My enlightened neighborhood

WestEndSexworkersMemorial

Clueless

I’ve been walking up and down Burnaby Street in Vancouver’s West End for twenty years and only just today did I notice that in front of this particular apartment building is … plastic grass!

Graduate School is tough enough already

The Republican House of Representatives’ tax plan would transform “tough enough” into *impossible* for tens of thousands of graduate students who receive fellowships that allow them to study “for free.” (Of course these students also usually teach as well, and those in the sciences do publishable research.)

Like a lot of my friends back in the day, I entered grad school with very little money in my checking account. (My savings account? Ha!) My Stanford University fellowship waived my tuition (about $60K in today’s dollars) and provided me with a small stipend (about $13K in today’s dollars). If my fellowship became a taxable benefit, I would have owed more than the equivalent of $8K/year or so in taxes to the IRS, in effect forcing me to choose between food and shelter – that is, preventing me from attending graduate school all together. (Loans would not have been a smart option for a Humanities student like myself; I had no expectation of getting a well-paying job before I went completely bald.)

Eviscerating the population of American grad students wouldn’t just wipe out generations of young scholars. It would also destroy the main mission of large universities – teaching. No tuition tax break = no T.A.s, no teachers of freshman composition, etc.

I cannot think of a simpler, more perfect way of destroying the standing of United States’ higher education.

cross-posted at NoContest.CA

Applications

There is no better you than you.

Write with that in mind.

(It’s that time of year for students of mine.)

Liquor store no more

pile

Davie Street, Vancouver.

God bless L7 … the band is back

This should be a splendid documentary.

I saw this band in 1994 in a small Palo Alto club. One of my life’s beautifully overwhelming aesthetic experiences. I pray they come to Vancouver.

Best TV appearance by any band:

‘People Explain Why Their Job Sucks in Six Words’

It is hard to imagine any job I have had that actually “sucked.”

I very much like my current job, an applied communications and marketing professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. This job has been hard, especially when I was the  department chair, but it never actually “sucked.” I’ve taught at a few places; none of these teaching gigs could ever have sucked. That said, they were more-than-full-time jobs. Weekends were/are never off.

I was let go from Burger King at age 16 for somehow, weirdly, failing to put the fish filets on the fish filet sandwiches, but I actually liked that job, the pretty cashiers who were from my high school, the smell of the broiled burgers, the record store across the mall hallway.

I worked for Paul Kurtz. He was hard to work for, and rough. But he was wise and helped people’s careers including mine. The job did not suck. Though it ruined some mornings, afternoons, and evenings.

I worked for myself at Basil Communications Inc. That job did not suck, but my boss had issues.

My managers at Your Host (graveyard shifts) and Mighty Taco (more graveyard shifts, but with slightly drunker people) in Buffalo in the late 1970s were estimable and … thank you very much, managers, from this point in the future; my time at your workplaces definitely did *not* suck. It was, instead, charming, thoroughly. And I wrote a lot on the job and then after I ran home, loving memories and scenes and the exercise. (I had so much energy!)

Here is the Vice piece about the six words.