1. The Phillies are now up one game to none over the heavily favored Houston Astros, having gone down 5-0 and then scoring six unanswered runs to win 6-5 in the 10th. To make that kind of comeback against a team known for its ferocious pitching does send a message, yes it does. The next game starts in less than an hour as I write this, but at least for the next few hours there is a small but non-zero chance that the Phillies could win the World Series in a sweep. I’m not blind enough to reality to put money on that, but I have to admit that fact that this is even theoretically possible after one game has been played is deeply satisfying.
2. Kim, Oliver, and I spent much of the afternoon cleaning out the chicken pen from two years’ worth of accumulated chicken exhaust. By this point it’s pretty much just fertilizer with no particular odor so it’s not a terrible job that way, but it was six inches deep and every square inch of me ended up covered in dust, and even after a very long hot shower my eyes still burn like I hadn’t slept in a week. The chickens were unimpressed.
3. The midterm elections are less than two weeks away and for the life of me I cannot figure out how they are at all close. On the one side we have normal candidates, with a range of pluses and minuses. On the other side we have conspiracy theorists, raging psychopaths, insurrectionists, open bigots, and Russian sycophants. I grieve for my country.
4. I fully expect the GOP to launch any number of baseless criminal investigations and impeachment votes if they should retake the House of Representatives, because if there is anything a criminal organization resents it is being held accountable for its actions and if there is anything that criminal organization cannot do is differentiate being held accountable for their actions from petty revenge politics against those doing the holding. This, at least, I will put money on.
5. I went up to Madison for an advising conference last week – it’s one of the few such conferences that I consider useful enough to attend, and I always get some good information from it. But it did give me some pause. The fire alarm went off about two minutes before our scheduled lunch (which was already laid out in the big conference room – taco bar!) so we dutifully trudged outside. It was something real, it turned out, though not anything serious. After about fifteen minutes somebody came out and announced that it would likely be another forty minutes before we would be allowed back in. And then a minute or two later they came back and said that we advisors could go back to our conference. Yes, the building was on fire, but you know, go ahead. Nice to know where you stand, I guess.
6. It was good that I checked with the third of the various campuses I work for as to whether they had gotten my HR stuff correct, because they hadn’t. They’d shorted me about $1800 or so. It turns out that in order for me to get my money I had to tell them exactly how much I’d been paid over the summer, which struck me as precisely the sort of information that they should already have. I’m not sure why I am expected to do HR’s job when they can’t do mine – I’d pay good money to see anyone in that department explain the influence of neo-Harringtonian republicanism on the Federal Constitution of 1787 in a way that both makes sense to undergraduates and incorporates a PowerPoint slide of Aaron Rodgers, if I’m being candid here – but if I wanted my money that was the hoop I had to jump through. I submitted that on Thursday. We’ll see how it goes.
7. So far this academic year I have been a professor, an advisor, an HR professional, an accountant, and an IT guy, except that I only get paid for the first two since we supposedly have people doing those other jobs on staff. I should ask for a raise.
8. I should be grading. I do not feel like grading. Maybe I should ask the HR folks to grade my papers.
9. Someone handed me a wheat cent in change the other day, which doesn’t happen very often anymore. It’s nice to see them still floating around, though.
10. Oliver and I made a scythe on Friday. He had a costume party to go to and decided to use my old Death robe – my friend Julia used to have a medieval feast every year and I’d always go as The Plague, which was funny back in the 1980s. But while I still have the robe I no longer have the staff that went with it. It took us a couple of hours and involved spray paint, stick-on vinyl, cardboard, a ruler, and an absurd length of PVC pipe, but it doesn’t look half bad if I do say so myself. This is how we do parent-child bonding in this family, and the world looks on in awe.