Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Break 2013

Spring Break is upon us again; visiting eastern college sport teams trying to escape winter’s last gasp, serious work on one’s golf game, March Madness picks to be made, evening walks in the desert, and alumni events. Alumni events you say, that does not sound like Spring Break activity.

You got that right. As my continuing slow transition into the world of academia progresses from the world of corporate life, I have volunteered myself to coordinating alumni events. To those who do not have any experience with academia, let me just say one word: reality. Every individual, professor, department, College, are in their own little worlds and how dare you infringe on that world and how dare you know anything about that world. Example: in the corporate world your goal is profit, efficiency, organization – not so in the academic world; where organization, communication, and efficiency are not part of the strategic puzzle. The game is turf warfare, how many dissertations you can cite, and how many free plane tickets can I get to that conference this summer.

In the corporate world one works as long as it takes to get the job done, working as a team to better the product or service. Academic world: I am a scholar, a director, a teacher of the year, a strategic thinker, you are nothing – leave me now before I snob you to death. Cost accounting, lost in the pyramids. Multitasking, what is that – two classes a week, two hours of office hours, and one committee meeting. Damn, where is Jack Welch when I need him.

So how does this writer deal with this transition into this world, with a smile on my face, an evening glass of wine (or something stronger), and the knowledge that I am helping people I truly care about; students. To receive a thank you, a smile, or a pleasant email makes it all worthwhile. Now what time is that IT/CPBMAA/RCA/FIX meeting? Where is that wine?


I live in Southern California and would welcome a spring break trip to Las Vegas. Can you suggest a different place to stay in sin city?

Signed –
Ready To Party

Dear Ready To Party –

A favorite place for Rink Rats is off the strip in Summerlin, Nevada. Just fifteen minutes from the strip, no traffic, easy access to golf and hiking. We like the Red Rock Resort and Casino; 11011 W. Charleston Boulevard in Summerlin. Outstanding pool and spa, okay sports bar, wonderful restaurants especially T-Bones Steak House. Five Dollar Black Jack a plenty in the Casino. You can’t go wrong here at about half the price of the strip hotels. Mention you know Rink Rats and you will get a free towel at the pool and a slap in the face.

Rink Rats

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Alex Ball …belated birthday to my niece, George Benson (70), Perez Hilton (35), Holly Hunter (55), Chaka Khan (60), Bobby Orr (65), Charlie Simmer (59), Vanessa Williams (50).

MEET THE NEW POPE - "Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, a 76-year-old Jesuit intellectual, greeted the world as Pope Francis on Wednesday evening, the first pope from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. The new pontiff, successor to Benedict XVI, gained the required two-thirds majority on the fifth ballot on Wednesday, a day after the 115 voting cardinals had gathered to begin their conclave. Cardinal Bergoglio had been considered a longshot for the post. ... The unexpected choice of the little-known Cardinal Bergoglio appeared to shock the crowd, which initially greeted the announcement with near silence.

"But when he finally appeared above them dressed in papal white robes and looking almost as surprised himself, the crowd roared its approval, a few blue and white Argentine flags on display. The white smoke went up at 7:06 p.m. local time. Pope Francis appeared on the balcony to the cheering crowd 76 minutes later. Speaking softly in Italian, the pope said: 'As you know, cardinals were picking a bishop for Rome. It seems like my brother cardinals have picked him from the end of the world, but here we are.' ... He will on Thursday attend a mass in the Sistine Chapel along with the college of cardinals. ... He will hold a press conference and address the world's media on Saturday, while his inauguration mass is due to take place on March 19."

POPE OF THE AMERICAS: Francis, the first Pontiff from the New World, has a lot of old problems to deal with: Bergoglio will not stray from the conservative doctrines of the rest of the Vatican. ... His lifestyle is spartan compared with that of other princes of the church. He does not live in a Cardinal's palace, and in Buenos Aires, he takes the bus ... He will deliver much-needed oxygen to parts of the Catholic empire ... [a] great burst of energy that may sweep into Latin America. Mexico and Brazil have the largest Catholic populations in the world. Colombia is not far behind. The church has grown vastly more Latino over the past hundred years. But the Catholic Church has also enjoyed a 500-year monopoly on the region. ... Now that is changing, and Roman Catholicism is losing ground to the combined forces of secularism and Pentecostal Protestantism."

CPAC STRAW POLL (2,930 voters at the Conservative Political Action Conference; 41% were students): Rand Paul 25% ... Marco Rubio 23% ... Rick Santorum 8% ... Chris Christie 7% ... Paul Ryan 6% ... Scott Walker 5% ... Ben Carson 4% ... Ted Cruz 4% ... Bobby Jindal 3% ... Sarah Palin 3% ... Jeff Rouss 1%... Other 11%.

BOOK REVIEW – “Counterfeit Kids” by Rod Baird. To read this book will make your stomach hurt. Rod Baird, who recently passed away (St. Lawrence ’76), was an English teacher at a public school, his story, anecdotes and analysis are compelling, moving and thought provoking. Mr. Baird challenges us to rethink what we are doing as parents and educators and to change. The book challenges us to look at our teaching and parenting and think about the underlying message we are giving our children about learning, responsibility and what is truly important.

LOW-INCOME STUDENTS DON'T EVEN APPLY TO TOP COLLEGES - "Most low-income students who have top test scores and grades do not even apply to the nation's best colleges, according to a new analysis of every high school student who took the SAT in a recent year. The pattern contributes to widening economic inequality and low levels of mobility in this country, economists say, because college graduates earn so much more on average than nongraduates do. Low-income students who excel in high school often do not graduate from the less selective colleges they attend.

"Only 34 percent of high-achieving high school seniors in the bottom fourth of income distribution attended any one of the country's 238 most selective colleges, according to the analysis. ... Among top students in the highest income quartile, that figure was 78 percent. The findings underscore that elite public and private colleges, despite a stated desire to recruit an economically diverse group of students, have largely failed to do so. Many top low-income students instead attend community colleges or four-year institutions closer to their homes, the study found."

WALL STREET WEEK - A controversial bailout for Cyprus is virtually guaranteeing that Wall Street's week will not get off to a positive start, with stock index futures lower following a selloff in the Asian and European markets. That follows the end of the Dow's 10-session winning streak on Friday, along with its record of not falling on any Friday during 2013.

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Friday March 22, 8:00 PM ET, NESN: The Hockey East semifinal #18 Boston University Terriers (20-15-2) vs. #5 Boston College Eagles (22-10-4). The age old rivalry hits an even bigger note with the retirement of BU Coach Jack Parker after 40 years, and 41 season BC coach Jerry York sitting the game out with a detached retina. BC is on the way to another NCAA crown: BC 6 BU 3. (Season to date (9-3)

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS:  ice – (Hockey East) BC 6 BU 3, hoops – NCAA Final Four: Midwest: Louisville, West: Gonzaga, South: Florida, East: Miami. Season to date (64-31)

SPORTS BLINK - BRACKETOLOGY - "Louisville top overall seed in NCAA tournament, good luck filling out those brackets. The No. 1 seeds are set for the NCAA tournament, but very little has gone as expected in this college basketball season. ... Louisville received the top overall seed Sunday after romping through the Big East tournament, while Kansas, Indiana and Gonzaga claimed the other No. 1 spots. Yet, considering all the upsets that have prevented anyone from establishing themselves as a clear-cut favorite, there are plenty of teams that think they can run the table.

 ... Louisville (29-5) certainly earned it, impressing the committee with a 10-game winning streak capped by a stunning turnaround in the final Big East championship game as we know it. ... Now, they're what passes for a favorite in this wide-open field ...

"The tournament begins Tuesday with a pair of games in Dayton, Ohio, but things really get rolling on Thursday and Friday, when 64 teams will be in action. Everyone is trying to get to Atlanta for the Final Four, which starts April 6 at the Georgia Dome."

DRIVING THE WEEK - Fed announces its latest decision on interest rates at 2 p.m. on Wednesday with no change to the $85 billion in monthly asset purchases expected. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke gives a press conference at 2:30 p.m. and is expected to continue to strongly defend the current pace of quantitative easing and signal no end in sight. Any change to that outlook could significantly unsettle markets.

The Senate is expected to vote on a continuing resolution funding the government today or Tuesday ... Democratic Senate budget expected to reach the floor midweek and get hit with a pile of amendments ... Dems really want to get the CR and budget votes done by the weekend so Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) can keep her plans to meet the new Pope this weekend.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew departed for China on Sunday evening and arrives in Beijing on Tuesday morning local time for meetings with the new leadership and senior economic officials. Lew will focus on cybersecurity, among other topics ... President Obama meets with Irish President Enda Kenny on Tuesday as well as greets First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness of Northern Ireland ... Obama leaves for Israel Tuesday evening and will remain there through Thursday before heading to Jordan on Friday and back to Washington on Saturday ... Vice President Joe Biden heads to Rome to lead the U.S. delegation to the Inauguration Mass celebrating the Pontificate of His Holiness Pope Francis.

Next week; Jack Ass of the Month and the baseball season is here.

Until Next Monday, Cheers!

Claremont, CA
March 18, 2013

#III-48, 153


  1. I enjoy your wide-ranging rambles each week and, having done the academia stint for 20 years before jumping to corporate, love your profile of university snobs. Too true! Enjoy their company, I've had enough!

    1. Thank you Tombo, keep reading each week.