Undergrad Rag

Archive for August, 2009|Monthly archive page

The Tenured Professor

In Student Issues, The Tenured Professor on August 29, 2009 at 6:32 am

Professor William Sinclair – Professor Sinclair is an expert in the field of Macroeconomics and has published thirty-two books on the socio-economic implications of America’s declining production in plastic trinkets and soft drinks compared with China and Taiwan. His two most notable publications have been Chinese Thumb-trap: The Slow Strangulation of American Factories, and Me Chinese, Me Play Joke: The Deadly Connection between the Economy and Soft Drinks. He is currently teaching at Harvard. He teaches one class, entitled Aggregate Economic Variables in Multinational Interrelationships. He has seven people in his class, five of whom are Asian.

The Job Market for the College Student

The young American populace finds itself in the unenviable position of having to find a job with the economy in its current state of decrepitude. As an educator, I don’t have the same concerns. As a professor with tenure the college itself would have to be reclaimed by the earth or I would have to die before I face a job security issue. I would heartily recommend this career choice to any young person without a lot of options. It’s just a simple matter of taking the GREs, getting accepted into a Graduate school, getting accepted into school for your PhD, completing your dissertation, getting a job at a major university with a tenure-track position, publishing a series of essays and books, and then getting officially accepted for tenure. Of course if you don’t get tenure you’re fired, but that’s of little consequence. If you have the money, time, and drive, it’s really the best route to go.

            However, if you don’t feel like taking the easy way out there are some other options. You could go the route of the common day laborer, but I would advise against it because it leads to calluses and the gradual degradation of the hands. If you happen to be a young and/or attractive woman, I suggest you use that to procure some form of income until the job market picks up. While I’m not advocating prostitution, I’m not admonishing it either. At the very least the world could always use another pretty face on the dance floor. I’m told Hooters waitresses have quite lucrative nights, and all they have to do is wear a low cut blouse and peddle flavored chicken wings.

            For the average male, your body might not be as marketable. You might consider this anecdote I tell my students facing post-graduation blues: When I was in my thirties I met then-President Gerald Ford. As some of you might know he was a former football player for Michigan University, but what you might not know is that even when he held office, old Gerry still had the moves. He was speaking to the secretary of the interior, Stanley K. Hathaway, and they were having a lively debate on what exactly the secretary of the interior does.

Hathaway insisted he ran the organization that oversaw the management and conservation of federally owned land, but Ford was convinced it his job was directly related to the adornment within the Oval Office. Hathaway was getting rather perturbed and as their voices reached a fevered pitch, Ford closed the space between them rapidly and took down Hathaway in a near perfect form tackle that nearly knocked him out of his wing tips. Ford sprang up from the unconscious body of Hathaway and with a primal yell exclaimed “I tell you what to do Hathy-boy, I’m the fucking President bitch.”

I tell that story for a simple reason. Gerald didn’t allow anyone to tell him what he could and couldn’t do, and that’s guidance that’s applicable to all walks of life. While I can’t deny that you might very well not know what you want to do, how to get there, or how you’re going to earn a living in an economy that’s one bad day at the stock market away from reinstituting Hoover-villes, that doesn’t mean you can feign confidence. You have the power…even if you lack the money, the will, and the home.

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Tech Tards Convention a Massive Failure

In College Social Scene, Student Issues on August 27, 2009 at 8:26 pm
A lack of technical proficiency can not only frustrate you but also cause a medical condition that permanently furrows your brow.

A lack of technical proficiency can not only frustrate you but also cause a medical condition that permanently furrows your brow.

As technology becomes more and more a part of our daily lives, there is a growing sector of the population that is experiencing mounting feelings of alienation and ridicule. They are the people who have not only avoided mastery of electronics and computers, but are also barely proficient. Commonly referred to as “tech tards” by the general population, they are the subject of Cindy Long’s new book entitled My Computer has a Memory? : Isolation and Confusion in a Tech Savvy World.

            Long’s introduction to this oft-overlooked part of the population came when she was a freshman in college, and had to show her roommate how to work her basic email account.

            “It was so sad,” said Long. “When I came in the room she was just hitting buttons and talking to the computer, just hoping it would work.” Long was so profoundly disturbed that she started to do research on the tech tard problem and came across some alarming statistics. “Apparently, one in twenty people above the age of 12 believe that gmail and email are two different things. One in five people don’t know the purpose of keys F1 through F12 on their keyboard. With stats like that, it’s hard not to get involved.”

            Long began her book nearly four years ago, but it wasn’t until this past April that she found what she calls the “defining moment in tech tard-dom.” During a recreational trip through Las Vegas she stumbled upon the National Tech Tard Convention. She walked into the booked convention hall only to find a handful of people milling around poorly constructed booths.

            “Truly, it rocked my faith in humanity. How could people let a problem get this bad?” said Long.

            She found the person in charge, a self-proclaimed “Idiotech” named Gary Pierce. Undergrad rag contacted Pierce and asked him what he felt the pitfalls of the convention were.

            “Well, first of all,” said Pierce, “it was hard getting the word out because so few of us now how to access our email accounts. Conventional mail doesn’t really work considering a majority of your overhead is going to be spent in stamps.”

            That was just the first problem though, Pierce found that the very nature of running a convention required a certain level technical expertise. “We didn’t have music, or lighting…we didn’t even know how to work that big printer that makes banners and signs. We had to get a person from the outside just to set up a stereo, and we bought a shit-load of magic markers and butcher paper for the display signs. To top it all off even those who came ended up being late because they had never gotten EZ Pass and got stuck at every toll booth on their way.”

            “Our goal was to raise awareness and promote acceptance. With a grand total of twenty people there and no money raised (Pierce later went on to say that most tech tards aren’t gainfully employed because they lack marketable skills), I can safely say that we failed. We failed on an epic level.”

            Long devotes a chapter in the book all about the convention and titled it “A Cry for Help.” She will be publishing her book later in the fall and hopes she can do more for awareness of the issue than Pierce’s said affair. “Its all about helping at least one person,” said Long. “We can’t turn every person who still hunts and pecks into a software engineer, but that doesn’t mean we just sit back and do nothing.”

College Gamer Disappears into Chair

In Collegiate Health, Student Issues on August 26, 2009 at 7:49 pm
Sipp often referred to himself as "The Tribal King of Gaming." Most others referred to him as "that jackas"

Sipp often referred to himself as "The Tribal King of Gaming." Most others referred to him as "that jackass"

Authorities had to be called into the Johnson and Hardwick dormitories at Temple University on Monday to investigate the disappearance of college freshman Andy Sipp. The missing persons report was filed by his roommate Chuck Tauss. Tauss filed the report after he had noticed that Sipp was not in the place he had been for the past semester of school, parked in front of his gaming console.

            “I knew something was wrong when I walked in and he wasn’t sitting in the dark, at the controls of a role playing game,” said Tauss. “At first I thought he had gone to the bathroom, or maybe even gotten something to eat, but when he wasn’t back in front of the T.V. within fifteen minutes, I knew something was wrong.”

            When police arrived at the dorm, they examined Sipp’s customized gaming chair. Both officers had never seen anything like it and were at a loss for words when first questioned. The commanding officer, Officer Barry Fiennes, had this to say about the scene.

            “This chair is some serious shit. It’s got sub-woofers in the base, speakers in the backrest, the armrests are retractable, and it’s specifically engineered for lumbar support. Judging by the food crumbs and trace fecal matter, this kid rarely left this spectacular chair.”

            The first oddity investigators had to contend with was the fact that Sipp’s clothes were still on and around the chair when they arrived. Tauss confirmed that the clothes were one of the two outfits that Sipp ever wore, and he was unlikely to leave the premises without his Family Guy t-shirt.

            “He wouldn’t leave the dorm without that Stewie shirt on at the very least. Not a chance in hell,” said Tauss, rolling his eyes. “If he can’t reference that fucking show every five minutes, he goes insane.”

            No theories could be formulated until Officer Fiennes noticed that Sipp’s shoes were still at the base. This led the investigative team to conclude that Sipp was not missing, but rather had disintegrated from a lack of activity into his awesome gaming chair.

            “Judging from the interviews we have conducted, this kid barely got any natural light, so its doubtful he would have left anywhere without his shoes. The closest he ever came to ‘roughing it’ was when he didn’t use fabric softener in his laundry cycle. “

            When informed of the current theory being put forth by investigators, Chuck Tauss had this to say. “I’m honestly not that surprised. I know I should be, but it was like sharing a room with the television department at Circuit City. Shit was on all the time and I usually didn’t know what I was watching.”

            A virtual memorial service was held for Sipp on the World of Warcraft site. No real or virtual women were in attendance.

“Hiking” Officially Accepted as Codeword for Doing Drugs

In College Social Scene on August 24, 2009 at 4:53 am
Above are probably the only two black people you've ever seen hike.

Above are probably the only two black people you've ever seen hike.

Exciting news came out of the College Scene Census (CSC) as it announced that when students from rural schools tell their friends and family they are going “hiking” for the day, it can be assumed that they are doing some type of drug. The officially study was done out of Happy Valley at Penn State University, Ithaca College, and the University of Vermont. The head of the CSC, Dr. Richard Caldwell M.D. announced the findings at Penn State this past week with red eyes, sloping posture, and slow speech pattern.

            “After, like, extensive research done by myself and my colleagues…we, um, think hiking is just fantastic.” Caldwell went on to say, “Its good exercise, puts you back in touch with nature, and there are like noooo cops around anywhere.”

            The motivation for the study was the constant confusion between college students when a hiking trip would be proposed. Amy Church was the first who brought the dilemma to the CSC. “I had this one friend who was always inviting me to go hiking,” said Amy “and for like the first ten times I was like ‘hell yeah, I’ll go hiking.’ But every time I went with him we’d spend the whole time just walking around, usually up very steep hills. He never once pulled out any drugs. It was despicable.”

            Caldwell clarified the difference between the two sects of the hiking population when he released his official paper on the subject, entitled “Smoking Trees amongst the Trees.” According to the CSC, the two sectors can be differentiated primarily between the actual distances they walk. “People who go hiking for the actual purpose of hiking tend to wear boots, bring canteens and food, and will walk several miles into the woods. People who aren’t there for actual hiking will typically just walk to the point in the trail with the highest elevation and the least amount of people. They also wear unnecessary headbands, and actively seek out bears…depending on how strong the particular drug is.”

            For “nature lovers” like Amy Church, the announcement was a welcome end to years of ambiguity and wasted hours amongst the trees. However, as groundbreaking as the announcement was, it still left some unanswered questions. Caldwell and the CSC still don’t know why people actually hike.

            “It seems odd,” said CSC research assistant Lily Rorsche, “We don’t know what exactly attracts people to hiking without drugs. It appears to be nothing more than a prolonged walk combined with a steep gradient. Also there seems to be an unusually high risk of being eaten, so we’re having a hard time determining their motivation. Drug-users on the other hand, are remarkably simple creatures. They’re willing to do just about anything for drugs, so a steep hike isn’t asking that much. Also, getting mauled by a bobcat won’t result in the same financial backlash from your parents that getting caught by cops will.”

            Caldwell and his team asserted their dedication to figuring out the other half of this disturbing equation, but are happy to finally clarify this once misleading term. The CSC said it would resume its studies after a week long trip to Yellowstone National Park to “look at the giant sequoia’s in a different light.”

Student’s Girlfriend a Complete Bitch

In Student Issues on August 24, 2009 at 4:46 am
John's girlfriend who, by all accounts, is a complete bitch.

John's girlfriend who, by all accounts, is a complete bitch.

The mood was somber when the occupants of 4361 Hamilton Lane at Drexel University were interviewed today about their roommate John and his girlfriend of the past year. It has been a year and a half since John had a painful and protracted break-up from his long time high school girlfriend, and his friends believe his new girlfriend is merely John’s way to cope with the crushing loss of his first love and overwhelming sense of loneliness.

“John is a sweet kid,” said friend since freshmen year and third year student Jerry Cout, “a sweet, stupid, easily pussy-whipped kid. No one knows why he is still in this relationship, even John.”

John first met his current girlfriend Tina at a local house party. They slept together the first night and, according to his friends, John has been at her beck and call ever since. The most frustrating part of the ordeal for all involved is that beside her attractiveness, Tina apparently has no other redeemable traits as a human being.

John’s friend since grade school, Carey Williams, described Tina as a “textbook case of a man-eater. She saw John coming a mile away and sunk her talons in so deep I don’t know if he’s ever going to escape.”

John’s roommate Rodney Sharp has clear disdain for his friend’s significant other, saying that she “is the single most classless bitch I have ever laid eyes on. She’s as loud as a braying ass, and I’ve yet to hear her form a complete and intelligent thought. Every time she talks I want to clap her ears so hard she goes deaf. God I hate that bitch.”

Tina has been reviled by most of John’s friend since day one, but most assumed she would be a “one time thing,” or a booty call at most. However as John approaches his final year of school, and appears to be going into the stable and lucrative field of engineering, Tina has been making subtle hints regarding sharing an apartment and marriage. This has caused great shock and concern amongst John’s closest friends.

“I have to be honest,” said roommate Ken Wilkins, “The idea of Tina being a long term part of John’s life is simply horrifying. If I had to guess, she’ll probably push him into marriage, stay around long enough to lay claim to half his total income, then use his money to hire a vicious divorce attorney.”

When asked if they had confronted John about his girlfriend’s glaring inadequacies Sharp had this to say, “I mean, you can’t just tell a guy his girlfriend is a soulless harpy. He wouldn’t listen anyway. It’s odd, sometimes you look into his eyes and they seem to be screaming ‘Help me, for the love of God’ but I don’t think he has the stones to break up with her. I can only imagine the shit storm she would rain down on him if he ever worked up the balls to make the split.”

With no solution in sight and a seemingly invincible opponent, John’s friends are helpless as they view his steady descent into relationship servitude. For some, the situation looks desperate enough to contemplate extreme methods.

“I don’t want to murder anyone,” said Wilkins, “but if I had to murder someone…it would most likely be her.

Fraternity to Host Drunken Book Club

In College Social Scene, Uncategorized on August 24, 2009 at 4:35 am
Just when you thought literature was dead, these people exhumed the coffin and violated the corpse

Just when you thought literature was dead, these people exhumed the coffin and violated the corpse

When one thinks of a college fraternity house, the standard debauchery usually springs to mind: keggers, grinding, and recreational drugs. However, a new arrival to Temple University, the un-chartered and newly formed Tau Eta Zeta has started a tradition they call the “Bombed Book Club.” According to fraternity president Max Rogers, the whole idea spawned from a rather humble and sophomoric notion.

            “We’re new on campus,” explained Rogers, “and we weren’t getting the turnout we were hoping for when it came to parties and other social events held by our modest chapter. One night we got a little drunk and had a brainstorming session when one of our brothers started talking about how much he liked cougars and how we should cater to them at our events.

            “At first we didn’t think much of it,” said fraternity Risk Management officer and the brains behind the idea, Vince Cathorne. “I mean we all like hot milfs, that’s no surprise. I never thought anything would come of it. Next thing you know though, we’re thinking how we could get more cougars into the house. Oprah’s book club came up, and pretty soon we were convinced it was feasible.”

What began as a drunken ploy to lure attractive older women to the Tau Eta Zeta house, has flowered into one of the most interesting hot spots for literary discussion. Of course the Tau Eta Zeta house couldn’t follow the same formula as other book clubs, they had to come up with some innovations unique to their environment.

“Well, the most striking thing about these get-togethers is that you must be inebriated in order to enter,” said president Rogers. “We have a breathalyzer and if you are legal to drive you can’t come in. Secondly, the use of marijuana is strongly encouraged. Have you ever tried to talk about Salman Rushdie’s ‘Midnight’s Children’ without being high? It’s depressing.”

Even though the book club has not yet achieved its initial purpose of attracting older women, the inventive new format has led to some deep discussion and heated debates.

“Emotions can run pretty high,” said Cathorne. “I never thought we had such avid readers in our ranks, but last week Chuck and Paul almost got into a full blown fistfight over the merits of J.D. Salinger’s ‘Catcher in the Rye.’ Next thing you know, Paul has Chuck in a leg lock, screaming about how Salinger stands as one of the great American authors and his hermitage doesn’t tarnish his legacy…it was a little scary.”

The house has already attracted a large crowd on Thursday nights when the book club meetings are held. English, Journalism, and History majors are flooding to the house for the alcohol and fresh literary perspective. Second year marketing major Tim Rhinehold had this to say about the club. “I mean, I hate hearing a professor drone on about a book I didn’t even want to read in the first place. But this place, it makes you feel like the literature comes alive. I’ve never been in a lecture hall where we could fight, puke, or hit on the people next to us.”

 When asked about the future of the book club, Rogers spoke with a cautious optimism “We’re not real big on long term thinking, but I think this has a future. People will always read, people will always drink…we feel like we cornered a unique market.”

Middle Class White Student Realizes Racism Still Exists

In Campus Politics on August 24, 2009 at 4:26 am
The way life should be, but clearly isn't.

The way life should be, but clearly isn't.

Nineteen year old, white, middle-class male Temple University student, Josh Wilkinson received a rather harsh wake-up call a few days ago when he realized that racism is still a potent force in the United States.

Wilkinson was walking back to his dormitory at the edge of campus when he was accosted by several African-American Youths.

“They looked like grade school kids,” said Wilkinson, “I greeted them with a hearty ‘how are you neighbor’ and I thought they were going to ask me the keys to success that led to me into college.”

Instead, the three young men knocked Wilkinson to the ground and started to beat him mercilessly. They didn’t take anything from him, but rather spent a majority of their time kicking him in the ribs, muttering racial slurs and laughing hysterically. Josh, hailing from a more rural area in West Chester Pennsylvania, had been woefully unprepared for the encounter.

“Well, I’m more of a book reader. I really don’t watch TV or movies. I thought this kind of behavior was behind us. For God’s sake, I voted for Obama. Since when could a white guy not walk around North Philadelphia with a sweater vest, pink polo, and an ascot?”

However, Wilkinson’s troubles were not quite over. After he had filed the police report and went back into his room Josh told the story to his roommate Jerry Forte. Forte’s response both shocked and disgusted the already profoundly disturbed Wilkinson.

“After I told Jerry what happened he said a horrible word, one which I cannot repeat. I thought racial epithets like that died out after the Civil War. Who knew there was still so much hate in the world?”

The officers who took down Wilkinson’s report, both of which were African-American, were slightly less shocked. Officer Stuart Hendrix was even slightly critical of Wilkinson.

“I know no one ever asks for an ass-kicking,” said Hendrix, “but this kid was asking for it. He was wearing pure white linen shorts and twirling a tennis racket while he walked. You can’t make that shit up.”

Officer Mark Jackson had a similar, albeit more sympathetic, opinion. “That kid is like one big ray of slightly retarded sunshine. We asked him what color the assailants were and he wouldn’t say black. He wouldn’t even say brown. I think that kid might actually be color blind.”

            Wilkinson isn’t letting the experience go to waste. He admits he learned a valuable lesson about race relations. Namely, he learned about the very existence of race relations.

            “I always thought race relations were a combination of sex and competitive racing. In retrospect, I feel silly. But now I know, not only is racism still out there, but it really hurts.”

English Major Talks Too Much About His Novel

In Collegiate Health on August 24, 2009 at 4:15 am
Tom Frankens looking on with undeserved sense of self satisfaction

Tom Frankens looking on with undeserved sense of self satisfaction

 

 

This past week friends of University of Pennsylvania Junior Tom Frankens held an intervention for the third year English Major. The intervention was held because for the past two and a half years Tom has been talking incessantly about the novel he intends to publish when he gets out of school.

            “I love Tom, but lately he has been unbearable,” said high school friend Tracy Long. “I haven’t been able to have a single conversation with him in months where he didn’t try to stick in a plug for this novel he hasn’t even written yet.”

            The novel in question is tentatively titled “Dead Roses for Reginald” and according to Tom Frankens it is a “modern day Heart of Darkness, with the plot intricacy of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, set against the background of crime-ridden Southern Los Angeles.” So far, Tom has written a total of three pages.

            “I don’t even know what the novel is about,” said housemate Ron Wilkins. “Every time I ask him I have to sit through like a half hour of his Tolstoy, Heart of Darkness shit. He’s like a pretension doll, just pull the string in the back and he spouts off some egomaniacal rant about how his novel won’t conform to literary standards.”

            The man running the intervention, Counselor Eugene Kalas, says this type of intervention is happening all the time across the country.

            “This is a bigger issue on Ivy-league campuses,” said Kalas, “For reasons that aren’t clear, this sector of the college population is more prone to pretentiously gloating about works of creativity that have yet to be realized.”

            The intervention was similar to most others. There was crying, tearful confessions, misdirected anger, and eventually a group-hug.

            “I just told him how much he was hurting me,” said Frankens’ girlfriend Melanie Horowitz. “He was making it impossible to go on double dates, or even discuss the literature classes I was taking during the summer. I remember one time he started talking at a party, and everyone in the room just got up and left. It was like I was in sixth grade again and I was sitting next to the smelly kid in class.”

            “I didn’t know my enthusiasm for the book was such a hardship on my friends and family,” said Frankens, “I honestly thought people would want to hear about it. I mean, if you’re friend was writing the next great American novel, would you want to know about it?”

            “He hasn’t shown anybody a fucking word of this novel!” exclaimed Ron Wilkins. “I don’t think he’s written a page, he’s spent all his time waxing poetic about the whole lame plot. Did he tell you he named the main character ‘Sinbad Azkabar’? It is absurdity.”

            “I was surprised the whole thing went as well as it did,” said Counselor Kalas. “Typically the subject is too far gone to really accept the help the friends and family want to give. It’s strange, I’ve dealt with all kinds of addicts, but these people are the worst. The sense of self satisfaction they get from touting their future achievements is more powerful than any narcotic I’ve ever seen.”

            The intervention had a small level of success. Tom agreed to devote at least one hour of conversation per day to something more interesting than the book he has yet to write. He also tentatively agreed to one more month of professional counseling, administered by Eugene Kalas.

            “I foresee it being a long, difficult road,” said Kalas, “but if Tom really wants to beat this thing, he can do it.”