“A half-empty stadium is unacceptable.”

UD loves to chronicle the intellectual life of her beloved country, as it plays out in our universities.

U President Vows to Push for Stadium Liquor Sales, for instance, is a headline that says so much about the preoccupations of our highest-ranked academic officers; and then there’s the University of Houston’s leader – Coach Herman – whose threatening language to UH students about their unwillingness to attend football games makes us all wonder what he plans to do if they continue to act like students rather than fans.

UD totally understands the coach’s desperate rhetoric: UH just spent $128 million on a new 40,000-seat stadium, and at best it’s half-filled on game day. Of that half, I’m figuring not many are students, and, well, the conceit here is that university football has something to do with university students. Like, the university is giving students this incredible experience – Adzillatrons shrieking ads at them, drunks with guns, I dunno, but IT’S TEXAS for god’s sake where up north a tad from Houston they spent sixty mill on a high school football stadium that has never been used because of structural flaws and no one seems to mind about that! Build another one!

So what’ll coach do? Bring in the Attorney General! But no – the AG’s a Baylor man, and anyways he’s gonna be (cough) a little too busy to deliver a spanking to the many thousands of Oppositional Defiant Disorder sufferers on the UH campus…

UD thinks the best idea is to perform pre-frontal lobotomies on the noncompliant students. Of course they would have to be sedated first because no one is going to want one. They’ve all read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. But the lobes are coach’s main enemy here, and the medical school is just sitting there.

UD proposes this tag: A half-empty stadium: Unacceptable. A half-empty brain: Acceptable.

The reality is that UH would only have to perform one, maybe two, for students to get the message.

Open Carry: Getting more and more adorable.

… Ann Arbor resident Joshua Wade [openly carried a gun] to his little sister’s choir concert

Call out the…

Infantry.

Duh.

Cheating is endemic to online courses at all levels and in all settings, as everyone knows.

The only surprise in this case is that someone owned up to it.

It’s one thing to slander entire institutions and call them…

… jockshops, as this blog routinely does. It’s another thing to see the inner workings, to get an intimate sense from deep within (kind of like that film UD saw when she was a tyke… Raquel Welch was in it… Takes you inside the human body… Ah yes here it is: Fantastic Voyage, 1966… ), of how universities almost entirely about football actually work.

Drawing your president from team players is a popular first move. If you can’t make a jock president, find a political hack who graduated from your school. Make sure the bulk of your trustees are ex-players or peeing their pants with excitement boosters. Direct almost your entire budget to football.

A state-of-the-art football stadium set [the University of Akron] back $62 million and has yet to return a dime. Attendance is literally the worst in the nation in UA’s division. During the six seasons since InfoCision Stadium opened, the team has 16 wins. That’s $3.9 million per win.

For example.

Within these broad parameters there’s room for improvisation, for a nimble ability to as it were catch the toss when new opportunities arise.

Take Florida’s Jacksonville University. The president, who played baseball for the school, is dealing with the aftermath of the school’s recent decision to give virtually all of its campus-wide “leadership” scholarships to football players. Calling them “leadership” was a smart move, since that removed any pesky academic component; directing them almost entirely away from the non-football-playing student body — “football players accounted for nearly 70 percent of all leadership scholarships available, and 90 percent of the award’s total purse” — was pure genius, the sort of thing you need when “low enrollment numbers at the school [made it hard to] bring in enough athletes to fill out both varsity and junior varsity teams.”

I’m not sure what went wrong there, by the way. Everybody agrees that big sports programs guarantee big enrollment boosts.

So well it’s tragic. Punishments have been forthcoming, they have to come up with another way to pay football players to come to their school, and they’re not going to be able to compete in some playoffs. On the bright side, though, Jacksonville University remains a school exclusively committed to the well-being of its football team.

Lordy, lordy. Sometimes, kiddies, I just have to laugh.

University football players getting arrested happens all the time. UD really doesn’t know how these lads get their schoolwork done! What with practice sessions and game schedules and drugs and alcohol and guns and smashing people’s faces in… Once you get arrested for some of that, you’re looking at yet more study hall interruption.

But franchement UD has covered SOOOO many of these stories that she now ignores most of them. I mean, she scans the latest articles, in case there’s a new twist on the old tale…

And she’s not sure why, but the Antonio Allen thing at Indiana University has her laughing her ass off. She’s definitely paying attention to that one.

I guess it’s, first, because this dude seems to be one serious professional criminal. He sells a wide variety of serious drugs on the street. He has a serious gun. Because he’s obviously been at this for some time, Coacha Inconsolata (put the term in my search engine if you’re not familiar with it it) has a big problem. He can’t do the whole shocked shocked he was like a son to me I’m inconsolable this must be an aberration he’s young we all make mistakes thing because the player seems to be a veteran dealer. He’s been taped doing his thing.

So the coach makes two moves. One, he calls it an isolated incident. But

This is the third off-field incident involving an IU football player in the past three months. Defensive tackle Ralph Green III was arrested in April on charges of battery, public intoxication and disorderly conduct. Wide receiver Isaac Griffith was arrested last month on charges of driving while intoxicated.

Two: He uses the thing for a kumbaya moment. He’s gathered the lads together to use the arrest as a teaching and bonding moment. After one of coach’s post-arrest inspirational talks, the team’s quarterback says

I think that’s helped us grow. Just kind of, ‘Hey, we’re in this together. We’ve got to link arms.’

There’s a little of this motivational sludge in the aftermath of all bashing and dealing on all university football teams, but IU is laying it on hilariously thick.

Finally, the player himself is majorly into God. The only thing he said to reporters on leaving the courtroom the other day was “God is good,” which, given what’s just happened to him, seems in his case counterintuitive. And there’s this:

Earlier Tuesday, before his arrest, Allen posted a photo on Instagram of him being featured on the cover of a Big Ten 2015 preview magazine. The accompanying caption reads:

“If you knew (where) I came from and all the trouble I was in when I was younger you can see I did a 360 and I am BLESSED thank you GOD.”

God talk is the default move for all of these guys when the shit hits the fan, but UD has never before encountered one of them who broadcasts thanks to God for turning him totally around when he’s still cuddling his Colt and hawking coke.

All of the elements really came together and got crazy on this one. I had to laugh.

Training Season for a New U Mass Quarterback Has Begun!

One of America’s most violent universities, with an incredible track record of student rioting, seems to recruit its star players with an eye toward that history and tradition.

A recently recruited BMOC – a potential quarterback for the football team, no less – has already showed his stuff on the streets of Greenwich. He’s accused of being part of a gang that beat up a guy standing on a corner waiting for an Uber ride. (Before you read details, please consider the mean streets from which the player came.)

The victim told police the three men had approached and asked for a cigarette. The victim told police he said no because he had only one left…

The Darien man got up and told the men he didn’t want to fight because he was with his girlfriend, police said. Stafford then pushed the man to the ground, and William Rosato kicked him in the head, police said.

The girlfriend tried to intervene but was pushed away by the men…

The victim was bleeding from his mouth and his right arm and had bruises on his face and legs, police said. The girlfriend also had a bruise on her face, police said.

Yeah. He and his friends kicked the shit out of both of them! And you thought beating up women was just a Florida State kind of thing.

When you’ve got U Mass’s track record, the problem is maintaining it. Every year you risk attracting non-violent people to your team. Every year you’ve got to go out of your way to find the sort of person who will fuck up a man and a woman standing on the street waiting for an Uber. It’s the U Mass Way.

*********************

Over to you, Ed Blaguszewski.

*********************

UD loves the hubba-hubba iconography of this police photo. Kind of like this.

The madness of ultra-orthodoxy in Israel…

reaches an apotheosis.

No. I’m sure there’s worse to come.

Throwing stones at eight year old girls while calling them whores.

Stabbing openly gay people.

Things are escalating.

I wonder what’s next.

**********

Clarity about the madness.

But the writer focuses only on a certain sick rhetorical strain in his form of religion. One also needs to reckon with the fact of a political class that appeases madmen in order to stay in power.

**********

The entire Orthodox community is responsible for this attack when it cultivates a culture of hatred toward fellow Jews…

***********

It’s time to take the country back from those who would not be averse to a theologically-driven, ISIS-like Jewish state.

It’s probably too late. Israel has let itself be run into the ground by hugely growing numbers of religious fanatics for whom things like Supreme Courts are a joke. Look at the ultra-orthodox demographics. These people – and the children whom they are, despite the existence of a mandatory national curriculum, keeping in ignorance – are the future of Israel. And they deny the legitimacy of the Jewish state. A most Kafkaesque outcome.

Flowering Buddha 2

Six days after this picture of my
Buddha birdbath with Black Eyed
Susan vine, the thing has indeed
begun to flower.

floweringbuddha2

Note the yellow flower emerging
from the leaves, stage left.
(Click on the picture to enlarge.)

The shiny black stone on the
right – one of my proudest
Rehoboth Beach discoveries –
is there to help train the
vines to converge onto the
Buddha. It gently holds
them down. The idea is to
create a kind of sunny
corona around the Buddha.

****************

UD thanks La Kid – on her
way to another stay in
Ireland – for taking the
picture.

Here’s a university webpage to rival the Yeshiva University webpage that popped up…

… just after one of its trustees, Bernard Madoff, hit the headlines. It’s from the University of New Hampshire.

The top of the page announces a Bias-Free Language Guide, while the rest of the page is blank. Eloquently, poignantly, totally blank. As blank as all the YU Madoff pages suddenly became.

Where’s the Guide?

What story lies behind this latest weird visual outcome?

No, don’t try clicking on Bias-Free Language Guide. Won’t take you anywhere. It’s been scrubbed.

Wha’ happened?

*****************************

We don’t know enough yet to figure out exactly how the thing got written – I mean, we need to know precisely what group of people (students? faculty?) wrote it – but it takes the Orwellian business of replacing short clear simple descriptive words with long pretentious empty euphemisms to new heights.

One section warns against the terms “older people, elders, seniors, senior citizens.” It suggests “people of advanced age” as preferable, though it notes that some have “reclaimed” the term “old people.” Other preferred terms include “person of material wealth” instead of rich, “person who lacks advantages that others have” instead of poor and “people of size” to replace the word overweight.

I think they fell down on that last one. It doesn’t have enough words. People of larger size than other people, no?

**************************

When David Ortiz called Jacoby Ellsbury a rich bitch, he managed to squeeze out only two words. Person of material wealth bitch is so much… richer.

**************************

Instant Update: Wow. In the few minutes during which I’ve been writing this post, UNH disappeared Bias-Free Language Guide and replaced it with Page Not Found. Quick work!

*************************

And again.

I’m sure the rest of their global operations are just fine.

Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, which was fined a record 3 billion yuan ($483 million) for corruption in China last year and is examining possible staff misconduct elsewhere, faces new allegations of bribery in Romania.

…The company is already probing alleged bribery in Poland, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Iraq.

Sepp Blatter’s coming in to clean up the mess.

*********************

How do all the Glaxo Professors of this and that in med schools all over America and England feel about having their name cheek by jowl with this company?

UD‘s confident they don’t give a shit.

Lifestyles of the Rich and ‘thesdan

Here in Garrett Park (enter its zip code: 20896) we are rated, according to the latest national demographic thingie that people are quoting, “100% Top Tier.” That’s the highest category in everything – money, culture, education, home prices.

‘thesda – the vague area GP’s vaguely adjacent to – has for some time been ranked richest small city in America.

Here’s the language that accompanies Garrett Park’s category:

We’ve achieved our corporate career goals and can now either consult or operate our own businesses. We’re married couples with older children or without children. Every home maintenance chore in our lavish homes is handled by a variety of contracted services. We can indulge ourselves in personal services at upscale salons, spas, and fitness centers, and shop at high-end retailers for anything we desire. We travel frequently, sparing no expense in taking luxury vacations or visiting our second homes in the US and overseas. Evenings and weekends are filled with opera, classical music concerts, charity dinners and shopping…

I showed this paragraph to my across the street neighbor, a just-retired federal employee. We assumed British accents and talked about how we were looking forward to the charity dinner after the opera tomorrow night, at the end of which we planned to return to our lavish homes.

I said that the people putting the scale together seemed to have confused us GP/’thesdans with number two on the richest small cities list — Greenwich Connecticut, home of Brown University trustee Steve Cohen and other titans of post-industry.

*********************

Still. It can’t be denied that we beat them out. We beat out Palo Alto. We beat out Brookline.

*********************

Of course you can play with numbers in any number of ways and get different results, as Nate Cohn notes. Maybe we ain’t so hot.

********************

I suppose we are bourgeois bohemians.

This is an elite that has been raised to oppose elites. They are affluent but opposed to materialism.

I suppose I was happy a couple of days ago having to walk very slowly, with great difficulty, to the post office (my neighbor Peggy was with me and didn’t notice anything) because, my ancient Nike women’s walking shoes having recently imploded, I had, in desperation, gone into La Kid‘s room and found sneakers that looked like these. They were too large for me and they flapped around like clown shoes and the whole show was so ridiculous that I finally ordered replacement Nikes. I suppose it’s true that I like that sort of thing.

“Fancypants Rich Kids School That Waitlisted Poor Kids For Being Poor Dumps SAT, ACT”

This has been a pretty big story all day, but UD was waiting for just the right headline (see above).

Peter Levine, Mr UD’s Friend, and Co-Organizer of the Tufts Summer Institute of Civic Studies…

… is interviewed in this article about scholars traveling to dodgy parts of the world. He talks about one of this year’s institutes, in Ukraine.

Some U.S. colleges with overseas-study programs won’t touch Ukraine. Tufts University, on the other hand, is drawn to the turmoil in the former Soviet republic, which the U.S. State Department deemed dangerous for travel.

The potential to help activists and scholars, Tufts professor Peter Levine says, outweighs the risks posed by an unstable country. He is leading a conference in Ukraine next month on civics studies, in part because the country exemplifies the struggles of a fledgling democracy.

“American universities, at our best, have people who should be getting on a plane to go to a country that’s in crisis,” Levine said. “Sometimes they do a lot of good.”

Indeed at the end of this week Mr UD and Peter meet in Warsaw (where Mr UD has been reconnecting with many Soltans) and then fly together to Lviv (“also known as: Leopolis, Lwów, Lvov, Lemberg, לעמבערג, Լվով, İlbav, Leopoli, Léopol”) and then rent a car or get driven to (can’t remember which) Chernivtsi (the summer school will take place in the “phantasmagorical university building“.)

******************

Background on the civic studies initiative here.

*****************

Ah. And UD has just received this comment from Peter himself:

I am in lovely L’viv with the above-mentioned Mr. UD. It is of course completely safe here. I am actually quite embarrassed by the AP article; I tried to emphasize that we weren’t facing any risks. When I talked about American professors going to danger zones, I didn’t mean to include us. It would be a shame if the article dissuaded Americans from visiting western Ukraine for pleasure – it’s an excellent destination.

This nation’s highest paid ethics professor…

… gets it said.

*************

UD thanks John for the link.

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