On the eve of this nation’s 144th birthday and in high expectation of a long weekend of warm(er) weather, I am keeping this blog short, sweet, and as funny as possible
June 30th, 2011

On the eve of this nation’s 144th birthday and in high expectation of a long weekend of warm(er) weather, I am keeping this blog short, sweet, and as funny as possible. Two videos in circulation are well worth a few moments of your time, not that you need an excuse to turn from applying for a grant/reading for comprehensive examinations/writing your thesis/thinking about writing your thesis/writing an article/submitting a conference abstract…and so on.

Regular readers of this blogspace well know Jorge Cham and his hugely popular comic strip Piled Higher and Deeper. Last year, some rumours started circulating about a feature film spin-off based on the strip and the familiar characters who populate its frames—notably the demanding somewhat abstracted and out-of-it professors and the addled and paranoid graduate students. Well, check out the trailer for the film, obviously already wrapped and waiting for a release date sometime this year. If I have my way I’ll be bringing it in for a special screening on our campus. It probably provides more therapy than all the counseling centres in Canada. Especially amusing is the uncanny real-life similarity these actors have to the illustrated drawings Jorge has invented from the deep, experienced well of his imagination.

My second diversion is an amusing clip of highlights from Conan O’Brien’s recent commencement speech at Dartmouth. I’ve had a bit of an ambivalent relationship to Conan over the years, but, like everyone else, I followed the train wreck of his departure from Late Night on NBC with a degree of voyeuristic excess. To be sure, Conan is more educated than any of the other talk-show hosts, a Harvard graduate and general pinhead with a sometimes effective boyish/Irish sense of humour.  As the YouTube clip shows, he gives a good speech, even or especially with President George Bush Sr. sitting next to him on stage. Oh, that all convocation Hon Docs had such wit and good timing.

Speaking of Harvard, next week I will report from Boston where I will be speaking at a large conference dedicated to graduate school business. As Sarah Palin wouldn’t say, the Canadians are coming, the Canadians are coming.

Happy Canada Day!

Dr. Faye Murrin is Dean pro tempore of the School of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor in the Department of Biology. She completed her B.Sc. (Hons.) at Memorial University, her M.Sc. at Acadia University, and her Ph.D. at Queen's University. Her research interests have always been focused on fungi, in particular the cell biology of insect pathogenic fungi and, more recently, the ecology of mycorrhizal mushrooms in the boreal forest. Dr. Murrin has served in a number of positions on the Council of the Mycological Society of America and was awarded the title of MSA Fellow for her contributions. She was awarded the Women in Science and Engineering Lifetime Membership Award as founding co-director of the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Summer Program. Dr. Murrin participates in public lectures and workshops, and is a Director on the board of Newfoundland Foray, Inc.

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