February 28, 2005

Caffeinated Edumacation.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:49 pm

Are you old enough to have received tuition bills for your kid’s education that roll your eyes to the back of your cruller? I am, and I have. I recall getting bills from daughter’s college (a small fancy schmancy college that serves Designer Water) for about a zillion dollars per credit for a course that was called something like “The Medium of Movement.” Huh???

As such, I pity the parents of a kid at Centre College of Kentucky who get their next tuition bill for a zillion dollars so that their freshman kid can take a course called “The Café and Public Life, ” which is described as follows:

The café has long been a storied place for creating public life, from convivial social groups to intellectual salons to revolutionary cells. We will study how the café is a “third place” – not home, not work – where people from different social groups can meet and mix. Caffeine, especially in coffee, tea, and chocolate, has fueled a modern public sphere that promotes hard work and clear thinking. We will make several field trips to different kinds of cafés to see for ourselves how they can be incubators of public life, and to actively create critical discourse ourselves by talking to café regulars.

When I was a freshman in college, my courses were as follows:

English Composition
Advanced German
History of Western Civilization

There may have been one more that I cannot recall at the moment. I do, however, remember that those courses kept my ass glued to a desk chair for five hours per night after the last class of the day. Taking a course that involved hanging out in a coffee joint was not an option.

Would I have signed up for a course that involved sitting around, drinking coffee and grooving on the ambience? You bet your ass. Would I have learned anything worth a shit? As my Constitutional Law Professor from Maine used to say, “To ahhhsk the question, is to ahhhnswer it.” NO!!!!

Mr. Scriblerus, of The Idiom, has tracked down the details of this edumacational joke, and Black Hole of tuition dollars, including the most interesting course syllabus. Go check it out.

February 27, 2005

Sunday Bartending.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 2:55 pm

Today, it is my turn to tend bar at the Post, and, as always, the bartender is responsible for the food. Today’s fare will be chili con carne and rice, with the following available to taste: shredded cheddar, chopped onions, sour cream, hot sauce, black olives, cornbread and tortilla chips. Dessert will be chocolate covered donuts. It all goes well with cold beer (except maybe the donuts) and good friends.

Speaking of the Post Bar, that is where the Jersey Blogmeet (click the button on the left) will be held. It will not be held in the “hall,” but rather in a real bar. However, unlike holding the thing in a place like Bennigan’s or TGIF, the Bar will be open only to Blogmeet attendees, and also unlike those other places, the bar will be “open.” Food will be catered. Check it out.


The Answer is … “Zero!”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 1:16 pm

And the question is, “Yo, Jimbo, where on your ‘Ten-Point Give-a-Shit Scale” does the Academy Awards Ceremony fall?”

The idea of watching a gathering of overly moneyed, overly dressed, overly narcissistic, overly self-righteous, and overly shallow elitist asswipes pat one another on the back leaves me cold.

I’d sooner watch a test pattern.

February 26, 2005

Saturday Stuff.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 1:28 pm

I’ve got a bit of Life 101 to attend to today, and later we will be travelling to a part of Jersey that is a bit more rural than it is around here (e.g. more pickup trucks) to attend my nephew’s birthday party. It’s not like we’ll be wearing party hats and stuff, as he is a strapping young man (and my Godson – really), who was married last year, and he and his most excellent bride are treating this as a combination birthday party and house warming.

I’m looking forward to a couple beers and a few laughs.


A Feisty Honor.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 1:09 pm

I am proud and pleased to have been named by Christina as the “GodFaddah” of the “Feisty Family.” In Jersey, being named a GodFaddah ain’t no small potatoes.

I guess I’m gonna have to get busy makin’ people offers dey can’t refuse, but foist I gotta go pick up da cannolis.

Tanks, Christina.

February 25, 2005

Blog Noir – Chapter Four.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:47 pm

Christina has posted Chapter Four, and it’s a killer. If you’re late to the game, her site tells you where to find Chapters One through Three. So, go read, already!

Unprofessional Professoring.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:41 pm

If you signed up for a college course entitled, “History of political, social, and diplomatic developments that have shaped the U.S. since 1960,” I think you could reasonably expect to receive a survey course that provides an objective presentation of the patchwork of perspectives on the “political, social and diplomatic developments” that might shape our society.

Apparently, if you signed up for that course in UCLA and the course is taught by this professor, you will receive anything but an objective account of the political, social and diplomatic developments that have shaped America since 1960. In fact, according to a former student, you will be in for a semester of the “socialist rendition of history, with no regard for the many other sides of the account,” he describes as follows:

Her bottom-line version of recent American history was some cocktail of male hegemony, racism, class systems, and the vast right-wing Republican conspiracy. Early in the quarter, she went on a rant against capitalism and the market system, which she defined as “the weird faith that everything will work out fine.” “Capitalism isn’t a lie on purpose. It’s just a lie,” she lectured us, “It’s easy for us to look back and say these people [who believe in markets] are dorks.” And for the climax, “[Capitalists] are swine.… They’re bastard people.

Apparently, not only did this professor make no claim to objectivity, but she also was intolerant of opposing viewpoints, both in class and in handing out grades. Perhaps, at a minimum, the course should have been entitled, “A Socialist View of the History of ….”)

I understand, and I believe it is important that universities should be places where students are exposed to the vast marketplace of ideas. At the same time, I think it is the role of the faculty to fairly present a cornucopia of ideas and to foster discussion in a forum that encourages disparate views, showing intolerance only for those that are poorly reasoned, as opposed to simply being contrary to the professor’s personal views.

I absolutely do not think that it is the professor’s role to use his or her classroom as a pulpit from which to advocate a personal political ideology, with the goal of turning the members of the captive audience into ideological clones.

This has nothing to do with “academic freedom,” but has everything to do with academic professionalism and competence.

Via Chad Adams.

February 24, 2005

Texas Trooper.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:42 pm

I actually had a bit of content that I thought might work, but it just wasn’t writing right. You know how that is, I’m sure. So it became a choice between trying to do radical surgery on content that was, at best, in guarded condition, or having a few cocktails and watching a movie. Cocktails and a movie won.

However, I did receive a joke in my e-mail from my friend Bill from Missouri, a Navy Vet, that I thought was pretty funny. I’ll dedicate this one to Dash, who lives in the Lone Star State.


Two men were driving through Texas when they got pulled over by a State Trooper. The cop walked up and tapped on the window with his nightstick. The driver rolled down the window and WHACK, the cop smacked him in the head with his nightstick.
“What the hell was that for?” the driver asked.

“You’re in Texas, son,” the trooper answered. “When we pull you over in Texas, you better have your license ready by the time we get to your car.”
“I’m sorry, officer,” the driver said, “I’m not from around here.”

The trooper runs a check on the guy’s license–he’s clean and gives the guy his license back. The trooper then walks around to the passenger side and taps on the window. The passenger rolls down the window and”WHACK”, the trooper smacks him on the head with the nightstick.

“What’d you do that for?” the passenger demands.
“Just making your wish come true,” replied the trooper.

“Making WHAT wish come true?” the passenger asked.

“Because I know your type,” the trooper says, “two miles down the road you’re gonna turn to your buddy and say, ‘I wish that asshole would’ve tried that shit with me!’

February 23, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:47 pm

Keys.jpgI’ve decided that if you want a quick way to gauge how complicated your life is or is not, you need only reach into your pocket or purse and take a look at your keys.

For the first sixteen years of my life, I did not carry a single key. I didn’t even have a house key, because we almost never locked our doors (and I’m talking about New Jersey). My parents would lock the doors when we would go away for vacation, but even then the door was locked with a skeleton key, which was cleverly placed under the doormat.

That changed when I was sixteen and someone stole the family car, and my father installed a real lock on the door. That meant that I had to carry one key. The following year, I got my driver’s license and a set of keys to the family car, bringing me up to three keys.

Fast forward………..

Here is what is on the key ring that I carry now:

One big, fat, computer-chip key for the big, fat capitalist car
One trunk key for the big, fat capitalist car
One computer thingy (unlocks the car, etc.) for the big, fat capitalist car
One valet key (works the ignition, but doesn’t open the trunk or glove box) for the big fat capitalist car
One fat computer chip key for the “other” car (a big fat Ford)
One trunk key for the “other” car
One computer thingy (unlocks the car, etc.) for the “other” car
One key to office
One key to outer office door
One key to outer-outer office door
One key to desk
One key to alternate office
One key to Veteran’s Post
One key to house (front door)
One key to house (back door)
One cigar-piercing gadget
One small penknife
One discount plastic thing for Shop Rite Supermarket
One discount plastic thing for Wegman’s Supermarket
One discount plastic thing for discount liquor store (well worn)
One dog tag (with name, service number, social security number, religion and blood type)

See what I mean?

February 22, 2005

Calling All Crooks.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:42 pm

In the early morning hours, FBI agents descended upon several municipalities in Monmouth County and arrested three mayors and eight other government officials for various corruption charges ranging from extortion to money laundering. The arrests were made as a result of an FBI sting in which agents posed as contractors seeking government contracts. They got the contracts, but not until they passed envelopes full of cash to the elected crooks who were arrested today.

Jerseystyle.net has photos of the some of the more prominent arrestees and some interesting commentary. For a view of a Monmouth County blogger’s reaction to this, take a look at The Atlantic Highlands Muse.

One cannot live in New Jersey for as long as I have (i.e. my entire life) and not be cynical about state, county and local politics and the widespread corruption that is legendary at every level of government. However, as I grow older my cynicism has turned to outright revulsion.

In this case, all the FBI had to do was give these political hacks just a tiny whiff of payoff money and they hit the bait like hungry sharks. It’s disgusting.

What’s particularly shameful is that it took the FBI to mount this investigation. Noticeably absent is any mention of New Jersey law enforcement officials having been involved in investigating this widespread corruption. I do not think it unreasonable to suggest that, if New Jersey’s Attorney General is not part of the solution, he must be part of the problem.

Also, I have had it with a lifelong succession of politicians vowing to “clean up government.” As Sluggo points out, this investigation and the arrests were made by the FBI “[w]hile the pols in Trenton mumble aimlessly about reform and pay-to-play legislation… ..”

Perhaps most depressing of all is that if behavior of New Jersey’s voters at the polls is any indication, they don’t seem to give a damn about any of this. It’s just business as usual in the Garden State.

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