Category Archives: Duke

Answer Person Retires

For the past 28 years, I’ve enjoyed answering your questions about life and the Libraries.  But, alas, it was time for me to retire.APonDP Over the years, I’ve been inspired by your curiosity, at times challenged by your obscure references, and always flattered that you were reading.  At other times, I must admit, I’ve been exhausted by the repetition (so many questions about a certain unofficial graduation requirement that’s supposed to be fulfilled in the library).

Some faithful readers might be curious about what I’ll do next.  I plan to travel a bit with a special someone and do all of the things I dreamed of doing while working.  For the immediate future, I’ve rented a cottage overlooking Inch Strand in County Kerry, where I paddle out to surf only when the waves are overhead.  Durham will remain home.

You’ll have noticed that I removed the question book from the lobby before leaving a few weeks ago; but I’ll continue to answer your online questions for as long as I’m able.  Now back to my pint.  Slainte!

Embrace the chaos

Who makes all the little aluminum foil people/statues and places them so wonderfully around campus? [3595A]

[written in answer space:  “Most likely the person who wrote the above question.  Cute self-promotion, sweetie.”  In other hand, with arrow to above comment:  “unnecessarily bitchy.  Get some self-confidence yourself.”  In other hand, both instances of “self” above circled:  “Redundant?”]

The answer is, I don’t know and I don’t want to know.  For what it’s worth, for me the fun is in finding the very small versions in unexpected places around campus.  Where’s the mystery in seeing that aluminum homunculus sitting at the Circulation Desk?  It creeps me out!  But the creator has received some press, for instance at Duke Today.

Duke University ranked #9 by US News and World Report

Duke is tied for #9 in the U.S. News & World Report survey this year. Where were we on the list last year (2010)? It would have been published mid Aug. 2009.

Last year, Duke was ranked #10 by U. S. News & World Report.  The report last year featured a sweet photograph of the bridge connecting Perkins and Bostock Libraries.  On a related note, The Princeton Review just ranked Duke Libraries as #2 (behind Harvard University).

You can ring my bell

The Kilgo Bell seems to ring at very random times. Is there a significance to when it rings and who controls it?

The bell in Kilgo Quad’s belfry is indeed rung from time to time, but I’m sworn to secrecy and can’t tell you anything more.  For a brief history of the bell, see the 2006 Duke Magazine article by Tom Harkins, Associate University Archivist. My recommendation is to get a comfortable lawn chair, a reliable pair of binoculars, and a case of beer; park yourself in the Quad and let me know what you discover.

To renovate or build

Do my eyes deceive me or is housing on Central subsidary–the section 8A type?  Also, why is money going to renovate parts of West when Central is falling apart and getting filthier as we speak? [3577B]

[written in answer space:  do you read the news?]

Yes, your eyes deceive you.  In fact, you’re blind, you’re blind, and you can’t see.  You need to wear some glasses like Run DMC.

The fact is, it’s about scale, my friend.  The cost of adding to Keohane Quad is insignificant compared to the complete redevelopment of New Campus.  It’s like the difference between scraping together money for a twelve pack and planning this year’s LDOC.

Suggestion for a replacement graduation requirement

One, I suggest for the replacement graduation requirement: sing aloud in front of at least 20 people a song that was written at least 20 years before you were born.

I expect It’s Only a Paper Moon would work for most undergraduates at Duke these days.

Also, I think that It’s Only a Paper Moon and Centerfold are two of the most “important” popular songs written in English from the last hundred years.

Thank you, faithful reader!  Someone finally submitted a suggestion for a replacement of the “Get it on in the Libraries” graduation requirement.  Take a break from your commingling, students, to send some more suggestions.

You certainly have eclectic musical taste.

Has Duke ever had a good football team?

I know it’s Basketball Central around here, but has Duke ever had a good football team? I mean, come on! I’m from Big 10 country, and even Northwestern has a good team now.

“Has Duke ever had a good football team”?!

Let me educate you, son!  While Duke hasn’t fielded a consistently great football team since Steve Spurrier coached here in the late 1980s, it was outstanding in the 1930s under Coach Wallace Wade.  In fact, the 1938 “Iron Dukes” are one of only three teams ever in college football to finish the regular season undefeated, untied, and unscored upon!  That year, the Blue Devils lost the Rose Bowl to Southern Cal 7-3, when the Trojans scored a touchdown in the final minute.  Duke Football also had great success throughout the 1950s and 1960s under Coach Bill Murray.  Unlike Northwestern, Duke Football has an overall winning percentage over .500.

“Even Northwestern has a good team now”?

Perhaps you’ve forgotten this date in Northwestern football history: September 15, 2007.  Duke ended its 22 game losing streak in Evanston, Illinois by beating Northwestern 20-14.   Sure, Northwestern had a good season this year: but it’s easy for a quarterback named Kafka to put up big numbers when he’s throwing to The Bucket Rider and Gregor Samsa, with levitating abilities and all those arms, respectively.  The future of Duke Football is looking pretty bright under the leadership of Coach David Cutcliffe.