Archive for December, 2009

Making Census of Allston

Posted on December 31st, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I get the most interesting mail sometimes.

Yesterday a representative of the U.S. Census Bureau wrote to ask if I would publicize its search for census workers.

I am a recruiter with the US Census Bureau, and I am looking to hire members of the Allston and Brighton communities to work with us on the 2010 Census.  As you know, working with the Census is a helpful and rewarding service to our community, and it brings jobs to our residents in what has been an economically trying time.

I agree! And also I think the census is a good thing. Except when it means that Texas Republicans get more representation in Congress.

Still, this is democracy at its nuts-and-bolts finest, and so I am happy to post the blurb below. Besides, how many job applications are you reading these days?

2010 Census Jobs: Earn Extra Money, Serve Your Community

Local Census Office Accepting Applicants for Temporary Employment to Support U.S. Census Bureau’s Goal of a Complete Count

While the economy continues to create uncertainty, the U.S. Census Bureau is providing opportunities for individuals to supplement their incomes with flexible, good-paying jobs —hiring hundreds temporary workers in the local area to ensure the 2010 Census is a success.

Census takers, also known as enumerators, are needed to conduct in-person interviews with community residents who do not return census questionnaires. These positions need to be filled by individuals with flexible schedules as work may occur in evenings and on weekends. Some positions may involve shift work. Bilingual workers are needed in many areas.

2010 Census job applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a valid Social Security number, be able to pass a background check, and complete a 30-minute, multiple-choice, employment test that measures knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform a variety of census jobs. More information, including a practice test, is available at

In most cases, workers will also be required to possess a valid driver’s license and have use of a vehicle. U.S. citizenship is required to work for the 2010 Census except in rare occasions when no qualified U.S. citizens are available.

All temporary census employees must be able to attend training, for which they will be compensated. Most training sessions are held during the day on weekdays; occasionally, a session may be held in the evening or on the weekend.

For more information on temporary employment with the U.S. Census Bureau, or to schedule an appointment to take an employment test and submit an application, call the toll-free 2010 Census Jobs Line: 1-866-861-2010. TTY Callers: Please use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.

Pretentious Art Criticism Watch

Posted on December 30th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Emphasis added:

For a real wallop… visitors can step into a small gallery where MoMA has installed [Mexican artist Gabriel] Orozco’s Yogurt Caps, the artist’s ultimate small-gesture-with-strange impact work and an homage to the Empty Gallery as Work of Art. Made in 1994, and consisting of four clear blue-rimmed Dannon lids, each nailed to the center of one wall of an otherwise bare room, it’s one of the most vexing artworks of the past two decades. Somehow Yogurt Caps transforms the gallery into something both more and less visible. The space becomes about emptiness and fullness, caring and not caring, the drained and the charged, passivity, portals, pissing people off, location, dislocation, irony, sincerity. It destroys the temple of Richard Serra. (It’s also, weirdly, about the first, third, and final letters of Orozco’s surname. There are so many circles in his art that you might think Orozco walks around the world seeing and re-creating his initial. He turns Walt Whitman’s omnipresent ‘I’ into an ‘O,’ and it’s wonderful.)

—From Jerry Saltz’s essay on Gabriel Orozco in the new issue of New York magazine.

I know writing about art isn’t easy…particularly when that art is four Dannon yogurt lids nailed to the wall. But as someone trying to learn about Orozco, I found myself befuddled and irritated by this pompous, lazy writing. How do yogurt lids transform a room into being about “emptiness and fullness, caring and not caring, the drained and the charged”? Would it make any difference if I threw in two more antonymic adjectives just for the heck of it?

The only conclusion one can arrive at about the art after reading this criticism—a conclusion that may well be unjustified— is that it can mean anything one wants it to.

It is—how should I say it?—about everything. And nothing.

Guantanamo: “A First-Class Facility”

Posted on December 30th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 13 Comments »

Joe Lieberman blah-blah-blah, proposes war against Yemen.

Farewell to the ’00s

Posted on December 28th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

The Huffington Post has an amusing/interesting piece about 12 things that became obsolete over the past decade.

The list includes landlines, newspaper classifieds, dial-up Internet access, film, the yellow pages, fax machines (not quite, I think), and handwritten letters.

(I beg to differ, especially at this time of year. E-mailed thank you notes? No thank you.)

This is kind of an interesting question though, so I’m going to give it some thought. But my initial nomination for obsolescence would be blaring car alarms, which might have been the worst invention of the past quarter century.

What’s become obsolete in your world?

More on Bloomberg and Harvard

Posted on December 28th, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

As of this writing, “Bloomberg’s Harvard Blockbuster” has 113 comments.

Pretty sure that’s a record for this blog, which warms my post-holiday heart.

Thanks for all your contributions, folks. Keep ’em coming!

A Harvard Prof in Hot Water

Posted on December 28th, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

HBS prof Mary Tripsas, also a New York Times contributor, took a junket that conflicted with the Times’ guidelines about not accepting free trips—and wrote about it.

As the terrific NYT-watchdog blog NYTPicker details, Tripsas accepted a junket to the 3M headquarters in Minnesota—and then wrote a gushing Times Sunday Business column.

What Prof. Tripas doesn’t mention is that on November 12, she and several other innovation researchers from around the country flew to St. Paul for a day-long briefing on the center, their travel and accommodations provided by the company — in direct violation of NYT rules.

(She should have at least chosen Bacardi or something. I mean…Minnesota?)

Now the Times may ax her!

But wait—Tripsas says she wasn’t invited because she writes for the Times, but because of her privileged Harvard status. 3M didn’t even know she wrote for the Times!

She says. Though admittedly this seems rather fanciful. Given that her Times affiliation is proudly noted in her HBS biography.

That said, the Times has a problem here: Increasingly, it won’t pay for people to go on reporting trips. So it can either have less-informed reportage in the paper, or it can compromise its principles.


On the Road Again

Posted on December 24th, 2009 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

I’ll be traveling for a couple of days, but will post as I can.

Meantime, here’s hoping you’re all staying warm, literally and otherwise.

Incompetent Admissions Officers?

Posted on December 23rd, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

The Daily Beast reports:

The person deciding collegiate futures is likely overworked and underpaid, with little relevant experience or loyalty to the job….

…Admissions officers are most often former campus tour guides who got their start as application readers at their own alma mater, then ended up staying on as admissions officers by default. And a lot of them have backgrounds that show few qualifications to evaluate prospective students. One associate director of admissions we talked to had a previous life as a knitting-pattern designer. Another counselor fought wildfires. Even Harvard’s dean of admissions admits he was forced to repeat the 9th grade after skipping more than 50 days of school.

Not sure the author helps her case by calling out Bill Fitzsimmons. But it’s easy enough to believe that, a tier or so down from Harvard, the people deciding applicants’ fates may not be people who should be deciding applicants’ fates.

A Little Holiday Fest

Posted on December 23rd, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

There’s a Facebook crusade going on in England to make sure that a Miley Cyrus-cover tune isn’t the number one song on the charts this Christmas—and it’s working!

The song that’s winning instead: The classic “Killing in the Name of” by Rage Against the Machine.

(Whose guitar player, by the by, went to Harvard.) It’s a pretty great song.

The Bloomberg Blockbuster, Con’t.

Posted on December 23rd, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

That post, which as of this writing has almost 90 comments, got pushed off the front page. You can find it here.