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Tag Archives: education

21 Things I Would Do For $1

22 Aug
Let's Scrooge McDuck this mofo

Let’s Scrooge McDuck this mofo

As you may have ascertained from my previous posts about college, I recently graduated. It’s great and terrible at the same time. Honestly I’m a wreck. But that’s not what this article is about. This article is about money.

Unless you’re lucky enough to get a full ride scholarship (smart asses) or your parents are paying for all of your school (rich bitches), you’ve probably taken out a student loan or two to pay for your totally-worth-$50K-a-year education. Unfortunately, once you graduate, they expect you to pay those back. Which kinda sucks, especially if your “real job” hasn’t started yet. This is the situation I’m currently in, and it has left me both broke and bored. So, naturally, I’ve compiled a list of things I would do for $1:

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An Evening With George Saunders

7 May
This guy.

This guy.

Yesterday, Northwestern University’s Contemporary Thought Speaker Series brought best-selling author George Saunders to campus to close out its three-speaker series on the value of a university education in the 21st century.[1]

The Contemporary Thought Speaker Series—known by a very select few as the “intellectual equivalent of Dillo Day,” and by slightly more as “Nerdfest 2K13”—managed to bring out Northwestern’s cardigan-clad intelligentsia from the darkest depths of Unicorn Café to hear the rising literary rock star speak his mind on the moral responsibilities of an educated student. A full Harris Hall gazed intently at two spindly chairs positioned uncomfortably close together on the Harris Hall stage for the writer to bestow his intellectual heft upon us all.

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NCAA Reaffirms Commitment to Academic Integrity

24 Jul

Nothing at all like the rush of adrenaline you get from completing your Econ midterm.

In an unprecedented ruling that is sure to produce a sea-change in intercollegiate athletics for years to come, NCAA officials, coaches, and players acknowledged that college athletic programs have become dangerously large entities that threaten the values and integrity of their institutions.

“Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people,” said NCAA president Mark Emmert. “Which is why all NCAA athletic programs are voluntarily returning malignantly profitable sports like football and basketball to their proper status as amateur ventures.”

“We were all just kind of sitting around, trying to figure out how to properly punish Penn State for their culture of football reverence and blatant exploitation of a corrupt system to protect an enterprise bloated with big-time money,” continued Emmert, “And we were just like, ‘You know, this whole issue is really more a sign of an endemic problem throughout collegiate athletics. Who are we to wag our finger at Penn State for protecting a highly profitable venture while the SEC stands to make $300 million dollars in annual television earnings alone?'”

“I mean, amirite guys?” stressed Emmert. “So we just called up the top Division 1 athletic directors, and they were totally on-board with our plan to make sure all colleges and universities placed rigorous academic discipline, study, and success ahead of athletic victory. Because when you really think about it, what’s more valuable to these kids, a college degree from Boise State, or a Fiesta Bowl victory?”

Numerous coaches and players eagerly lent their support to the NCAA’s ruling.

“It’s high time we put the ‘student’ first in ‘student-athlete,'” concurred Nick Saban, head coach of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team, for approximately the 679,506th time in his life. “You know, just because I make ten times more per year than my school’s chancellor does not mean I am any less committed to ensuring that this institution focuses on the academic priorities of our students.”

According to Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini, “The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has always been a bastion of higher education and scholarly pursuits. I want my players to focus on their mental finesse much more than their physical prowess. And if [starting quarterback Taylor Martinez] just isn’t quite in form for kickoff against academic powerhouse Southern Miss because he spent too much time this summer reading Russian Literature and Margaret Atwood poetry instead of working out in the weight room, then I know I have succeeded, not just as a coach, but as a leader of young men.”

Players have responded favorably to Emmert’s ruling as well.

Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, for example, has already announced his desire to temporarily retire from professional football in order to complete his degree from Auburn University. “Not a day goes by,” admitted Newton, “That I don’t regret forgoing my senior year of college and instead signing a four-year contract worth a guaranteed $22 million dollars. Sure, that’s a lot of money, but just think about how happy I would be right now if I had cared less about a frivolous playground game and instead focused more intently on my Sociology major!”

Power forward Anthony Davis Jr., meanwhile, has turned down the New Orleans Hornets, who drafted him number one in the draft, so that he can pursue his more cerebral interests than defending the low post. “If there’s one thing coach John Calipari taught me at Kentucky, it’s that winning isn’t everything,” said Davis. “Calipari was always great and easy-going, insisting that there is a life beyond basketball and that we should pursue whatever interests us.

KD has also announced his decision to return and finish his college degree and finally finish watching every episode of Dr. Who.

“I mean, holy shit, I’m only 19! I’ve got my whole world ahead of me,” mused Davis. “I don’t need to pigeon-hole myself into the world of professional basketball. I think I’d really like to try other things, like maybe Teach for America or the Peace Corps. Or maybe backpacking through Europe before I start working on a doctoral thesis. Really get out and see the world, you know? Sports are only temporary, but your mind, your mind is for life.”

The effects of this paradigm shift in intercollegiate sports at the highest level are sure to have a deep and profound impact on college athletic programs as we know them. Analyst Lee Corso has already predicted that this will spark an unprecedented string of BCS bowl victories for schools like Northwestern, Notre Dame, and Stanford, while Jay Bilas is already beside himself looking forward to the rise of the Pomona Sagehends, Macalester Macs, and the Rhode Island School of Design Balls, who are sure to put together dynastic basketball programs thanks to their nationally respected culture of higher education.

Authors That Would Make Bad Writing Infinitely Better

6 Jan

As a manipulator of the English language myself, I hold several beliefs dear to my heart. They are as follows:

1) If you are over the age of 12 and still cannot successfully distinguish when words should have apostrophes (confusing “it’s” and “its,” “your” and “you’re”), I cannot respect your education. Why are you stupid?
2) If you can’t write something nice, don’t write anything at all. I’m not talking about pleasant or polite; I’m referring to “nice” writing as the opposite of writing that is bad, boring, poorly written, wrong, pointless, confused, frustrating, or Rick Perry.

Yeah, I know. It’s radical. Of course, not as radical as Rick Perry. But let’s face it: there is some literature/film/music that simply should have been penned by someone other than the original author. In some cases, aforementioned art is a slice of brilliance that got tarnished in the current writer’s incapable hands; in other cases it is an unsalvageable failure whose only option is to get worse so as to become presentably heinous.

In fact, may I make a few suggestions?

Twilight
by Terry Pratchett*

We’d all like this series so much better if Ms. Meyer’s attempt at a love story about a girl next door (translation: exposition on How To Have A Dysfunctional Relationship) had relatable and quirky characters with different fonts for every time they spoke. P-rad knows exactly how to make a totally impossible instance (Death playing Santa Claus? Criminals becoming post-men? Women in the army and not in the kitchen?) plausible, insightful, and funny — qualities which are all completely lacking in the hands of its current author.

Miley Cyrus’s memoir, Miles to Go
by Lemony Snicket

I haven’t read the original, but here is what I imagine it will read like, “My daddy is the only reason I’m famous. My brother croakmoans uncomfortably horny music to an audience that hasn’t got boobies yet. My boyfriend is way too old for me. I like drugs.” Are you attached to any of these characters? Do you care if the melancholy wit of Lemony Snicket creatively kills them off? Me neither. Just add a narrator who regularly urges you to stop reading, a meaninglessly depressing end,** and illustrations by Brett Helquist, and we’ve got ourselves acceptable piece of literature. It might even be appropriate for children, unlike everything else about Miley. Which brings us to:

“Party in the USA”
by Adele

Face it. She’d sing it better. Adele’s been so angsty lately (trying to set fire to the rain and all. She must be so frustrated) I’d like to see her getting down and shaking those God-given gifts. We know that when a Jay-Z song is on in Adele’s taxicabs, you better believe she puts her hands up.

Freud’s Early Theories
by Tara Gillespie

If you think about it, it wouldn’t be too different: My Immortal (the world’s worst fanfiction) and Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams are both mostly about sex/mostly wrong about sex. But if our favorite “goff” wrote it, we’d have the added pleasure of trying to decipher what words were behind the awful spelling in addition to laughing at his concept of penis envy and her concept of orgasm. Maybe she’d throw in some Harry Potter references*** along with her My Chemical Romance worship, extensive description of fishnets, and use of the phrase “passively frenching.” On the negative side, there will undoubtedly be a morbid amount of it’s/its confusion, but on the plus side, as far as we can tell, Tara wasn’t on cocaine, unlike Freud.

Glee
by Tommy Wiseau

Oh hai: it’s another artist who lacks command of the English language. Be honest with yourself — you don’t watch Glee for its**** gripping storyline. Having America’s most multi-untalented artist write/direct/produce/star/fornicate in the musical TV show can only make it more interesting. You know you want more of the writing that made Tommy’s masterpiece, The Room, so fantastic — what better way than to sit down with a bowl of popcorn to a fusion of pop culture featuring quotable magnificence such as, “You ah tearing me apaht, Wachel!” and “I did NAHT hit on Kurt. I did NAHT.” Best of all, we get to hear more of his wonderfully attractive accent/speech impediment as applied to music. Which, of course, he’ll arrange and sing entirely by himself.

Unfortunately for you, I have no suggestions on how to improve your terrible English paper. And so, I leave you with the immortal words of Dr. Seuss:
You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes,
You have heinously read all Sir Twattingworth spews.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose
(Just as long as it sounds like Erman Shmavenues).

——————————————————————————————————————————
*Another soul who understands the beauty in a footnote. All I want for Christmas is his semen in a petri dish with the reproductive cells of Bristol Bacchus. Bristol, dibs on being godmother.
**I’m all for realistic children’s literature, but I was really attached to Uncle Monty. And did anyone else develop a phobia of Lachrymose Leeches in Lake Michigan?
***Godwin’s law of NU: the longer a conversation continues between two NU students, the more likely a Harry Potter reference becomes.
****Did you see that apostrophe? No, you didn’t, because it does not belong there. It belongs in the first sentence of that paragraph.

Badasses in History: Winston Churchill

8 Sep

Rumor has it that Churchill fathered his successor to the throne of Badassery, Morty Schapiro

The study of history is, in many ways, the study of humanity. From kings and heroes to slaves and cowards, history provides us with an unrivaled view into the inner workings of the human mind.

But never has any historical figure kicked quite as much ass as Winston Churchill.

Let’s start off by investigating what the man had to work with. On the pros side, he was born the grandson of the seventh Duke of Marlborough. Aristocratic blood? Check. He was enrolled in the best schools. Education? Check. He was a brilliant politician. Acumen? Check. Oh, he also beat the Nazis. Awesomeness? Check.

Now for the cons. That school he was in? He hated it and got bad grades. Good GPA? Not check. He was fat…and rude…and a bit of a drunk. Winning personality? Not check. At the time of his political achievements, he faced a weak parliament and a weaker aristocracy. Strong support system for confronting foreign difficulties and interacting with the power-hungry, vicious Nazis? Not check.

The man was born with five-pound jowls

So to recap: Winston Churchill was born rich, but balked at any attempts to civilize him beyond what was required to find and light cigars, and—who could forget?— jimmy open the liquor cabinet. He then went off to the Royal Military College where he had the option of enrolling in either the cavalry or the infantry. He chose the cavalry. Why? Because it had a lower grade requirement and he hated math. Here was a man who had his priorities straight.

At that point, his father asked that he transfer to the infantry, to which I can only presume Winston replied: “Suck it.” Whatever his exact words, he stayed in the cavalry for some time until he got bored—again I can only assume because he was too bitching at everything for his regiment to handle—at which point he became a journalist and war-correspondent. Even more awesome (if such a thing could be possible) Churchill then went to Cuba to follow a conflict between Spain and the Cuban rebels, where he learned about cigars. His response was reportedly to blow smoke in the face of the Spanish General Ramon de Not-As-Mind-Blowing-as-Churchill. As history has taught us, this ended the war then and there.

But while his early life was too grandiose for words, it was Churchill’s later life that cemented his place as history’s greatest badass. You see, Churchill’s greatest quality was this: he was fucking hilarious. Yes, Churchill played a central role in the defeat of the Axis powers and the preservation of Great Britain beyond the bombing of London. But all of that nonsense pales in comparison to his rollicking contributions to insult comedy.

This image was captured moments after Churchill listed off the gut-wrenchingly filthy sexual activities he had engaged in with Stalin's mother

Though Churchill’s insults can — and do — fill entire books, some of them stick as even more groin-grabbingly funny than others. When asked about his opinion of Neville Chamberlain (who some of you may remember as the dickwad who tried appeasing the Nazis as British Prime Minister before Churchill), Old Winston had this to say: “He looked at foreign affairs through the wrong end of a municipal drainpipe.” In other words: “That dude is a shitface.”

On cultured people, tubby had this to say: “Cultured people are merely the glittering scum which floats upon the deep river of production.” What a baller.

Still, as funny as Churchill was in general, he had two particular adversaries with whom he had supreme moments of insulting hilarity: Lady Nancy Astor, member of Parliament and second-class comic, and playwright George Bernard Shaw.

We’ll start with Shaw. Both intellectuals (Shaw of the kind that actually does things of artistic and literary merit, and Churchill of the kind that makes fun of those things), the two often enjoyed exchanging witticisms. Shaw, no real fan of Churchill’s, thought it might be funny to send Winston a pair of tickets to Shaw’s newest play, Major Barbara. Accompanying the tickets was a short note: “Have reserved two tickets for opening night. Bring a friend, if you have one.”

Now, at this point, any lesser man would have accepted the truly hilarious burn at face value. Not Chubby Churchill. He wired back—in a moment where even God himself spit out his top ramen in laughter—”Cannot possibly come first night, will attend second, if there is one.”

Awesome.

Onto adversary number two: Lady Astor. The two had a long legacy of mocking one another, Astor for Churchill’s rampant alcoholism and obesity, Churchill for Astor’s general bitchiness. Who can forget this exchange:

He usually only needed one of those fingers to properly express himself

Astor: If you were my husband, I’d poison your tea.
Churchill: Madam, if you were my wife, I’d drink it.

Again, awesome. But these clashes of wits pale in comparison to a later insult. One particular evening, Churchill came to a party visibly drunk and irate, so much so that a Mrs. Bessie Braddock quite publicly remarked, “Mr. Churchill, you are drunk!” But Winston, drunk or not, knew a challenge when he heard one. After shouting “Challenge Accepted!” he looked the offending woman in the eye (or chest, as Churchill was not one for manners) and said: “Yes, and you, Madam, are ugly but tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be ugly.”

So yeah, no one rocked the house like Winston.

Some more Churchill insults for your consideration:

  • Young man (after seeing Churchill leave the bathroom without washing his hands): At Eton they taught us to wash our hands after using the toilet.
    Churchill: At Harrow they taught us not to piss on our hands.
  • [Referring to Arthur Balfour] If you wanted nothing done at all, Balfour was the man for the job.
  • The British Prime Minister after single-handedly clearing Juno Beach during D-Day

  • Churchill: Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?
    Woman: My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course…
    Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds?
    Woman: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!
    Churchill: Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.

And now for the winner:

  • [Referring to Charles De Gaulle] He looks like a female llama who has been surprised in the bath.

Josh Kopel