Back now. Took a break, as some noticed.
My posts are usually quite frivolous, and it just didn't seem right. I still can't believe my friend Mel Hinich is dead. I owe him a whole lot.
Kevin Grier clearly got me tenure, by writing a bunch of articles with my name on them.
And Mel Hinich got me promoted to full, and got me the job at Duke, by letting me write or edit three books with his name on them. People always laughed when, after they asked me which parts Mel wrote, I said, "Tell me which parts of our books he has even read!"
The answer was not much. Mel was a talker, and a thinker. And I profited enormously from writing down what he said. Well, I only wrote down about 1/3 of it, and some of that turned out to be wrong. But the 1/6 or so that was good was SO good that it made all the difference in the second half of my career.
I owe Mel more than I can say. I was a better scholar just being his stenographer than I could ever be writing down whatever vapid crap I came up with on my own. Thanks, Mel.