Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Archive for June 2005

The Social Science Challenge

with 8 comments

Should you find yourself really bored and feel the need to examine your education I am posting below a part of a recent challenge I gave to my social science students.

To play first download this excel file. When you open it you will find each of the 50 states listed in alphabetical order. In the next column there is a blank spot for you to record your guess at the appropriate number of electoral votes for each state.

For each vote you are off, over or under, you will receive one point. For example if you thought a given state had 10 electoral votes when it actually had 18 you would accrue 8 points (18 -10 = 8). If you had instead guessed the same state had 2 electoral votes then you would have also accrued 8 points (10 – 2 = 8). The worksheet will add them all up and give you a total at the bottom. Lower scores reflect a greater accuracy and are therefore better.

One student bested my score of 145 with a score of 121.

How well do you know the states? (and no cheating!)

Written by furthermusings

June 26, 2005 at 11:03 am

Posted in On the Job

In Memoriam

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The World's Best Dog

Today our beloved family dog, Scruffy, died in my mother’s arms after suffering from kidney failure over the last week. Over the last 11 years he never failed to joyfully greet me as I returned from my many journeys, both long and short, with a wagging tail and a panting excitment. I’ve enjoyed returning the gift of joy to him with the simple treats of a biscuit or a walk.

We, as many of you have over the years, enjoyed his quiet companionship as we moved about our house in Hendersonville. He was a faithful friend to us all. He is already missed.

Written by furthermusings

June 21, 2005 at 5:47 pm

Posted in General

Funding the Airwaves

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I emailed my congressional representatives tonight about the recent decision of the Republican led House Appropriations Committee to remove funding for NPR and PBS. I enjoy the breadth, thoughtfulness, and general objectivity of NPR and hate to deny the benefits of their coverage to rural listeners. Perhaps there is a bit of New Dealer in me: wanting to bring helpful services to the wider public.

And also . . . reading Non-Sequiter this morning I was reminded again of the reasons I ousted TV news and news magazines from my daily media diet.

Written by furthermusings

June 16, 2005 at 6:50 pm

Posted in Politics


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Growing up in western North Carolina a few friends from our high school regularly described things that were crooked as “catawampus.”

For example, Dwayne might point to a picture on the wall and proclaim “Billy Bob, that there picture is catawampus!” To which Billy Bob, after pondering for a moment, could reply “It might could be.”

I always liked using the word catawampus. I mean really, who doesn’t enjoy using a word that ends in “wom’pus”?

I always assumed this was a word that had caught on at the local fire department after someone made it up, but to my surprise today my dad emailed me this definition. Who knew it was legitimate?


Pronunciation: (kat”u-wom’pus), [key] Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S.

1. askew; awry.
2. positioned diagonally; cater-cornered.

diagonally; obliquely: We took a shortcut and walked catawampus across the field. Also, cattywampus.

Written by furthermusings

June 6, 2005 at 6:13 pm

Posted in General


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shaving my head

When I was in high school I decided that if a classmate I was close to ever had cancer I would shave my head when their hair fell out so they wouldn’t feel as out of place around the hallways.

Since Mom was diagnosed I have been thinking back to that thought, but given the wedding (and chance of severe sunburn in the desert Southwest on the honeymoon) I thought I would wait until returning to Chapel Hill. So when Charity and I stopped in Chicago on the drive back she, my cousin, and my aunt each took turns shearing it away before I finished the job with a disposable razor.

I have yet to visibly frighten anyone despite several people telling me that I look scary.

I like it and am going to keep it for a while. Aside from liking the way it looks, I am constantly aware of the change and the difference. Feeling the cool air drafting past my bald head and being surprised when I scratch an itch to find prickly stubble instead of smooth hair under my fingertips regularly reminds me of more serious changes else where.

Written by furthermusings

June 2, 2005 at 12:38 am

Posted in Pictures