Thursday, May 04, 2006

Piled Higher and Deeper: The Citations

One of my jobs at the university I work for is to be the managing editor of the university's faculty/staff newsletter. This is a large, 8-12 page publication that contains lots of campus news of special importance to faculty and staff. It also contains a section that lists the recent academic accomplishments of faculty and staff, such as papers or books they've had published, lectures they've delivered or honors they've received.

This section is probably the most-read section of the newsletter. Faculty, who provide the large majority of the entries, apparently like to see their accomplishments in print, and everyone likes to look at what their colleagues are up to.

The hard thing for me is that I have to collect all the e-mails, departmental newsletters and scribbled notes sent to me by faculty and staff, then edit and assemble the information therein into readable form. The resulting entries can get quite dense and boring because, well, the subjects appear dense and boring to the layman. For example, here are some actual entries, altered only to protect the identity of the professors involved:

Dr. Richard Jones, professor of biology, had a co-authored article titled “Periphyton Nutrient Limitation and Nitrogen Fixation Potential Along a Wetland Nutrient-depletion Gradient” published in Wetlands (Vol. 16, pp. 439-448, 2005). Co-authors are Christopher Filstrup and J.Thad Scott, graduate students. He had a co-authored article titled “Recovery and Fractionation of Phosphorus Retained by Lightweight Expanded Shale and Masonry Sand Used as Media in Subsurface Flow Treatment Wetlands” published in Environmental Science and Technology (Vol. 42, pp. 4621-4627, 2005). There are multiple co-authors.

Dr. Frank Killen, professor emeritus of biology, had an article titled “Native Texas Avifauna Altered by Suburban Entrapment and Method for Easily Assessing Natural Avifaunal Value” published in Bulletin of the Texas Ornithological Society (Vol. 39, pp. 35-47, 2005).

Dr. Pamela G. Lawrence, assistant professor of English, had an article titled “The Worthwhile Life Heterodox Spinster: Frances Power Cobbe” published in A/B: Auto/Biography Studies (Vol. 21, pp. 1-18, 2005).

Dr. Brian P. Smith, professor of environmental studies, presented a lecture titled “Growth, Toxicity and Composition of Prymnesium parvum in Relation to Temperature, Light and Salinity” Oct. 15 at the Symposium on Harmful Marine Algae in the United States in Monterey, Calif.

Well, you get the idea.

One day last year, after editing and typing in what seemed like thousands of these entries, my always tenuous sanity broke its tether, and I began writing the kind of entries I would actually love to see in the academic section. Here's the alternate list I came up with. Notice I expanded the list to include the accomplishments of persons who are, shall we say, outside the academy.

Dr. Rusty Blade, hillbilly surgeon, had an article titled “Ooh-Wee! It’s A Biggun!: Memorable Goiters I Have Removed” published in Appalachian Medical Gazette and Seed Catalog (Vol. 14, No. 4, pp.18-23).

Chantay DeMilo, performance artist, presented a one-woman exhibition of underarm hair paintings titled “My Pits as Palette” Aug. 20-Sept. 24 at Barney’s House of Barf, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Rama Lama Ding Dong, newly enlightened master and The Vram and Mehta Rastipnul Chair of Advanced Mysticism and Weird Stuff, channeled the incoherent ravings of Ibin Takin, a 14th century Mongol maintenance worker, Oct. 22 at a Psychic Hotline training session in Altoona, Pa.

Irving Feinberg, retired mucilage tester, presented “Color Photographs of My Recent Hernia and Hemorrhoid Operations” Sept. 4 at the Show and Tell Supper, Days O’ Rest Nursing Home, Boise, Idaho.

Gash, abdominal artist, had a tattoo and body piercing collage titled “The Naked Anna Nicole Smith Tortured by Zulu Warriors” displayed on the stomach of Dank Sellar, homeless person, in Los Angeles, Ca.

Dr. Chauncey Leezay, professor of postmodern art, had an exhibition titled “Klunk: Discarded Auto Mufflers as Found Art” Oct. 13-31 at the Hot Wheels Institute in Matchbox, Tennessee.

Stig McNasty, drummer for the Intestinal Worms, presented “How to Cop A Plea on a Charge of Indecency With a Minor” Sept. 27 to his AA support group in Leeds, England.

Juan D. Tenure, junior lecturer in English, had an article titled “Shakespeare’s Use of the Semicolon” published in Wasted Paper (Vol. 32, No. 8, pp. 6-7).

Whomp, Neanderthal chemist, presented “Rub Powders Together Go BOOM! Burn Hair Stink Bad” at the “Rock on Rock” demolition conference, second cave past the tar pits.

Brother Stuf Jam Yomamma, lead singer for Limp Weasel, had a song titled “Whack The Mutha in the Face Wit’ Yo @&*$*!” released as a single by Profane Records, Hollywood, Ca.

Numerous faculty members from various departments within the University made multiple presentations at the annual mid-winter conference titled “Very Important and Crucial Matters of the Highest Intellectual Import Which Defy Explanation to Untutored Laymen” held Jan. 2-27 at Buzz Tingler’s Nude Resort and Casino, Virgin Islands.
Today's quote:

"Midway on our life's journey I found myself in a dark wood."

--First line of Dante's Inferno


EmmaSometimes said...

oh they better publish that. That would be hilarious! I love well written humor, and you take the cake with this one. This is what I have made for you:

Muley Cuspidor-Worthington more commonly known as "Texas Tornado", managing editor for Texas Biggest and Best University's faculty newsletter, authored article titled "Podcasting: Finding your Inner Barry White" (Alternatives For Tired Typists, Vol 2 p.7) lead researcher and lecturer on the 1971 study, "You and Your CB Handle", (IHOP Supplemental - Vol 10.4.) also presented at Duluth, MN 2006 Annual Tractor Pull. Completed autobiographical account titled, I Survived The 6 Flags Mosh Pits. Republished article "The Cleft Chin: It's not Just For Book Covers Anymore" for Soap Opera Digest (©1970-2006 Vol 3,600 page 423.)

Laura said...

I would like to get that Limp Weasel album. Do you know where I can find it?

And well done Emma!

Would either of you be willing to write my eulogy? (Pre-mortem, of course.)

Jeff H said...

Oh, man!!! Rama Lama Ding Dong is on faculty at your university?!?! I love that guy. Can you get me an autographed copy of his best seller "My Navel Lint Is Holier Than Thine"?

jenA said...

oh, so funny. on a serious note, you could make rules about these confounding briefs. you are the managing editor and putter-togetherer, after all.
how bout, "Send your pat on the back to yourself, 50 words or less, by email or fax by a certain deadline and no other way if you want to see your name in print ever again"?

jd said...

I always wanted to go to your school just never could get the nerve. Maybe for grad school.

YOu crack me up!!

Muley said...

Emma: I think we are soulmates in goofiness. You wield a wicked pen, my friend.

Laura: I will send you the MP3s from the latest Weasel album. And Emma and I can write your eulogy, but we need to know all those deep dark secrets of yours first to use as material. You won;t care, since you'll be gone anyway, right?

Jeff: Consider it done, my man. One word of warning -- his handwriting stinks. Looks like he writes on a barf bag on a plane ready to crash.

Jen: Sadly, I am only the tool of the big educational machine. My job is not to ask why, but how high to jump.