Showing posts with label higher ed. Show all posts
Showing posts with label higher ed. Show all posts

06 July, 2016

Notes from Outland

To steal from a brother or sister is evil. To not steal from the institutions that are the pillars of the Pig Empire is equally immoral.  -- Abbie Hoffman  

The wave of evil washes all our institutions alike. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Liberating education consists in acts of cognition, not transferrals of information. -- Paulo Freire 

from: Contemporary Art on Human Bodies by Yung Cheng Lin
 I have long suspected that the purpose of such a long political season is to ensure that the American Public is just so tired of hearing about it, talking about, and thinking about it, that to vote seems pointless. All the lines are drawn. Everyone has decided who they're going to bet their children's future on. It's not quite time for the betting window to close; but at this point, only the lines are filled with the neophyte gamblers who are still trying to decide whether they want to box their trifecta or not.

In the middle of this political year -- in which my own opinion was formed even before I saw the thoroughbred parade -- I'm marking a sort of anniversary. This time last year, I was battling what I saw an as unfair termination from JCTCS. I knew then it was politically motivated. I know it now. At the time, though, I saw a way through it, a way to some kind of victory. There was still momentum from The Louisville Teach-In. We created a connection, a community, something that might turn into a movement. We got the word out. People were starting to listen.

And then -- it disappeared. KCTCS began weeding out the most vocal activists (I was not the only one)
and those who remained kept their heads down out of fear of similar reprisals. The institutional power play worked.

And even with the recent shake-up, in which KCTCS fired more than 100 people in reaction to our tin pot fascist governor's budget cuts, a few of those who remained silent, who would not stand up for themselves or for their peers, still have jobs.

I suppose that counts as some sort of victory. Only time will judge that.

But even though I'm on the outs with the institution of higher yearning, I find it difficult to let go. Anyone who knows me well knows I can nurse one hell of grudge. I can grow iguanas into full dragons with bellies full of an unending fire. I'm actually pretty good at compartmentalizing the negative feelings, the anger, because I am trying not to feed all my hungry demons. The truth is, though, that some demons grow best when they are shut up in the dark and ignored, locked up in my subconscious. This morning during my workout, my thoughts turned towards people who I thought were friends and comrades, and people who were not but whose betrayal was so profound that I still have violent revenge fantasies about them.*

I am trying not to feed those demons, but it's more difficult than you might think. I know all the canned memes about how grudges are just weight you can drop if you want; but the truth is, my grudges drive me, too.

Yahoos, from Gulliver's Travels. Or, Hillarites.
It's hard to let go. But I'm trying. I can't help but feel like I was deserted by what adjunct movement there was in Kentucky, and that what labor movement there is here is too busy trying to find a Democrat to believe in to actually change anything. The Bernie or Busters are holding onto the illusion that their candidate is actually the start of a revolution that none of them really wants.** The Hillarites are celebrating because Ol' Buddy Bill scared the FBI and DOJ away. The Trumpians are complaining about the corrupt politics, co-opting the language of the Bernie or Busters in an attempt to attracted pissed off "progressives" who would rather vote for a fascist than another career political criminal.

Brobingnagians. Or, Trumpians.
While everyone is crying for or against Hillary,

The dark powers are amassing power -- and we, the American People, are more focused on the whether the cherry on our shit sundae is maraschino or bright red sour.
Sanders is capitulating and Trump is marching forward like he already bought the White House. Meanwhile, the Koch Brothers are shaping public policy and increasing their cultural footprint simply by spending money on advertising, on influencing our infected institutions of higher education, and by pushing political candidates who will make their policy interests more of a priority than those of the constituents they were theoretically elected to represent.

In closing, I'll offer some track advice: if the horse you're thinking of voting for is carried around by yahoos, think twice. The handicap will hurt us all.
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* #respondent53 has a playdough face. 
** Elections are not, by definition, revolutions. Democratic elections are meant to AVOID revolutions. If Sanders supporters really wanted a revolution, they wouldn't mess with the elections process. Neither would Trump supporters. Or Hillary supporters. Or Greens. Or Socialists. They would take to the streets.


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19 April, 2016

Old friends, new soil, and starting over

Lay this unto your breast: Old friends, like old swords, still are trusted best. -- John Webster

There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.  -- Jean-Paul Sartre

Many demolitions are actually renovations. - Rumi

You're not the same as you were before. You were much more... muchier. You've lost your muchness. -- The Mad Hatter


What I'm worth here: one stale donut, probably left by grad
students who don't know how to clean.
Eden is built one shovel full  at a time. 

Yesterday I was out in my front yard, digging up the grass layer in a 4x5* plot of ground for a garden expansion. We've talked about this expansion for about two and a half years but, for one reason or another, hadn't gotten around to it.**

It's really unfair to call what now grows in our front yard grass. It's more like a picker's pack of weeds: three-leaf clover, crab grass, and the remnant of what used to be, I think, a flower bed. In characteristic fashion, the previous owners, The Beamus's*** chose to fill everything in with the cheapest fill they could find. Underneath the picker's pack of green weeds there's a lot of clay (not surprising for the region) with a mixture of plastic bits, pieces of walkway brick, and other debris I'm not sure I want to identify.

I haven't cleared a space of ground like that in more than a couple of years. This time last year, between my foot problems and the stabbing leg muscle cramps woke me up out of a dead sleep or would strike after any kind of physical exertion, I wouldn't have been able to tackle the project and hope to finish it. But this year, I did it -- because of some smart medical advice, some more attention to my own health, and the fact that I'm too damn stubborn to let the machinations of darkness win that easily.

Yes, the previous statement is dramatic. But I'm probably in a dramatic mood because today is my last at the University of Louisville, home to the corrupt as hell but still as of yet untouchable Dr. James Ramsey, in Kentucky, where our tiny tin pot fascist governor is going after higher ed ^ like  Richard "The Iceman" Kulinski.

My end of the semester exodus from this campus will most likely mark an end to my time in higher
The All-Seeing Eye above my cubicle. I'm leaving it for the
next inhabitant. I rarely feel lonely with it watching me.
Always. Always watching me. Like a tender,
patronizing, fascist
education. And while I'd like to claim I am marching out by choice and kicking the dirt off my work boots for its repudiation of me, the fact is these Institutional and Harrowed Halls have spit me out.

There's no room here for a guy like me. I make all the wrong kinds of noise and annoy all the wrong kind of people, in spite of the fact that I consistently do my job.  I've worked to improve my lot and the lot of other part-time cogs^^ like me, but all that's happened around here is nothing. A large swell of a wave, lots of potential energy biting to go kinetic, and then...

NOTHING.


Nada.
Nunca.
A pile of old dog shit in a KFC bucket.

After my retaliatory bum's rush from KCTCS, the drive to make any improvements dried up and disappeared because there was no one willing to step up be the next standard bearer.^^^

Part of my mistake has been, I think, my desire to behave like a far more diplomatic person than I actually am. When I try to act in a way incongruous with my basic nature, things always, naturally, go askew.

I am not a diplomat. I am not the person to go in and reach a compromise that satisfies no one and placates everyone. I am a contrarian. I come from a long line of contrarians. I'm a wrecking ball. I'm an embodiment of the whirlwind. Time and experience haven't dulled this about me, nor do I expect them to any time soon.

I was reminded of this recently, when a friend from my graduate school days, Stephanie, came in to River City for a conference. We met for drinks at one of my favorite downtown dives and talked for several hours. I've always had a soft spot for Stephanie. We're cut from a similar contrarian cloth. That's not to say we see the world in precisely the same way. But she reminded me that there's a necessity to calling out injustice, to standing up to bullies, to aiming for a higher moral and ethical standard. Old friends are good precisely because they can

  1. keep us honest, and 
  2. they have a longer view of our lives than we do sometimes, as we are stuck living day to day.

So, yes. I'm starting over. Again. I've gotten pretty good at it, actually. I'm armed with the same weapons that have gotten me here. Eden is built one shovel full at a time. Sometimes I shovel cheap fill. Sometimes I shovel shit. It all turns to fertile soil eventually. And as I move forward, I know I'm not working towards some Sunday morning Meet the Press commercial retirement fantasy. Poets and contrarians never retire.

I'm not investing in my retirement. I'm training for the next fight.
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* Not precise. Yes, I eye-balled it. And it's a little crooked. That's what second growing seasons are for.
** Last year was a busy year. The year before that, we were broke, or damn near. Some plans have to wait for the situation to present themselves.
***May their names be struck from the book of careful homeowners.
^Yes, I'm aware of the lawsuit being organized by Andy "Don't call me Baby" Beshear. Keep in mind that under his Daddy, former governor Steven "At least I'm not Ernie Fletcher"  Beshear, the state budget cut higher education 10 times in a dozen years. Truth: Democrats like an uneducated population, too.
^^Because from an institutional view, that's all any of us are. Cogs that can be replaced. Usually with a less expensive one that's made out of plastic and manufactured in a sweatshop.
^^^ In classic military strategies, standard bearers marched ahead with the drummers to embolden the foot soldiers. NOTE: Standard bearers usually died first. It's a strategy of demoralization that still mostly works.


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03 June, 2015

Solidarity Along the Dirty, Sacred, River: The Virtue of Proportional Response

I had an entirely different blog entry planned.

The blog I was going write was going to regale you, dear friends and readers, with the terrible tale of #respondent53 -- a scab of the worst sort who was sneakily trying to undermine the attempts of myself and others to improve the work conditions at one of the places I taught here in River City.

The blog I was going to write was going to talk about adjunct activism and how I see it as a natural extension of the class war that is destroying unions, has decimated the middle class, and has demonized the poor and under-employed.

Instead, however, I find myself writing about how I got fired.

When I began even thinking about getting involved in adjunct activism, I knew there were risks. Kentucky is an anti-labor, anti-union state. The culture of fear and apathy among educational workers is pervasive.  I say among educational workers, but in fact, that culture of fear and apathy -- fear of reprisal and apathy that things can ever get any better -- is just as pervasive in any other segment of the work force.  That educational workers are not exempt from these feelings -- including adjunct instructors -- is part of what forced me to speak up. Everyone knows what the problems are and has pretty good ideas on what, specifically, needs to be changed.

But people are scared -- for every legitimate reason in the world.  No one wants to lose their spot at the table, or risk seeing their families suffer the impact of extended unemployment. We have so much to lose -- homes, position, respect -- that to stand up and demand reasonable change feels impossible.

Yet that is what I and others have done.

Some of you might recall this article in LEO about The Louisville Teach-In. The attention was generally good and did foster some not entirely bad results. One institution flat out called us liars and the other called for a committee to examine and make recommendations regarding the issue of adjunct labor. Not only was I named to the committee, I was elected one of the three co-chairs of the committee. My first action was to forward a recommendation that would give adjunct the same status and voting privileges as full time faculty. This was met with resistance and with interest, but I knew it was only a matter of time. One colleague in particular objected because voting was something full time people get paid for. Her solution was a lump sum pay increase.

After a cursory look at the annual budget summary, however, it became clear that there was no money for such an increase -- which made my voting proposal start to look even better since, on the face of it, it was what the bean counters call "budget neutral."

When I was on the way back from my honey moon, someone from human resources called to set up a meeting with the Academic Dean. I was told that the purpose of the meeting was "budgetary."

Walking into the meeting, I was bushwacked by the Academic Dean, the Provost and the Head of  Human Resources, who informed me that the TRUE nature of the meeting was a disciplinary one. It was brought to their attention  that I'd made comments on Facebook that they chose to interpret as problematic. They claim I violated a student's FERPA rights even though
  1. I never mentioned a student's name, and
  2. there was no mention of specific grades.
I was complaining about a hypothetical student's refusal to follow directions. This is something that a lot of teachers do, especially in the throes of a grading frenzy.

The thing about FERPA is that there are no two institutions that interpret it the same way. In places it is so vaguely worded that it is unclear whether instructors are allowed to discuss grades with students via email or whether that in and of itself constitutes a violation.

Another thing about FERPA is this: generally FERPA violations are handled with a stern warning and some in house "counseling."  Not only was I fired, but I have been barred from employment at all KCTCS campuses -- all 64 of them across the state.

I also know that my neither my department chair nor division chair were notified or included in this process; the department chair wasn't told she needed to staff the class I was prepared to walk in and teach on the same day I was fired until AFTER I was fired.

That gave her about an hour to find a qualified person to step into my place.

My firing and banishment was ordered from on high, from the central office legal division -- where the true seat of power in any corporate structure sits. The person who filed the complaint against me -- another adjunct who I have alluded to in social media as #respondent53 -- turned me in to the system PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICE. #Respondent53, I have on good authority, trolled my page for a good 6 months trying to find something on me to use.

I call this person #respondent53 because when my co-organizer Kate sent out an adjunct survey -- to begin getting a system wide idea of where people's concerns were -- this person used the survey to attack us personally.  Regardless of whatever political disagreements people have with me, the fact is that making fun of how I dress is not an appropriate critical approach. It's insipid and juvenile and rooted in the very rot that is killing higher education and murdering the intellectual and creative spirit of the country as a whole.

My response to this event is that I plan taking action on multiple levels, legal and public. The excuse is flimsy and I have no doubt that the action taken against me is retaliatory.  I've already begun the process of exploring possible appeals -- because this attempt to silence me is not really about me at all.

The real issue is that when adjuncts stand up and demand to be treated with respect, they are systematically retaliated against in order to keep everyone else in line. It's true that progress has been made in other places across the country; but that progress has been hard fought and not without sacrifice. We're going to move forward with our efforts to organize and to unionize and to fight for change. Adjuncts deserve better. Students deserve better than bean counters who don't care about whether there's someone to teach the class. The public deserves an educational system that allows people to grow into active, productive, critically-minded citizens.





29 November, 2014

The Puritans Never Did This, Part 1: Under an Overload, Loading in, and The Dirty River Press

1. Under and Overload, Loading In, and The Dirty River Press

It's been a while since I sat down to write about life here along the dirty, sacred river. This past academic semester has been doing a number on your humble narrator -- teaching 7 first year college writing classes is more than this fuzzy fella has done a while. I was (and am) grateful to have the work. After a long and interminable summer of not working, I took on what I knew was going to be entirely too much for two very important reasons:
  1. to catch up on the bills that had piled up over the summer, and
  2. because that nagging, annoying remainder of my socialized male ego told me I needed to in order to hold my head up.
The first of these is self-evident. Even in these, the crumbling days of Babylon, the utilities must be paid and the money My Own True Love brings in will only stretch so far... in spite of us being pretty good at rubbing pennies together.

The second of the above listed reasons for teaching entirely too much for too little pay is the one that has made this semester physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually draining.

While I know that I have perfected the Art of Loafing into... well, an Art... I have never minded working when I know what it is I'm working for. Even in the life of a matriculated conscientious malingerer,  sweat equity is a necessary component. It's impossible to be an anarchist and not recognize that life is a DIY process. Where I start to begrudge work is when I feel like it is NOT for me, or for things, people, and institutions I that I reject as having any place in my life. And while I love teaching -- and I expect that I always will, in some way, be teaching -- one of the couple of things this semester has reminded me of is that in order to actually ensure some future stability as well as my sanity, it's a bad idea to depend on teaching in the crumbling institution of higher yearning for anything more than a temporary stop gap between feast and famine.

And so, Dear Readers, Friends, and Fellow Travellers, I am set to announce The Dirty River Press:





I had been tossing around an old idea... that one being Iron Belly Press. I'd been carrying that idea around since the demise of The One-Legged Cow Press more than a few years ago. You'd think I would have learned my lesson then.

Well, I didn't. I also decided that if this was to be a new venture... Amanda, brave woman that she is, is undertaking this with me in full partnership and commiseration... and that if this was going to be emblematically, symbolically, and in actuality tied to my present and our future, then it must tied spiritually and ritualistically. It must be embodied of new myths and new stories. And here, Dear Readers, is where I find myself: sitting along the dirty sacred river, home of the Gator Men, dead sharks, polluted waters, abandoned pirate ships, and water buried towns.

We don't have a website yet, but we have a space That's right, an actual space, located in The Mammoth an old paper warehouse located on S. 13th Street here in River City. Dirty River Press is sharing the space with fellow worker John Paul Wright and railroadmusic.org, as well as the Kentucky IWW. This is a collaborative space. A raw canvas if you will, full of artist studios and good ideas and powerful world creating energies.  I'm in the process of pricing used off-set printers and will be acquiring one soon. Our first run will hopefully happen around my 42nd birthday, February 20th, 2015. Dirty River Press will specialize in limited editions of hand made chapbooks, broadsides, and pamphlets. We'll publish a small catalog of work, including my own -- because being an anarchist means owning the means of production, even when you are producing art. We will also be setting up shop as a union printer in order to support the literary purpose of the press.

We also have a Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/dirtyriverpress

I'm pretty excited about this. You don't need to wait for a new life. Make a new life.

I have to sign off for now. But expect the forthcoming:

  1.  Part 2: Black Friday Protesting Along The Dirty Sacred, River
  2. An audio recording. Very Very Soon.
Thanks for reading, and for hanging around.

15 July, 2014

Steady the Course Along the Dirty Sacred River: Sometimes the Universe Throws a Straight Pitch

This summer has not exactly gone as expected. I'd planned on heading west again, back to the big sky territory out in South Dakota and Montana. For a variety of reasons, none of which are particularly blog worth, I've not made it and probably won't. I am getting ready for another eastbound slingshot to attend The Kid's wedding to Plus 1... I mean Will... I mean The Soon-to-Be Son-in-Law.

the axis mundi
Mostly, I've stayed closer to the axis mundi here along the dirty, sacred river, tried not to kill the garden, and struggled with a few of those "all growed up" decisions that occasionally sneak into what I generally consider to be an idyllic life. I recently applied for a full time teaching gig that I didn't get*, which set up a whole series of stress-ridden mental labyrinths for me to navigate.** I've been trying to get some new projects up and going, which is surprisingly complicated when you're unemployed.

I was also turned down for unemployment benefits because, in the nomenclature of the great Commonwealth of Kentucky, I have "reasonable assurance" of future employment. Basically, I was denied benefits because I will probably have a job soon... though no steady paycheck until the end of August. I guess I'm supposed live on hay until then.  But, given the intolerance and general lack of human empathy demonstrated by Top Cop Commander Kim and by some of the folks I call neighbors*** I guess it's a good thing I haven't had to resort to panhandling.

But I'm feeling pretty good, and looking forward to the trip. I love my daughter, even if I have trouble reconciling myself with the fact that I was once stupid enough to marry her mother.  Stella's been going through some "all growed up" stuff of her own lately that I will not list at the moment. One of those things, though, has to do with the fact that conventional wisdoms -- in spite of being conventional -- are wrong.  She's a good person and has a smart head on her shoulders that she sometimes uses. She just wants to live her life, be happy, all that. But she is having to learn that doing the right thing doesn't always mean that you get the reward you deserve.

In fact, it's increasingly the opposite... and not just for Stella.

One of the nice things about children is that they have all the potential in the world to grow beyond the limitations of their parents... if they can dodge hard luck and if they can reject conventional wisdoms that worn paths of other people's success is the path to happiness.

As for me, I am reminded of Krishnamurti's insistence that the truth is a pathless land. And I'm also encouraged by the fact that even though I am still not "gainfully employed" ... ie, I apparently don't deserve health insurance or retirement benefits, but I am good enough to teach college freshmen how to write and think critically .... that I still have plenty to keep me busy. There's plenty to do.

I'm including a link to my latest story posted at my reverbnation page. Check it out. Hope you enjoy.

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* My last full time teaching gig was out at ASU... an experience which drove me out of the classroom. And no, it wasn't the students. My usual beef with Upper Education is that the people who administrate it are morons. And by administrate I mean the ones who do not or have not ever step foot into a classroom since they flunked Intro to Literature... back when they still TAUGHT basic literature courses as a general ed requirement. Out at ASU in particular, I was enraged by an especially incompetent department chair who was more interested in sucking his way into a Dean's Office than he was in actually taking the concerns of his writing faculty seriously.
** My position as an adjunct, while financially insecure, is probably more appropriate. I suck at committee obligations and they suck on me. Also, the minute you sign on for full time employment, people immediately assume you have growed up, quit dreaming, and are working assiduously for a docile retirement during which you will actually allow yourself to live. If I have to wait until I'm 70 to live, I might as well crawl into a bourbon bottle now.
*** These folks run the gamut from comfy democrats to stalwart republicans to pissy tea bagger bigots. And all of them have one thing in common - for the most part they reject the notion that hard luck can hit anyone at any time.

21 February, 2014

The Spurned Spawn of The Gator Men

J.R. Skelton, Grendel's Mother (1908)
Since I spent most of last week on the northern side of the dirty sacred river, my plan was to write a bit more about Cincinnati.  I had the set up and everything. In case you missed it, or have forgotten -- not that I've lost faith in you, Dear Readers, but Memeworld is a busy place -- but here's the post on this blog's Facebook page* about where Cincinnati got it's name.

Getting back to River City, though, I find myself distracted by the Gator Men. More specifically, the spurned spawn of the Gator Men who, having been rejected and evicted from the murky mud that helped spawn them, inflict their misery and damnation upon whoever crosses their paths.

Sponsored by The One-eyed Jack, The Suicide King, and the numbers 1 and 11.
I have, in the past, referred to these horrible, soulless hell-critters as bean counters**. It occurs to me, however, that in doing so I am insulting both beans -- which are delicious and nutritious when properly prepared -- and to counting -- which I've been doing from an early age thanks to Sesame Street and the game of Blackjack.

While setting up home base here in River City (SOUTH SIDE!!!!) with The Traveller's Angel (Amanda) -- garden planning, home repair practicing, bread baking, canning, fermenting, and brewing all included -- I am also doing a stint of teaching at a community college. This is my second semester back in the institution I once swore I'd never return to -- the institution of higher cost edumacation, that is. The truth is, I enjoy being in the classroom and I get a charge out of teaching, and it's one of the few skills I have that is both useful and can bring in a little scratch. I'm a part-timer, of course. This frees me from the horrible obligation of committee work as well as from such niceties as a retirement and benefits package.

The student population ranges across the spectrum in age from recent high school graduates to retired grandmothers. Two of my current students -- we'll call them Sara and Sammy -- are up against a wall that, while I did not build it, I feel obligated to tilt at in some fashion. Sara is close to what used to be called the "traditional" college student. She's white, maybe in her early 20's. Like most students now who are not star athletes, good test takers, or borne of rich parents, Sara also holds down a job. She attends the college I teach at because it's still cheaper than that Other Kentucky University here in River City. She lives with her grandmother across the dirty sacred river in Indiana.

Sammy is an older black man. He can' use his legs, so he gets around in a wheel chair. He has admitted to me that he's been to prison -- though he was also particular enough to point out that he never killed anyone. Sammy is going to school because it's something to do and something I suspect he has always wanted to do.

But Sammy doesn't know anything about computers. He was told in the Admissions office that it wasn't important, that he'd pick it up. They told him he would have help. Then they sent him to through Financial Aid, who took his money, and pushed him through. Sara doesn't have internet access and home and limited computer access. They took her money, too, and sent her down the gullet and into the stomach of the beast.

Because larger institutions are less interested in developmental classes, students who lack some basic academic skills end up attending community college because 1) it's cheaper and 2) there's a misconception, sometimes encouraged by burned out faculty, that a community college is nothing more than a glorified high school.

More on point, though, higher cost edumacation is not glorified high school. It is not some cultural or economic right of passage. It is, in fact, a three-headed hydra.


Faculty and academic departmental staff comprise one head. If there is one of the three heads that least desires to eat people's hearts and burn out their souls, it is this head.

The second head is the Admissions Office. College presidents (or the CEO, as he is referred to at the grand institution where I currently teach) and the Admissions counselors have one goal: they want asses in the seats. Their job is to prove they deserve their jobs by filling up as many seats -- in real time seats and online ones -- as they possibly can. The Administrators -- who are, coincidentally, some of those spurned spawn of the Gator People, rejected and cursed to walk dry land knowing full well they are only whole when they are in the river among their own kind -- have the additional task of ensuring that teachers are underpaid and students are overcharged, creating a system designed to suck the life, the patience, and the promise out of every warm-blooded living thing that enters that sinewy, slobbering maw. The Admissions Office is responsible for feeding the beast. And it's appetite is never sated. Ever.

The third head -- and in this case, the head spews hot burning acid rather than potentially cleansing fire -- is the Financial Aid Office. They see students as dollar signs. More students = more dollar signs. And that means more dollars. Financial Aid counselors don't see problems. They see a way to profit from the misconception of potential students.

Once the paperwork is signed, though, there's no clear notion of where to find all the assistance. It's part of the game. We'll take you in, the Financial aid counselors -- also spurned spawn of the Gator Men --  hiss. We'll take you in and you'll figure out. You will never succeed without the piece of paper only WE can provide for you. Your children will go hungry. Your parents will be disappointed in you. You will never achieve anything. 

Another one of my students was surprised when I told her about a few people I've known who, inspite of their college degrees, still ended up working low-paying hourly jobs. There's no guarantee I said. It has never been offered. I told her Your chances improve, that's true. But having a better chance is not the same thing.

But that's not the message they get from television commercials and the grand marketeers of Memeworld. They are told college degree = money and success. They are made to feel like they're less if they don't offer themselves up for sacrifice to the three headed beast and to the spurned spawn of the gator men, who use economic blackmail to take us all down for a death roll.

________

*Cincinnati was originally called Losantiville, which is a MADE UP WORD. Ville, of course, is the French term for town or village. Losanti was a mash up in 1788 by Mathias Denman. Not only is it a mash up, but it's a mash up in two different languages -- Greek, and Latin. It is supposed mean "City opposite the mouth of the Licking River." The "L" is the only hold over from the name of the Licking River. Os is Latin for mouth, and anti is Greek for opposite. This, for me, says a lot about the confused character of the city even to this day.
** From the Parsons Dictionary of Oft Used Words and Phrases, Compendium Edition.