29 April 2010

Four reasons why working in a university is the best job ever....

In the past two days, I:

1) lunched with and heard a talk by John Crockett, former diplomat and cultural attache in Italy (and other places) where he was a neighbor of Nobel-Prize-winner Eugenio Montale, where he brought Allen Ginsberg to meet Montale, and at whose apartment Thomas Mann took a nap, and that's just the beginning of his stories;

2) heard Steve Forbes give a lecture on financial policy;

3) read selections from Ava Gardner: Touches of Venus, as well as from Eliot and Tennyson in a poetry marathon, as part of CCSU's celebration of National Poetry Month;

4) and graded papers by and conferenced with students from China, Korea, Poland, Ghana, Colombia, Venezuela, and Egypt.

That's a job to have.

And who, may I ask, will "school" Mr. Connick in Sinatra...

...Michael Bleeping Buble?!!!!


28 April 2010

Steve Forbes is coming to CCSU tonight!

Yeah, Steve Forbes...y'know, STEVE FORBES, I LOVE his stuff!!!

Wait a minute, that's Steve Forbert whom I really like.

Oh, well, I've got the ticket, so I may as well go. Who knows, I might learn something.

25 April 2010

Dispatches from the front...

..well, actually, questions and comments from the middle and then back of the auditorium during last night's Bataan-Death-March-length dance recital. (It began at 6:15 PM, and we were making our way home at 11:30 PM.)

1) When did ballet movements get associated with sappily sentimental country songs?

2) Does every hip hop selection need to end with the sound of an explosion?

3) Does every hip hop number need to have a minimum of three distinct sections, unrelated musically, and joined only by the entire ensemble bouncing around hunched over with arms dangling?

4) At 10 PM, nearing the fifth hour, is it wise to use "Footloose" as the music for a routine and thus raise both the specter of the film's plot and the possibility (nay, may I even say, the immediate benefits!) of outlawing dancing altogether?!

5) If either of my daughters stays long enough to graduate from the dance school and get to do a solo number, I am more than willing to make a cameo (as a little sister and a father did last night), but the song cannot be a sappy county number about growing up (see #1 above) but instead should be the Beach Boys' "Fun, Fun, Fun ('Til Daddy Takes the T-Bird Away)."

6) People in the audience clearly love to hoot and yell things like "We love you, insert name here!" My dream at some point to is shout, "Daughters, your mother and I hold you in very high regard!"

7) If admission to five hours of dance is $6, then I'd be more than willing to pay at least $20 just to see the ~20 minutes of dance, broken up into six different numbers, in which my two daughters performed.

8) For the first time ever, I wished I had been on Twitter!

22 April 2010

Funny (but sadly true) line from South Pacific...

Frenchman Emil Lebeque asks the American Nellie Forbush if she took French in school, to which she responds yes. Pleased, he then brings a book to her,

"Oh, so you can read this..."

"No!," she replies abruptly, "I can conjugate some verbs!"

This recalled the Central Authors talk by my colleague Dr. Paloma Lapuerta last week about her series of Spanish textbooks, during which she related how she was spoiled teaching Spanish first in Switzerland and South Africa, where the culture -- and importance -- of learning other languages is very prominent, and the students eagerly soak up new languages.

Then she came to the U.S.!

A question related to baseball AND "South Pacific"

In "Bloody Mary," a sarcastic song about a native woman, the sailors sing:

Her skin is soft as DiMaggio's glove
Her skin is soft as DiMaggio's glove
Her skin is soft as DiMaggio's glove
Well, ain't that too damn bad?

While I understand that the famous centerfielder's glove was made of leather, aren't well-worn baseball mitts legendarily soft and smooth? And whose glove would have been "weller-worn" than Joltin' Joe's!

So, is this just a case of Hammerstein the lyricist not knowing baseball or is Mary more of a catch that we might think?


The Intramural Softball League in which WFCS decided to field a team...

...lost on Monday night in the 7 PM game, 19-2. I pitched the final two innings; the balls were over the plate and never out of the park. I did my part.

Our goals:

Have Fun
Don't Get Hurt

Two out of three ain't bad!

Tonight's 9 PM game was called before it even started because of a bolt of lightning. One bolt of lightning, unaccompanied by rain or any other inclement conditions. The sky wasn't even overcast. Now, I guess we have to wait until next Monday's 10 PM start (!?!).

The burning question I had yesterday afternoon before seeing...

...the Lincoln Center production of South Pacific last night at the Bushnell was: would I come into the office this morning singing "Some Enchanted Evening" or "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair?"

The winner: NEITHER. I waltzed into Willard Hall with "I'm in Love I'm in Love I'm in Love I'm in love with a WONDERFUL Guy"!

Additional reassuring fact: the 10-year-old daughter couldn't for the life of her figure out what the problem Nellie had with Emil (aside from his being boring). His once being married to a Polynesian woman and having two children with her (may she rest in peace) didn't register with her at all. Thank heavens.

18 April 2010

Yet another reason May 2010 is looking like a very good month

The Ava Gardner Museum's New Photography Exhibit: “The Most Photographed Woman in the World”

Now THERE'S a good use of a camera!

Two musical reasons I can't wait to teach Latin again this Fall

Cat Stevens' O Caritas (1972) and Enya's Cursum Perficio (1988)

Two quick takes on the results of the Verizon Heritage PGA tournament today

1) Clearly, for the foreseeable future, it's going to be a good time to be a happily-married-with-children-professional-golfer, like Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson. The networks will want Tiger to play (for the good of the ratings) but not to win (for the good of American families everywhere).

2) Brian Davis brilliantly used golf's masochistic rule book today when, knowing he was unlikely to beat Jim Furyk in the sudden death playoff of the Verizon Heritage Tournament, he declared a violation on himself (in the sand by the rocks near the 18th green). Yes, he hit a twig with his backswing before he hit the ball to the green, but the twig went back to where it was and did not interfere at all with the shot. The ball sailed past the hole by some 30 feet. By calling it on himself, everybody can now talk about his nobility as a golfer -- as opposed to how he choked on his second sudden death shot and missed the green.

GOOD CALL, Mr. Davis!

Playhouse on Park: "I swear on my horse's withers..."

...that I'm not waiting to go to any more shows at POP during their final weekend.

Why, you ask? Because then I can spread the word on how good they are to anybody who can take advantage of the information and go!

This afternoon at POP, I saw Trapezium, a very funny one-act take on the Tristan and Iseult story. Written by crossword-maker Henry Rathvon in iambic pentameter and masterfully directed by Russell Treyz, the play offers Rashomonic perspectives on the famous medieval love triangle...with plenty of laughs, wordplay, ribaldry, and swordplay interruptus along the way. The performances were uniformly hilarious among the five-character cast, although I myself was quite taken by the slacker-ish Tristan (Craig Hanson, above, with Kaytie Morris as Iseult)-- but more likely to actually be the foppishly squealing coward Mullet (Brendan Norton)! Sigh.

The performance was followed by a "talk back" with the actors, director, and playwright, which allowed us in the audience to hear the actors wax rhapsodic about the verse and its technical beauties! If only my literature students could have heard... Sigh again.

So, in short, I'm going to the next POP show early in the run. See you there!


Today's Trapezium at POP marked stop number three on my 10-day theatrical odyssey that began on Friday with the closing weekend of Newington Children's Theatre Company's The Secret Garden (including Saturday's traditional spoof show), and continues on Wednesday with South Pacific at the Bushnell, our daughters' dance recital on Saturday, and conclude with Annie Get Your Gun at the Goodspeed Opera House. So far the trip's been fantastic!

13 April 2010

A Tax Time Beef!

So, the State of Connecticut had a great system that made filing tax returns different enough to be almost fun: the Telefile System, through which the citizens were able to literally phone it in!

It worked swell, so what did the brilliant State of Connecticut do? That's right, get rid of it!

And DON'T think that filing electronically is anywhere close to the same....

11 April 2010

Not overheard on any CBS mics at the 2010 Masters Tournament

...Tiger Woods muttering (after any one of his five bogeys in the third round):

If I wanted to be this frustrated, I would've just stayed at home!

Why our teen idols were better than theirs...

Just finished watching one Justin Bieber perform on Saturday Night Live. Pleasant enough voice and personality and ability to move...but what's with a band, and 4 back up singers, and 4 back up dancers?

In the good old days, all we needed was the teen idol -- no overhead required!

06 April 2010


Why I am an old fart

1) I utterly do not recognize the following as in any way reflective of my life:

My ability to consume media is all wrapped up in the ability of my media player to be with me when I get a spare moment. My life is not compatible with consuming media at long stretches at a time. I don't plop down in front of the tube - I don't have the time. Life is too busy communicating, collaborating, producing, and sharing. Consumption is fractured, short, episodic, unpredictable, and irregular. (From "Why Cory Doctorow is Wrong about the iPad")


2) I cannot agree more with the following statement by Craig Finn of the Hold Steady, published in Mojo, May 2010:

"...The Brooklyn-based band's new album, Heaven is Whenever, is being pressed on ultra-limited vinyl with a special screenprinted sleeve two weeks ahead of its regular release date of May 3.

'I like digital music,' says Finn, 'but Record Store Day is a nod to something real and very concrete. It's impossible to overestimate the influence of just going into a record store with 15 dollars when I was a youth, and poring over the racks...'"

05 April 2010

The NCAA Men's Basketball Championship

So, if Butler U. had won, I would've won the Perry/Gigliotti bracket pool for the very first time -- because only a Duke win could give somebody else more points (tallied from the total number of correct picks weighted as the tournament proceeded) than I had....

Duke won, and, since she'd picked them to win the whole shebang, so did the older daughter. Congrats to her!!!

I have only one comment about the game itself: there was a question about a flagrant foul late in the second half. The announcer (the one who's not Jim Nantz) argued that, from the contact shown on replay, it indeed was not flagrant, and the refs agreed. What I found flagrant was the Duke player's utter lack of help for the fallen Butler player at his feet. I would've rung him up for that (non)move alone. Two shots. (And I'm not a Duke Hater.) In college sports, is it too much to think student athletes could show a little sportsmanship? He doesn't really have to care if his opponent's okay, but he could at least give him a hand getting up from under the basket.

PS: And every basketball player in 2010 travels so much during a game that each one could earn frequent flyer miles.

04 April 2010

Opening Day, 2010

I remember when the first game of every Major League Baseball season was an afternoon game in Cincinnati, Ohio, in honor of the Reds, who were the very first professional baseball team.

Tickets to the game were a legitimate excuse to miss school. The Gigliottis never had any.

Now, it's yet another Yankees/Red Sox matchup. Yippee.

Easter Parade!

Sure, I could've gone with Judy Garland and Fred Astaire and their dancing around too much furniture, but if you've got a Bing Crosby version, well, that's always the way to go -- especially when it also begins with his leaving Easter Mass!

Happy Easter!

Now the game is nearly over,
and a pistol will be drawn,
and some blood is bound to leave another stain.
The stranger will be moving on,
and the young boy will believe,
and Big J.C. will live to play the game.
Big J.C. will live to play the game!

"Big J.C."
The Steve Gibbons Band, Down in the Bunker (1978)

02 April 2010

01 April 2010

Only number three?! What the #@!$%! is up with that?

College Professor: #3 on the CNN “Best Jobs in America” list:


“Drawbacks: Low starting pay and a big 50% salary gap between faculty at universities and community colleges. If the position is at a four-year university, you'll probably have to relocate, and you'll be under pressure to constantly publish new work to sustain career momentum.”

Upside: a seemingly unlimited supply of events with bagels!