SotW: Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win by the Beastie Boys Thursday, Aug 4 2011 

I’ve never been a big Beastie Boys fan, but Alt-Nation has been playing this song, and I can’t get it out of my head:

The video is very creative and fun, but that’s not why I love this track. When I first started choosing songs of the week they were meant to be inspirational to me in some way. Some reminded me of my yearly goals; others just reminded me of how much I love PJ.

“Don’t Play No Game that I Can’t Win” isn’t exactly inspiration, but it has gotten me thinking about my job a lot. There are a lot of ways that institutionally things are stacked against me being able to do the things I want and should be doing — like not having a development officer. As I enter the hump year of appointment, I need to decide if this is a game that I can’t win. And, if so, do I want to play it beyond my initial five-year appointment?

As I decide, I’ll sing along with Santigold!


Visiting the Smithsonian: Part 3 Wednesday, Aug 3 2011 

This post is the last in my three-part summary of my visit to some of the Smithsonian institutions in Washington, D.C. This one will cover my visits to the Natural History Museum, the Renwick Gallery, and the Sackler Gallery.

Natural History Museum

The taxodermied elephant in the lobby of the Natural History Museum.

I’ve been to the Natural History Museum before. In general,  I tend to like natural history museums. I arrived early — almost as soon as the museum opened — which was great: no swarms of kids everywhere!

I started by buying a ticket for an IMAX movie. The tickets seemed fairly cheap, and I figured it was a good way to get out of the heat. Then I started wondering around the museum to kill the hour or so until my movie started.

I began upstairs by looking at the Hope Diamond, which has never really interested me. This time was no exception. But I enjoy looking at the other jewels in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals. I especially liked the Elbaite gemstones:


Visiting the Smithsonian: Part 2 Monday, Aug 1 2011 

This post continues my series describing my visit to Washington D.C. and various institutions in the Smithsonian last week. This one will cover my visits to the American Indian Museum, the Freer Gallery of Art, and the National Zoo.

American Indian Museum

I visited the American Indian Museum for the first time just a few months ago, so I was a little hesitant about going back so soon. However, I really loved it when I visited in April, so when I had a little time and was in the area I decided to go back.

I’m delighted to say that the museum holds up even when visiting again so soon. It presents a lot of information for visitors, so in many ways it promotes repeat visits. I don’t think you can soak it all in one (or even two) visits.

This time I really liked the wealth of information the museums presents as well as the ways in which that information is presented. During my first visit in April, I was drawn to the cultural exhibits on specific tribes in North, Central, and South American. I enjoyed those again this time too, but I was especially drawn to much of the art featured in the museum this time. A couple of pieces that caught my eye were these:

Part of series of decorations by the Yup'ik people.

Another figure from the American Indian Museum.












The one on the left is part of one of the exhibits in the Our Universes section of the museum. This section provides a lot of information about both similarities and differences in various native peoples’ belief systems. The figure on the right is one of many native works featured in the Our Peoples exhibit, which is largely focused on history.