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I have picked up a few interesting bits of knowledge from books I've recently read.

The first American graduate school was founded by a man named John W. Burgess in 1880. He had fought in the War Between The States and afterwards, according to Jacques Barzun, decided to "study laws and governments to see whether wars could be averted by knowledge and intelligence."
After he joined the law faculty at Columbia he persuaded the trustees to start a school of political science.

I look forward to dropping his name when talking with a colleague. If they ask "Who in the Sam Hill is John W. Burgess?" I can say "Why, he's the man who invented grad school!". Probably not the best and most accurate way to put it, but the most fun.

I gleaned this tidbit from Barzun's The Culture We Deserve. He probably wouldn't like that the primary benefit I got from his book was adding to my vast collection of trivia. He complains in one of his essays about "pedants" who accumulate "the sort of knowledge possessed by 'buffs' and 'fans' of all species" whose "hoard of learning is barren money". That pretty well describes me.

Right now I am reading Alan Greenspan's The Age Of Turbulence. I learned that among his other accomplishments he was in a jazz orchestra with songwriter Johnny Mandel and future Nixon White House counsel Leonard Garment. To rephrase the old saw, music  makes for strange bandfellows.

It also does a lot to explain how an old nerdy guy like him could marry an attractive lady twenty years his junior. Women dig musicians. Perhaps I should take some time off from collecting factoids and learn to play the clarinet!


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Did you see that celebrated rally car driver, Colin Mcrae and his son died recently in a helicopter crash on September 16th. I don't know if you have written or were planning to write a memorial haiku about him. He was one of the best in the sport and was amazing to watch.
I know personally nothing gets me going like a guy flashing his ICA membership card at me. hot!