Friday, May 25, 2007

She had what was missing?

Meaghan Bosch was born into money, blessed with brains and beauty, outfitted in designer clothes and accessorized with diamonds.

Her tight-knit family vacationed in the Caribbean and Costa Rica, indulged her passion for thoroughbred horses and decorated her bedroom with cascading sheets of golden silk, creating the sanctuary of a princess.

Ms. Bosch, a 21-year-old student at Southern Methodist University, lived a fairytale life without the happy ending. Her decomposing body was discovered last week in the bottom of a portable toilet in Hewitt, a small town about two hours south of Dallas.

From that lede, or perhaps from between the lines, we learn much about young Ms. Bosch. She was the girl who had everything. A North Dallas princess whose parents gave her all the material things anyone would want.

And she ended up blowing coke with a cop-killing ex-con.

The rest of this long backgrounder by Scott Farwell and Jason Trahan is here on the DMN web site.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Beauty and the best: One prof's legacy

I hadn't seen or spoken to my college suitemate for over 30 years. The day we graduated we just lost touch somehow. That happens.

Her name popped into my head recently and I Googled her. Sent her an email. She'd just Googled me, too, it turned out. So she called me. We talked for over an hour today. Fun.

We were theater majors together. Knew each other all four years of undergrad and shared a suite in the dorm our senior year. She was and is immensely talented. Quirky, funny, cute. Think Kathy Griffin with a touch of Sissy Spacek.

We yakked like teenagers this afternoon about the whereabouts of various college friends. Who ended up in show biz and who got married and had kids. Who died, too. More than should have. Sad.

Then she mentioned a certain acting teacher we had. He was a big presence in the theater department. Students flocked to his classes and begged to be in his productions. He must've been in his 30s then. He was single and though he wasn't terribly attractive, he did cut quite a figure in his tight black jeans and red turtlenecks (hey, it was the late '70s).

"Did he ever hit on you?" my suitemate asked. No, he didn't, I said. I worked on one of his shows and he flirted with all the girls in the show except me. He treated me like one of the hired help. I had to fetch his coffees from the student union and take his messages up to the light booth, which was about 40 flights of stairs up from the stage floor.

I told my suitemate what the guy told me in acting class once: That I was too ugly to be an actress and I needed to rethink my career plans. I've told this story to every one of my classes for the past decade as a lesson in not taking too seriously what college professors give you in terms of criticism.

"You too?" she said. "He told me I had a horse face and would never get any acting work. Then he said something about my red hair and my 'flaming bush.' Gawd, I didn't he get what he was talking about until much later. Disgusting!"

Suitemate went on to work on soaps, sitcoms, movies, stage plays and national commercials. She had a good acting career, just as she'd planned in college.

"Did you know he was fucking *****?" she asked. ***** was another of our suitemates. The slutty one. I didn't know she'd slept with him, too. She did sleep around with teaching assistants, grad students and the few non-gay male theater majors. Hey, it was the '70s, did I mention that? And ***** had enormous tits.

Jeez, I said to the suitemate, how'd he get away with that? Insulting the girl students he didn't want to sleep with and sleeping with all the "pretty" ones. Pig.

The day that prof said that to me, I decided to become a writer. And suitemate said she decided after that always to be judged on talent and always to be the best at the audition. But he'd hurt her, too. Deeply.

"What a shmuck!" she said. "The nerve of that guy! Let's hunt him down and beat him senseless for treating young women like that."

We laughed.

Then tonight I got another email from suitemate. "Let's find him! On behalf of all the girls he fucked or didn't fuck, let's find him and grind his balls in a vise."

So, Professor Robert Baca, wherever you are: Lock your doors and look over your shoulder. One day, you old asshole, one day....

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Missing student found dead

As a former student of mine said in his email to me about this, "Last Thursday she just disappeared off the earth."

Today they found her body in a portable toilet at a construction site in Waco. What a sick, sick way for a young life to end.

Meaghan Bosch, 21, was about to graduate with a degree in English from the university up the hill from here. She lived one block from me in a complex of condo-apartments that on the outside looks posh and security-protected but that I have always heard is a haven of burglaries, drunken parties, drug dealing and other nefarious activities.

Last Thursday around 4 p.m. Miss Bosch met up with her cocaine dealer. She text-messaged her boyfriend about the meeting and after that, she stopped making cellphone calls and her fancy truck didn't move from its parking spot. When police found it, it was unlocked and still had the keys in the ignition.

Her family reported her missing on Friday.

TV news reports tonight said that it appeared that Miss Bosch's dead body was "placed" in the portable toilet. It was discovered today by construction workers, like a horrifying scene from The Sopranos played out for real.

When police questioned the dealer, whose name hasn't been released, he said he and Miss Bosch had lunch together last Thgursday but he didn't know where she went after that. She was supposed to meet her boyfriend for dinner that evening. When she didn't show, the boyfriend notified her parents, who called police.

Her family told reporters that they had noticed a change in her behavior about two months ago. They found out she was using cocaine.

The Bosch family is offering a $10,000 reward for information about her disappearance.

And when the rest of the scenario is revealed, we'll most likely hear about an attractive young woman using too much blow at her dealer's house, overdosing to death and then getting dumped in a portajohn to get her out of the way.

She was one week shy of being a college grad.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Twice in one school year

SMU freshman found dead in dorm room

06:20 AM CDT on Thursday, May 3, 2007
By HOLLY K. HACKER / The Dallas Morning News

A freshman at Southern Methodist University died Wednesday for unknown reasons, campus officials said Wednesday.

Jordan Crist, 19, was pronounced dead at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas at 11:05 a.m., two hours after a student found him unresponsive in a friend's dorm room on campus, according to SMU spokeswoman Patti LaSalle. The cause of death is unknown, but foul play is not suspected, she said.

Mr. Crist, who is from Hinsdale, Ill., was a pre-business major in Dedman College, SMU's liberal arts college.

Ms. LaSalle said that SMU police and University Park paramedics tried to resuscitate Mr. Crist before he was taken to Presbyterian Hospital. The Dallas County medical examiner is investigating the cause of death.

This is the second time an SMU student has died on campus this school year. In December, Jacob Stiles was found dead in his room at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house on campus. The medical examiner later determined that Mr. Stiles, a sophomore from Naperville, Ill., had accidentally overdosed on a mixture of cocaine, alcohol and the synthetic opiate fentanyl.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Master's in English? Um, better not mention it

Barbara Ehrenreich writes about the "scam" of higher education in a provocative column for Huffington Post. I'm not a big fan of Ehrenreich's, mostly because her book and her play about working class women struck me as being exceedingly condescending. But this time she really got me thinking about just what college degrees are worth anyway these days.

She begins with the recent news about the MIT dean who, it turns out, never earned the three degrees she claimed. She was a popular administrator, beloved by students and colleagues. But after nearly three decades at the university, she finally admitted that she'd fabricated her resume. A cautionary tale, to be sure. But also, says Ehrenreich, proof that someone can succeed at a high level without the high-dollar advanced degrees such jobs supposedly require. In some companies, having certain degrees could hurt your prospects (like that master's in English).

Snack on that and add your thoughts in comments below.