Dog Days at the OAH ...
I don't know about you, but it is dog days here in Atlanta. That means it's the bottom of the summer and I'm only thinking of how to escape, not how to get more work done. We had two weeks of torrential rains, so the ground is soaked with water; and now a heat wave sweeps over it, so the steam just rises from the earth, mixes with particulates, and makes breathing difficult.
My friend, Paul Harvey of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, finished up a morning's conference here in the city and called me about having a late lunch before he flew back home. So I took Paul to the coldest spot in DeKalb County, the Farmer's Market, where they feature a fine spread of choices. Usually, I go through the first line of condiments and salad options and, then, back through the 2nd line of cooked meats and vegetables. Then, you put your plate on the scales and pay by its weight. So, I'm not so good at self-restraint and, by the time I'm through both lines, there's a big fried pork chop, a fried chicken drumstrick, a big serving of mashed potatoes, some fried okra, Japanese noodles, some fresh and some cooked spinach, and assorted condiments, like walnuts and hearts of palm, all vying for space on my crowded plate. Chris Bray and Paul had the right idea. They just put two different plates on their trays. That way, the fried stuff doesn't have to fight with the healthy stuff for space. Before he left for Colorado, Paul and I topped lunch off with slices of the Farmers' Market's fine tiramisu.
Anyway, I forgot to tell my wife about the heavy late lunch, so she woke me from a later afternoon nap to a nice, big dinner of spaghetti and meatballs. Well, it was one of those rare suppers here at Cliopatriarchal palace that I didn't go for seconds on dinner. I just couldn't wait to get back to sleeping off all the overeating and the afternoon heat. So, it was late in the day when I got to the computer to check my e-mail. Lo and behold, there was my answer to all you doubting Van Hayhows of the world: a response to my"Offences Are Honored: An Open Letter to Vicki Ruiz and Lee Formwalt." I just knew that Lee wouldn't let me down about this. He'd had plenty of chance to see it, after all. I posted it here at Cliopatria. Inside Higher Ed linked to it; and Rick Shenkman tells me he'll feature it on HNN's mainpage next week. But, just to be certain, I'd sent Vicki Ruiz and Lee Formwalt their own personal copies of it. So, here's the answer I got from Lee:
I am on sabbatical until after Labor Day and will be reading my email sporadically until then. For OAH matters that require attention before September, please contact Acting Executive Director John Dichtl at john*at*oah*dot*org or (***) ***-****.Does that sound vaguely automated to you? I can't imagine that Lee's sitting in his office up there in Bloomington typing those things out, one at a time, while he's on sabbatical leave. I don't blame him, though. It's dog days in Bloomington, too, and I'd be on sabbatical somewhere if I had any choice in the matter.
Lee W. Formwalt, Executive Director
But, just to be on the up and up about these things, which may or may not"require attention before September," I sent John Dichtl a copy of"Offences Are Honored: An Open Letter to Vicki Ruiz and Lee Formwalt," just in case he cares to do some housecleaning before Lee gets back from his sabbatical in September. One other thing: I'm not letting Vicki Ruiz off the hook, either. I didn't even get a decent automated response from Vicki. Maybe her department at UC, Irvine, isn't automated yet. I know it's dog days there too, but that's no excuse and that's the subject of my next post.
Derek Charles Catsam - 7/28/2005
I actually meant exquisite, as that is what I wrote.
Oscar Chamberlain - 7/27/2005
At least where I teach, departments don't set automatic responses, the individual faculty do. I know I forget to set my out-of-office response at least half the time.
(I wonder if Windows should have an "out-of-mind" response?)
Jonathan Dresner - 7/27/2005
Well, for those of us who've wondered whether existing organizations can adapt to the technology and pace of modern connectivity, this is fascinating. And, of course, the question of whether these organizations have enough coherence to be meaningful...
Manan Ahmed - 7/27/2005
For my money, Ralph is the best food blogger in business. This present post, his post on Fat Buddies and one from a while ago [which I cannot find due to HNN's insane search engine] of when he went to a conference at some Southern estate. Yummy.
Sergio Ramirez - 7/27/2005
I think you meant "explicit" rather than "exquisite." But right you are, it's his blog, not mine, so my comments are even less relevant.
Julie A Hofmann - 7/27/2005
Of course, I thought the point was for Ralph to make me jealous, 'cos the DeKalb Farmers Market is pretty much heaven on earth. It is one of the things I really miss about Atlanta.
Van L. Hayhow - 7/27/2005
No, I don't think that automated response qualifies.
Ralph E. Luker - 7/27/2005
Sergio, It appears to have escaped your notice, but I believe that the issues I spoke to in "An Open Letter to Vicki Ruiz and Lee Formwalt" are serious issues and pointing to it again was one way to underscore that. At the same time, one of the burdens of ethical judgments is that they often seem humorless. You may have missed the self-mockery in the post.
Btw, I don't altogether agree with Derek's point, though I appreciate it. Cliopatria is not "my" blog. It's a common cliopatrimony. While my colleagues at Cliopatria have no responsibility for anything I post here, I certainly intend not to embarrass them or their association with it, by anything I say here.
Ralph E. Luker - 7/27/2005
Thanks, Evan. I'll correct it.
Derek Charles Catsam - 7/27/2005
This seems rather uncharitable. Does every single blog post have to have an exquisite purpose (that passes your unwritten rules)? It's the dog days, as Ralph says, and it seems that on his own blog he can write any damned thing he pleases without having to meet with your approval of what qualifies as "substance."
And in any case, if you think his post was pointless, where does your comment fit on the relevance scale?
Evan Garcia - 7/27/2005
Yes, they are the dog days here at UCI, especially with the heat.
Just to correct one thing, though: it's Vicki, no "e" at the end.
Sergio Ramirez - 7/27/2005