeo and Juliet and Lancelot and Guinevere, it "has, for the most part, been relegated to history's dustbin" (a quote from the review, not Germain). I'd agree with that. I wonder why?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Looking for England 

Today the BBC ran an article entitled 'Looking for England', which I'm linking to here mainly as a bookmark for some future writing. For a while now, debate over the definition of Englishness (and Britishness) has been taking place in a very explicit way in the United Kingdom. The discourse in government and media circles, although not always as sophisticated as academic discourse, nevertheless resembles academic attempts to understand multiculturalism in today's world much more closely than is normally the case. The basic question is whether it is possible to find a unifying principle of community in today's world. This touches on some ideas I have been working with for some time. I hope to get more posts up on it in the next few days.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Headline News Story on the Yogh 

A headline news story on the yogh! I thought it would never happen! I'm feeling a wee bit weepy.

Incidentally, Menzies Campbell was my local MP when I was a student at St Andrews. I frequently use him when teaching students about the yogh. There was once an attempt to create a Europe-wide voice recognition system for telephone directory enquiries. They tested it by having Menzies Campbell say his name. If you want to know why the system didn't work, follow the link above.

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