Exam Time

Forty-five minutes until the second (and thankfully final) day of my comprehensive exams begins.  By the grace of St. Jude, the school decided to fashion most of the exam around four 900 word essays chosen from ten, a task well-suited to my skills: fashioning something erudite and coherent from random mind-phlegm.  In other words BS-ing like lawyer in a confessional.

Many — that is my parents — would consider much of my education a waste if I left the university equipped only with a certificate and a mind well-versed in supposition and conjecture.  Yet oh what a pretty certificate it is . . .   The doors it might open.  The raises I might receive.

No, many underestimate the value of BS.  As an amateur writer and retired scientist, being able to connect ideas without relying solely on the lessons, books, and lectures is a skill worth boasting.  In fact, what need is there to memorize, repeat, and forget quotes, facts, and examples simply for a grade?  What better proof of mastery than unpracticed musings, the interpolation of personal experiences spiced occasionally with class-room discussions?

Many in this room now are worried and fretful over the next three hours. What if that question is on the exam?  What will I say?  What quotes can I remember?  The words just won’t come out.  What postulates did he remind us were essential to that question?  Oh why oh why did I not write that yesterday?

What if I fail?  I can only take it one more time and then . . . and then . . .

What then?

Admittedly I am a fool.  For simply put, my aim today is the improvement of my writing skills, nothing more and less.  Passing is good — very good in fact — yet receiving a good score on a bad essay would upset me some.  A good score on a bland essay is even worse, because it means I failed to even try something unique or creative.  Life is too short for that.  Even for a ridiculous fool like me.

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I Don’t Know, Third Base

My blogging has been lax lately due to a weekly affliction natural to professors, students, and masichists: midterms.  Thus, until these dire days pass, my posts will encompass a few witty phrases followed by an awesome video or two.  As Halloween approaches, I find myself of late falling asleep to Abbott and Costello monster movies.  Their encounter with Dracula, Wolfman, and Frankenstein’s monster plays behind me now.  I hear the creaking of coffins and the shrill pitch of Costello’s ‘OOOOH Chick!’ and giggle to myself.  In honor of these two incredible comedians, I am posting the following skit, perhaps their most famous and brilliant.  I never get tired of these guys:

The Sharpest Knife

Every once in a while, I yearn for a little Mack the Knife.  Seriously, very few songs today communicate the energy and excitement as this little ditty from half a century ago.  Moreover, it’s the only song I know about hitmen and killers, so even the lyrics make you want to sing aloud.

One day in the near future they will bring back the big band sound.  Of the two versions here, Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra, which one do you think succeeds more?  Personally I enjoy the Sinatra’s extended version more, simply because that brass beat never seems to end . . .

Bobby Darin:

Frank Sinatra: