Thursday, December 27, 2018

Young whippersnappers

   Met with an old friend last night. Hadn't seen him for years. We'd always shared a near fanatical love of music. In the old days—30 years ago—each of us would introduce the other to beloved music, old and new. It was great.
   Last night he acknowledged that, in recent years, he just stopped listening to new music, that he only listens to the old stuff.
   That's a shame, I thought. There's so much great new music out there—though I mostly fail trying to keep up. So I sent him a list of links to some newish music that I managed to hear, including one song by Car Seat Headrest, a band led by a young whippersnapper with quite a future, I think.
   Here the Headrests do one of their own plus Neil Young's great "Powderfinger," which is from the 70s, I think. (I was a grad student, house-sitting in Laguna Beach, when that came out. I remember it like it was yesterday.)
   Hail, hail, whippersnappers!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A Seventies Xmas Eve (@ the homestead, and for the last time)

From my Philco radio, 1972

In college, I listened a lot to Mott the Hoople—and the Kinks. Saw the latter there (at UCI). School Boys in Disgrace!

     On Xmas Eve, my bro's kids came in, like a land invasion. Soon, Adam played jazz on one of the old guitars—God, he's good!—and Sarah played Mozart on the shitty, old piano. The twins—they were rocking' some Hershey's chocolate, feet tapping, eyes darting. 
     Natalie had forgotten to bring her sax. Dang!
     Yeah, from the two ends of the old Bauer homestead, Adam and Sarah played—mostly at the same time! Noisy but good. Even Ma smiled, eyes closed, in her wheel chair in the corner.
     At one point, out of the blue, Sarah started playing Bohemian Rhapsody, and even Jan noticed and strained to hear. 
     Magic filled the house. I felt that, somehow, we had all somehow converged on 1975, my 1975, when I listened (much too closely) to Mott the Hoople—and, yes, even to Freddie M. and the boys.
     An' these kids! They're just full of surprises!
     Long live rock & Xmas Eve

Memphis, 1975 - another favorite musical moment in time; Big Star's 3rd

Everybody, it seems, loves BR, one way or another

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