Thursday, April 13, 2017

I like this TU writer. He championed the village in the Save Our Stewarts advocacy and I am forever in his debt. However, I disagree with this column. A policy may have more than one goal, in this case supporting middle-class college students and keeping college graduates in the state. There will surely be consequences of this policy, and some may be unintended. One can debate the merits of the residency requirement, but trying to avoid being an exporter of our most skilled workers is hardly an evil justification. Making a deal that is palatable to both the Assembly and Senate is difficult. And, full disclosure, this will be good for SUNY, my undergraduate and graduate alma mater and where I have worked for nearly thirty years.

On a completely different subject, in honor of my father's 90th birthday, I am sharing this story I wrote years ago that was published by the Daily Freeman in 2006. Happy birthday to Daddy, one of the best storytellers I know.

 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

This is a tragedy, and a crime.
The Nicholaus building was adjacent to the former Olender Mattress building. Before the Olender was razed, historic preservationists called for an in-depth review of how demolition might affect the Nicholaus building. At the time, Schenectady Heritage Foundation Chairwoman Gloria Kishton said she believed the demolition would "extremely endanger" the Nicholaus building, and called for an engineering plan to be developed that would ensure its structural integrity.
That this was not done makes all involved culpable for this shameful act of historic destruction. Makes me sick!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A comment on the United Airlines passenger assault.

Full disclosure:

  • I am not much of a traveler (call me provincial, but I just don't like it much. Also, when you decide to have a weekend house, all extra resources go in that direction. And finally, I favored staycations before that annoying term was coined)
  • If I was a traveler, I prefer trains and would not be an air traveler (can you say "carbon footprint?")
  • I am not big on being publicly embarrassed or physically injured. So even if I had initially refused to leave the plane, I would have immediately done so the moment the cops arrived. No screaming. No dragging.
That stated,why didn't they increase the incentive until there were enough willing takers? The bad PR (and eventual lawsuit) from this will cost them way more. Stupid!

It was fun to see the Airplane! clips floating around social media, though. Love that movie.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Finally hit my stride in my toleration class this semester. It was a rough start because the room is just awful - small, crowded & very structured, and discussion is difficult at best. The registrar was either unwilling or unable to find me new space. So I've been suffering (tolerating, lol). One change I've made is to rely somewhat less on in-class discussion (I'm using online discussion instead). I decided to go in-depth into a subject rather than taking a mile wide and an inch deep approach, so since March 9 we've been focused on a single topic (classroom simulations). We've seen a documentary (A Class Divided), read a novel (The Wave), written a paper, had an all-class discussion of the paper executive summaries (by creatively re-arranging the desks) and it has so engaged them that I decided to stick with the focus another week. At their request, Tuesday I purchased (from amazon) and showed another excellent documentary called "The Lesson Plan" about the actual "Third Wave" class experiment.
I have three reactions to the ridiculous Pepsi / Kendall Jenner thing (what else to call it escapes me).
  • Two minutes is ridiculously long for a cola ad.
  • This is a faux controversy, generated for publicity by the company and the model.
  • The most irritating part: It's hawking soda! EWWW. Nobody should be drinking that crap.
OK, this is unrelated. Because of weeding my FB feed of all political posts, it is now almost exclusively nice photos and funny memes from friends, or atrocious stories about animals. Yesterday there was one about a teenager stomping a Chihuahua to death. Currently NYS is negotiating a late budget, and one of the roadblocks is "raise the age" legislation. I tend to think 16 & 17 year olds should not be prosecuted as adults, but yesterday after reading that appalling story, I thought, prosecute him as an adult, or better yet, forget the trial, and let a mob stomp him to death. (And this is coming from someone who doesn't support the death penalty.)

Monday, April 03, 2017

I don't visit the Times Union's website as often as I once did, mostly because the screen seems to now be optimized for phones or tablets, and I only use my devices for email and social media or rarely, a google search. But I do visit by clicking links in Facebook when I am using a desktop computer. Today while I was there reading about a college student who died after a pancake eating competition, I looked at the list of "most popular" stories and noticed one about the TU's integrity, or rather, lack thereof. It was a post from the blogs section (from a lifestyle blogger I've never read before). I read it, and laughed. Not to dismiss what seems like the blogger's genuine outrage, but it was re-hashing the same tired subject that has been visited and re-visited numerous times over the years, about the unfairness of TU policies regarding non-staff, community, unpaid bloggers. That history was not detailed (and possibly is not known by the current crop of volunteer bloggers), but having read the TU blogs quite a bit years ago and every so often more recently, I would need more than ten fingers to count off the number of times the situation has arisen. The TU does something to offend such as edit or delete, a group of bloggers cries foul, one or more depart (willingly or unwillingly), other bloggers defend the unfairly treated blogger(s), and commenters also defend or sometimes fight each other. URLs to the new blogs of the departed are shared. The controversy gets a lot of attention for a couple days, generating clicks on the TU website. The TU will eventually recruit and promote new community bloggers who are naive and flattered by the offer of the TU platform. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

It's quite amazing how defensive people get when you criticize television. They don't want to be seen as a TV person, but don't you dare threaten it!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Recently we binge watched the amazon original series "Catastrophe." Once we got through Season 1, I remarked, "it is a vulgar show." We started Season 2, and it went from kind of vulgar but funny, to very vulgar and quite offensive. We bailed before the first episode ended. Really? Their banter about their baby's penis made me think "pedophiles" and the treatment of the dog was what led to us bailing. No thanks. Not funny or worth the time.