Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sunday Thirsty, In Keeping With the Old Notion That the Sunday Thirsty is Reserved for Spiritual Matters.

If I were not a professor, how else would I minister?


23 comments:

  1. This thirsty was sent in by Nick by the way.

    If I didn't profess, I would act!

    Crystal

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  2. I gave shows at a major planetarium for three years. It was fun, although hard to make ends meet. But then, the feudal style of the management would have made things difficult regardless of the budget.

    Amateur astronomy is still my number one hobby, and we have an excellent club here in Fresno. I often host observing events with them here on campus, and never have enough time to join them for star parties at dark sites, or sidewalk astronomy sessions at the local mall on Saturday nights. Almost none of the general public who stumble across us have ever looked through a telescope before, and it's lots of fun to show them the bright, spectacular objects, such as the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Albireo, etc.

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    1. OK. Professional question.

      I have to teach a gen. ed. descriptive astronomy class next fall for which we have zero institutional knowledge or competence. It's been twenty years since I pointed a scope up, but I kinda know my way around the night sky.

      Do you have a book you like?

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    2. No, there currently isn't a book on the market I like. The best I can suggest is "The Stars," by H. A. Rey, and "Astronomy (6th ed.)” by Dinah Moche'. I used to use "The Science Class You Wish You Had" by David and Arnold Brody, but I stopped because they have an axe to grind.

      Among books specifically written for general-ed astronomy, I can't recommend any. Some years ago, Tom Statler summarized the situation with them well. It's on his web page, here:

      www.phy.ohiou.edu/~tss/mercury.ps

      The problem is that these books can't decide whether to be introductions to a general audience, or encyclopedias. The universal symptom of using them is that they leave the students gasping, "Do I have to know all this?!" as my heart sinks as I tell them, "No." They also all cost $200, since they're chock full of color graphics that use color to no effect, except to be colorful. This is to catch the eye of astronomy instructors who spend fewer than five minutes when selecting the book. Try reading one of these nightmares: it isn't easy!

      This is why I've written my own textbook. I did my best to keep the narrative LINEAR, the way a beginner thinks. It's due for publication next year. It’ll still need to be supplemented by "The Stars," by H. A. Rey, since there isn’t much in it about finding things in the night sky. It’ll be easy to tell which one it is: it’ll be distributed in electronic format, and unlike the others, it will make sense.

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    3. Never read "The Stars" but used to love H.A. Rey's other work . . . ��

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    4. Yeah, one of my favorites is "Curious George and the High-Tension Power Line," here:

      http://triggur.org/storytime/george/

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    5. Heh, that's a funny Curious George story, but its copyright postdates H.A.'s passing by two decades.

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  3. Programming was my fall-back skill, something that still thrills me every time the damn fool thing does what it was meant to, and one I still use in my researcher persona.

    I suppose that's where I would go.

    But when I was faced with it as a near certainty I wasn't entirely happy, and when I got the interview that led to this job my heart soared. I might try to re-invent myself as a writer nights and weekends, but that's not an easy row to hoe.

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  4. Marty Feldman lookalike.

    Failing that, a cartographer.

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  5. Street walkin' ho.

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  6. A Bullshit Artist.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl4VD8uvgec

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    1. Haven't clicked the link yet, but as to my becoming a bullshit artist, well, I'm already pretty far along.

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  7. The way I read this assignment, we're to speak on how we would interact with society ostensibly to better it in some way. This is different from, but not necessarily mutually exclusive of, a fallback career to being a proffie.

    1) At one time, I fancied myself a musician and songwriter. People seemed to enjoy my material and delivery. So, were I not a proffie, one of my ministries could be music.

    2) I like to fix other people's appliances, cars, rain gutters, plumbing, what have you. Being a proffie leaves me with little time to do that, as well as little motivation to tend my own house. So, were I not a proffie, one of my ministries could be to make a more concerted effort to spend a few hours a week at other people's houses fixing what needs fixing and getting to know my neighbors.

    3) Given a conducive situation, I'm also fairly decent as an amateur therapist. While I was in grad school and college (and even a bit in high school), when my companions were in their cups and loose of tongue, many would periodically divulge their emotional complications which I'd proceed to help them through, typically while they bought many more rounds than did I. In contrast, I could never "open up" about matters of the heart as they pertained to myself; however, as for making my problems seem inconsequential, alcohol was a quite efficacious medicament in itself and even better as an adjuvant to fixing someone else's problems. Thus did I and my companions benefit greatly from our relationship in our respective ways.

    Perhaps more specifically, although I can duplicate most of those outcomes even sans imbibery, I'm a great drinking buddy. So, were I not a proffie, I'd dial this thing up to eleven.

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    1. Sounds like you'd make a good bartender (with some handymanning/music-making on the side).

      Maybe you need to start a pub with live music in a dilapidated building and/or neighborhood?

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    2. How about a neighborhood pub with dilapidated music in a live building?

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    3. Or some depilated musings in a love building?

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    4. That would seem to be more along the lines of Chiltepin's proposed ministry.

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  8. I would open a pornographic studio.
    I'm not kidding.
    I've looked into it. I'd need about ten grand to get started, and I could get a modest site up and running in about a month. I'd have enough saved to get me there, and then hopefully pull in enough profit to keep me going. On top of my royalties, it should be enough to live on.

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  9. I wish there were a river I could skate away on.

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  10. My initial plan WAS to be a minister, frealsies.

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  11. Like Curly, I've considered the actual ministry, but (1)I don't really have the call/temperament/skills for most of the job (I could probably handle preaching pretty well, but, just as much of the teaching job doesn't occur in the classroom, most of the pastoring job doesn't occur on Sunday morning in front of a congregation, or even while preparing for same) and (2)the job market for recent M.Div. grads is about as bad, and the prospects of secure employment about as uncertain, as for humanities Ph.D.s But I belong to a denomination where there are substantial roles (including ordained roles) available to non-pastors. I already do some of that sort of work, and if the question of earning money weren't involved, would probably do more.

    Like Pumpkin, I'd like to write more, in various genres, and I hope at least some of what I'd write would be useful in some ways to others. But (also like Pumpkin) I realize that's not exactly a road to riches, or even self-support (and in my job, even academic publications aren't a road to promotion, or probably even, at this late date, to tenure/the tenure track). I still hope to write more, after if not before retirement, since I've got a few things to say, both about the particular subject(s) I teach and about the state of higher ed in general.

    I also love to garden, and would happily cultivate a garden that could be enjoyed by passers-by (as long as I get to have some more secret, inward-facing bits as well). Sadly, there are monetary obstacles to expanding my activities beyond my current community garden plot (which is *very* public -- not terrible, but definitely not the ideal gardening environment for this introvert). Of course, this is mostly a selfish pleasure that I don't mind if others enjoy as well, so I'm not sure if it counts.

    Overall, it seems, I'd prefer to "minister" to people I don't necessarily have to see/interact with, at least not regularly. That may be a contradiction in terms (or maybe not).

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  12. As a part-time instructor, I already minister as a librarian: half research fount of knowledge, half counselor to the desperate not to fail.

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