Saturday, June 13, 2020

MOTHERLY LOVE: a detailed examination of the Original Mothers of Invention (1965-69)

American way
How did it start?
Thousands of creeps
Killed in the park

American way
Try and explain
Scab of a nation 
Driven insane 

Don't cry 

Gotta go bye bye 
Suddenly die, die 
Cop kill a creep, pow pow pow

American way
Threatened by us
Drag a few creeps 
Away in a bus 

American way 
Prisoner: lock 
Smash every creep 
In the face with a rock

Don't cry
Gotta go bye bye
Suddenly: die die
Cop kill a creep!
Pow pow pow

     It's music appreciation time, boys and girls! One of my favorite bands—in part for sentimental reasons (my late bro was a HUGE fan)—is the original Mothers of Invention. They were pretty wild, man—sometimes, downright unlistenable!
     I'm talkin' about the band that existed from May, 1965, until it was deliberately disbanded, by leader Frank Zappa, in late '69. The versions of the Mothers that Zappa assembled after that aren't nearly so interesting to me. 

     Plus these original guys loved doo-wop. And so do I!
     But I've always found it difficult keeping track of who was in the original Mothers, given the band's many personnel changes and the many iterations of "Mothers" bands after the original band disbanded in late 1969, sometimes including original Muthas.
     Part of the problem is keeping track of the faces in all the old photographs.
     Below is my effort to get this stuff sorted.

     (Instructions included. See map below.)

The Mutha-Land (click on map)


     In 1965, R&B bar band the Soul Giants, which had formed in 1964, fired their guitarist, prompting singer Ray Collins to invite his friend Frank Zappa to replace him. With Zappa on-board and starting to change things around, the band’s saxophonist/leader quit, leaving four Giants: newby Zappa (guitar), Collins (singer), Roy Estrada (bass), and Jimmy Carl Black (drums). 
     This remnant of the Soul Giants soon renamed themselves the “Mothers”—as in "mother f*ckers"—and agreed to play Zappa’s compositions, with the promise that the revamped band would thereby secure a recording contract. 
     Collins, Estrada, Black, and Zappa are the core of that 60s band we now remember as the “Mothers of Invention.” (The record company, fearing offensiveness, insisted on adding “of Invention”). With the quasi-exception of Ray Collins, who repeatedly quit and rejoined, each of these four musicians stayed with the band until its sudden resolution, by Zappa, in late ‘69. The subsequent “Mothers,” starting in 1970, featured a revolving door of musicians, often including some of the old gang. But these post-60s Mothers were not the same as the original Mothers. The new band(s), much more than the first, were simply Frank Zappa’s sidemen, albeit occasionally stellar ones (Steve Vai, et al.).

     A surprising number of musicians, including some notable ones, joined the original Mothers band—and then left or were fired—in the months prior to the group's first recording in early 1966. I discuss them in the pages below. 
     That part of the story is pretty dang interesting.
     Guitarist Elliot Ingber was with the Mothers when they recorded their premier album in March of 1966. But Ingber was soon fired over drug use. Notoriously, Zappa did not tolerate drug use—an eccentricity perhaps reflecting paranoia about police.
     Saxophonist James “Motorhead” Sherwood, a very old friend of Zappa’s (1956), was a Mothers constant, though he did not become an official musician/member until late 1967. 
     Don Preston (keyboards) and Bunk Gardner (woodwinds) had briefly palled around with Zappa several years prior to the formation of the Mothers, the three having amused themselves playing “experimental” music together. Preston and Gardner were auditioned and hired during recording of that first album and remained with the unit until the end, in '69.
     With the exception of drummer Billy Mundi (1966-68) and woodwindist Ian Underwood (1967-69), other members of the 1960s Mothers were relatively transient. More on those people—both men and women—below!

Jimmy Carl Black
(1938 – 2008)
"Hi boys and girls. I'm Jimmy Carl
Black and I'm the Indian of the group!"

     Jimmy Carl Black, who hailed from Texas, was the original drummer for the Soul Giants, which, after Zappa’s joining in 1965, quickly morphed into the Mothers. He was an important member of the band—especially during their live, essentially unplanned, shows (punctuated by random intrusions directed by Zappa's hand signals)—until its breakup in late ’69. 
     After the Mothers, Black’s career faded, though he eventually toured with the Grandmothers.
     Jimmy moved to Italy in 1992 and then to Germany in 1995.
     Steely Dan’s Walter Becker unsuccessfully lobbied the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for Black's inclusion as a founding member of The Mothers of Invention, when Steely Dan was inducted in 2001. (Zappa, not the Mothers, was inducted back in 1995.)
     Black was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2008, and died on November 1, 2008 in Traunstein, Germany. 

Ray Collins
(1936 – 2012)
What's with all the crazy music, Frank?

In 1964, singer Ray Collins, drummer Jimmy Carl Black, bassist Roy Estrada, saxophonist (and leader) Dave Coronado, and guitarist Ray Hunt formed The Soul Giants, which specialized in R&B covers.

In 1965, Collins asked his pal Zappa to take over as guitarist in the Soul Giants, after a fight between Collins and Hunt. Zappa convinced the Soul Giants that they should play his music to increase their chances of getting a record contract. Dubious Davy then quit. The band was renamed the “Mothers” on Mother’s Day (May), 1965. ("Muthas" as in "mother-f*ckers.")

They soon had a contract.

Ray, unhappy with Zappa’s experimentalism, quit the band after Absolutely Free but rejoined for Ruben and the Jets, in which Collins’ singing is especially prominent.

After the Muthas disbanded, Collins, a fine singer, largely faded from public view; he eventually settled in Claremont, California where he remained until his death in 2012, aged 76. O
wing to Zappa’s treatment of the band, he was perhaps the most bitter of the original Mothers, eschewing reunions. The band had started as an essentially democratic organization, with Zappa as musical director, but, toward the end, it seemed to become an autocracy with Zappa's personal issues adversely affecting his relationship with the band.

While in the band, Collins often complained about Zappa’s experimentalism and embrace of uncommercial music. Zappa plainly desired commercial success, but his increasingly eccentric musical direction seemed to ensure the band's remaining at pop music's margins. Recall that Collins was the one who brought Zappa into the Soul Giants—which then became the Mothers.

Ray Collins’ niece/protege Shay Collins has been leading her own mission to preserve the memory of Ray Collins (she is in a rock duo called Mother Legacy).

Roy Estrada
(1943 -     ) 
Bassist; singer; pedophile

     Orange Countian truck driver Roy Estrada was a founding member of the Soul Giants, the band from which the Mothers of Invention were formed. Prior to Soul Giants, he briefly fronted his own band.
     For the Mothers, Estrada played bass guitar, but he also sang vocals—often in a falsetto for the doo-wop numbers that Zappa, and some of the others band members, loved so much.
     Estrada formed the band Little Feat with Lowell George, Richie Hayward and Bill Payne in 1969, playing bass and singing backing vocals on their first two albums. In 1972, he quit to join Captain Beefheart's Magic Band where he supplemented Rockette Morton’s bass playing, thus allowing the latter to play guitar for live shows. “Roy toured the US and Europe with the Magic Band in 1972 and 1973.
     Estrada has also done session work as a bassist.
     In the 90s, Estrada, then back in Orange County, was convicted of "lewd acts with a child." He returned to prison a decade later where he’ll remain until he dies.
     Good grief.

Jim Fielder 
(1947 -     ) 

     Fielder attended high school in Anaheim, there befriending future Zappa associate (Bizarre Productions) Tim Buckley.
     Felder was hired to play rhythm guitar for the Mothers during the recording of Absolutely Free (November, 1966) and right after the hiring of Don Preston. Fielder quit the group before the album was released, and his name was removed from the album’s credits.
     He also played briefly with the Buffalo Springfield (replacing Bruce Palmer who had been deported for smoking pot).
     Fielder was a founding member of Blood Sweat & Tears and played on their early and successful albums. 
     Fielder has worked extensively as a session musician. He is currently in Neil Sedaka's band. (Suicide imminent.)

Bunk Gardner
(1933 -     )
Woodwinds/tenor sax

     By late 1966, long-time professional musician Gardner had joined the Mothers of Invention—right after his pal Don Preston joined. He remained with the band until the breakup in late ’69. (In recent years, he’s worked many odd jobs, including as a chef in Laguna Beach.)
     Zappa had become acquainted with both Preston and Gardner several years before the founding of the Mothers. The three had gotten together to play “experimental” music.

Late 60s: Marshall Brevitz’s Thee Experience on Sunset in Hollywood.
Frank was friends with Brevitz. At Thee Experience, bands in town would often "jam" with Zappa and the Mothers: Jimi Experience, Jefferson Experience, et al.

Jim Guercio
(1945 -     )
Guitarist; producer; manager

     Guercio moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1960s and began working as a session musician and songwriter. He wrote Chad & Jeremy's 1966 hit "Distant Shores." 
     He is listed as a "contributor" to the Mothers’ 1966 debut album Freak Out! 
     He later managed and produced the successful band Chicago. He split with that band in 1978 when the band discovered that Guercio was taking 51% of the their profits. 
     He later went into cattle ranching and oil and gas exploration. Natch. (Wikipedia)

Elliot Ingber
(1941 -     )
Guitarist; chemical adventurer

     Ingber was hired to replace Steve Mann. He was one of the five Mothers featured on Freak Out (1966) but was later fired for using LSD during a performance. A big no-no.
     He played with Zappa-associate Captain Beefheart off and on from ’71 to ’76. 
     No doubt the Captain was relatively chemically open-minded.

Gary Kellgren 
(1939 – 1977) 
Audio engineer

     Kellgren was an American audio engineer. He co-founded The Record Plant recording studios.
     He engineered the Mothers’ third album, We’re Only In It For The Money (recorded March–October 1967; released early ‘68). He did the memorably creepy whispering on that album.
     In 1977, Kellgren and his girlfriend/secretary were found dead in the swimming pool at his home. Evidently, Kellgren died from electric shock while trying to fix underwater speakers. His girlfriend drowned trying to save him.
     —A very "Muthas" ending.

Steve Mann
(1943 – 2009) 
Guitarist; schizophrenic

     Mann was a songwriter and a highly-respected acoustic guitarist. In 1962, he was introduced to Janis Joplin and he began accompanying her on guitar at open mics around the Los Angeles area. Eventually, Mann left LA for San Francisco and Joplin returned to Texas.
     By 1965, he was a studio musician playing for the likes of Sonny and Cher (he played 12-string on “I Got You Babe”).
     Mann joined the Mothers before the recording of Freak Out! (1966) but was uncomfortable with the band’s change in direction and so he left (or, more likely, he was asked to leave). Mann is name-checked on the cover of "Freak Out!": "These People Have Contributed Materially In Many Ways To Make Our Music What It Is. Please Do Not Hold It Against Them."
     Around 1967, Mann suffered a mental breakdown and went into retirement. He kinda disappeared. His few recordings became collector's items and his work became legendary in musicians’ circles. After the breakdown, he spent the next decades medicated at a series of halfway houses and psychiatric rehab facilities.
     By 2003, with the help of friends, Mann briefly returned to performing. 
     He died in a nursing home in 2009.

Billy Mundi 
(1942 – 2014)

     Mundi joined the Mothers during the recording of Freak Out! bringing the band briefly to a six-piece (although Elliot Ingber was soon fired, bringing the number back down to five). 
     In 1968, he was enticed to join the new band Rhinoceros and thus to leave the Mothers.
     Drummer Jimmy Carl Black disliked Mundi’s drumming, since, according to Black, Mundi tended to speed up songs.

Don Preston
(1932 -     )
Keyboards; lunacy

     Preston met Bunk Gardner in the Army in 1950.
     He backed Nat King Cole in the late 50s.
     He joined the Mothers in 1966, playing on Freak Out! He was hired when the band consisted of Zappa, Black, Estrada, Mundi, and Collins (Guitarist Ingber had been fired by then).
     Later in his career, Preston scored more than 20 feature films. He’s a widely respected musician.
     He has remained a close friend and associate of Bunk Gardner’s. The two often performed together (however, considering their age, that likely ceased).
     Preston and Gardner, despite their Muthahood, are the Muthas who refuse to die!
Motherly love
Motherly love
Forget about
The brotherly and other-ly love
Motherly love
Is just the thing for you
You know your Mothers gonna love ya
Till ya don't know what to do

Calvin "Cal" Schenkel 
(1947 -     )
Graphic artist

     Schenkel is an “American illustrator, graphic designer, animator and comics artist, specializing in album cover design” (Wikipedia).
     Starting in 1967, he was the main graphic arts collaborator for Frank Zappa (and the Mothers). He designed many Zappa/Mothers album covers. 
     The first large Zappa project he worked on was the cover for We're Only in It for the Money (the notorious Sgt. Pepper parody). (Zappa asked McCartney if the parody was OK, but Mac was kind of an asshole about it—he just kicked it to the lawyers—and so the parody was relegated to the inside of the gatefold, not on the outside, the cover.)

James “Motorhead” Sherwood
(1942 – 2011)
Soprano, tenor and baritone saxophone; lunatic

     Sherwood came to know Zappa in high school in 1956, owing to their shared interest in old blues records. Sherwood, a saxophonist, sat in with Zappa's first band, The Black-Outs, an R&B group.
     Sherwood graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston but he returned to California. So, there's that.
     After Zappa's first marriage began to fail in 1964, Zappa bought Pal Recording Studio in Cucamonga, California, renaming it "Studio Z." The two were in the habit of living in the studio.
     Sherwood first joined The Mothers of Invention as a roadie and equipment manager. Sherwood seemed to do lots of clowning around with the early Mothers, contributing sound effects to their first album, 1966's Freak Out! He became a full member of the band around the time of their experimental residence at the Garrick Theater in late 1967. 
     Sherwood appeared (not always as a musician) on all the albums of the original Mothers line-up.
     Sherwood later joined Los Angeles doo-wop group Ruben and the Jets (named after a fictional band associated with the Mothers), which toured in support of Zappa in 1972. 
     Between 1975 and 1979, Sherwood seemed to drop off the map. Zappa said he'd “got into scientology for a while, but then he recovered." He returned to music in 1980, reuniting with former members of the Mothers of Invention to form the Grandmothers.
     He also worked as a plumber.
     At the end of his life, he is reported to have been suffering from an inoperable brain tumor. He  died in his sleep in 2011.

Alice Stewart
(1942 -     )
Guitarist, singer

     In 1964, folksinger Stewart met with Zappa at a coffeehouse in Santa Monica. A year later, Alice became a member of The Mothers, which at the time was mostly a blues band. Zappa wanted to incorporate Stuart's acoustic delta blues style with his electric leads. However, she left before they made their debut album.  
     Zappa later said, jokingly, that he fired Alice from the band because she could not play "Louie Louie.” 

Art Tripp
(1944 -     )

     In 1962, Tripp enrolled at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music to study percussion.
     Tripp played as timpanist with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and with both the Cincinnati Summer Opera and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.
     In 1967, Tripp auditioned for Zappa in New York. He joined the band in time for Cruising with Ruben & the Jets (1968) and Uncle Meat (1969), etc. 
     After the Mothers folded, Tripp decided to move to northern California with Beefheart & the Magic Band in 1970, commencing a five-year period of recording and touring.
     Tripp retired from music in the 1980s and now works as a chiropractor in Mississippi. In the early 90s, he practiced chiropractic in a small town just north of Eureka (McKinleyville). It turned out Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) was living less than a mile down the road; the two reconnected and Beefheart became one of Tripp's patients. 

Ian Underwood
(1939 -     )
Woodwinds and keyboards

     In 1961, Underwood earned a BA in composition at Yale; in 1966, he earned a master's in composition at UC Berkeley.
     He joined the Mothers in 1967 in time for their third studio album, We're Only in It for the Money. The Mothers disbanded in late ’69, but Zappa included Underwood in his new Mothers lineup emerging in 1970.
     Underwood played with Beefheart on the landmark Trout Mask Replica in 1969.
     Underwood left the revamped Mothers in September of 1973.
     After Zappa, he became a session keyboardist, and has been busy making music for film and TV.

Henry Vestine
(1944 – 1997)

     Vestine—a founder of Canned Heat (1965)—was hired by Zappa for the original Mothers of Invention in late October 1965. Vestine was in the Mothers for only a few months (he was fired for smoking pot) and left before they recorded their debut album, Freak Out!. Demo tapes from Mothers of Invention rehearsal sessions featuring Vestine appear on the Zappa album Joe's Corsage
     Vestine was a guitarist for the band when they were “discovered” by Tom Wilson in 1966, but he was not a member when they recorded their first album a few months later.
     He died from heart and respiratory failure in a Paris hotel in 1997 while touring with Canned Heat. (Wikipedia)

Frank Zappa
(1940 – 1993)
Guitarist; composer; producer

     1964: during his Studio Z days (Cucamonga, CA), Zappa played with a power trio called the “Muthers.” He was convicted of a phony pornography charge, leading to brief imprisonment and his loss of Studio Z. That incident likely embittered him to police and other authorities.
     Influenced by his brief involvement in advertising in the early 60s, Zappa had a plan for filling a “gap” in the music market between classical (serious, advanced) music and pop (simple) music. According to the young Zappa (interview, 1966), those who control the music industry “love business” but “hate music.” He would need a band that could help him with this project to bring quality and complexity to the music-consuming masses. [Indented for emphasis.]
     After his brief stint in jail, Zappa joined the Soul Giants in 1965 (replacing fired guitarist Hunt) and convinced the band to record his music. At the time, the band included Black, Collins, and Estrada, but also saxophonist Davy Coronado (leader), who soon quit. ("Davy, who was the wise one of the band, knew the actual truth of the matter, which was if you play original material you cannot work in a bar. He was afraid of being out of work so he quit the band. And he was right, we couldn't get a fucking job anyplace." —Zappa, 1970)
     The band, now renamed the Mothers, moved to Los Angeles in early 1965 after Zappa got them a management contract with Herb Cohen. (Cohen remained a key player in the Zappa saga for several years—until litigation ended their partnership in 1976.) The band found steady work at clubs along the Sunset Strip.
Tom Wilson
     In early 1966, thanks to Cohen, the Mothers were briefly observed by record producer Tom Wilson when playing "Trouble Every Day", a song about the Watts riots. Wilson erroneously took them to be a white blues band, something his label was looking for. (Canned Heat’s Henry Vestine was in the band at the time.)
     Wilson signed the Mothers to the Verve division of MGM—perhaps with the modest plan of putting out some singles. Just prior to recording, however, Wilson spoke with Zappa and realized that the band did much more than “white blues,” and soon a plan was hatched to record an entire album.
     Freak Out! was recorded between March 9 and March 12, 1966; it was released 3 months later, on June 27, 1966. (The tracks "Motherly Love" and "I Ain't Got No Heart," however, were recorded earlier, in 1965.)
     Among other things, the album captured the "freak" subculture of Los Angeles with which Zappa identified, at least to some extent (nevertheless, on the Mothers albums, he often mercilessly mocked the freaks along with the hippies and the straights).
     During the recording of Freak Out!, Zappa moved into a house in Laurel Canyon with friend Pamela Zarubica, who was later hired to be the Suzy Creamcheese of the ’67 European tour. (She has emerged in recent years seeking attention for her trivial role in the sixties pop scene.)
     After a short promotional tour following the release of Freak Out!, Zappa met Gail Sloatman (1945 – 2015), who soon moved to Laurel Canyon. The two married in September of 1967, a week before Moon Unit Zappa’s birth. (Upon learning of the pregnancy, 17-year-old girlfriend Sandy Hurvitz, who had signed to Zappa’s new production company, Bizarre, advised Zappa to marry Sloatman. Hurvitz was briefly a member of the Mothers, likely after the recording of Freak Out! According to Hurvits (who later took the professional name Essra Mohawk), Zappa lost all professional interest in her after that.)
     Absolutely Free was recorded in November 1966, and released in 1967. At the time, the band comprised eight members: Zappa, Black, Estrada, Collins, Preston, Gardner, Mundi, and Fielder. During this time (late ‘66, early ‘67?), Zappa recorded much of his solo album Lumpy Gravy, a collection of orchestral works ultimately released in early 1968 (after an 8-month legal dispute between record companies).

Zappa briefly attended Chaffey College in 1959.
It is said that he learned to despise formal education there.

     The band had a successful New York show in late ’66. That led to the experimental Garrick Theater shows that started in March of 1967. That residence was so successful that it was extended to six months. 
     We’re Only In It For The Money was recorded, in New York, March–October 1967 (essentially, during the Garrick stay); the album was released in 1968. 
     Soon thereafter: December 1967 - February 1968; recording of Ruben and the Jets (at Apostolic Studios in New York).
     The first albums associated with Zappa’s Bizarre production co./record label–We’re Only In It For The Money & Lumpy Gravy—were released in early 1968.
     In early 1968, after an 18-month stay, the band left New York, relocating to Hollywood.
     March 1969: Zappa produces Trout Mask Replica for Beefheart.
     Mothers album Uncle Meat is recorded September 1967 – September 1968. Released, April 21, 1969. It features a large number of overdubs and experimental elements.
     Mothers' second European tour in September/October 1968.
     Zappa solo album Hot Rats was recorded July – August, 1969. 
     In late 1969, Zappa broke up the band, citing finances. It seems clear that Zappa was unhappy, too, with the band’s inability to handle the increasingly complex music that he was writing. (Subsequent iterations of the Mothers typically comprised more highly-trained musicians, though he frequently asked original Mothers to join in.)
     Hot Rats is released (October 1969), featuring extended guitar solos.


Herbert Cohen (1932 – 2010)
Business manager/partner (of Zappa)

Sandy Hurvitz/Essra Mohawk (1948 - )
Singer signed to Zappa's Bizarre Records.
Briefly, a member of the Mothers.

Pamela Zarubica (1948? -     )
Played “Suzy Creamcheese” (on tour) after the fictional character was 
devised for the artwork of Freak Out! Did recorded telephone 
conversations on Mothers albums.

Gail Zappa (1945 – 2015)
Married to Frank: 1967 - 1993 (i.e., until his death)

Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) (1941 – 2010)
Even more eccentric than Zappa.
Led the legendary "Magic Band"

A friend of Zappa's.

He appears on the cover of "We're Only In It For The Money"

Why you fool! You poor, sad, worthless, foolish fool!

A Collins composition (vocals by Collins) that appeared 
on Ruben and the Jets (1968)

Hey Punk, where you goin' with that hair on your head?

I hold in my hand three letters
From the stages of your fine, fine, super-fine career


Anonymous said...

Way cool!

Anonymous said...

How utterly fascinating! —Suzie Creamcheese

Anonymous said...


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