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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Jim Rice laments loss of fundamentals

I once violently up-chucked on over-cooked Goose and Rice…and I feel it coming on again.

Former Boston slugger Jim Rice is often asked to talk about the Red Sox. After all, he does serve as the pre- and post-game analyst for some of the games on the New England Sports Network.

It’s pretty clear, however, despite his continued association with the game, he’s no longer all that enamored with it.

...“The game is still the same (but) the players have changed. There are no fundamentals in the game anymore,” Rice said. “That’s why I really enjoyed the game was because of the fundamentals. We had to do fundamentals. If you didn’t know the fundamentals, you weren’t playing.”

It’s one of the reasons why Rice, who played for the Sox from 1974-89, is not still in a baseball uniform as a coach. He did try his hand at it from 1992-94 as a roving batting coach for the Red Sox organization, and then was the hitting instructor for the big league team from 1995-2000.

Don’t expect him to be back in the dugout anytime soon, however.

“I don’t want to do it because guys are not subject to change,” Rice said. “If you went back to giving guys one- or two-year contracts, it’s a different story. When you give guys five-, six-, seven-, 10-year contracts, they don’t have to change. Their money is in the bank. And if the thing doesn’t go right, who do they blame?”

Repoz Posted: January 13, 2013 at 12:47 AM | 181 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, hof, red sox

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   101. McCoy Posted: January 14, 2013 at 01:31 PM (#4346777)
What an odd euphemism.
   102. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 01:44 PM (#4346785)
From the observation of several college professors (including my wife and mother) the quality of students is definitely going down. I don't think it is intelligence, rather a lack of effort and studiousness, and an entitled mentality.

Examples: 1) students expect to be given the notes in an electronic format 2) students don't submit graded homework 3) students text or surf the web during lecture rather than taking notes 4) students parents call to complain about their kid's grades

Yet, they all think they are going to medical school. My wife is a Chemistry prof, and she has people who fail intro Chem 2 and 3 times thinking they are going to become doctors.

I blame a combination of rampant grade inflation in HS (and on standardized tests) and coddling helicopter parents.


Isn't some of this on professors though? My wife and I were both pretty shocked at how lax the standards were in our different Masters programs. Homework is turned in late - no big deal. Grades can be changed as long as you have a conversation with the professor. Students ask for all of the things you list because professors will accommodate them, so why not ask for the moon? And why work hard when they kid sleeping next to you will likely get a passing grade because professors are loathe to flunk kids out?

what I've never understood is how so many people seemingly deny or forget how dumb they and their friends were at that age.


This. I agree there are lots of stupid kids uncurious about the world. There are also a lot of stupid, uncurious people YOUR age and MY age. Just turn on any cable news network to find evidence of that.
   103. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 14, 2013 at 01:45 PM (#4346787)
The folks I work for/with are helicopter parents. I feel much sympathy for the teachers who dare give their kids anything less than an A- on a test.

It's not just the parents. A few years ago I taught legal writing at a top-tier law school, where we were required to grade on a curve centered on B+: out of a class of 12, I was allowed to give two A/A- grades. The expressions on these kids' faces when I explained all that - and the subsequent whining and grade-grubbing - were just pathetic. Especially once I saw their (general lack of) writing skills put into action. A couple of them worked hard and genuinely improved over the semester, but mostly they seemed to believe that Mommy's Perfect Little Snowflake was already just fine and would like a top grade right now, please.

EDIT: as an adjunct, I didn't have an office at the school, but at the end of every class I reminded the students that they had my email & phone number, and should contact me if they wanted to arrange a meeting or discuss an assignment - before class, after class, weekends, whenever. Not one of them ever took me up on it, although several did find time to complain in evaluations about me being "unavailable" outside class hours.
   104. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 14, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4346791)
Teens/early 20ers are like idiot savants- they can be as smart as an adult in some ways- smarter in others (the average 18 year old simply paying attention can learn an incredible amount of stuff- complex stuff), but in other ways just so dumb.

The operative words there are "paying attention", and they apply just as well to adults. The problem now is that there are so many mindless but entertaining things to divert our attention and prevent our minds from focusing.

------------------------------------------------------

Things may have been different for people of Harveys generation, where you either were married with a job by the age of 14 or you died of tuberculosis,

Or more likely, wound up on a March of Dimes poster stamp. If cellphones had existed in the days before the Salk vaccine, every circuit in New York City would have broken down from the calls between anxious mothers and their children in upstate Summer camps.
   105. smileyy Posted: January 14, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4346793)
hating the ubiquity and overuse of handheld phones is going to go down in my personal history as the line that i crossed into the 'get off my lawn' generation.


Spending one's entire life in a continuously networked world is the new generation gap. Definitely Future Shock-y where things change before we have a chance to understand impact and best practices of them.

This continuous-network generation is also a generation that grew up with constrained civil liberties and indefinite war. I don't know how that bodes.
   106. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: January 14, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4346798)
Definitely Future Shock-y where things change before we have a chance to understand impact and best practices of them.

How about things changing before I've had the chance to absorb the previous change? :(
   107. just plain joe Posted: January 14, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4346799)
Side note: I can't imagine any adult I know being OK with an 11 year old making gunpowder. That said, I'm pretty sure my mother never heard anything about this.

Note2: Gunpowder's trickier to make than we thought. Our rocket just burned.


A friend and I made some gunpowder when we were 13 or so; we were going to make a cannon out of some old galvanized pipe. Gunpowder (at least our version of it) was easy enough to make; we just ground up some charcoal briquets and purchased the other two ingredients, sulfur and potassium nitrate, at the local drug store. What we didn't realize was that gunpowder needs to be compressed in order to explode, otherwise it just burns rather slowly. We decided to burn the gunpowder we made to see what would happen. As I recall we put a bunch of it on a tree stump in my backyard, lit the fuse and hid behind the garage. What happened was the gunpowder did burn and created a huge amount of noxious smoke. What also happened was that my mother got extremely angry at me for filling the house with smoke. Youth, what a concept.
   108. PreservedFish Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4346803)
If cellphones had existed in the days before the Salk vaccine, every circuit in New York City would have broken down from the calls between anxious mothers and their children in upstate Summer camps.


This comment is funny because the thread was making me think about a NYT article that appeared a year or two ago about how summer camps deal with the age of the helicopter parent. Many now have a fulltime employee whose job is just to deal with nervous and angry parents, a position which never existed before. The kids are usually supposed to have a clean break from their parents - no phone calls, no computers, just letters. And kids learning to deal with problems on their own is sort of the point of summer camp ... there's a bully? You're scared of the dark? Can't run to mommy. Deal with it kid.

But many parents encourage and enable their children to break the rules by sneaking them extra cellphones (literally giving a kid two phones so one suspicion is lifted after the first is found) and then that leads to the parents learning about these problems and getting all up in the business of the camp - calling to demand that their child is moved to another cabin, or whatever. It sounds like a nightmare for the camp administrators.

I was a camper and then counselor in the 90s, just before the cellphone and email booms were able to make a dent in the life of our camp. But we did have other modern problems - the parents who decided that summer camp was a great opportunity to take their kid off of Ritalin, for example.
   109. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4346808)
Has taking along an actual book occurred to you? Not being snarky; I just assume that your latter sentence would no longer be applicable.


I used to. It just changed the question to "you're reading in a bar? Really?"

I love my Nook. I don't have the color one just the regular E-Ink version and it's wonderful. The best part of it is when I go on vacation rather than bringing 7-8 books with me I just bring the device, it makes life so much easier and as you note it does feel roughly like a real book in terms of size.
   110. Lassus Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:20 PM (#4346810)
HIT IT!

Why can't they be like we were, perfect in every way?
   111. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4346811)

Why can't they be like we were, perfect in every way?


It all went downhill after Jack Morris retired.
   112. smileyy Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:24 PM (#4346812)
[106] Yeah -- that's exactly what "Future Shock" is. In fact, the term "generation gap" is showing its age, as many changes are no longer generational, but happen over a smaller handful of years.
   113. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4346817)
I used to. It just changed the question to "you're reading in a bar? Really?"


I haven't darkened the door of a bar in ages (as I've whined before, Crohn's means that I haven't been able to drink even a coke in years, much less anything alcoholic), but the last time I remember being in one, about 11 years ago in Mobile, I had a really good read along ... something from the library (which is to say I have no idea whatsoever of what the title might've been) about the early days of paleontology. I'm pretty sure I had a much better time with my book than the people I was with the ambiance & clientele, since they gave the place -- which had been talked up by our hosts as the greatest! place! ever! -- extremely withering reviews.
   114. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4346828)
Serious question - why would anyone go to a bar to read a book? You can read a book at home, and the drinks are much cheaper there. I thought the major selling point for bars was to be around other people?
   115. smileyy Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:54 PM (#4346833)
[114] is there some (perhaps now quaint) notion of being around other people in a community (many of whom with which you are acquainted), but not necessarily directly interacting with them?
   116. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:00 PM (#4346834)
Serious question - why would anyone go to a bar to read a book? You can read a book at home, and the drinks are much cheaper there. I thought the major selling point for bars was to be around other people?

Some people like to people watch and being in a room all the time can get claustrophobic or if you've got a couple of hours to kill and want to nurse a beer or two instead of drinking coffee.
   117. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4346836)
I would think part of being fundamentally sound is knowing when you haven't been given the bunt sign. :-)

Has anyone ever kept track of failed attempts to sacrifice? That would be a sort of interesting stat.
They do! For the retrosheet era, "sac bunt attempts" are on the "more stats" page for every hitter. (These attempts include only fair bunts and foul-bunt strikeouts, not plate appearances in which a bunt was attempted and then taken off.)

Jim Rice had 5 successful sacrifice bunts in his career, perfectly matching his 5 unsuccessful sac bunts.
   118. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4346837)
Serious question - why would anyone go to a bar to read a book? You can read a book at home, and the drinks are much cheaper there. I thought the major selling point for bars was to be around other people?


I live alone so as much as I enjoy my solitude sometimes I just like ambient noise and social activity. The funny thing is I rarely drink, I usually get a diet coke and something to eat but I always tip very well and go to places regularly so bartenders don't seem to mind.

The other thing is when I'm at a bar I'm able to relax a bit differently. At home I'm always thinking I should do some laundry or organize my file cabinet or some such thing. If I'm at the bar I'm out and can just relax and do my thing.
   119. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:26 PM (#4346843)
Most bars are lit pretty dimly, no? I suppose Nooks are self-illuminating, though, which would be another reason to prefer one over a book.
   120. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:28 PM (#4346848)
Isn't some of this on professors though? My wife and I were both pretty shocked at how lax the standards were in our different Masters programs. Homework is turned in late - no big deal. Grades can be changed as long as you have a conversation with the professor. Students ask for all of the things you list because professors will accommodate them, so why not ask for the moon? And why work hard when they kid sleeping next to you will likely get a passing grade because professors are loathe to flunk kids out?

Sure, some professors aid and abet this. But my wife regularly flunks (or they drop the class) up to 40% of her intro Chem students. They still don't study. The ones who've failed before, and are repeating, don't do the work either. Somehow they think they'll learn by osmosis. Lots of them then take the class in summer school at another college (thinking it's the prof's fault); they fail there too.

EDIT: as an adjunct, I didn't have an office at the school, but at the end of every class I reminded the students that they had my email & phone number, and should contact me if they wanted to arrange a meeting or discuss an assignment - before class, after class, weekends, whenever. Not one of them ever took me up on it, although several did find time to complain in evaluations about me being "unavailable" outside class hours.

My wife gets exactly the same crap. She has 6 hours of office hours every week, and is available after class. Students don't show up. They make appointments and then still don't show up. But, the day before the exam, they want he to come in on her one off-day to tutor them.
   121. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4346853)
Most bars are lit pretty dimly, no? I suppose Nooks are self-illuminating, though, which would be another reason to prefer one over a book.


Mine isn't but I've got a little battery-powered reading light that works quite nicely.
   122. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:38 PM (#4346856)
I live alone so as much as I enjoy my solitude sometimes I just like ambient noise and social activity. The funny thing is I rarely drink, I usually get a diet coke and something to eat but I always tip very well and go to places regularly so bartenders don't seem to mind.

The other thing is when I'm at a bar I'm able to relax a bit differently. At home I'm always thinking I should do some laundry or organize my file cabinet or some such thing. If I'm at the bar I'm out and can just relax and do my thing.


I get that, but, why a bar and not a coffee shop, diner or restaurant?
   123. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:38 PM (#4346857)
My wife gets exactly the same crap. She has 6 hours of office hours every week, and is available after class. Students don't show up. They make appointments and then still don't show up. But, the day before the exam, they want he to come in on her one off-day to tutor them.

Q: Does the school administration then support the prof?
A: Yes, to precisely the extent that the prof pays the administrators' salaries.
   124. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4346858)
Not that it matters, but this is the book I mentioned before. I have absolutely no head for science, but I'm quite fond of nicely done popular treatments of the history thereof, & this one qualifies as far as paleontology is concerned.
   125. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:48 PM (#4346864)
I get that, but, why a bar and not a coffee shop, diner or restaurant?


Restaurants don't work because I still feel isolated sitting at a table alone. No real reason for not a coffee shop. I think the proximity to people I get in a bar is probably part of the appeal. Sit there, read my book, watch a game and let the conversation go on and if I wind up chatting, so be it.
   126. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:49 PM (#4346866)
If I didn't go to restaurants alone, I wouldn't go to restaurants, period. (Not that that would be a bad thing.) I would no more sit at a table without a book or at least a magazine than I would ... I dunno ... drive down the street with my eyes closed.
   127. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4346870)
Q: Does the school administration then support the prof?
A: Yes, to precisely the extent that the prof pays the administrators' salaries.


She's never had any problem with the Administration, and now she has tenure.

I'm just shocked at how the students don't learn. I mean, you don't do the homework or pay attention, and you get 30% on the first test. Do they come for help? Do they start turning in the homework? Nope, they think it'll magically turn around. They repeat this for the whole semester, get an F, and then rinse and repeat in summer school, or the next Fall.
   128. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:56 PM (#4346874)
I'm just shocked at how the students don't learn. I mean, you don't do the homework or pay attention, and you get 30% on the first test. Do they come for help? Do they start turning in the homework? Nope, they think it'll magically turn around. They repeat this for the whole semester, get an F, and then rinse and repeat in summer school, or the next Fall.
It's annoying, no question. 19-year-olds are mostly pretty stupid in their decision-making, even if they can be very smart in their critical thinking. I never can predict which students will suddenly disappear or reappear on me over the semester.

I don't think this has anything to do with society comma the breakdown of. It's just that 19-year-olds are 19 years old. That's not new.
   129. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:57 PM (#4346876)
It's annoying, no question. 19-year-olds are mostly pretty stupid in their decision-making, even if they can be very smart in their critical thinking. I never can predict which students will suddenly disappear or reappear on me over the semester.

I don't think this has anything to do with society, the breakdown of. It's just that 19-year-olds are 19 years old. That's not new.


Except that I'm talking to teachers who've been at it between 8 and 25 years, and they say it's getting much worse.
   130. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:59 PM (#4346880)
As a fellow bar-reader, Jose's explanation in #125 is right on. A bar is a much more relaxing place for me than a coffee shop - I do a lot of writing and editing and grading in coffee shops, so they feel like a work environment. At a bar, I can have a beer and relax, I might have a conversation with a patron or a bartender, I might watch a little sports, or I might do some reading.

I eat at restaurants alone occasionally, but I never eat alone at a table. Only at the bar. Where, again, a book can come in handy.
   131. McCoy Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:59 PM (#4346881)
But that isn't anything new. There have always been students that flunked out or never studied and so on. The difference is that more kids are going to college so instead of having a student body of 500 students with 50 of them being deadweight we have a student body of 5000 with 500 of them being deadweight. Or it might even be 1000 kids who are deadweight since the pressure to go to college is greater now than in the past and with easier to obtain student loans more kids who shouldn't go and didn't in the past are now going to college.

Raise the standards of admission, cut the amount of kids to gain entrance to school, and remove subsidized school loans and suddenly you'll see colleges become the home of the best and brightest. Nothing will have really changed other than the deadweight was removed.
   132. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:00 PM (#4346882)
I don't think this has anything to do with society, the breakdown of. It's just that 19-year-olds are 19 years old. That's not new.

Except that I'm talking to teachers who've been at it between 8 and 25 years, and they say it's getting much worse.
I have counter-anecdotes from similarly-tenured teachers.

EDIT: To put some further words on it, there is a strong tendency among humans to believe that the latest generation is a moral disaster and society is breaking down. Change often reads as decline to people who aren't the agents of that change. I tend to doubt it's a good reading.
   133. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:11 PM (#4346892)

I'm just shocked at how the students don't learn. I mean, you don't do the homework or pay attention, and you get 30% on the first test. Do they come for help? Do they start turning in the homework? Nope, they think it'll magically turn around. They repeat this for the whole semester, get an F, and then rinse and repeat in summer school, or the next Fall.


That's because, fundamentally, colleges and universities have been taken over by the MBAs and the marketers like everything else over the past roughly three decades. And because, concomitantly, no institution can be discussed anymore other than through the lens and in the lingo of the marketer and the MBA.

Thus, the university is no longer a unique institution where less experienced and less knowledgable, still impressionable people go to learn things from wiser, more experienced people -- with the hard work and built-in "power" relationship and "imbalance" inherent to the enterprise -- but instead a place to be "branded" and marketed, and where the students are first and foremost not students, but instead "consumers."

The same thing has happened in law and health care and, assuredly, other things.

(*) The more "empowered," the better.
   134. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:16 PM (#4346897)
Change often reads as decline to people who aren't the agents of that change. I tend to doubt it's a good reading.

So do I, but someday the change might actually be decline and the reading might be right.

The decline really isn't in the latest generation anyway, but in more adult generations.
   135. PreservedFish Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4346901)
I have a feeling different institutions are moving in different directions. When I was at my liberal arts school in the early 00s, we heard that every single freshman class was "the best ever," and it was probably true. The applicants were smarter and more accomplished every year*. But compare that to, say, a mediocre state school. The state school used to draw the smartest kids from all the little communities in the state, but now those kids are competing to go to places like my liberal arts school a thousand miles away ... at the same time, the state school is being inundated with crappy applicants that a generation prior might not have considered college, and a lot of them get in and enroll.


* Even if they increasingly have the modern issues of not understanding non-Wikipedia research and such.
   136. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4346902)
So do I, but someday the change might actually be decline and the reading might be right.
Oh, certainly. It's entirely possible. Decline happens, crises happen. It's just that the charge has been made so many times without sufficient evidence that I need a lot of evidence to be convinced.
   137. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4346917)
The applicants were smarter and more accomplished every year*.

I actually doubt the first part.

They are "more accomplished" b/c schools now demand fancy resumes, so HS students focus on "accomplishments" that are usually mostly window dressing.

I'm probably among the last generation that could get into Ivy league and equivalent schools based on pure academics. All I had going for me was GPA/SAT/GRE.

Now that the emphasis is on 63 clubs/sports and made-up charities, and how you're saving the world, you will automatically get more "accomplished" students (i.e. students who play the game and burnish their resumes) and fewer really bright students who rather be reading, or solving equations, or in the lab, than joining clubs and starting charity drive that hit up their parents friends.

If I ran Harvard/Yale/Princeton/Stanford/etc., I'd return to the admission exam as the sole determinant of admission. It would be self-designed and administered. 3 Parts, weeding down the applicant pool: 1) multiple choice general aptitude and subject knowledge (SAT/GRE-esque) to get me to ~15,000, 2) Essay exam to get me to 5,000, 3) oral exam to get me my 2000 offers.
   138. The Good Face Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:36 PM (#4346921)
Thus, the university is no longer a unique institution where less experienced and less knowledgable, still impressionable people go to learn things from wiser, more experienced people -- with the hard work and built-in "power" relationship and "imbalance" inherent to the enterprise -- but instead a place to be "branded" and marketed, and where the students are first and foremost not students, but instead "consumers."


Yes, the relationship of the student to the school has changed, become more of a customer/service provider dynamic, and largely due to the actions of the schools themselves. Granted young people are lazy and feckless and lack respect for all that was good and right when we were kids, but I think the fact that colleges are so absurdly expensive combined with the devaluation of a college degree have put tremendous pressure on college kids to distinguish themselves through good grades. But earning good grades takes work, so the kids do what anybody who's paying a boatload for a service that's not making them happy does; complain loudly until the service provider makes you happy.
   139. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:41 PM (#4346923)
Yes, the relationship of the student to the school has changed, become more of a customer/service provider dynamic, and largely due to the actions of the schools themselves. Granted young people are lazy and feckless and lack respect for all that was good and right when we were kids, but I think the fact that colleges are so absurdly expensive combined with the devaluation of a college degree have put tremendous pressure on college kids to distinguish themselves through good grades. But earning good grades takes work, so the kids do what anybody who's paying a boatload for a service that's not making them happy does; complain loudly until the service provider makes you happy.

The interesting thing is that the increased cost of college is almost entirely driven by administration. In the last 30 years, the number of faculty per student hasn't risen, faculty pay hasn't exceeded inflation, and endowments have grown.

What has gone up is the number of highly paid administrators. One article I saw is that the administrator:faculty ratio has gone from ~1:5 to 1:1. And the administrators usually make much more than average faculty do.
   140. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:44 PM (#4346926)
If cellphones had existed in the days before the Salk vaccine, every circuit in New York City would have broken down from the calls between anxious mothers and their children in upstate Summer camps.

This comment is funny because the thread was making me think about a NYT article that appeared a year or two ago about how summer camps deal with the age of the helicopter parent. Many now have a fulltime employee whose job is just to deal with nervous and angry parents, a position which never existed before. The kids are usually supposed to have a clean break from their parents - no phone calls, no computers, just letters. And kids learning to deal with problems on their own is sort of the point of summer camp ... there's a bully? You're scared of the dark? Can't run to mommy. Deal with it kid.


Yeah, that is kind of pathetic, but in the case I was referring to there actually were polio epidemics that broke out in those camps every Summer, not in every one of them but enough to give city parents cause to freak out. When I was five, one broke out in the only Summer camp I ever went to, and my Mom was up there on the first train to get me the hell out of there and back to Manhattan. Turned out I never even had so much as a fever, but when you've actually seen friends your age in braces, you can begin to understand your parents' reaction.
   141. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:50 PM (#4346931)
Hee hee! I'm a bleeding-heart liberal, but I agree with snapper and The Good Face. And Clement of Alexandria.

The change is real, it's annoying in many ways, but it will still take some time to know whether it's a disaster. The good students are still there, and to this point, having the not so good students around doesn't seem to be keeping them from learning, developing, and achieving, or at least I hope it isn't. I haven't taught for a couple of years, but I always had three or four students who seemed really bright and motivated and so forth. The rest weren't very motivated, which is sort of understandable since it wasn't a major class, and I could tell that some of them were smart and some of them weren't. The ones who were smart did okay and the ones who weren't didn't. There are still fabulous young scholars emerging, but of course the youngest of them were undergraduates about when I was, and things were quite a bit different when I was an undergraduate than they are now. On the other hand, I went to a relatively small northeastern school (though it was a state school), so maybe that's why things were different. It's hard to say whether we paid attention in class, did our reading, and spent serious time on our homework for cultural reasons or technological reasons. There was no wireless internet, and very few students were carrying laptops around. But there was also a low student-to-faculty ratio, and for that and other reasons, it did seem more like an education than a product. I'm not sure I could say the same thing about the atmosphere at other places I've seen. As well as good young scholars, there are a lot of what I would call "educated idiots" emerging, but I don't expect that's a new development--in fact, I'm absolutely sure it isn't.
   142. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:50 PM (#4346932)
I'm probably among the last generation that could get into Ivy league and equivalent schools based on pure academics. All I had going for me was GPA/SAT/GRE.

Then you must have attended the only elite school without legacy admissions or favoritism towards athletes or applicants from underrepresented geographic regions. If such a school has ever existed, I'd sure like to know about it. I know damn well that Duke has never been one of them, certainly not for the past 89 years since it got its foundation money and became Big Time.
   143. The Good Face Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:51 PM (#4346933)
The interesting thing is that the increased cost of college is almost entirely driven by administration. In the last 30 years, the number of faculty per student hasn't risen, faculty pay hasn't exceeded inflation, and endowments have grown.

What has gone up is the number of highly paid administrators. One article I saw is that the administrator:faculty ratio has gone from ~1:5 to 1:1. And the administrators usually make much more than average faculty do.


Yep. Many universities have spent lavishly on various construction projects as well, but administrative bloat is where a great deal of those high tuitions wind up. I hesistate to call it a driver, since I'm not 100% on the causation, but it's certainly where a lot of the money is going.
   144. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:53 PM (#4346936)
Then you must have attended the only elite school without legacy admissions or favoritism towards athletes or applicants from underrepresented geographic regions. If such a school has ever existed, I'd sure like to know about it. I know damn well that Duke has never been one of them, certainly not for the past 89 years since it got its foundation money and became Big Time.

I attended Harvard. I had no legacy, was from suburban NY, had no sports beyond JV baseball, and a trivial number of clubs/activities (most of which I joined junior year for resume padding).

At that time, I would guess that ~40% of the class was there on pure academics.
   145. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:58 PM (#4346939)
Yep. Many universities have spent lavishly on various construction projects as well, but administrative bloat is where a great deal of those high tuitions wind up. I hesistate to call it a driver, since I'm not 100% on the causation, but it's certainly where a lot of the money is going.

It's the driver. Those are the people that run the schools, the system is run for their benefit. If Mr. Dean of Students now has 8 Asst. Deans under him making $100-$150K, well then by Jove he needs to make $300K for his vast managerial expertise.
   146. AROM Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4346940)
I've become grumpy old man. Back in my day we didn't have 2 assistant vice provosts for every real teacher. And we didn't have luxury condos to live in. Freshman dorm was a concrete building styled after military barracks. That's the way it was and we liked it. We loved it.
   147. AuntBea Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:00 PM (#4346942)
My situation was quite similar to Snapper's. I had slightly more on my "resume", but I strained to fill out the Ivy applications. MIT (and especially CalTech) applications, on the other hand, seemed to be written with me in mind. In the end I decided to go to an Ivy league school.
   148. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:06 PM (#4346946)
. Many universities have spent lavishly on various construction projects as well


One of the "other reasons" in the antipenultimate line of my post is the fact that the facilities at my school ranged from relatively old to downright ancient. It made it feel like a school, damn it, not a resort. They've built a bunch of stuff since I was there, naturally.
   149. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:08 PM (#4346948)
Yep. Many universities have spent lavishly on various construction projects as well, but administrative bloat is where a great deal of those high tuitions wind up. I hesistate to call it a driver, since I'm not 100% on the causation, but it's certainly where a lot of the money is going.

It's the driver. Those are the people that run the schools, the system is run for their benefit. If Mr. Dean of Students now has 8 Asst. Deans under him making $100-$150K, well then by Jove he needs to make $300K for his vast managerial expertise.
I'm not sure. I think it's a driver, but I think the larger driver is the massive increase in demand for a college degree, driven in turn by cultural and economic shifts of the past several decades.

My take is that the money comes first, and then you have the question of how to distribute it - to administration, to faculty, to non-faculty workers, to students, to building projects and endowment growth. And the administration are the ones who actually get to make those decisions. The faculty have some structural power, unlike non-faculty workers and students, but the administrators generally see themselves as directly opposed to faculty in a small-scale class conflict, so the faculty gets overrun. And then pretty much all the money goes to the administration, as well as to building projects and endowment growth, which enhance the status of the university and the administration without giving money to other competing groups.

Some of the tuition growth is driven by the administration seeing they can arrogate even more money to themselves, but I think that's more secondary.
   150. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:18 PM (#4346954)
I'm not sure. I think it's a driver, but I think the larger driver is the massive increase in demand for a college degree, driven in turn by cultural and economic shifts of the past several decades.

Yeah, but most colleges are non-for-profits and state institutions. They didn't have any imperative to respond to increased demand by raising costs. They could have just expanded enrollment, or become more selective.

The only reason to raise tuition was to enrich administrators. As you rightly note, the faculty got bupkus.

In a way, it's very similar to the governance problem you have in corporate America. Except at tightly held companies, CEOs and top-execs run corporations almost exclusively for their own benefit; shareholders, employees and customers are an after-thought. They are so insulated from hostile takeovers, that they have similarly unchecked power, and have responded exactly the same way.
   151. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:23 PM (#4346957)
Yeah, but most colleges are non-for-profits and state institutions. They didn't have any imperative to respond to increased demand by raising costs. They could have just expanded enrollment, or become more selective.
Good point. There's no necessary reason to assume that demand would lead to a price increase unless I presume the university behaves like a market actor which a university is not supposed to be, or doesn't have to be.

I think there's an overlapping issue here in that administrators started seeing themselves as market actors in this way. There has been a cultural change in universities toward seeing the university as a business selling a good to consumers, and this has been driven mostly at the administration level. I don't think they believe this hypocritically, just in order to enhance their own wealth. They also see it as what a university is or should be. It happens, like so many ideologies, to correlate rather nicely with policies that expand the wealth and power of administrators.
   152. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:23 PM (#4346958)
I attended Harvard


My situation was quite similar to Snapper's. I had slightly more on my "resume", but I strained to fill out the Ivy applications. MIT (and especially CalTech) applications, on the other hand, seemed to be written with me in mind. In the end I decided to go to an Ivy league school


I could have gone to Harvard or any Ivy League school if it wasn't for the vicious discrimination against students due to arbitrary things like "grades" and "lack of tuition money". Those were cruel times. Thank God for Meridian JC.
   153. The Good Face Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:24 PM (#4346962)
I'm not sure. I think it's a driver, but I think the larger driver is the massive increase in demand for a college degree, driven in turn by cultural and economic shifts of the past several decades.


I think the biggest driver is easy access to student loans. A college degree has been desirable for a long time, since before WWII by far, but often people couldn't afford to go. Now, almost any idiot can get student loans if they want them, which freed the universities to jack up their prices.

My take is that the money comes first, and then you have the question of how to distribute it - to administration, to faculty, to non-faculty workers, to students, to building projects and endowment growth. And the administration are the ones who actually get to make those decisions. The faculty have some structural power, unlike non-faculty workers and students, but the administrators generally see themselves as directly opposed to faculty in a small-scale class conflict, so the faculty gets overrun. And then pretty much all the money goes to the administration, as well as to building projects and endowment growth, which enhance the status of the university and the administration without giving money to other competing groups.


I generally agree with this.

Some of the tuition growth is driven by the administration seeing they can arrogate even more money to themselves, but I think that's more secondary.


Not sure I agree with this. It might have been the case 20-30 years ago when they were first figuring out that they could keep raising their prices because they were floating on a huge pile of easy financing, but once they figured it out, you'd have to assume that university administrators are better people than other humans for it to be true. I don't believe that they are.
   154. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:34 PM (#4346971)
I think there's also the issue that declining governmental support versus real costs of operation caused administrations to start thinking more in terms of fundraising, which leads to thinking like a business in a market.
   155. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:37 PM (#4346974)
I think there's also the issue that declining governmental support versus real costs of operation caused administrations to start thinking more in terms of fundraising, which leads to thinking like a business in a market.

Did gov't support really go down, or did the schools just decide they needed a whole bunch more "operations"?

My sense is that gov't support has risen continuously, just not at the rate that schools were expanding expenses.
   156. McCoy Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:43 PM (#4346978)
Yeah, but most colleges are non-for-profits and state institutions. They didn't have any imperative to respond to increased demand by raising costs. They could have just expanded enrollment, or become more selective.

The only reason to raise tuition was to enrich administrators. As you rightly note, the faculty got bupkus.


That isn't true. It is almost impossible to stay the same once you've decided to not change. These colleges and universities are competing with other schools for employees and for students as well. A college can say we only want 500 students and we want those students to be of X quality but if the school doesn't have the faculty that the students consider to be of proper quality nor have the facilities that prospective students deem to be acceptable then that school isn't going to get students of X quality. So to simply maintain one's standards one needs to grow with the times. One needs to buy and build the facilities that are necessary for top notch education or middle of the road or whatever level it is you want to be.
   157. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:43 PM (#4346979)
I'm probably among the last generation that could get into Ivy league and equivalent schools based on pure academics. All I had going for me was GPA/SAT/GRE.

Then you must have attended the only elite school without legacy admissions or favoritism towards athletes or applicants from underrepresented geographic regions. If such a school has ever existed, I'd sure like to know about it. I know damn well that Duke has never been one of them, certainly not for the past 89 years since it got its foundation money and became Big Time.

I attended Harvard. I had no legacy, was from suburban NY, had no sports beyond JV baseball, and a trivial number of clubs/activities (most of which I joined junior year for resume padding).


At that time, I would guess that ~40% of the class was there on pure academics.


Based on my classmates at Duke, I'd tend to say that sounds about right. But that wasn't what I was reading into your initial comment.

And the reason that "pure academics" can't get you into an Ivy or Duke nowadays is because the application pool is so much deeper than it was then. I went to what at the time was rated one of the top public schools in the country (Wilson in D.C.), and I doubt if we had more than at most two dozen grads from my class attending Ivies or their then sister schools (Radcliffe, Pembroke, Barnard, etc.). Second level schools like Duke got another couple of dozen, but even when you added the ones who went to elite undergrad colleges like Swarthmore and the best state universities (Berkeley, Cal Tech, Michigan) it probably didn't add up to more than about a sixth of the class. Something like 98% of them wound up in one college or another, but the majority of them went to schools like Maryland, AU and GW, which at the time at least were considered nothing but party schools that were virtually open admissions to anyone with the tuition money.

And the reason for the explosion in applications to the elite schools is obvious: People---parents---are obsessed with the thought that you need a degree from one of them to get a job that will enable you to achieve a decent standard of living. With cookie cutter 1 or 2 bedroom "luxury" apartments going for $3,000 a month in cities like Washington---triple or more what they were in constant dollars since the 70's---it's hard to blame either the applicants or their parents from being cold bloodedly realistic about their futures. Anyone who doesn't think that would-be middle class jobseekers aren't being squeezed on both ends these days by a combination of the tight job market and housing costs is simply being in denial.

And maybe none of this applies to young people in Iowa or Kansas City, but that isn't where they're gravitating to these days. Blame this sad development on any scapegoat you want, from selfish Baby Boomers to illegal immigrants to affirmative action, but it ain't making the problem go away.
   158. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:44 PM (#4346981)
One needs to buy and build the facilities that are necessary for top notch education or middle of the road or whatever level it is you want to be.

But, I don't think facilities are the cost driver. Most facilities are funded through fund raising campaigns, not through operating income.
   159. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:48 PM (#4346988)
Anyone who doesn't think that would-be middle class jobseekers aren't being squeezed on both ends these days by a combination of the tight job market and housing costs is simply being in denial.

And anyone who thinks taking on massive debt for a degree of questionable value is a solution is insane.

An expensive college degree is practically worthless to someone of average intelligence (if they even graduate, which is probably less than 50:50). They can never compete with the oodles of bright people with the exact same degrees for the truly high-end jobs.

   160. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:51 PM (#4346990)
BTW as aesthetically displeasing and philosophically disquieting those college administrative costs might be, they account for less of 20% of overall college costs. The reason for those ungodly tuition hikes lies much more along the lines of what McCoy was stating in #156. It's all those bells and whistles that students and their parents demand, and for the universities it's a simple matter of having to keep up with the Joneses Harvards and the Stanfords if you want to keep your degree properly branded.
   161. McCoy Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:55 PM (#4346993)
Speaking of bars and restaurants I'm halfway through a stretch of 4 days off in a row and I decided I would prepare everything I ate for those 4 days and not go out and eat.

Went to Eastern Market and bought 3 kinds of protein. A whole chicken ($7.50), a NY Strip ($15.00), and two Pork Porterhouses ($11.50). A vegetable stalls I bought shiitake mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, green beans, parsnips, carrots, red potatoes, yukon gold potatoes, brussel sprouts, onions, and shallots. Picked up some chicken stock and beef stock as well as had some leftover herbs and citrus fruits in my fridge.

Saturday featured a roasted whole chicken stuffed with sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic, and citrus fruits, wrapped in bacon. Served with brussel sprouts, raisins, and bacon (from the roasted chicken), rosemary roasted potatoes, and a mustard sauce. Drank a bottle of Steele Pinot Noir with it.

Was so full from that that I decided to postpone my steak dinner until tonight. So yesterday I had pulled chicken tacos for lunch and then ate the rest of the leftovers for dinner.

This morning featured a scallion and stewed tomato omelet with avocado and monterey jack cheese. Tonight will be the NY Strip steak with a mushroom red wine jus, smashed yukon gold potatoes with sour cream and scallions, and sauteed green beans and shallots. I've got a 2004 Simi Alexander Valley Cab I think I'll try with it.

Tomorrow will be pork porterhouses with mango salsa, roasted parsnips and carrots, and black beans and rice with roasted peppers.

Not counting the wine I think I spent less than 70 dollars on what will probably amount to 7 or so meals.
   162. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:56 PM (#4346997)
Anyone who doesn't think that would-be middle class jobseekers aren't being squeezed on both ends these days by a combination of the tight job market and housing costs is simply being in denial.

And anyone who thinks taking on massive debt for a degree of questionable value is a solution is insane.


Perhaps so, but then you and I were lucky enough not to be entering college in a time when such debts were necessary to take on. The total tuition and housing cost at Duke when I was there was $16,000 a year in 2012 dollars. That's still a steep chunk of change, but it's a third of what it is at the Duke of today.

------------------------------------------------------------

One needs to buy and build the facilities that are necessary for top notch education or middle of the road or whatever level it is you want to be.


But, I don't think facilities are the cost driver. Most facilities are funded through fund raising campaigns, not through operating income.

As are those administrative costs. There's no magic bullet that can scare the genie back into the bottle.
   163. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:56 PM (#4346998)
BTW as aesthetically displeasing and philosophically disquieting those college administrative costs might be, they account for less of 20% of overall college costs.

Do you have a citation on that? I would be careful, it's easy for the administration to hide admin expenses under other categories.
   164. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 14, 2013 at 06:00 PM (#4347000)
Did gov't support really go down, or did the schools just decide they needed a whole bunch more "operations"?


I'm mostly taking people's word for it. I don't know the actual answer to this question. My understanding is that government support for most state universities has gone down in inflation-adjusted dollars, but I haven't personally researched any figures.
   165. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 14, 2013 at 06:07 PM (#4347005)
BTW as aesthetically displeasing and philosophically disquieting those college administrative costs might be, they account for less of 20% of overall college costs.

Do you have a citation on that?


Sure. It's not that these costs aren't rising and aren't bloated, it's that they're not disproportionately so any more than they've been in previous eras.

I would be careful, it's easy for the administration to hide admin expenses under other categories.

No doubt, but what aspects of university life or government / corporate life does this insight not also apply to? The athletic facilities at Michigan or LSU? The Department of Health and Human Services? The Pentagon? The tax returns of the Fortune 500?
   166. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 06:12 PM (#4347013)
People---parents---are obsessed with the thought that you need a degree from one of them to get a job that will enable you to achieve a decent standard of living. With cookie cutter 1 or 2 bedroom "luxury" apartments going for $3,000 a month in cities like Washington---triple or more what they were in constant dollars since the 70's---it's hard to blame either the applicants or their parents from being cold bloodedly realistic about their futures. Anyone who doesn't think that would-be middle class jobseekers aren't being squeezed on both ends these days by a combination of the tight job market and housing costs is simply being in denial.


The funny thing is, many "working class" jobs are hiring, for very handsome salaries. My wife made more her first year of nursing than I ever have in one year, and I'm ten years out of law school. I have a friend who runs a manufacturing company, and he has guys in his shop just a few years out of high school, with no college education, making $75,000 as machinists. But our parents generation poo-poohed working with your hands because in their days, those jobs didn't pay as well (or have the prestige) as lawyers or bankers or academics.


Blame this sad development on any scapegoat you want, from selfish Baby Boomers to illegal immigrants to affirmative action, but it ain't making the problem go away.


SABERMETRICS ARE TO BLAME, MR. PRESIDENT
   167. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 14, 2013 at 06:13 PM (#4347014)
Speaking of bars and restaurants I'm halfway through a stretch of 4 days off in a row and I decided I would prepare everything I ate for those 4 days and not go out and eat.


That all sounds wonderful. I've recently started doing weight watchers (down 30 pounds!) and one of the unexpected benefits has been the amount of food I'm making for myself. Not only am I eating about 8 zillion times healthier but I love to cook and preparing meals for myself has been boatloads of fun.
   168. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 06:13 PM (#4347015)
Sure. It's not that these costs aren't rising and aren't bloated, it's that they're not disproportionately so any more than they've been in previous eras.

Link doesn't work, but I'll take your word for it.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-14/bureaucrats-paid-250-000-feed-outcry-over-college-costs.html

This link says that:

U.S. universities employed more than 230,000 administrators in 2009, up 60 percent from 1993, or 10 times the rate of growth of the tenured faculty


It may be true that Admin cost is only 20-30% of total costs, but if it used to be 10%, then it could still be the disproportionate driver of the increase.

No doubt, but what aspects of university life or government / corporate life does this insight not also apply to? The athletic facilities at Michigan or LSU? The Department of Health and Human Services? The Pentagon? The tax returns of the Fortune 500?

Everywhere. Our society has become very corrupt. The culture has shifted perceptibly to individual achievement and rights, and away from collective bonds and responsibility.

The funny thing, is that even the collectivists have become more individualistic.
   169. flournoy Posted: January 14, 2013 at 06:13 PM (#4347016)
Not counting the wine I think I spent less than 70 dollars on what will probably amount to 7 or so meals.


I guess this is supposed to be a low dollar total? Granted, your food is a lot classier than mine, but right now I'm living on ~$45 per week for total food.
   170. McCoy Posted: January 14, 2013 at 06:36 PM (#4347031)
I guess this is supposed to be a low dollar total? Granted, your food is a lot classier than mine, but right now I'm living on ~$45 per week for total food.

Compared to going to a restaurant it is. It could have been significantly cheaper if I decided on different proteins and didn't shop at Eastern Market for the protein and vegetables. The pork cost me something like $4.89 a pound, the steak $19 a pound and the chicken $2 a pound. I could have gone to Safeway and paid $2 a pound for the pork, $1.29 a pound for the chicken, a $3.99 a pound for top round. Vegetables would have cost me something like 25 to 30% less as well.
   171. McCoy Posted: January 14, 2013 at 06:37 PM (#4347033)
That all sounds wonderful. I've recently started doing weight watchers (down 30 pounds!) and one of the unexpected benefits has been the amount of food I'm making for myself. Not only am I eating about 8 zillion times healthier but I love to cook and preparing meals for myself has been boatloads of fun.

I probably consume more calories when I make my own own food as compared to going out and eating.
   172. jobu Posted: January 14, 2013 at 07:06 PM (#4347045)
And the reason for the explosion in applications to the elite schools is obvious: People---parents---are obsessed with the thought that you need a degree from one of them to get a job that will enable you to achieve a decent standard of living.

Well, maybe it's parents' "obsession" per se. I don't think so, though. I think it is about trying to improve the odds for their kids. I am in corporate America, and as part of my job, I have been involved in on-campus recruiting for many years, for two different companies. My companies can't go to all campuses for recruiting, nor do we need to in order to hire enough people for the openings we have. We will go to the schools where we will get the best ROI on our dollar invested. The school selectivity aids us--it is simply easier to fill an interviewer's schedule with qualified students at a top school than at an average school.

The qualified students do EXIST at other large universities, but it's very hard to a) reach them with marketing in a pool of tens of thousands and b) assuming you do get a lot of resumes, conduct a low-yield process to sift through all them to find the right ones.

If you were to look at the caliber of employment opportunites available through on-campus recruiting at various schools, I have little doubt that it would be highly correlated with the school's long-term reputation as an elite institution (which I would posit has some grounding in merit). I think you'd find the same thing in terms of grad-school opportunities offered to a given undergrad school's students.

My own kids aren't college-age yet, but I will definitely encourage them to go to the most selective school they can get into, that also offers a degree in the fields they want to study.

Full disclosure: I fit Snapper's self-description (thank goodness for grants and student loans):
I'm probably among the last generation that could get into Ivy league and equivalent schools based on pure academics. All I had going for me was GPA/SAT/GRE."


And....I ALSO met my wife in a Chicago bar. Perhaps the problems people have with bars isn't the bars, it's the city.
   173. McCoy Posted: January 14, 2013 at 07:53 PM (#4347067)
My NY Strip dinner is out of this world, folks.
   174. BDC Posted: January 14, 2013 at 09:36 PM (#4347112)
I don't know about private universities, but state university costs are rising because states have cut back funding, to the point where many state universities are largely private in all but name. That, and Baumol's Cost Disease: labor in so many other fields has become immensely more productive, but there are still thirty people in my World Lit classes, same as there were 30 years ago.

McCoy is a better cook than I am, but in the past two days I took four scrawny rainbow trout a friend gave me and made a huge vat of stock, made oyster chowder out of half the stock, froze the other half, and just ate fish tacos with the poached trout. Four people are eating for 2 days on that exercise.

And reading in bars = yes. I never go into bars unless I am traveling, but when I do, I bring a book. They are impersonal spaces full of white noise, and reading with a good drink at one's elbow is a great pleasure of life. For that matter, I bring books to ballgames and read between innings or during other commercial breaks. I am getting too old to care whether this is cool or not. Before the game, or during a rain delay, I like to sit in a bar at the Ballpark and read. So there.
   175. Snowboy Posted: January 14, 2013 at 11:06 PM (#4347168)
This thread is gold. Primeys galore.
I started laughing so hard that I cried around #60 or 70.
(Well, to be fair, finding out TFA wasn't an Onion piece re: Rice & fundamentals made it an easy trip to Laugh Street.
Now known as LOL Street?)
I have to txt my friends and tell them to read this thread.
   176. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 15, 2013 at 07:30 PM (#4347847)
@42--Sure, Greg. I never made claims for anyone other than the eight people I mentioned.

Maybe one of your relatives is in this program? I kid, I kid. But I can't believe how much more mature this trio was then my siblings were that age. So there's hope out there!


I'm sure there is. Like I said, I wasn't deploring that generation (never remotely suggested it, afaict). Outside my family the 17-25 cohort doesn't seem any more or less bright than they ever were. I remember at that age being appalled at what a lot of my cohort was into. The only difference, now versus then, seems to be in attention spans.

Also, I tend to date women 20 to 30 years younger than I am, and there's no shortage of bright, quirky, interesting women out there.
   177. smileyy Posted: January 15, 2013 at 07:43 PM (#4347856)
An expensive college degree is practically worthless to someone of average intelligence (if they even graduate, which is probably less than 50:50).


I don't think we're too far from a future where an expensive college degree is worthless to many people of above-average intelligence. With an increase in the availability of high-quality open-learning environments, I suspect self-education will become more compelling and recognized by employers.

Maybe I'm a little too technology-centric, but I think the ability for the talented to demonstrate their skill to a large number of potential employers has never been higher.
   178. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 15, 2013 at 08:57 PM (#4347883)
"What mythical bar was this where three perfect strangers are all sitting next to each other and they all end up talking to each other?"

You must be from the northeast.
:)


Foul!

I'm from the NE and when I was working on my master's thesis all but lived in bars and coffee shops (the latter which, w/o alcohol, you'd have to think is a tougher place to socialize than a bar), and conversations with strangers who became anything from friendly acquaintances to good friends and gf wasn't at all unusual. It all depends on your attitude (and coming across as the right kind of friendly--open, but not too open; not needy or overeager; enjoy listening but not to your detriment...), but it's not hard at all to strike up conversations. As for the poster who mentioned women, that's easy enough. If she looks interesting and smiles at you twice, go talk to her and see what she's about.

but there are so many factors that go into its development that pointing fingers at individuals doesn't really explain all that much.
??

I made no claim for anything beyond the very small number of people I mentioned in post 28. Since when does describing a handful of individuals involve "pointing fingers"?

The Millennial generation, statistically, is more involved politically than their Boomer / Gen-X parents. They are more likely to have volunteered, more likely to consider political activism to be a useful thing. I see no evidence that we're raising a generation of checked-out apathetics - quite the opposite in fact.
Well, sure. Nothing whatever to do with what I wrote, though.

"The one thing that strikes me, though, is how utterly ####### dumb my nieces and nephews and cousins in their late teens and early twenties are."

I, like everyone over 25, was once in my late teens and early 20s, and I have no problem recalling how mind boggling stupid (and yet self assure) I and my peers were at that age, what I've never understood is how so many people seemingly deny or forget how dumb they and their friends were at that age.


Well, sure, but I was talking about eight people specifically, none of whom take an interest in anything meaningful. The one thing I can extract from this is that the BTF generation is unable to read in context when there are straw men to be whupped.

Spending one's entire life in a continuously networked world is the new generation gap. Definitely Future Shock-y where things change before we have a chance to understand impact and best practices of them.


What's weird about this is that my young nieces, nephews, and cousins know how to manipulate the digital world for the sake of entertainment, but not to research, or study, or engage the world. People have always found ways to piss their lives away on trivial pursuits (like making rude cave paintings, rereading dime novels, or posting on baseball sites) but it just seems more completely what their lives are about. None of them act like work can ever be something genuinely rewarding. It's just something you have to do until the next Hobbit movie comes out.

I don't even *have* a cel-phone. Top that.


Does it count that I only have one to keep my evil sister at bay? I refuse to give her my home number any longer, and this way I can claim I only get reception when I go into town about once a week.

When you get into your 20s and have no interest in film, art, or literature, except as pure entertainment; when politics is boring; when you create literally nothing, not even for the pleasure of beating a drum or sounding out a poem, or chiseling a piece of wood, or even just making a meal, something's wrong.

What is wrong, specifically? You could have just described me instead of your niece. I won't pretend that there's nothing wrong with me, but I'm just not an artsy-fartsy guy.


What?

This implies that art is inherently 'artsy-fartsy'. What is there to say to that? I also mentioned things as simple and satisfying as cooking a meal. One doesn't have to be interested in art, science, literature, the meaning of life, interrelatedness, religion, philosophy, metaphysics, the nature of love, the role of government, the question of extraterrestrial life, Bracewell probes, or making short films in order to take a little pride in knowing how to make a good cassoulet for company. Or, just see McCoy's posts for the obvious pleasure he takes in preparing interesting, enjoyable meals.
   179. Howie Menckel Posted: January 15, 2013 at 09:27 PM (#4347895)

"As an intellectual 25-year-old man, I am interested in any and all early-20s intellectual nieces who need a trophy husband with a JD but no employment prospects."

I have another one in that age range who graduated with honors from the Manhattan School of Visual Arts. At least she make a fine cartoon of your predicament, and she is cool as hell.

also one who is an enviro college student, another who is in nursing honors fast track, and another who is sassier than Mackey Sasser.....

   180. McCoy Posted: January 15, 2013 at 09:29 PM (#4347896)
With an increase in the availability of high-quality open-learning environments, I suspect self-education will become more compelling and recognized by employers.

Don't see that happening anytime soon. As someone else already mentioned businesses like respected colleges because it concentrates the talent pool into easy to reach/low risk centers. If you move away from that to self education then the risks to businesses go up as well as costs as they now have to spend much more time, money, and energy finding qualified applicants.
   181. McCoy Posted: January 15, 2013 at 09:32 PM (#4347901)
Bracewell probes, or making short films in order to take a little pride in knowing how to make a good cassoulet for company. Or, just see McCoy's posts for the obvious pleasure he takes in preparing interesting, enjoyable meals.

After 4 days of eating massive amounts of proteins and carbs while doing little moving around I simply did not have the stomach for a 1 pound pork porterhouse tonight. So I stuck them in the freezer and settled on pulled pork tacos.
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