Hey, Y’all. Been away from making with the fun and am now back for a few minutes before I delve into the second job stuff known as grading papers. Only got thirty students spread over three classes, so it’s beyond my comprehension how “real” college teachers do it with five or six classes of forty-plus students each. While I’ve been away…
Waddya know about that American League Series? They’re playing some real baseball over there, not like the Colorado Rockies sweeps of their two post-season opponents. Will Boston survive today to force a Game 7 for tomorrow? If they do, you can thank Manny Ramirez for being one cagey and clever dude. Most folks mistook his “who cares if we lose?” remarks as another sign of unrealistic connection to the importance of the games and the Boston fans. In my mind, Manny was being a locker room leader by focusing the media spotlight on him and taking it off of his teammates. Don’t be fooled: he wants to beat his former team badly. This was not another case of “Manny being Manny”; this was Manny putting the team on his back and trying to taking them to the World Series. It might just work, too.
In local news, state gaming and tax revenues came in at far lower than expected levels and the state’s executive branch is scrambling for money. They instituted a hiring freeze on state-funded positions and directed all administrators (except K-12 and Public Safety) to draw up plans for an immediate 5% budget cut, and in the spirit of camaraderie (and obedience), everybody jumped in and is doing just that. Almost everybody. Perennial curmudgeon NSHE Chancellor Jim Rogers said his eight campuses are barely scraping by as it is and will not cut back any further. Based on my time as a full-time and part-time employee, he’s got a point. The NSHE receives repeated mandates from all levels to better prepare and educate Nevada’s adult populace but often the money does not follow the mandates, so teachers and administrators must plug twelve leaks in the dam with only seven fingers. The reality is while the NSHE does operate outside the executive branch, the State writes the checks on a quarterly basis and can reduce those checks as needed. I promise you that while the Governor and Chancellor are taking publicly bites out each other, the presidents are making plans. And the dams will keep leaking in the meantime.
There was good news from the NSHE: in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, there’d been a proposal to deputize, train and arm on-campus workers to act as a volunteer reserve police force in times of crisis. Fortunately, the majority of the Board of Regents had a dose of common sense and voted it down. There are higher-education faculty members who’ve never left school and have had to function in the “real” world. The possibility of giving Berettas to those folks made me a tad nervous. I would have had more confidence in Barney Fife’s gun-handling skills.
Reality check: today is Saturday, October 20, 2007. Osama bin Laden was been free of incarceration, persecution, and imprisonment in the 2,230 days since September 11, 2001.
A recent state ethics committee opinion barred a county employee from serving on her county commission, stating she could have direct budgetary influence over her employers. It’s understandable but a darn shame if the opinion evolves into an official stance barring all public employees from holding office. Nevada’s had a long history of citizen legislators only because there are very few full-time public offices on the payroll. Those who serve are rarely fully compensated for their time and energy and, often, lose money in the deal, but they do it because it needs to be done. If the public employee is barred from office, the available pool of willing volunteers will shrink dramatically to our sorrow.
Yet another link to old Nevada passed on this week. Joey Bishop was the last surviving member of the 1960s Rat Pack that brought visibility and crowds to Las Vegas when it was barely a spot in the road. You have to put the times in perspective. The shows that he and Frank/Sammy/Dean/Peter gave were not for thousands in big arenas, but for dozens or hundreds in relatively small showrooms, so folks were able to get up close and personal with these Hollywood legends. In today’s Reno and Lake Tahoe casinos, you’re more likely to see a “B” level star on stage in the outdoors parking lot than in a cozy room with a live orchestra. Them was the days.
Don’t have much time these days for entertainment, but watched a movie last night that you’ve got to make time for: Surf’s Up. Yes, it’s another one of those silly CGI-animation specials, but the makers spent time on the script and it really feels like one of those old surfing documentaries. Well worth your time. (And Transformers didn’t suck as badly as I thought it would.)
Madison Wolverine Update: our commissioner is more than fully-employed with his day job (I can understand that), so I don’t have a current record, but I’m fairly certainly the Wolverines lost last weekend and have a losing record for the first time this season. Things don’t get easier this week with Amargosa hosting the game. The team is holding on as best it can for the return of injured WR Andre Johnson and suspended RB Chris Henry, both of whom should be back in the next couple of weeks. Wolverines! [Edit: the report is out and we’re at .500 and out of first place. Still a hard game ahead.]
I endorsed Dean Heller as Nevada’s Congressman for District 2 in hopes that he’d keep an open mind, watch out for the little people, and not be a Bush-administration puppet. Wrong. According to the Washington Post (subscription required), he votes with the Bushies nearly 90% of the time and his recent SCHIP stance really burns me. He also voted against reducing troop levels and repealing tax cuts for oil companies, some of whom are reaping record-level profit levels. I won’t make that mistake twice.
Finally, got to give a shout-out to Deborah Kerr of the King and I and An Affair to Remember. She was a classy lady, the consummate professional, and sexy as hell in an old-school kind of way. Here’s the famous picture of her and Burt Lancaster making out on the beach in From Here to Eternity. Check out who’s on top. That’s all you need to know about her. Thanks, Deb.