Friday, February 21, 2020
As of February 20, 2020, this site will officially be moving to a new location—fear not, all the same content will transfer over. This site will remain, but no new content will be added following this post. At some point I may shut down this site knowing the new site is established and solid. Any new posts newer than February 21, 2020 will appear only at the new site. Thanks for your support.
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Saturday, January 12, 2019
Over the years, I’ve often told friends that one of my more odd bucket list items is to spend a night in jail, even if I haven’t worked out a plan to actually pull it off with minimum consequences beyond the actual night in jail. Public intoxication would likely do it, but I’d like to have a clear memory so I can write about the experience afterwards.
Recently I experienced something like this in more of a virtual setting as I was blocked from posting anything on Facebook for 24 hours thanks to some anonymous tattletale. But as my punishment set in, it felt more like standing in the corner during 1st grade then an overnight jail stay.
What did I post? It was actually a short comment on a friend’s post regarding the Trump shutdown. So, here it is in all it’s glory:
Trump needs to do us all a favor and resign but in a way that best suits him—hanging himself in the Oval Office.
Yeah, I suppose it’s a bit distasteful if you’re a Trump fan, but isn’t suicide just a glorious (or “gory”) version of resignation? Besides, I know many that find this particular sentiment as pleasant as a good meal. The truth is, I have several fantasies of Trump’s demise—my favorite version is that he is convicted of treason and tickets are sold for his public beheading on the National Mall where so many people show up, that ticket sales pay off the national debt. In that setting, Trump would finally draw the crowd he wished he had for his “record-setting” inauguration.
Let’s face it, over the course of his life—not just his presidency—Trump is nowhere close to being a model citizen as he has brought pain, misery, and suffering to many, and God knows how many lives he has compromised in a lifetime of underhanded “art-of-the-deals.” And, all of it is well documented along with the greatest collection of lies by any high-level politician. So, the idea of his suicide, public execution or some rogue Secret Service agent greasing him sits just fine with me. There’s nothing redeeming in him as a person or as a president.
• • •
As long as I’m here, another incident came about a couple weeks ago as the result of another Fuckface von Clownstick remark I made on Facebook. Although it didn’t get me banned, a Trump-ass-kissing tattletale sent an email to the college president about my post.
Tim Sedlacek, a resident of North Dakota working in the oil and gas industry (according to his Facebook page) wrote the following:
I am writing you this email about something I find very concerning and very disturbing. You have a professor employed at your institution that is publically (sic) calling for the assassination of President Trump on his Facebook page. I have included a screen shot of said Facebook post. I think the taxpayers of your great state would find it very interesting that they are paying the salary of someone with such radical political views who is not afraid to convey those views publicly. As a professor at a public university he should be held to a higher standard. I hope you take appropriate action on this matter. I will give you a few days to reply to me with your course of action and if I do not hear back from you will be contacting your local newspaper and also other newspapers in Wyoming to inform them about this very disturbing post by an employee of your college.
My offensive post: “Impeachment, incarceration, bullet-in-the-brain… whatever it takes, Trump must go.
First of all, a couple responses on my part:
Hey Tim, why be such a tattletale? You could have taken it up with me if you found it so disturbing—after all, you were my FB friend. You could have left a comment, could have sent me a private message, but instead you responded like a screaming little girl with mud splashed on her Sunday church dress. What an asshole.
Secondly, I was not calling for Trump’s assassination. In fact, immediately after the post, I left a link in the comment section to the Black Key’s “Bullet in the Brain” song/video. It’s about suicide. That said and historically speaking, bullets in the brain have been one of several ways Presidents have been removed from office—those well loved and those not so much. Fact! So, if Trump or someone else were to actually pull that off, it still comes off as a working solution for me. But, for the record (and the vapid intellect of those like Sedlacek), I’m not interested in doing such myself, nor do I even have the ability, know-how, or energy to pull off such a feat. I’m simply open to any means it takes to remove this persona non grata (and his ilk) from the White House.
In deciding to take the post down (although not required), I responded to the college president with the following:
In deciding to take the post down (although not required), I responded to the college president with the following:
I received notice about my personal FB post on Dec. 21 regarding Donald Trump. I’m sure you are aware, this was not a threatening message of any kind—I was just speaking of the various ways past U.S. Presidents (those well-loved and those reviled) have been or could be removed from office. Distasteful as it may be, I suppose it is what it is depending on one’s political views. Further, I had posted immediately after (in the comment section) the song by the Black Keys “Bullet in the Brain,” which is a song about suicide and what I was referencing in the original post should someone like Sedlacek come along and attempt to spin it otherwise.
Nevertheless, I have removed the post from my public feed in hopes that this will be of no more bother to you. I apologize if this put a crimp in your holiday away from the work place.
The other day, I was having a discussion with a colleague about “spending too much time on Facebook.” In light of these recent events, my hope is that this little expulsion will be an impetus to get away from that platform where tattletales and pollyannas like Sedlacek lurk, and perhaps put more effort into my posts on dissidence. So, I’m thankful even if I still haven’t spent the night in jail.
And one last thing, fuck Facebook and its harboring of Russian trolls and its secret love for Trump.
Sunday, December 09, 2018
It was announced the other day during an all campus meeting that Northwest College (in Powell, Wyoming) will be spending a little over $80,000 for a new marketing campaign targeting Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin and the Western states that participate in the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program. In short, enrollment numbers are dwindling and something is needed to stop the bleeding.
Nausea started to creep in when I considered the “elephant in the room” and the fact that we were going to spend even more energy and money attempting to drive that square peg into the round hole that we’ve been doing for so many years.
The “square peg” that I speak of is our school’s name, “Northwest College.” The “elephant in the room” is the need to change our ambiguous, compass-dial-name to “Yellowstone College.”
Back in October, the college president sent me an email asking about my rogue hashtags on Instagram, “#yellowstonecollege.” There was no threat in her query, just wanted to know where I was coming from. So, I replied with the following:
It should be no surprise that I strongly believe in replacing “Northwest College” with “Yellowstone College”—if nothing else as a unique identifier in who we are and where we are. Short of creating a recruiting army, I think there is nothing more effective in recruiting than this simple name change—especially when it comes to attracting students from beyond Wyoming (where we have no recruiting).
Northwest College was probably a good name back in the day when we were mostly charged with delivering higher education to the students of Wyoming, but as you know in these current times, we have to look far beyond our borders to maintain any kind of decent enrollment numbers. With that in mind, “Northwest” is certainly suspect in representing our actual place to someone who doesn’t live in Wyoming. Even in our own state, I’m surprised at how many people refer to us as “the college in Powell.” That’s hardly an argument for saying we have a strong institutional name.
In my mind, the name “Yellowstone College” is riper than it has ever been. And there’s no other institution that would serve that name better than this one here in Powell—only 70-plus miles from the gate of YNP.
I sincerely applaud the new marketing plan and those who have come up with it. It’s going to be good. I just find it somewhat self-defeating that we’re going to execute it for such a vague and generic name—knowing how much better the results could be if a college name change were included.
Listening to the details of the marketing plan, all I could think of was, “This is what they mean when someone mentions that old adage, ‘Work smarter, not harder.’” Promoting “Northwest College” will be the antithesis of that adage as I see it.
Sometimes the solution to a perceived difficult and complex problem turns out to be a simple solution. People living near the jungles of India managed to eradicate fatal tiger attacks by simply wearing a mask on the back of their heads when in the jungle areas—a simple solution proposed by a student science club member who noted that all such attacks came from behind the victims.
Following the presentation, questions and comments were invited. I sat there and gave my best rationale for not saying anything, but I couldn’t stifle it. So, I said it, “Yellowstone College.”
As I added my rationale, I saw people like our Public Relations Vice President laughing—laughing at me, laughing at my idea, I don’t know. But he was having a good laugh. Along with the laughing from some of my colleagues I considered this: For years I’ve been part of a small political minority—surrounded by die-hard Republicans and conservative thought, and yes, far outnumbered by those who voted Donald Trump as the President of the United States. So, this felt no different. I was happy I brought it up, even if it was only regarded as a moment of levity for many in the room. But, I’ll sleep better at night knowing I did speak up in front of the small gathering that was meant to be attended by the entire campus.
No doubt, the square peg rammed into the round hole will still likely result in some kind of improved enrollment numbers, but it’s a lot of money for what will likely be mediocre results. Hopefully I’m wrong. But, in my mind nothing would work harder for us (with little money and for years on end) like “Yellowstone College,” especially when it comes to attracting the larger and more remote student market.
One colleague offered up a theory on all of this—a colleague who has taught here almost as many years as myself. It goes something like this: Northwest College is the opposite of “too big to fail,” but rather too small to succeed—set in a community and managed by those who really don’t want it to be too appealing or successful. A too-attractive college brings in better students, better educators, and even better administrators. And, the community of Powell (and Wyoming) really doesn’t want any of that at all. We may never know, but I find the theory credible until some other rationale is brought forward. I have yet to hear of any rationale that provides a solid defense for keeping “Northwest.”
Further, we still don’t have a student newspaper because when we had one, it was too _________ (fill in the blank). So “Yellowstone College” is another one of those campus conversations/stories that will never see the light of day—lost in the abyss of “no student publication.”
|The diagram required to find us.|
Go ahead, try to find us.
We’re not where you think we are.
Don’t tell Washington State about us.
We do vague.
The world needs more ambiguity.
The best junior college you can’t find.
Best direction… evah!
The opposite of southeast.
Not too far northwest.
Think of us as Yellowstone College, but we’re not.
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
An open letter to Colt Manufacturing…
President & CEO Colt Manufacturing Company
P.O. Box 1868
Hartford, CT 06144
Like it or not, the AR-15 is pretty much the gun that is associated with mass murders in the United States. Whether this is a formal or informal moniker, I can’t imagine it’s the type of association anyone would want for themselves or their business operations. And certainly if I knew of someone who owned such a weapon, I would undoubtedly steer clear of them under any circumstances given this weapon’s role in so many mass-murders.
After the events of today in Parkland, Florida (a place I’ve never heard of until today) involving the murder of over a dozen innocent victims at the hands of another deranged individual carrying another AR-15, I would like to believe that you and your board members would feel compelled to take some kind of public action that attempts to convince the general public that these events do not sit well with Colt (or any gun manufacturer).
I realize that several other manufacturers make their own versions (clones) of the AR-15 since the expiration of the patent, but it is the Colt name that has the greatest association and would ultimately make the most contribution in the weapon’s reduced role of slaughtered, innocent Americans.
If this has not come up in conversation, I would ask you to consider it. Perhaps even read this. And, I would further challenge you to make a public statement accompanied with swift action—that Colt is undisputedly determined to rid itself of being the gun manufacturer that makes the mass-murder weapon of choice.
It’s a crazy idea, and probably not the best for short-term profits, but what if Colt denounced the AR-15 by ceasing its manufacturing immediately? Yeah, I know, not the smartest business plan, but surely you agree that even the life of one innocent person is more valuable than any decision that is best for business? You do, don’t you?
I dare you to announce to the world that a human life is more valuable than gun sales. I double-dog dare you.
I dare you to announce to the world that a human life is more valuable than gun sales. I double-dog dare you.
And in making this simple statement and action, you could also apply some of your “Colt leverage” to the other AR-15 clone manufacturers. And, with any luck, suddenly the rightful demonization of this weapon of mass murders would commence. Oh sure, there will be those few who snatch up the remaining ones, but in the long run, the AR-15 will become the “Weapon of the Whack’o”—to the point that few would brag of having one or ever bring one out for show and tell. That might boost gun sales in a different—more responsible way. Imagine if that happened. Imagine Colt transforming from the manufacturer of America’s favorite mass-murder weapon, to the manufacturer of responsible gun ownership.
Friday, January 19, 2018
I’m disappointed to hear that Wyoming Public Media has dropped On Point for a second installment of the BBC because by the time On Point hits the airwaves its “content is rendered obsolete.” Seriously… That’s your rationale?!
I’ve never listened to On Point and thought to myself, “Wow, what they’re talking about there is totally obsolete now.” I’d rather have a bit of slightly dated in-depth discussion than more redundant, late-breaking news—which can be too new and often inaccurate itself. And, for the record, I’m OK with hearing news from the BBC, that’s valuable to me as well, but not twice a day. I suppose no one ever considered simply switching the two program slots? I will also argue that given how easy it is to find the BBC news in so many public radio offerings (not to mention satellite radio), it’s not as if you’re bringing something really unique to your Wyoming listeners, and I’m sure On Point isn’t nearly as ubiquitous as BBC broadcasts.
Between the all-too-often dead-air SNAFUs common with Wyoming Public Media at any given time and now the dropping of On Point, I make no promises about my continued support come the spring fund-raising campaign.
Saturday, January 13, 2018
In the movie Pulp Fiction, Uma Thurman’s character, Mia Wallace, declares that you can learn a lot about a person by the choice they make when given only two choices; such as The Beatles or Elvis. She then proceeds to ask Vincent Vega (John Travolta) with her video camera rolling what his choices would be when it comes to The Partridge Family or The Brady Bunch. On Rich Man, Poor Man which character does he prefer, Peter Strauss or Nick Nolte. How does he say “thank you” in a language other than English.
Over the years, I’ve considered this fictional character’s philosophy and have come up with a few either-this-or-that questions of my own to ask anyone I might encounter. At the top of my list of questions has to do with one’s choice when it comes to carbonated drinks (soda, pop, soda pop, etc.)—in particular, Coke or Pepsi.
Since my college days at Arizona State, I have been a Coke fan. And, it was Charlie Ochoa, a chemistry major who lived a couple doors down in our dorm, who pointed out to me that Coke was made from all natural products back then. I can still remember the list of ingredients: carbonated water, sugar, caramel coloring, caffeine and phosphoric acid.
Not that I’ve ever been a huge consumer of such drinks, but there have been a few times in my life when an entire six-pack of Coke was vanquished in the course of a week.
From the 1980s on, Pepsi has always come across as flat and too sugary for my palette.
Several years ago, my place of employment—Northwest College—sold its soul to Pepsi; meaning only Pepsi products were permitted on campus. I’m sure Pepsi made the school an offer they couldn’t refuse. When all of that went down, I found it very disturbing because it felt so autocratic. It seemed to me that when one was enrolled in college, they should have choices. When they’re in jail, not so much. I was convinced that even on a small college campus, there was room for both brands of carmel-colored sugar-water.
I would imagine that shortly after Pepsi became the only choice on campus, several Coke lovers were converted to Pepsi. But as you may have guessed, not me. With no Coke available anywhere at the college, I preferred nothing (or at least water) over Pepsi.
As it turned out, I wasn’t such a Coke fan after all. Although I occasionally purchased it and kept a small cache of it stocked in my office refrigerator, I couldn’t maintain the energy that was required of such behavior. In the end, I simply learned to go without.
After so many years of abstaining from Pepsi, a strange thing happened… When I finally had the opportunity to have a Coke, it overpowered me with its sweetness to where if I drank an entire 12-ounce can, I felt a little sickly. As a result, I started making other choices that weren’t loaded with sugar—even when Coke was available.
I can’t say I’ve consciously sworn off soft drinks completely, but I can tell you it’s been several months since I even had a taste of Coke or any other drink that’s carbonated and loaded with sugar.
So, instead of cursing Northwest College and Pepsi as I once did, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them instead. I’m sure my dentist approves.
Sunday, January 07, 2018
It’s been a fabulous Christmas break, but ready or not, the Spring semester is nearly here. And with the semester’s approach is the inevitable barrage of email to my school account. It’s probably safe to assume that almost everyone hates junk email—a.k.a. “spam.” But, worse than spam from some unknown bookseller or “get-rich-quick” scheme coming from Africa is the spam that is generated by one’s own workplace—especially if it keeps on popping up in the inbox like Whac-a-Mole—the popular arcade game.
At some point in time over the last two years, some administrative folk at my workplace—Northwest College—decided that faculty needed to have their syllabi posted on the college web site as soon as the previous semester was over. And from the end of one semester up until the beginning of the next semester—would you believe all summer long or throughout the Christmas break—email reminders all too often informing me and others that our syllabi haven’t been posted yet. Talk about being treated like a student—a student attending a students-at-risk school.
The other morning I had three of them from the office of academic affairs. The first one came at 6:58 a.m. Can you believe that—sending reminders out at 6:58 a.m. about missing syllabi? And then my questions… Is this not an illustration of academic bean-counting? Is this typical administrative on-the-job behavior? Surely if one is awake at that hour and would prefer to hit the ground running, aren’t there other administrative concerns that are more pressing than sending out harassing and irritating reminders about syllabi? Hell, I’d respect them more if I knew they were up all night gambling.
I’m sure administrative-types would argue with me in the language that they use: “Please remember that posting syllabi in a timely manner allows students to make educated decisions when selecting courses to enroll in during any given semester.” Such language is certainly well-intended, but really in all the years I’ve taught, I’ve never—repeat never—have had a student ask me (in person or email), “How come your syllabus isn’t posted for class.” Not even a week before classes begin. Maybe this kind of scenario is common at Stanford or Yale, but not so much at a junior college in Wyoming.
And if I can drive my point home a bit more, I’m reminded of the first day of class for any given semester when a syllabus hard copy is passed out to every student. After the class meets, it isn’t uncommon to find a handful of the syllabus left behind on the empty desks.
This new priority in getting syllabi posted “timely” at Northwest College has a history, albeit short. When weekly notices were sent out with an attached Excel file (if you can believe it) of all the culprits starting last spring for the upcoming fall semester, faculty started getting prickly. In one email response to the entire faculty and the Academic Affairs Office, a faculty member shot out a lengthy response that including the following paragraph:
I realize this will come across as snarky, but I honestly don’t know how else to put it. I find it frustrating and puzzling that I am expected to have materials ready four months in advance. Quite honestly, if I was sitting around with the kind of time to put material together this early, I probably would have done it already. In addition to expecting me to have materials ready four months before something is supposed to occur, using a “wall of shame” mechanism such as these messages is just insulting to me.