Worlds to conquer.

I took a different path from my car to the journalism department at Wayne State yesterday, and came across this monument:

Maybe my friend Michael, who once chaired the school’s Board of Governors, can explain why Alexander, and why there, but my guess is, there’s no particular story, just a bit of Greco-American pride. Metro Detroit is such a diverse place, not just racially but also in nationally identified groups that I had previously thought of as simply “white people” maybe trending to demi-swarthy — Albanians, Armenians, Chaldeans, Greeks, Croatians, that whole southern European salad, with extra olives (although Chaldeans are Iraqis, actually). Walking across campus, I’m as likely to hear Arabic spoken as English, although also Spanish, Russian and any number of other polyglot tongues.

Anyway, back to Alexander. That island nation has produced scores of individuals worthy of a bust, enough that it’s sort of sad to see the one who wept because there were no more worlds to conquer gazing out over Warren Avenue in Detroit. Although I’m sure the locals would give him a fight.

The term at Wayne is dwindling. I think yesterday will be the last or next-to-last office hours I’ll hold, which means less time out of the house but more time to work on other stuff. I like being on campus, any campus. Yesterday I was offered an opportunity to maybe do a master’s program at Wayne State. (I say “offered a maybe” because that’s entirely how vague it was.) I’m trying to clarify my thinking over the next few weeks, and one of the things that I will have to set aside is what a natural student I am, and how much of my self-worth is tied to how well I do on stupid bullshit like the Pew Research Center’s news quiz. I got a perfect score [preen, preen]. For now, I’ll concentrate on feeling smug. It’s not an entirely noble emotion, but it’s better than considering that only 14 percent of Americans know the current inflation rate.

The good news: I can pursue a degree outside of journalism/communications, which is where the graduate assistantship opportunity lies. The bad news: I’m unqualified for almost any practical field of study — Sigh. Should have taken more math. — and the idea of spending the price of a cheap new car on a master’s in something like English makes no sense when I have another college student coming down the pike in a few more years. There are other options — economics, history, maybe urban planning — but at this point I’m thinking grad school after 50 is a luxury for Peter Weller, but not me.

Which is a segue to the bloggage, and brings us to this charming follow-up item: The littlest Robocop, the sequel: Robocop 1.0 weighs in.

The right wing triumphs, and now they’re gettin’ sassy! Heeeyyyy, Roger Ailes! But it’s not like he doesn’t have a history of this sort of thing.

OK, time to pack my chute and start the real work of the day. Tonight we’re going to see “La Boheme” at the Michigan Opera Theater, and at the moment Alan is coughing up a lung. How appropriate, as Mimi dies of consumption onstage, to have a little side soundtrack.

So have a great weekend, all.

Posted at 9:18 am in Same ol' same ol' |
 

58 responses to “Worlds to conquer.”

  1. Mark P. said on November 19, 2010 at 9:36 am

    I got a journalism degree. After working a few years as a reporter, I quit and at age 30 went to graduate school in atmospheric science at Georgia Tech. I had to spend a year on the foundation courses (math, physics, chemistry), but fortunately went to a very good high school, so it wasn’t like starting from scratch. I got a research assistantship after that first year. By the time I got my PhD, my assistantship was more than I was making as a reporter at a small-to-medium-sized daily. And at that time a research assistantship was not taxed. I wasn’t married, so it was easier for me. The only being I had to take care of was my dog.

    It changed my life.

  2. coozledad said on November 19, 2010 at 9:42 am

    You really have to wonder how Alexander would make it these days.
    Gay, except for when it comes to mom. Thinks he’s God, or at least a god. Either incredibly brave or recklessly stupid (no one can tell), and a role model for all the subsequent world-historical asswipes.
    Junior senator from Kentucky? Senior?

  3. Judybusy said on November 19, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Love the Robocop story! And, all, if you haven’t read Coozledad’s latest post, head on over!

  4. Randy said on November 19, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Nancy,

    I have had all the same concerns, regarding whether or not to go to grad school. I’m not there yet, but I will say to you – GO. You’ve got to go. Look at it like this – any good grad school needs people like you. You will make it a better place by being there.

    With that said, it is still a tough decision. Like you said, grad school, or a new Hyundai? If it helps, you could buy the car, but it is guaranteed to depreciate. A master’s degree will at the very least retain it’s value, in whatever way you want to measure it.

  5. Deborah said on November 19, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I contemplated grad school after 50 as well. After having an interview with the head of the department at the school I had chosen, I realized that with my extensive experience in my field I could teach them a thing or two. I decided to save the money and get a different job instead. A decision I haven’t regretted except when my resume gets sent out. It’s kind of embarrassing to have to list my one horse college education.

    added: and regarding the Alexander the Great bust it was probably bequeathed to the school by a major donor.

  6. Jeff Borden said on November 19, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I’m 59 and in my fifth of six semesters in an accelerated M.Ed. program at National-Louis University, learning how to work with developmental adult and ESL students. It’s been an interesting experience all around and I am glad I did it, but even with this degree, my likelihood of finding a full-time job with benefits remains virtually nil. It’s likely I’ll be bouncing between different locations in the Chicago area, teaching a class here and there.

    This was doable for me because I had some money from my father’s inheritance. I was able to pay upfront –even got a 4% reduction in fees for that– so I won’t have an additional debt load hanging over me when I exit.

    We only meet every few weeks on Thursday nights in a bland classroom downtown. Most of our work is online using the Blackboard system, so I have not experienced the sensory pleasures of being on a college campus as a student. Luckily, I get that by teaching at Loyola three days per week.

    My advice, for what it is worth, would be to pursue a degree if you can afford it. It may not lead to some magical job or a big financial payday, but it offers other rewards, not the least the pleasure of learning. And you will meet interesting people in class, too.

    Regarding Roger Ailes: I have rarely seen a man who looks so much like what he is: a foul, bitter, angry asshole. His photos would terrify a small child.

    The nexis of Fox and all the right-wing radio powerhouses with the results of the Citizens United decision by the Roberts court ought to concern us all. It is in their financial interest to continue to muddy, smear and outright lie about public policy and politicians –to create the phony controversies that would be laughable if they weren’t so effective in our deficit attention disorder society– because it helps create the market for campaign ads every two years. Plus, how creepy is it that a half-dozen potential Republican POTUS candidates are on the Fox payroll? Imagine the millions of dollars worth of publicity and exposure they receive whenever they appear to spout their talking points. I find it very troubling, but hey, look! Bristol’s in the finals!

  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 19, 2010 at 11:01 am

    At least he fell back to “nasty inflexible bigots” as a better locution than Godwin’s Law-ing himself.

    My wife and I looked at law school for my underemployed, low earning pathetic self, and if we stay anchored to central Ohio, it’s hard to see how I’d earn it back and make enough to justify the horror . . . I mean, the law degree. Paralegal work, maybe. Any paralegals out there have advice for an overeducated, underqualified 49 year old white male?

    The juvenile court loves using me and my mediation colleague as an all-purpose, junior grade, on-the-cheap social worker/counselor/magistrate/magician, but $11,000 a year to be used, on demand, as an affordable professional for youth intervention is getting old. Of the freelance writing income we will not speak. (But the rates haven’t changed for 10 years…)

    If only I’d picked my parents better!

  8. Sue said on November 19, 2010 at 11:03 am

    C’mon Cooz, you know being gay was an accepted part of the culture during Alexander’s time. The don’t ask don’t tell in THAT military would have been the other way around.

  9. Rana said on November 19, 2010 at 11:07 am

    My feeling on grad school is to be very hard-headed about it. There are two reasons people go to grad school – they either love the subject, or they want a job that requires an advanced degree. My experience, from the humanities side, is that grad school doesn’t guarantee either result.

    I mean, I’m sitting here with a PhD, and the only jobs in my vicinity that require it are either taken or pay only $500-$1000 a month, and last only 5 months at a stretch. Nationally, there’s only 10-15 jobs in my field any given year, and I’m no longer competitive for them. Nor is it easy for me to sell my skills outside academia, given that I lack “in field” experience in most comparable careers. My experience is that employers are dubious about advanced degrees unless they can see directly how they relate to the job at hand; often, I leave the PhD off the resumé entirely. There are a number of careers that I have the skills to do – like editing – but unless I’m willing to intern for several years for free to get the experience, I am unlikely to get even to the call-back stage. (So now I’m looking at freelancing in a field that is easier to break into – indexing – and doing at-home study to get credentialed.)

    If I had to do it again, I probably would – it taught me a lot of discipline and stretched my thinking, and I met my husband there – but I would spend a lot more time networking and interning and setting up alternative career options. Either that, or I would be a lot more ruthless with the amount of time I allowed for it, and have a life outside of class and study.

    If you can’t see a direct correlation between what you want to do and the degree, it may be worth doing for the personal challenge (like climbing Everest might be). If not, it’s an awfully expensive and time-consuming way to spend one’s hours. It’s less of a crap shoot with a master’s program, but it’s still an investment in something that may not pay off.

    These two pieces are mostly aimed at undergraduates, but are pertinent:
    http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/tburke1/gradschool.html
    http://weblogs.swarthmore.edu/burke/2007/09/01/i-choose-you-pikachu/

  10. mark said on November 19, 2010 at 11:10 am

    I’m not going to discourage you from pursuing more education and I agree with the comment that you will add to the program/classes. I suggest, however, that you throw your considerable research skills into looking for a program at a school you really want to attend on terms favorable to you.

    There are a large number of scholarship/fellowship programs for masters degree and other opportunities out there, many dedicated to non-traditional students with significant life/work experience. I occasionally assist in finding such opportunities and in preparing applications, essays, etc. You don’t require any assistance.

    If you are going to seek out more education, aim high. You may be pleasantly surprised by what is out there for someone with your talents and experiences. A lot of great schools have funded education opportunities under the catch-all of “leadership”, which can be massaged to justify a wide range of study and supported by a wide range of experience. Same for many of the large philanthropic foundations. Good luck to you.

  11. Rana said on November 19, 2010 at 11:16 am

    I’d agree with mark, for all my cynicism. I’d also suggest that any program that doesn’t offer ways to cover your fees and tuition (as by offering grading, teaching, or grant opportunities) after the first year isn’t worth applying to. My 7 years in grad school were not entirely free, but the only debt I incurred was my first year, and I didn’t work any outside jobs during those years (I probably should have, but that’s another issue).

  12. LAMary said on November 19, 2010 at 11:19 am

    tmmoJeff,when my marriage went south I looked into becoming a paralegal and was discouraged by the salary. At least by LA standards it wasn’t that great starting out. I was advised by lawyer friends that the UCLA course for paralegals was the only locally worth going to and that wasn’t cheap. Maybe others have more encouraging words and/or a paralegal salary doesn’t look as bad where you live. Here it was on a par with a starting public school teacher salary when I looked into it 11 years ago.

  13. LAMary said on November 19, 2010 at 11:23 am

    off topic: I just received an email from Nordstrom offering me a free travel size extreme party mascara and extra eye repair cream.
    Sounds very odd to me.

  14. Mark P. said on November 19, 2010 at 11:23 am

    There was a discussion of this topic at LanguageLog a while ago (http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2743). You might find some interesting comments there, among them, the fact that there is a limited market for people with graduate degrees in certain fields. One test is whether the grad school offers assistantships. If not, be very careful. If so, there is a better chance of a job afterwards.

  15. Jolene said on November 19, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I would echo the cautions that others have given. You would, indeed, be an asset to any graduate program, but that’s no reason to take on substantial debt. As Rana said, be hard-headed about what you expect to get from the program. If you’re seeking a pathway to a job, consider something like public administration, instructional design, or something else that would take your communications expertise in a technical direction.

    In less technical fields, most employers, I believe, view educational credentials as an entry ticket–a guide to general capabilities–rather than an indicator of specific skills, and, when one is no longer young, entry tickets don’t really cut it.

    Based on my vast knowledge of you (i.e., we’ve never met), you seem so energetic and enterprising that it seems like, if you are looking for new directions, you’d do better to think about what you’d really like to be doing and find a way to worm yourself into it–through networking, informational interviewing, and the like.

    I got my PhD when I was young enough to be a full-time academic, and that’s what I did for quite a few years, but it’s very difficult to step onto that path later in life, and, as you know, the life of an adjunct leaves a lot to be desired–income, stability, and collegiality, for instance.

  16. alex said on November 19, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    J(ttmo), from one overeducated, underqualified 49-year-old white male to another:

    I went from publishing to paralegaling in midlife and have found it a very satisfying career change. You are probably familiar enough with the legal system by virtue of your current occupation that you could be trained directly into the job at a firm where your solid writing and analytical skills will be valued. You won’t get rich but you won’t do any worse than a journalist or a social worker. The work is intellectually stimulating. And one of the benefits of working for attorneys is that they’re (for the most part) intelligent and don’t feel threatened by intelligent subordinates, as so often happens in the corporate and nonprofit worlds.

    I’ve been jonesing for years to get a grad degree in public history or historic preservation or both. It’s probably how I’ll spend my retirement. Not too keen on pursuing law school for exactly the same reasons you mentioned.

  17. Jolene said on November 19, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Here’s an entertaining online toy–an interactive map showing what the author calls the American Human Development Index, which combines measures of health, education, and income. You can look by state and, for some measures, zip code and congressional district. Even at the state level, the variation is amazing, and, although I was, of course, aware that the DC suburbs are an affluent area, I was surprised to see just how well off my neighbors are.

    Also, when Rick Perry and, especially, Haley Barbour start running for president, we need to remember to ask them why we should think they would succeed in helping the US prosper when their states are reliably at the bottom of the heap.

  18. Jenine said on November 19, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    @LA Mary: after their extreme partying your eyes will need extra repairs.

  19. Jean S said on November 19, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    What Rana, Mark and Jolene said.

    One of my long-time colleagues is in the process of making the switch to real estate. She’s still doing some medical writing to bring in some money, but once the real estate biz really takes off, that will be it.

  20. Sue said on November 19, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    98% on the quiz. I am either spectacularly well informed or a good guesser.

  21. Rana said on November 19, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Man, I thought my score was pitiful (75% correct) and then I saw that I did better than 86% of the general public. Oy.

    What’s interesting is that I ended up where I often end up in general knowledge type quizzes (like those at Sporcle) – at the point on the curve I’d identify as a B+. Seems about right – if I motivated myself and studied, I got As in school, but it was fully possible for me to coast along and get Bs and B+s without effort. I don’t know that this is anything to be proud of, however, because if there’s no effort involved, it’s not like I did anything worthy of praise.

    (And that attitude, right there, is a direct result of having gone through grad school.)

  22. A.Riley said on November 19, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I’m the nonprofit fundraising world these days, and you can’t turn around in this office without bumping into a PhD. I can’t see that many of them are doing what they’d hoped for when they started down that path, but at least they don’t have to deal with students and they’ve got a steady paycheck with benefits.

    Most of them wear their doctorates lightly. A few don’t — we have a fella in my department who, upon first meeting in my cube (and he was asking me for help, mind you) asked, “PhD or DMin?” Copyeditor, thanks. How can I help you?

  23. prospero said on November 19, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Arms Pact? Is the GOP fucking kidding?

    Republicans apparently favor presumption of guilt in the American legal system. Could this be applied retroactively to Scooter? G. Gordon? Ollie North. Richard Fucking Milhous Nixon? They think nuclear

    Fascinating 2010 election post mortem. 54% were likey to support candidates that support Affordable Care Act. At least half of the other 46% will not be satisfied with anything but single-payer. Amazing how this nuance evades the consciousness of lamestream media.

    Are Republican Senators and assholes at the newspaper of record the only people in the world totally out of step with sanity on the subject ofNew Start and Mutually Assured Destruction?? That egregious moron Peter King says signing the treaty would do a disservice to NATO allies. TEvery single fucking one of them want this to be a done deal, so just shut the hell up. You may sort of resemble Shrek (d0n’t know but have seen a picture), but you are a fucking moron that should shut the hell up. This fool is the vanguard of Republicans. Let me ask you. Do we want to have fewer nukes in the world. Republicans want to ensure nobody checks on what nukes anybody has, And they want to make sure Israel can blow the world to smithereens with the weapons they store at Dimona. They stole the technology by spying on the US, and they teamed with the DeKlerks to steal the fissionable material.

    OK. Republicans can make verifying fewer nukes in the world a bad thing? And NYT can make this into Obama might be a wimp? That is Bizarro World.

    Nancy, what the hey. It is guaranteed to be
    true fun . I got a master 10 years after my six year baccalaureate at the absurd combination of Holy Cross and UGA, at.Suffolk, in Boston . A great school and brilliant professors. Maybe, it didn’t advance my career, but I am sure as shit smarter for the experience.

    Had to take equant. Statistics. First exam, I ripped out the belly of my bluebook. I had it right the first time. 54, and I thought I was doomed, Nailed it twice when the pressure was off. Proved quantitavely that rich assholes in Wellesley voted for Republicans and against the common American good.To this day, I get it. Grad school is fun. You’ll be sorry down the road if you don’t.

    My opinion, if they make you take GREs, there’s a simple method that guarantees success on the math portion. Morons made it multiple choice. Two of the putative answers are patently ridiculous. Choose the most likely alternative. Prove it back (you do remember this as the only worthwhile skill in the history of algebra. Right?) If it proves, voila. If it doesn’t, it’s the other. Voila, aussi.

    I scored over 700 on math on both SAT (time back way back before students became all Riddley and the scores had to be inflated–I hold a grudge, well not really) and the GRE 30 years later. You can’t lose with the stuff I use. In Grad School, you are going to meet gorgeous Irani girls that are really smart but have a hard time with English. Just write the papers. They buy you dinner at Locke-Ober. Well that’s like the upscale Boston version of the Red Fox.

    I’ve got an abiding disagreement with ETS. What do these assholes claim I ever got wrong on an manifestation of their verbal tests? 790 on the SAT. 790 on the GRE. One wrong on the Miller Analogies.Bullshit. The latter, I finished it in less than thirty minutes. They made me sit there like some criminal for another hour, like I was going to expose them. Please, point out to me what I ever got wrong. I didn’t,

    Hines Ward was born to play in the NFL He’s not really that big, but he’s tough. He has never in his hall of fame career made a cheap-shot. He has been the victim of so many you can’t count. When DBacks don’t pay attention, he drills them. That is football, and in the last several years, Hines is the best football player you could find,

  24. prospero said on November 19, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Nancy. You like new situations, What is the downside to giving it a try?

  25. LAMary said on November 19, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    98% here and good guessing was part of that. Anyone else here been getting political survey calls lately? They ask about my demographics and then how I voted on propositions etc. I’ve had two in two days.

  26. LAMary said on November 19, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Jenine, I don’t know if that stuff does extra repairs or it repairs extra eyes. Personally, I have only as many eyes as I need, no extras.

  27. prospero said on November 19, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I’m not joking. Obama’s a wimp? Let’s just see about GOP thuggery and the 60-40 anti-constitutional bullshit. What do you think he’s supposed to do? Seriously, how would you manly men respond? These assholes have more money than God.These assholes do not give a shit about the country. Get it good and hard.

    The manly crap being flung at Obama by the bakcbiting more=progressive=than =thou bunch of idiots. screw these morons.

  28. Rana said on November 19, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    A. Riley, in my experience, most of the people I know with doctorates also “wear their PhDs lightly.” Either they’re in academia, in which case saying “I’ve got a PhD!” is a bit like saying “I have a tie! I wear shoes!” or they’re outside academia, in which case they’ve realized that for the most part employers and ordinary folks aren’t all that impressed by one. Either way you tend to come off as an insecure, egotistical prat if you wave yours around. (Those PhD-wavers tend to be the sort of folks who forget that the most powerful person in a department is the secretary, who may have no more than a high school education – then wonder why they never get their mail on time or their grants approved.)

  29. moe99 said on November 19, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    It’s a great day when I agree with mark and Rana and LAMary and Jolene.

    And for those of you who are out of ideas for Christmas gifts:

    http://www.beardhead.com/

  30. Linda said on November 19, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    I know it’s from a couple of days ago, but I have to note this from The Onion from yesterday. It’s like they read this blog:

    Do not invite any newspaper or magazine columnists who publish an annual column about how we Americans have lost sight of the true meaning of Thanksgiving

  31. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 19, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Alex, thanks. I was thinking that was your current vocation. Very useful insights.

  32. Sue said on November 19, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Rana, I used to work with someone who often made a point of smiling and saying “There’s who rules and who really rules”, and nodding at me, which I ignored except for the thought bubble above my head which said “Shut up, asshole”.
    So, speaking as a secretary, may I say:
    We’re there to make you look good. Stop making our job so goddam hard.
    Sneezing on the paper and handing it back is considered poor form.
    So is handing a draft back covered in orange bits and coffee rings. Put on a bib, jackass.
    The suggestion that I learn the job duties of someone higher than me on the respect and pay scale so I can do their job at my salary when they aren’t around does not actually qualify as ‘cross-training’.
    We don’t really have all that much power and petty behavior is a sign of a crappy secretary. We don’t really make your job harder or make you look bad, you do that all by your own self.
    We don’t really make your job harder… but we can. If the only plants in the area that die are the ones in your office, perhaps I shouldn’t be the one fetching your coffee, because practice makes perfect, ya know?

  33. alex said on November 19, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Jeff, feel free to ask Nance for my personal e-mail if you’d like to know more.

    And Nance, I’d say go for doing what you love. Like you already do.

  34. Dorothy said on November 19, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    The test results say that I got 8 right, but I arrowed back to double check my answers. The results say I got the last question wrong but I actually chose the right answer – the name of the Google operating system for smartphones. I chose the right answer but it said I got that one wrong. Boo hiss!!!! (But I’m sure that Nancy did get 100% on the test – I have no doubt whatsoever.)

  35. paddyo' said on November 19, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    98% here for the quiz, too — but just for the record: I think that means better than 98 percent of respondents, not the actual score, right? Eleven out of 12 correct, which got me that better-than-98%, comes out to a shade under 92 percent correct answers.
    Am I right, math wizs out there? I kind of sucked at math but, over more than three decades of ink-stained-wretchedness, had to do lots of on-the-fly calculating for daily-deadline news stories with scary actual figures and percentages in them.

    BTW, on the post-grad schooling question:
    At not-quite-56, I went back for grad-school-ultralight: a two-semester “graduate certificate” for my post-newspaper role. It was still a kick and a delight, at a commuter-college branch of the U. of Colorado system.

    The mingling with fellow graybeards, as well as 30-somethings, 20-somethings and kids-almost-young-enough-to-be-my-grandchildren, was invigorating. Fortunately, most of the young’uns forgave my early been-there-know-it-all tendencies long enough for me to swallow them and just join in. Glad I had the chance, 33 years after getting my bachelor’s.

  36. prospero said on November 19, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    What in the world is Obama supposed to do when the Senate pulls this barbaric 60-40, that is so anticonstitutional it should scausee night’shits for a died’in’the ‘wool juudicial fucking activist like Antonin Scalia. This conservative mantra about judicial activism? That is fucking hilarious at this point. These assholes have hijacked the Clonstitution. They have insured riches will flow to the richest. They are crooks. And it might be nice if Clarence ever opined. He talks out of Scalia’s butthole, Enough said.

  37. MarkH said on November 19, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    96th percentile here on the quiz, 10 out of 12. Wiffed the overseas purchased goods question, and the TARP question. I realized I was thinking of the major banks, which have paid back, and not the mid size regionals which have not. And some of them have gone under the FDIC guillotine, so we won’t see that money again.

  38. Rana said on November 19, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Sue, I’ve long made a policy of being nice to administrative staff, waitstaff, and other human beings whose jobs are to help me. It costs so little to be decent, and yet it makes so much difference. (I seriously believe that at least half of the students in my graduate program only made it through because our department secretary pulled a string or two at crucial moments, myself included.) I hold people who are unnecessarily rude to service and administrative staff in the deepest contempt, and feel that they deserve whatever small retributions come their way.

    (I plan to be polite to the TSOs assigned to grope me this Thanksgiving, for instance. I’m not at all pleased about this state of affairs, but I see no point at yelling at some poor woman doing her unpleasant job. I’d rather yell at her boss.)

  39. brian stouder said on November 19, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    1. Sue won this thread, walking away!

    2. I agree with Rana that life is simpler (and more enjoyable) when you go easy; and in addition to wait-staff and the rest, I’d include fellow motorists who need a break – even if the temptation is to think they don’t deserve one. At the end of the day, even if some folks think you’re a sucker or a chump, you sleep well.

    3. I scored 10 of 12, too; missed the inflation rate, and the deficit now versus the deficit a decade ago.

    4. The lion’s share of formal education that I’ve received was from Fort Wayne Community Schools. I piddled around at IPFW for a semester or two, and then went to ITT Technical Institute for two years, for an associates degree in Electronic Engineering. That degree got me hired where I have worked for (almost) 25 years now – only because the guy who hired me had graduated from a very similar school many years before.

    And, I have literally* never used one scintilla of whatever they taught me about volts and amps and impedence and watts and all the rest, all those years ago. (well, maybe a scintilla, here or there, but not more than that)

    I envy college educated people their well-rounded outlook on life and this world, and I can die contentedly, once we successfully get our young folks through college. The irony is – when I was a kiddo I viewed college as a place where you go to enable yourself to get a better job; and the technical school did precisely that for me – despite that what they actually taught me ended up being useless.

    And now, I sincerely believe that college is not intrinsically a gateway to a better job, but instead to a fuller, better intellectual life.

    If I could – and maybe someday I will – I’d go back to school and go for a teaching degree, and then finish my days in a classroom where I don’t care what they pay me – as long as I can have extra-credit questions at the end of the quizz, such as “state the current inflation rate” or “what definitive event occurred today, 147 years ago?”

    I’d be as happy as a pig in mud.

    *I literally love to imagine making the proprietress groan, when she sees that word again!

  40. LAMary said on November 19, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Brian, you are a remarkably well rounded person with a passion for learning. College for you would only be icing on the cake. The drudge who works down the aisle from where I sit went to prestigious local university and she hasn’t half the curiosity or knowledge of history you have. A college education is a wonderful thing and I would love to go back to school full time but college grads aren’t necessarily brighter.

  41. moe99 said on November 19, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    What LA Mary said, Brian. Your intellectual curiosity, particularly about Lincoln and the Civil War, has made me think a few times. Thanks for that.

  42. Jolene said on November 19, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Wow! Check out David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister doing his bit for Dan Savage’s It Gets Better project. Very impressive to hear a political leader not only expressing concern as Obama, Biden, and Pelosi have done, but also stating firmly that gay teens can find support and opportunity in society and have the backing of their government.

  43. prospero said on November 19, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Did Charlie Rangel do anythingMitch McConnell hasn’t done more of? Nope.

    Bigger cash, far more partisan. But he’s whitebread. Otherwise, identical.

  44. alex said on November 19, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    WTTW Chicago’s Dan Savage interview. Jolene, thanks for mentioning this worthy project.

  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 19, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Was there a link we missed there, Alex? I found Cameron but not Savage.

  46. joodyb said on November 19, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    nn, you are one of the most studious people i’ve ever known, someone who truly loves learning and will probably kick herself in 20 years for not pursuing a degree she has mulled (let’s face it) for the previous 20.
    i too have had pangs about my one-horse education (though rarely before my present workplace, which is awash in journos with MAs), and not for the most high-minded reasons. i’ve seen people go back to school because they couldn’t do anything else, and for vanity, and because they had discovered they were really teachers at heart.
    you, though – you LIVE on knowledge.

    LAMary: you need the extra eye repair cream because you use the extreme party mascara.

    sorry jenine; i just saw your comment. NOT COPYING!

  47. prospero said on November 20, 2010 at 12:40 am

    Tell you what Nancy. I’ll take the GREs for you and I’ll nail the math. Some people were born to take standardized tests On the verbal portion, I can only promise 790 0f 800. My SAT score and my GRE. I would like those assholes to show me something I actually got wrong. ETS is just so full of shit. Miller Analogies? 149 of 150. No shit. I did not get anything wrong. This wouldn’t bother me, but so close every time? These assholes are toying with me.

    I always score in the high 600s or low 700s on math portions, and I am as math-phobic and math-dyslexic as anybody that ever lived. It’s all about multiple choice. Two of the answers are ridiculous. Prove the most likely of the other two. Voila If not, it’s the other one. Voila. aussi/

    Anyway, standardized tests are a breeze. I can’t believe Cam Newton’s dad didn’t get in touch.

    Nancy. I went to grad school when I was in my early thirties. I was married, working ridiculous hours. All in all, it was incredibly enjoyable. Met fascinating people, exercised brains that might otherwise have atrophied. Wrote papers for really smart people that had problems with English, mostly for pizza and brewskis. You enjoy life in general, you enjoy a chockful messy existence. Bottom line? Why the hell not? It adds something excellent to every other aspect of your life, and you sure as shit won’t get bored. If it were my choice, I’d go for Geoffrey Chaucer. Good luck, keedo.

  48. alex said on November 20, 2010 at 9:27 am

    The missing link. Yikes!

  49. coozledad said on November 20, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Damn. Savage is even brilliant speaking off the cuff.

  50. moe99 said on November 20, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Thanks, Alex. I sent it to my brother Mark and his partner.

  51. Suzanne said on November 20, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    After being laid off at age 50, and having way more trouble than it’s worth finding another professional position, I looked into going back to school. But ultimately, the reality that at my age, I would never reclaim that money led me to gut it out and try to find a job in my field. I finally did, part time, after a year or so. It’s all too depressing to consider that after 50, unless you are at the top, or have some outrageous, crazy skill, you a unwanted in today’s job market, degree or no degree.

  52. Jolene said on November 20, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Savage does lots of public speaking, so any question he’s answering is likely a question he’s been asked before. But, even so, he’s an unusually fluent, straightforward, and charming speaker. Lots of warmth and humor in his voice, along w/ the willingness to tell hard truths. I thought it was interesting that the WTTW felt it necessary to caution viewers at the outset, as the interview was, to me, fairly tame both w/ regard to sexual explicitness and the critique of religion.

    For a more risque and very funny sample of Savage on tape, click on the “weirdest letter” link on this page.

  53. brian stouder said on November 20, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Jolene, good stuff. Suzanne – I can identify with what you say; at 49, I’ve got a good distance to fall, if it ever comes to that.

    Moe and Mary – thanks; I think we’re all pretty accomplished conversationalists around here. As my lovely wife often reminds me, knowing when to be quiet is often my biggest challenge! On the other hand, I honestly do think that Prospero would be the life of any nn.c holiday party, as he engages in one passionate exchange after the next, on any given subject.

  54. DellaDash said on November 20, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    I tend to find academia exceedingly dry, yet am very proud of my published and tenured professor sister, not so much because of the degrees she’s earned, but because of the zest she has for her work. (Tenured or not, she’s always on the scramble for grants.)

    Brian, check out the bottom of the ‘Dash Out’ thread. I posted something there by mistake this morning…primarily for you. It got an unexpected maroon-box-flutter out of Nancy.

  55. brian stouder said on November 20, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Della – thanks for the tip!

    I responded to your post there. In a nutshell, I really do hope that that movie DOES come into existence.

    Our 21st century “dissatisfied fellow citizens” might profit from seeing what happened when people actually did resort to “Second Amendment remedies” in response to national election results that they didn’t like (in 1860), as Sharron Angle suggests they should.

    Come to think of it, if that movie really does come into existence in the time-frame that Nancy’s link indicates, then it will be right in time for President Obama’s re-election. (and we’ll trust to Providence that parallels stop there)

  56. brian stouder said on November 20, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Della, I followed your link, and listened to the sample, and I think I shall have to pursue “The Rivalry”; it sounds excellent. And, I like that it revolves around Adele Douglas, and illuminates the indispensible value of the women in the lives of the major political figures of that day.

  57. DellaDash said on November 20, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    I was sure it would appeal to your taste, Brian…as well as my more frivolous one…

  58. brian stouder said on November 20, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Della – frivolity is practically my middle name! Especially if there’s a Formula One race on, or a head-turner at the mall