Friday, May 05, 2006

Not yet perishing

Though I am woefully out of date (I laughed when I saw that two posts ago was last year's birthday: this year's is a little over a month away), I thought I needed to record something unusual. There are many strange things that have happened in the last year: projects unfunded, publications passed by, even research proposals rejected.

But today I received an odd ray of sunshine.

It would have been yesterday, were it not for the horror that is our United States Post Office. I received a packing notice yesterday saying that a media mail item had not been delivered for lack of a signature. Of course, since Bethany was home all day yesterday and I was home most of the afternoon, this made me a bit angry. So I called the local post office to schedule a redelivery. Turns out that it takes the post office 24 hours to reschedule. And then I would have to rely on the same crack delivery specialist who failed to obtain a signature from the two people who were home yesterday. Better to wait in line at the post office for nearly an hour (which I did this afternoon). But I digress …

I received this parcel, this mystery item from a city unknown to me, with puzzlement. I did not recognize the return address.

As I drove to my office (late for a meeting with a student), I frantically tore at the seemingly indestructible packing tape with one hand as I wove in and out of the available traffic lanes, trying desperately to catch as many lights green as possible. The paper envelope gave way first, revealing an unfamiliar book, Blogs: Emerging Communication Media.

My first though was “NO! I don’t remember ordering this book! My wife will KILL ME if I wind up bouncing our bank account over I book I forgot I’d bought!”

And yet, the packing was so unfamiliar. Then I thought that someone, knowing of my research interest in Weblogs, had sent me a copy of the book to review. What a nice thought.

Then I glanced at the table of contents. Looking over the various topics, I began to get excited. There has not been a good text on blogging published yet, and some of the topics looked promising. Then I saw Chapter 7 (page 92): “J. Richard Stevens, Amateur Hour in the Professional Debate: Weblogs and Communication Ethics.”


Then it hit me. I vaguely DO remember granting a scholar permission to review one of my conference papers (which at the time had just been denied publication in one of my field’s journals) for possible publication. But I completely forgot about it, and here was my name, staring me in the face.

Well, cool.

I did a quick search on the Web, and it turn out that two other authors featured in the book, Renata Suzuki and Joanne Jacobs also shared in the surprise. Apparently, this is how blog scholars find out about the acceptance of their work: published proof.

There’s something fitting about that, actually.