Thursday, April 28, 2005

A Tribute to Gentlemen: #1 Troy Hurtubise

After a long day of school and work I like to wind down and watch my favorite episodes of the deliciously racist Mr. Wong compilation. Yeah, that "delictable Chinaman." But fuck Wong. Skip him. He's yellow, big teeth, funny accent, I get it. Check out a documentary by the show's directors on the special features about a man name Troy Hurtubise.

This is the greatest and best documentary in the world. How can I describe this man without gushing. Hurtubise is a Canadian, oh, inventor I guess. He drinks 30 cups of coffee a day, is convinced the CIA and NASA are in a conspiracy to kill him and is the smartest most innovative person in North America, no joke. After being attacked by a grizzly while living in the woods (yeah consult the film) he invented a suit that would change the world. Let's just run through some of his inventions first:

The Ursus Bearsuit: This is the focus of the doc as well as another film called Project Grizzly. What started as a way to stop getting attacked by so many grizzlies turned into the most unstoppable armor known to man. Of the suit Hurtubise says, "You can tap dance in a minefield. You can take a dynamite blast. You can take AK-47 rounds all day. You can walk through 4,000-degree Fahrenheit heat." I am not kidding when I say that someone could take this thing, walk into a crowded city, kill everyone and it would take an army to take him/her down, and Hurtubise might just be that man.

Fire Paste: This stuff when rubbed on the body makes humans able to withstand tempuratures in the thousands. It also makes a swell lube.

Light Infantry Military Blast Cushion: This lightweight padding is able to withstand point blank shotguns, rockets, baseballs and judo chops.

The new one

The Angel Light: This shit is crazy. It is a huge laser beam with all these wires. It is incredibly dangerous when exposed to humans but Hurtubise is reckless. What the beam does is manipulates something known as the "Hyde Effect," using fuse light. In non-enginerd terms: When focused on an object (ex. wall) it becomes transparent or see-through, for real.

The practical applications for Hurtubise's work is limitless. This guy is cool. Safer hockey helmets, protection for bomb squads, new shells for space shuttles, ways to spy on girls pooping, a way to survive falling asleep in a fireplace. All the guy has to show however is the dubious Harvard Ig-Nobel award and millions in debt. I dare anyone to come collect that debt by the wayy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Traveling to Third World Countries with A-Class Celebrities: I've Got the Scoop

Reason #29 to celebrate TV Turnoff Week (April 25th-May 2nd): MTV’s Trippin’ (wihtout all those mushrooms and fun)

I saw this show before I threw my TV out the window and everyone in the room agreed it was absurd. I was watching Redman, some hot Latin chick, Cameron Diaz (a different hot Latin chick) and Drew Barrymore romp through some Third World country photographing trees and taking time to pet the locals. The show rears its ugly head across the world stopping in Bhutan, Honduras, Tanzania, Nepal and Chile. As the celebs step out of private helicopters, jets and SUV limos, they are greeted by hungry Indians waiting for a chance to feed from Barrymore’s supple teets. Apparently my view of the show is shared. A summary of the plot by enviro-supersite Grist:

It's based on a simple premise: Diaz takes a gaggle of show-biz pals to biologically rich hotspots around the globe where environmental experts guide them as they ogle Mother Nature and the exotic (read: poor) villagers who live therein, whilst attempting extreme adventures in the elements, such as surfing in Costa Rica, riding elephants in Nepal, sand-boarding in Chile, and trying to find two-way pager reception in the remote wilds of Yellowstone.

A quote from “Eco-Imperialism” author Paul Dreissen:

There's something perverse and immoral when multi-millionaire Hollywood celebrities head off on junkets in the jungle - and then preach to us lesser mortals about the joys of the simple life, and how we should protect the Earth, conserve energy, prevent global warming, and help the poorest people on our planet continue 'enjoying' their poverty, malnutrition and premature death

Barrymore had more important things on her mind in Bhutan (than one of the lowest life expectancies in the world, 54) when she and her fellow celebs stood and applauded in awe at her “awesome” ability to take a shit in the woods. No joke: Diaz, looking at the triumphant Barrymore, responded, "I am so jealous right now, I am going -- I am going to go in the woods tomorrow." Even though logic would say you can probably take a shit in the backyard of your Montana ranch or at least in the swimming pool at the W, these celebs are in search of an exoticism to contrast their unfed sense of self-loathing. Joke: Eva Mendes topped both Barrymore and Diaz by the end of the show while in Africa, “Hey guys. I just met some black guy who told me if I really wanted to get the whole 'African-thing' down, I should cut off my clitoris.”

“Oh my god, I am so fucking jealous, I am definitely going to mutilate my vagina the second we leave this god-awful safari. I don’t even like peeing, these women are so lucky and happy.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Journalism for Drunks

I began my last week of classes ever today (depending on whether I pass Jewish Studies) without knowing how to feel about the whole thing. College is the shit, but it keeps me from doing important things - like writing for a blog that no one reads.

A journalism post for those with a common interest. The AP reports that the Kalamazoo Gazette recently fired a reporter and photographer for getting too close to their subject:

The Kalamazoo Gazette has fired a reporter and a photographer after they told editors that they consumed alcohol while working on a story for a recent series about problem drinking among college-age adults, the newspaper said.

It has only been a few weeks since HST died and newspapers are already becoming prude. I remember reading when Hunter went to the Kentucky Derby with Steadman for that Scanlan/Rolling Stone article. He was drunk off mint juleps by 10 in the morning and had to take care of a his passed out illustrator. The reporters in Kalamazoo were fired and subsequently apologized for playing "beer pong" for their article about the game in question. If Hunter were the reporter he would have drank both sides beers before removing the students' adrenal glands and sucking them dry. I regard Gonzo Journalism and New Journalism with mixed opinions. Yes, it gives the writer too much room to lie and exaggerate, but it also gives this voyeuristic satisfaction to the reader who puts themself in the shoes of the witness.

I am about to leave school and push for a profession in journalism. I was previously under the impression that drinking on the job was OK. It is not. Especially for taxi drivers.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Removing the Feeding Tube

Just got back from formal (aka Fear and Loathing in Destin), a not-that-much needed rest/stayed up for three days straight. Sorry for the lack of posts over the weekend. Luckily I made it back just in time to not watch TV for a week.

I have to admit that I like Adbusters, I don't mind paying six or seven bucks an issue. They started this TV Turnoff Week a few years ago and now it is catching on a bit, much like their Buy Nothing Day. This year's fest features a nifty little gadget called TV-B-Gone. The keychain-sized remotes are universal remonsters designed to turn off televisions in public spaces.

Television has always been an interest of mine. My roommate and I made a conscious decision not to own one, however I find myself gravitating towards my neighbor's when I am bored or stoned. I recently picked up Mitchell Stephens' "Rise of the Image/Fall of the Word," a research packed piece of academie that argues in favor of a TV Nation. Stephens makes the point that visual literacy has greater potential than the written word, and that all new forms of media are met with trepidation before they become the norm.

I do truly find TV deplorable. Not only is it a venture that leaves participants feeling worthless but I have always felt that its greatest danger is its ability to lower attention spans. I quote my other main motherfucking man David Foster Wallace from "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never do Again":

In younger Americans' experience, people in the same room don't do all that much direct conversing with each other. What most of the people I know do is they sit and face the same direction and stare at the same thing and then structure commercial-length conversations around the sorts of questions that myopic car-crash witnesses might ask each other - 'Did you see what I just saw?'

Although my generation can destroy yours in Madden 2011, we probably can't pay attention long enough to remember we did so. If none of these reasons appeal to you to throw your TV out the window (and then pick it back up in a week) then look at it as challenge. Can you do without TV? I think I can, but its easy for me because the Knicks never make the fucking playoffs.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Scalia: "Is it Hot in Herrre?"

Clandestine blogging from work once again - and yes, once again my brain is feeling a bit mushy.

Last week Supreme Courtier Antonin Scalia accepted an invitaton from some heady NYU Law students to come speak at their annual forum. After rocking through an exhilarating set titled “Judiciary Activism, Fuck Yeah,” Scalia came out for an encore and to take some queries from his adoring fans.
Scalia: Yes you in the back holding the Chihuahua.
Law school student Eric Berndt: Hey guy. For the pleasure of the audience could you slowly and sensually explain your dissent from the Lawrence v. Texas case in 2003?
AS: Huh? The what? What the fuck did you say to me?
EB: My cell phone is ringing but I’ll ignore it. You know, that decision to strike down the nation’s sodomy laws and…
AS: Oh yeah, no, you mean the “Assfucking Addendum.” Yeah, you know we all have been hammered and put it in the wrong hole to mixed results but I don’t want to have to think about David Bowie and Mick Jagger giving each other colostomies.
EB: I see, well, I practiced this in the mirror this morning…(drumroll)…Do you sodomize your wife? (gasps and giggles abound save Scalia)
AS: (winks to wife Maureen who was in attendance) Eww. No way. There is poop in there.

I think both conservatives and liberals need to be more cognizant of the dangers of taking unfiltered questions from college kids. When Howard Dean came here to Tulane, College Republicans hurled strange taunts at him like: “How much money do you donate to children,” and “You promised not to make fun of the president and now you are being mean.” There is certainly always the possibility of taking a pie in the face as well. Judge Scalia learned this valuable lesson from that delicious NYU queer this week. The trick is a little bit of savvy profiling when calling on a student for questions. A tip for those like Scalia attending University forums. Chihuahua, lisp, murse, capris = yella-belly NYU liberal; No friends, halitosis, folded-up newspaper, paranoia, fake glasses = College Republican; Sense of humor, delightful mischief, narcolepsy, lasagna = Garfield the Cat.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Activist Influenza: West Nile Don't Have Shit

As quantifiable evidence that HeadyGooBalls is the definitive inspiration of a generation, college campuses across the nation have exploded in fits of activism. Last week I wrote a post titled "Creative Loafing" - outlining a few student movements taking place to raise wages of university employees. It was read by millions and envied by thousands. This week has seen an astronomical rise in the amount of activism on university campuses. Is it trendy? Radical chic if you will?

- On Wednesday, students at Emerson College in MA rallied in support of the faculty union.

- The next day students at Amherst marched to promote a plan that would make all public colleges tuition-free.

- 24 hours later students at BC marched for the gay rights of gay students and gayer employees.

- Schools all over California (including Berkeley, Santa Cruz and San Jose State) protested rising tuition fees.

- Ivy League TAs at Yale and Columbia held plutonic hands in an effort to unionize their quasi-profession.

Couple all of these with the protests mentioned in my previous post and we are looking at a legitimate movement out of a generation denoted for its apathy and incredible video game dexterity. A Boston Globe article describes this phenomenom:

Their causes are more diverse than the tightly focused agendas of past generations, specialists said, and their goals may be more modest changing a campus or neighborhood instead of the world.

The funny thing is that these hippies are winning. Harvard has sold off its investments with a company that does business in Sudan after student outrage. Kids at Georgetown won toiletcleaners a bunch of new and improved contracts. A hunger-strike at Wash U. in St. Louis just ended after the Chancellor came around on employee rights.

It is unclear what to make of this stuff. I watch it from the window of the most apathetic school in the nation - Tulane - where booze silences all consciouses. But if online poker is considered activism, then I must add our institution to the list.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Game Says: I love Marijuana but I Hate 50 Cent

You didn't think we would let you down on 420, did you brah? Today I woke up, got totally ripped off my thirteen-footer, went to work, quit my job, ate a pot brownie, rode a cheetah, played video games, ate a pot brownie, watched Aqua Teen and wrote this post.

420 has become both pop culture phenomenom and serious market draw. Companies have been birthed around the name of this "High Holiday" (not clever) - 420 Sweetwater Brewery in Atlanta to name one - and it is not a joke that local pizza places and late-night eateries prepare for this long day of awkward phone calls for take-out and people asking the delivery guy if he wants to get high.

Why 420 though? Why the fuck 420, huh? Do we need an excuse to get high? Probably not. But it is a good chance to test our THC intake limits, of which I have none. I did some research on the holiday.

Some say "420" is the penal code number for possession.

Others say that there are 420 chemicals in pot.

This guy who sold me weed said that when the Grateful Dead went on tour they always stayed in room 420. He is an idiot, but his weed is fantastic.

Ready for the truth? Ready to pass out? The phrase's genesis dates back to a crew of stony-pony high-schoolers who in 1971 needed some sly drug lingo to let each other know they liked pot. "420 Louis" they would call to each other, indicating the time they were going to smoke, as well as the location - the Louis Pasteur statue. The crew - known as the Waldos - smoked so much pot and went to so many Dead shows that their phrase soon became the most successful drug meme in the history of smoking weed.

The Waldos still obviously smoke weed because their website is fucking retarded and they think they are still cool because people still like drugs. But they still deserve props for making pot a holiday. To this I submit my own entry into the pop-drug lexicon: Smokealologylyst - a person who talks about weed too much.

UPDATE: HeadyGooBallas let me know what your plans are for today in the comments.
For anyone else who is a fan of the most evil team since the Newark Babykillers, there is a great new blog by the guy who writes for Crooks and Liars. Check it out holmes: (here)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Hey Roomie! My Computer is Not Your Personal Porn Store

Need-based roommate situations are one of the most looked over social institutions in this country. They are amazing. The results. Sometimes they work, sometimes they end in bloody double homicides. Nonetheless, they are an institution that crosses the socio-economic spectrum: from people pooling food stamps, to priveleged college students at private schools.

David Chen of the New York Times takes an eye or two to the topic of roommates in NYC:

In New York, the eternal struggle to cope with the high cost of living has often meant a willingness to live with just about anyone, anyhow.

Adults in their 30's routinely move back in with their parents. Young artists bunk with other young artists in $3,000-a-month apartments intended for two tenants, not six. Poor immigrants wedge themselves into unsafe tenements, mimicking generations before them.

But more and more, the unforgiving math of housing economics is altering and upending the lives of older New Yorkers as well, forcing them into urgent partnerships in which embarrassment is eclipsed by necessity, fear must be swallowed and the loves and habits of a lifetime must be bent just to make do -- often with complete strangers.

The rest of the story is a profile of the mixed successes of elderly New Yorkers being forced to room with strangers. At best, friendships are formed out of people - no longer able to entirely care for themselves - making the health of their fellow boarder a priority. At worst, roommates take just small enough bites out of leftovers for the other person not to notice and completely ignore hankerchiefs left on doors when one of the elder patrons is "hooking up."

I personally find the institution of random roommates a benevolent one. It is a great opportunity to learn about someone from a different culture, learn how to come to terms with your own pet peeves - and for those living on campus - learn how to deal with the awkwardness of sleeping next to someone you barely know having sex/jerking off.

Lastly - if this is too long then fuck off - roommates are a sound solution to increasing urban (or even suburban) density. This seems to be a hot topic outside of Jane Jacobs and an important one as suburban sprawl seems to spawn the worst of American culture. Big Media Matt (are we on those terms?) has a good point here, and I agree that there is no need for underutilized space in a country where so many have no place to live at all (much like many in Chen's profile).

Monday, April 18, 2005

Socially Conscious Gluttony

Have you ever bit into a falafel sandwich and thought: "where did this food come from?"; "Who grew these delicious chick peas?"; "This tahini, its fantastic, but it wasn't made by God. Somebody must have raised the ingredients. Damn this is good, I think it was God"

Trying to conceive the origins of the foods we devour everyday is as horrifying as anything I want to think about. We try to avoid this thinking at all costs, but that fucking conscious keeps getting in the way. Whether we conjure up images of slaughterhouses from SInclair or Schlosser, or the "Weedpatch Camp" in Grapes of Wrath, or the heroic plight of chickens who risk it all to escape their terrible fates in 2000's Chicken Run, the source of our grub is not a pleasant subject.

I applaud Cornell University for forcing some young minds into meditating on the politics of food production in a course titled "Farmworkers." Prof. Ray Craib states the course's intent is to "break down the invisible walls between the university and the surrounding area." The class makes regular field trips to local farms where migrant workers and illegal aliens breakt their backs for a chance to provide us with Planter's peanuts.

Certainly we need more transparency in food markets, but I must admit I still eat Jello even after watching that dead horse get boiled down and his bones grinded into powder and mixed in with sugar and artificial coloring and flavoring.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Artistic Intervention

Nothing too heady to report on today. Its Friday and my cabeza is bruised. I'm at work sending off dispatches - minimizing the screen everytime I think someone is about to walk in the room. Peep this piece of poppy kitsch via the Chronicle of Higher Education:

"He decided to educate his peers about the dangers of partying too hard. So Mr. Bradley, an art student, came up with Homie - an advice-seeking house with giant eyes and moving lips projected from inside onto the windows and front door."

Thank you Mr. Bradley. What this is, is a student at University of Michigan who lives in an area frequented by drunk co-eds, who wants to provide a safe and wierd forum to dispense alchohol safety information. Next time I am stumbling home wasted and alone I will be sure to stop by and recap my night's adventures with a talking house. Sample questions for the house (who is cleverly named "Homie"):

Q: My fraternity brothers made me funnel a box of Franzia, am I drunk?
Homie the House: Oh whats up man. How many fingers am I holding up. Zero, ha, its a trick, I am a talking house.

Q: Someone put a roofie in my drink, but I knew it and drank it anyway so I could get extra fucked up. What's your name?
H: My name's Homie girl. I would hit on you a little more but I am not sure if I am a boy or a girl.

Q: I am starting to forget large periods of time when I drink, is this dangerous?
H: Not really my man. Do you like Texas Hold 'Em? I know a place. $20 buy-in, no-limit, you game?
Q: Sure talking house. You need a ride?

In this blogger's humble opinion there is really only one way to get alchohol education in school. Drink until it hurts and then drunk dial your mom, she'll tell you all about it.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Journalists: No More Sleeping on the Couch

I don't think much has been said about this Nicholas Kristof editorial in the NYT that ran this week:

In our society, public support for the news media has all but evaporated

St. Nicholas brings some heady research to the forefront citing a chapter from PEW's new book in which the organization found that "45 percent of Americans believe little or nothing in their daily newspapers."

A little disheartening for an aspiring journalist. I bet more people believe their psychic than a Columbia J-School educated stud at the NYT. Kristof writes "I don't see any easy solutions," and then offers up some half-ass attempts like calling on papers to print more corrections. When was the last time you read the corrections section?

The only reasons Krisof cites for the media and public not getting along lately are the possible jailings of Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper. Oh but the rabbit hole goes so much deeper. Kristof writes that the media is out of touch with the public, and he certainly proves it.

How about Dan Rather? America's leading critical TV anchor got smeared all over the media, a kick in the nuts to that news forum. How about Armstrong Williams? My psychic told me he was lying. How about Gannon/Guckertgate? During that C-Span forum this guy said he had no problem relaying unfiltered information straight from the administration's talk-hole to the public.

This nascent journalist/blogger/I need to go to class right now offers some real solutions. Does anyone remember the Fairness Doctrine? That's right, before 1985 news had to be balanced by law. Its repeal under Reagan gave metaphoric birth to people like Rush Limbaugh. Bring that thing back and watch the Limbaugh/FrankenFactor. John Kerry's got a good solution, put restrictions on video news releases. That miracle drug, that safe car, that cool candidate, most of these news clips come from companies and parties, not journalists. Lastly, we need to promote the good work that journalists do, not the ones who whore themselves out as fake-ass military anal sluts. Give more awards to muckrakers like Sy Hersch and people like Dexter Filkins who put their ass in front of bullets to bring you news from Iraq you ungrateful bastard.

If professional news becomes a thing of the past then bloggers will certainly rule in which I will dominate with an iron-fist as Viceroy of Commerce, I like the sound of that.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Creative Loafing

With my ears to the ground of college rumblings, this in from my friend that goes to Washington University in St. Louis (quote from Associated Press):

Washington University students taking part
in the ninth day of a sit-in seeking higher
pay for the university's contract workers
were notified Tuesday by the school that they
were violating the school's judicial code.

In reaction to their apparent violation 15 students unplugged the vending machines and began a hunger strike. The school has conceded $500,000 to help raise wages, but the students' research suggests they would need to commit something like $2.4 million.

Breaking generational stereotypes, youngsters across the nation have combined sympathy with activism to increase wages for university employees. Just last week, Georgetown students thanked the janitors for cleaning the puke out of the water fountains by staging their own sit-in/hunger strike. In 2001, Harvard students vowed to skip classes for a few days (but still get A's) to raise hourly wages. Both campaigns were successful in getting better pay for employees.

Its funny that these types of movements are occurring at schools with the highest tuitions in the country (all around $30,000). How are these funds being managed you wonder, or are employees at schools with smaller budgets fairing even worse?

Minimum wage has been an issue in Congress this month, and although these wide-eyed sprites did give up Easy-Mac for like a week, this remains a federal issue. Check this study out:

In only four of the nation's 3,066 counties can someone working full-time for the federal minimum wage afford to pay rent and utilities on a one-bedroom apartment

That's fucked up. Anyway, I have an outstanding water bill that is through the roof, couple that with an empty fridge and I am about to have my own hunger strike. E-mail me any canned goods you have please, or just put a slice of pizza in my mailbox.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

New-er-er Ways to Make Love to Your I-Pod (and not feel guilty after)

So I beckoned Columbia's own Sloan to check out the newest trend in the newest trendiest gadget; something called Podcasting:

The four minute video gave me everything I needed in order to PODCAST. It is really a novel idea. Downloading and setting up the program was easy and time efficient. The program is designed well and without much difficulty, you can have your own radio “tivo”. The only troubling part is finding the right program. The Poddcaster comes with a long list of shows, but it is up to the user to find one that he likes. The selection of shows is not limited to music, in fact the bulk of what I found was talk. If you have a website that you like, you can easily add it to the list. Overall, I give the program a strong endorsement in terms of usability, but it is in the hands of the user to find a show they like. Here are some sites with streaming shows…, or As for Podcasting as an alternative to radio and maybe even satellite radio, it would really rely on the accessibility and availiablity of quality content. It is more convenient than radio in that you can listen to a select program whenever you like rather than when it is scheduled. As well, you can program your computer to record a show whenever it is on. Does anyone find this interesting or should I shut the fuck up right now?!?

Monday, April 11, 2005

Nothing Says America Like the Beaches of Malta

I am really quicking myself in the crotch for not posting this earlier when I found out about it. Although it has made its rounds on the internet, if you have not seen this yet, you simply must before you perish (it is a big file but it is so fucking worth it).

The man making love to the camera is Dennis Madalone, a hollywood stuntman/world record holder/songwriter/ patriot/my coke dealer/true friend to America. His love for country stems from the time he was working on the set of "Demolition Man" and Stallone refused to do a stunt where he was to be cryogenically frozen. Madalone saw this as his "big break" and stood in for Stallone while the crew immersed his body in nitroglycerin where he would spend the next ten years in suspended animation. When Madalone immersed from his freeze someone told him about 9-11 and he got pissed. He decided to release a kick-ass rock ballad/ballet and video in which he swims with ghost dolphins and touches a black child's head.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Warrior, Ultimate

Posted by Hello

I got wind of this from my buddy that goes to UConn.

James Hellwig wasn't getting enough respect in conservative circles. I mean yeah it was cool that he used to battle the racially stereotyped likes of Yokozuna and Tatanka, but how could he contend with the overflowing masculinity of William Kristol, he basically got laughed out of the AEI cafeteria when he ordered the daffodil salad and asked for vinegarette on the side. So the former WWF champ changed his name...again...this time, first name: Ultimate; last name: Warrior.

Since then Mr. Warrior has been traveling college campuses discussing his suspicions that Sgt. Slaughter was a closet liberal and breaking foldable chairs over the backs of students who ask silly questions. Everything was cool until the Warrior was met by a bunch of renegade anti-racists and anti-homophobes while doing a speech at UConn.

What is really that bad about telling a group of youngsters that "queering don't make the world work," (what does that even mean?) and telling a student of Iranian descent to go "get a towel." But he wasn't even wet, which is why I don't get...wait...oh, the Ultimate Warrior is a racist, I get it, nice one Warrior.

The Warrior released a retort on this website in which he offered that "any others who objected to the substance of what Warrior had to say would certainly have been within their rights to challenge Warrior during the Q&A period" Although the Iranian kid's theme song never played and he never got to storm out from behind the curtain and take on Warrior's challenge he still might file a lawsuit.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

They Never Mentioned this on ER

Something troubling brought to my attention via Compton. The New England Journal of Medicine reports on how rising rates of incurred debt from graduate medical programs are turning our would-be Doogie Howsers into nothing but a bunch of Vinnie Delpinos:

By 2004, the debt had increased to $105,000 for public school graduates and $140,000 for private school grads.

Since pre-meds are too busy studying pretentious pretty things like "Organic Chemistry" they come out of school with little knowledge of money management. Start them a couple hundred thou down with little managing experience and these young men and women are getting harsh introductions into the real world.

The results are what you might expect. The article explains that 60% of med students come from the top quintile (fifth, I looked it up) of income. As the population becomes more diverse, doctors are becoming more homogenous (see: rich and white). While 1 in 8 Americans are black, only 1 in 20 doctors are black. Interesting blog here.

My main beef with this trend is that we are diluting our talent pool. By scaring off young geniuses with prospects of debt, and denying access to so many great minds in lower income brackets, the medical profession is producing less LeBron James' of neurological surgery (plenty of Stacy Augmon's however). I support this claim with a little diddy by my main motherfucking man Mark Twain in Connecticut Yankee:

The master minds of all nations, in all ages, have sprung in affluent multitude from the mass of the nation, and from the mass of the nation only - not from its privileded classes.

Twain was a clever feller, med schools should take note. If states don't want to increase education budgets we will soon be seeing a vast surplus of plastic surgery degrees and somethig like the importation of general practitioners from places like India or even Indiana.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Teachers, and the teaching teacher things they do

Are you familiar with this look on professors' faces when they accidentally stumble across a controversial current events issue. It's like they want to editorialize, they give a sort of half-smile...pause...cringe...wipe sweat from brow and then move on. Once and awhile the pressure proves too much: "Oh fuck it...Bush is a pussy and his daughters are skanks...better."

Fear no longer teach. The secrets out. You're all a bunch of yella-belly liberals, and we know it because we have an academic study to prove it. From the Smith/George Mason/Toronto study:

72 percent of professors at American universities labeled themselves liberal, while just 15 percent said they are conservative. Among faculty members, 50 percent identified themselves as Democrats and only 11 percent as Republicans.

To the editorials. Paul Krugman says the types of conservatives fit to teach prefer private-sector moneymaking gigs over academia anyway, even in fields like engineering. Shorter Jonah Goldberg: "Liberals can't find jobs so they end up teaching." Conservagina Cal Thomas awkwardly identifies the problem with liberal values in the classroom by citing that 88% of professors want more environmental protection and 65% want the gov't to ensure full employment. Holy fucking shit ass crap and fuck...protecting the environment? Getting people jobs? Is Oral Roberts still accepting applications?

Some like the National Association of Scholars claim that the study is "the first time that a rigorous social-science study has brought forth strong evidence of discrimination against conservatives in academic hiring." Kind of, sort of, not really, WRONG, OK I am going to have to disagree.

Its not that our deans and presidents and other academic gatekeepers are rejecting conservatives at an unfair rate from a pool of equal number liberals, equal number conservatives. Rather, academics are changing their politics based on the effects of administration policy.

It has long been assumed that social science professors have always been bi-liberal curious, but what to make of "hard science" teachers crossing to the dark side. I offer one reason:not only has the administration censored and tampered with the findings of environmental scientists but in 2004, 60 of the nation's best scientists - among them 20 Nobel Laureates - sent Dubya some hate mail declaring he was distorting scientific data for political ends. So this is where the conservative science academics have gone. They have either become sick of the disinformation or admitted to what I have been saying all along (much to the chagrin of reason) that Darwin is a bitch and I didn't come from no motherfucking monkey.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Re: The Truth About Harvard

This is how we peak our heads over the high walls of Harvard's Cambridge campus. We [people without 1590 SAT scores, people not in Skull & Bones, and people who are not Asian] know of Harvard's storied education but may only access it through the film and literature of insiders. Better than With Honors and better than James Toback's Harvard Man is an Atlantic Monthly article by recent graduate Ross Douthat.

In the piece, young Douthat ponders the reasons for Harvard's now-infamous grade inflation and puts the rest of us at ease by comparing an education at Harvard to "being cheated," "or being sodomized with a broomstick" (is plagiarism illegal?). Douthat's points are salient and it is obvious that Harvard is not alone with its generous grade donations. Douthat's reaons for grade inflation are as follows:

- Profs. who give out bad grades fear having empty classrooms.

- There are less kids content with getting C's because their daddies are rich. Kids nowadays determine post-grad happiness through personal accomplishment.

- Grade inflation started when teachers began rewarding kids who protested Vietnam.

- Professors feel too much responsibility as "gatekeepers to wordly success." Who could say no to Sally crying about not being able to get into Veternarian's school, she loves dogs.

- (the most interesting point) Classes in philosophy, history, literary theory offer nothing to students who don't want to be historians or philosophers. Therefore teachers grade inflate because they know an A will do more for a person in life than a background in "Reason and Faith in the West"

Briefly, if I may interject, I know I don't go to Harvard, but my brother goes to Columbia: Douthat speaks of developing a better required (or core) cirriculum. The problem is that these 101 type classes are too easy not to get A's in. The tests are the same from year to year, they are taught in massive rooms perfect for cheating and TAs are easily influenced by (my) sex. I know these loopholes have always existed but technology has added some new lubricant.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Abstinence Pledges Gone Wild

At around the age of 14 boys begin to develop superpowers that enable them to impregnate females. Finding the right kryptonite to hinder this sticky exchange has become a wedge issue worth discussing/laughing at. While some people argue we should cover their squirt guns with plastic bags and feed their counterparts pills that will trick the body into thinking it's pregnant, others rally for a more Christ-like solution: abstinence (aka anal sex). The Detroit Free-Press paraphrases a recent Yale/Columbia study:

Among virgins, boys who had pledged abstinence were four times more likely to have had anal sex, according to the study.

While Dubya pledged to increase abstinence education and parents present their twelve-year-old daughters with tacky abstinence rings, a generation of shamed anal sluts are forced to keep their issues on the hush. The study concludes that:

Young adults who as teenagers take pledges to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to contract a venereal disease as people who don't make the promise.

Opponents who don't think that WWJD means anal sex argue the study's subjects are not true abstinence fans. Can you even imagine how the study went down, interviewing Catholic schoolgirls and boys and getting results akin to a left wing conspiracy:

Crusty Yale Scholar: So how are you today? I noticed you have an abstinence ring on. Yeah those two sapphires do really look like your grandmother's eyes who is watching your sexual activity from heaven. Anyway, have you ever had sex before?

Catholic School Hussy: No of course not silly. Wait anal doesn't count right, because I totally do that.

Yale: Oh, you have had anal sex before?

Hussy: Yeah. There's nothing wrong with that right? What is that quote from the book of Timothy again. "Flee also youthful lust, but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. And also anal sex is OK."

Yale: Yeah something like that [salivating]. Thanks for your time, you can send in the next skirt. Oh, but before you don't have any like STDs do you?

Schoolgirl: Oh, yeah, I have a mean case of herpes, why could you tell?

I would like to hear some opinions on this. I actually have friends who fit this study's profile exactly. Oh and by the way, I am transferring to Loyola.

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Time We Killed Johnny Cash

OK. This shit was wierd the first time, now it is certain that I have played part in killing two celebrities. The first time we killed a celebrity was after an evening of partying. Myself and my roommate and couple of friends were winding down in my apartment discussing the advantages of driving sober while listening to some Cash vinyl. Joel (my roommate) makes a comment to the likes of: "Man Johnny is going to die, he has not been the same since June Carter passed." It was about midnight at the time. Johnny then passed an hour later.

So this brings me to a couple of nights ago. We are driving to Ms. Mae's for a couple apple-tinis and we are listening to Mitch Hedberg play on someone's I-Pod and we talk about how Hedberg performed at our school and he was fucking crazy. That was probably around 1 a.m. This time our fatal words took a little longer to work, but by 10 a.m. Hedberg was found dead.

I have been desperately listening to Phil Collins CDs since.
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