15 Years Later…

Pfizer Inc said on Thursday it was recalling all lots of its anti-smoking treatment, Chantix, due to high levels of cancer-causing agents called nitrosamines in the pills. Chantix was approved by the FDA in May 2006 as a prescription medication to help adults aged 18 and over quit smoking and is typically used for 12 to 24 weeks.

Only took them 15 years to figure it out. But it’s OK, it’s not like Pfizer is known for making the largest payouts in history for unethical medical practices, is it? There’s absolutely no chance they’d mess up again. Anybody who doubts their extreme honesty is an uneducated fool.

Male vs Female Audiences

I prefer to speak to an all-male than an all-female American group. (In Ukraine it would be the opposite).

Men feel freer. They ask more questions, they participate in banter and rousting before and after the event, and they are not afraid of making a bad impression. They don’t respond to what I say on an emotional level, and it always exhausts me when strangers start to emote around me. They are also a lot more respectful to a female speaker. They refuse to call me by my first name. The meeting is less organized and less structured.

It’s hilarious how different this would be in a Ukrainian audience. Which is obviously why I connect better with male audiences and students in the US.

I gave an identical talk to an all-female and an all-male group, and enjoyed the latter about 50 times more.

The Chair

By this time next year, my department will have lost a third of its tenured faculty. Three people. (They retired, in case anyone starts worrying about their fate).

These three people cumulatively taught 18 courses per year.

What do you think happens when they retire? Do I hire untenured lecturers to teach these 18 courses?

Ha. Ha. Ha.

I don’t hire anybody because nobody gives me a crooked dime for that. I’m supposed to get those courses taught without any new people.


Nobody gives a bleep.

The administration tells me that if I can’t make the program work without these professors, they will eliminate the program.

I haven’t watched that new TV series The Chair but if it tells you that the biggest challenge of being department Chair is anything other than what I described, it’s stupid and very annoying.

Treat Me Once

The Biden administration’s push to roll out coronavirus vaccine booster shots this month has largely been shaped by unpublished data from Israel’s vaccination campaign, according to two individuals familiar with the matter. The Israel data, which is set to be made public as soon as this week, shows that the Pfizer vaccine’s ability to prevent severe disease and hospitalization is waning over time — as is the shot’s protection against mild and moderate disease, the two sources said.

I told you, people, this isn’t about the “messaging.” This simply isn’t a vaccine in any usual meaning of the word. It’s a therapeutic with limited short-term efficacy. Since there is no vaccine, the choice isn’t between vaccinating and not. The choice is to treat the sick once or drug the healthy many times to lower the probability of having to treat them once.

Professors for Austerity

I received this extraordinarily stupid email from my professional organization:

URGENT CALL TO ACTION: Please endorse the MLA Statement on Higher Education by calling Senator Murray’s office at 202 224 2621 TODAY in support of tuition-free public education as well as the conversion of adjunct instructors to tenure-track faculty. The requirement that institutions reach a quota of 75% tenure-track workforce is now being considered for inclusion in the new budget reconciliation bill.

Sounds cute, eh? But the link these idiots provide to explain the proposed bull bill actually says this:

In April of this year, the MLA issued a statement supporting the College for All Act, a bill that would make most public colleges and universities tuition-free and reduce student debt. Crucially, the act included a provision requiring institutions to reach a quota of 75 percent tenure-track workforce instruction to receive federal funding.

So what does this mean? We won’t get federal funding because we can’t reach the 75% quota. And we can’t reach it because our already scarce funding will be slashed plus we can’t charge tuition. This is a nifty way to get facile idiot academics to support austerity. This College for All Act is nothing but a ploy to destroy public higher education system.

We are begging to get defunded because we can’t process the simplest information. All we know is how to chant slogans.

Onboarding and Re-onboarding

“Have you prepared onboarding packages for your lecturers?” an administrative asks.

“No, what’s an onboarding package?” I ask.

After a long, torturous discussion, I discover that we are talking about welcome packages that I obviously had prepared.

“Why don’t we keep calling them welcome packages?” I suggest.

“Because we need to differentiate between onboarding packages and re-onboarding packages for people who are completely new and those who have worked for us before.”

“And how are they different?”

“Umm… well, I don’t know.”

I love the English language, and it hurts to see it tortured like this.