Saturday, October 22, 2005

PLEASED AS PUNCH by Chunk

OK, so on Friday, after my morning class, I headed to UPS to make some fliers. Then I headed south to Saddleback College to distribute said fliers and to take some pics, only, it was a pretty dreary looking day, and that sucked bigtime.

I rolled up to that parking lot near Fine Arts, where I spotted a snazzy little sports car. Blue, I think. I recalled driving around the campus one day a few years ago and spotting a car just like this one. It was driven, I thought, by a certain theatrical fellow—one of the Scandalous Boys—the kind that used to control the union so it could bail ‘em out of scrapes. ("Scrapes" is a euphemism.) This particular Scandalous Boy used to leave me unpleasant voicemail messages in which he breathed so heavily that he seemed on the verge of unconsciousness, or climax. Blecccch! (See “the Character of the Opposition” in the ARCHIVES: November ’98.)

One time, when I was at a restaurant with a friend, Scandal Boy happened to be there too, eatin’ fries; he spotted me and, after a few minutes, he worked up the courage to stand up, point at me, and declare: “He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword!” He trembled and quaked. We stared at him. What was the matter with the fellow?

Seeing this car again made me think: hey, what about cars? I mean, the kind of car a person drives says a lot about ‘im. Me, for instance, I drive a beat-up old Honda, which tells you either that I eschew materialism, or that I am a slob. Take your pick.

Well, Scandal Boy seems to drive a car that says, “Girls! Over here! Look at ME!” plus “Cash to burn!”

Anyway, I headed for the Fine Arts division, where I found the faculty mail plus a secretary who was sitting next to a box with a phone on it. She seemed aware of how it looked. She squinted up at me and said something like, “I guess this looks pretty stupid.”

“Well, it is special,” I said.

She explained that “they” had taken the furniture and so she was stuck, sittin’ there next to a box and a phone, and she sure hoped they’d bring that furniture back soon. “What am I supposed to do? Sit here like this by this phone?” she said.

On my way to the Library, I came across a really old guy who seemed to be dying right there in the grass. “Diversity,” thought I.

Walking past the old Board Room brought back memories of Nazis and Irv Rubin; of screaming students and shouting demonstrators; of Frogueian rants about the CIA and the ADL and the DAR. (See ARCHIVES: January & June ’98.)

Ah, the good old days!

I headed up to the third floor, where the denizens of BGS are now housed, now that BGS has been declared toxic. Somebody told me that they might actually have to tear that building down! Recently, Dangerous Bob told me that, when he enters BGS, he starts coughing, but he was coughing when he said it, and we weren’t in BGS, so what can you say.

It was weird going through the automatic door into the third floor offices. I looked askance for Chancellors and toadies, but then I realized that the district is now elsewhere, uptown.

After I put fliers in mailboxes, I took some snaps of the Dilbert-style cubicle hell that Liberal Arts and Business faculty now call home. It was a Friday, and so I didn’t spot any faculty, just a cute 18-year old girl in one of the modules who was telling another girl, on the other side of a partition, how she was gonna do something outrageous to break up with her boyfriend. She declared that she was giving up on dating. “Ha!” said the other girl.

I briefly visited the portion of the third floor that once housed the Chancellor. As I approached the “zone of glass,” I encountered a secretary who looked squarely at me and barked: “Who are YOU?” I told her I was distributing fliers. I handed her one. She studied it and screwed up her face a bit. “Oh,” she said, unpleasantly.

I snagged a copy of the latest Lariat, the student newspaper, which seems to have been inspired by the district’s “get hotties” marketing campaign, for, on the front page is an eye-catching investigative piece about the self-indulgence of American youth. The article focuses on “18 and older clubs” where young women dance around, get drunk, and strut their stuff.

The accompanying photos of assorted "hotties" are pretty amazing. (See.) Here are some excerpts from the article:

"Most older guys just stare at you," said Danielle Wilson, 18, real estate. "It doesn't really bother me because they don't try to touch you or anything."
....
Neither Club Glam nor The Boogie discourage the use of cameras, and camera phones pointed under a skirt or down a woman's cleavage are commonplace.
.....
Clubs such as The Boogie pay professional go-go type dancers to entertain. Male or female, these dancers strip down to their underwear while dancing seductively for the crowd. If these dancers remove their clothing, additional permits for a figure model studio (strip facility) may be required….
...
While the federal government is cracking down on the pornography industry, the young women of middle-class America seem to be emulating it. Many are wondering where the line of social acceptance will finally be drawn.


We at Dissent have a pretty good idea where the district draws that line these days: at “hotties and happiness”! (See “Money and Hotties,” ARCHIVE: September ’05.)

Over at Math, I managed to get past the sentries to distribute my fliers. Jeez, there sure are lots of faculty over in Math. It was wearin’ me out, poppin’ those fliers in all those boxes. I was sweatin'.

The last time I did this, a secretary, still sitting at her desk, roared:: “Who are YOU? What are YOU doing here?!”

“I’m just distributing fliers. I’m from IVC.”

The bit about IVC didn’t help. She roared again: “next time, tell me before you do that!”

But, this time, I must’ve done something right. I think that, unconsciously, I chose to affect the carefree attitude of someone distributing Carl’s Junior coupons. That is, I looked pleasant and vapid and pleased-as-punch. When the two secretary types came around and spotted me, they said nothing. They even smiled!

Next, I drove up to the new building and parked near the reserved parking. I spotted an impressive Mercedes in one of the reserved spaces, and I figured it was the Chancellor’s. I'd seen it once before. I wrote down the model number. Later, I determined that this car goes for about fifty grand. Maybe more. Wow.

An old TV show theme song started to play in my head: “…to that Deee-luxe apartment, in the skyyyyyy!”

I took pictures of the Mercedes. I very nearly left one of my fliers under one of Raghu’s windshield wipers. But then I thought, “what would Rebel Girl do?” I walked away from the Mercedes and straight into the new building.

I took some snaps of the new boardroom. I took a picture, too, of the picture of Mr. Goo, just outside the room. (See.) In the photo, he seems terribly pleased.

A few minutes later, the elevator opened, and I beheld the Sentry Station for the district area. It’s pretty impressive. The woman sitting behind the counter popped her head out, craned her neck to the right, and said, “Who are YOU? What are YOU doing here?”

I asked her if I could go inside. “No,” she said.

“Well, how do I get inside?”

“If you have an appointment with someone, I could call them, and verify that you’re supposed to be here. Then I’d let you in.”

“Oh.” I paused. “So I can’t just go in there and take some pictures?”

“No.”

I smiled and thanked her. Despite my affected pleased-as-punch vapidity, I do believe she thought I might be a terrorist. I got out of there fast.

Maybe I got this scrambled—could be—but I think it was somewhere in the new building that I spotted the much ballyhooed nurses program facility. It was locked. I looked inside. The room was exactly like an intensive care unit. It looked good. I spotted a patient in one of the beds. His head was foam. His eyes were buttons.

Wow, they’ve got an ICU unit with mannequins! How cool is that?

Back out at the parking lot, I took another snap of Raghu’s car. It was beautiful. It seemed to say: “I’m rich and I’m better, much better, than you!”

It seemed to point at me. It said: “it is much better to seem just than to be just.”

I climbed into my Honda and, amid the gloom, I headed home. --CW

Thursday, October 20, 2005

CALL BACK TOMORROW?

SOBER TRUTH #17:
“WHEN PEOPLE CONTACT US FOR INFO, WE TELL 'EM TO CALL BACK TOMORROW”!


This morning, a friend called to explain that, at about 8:00 a.m., she had called “information” at Irvine Valley College (451-5100). A pleasant recorded message thanked her for calling the college and then provided various extensions. It then said,

“At any time during this message you may press zero for an operator.”

Well, my friend pressed zero. But she didn’t get an operator. She got another recorded message. It said: “There is no operator available at this moment to assist you. If this is an emergency, please call campus police at 949 451-5234. Otherwise, please call us back tomorrow.”

Call us tomorrow!??

Well, I was busy until about 12:15 today. At that point, I called IVC information myself. "Surely," thought I, "by now they've scraped somebody up to man the phone!"

Nope. I got the same message: ”CALL US BACK TOMORROW”!

What’s goin’ on here? Isn’t the college desperately looking for ways to address our enrollments problem? I mean, we’ve formed committees and administration has done lots of finger-pointing: It’s our calendar! –No, it’s those pesky 5-unit courses! –No, it’s our reputation (i.e., “stigma”) for these ridiculously high standards! –No, it's….

--MAYBE IT'S THAT, WHEN PEOPLE CALL THIS !#*%!! COLLEGE FOR INFORMATION, THEY'RE TOLD TO CALL AGAIN TOMORROW!

So I went over to the information desk in the middle of A100 to see what was up. The likable Cathy is usually there.

Now, there’s no more central spot in the entire college than that desk.


Nobody was there. I kid you not! There was a sign. (See.) It said that the info desk was closed and it wouldn’t open until 5:00!

Is anyone in charge at this college? Anybody at all?

Chunk Wheeler

CURING AND CORRECTING?

As you know, last month, the board violated the Brown Act. On the 13th, it held a closed session (in the "Catalina Room" of a hotel in Dana Point) and discussed matters that were not agendized, thereby robbing citizens of their opportunity and right to weigh in on the topic prior to board discussion and decision-making. Further, it discussed matters that are not allowed in closed session.

Hey, the whole idea of "open meeting" laws like the Ralph M. Brown Act is to make "legislative bodies" do their work in the open, to the degree possible! No secrets! That means you, John!

Well, it now appears that, at the Monday board meeting, the Board will "cure or correct" its violation(s). At least, that's how I interpret item 20 of the agenda for Monday's meeting. (See.) I'm not sure. I mean, what else could be going on?


I'm impressed!

For a fuller account of the Board's history re the Brown Act, see "The Board of Secrets" in the Archives (September 27). (Go to the upper right of this site: Archives, September.)

UPDATE! (I.e., "Uh-Oh")

I Just looked up 54960.1 (to which agenda item 20 refers) . 54960.1 says:

54960.1 where it is found that a legislative body of the local agency has violated this chapter. The costs and fees shall be paid by the local agency and shall not become a personal liability of any public officer or employee of the local agency.

A court may award court costs and reasonable attorney fees to a defendant in any action brought pursuant to Section 54960 or 54960.1 where the defendant has prevailed in a final determination of such action and the court finds that the action was clearly frivolous and totally lacking in merit.


I am no longer impressed. Given the portion of the Brown Act the Chancellor cites, it appears that the Board intends, not to cure or correct, but to pass a resolution according to which the recent "demand of cure or correct" is unwarranted, and that any litigation along those lines would be "clearly frivolous."

Translation: if you pursue this, you'll have to pay our attorney fees. And that's big money.

Say hello to the ol' "deep pockets" strategy! (Am I wrong?) --CW

Monday, October 17, 2005

Sober Truth Hotline Heating Up!

This just in:

A student reports that the mouse who made the cameo appearance in "Mouseberries" is a regular or longterm resident of that classroom. Perhaps the mouse is auditing? Picking up some GE units?

The much ballyhooed Laser Technology Optics Lab appears to be dead--or as dead as a low energy photon.

Sources say there is apparently a facility on campus that is rented out to the private sector (near or around the B Complex) for mysterious testing purposes--and said facility is staffed by someone who is someone's father (say no more).

But there is more: Tests! All in the Family! Meathead! Area 51! Art Bell! Anti-gravity! Chem Trails! Autopsies! What is buried in the old orange grove anyway?

We can't tell unless you tell us.

The truth is out there.

Go find it.

--Rebel Girl

Sunday, October 16, 2005

ONE THOUSAND SOBER TRUTHS or "There's a Hole in My Beckett"

by Rebel Girl (always sober, generally peevish)

“The lie which elates us is dearer than a thousand sober truths.”

—Pushkin


A thousand sober truths is work-in-progress—and we welcome your contributions. We begin with the first baker’s dozen: doors, telephones, floors, furniture, undergarments—and yes, more tiny livestock. Moo.

Please note that readers can now “comment” by clicking “comments” at the end of the entry and, yes, if one wishes, one can comment anonymously. (Whew!) Or else, one can always forward sober truths to any of our reporters.

For origins of the sober truths, see “Mouseberries":

http://dissenttheblog.blogspot.com/2005/09/mouseberries-by-rebel-girl.html

(So far, all contributions reference IVC.)

ONE THOUSAND SOBER TRUTHS:


1) The automatic door opening device (the one allowing differently-abled people to access easily) on the A-200 building has been broken (at least) since the beginning of the semester (late August). Every day, I press it and every day it declines to open the door. Now, it might be observed that this is the only door equipped with this device in the A-200 building. I suppose those who need to use it to access the building are forced to rely, like Blanche Dubois, on the kindness of strangers. Fortunately there are plenty of kind souls in the A-200 building. Violation of the American with Disabilities Act? Simply an oversight? An unwitting homage to “A Streetcar Named Desire”? (UPDATE: the automatic door operating device was finally fixed the week of October 10 – whew!)

2) Major Tom to Ground Control. During the first week of classes, all phone calls to the campus operator were seemingly redirected out into space or, perhaps, to La Habra, or say, Belgrade or Belfast, and people were left on hold for upwards of 35 minutes. This was documented, once by an employee who, having dialed the front desk and received no pick up, just ring after ring after ring, walked with the ringing cel phone to the front desk only to be told by the substitute there that the operator’s telephone wasn’t ringing at all because it was automatically forwarded!

3) The person who meant to sit at the (new!) information desk in the Student Services Center to help redirect people when offices are closed doesn't begin working until 9:00--when all the other offices open up anyway. Hmmm.

4) Victoria's Secret? Classrooms are "outfitted" with torn underwear, bathrobes, and various other items of often intimate apparel serving as rags to erase perennially dirty white boards!

5) Sources say that televised meetings of the Board of Trustees are "edited" to remove trustees' angry faces and outbursts.

6) IVC map boards. Designers failed to recognize that the plexiglass holders, tilted at a perfect angle to cook in the So Cal sun all day, will fade the already pale maps of IVC before you can say “midterm”! Why the designers can’t learn what the legions of Eagle Scouts who produce this kind of project on a regular basis know leaves me puzzled. (UPDATE: new map boards appear to be under construction. Wait and see.)

7) Podia. One podium currently in use has a bite out of it. Really. (Check it out in A-202!) Others tilt more than the leaning tower of Pisa. One was once repaired by the students themselves (there’s initiative for you!). Others fail to hold books, lecture notes. Some disappear entirely leaving a crop circle-like shadow on the floor.

8) Holes in classroom ceilings which attract tiny livestock. Perhaps the livestock feed on the podia when class is not in session.

9) The collection of broken, breaking, abandoned and stained furniture in the so-called “lounge” in A-200 – suitable, perhaps for that production of “Waiting for Godot” that Susan Sontag staged in Sarajevo at the height of the war but a bit disconcerting to find in use at a community college. What message is the college trying to send to the folks who visit? Read more Beckett?

10) Those $500 telephones that now sparkle in every classroom (I may not have a podium—and the faculty lounge may host—publicly—the kind of furniture one expects to find in flop houses or wartime theater—but my classroom does have a telephone that, with its jet-pack good looks, makes me imagine that it can fly.) While I am all for some kind of communication system with the outside world, these particular models offer more bang than required for mundane classroom use. I hear students enjoy them, though, as often these landlines offer better reception than the students’ own cell phones. Me, I’d rather have a sturdy podium, batteries for the wall clock, a mousetrap or two, and maybe an old-fashioned wall phone that connects immediately to campus security. Or, perhaps, the cell phone number of the chief of campus security. (Ah, wish granted this week—I now have the cell phone number for the campus security chief. Ring-a-ding.)


11) Portable or temporary classrooms nearly as old as the students who sit in them. One of my students was born in 1989. At least these classrooms do provide shelter for the youthful rodents and tiny livestock who reside beneath them. Next time you stroll to your portable classroom, make the rounds of the perimeter and check out the digs. Note the cute rounded archways of the mouse holes, just like in the cartoons! See the rodents and bunnies busily at work. Marvel at the size of one particular gap under the steps of those far flung CEC buildings (CEC 5? CEC 6? You know, the ones out near the pumpkin patch) and imagine what kind of creature crawls in there at night!

12) A-203 (nickname: “fishbowl”), a dreary but often a prized classroom nonetheless by faculty who utilize small group work, received “new” chairs last year—large, almost-impossible-to-move blue chairs that dwarf the tables and crowd the already small quarters. Rumor has it that these chairs were “freebies” or “promotional items”—the gist being that somehow they were a deal and we were lucky to get ‘em. All was fine with the chairs, except, of course for the extreme immobility part and the crowded floor plan—just ask students with access issues or even a faculty member with lots of equipment. Then, during the course of summer, the carpeting was removed and replaced by linoleum, and now the floor, two months into the fall semester, is a Jackson Pollock-like kinetic design of black scrawls—disturbing, strangely compelling, and plainly publicly filthy. (Note: Pollock isn’t filthy—he’s a genius—but the A-203 floor is.)

13) B-104 has missing ceiling tiles, and has for years. Every rainy season there is a major leak in that area of the roof. The seemingly long-term solution appears to be this: once the first storm of the season arrives, a large trash barrel is placed in the middle of the room to catch the water. Perhaps this saves money that would otherwise be spent on roof repair and ceiling tiles. Fiscal conservatives, rejoice: join hands and dance around the plastic barrel. Besides, the trash barrel and the rain adds a special something to the classroom: namely a kind of industrial bleakness and dread, a Home Depot kind of despair, and the dependable plunk-plunk-plunk inspires more of the existential drama evocative of the late Irish playwright Beckett.

Ah, the theater.

—That’s all for now, folks. Stay dry. —Rebel Girl

CALLING ALL HEROES! by Red Emma

“There are some people who think that to understand something allows them to put it in the drawer of nicely arranged memories and let it rest. They are the lunatics who think that a ghost can be exorcised by inviting it to dinner and requiring it to use table service and a napkin.”

—from Calling All Heroes, by Paco Ignacio Taibo


Red Emma appreciates the unguarded confession, the unintended verity, the irony which cannot speaks its name because it cannot look down at its jacket lapel and read its own nametag.

Back when Emma was just a little activist, he packed into a room at UCLA with a crowd of other Central America peace types to shout down some invited members of the ruling El Salvadoran government (“Hi! My name is Death Squad”), a bunch of thugs in tight-fitting suits who took it quietly enough from us for a while (they were getting a stipend, after all) until one of them stood up, walked to the edge of the stage, pulled out his index finger, aimed it at us and warned, “It is easy for you to be Socialists in this rich country, but it is not so easy in mine.”

No, in his rich country we would have been shot and raped and our bodies dismembered, the guns and bayonets provided by Ron Reagan, the killers trained by the U.S. military. Get it? In fact, in his rich country, he would have killed us. Ironic, huh?

My favorite recent admission: “Hmmm, I’m unfamiliar with IVC.” Here is where I’m supposed to cop authorially to one of those, my emphasis added, deals or a nifty “(sic),” but the emphasis was there already, and all theirs. This elegant admission erupted from the lips of a higher ed academic colleague, one of that variety of apparent political innocents who have somehow either avoided the news, missed it, refused to embrace the argot of the moment (“IVC” = “disaster”) and who now consider anybody with a bee in their bonnet (like Red) so outside the realm of acceptable discourse as to perhaps be lying to them about everything, perhaps even about the very existence of Irvine Valley College, and generally to be a big fat bummer.

In conversation with these folks, I never know how much I can assume, and so I never quite know how much to explain toward making our jolly conversation make sense at even basic sentence level. It’s like my own lapel, and the button on it. If at this point in the war you don’t, for instance, understand what “He Lied, They Died,” means, where to start?

After pretending not to know, there’s the effort to equalize, balance and smooth all things out, to reconcile and to accommodate, to deny an analysis, and to always, always, see both sides to every argument. It causes me to think that maybe these gentle people were busy that day at college twenty years ago and didn’t show up to hear the representatives of the Moral Equivalent of Our Founding Fathers threaten a bunch of kids at a university campus. Maybe they were pledging a frat or going out for cheerleading. (More on that later.)

To review: The “He” in “He Lied, They Died,” is George W. Bush (and possibly his toady, Colin Powell). It refers to the administration’s lie about the purpose and motivation for overthrowing and occupying Iraq, and starting a civil war. (Get your own button at www.thenation.org)

More review: Our community college district has been the locus (I almost wrote "locust") of, in no particular order, the ascendancy of a first-class maroon to the office first of IVC presidency, then district chancellor, attacks on gay rights, dozens of lost lawsuits by a district which hires lawyers for kicks, and, yes, a weirdo conspiracy theorist Holocaust denier, not to mention the declaration of war on Spain by the former chair of the OC GOP.

Now are you familiar with IVC, you big dope?

And there’s more IVC in the news, if you want to find it. A fews weeks ago one Earl Krugel of the Jewish Defense League was sentenced to twenty years for conspiring to blow up a mosque. Perhaps some are not familiar with Earl and the late Irv Rubin, who took his own life in Metropolitan Jail, both of the JDL, a far-right Zionist hate group likely responsible for the murder of activist Alex Odeh and linked, as it happens, to our little district from hell. Searching Dissent on-line archives will scare up an unlikely “appreciation” of Irv by Yours Redly, where the Zionist-Palestinian-Frogueian Nexus of Historical Incredulity is explained. Really, it is.

Meanwhile, I just read Paco Taibo’s Calling All Heroes, a startlingly imaginative, wonderfully disjointed and moving novel about the massacre of Mexican students by their own government in 1968, which Taibo himself witnessed, if by “witnessed” you include being beaten on the head and shot at. This little book provided me some inspiration for my trip on a recent Friday morning to the campus of Santa Ana High School, where I encountered a whole squad of administrators. Let’s assume that they were not there to welcome me as I distributed anti-military recruitment fliers to students on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild. No, the Security Lady, principal, and football coach told me to leave the private property of their public high school. I walked across the street, and distributed about 1,000 fliers. Sure, I had thought, it was odd that the journalism teacher warned me administration was “so conservative here.” But then, as if to prove it, she hid her face—I kid you not—and whispered to me before fleeing, “Oh, no, the principal.”

A brief internet search identifies the principal as a deacon in a religious outfit called the United Church of God and points to his hosting of, yes, candidate George W. at Santa Ana High School. You can’t make this stuff up. It’s comforting, in fact, how easily one’s impressions are confirmed here in the OC. Check out Wikipedia for kooky religious groups. Remember Herbert Armstrong? It turns out that the principal of a giant public high school in Orange County is a right-wing, pro-military, pro-W. religious goof who digs the GOP, and believes in:

The Premillennialist belief in the return of Jesus Christ to rule the earth from Jerusalem.

That the dead are unconscious after death awaiting a resurrection at Christ’s return.

The existence of Satan, who currently has primary influence over the world.

The identity of the United States and Britain as the descendants of the Israelite tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim. This belief is also shared by the Christian Identity movement, of which the UCG is not generally considered a part.

The rise of a European Beast power as the revival of the Roman Empire who will conquer the United States and attempt to fight Christ at the latter’s return.

Abstinence from pork and other meats, and declining to observe holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, New Year, and St. Patrick’s Day.


No wonder they hate me. I recognize the Antichrist’s return to Downey to rule the world, using zip codes and fluoridation. I believe the dead are unconscious but that they are also Republicans. I see the identity of the United States and Britain as descendants of the Stoogist tribes of Moe and Curley but definitely not Shemp. And so on. (I hope these folks like Halloween, but I kinda doubt it.)

The high school kids I met that morning were amazing, wearing a uniform hipster blend of old-school punk (Ramones, Dead Kennedys) and heavy metal black, always black (viva 1968!) t-shirts, tight-fitting blue jeans, friendship bracelets and long hair. They all stopped to talk, and to take more brochures inside. A self-identified ROTC student told me he hated his ROTC instructor. I explained fragging. The MEChA students said they’d invite me in for a debate.

I returned to my car after an hour, illegally parked in the Visitors Space, just in time for the Security Lady to give me a ticket. She observed my IVC parking sticker—“IVC, huh?” and I wondered what she meant, but mostly I thought about the Taibo novel, which is not to say that I am equating the reactionaries and Unfamiliaristas of our county with the crimes of a state against its children thirty-five years ago. Except that I couldn’t help but think I had sure been going in that direction as I joked and chatted with sixteen year olds who knew exactly why the military wanted their souls and understood exactly what my lousy button meant.

All of this to say that my editor at Dissent encouraged me to write about the proposal by some cheerful IVC students—and the apparent assent by instructors and administrators!—to initiate or continue a cheerleading group or club or whatever, but who find themselves faced with the vexing problem of leading cheers absent a genuine mascot. For those of you unfamiliar with Irvine Valley College, our school’s proud mascot is, yes, the Laser. That’s right, the LASER, probably the only mascot in the country that is actually an acronym (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation). Wikipedia is again helpful here, if helpful means confusing, but I liked this bit a whole lot: “The verb ‘to lase’ means ‘to produce coherent light’ or possibly ‘to cut or otherwise treat with coherent light,’ and is a back-formation of the term ‘laser.’”

Red Emma eschews organized sports, but I swear I recognized the term “back-formation” from childhood days when I was forced to watch television football war-play as the uncles digested their turkey and drank Coors and the US of A dropped tonnage on Laos, Cambodia, Viet Nam, and so on. Back formation seems to me the way in here, Dear Reader, toward satisfying my editor, toward helping out the big IVC team (not that we even have a football team), toward familiarizing the unfamiliar and generally contributing to a discussion about history and its ghosts. It’s possible there is an IVC basketball team. I know that there used to be a petanque court, so that, whether b-ball or p-ball, you’ll want to forget everything you ever knew and instead cough up some of that ole’ school spirit on behalf of the nation’s unlikeliest mascot.

Lasers, lasers, we’re all right!
We’re a coherent beam of light!

Got no football, got no team!
We’re a bright red laser beam!

Pass that photon! Stimulate emission!
We’re on another PR mission!

Vision correction! Muscle repair!
Remove unsightly body hair!

We’re the district that hates the Spanish!
Our mascot makes glaucoma vanish!

Who’s the district that had the Denier?
And a Chancellor who’s still a liar?

Lasers, lasers.
Go laaaaaaaaaasers!

Dave Lang sometimes voted fairness!
Now he votes to keep his Chairness!

Fool, this ain’t no low-enrolled school!
It’s an expensive hi-tech tool!

Put on your goggles, cover your cornea!
We was number one in California!

You think right now your eyes are burning?
Wait till we use Distance Learning!

WE WILL, WE WILL
BLIND YOU!

Attack the Senate and governance shared!
Keep the faculty stupid and scared!

2, 4, 6, 8!
WASC will not accreditate!
Irvine! Irvine! Irvine!


Red Emma

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

✅ Trump Encourages Racist Conspiracy Theory on Kamala Harris’s Eligibility to Be Vice President NYT ✅ Orange County Sees Overall Coronavirus...

Goals and Values and Twaddle

blather: long-winded talk with no real substance*
The whole concept of MSLOs [measurable student learning outcomes] as the latest fad in education is somewhat akin to the now discredited fad of the '90's, Total Quality Management, or TQM. Essentially, the ACCJC adopted MSLOs as the overarching basis for accrediting community colleges based on their faith in the theoretical treatises of a movement.... After repeated requests for research showing that such use of MSLOs is effective, none has been forthcoming from the ACCJC [accreditors]. Prior to large scale imposition of such a requirement at all institutions, research should be provided to establish that continuous monitoring of MSLOs has resulted in measurable improvements in student success at a given institution. No such research is forthcoming because there is none….
The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)
In the summer of ’13, I offered a critique of the awkward verbiage by which the district and colleges explain their values, goals, and objectives —aka SOCCCD'S G&V (goals and values) blather.
I wrote a post each for the district, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College efforts. (See the links below.)
This verbiage—stated in terms of “values,” “missions,” “goals,” “visions,” and whatnot—is often badly written. It is sometimes embarrassingly trite.
It occasionally communicates something worthwhile.
No doubt you are familiar with the usual objections to jargon. Higher education, too, has its jargon—an irony, given typical college-level instruction in writing, which urges jargon eschewery.
Sure enough, SOCCCD G&V blather is riddled with jargon and with terms misused and abused. For instance, in the case of the district’s dubious blather, the so-called “vision” is actually a purpose. Why didn't they just call it that?
As one slogs through this prattle, one finds that "visions" tend to be awfully similar to “missions,” with which they are distinguished. The latter in turn are awfully similar to “goals,” which must be distinguished from “objectives.” But aren't goals and objectives pretty much the same thing?
These perverse word games will surely perplex or annoy anyone armed with a command of the English language. In fact, readers will be perplexed to the degree that they are thus armed. Illiterates, of course, will be untroubled.
Here's a simple point: the district and colleges’ G&V blather tends to eschew good, plain English in favor of technical terms and trendy words and phrases (i.e., it tends to be bullshitty and vague). Thus, one encounters such trendy terminological turds as “dynamic,” “diversity,” “student success,” and “student-centered.” Even meretricious neologisms such as ISLOs and “persistence rates” pop up, unexplained, undefended.
Does anyone see a transparency problem with all of this? Shouldn't the public, or at least the well educated public, be able to comprehend statements of the colleges' goals and values?
In the case of the district, to its credit, all it really seems to want to say is that it wants to teach well and it wants students to succeed. Admirable!
So why all the ugly, common-sense defying, buzzword-encrusted claptrap?

Districtular poppycock: our “vision” and our “mission” and our tolerance of twaddle - July 31, 2013

THEY BUZZ: Saddleback College's "Mission, Vision, and Values" - August 4, 2013

IVC’s vision, mission, and goals: nonsense on stilts - August 5, 2013

THE IRVINE VALLEY CHRONICLES: no ideas, just clichés & buzzwords - Sep 30, 2013

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary