high-minded drivel

high-minded (adjective) - refined; cultured; particularly civilized. drivel (noun) - senseless talk; nonsense.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Several shades of inspiration

Is honorable discharge the same as graduating with honors?
Today was supposed to be the day that I would get the email telling me whether or not my final project for the MLHR program passed.  However, the email never arrived.  Coincidentally, today I sent in the official form stating that I would not be attending commencement later this month.  Perhaps that option was going to be chosen for me by default...

My rationale for not attending commencement (if I do have the option) is that 1) it will just be a big event with no real personal significance, especially given that I don't view completion of the MLHR as any great accomplishment, 2) I already attended undergraduate commencement at Ohio State, so I've "been there, done that," and 3) I don't know who the commencement speaker will be.  A quick Google search allows me to add to my knowledge database the fact that Ms. Donna James will be the Winter Quarter commencement speaker at Ohio State.  I will quickly summarize Ms. James for you by describing her as "accomplished."  National business advisor and corporate executive...Fortune 500...named by President Obama as chairwoman...blah blah blah.  No doubt Ms. James is deserving of some amount of respect, but you know who else is accomplished and deserving of some amount of respect?  My undergraduate commencement speaker, Senator John McCain.  You know how much of Senator McCain's speech I remember?  Yea, that's what I thought.

If only I'd had Sarah with me then...
It's not that McCain made bad points, or that James will make bad points, but by nature a commencement speech is somewhat superfluous, if not utterly forgettable.  That's why a change is needed in the way that commencement speeches are done in our colleges and universities.  Now, one might immediately think "Yea, we need more people like Jon Stewart doing commencement speeches!"  Well, that might be a slight improvement, but think bigger.  Think broader.  Think "blow the roof off."  How to accomplish this?  Here's how: Make the speaker a surprise.  Don't announce who the speaker will be ahead of time, and keep people holding their collective breath until the very end.  You think it's exciting for the final envelope to be opened at the Oscars when Best Picture is announced?  Imagine being at Spring Quarter commencement at Ohio State, sitting in the stands with all your fellow graduates as the anticipation builds to find out who will be addressing you.  And I'm not talking about holding out just to announce that Jon Stewart will be the speaker right before he takes the stage.  Remember, think bigger.  Think broader.  Think "blow the roof off."

"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your patience with all that boring crap for the past two hours.  I know you're all on the edge of your seats now, as we're just seconds away from bringing out our speaker for today's ceremony."

(There is a buzz in the crowd.  The official at the podium is masterfully building tension among the people.  Gordon Gee looks extremely nervous.)

"Okay folks, I think we're ready now!  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our 2011 Spring Commencement speaker here at The Ohio State University - Mr. Moammar Gaddafi!!!"

The stadium would positively go nuts at this point.  Fresh off the plane that carried him out of Libya and into exile, Gaddafi would defiantly stride to the podium and launch into an unprepared tirade about how he owns Libya and looks forward to his triumphant return.  He would even get a louder ovation than any prior commencement speaker if he had the presence of mind to drop a few comments about how Bin Laden is evil.  Think about it - if there was the possibility of getting this for a commencement speech, every student would attend.  The stadium would be packed to see who the surprise speaker would turn out to be.  Rumors would leak in the days leading up to the event, gossip would be rampant.  And most importantly, the commencement speech for the graduating class would be, in a word, unforgettable.  Furthermore, the graduates would be inspired!  Seriously, if you had Gaddafi as your speaker, you would be leaving commencement saying, "Um, I'm gonna go do something with my life here.  Because there is some crazy shit going down."

I forgot to mention earlier that there is one more reason behind my decision to not attend commencement: The designated hood color for my degree is "drab."  Huh?  A quick Google search allows me to add to my knowledge database the fact that "drab" is defined as "a dull brownish yellow or dull gray color."  As the British might say, my hood color is apparently the color of sick.

It was a tough call between Cover the Earth and F*ck the Planet
I'm exhibiting a little bit of color snobbery right now because Nate and I just finished painting the remainder of the upstairs in such wonderful colors as Toasted Pine Nut and Smoky Blue, courtesy of Sherwin Williams, who we agree has the most un-eco-friendly slogan imaginable: "Cover the Earth."  The unspoken end to the phrase is, of course, "in paint."  To drive home the point that they don't give a darn, their logo is a cute little paint can spilling its contents all over a cute little Earth, thus covering the planet in a rich semi-gloss, or perhaps an eggshell finish.  Anyway, the TPN and SB we used on our little portion of the planet looks quite nice, and as usual, getting some paint on the walls goes a long way toward making the upstairs look finished.

In addition to getting all the walls and ceilings painted, the hardwood floors are in their final stages of being refinished.  There is nothing quite so elegant in an old house as hardwood floors, and we're very happy with the ways ours are looking thus far.  The investment of a couple G's in getting the floors refinished should pay dividends down the road if/when we sell, not to mention that we'll enjoy them while we're in the house.  Of course, hardwood floors aren't just about appearance or making some bank.    They offer a host of other benefits, including easy cleaning, a built-in burglar alert system by virtue of their creaking, and a surface on which to slide around the house when wearing socks.  The only downside to hardwood floors is that they aren't well-suited to horseplay, as they are unforgiving on elbows and knees.  But seeing as how Nate and I are past our boyhood days of wrastling, this shouldn't be a major negative.  Yep, the floors are looking mighty nice.  If my hood color was "hardwood," I might even be convinced to go see Ms. James.

Hmm, let me know if you have any trouble getting Moammar lined up....

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