Tuesday, March 29, 2011

a paradox

1) Students whose ACT scores are low enough place into Basic Writing, Basic Math, and / or Basic Reading. Students who are in two or more of the above also take a three-credit Learning Skills course. If they're in all three, that's full-time status right there.

2) None of these classes are considered "college level," so they do not count for credit toward graduation. For this reason, grades in these classes do not factor into the student's GPA.

3) Therefore, it is pretty much impossible for a student who never actually manages to PASS any of these classes to flunk out of college, or even to end up on academic probation.

Something is wrong with this picture, yes?

Sunday, March 27, 2011


The Friends of the Library held their semi-annual book sale this weekend. I always like it when I get home with the books and discover traces of their previous lives:

David, I am sure, must have been a perfectly charming houseguest! Here are a few more of my favorite inscriptions:

The Old Dramatists: Webster, first printed 1857, picked up in a used book shop in University of Basketball town. Allan H. Gilbert, the meticulous annotator whose notes are at the left, was also the prior owner of my copy of James Shirley; a still older owner (John somebody?) has signed his name at the right:

The Diary of Mr. Pepys. I was also in grad school when I acquired this one, during the course of a delightful and impecunious summer wandering around the UK. Inscription at top left reads "HONOURS PRIZE SENIOR CAMBRIDGE (SCHOOL CERT.) 1930. Below Eric WR Warm's name is what appears to be his entire genealogy.

Sonnets from the Portuguese, bought at the Bruton Parish Church book sale in Williamsburg, VA, in 1997 or 1998. I find this one tantalizingly poignant, and have always wondered about the story behind it.

The Student's Catullus, bought secondhand at the Beloved Alma Mater's bookstore. (Unlike the others, I do in fact know the person who wrote this one. Ah, good times.)