Last week of classes!

We are entering into the final week of classes here at UMM, when all of the administrative work for me reaches a horrible, cataclysmic crescendo with piles of exams and papers pouring in starting today. This would be a very poor time for a creationist spammer to try to cause trouble, because I’m going to be very pissy for a while, and blood might be spilled.

One cheery bit of news that means I might not be quite as vicious as I would otherwise: I’ve been invited to take a cruise to the Galapagos! Of course I’m going. It will be a fine tonic before I start next year’s classes. And there are actually three cabins still available on the trip, so if you want to join us in an educational jaunt, and if you have a large bucket of disposable cash, you can come with us!


  1. MAJeff, OM says

    We’re already into finals. Collect my final research projects on Wednesday. Can’t wait for it to be over. But then summer classes start.

  2. says

    Just keep thinking, “finches, ground tortoises, and big swimming lizards” as you grade. And please do explode at a creobot on occasion. If nothing else it breaks the tension and gets those endorphins flowing…and it keeps us entertained, which is the least of your concerns this time of year I’m sure.

    Good luck!

  3. clinteas says

    >..large bucket of disposable cash

    Gee,id love,totally love to be on that trip,but the disposable cash goes to the ex these days lol…..

  4. says

    Just don’t let the cruise interfere with an outbreak of SIWOTI. Let the religiots experience the symptoms when necessary.

  5. tlowe says

    I wish undergraduate was synonymous with ‘large bucket of cash’ (for many reasons, really). Have an awesome time on the cruise, PZ–that’s something I definitely plan on doing before I die.

    Good luck with the finals workload. I just finished mine up.

  6. Richard Carnes says

    English usage note: “Crescendo” is an Italian word for increasing or growing (cf. crescent, from Latin), and in musical contexts it means becoming louder. So “reaches a crescendo” literally means to reach the point where something begins to increase. Probably not what you meant.

    High-School English Teacher Wannabe

  7. says

    Wanna join! Sadly lacking in buckets of cash, large or otherwise.

    Damn you, poverty!

    You’ll have to post “wish you were here” pics every so often just to rub some salt in the wounds, PZ. Gotta keep us in a frenzy so we can take on the cretinists while you’re gone!

  8. says

    I just spent the last of my disposable cash getting drunk with Deaf people (including one of my lecturers… I hope it’s worth credit)

    so no, I won’t be coming

    but my thoughts are with you…

  9. Pablo says

    Ha! We are done! I just need to get my grades submitted today, and the semester is complete.

    Of course, this is the week when I lock my office door and don’t answer the phone, to avoid all the idiots^H^H^Hstudents who think that 20 points is close to the grade cutoff and who REALLY REALLY REALLY need this grade to graduate.

  10. says

    I’m not jealous at all. Not in the least. Nuh-uh. I mean, I spent my disposable income on a bar of chocolate and a copy of “Secret Invasion” #1 today. Who needs a cruise to the Galapagos when you’ve got that?

  11. ShavenYak says


    I could actually come up with the money, but I don’t think I could be away for two weeks right when the little girl is starting first grade.

  12. Interrobang says

    Have fun on the cruise, PZ.

    I can actually say I’m not jealous — I went on a cruise and didn’t enjoy it much. I found it was rather like going on an exotic, all-expenses-paid vacation…and being cooped up in the hotel the whole time. If I’m going anywhere in the near future, it’s going to be on dry land. :)

  13. says

    Oh, the semester system…I do somewhat envy you. We’re just in 6th week (out of 10 + 1 finals) here (U of Chicago). I’m just starting *midterms*…

  14. Pablo says

    I’ve always found it hard to be in school during May, anyway. The weather is nice and no one wants to be in class, including the instructors.

    I always appreciate the fact that we start the spring semester very early. Better spend two extra weeks in class in the doldrums of winter than in the sunshine of spring!

  15. snead says

    There aren’t any $10k penthouses left on the ship, so I’ll wait until next time.

  16. Randy says

    PZ, it looks like the company and ship you are using is not one that helps profit the local economy. Too bad you aren’t using one of the smaller, rustic tubs (way better experience). Try to leave some money in the hands of those living in the Galapagos, support true local ecotourism.

  17. says

    Ah, yes, trudging now through final exams…
    Plus, I have a one-month old in the house…
    Feedings, changings, then naps (aka, grading-time)…

    Oh, the Circle of Life…

  18. Quiet Desperation says

    I’m still trying to decide between that and the Antarctic cruise for my first retirement trip.

  19. type says

    It is a shame that they didn’t name this trip, “The Nature Cruise of the Century” — a real shame.

  20. speedwell says

    It is a shame that they didn’t name this trip, “The Nature Cruise of the Century” — a real shame.

    What? That sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime holiday for nudists…

  21. says

    How fantastic for you! I had the good fortune to visit the Galapagos in the late 80s, and it was one of the most awesome experiences ever! (Now to go look for the bucket of cash — it was just here a minute
    ago . . .)

  22. Randy says

    following up on my earlier post, Celebrity Xpedition is owned by Royal Carribean:

    Celebrity Xpeditions banned for two months following illegal shark fishing in the Galapagos Islands

    The regulatory authority of the Galapagos National Park suspended Celebrity Xpeditions from operating tours in the Galapagos Islands for two months as a consequence of an illegal shark-fishing incident.

    The authority also ordered Celebrity to pay a fine equivalent to the minimum salaries of 500 crew members. No date was noted for the onset of the two-month suspension. Xpeditions operates in the Galapagos year-round.

    Lynn Martenstein, vice president of corporate communications for Celebrity parent Royal Caribbean Cruises, said Celebrity has asked the park authority for a clarification of the charges. After it has received the clarification, Celebrity plans to appeal.

    “The Galapagos district attorney cleared the company of any wrongdoing,” said Martenstein. “Since we got the ruling, the Galapagos National Park renewed our operating license. The suspension is not final; it is a recommendation. We are entering into the appeal process.”

    The incident came to light in September 2005 when photographs surfaced of Xpedition crew members holding up freshly killed sharks.

    Martenstein added that the crew members who were implicated were “relieved of duty as soon as we learned of the incident” and turned over to Ecuadorian police.

    After a “top-to-bottom review of how it happened,” Martenstein said the company came up with a list of recommendations it is now implementing.

    The recommendations include increasing onboard officer watches, employing full-time security staff, installing security cameras, improving crew education and requiring crew members to sign letters of understanding after training.

    Should Celebrity Xpeditions be banned for life?

    As Ecuadorians who love our country, we believe we should promote responsible tourism within our country specially to the Galapagos Islands which is one of the world most pristine nature sanctuaries.

    The purpose of tourism to the Galapagos Islands is to offer local Ilsanders a sustainable means of income other than fishing and exploiting the unique nature of the Islands. Tourism to the Galapagos is not about luxury it is about conservation and this should be very clear.

    Please answer our poll and let us know if you think Celebrity Xpeditions should pay their negligence with a life banning from the Galapagos Islands.

    Should celebrity xpeditions be banned for life from the Galapagos Islands?

    I voted YES

  23. type says

    I am the most disappointed man on the internet.

    I figured that, here among the intelligencia, the atheist elite, I could make an (obvious) Vonnegut reference and have someone get it. Perhaps I should have been more clever, witty. Perhaps I should have remained silent, but now I have to issue a command:

    Readers of Pharyngula, read Vonnegut’s Galapagos – tonight! It is delightful, a sugary chewy humorous candy. Your big brain will be happy!

  24. Jim Thomerson says

    PZ-Just remember the mantra, the less work the Professor does, and the more work the Student does, the more Learning occurs.

  25. Hematite says

    wazza, do drunk deaf people ‘slur’ their sign language? If you sign, could you comment on the similarities or differences with regular slurring?

    Hope you had a good time :)

  26. kat says

    I’d recommend a much smaller “cruise” ship which is more like camping at sea than the conventional concept of cruising. They take on average, 8-20 people and are much more ecologically aware than the floating gin-palaces. Although it’s not cheap, it’s a fraction of the prices quoted for this cruise but I guess you’re paying a hefty premium for the appearance fees. On the one I was on, there was a student backpacking around S. America who snagged a last minute place at a very cheap price.

    I’m also intruiged as to how you board a cruise ship from Quito, as it’s way inland and at around 4000m above sea level!

  27. Randy says

    For those interested in Traveling to the Galapagos, it is expensive to get there, as well as spend a week on a boat, so it is almost free to stay an extra week (or two) and give something back to the Islands and the people. A good source for beginning the giving process can be found here:

    They can also hook you up with boat tours and help arrange your travel.

    (I have no affiliation with this organization other than having met the director on a trip to the Galapagos a few years ago as part of a trip organized by Brethren Colleges Abroad.)

  28. sublunary says

    type – (#26) I got it immediatly. Actually one of my first thoughts when reading this entry was PZ would be a perfect candiate for fathering humanity’s seal-like decendants.