Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I haven't been a fan of college Presidents in some time now.

It's rumored that Charles Young was the President of UF from 1999-2003 but honestly nobody I know ever saw him so really we can only take his word for it. Dr. Young, who is now the CEO of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, was here last night at the UF Harn Museum of Art to talk about two things high on everyone's list of exciting topics---art and college sports.

He complained about the skyrocketing coaches salaries and how the Athletic Associations spending is out of control. He talked about how in times of financial crisis, the athletic association's answer is to raise revenue. Funny--I don't hear anyone at UF complaining about the ticket prices to UF sporting events. And despite the recession, it seems that UF sports continue to pack the house. Hmm....the people are going to pay because they think it's worth it. When they stop paying and there's an empty stadium then perhaps it's time to re-evaluate spending. Until then I say they should just go for it.

Dr. Young also talked about his experience as CEO of the LA Museum.

I can't tell you how that fascinates me.

If I seem sarcastic it's because I'm not altogether impressed at the leadership at UF in the past 10 years. While Dr. Young was President of UF, most think it was in name only because most people I talked to believed while he was earning a pretty decent salary from UF, his heart was in California. We never felt he was really a part of the institution. And of course nobody I know now thinks the current president is a real part of this institution. I'm hard pressed to find anyone who can name any significant positive contributions or fond memories related to that office, in the last ten years, but that's for another day.

In this one humble person's opinion, the last great President was Dr. John Lombardi, whose resignation shocked so many of us who felt we were a part of Dr. Lombardi's extended family. We felt that way because he made us feel that way. I'm still confused all these years later as to why Dr. Lombardi left. While there were a few ridiculous excuses given by those on the outside, everything seemed to come to a head after Dr. Lombardi's "Oreo" comment. But nobody I know thought that was enough to force him out. Given everything UF accomplished under the leadership of Dr. Lombardi, and oh there was so much, it seemed assinine for the Board of Regents to push him out but they did. And things haven't been the same since.

UF hasn't been the same without the friendly gray-haired man who, on nice mornings, would walk to campus and take the time to stop and talk to the employees hard at work, whom he met along the way. We still miss that old red pickup truck driving around campus with the arm sticking out of it, waving wildly at everyone he passed along the way...

Monday, October 26, 2009

I'd run your ass over but...

......they'd throw me in jail.

First it was the girl on the bike this morning at University & SW 34th Street. I was minding my own business at the light behind two other vehicles, waiting my opportunity to turn right onto 34th. The light turned green, the "DON'T WALK" light was RED (which means for the challenged folks, D-O N-O-T W-A-L-K). One car turns right on the green, then without warning, the moron on the bike just RIDES her happy ass across the street when the next car is trying to turn. I wanted so bad to honk on my horn and call that dumb bitch well--a dumb bitch. But Vin said, "it's not worth it" and I know he was right. Not only did she cross against the light but she never even looked to her LEFT to see that someone was about to turn!

My second missed opportunity came when I was on Museum Road on campus. I had just dropped Vin off at his work and was heading east to my office. There's a guy in front of me and a bicyclist on our right in the bike lane. Nearing the intersection and completely without warning, the cyclist turned left and cut off the guy in the car in front of me. Had I not been so busy thinking of all the expletives I wanted to direct at this moron, I would have actually opened the window and shouted them at him.

The morons in question have obviously not checked out the website which clearly outlines "How to Not Get Hit by Cars" an article which, if you actually have to read, in order to learn not to get hit by cars, perhaps you shouldn't be allowed out on a bike in public, period.

If it weren't for the fact that I would be arrested and that spending a night in jail scares the crap out of me (yes, I'm freely admitting the crack addix, hookas and other representatives of this fine community would beat the crap outta me), I would have taken the once-in-a-lifetime chance to run over one or both of these idiots this morning.

I wanted to write a scathing letter to the editor in the campus newspaper about this, but then I became concerned that UF's "one less car" "strive not to drive" "Have you hugged a cyclist today?" "No bicycles, no peace!" or my personal favorite--"People for the Ethical Treatment Of Bicyclists" crowd might seek me out and label me a terrorist and that would cause me a whole new set of problems.

So...for now I'll just have to dream about the joy of smacking one of those ignorant assholes with my car.

Monday, October 19, 2009

For my folks...

Once was a thought inside my head,
‘Fore I reached thirty I’d be dead.
Now somehow on and on I go.
I keep on rollin’ with the flow.

Folks said that I would change my mind.
I’d straighten up and do just fine.
Ahh but I still love rock and roll.
I keep on rollin’ with the flow.
(keep on rollin' with the flow)

While guys my age are raising kids,
I’m raisin’ hell just like I did.
I’ve got a lot of crazy friends,
And they forgive me of my sins.

Some might be callin’ me a bum.
But I’m still out there havin’ fun.
And Jesus loves me, yes, I know.
So, I keep on rollin’ with the flow.
(keep on rollin with the flow)

While guys my age are raising kids,
But I'm raisin' hell just like I did
I’ve got a lot of crazy friends,
And they forgive me of my sins.

Can't take it
with you when you’re gone.
But I want enough to get there on.
And I ain’t ever growin’ old.
So I keep o
n rollin’ with the flow.
(keep on rollin’ with the flow)

I ain’t ever growin’ old,
If I keep on rollin’ with the flow.
(keep on rollin’ keep on rollin’)

Keep on rollin’ with the flow.
(keep on rollin’ keep on rollin’)

Keep on rollin’ with the flow.
(keep on rollin’ keep on rollin’)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I just love this song! Jason Mraz is awesome! Thought I'd share a little of the joy with you! When I hear this song I feel so happy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In Albany Oregon, Oaks Apartments Manager Barb Holcomb has told her tenants they cannot fly any flag on their vehicles, including country and college team flags. She also bans political and religious signs.

The way I see it, if the individuals living in the Oaks signed a lease where it clearly states flags and signs are prohibited then I can't see the merit of their argument. However if it isn't in the lease then I think they have a case. But really now, why would you want to live in a place that prohibits this kind of thing?

"I'm trying to avoid any conflict," Holcomb said. "I have a problem when tenants' rights to free speech come into contact with other tenants' rights of peaceful enjoyment. This policy is not a violation of anyone's civil rights."

Life is full of conflict. In this nanny-state we live in, we just can't create rules and laws prohibiting anything and everything that might cause conflict. Sometimes people just disagree. That's the way it is. If they get violent over it, you call the police and throw them in jail. But otherwise, it can be pretty healthy and harmless.

That said, I think prohibiting flying the American flag in America just sucks. If I were a resident of Albany Oregon, I definitely would not be residing at the Oaks.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Education is a wonderful thing.

I take it very seriously. I love to ponder possibilities and solutions to problems. Education opens our minds and challenges us to look at issues from a point of view different from our own. At least that's the way it works for me.

One of my courses this semester is a senior level "History of Crime and Criminal Justice in America". It is a very interesting course which has me thinking more deeply about issues I've often pondered but not too seriously. Right now we're covering the creation and development of the police and prison system in the United States. I never really wondered how it all began, I just took it for granted because it's always been a part of life. This course has me thinking about the system.

Originally the prison system was based on the idea of individualized treatment of prisoners. The mindset was rehabilitation rather than just taking society's unwanteds off the street and hiding them away. Prisoners were beaten, tortured, even murdered and reformers wanted action. They believed discipline should be adapted to each prisoner's personal characteristics. The reality was that with the great number of prisoners and the lesser number of staff, and all the responsibilities required of administering a prison, just didn't allow for it.

When you and I think of what it would require to undertake this, we're also shaking our heads asking "how?" and that's justified. I really think it's a nearly impossible task.

That said, we have to take a good hard look at the prison population and determine who can and cannot be rehabilitated. I guess I classify prisoners first by two classes: violent and non-violent.

Violent offenders would include those who have committed battery, rape, murder, and other crimes of violence or threat of violence.

Non-violent would be anyone who has not used violence or threat of violence in the course of committing a crime. I would say that non-violent offenders would also include individuals who killed in self-defense, without a history of violent behavior. Women who have killed their abusive husbands would fit into this category. Non-violent drug offenders are a huge part of this number too.

Focusing on violent offenders, the big question is "Can violent offenders be rehabilitated?"

Yes and no. I think it's possible depending on the nature of their crimes and their background. There are endless reasons people commit violent crimes. In order to attempt rehabilitation, we have to understand WHY the person commits violent crime. Some people, like Charles Manson, are hopeless causes, and some people like the 18 year old gang member, just might be saved. It just depends. Some people are inherently evil and you'll never change them. But I'd like to think that's a minority, not the majority.

There American prison system has its problems, but I think for the most part it's probably the best-run system in the world. I think the system is quite humane, even for the worst of society's criminals. Our prison system wasn't created overnight and when it was created, it was full of corruption. It took a long time and a lot of hard work on the part of reformers to get it where it is today and it still needs work. The US prison population is increasing dramatically every year. Is it really possible there could be this many "bad" people in our society? Is the punishment really fitting the crime? Are certain members of our population being incarcerated disproportionately to others?

These are things we need to consider.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I was in a battlefield, not sure where it was. Insurgents were throwing devices that would explode in minutes or seconds and when they threw them at us, we had to be sure to run or throw them back at them before they exploded. Sometimes they would drive tractors with explosives attached, right up to where we were and we'd have to run like hell. The entire dream was a battle, running, shooting, throwing bombs. Even women were throwing the bombs. It was difficult to tell the good women from the bad. I don't know if any children were involved in the war. It was just horrible though, IED's, grenades and all sorts of things going back and forth. I remember a soldier in a uniform, we thought he was peaceful but he was just the enemy donning a uniform of the ally and he was rigging explosives where we were.....I think we killed him.

Been up two hours and a lot of this is fading. It's in my head but hard to get out. Funny how you find it difficult if even possible, to describe a dream. Ther's more to it but honestly I don't know how to describe it so I guess I can't.

I didn't watch, read or listen to anything that would have provoked this so it is very interesting indeed. In the dream I did get a renewed respect for the soldiers that deal with this every day over in Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe that was the point. What they endure is probably much worse than the dream and trust me the dream was pretty bad.