One of the heroes on the train is being described as a Sorbonne professor…

… so University Diaries gets to cover him… Here’s what she’s found so far – a biography Mark Moogalian provides on his home page. It doesn’t mention academia, but maybe he got an appointment after he made the home page. He’s an artist-of-all-trades:

Mark Moogalian was born in Durham, North Carolina, where he spent a good part of his youth along the banks of the Eno River. When his family moved to Virginia, the James River took the Eno’s place. He started playing guitar and was singer/songwriter/guitarist for Look Like Bamboo and Javaman, two bands he founded in Richmond, Virginia, during the late eighties and early nineties. He then travelled to Europe where he busked from London to Venice, taking in the culture and writing songs. The trip to Europe was a turning point in his life. Mark later moved to France where he worked as a translator and English teacher for business professionals. In France he continued to write, record and perform music and often played in a small club in Paris called Le Gerpil. He lived on a houseboat on the Seine, the third river in his life, where he took up welding and started making abstract metal sculpture. He met Isabelle Risacher in 2002 and they were married in 2003. Mark had his first sculpture and painting show at Galérie 43 in Paris in September, 2006. Mr. Farride is his first novel.

And here’s what he did:

Mark Moogalian, a 51-year-old professor at the Sorbonne, tackled Ayoub El-Khazzani during Friday’s bloody incident aboard an Amsterdam-Paris international service.

Mr Moogalian, who lives in Paris but is originally from Midlothian, Virginia, US, is the previously unnamed man who came to the aid of “Damien A”, 28, a French banker who confronted El-Khazzani.

The academic acted instinctively to protect his partner Isabella Risacher, who was also aboard the Thalys train.


Okay. He teaches Spoken English here, at The New Sorbonne University (Paris III).


Photos of Moogalian, before and after being shot in the neck.


Deferment veteran.

Women’s Liberation.


A woman casts off her burqa
as she escapes ISIS.

Details here.

—Love, says Bloom. I mean the opposite of hatred.

Ireland says yes.

The Zoning Board Responds Compassionately to …

… a hardship.

The Greene Revolution

The people of Iran had their Green Revolution, which sought to make their country more just; now America launches our own grassroots movement for change.

Property developer Jeff Greene’s impassioned plea last week at Davos is catalyzing a movement across the United States, an upswelling of ordinary people who ask: If Jeff can do it, why can’t we?

The challenge Jeff has set:

“America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence,” Greene said in an interview today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “We need to reinvent our whole system of life.”

Jeff, who keeps five supermansions and “flew his wife, children and two nannies on a private jet plane to Davos for the week,” joins the storied ranks of Benjamin Edelman, Vinod Khosla, Tom Perkins, Todd Henderson, Glenn Hubbard, Frederic Mishkin, Dick Fuld, and Mike “Helicopter” Bloomberg as yet another man of conscience for America, a role model whose invention of a whole new downsized system of life sets the standard for the rest of us.

Start here. Model your wedding on Greene’s 2007 ceremony:

[The couple were married] at their 27-acre Beverly Hills canyon estate. The Los Angeles skyline glimmered as the bride appeared in a gown of hand-beaded Swarovski crystals, and four swans glided alongside her in a reflecting pool as she made her way to the French limestone gazebo, where Mr. Greene waited for her, beaming.

The 275 guests were an eclectic mix, including the director Oliver Stone; Donald Sterling, the Los Angeles Clippers owner; and the boxer Mike Tyson, who served as best man. After midnight, the guests took to the revolving dance floor installed in the 24-car garage.

You might have trouble finding Sterling. He might be hiding out.


When I got to the scene there were cordons… People didn’t want to tell me he was dead… One of his security guards was killed because he didn’t have time to take out his gun because the terrorists had Kalashnikovs…

I didn’t want to leave; I didn’t want to leave his body…

He died standing. He defended secularism; he defended Voltaire’s spirit… He was executed with his comrades, as he would say; not companions, comrades…”

Jeannette Bougrab, professor of law; and companion, Charb.

The University of Chicago as Paradise

“I was a bald little kid,” he recalled in a 1984 interview. He wore wigs the rest of his life. He attended several schools, public and private, in and around New York City, and after a brief false start at New York University, went to the University of Chicago, where he threw off what he had considered a lonely and difficult childhood.

“I never had a friend from the time I came to this country until I got to the University of Chicago,” he told one interviewer. To another, he described the university as “paradise.”

“I began to see there was a world I could FIT in,” he said. “I was happy AND neurotic.”

Mike Nichols, 1931-2014.

The Cultural Revolution maneuver has also been tried at universities…

… and in some of our dumber states it can sometimes work. It was well on its way toward happening at the University of Virginia until people started noticing, and the state’s prison-bound governor got involved.

High schools are particularly vulnerable to boards of trustees stuffed with ideologues determined to turn the schools into propaganda venues.

In response to student protest in one Colorado district, the board president has responded with characteristic condescension:

“I would rather be able to do those things without conflict, but at the end of the day, it’s very important that we align with those goals,” he said.

We’d love it if the revolution could be bloodless, but one way or another, historical inevitability being what it is, these kids will learn what’s good for them.

A petition.


The University of Florida’s finest.


‘killer calendar, bro’


Sing it with me. (The number of arrests cited in the song is too low. Here’s an update. Hard to keep up.)


Deadspin has the best comment stream so far.

Frederick Sanger: Thirty Years a Gardener

After wrapping up his last experiment on the day that he was supposed to retire, Sanger did not again work in the lab and spent the rest of his life gardening.

“We waited on the fire-step from four to nine o’clock…

… with fixed bayonets, for the order to go over. My mind was a blank, except for the recurrence of S’nice S’mince S’pie, S’nice S’mince S’pie… I don’t like ham, lamb, or jam, and I don’t like roley-poley…

The men laughed at my singing. The acting C.S.M. said: “It’s murder, sir.”

‘Of course it’s murder, you bloody fool,’ I agreed. ‘But there’s nothing else for it, is there?’ It was still raining. But when I sees a s’nice s’mince s’pie, I asks for a helping twice…'”


For Veterans’ Day, an excerpt from Goodbye to All That, the World War I memoir by Robert Graves.

“The couple traveled the globe together to work on humanitarian causes.”

A beautiful life massacred. In two weeks their first child would have been born.

Elif Yavuz, 33, was born in Turkey, raised in the Netherlands, and educated here in the United States, at Harvard. Her partner was from Tasmania but like her a totally global citizen.

As an HSPH doctoral student [in the Department of Global Health and Population], Elif completed her dissertation research on malaria in eastern Africa,” [Harvard School of Public Health Dean Julio] Frenk wrote. “[She] had lived and worked abroad for many years, both in Africa and in Asia. She was currently working with the Applied Analytics Team at the Clinton Health Access Initiative [a global organization based in Boston] and preparing her thesis for publication.”

Poet, Professor, Activist…

Kofi Awoonor was killed in the terrorist attack in Kenya.


University of Richmond luminary and all-around first-rate researcher, teacher, and human being Rick Mayes has proposed that the university end its football program.

What? What? Are you fucking kidding me?

Well, you know, this sort of thing will happen when you choose a reflective, principled person to be your faculty athletics representative. That and that alone is where UR went wrong. The faculty athletics representative is supposed to be an old jock desperate for free game tickets and occasional face time with the players. Rick Mayes is all wrong for faculty athletics representative.

Gory details, from his recent email to faculty:

I have come to the conclusion that it’s hard-to-impossible to consistently make DI-level sports conform and submit to the primary institutional focus on academics, because there’s just too much money and ambition involved… [A]fter three years of watching and studying sports up close, I believe UR’s long-term academic interests lie with D3-level sports and football being phased out over time due to legal, liability, and safety reasons. [Given the likelihood of concussion lawsuits,] this big-team sport and significant financial commitment could conceivably become extinct within the next two to three decades. Might it not be desirable to get out ahead of that potential outcome for the sake of our student athletes’ health and our institution’s financial long-term interests, not to mention our consciences?

Consciences the guy is talking about! And jeez – Watch his Last Lecture! He’s all about Dietrich Bonhoffer and shit! Who appointed this character??

Still – don’t sweat it. UR’s prez and athletic director and everybody else has come down on Mayes like a ton of offensive linemen. Of course we’re keepin’ football! Are you kidding me? Pay no attention to the man behind the conscience.

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