Today's theme song: Asking Annie Out
By Willie Nile, from the album Streets of New York.
By Willie Nile, from the album Streets of New York.
When young Mr. Fitzsimmons emailed to ask me to meet him in my office on a Sunday afternoon, I was pretty sure it wasn't about his classwork. David Fitzsimmons, as I'll call him here, was 19 and so impossibly young-looking that I was sure he'd never shaved more than twice in his life. He was a charming kid--a little too smooth. When he didn't meet his deadlines on assignments, he always had original and often hilarious reasons.
"If You Talk Too Much, My Head Will Explode" by People in Planes. From the album As Far as the Eye Can See.
From the February 21 New York Times, page A-1 (with my comments in brackets within).
From Mesa, Ariz., comes this. According to today's story from the AP, the Arizona State Senate Committee on Higher Education last week approved a bill that would force college instructors to offer alternative coursework for students who deem certain assignments offensive to their sexuality, morality or religion.
Boy, am I out of practice. There's a really nice man I've been having some long lunches with recently. He's brilliant. A professor for many years. Attractive. Funny. Loves the same old movies I do (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, To Kill a Mockingbird, Spartacus, Casablanca, The Apartment) and can discuss vintage Twilight Zone in intense detail. He knows which episodes were written by Rod Serling and which were written by Buck Houghton. You have no idea the effect that this has on a TV-head. To me it's foreplay.
Saw this first on D Magazine's fun FrontBurner blog. Here's a link to a New York Sun story about the Republican homeowners in this neighborhood objecting to the heavy-footing of the university in "eminent domaining" their land for the Bush library. The official announcement has yet to be made about which school actually is awarded the white elephant, er, library. But it's long been assumed that it would be here. But not if these homeowners have their say.
It's that time of year again. Students looking to score scholarships or admittance to grad school ask profs for letters of recommendation. It's a chore we do willingly but under some stress. One semester I wrote more than 25 of the things. Exhausting.
Here's an interesting conundrum for you to consider. A study finds that college graduates these days lack basic quantitative skills--how to figure out if there's enough gas in the tank to make it to the station for a refill, for example. And there's another report that says literacy rates are dipping among even the best college students.
...touch me, feel me. OK, don't actually touch me or feel me. But you are invited to see the Phantom Prof in the rosy flesh when she and other women bloggers appear on a panel March 11 at the South By Southwest Interactive Festival at the Convention Center in Austin, Texas. Title of our session is "We Got Naked...Now What?"
It's both encouraging and terribly depressing to see how many college students head for majors in PR and journalism. They don't really know what they're getting into. They just see jobs that seem fun, exciting, somewhat glamorous and with a tinge of the show biz. For the young journos, curiosity and maybe a desire to see the world are part of the allure. Being a reporter allows you to explore just about any subject you're interested in--as an observer, if not a full-on participant. You're allowed to ask questions of the rich and powerful, the beautiful and the damned. And then you get to see your name on the byline or the magazine cover. Feels good, yes, it does.
If you think being an adjunct is a stinky job, check out this blog, New York Hack. Today the driver shares the story of Billy, the randomly urinating driver. Ewwww.
She goes in with symptoms and they send her home with 7 Up. Here's how the student recounted her experience with the campus health center. In an email the other day, she also promised to send more details of the story as it develops. Here's her story from The Daily Campus:
There are some misconceptions about Toxic Shock Syndrome — like you can’t get it if you don’t leave your tampon in too long, or that only women get it. Toxic Shock Syndrome happens when an open wound gets a certain type of bacteria that everyone has inside of it, and starts to poison your entire body and shut down your organs.
That is what happened to me over the summer. I was taking summer courses when I came down with what I could tell was a pretty high fever. I then became so weak that I couldn’t even climb into my bed in Snider Hall. I ended up spending that night on the floor in the bathroom. The next morning I decided to go to the Memorial Health Center. The problem was, I was too weak to get there on my own.
I called the SMU Police Department, because they will help you get places on campus when you are injured or don’t feel safe. After first being told that they couldn’t help me get to the health center, I finally convinced someone to come escort me there. I tried getting someone from the health center to come help me first, but they never answered the phone.
When I got to the health center they took my temperature — 104 — and blood pressure — 60/44. They didn’t tell me how high my fever was or that my blood pressure was so low it was possible I wasn’t getting oxygen to my brain. They just gave me Tylenol for my fever and some 7 Up and had me lay in the health center until they closed, while they had three doctors, including the director of the health center, and two nurses unsuccessfully try to give me an IV eight times. When they closed, they put me in a wheelchair [and] left me in my empty dorm room, even though I had every symptom of Toxic Shock Syndrome in extremity. They should have sent me to the hospital upon first arriving there that day.
Later that night, I called the University Park Paramedics, because I was having difficulty breathing. I told them what I knew — that I had a fever, that I had been throwing up and had diarrhea, and that I had been drinking lots of ginger ale and juice since I got back from the health center. They gave me an IV and asked if I wanted to go to the hospital. Since I had no insurance or money, I asked them if I needed to go. They told me no, that the hospital would only give me another IV and that I would be fine if I just drank a lot of water, and I signed the paper they gave me. I later found out that they claimed I refused transport against medical advice. I may be poor, but I’m smart, and if I were told I needed to go to the hospital, I would have gone instantly.
The next afternoon, I went to Lake Point Hospital, and thanks to the amazing doctors who treated me and figured out what was wrong in time, I survived. But, they told me that if I had gotten there 30 minutes later, I would have died. If I had been sent to the hospital 24 hours later I would not have had such a horrible case — one of the worst ever in North Texas. I missed the rest of summer classes, and if I hadn’t recovered so quickly I wouldn’t have been able to return to school in the fall.
The administration claims to have had the health center change their policies, but neither my parents nor I have been given any proof of this. There needs to be a major change in their policies (for example: not almost killing a student) and there should be an awareness program for Toxic Shock on campus — the health center doesn’t even have information about the syndrome.
I’m trying to work with the Women’s Center and Senate to help advocate that the Health Center to change their policies and to get an awareness program started. I never want this to happen to another student, and the only way to prevent that is by getting this information out there.
Congratulations to the winners of last week's "10-Line Theater" contest. The winning entries are: Hillary's "Every Heard the Talking Muffin Joke?"; Logical Professor's "Moronic Security"; and MadHat for "To Impeach or Not to Impeach." The latter wins for even attempting angry agitprop in so little time and space. (To read these, go to the comments area on the Word Nerd Challenge below.)
All of the attention to James Frey and his Million Little Pieces sent me back to the diaries of composer Ned Rorem. He published his first diary in the 1960s and it made him a literary darling of much renown. Gay, handsome and gossipy, Rorem made his diaries into highly readable chronicles of the glitterati of New York, Paris and beyond. Even as a teenager, I found his musings on the rich and talented every bit as entertaining--and probably more truthful--than Truman Capote's.
My work is my truth. Insofar as that work is also art it is also true for you. That that art may lie makes it no less true. A symbol posing as the real thing betrays itself, yet the betrayal can't disqualify the symbol's status as symbol.