The Paper Chase

When I was still in high school, my notion of a "professor" came from watching "The Paper Chase" on TV. John Houseman's Prof. Kingsfield wouldn't be the typical 15-year-old's hero, but he was mine. I especially enjoyed the relationship between Hart, the law student, and Kingsfield. It was one built on respect for each other's intellectual abilities. Thinking about that show's influence on my life, I went looking for information on it today on the net and was surprised to discover that I had only watched one season of the show between 1978-1979 because it was cancellled by CBS at the end of its first year. I thought that I had watched it for years (like "Little House on the Prairie!"). Showtime later picked it up in the '80s, but I never knew that until now. Sadly, none of the episodes are available on tape or DVD.

Well, today was definitely not a "Paper Chase" kind of day. My lecture went fine, and the students (who showed up) got involved, but I wasn't particularly stimulating or insightful. I then spent three hours trying to solve the problem of finding a way to spend $15K in the next couple of weeks on some research we're doing. We have a silly June 30 deadline to spend all of our research funds, so we're moving money around between different grants to preserve as much of the balance as we can. There's nothing very intellectual about any of that. When I finally left for home at 6, I knew I had to do some work in the evening, but I was too exhausted. A nice episode of "Star Trek: TNG" was my cocktail. I wonder if Prof. Kingsfield would have had such a lazy evening...