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After decades of observing people in academia, I’ve come to a few conclusions.  Two of these conclusions are: professors are smart people, and the gap is very narrow between smart people and those who aren’t.

Plenty of professors have smart phones. So, shouldn’t professors (especially accounting professors) be smart about smart phones?  No, not really.

Laurie Essig is an associate professor of sociology and women’s and gender studies at Middlebury College.  She notes an interesting professorial practice in “Profs Fail iEtiquette 101,” (in Chronicle of Higher Education, may require daily subscription to read).  

[H]alf of those academics I heard from admitted they sometimes use the devices during meetings. When asked why, they said they used them to read materials related to the meeting, but they also checked e-mail and Facebook, texted, tweeted, and read Web sites unrelated to the meeting. …

The academics surveyed said they multitask only when the meeting is big enough that no one notices, only when it’s a mindless task like deleting e-mails, only when the agenda item doesn’t relate to them, only when the meeting is stupid and pointless, only when they need to check on kids, and only when they really “needed to.”

We who rely on people listening to us no longer believe we have to listen when someone else is speaking.

Yeah, so what else is new.  Twenty some years ago at my first department faculty meeting, I was surprised when two of my colleagues brought a stack of papers to grade during the meeting.  Over the years, I’ve seen faculty members read newspapers, journal articles, knit, sleep and snore.  Bringing a laptop, tablet or smartphone on which to do work now seems to be accepted practice.  I’ve done it myself.

textingOn the other hand, professors seem incensed when students use smart phones in class.  I’ve been monitoring a LinkedIn discussion (on The Teaching Professor) about cell phone policies.  Some professors claim to have confiscated phones, kicked students out of class, and lowered a student’s grade, all for a student caught texting during class.

It seems that smart phones and professors are two terms that don’t fit together, an oxymoron of sorts.  Professors have dysfunctional emotional outbursts when catching someone texting during class, yet routinely break the same rules when in someone else’s meeting.  At least in this matter, professors aren’t so smart after all.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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Although officially called Thanksgiving Day in the USA, many call it Turkey Day. Ever wonder why?

I have many fond childhood memories of Thanksgiving in Iowa.  It was always spent with Mom’s side of the family.  Each year there was always a huge turkey and many pumpkin pies to eat.   There were so many pies, we kids were allowed to cut our own slices, as large as we wanted.  And Aunt Bessie’s whipped cream was the absolute best.

Thanksgiving feasts have changed quite a bit since then.  In America they are all standardized.  How so?  They all start at the same time–halftime.  And now we have space turkeys who go “Hubble, hubble, hubble.”

Ever wonder why a turkey is called a turkey?  Mignon Forgarty, the Grammar Girl, has the answer.  It turns out we should call it a Mexico.

One of my favorite TV shows was The Smothers Brothers.  Regular Jim Stafford always had a funny song for Thanksgiving.  Hope you enjoy.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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Howard Andrew “Andy” Williams (December 3, 1927 – September 25, 2012) has died at age 84.  Although well known for hosting a TV variety show from 1962-1971, he is best known for singing Moon River.

He is not known for any direct ties to the accounting industry.  Neither has Moon River anything to do with accounting.

When I was growing up, I would watch his TV show.  During junior high dance nights, I would slow dance with a pretty girl to his recording of Moon River (I wonder if a very pretty blonde girl named Nancy still remembers).

Andy, you enriched my life.  I bid you a fond farewell.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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A meme is an image or recording packaged in such a way as to communicate a message or capture the fancy of those who see/view/hear it.  It is communicated via the Internet.   Their explosive impact has come of age in today’s social media world.

A few minutes ago I received an e-mail from Auntie Bev, into which she had pasted several meme images.  One caught my eye, and I’ve since been able to determine that it’s a true viral phenomenon, posted to thousands of blogs and Facebook accounts.

I’m not sure about the message of this meme.  Perhaps it is that some cheaters are unstoppable.  Or, masterful cheating is admirable.  Perhaps the message is that because cheating is unstoppable, it’s OK to do it.

Using my screen capture utility, I have snipped the following image from another viral meme.  It delivers quite a different message.

I suppose the message for this one is that opportunistic cheating is everywhere.  Or, it might be that cheating is due to teacher carelessness.  Whatever, the meme is funny.  Darn kids.  If this one would only try to learn as much as he tries to cheat.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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(c) BKA at CardinalAvenue.com

After hearing a sermon on Mother’s day 1910, Sonora Smart Dodd suggested to her Spokane pastor there should be a day for fathers.  There was, on June 19.  After decades of her promotional effort, observance became routine.

In 1966, President Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, and in 1972 observing Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June became a national law.

I am a father, and I can speak with authority on this subject.  On Father’s Day, a hug or a phone call is much more appreciated than the gift of a tie or shirt.

If there is a father in your life, either your own or a friend’s, then you should call them up or reach out to hug them.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht


Want more of The Summa? Sign up to receive email notification of posts.  And please follow me on Twitter (@profalbrecht).

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Today is Memorial Day in the United States.  It originally started out as Decoration Day, observed on every May 30.  The first Decoration Day was in 1868 for those killed in the American Civil War.  By 1915, when grave decoration with red poppies became popular, Decoration Day had been expanded to cover the graves of all fallen veterans.

In 1971, the U.S. Congress changed the date of Memorial Day to the last Monday in May, coupling the day to a weekend.  That changed everything.  No longer a day only for remembering fallen soldiers, it is now more comprehensive holiday.

I spent a part of yesterday reflecting on my parents, both of whom are now deceased.  I remember many extended family get-togethers with aunts, uncles and cousins.  They were great.  I also remember the many wiffle ball games in which my father played with the Albrecht kids and every other kid in the neighborhood.

This Memorial Day weekend, we focused on creating memories.  Both sons (28 & 24) were home.  They invited some of their 20-something friends.  We had an Indy 500 party, a wiffle ball game, and later on my sons and I played two games of Acquire, one of the best business games ever created.

The Albrecht boys develop a strategy to beat Dad in a game of Acquire.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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“Mommy!” from CardinalAvenue.com

Today is Mother’s Day in the United States.  The Summa wishes Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers of accountants, mothers who are accountants, and mothers who are married to accountants.

Mommy!“, the image at right, is from Cardinal AvenueCardinal Avenue is a site dedicated to home made cards. The artist honors her mother.

Mother’s day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May in the United States and in much of the rest of the world.  Mother’s Day Central has a nice write-up of the American holiday’s history.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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