Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Tim Burke Weighs in |
I haven't read it yet (just in from the beach; making lunch), but I want to link to it now.
Hokay, having eaten the French bread with melted cheese plus a side dish of strawberries and another one of cherry tomatoes that Mr. UD prepared, I've now read Tim Burke on endowments. He argues that the question isn't one of size at all, but rather the use made of all that money. But while use is obviously paramount, I believe size is a problem too.
There is something deeply unseemly - to the point of destructive - about a university accumulating tens of billions of dollars. A number of observers quoted in the 2001 New York Times article I reproduce a few posts down say this. They say variants of what Christopher Lasch once wrote:
"Luxury is morally repugnant, and its incompatibility with democratic ideals, moreover, has been consistently recognized in the traditions that shape our political culture. The difficulty of limiting the influence of wealth suggests that wealth itself needs to be limited. When money talks, everybody else is condemned to listen. For that reason, a democratic society cannot allow unlimited accumulation. Social and civic equality presuppose at least a rough approximation of economic equality."
It's particularly disgusting for universities, centers of free thought about the values, insights, and behaviors that matter most to a culture, to represent grasping money-making machines, as Harvard does to more and more people. The striking thing about Harvard University, the talked-about thing, the thing much more notable than its professors and its libraries (which, as Tim points out, aren't as impressive as you might think given all that cash), is a degree of wealth unmatched by many nations of the world. What sort of power fantasy is Harvard playing here? Why has it, in gaining wealth obscenely disproportionate to any other institution of higher learning in the world, and obscenely disproportionate to anything that Harvard University might need to maintain and improve itself, removed itself from the fellowship of universities?
As to what Harvard should do now that it's stuffed all that money up its ass -- Let me respond to Tim's criticism of one of my ideas for Harvard's self-dismantling:
What Tim misses here is that Florida Southern is also a college, like Harvard College. The money for the rebuilding of the Wright stuff (bad pun) is a symbolic as well as practical gesture. It's not only in a general sense about "the pleasure of future generations." Much more importantly, it is a gesture of confidence and generosity in regard to fellow institutions in need, from an institution so grotesquely over-endowed that it should feel morally compelled to use that endowment for the betterment of universities and colleges generally.
Monday, July 30, 2007
This year's Bulwer-Lytton bad writing contest winners. Here are the ones that made me laugh (your results may vary).
Danny, the little Grizzly cub, frolicked in the tall grass on this sunny Spring morning, his mother keeping a watchful eye as she chewed on a piece of a hiker they had encountered the day before. [Children's Literature]
The moon rose in the east, a thin, yellow sliver like a fingernail ripped off with a jagged edge that goes to the quick and hurts like the dickens, making Selena wince as she looked on from Dirk's strong embrace and, recalling the last time she clutched at something so hard she broke a nail, brooded as she remembered that tomorrow was her annual pap smear.[Purple Prose]
Karl awoke with a start, his heart pounding away like a drum, not a well mannered tympani such as one might hear in a Boston Pops rendition of "Also Sprach Zarathustra" but rather more like a snare drum in the hands of Terry Bozzio during the time when he was performing with Frank Zappa.[Purple Prose]
Ruthanne felt as though she was frozen in time, staring into Steve's eyes, deep turquoise pools of Tidy-Bowl blue, reflecting back the deep passionate love that Ruthanne felt in her heart because Steve certainly didn't feel anything, being in a coma as he was, so what Ruthanne had reflected back to herself was what she herself felt, bouncing off Steve's eyes, because there was absolutely zip going on behind those eyes.[Romance]
Slim pulled the branding iron away from the yearling's seared flank and looked up to see Tuffy Edwards, the boss's daughter, trotting towards him on her sorrel mare, Brandi, wearing absolutely nothing but tight blue jeans and a green tank top---her gi-normous, heaving, unrestrained hooters resembling nothing so much as a pair of fat Charolais heifers trying to beat each other through a loading chute.
UD Quoted in the Chronicle of Higher Ed ...|
...this morning. She's part of a group of responses to an American Scholar essay about the erotic lives of professor guys. The UD quote:
But that's only part of what I said. Remember how clever my full statement was? No?
The Chronicle's list includes a curious comment from Ethan Leib, of PrawfsBlawg and the University of California Hastings College of Law:
Giving up? They're not giving up. People who choose to spend their best years inside law schools are embracing asexuality.
Beer and Late Nights and Hopeless Love|
Someone else has been listening to people sing Henry Purcell.
And she writes for the Economist:
Teatime by the Kokokan's rushing river. Got a deeper understanding of cultivation on our paddy trek today, particularly when I slipped and fell into sopping rice mud. Ania, who had felt harassed and unhappy during the hot afternoon, burst into laughter.
She'd been charmed by a bubble plant our guide showed us on the way to the paddies -- when you blow on it, its stem makes bubbles. He took us into a Balinese kitchen, equipped with a coconut milk churner, various crushing utensils, and an open stove.
The paddies appeared as a glorious opening out of a broad emerald valley. They glistened under the heavy sun. The channels held eels, roaches, ducks, and a pig carcass.
Every day dawns mild and bright. The climate calms. At Three Monkeys restaurant, they prepare an elaborate chai -- it takes ages to make, and comes with shaved brown sugar and honey so you can sweeten it even more.
I love the Kokokan Hotel. But when I return to Bali, it's Waka di Ume all the way.
The sweetness of Bali lies in a mix of warmth, softness, tranquility, landscape and skyscape that adds up to spiritual bliss. The soul is lighter here. It's distracted from its own weight by the profuse life of the place, the sheer number of things to notice. Bali takes hold of you, compels your attention, and produces a kind of selflessness. The island's fluid rhythms transcend you.
On the way to an elephant ride a couple of days ago (the elephants played harmonica) we encountered a cremation procession - men in black robes, women in blue with white sashes, a body held aloft on a pyre. After lengthy fussing (lotions, holy water), attendants rolled two black gas cylinders with long beige hoses under the pyre and the thing instantly flared. A small explosion broke around the corpse's head. Firecracker.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
...is a nice new word that UD intends to work into some upcoming posts.
Via Andrew Sullivan.
UD's Proud to Say...|
...that she's one of a few blogs to show up on Scott McLemee's 'Possibly the Smartest Blogroll in the History of Blogrolls, to Date.' From his blog, Quick Study.
Return with UD to|
Fair Harvard Days of Yore...
...back when, in 2001, its endowment was a mere $19 billion (today it's almost $30 billion). A Goldman Sachs analyst wrote about it then in the New York Times. Here's what she said, with UD's commentary thrown in:
Next Sunday, Lawrence Summers becomes the 27th president of Harvard. But the distance from the Treasury Department to this particular ivory tower is not as great as it once might have been. Summers will have less money to play with than he did in his last job, as treasury secretary, but the endowment of the institution he inherits has climbed in recent months to as much as $19 billion -- a sum greater than the physical assets of McDonald's, the G.D.P. of Ecuador, the net worth of all but 5 of the Forbes 400 or, according to The Boston Globe, the endowment of every nonprofit institution in the world after the Roman Catholic Church. As the head of Harvard, there will be no escaping the burdens of high finance.
Friday, July 27, 2007
"I decided to take the data that's made available to us by the NCAA and turn it into an objective measure of the dirtiest programs in NCAA football. This week we'll be counting down the 10 dirtiest programs in the modern era of NCAA infractions, with #10 and #9 on Monday, and culminating in the crowning of the top two dirtiest programs on Friday," writes Pete Holiday at AOL Sports. The list already features a number of UD stalwarts, including Auburn, Miami, and Oklahoma State.
An Interview with the Genius Behind...|
...the Fulmer Cup. Excerpts:
'The current leader? Illinois, based solely on two Illini players who ran a burglary ring in Champaign until they were caught just after the conclusion of the regular season. They got hit with a sledgehammer, points-wise: 24 total for all the charges, a nigh-insurmountable lead. ... [The Florida Gators have] exceeded our lowest expectations, sadly [the Fulmer's creator is a Gator fan], with Ronnie Wilson's discharging an AK-47 in downtown Gainesville being the nadir of the current season's swing through the Cup.... [My personal favorite Fulmer guy is] Ben Siegert, defensive tackle for the Oregon State Beavers, [who] got drunk, stole a sheep being used in a study on homosexual behavior in animals, and was caught driving around Corvallis with it by police. He blew a .14, claimed it was part of a prank, and said 'I'm from the city, I don't know anything about sheep.' ... The record for a single score is San Jose State's Ellis T. Jones, who earned 34 points single-handedly by placing ads for bargain goods on Craigslist, lying in wait for his victims at an apartment complex, and then Tasering them before taking their money and, in one case, stuffing the victim into a trunk. A special award was created for just this instance, the "Ellis T. Jones" award, given to the single biggest malefactor of the season. ...'
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Help for Endowment Retentives|
Lynn Munson, in today's Inside Higher Ed, takes the crucial initial step of acknowledging the problem. She calls it endowment hoarding, but because it is as much a psychological as an institutional problem, UD prefers endowment retentivity, in line with Freud's distinction between anal-expulsive and anal-retentive personalities.
Many of America's universities are, like psychopathic infants, holding it in. They must be eased toward expulsion.
Munson lays out the reasons:
'...Legislators setting policy with regard to higher education should realize that colleges and universities are our nation’s richest — and possibly most miserly — “nonprofits.”
Things are 'piling up.' They are 'sitting on it.' They are 'hoarding' it. They must be 'pressured' to 'open their doors.'
Must UD make this explicit? Something primal, atavistic, visceral, and, to me, intellectually exciting, is unfolding at many American universities. Here is an opportunity not only to understand Freud's retentive/expulsive nexus, but to intervene in the crippling forms of blockage an imbalance can create.
We can help if we want to. If we have the will. We must sit alongside these universities and gently coax them as they learn to let go.
"What on earth would lead a|
high-profile college official
to break into a house,
jeopardizing both his own future
and the reputation of his athletes?"
As friends from her University of Wisconsin days prepare for a memorial symposium, a sense of Denice Denton's reality begins to emerge:
'She had a tongue-in-cheek attitude about her success in securing grants. [One colleague] recalls how she often wore buttons on her clothes - such as one that read, "Girls just like to have funds."
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Sometimes the Human Web...|
...the worldwide web... can hit you with a pathos and immediacy that nothing else can. You click idly through Google News, and there's a little story about the death of a young professor at Cornell in the crash of his Cessna near Steuben Lake. You Google his name and there's his personal webpage -- some photos, some inspiring quotations, his brief career.
Here's one of his quotations, from Theodore Roosevelt:
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither defeat nor victory.
Late afternoon after a long morning in Ubud. We visited the Monkey Forest - a short walk from the Kokokan Hotel - and as is customary with me, I found the trees and walls and sculptures more intriguing than the wildlife. Plenty of ugly gray monkeys underfoot, slowly peeling little bananas and eyeing your hands for more. For me the big star in Bali is the flora - everything grows to a fantastic size, and when you range it about with fountains and altars and pools...
Sun or rain, the landscape is smudgy, like Ireland. Ireland and Bali share the greening of stone that's been wetted and stuck with bits of soil over many years. But Ireland's landscape is treeless, its hills smooth and shadowy, its feel minimalist. The vistas here are utter abundance, bottom to top: rushing narrow water channels, paddy paths, squares of waving rice, ducks, farmers, temples, scarecrows, people parading in the middle distance, palm trees, paper kites, and, farther away, the jagged black tops of volcanoes, their midriffs clouded. "Anyone at all in Bali, seated by the side of the road or elsewhere, who bothers simply to look at what passes before him," wrote an early visitor, "will begin to doubt the reality of what he sees. Everything is beautiful, perfectly beautiful."
I'm sitting on the soft long couch on our balcony at the Kokokan. The rooster's crowing, the gamelan's banging at the music school up the hill, water's hissing from rivers, channels, and ponds. It's only 5:30 and already it's getting dark.
But nothing feels ominous - the dark, the wet, the far from home, the brooding music, the palms overhanging everything, spiders and frogs and lizards and snakes at our feet. Nothing feels ominous.
I want to have the courage of Wilditch, the boy in Graham Greene's witchy tale, Under the Garden. He tunnels underground to find a mysterious old man who instructs him in roguishly eluding the claims of the world: "Have no loyalty. Tell no one your real name."
Karol is a few islands away, on East Timor. He's part of UNTAET, the United Nations Transitional Administration. Among the things he's done there which lie somewhat outside his primary job as a professor of political science at the University of Maryland is defuse conflicts between guerrillas and UN officials.
On his last R&R visit to us, he said: "If anything happens to me, I've written a letter -- I wrote it in Singapore -- for Ania. It's with my important documents in Timor. Give it to her."
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
This Site Says...|
...Ward Churchill has just been fired.
Sing a Song of Sad Young Men|
While this piece at ESPN is not flawless, it is remarkably well-written, bringing an unusual feel -- almost elegiac! -- to sports writing.
UD thanks Dave for sending it to her.
Boise State joined the college football big time in 1996, hoisting itself up to what was, in simpler times, called Division I-A from what was then Division I-AA.
Toured the north of the island in a Land Rover yesterday.
Frenzied activity everywhere - in the fields, under pavilion roofs, on the roads (two ceremonial parades), on scooters and trucks.
One particular stretch amazed me: a long wide valley of rice paddies and other crops (beans, coffee, cabbage, pineapple, peanuts -- everything grows here), tended by farmers in triangle hats. Hundreds of ducks congregated in the corners of brownish paddies being prepared for a new planting; ingenious scarecrows hung in the backgrounds near offering altars; men and women chatted to one another while squatting in the fields and eating a late breakfast. The scene felt calm and complete, a Corot canvas covering its space with just proportions of people, animals, plants, mountains, and sky.
Unlike the gated nothingness of many parts of America, Bali is visually accessible. As we drove further north, we saw two men bathing in a river beside the road. One stretched his body as we passed, and I said to my daughter You're getting an education and everyone in the Land Rover laughed.
Back at the Kokokan. I'm listening to Ella Fitzgerald sing Angel Eyes while I write this.
A song in a descending minor mode - a very marked minor - is always spiritually convoluted to me, unreachable in some sense. Under the calm top of it, there's depression, confusion, rage... In this sort of song, music seems to present itself as the only acceptable form of expression under grotesque circumstances.
The aggression in the words - the rage at the singer's betrayal by his lover (to me, it's clearly a man's song, and Fitzgerald rather sings it as a man), and his determination to track her and her new lover down - is creepy, as is the singer's description of being haunted by the woman.
But I can't, as I say, really locate the emotion of this song, which makes it all the more seductive. Most songs are extended elaborations of the obvious, but Angel Eyes stays enigmatic. Naturally I'll drag Purcell's Music for A While in here, which also combines formal clarity and muddy feeling. I suspect there's simply too much in these songs -- too much complexity and contradiction -- for us to be able to figure them out, which accounts for their long shelf life.
Cleaver Out For Ward|
Ward Churchill is expected to be fired from the University of Colorado today.
Night falls in Ubud, and again at the Kokokan there's the rush of riverwater, the flames of the torches along the paths of the hotel, and the cool island air. I can still see palm fronds, but I've lost sight of the ducks that move all day from lily pond to riverside and back. Earlier, they were jabbing their heads hard into the pondwater, cleaning or eating, I'm not sure which.
A couple of hours ago I was at the Kokokan restaurant, leaning over the second floor balcony and looking at the sheety rain lit up by pond lights, the orange fish in the pond scooting about in the rain, the frogs with their wiggling gorges, the stone steps that curve a path across the pond, the fountain spilling lines of water from its basin's edges. Near the basin, a lizard basked in the glow of a thatched light.
A peculiar gamelan piece the restaurant plays and replays every night crept tonally about my head.
I recalled Saul Bellow's comment about death -- "It's when the pictures will stop." -- and I thought: This is a picture; one of the pictures. I like the way it's fading to black. I want to practice the blackness at the end of the pictures.
Monday, July 23, 2007
A Sort of Companion-Piece...|
...to William Deresiewicz's anxious American Scholar piece appears in the Chronicle of Higher Education. An excerpt:
'...[T]here is a special charisma attached to professors — to those who live in and tell us about the realm of spirit or mind — just as there was to representations of preachers in the 19th century. The stereotype, the haughty, bumbling, or lecherous professor, doesn't dispel the fascination with the life of the mind. A professor represents, as Stanley Aronowitz once said, "the last good job in America," where one has relative autonomy in doing one's work. People might begrudge that freedom, but they also might envy it.'
Shouldn't that be "begrudge that freedom and envy it?"
UD reminds her readers that in Money magazine's most recent list of best jobs in America, professor came in second. The magazine provides some commentary:
'The college professor category scored particularly well in stress level, flexibility and creativity. In addition, college professors reported the lowest average number of working hours per week (30) and the highest average number of vacation days (31). Dentists reported the shortest average vacation allowance (14 days).
It's even sweeter than this. Don't forget sabbaticals.
UD and others (including Deresiewicz) have pondered the odd fact that, given just about the best job in the world, American college and university professors don't as a group report much happiness. For what it's worth, UD thinks the core reason may lie in all that free time. Free time can be a drag if it's not taken up with engaged thought. Tenure can be a nightmare if you realize you've been given free time for the rest of your life, and you're pissing it away.
Getting Some Breastfeeding Action|
'Christy Porucznik, an assistant professor of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah, wants mothers to be unafraid to breastfeed their babies.
---salt lake tribune---
Surge in School Pride...|
...as the University of Minnesota goes after a whole new class of stadium donors!
'For the past two decades, Robert Sabes owned Schieks Palace Royale, one of the premier strip clubs in downtown Minneapolis and one of a string of business interests that have made Sabes an intriguing figure.
---minnesota star tribune---
UPDATE: Mr. Bonzo at The Periodic Table, who seems quite familiar with Schieks, suggests that Maturi might also want to approach the owners of Hooters.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
The Scarlet Duh|
Now that the diploma mill route to college admission has been blocked, learning disability comes roaring down the pike.
"[A]ll it will take is a coach, a doctor and a kid willing to be labeled with a learning disability (LD) to get around" the new NCAA academic eligibiity rules. "Naturally, as this [the Americans with Disabilities Act] is a federal law and that means non-disclosure, schools won't even have to explain that the kids were accepted based on this or diagnosed with the problem. It won't matter. They will be labeled with the scarlet 'duh' if they are able to come to a university after 1 year of prep school after it was supposedly disallowed. What other reason would there be?"
An eerie balletic defiance, let's say, in which the Balinese acknowledge modernity by placing their equilibrious asses upon our ugly engines and making them magical broomsticks. All my fear of the machine and my fear of mishap attended my observation of these preternaturally composed spirits, indifferent to choking fumes and speed and bumps, intent on the anticipated ceremony.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Scathing Online Schoolmarm|
UD's already told you that Gophers fans are stupid. In so very many ways. But you don't listen to UD, because she's ...well, you know her demographics. So listen to this guy, who writes for the Minnesota Star Tribune. Admittedly he introduces his opinion piece oddly. But in his own way he's making my point.
'Abraham Lincoln is credited with this observation: "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time." [We're starting in a galaxy far away from our subject... But it might work...]
Kecak dance last night at the Kokokan. A mild smudgy sky with a clouded moon and a calm wind. La kid was lovely in her latest tailor-made dress from the little shop down the street. Her sun-lightened hair puffed out thick and chic. Pre-Raphaelite waves sat on top of the thickness, because that afternoon she'd loosened her braids.
At seven precisely the lights of the outdoor theater dimmed and sweaty men in loincloth appeared en masse, thumping in to the beat of their own voices: kakakakakakakak.
Syncopated. Monkey men.
Little boys also in tight checked loincloth brought in flaming torches. "Tres primitif!" I whispered to la kid, who gazed uncomprehending as I amused myself with my lame ironies.
The main monkey man, or the brother in the Ramayan story about slaying some giant in a cave, now leapt onto the stage, muttering and hissing; he and the fattish nasty giant, who spat in the audience's general direction, fell to fighting Three Stooges style. The audience didn't know whether to laugh or maintain its grim respect for native customs.
Apparently, though, this particular dance was choreographed not long ago by some Japanese, and was in any case for the most part the brainchild of modern European expatriates.
The mean giant now set to terrorizing one of the little boy monkeys, and did so good a job that the child impersonating the monkey began to cry for real, his eyes wide with fright. The good monkey brother lifted the child and consoled him, and the child went back to his monkey with a torch impersonation.
Meanwhile, clots of man monkeys hoisted the two combatants, who went at it extremely violently (the earnest American mother of three, who with her earnest hub is at the moment staying at the Kokokan, sat next to me totally appalled) -- it was really a human cockfight -- until the mean giant shuffled backwards off the stage, holding a reedy torch in front of his face to signal death. A few more celebratory poundings ensemble and the man monkeys were through.
I adored it. La kid was a bit scared.
I think I handled it sensitively: 'MEAN GIANT COMING TO SPIT ON YOU.'
ud's bali journal, summer 2000
UD Returns to Rehoboth Beach...|
...for the next two weeks. Compulsive blogging will continue, of course.
Note that Balinesia, her series of excerpts from the journal she kept while living on Bali seven years ago, will also continue.
God, Chili Dip|
Another university president becomes a blogger.
Friday, July 20, 2007
"Every life is a special problem which is not yours but another's," wrote Henry James to Grace Norton in 1883. "Content yourself with the terrible algebra of your own."
I've always been too curious about other people for this approach.
Today, at my favorite internet cafe in Ubud, I idly read the private email of a man sitting near me. Had never done this before, and felt guilty doing it, but there you are.
The man had arrived at the cafe on a motorcycle; with his helmet on he looked rugged, though oldish: big, Australian or American, wearing an Indo skirt -- had the aspect of someone who's been up in them thar paddies quite awhile.
When he took off his helmet strands of oily blondish hair straggled down his back. Fossilized hippie.
He was answering an email that went something like this:
Enjoying the leafy beauty of Oregon. But full of sadness. I try to remember that at bottom all that matters is love, but things are difficult. Maybe next summer I'll visit you in your Bali paradise...
For some reason it reminded me of this passage, from Wallace Shawn's book, The Fever:
We were looking forward for so long to some wonderful night in some wonderful hotel, some wonderful breakfast set out on a tray - we were looking forward, like panting dogs slobbering on the rug - to how we would delight the ones we loved with our kisses in bed, how we would delight our parents with our great accomplishments, how we would delight our children with toys and surprises. But it was all wrong - it was never really right. The hotel, the breakfast, what happened in our bed, our parents, our children - and so, yes, we need solace. We need consolation - we need nice food, we need nice things to wear, we need beautiful paintings, movies, plays, drives in the country, bottles of wine. There's never enough solace, never enough consolation.
I go on and on about Purcell's song Music for A While as my all-time fave, the song of songs, but here in Bali, when I lean over my balcony to look at the paddies and the river, it's another Purcell I end up singing, a setting (Z. 379C -- one of three settings Purcell wrote) of If Music Be the Food of Love.
Why that one? Much less clouded than Music for A While. One line in particular thrills me every time I sing it, every time I arrive at its final word: Sing on, sing on; til I am filled with joy. To come to the end of that lengthy line with its complex runs is to be breathless with happiness. It's a euphoric release, finishing that difficult phrase on joy.
Found a gloss on my thoughts about Purcell reanimating himself in me, and I reanimating myself in Purcell. It's in The Unquiet Grave, by Cyril Connolly:
To construct from the mind and to colour with the imagination a work which the judgment of unborn arbiters will consider perfect is the one immortality of which we can be sure. When we read the books of a favourite writer together with all that has been written about him, then his personality will take shape and leave his work to materialize through our own. The page will liberate its author; he will rise from the dead and become our friend. So it is with Horace, Montaigne, Sainte-Beuve, with Flaubert and Henry James: they survive in us, as we increase through them.
Hm. I start and end today with James.
Moderately Amusing, and...|
...you get to vote.
Sarah Lawrence has an impressive lead.
UD likes this bit of prose from one reader. It's about people like UD, who, although decades removed from their liberal arts college experience, "relive it on screened-in porches years later when they find an old joint pressed into a copy of The Stranger, so they toke it even though it's stale and they remember a little bit but then go to bed and wake up just the same as they were the day before."
Sometimes a Diploma Mill Story...|
... can reveal systemic corruption. Frankfort Kentucky's firefighters are pissed about it.
'Franklin County's Director of Disaster and Emergency Services obtained his job with a degree from a diploma mill.
(I've Been Aching to Make This Pun.)
'Central Missouri dairy producers got together at the University of Missouri’s Foremost Dairy research and teaching center on Wednesday.
'In Korea, it is not rare for academics or instructors to come to fame based on false academic certificates or backgrounds. A scandal surrounding the fake degrees of prominent Dongguk University art historian Shin Jeong-ah suggests there must be many others who lie about their achievements and get away with it. Part of the reason is a culture that relies excessively on glamorous-looking degree certificates and a system incapable of sifting the grain from the chaff.
---Digital Chosun Ilbo, Korea---
Thursday, July 19, 2007
'Ex-Aldermen Crash College Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
At ten to seven in the morning, the familiar waking sounds of the Kokokan Hotel relax me: the clink of teaspoons being set out on the tables by the swimming pool in preparation for breakfast, the doofus roosters, the plinking of water into ponds, the tubercular cough of scooters gearing up for today's demolition derby on the broken streets of Ubud. I've settled into the routine of life chez Kokokan - the breakfast ladies, the pool, the quiet shuttle drivers, the glorious churning river.
There's already gamelan music in the background, and birdsong, and throaty frogs in the stone fountain. Incense spices the air. As I walk outside our room, there's a constant breeze, and clear skies with wifty clouds, and the low murmur of the hotel staff sweeping porches. Butterflies are rampant: they're black, or yellow and black, or they're that shiny blue that's almost black. The massive spider web hung from the branches of three trees across the courtyard bounces in the wind, and the red and yellow hibiscus flowers on the bushes just up the hill sway. The hotel staff picks these flowers each morning and puts them in the mouths of Hindu statues.
The sun lights up the small bit of terraced rice paddy that our porch overlooks, across the river. The wind pokes at the thready streamers on top of bamboo poles in the paddies. Frondy palms shake. The world's alight and abounding: in the sky, the kites that Balinese children like to fly bump along.
I'm thinking about my Purcell songs. When I sing Purcell and feel both his odd antiquity and my entirely contemporary engagement with it, I feel confirmed in both an immediate and a distant world... which I suppose brings me back to the idea I wrote about before: the idea that beauty is for me in large part about consort with the dead. "Come back now and help me with these verses. / Whisper to me some beautiful secret that you remember from life," writes Donald Justice in an elegy for a friend of his who was also a poet. If I can be entirely inside a Purcell song, then his spirit reanimates itself in me. It's as if there's a core within some human beings that can't be extinguished by death, and that in consort with the consciousness of someone like Purcell I also reanimate myself.
They Even Provide a Timeline!|
'It was rabbit season Wednesday at North Dakota State University.
--In-Forum News, Fargo--
'The case of an Ole Miss professor whose speeding ticket was returned to court decorated with X-rated comments has been referred to county prosecutors, Gallaway Police Chief Jason Collins said Wednesday.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
An Interesting Mix
'A Calhoun College junior was arrested Monday and suspended from the University after he allegedly fired a handgun inside the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house.
--yale daily news---
Legal History Blog...|
...authored by Mary Dudziak, professor of law, history, and political science at the University of Southern California, also links to and quotes from UD's Liberal Education article on the online amplification effect.
UD's certainly making the rounds.
Introducing a |
New Feature on
Rent-A-Ruminant could be the name of this very blog, a place you go to watch someone ruminate not only on university issues, but also on Life Itself. And because it's the summer and university stories are a little less thick on the ground, and because UD lived on Bali in 2000 and kept a journal about Life Itself there, and to celebrate the fact that, as Reuters just reported, tourists are finally returning to Bali after a 2002 terrorist bomb emptied the island, UD inaugurates a summer feature on University Diaries -- Balinesia -- in which she offers excerpts from her Bali journals.
Go to her branch campus at Inside Higher Education for current university stories.
The Kokokan Hotel's setting is green and lush beyond belief. It lies along a fast-moving river and rice paddies. A dozen ducks live on the banks, and it's a pleasure to sit at a brookside table and listen to the water run and watch the ducks fuss, while in the background terraced rice grasses wave in the wind, and above them enormous palms do the same. A rooster stalks the grounds in the morning and keeps up a pompous racket for the rest of the day. Lizards lounge on our beach chairs, scuttling away when we approach from the pool.
A high wind ripples the rice plants, and oily brown water pours over the sluice below. The sun is marvelously out as the ducks, now in the lily ponds on the other side of the river, make their strange rounds. It's a landscape in perpetual motion and at the same time tranquil -- a cultivated and dynamic place.
I've taken a swim, and am now drinking tea riverside. The noise of the heavy river water is deafening, and yet I'm always drawn to it. Why do I love this covering noise? The tumult water makes when it's plentiful, and a sort of answering tumult in the rippling of the palms and the rice plants... Gaia visibly alive - her breath, her watery veins... The marvel of the water's ongoingness, the way nothing stops its flow. I can relax on my little overlook. The world's moving along just fine without me.
Three men work on the roof of the building under construction across the lily pond. They're hammering sheets of bamboo webbing. It looks slippery up there -- the men move laterally with great care. A woman appears nearby in the rice paddy just above the channel next to the river: she carries on her head with absolute ease a full laundry basket. She wears a light green sweater to match the rice plants, and a long brown batik skirt.
The late afternoon sun creates a blanket effect along the river - a generalized green, threaded with white rivulets pouring out from among ferns massed on the sides of the terraced paddies. Each rivulet is a secret water garden, hidden behind foliage. Women stand in the river wetting the webbing that the men will cover with wood beams. They're tightening the webbing, I suppose. Making it raintight.
Because no one else can hear me, and because I can't resist, I sing through all my Henry Purcell songs sitting here -- Fairest Isle, Music for a While, Altisidora's Song. Each song seems to fit the setting remarkably well. They're celebrations of loveliness, generosity, lack of covetousness, ease, and of places where all of these seem to come together. The long vocal runs (pleh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-sure...) trip nicely along with the riverrun, and things seem somehow in alignment, as they are supposed to be. Bali is a body of earth wearing its loose clothes well.
Do other people, I wonder, feel that their experience of pleasure of this transporting sort is in part for the sake of people who have died? (There's a sudden scent of incense as offerings to the gods are scattered about the hotel.) When I come to a place like this, I feel the spirit of the aesthetes whose work I love because they loved the world: Frank O'Hara, Paul Monette, James Agee, Thomas Wolfe, Albert Camus, Malcolm Lowry, Randall Jarrell, John Berryman. All of these men died young. I could swear they're lounging nearby, watching me experience for them the measure of bliss they missed.
Or, less sadly, they're applauding from the wings as another consciousness tries to maintain the sort of relationship to the world that was important to them.
Beauty calls us forth. It confirms our intimation of some aspect of immortality. We should attend to it, for ourselves and for the dead.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Jacob T. Levy...|
...a law blogger and professor of political theory at McGill, links to UD's Liberal Education piece about universities and the blogosphere.
... As does Ralph Luker, UD's old friend, and the heart and soul of the great blog Cliopatria.
Pat Kilkenny's nothingness (journey to the underworld here) has inspired a second University of Oregon faculty member (here's the first) to try to wrest some meaning from the void:
1. What are Kilkenny's plans to reverse the declining graduation rates of our athletes? The graduation rate of UO athletes has declined precipitously in five years, to 47.3 percent from 78 percent.
---nathan tublitz, the register-guard---
The Last Time We Saw Joel Maturi...|
...the AD at the University of Minnesota expressed astonishment at the remarkably difficult thing paying for a new, way-inflated football stadium has turned out to be. He and all the other guys pushing the idea a few years ago were, like, totally convinced it'd be a piece of cake, and now, as construction begins, the university's getting desperate...
There's also the awkwardness -- which has dimmed various inaugural celebrations -- of rape charges against one of his players, and the possibility of similar charges against three others. [UD pipes up parenthetically in what follows]:
Prosecutors call it rape at a drunken party which was caught on cell phone video [Way to record yourself doing it.] and they're charging University of Minnesota football player Dominic Jones in the case.
There's a game try at damage control from a local booster/reporter:
Gophers football coach Tim Brewster is so intent on limiting distractions that he is taking his team to pastoral St. John's University in Collegeville for the first week of fall camp early next month. He went so far as to ban cell phones and arrange for players to stay in dorm rooms. [Starts his piece with an evocation of the monastic devotion of the coach and his boys.]
Monday, July 16, 2007
Huge Flat-Screen TVs in Every Room|
Fine. UD has no television in her house, and therefore may have more difficulty than other people understanding why the admissions director at New York's Touro College so craved flat-screens that he ruined his life and the reputation of the college that employed him in order to have scads of them installed on his walls.
Fine. UD does not drive, and could give a sparrowfart about cars generally, and therefore may have more difficulty than other people understanding why this guy, Andrique Baron, also used the money for two luxury vehicles...
Whatever level of understanding UD can work up here, I suppose you want the details of this pretty sizeable conspiracy. Touro had lots of corrupt people in high positions on its staff.
NEW YORK (AP) - 'Teachers, students and administrators tampered with a private college's computer system to change grades and create fake degrees for money, prosecutors charged Monday. Among the fake degrees given were those for physicians' assistants, they said.
UD thanks her sister for the link.
Amplification Effect Amplified|
Today's Chronicle of Higher Education features my Liberal Education essay, on the web's amplification effect, in its Magazine and Journal Reader section.
... in the St. Petersburg Times on the nasty but necessary battle between reformers of the wretched Florida public university system and a cynical legislature. The author summarizes current conditions:
'The student-faculty ratio is now the second worst in the nation, with some classes at the University of South Florida held in movie theaters. The instructional cost per degree is the lowest in the nation. Five of the 11 universities rank among the 30 largest in the nation.'
Simon Barnes, in the Times Online...|
...talks about his university experience.
'... None of us was reading for marks. It was an adventure, and the tutors and professors were largely sympathetic to this attitude: I attended seminars on Dylan and Burroughs, which were no help at all for the degree. What mattered was being thrilled by literature, by great ideas and words, words, words. Turning me loose among all these books was like locking up a lush in a brewery.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Via Andrew Sullivan. Various people reflect on blogs, at The Wall Street Journal. From the introduction to their comments:
'The daily reading of virtually everyone under 40 -- and a fair few folk over that age -- now includes a blog or two, and this reflects as much the quality of today's bloggers as it does a techno-psychological revolution among readers of news and opinion.'
A couple of comments:
'I've come to appreciate the purity and power of blogging. I have appeared in more than 40 movies, written a book and given countless interviews on TV, radio and in print. Yet none of this has allowed me to spotlight issues important to me as completely as my blog.
'Of the various blogs I've written or produced, the ones that worked best -- the ones that had the biggest and most loyal readerships -- always had a few consistent qualities. They were topically focused, often in niche areas. They published regularly and frequently, typically during office hours and several times a day. They published content that was original or difficult to find, from breaking news to proprietary photographs to obscure links that readers are unlikely to find on their own. They were usually well-written, which has its own intrinsic appeal for anyone who prefers to enjoy what they're reading. And lastly, they engaged their readership by soliciting feedback and responding to it, in the form of asking for tips, allowing comments or otherwise demonstrating some level of interest in their audience's preferences.' [Elizabeth Spiers]
University Athletics Explained|
"Athletics is the rallying point for any university. ...It's how we keep people involved. You're in the newspaper every week. You're on TV every week. You're marketing your city. You're marketing your university. Whatever you're selling, whether it's the polymer, biology or business school, students go where there's a big-time athletic program. That's why Ohio State has 60,000 and Harvard has 5,000. A lot of our very smart students get attracted because they see or read about your school."
Gene Carlisle, University of Southern Mississippi athletics donor.
Gird Your Loins...|
...for another descent into Kilkenny. [Earlier subterranean expedition here.] An English professor at the University of Oregon gazes into the same abyss.
I just read Pat Kilkenny's June 11 guest viewpoint, "UO athletics serious about academics and financial self-sufficiency." As a teacher, I'm glad the University of Oregon's director of athletics sees his athletes as students first, but he shouldn't try to tell us that the business of intercollegiate athletics is for them.
---ud thanks m for sending this along---
UD Gets Up to Date on Her Alma Mater|
'Worried by the quality and anatomical accuracy of mannequins available for her students to practise on, Dr [Carla] Pugh [of Northwestern University] decided to take matters into her own hands and provide her own.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
This Guy Is SO Much Better At This Than I Am|
'The University of Oklahoma was punished this week following revelations that a car dealership paid players for work they never did. C'mon, Boomer Sooners. Your standards are dropping. You can do better than that.
Mike Freeman, CBS Sportsline.com, UD wants to be your girl.
The iFan vs. the NCAA|
As Selena Roberts points out in tomorrow's New York Times, it's the iFan all the way. Excerpts:
The iFan, armed with a BlackBerry or an iPhone, a cellphone camera or a text message, is actually better equipped to be a caretaker of college athletics than the sleuths at the N.C.A.A., whose water guns and magnifying glasses leave them best suited to guard a tip jar.
The Bishop Plagiarizes|
Yet another Irishman has had it with over-the-top, commercialized Bloomsday. I don't begrudge him, though I think he should give it a try next year.
He had something else to do that day anyway. He describes attending a wedding and finding that he couldn't escape Bloomsday even there:
Imagine then my surprise when the bishop who was officiating, the Right Reverend Simon Barrington-Ward, inquired at the beginning of his address whether we were all aware what day it was. He then proceeded to devote virtually the whole of his message to James Joyce and to Ulysses.
But the writer finds the sermon marvelous; the bishop returns the writer to a real understanding of the novel:
... [H]e went straight to the heart of the matter, which is love.
The writer wants Joycean academics to learn from the bishop, but it looks as though the bishop learned all too closely from the academics.
Not only is the phrase from the bishop's sermon that the writer quotes -- "love in its various forms, sexual, parental, filial, brotherly, and by extension social" -- taken verbatim from the best-known Joyce scholar of them all, Richard Ellmann; the bishop's entire argument about the centrality of love in Ulysses derives from Ellmann.
UD would ask the writer to read the following, written in 1986, and then reconsider his dismissal of academics:
If we consider the book as a whole, the theme of love will be seen to pervade it. "Love's bitter mystery," quoted repeatedly from Yeats's poem "Who Goes With Fergus?," is something Stephen remembers having sung to his mother on her deathbed. It is something that Buck Mulligan, though he is the first to quote the poem, cannot understand, being himself the spirit that always denies. It is alien also to the experience of the womanizer Blazes Boylan. But Bloom does understand it, and so does Molly Bloom, and both cherish moments of affection from their lives together as crucial points from which to judge later events.
Friday, July 13, 2007
'Goats will be doing yard work at the University of Washington's Bothell campus this week.
Sometimes Scathing Online Schoolmarm...|
...just has to scratch her head. Guys! The way guys write! The way guys write about university sports!
Penn State's Number Two in the current Fulmer Cup rankings, which track the most criminal bigtime university sports teams in the country. It's got real problems. But when you just love those lunks, here's how you describe the situation.
The only Heisman Trophy winner in Penn State history was never consigned by his coach to spending a Sunday morning crawling across the clammy, sticky concrete of Beaver Stadium, collecting hot dog wrappers and empty Cheese Whiz cups. [In response to a variety of serious offenses on the part of his players, the Penn State coach had them pick trash up at the stadium one day. Let the punishment fit the crime and all... The writer's first sentence, while jammed with all the vivid detail your writing teacher tells you to jam into your sentences, is a bit overwhelming. The coupling of "only" and "never" at the beginning of the sentence is confusing. And the writer's effort to make a trash clean-up sound like years in a gulag looks unpromising.] If Joe Paterno ever punished John Cappelletti and those Nittany Lions of the early 1970s the way he has his current players, putting all of them on trash detail to pay for the alleged offenses of some of them, Cappelletti doesn't remember it. [Note "alleged." Nothing alleged about them. And for "some," write "lots." That's the only way you get to the top of the Fulmer.]
(PS: One sportswriter lists ten things he's looking forward to this college football season. Number 3 is
'Seeing the Gameday piece on Penn State football players cleaning Beaver Stadium and then having Desmond Howard sit down with select players and ask, "So, do you think you'll ever home-invade again?"')
'William "Billy" Cottrell was such an exceptional student at the University of Chicago that he was described by his professors as something of an eccentric genius. He even won the award for best senior thesis in physics, addressing string theory, which seeks a single unifying way to explain all forces and all forms of matter.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
UD's 'thesdan Playmate, David...|
...sends her this amazing university story. I'm excerpting from an article in The Independent:
Until this week, [Shin Jeong-ah], 35, was at the top of her profession. Claiming to have a doctorate from Yale and a master's degree from Kansas University, she was the youngest professor at Seoul's prestigious Dongguk University and the head curator of the Sungkok Art Museum, home to some of Korea's most prestigious exhibitions and the recipient of millions of pounds in corporate sponsorship from the country's biggest conglomerates.
Quite a tale. Couple of comments.
This is an especially destructive case of fraudulence because this woman has not only destroyed her own life, but damaged professional prospects for Korean women generally.
Note that she's a plagiarist as well. We've seen again and again on this blog that people sleazy enough to do X almost always turn out to be sleazy enough to do Y.
Oh, and one other thing. If she opts to try the American approach to her problems (see James Frey), she'll use that Sampoong collapse for all it's worth. Brain trauma.
...is a charming new blog, written by an assistant professor of English at Jumbo Public University.
Writing and Nothingness|
"If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back at you," wrote Nietzsche.
Here, for the first time on University Diaries, we present a piece of writing which is that abyss, that very abyss, gazing back at you.
This writing is acquainted with the night. It is the music of the night, the dark night of the soul, the night thoughts of a classical physicist. It is the place Iris Murdoch, describing her descent into Alzheimer's, called a "very, very bad quiet place, a dark place..."
Some readers, unwilling to descend, will stop reading this writing -- gaze at it too long, as Nietzsche presciently saw, and the abyss will confront you. But I ask you to join me as I gaze at this nothingness. There is much to learn.
The writing concerns the athletic program at the University of Oregon, overseen by President Dave Frohnmayer, who suffers from Stage III-Jocksniffery.
Here, culled from two earlier writers on the subject, are some facts you first need to know.
The current price for a new University of Oregon basketball arena is $213.5 million, a significant increase over the recent estimate of $160 million.
The recent announcements of a $2 million buyout of the contract of Bill Moos, the university's athletic director, and a $4 million learning center solely for athletes are deeply troubling. ...[W]e find it increasingly hard to tell whether the University of Oregon is an academic research and teaching institution devoted to the education of our state's students, or a minor league training ground for elite athletes. Academic departments struggle to make ends meet because of repeated budget cuts, but the president allows lavish spending by the athletic department. These actions have consequences for our students and faculty, and the university's academic stature.
Pat Kilkenny, the local moneybags hired to push more university-destroying athletic projects through at the impoverished University of Oregon, is the author of what we are now going to make our way through. Pat Kilkenny is our guide to the underworld. This way, please.
UO athletics serious about academics and financial self-sufficiency
Nouveau Riche University|
'On August 3 and 4 Nouveau Riche University (NRU) comes to Ft. Lauderdale not to teach the tricks of the trade of real estate investing, but rather the trade.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Hard and Soft|
Recall the opinion piece in Inside Higher Ed about how business school courses in ethics are a laughingstock. An article in today's International Herald Tribune describes the larger amoral free market reality on campus. Excerpts:
...[I]n recent months, economists have engaged in an impassioned debate over the way their specialty is taught in universities around the United States... They are questioning the profession's most cherished ideas about not interfering in the economy.
This is essentially a battle between relentlessly hard thinkers for whom morality, psychology, human complexity, and, well, humans themselves represent hopelessly soft targets of thought, and thinkers these toughies regard as mush-brains who want to sit around talking about feelings.
Some version of this battle is hard-wired into all universities' curricula. Listen to any empirical scientist talk candidly about sociology...
But in this case the heterodox faction is correct that university economics, having become fixated on modeling and free trade, diverts serious attention away from on-the-ground realities.
Who Says Adjunct Professors|
Have No Influence?
'A former USC real estate professor, who ran an investment scam luring students and others with bogus claims of large returns in commercial developments, was sentenced to six years in federal prison, authorities said Tuesday.
Background on Barry here.
Update: In giving Landreth a harsh sentence, the judge said "he was convinced that Landreth's connection with the university facilitated the scheme." UD made this point about Landreth and other campus scammers last year in talking about his case: If you want to rip people off, get yourself a university teaching position. People think professors are more ethical than the general population -- less obviously interested in the profit motive or something.
This might be true about your Latin instructor. Beware the business school.
Barry's remorse was eloquent:
'Landreth told Carney he has "an incredibly heavy heart for my actions." Turning to victims in the courtroom, he said, "I know you guys hate me at this moment. I really hope that at some point you will accept my apologies. I'm 100 percent committed to make each one of you whole."'
This language makes UD very jolly. She's not sure why. I mean, she's giggling right now, reading it over.
Let me say it out loud and see what happens....
I laughed again!
100 percent committed to make each of you whole!
UD thanks a reader, SC, who provided this material in the comments thread.
Yes John, I've stolen your headline. You cleverly titled the email in which you, a UD reader at the University of Toledo, forwarded me this newspaper article, Defronked Rehired. I can't improve on that. Thank you.
For background, go here.
Excerpts from the Toledo Blade's update of this fast-moving story (When will the richly compensated corrupt AD be fired, and his salary shifted to Fronk? Will Fronk sue even if she takes her job back?) follow:
Days before she was to sue the University of Toledo for firing her, a former high-ranking member of UT’s athletic department learned she was going to get her job back.
Fat Men Are One Thing.|
Stupid Are Another.
Type TCF STADIUM into the Search feature up there and enjoy a full plate of UD posts over a couple of years about the University of Minnesota's fiasco. (Here's a sample.)
And all because men are dumb. They get way excited about big ol' sports stadiums for their universities, and only after spending hundreds of millions of dollars realize that they can't afford them.
Six months after detailed drawings were released and a new football coach was hired, the University of Minnesota is learning that raising money for a new football stadium has many good days -- and some that are not as good.
--minnesota star tribune--
Time Someone Finally Said It.|
And said it so well.
--via arts and letters daily--
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Philip Booth, An Excellent Poet...|
...has died. Here's his New York Times obituary. It quotes from the last lines of the following poem:
A great poet shows you how to be sentimental without being full of rot. What saves this poem from kitsch is the tightly cerebral rhyme scheme, conveying control rather than emotional gush. What also saves it is the subtlety of its theme -- actually, its two themes, since it counsels not only a relaxed trust of the world and one's instincts, but also the courage throughout life to face things face up, fully animated and engaged...
It reminds old UD (she's read, well, a lot of poems, and is always cross-referencing...) of this poem by Yvor Winters:
At the San Francisco Airport
Again a father launches a daughter, this time not into water but into air; again the complicated anxiety and love and advice-giving. A meditation on his own shrinking world, in contrast to the dramatically expanding world of his young daughter, darkens the Winters poem, though.
I've always loved and often quoted to myself one particular line:
The rain of matter upon sense
This odd and highly original line comes to me in hectic urban moments. I love its awkward and ambiguous final adverb. Awkward, ambiguous, powerful and beautiful, with its echoes of momentous, and for a moment, and - I don't know - the way it expresses delicacy, debility... the whole poem imparts somehow for me the difficulty of existence.
Yet still with the theme of Booth's poem in it - the bravery to live your life fully.
L'Etat, c'est project manager.|
On July 4, the Washington Post ran a short article on the non-independence of the French university system, which the country's new leader wants to change. All new leaders of France try to change it. And fail.
Sarkozy's reform will allow universities to pick their own teachers, decide their salaries and manage their own buildings, helping them retain good staff and ensure their facilities work.
An example is offered:
The ugly concrete campus of Paris 6 university is dominated by a tower that has been a building site for eleven years as asbestos is removed. Nobody seems to be able to pinpoint when the work will finish.
Monday, July 09, 2007
...close to UD's heart, preoccupies more and more editorialists, which makes UD very happy. The guy who wrote about it for Inside Higher Education a few weeks ago produced a more powerful piece than this more recent one in the Chronicle of Higher Ed. But both are saying all the right things. Compare their maturity and sense with the sphincter-musings of Ben Stein.
...Why ... do private donors — some of them entrepreneurs who should know better — engage in mindless donations of their money? After all, one who gives money to a university must (or should) have done so with a serious thought about the difference that money would make at the chosen institution. In this sense, "return on investment" refers to a concrete, positive change.
---Steve O. Michael
Sunday, July 08, 2007
The Larger the Land Cruiser,|
The More Scope for Cultural Understanding
Universities are optimally configured for serious conflicts of interest when they appoint faculty to their business schools (or related profit-oriented departments and institutes) with strong family feeling plus expensive tastes. These are usually guys who insist on the best of everything for their wives and children, and who feel that the university should pay.
University auditors have questioned why on six overseas trips, CU-Denver paid all or a portion of the travel expenses of Gail Schoettler, the state's former lieutenant governor and treasurer.
Scathing Online Schoolmarm:|
SOS has already discussed the category of prose she calls guy-writing. Flyover Guy-Writing is guy-writing from the heartland. Here's an example, from the Toledo Blade. There are problems.
Countless University of Toledo alumni and sports fans, and even the casual everyday observer who relishes dirty laundry being aired, must be wondering just how long Mike O'Brien will be able to hold onto his job as UT's director of athletics. [Background here.] [And, uh, as to style... If you've been following SOS at all, you know we've already got a wordiness problem. Yes, the laundry thing is a cliche, but sports writers only do cliches, and we're about to get a full hamper of them. So forget cliches. Just factor in cliches. Look, instead, at the words jamming things up: both casual and everyday, when one of those two would be better... There are other bad signs: The word "relishes" isn't quite right for the laundry image, and there's his choice of the clunky "to be" word ("being") in place of something smoother...]
A lot of flyover guys can't think straight. They've got a barroom charm UD likes to be around. But they can't think straight. They emotionalize everything. UD stirs her pina colada and smiles at them sympathetically as they spin their tales, but inside she's thinking There, there, little fella...
A Bridge To FAU|
The crucial thing to keep in mind, as the Barry Kaye/Florida Atlantic University story heats up (background here), is that this latest thing, this cruise, was educational.
That's why the university's president didn't use any of his vacation time for the eight-day first-class Caribbean jaunt Kaye gave him and his wife. He was learning something... or Barry Kaye was learning something... or something...
Let's try to unpack this, keeping in mind, please, that UD's mind isn't quite off the beach:
[President] Brogan did not take personal leave days for the trip because he was on official university business, according to the statement.
Okay, so they book an agency that specializes in cruises that teach you how to play bridge... Did they get lessons? Even if they did, though, FAU students need to realize that their president isn't in fact calling a Caribbean cruise with bridge lessons an educational cruise.... No, it turns out that the education component of the trip was educating Barry Kaye in the future growth of the university's business school, a school he ultimately paid for.
Round these parts, we call that lobbying, not educating....
What else have we got here -- I'm reading through the recent article in the Sun-Sentinel... And keep in mind, too, all the sob stories you've been reading for the last few years about how devilishly hard it is to be a university president... the grueling nature of the job... which is why million-dollar compensation packages are to be expected... Here's an example of the sort of thing university presidents have to do: Eight-day first class Caribbean cruises for themselves and their wives on a donor's dime...
While Brogan's action appears to be legal, it shows questionable judgment, said Ben Wilcox, executive director of Common Cause Florida, a government watchdog group.
Yes indeed. In taking so much from Kaye, the university obviously puts itself in an awkward position.
"You want your president to be free of encumbered influences," said Mark Jackson, associate professor of chemistry at FAU. "You want him to make a decision based on what's good for the university, not Barry Kaye."
The newspapers have got their teeth in this one. There will be more stories. UD has already predicted at least a Pulitzer nomination for someone as they gnaw away at one of the more colorful university corruption stories around.
Thanks to Marcee.
Half a post, half a post...|
...Half a post onward,
All in the valley of Dearth
Read the six hundred.
"Forward, the Blog Brigade!
Click on the url!" he said:
Into the valley of Dearth
Read the six hundred.
"Forward, the Blog Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the readers knew
UD at the beachhead lay:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Dearth
Read the six hundred.
Boredom to right of them,
Boredom to left of them,
Boredom in front of them
Seduc'd and sunder'd;
Reduced to a shell,
Boldly they read and well,
Into the jaws of Dearth,
Into the mouth of Hell
Read the six hundred.
When can their glory fade?
O the faithful charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Blog Brigade,
Noble six hundred.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Every Summer at the Beach...|
...UD and her sister laugh at the following things:
1.] Their duet from the Ying Tong Song.
2.] UD's performance of the opening soliloquy from Wayne's World, in which Wayne describes his pathetic-job name tags.
3.] Any use, on UD's sister's part, of the Yiddish accent.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste...|
...but every once in a while, you can sit with your sister at a restaurant at the beach and go ahead and waste it. Later.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
A Boardwalk Walk...|
...on July 4 is all about flags and bunting and people wearing high hats full of red white and blue.
Tonight, UD will stand on her balcony and watch fireworks over the Atlantic Ocean.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
UD's at the beach, and her brain is so fried that she can't read, let alone write. Later.
Monday, July 02, 2007
'Simply Not Willing'
UD has already, on this blog, reported the discovery of the AH gene, predisposing carriers, in the words of the study, "to chronic behavior in an obnoxious, boorish, selfish, overbearing, and generally offensive manner (pp. 128 - 129)."
AH-Carriers have "four alleles... which [we] refer to as rectalleles." Depending on the combination of alleles in carriers, they may be "complete AH's" or lesser varieties of these.
One local high-profile AH-Carrier is sure to catch the attention of researchers:
'A high-powered institute director at the National Institutes of Health disregarded conflict-of-interest guidelines by making decisions affecting the university where he was a faculty member, broke government spending rules, and raised concerns with his growing involvement as an expert witness in legal cases, according to sources within NIH and Congress and hundreds of pages of confidential documents.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
From the Guardian:
MOVED TO TEARS BY
Mingle2 - Online Dating
Andrew Sullivan's Restricted.