Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Reading Sucks

If I had kids to talk to (I mean kids who would listen, unlike my kids who dance in place until I stop making noise), I'd tell them to not bother learning to read. It's not worth it.

If I'd never learned to read, I wouldn't be in the middle of a string of crap books. First I suffered through Bubble and Squeak, then The Facts Behind Yann Martel Thinking He's the Cleverest Man in the World, and now I'm saddled with You Can't Be President, by John R. MacArthur.

What makes MacArthur's book more frustrating is that, if he could lay aside his bias, I'd agree with his basic premise.

MacArthur uses quotation marks to undermine any technical term applied to conservatives. Instead of saying "Republican leaders," he'll say "Republican 'leaders,'" letting you know he doesn't think they're "leading" at all (wink wink!). For instance, he writes, "Unfortunately, instead of meeting genuine scholars, I found myself debating Joshua Muravchik, a 'resident scholar' at the American Enterprise Institute, a wealthy 'think tank' funded by right-wing corporations and individuals with little pretense of thoughtfulness but very high standards for propaganda" (29-30). MacArthur is insulted that he, a magazine publisher, is placed on a panel not with "genuine scholars," but with other magazine folks like Muravchik, who often writes for "Commentary."

Later, MacArthur writes, "...National Public Radio's Robert Siegel interviewed 'policy experts,' including Peter Rodman, a senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution, the somewhat liberal counterpart to the right-wing Heritage Foundation. Siegel--a mildly liberal voice on an occasionally liberal radio network--was having difficulty explaining to his audience why...antiwar members of Congress seemed incapable of influencing President Bush's war policy" (31-32). I thought, "Is he joking? NPR is an 'occasionally liberal radio network'?" I know I've never been able to listen to NPR for more than 10 minutes at a time because of the infantile level of reporting. "Next, on 'All Things Considered,' we'll talk about how corporations and Republicans want to enslave women and minorities for a million years!" Brookings is "somewhat liberal," but Heritage is definitely "right-wing." No bias here.

He excuses away the worst of Thomas Jefferson while writing an entire BOOK dedicated to the evils of party politics. Who introduced factions to our system? It was Jefferson, secretly leading the opposition from within Washington's second cabinet and then continuing from the vice-presidency itself. I'd rather have open factions than secret factions. Jefferson's slave-holding gets a pass from MacArthur with the oh-too-cute, "I can't bring myself to dislike Jefferson for owning slaves, clinging as I do to La Rochefoucauld's insight that 'hypocracy is the compliment vice pays to virtue'" (22). Rest assured that no other hypocrite in the book gets off that easily (except maybe MacArthur himself, who finds nothing wrong with bemoaning the loss of wasteful union-wage jobs and then criticizing Homeland Security spending he finds unnecessary).

Parties may have mysteriously appeared in America, but there's no doubting who's to blame for their continuation: "...the tyranny of the majority so feared by James Madison had been supplanted by the tyranny of a determined minority made up of professional politicians, policy experts, and a hard-core faction of Republican Party loyalists" (40). Only Republicans can have "hard-core" factionists, like only Mensheviks could be traitors.

I don't think MacArthur understands the terms he uses, like when he continually refers to Howard Dean as a centrist. MacArthur is like a woman I worked with, who thinks she's a reasonable person, so that must mean she represents the center of the political spectrum. She also thinks conservatives are evil incarnate, so when we talked and she would see my political views were not evil, instead of thinking, "I must have been wrong about conservatives," she thought, "A Random Stranger must not be conservative."

MacArthur harps about the stealing of Florida in 2000 (didn't happen) and the stealing of Ohio in 2004 (ditto), but is curiously silent regarding the irregularities on South Dakota Indian reservations in the 2002 senate election of Tim Johnson. If Johnson doesn't cheat in 2002, Tom Daschle doesn't lose election in 2004. MacArthur disingenuously says the Supreme Court requiring Florida to uniformly enforce its pre-existing election standards is tantamount to "awarding" the presidency to Bush. Despite his concern with party politics as dangerous to freedom, he's got no problem with black and union voters turning out for Democrats at a nine-to-one pace, which he references as facts without critique (or quotation marks).

On page 49 he complains "...nothing much has been done since 2000 to lessen the likelihood, or the expectation, of vote fraud...." Just five pages before, however, he complains, "Only eight states permit 'same day registration.'" So does he have a problem with voter fraud, or does he want it to happen in a broader range of states? Same day registration would make elections nothing more than cheating contests.

I'm not quite halfway done yet, but I had to write this post before too long so I'd stop taking notes of the stupid things MacArthur writes. Now I can just power through and move on to my next book, How Children Learn Mathematics, by Richard W. Copeland (which has turned out to be a butt-kissing piece for Jean Piaget). Here is my final thought on MacArthur's book: it is true that the current two-party system has been manipulated into an incumbent-protection scheme. It's highly possible that the two parties are in collusion, competing not for the right to implement policies, but for the right to dispense patronage. I very, very seriously doubt that there is a single member of Congress or the administration (ANY recent administration, not just the current one) who has a guiding principle outside his own self interest. And I don't see this changing any time soon.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Say It Ain't So, Vince

The most surprising thing to come out of this news story isn't that Vince uses a stage name, or that he gets his sex from prostitutes. It's that he's 44 years old. Persephone liked his furry coat collar, and I thought his shirt looks like a hospital gown.

(BTdubs, the Googles has 16,100 results for "vince slap chop love my nuts," 6,830 for "vince slap chop you're gonna love my nuts," and 8,440 for "vince slap chop you're going to love my nuts." Yet evidently Vince has found at least one woman who, when it comes to his nuts, can take them or leave them.)

The Worst Book(s) in the World

If Thursday’s Grandma Next had to read the ten most boring books on earth before she could die, perhaps I’ve been sentenced to reading the ten worst books. I’d better take it easy, however, because this week alone I’ve already read two of them, and when combined with my junior high school English classes (Farewell to Manzanar, The House on Mango Street, and The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson all come to mind), I must be halfway to dying.

Crazy Jane and Articulate Joe each have a chapter book that I read with them at night. With Crazy Jane it’s usually a Ramona Quimby book or something from the Ivy and Bean collection. With Articulate Joe it’s a book about animals or trucks. Persephone recommended a book about gerbils she remembered from her childhood, Bubble and Squeak, by Philippa Pearce.

I hated this book. It was the most unpleasant reading experience I’ve ever had (and remember that I’ve TWICE had to read “I’m breaking up with you” letters from Persephone). This book was horrible because of one character: Mrs. Sparrow. She’s not just crazy, but completely believably crazy, in a way that makes me want to help her children run away. This isn’t a case of Cruella DeVille comic craziness that livens up a children’s story; this is wife-from-“Spanglish” painful craziness that makes you want to gouge out your eyes. Maybe it’s because it hits a little too close to home, but I don’t think crazy mothers are ever a source of entertainment.

I spent the entire time calling this book “the worst book in the world,” but Articulate Joe would not be dissuaded. He liked the gerbils and so we had to continue. When we finally finished I was looking forward to a long break before having to read another such awful book. And then I realized just how much God hates me when I happened to start reading The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios, by Yann Martel.

I’ve only read the first of the four stories, but I imagine reading all four stories is something like going on a snipe hunt: no one really expects you to do it, because it can’t actually be done. At least Bubble and Squeak was well-written. Everything about Martel’s book screams “hack,” from the “Ain’t it cute?” title to the uninterrupted navel gazing of the actual text itself. The narrator is so ego-centric as to assume that the terminal illness of a recent acquaintance somehow revolves around him. He invents a game that “is the only thing that matters” in the acquaintance’s life. Excuse me? “The only thing that matters”? This guy is 19 and going to die, and you think you and your idea is so important that it’s somehow going to give meaning to his remaining existence? The game turns out to be telling each other stories, but THE STORY WE’RE READING DOESN’T TELL US THE STORIES THEY TOLD EACH OTHER. We’re reading the fact that stories were told, not the actual stories. Again with the navel gazing. The story is that a story exists.

I’ll be honest with you: I don’t really feel like putting a lot of time into this post. I’ve got a lot of work I have to do, on top of the stuff I would normally be doing at work (making maps of Philadelphia and Chicago, researching the student recreation facilities at George Mason University, and finding a cheap place to live in Fairfax, Virginia). Let me just finish by saying The Facts About the Blah Blah Blah proves that, just because an author can write one really good book doesn’t mean to expect to like anything else he commits to paper.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Waiting's (Nearly) Over

I'm going back to the NRC rankings for today, just to make a point:

Washington University (3.00): REJECTED

Boston College (2.53): REJECTED

Rice University (2.47): WAITLISTED

George Mason University (2.46): ACCEPTED

Vanderbilt University (2.40): unknown

George Washington University (1.83): ACCEPTED

University of Illinois-Chicago (1.72): ACCEPTED

University of Kansas (1.71): REJECTED

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1.17): ACCEPTED

Temple University (1.11): ACCEPTED

Northeastern University (0.47): ACCEPTED

What do you notice here? It makes sense to me that, starting from the top of the list I'd get rejections, somewhere down the list it would turn to waitlistings, and then further down it would turn to acceptances. The only question this whole time was where those breaks would be. But what stands out to me is that my own school, much nearer the bottom of the list than the top (and remember that their numbers are out of five possible points) rejected me.

And not just rejected me, but rejected me in person. I sent an e-mail to the graduate secretary this week asking when I could expect a decision. She e-mailed back that I needed to meet with Dr. Nicknameless. When I went to see her, she confronted me with all the negative aspects of my academic record, asking me to defend them. I said, "I have my reasons these things happened, but I don't know how useful it is for me to tell them all to you." She told me I would feel more comfortable at an "applied" school, which means, "You're too stupid."

My e-mail wanted to know when I'd know their decision. And instead they decided to make me come to a face-to-face rejection meeting? Since moving to this state, I've had nothing but problems with this school. I have several I could go over right now, but my left eyelid is twitching and I have crap I have to do in the next hour. Suffice it to say, I am NOT joining their overpriced alumni association, nor am I giving them any money (when I finally have some). I will give all my academic contributions to Moorpark College, and maybe if I get rich enough, they'll name a building there after me. I don't care if having an associate's degree is an academic albatross, anyone who doesn't like that I went to Moorpark can kiss my black ass.

Anyway, in terms of where we're moving, we know it's not Boston, Lawrence, Milwaukee, or Saint Louis. Given the financial package offered by UIC, it's probably not Chicago, and being waitlisted for admission to Rice means it's probably not Houston. This leaves Philadelphia, Washington, and Nashville.

Monday, March 23, 2009

This Is Not How I Remember It

I've been at three childbirths so far (and had to watch one on video as a kid), and none of them were like this. I know I've got some mother readers; would any of you like to weigh in on this article?

Friday, March 20, 2009

The End of the Holidays

Angela asked if I had some conspiracy against Idaho. I was going to say, "No, I'd just never been invited there, hint hint," but Persephone reminded me, "They live in a small newlywed place." I guess our family of five (when the hell did we become a family of FIVE?!) wouldn't really fit on their couch.

Here's the latest school summary:

Boston College: REJECTED

George Mason University: I don't know.*

George Washington University: unknown

Northeastern University: ADMITTED, PhD, funded

Rice University: WAITLISTED

Temple University: ADMITTED, PhD, funded

University of Illinois-Chicago: ADMITTED, PhD

University of Kansas: unknown

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: ADMITTED, MA

Vanderbilt University: unknown

Washington University: REJECTED

I'm excited about the Temple funding offer. We'll see what the other schools have to say, if they ever get around to it.


*When I check George Mason's website, it seems like there's been an update, but I can't remember what it used to say to compare. Maybe I'm in, but I'm not sure yet.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

County Holiday

Most of you probably know (because there are only five of you to begin with) that I keep track of the counties I visit with the goal of visiting all the counties (and county-equivalent divisions) in America. This means that we rarely drive the same route twice. Since I'd already been to Chicago on both I-55 and I-57, this time we went along the Illinois River through Peoria. I got 14 new counties, as shown below:

I had a fun trip. We left my parents' house at 6am and Persephone fell promptly asleep. Most of our route along the Illinois River had been designated the Ronald Reagan Route, so we took a picture of that.

Two of the counties we visited, Stark IL and Putnam IL, are tiny counties that are hard to get, so checking those off was especially satisfying. We stopped for lunch in Peru, IL. I said to Persephone, "I've always wanted to try Peruvian food." It turned out that Peruvian food tasted suspiciously like the #17 from Jimmy John's.

We stopped at an outlet mall near Aurora, IL. The town we're from in California has a giant, thriving outlet mall, but when we moved to Kansas we discovered most people here think outlet malls were a 90s fad that are now declasse. Our Kansas town has an outlet mall with no tenants besides the DMV. Between our house and my parents are two outlet malls. The one in Warrenton, MO looks sad until you've seen the one in Odessa, MO. We thought, "Maybe it's just a Midwest thing," but the one in Aurora was as thriving as the one we grew up with (possibly because it's run by the same company?).

The actual trip to Chicago was covered previously, so I won't go over it again. What I will go over, though, are the counties. These 14 were my first of this year. It moved my total to 1,056, which means I am now officially more than 1/3 of the way finished with the country. It moved my Illinois completion rate above 80%. We have a June trip planned for Utah which will get 29 more counties (12 in Kansas, 16 in Colorado, and 1 in Nevada), and then depending on where (or if) we move at the end of July, we can get some more with the move and maybe some more in uncharted areas of the nation, like Philadelphia, Boston, Nashville, or Houston. I think I can get to 100 counties again this year without too much of a problem.

Holiday School Report

Switchin’ it up by going back to the National Research Council rankings order.

Washington University: REJECTED

Boston College: REJECTED

Rice University: WAITLISTED

George Mason University: unknown

Vanderbilt University: unknown

George Washington University: unknown

University of Illinois-Chicago: ADMITTED, PhD

University of Kansas: unknown

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: ADMITTED, MA

Temple University: ADMITTED, PhD

Northeastern University, ADMITTED, PhD, funded

I’ve heard from over half the schools now, but it still seems like I’ve heard from basically no one because I’ve only heard one funding decision. I tried to log in to George Mason’s system this morning and it wasn’t responding, so I’m wondering if decisions are out now. We’ll see.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spending the Holidays in Chicago


Frank Sinatra had two different songs about Chicago. I prefer the one that says, "I saw a man and he danced with his wife." It makes me think if that was worth noting, Chicago must be one ca-razy town.

We left all three kids with my parents in Saint Louis and drove up via Peoria, getting 14 new counties on the way. (The counties will be their own blog post later. That's called "padding." I learned it by watching sit-coms that take a five-minute joke and turn it into a 100-episode series.)

We got to Chicago and went to UIC. We went to the "campus information center" and asked for some information. The student worker looked away from her computer screen just long enough to tell me to go to admissions. Hmmm. Maybe she doesn't know what "information" is.

We went to University Hall, a 30-story building that houses the economics department. The directory in the lobby said we needed to go to the 23rd floor, so we took the elevators that specialize in the top half of the building. When we got to the 23rd floor we learned that economics had been moved to the 7th floor, so we got to ride down and switch elevators to ride back up. It was then that we realized I didn't really know what we would say. We met the guy who oversees the graduate division and talked with him a little.

The reason we were really going to Chicago, though, was to get an idea of which neighborhoods we could live in without getting shot. I want to live in the city without paying too much and Persephone wants to not get mugged. With these conflicting goals I wondered if we'd be able to find a place, but she pretended to be okay with several neighborhoods along Milwaukee Avenue.

Our hotel was very nice, though when we asked them where they recommended we park, they acted like they didn't know what parking was. We checked in, then went to eat at an Italian restaurant in Little Italy called Tuscany. We both enjoyed it a lot. Persephone even got an eggplant dish that I didn't think tasted like crap. (I think there's something about male and female eggplants. I don't really understand it all.)

The next morning we walked around Grant Park and the Loop a bit, then checked out of our hotel and went back to Little Italy to eat at Al's Number 1 Italian Beef. Persephone also was satisfied with University Village and Little Italy and then, to prove she wasn't just approving every neighborhood we drove through, she was thoroughly frightened by Pilsen.

It was hard for me to take the trip seriously because I kept thinking, "UIC doesn't give TAships to first-years, they require 104 credits instead of 72, and Chicago is an expensive town to live in." I kept having to remind myself that I was supposed to be researching a city for purposes of possibly living there.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Starting the Holidays With The Get Up Kids

Friday I began my Spring Break with a night out on the town. My friend Tim (the husband of an economics grad student) had tickets for a reunion show of what is arguably Lawrence's most famous band, The Get Up Kids. The show was at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, which locals say is some sort of historic theater that showed the first movie west of the Mississippi River or something, but that's probably a load of crap.

Liberty Hall, Lawrence, KS

Despite a giant camera arm that seemed to be operated by an epileptic partially obstructing our view, and despite opening acts of questionable talent, we had a great time.

First came a band who announced their name once in a drunken slur, so I don't know what it actually was, but they were from Wichita and they looked like this.

Their lead singer repeatedly knocked down the microphone, broke his guitar strap, and managed to knot together every cord on stage. In the middle of their set he tried sell stuff from the stage, and then later he said, "I don't want to get all preachy on you, but has anyone in the audience found Christ?" The Christians didn't cheer because they didn't know if he was making fun of them and the atheists didn't cheer because they didn't know if he was serious, so everyone sat there silently while he introduced their song about Jesus. (I guess EVERYbody's got a song about Jesus these days.)

Next came a band that never even bothered to say their name at all. They looked like this.

They seemed like the kind of potheads who can play the same jam for 40 minutes without noticing. They often turned their backs on the audience and just played in a circle.

Finally, out came The Get Up Kids. They were great. They played their second album, "Something to Write Home About" straight through, then when they came back for their encore they played virtually an entire second set. It wasn't quite as long as when I saw the Reverend Horton Heat and he seemed to play every song he knew, but it was nearly two hours of The Get Up Kids.

Another friend of ours from the economics department had come to the show with her sister, and they were going to meet some more friends of ours after the show. When it was over I saw they'd texted me to say they'd left already and where they would be. Tim thought he'd better go home or his wife would be angry, but I've been married longer and so I went. Besides, I thought, I'd never been dancing with Europeans before and this would probably be my last chance.

They were at some club that until very recently had been a steakhouse. There was the friend from the show and her sister (who was now quite drunk), four foreigners from economics (a Chinese guy, a Ukrainian guy, and two German girls), and a visiting friend from Germany who spent the entire time at another table with guys she'd just met. When we finally danced, the Chinese guy was doing some intricate dance step, so no matter where I went to get out of his way I ended up right in front of him, making it look like we were dancing with each other. (This place has Wednesday Pride Night, but this was a Friday.) Later, Drunk Sister danced over to me to talk.

DRUNK SISTER: Are you the guy who has kids?

A RANDOM STRANGER: Yeah.

DRUNK SISTER: You're so cool for a guy with kids! When my sister told me we'd be hanging out with a guy who has kids I was, like, "I don't want to hang out with anyone who has KIDS!" but you're so much cooler than I thought you'd be!

A RANDOM STRANGER: Thanks.

She danced over to her sister to report our conversation, then came back and said, "She thinks it was rude of me to tell you that." I said, "It's fine," and she turned to her sister and yelled, "Did you hear that? He said it's FINE!"

I tried taking some still pictures of The Get Up Kids, but they were moving too damn quickly. I took two short videos instead. Now, I realize this might be a violation of their rights, but I figure they'll be cool with it if I make sure to say this: the annoying camera arm was there to produce a concert DVD, which will be all professional and great, and will make these two videos look like crap. Consider these two tiny videos as advertisements for the DVD they'll be selling. So really I'm giving them free advertising on my blog, and who doesn't want free advertising? No one, that's who. So enjoy these videos and buy the concert DVD when it gets released.

(The second video includes a shot of my shoes because the girl next to me, who spent more time in the beer line than in the concert hall, made a head-fake for the door and I thought I had to get out of her way again.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

What a Crap Way to Start the Holidays

I’m just not into it today. I’m apologizing now for what will surely be a bad post.

Persephone (I’m so out of it I nearly typed her real name) has been enabling my horrible work ethic by buying seasons of “Arrested Development” on DVD. (I think it has something to do with her wanting to avoid an assignment I sold to her last month.) Anyway, we’ve been watching them all again (we borrowed the DVDs once from some friends) and I noticed this time through that G.O.B. Bluth’s name for Spring Break is “the holidays.” But I’m starting my holidays with my first rejection e-mail, courtesy of Washington University. (Positive: we won’t have to live in the same town as my parents.) Well, perhaps things will get better when I finish work and go with some friends to see The Get Up Kids. Maybe I’ll even document the event for a future blog post. (Preemptive Apology #2: that’s probably not going to happen.)

Boston College: unknown

George Mason University: unknown

George Washington University: unknown

Northeastern University: ADMITTED, PhD, funded

Rice University: unknown

Temple University: ADMITTED, PhD

University of Illinois-Chicago: ADMITTED, PhD

University of Kansas: unknown

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: ADMITTED, MA

Vanderbilt University: unknown

Washington University: REJECTED

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Grad School Rankings

When I've been listing graduate schools, I've been listing them in alphabetical order. It might be more instructive to think of them in terms of their economics departments' rankings from the National Research Council. On a five-point scale, the 11 schools I applied to are:

Washington University (3.00): unknown

Boston College (2.53): unknown

Rice University (2.47): unknown

George Mason University (2.46): unknown

Vanderbilt University (2.40): unknown

George Washington University (1.83): unknown

University of Illinois-Chicago (1.72): ADMITTED, PhD

University of Kansas (1.71): unknown

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1.17): ADMITTED, MA

Temple University (1.11): ADMITTED, PhD

Northeastern University (0.47): ADMITTED, PhD, tuition waver, $16K/yr.

[cue the Debbie Downer noise] This returns us to the equilibrium assumption that I'm an idiot.

To some extent, though, this pattern can be explained in a flattering way. The worse the school, the more likely they are to admit a good student, and to make that decision quickly, because they want to get good students before they've heard back from better schools. And if I was completely unqualified for higher schools, you would assume I would have been rejected just as quickly as their first offers went out. I know of people who've received offers from Boston College and Vanderbilt, so not being rejected yet might mean I've still got a shot at those schools.

But the truth is that the schools that are letting me in are all categorized by the NRC as "marginally effective" (except for Northeastern, which has been categorized as "not sufficient for doctoral education"). What hurts my flattering interpretation is the fact that my own school, Kansas, is at the bottom of the list and still hasn't admitted me. This makes me think it's because they know me and they think they can do better with some other, unknown applicant than they can do with me. Also, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, towards the bottom of the rankings, only admitted me to their master's program. [another Debbie Downer noise]

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Making Work Bearable

One nice thing about this whole “we don’t know where we’re going” aspect of our lives right now is that I get to spend my time at “work” downloading GIS data and making maps of all the cities we could potentially move to. Right now I’m working on a sweet map of Chicago and I just got a bunch of data for Philadelphia. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than getting around town using a map I made.

(We join this map of Chicago already in progress.)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Slowly Trickling In

Today's mail brought the official letter from Wisconsin-Milwaukee confirming what I'd already found out by e-mail last week. Also today I logged in to Temple's website and discovered I'd been admitted there last Friday. Huzzah huzzah!

Boston College: unknown

George Mason University: unknown

George Washington University: unknown

Northeastern University, ADMITTED, PhD

Rice University: unknown

Temple University: ADMITTED, PhD

University of Illinois-Chicago: ADMITTED, PhD

University of Kansas: unknown

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: ADMITTED, MA

Vanderbilt University: unknown

Washington University: unknown

Friday, March 06, 2009

New Hilarity

I found this website at work today and once I did, work wasn't so bad anymore. It's called 5 Second Films, and for good reason.



Pyrrhic Victory

First I thought grad schools wouldn’t notify me of their admissions decisions until the first week of March, so I entered February with no worries. Then I heard people were getting notified in the first week of February, and I began to worry. Then I got my first response on February 21 and my second on February 23 and I thought, “That means it’s starting; I’ll hear from all the rest this week.” Then I didn’t hear from another school for over ten days. Now it’s the Friday of the first week of March and I still am waiting to hear something from most of my schools.

There is a slight update, however. I was admitted to the master’s program at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I didn’t apply to the master’s program, but I’d been kicked out of college several years ago and that drags down my overall GPA. Some schools look at the last 60 hours, but evidently UWM is not one of those schools. So I’ve heard back from three schools and have received two-and-a-half admission offers. I’d like to think the rest will come in today, or even next week, but that is unlikely.

Boston College: unknown

George Mason University: unknown

George Washington University: unknown

Northeastern University: ADMITTED, PhD; funding unknown

Rice University: unknown

Temple University: unknown

University of Illinois-Chicago: ADMITTED, PhD; funding unknown

University of Kansas: unknown

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: ADMITTED, MA; funding unknown

Vanderbilt University: unknown

Washington University: unknown

Monday, March 02, 2009

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Hair Shed

Do not go gentle into that hair shed

Good hair should flow and wave at close of day

Rage, rage against the balding head


Though wise men know when their hair is dead

Sometimes they still manage to pay

A lot of money for a toupee instead


Good men, often filled with dread

Grow what they can and comb it in a way

To rage, rage against the balding head


Wild men who grew manes, instead

Learn, too late, they used up their hair that day

Do not got gentle into that hair shed


Grave men, whose shiny heads blind all who've said

"Contemplate the purchase of a beret"

To rage, rage against the balding head


And you, my hairline, there on the sad head

Curse, bless me now with your silky hair, I pray

Do not go gentle into that hair shed

Rage, rage against the balding head

To My Hairline Dying Young

The time you won my wife’s young heart

I brushed you through without a part

To show to all your manly strength

I thought I’d grow you shoulder-length


Today, the road all hairlines flee

My shoulders far away from thee

And in the mirror I stare you down

A hairline of a balder town


Smart hair, to slip betimes away

From scalps were glory does not stay

And though my wife loved you, instead

She’s married now to my bald head


Hair that clippers once did cut

Cannot see my wid’ning gut

And breezes I once felt up there

Now mean nothing without hair


Now you will not pad the tales

Of aging men with ponytails

Old-timers telling all who care

The prowess died before the hair


So slip, before I try to braid

Your lengths grown steely, old and grayed

Though you go, yet I hold

My hair-beguiled bride of old


Yes, round that early-hairied head

Though draped with follicles now dead

Once clung tresses made of curls

As beautiful as though a girl’s

I Had Some Very Good Hair

When I was fourteen

I had some very good hair

Some very good hair for distracting all the girls from my ugliness of face

It didn’t grow every place

(If you know what I mean)

When I was fourteen


When I was seventeen

I had some very good hair

Some very good hair for identifying me in a crowded high school hall

It would bounce like a ball

My hair you should have seen

When I was seventeen


When I was twenty-one

I had some very good hair

Some very good hair for clippers I bought used for only five ninety-five

In the bathroom I would strive

For haircuts while paying none

When I was twenty-one


When I was twenty-four

I had some very good hair

Some very good hair for getting my girl to become my mate

Our wedding day was great

That evening I scored

When I was twenty-four


Now my hair is falling out

It’s in the autumn of its years

And I look at my hair and see my temples shining palely there

Like I’d shampooed with Nair

But life isn’t fair

I had some very good hair