Love on Campus

William Deresiewicz writes a stupendous article, Love on Campus, for the American Scholar in the style of a literary critic about how English professors are portrayed in the movies these days; weak, philandering, selfish, pompous, self-pitying.  He goes on to stipulate how wrong this is, and that in reality, intellectual intercourse is a goal of the university, and since WW2 a number of social and cultural trends have made this kind of “brain sex” more and more illusory or taboo.

The article borders on the absurd at times, with thick prose (I had to look up the word demotic), and used the words luftmensch and parvenu in the same sentence. But his logic is impressive and he reaches a surprising conclusion; that lust, or eros, has its place on campus. Between your ears, and not your legs.

Distance Learning and Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time changes this year in the US on the first Sunday in November (the 4th) at 2 AM. This is a week later than usual. Bush changed it to save energy. I still find daylight saving time an annoyance, and am happy to miss it here in Japan. Unfortunately, I am involved in a Japanese course in the US (Distance Learning). We meet 9-11 AM Eastern time, which is 10-12 PM here in Tokyo. In November that changes to 9-11 PM. Too complicated.

Couple of interesting facts from the web site for Daylight Saving:

The official spelling is Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight SavingS Time.

Saving is used here as a verbal adjective (a participle). It modifies time and tells us more about its nature; namely, that it is characterized by the activity of saving daylight. It is a saving daylight kind of time. Because of this, it would be more accurate to refer to DST as daylight-saving time. Similar examples would be a mind-expanding book or a man-eating tiger. Saving is used in the same way as saving a ball game, rather than as a savings account. …
Adding to the confusion is that the phrase Daylight Saving Time is inaccurate, since no daylight is actually saved. Daylight Shifting Time would be better, but it is not as politically desirable.

and

Many fire departments encourage people to change the batteries in their smoke detectors when they change their clocks because Daylight Saving Time provides a convenient reminder. “A working smoke detector more than doubles a person’s chances of surviving a home fire,” says William McNabb of the Troy Fire Department in Michigan. More than 90 percent of homes in the United States have smoke detectors, but one-third are estimated to have dead or missing batteries.

Can you imagine? One Third?

Is happiness U-shaped?

According to research at the NBER, the life-cycle of humans these days contains a fluctuation in happiness. We start out our life relatively happy, and it declines gradually to a point, and then starts rising, which looks like a “U” shape on a graph. The bottom point for men is 49, and 45 for women. I’m just at the point where things should start looking up. Hope they are for you.

Tokyokevin at kevinryan.com

Tokyokevin comes back. I’ve used WordPress before, but moved to Expression Engine, paid $200 and watched it get eclipsed by improvements in WordPress. So I am switching back. I’ve had blogs at JapanLang.com, LanguageJapan.com, but have consolidated those here. I am going to put everything online in one place.

I will continue to write about my favorite subjects (check the category listing), and welcome comments. I hope to pass along enough information that is helpful so people check in now and again. See you soon!