Wednesday, November 16, 2011

SBU History Newsletter no. 4 (Year 17)

YEAR 17, NO. 4 16 nOVEMBER 2011
Bona Students in the Rathskeller, 1961
Calling All Alumni
Numerous History grads receive this newsletter. We in the department can use your help. We'd like to update a display case in the department. This case features pictures of some of our History majors from the past along with a paragraph or so summarizing highlights of each person's life and career since graduation. The purpose of the display case is to show current students the rich variety of fields that History majors enter. If you have contributed a picture and personal information in the past, please consider emailing to me a new picture and updated information. And if you have never contributed anything, now is the time to do so.
History Department Blog
It gives me great pleasure to announce that a distinguished former member of our department will be posting occasionally in our department's blog. This is Dr. Edward K. Eckert, who taught in our department for more than 30 years and also served for several years as our academic vice president. He retired in 2005 and now lives with his wife Linda in Ocean City, Maryland. Dr. Eckert wrote several books in American military and Civil War history. Current students might recognize his name from the recently published book The Good Journey: 150 Years at St. Bonaventure University. Dr. Eckert was the principal author of that volume. (While on that topic let me suggest that students mention this book as a possible Christmas present that their parents could give them.) Dr. Eckert has volunteered to contribute to our blog and discuss, among other things, his memories of St. Bonaventure going back to the 1960s, when he was a student here. If you read his first posting, you will notice that he is also asking whether a current student might wish to work with him in creating a guide to campus for persons taking a walking tour. This student might be able to get internship credit for engaging in this project. To read the postings on the blog go to

Volunteer for Web Design?
Recently I added another title to the list of names that students can use for me. In addition to Professor or Doctor, and in addition to Colonel (as I am a Kentucky Colonel), students can now call me "Your Honor.” Last week I was elected Supervisor in the small town of Ischua. (Cities and villages in New York have mayors. Towns have supervisors.) After I take office in January I want to create a web site for the town. I maintain my homepage here at St. Bonaventure, but I am not a computer wizard.. Might some student wish to work with me in creating a web site next semester? I can't pay you (Ischua's 2012 budget is lean in the extreme); nor can I offer internship credits. But it might be fun. Moreover, the student can list this on his/her resume. And somewhere on the website the student will receive credit for designing it. The student who works with me need not be a History major.
Quiz. These questions about recent events are taken from NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me." Scroll down for the answers.
1. The reality TV star Kim Kardashian, by some calculations, was paid more than $2,000 an hour for doing what?
a) Being married to an NBA star.
b) Endorsing Krispy Kreme, with the singer Kris Kristofferson.
c) Performing a complicated quadruple bypass operation.
d) Foxy boxing.
2. As former Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr. made the rounds trying to revive his struggling presidential campaign, critics noted that:
a) Like Representative Ron Paul, he seems to have fake eyebrows.
b) His "fluent Mandarin Chinese" isn't all that fluent.
c) He's wearing white after Labor Day.
d) A piece of lettuce was stuck in his teeth.
3. The European financial crisis has struck Italy hard. During his final months in office Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was forced to:
a) Use coupons.
b) Actually show up at his office.
c) Accept the title "sub-prime minister."
d) Delay the release of his next album.
4. Following an agitated speech he gave a couple of weeks ago in New Hampshire, Governor Rick Perry felt compelled to deny that he was:
a) Drunk.
b) Endorsing President Obama.
c) Wishing he were back in Texas.
d) Wearing eye makeup.
5. A plan by two managers of a Domino's Pizza in Florida to improve business backfired when they were arrested for:
a) Stuffing pizza crusts with heroin.
b) Kidnapping people off the street and forcing them to eat at Domino's.
c) Charging $500 per pizza.
d) Burning down a nearby Papa John's.
Merton's Heart
Below are two views of our campus from Merton's Heart. Over the years I led several groups of students up to the Heart, where one gets a splendid view of the entire valley. Unfortunately, current students won't be able to enjoy this experience. A couple of years ago the new owners of the hill decided to prohibit members of the public from hiking on their property. I don't condemn the owners for wanting to preserve their privacy. It's just unfortunate that a piece of land so intimately connected with our institution is now off limits. For the benefit of new students, I should perhaps add that prior to his becoming a world-famous Trappist monk and author, Merton taught in our English Department from 1939 to 1941. In his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, Merton mentions that he liked to climb a hill across the river from the campus and meditate there. The assumption is that the clearing known as Merton's Heart is the spot where he went.
Quiz Answers
1. A. Ms. Kardashian reaped around $18 million in income and sponsorships for her August wedding to NBA player Kris Humphries. She remained married to him for 72 days. Thus, about $2,000 for each hour of wedded bliss. Noting the remarkable return on that investment, the nation of Greece immediately proposed to her.
2. B. On "The Colbert Report," Huntsman demonstrated his fluent Chinese skills by asking Mr. Colbert to be his running mate, in Mandarin. But Chinese speakers translated his remarks as, "I really want you to do my Vice-America President."
3. D. Berlusconi's 4th album of original songs was to have been released some months ago, but he has had to delay it, due to his country's financial troubles and his being accused of various sex crimes.
4. A. Perry's speech in Manchester, NH, led many in the media to question whether he had a shot of "courage" before addressing the crowd. The group that hosted the event later insisted that the governor was merely "animated," as in "that guy is falling down animated."
5. D. Seems smart enough--when business is struggling, eliminate the competition.

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