Bear With Me Through the Momentary Blog Weirdness

The blog is acting a little weird because I’m experimenting with different apps that will hopefully make it work while I’m on my trip.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Romney and Rice

If Romney chose Condoleezza Rice as his running mate, would that change your opinion of him in a positive direction? A negative direction? Wouldn’t change it at all?

Of course, I know it won’t happen, but if it did, I’d feel much better about Romney. Rice is pro-choice and selecting her as a running mate would signal Romney’s willingness to dump the religious fanatics. This is the only thing that, in my opinion, can save the Republican Party. Unless that happens, there will be no Conservatism in this country any more. There will only remain endless howling from out-of-control maniacs who know nothing but their terror of contemporary reality.

Then again, this would be the most non-charismatic presidential ticket in living memory, and I’m sure Romney’s campaign understands that something needs to be done urgently to soften the candidate’s extreme lack of appeal.

For Poetry Lovers

Do take a look at this poem by Jonathan Mayhew. I find it mesmerizing. It’s one of those poems that make me feel like the poet gave me a poetic voice and expressed my way of being.

What is it about poetry that sometimes it speaks to you on a very profound level for seemingly no reason whatsoever and sometimes it refuses to do so entirely?

Daniel Tosh, the Evil Insect Who Thinks Rape Is Funny

I support the freedom of speech and believe that the vile freakazoid Daniel Tosh has the inalienable right to tell as many rape jokes as he wants. I also believe that, for the same reason, every normal, decent person is entitled to denounce him and tell the world what a vile cockroach he is.

The story about this stinky animal proved to be a great litmus test of people’s basic normalcy. I already discovered two diseased freaks in my blogroll (one male, one female) who tried making excuses for this jerkwad’s vile actions.

If we all join forces in denouncing Daniel Tosh as the vile rape apologist that he is, we will manage to tank his sorry excuse for a career. Let’s do this, people! Let’s ridicule him and boycott his stupid shows.

P.S. One comment that is even mildly defensive of this animal will get you hurled off this blog for good like a turd of shit. I don’t need any mentally unhealthy freaks around here.

How to Prepare for a Trip: Tips From a Masochist*

1. Decide that the hotel room is going to be horrible and obsess over that for weeks. Because you are totally going to a beach resort in order to sit in a room all day long.

2. Worry yourself to the point of mental collapse with the doubts as to whether two sticks of deodorant will be enough for the entire trip. Because it makes so much sense to wear deodorant to the beach.

3. Freak out every twenty minutes about the possibility that you will forget to print out your travel documents yet abstain from printing them out. Because just printing them out already would rob you of a great opportunity to freak out constantly.

4. Read only the negative reviews of the resort. Because a positive review might actually alleviate your misery.

5. Convince yourself that being away for two weeks during the month when you are not scheduled to teach and nobody expects you on campus will ruin your academic career. Because successful academics are people who live in their offices and never have any fun.

6. Tell yourself that even though you’ve been packing for over a week, there is some hugely important object that you must have forgotten to pack and your entire vacation will be ruined as a result. Because the success of a vacation is totally dependent on a piece of clothing or a pair of shoes.

7. Decide based on no evidence whatsoever that your partner who is traveling with you doesn’t love you any longer and doesn’t really want to go. Because it makes no sense to be miserable on your own. It’s so much better to make somebody else share the misery.

8. Worry endlessly as to whether it’s better to paint your toenails one day or two days before the trip. Because this huge dilemma of incredible proportions is really worth stressing about. Especially when you are a 36-year-old university professor.

9. Decide that you cannot go to bed until you determine whether the Japanese restaurant at the resort where you are going is amazing (as some reviewers say) or horrible (as other reviewers maintain.) Because finding out for yourself when you actually get to the resort would be too easy.

After completing all of these rounds and feeling thoroughly unhappy, you are ready to set on your trip. Fortunately, the airport is a great place to torture yourself some more with worst-case scenarios.

There is never a dull moment for us, masochists.

* By masochism here I don’t mean the fun, great and healthy S&M practices. 

Who Will Have the Best Higher Ed in XXI Century?

World’s higher education is changing:

By the end of this decade, four out of every 10 of the world’s young graduates are going to come from just two countries – China and India.

The projection from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows a far-reaching shift in the balance of graduate numbers, with the rising Asian economies accelerating ahead of the United States and western Europe. The forecasts for the shape of the “global talent pool” in 2020 show China as rapidly expanding its graduate numbers – set to account for 29% of the world’s graduates aged between 25 and 34.

The biggest faller is going to be the United States – down to 11% – and for the first time pushed into third place, behind India.

I don’t believe in China’s higher education. I think it’s as much of a bubble as the Soviet education was and for the same reason. The Indian education, however, is hugely promising. All of my very best students at every university where I taught were from India. I don’t want to be stereotyping but I’m yet to meet a student from India who is not bizarrely good.

I hope our country realizes how important it is to invest in our own system of higher ed in the face of such impressive competition. Unless we want to turn into an intellectually insignificant backwards place that is completely dependent on others for ideas, research and technology, we need to stop looking at our universities as places that need to be squeezed for money and profits. We need to stop adjunctifying, scrimping, and cutting down on vitally important research needs.