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Archive for September, 2012

So yesterday was “Talk Like a Pirate Day”, an event I had completely forgotten about until the parking lot shuttle bus drew up flying Blackbeard’s pirate flag. Steve the Shuttle Bus Driver was completely kitted out in pirate attire including knee breeches and a tricorn hat. We drove up the hill to the music of “High Barbary”, a nautical song (for those of you not in the know), and when we reached our destination, Steve invited us to “walk the plank”. Alas, his awesome piratitude was lost on many of the students who looked as though they had been shanghaied and shipped out before being properly caffienated. Still, two cutlasses way up, dude!

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Autumn at the University

On the hill, green leaves shade to gold and rust

An orange school bus

A yellow dump truck

A mosaic of leaves on the wet pavement.

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Just a little something to keep us amused late on Friday afternoon. One of the drawbacks of being a “Game of Thrones” fan is the long wait between books as this song shows.

So much for song, now for the dancing. Even Daleks are willing to pitch in and Morris Dance with inferior humanoids.

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My university’s unofficial motto.

The office where I work has been authorized to hire a new, grant-funded flunky. So today we, meaning myself, my long suffering assistant, and our fearless leader, were closeted with the library HR people going over the new forms and procedures so the job can be advertised when the HR people drop the following bomb: we get to write our own ad copy.

Yes, friends, in this day and age, it is important to write an eye-catching ad that gives a realistic yet favorable picture of life at our institution and encourages like-minded job seekers to apply for our positions. Can’t argue with that, right? The HR people then showed us some sample copy and it was all I could do not to turn away and make fake gagging sounds.

I earned my stripes in the trenches of bureaucracy so I’ve gone mano-a-mano with empty slogans, jargon, contradictory orders, prose so dense that light cannot escape, etc., but I had never run across a piece of university-generated verbiage that was essentially a set of meaningless, feel-good phrases while at the same time making blatantly untrue claims about university working conditions. I won’t go into the exact wording, but suffice it to say that¬† University of Arnor does not hand out lemonade and free unicorns to the staff while singing “Kumbaya”.

Once upon a time, mere underlings like ourselves were not allowed to write the university’s help wanted ads. That honor was conferred upon the university’s HR department which produced dry, business-like, and above all, accurate, prose drawn from the job descriptions supplied by the recruiting departments. Back then, university jobs were advertised in the newspaper. Now newspapers are out and websites, on-line databases, and listservs are in so snappier, more personalized copy is called for.

So with truth in advertising in mind, I present the following recruitment ad for the U. of Arnor library:

Mid-sized university library seeks wage slaves to toil long hours for deeply inadequate pay. Workload overwhelming, management support non-existent, benefits constantly being eroded.  Camaraderie of colleagues, gratitude of patrons, and firm belief in our Great Mission only reasons to keep going. Masochists encouraged. Apply within.

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