Thursday, May 28, 2009

School's Out for Summer, School's Out Forever...

It may not be easy "being green," but it is even harder not having any green. Ask the students who can't afford college, or even the colleges that can't afford to stay open. Just today, Miami-Dade College canceled enrollment drives and capped enrollment. Even smaller colleges like Wesleyan are trimming budgets in anticipation of declining enrollment.

When the day is long and the night, the night is yours alone,
When you're sure you've had enough of this life, well hang on
Don't let yourself go, 'cause everybody cries and everybody hurts sometimes

And what about the new crop of graduates, are they about to cash-in on their investment in higher education? Mmmmmmmm, probably not right away. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, just 19.7 percent of 2009 graduates who applied for a job actually have one, compared to 51 percent of those graduating in 2007 and 26 percent in 2008.

Even back in jolly ol' England, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) reported that nearly half of the UK-based companies surveyed said that they were not planning to recruit those leaving school or college this year. The research comes weeks after a separate survey found that only one university student in five expects to have secured a job by the time they graduate.

Sometimes everything is wrong. Now it's time to sing along
When your day is night alone, (hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go, (hold on)
When you think you've had too much of this life, well hang on

'Cause everybody hurts. Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts. Don't throw your hand. Oh, no. Don't throw your hand
If you feel like you're alone, no, no, no, you are not alone

And, according to an article in the Washington Independent (referencing the Chronicle for Higher Education), the bubble may be about to burst: With tuitions, fees, and room and board at dozens of colleges now reaching $50,000 a year, the ability to sustain private higher education for all but the very well-heeled is questionable. According to the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, over the past 25 years, average college tuition and fees have risen by 440 percent — more than four times the rate of inflation and almost twice the rate of medical care. Patrick M. Callan, the center’s president, has warned that low-income students will find college unaffordable.

If you're on your own in this life, the days and nights are long,
When you think you've had too much of this life to hang on

Still, there is reason for hope. President Barack Obama is a supporter of higher education, as is Sonia Sotomayor and Joe Biden (a huge advocate of community college). Likewise, the legislature seems more inclined to act on supporting higher education than it is to act on universal healthcare.  And then there is the glimmer of hope that the worst of the recession may already be behind us. reports: The end of the recession is in sight, according to a new survey of leading economists. If you don't believe it, just ask McDonald's.

Well, everybody hurts sometimes,
Everybody cries. And everybody hurts sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes. So, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on
Everybody hurts. You are not alone 

Monday, May 18, 2009

One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back

Good News for the masses:  The recession is bringing back fat and unhealthy.

According to Ad Age, the recession has reignited Dunkin' Donuts' marketing:

NEW YORK ( -- With all the fuss about carbs and obesity in recent years, Dunkin' Donuts has been downplaying its namesake product. But no more. As the economy collapsed into chaos last year, the restaurant chain discovered that previously carb-conscious consumers were drifting back to doughnuts as comfort food. Since then, Dunkin Donuts has launched aggressive new campaigns targeting that fried-dough-craving demographic. And its latest -- and largest -- online donut promotion has been a wild success.

And of course, it's not just about our  health.  The recession is also putting a serious kink in the green movement.  As a result, I have a lot of thoughts rolling around in my head, like "How come the people who are already feeling the most pain from the recession, just keep getting screwed?" and "We already have 24 million diabetics in the U.S., do we really want the problem to get worse?" and "If it costs a few cents more to make the environment safer, isn't it worth it?" 

But I think I am too close to this, so I will let Ben remind you of something he said several years ago:

Son look at all the people in this restaurant
What d'you think they weigh?
And out the window to the parking lot
At their SUVs taking all of the space

They give no fuck
They talk as loud as they want
They give no fuck
Just as long as there's enough for them

Gotta get on the microphone down at wallmart
Talk about some shit that's been on my mind
Talk about the state of this great of this nation of ours
Poeple look to your left, yeah look to your right

They give no fuck
They buy as much as they want
They give no fuck
Just as long as there's enough for them

Son look at the people lining up for plastic
Wouldn't you like to see them in the national geographic?
Squatting bare-assed in the dirt eating rice from a bowl
With a towel on their head and maybe a bone in their nose
See that asshole with a peace-sign on his licence plate
Giving me the finger and running me out of his lane

God made us number one because he loves us the best
Well maybe He should go bless someone else for a while, give us a rest
[They give no...]
Yeah and everyone can see
[They give no...]
We've eaten all that we can eat

Monday, May 4, 2009

H-E-Double Hockey Sticks

I have known Dominic Litten for 27 years now. He is an amazing young man, full of passion and energy and kindness. He possesses a brilliant mind that first revealed itself when he was only three years old and began reading a book to me. His sense of humor never fails to bring laughter. His loyalty to those around him - family, friends, neighbors – is legendary and is surpassed only by his humility and thoughtfulness.

This past weekend, I had the sincere pleasure of not only witnessing, but participating in (thank you) a most important day in Dominic's life as he joined in matrimony the beautiful and equally wonderful Beth.  It was a perfect day befitting of a perfect union.

And given that I have known Dominic the entirety of his life and that I have a vested interest in his past, present and future, I offered only one bit of advice on this solemn day: DO NOT TWITTER ON YOUR HONEYMOON.

But did he listen?  No!  For he is Dominic,  lord of the Twitterers.  So was I surprised or even disappointed as I read on my Twitter site that he was in the airport and ready to board the plane for Maui? No.

Instead I acquiesce, I accept, I submit tacitly.  In fact, I have gone a step further and have created a new Twitter National Anthem in Dominic's honor.  Please feel free to sing along to the tune of "O Canada."

O Dominic!
Our blog and Twitter friend!
True king and fan of social messaging.
With open eyes we read your tweets,
The True voice strong and free!
From far and wide, O Dominic,
We wait to read your words.
God keep his hands twittering and free!
O Dominic, we wait for tweets from thee.
O Dominic, we wait for tweets from thee

If anyone should feel equally moved and so inclined as to likewise honor Dominic, Lord of the Twitterers, I would like to suggest an actual recording of his national anthem uploaded onto YouTube for his viewing pleasure upon his return from Hawaii.  I can't imagine a lovelier wedding gift.