WW2, In Vivid Color (sorta)

Today I put up a picture of FDR and asked my students: "Who was the President of the US during WW2 and how many times was he elected?"


Answers (in no particular order):



  • ·      Nickson. 3x
  • ·      Kenedy. 2x.
  • ·      John Hay. 2x.
  • ·      Bush. 2x.
  • ·      Franklin Roosevelt. 2x.
  • ·      Woodrow Wilson. 9x. (Nine? 36 years of Wilson?!)
  • ·      Abraham Lincoln. 1x.
  • ·      Adams. 4x.
  • ·      Truman. 2x.
  • ·      FDR. 2x.
  • ·      Theodore Roosevelt. 2x.
  • ·      Wilson. 3x
  • ·      Teddy Roosevelt. 3x.
  • ·      Nixon. “Was elected in harsh times.”
  • ·      F. Roosevelt. 3x.
  • ·      Franklin Roosevelt. 2x.
  • ·      T. Roosevelt. 2x.
  • ·      Grover Cleveland. 1x.
  • ·      Truman. 3x.
  • ·      Franklin Theodore Roosevelt. 3x.
  • ·      John Adams. 2x.
  • ·      Nixon. 2x.
  • ·      Eisenhower. 1x.
  • ·      FDR. A lot of times.
  • ·      A creepy old man. 3x.
  • ·      Hay. 2x.
  • ·      Johnson. 0 times. [1]
  • ·      Teddy Roosevelt. 4x.
  • ·      FDR. 2x.
  • ·      Teddy. “Elected in warfare times.”
  • ·      Franklin D. Roosevelt. 4x.
  • ·      F.D.R., 3x.
  • ·      Teddy Roosevelt. 2x.
  • ·      Lyndon Johnson. 2x.
  • ·      Franklin Roosevelt. 4x.
  • ·      Woodrow Wilson. 2x.
  • ·      Ford. 12x. Not.
  • ·      Hamilton. 3x.
  • ·      Nixon. 4x.
  • ·      Jefferson. 2x.



[1] Tricky. 


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Politely Looking Away: Wikileaks and Sneaky Peaks

I just read an article about ROTC students not being allowed to read Wikileaks material.  According  Col. Charles M. Evans, commanding officer of the 8th Brigade, U.S. Army Cadet Command "using the classified information found on WikiLeaks for research papers, presentations, etc. is prohibited."


As a Professor -- an exceptionally curious one who teaches US Foreign Policy -- I thought I would wildly and vehemently disagree with Col. Evans. 


I mean, who is HE to tell students what resources they can use? Who is ANYONE to limit academic inquiry? 


Then I turned the question on myself.


When I first heard of Wikileaks, I drooled at the idea of so many raw primary sources waiting to be picked, read, analyzed, contextualized and (insert joyful sigh) synthesized. 


I decided I would dive into Wikileaks documents and find a way to make an assignment so that my students (too many of whom think the Taliban, lead by Saddam Hussein, attacked us on 9/11/2001) could dive into the current wars and understand them better.


But despite my early enthusiasm, I still haven't created that assignment, mostly because I can't bring myself to read Wikileaks.  


Why? The material there isn't for me.


It isn't for public consumption.


The documents on Wikileaks were stolen from my country, and I feel like reading it would be akin to poking through a neighbor's drawers or going through a student's purse when they leave the room. 


Perhaps I'm waiting for the feeling that reading classified state documents is "wrong" to pass.


Until then,  I will steadfastly and politely and patriotically continue to  avert my eyes.

Death, Silk and Dust*

It's an hour before my first lecture and I've been in my office since dawn doing the "things" I do in the morning (write lectures, answer emails, youtube videos).

My door is open for once, so I look up when she walks towards my door.

At first I think its one of my students (what? coming to my office before an exam? really??!)  but it's one of our awesome departmental work study students.

I was a work study student in the History Dept at Loyola when I was an undergrad, so I take mentoring work study students seriously.

"I hear you might be mentally unstable today...." she says as she stops in my doorway, smiling face framed by heavy bangs and long hair.

I know exactly what she's talking about.

 Earlier this morning as I walked by a huge round planter that I walk by ten times a day and  stopped to feel some of the leaves of what I thought was a towering bamboo plant.

It was fake.

 It was a fake silk plant, pretending to be bamboo.

Then I felt more leaves and there was definitely a dead bamboo plant in the planter, brown and dried.

On the bottom of the planter, dusty silk plants in purples and greens spilled over.

Mortified,  I told the people who NEED to know (and they KNOW who they are) that there is a dead dead plant and a fake plant coexisting in the hallway and everyone is walking by it like it's just FINE to walk by death.

And they laughed.

So I laughed and went back to my office.

That's when she showed up and asked about my mental stability.

"Oh I'm stable, alright. My plants are ALIVE. And I have my new shoes on....don't worry about me! " (I lifted my leg up way above my head so she could appreciate the glory of these black clogs...)

"I guess you're doing fine then," she said before she left.

And that's how my day is going -- the usual mix of laughter, history, death, silk and dust*

The Last Sunday (Cow Penis) Supper

Sunday went something like this.

I got up super duper early and -- because just this once I finally could -- I went to Publix just as it opened at 7am to do the grocery I've been putting off for over a week.

By 8am I am home again, lugging more meat and fruit and veggies than this house has seen all year. I unload, sort and put things away and settle into a long morning of grading.

Around noon I put a pork tenderloin in the oven and start pots of black beans and rice. Soon enough, the house smells like garlic and love.

When the roast finishes, I take it out and let it rest on the counter.

Zoe takes one look at it, and despite the fact that pork roast is her favorite food, pronounces it is a COW PENIS and she isn't going to eat it.

I try to tell her cows don't have penises. I try to tell her pork isn't cow.

She refuses to listen.

She refuses to even try it.

Zack looks at it (respectfully, and maybe a little awed) shakes his head  and refused to even try it.

Fine, fine, I tell her to make herself a sandwich, and that I'm not cooking any more today.

 She settles back into Hannah Montana (the LAST ONE EVER) and I finish grading my quizzes.

When I'm all done recording grades, alphabetizing them, and putting them away, I head to the kitchen to try the pork.

It is juicy. It is crispy. It's the best damn pork I ever made, so I declare a small holiday and make myself a sandwich with it on Cuban bread.

 It's so good I want to dance while I eat it.

Until about two hours later when I got an outrageously bad feeding,  dash to toilet and and throw it up.

Honestly, as far as throwing up goes, that wasn't the worst ever. It was fast and it didn't taste bad at all.

 I remember when I was in labor for Zoe and I had just eaten a blueberry donut, then a minute later threw it up and it looked and tasted almost exactly the same. Laughing between contractions I announced that I finally understood why dogs ate their vomit.  An hour later, I became a parent, and since then I've been struggling with what to feed myself and my kids.

Zoe stands outside the door while the waves of what I decide are food poisoning roll over me.

She comforts me with her words, and when I stop wretching, admonishes me, saying this is what I get for  eating the cow penis.

I'm too tired to fight.

 I nap.

Later, Zoe and Zack eat Subway for dinner.

Zoe has her usual 6" turkey with an entire salad on it.

 Zack orders a 12' ham sandwich, uncut.

Uncut, I ask him, you sure?

Yes, he said, eyeing his sandwich in front of him.

I want it to be as big as that Cow Penis from earlier today, he says with a big smile.

And  now you know exactly when and where and why I gave up on cooking Sunday dinner.