Saturday, November 30, 2013

more mediocre ideas

Some random ideas from sitting around a lot during Thanksgiving week are clogging my thoughts.  Maybe by publishing them here, I'll think of something that's actually interesting.  As always, feel free to use any idea.  Just don't get too upset at me if it doesn't work out.

Happy Thanksgiving!

New colleges

In a rust belt town, start a new college.  A hired professor will earn about $30,000 per year.  She/he will be the teacher/advisor for a group of 30 students.  (If you're quick at math, you will note that this means each student will pay $1000 per year in advising fees to the college).  This professor will guide the 30 students through their field of expertise (history, english, whatever).

Any additional classes that a student wants to take can be done through the new massively online classes.

The facilities will be a previously empty building in the downtown area.  Housing should be quite cheap in this town (it's a rust-belt, soon-to-be ghost town.  There is no university support staff (looking at you deans, provosts, etc), no sports, no IT.  Just learning.

If the professor wants to earn more money, the options are to advise more students (of course this may diminish the experience for those students) or write proposals to funding agencies.

Reduced cost of higher education (perhaps improved, compared to some schools)
Found employment for a bunch of underemployed academics

Cheaper doctors

1.  Medical school is now free (taxpayers on the hook for what, $150,000 per future doctor?)
2.  Doctors then pay a $10 - 20k tax per year during their career (in additional to normal taxes).

Overall savings for taxpayers.  Even doctors that work in truly underserved areas should be able to afford to pay an additional $10 per year in taxes.

Very wide ranging magazines

You know how after about the 3rd issue of just about any magazine in the world, articles start to feel a little redundant?  We will pool a large selection of magazines.  Each month, you get a completely different magazine.

You didn't like Time last month?  Bam, here comes Vanity Fair.  VF hasn't been the same since Christopher Hitchens' untimely death?  How about Midwestern Living this month.  And so on.

Better distribution of education spending

In the U.S., local property taxes provide a big chunk of the funding for public schools.  This is madness.  Pool this money at the state level and distribute the funds evenly (okay, sure, use some cost of living adjustments when needed).

Monday, November 11, 2013

whither October

Tonight Janny told me, "Thank you, Daddy.  You're a nice boy."  Clara later added, "I like the way you talk."  Feeling pumped up, I can finally report on recent events.

My primary excuse for not reporting lately is Jill's lifestyle change.  She wakes up at an unreasonable hour every weekday for her exercise classes.  To make this happen, she's in bed every night around 9p.  So instead of rarely doing dishes, I do some.  I also clean a little.  Is that a good enough excuse?

Some time ago now, my parents visited us as part of [one of MANY] long trips this year.  I'm pleased to recall that my mom left uninjured (though no bicycle riding took place).
 Clara and Janny take about 1 or 2 baths per week.  They play for about 15 minutes and then scream like maniacs when it's time to wash hair.  It seems that Clara is getting near acceptance.  This would be a big relief.

 Before going to bed last night, Jill checked in on the girls to find that Janny's bed was empty.  Over the weekend, we thought she was in bed until Fereshteh came home to (and the details are unclear here) Janny crashing from the couch to the floor.  Much screaming ensued.  But back to the newer story, we looked through a few rooms before finding Janny sleeping behind the couch in the front room.  I picked her up and returned her to bed without waking her.  Sound sleeper!  Also, a sneaky little girl!
For Halloween, Honest Abe and Rosy the riveter stopped by for a chat.  Nice to learn a little history on Halloween!  Clara's chicken costume was from a nearby garage sale.  Janny was the 'the crane' alien.  The neighbors also stopped by to show off their candy stash.
 Another bright red explosion by the front tree this year.  I've moved about 15 bags of leaves to my leaf/compost pile.  The girls picked up a few leaves.
 Jill took care of the pumpkin carving project this year.  Clara first wanted an angry pumpkin, but later changed her mind.  Now her pumpkin is two-faced.
 The kids are very excited about working on "projects" lately.  The most popular project is to tape knick-knacks together with masking tape (sticks, paper, small plastic toys, bags).  We were a bit surprised that masking tape costs nearly $5 per roll, but the cost per hour is quite low.  Another project is to make either an obstacle course or a balance beam.  Either versions requires dragging ALL of the pillows, cushions, and blankets into the front room and scattering them on the floor.   Cleaning up is not a project.
I did a sort-of gravel road race near Kickapoo with the Wild Card gang the previous weekend.  I got dropped from the lead group of 3 about 18 miles in.  I couldn't recover from the last hill, so the tail-wind assisted surges wiped me out.  The course was fabulous with nearly 60 miles of almost continuous unpaved/roughly paved roads.  

Finally, there is another scary, abandoned rail bridge not too far away.  100' tall, no railing.  Who is up for adventure?