"Donner, Donner, you alright? Speak to me, man!"
(This thing's been like this since, like, December 26th, and it's still there - on the other side of my town.)
"Donner, Donner, you alright? Speak to me, man!"
(This thing's been like this since, like, December 26th, and it's still there - on the other side of my town.)
[Yet another re-post of one of my favorite posts, part of my three-years-of-blogging repeat-o-rama! This here one is from March of last year, and I'm pretty sure the MLS deal I mention in it is pretty much dead now.]
I know that this might be a bad time to bring up my little Division III alma mater, what with the big boys (and girls) of Division One playing their big bad b-ball tourney right now, but when you're a Prof you're a Prof all the way.
Major, major happenings at my old school. How do I know? Because I received an email today from my alumni association (their motto: damn you, Caller ID!) with this subject line:
Major Announcement at Rowan University
Holy Smokes! Major announcement? Last time there was a major announcement about Rowan it was still Glassboro State College, and it was to announce that some rich guy named Hank Rowan was donating $100 Million bucks to the school (one year after I graduated, of course).
As you may have heard, there’s more exciting news at Rowan University—and it’s big!
No I haven't heard! Christ, I've been up at Rutgers all week! What, what?!? What's the exciting news?
Below is a letter President Dr. Donald Farish sent to the campus community today. We thought it would interest you and provide you with insight into the latest news at Rowan.
The president is announcing it? Wait, let me sit down for this. Nope, I can't. Can't. Sit. Still. Just go ahead and tell me.
Dear University Community:
If you have picked up a newspaper, watched television or listened to radio in the last several days, you know that once again there is a major development at Rowan University.
Major development? Now it's starting to sound like a murder investigation. That certainly would be big news, but exciting? I guess, if you're into that who CSI thing. Personally, I've never understood why that stuff is so popular but that's just me...
But just in case you haven't heard, I'm writing to tell you about the latest news at Rowan:
Oh, right. Sorry. The news. Go right ahead. I'm ready.
Our agreement with Major League Soccer to pursue constructing a stadium for a professional soccer team at our West Campus at the Rt. 55/Rt. 322 junction in Harrison Township and Glassboro.
Oooooookay, I'm not sure what soccer has to do with the big news, but continue.
MLS hopes to have a team playing just a mile from our main campus by 2009. We’re still in the preliminary stages, and nothing is cast in stone, but that’s a very gratifying (and a bit overwhelming) possibility.
Seriously? That is the big news? Major League Soccer? Not even guaranteed, just the possibility of Major League Soccer? Maybe. Could happen. Maybe yes, maybe no. Don't hold your breath.
Come on Dr. Farish, there's got to be more, right?
And there will be more.
Phew, I knew it. Okay, hit me.
We have started a search for a master developer to construct athletic fields for our athletes (and public and private schools and youth organizations), student housing, restaurants and retail outlets. The $800-million to $1-billion Rowan West project will be the largest mixed-use, commercial and residential project in Gloucester County. Best of all, tuition dollars will not be used to pay for the work.
Oh, hey, that's... great. I mean, who doesn't think that a college should be in the "mixed-use, commercial and residential project" business? Other than athletics, is there any other reason for a college to exist? Let me think about that... sports... retail outlets... restaurants... nope, I can't think of anything else a school is supposed to be doing. But I can't shake the feeling that I'm forgetting something.
All right, so the next paragraph does show an education angle to the project.
The project will have a dramatic impact on the campus even beyond what I've already mentioned. We envision being able to create new programs, such as hospitality management, sports broadcasting and allied health. By freeing up money, the project will enable us to construct more academic buildings on our main campus. And we expect to be able to welcome more students to Rowan, a move that will help meet some of the burgeoning demand in New Jersey for a college degree.
But enough of that crap, let's get back to the sports.
When we started discussing expansion plans for Rowan a few years ago, we could only dream of an opportunity like this.
Really? You dreamt of a MLS franchise in South Jersey? Sometimes I have dreams about being back at college registration - naked and unable to sign up for any classes. Scary? Sure, but still a good bit better than dreaming about soccer.
Needless to say, we are thrilled with the possibilities this agreement means for us. We'll keep you posted as the project progresses.
Oh, please do.
[Before I get hate mail, let me just say that I kid 'cause I love. Go Profs!]
[Another re-post of one of my favorite posts, part of my three-years-of-blogging repeat-o-rama!
This one was originally posted back in January, 2006.]
The boy and his dad, downashore, 1974.
This is the story of a boy. A boy who loved going downashore.
This love has been there since as long as the boy can remember, when his family used to rent a house in the Brant Beach section of Long Beach Island for a week every summer. The boy remembers that the house seemed to be surrounded by reeds. The boy celebrated many birthdays and showed off his kung-fu moves at that house. And the boy, thirty years later, still remembers how one summer there was a tire-flattened frog on the street his family walked on from the house to the beach. He can still picture that frog, surely preserved for way beyond that week by the heat coming from the steaming hot tar of the road. [Many, many years later, the frog was gone - and so was the house, knocked down and replaced with condos - not even a reed remained near the site.]
But soon the family switched rental houses and switched shore towns, too, now choosing to go to Ocean City, where the boy's aunt owned a house that was smack-dab in the middle of a church parking lot. Ocean City offered a boardwalk and the back wall of the church was perfect for throwing a rubber ball against. And holy cow, was it ever easy to get to mass on Sunday. In that church parking lot, the boy finally learned to ride a bike - at the belated age of eleven. The boy remembers that his family always seemed to have the house the week of baseball's All-Star game. Being a Rod Carew fan, the boy always rooted for the American League. Back then, the National League always seemed to win. [A few years later the church decided that their parking lot could use a few more spots, and the house was knocked down and paved over. An addition was erected on the back of the church, no longer making it an ideal surface for playing wall-ball.]
The boy and his mom, downashore, 1974.
During the boy's high school years the family returned to Long Beach Island - this time to the Surf City section, about ten miles north of their old LBI location. By this time the south end of the island had become the cool end, and the newly licensed boy drove down there almost every night. The boy spent very little time in the Surf City beach house, especially in his first-floor bedroom (next to the garage and more accurately called a basement, since most of the living area was on the second floor), which reeked of mold and mildew. [This nasty little house, of course, somehow still survives twenty years later.]
Then the boy went off and got married to a wonderful girl who loved going downashore even more than the boy. When they started taking their little family to the beach, they, trusting the boy's memories, chose Ocean City. They rented the first floor of an old three-story house, hemmed in by an apartment building and a too-close neighbor. Indoor sunlight was sparse, the washer and dryer were four blocks away, and central air was just a dream.
The owner of the tiny house they rented, a nice old man who lived on the third floor, told them stories of developers offering him large sums of money just so they could knock down his house to build high-priced fancy townhouses. He always turned them down. After a few years at this house, the owner decided to rent the house out to one renter for the whole season and the boy and girl had to find another house. [Last summer the boy and girl walked past that old house, only to find that it had finally been knocked down and replaced with those high-price townhouses. The boy and girl wondered if the old owner finally gave in to the developers or maybe he just passed away. They almost hoped it was the latter.]
But the boy and girl lucked out. They found a house that had just been redone (though not by knocking anything down) and was priced right. This house had a washer and dryer! And central air! And they loved the house. It was at this house that their one son took his first steps, and where he discovered something called "the Disney Channel." But soon these owners also rented out to one renter for the whole season, and the boy and girl went looking again.
Last year the boy and girl went on-line and found a summer house that seemed too good to be true - all the perks of the last house - plus a third bedroom! And a second bath! And a fireplace! For the same price! It seemed that a new owner was pricing the house low to lure people away from their existing rentals. But the boy and girl (and their two little boys) didn't need luring, and pounced on the house.
And now it's January and the boy and girl went to the magic website that would tell them how much the owners of that wonderful beach house would charge this summer and found out that the rent was going up $400 dollars this year. And the boy and girl said, "screw that."
Luckily, the house before this one, which really was pretty good and does have central air (though no fireplace), had not been knocked down and was even available once again. And for the week they wanted, too. And the price was $400 less than what those mean old ogres at the other house were demanding.
And so the boy said, "This is good. Tomorrow I shall place a call to the realtor and snag that bad boy."
And they all, hopefully, vacationed happily ever after.
The missus and I are down in DC with the boys this week. I'm here for a Geospatial Information Systems
geekout conference and they're here to hang by the pool all day (if it ever stops raining). That means that I'll be spending my days nodding off learning about all sorts of interesting things and my nights coming up with creative travel expense entries taking my family out on the town.
Since I'll have no time to blog this week, and since the Long Cut recently celebrated its third
blogiversary year in existence, and since frequent commenter and longtime sister Janie has long suggested I do it, and since Jim over at the Velvet Blog recently got away with doing it, I though I'd repost some of my favorite entries this week.
Remember, if you originally just sorta skimmed over these posts because they were just so friggin' long, then they're kinda new to you!
This one's from March 2005:
Today was Career Day at the seven-year-old’s school and I got the call. Since the missus is just a boring ol’ teacher, Captain Cartography had to go in and speak to three second-grade classes (for a half-hour each) about the joys of making maps for a living. Since it was also Dr. Seuss Day I had to read a book to each class as well.
On top of all that, it was also “Wear Your Slippers to School Day.” In an effort to give the field of Cartography some credibility, I passed on the wearing of slippers. Plus I don’t actually own slippers, and I have no idea what the Department of Homeland Security’s policy on a grown man walking into an elementary school wearing his wife’s fuzzy slippers is, but I’m sure the penalties are severe.
As I saw it, my half-hour would consist of four parts: Storytime, Opening Joke, Show and Tell, and Parting Gifts.
Storytime: I asked my son’s teacher to pick out a book, and she wisely chose Mapping Penny’s World, which dealt with the components of a map and showed that even a dog could help make maps (no, really, it did). While that didn’t exactly boost my ego, it did give me some points to work into the Show and Tell part of my presentation.
Opening Joke: Here’s what I said:
How many of you have ever made a map? (About two-thirds raise their hands). Well then, you’re a cartographer. You can’t be President of the United States because you’re not 35 yet. You can’t be a doctor without going to school and getting a license. But, even at age seven, you can call yourself a cartographer just by making a map. Now, if you want to make money while being a cartographer (chuckle, chuckle), then you have to go to college and get a degree.
Granted, not the funniest thing in the world, but how hard could it be to get second graders to laugh? I’m surprised they didn’t all start crying, because I’m pretty sure this is what everybody (including the teachers) heard:
You’ll never grow up to be President of the United States.
You’ll never grow up to be a doctor.
You might as well get used to the idea of sitting at a computer digitizing lines over aerial photos all day for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
Oh, and cartography doesn’t pay crap.
Undeterred, I went on to use the same failed opening for the other two classes. And that was the part of the presentation I had scripted. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to just wing the rest of it.
Show and Tell: After the opening bombed I handed out little aerial maps of the area around the school to each of the kids. If you want to make sure you never have a group of kids’ attention, give them something to play with right away. After one of the teachers advised me against handing these out, I assured her that it was important to my presentation (you know, the one I was ad-libbing) that the kids follow along with their little maps.
I then held up a Rand-McNally road atlas and asked who had seen one of these before. They all smiled and shook their heads yes. Then, while they were still smiling, I said something like, “yeah, well I ain’t that kind of cartographer! Bwahhhh ha ha ha!” I then spent ten minutes trying to explain Regional Planning to a bunch of kids who absolutely could not care less. I then hung up a map titled – no lie – Elderly Population and Access to Rail Transportation in the Delaware Valley. It was then that I thought I saw one kid try to put himself out of his misery by fashioning a noose out of a chain of paper clips.
I went on to hang up a Land Use map that, while still boring, was pretty colorful. Then, as an exciting kicker, I hung up a paper aerial photo of Philadelphia International Airport and asked the kids to guess what it was. Nobody got it right, but two Department of Homeland Security guys did come in and quickly rip it down anyway (thank God I decided against the fuzzy slippers). Even after I told the kids what it was, no reaction. Airports just aren’t sexy from above.
Luckily, one of the few plans I did make was bringing in a laptop and projector. So I did a little more of the planning spiel with some transportation layers overtop digital aerial photos before finally giving up and letting the kids yell out whose house they wanted to see from above. They dug that.
Parting Gifts: Let me just say this, when I was seven I would have killed for a little flashlight. I would have at least looked grateful while receiving a little flashlight. What is wrong with kids today that they can’t even get excited about getting a little flashlight for free?
Here’s all you need to know about what my audience thought of my talk: the two other parents doing presentations (in other classrooms) were an insurance salesman (who's also a good friend of mine) and a Disney Store manager. I knew I couldn’t match the Disney lady, so I asked the last class, “Was I more interesting than the insurance salesman?” and they just stared at me while my goofy grin dissipated.
Moral of the Story: Only ask seven-year-olds questions you really want the answer to.