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Friday, July 25, 2014

The fakers

This rings true of my experience of the Ivy League and its uptight denizens.
A young woman from another school wrote me this about her boyfriend at Yale:

Before he started college, he spent most of his time reading and writing short stories. Three years later, he’s painfully insecure, worrying about things my public-educated friends don’t give a second thought to, like the stigma of eating lunch alone and whether he’s “networking” enough. No one but me knows he fakes being well-read by thumbing through the first and last chapters of any book he hears about and obsessively devouring reviews in lieu of the real thing. He does this not because he’s incurious, but because there’s a bigger social reward for being able to talk about books than for actually reading them.

I taught many wonderful young people during my years in the Ivy League—bright, thoughtful, creative kids whom it was a pleasure to talk with and learn from. But most of them seemed content to color within the lines that their education had marked out for them. Very few were passionate about ideas. Very few saw college as part of a larger project of intellectual discovery and development. Everyone dressed as if they were ready to be interviewed at a moment’s notice.

Look beneath the façade of seamless well-adjustment, and what you often find are toxic levels of fear, anxiety, and depression, of emptiness and aimlessness and isolation. A large-scale survey of college freshmen recently found that self-reports of emotional well-being have fallen to their lowest level in the study’s 25-year history.

So extreme are the admission standards now that kids who manage to get into elite colleges have, by definition, never experienced anything but success. The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them. The cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential. The result is a violent aversion to risk. You have no margin for error, so you avoid the possibility that you will ever make an error.
My freshman year, I spent a few days at Harvard and Dartmouth with a Bucknell girl whose two best friends were at those superior learning establishments. Dartmouth was exactly like Bucknell, only the girls were shorter and uglier and the temperature was colder. But Harvard... I have never, in my entire life, been around a bigger group of hapless posers.

The description of the Yale guy who reads the first and last chapters of a book rings very true. It's become a common phenomenon online, but Harvard was the first place I encountered people who regarded having heard of something as being synonymous with knowing it. That's why I developed the habit of asking a question or two about the contents of a book someone has mentioned because I've learned that many people will pretend to have read things they have not.

Seriously, if you haven't read something, it's no big deal. There are a lot of books out there. There are hundreds that I think I should read that I haven't and probably never will. It's no big deal not to have read a book... unless, of course, you're writing a review of it.

I've mentioned this part before, but the most egregious example I've encountered was the big guy who kept telling girls about how he "played hockey for Harvard". Unfortunately for him, I happen to be from Minnesota and I also happened to know that the Harvard hockey team was in Minneapolis that night, playing the Gophers. I think one of my friends back home was going to the game or something. I asked him if he was hurt, which he denied in a puzzled manner, and promptly fell into the trap. When pressed, he finally admitted that he played INTRAMURAL hockey. Right.

Not everyone I've met from an Ivy League school that isn't Dartmouth or Brown is a lying, pretentious poser, but a surprisingly high percentage of them are. And while it may be a character flaw, I've discovered that there are few things more entertaining than intellectually bitchslapping the unsuspecting, insecure little bastards.

Even if I was going to send my children to an American university, and I can't imagine I would, I wouldn't send them to any Ivy League school.

Labels:

133 Comments:

Anonymous Peter Garstig July 25, 2014 9:05 AM  

They're 25 and never failed?

Blogger JP July 25, 2014 9:17 AM  

Would I have known this type of posing is made fun of in The Fountainhead if I hadn't actually read The Fountainhead?

Anonymous Josh July 25, 2014 9:24 AM  

But most of them seemed content to color within the lines that their education had marked out for them. Very few were passionate about ideas. Very few saw college as part of a larger project of intellectual discovery and development. Everyone dressed as if they were ready to be interviewed at a moment’s notice.

This also sounds a lot like Vanderbilt.

Anonymous Sigyn July 25, 2014 9:34 AM  

They're 25 and never failed?

Yes. Mostly, this is accomplished by never doing anything difficult. When a challenge is encountered, then you group up like a hunting team in Africa and try to get someone on that team who doesn't mind doing all the hard stuff. Then you skate to "success" on someone else's genius.

It helps that schoolwork is watered down to the lowest skill level in the class, and doing the bare minimum is often enough to get you an A.

Anonymous Carlotta July 25, 2014 9:34 AM  

5 bucks in library fines will give you a better education and all that. Great scene in Good Will Hunting.
Also, this is life in general. I grew up around voracious readers. It never occurred to me that people bs about this till I caught them.

We just had a guest when entertaining who brought a friend who kept bragging he worked for NASA. I shocked everyone by asking what he'd did there. He refused to answer, just kept stammering he worked there. Seriously, he never saw it coming that someone might ask what he does there?

Anonymous NateM July 25, 2014 9:36 AM  

The interesting thing is those people are just have a deep adverse reaction to admitting ignorance, Largely because the people around them (though they are mostly posers as well) will ruthlessly mock them if they haven't read whatever the latest book is, or aware of the current events. The "hockey player" had probably never encountered someone who just genuinely didn't care if he played hockey and wasn't going to look down on him either way, unless of course he lied about it.

Anonymous VD July 25, 2014 9:37 AM  

Seriously, he never saw it coming that someone might ask what he does there?

Nice. A quality social prosecution. And you know he's a Delta at best, because he didn't say something like: "I train the lady astronauts for zero-G sex."

You know, it wouldn't matter what I actually did at NASA. I think that would always be my answer.

Blogger Nate July 25, 2014 9:39 AM  

"Even if I was going to send my children to an American university, and I can't imagine I would, I wouldn't send them to any Ivy League school."

Vandy.

The Best choice available in the critical Quality vs Hot Chicks ratio.

Anonymous Anonymous Cowherd July 25, 2014 9:43 AM  

Carlota paper clips won't count themselves

Anonymous Ryan ATL July 25, 2014 9:43 AM  

I'd love to see a sample list of books that Ivy leaguers consider cool/hip/smart to have read. Are we talking classics or contemporary books? What a bizarre world they must live in.

Anonymous Josh July 25, 2014 9:45 AM  

Vandy.

The Best choice available in the critical Quality vs Hot Chicks ratio.


I'm going to print this out and frame it.

Anonymous Alexander July 25, 2014 9:51 AM  

Ryan ATL,

I understand that the New Yorker publishes such a list. Granted, I think the cause-and-effect might be backwards, but it ought to work as a proxy.

OpenID cailcorishev July 25, 2014 9:55 AM  

After I read I Am Charlotte Simmons (okay, I admit it, I quit 2/3 of the way through because it was just too damn depressing), I went to read the Amazon reviews. I expected to see people saying things like, "This is an extreme caricature; sure, some of these things happen, but they aren't the norm." Instead I found lots of, "I went to one of the elite universities he's talking about here, and he was too kind; it's worse than this."

I'm usually pretty cynical, especially about the elites and the education complex, but that was shocking.

Anonymous Carlotta July 25, 2014 9:56 AM  

You know, it wouldn't matter what I actually did at NASA. I think that would always be my answer.

@VD
Seriously, just make something up that sounds interesting. Anything is better then "um, um, I just work there!"


OpenID everybodyhatesscott July 25, 2014 9:57 AM  

Fortunately, I don't remember college being that bad (about 10 years ago) but I went to a public school in the south (Is Missouri the south?) and don't have a lot of interaction with ivy leaguers.

I'd love to see a sample list of books that Ivy leaguers consider cool/hip/smart to have read.
Twilight, Fifty shades of gray.

Anonymous Carlotta July 25, 2014 10:01 AM  

@Anal Cow

Sweetie, I am actually off for a spa treatment and then for some quality time around our family pool. My honey makes six figures so I don't have to count anything unless I want to.

But you have fun posting empowering pictures of yourself in fatkinis before having to work the night shift at Wawa. K?

Anonymous Sigyn July 25, 2014 10:03 AM  

I'd love to see a sample list of books that Ivy leaguers consider cool/hip/smart to have read. Are we talking classics or contemporary books? What a bizarre world they must live in.

A "smart" girl once told me that her favorite song was "American Pie". When I asked her why, she said with enthusiasm, "Because it's so full of symbolism!"

I then asked her what she thought of this part or that--not going to rack my brains to dredge up a song I don't really like very much to find examples--and she, predictably, gave me a blank look, and then avoided me afterwards.

Anonymous NateM July 25, 2014 10:06 AM  

"Nice. A quality social prosecution. And you know he's a Delta at best, because he didn't say something like: "I train the lady astronauts for zero-G sex."

You know, it wouldn't matter what I actually did at NASA. I think that would always be my answer."

I'll pass that suggestion along to my dad, he might get a kick out of it. I'm sure a few engineers might use it.

Anonymous Bz July 25, 2014 10:06 AM  

Hapless posers? Might be an effect of the celebrated holistic admissions policies.

Anonymous VD July 25, 2014 10:07 AM  

Vandy. The Best choice available in the critical Quality vs Hot Chicks ratio.

I had a cousin who went there. Tall, blond, attractive. Had a bit of a poor man's Nicole Kidman thing going. Wouldn't necessarily strike the average guy as being impressive testimony on behalf of the university until you learn she's a Vanderbilt engineering major.

Sweet St. Dewey, what do the art history majors look like!

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 July 25, 2014 10:09 AM  

And here in lies the problem with the current political aristocracy in the US: nearly every top politician, bureaucrat, and top executive in a major corporation with close ties to government has graduated from an Ivy League school.

This entire nation is run by posers and fakers.

Anonymous Josh July 25, 2014 10:11 AM  

Instead I found lots of, "I went to one of the elite universities he's talking about here, and he was too kind; it's worse than this."

Yup

Blogger Nate July 25, 2014 10:13 AM  

"Sweet St. Dewey, what do the art history majors look like!"

Remember the cute girl that got the modeling gig by showing up at the world cup? At Vandy... she'd be considered a hot girl... but no hotter than 150 other chicks you saw every day... and there would be two of her at least in every one of your classes... and in some classes there would be chicks that are way hotter.

That's vandy.

We invented the term "Vandy Candy" for a reason.

Anonymous T14 July 25, 2014 10:14 AM  

Vandy is a good choice. Duke as well.

I'd probably push guys to UTexas Plan II Honors, with eyes on one of the better frats. What better way to spend 4 years.

Anonymous Dr. Kenneth Noisewater July 25, 2014 10:17 AM  

You don't go to an Ivy-league school for the education, unless you have a full scholarship.

You go to an Ivy-league school for the connections, access to alumni, the name on your resume, etc. The learning part is incidental, and grading at those institutions is a lot more lenient than at competitive public schools. There's corner cases/exceptions of course (MIT perhaps, maybe Stanford and other research unis), but for liberal arts, all you care about (and all you really buy) is the name on the sheepskin.

OpenID rufusdog July 25, 2014 10:22 AM  

Some of this is just part of the human condition, only difference is social status changes the subject matter the BS is focused on. Yale guy is making up shit about what he has read, Billy Bob makes up shit about his hunting exploits or all those bar fights he has won.

People are just prone to this sort of thing, granted to varying degrees.

Anonymous Leonidas July 25, 2014 10:27 AM  

But Harvard... I have never, in my entire life, been around a bigger group of hapless posers.

My wife and I spent a couple of days around Harvard when my sister graduated from there in 2008. It was one of the worst trips of my entire life (there were a lot of reasons for this; I'll mention a couple below, but they weren't even the worst parts, just the relevant ones). You could feel the smugness oozing through every pore of the campus. Plus, being from the south, everyone treated us like dirt. The amount of rudeness we experienced was absolutely unbelievable.

Two anecdotes:

Regarding the pretentiousness and lack of actual learning... Harvard still prints its diplomas in Latin. But they don't teach it, apparently. My sister was getting a graduate level degree in a subject that traditionally you could be damn sure she'd have learned Latin in. When I started teasing her that I could read her diploma and she couldn't (which, honestly and truly, I didn't mean anything by... it was just funny) she totally lost it. She went absolutely bonkers and totally jumped down my throat. The insecurity that comes out of that crowd over how little they've actually learned for their fat tuition check is every bit as high as people tell you it is, I promise.

Second... I was neutral-to-pro-gay-"marriage" before the trip (hey, I'm a pretty libertarian guy). That trip was what made me anti-gay-"marriage." Specifically, it was the "married" gay men who approached my wife and I specifically because we were from the south and they wanted to prove to us that gay "marriage" was no big deal. Then we proceeded to have a conversation where they essentially did everything they could to insult anybody even remotely conservative, clearly trying to be provocative. Congratulations, guys. You just lost me. Worse, you lost my wife - whose favorite uncle was a gay man who died of HIV and whom she loved dearly and remembers fondly. The pair of you together transformed a strong pro-gay advocated into an anti-gay-"marriage" woman. Well done.

So extreme are the admission standards now that kids who manage to get into elite colleges have, by definition, never experienced anything but success.

The one positive thing about the trip, the one absolutely amazing thing about it, was J.K. Rowling's commencement speech. It's worth clicking through and watching, even if you're not a fan (which I know many of the Ilk aren't).

The money quote: "However, the fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that you are not very well-acquainted with failure."

So, so true. And so many - like my sister - have had teeny tiny, insignificant "failures" that have darn near "ruined their lives" because they've met with so little failure they just can't cope.

Blogger Aquinas Dad July 25, 2014 10:28 AM  

When I met and began sating my wife I was a soldier and she was going to Smith. I loved visiting the campus.
Some of the girls were very, very focused on getting a top-notch education. They were mainly foreigners or (like my wife) from old families. These girls were taking a major in Biochemistry with a dual minor in CompuSci and Japanese and pulling a 3.8, or Music because they could play 14 instruments and were dedicated to being a true master of, oh, the oboe, so they practiced 8 hours a day, or some other true obsession. The rest of the girls from old families were there to find a stockbroker/old money husband from Boston or New York; they were taking Literature or History so they could be a charming, well-read hostess.
I loved hanging out with both of these groups. Charming, gracious, focused, *honest*.
They were half the students.
The other half all shared a lot of characteristics; they were valedictorians or 2nd in their class; they were middle or upper-middle class; they had done just the right amount of extra-curricular activities to get into a Top School and no more because they only did it to get in. They were taking Something Studies, or Communications, and thrashing about for the right electives to keep their GPA as close to 4 as possible.
They were all incredibly stressed. Top dog at home they just blended in at Smith. They had gamed the system for high grades and high standings in high school but when you are thrown in with actual driven geniuses that shit means nothing real fast.
At the same time they had total contempt for the 'ribbons and pearls' crowd that wanted a husband.

Blogger Joshua_D July 25, 2014 10:29 AM  

Slightly OT but on the topic of pop culture. A Facebook friend posted a link to the trailer of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. I was just skimming a I thought she said something about it being a parody. So I watched the link, and kept waiting for some kind of humor. The trailer kept going and going and going, and I started thinking, "Is this serious? Seriously? No way." Finally the trailer ended. It was ridiculous. It seemed so fake, so sterile, emotionless. Actually this might be somewhat relevant to this post because the Grey character came across as a a fake, a poser. And without a doubt a lot of women are going to pay good money to watch this garbage and rant and rave about wonderful movie it is.

Anonymous asdf July 25, 2014 10:31 AM  

The authors solutions are of course far worse.

Anonymous Sigyn July 25, 2014 10:32 AM  

As a former prospective educator (who was actually serious about it, which is probably why she didn't get a job), I'm glad to see you guys have your priorities in order. *eyeroll*

Blogger Kentucky Packrat July 25, 2014 10:35 AM  

Vandy. The Best choice available in the critical Quality vs Hot Chicks ratio.

I had to drag Number One Son to Miami U. (Ohio), because he was willing to settle for UK (and that was NOT going to be MY fault in 20 years). He got up there, and fell in love with the place. By the third trip(*), I started noticing what he picked up earlier: the diversity is low, most of the guys are bubbas like No. 1 Son, and the girls are impressive.

The only problem with the place is that the administration is liberal. They're going down the Intoxicated Sex == Rape and the Yes Can Still Be No path. (I meant to ask if the boy should have a written permission slip, but my son has no sense of humor.) Had to advise Number One Son that he needed to keep it in his pants. Considering that a couple of my mistakes in college might have gotten me busted under the "I regret sleeping with him; it must be rape" rule flaring up in colleges now, I have to support him being a stick in the mud at college.

(*) Trip 1 convinced him. Trip 2 convinced me, but Milady had to miss it. Trip 3 got her on board. My daughter even liked the place, but they have shifted nursing off campus for some reason, so she won't even consider them.

Anonymous Dr. Kenneth Noisewater July 25, 2014 10:36 AM  

When I met and began sating my wife I was a soldier and she was going to Smith. I loved visiting the campus.

Sating before marriage? Seems a bit naughty...

Anonymous BillB July 25, 2014 10:38 AM  

You go to an Ivy school because the low knowledge voters, being around 95% of the population, still think the Ivy schools are something.

Once affirmative action came in the mid 70s, all the higher ed system suffered. From the late 80s to the early 00s, grade inflation even at "competitive" public schools, which rely so much on unconstitutional federal dollars they can't not do what the government tells them, lowered the standards another full grade level.

Folks like Thomas Sowell tell people to send their kids locally which makes sense money-wise BUT even the local schools have dropped in quality. My estimates of grade drop are 2-3 levels since the late 40s early 50s to now.

People do the Ivy thing for connections but I found very few folks went to any university for a real education. Every one I taught over 3 decades wanted "training" in their field and cried about having to take all the gen ed courses. Or at least 95% of them did so.

Recall that roughly 10% of the population gave us the Revolution. I suspect it is in that same range that gave us the Union and brought us to where we are. The "unwashed" masses are dragging us down and Darwin is no where in sight.

Anonymous JoeyWheels July 25, 2014 10:40 AM  

Time for a tedious anectdote from the blog's token gimp....

Back in the day, I played a little high school football. I played with the same guys from the 7th grade all the way through high school. We lost a lot of games over that span...until our senior year when we finally figured out what it meant to play a TEAM SPORT. We went from having a previous best record of 2-7 to being 7-2 and a share of the league title.

The point is that we all knew how to lose. And until you know how to lose you never learn what it takes to win.
All this current emphasis on particapatory achievement does is rob kids of learning the lessons that teach persevearance.

While it's no fun to lose, knowing how that feeling compares to winning is irreplaceable.

Anonymous Sigyn July 25, 2014 10:41 AM  

Actually this might be somewhat relevant to this post because the Grey character came across as a a fake, a poser.

He is, even in canon; he's a former child-abuse victim (whose mom was a crack ho) who was adopted by wealthy people and spends his entire life trying to prove he's worthy. He's actually a huge weenie, and a large portion of "spite-fictions" trade on that. That James doesn't realize she wrote him that way is both sad and hilarious.

Anonymous Rob July 25, 2014 10:45 AM  

After I read I Am Charlotte Simmons (okay, I admit it, I quit 2/3 of the way through because it was just too damn depressing), I went to read the Amazon reviews. I expected to see people saying things like, "This is an extreme caricature; sure, some of these things happen, but they aren't the norm." Instead I found lots of, "I went to one of the elite universities he's talking about here, and he was too kind; it's worse than this."

I attended an elite liberal arts school and I thought Charlotte Simmons was a load of nonsense, nothing like my experience or the experience of any of my peers. Perhaps we were outliers, but, given that we were all pretty well integrated into the athletic and social scenes on campus, I doubt it.

The elite university where I did my graduate work was even more dissimilar to Wolfe's account. Of course, graduate and undergraduate life are very different, but I had extensive contact with undergrads through coaching.

No one I met during my decade plus in higher ed even came close to resembling the odious characters in that book. That's not to say odious people and behaviors didn't exist, just that they didn't exist in the way Wolfe suggests.

Anonymous Noah B. July 25, 2014 10:45 AM  

"Plus, being from the south, everyone treated us like dirt. The amount of rudeness we experienced was absolutely unbelievable."

It wasn't because you were from the South. It was because you were in Boston.

Blogger Aquinas Dad July 25, 2014 10:45 AM  

{more}
So one visit I met a group of businessmen from NYC up to a 'social'. These guys were all late-20's to late-30's, making real money and with a real future. Most were brokers and worked a ton of hours for years to get to where they could breathe a little and look for a wife. They wanted a young, good-looking, smart wife with enough education to talk to and entertain people. A wife that could be a stay-at-home wife but mingle, have connections, visit a gallery and know what she was looking at, etc. An old family = bonus. We all had a great time swapping my war stories for their dumb investor stories, had some lovely women laugh at our jokes and serve us wine, and so forth. One of the guys ended up marrying a friend of my wife - 21 years now and very happy, cute kids.
On a different visit of mine I ran into a bunch of guys visiting from Yale and Amherst. They were from about as far away from Ft. Bragg as you can get. Fearful of me, tentative around me and the pretty girls. Trying to talk to girls by discussing politics and social theory; no jokes; didn't know how to drink socially. After a few drinks one of them pulled me aside and, drunk, asked me the best way to kill himself with no pain. I asked him what was wrong.
He'd gotten an 86% on a chemistry exam and couldn't face his peers.
No, really, that was it. No money woes, no girl trouble, no illness. Just a C in Chemistry. He wasn't going to lose a scholarship of be off a team for grades, just - he had never, ever in his life gotten less than a 95% on anything, ever.
I got him to a counseling service and found out that such was shockingly common. A huge number of students at these schools just couldn't handle a C. A number dropped out of school each term for getting a C or B in a class or on a single test (freshmen). A lot of the suicides were because of the same, they said.

Public schol and the systems around it are toxic

Anonymous Anonymous July 25, 2014 10:49 AM  

Vox: Your description of Harvard posers matches my impression of young New Yorkers. Not kids who were born and raised in Brooklyn, Queens, etc. I mean the college students, artists, professionals, who came from somewhere else than New York.

After five to 10 minutes of tedious conversation, you quickly figure out the only thing they talk about or care about is that they live in New York. Being a New Yorker is what defines them. And they feel damn superior because of it. But there ain't anything else there.

Anonymous Carlotta July 25, 2014 10:50 AM  

http://godfatherpolitics.com/16394/scientist-fired-discovering-something-publishing-discovered/

Sorry for the OT. Female scientist finds soft tissue on fossil and is fired because it refutes theory dinosaurs have been extinct for millions of years.

Stupid phone isn't letting me link.

Anonymous Roundtine July 25, 2014 10:52 AM  

So I guess the guys don't dip in class at Harvard?

Blogger Chiva July 25, 2014 10:53 AM  

I actually feel pity for those young adults described in the article. I understand the terror of not being successful, of not being 'perfect'.
I was much like one of those young adults. But eventually I totally, and spectacularly, failed. For me it was a release.

I think some of the shallow young people described deserve the scorn, but many deserve pity.

Anonymous Leonidas July 25, 2014 10:54 AM  

It wasn't because you were from the South. It was because you were in Boston.

There were several incidents that were directly instigated because we were from the south. And when I say rudeness, I'm not talking like the general, "oh, they just don't have manners." I'm talking downright open hostility and insult, directed at us solely because we were southerners.

Nevertheless, I'm not disputing your general point. Yankees have no manners.

Anonymous Carlotta July 25, 2014 10:57 AM  

@Sigyn
I don't want to know how you know that lol.

Seriously though, I was researching something else and came across a major take down of that book by a sex abuse counselor who claims it reads like a child molestation hand book.

Never read the book but a lot of Mommy bloggers sure love it.

Anonymous Carlotta July 25, 2014 10:59 AM  

@Leonidas

Love the name by the way.

Now imagine if you had been introduced as Christians.

Blogger The Remnant July 25, 2014 11:00 AM  

College annoyed me precisely because I was one of the only people there who actually wanted to explore and debate ideas. Granted, I had a lot of fun being in a fraternity, but it struck me as bizarre that the love of learning was virtually extinct in a place ostensibly devoted to it.

We are an incredibly shallow society. People would much rather be thought of as intelligent or skillful than actually be intelligent or skillful, since the latter require effort and separate the wheat from the chaff. Long ago, unfortunately, we shifted from a culture of character (internal) to a culture of personality (external).

Anonymous Stickwick July 25, 2014 11:03 AM  

VD: But Harvard... I have never, in my entire life, been around a bigger group of hapless posers.

Leonidas: My wife and I spent a couple of days around Harvard when my sister graduated from there in 2008. It was one of the worst trips of my entire life ...

I know a lot of folks at/from Harvard-Smithsonian CfA and have a generally very good impression of them -- genuine accomplishments, genuine people. As for the rest of Harvard -- having never visited there -- my only impression was formed by P.J. O'Rourke's account of his visit during their 350th anniversary celebration in Holidays in Hell. He arrived full of green-eyed envy, having only attended a mediocre state college, but by the time it was over, all he thought was, "Thank you, God, for making me dumb."

Blogger Conan the Cimmerian, King of Aquilonia July 25, 2014 11:04 AM  

We invented the term "Vandy Candy" for a reason.

SMU is much the same in Texas.

Ain't a great school necessarily, but it is full of candy.

But then, there is a song penned for them specifically, SMU Sorority Bitch

Now, if you are looking to find a girl getting her Mrs. degree, I would recommend TAMU.

Plenty of attractive women that are looking for manly men at TAMU.

Stay the H3LL away from UT Austin (aka UT Berkeley). Those chicks be cray cray.

Anonymous Noah B. July 25, 2014 11:04 AM  

"I'm talking downright open hostility and insult, directed at us solely because we were southerners."

I suppose they may have been doing the same thing to me, but I couldn't understand them.

OpenID cailcorishev July 25, 2014 11:11 AM  

Yale guy is making up shit about what he has read, Billy Bob makes up shit about his hunting exploits or all those bar fights he has won.

True. The problem is, Billy Bob's lies get him the occasional free beer or a night with a cougar, maybe a spot on the city council where he can help his son get a job as a garbageman. Yale guy's lies get him a 6-figure income and maybe a political position where he can plunder Billy Bob's savings or send his garbageman son off to war.

Blogger Conan the Cimmerian, King of Aquilonia July 25, 2014 11:11 AM  

Click to hear the SONG: SMU Sorority Bitch

"And you’ll never see those big tits in any t-shirt – unless it says Neman Marcus under the collar

Buddy if you aint rich, forget about a smu sorority bitch"

Anonymous 43rd Virginia Cavalry July 25, 2014 11:13 AM  

Interesting that this would come up just as I am starting to read " Cosworth, The Search for Power". They couldn't get anywhere until they stopped reading books and started understanding for themselves the mechanical movements. Highly recommended reading

Anonymous Stilicho July 25, 2014 11:21 AM  


You go to an Ivy-league school for the connections, access to alumni, the name on your resume, etc. The learning part is incidental, and grading at those institutions is a lot more lenient than at competitive public schools. There's corner cases/exceptions of course (MIT perhaps, maybe Stanford and other research unis), but for liberal arts, all you care about (and all you really buy) is the name on the sheepskin.


In these recent decades of grade inflation, law firms have increasing relied upon class rank as a quasi-objective metric for determining an applicant's ability and drive. So, the Ivy law schools started hiding their students' class rank because employers found that the top 10% or so at state schools were at least as capable as the top 10% from the Ivy's. Having hired both over the years, I found that the Ivy grads were a mixed bag at best, with the lazy poseur type in the majority. With a non-Ivy law grad from the top 10% of the class, you have a much better chance of getting an employee that understands that, once you get the job, you have to perform and earn advancement. The Ivy grads invariably coasted..right out of a job. Of course, one of the worst (Korean) eventually landed at a prestigious national firm. I doubt if they ever managed to get any quality work out him, because he just wasn't capable, much less interested.

Blogger Quadko July 25, 2014 11:22 AM  

On failure and the "tragedy of the A student," with the common quote that A students work for B student managers at companies owned by C students - I think the biggest tragedy is that it is largely because the A students make a plan, follow the plan, and the plan mostly works so they never stray from the plan. They don't have a vision to have a bigger plan, and they don't have the failures that makes them go off track and find opportunities to do better than the plan they made at 18. I think that's where the insecurity and posing comes from as well, trying to keep and show that plan is on track and good...

In my 40s I'm understanding that more and more, and I'm glad I failed enough in my 20s to have escaped the worst of that track, but now I sure wish I'd failed bigger and more often and taken more risks back then. I stayed on the outskirts of my plan, with some nice failure-induced improvement opportunities and bumps. Not so much an issue of regret, just "now I begin to understand" and "youth is wasted on the young." ;) I'll be a crotchety old curmudgeon soon enough!

Anonymous Sigyn July 25, 2014 11:27 AM  

I don't want to know how you know that lol.

What? I read it. All my temp-secretary coworkers were agog over it, so I borrowed someone's copy and went at it critically. (I can't NOT, anymore.)

To paraphrase Mark Twain (as he described "The Deerslayer"): "But the reader...dislikes the good people in it, is indifferent to the others, and wishes they would all get drowned together."

I skipped the "sexy" parts because I had no frame of reference at the time, was trying to be professional, and...Well, the pages on which those occurred showed signs of water damage and I didn't have a pair of rubber gloves I cared to throw away. *shudder*

Anonymous Porphyry July 25, 2014 11:36 AM  

"And you’ll never see those big tits in any t-shirt – unless it says Neman Marcus under the collar
Buddy if you aint rich, forget about a smu sorority bitch"
*Neiman Marcus
----Pony up!----

Blogger mojohn July 25, 2014 11:37 AM  

@ BillB July 25, 2014 10:38 AM: "My estimates of grade drop are 2-3 levels since the late 40s early 50s to now."

Interesting observation. Neither of my in-laws (now in their mid-70s) went to college. Both of them - especially my mother-in-law - are better read and knowledgeable about how the world works than most of my college and post-college educated acquaintences.

Anonymous Porphyry July 25, 2014 11:56 AM  

"Yale guy's lies get him a 6-figure income and maybe a political position where he can plunder Billy Bob's savings or send his garbageman son off to war." The whole system ias designed to cut off the .001 percent from the rest of the top 5%. Do you think that Bush was desperately competitive to go to Yale? But how many smart kids from decent families get passed over for kids with either minority or single parent on their applications, or kill themselves to make good grades? My opinon, Ivy League knows it's producing a bunch of useless graduates, in fact how would the Bushs's shine, if they had to compete against actually talented people, not just useless wrecks? But they want their .001 percent to be the only ones with a chance, aka reputation, in this Brave New World.

Anonymous bw July 25, 2014 11:56 AM  

insecure little bastards

Of course.
Mommy and Daddy are the chief Posers-in-fraud.

Anonymous Porphyry July 25, 2014 11:57 AM  

*After I posted my rant I realised it had gotten off topic from the quote I posted, apologies.

Blogger republicanmother July 25, 2014 11:58 AM  

I've told my kids if they were accepted to one of these schools, I'd break their legs to keep them from going. I'm leaning toward Altucher's plan of paying his kids not to go to college. It's just become what high school used to be with a life-crushing loan attached to it.

Anonymous jack July 25, 2014 11:58 AM  

@Carlotta: kept bragging he worked for NASA.

My brother in law did work for NASA. Retired now, these last few years. He ran a 1000 person division that DID train the astronauts for no gravity work [remember the huge water tank] that was Terry's division. In the numerous social settings where I was around him I never once heard him mention the fact he was at NASA, and a high level guy at that. I might bring up the subject just for the fun of it. Which sometimes left him ticked off at me. A very unassuming guy. But, he could definitely take apart anyone pretending. I heard him a few times around some of the supervisors he supervised. If they got verbose he would demand the bottom line. If they seemed like they were faking something it did not take long for the axe to fall.
Those that can walk the walk often don't bother with the talk.

Anonymous Carlotta July 25, 2014 11:59 AM  

Lol Sigyn.

Anonymous Leonidas July 25, 2014 12:00 PM  

kept bragging he worked for NASA.

Where I live, working for NASA just isn't a big deal because so many people do.

Anonymous patrick kelly July 25, 2014 12:04 PM  

"Instead I found lots of, "I went to one of the elite universities he's talking about here, and he was too kind; it's worse than this.""

The probably didn't read the book....

Anonymous RedJack July 25, 2014 12:09 PM  

When I was a senior in High School, and became aware that I was going to receive a National Merit Scholarship, I pressured my father to let me attend a, well for lack of a better word, a camp for people interested in attending Ivy League schools.

The first thing I noticed was that they assumed I was a dumb hick because I wasn't from the East Coast. I expected that. The next thing I picked up was that there was a lot of posing. This was in the Clinton years, and when we had an exercise on his first 100 Days (remember that?), most of the these kids had no clue. I mean it was something you could catch up in 15 minutes with the days news paper.

For many of the group, the idea was you had to appear like you knew something but didn't need to go beyond that. It was for me, as a young 18 year old guy, a real red pill moment.

Blogger Gilbert Ratchet July 25, 2014 12:12 PM  

Hey man, thanks for the good word for Dartmouth! My alma mater can use some positive publicity right now.

Anonymous RedJack July 25, 2014 12:22 PM  

Carlotta July 25, 2014 9:34 AM


We just had a guest when entertaining who brought a friend who kept bragging he worked for NASA. I shocked everyone by asking what he'd did there. He refused to answer, just kept stammering he worked there. Seriously, he never saw it coming that someone might ask what he does there?



That is just funny. While not NASA, I did this to my brother in law once. He is a big wine guy, and was going on and on about something to do with fermentation. I used to make alcohol on the industrial scale, and knew he was full of it (and I was a little drunk). Started with asking "What enzymes are you using for the grain?". Went down hill from there.

Anonymous Porky July 25, 2014 12:27 PM  

Harvard still prints its diplomas in Latin. But they don't teach it, apparently.

Used to be you had to know Latin BEFORE you could apply for admission to Harvard.

How long before English is dropped as a prerequisite?

Anonymous A Fist Full of Scholars July 25, 2014 12:32 PM  

I dunno, it's been over 20 years now, maybe things are different, but I went to one of the Ivies (one of the actually good ones) and I have to say I don't much recognize the nasty descriptions here. Most of the people I knew there were highly accomplished, keenly ambitious, imaginative (sometimes downright visionary) and mostly pretty cool. Or at least not notably uncool. Maybe things have changed, but I don't recognize this faker/insecure/afraid of failure thing in the people I knew. If a lot of these kids don't do 'all the reading' it's because they've got some ambitious side project they're immersed in. Many or most of us got the equivalent of something like a halfway decent college education back in high school, so people either specialized or else pursued some crazy not-really-academic dream with a lot of energy. There's many different ways to get a good education, to be sure, and maybe things have slipped, I wouldn't know. But I thought it was a pretty impressive place.

Blogger RobertT July 25, 2014 12:34 PM  

" So extreme are the admission standards now that kids who manage to get into elite colleges have, by definition, never experienced anything but success. "

This is basically my background and I don't agree with this statement. I was actually recruited by Harvard, and have pleasant memories of them because of that, but I went elsewhere and spent four years bouncing from college to college playing poker, drums and baseball. Everyone fails at something. Everyone has insecurities. I think these people are so insecure because they have failed and tasted its bitterness, and they're afraid they may not measure up in the one area they have always excelled at and have based their self esteem on. Because failing there will make them a complete failure.

Anonymous VD July 25, 2014 12:38 PM  

Those that can walk the walk often don't bother with the talk.

Key word: often. I get very tired of people insisting that talk is evidence of an inability to walk the walk. The two worst smack talkers in NBA history? 1. Michael Jordan. 2. Larry Bird.

Personally, I think it's much more fun to call your shot because it demoralizes the opposition when you do it.

Anonymous Ryan ATL July 25, 2014 12:51 PM  

My favorite douches come from the non-Ivy's that still think they are smart as them.

Emory in Atlanta is full of them.

Anonymous Guy from Amazon July 25, 2014 12:56 PM  

I went to a state school for undergrad and a top 10 law school. In law school I saw everything commented on in the main post and most of the comments.

In addition, Jews were a very strong force, with only about 10% of the students but 50% of all faculty appointed post 1980. I was not ready for how much elite Jews openly despise and want to kick Christians in the face, more so since my best friend in the military had been working class Jewish. It was good training for business law dealings, however.

Blogger Brad Andrews July 25, 2014 12:58 PM  

Sigyn,

I like American Pie (the song). It may be more because that was playing when I was a teen a lot, but it is interesting. I couldn't tell you a lot of the symbolism, though I have looked that up in the past.

Though I would just tell you it is an enjoyable tune with some thought into it, rather than trying to be all philosophical about it.

How much of our music tastes are driven by what was popular when we were a teen?

Blogger Brad Andrews July 25, 2014 1:02 PM  

Guy from Amazon,

I believe we should fervently "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" and I find a Biblical admonition to support the Jewish people in general due to the Scriptural admonitions to do so, but they sure seem to cause a lot of their own problems.

This has been true throughout their history and is unlikely to change until their Messiah returns to rule and they have a complete change of heart.

Anonymous A Plate of Shrimp July 25, 2014 1:03 PM  

I wouldn't say, strictly speaking, that American Pie is full of symbolism. It's full of poetic suggestion and evocativeness, it describes the spirit and mood of an era in an oblique way. But it's not precise symbolism.

Somebody once asked Don MacLean what the song meant, and he replied, "It means I'll never have to work again."

Anonymous Guy from Amazon July 25, 2014 1:05 PM  

Oh, and without calling into question in any way the Ivy comments, I see your Ivy League, and raise you Macalester College (somewhere in Minn). It churns out the perfect archetype of what you are commenting on, like a Yale grad times two.

Blogger Pinakeli July 25, 2014 1:13 PM  

@Carlotta: kept bragging he worked for NASA.

Makes me think of Don Knotts character with the floor buffer when his parents come to visit him at NASA.

Anonymous Sigyn July 25, 2014 1:21 PM  

Though I would just tell you it is an enjoyable tune with some thought into it, rather than trying to be all philosophical about it.

'S fine. I don't like it much, but hey, I also don't like...

*pauses, looks around for Nate* Nah, too risky.

Anyway, it gave us this, so I'm not complaining.

Anonymous Ryan ATl July 25, 2014 1:22 PM  

The American Pie stuff is funny. My mother in law says the same thing, that she loves it for its symbolism. I'd call her on it but I constantly call her out on her bullshit, starting to feel sorry for her. It's like playing hoops with Gary Coleman (RIP).

Anonymous Rolf July 25, 2014 1:22 PM  

Around the world, branding, image, is recognized, but the very real qualities these things are supposed to represent are much harder to discern. And, humans being lazy, tend to simply take the quick-and-easy rout to recognition rather than the much more difficult "hard work and actually KNOWING (or doing)" route.

I had to tell some students, right to their faces, they failed not because they were stupid, but because they simply didn't do the work, and trying to turn in a six-week overdue lab report on the very last day of school was too little, too late. One of them said "but my dad will beat me!" I replied "Should have thought about that five and a half weeks ago, when I told you you were failing." They were shocked they couldn't whine a few more percentage points out of something. It may have been the first time for some of them. A hard lesson, but one best learned younger, rather than older.

Blogger Guitar Man July 25, 2014 1:34 PM  

Someone here mentioned Smith.

I grew up in your typical mixed race, but mostly white trash New England neighborhood. Think "southie" but at a smaller scale.

Anyway, we'd venture up to Northampton once in awhile (my home town being about 40 minutes south of it), and the Smith chicks were typically known as feminist lesbians. Smith is known as a destination college for the rich girl who's curious.

Blogger Danby July 25, 2014 1:39 PM  

Mr NASA probably did work at NASA, Just like in high school I worked at the Boeing Space Engineering and Development Center.

As a janitor.

The reason he didn't have his lie properly prepared is that it wasn't a lie, but he didn't want to reveal the full truth.

Anonymous Carlotta July 25, 2014 1:48 PM  

@Pinakeli

We kinda guess that if he actually does work there, it is something like that. He panicked because I told him that I would love for him to answer some astronomy questions the kids had (we homeschool and were doing it for our Science unit that semester. Intro for Littles. Easy stuff.)
He started to change the subject but his date was so enamored with his "job" she brought it up again. So I asked my question

My Husband took him aside and got to know him, then informed his family member that it might all be smoke. She was shocked. Shocked I tell you. Never could get a word out of him after that.

What is hysterical is that he blamed not wanting to talk on English being his second language. So I announced that it just so happens that we study his language for homeschool and tried to call the kiddos in again. My Husband found him hiding in our garage.

I am not a good hostess ;)

Anonymous Carlotta July 25, 2014 1:53 PM  

Danby,
Zero to be embarrassed about if that was true. Nothing wrong with janitorial work.

But had he simply said that, and not given his date the impression he was discovering lost stars it would have been no problem.

Oh course, Vox 's answer would have made have made him the hit of the party.

Anonymous Carlotta July 25, 2014 1:58 PM  

Redjack, I stumbled into it innocently but I can see why you did what you did.

Never BS, there could be an expert nearby lol.

Leonidas,
He was far from home and I was just some housewife who should have been properly awed lol.

Anonymous RedJack July 25, 2014 2:11 PM  

Carlotta,
The sad thing is my sister knew how he is, knew how I am, and just let it happen

I have a bad tendency get very detailed, very fast, on things that I know.

He is an ok guy now. We laugh about it, and sometimes he brings his wine snob friends over and lets me do to them what I did to him.

Anonymous Leonidas July 25, 2014 2:11 PM  

I had the very good privilege of once doing some very minor work for NASA's only archaeologist (yes, this is real - Google it). Now THAT is a cool guy with some awesome stories. A real life Indiana Jones. And one of the few NASA job descriptions that might match with Vox's for being the life of the party.

Anonymous Stickwick July 25, 2014 2:20 PM  

Leonidas: I had the very good privilege of once doing some very minor work for NASA's only archaeologist (yes, this is real - Google it).

Hey, this is cool -- even more so because the guy's name kind of sounds like Tom Servo (if I googled the right guy, that is).

Anonymous Jonathan July 25, 2014 2:22 PM  

Even if I was going to send my children to an American university, and I can't imagine I would, I wouldn't send them to any Ivy League school.

VD,

Any Suggestions on good schools, both in the US and abroad?

Blogger Guitar Man July 25, 2014 2:24 PM  

My Husband took him aside and got to know him, then informed his family member that it might all be smoke. She was shocked. Shocked I tell you. Never could get a word out of him after that.

Classic Constanza!

Anonymous Porphyry July 25, 2014 2:28 PM  

"I had the very good privilege of once doing some very minor work for NASA's only archaeologist (yes, this is real - Google it). Now THAT is a cool guy with some awesome stories. A real life Indiana Jones. And one of the few NASA job descriptions that might match with Vox's for being the life of the party." --Post something about ivy leaugue colleges and people start talking about other big name corporations that get them moist, and how you had better be looking out for the posers who dont actually belong to big name corporation. This is why Im going as SS officer this halloween, as per CH. Whether they admit it or not, everybody loves a man in uniform.

Anonymous Carlotta July 25, 2014 2:46 PM  

He is an ok guy now. We laugh about it, and sometimes he brings his wine snob friends over and lets me do to them what I did to him.


@Redjack
Now that is just good fun. That's what family is for lol

Anonymous Carlotta July 25, 2014 2:48 PM  

Leonidas,
Really? Mind if me and the kiddos ask you some questions then. Just kidding lol.

Seriously, bet you and him have some great stories.

Anonymous Athor Pel July 25, 2014 2:57 PM  

" PorphyryJuly 25, 2014 2:28 PM
...
This is why Im going as SS officer this halloween, as per CH. Whether they admit it or not, everybody loves a man in uniform."



Sounds like you've done this before.

I gotta ask, how many people actually recognize what your costume is? Who are the people that do know what you have on? What are their general reactions, as in, what's the worst (best) reaction you've ever encountered?

Anonymous Athor Pel July 25, 2014 2:57 PM  

"A Fist Full of ScholarsJuly 25, 2014 12:32 PM
I dunno, it's been over 20 years now, maybe things are different, but I went to one of the Ivies (one of the actually good ones) and I have to say I don't much recognize the nasty descriptions here.
...
Many or most of us got the equivalent of something like a halfway decent college education back in high school,
...
maybe things have slipped,
..."



Yes, things have changed in 20 years. The public shool system is doing its best to enstupidate the masses. Getting a good education in high school is a very hard thing to do now. Things have slipped very far indeed.

Anonymous jack July 25, 2014 3:08 PM  

@VD Personally, I think it's much more fun to call your shot because it demoralizes the opposition when you do it.

Or, they call you to call the shot. One of Terry's gigs during the moon missions was insertion module engineer. If they were having problems they called Terry [and, other engineers, of course, but he had his input]. The problem was there; the shot HAD to be called. There was no room for excuses or mistakes. Terry also had one of the driest and deadliest senses of humor I've every seen. I would love to have had him and VD at it in Terry's prime.

Anonymous Sigyn July 25, 2014 3:08 PM  

Hey, this is cool -- even more so because the guy's name kind of sounds like Tom Servo (if I googled the right guy, that is).

Now I'm wondering how he eats and breathes, and other science facts.

Anonymous Athor Pel July 25, 2014 3:16 PM  

" SigynJuly 25, 2014 10:03 AM
...
A "smart" girl once told me that her favorite song was "American Pie". When I asked her why, she said with enthusiasm, "Because it's so full of symbolism!"

I then asked her what she thought of this part or that--not going to rack my brains to dredge up a song I don't really like very much to find examples--and she, predictably, gave me a blank look, and then avoided me afterwards."



What happens with me many times is that I meet someone claiming to do something I find interesting but know nothing about myself. I endeavor to learn more about what they do by asking them lots of questions about it. They either don't actually find what they do all that interesting and therefore resist talking about it in detail or they change the subject entirely.

Lots of initially interesting but ultimately boring people out there.

If it came to a choice I'd rather hang out with the teller of tall tales that makes his life more interesting than it actually is than many of the killjoys I've met over the years. Even if only for those few hours or minutes, I'd rather live in the world of tall tales from a creative and enthusiastic but braggy friend.

Anonymous Stickwick July 25, 2014 3:32 PM  

Sigyn: Now I'm wondering how he eats and breathes, and other science facts.

Just repeat to yourself, "It's just a show, I should really just relax ... "

Anonymous Don July 25, 2014 3:48 PM  

Sigyn - Hamdingers that's what he's eating. Don't worry about the 02. I've been trying to figure that out for almost twenty five years.

Anonymous Porphyry July 25, 2014 3:55 PM  

"Sounds like you've done this before." Actually no. But I've done similar things such as arguing that Jews are a superior race to the Palestinians publicly at a party or picking fights wuth random gammas/deltas with girlfriends. Some girls love the controversy and wont stop hitting on you, but pick your venue and circle carefully, because there is a statistically significant chance you wont be welcome there again.

Blogger Tom Kratman July 25, 2014 4:37 PM  

"Even if I was going to send my children to an American university, and I can't imagine I would, I wouldn't send them to any Ivy League school."

I can't even - well, not in good conscience - recommend Jesuit Ivy anymore. There was a time, though...

Blogger Brad Andrews July 25, 2014 4:45 PM  

Sigyn, the video of that song is better than the movie....

Blogger Tom Kratman July 25, 2014 5:06 PM  

Southie is mixed-race? Well...I suppose there's that half block of Lithuanians, and the alley's worth of Albanians...

There are the D Street projects, of course, but nobody who isn't quite white sets foot out of those in an eastward direction. Though perhaps the border has shifted by now, a lot of folks having been driven out by property taxes.

Anonymous Carlotta July 25, 2014 5:06 PM  

@Jack
I missed your comment originally :)
Totally get what you are saying. We have several good friends who own massive multi million dollar businesses. They never tell anyone who they are or what they do. My Husband rarely tells people, and when he does it is to kind of test them out.

On the other hand, there are those who do the exact opposite.

As for walking the walk, it depends. My Husband specifically calls his shots in pool because it really upsets his opponents when he makes them. Ala VD'S comment.

Anonymous A Plate of Shrimp July 25, 2014 5:36 PM  

"Even if I was going to send my children to an American university"

Send them to UCLA --- the University on the Corner of Lexington Avenue.

Anonymous Leonidas July 25, 2014 5:39 PM  

Seriously, bet you and him have some great stories.

Um... he does. My work for him was very minor. But I did get to hear the stories. :D

Anonymous lithuanian_52 July 25, 2014 5:56 PM  

@Brad Andrews

I find a Biblical admonition to support the Jewish people in general due to the Scriptural admonitions to do so

What admonition?

Have you read what the talmud says about our Lord?

If you did, maybe you evangelic Christians wouldn't love the jews so much

Blogger MidKnight July 25, 2014 6:26 PM  

Late to the party, but my chief memory of Harvard, which we swung by one spring for a tour:

After having walked past MacArthur square, and whilst standing in the hall commemorating the Harvard dead that fought in the Civil War, the young child leading the tour proudly proclaimed all the activities she was part of.

"And I went you a couple antiwar demonstrations last week"

Blogger Guitar Man July 25, 2014 7:07 PM  

Southie is mixed-race? Well...I suppose there's that half block of Lithuanians, and the alley's worth of Albanians...

No, to clarify, my neighborhood was a mostly white trash urban neighborhood. I didn't live in Southie. Thank God.

Anonymous WaterBoy July 25, 2014 8:10 PM  

JoeyWheels: "from the blog's token gimp"

IHDS, is that you?

Anonymous Luke July 25, 2014 8:17 PM  

Some thoughts here.

1) The 1951 movie "No Highway in the Sky" (Jimmy Stewart, Marlene Dietrich) has a nice sequence where Dietrich listens to Stewart describe why the plane is destined to crash in the near future. She testifies later in a court that she believed him, not understanding a word he was saying, because she could tell when a man knew what he was talking about.

2) I worked on a NASA facility for about 10 days once as a subcontractor, doing environmental testing in Boeing's area at the Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, AL. I still have the name tag with "NASA" on it.

3) Re the wine hobbyist getting asked what enzymes he used on the grain (to break its starch down into simpler molecules such as dextrins and maltose/glucose that the yeast could actually use): I don't think that would be done in winemaking. Rather, it's something a whisky distiller would do. (Alpha and beta amylases are the general terms for the successive enzymes used.) I ran the lab and advised on the fermentation end of things at two fuel ethanol plants some years ago, publishing two papers on this subject in very minor journals.

Anonymous A Visitor July 25, 2014 8:25 PM  

"Plenty of attractive women that are looking for manly men at TAMU."

WHOOP! At my second alma mater, indeed they are!

I've never interacted with Ivy Leaguers (save a chick I knew from Amherst at A&M). I can say that my first alma mater, which is often mistaken for Ivy League by some (in a true sense of the word) fools, isn't too bad (a bit too diverse for my tastes now). Nonetheless, if things don't shake out job wise, I'm heading back there to do engineering.

At the time, when I got my double major (liberal arts), I was pretty immature, couldn't see beyond next week. Things are different now, to say the least.

Blogger Tom Kratman July 25, 2014 8:51 PM  

"I didn't live in Southie. Thank God."

Oh, it wasn't so bad. Little old ladies were safe walking at night, anyway,and employment - not always strictly legal, to be sure - was high, while almost no one was murdered who didn't need a good dose of killing. But you do grow up hard and grow up mean...

Anonymous Azimus July 25, 2014 9:45 PM  

JonathanJuly 25, 2014 2:22 pm
VD,

Any Suggestions on good schools, both in the US and abroad?


You must be new here. About once a week VD posts about the excellent Austrian Schools. (jk)

Anonymous The other skeptic July 25, 2014 9:49 PM  

Speaking of fakers, more Ukrainian edits.

What was number 312 again?

Anonymous Luke July 25, 2014 10:18 PM  

Jonathan, you could get a better answer if you mentioned what field of study the student was going to follow.

For example, the best petroleum engineering universities in the U.S. would probably be UT-Austin and Texas A. & M., with Univ. LA at Baton Rouge and Univ OK in OK City not too far behind. For petroleum geology, the same, while geology in general would have to include Colorado School of Mines and perhaps Berkeley in the People's Republic of California.

Blogger Jefferson Selvy July 25, 2014 10:46 PM  

Yankees be Yankees

Blogger Jefferson Selvy July 25, 2014 11:14 PM  

Getting a good education in high school is not only very hard but virtually impossible if you don't do it yourself.

Anonymous bob k. mando July 25, 2014 11:58 PM  

Carlotta July 25, 2014 9:34 AM
Seriously, he never saw it coming that someone might ask what he does there?



seriously, you have no idea what people will lie about or misrepresent.

i actually do know two different guys who used to work on the Cape. both of them in maintenance. both of them also probably more proud of their success in racing.

keep in mind, even NASA has sanitation engineers ( janitors ).

Anonymous Luke July 26, 2014 1:11 AM  

bob k. mando July 25, 2014 11:58 PM

"keep in mind, even NASA has sanitation engineers ( janitors ).

They're probably subcontractors, and technically not actual NASA employees.

Blogger Brad Andrews July 26, 2014 1:20 AM  

lithuanian,

I believe the Scriptures, not the Talmud.

God found them very, very guilty, but promised a future restoration. That can and will come.

Note that the valley of dry bones starts out dead and it takes a while for life to come into it.

Anonymous ck July 26, 2014 9:08 AM  

I work at a large trading shop. I know this is anecdotal, but the one Harvard grad I knew there was a woman who knew nothing, I mean nothing about the derivatives she marketed. She would berate operations folks, she would belittle others, all as an intellectual pose to make her seem intellectually superior. But when it came down to the fundamentals, she couldn't tell you the difference between a put and a call. Of course it got worse when it came down to spreads and complex combinations. When an important client would have simple questions on these derivatives, she would pull an operations person to sit next to her to coach her an answer. Needless to say, she didn't last long, and good thing, we might have ended up with a firm-wide Hultgreen Currie disaster.

Anonymous Same old same old July 26, 2014 11:50 AM  

Quadko I think the biggest tragedy is that it is largely because the A students make a plan, follow the plan, and the plan mostly works so they never stray from the plan.

I’d say you were spot on, especially in my case except I didn’t really make the plan my parents did it for me initially and societal queues kept me following it for way too long.

I went from BSc>MSc>PhD without ever asking myself if it was what I wanted to do but because it had become engrained in me that it was the ‘best’ thing to do. If I’d failed at some point I would have been forced to put it in context and consider what was best for me.

When I got to the end, there was no ‘pot of gold’ just a mediocre career in academia sucking up to the boss and chasing grant money exactly as if I was in business only for a lot less money and with less interesting colleagues.

[As an aside, I laugh at The Big Bang Theory when the eggheads start discussing each other’s specialties. I couldn’t talk to the guy on the next bench about my work because he was working on a different mechanism in a different species and yet these “nerds” are equally proficient in partical physics and molecular biology, hilarious. But since the science fetishist don’t know any science they can get a way with it (cf. Agents of Shield but at least they are supposed to be super heroes, aren’t they?).]

Anyway, if you have children, please let them watch this: Music and Life - Alan Watts’

Anonymous Same old same old July 26, 2014 1:00 PM  

What is it they say about modern life?
Doing a job you hate to buy shit you don't need to impress people you don't like.

The sooner the cycle is broken in each child's life the better it is for everyone. It took me 40-odd years to get here but I've quit my job and paid off my mortgage so lets see what happens next...

Blogger GoldRush Apple July 28, 2014 10:56 AM  

^ That's in the Yuppie world, "same old same old." Then again doing a "job you love that it isn't work that it's play" is also overrated as sending your kids to an Ivy

>>The sooner the cycle is broken in each child's life the better it is for everyone. It took me 40-odd years to get here but I've quit my job and paid off my mortgage so lets see what happens next...

Yes, breaking the cycle of material race, but sometimes a job is just a job. Some people are indifferent and some make it a deal about how they feel about it. So please, leave your bitterness at the door. You sound like ALL of the rest of the unhappy denizens who quite their job after 10+ years. Welcome to the Real World, finally.

Anonymous JoeyWheels July 28, 2014 12:35 PM  

JoeyWheels: "from the blog's token gimp"

IHDS, is that you?


ah, no.

Forgive me if I have usurped an already bestowed title.

Blogger GoldRush Apple July 28, 2014 1:17 PM  

@Quadko

>>In my 40s I'm understanding that more and more, and I'm glad I failed enough in my 20s to have escaped the worst of that track, but now I sure wish I'd failed bigger and more often and taken more risks back then.

I don't understand this mentality. What exactly do you do for a living, anyway? All this talk about failing bigger and taking risks (what's a risk anyways? how you do define it?) is kinda screams "Man, back in high school I was this star quarterback. If only Jimmy caught that pass we would've been state champs and I've would've been a legend."

Anonymous Same old same old July 30, 2014 11:32 AM  

@ GoldRush AppleYou`re missing the point; Jimmy ,did catch the pass,we were state champs but the major leagues weren`t what they promised,

It was a distraction to prevent us using our skills and knowledge for something useful and personal and now we know that, its going to take a while to get on that track but we will get there in the end.

We know people like you watching from the sidelines don`t understand. You never succeeded, never achieved the societal goals, so you still believe the BS.

Anonymous Jubal the Ugly One August 01, 2014 11:41 PM  

Athor Pel July 25, 2014 2:57 PM
>
> " PorphyryJuly 25, 2014 2:28 PM
> ...
>> This is why Im going as SS officer this halloween, as per CH.
>> Whether they admit it or not, everybody loves a man in uniform."
>
> Sounds like you've done this before.
> I gotta ask, how many people actually recognize what your
> costume is? Who are the people that do know what you have on?
> What are their general reactions, as in, what's the worst (best)
> reaction you've ever encountered?

When I used to playtest ASL scenarios one night a week for Avalon Hill, one of the other players told me about two friends of his who dressed as SS officers one Halloween and walked into a 7-11 conversing in German, causing an old woman to rush out of the store in obvious terror. I have to admit I LOL'ed.

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