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THE TUCK SHOP

Q&A

To be or not to be?
That is the question.

"First of all, you don't know if it is a question. Check the original [Hamlet] text--there's no question mark. If someone came up to you and said, 'To be or not to be,' you'd say, 'Are you asking me, or what?' Secondly, I always wondered why that is the question. Aren't there other questions? I think the real question is, 'Well, why not?"'

--Myron Taube,
Professor,
Department of English


To be a VP, or not to be--
That is the question

"[Hamlet] is the poignant case study of a too-sensitive executive who fails to move up the organizational hierarchy because of his inability to make decisions."

--Jay Shafritz, professor of public
and international affairs and author
of Shakespeare on
Management: Wise Counsel and
Warnings from the Bard


Secret Life:
Hillman Library's Government Documents

If you pass the main lending desk on Hillman Library's ground floor and hang a few rights, you'll find yourself in a section called " Government Documents. "

Hillman is one of 1,390 official depositories for federal publications, but such a designation carries a burden. Several years ago, the overflowing documents outgrew their regular shelves, so the library installed "compact shelving," which allows more shelves to be installed in the same square-foot area.

The ingenious system works like a selective accordion. Ordinarily the rows are pressed together to save space, but if you need access to the shelf holding the Satellite-Derived Global Oceanic Rainfall Atlas, you press the red button in the aisle and huge electromechanical arms mounted above the shelves open the correct row for you. Press another red button, and the atlas row disappears, opening up another row--State and Publick Documents of the United States, for instance.

The system works well for both the library and for researchers: Hillman saves tons of storage space, while scholars have ready access to many more documents. For the dilettante, however, the hidden shelves provide a fun intellectual game. Press any red button and see what opens up. Will it be ZIP+4 After Five Years: Postal Service Oversight or Accrual Accounting for Military Retirement? It's the paper version of channel-surfing--one browses through the cosmic Atlas of Mars, then moves on to the more down-to-earth Government Policies on Aircraft Noise or 1990 Census of Population and Homes in Wichita, Kansas.

So, if you ever find yourself wondering, "Gosh, what were those government regulations regarding wildlife and fisheries?" just press any red button. And celebrate whatever answer you find there. --Mark Collins


Audition for Crash Test Dummies

Found on the bulletin board at the School of Library and Information Sciences

SEEKING GUITARIST-- Currently active Pittsburgh band seeking guitar player to replace one who has moved away. A good description of our music was coined by a fan: "They're sort of like a cross between bad old Pink Floyd, good old Led Zeppelin, and a multi-vehicle auto accident." "When you take over an organization, get rid of your natural rivals. Such an initial bloodletting can save a lot of blood later on.... [Hamlet's indecisiveness about killing his uncle] takes up most of the play. By the final curtain, all the principal characters are dead. That's the problem with getting even--all too often the people you don't want to hurt, like your mother, do get hurt. So what's the answer? The answer is: Don't be indecisive. Kill your uncle in the first act; then you and your mother will still be alive by the end of the fifth."

To be or not to be?
We have the answer

When you take over an organization, get rid of your natural rivals. Such an initial bloodletting can save a lot of blood later on.... [Hamlet's indecisiveness about killing his uncle] takes up most of the play. By the final curtian all the principal characters are dead. That's the problem with geting even--all too often the people you don't want to hurt, like your mother, do get hurt. So what's the answer? The answer is: Don't be indecisive. Kill your uncle in the first act and your mother will still be alive in the fifth.

--from Jay Shafritz' Shakespeare on Management


Scene

A few recent visitors to campus:

STEPHEN KRASHEN,
Author of The Power of Reading

WILLIAM J. LEMESSURIER,
Structural engineer whose designs
include the Citicorp Center in New
York City and the Air and Space
Museum in Washington, DC

WILLIAM RUBENSTEIN, Director of the American Civil
Liberties Union's Lesbian and Gay
Rights and AIDS Projects


A shagy dog tail--er, tale

As you graduate from college, what do you bring with you into the real world as a keepsake? Beer mugs and sweat shirts are typical. But as Sue Neuhart left Pitt nine years ago, she decided on a mixed terrier puppy named Posvar. Neuhart named her pet in honor of former president Wesley Posvar "because they both have bushy eyebrows."

Posvar the Dog was enjoying a fairly idyllic existence in Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC, until he escaped from Sue's back yard. Posvar was standing beside busy Lee Highway, a cowering bundle of nerves, when an angel named Allen Norman arrived.

Allen is a pizza deliveryman. He was on his way to work when he noticed "a little dog darting out.... He ran across [Lee Highway] to the sidewalk and was looking at the traffic...." Even on a relatively tranquil Sunday morning, that would have been hazardous. "I chased him and cornered him in a parking lot," Allen said. "I wasn't really sure what he would do--you know how cornered animals get scared. But he just sat down with this worried expression, like he was saying, 'I hope I'm not in too much trouble."

Far from it. Allen immediately drove Posvar home. (He was able to do so because Posvar wore ID tags.) Neuhart arrived home just as Allen was about to give up and leave. What if they hadn't connected? "I would have delivered him with my next pizza," the deliveryman said. What motivates an Allen angel? For one thing, the schnauzer his parents owned was killed by a car last Thanksgiving. "My father had been through World War II and all, but he cried like a baby when that schnauzer died," Allen said. "I didn't want anybody else to have to go through that. "

--From the May 26, 1994, column by Bob Levey.
The Washington Post. Reprinted with permission.


Bon Mots

"I am always drawn to the guidance offered by John Gardner, one of America's wisest and most astute observers, who once noted:
'An excellent plumber is infinitely more admirable than an incompetent philosopher. The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water."'

--Excerpted from remarks by former Pennsylvania Governor and
US Attorney General Richard Thornburgh (Law '57)
to the Graduate School of Public and
International Affairs Class of 1994.


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