The Floating Island, Summer 1989

[in the process of rescuing boxes from imminent water damage in a wet basement, I came across some paperwork I saved from early days at LSC. One document was the College newsletter from summer 1989. I had the idea that I had already typed this up in the past, but if I ever have I certainly couldn’t find it either online or on my hard drive. For your edification, wistfulness, amusement, and unfocused nostalgia, I present the Louisiana Scholars’ College newsletter from summer break of 1989.]

The Floating Island, Summer 1989
(news from the Louisiana Scholars’ College)

News from Students Out and About
Beth Bowman, the new editor of the Current Sauce, has overseen publication of this summer’s editions. She looks forward to including Scholars’ College students on her staff in the fall. Amanda Ridley is serving as a counselor at the Lions Club Children’s Camp in Leesville. Bobby Harmon and Kayla Meadows are interns at Boise Cascade in DeRidder. Karen Cresap is an intern with IBM in Baton Rouge. Late word, or perhaps rumor, tells us that Penny Ewoldsen is now a nationally ranked chili cooker. Ask Penny, not us. Carter Ross worked on a parish Maintenance crew, where, among other things, he dug graves. Ask Carter, not us. Derek Mitchell and Reggie Williams are roving ambassadors of New Orleans culture, while working in a supermarket in New Hampshire. John Rigler is a senior counselor at Philmont Boy Scouts camp in New Mexico. Patrick Hummel, state winner in the office computing competition sponsored by the Louisiana Business Students Association, is scheduled to attend a national competition at Walt Disney World in Florida; he is serving this summer as a counselor at Mo Ranch, a church-sponsored youth camp in Texas.

Melisa Harrington is making final plans for her year of study in Scotland as a Rotary International Scholar; Melisa will enroll at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. Julie Wingard hasn’t been heard from since she heard that her proposal for a College T-shirt came in second. Jennifer Walsh is an intern in Mrs. Roemer’s office in Baton Rouge, and probably is pulling all the strings in the Capitol. Scratch the “probably”–we all know she’s in charge. Damian Domingue expects word any day on placement at an Australian university for a semester. Other College students studying abroad for all or part of next year include Dana Linder and Jennifer Walsh in Sweden, and Julie Wingard in Malta. Through the International Student Exchange Program, students in the College pay tuition and fees here and attend one of over a hundred member universities around the world for a semester or more. Darryl Willis and Len Williams have just returned from a six-weeks geology course, taught in the field in Colorado; Darryl holds a junior clerkship with the AMOCO Corporation, and the rest of the summer will find him with his feet propped up on corporate desks in the New Orleans offices of AMOCO. Laura Thorn is preparing an application for a Younger Scholars’ Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities; she proposes a study of Cammie Henry, who made Melrose Plantation a center for artists and writers. Bridget White and Kiley Cedotal are working at Walt Disney World for the summer.

New Faculty Faces
We are happy to announce that there will be several new faces among the faculty: Fraser Snowden (Ph.D., Tulane) in philosophy, Karen Cole (Ph.D., Illinois) in American and English literature, Joe Dell’Aquila (Ph.D., State University of New York-Binghamton) in physics, Reginald Bess (Ph.D., Ohio State) in languages and literature, and Susan Newton (Ph.D., Purdue) in social thought. Jan Sample, a graduate assistant in Student Personnel Services, will be working half-time in the college; two more graduate students in that program, Steve Sivo and Tim Cain, will serve as interns in the coming year. Of course, we hope to involve Northwestern faculty, including those newly hired in political science, psychology, and computer information services, in our curricular plans. We will continue the search for new faculty members in mathematics / physics / computer science.

Old Faculty Faces
Curt Phifer is at Duke University for a few weeks, continuing his research on ingestive behavior in rats. He has also been awarded a CURIA grant by Northwestern; this grant will enable him to begin setting up a laboratory to continue his research here on campus.

Gary White has spent time this summer at the Oak Ridge Laboratory and at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. This fall as part of the JOVE project (a joint venture in space education with some six universities across the country NASA will set up a computer workstation on campus, and College students will help faculty analyze space data and develop courses on space sciences.

Those of us consigned to Natchitoches have had a reasonably productive summer. From Room 217 of Russell Hall (“The Chopin Room,” as it is now called), Grady Ballenger, Karen Cole, and Tom Samet (along with Katherine Kearns of the Louisiana School) are working on the proceedings of the Kate Chopin Conference which was held on the University’s campus last Spring. Collected as essays in a volume tentatively titled Points of Departure, the project has attracted interest from prominent university presses, including those at Texas, LSU, Princeton, the State University of New York, and the University of North Carolina. Farra Lawson has worked with the project this summer, and the annotated bibliography which she is compiling will become her senior thesis.

Lisa Wolffe has taught sections of French and Spanish, Jean D’Amato has worked with several students on independent projects in Latin, and Nadya Keller has taught chemistry and science for the University. The “office crew” has braved the elements (the air conditioner was down for some time) to recruit faculty and students, to put the College’s publications in order, and to conduct two well-attended orientation sessions for freshmen. We have also found time to requisition a new volleyball net. The old net was badly singed by the merciless spikes of members of the faculty during one of the countless matches in which pathetic students were humiliated. (Please notice on the enclosed orientation schedule that the faculty and staff have issued the first volleyball challenge of the new academic year for Sunday evening, August 20, immediately following our general convocation. Be prepared!)

With fingers crossed, we hope early this fall to receive encouraging word on two grants for which we have applied: We have made an extensive proposal to the National Endowment for the Humaities to provide three years’ support to the “Texts and Traditions” and “Democratic Vistas” course sequence, and we have asked the Frost Foundation to provide a fund to support undergraduate research and senior thesis projects at the College.

On a last bittersweet note, we are preparing to bid a temporary farewell to Tom, Jan, and Aaron Samet, who begin their trek to Poland on August 15. Tom will join the faculty of the University of Poland as a Fulbright Lecturer in American Literature. He plants to teach, among other courses, his “Selfhood and Community,” and he will return to the College Next fall with new perspectives on the readings in that course (and on the desirability of warm clothing, potable water, and fresh vegetables).

News on the Home Front
For the first time we will be able to provide a Scholars’ residence in Boozman Hall. Our intention is to foster the living-learning concept we have spoken of since the beginning of the College. We are anxious to build a true community of mature, responsible, lively undergraduate scholars. With one residential hall as a Scholars’ hall, we can offer some additional support–counseling, computers, orientation sessions, evening tutorials–as well as promote activities planned by students and staff for relaxation and recreation. Boozman’s location is perfect, directly across the street from the academic building. Recently remodeled, it is well-lighted, and staffed in the evening with a security attendant. Led by Bridget Bella, the residential staff is, we believe, the strongest on campus. Resident advisers will be upperclass students in the College. Don Barker will maintain his primary office in Russell Hall directly across the street, but the second-floor lounge of Boozman will provide an additional office for counseling.

As most of you know, Boozman Hall is a marvelous facility. Its arrangement of suites provides privacy and security: each suite has its own bathroom, and each resident is protected by both a room door and a suite door. Men will live on the ground floor only, and women will occupy the upper two floors. Residents will observe the University’s visitation rules, and they will also take the lead in enforcing quiet hours and policies regarding use of the social lounge, the study lounges, and the kitchens.

Unfortunately, not all students in the College will be able to live in Boozman, and as the College grows, rooms in Boozman will be in even higher demand. University housing will be tight this fall because of continuing enrollment increases, but we have managed to secure some new spots for our upperclass students in Natchitoches Hall, which will become an academic hall, and in Varnado, which remains a comfortable and acceptable dormitory. As spaces become available in Boozman, however, Scholars’ College students will enjoy first priority.

Lest it feel neglected by all this attention given to Boozman, Russell Hall, our academic building, continues to receive whatever tender loving care we can provide on a tight budget. Two first-floor rooms, previously used for storage, are being emptied and readied for classes or for faculty offices. Tom RuBane’s grandfather, Clyde Ballenger of Guthrie, Oklahoma, has generously donated his collection of books, most of them historical studies; these will form the Clyde Ballenger Collection to be housed in the reading room–yes, the reading room, which now has a new lock and can finally be put to use. The third floor, everyone’s favorite haunted house will also be renovated for offices and seminar rooms. One small change outdoors: Karen Cole has taken over care of the roses in front of the building. They’ve bravely withstood torrential rains and sweltering heat, not to mention the clumsy efforts of Grady Ballenger; we hope the good care doesn’t send them into shock.

Curricular Outline
Meeting on July 18, the Curriculum Review Council of Northwestern State University unanimously approved the Curricular Outline and Academic Planning Guide, a thoughtful product of the college’s two years of experience. The Guide received praise, not only from the council but also from outside evaluators whose advice we have sought. James H. Pickering, Dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at the University of Houston remarks:

“The Curricular Outline and Academic Guide which you have put together is one of the finest examples I have seen of the attempt to provide a clear rationale for a college-based Honors program. It is ambitious, rigorous, and well-sequenced. The shaping principles are clearly enunciated. The expectations placed upon the students–and by implication the faculty who teach in the program–are equally clear. In short, for students and faculty alike, the very existence of the Guide means that participants know what they are buying into and the nature and the extent of the commitment expected.”

William Keach, once a guest speaker at the college, writes:

“Let me say generally how impressed I am by the intelligence and care that has gone into this and the accompanying documents. There was certainly nothing like this kind of articulation of principles and of practical procedures to guide the Henry Rutgers General Honors Program where I used to teach–nor is there anything so full to guide us in our work with honors students at Brown.”

Students entering the College this fall have a clear map to guide their years of study as undergraduates. Continuing students in the classes of 1991 and 1992 will work with their advisers to design curricular plans that build on the work they have already done. As the Guide notes, faculty advisers will be flexible in applying these guidelines to students who entered the College in previous years.

Please read the Guide carefully before you register for fall courses and bring it with you when you come to Natchitoches. Take good care of your copy, for we will not be able to print any more until next year. You will want to use the Guide in thinking carefully about your curricular plans; students in the class of 1991 will want to meet as soon as is convenient with their advisers to chart a concentration. As always, be familiar with the NSU General Catalogue and Student Handbook.

One new feature of the College, described in the Guide, pp. 10-12, is an honor code and attendant student-faculty judiciary. Students in the College will have great responsibility in administering this code. It will play an important role in developing the College’s distinctiveness.

Approaching fall semester
We look forward to seeing you on August 20, if not before. We are going to have an exciting fall semester; there are lots of changes, all of which (except for the absence of the Samets) are for the better. The third year in the life of this College will be its best yet.

A musical quarterly report

I’ve been having fun with a fairly now music streaming service called Grooveshark. It’s got some of the best aspects of,, and others music sites; I can pull songs from all over AND create multiple playlists that can be saved, added to, and rearranged at will. I’ve created my first fairly lengthy playlist now: a compilation of some of the best music so far this year. You can hear it right here. There’s new stuff from veteran alternative acts like Massive Attack and Magnetic Fields, but it’s mostly stuff from up and coming new bands. If you enjoy what you hear, please let me know!

And now, an expression of the joy I feel today

I got a new job! I start work in two weeks at Ivy Computer, a software company in Waterbury Center. It’s training and documentation, two things I particularly enjoy. The company’s been selling software to trash haulers since the DOS days; they need someone who can devote time to training new customers on the software and develop a comprehensive manual. I’m excited–this is going to be more pay, more affordable insurance, and half the commute.

*trololo lolo, lololo, lololo*

Her delusions are going to be shattered

A refreshing lol moment at work, despite dealing with rudeness. I just got called an asshole by someone calling and looking for our “cheapest, most basic Internet service.” I explained that I could give her dial-up Internet for $14.95 a month that works over the phone lines. She asked why she would need our service if she already had a phone line. I scratched my head for a fleeting moment and explained that we were an Internet Service Provider; it turns out that in her mind, if you have phone service you automatically have Internet service as well. She thought I was lying, called me an asshole, and hung up. I’d love to hear how her conversations with other ISPs go today.

And now, some MORE jokes about yo mama

Compiled from a reddit post.

Yo mamma’s so fat, she sat on a binary tree and flattened it to a linked list in constant time.

Select * FROM Table.YoMamma

Server Timed Out

Yo momma is so fat, the recursive function int yourMom{ (return yourMom();} causes a stack overflow

Yo mama so fat her belt size is Ringworld!

.yomama {volume:loud;}

.yomama .ass {width:120%; border-bottom:thick; max-width:auto; size:landscape; }

Many, many more at the link.