Short takes on various themes
- Check out this week’s Dallas Observer for a new story about yet another young ID-forger, Jeremy Johnson, arrested near campus (last fall). Students at OU ratted out the 23-year-old student when they were caught by the cops with the fakes he'd sold them. Story says Johnson shipped thousands of IDs out of his $1500-a-month apartment at The Phoenix on Mockingbird Lane (about half a mile from school). He pleaded guilty to a third-degree felony and was sentenced to seven years' probation and fined $2,000. According to reporter Andrea Grimes' story, he also was ordered into drug rehab in Utah. Not sure why Utah, as he's a Colleyville (TX) HS grad (class of 2001). On his Myspace.com page, he says his greatest weakness AND his greatest fear are "hookers." Also says he's on a "break" from the university, "but not by choice." This junior gangster says he wants to die "in a hailstorm of bullets." Guy looks like a load.
- More middle and high schools are eliminating art, music, drama, journalism, phys-ed, social studies, world history (!) and other “electives” to drill students longer and harder on math and verbal skills. It’s all about raising the standardized test scores, while saving budget money on these "extras." In Florida Gov. Jeb Bush--and we know what friends to education the Bush boys are--has introduced a 107-page bill aimed at molding Florida schools into a tougher, more career-oriented system that gives children "relevant learning opportunities" (Orlando Sentinel). Yeah, good idea. Make school more boring. That will keep ’em in their seats for 12 years. American education takes another 40 giant steps backward. And college profs everywhere shake their heads at the prospect of explaining to future undergrads even more basic stuff they should have learned before.
- Meanwhile, several state legislatures, including Florida, Georgia, Kansas and Utah, are trying to declare the Bible a textbook in public schools. No art, world history or PE, but Jesus? You betcha!
- Elsewhere, a scientist from U-Conn has predicted human time travel possible in the next 94 years. If we could move people back and forth in time, I say let’s zap Thomas Jefferson forward and have him tell these yahoos a few things about what he really intended in the First Amendment. “Yes, I really did mean freedom FROM religion, too,” I can hear him saying. “And could you introduce me to Halle Berry?”
- Will they have to make the school desks bigger, too? Baby-seat manufacturers are having to super-size car seats and carriers because tots are getting fatter earlier. And Maury Povich smiles, knowing that his “fat baby day” theme-shows will have no trouble finding new 200-lb toddlers to waddle onto his stage for years to come. And because schools won't be teaching PE...well, you can extrapolate the results. From fat babies to fat and stupid adults. I don't want to time-travel to that part of the future where Homer Simpson is regarded as an intellectual icon.
- Best case for not letting pretty kids drop out of high school and enter the world of modeling: MTV’s 8th & Ocean series. It follows a group of dumb but incredibly beautiful teen-agers living in group apartments in Miami, obsessing over their weight, their boob size and the one zit that could get them fired from the agency. There haven’t been this many vacant looks in big eyes since Farrah Fawcett last gazed in a mirror. Horrifying and compelling.
- Want to wake up a sleepy college class? Just mention the latest episode of 8th & Ocean. They watch it. They worship it.
- This weekend in Acuna, Mexico, they’ll be hosting the annual “Running of the Cows” (their version of Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls). Made me think that on campus, they could hold a “Running of the Ashleys” to commemorate the official post-Easter switch to white pants and white sandals. Or Highland Park (our version of Beverly Hills) could organize a “Running of the Poodles.” What are your suggestions for location-specific “Running of…” events? Post them in Comments here and the best three (decided by moi) will receive fabulous prizes. From the over-stuffed gimme closet, I’ve just pulled a very fine “Phantom of the Opera” black canvas tote bag. Have fun and I’ll post more later. After seeing and reviewing 12 plays in three weeks, I’m still recuperating from keyboard-cramp.