The Bitter End

Phil Ford

Another mixed-drink recipe: Mix whatever you have left in the liquor cabinet when you’re finishing packing up your kitchen. Shake and serve over ice. I call it: the Bitter End. In my situation yesterday, it was equal parts dark rum and orange cognac, with a dash of Rose’s Lime Juice. It was potable.

So I’m really at the end of the gruelling, endless business of packing, and am at the point of putting the computer in a box, so I’ll sign off for a while. I’ll be in transition for the next month or so, and not totally sure how much access I’ll have to a computer, so it’s safe to assume I’ll be taking a bit of a breather from Dial M. Many thanks to Robin Wallace for guesting this summer, and Jonathan will doubtless have endless amounts of free time in which to pick up my slack. (Kidding!)  But before I go, some blog love.
A little while ago Motal De Moka, a fine music blog I have had occasion to mention before, gave Dial M some love. They had been tagged, and tagged us in turn, with the following task:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

Thus has Dial M earned the right to bear the Thinking Blogger badge of honor:

Friggin’ cop show. Anyway, five blogs that make us think. Tough to narrow it down to just five. But here they are, in no particular order.

1. Scott McLemee’s Quick Study. I’ve mentioned McLemee before, but he’s worth mentioning again. McLemee is like an intellectual Huggy Bear — always down with the Word On The Street, ahead of the curve, feelers out, telling you what’s going down. Read the archives of his Inside Higher Ed column and save yourself the cost of a doctoral degree in thinkology. The most recent Inside Higher Ed mentions the AMS, by the way. McLemee is one of the only bloggers whose entries will be worth reading long after their nominal sell-by date.

2. Terminal Degree. Jonathan put it well: “What I like about her blog is that it makes me aware of long-forgotten first-year insecurities, injustices etc., and how certain universal academic problems (recalcitrant students, e.g.) look different to new faculty–indeed, they look like they can eclipse the whole.  Terminal is doing what she was put on earth to do, so there’s far less of the . . . well, bitching you find on lots of other newbie-academic blogs.” I agree, and although I don’t have the distance from Terminal’s newbie status that Jonathan does, my own liking for her site has to do with the sense of in-the-trenches, fighting-the-good-fight pedagogy, leavened by a sense of humor.

3. La Cieca’s Parterre Box. Funny, occasionally evil, deeply knowledgable, with  amazing audio and video clips.

4. Matthew Guerrieri’s Soho The Dog. My favorite music blog of all. Funny, smart, wide-ranging, and prolific. His chopped dreidel alone was worth a spot on this list.

5. One of my musico-scholastical colleagues should get a nod: I check the musicology/music theory blogs most often, and I believe that the emerging music-scholarship blogosphere is the most important new thing happening in our field. But who to choose? I’m a big fan of Barnet Bound, Musical Perceptions, The Texas Tech Music Theory group blog, and Tim Rutherford- Johnson’s Rambler, to say nothing of several new graduate-student blogs (check our “music academics” blogroll, and if you’re not there and want to be, please drop me a line at fordp at indiana dot edu). Since the work of the blogosphere is inherently collective — as Julian Sanchez once pointed out, if there were only one blog in the world, it would not be a blog — this last slot is a four-way tie. Everybody wins!

So off I go to return my office keys. Colleagues at UT, thanks for everything — I’ll miss you. I know I said I was going to throw a party at the end, but as usual I underestimated the amount of last-minute work the move would involve, and didn’t. Right now it’s like the last chopper out of Saigon at my house, so I’m going to go. See you all in a month. Be good.

About Phil Ford

Chairman of the Committee for the Memorial to the Victims of Modernism
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2 Responses to The Bitter End

  1. Jonathan says:

    Safe trip and happy landing. As far as picking up slack, well…

  2. ECG says:

    Ah, dude — it’s not going to be the same without you. Can’t you pack the computer last and get it out first? Oh, well…

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