Friday, August 21, 2009


We Intermediate Stage Band enrollees gathered in the hall outside the band room at SF City College waiting for the class before ours to clear out.

I chatted a bit with a newcomer tuba player(!) who told a sad story.

Maybe twenty years old, he seemed to be on the standard track of graduate high school at eighteen and graduate college at twenty-two.


But, get this, he had transferred from San Francisco State University, to SF City College. Obviously the usual direction of such transfers is the other way.

Ben, or whatever his name was, transferred because he couldn't get enough units at State.

Due to budget cutbacks there weren't enough classes available that would contribute to his music  degree.  He said none of his friends could get more than 12 units per semester, some got fewer.


A counselor told him it could take up to eight years to get a bachelor's degree.

Per this website SF State charges a flat rate for registration and fees, not per-unit.

So, a student taking 10 or 12 semester units would pay the same $2,370 per semester as a student taking 15 or 16 units.

Limiting class availability effectively raises the per-unit and therefore per-degree costs.

Back in the day, a prominent professor at State who was having an affair with my (female) roommate told me that the purpose of the Academy is certification, not edification.

Certainly, the higher the price the more it becomes so.

In addition to certification, community colleges provide some actual job skills training. For instance, I once considered taking a ten-key class that would open up additional accounting-type jobs for me. My mom took an LA City College class to brush up on her shorthand.

More and more, as the economy slides, I'm thinking of my music classes as re-career preparation. I mean busking.


Diogenes said:

If you wish a career as a beggar, practice on statues.

A recent headline regarding the financial collapse tells a complete story:

What Did I Do Wrong?

A guy goes to college, gets a job, pays off his student loan, marries, has kids... and now he's laid off, his home is in foreclosure, and he doesn't know what to do.

The headline indicates some confusion about necessary and sufficient.

"Go to college, get a good job," is a formula that few seem to question.

While a college degree might be a necessary condition of getting a good job, the poor bastard in the headline had the mistaken notion that a college degree is a sufficient condition for getting a good job.

There are thousands of people with degrees we wouldn't hire for any job--we wouldn't even want to be around them.

Also, he simply lost a spes/res bet, aka  "Wimpy bet".


You know, the hippies were right.

Speaking of hippies who were right... We're coming up on the anniversary of a great moment in guerilla theater.

It was on August 24, 1968:

Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman and ten other Yippies entered the New York Stock Exchange and climbed to the visitors gallery overlooking the main hall.

The Yippies addressed the brokers and traders working below them on the evils of money and greed. Most of the brokers found the incident amusing and at the end of the speech many joined in good-natured applause.

Then the Yippies reached into their pockets and threw into the air handfuls of dollar bills. As money floated down like autumn leaves the scene changed dramatically.

Brokers and traders jumped, pushed and buffeted each other to catch the falling banknotes, others on hands and knees scrambled about on the floor grabbing as much as they could.

The security guards arrived and the Yippies were ejected from the building.

This account come from a website called, The Culture Jammer's Encyclopedia.

Where does one go to get a BA in culture jamming?

end prague spring

I remembered the incident, but I'd forgotten it happened in 1968, that tumultuous year, best characterized by Prague Spring.

Hippy flowers and Soviet tanks.

btw: My contemporaries who graduated from SF State in 1970 received certificates signed by Ronald Reagan and S.I. Hayakawa. Great certification!

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