Random Observations

Starbucks
You ever notice how the pastries at Starbucks seem to be getting progressively smaller, even as they continue to charge an arm and a leg for them? Part of me thinks, This is good. They’re helping Americans learn the meaning of portion control. The other part thinks it’s just another way Starbucks is ripping off its customers.

Technophilia
My mom got my dad a Nintendo Wii for Father’s Day. And they called yesterday to tell me how much they were enjoying it. Suddenly, I’m having flashbacks of an appeal I made to my father in 1997 to buy me a DVD player (they had just come out). It took me a year—A YEAR—to convince him. And now they own more gadgets than I do.

Tourists
It’s tourist season again in DC. Which means lots and lots of people who insist on occupying the entire escalator at the Metro station instead of standing on the right so hurried wonks like myself can get to work two seconds earlier. To be fair, we can’t really expect people to do something unless we tell them. Other than Metro’s rather weak “Esca-lefter” signs on a handful trains, most people don’t get the message about proper Metro etiquette until some rude person tells them to move. Is it wrong that I sometimes like being that person? (I did write the WMATA with a suggestion to have signs posted, but as expected, I got a rather generic, non-committal response.)

Higher Ed Gunk
There’s an article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed on the growing concern about the proliferation of professional doctorates, degrees they’re calling “Ph.D-lite.” When I first read the headline, I thought, Oh great. The academy’s going to crap all over the Ed.D. again. (In case anyone hasn’t figured out yet, I’m in an Ed.D. program.) Then I read the article and found out they were mostly talking about doctorates in the health sciences, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and audiology. Apparently, the main concern is that these programs lack the rigor of a Ph.D. Uh… DUH. If these people wanted to get a Ph.D., then they would go get one. Frankly, I’m a little frustrated at the “guildiness” (kind of like Colbert’s “truthiness”) of the Ph.D. Sure, I’m going to require everyone to call me “doctor” once I graduate, but the arrogant exclusivity of the Ph.D. is just annoying. It’s like a little cult. I think that’s why I enjoy working for the government. Here, everyone’s a taxpaying citizen, whether you have an A.A., a B.S., or a Ph.D.

Okay, I just read most of what I wrote above. Holy cow. I’m not usually this bitter on Wednesday mornings.

So to end on a more positive (albeit powerful) note, here’s a CBS News story I saw a couple of days ago about our troops rescuing boys from deplorable conditions in an Iraqi orphanage. The video report is pretty poignant.

See, I watch a report like this and suddenly life is put into perspective. And I like that.

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