Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Illustrious Degree?

Once upon a time, in the faraway land of New Jersey, there was this prestigious state-run university (Rutgers), and if you grew up in the state of New Jersey....it was a big deal for you to attend Rutgers and have a law degree there.  Frankly, you could dream of $100k a year after a couple of years.....and probably get yourself on any number of city councils or maybe even some mayor jobs.....just by having the Rutgers law degree.

Things were kind of simple and this prestigious degree was laid out in practical terms.

Well....the state got around to looking at what it costs to run various universities in the state of New Jersey.  There's the chancellor salary and pension (plus their benefits package), then the next sixty folks after the chancellor....who help run various departments and administrative functions in the university.  They looked over at another major state-run college in the state of New Jersey....Rowan University.....and decided that it made perfect sense to combine them.

To be honest, Rowan University was this small teachers college, which didn't amount to much of anything.  Around mid-90's, with a hefty donation....Rowan started an improvement plan and has come a fair way over two decades.  But on a comparison level.....other than within the state of New Jersey.....no one has ever heard of the college.

Naturally, this suggestion of taking the two colleges and combining them in some fashion....has angered the Rutgers crowd.  Frankly, they've paid hefty sums of money for the status symbol of having a Rutgers law degree, and they don't want it cheapen in any fashion.  The promise of the state is that current students would keep the Rutgers name only on their college transcript and degree.....but that would change as new students arrived.

The hostility of this has reached the point where someone tried to explain their anger to the governor of New Jersey....Chris Christie.  Frankly, he just won't listen to it....because it's a matter of state funding.  They just don't have the capital to run things with a unlimited budget anymore.

This would be kinda like Jacksonville State University in Alabama....combining with Auburn University....to be called Auburn-Jacksonville State.  You can imagine the hostility that this would create.  You can also imagine the cut in costs.

So, what you have is an illustrious degree....that means something on paper, and for a job application. The truth is....it's simply some fancy words, $80k for some university treasury, a bunch of dimwit university professors who might not be as smart as they hint, some drunken students who consume over three hundred cases of beer in four years, and a degree that might not be that illustrious or prestigious.

I will add one other observation....if it really makes sense to combine two universities into one.....it might make just as much sense to combine two states into one....getting rid of a governor, a bunch of state senators and representatives, and saving on pay, pensions, etc.  I'd hate to suggest that New York take New Jersey in and just run the two state operations as one.....but if the university idea makes brilliant sense....this might too.

Movie Review: The Immortals

My cable TV service offered up a pay-per-view deal for The Immortals.....so last night, I clicked "accept" and attempted to watch it.

This 2011 movie had a pretty neat one-minute clip....which made me think it might be worth worth watching.  So about eight minutes into the movie....I started fast-forwarding.  After thirty minutes, I paused the movie and asked myself if this was really worth watching.

At the 40-minute point, I just turned it off.

It's rare that I'd quit on a movie like this but the story, the acting, and the special affects....just weren't worth watching.

So if you have $4.95 that you'd really like to waste.....go find some other movie to watch.

A Method of Writing

When I started writing blogs....I really didn't know where they'd lead off to.  I figured I'd write one a week and that this effort would eventually end after six months.  I'm up to around six years now and a couple thousand blogs.

I've found that I tend to mix this odd writing style into most everything I write.  After a while and a fair amount of pondering....I've come to realize there are five different styles that I've tossed into this mess.  It wasn't clearly intentional....at least when I started.

First, I tend to take the Will Rogers style of finding a bit of humor in just about everything.  Yes, political folks are that stupid.  Yes, banks are fairly stupid about handling money.  Yes, newspapers are run by dimwits.  Yes, Nobel Peace Prize winners are mostly picked by a bunch of elite guys who can't explain the difference between VHS and Beta, or dig a decent septic tank hole. So I apply a layer of humor to most of what I write.

Second, there's the Mark Twain-style, where you end up telling this short story, which is based on fact....but told in a southern-like style where you can't believe it's an actual true story.

Third, there's the John Steinbeck-style, where you take a simple story and lay out in various dimensions.  Things aren't really that complicated.  You ought to be able to explain a pretty big mess in 100 words or less.  You ought to recognize the folks in life who are doing their best, and the folks who are doing the most to screw you over.  It ought to be that simple.

Fourth, there's the Andy Rooney-style, where sarcasm is pretty thick....kinda like molasses.  Some folks hate sarcasm....I admit that.  But I've come to a point where I can't avoid using it....to drive home a point.

Fifth, and final.....there's the Paul Harvey-style.  There are two aspects to Paul Harvey's method.  There's the five minute ability to tell just about everything that matters in today's news, and not spend four hours to tell a five-minute story.  The other point which I always liked about Paul Harvey's Saturday episode....was the brief moment where he'd preach to the audience and convey something that they'd lost track of.  Folks needed that brief five-minute spell to reorientate their compass and point themselves in the right direction. Folks just didn't appreciate ditch-diggers enough....so Paul Harvey would preach to you about that.  The same was true for appreciation of firemen, or Marines, or farmers.  

The Whacked-Out Stewardess

This is what we know.  There was a American Airlines flight....that was going to leave from Dallas, and fly to Chicago yesterday.  As the stewardess started to prep....give her speech about safety items.....things started to go wrong.  She started chatting about 9-11, crashes, and Jihad.

From what everyone indicates (the passengers), they kind of freaked out for a moment, and the second (there were only two stewardesses onboard....got active...asking passengers to help her take down the idiot stewardess.  By the end of the episode....they had unloaded this dimwit, and cops took possession of her.

Today, the stewardess has admitted that she is bi-polar and wasn't taking her medication.

The numbers are....around five million Americans who are bi-polar.  No one is estimating how many take medication successfully, or just run wild with no medication.  You probably wouldn't want to know that number.  

I have this realistic view of bi-polar folks.  I'd like to believe that most can live decent lives and take their meds on schedule.  I'd really like to believe that.  But you can't be sure of this.

I'm guessing that American Airlines will start to identify bi-polar as something they'd prefer to know about and maybe avoid hiring employees with it.  All of those folks on the plane yesterday will remember the episode for the rest of their lives, and I doubt that they will be eager to repeat that.

Simply Observations

The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) is in pretty bad shape.  This week....it came out that Rosie O'Donnell's show is in dismal shape.  Last week (as Fox reports it), they had just 150k viewers from the entire nation.  Rosie is concerned and wants to pack up from Chicago....relocate herself (including selling her house)....to New York City.  The feeling is that she'd have real stars to call up and easily invite on a daily basis to the show.  She may have a point to relocating, but this is something that should have been figured out several months ago.  The whole OWN business concept just hasn't attracted any real viewership, and you have to wonder if it's not just a couple of folks shaking the dice on every decision and not capable of making good decisions.

Cops came out to some old bus in the Montgomery County, Texas....to find two kids living in the place....whose parents had been sent off to prison. The authorities thought the kids were with the aunt....but obviously, they weren't.  These were an 11-year old and a 5-year old.  The age and the circumstances bothered me. Obviously, the authorities never asked themselves many questions once they sent both the mother and father off to prison.  I looked at the bus, as a home, and can probably say with some belief that there are probably a hundred 'bus-homes' like this throughout the south, with folks living their lives in them. I'd be the first to admit it'd be a lousy place to live, and consume a lot of heat to keep warm in the winter.  But, it's better than nothing.  The local authorities will argue for weeks over who screwed up here.....but it's just curious that the judges who sent off the parents....just didn't ask enough questions about family circumstances.

There's this effort by the EU itself, to make all passengers traveling into or out of Europe.....to pay a carbon tax.  For all practical purposes....it's a game where the environmental crowd wants fewer folks traveling by plane, and the tax revenue folks just want more money, period.  So the airlines were going to be forced to pay the tax.  Well...the Chinese airlines folks were tossed this issue.  They called up the Airbus folks and said they might not be buying Airbus planes.....which could mean tens of billions lost on aircraft sales.  The Airbus folks are worried, and hinting to the EU that this might not be wise.  I'm guessing that someone in the EU will just say more study needs to be accomplished before implementing the rule....giving them two or three more years before charging more for tickets.