Tag Archive: Rutgers University

The Clones of Woody Harrelson

Gee, kids, how’s the big game with Cincinnati going?

Maybe Rutgers University will win big. Maybe it’ll lose big. Maybe the earth will open up and swallow both teams at the fifty-yard line and the question of What Might Have Happened On That Magic Night will never be answered.

No matter what happens, the big-time football remains a colossal boondoggle, and the justifications being offered for squandering millions on this nonsense convince me of nothing except this – if the Human Genome Project wants to discover a self-delusion gene, it should take blood samples from members of the Rutgers University administration and the Board of Governors.

I’m glad to see that the lonely band of heretics called Rutgers 1000 is more or less spontaneously reconstituting itself, despite the fact that the Scarlet Knights winning a few games has suddenly made the team into a sacred cow. (For purposes of disclosure, I should note that I took two of William Dowling’s classes back in my bright college days, and I know no finer English professor.)

Keep Chopping

Apparently Rutgers University’s biggest contribution to popular culture — dwarfing Mister Magoo and Paul Robeson combined — is going to be the slogan “keep chopping.” The New York Times explains:

“Keep chopping,” advised Greg Schiano, the Rutgers coach.

  It was Schiano who started this craze, after last season’s opening game, when Rutgers blew a 20-point lead at Illinois and he had no idea what to say.

  Schiano gathered his players in a meeting room and recalled the words of a sports psychologist he once met at the University of Miami who told the team that playing football was like chopping wood.

  Miami, never known as a timbering powerhouse, did not take to the analogy. But Schiano was desperate. He tried to extend the frontier metaphor.

The Magoo Economics of the Rutgers Football Program

It’s a little-known fact that Mister Magoo, the nearsighted old coot who led the UPA cartoon stable for three decades,  was a passionate alumnus of Rutgers University who kept his old pennants and raccoon coats mothballed in the closet and never missed a homecoming game. His love of all things Rutgers  kept his spirits high even as he entered the elephant wing of the city zoo thinking it was his old dorm (”Same inspiring view,” he murmured happily, staring at an elephant’s backside).

Little did I know that Mister Magoo has been in charge of the football program budget all these decades! How else to explain the expenditures tabulated in this outstanding expose in the Record, which ought to become the number-one topic in the state once the elections are finally out of the way:

Rah Rah, Siss Boom Blah

As a Rutgers University alumnus, I guess I should be thrilled that the Scarlet Knights football team is actually winning games after umpteen years of serving as a ready source of laugh lines for The Sopranos. Time to get my raccoon-skin coat out of storage, break out some pennants and yell boolah boolah fom the stands alongside Mister Magoo — right?

Wrong. The university may finally be winning on the football field, but it’s still punting its responsiblities to its students. A season of gold-plated pigskin doesn’t make up for the tens of millions of dollars squandered in the pursuit of gridiron glory. The fact that some glandular cases get to do the funky chicken in the endzone doesn’t make up for the funding cuts, the tuition hikes, the sloughing off of teaching duties onto grad students, and all the other symptoms of McDonaldization that have followed in the train of the university’s quest to become a big-time player in college sports.

Wells Keddie, Labor Educator and Activist, Dies at Age 80

New York governor Al Smith was often called “The Happy Warrior,” but the man I know who was best suited to that title was Wells Keddie, a labor studies professor, stalwart union member and social activist at Rutgers University. Keddie, who died recently at the age of 80, was a fighter without rancor — there was something about his temperament that allowed him to be affable and welcoming even with his opponents. Even when he was up to his eyebrows in academic infighting and negotiations with the university (he was a bulwark of the American Association of University Professors), Keddie came across as a serene man enjoying life to the hilt.

He was also a walking encyclopedia of labor history and its lessons — lessons that have become more relevant than ever, with unions everywhere on the ropes and the Republican administration in Washington apparently intent on recreating the predatory mores of the Gilded Age. I last spoke with him about a year ago, as I was starting a round of research into a Hudson County labor war of the early 1930s, and I could hear he was suffering from a condition that left him barely able to speak. That was the unkindest cut of all for a man who was one of the championship talkers.

News Round-up for Wednesday, March 1

News Round-up for Wed. March 1, 2006:

  • U.S. District Judge Jose Linares is scheduled to hear New Jersey’s lawsuit requesting an investigation of the deal to allow United Arab Emirates-based Dubai World Ports to take over of some U.S. port operations, including operations at Port Newark. Gov. Jon S. Corzine is also seeking permission to inspect documents given to a federal committee reviewing the deal. Of course, Bush’s mind is made up and says his position isn’t changing.
  • The citizens’ group Stop Renewal Of Oyster Creek will get the public hearing they wanted on the safety of the of a metal liner that helps keep radiation in the reactor core. The nuclear power plant is licenced through 2009 and seeking to renew its licence until 2029.
  • Yesterday the Democratic State Committee agreed to pay a record $255,000 fine, levied by the State Election Law Enforcement Commission, for being late in reporting of contributions during the end of the 2001 election year. Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D- Union) said the mistakes were caused largely by an overwhelmed computer system; the Democrats raised a record $28 million during that election year.
  • Assemblyfolk Bill Baroni, Jennifer Beck and Linda Stender urged Rutgers University to retain Douglass College as a separate institution and not to combine it with the University’s other colleges. Assemblywoman Stender has drafted a resolution to that effect, AR131. The companion bill, SR26, is scheduled for a committee vote on Thursday, while Douglass grads and students plan a rally at the statehouse.
  • The NJ Supreme Court unanimously upheld the state’s standards for water clean-up at sites polluted by industry. Federal Pacific Electric Co. had challenged the standards in court, saying they violated the 1997 Brownfield Act, but were shot down. Score one for the environment!
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness gave Our Fair State a C for its services to the mentally ill. They noted former Gov. Codey’s improvements to the system during his time as governor, but said they are simply good starting points. The nation as a whole recieved a grade of D.
  • The child-care industry in N.J. had a direct economic impact of $2.55 billion in 2005, according to a report released yesterday by the New Jersey Child Care Economic Impact Council. The impact is more than the revenues of the agriculture, scientific research and development, and hotel industries in New Jersey, and employ more people than many industries such as telecommunications, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and transportation.
  • There was one winner in last night’s $267 million Mega Millions drawing, and the ticket was sold in… Ohio. Better luck next time, NJ lottery fans.