The Holiday Edition

Cheerfully brought to you by Conway Brackett and Robyn Martin

Have a Holly Jolly.....Whatever You Celebrate!

It's hard to believe that the end of the semester is just around the corner. Chrismahannakwanzika was today, and the holiday party at Canoe is next week.. And oh yeah - exams. So since you have nothing on your plate, we thought we'd share a few things to help keep you from being bored this month. Enjoy!

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Faculty Book Review

Mary Kay Waterman

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

During the school year, when I need a break from re-reading Hamlet or skimming debate briefs but don’t have time for Dostoyevsky, I sometimes opt for a graphic novel. Roz Chast’s 2014 graphic memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? was both hard to pick up and hard to put down. I’ve enjoyed Chast’s cartoons in The New Yorker since my late teens, but I shied away from her memoir when I learned of its subject matter: Chast’s experience of caring for her parents through their nineties; their dementia and multiple illnesses; and their eventual deaths. I’m not one to cry over books or movies, so Chast’s typically unsentimental approach to an excruciating topic appealed to me. Plus, it was told in cartoons, so it had to be funny, right? It was. But what I didn’t expect were the abrupt changes in tone; in a single frame, the memoir switched from hilarity to despair. And back and forth again countless times. Her drawings, and even a few photographs, reveal in exacting detail the agonizing details of her parents’ decline- their hoarding of ancient items in their apartment; their resistance to downsizing; and the endless logistics of caring for them in decline. At the heart of her memoir is a candid and common complaint: It’s hard to say goodbye to our loved ones, but perhaps even harder to witness their suffering and the financial strain of prolonged illness and care, and to glimpse in all of it our own mortality. I laughed; I cried.

Tech TidBits

Because We Just Can't Get Enough!

The VWL added two new databases last month. One is Science Online, which gives access to all of the AAAS journals. The other is Statista, which is chock full of statistical information. Say you want to know the breakdown of tweeters by age. Or maybe how much people spent on Cyber Monday for the last few years (this year wasn't available yet) Click and find out!