UC Davis Magazine

End Notes

By Barbara Anderson

Line 'em up and pierce 'em
In the '50s it was sock hops, the "happenings" of the '60s featured black lights and psychedelic enhancements, and the '70s gave us Saturday Night Fever. Well, it's the '90s, so sit down and stick out your tongue, because here come piercing parties. A recent article in The California Aggie described just such a social occasion, wherein the party's hostess invited a professional body piercer to attend and offer discount rates on piercings to the party guests. According to the Aggie reporter, while the party might have sounded like an ordinary college bash to the unsuspecting passerby, the guests weren't imbibing any consciousness-altering substances--just socializing while they awaited their turn with the needle.

Ears and noses reportedly were popular sites for piercing, though more exotic locations didn't go unscathed (tongues being one of the more mentionable body parts pierced). But our vote for the winner of the "Most Incomprehensible Site to Have Your Body Pierced" Award goes to the frenulum--that little flap of skin under the tongue.

Exthcuthe me...could you pleathe path the thmelling thalts?

Summer reading
With the end of another hard-fought year of academic struggles, everyone looks forward to more relaxing brain food. So here's what some of the UC Davis faculty will be "vegging out" with this summer. Bruce Rosenstock, lecturer in religious studies, plans to read J.P. Vidal-Nacquet's The Jews, and Elias Norbert's The Germans. "I would call both of these pleasure reading," he says, "although they are hardly your 'kick up your feet and sip margaritas' type of books." Warren Roberts, Arboretum superintendent, will take a "busman's holiday" and read The Collector's Garden, by Ken Druse, a book of photo essays and discussions of the gardens created by plant collectors. Jay Mechling, professor of American studies: "The great thing about doing my research on popular culture is that there are no 'guilty pleasures'; I simply combine reading pleasures with work. In this case, since I am working on a book on Florida (my native state), I can read Florida-set mysteries and use the reading as research. Two well-known novelists have set their most recent fiction in Florida: Pete Dexter's The Paperboy, and Stanley Elkin's Mrs. Ted Bliss." Richard F. Walters, professor of computer science, is taking off for Australia in July, so in preparation for visiting Alice Springs and Ayers Rock, he will be reading A Town Like Alice, by Nevil Shute. And what better person to ask about books than Marilyn Sharrow, university librarian? "While my pleasure reading has to wait for the late evening, I always have a stack waiting to be read." A couple of titles from that stack: The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers, 1899-1936: The Making of a Detective Novelist, edited by Barbara Reynolds, and Four Corners: History, Land, and People of the Desert Southwest, by Kenneth A. Brown, a study of the four states whose corners touch.

Seminar sampler
Most of the seminars and colloquia presented each quarter on campus have titles that make you realize why you avoided a particular major--"Evidence for constraints on phonological contrasts," for instance, or "Large-eddy simulation of a neutrally stratified turbulent flow within and above a forest canopy." But some of them sound downright intriguing. "Deleterious mutation, in-breeding depression and the evolution of self-fertilization"--is this what happens when you marry your cousin?

And it's small! It's bivalvular! It's "Potamocorbula amurensis--the clam that ate San Francisco Bay."

Lastly, who among us can resist the inherent pathos in "The emerging late blight problem in California--new strains, old problems and the search for durable resistance in wild tomatoes"?

Ingmar Bergman should have such a script.

Waving in the gravy
The top 10 ways you know the Whole Earth Festival has arrived on campus:
10. You realize you could wear the clothes hanging in the back of your closet--if only they fit.
9. Campus administrator spotted wearing tie-dyed suit.
8. Your record collection seems a little less out of date.
7. Psychedelic vans outnumber sport utility vehicles in town.
6. Gray-haired hippies will accept Visa and MasterCard for that funny-looking pipe.
5. Three words: drumming, drumming, drumming.
4. You can't walk across the Quad without being hit in the back of the head with a hacky-sack.
3. You realize it's been a year since you had your aura fluffed.
2. Your first impression of tofu hot dogs remains unchanged.
1. One word: patchouli.

75 years ago
"Mr. Jack Neill is busily engaged in working out in detail, plans for the formation of a real 'ATHLETIC' Association.... A ladies auxiliary will be included and the ladies will have at least one night a week set aside to them."
-- The Davis Enterprise, July 28, 1921

50 years ago
"A group of University of California engineers, under the direction of Professor M.P. O'Brien, dean of the college of engineering, are at Bikini Atoll to study the hydromatic features of the atomic bomb tests now being conducted there."
-- The Davis Enterprise, Aug. 2, 1946

25 years ago
"Random selection will not be used to choose freshmen for the 1972 admissions, the Academic Senate Commission on Elections and Admissions reported yesterday. Instead, the UCD administration is setting up a plan whereby half the freshmen will be the most qualified scholastically, and the other half will be chosen by individual review.... In favor of the random method was its freedom from favoritism and prejudice, and its egalitarian tendency to preserve [a] representative mix of the applicants."
-- The California Aggie, June 2, 1971

Illustrations by Paiching Wei