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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: November ::
Lots on Things on My Mind
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0669  Saturday, 29 November 2008

From:       Hardy M. Cook <
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 >
Date:       Saturday, November 29, 2008
Subject:    Lots on Things on My Mind

Dear SHAKSPEReans:

As you have noticed, this past semester, I have not been keeping up with 
distributing the SHAKSPER digests with the accustomed regularity I have had over 
my more than fifteen years as Editor of this listserv.

Let me briefly explain, and inform you that the irregularity will continue until 
the middle of December.

There have been two important matters on my mind. The first involves the high 
incidents of SPAMMERs, causing SHAKSPER to be blacklisted with a frequency that 
is alarming and that has add even more work to the over-burdened workload I 
already have. Eric Luhrs and I have been thinking about ways to address this 
problem, but one issue that I have not discussed much is that one consequence of 
the over aggressiveness of anti-spammer software is that I have lost, at least, 
a hundred members for a number of reasons, including that use 
anti-virus/anti-spamming software that "blocks" SHAKSPER, resulting eventually 
in some members being deleted from the list and not even knowing why since they 
do not even receive the message informing them that the listserv software has 
deleted them.

In the past year, I have come across twice suggestions that "blogs" have 
essentially replaced "listservs": the first appears in Terry Gray's "Mr. 
Shakespeare and the Internet: the blog" on February 5, 2008. Terry wrote at that 
time about receiving a message from me and then about SHAKSPER:

<LONGQUOTE>
I had the honor today of receiving a missing link-one of those Google Book 
Search links to a volume within a multi-volume work I have complained so much 
about lately-from Dr. Hardy Cook, editor of one of the great Shakespeare 
resources on the Internet: the SHAKSPER listserv. It occurred to me that many 
newcomers to the Internet might not be familiar with SHAKSPER, or, indeed, the 
concept of a LISTSERV which, admittedly, is one of the early tools of the 
Internet but one still much used and appreciated by net veterans.

SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion among those interested in Shakespeare-I mean 
seriously interested in Shakespeare, not those interested in such silly, 
dilettantish "issues" like the "authorship problem." It is a place to learn of 
conferences, events, important publications, to make observations, ask 
questions, and carry on discussions with like-minded Shakespeareans. It all goes 
on via email. I know that blogs have supplanted much of the need for email 
discussion lists, but they are still useful, and the most convenient way to 
conduct this sort of multi-threaded discussion.
</LONGQUOTE>

The other reference came just the other day in a private correspondence to me 
about my SPAM problems from a member, Peter Paolucci, consulted with a colleague 
who works four servers from his home, Professor Norio Ota:

<LONGQUOTE>
Norio made the following points.

1. Listserv technology (no matter what you use, majordomo -- etc) is dead). 
Hotmail won't even permit listserv emails to come into their environment and you 
cannot hide this information because it is automatically embedded in the headers.

2. The problem of rejected or disallowed messages is local (client-side), of 
course, so there is little you can really do on your end (server side) to get 
round this.

3. Norio has suggested two solutions, both of which involve migrating away from 
the listserv technology you now have.

Option 1: Go to a blog (secured so that only authenticated subscribers could 
access it)

Option 2: Use the listserv feature inside *Moodle;*  it has a much higher 
success rate with distributions, and you can still retain email technology ... 
for the time being at least.
</LONGQUOTE>

So the first important matter on my mind has to do with SHAKSPER and SPAMMing 
and with my desire to improve the quality of SHAKSPER -- we had two excellent 
Roundtables and I have a group of distinguished members of the SHAKSPER Book 
Review Panel. However, I just have not had the time to do what needs to be done 
to keep the momentum going to so that I can launch this new and exciting service 
on SHAKSPER.

Well, this all brings me to me second matter on my mind. I love teachings; I am 
an effective teacher; I spend considerable hours discovering, saving, and 
archiving materials to use in my teaching. I have PowerPoint Presentations on 
"Shakespeare's Life and Works," on "The Dominant Ideology," on "The Transmission 
of the Text," and on "Shakespeare's Theatre." And these are just some 
PowerPoints I have spend hours upon hours constructing for my Shakespeare 
classes; I create them for virtually all of my courses. The problem is that I am 
not happy with some things that are going on at my university and my disability 
and chronic pain issues have interfered greatly with my ability to be as 
effective a teacher as I would like to continue to be. As a result, I am 
considering retiring. Retiring would give me the time I need to spend on my 
scholarly pursuits like SHAKSPER -- and redesigning the SHAKSPER web site, for 
instance. I would have more time to spend on my writing; writing is one of my 
most rewarding activities. There are these, and there are many, many other 
projects and obligations that I have made that I simply am unable to deal with 
under my present condition.

Although I cannot imagine a life without teaching, I need to take care of myself 
and currently I am unable to do what I need to do to take care of my health and 
to do what I need to do to fulfill my contractual obligations, like grading all 
of the papers I assign in my Technical Communications classes. One would think 
that after more than 30 years at my university and after close to 40 years of 
teaching in higher education that I would not have to be required to teach 
course like Technical Communications, courses that require an inordinate amount 
of time for me to grade all of the assignments that I make. But my image of what 
a senior professor should and should not be required to teach service does not 
correspond to the image of the administration where I work.

Although it is not a done deal, I meet with two of my doctors on Tuesday and the 
major topic of our discussion will be if I should continue to teach or not.

This is all very difficult for me since I pride myself upon my teaching; 
however, my health is such that I just simply do not believe that I can continue 
to work at teaching and need to do something that will make me happier and 
enable me to be in a better position to take of myself.

I have some fascinating things in my SHAKSPER inbox, and I will be getting to 
them as I can, but please do not expect too much for the next few weeks.

Hardy

PS: Of course, I have not even mentioned the world's economic problems and my 
watching my retirements/savings virtually disappear over the past eight weeks.



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