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Hugh Burns Award

I'm very happy to say that I have received the 2006 Hugh Burns Best Dissertation Award, given each year by the journal Computers and Composition. In 1979, Burns wrote the first computers and composition dissertation. Here I am with him:

Awards banquet at Wright Museum of African American History

That sheet is a facsimile of a plaque I'll receive later.

I'm a PhD(?)

So today I did my defense and passed; I guess that means I'm either with PhD or that much closer to being. Hooray for me!

Draft sent to readers

Earlier today, I printed, comb-bound, and express-mailed a full draft of my dissertation to the readers on my committee. (The way we do it in my program, the readers don't see any of the dissertation until the whole thing's done. Please keep your fingers crossed for a green light on the defense, which is scheduled already, but I haven't bought a plane ticket yet because I'm suspicious like that.


Much of this last revision before sending my dissertation to the readers on the committee is consisting of frantic JSTOR and MLA International Bibliography searches to find, in response to "you need to cite a source here" comments, articles that support passing observations I made in my chapters based on common knowledge and my own personal experience and reflection.

Also: I'm thinking constantly about people who did a lot of writing, sometimes under adverse conditions. Sylvia Plath did a lot of writing, some of it with two small children (when applying for grants, she figured babysitting costs into the budget, according to an essay in my edition of The Bell Jar). Ernest Hemingway supposedly wrote The Sun Also Rises in six weeks, though that one is somewhat spurious. It inspires me, at any rate.

I've been waiting for this.

As seen at Debbie's, the last word meme. Last night I was revising until 4:00 a.m., and, while I'm sure I'll revise it later, the last word for now is "literacy." I'll try to do better than that. What do you think my last word should be?


revise...conclusion. I'll get started on that as soon as I get back from my yoga class tonight. But first, a couple of links:

Twinning is up, and it's due to a number of factors, including maternal age and assisted reproductive technology (ART). But, scarily, you may be more likely to have twins if you eat meat and dairy products, due to the hormones given to livestock:

By comparing the twinning rate of vegan women, who consume no animal products, with that of women who do eat animal products, Gary Steinman, MD, PhD, an attending physician at Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Center in New Hyde Park, NY, found that the women who consume animal products, specifically dairy, are five times more likely to have twins. The study is published in the May 2006 issue of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, available May 20.

Via the Union of Concerned Scientists newsletter.

Also, check out Ema's story of how very well New York City is fighting avian flu.

Speaking of Ema, I'll be interested to her her take on the new birth control bonanza(!), including "a yearlong oral contraceptive and a simpler version of a contraceptive implant" (one rod instead of six).

Due to dissertation hay-ul

I got nothin'. Except some bullets!

  • First, a serious bleg. We're moving out at the end of this month to relocate in North Carolina, and we've only lived in this house in Decatur, GA for two months. Our landlord is making us pay the rent until a new tenant is found, and we don't want to lose our deposit or pay rent on two houses, one of which is empty. If you know anyone who is moving to the Atlanta area soon and is looking for housing, please put them in touch with me: clancy.ratliff at gmail. The house is great, a reasonable rent for the Atlanta area, big yard.
  • Just out of curiosity, can anyone think of any big public shaming media events surrounding fathers with their children? I'm not talking about the everyday public shaming that happens on Dr. Phil ("He won't get a job!"); I'm thinking along the lines of what happens to mothers fairly often, e.g., Britney with baby in lap. The only ones I can think of are the Michael Jackson baby-dangling incident and the Steve Irwin crocodile-feeding incident.
  • I did my first Pilates class ever today, and I liked it a lot.
  • Some of the comments in this thread are making me want to run and hide.


Let's say you reviewed a manuscript for a journal back in 2004. You thought the essay was excellent: research that was very much needed. You gave it a verdict of "accept with revisions" and suggested some areas that needed improvement. You've looked at all the issues of the journal since then (there have been nine), and you don't see the article. You want to cite this essay in your dissertation, but you don't know who wrote it, or if it ever found a home. What do you do? Do you write to the journal and ask for the identity of the author?

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