June 18, 2002
Speaking of Dr. Rose...

Dr. Rose (my college advisor... scroll down to the SCIENCE story about the Egyptian sarcophagus) was known for many things when I got to college (gak, more than 15 years ago):

  • A tendency to leave the a/c on in the lab all the time. The lab was in the basement of this decrepit old converted dorm, the third oldest building on campus. The a/c system was this monstrous wheezing, chugging, whirring box at least eight feet (2.5 meters) to a side that hung from the ceiling of one of the lab rooms. To turn it on, you had to throw one of these sort of Frankenstein switches to start a pump, and then walk over to a big button switch on an opposite wall to start the fan. You were standing under this thing to start it up, and it sounded like the whole world was going to come down on your head. There was no thermostat.
  • A fondness for technology, but an unwillingness to pay for it. The Anth department was, and probably still is, woefully under funded at all times. Dr. Rose would literally dumpsterdive to get computers the far better funded engineering department was throwing out. One of the first PCs I ever worked on was an original compaq "luggable" he fished out of the trash earlier that summer.
  • Being a ravenous caffeine fiend. He always had this beat-up old green metal thermos with him, the kind with the funny double-screw top (screw the top part open, and you pour, screw the bottom part open, and you opened the thermos). He'd drink from it continuously throughout his lectures. I know there was coffee in it because the smell would reach back at least three rows in the lab room. I don't think he drank, although other members of the faculty were quite well known for drinking unwary grad students under the table.
  • A love of slides. You'd spend at least half the semester sitting in the dark watching one slide show or another. He had stacks of slide reels filled with stuff, marked as different lectures. This wasn't a bad thing, because the slides were nearly always interesting.

When I announced my intention to major in Anthropology to my bemused parents, my mom commented along the lines of "eww... you're going to be working with dead people" (she wasn't a nurse at that point and was still grossed out by such things), to which I replied, with my teenage omnipotence, "nah, the people I'll be working with have all been dead for hundreds of years. It'll just be bones."

Famous last words. I got a job in the Anth lab as part of my financial aid package. I hadn't been there more than three weeks when in walks a greenish-faced UPS guy with a 2ft x 2 ft (60x60 cm) box that smelled like six-day-old rotted meat. See, Dr. Rose would sometimes help the medical examiners of the state out by doing autopsies on corpses too far gone for regular methods to identify. Someone had stumbled onto something out on a hunting trip, and so yours truly, all 18 years of him, got to help the grad student pull what was left out of an unrefrigerated cardboard box.

Anyway, the cool thing is that it appears Dr. Rose moved at least some of his slide-show lectures onto his own personal website. When I was there he wasn't going out on digs much, and seemed to be more into the physical anthropology of "historical" sites (1650-1850 in the US) than in the American Indians that the rest of the faculty was obsessed with. Nowadays he seems to really be into Egyptian sites, which is even cooler.

So if you want to see some pretty high-quality stuff about various kinds of archeology and anthropology, be sure to visit his site!

Posted by scott at June 18, 2002 05:13 PM

eMail this entry!

I absolutely hate it when I am always the one who is quoted as saying stupid things. I remember my comment as "How are you going to make a living with a BA degree in anthropology." To which you replied " There are lots of jobs doing lots of different things with an anthro degree, MOM" I wonder who was right.

Posted by: Pat on June 18, 2002 06:23 PM

Cool! I'll check it out when I get home!


Posted by: maru on June 19, 2002 07:40 AM

You had those comments too, lots of those comments, which is why I didn't note them. <obsequious> I only remember the stupid stuff because it is so rare. Smart stuff is so common it tends not to be as noted</obsequious>

;) :) ;) :)

Posted by: scott on June 19, 2002 09:25 AM

Sorry, I was having a cranky spell! Don't make fun of your mama.

Posted by: Pat on June 19, 2002 10:05 AM
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