It may seem as if I have abandoned this blog, despite my promises to post entries more regularly. I have been concentrating on survival issues, family obligations, and some other writing; I am not yet ready to make public the nature or substance of the writing, but I've been rather obsessed with it.
Today, not only do I have the time to put together this post, but also the motivation. I am profoundly moved by recent events that are superficially unrelated but, in my estimation, are connected at a very deep level.
This weekend bleeding into the work-week, the big story in Houston has been the Astroworld disaster. In Glasgow, the big story (although you'd never know it from the lack of mainstream coverage) has been the massive youth-led demonstrations outside the Blah-Blah-Blah Convention, aka COP 26.
My big-picture assessment is that both these stories represent the responses of teens and young adults to the undeniable fact that they will inherit a world that is becoming increasingly hostile to life-as-we-know-it.
Before getting to the main thrust of this item, here are three facts to frame it:
"The World Is a Stage" was a concert featuring a couple dozen songs from about 20 different Broadway musicals spanning more than 80 years, from Porgy and Bess to The Greatest Showman (adapted from the film). When it comes to musical theatre, I have pretty particular tastes, and at the outset I worried that this show would be an exercise in pandering. Happily, it wasn't. Artistic Director Mark Vogel's taste in musicals is roughly similar to mine.
I was particularly grateful for the inclusion of the medley from Hair, "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In." It closed the first half of the show. (The second half opened with a heart-tugging "I Know Where I've Been" from Hairspray.)
Even more gratifying, we didn't just stick to what the middle school–level arrangement prescribed: Providing a more graceful segue between the parts, our two sightless and soulful sopranos Jessica Callahan and Jennifer Parrish wailed out "Flesh Failures" minus the "Manchester England England" part. By the time we got to "Let the Sunshine In," I could barely sing for the lumps in my throat.
There's something I've been meaning to tell y'all. I just haven't got around to it, because I'm having trouble getting around to much of anything lately. On top of my chronic depression, I now have a bad case of unemployment, combined with the nagging feeling that I have failed at life.
My job, along with a dozen others' at our small private university, has been outsourced to a company that takes over information technology functions for institutions of higher learning seeking to save some money. Only half the IT crew at the University of St. Thomas remains, all as contractors for Ellucian. The IT help desk is now a 24-hour operation, with calls re-directed to Ellucian personnel in New York and India.
Without going into too much detail, let's just say that UST has been struggling financially for several years. For a while, its graduate education and counseling programs were its steadiest sources of revenue, but then even that started to drop off. Eventually you run out of classroom teachers willing to fork over $100K for a relatively easy masters degree to become counselors and principals, especially when there are no more openings for counselors and principals.
UST is certainly not alone in the struggle: Private colleges and universities all over the US have had trouble making all their ends meet their means, with the exception of the extremely well endowed institutions like Rice and Harvard. Four-year colleges and universities as a whole are losing market share to community colleges and those dreadful for-profit degree mills with no admission standards other than willingness to incur mountains of debt.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.