“Higher Education Hucksters” Book Announced

Dissatisfied college graduate Joe Ohler was a cheese packer with a master’s degree. Being under-employed -wasn’t- his choice — instead, it was the cumulative decisions of many hiring managers, who collectively deemed him to be nothing more than an unskilled peon with a piece of paper. (Or few, in Mr. Ohler’s case.)

However, Ohler is fighting back against his market-destined fate: By becoming a thought leader!

And not just a social media star with more “hidden” followers than openly admitted, but a published presence whose insights send chills of uncertainty into the higher-education establishment.

“I wasn’t about to let the opinions of clueless human resources people determine my future,” Ohler said.

“I decided that given how few books there are warning about the dangers of higher education, my main idea makes me a thought leader. And that premise is: More higher education is often worse!”

The lack of constructive feedback from hiring managers has meant there are no guideposts to becoming best-qualified for any role he pursues. Some assume the panacea is to “get more experience,” while no one will hire you to get that first experience.

The dictum, “Get more experience,” seems unevenly applied, when less-experienced peers have been offered jobs better than the one Ohler has and comparable to the ones for which he interviews. So, only people similar to Mr. Ohler must overcome the additional odds of lacking experience, while others different from him are given a “free pass.”

Such differential outcomes motivated Mr. Ohler to write a book about his experiences as an unwanted, under-valued baccalaureate college grad.

He believes that by sharing his insights, he can help the untallied others who earned their credentials but remain cast-off from those opportunities towards which their formal education had been advertised as “advancing one’s career.” (As opposed to being an expensive detour without a so-called “college wage premium” to show for it all.)

Mr. Ohler also aspires to discourage strong-headed “preppies” from their tentative goals of a liberal-arts university.

“Just because you might self-identify as college-bound, doesn’t mean you’re obligated to enroll. Don’t let parents, peers, or teachers pressure you into the toxic investment of a college education! A bachelor’s degree can be the worst waste of your time and money, even if you choose a major that’s allegedly in-demand.”

Mr. Ohler will entitle his book, “Higher Education Hucksters: When More Education Is Worse.”

Some say, “Why not call it, ‘University scam exposed?'”

Joe Ohler says, “Because that title would be more generic, and therefore less memorable, than my title, ‘Higher Education Hucksters.'”

16 Leading Causes of Death in Wisconsin (Pain Pills are Dead-Last)

To directly rebuff the claim of a “prescription-opioid death epidemic,” I demonstrate such deaths are -not- even in the Top 15 causes of death in Wisconsin:

16 Leading Causes of Death in Wisconsin[1]

1st Place – Heart Disease: 11,471 = 22.3% of Total Deaths[2]

2nd Place – Cancer: 11,424 = 22.3% of Total Deaths

3rd Place – Unintentional Injuries: 3,186 = 6.2% of Total Deaths

4th Place – Chronic Lower-Respiratory Disease: 2,841 = 5.5% of Total Deaths

5th Place – Cerebro-Vascular Disease: 2,616 = 5.1% of Total Deaths

6th Place – Alzheimer’s Disease: 2,616 = 5.1% of Total Deaths

7th Place – Diabetes: 1,382 = 2.7% of Total Deaths

8th Place – Pneumonia or Influenza: 1,051 = 2% of Total Deaths

9th Place – Nephritis: 995 = 1.9% of Total Deaths

10th Place – Suicide: 874 = 1.7% of Total Deaths

NOTE: Although the 11th- Through 16th-Ranked Causes of Death were not copied directly (due to being outside the top ten of the WisDHS mortality report), they -were- imputed from official data within that same report.

11th Place – All Drug Overdoses:[3] 873 = 1.7% of Total Deaths

12th Place – Parkinson’s Disease: 587[4] = 1.1% of Total Deaths

13th Place – Prescription Drug Overdoses:[5] 349 = 0.7% of Total Deaths

14th Place – Heroin Overdoses:[6] 299 = 0.6% of Total Deaths

15th Place – Homicide:[7] 183 = 0.3% of Total Deaths

16th Place – Prescription Opioid Overdoses:[8] 174 = 0.3% of Total Deaths

[1] These totals are taken directly from, “Table 2: Leading causes of death by age groups, 2015, Wisconsin,” on page 6 of, “Annual Wisconsin Death Report, 2015.” Office of Health Informatics, within WisDHS. Released September 2016. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p01170-16.pdf
[2] Total deaths in Wisconsin were 51,251 in 2015, taken directly from “Key Findings” on page 2 of, “Annual Wisconsin Death Report, 2015.” Office of Health Informatics, within WisDHS. Released September 2016. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p01129.pdf
[3] Calculated from prevalence rates identified within the section, “Other drug-related deaths,” on page 37 of, “Wisconsin Epidemiological Profile on Alcohol and Other Drugs, 2016.” Joint publication of WisDHS and UW-Madison Population Health Institute. Released November 2016. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p4/p45718-16.pdf
-Calculation: (5,700,000 population / 100,000 incidence) * 15.3 per 100K = 57 * 15.3 = 872.1 (round down) = 872 Wisconsinites died from drug complications or overdose in 2015.
[4] Sum of the prevalences among age groups. Refer to “Table 2” within Citation 1.
[5] Calculated from respective prevalence rates from, “Figure 16: Distribution of drug overdose by drug type, 2015, Wisconsin,” on page 25 of, “Annual Wisconsin Death Report, 2015.” Office of Health Informatics, within WisDHS. Released September 2016. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p01170-16.pdf
-Calculation: 873 drug deaths * (0.2 RX opioids + 0.05 RX benzos + 0.15 combination of RX and other drugs) = 873 * 0.4 = 349 deaths from prescription drugs
[6] “Wisconsin Heroin Brief, 2007-2014.” Office of Health Informatics, within WisDHS. Released March 2016. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p01238.pdf
2015 was extrapolated from 2014 data, by using a highly conservative estimate of 12-percent heroin-mortality growth.
-Calculation: 267 base year (2014) * 1.12 change = 299 (2015)
[7] Sum of the prevalences among age groups. Refer to “Table 2” within Citation 1.
[8] Calculated from a 20-percent prevalence rate from, “Figure 16: Distribution of drug overdose by drug type, 2015, Wisconsin,” on page 25 of, “Annual Wisconsin Death Report, 2015.” Office of Health Informatics, within WisDHS. Released September 2016. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p01170-16.pdf
-Calculation: 873 drug deaths * 0.2 RX opioids = 174 deaths from prescription opioids

NOTE: It has come to my attention that the website “World Life Expectancy” shows an unranked list of Wisconsin mortality, saying only, “These are the top 15 causes [in no particular order].” [No link shall be provided, due to not wanting to promote a “competitor” in this policy sphere.]

Furthermore, its map-oriented interface is less straightforward than just giving the absolute and relative numbers. By contrast, I rank these causes numerically; show my calculations; and use terms that align with Health Department reports. -JPO

Renee Wachter’s New Year’s Resolution: Find a New Job!

Of the five chancellors at 4-year UW System schools who received a raise last December, UW-Superior Chancellor, Renee Wachter, has clearly been the most despised and least-deserving!

Herein, I examine why those in-the-know are avoiding professional contact with Wachter. (She’s in the market for a new job, you know.)

Remember the WPR article that I referenced in my prior article? (Go back and read it — you’ll add another view to my hit counter!)

Relevant for this piece, that very summary cites this understatement-of-the-century from Wachter underling Daniel Fanning, “Our chancellor [and many rank-and-file] have had to make tough budget decisions in the last couple [of] years.”

Right — such as whether to prioritize the athletic center or the dormitories as the next capital project.

Oh, wait — UW-Superior doesn’t have the money for capital projects! Because it’s “in the red,” i.e. poor-broke!!

And can you guess why -that- is? Because UW-Superior has been bleeding headcount, losing students left, right, and center!!!

Sinking Enrollment = Why Wachter Must Not Settle for a “Wait and See” Approach

To recap: UW-Superior has lost an average 73 students annually, or 12-percent of its headcount, since 2010. That’s the result of -very- poor recruitment and retention!

Students are slower to enroll there, because something is rotten at UW-Superior. (To say nothing of Hamlet‘s Denmark.) One can only speculate why, but I’m fairly confident that a study of graduates’ actual occupational outcomes will bear-out the idea that many among UW-Inferior’s recent alumni have not realized their full economic potential — and not for lack of trying, but for lack of their alma mater’s prestige.

Spin Doctors Wanted: The Greatest Challenge for UW-Superior’s Hangers-On

The most “difficult” question Renee and her cohorts face is: “How are we going to regain student confidence — and more importantly, their money — when they see hard-hitting criticisms of us in the news and on blogs?”

Great question… The answer is: “They won’t!”

Time to find a new job, Renee — preferably, in a different line of work. Ever consider a home bakery?

(Never mind. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos might spoil your fun! As well as limit your exclamation-point quota.)

Bonus Section: Satirically Modified Photos Of Renee Wachter!

Coming soon…

Chancellors at Five UW Schools Receive Raise — But How Did They Earn It?

The inspiration for this post was a Wisconsin Public Radio article describing the raises the UW Board of Regents approved for 5 different chancellors.

The question that immediately jumped to (my) mind was, “How many of those chancellors really deserved their raise?”

Question 1) One metric of sound stewardship is budgetary figures. Logically, a well-deserved raise would be a portion of the increased revenue brought-in by the chancellor — or at least, by his or her lackeys.

(I’ll address those budgets in further detail after enrollment, because typically “student headcount” determines the maximum allowable budget, not vice-versa.)

Question 2) I delved into enrollment figures to see how attracted or repelled students were by the results of the chancellor’s management. Absent any obvious “scandal,” a continual decline in enrollment is the clearest indicator of mismanagement.

Question 3) Also, were there any scandals during any of the chancellors’ tenures? To what extent did this top-down supervision produce more “oversights” than insights?

Successes from 2016 Inform Policy Priorities for 2017

Although I “took off” from blog posting in 2016 — barring an opportune “No-Future, Mad Grads Fashion” post on the Zazzle Designs and Observation Blog — I was -extremely- busy year-round!

-Accomplishments from 2016-
In order of magnitude, I did the following throughout 2016:

1) Establish, write content for, and produce the WPR Rebuttal call-in Internet radio show (live podcast). This was a new challenge, as previously most of my mass communication had been written / typed / keyboarded.

Speaking around a set of talking points, in real-time and without the luxury of a call screener or post-production editing, improved my ability to improvise with focus. I also reduced verbal pauses and increased the clarity of my speaking voice, mostly by adjusting prosody and inflection.

2) Write op-eds — and get them published! The Capitol Times published two of my op-eds in 2016: One critiquing the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation’s ineptitude; the other reminding aspiring college students to be skeptical when nonprofit universities portray themselves as success-breeding grounds.

3) Test the extent to which my ongoing work experience has improved my occupational prestige, by (unsuccessfully) applying for positions in my industry that would utilize my college degree. It’s been over 5 years with my terminal degree, and -nothing- yet resembling a “knowledge-worker” job has been conferred to me. Ergo, this formula:

Degree + Experience = Bust, even for the most persistent among “unwanted” grads. -Don’t- believe that earning another degree will change -anything!-

-Plans for 2017-
1) Write my higher-education skepticism book. Because if I don’t write it, seemingly -no one- will!

2) Write more often: Not only to progress on the book, but also to keep these blogs “alive” and active with fresh content.

3) Get on more radio shows. Even before I’ve finished the book, my public education and outreach objectives remain in full force — which means getting onto established platforms to express my message.

-One Abandoned Goal-
Writing posts in response to Internet forum topics: Although this would somewhat suit my mass-communications goal, it would not do enough to fulfill that goal, due to the cloistered nature of certain Internet forums.

Of course, such forum activity would take away time from posting to both this blog and my AJV Blog, so don’t expect to see me rouse the forums until I’ve finished my book. (My primary forum-going goal will be to promote the book.)

-Fitting Blogging Into All This-
You know how you get paid to work a “Palooka job,” whereas you do -not- get paid, on the balance, to earn a degree?

Well, it’s -almost- the same thing with blogging: It can quite a lot of work for little-to-no-pay; but unlike a college degree, you do -not- pay thousands of dollars every year to “enjoy” the privilege!

However, I’ve breached the “critical threshold” for media exposure relating to my cause of higher-education reform. Blogging was just the beginning — and now that I’m on radio shows and debating the “experts” on their own turf, I’ve plenty of timely news on the Higher Education Accountability Movement.

I’ve garnered unparalleled attention to my crusade to make nonprofit universities more candid and numerically complete about the potential student’s individual likelihood of under-employment. Skeptics are warming to the idea of surveying recent graduates en masse for each campus and student characteristic — which shall soon become commonplace practice.

Ho Ho Hoax: The Santa Claus Lie Exposed

Santa Claus has long been exposed as a modern myth that no longer passes the enhanced scrutiny made possible with surveillance devices and the information-sharing power of the Internet. The Claus is a generic marketing machine with no spiritual basis.

Although loosely based on Saint Nicholas, the Santa Claus derivatives of each country were begotten as engineered thought abstractions — mere words of creative writers — and then gradually given visual form by painters, graphic artists, and costumers.

It is all a hoax to claim this “Santa Claus” is any more real than a J.R. Tolkien creature! The Claus caught on in mainstream society because it is a psychodramatic ritual intended to make children believe an overlord of elves is somehow responsible for the materialistic sharing and goodwill that actually comes directly from our fellow humans.

Yes, dear reader: Santa Claus is a mental representation of our friends, family, coworkers, and those strangers who donate to such give-away programs as Toys for Tots. The physical Santa does not exist, except for people who dress up like him!

Toys for Tots as Santa Substitute

If you’re from a poor family and Santa didn’t bring you enough of what you wanted, all it means is that the Toys for Tots donation drive didn’t receive enough bling to hand out.

(Remember, only new donations are accepted — to disguise the second-hand nature of these playthings. But I don’t understand why not, for being poor is -not- a huge shame in this day and age!)

Or you could criticize your ‘rents for not showing up early enough in the waiting line for the welfare toys; which I don’t recommend, lest they tell -you- to wait in the Toys for Tots queue or stop going altogether!

Also, make sure to thank the Marine Corps. They’re the ones running Toys for Tots! Santa is but a fabricated figurehead who keeps naïve kids from figuring out their wealthier neighbors (or folks across the river or railroad tracks) gave the very toys they’re holding.

Santa as Social Justice Whinger Warrior

A donation remains a donation; but the source is obscured. You might not know which ones gave, so be nice to all!

And if you’re not nice, chances are the police will hunt you down to arrest for disorderly conduct and possibly make up some misleading narrative as, “We have a smartphone camera photograph of you threatening to throw something at this person. What are you holding in this picture?”

(The wisest answer is, “Nothing; and I demand to see my lawyer,” even if you don’t know any lawyers. They should book and release you, so that you can plead “not guilty” and at least have a chance at getting the charge dismissed — as opposed to doing the easy “plea bargain” that will automatically convict you.)

So, how to handle Santa? He’s just a stand-in for the constant surveillance done on us by the rest of society. Smartphones have become cheapened to the point where even the poorer among us have the ability to record immediate events, which means we all need to be alert and self-restrained.

Just be reasonably polite, not deferential. There’s no need to hold open a door for someone if he or she is being cranky towards you; and if someone rudely accosts you, there’s no need to call him or her “Mr. / Ms. / Sir / Ma’am” or whatever honorific prefix they might feel entitled to while disrespecting you.

Definitely don’t bother returning someone’s shopping cart (for someone who’s not your parent) if they’re making such demands on the basis that they’re “old and entitled” to being served by any young people nearby! You don’t need to be confrontational; just pretend you don’t hear, and briskly walk away.

What if these intrusive people get in your face? “Santa” won’t mind you telling such folks to “get lost” — because he doesn’t exist! (Don’t get any ruder than “get lost,” though; the police will care!)

False Witnesses to Santa Claus: NORAD and Google Maps

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) “Santa Tracker” is technically limited in its estimations because there’s no actual Santa beacon to monitor; only an imagined Ho-Ho-Hoax route that appears to be loosely agreed upon by the engineers at Google Maps.

No one can verify a Santa sighting at those coordinates — as one would an airplane — because Santa is entirely in the mind, much as you might play with action figures or dress up as characters from Star Wars, Spider-Man, Power Rangers, or other franchise.

Santa Claus is his own franchise, but in the public domain! This means anyone can appropriate his likeness as they see fit.

Speaking of which, I’ll have a humorous animation made from a few Google Maps Santa Claus banners. It will be family-friendly but funny; I just need more time to piece it together because writing this article took me much more time than I intended.

Santa: Ho! Ho! Ho! I don't exist! --- Reverse Santa: He's (absolutely) right! You were (totally) lied to!

The NORAD Santa Timer counts down from midnight on the U.S. eastern coast to the late evening hours on the U.S. western coast. This calculation of time is entirely dependent on which time zone you send to the NORAD server!

In the late 1990s, NORAD relied upon the site visitor to click a button (8:00 p.m.; 9:00 p.m.; 10:00 p.m.; and 11:00 p.m.) to indicate his or her time zone. There was no midnight option because that would mean, according to NORAD, Santa was already at your house.

That assumption would prove demonstrably bogus when you looked out the window for an hour straight and noticed, that despite the Claus delivering to your entire time zone (and therefore your neighborhood) during your wakeful watch, neither you nor your neighbor’s roof saw any Santa action.

Not Even Authoritative Collusion Makes a Myth Demonstrable

Nowadays, your computer or mobile device can automatically send your time zone (or even your GPS coordinates) to NORAD (and any other website wanting to know). This means you no longer need to click a button; but it underscores this fact:

Santa’s location should not depend on your time zone! Either he’s at a particular place in the world; or he’s not!

Changing your time zone, whether via the buttons in the 1990s Santa Tracker or a Clock application change to time zone on your machine, should not warp Santa to another location but it does in these hokey “Santa flight tracking” apps.

Yes; that is how the old NORAD Santa Tracker worked. Newer versions copied Google Maps, which tried to iron-out this logical fallacy by creating a predetermined Ho-Ho-Hoax route that more or less mirrors the route taken by the Olympic torch relay.

Although comparing the Google Santa route with the Olympic relay route for each country would require more time than I have — barely finishing this article before Christmas, and having other articles in the queue — the announced relay route for Brazil practically mimics the circuitous route Google Santa is alleged to have taken.

Santa as Technological Simulation

PhotoShop has made mash-ups possible; CGI has made video simulations possible; and virtual reality will mean someday someone will write a program that projects a first-person perspective of sight, sound, and touch from an imagined Santa Claus trip around the world.

But rest assured, no one has genuine photos of a flying Santa; airborne reindeer; or the magical sack of gifts that pours out whatever is needed from Hammer Space.

Until you’re in a flying sled pulled by air-walking reindeer at such speed sufficient to deliver gifts to all children’s homes at a NORAD-approximated rate of one time zone (more than half a million homes and apartment units in the larger time zones) per hour, you can safely refute that rendition of Santa as a misrepresentation: Impossible under the universal laws of physics; and unsound in terms of spiritual doctrine.

Covering as much area an as an entire U.S. time zone every hour provides a mathematical proof against the globe-trotting, sled-in-the-sky Santa Claus. Multi-location is not part of the Santa mythos. Although some saints are purported to have done such a feat of being several places at once, it was probably a hallucination from too much penitential fasting.

Being only one place at once requires a would-be Santa to zip around at the speed of light, which create sonic booms and kill anyone moving at such speed! Too much whiplash from gravitational forces; zipping through chimneys and houses that don’t have chimneys; handling the presents at speeds that would rip the wrapping paper clean off!

Logistically impossible, even for a poltergeist or other spirit, as the material goods delivered would need to remain intact. It the gifts are teleported in, then why has no one developed that technology on a mass scale to reduce our carbon footprint? Why not at least depict Santa as a teleporting guru instead of someone who relies upon reindeer and a sled?

Serious, sober adults who promote this stuff as being possible should re-evaluate themselves. Do they want to be seen as jokers for this one exception to their no-nonsense policy?

Philosophical Excuses for Saint Nick

It is typically at this point that Santa defenders play the philosophy card and admit Santa might not be true as a stand-alone entity, but that he’s a thought-form, a concept, a cluster of pro-social human traits that is communicated via Santa-as-symbol.

That’s all nice and idealistic, except it does not excuse having lied to children about this! If something is just a symbolic representation of something on which its meaning is contingent, then say so!

Just as the word “chair” should not be misconstrued as referring to a table, the name “Santa Claus” should not be presented as anything beyond the superficial depiction of what cultural leaders believe a good human should be.

“But what, isn’t that Jesus Christ?” No; Santa was never identified as Son of God; and Santa neither died in substitution of our sins nor rose from the dead!

Many commercialists would like you to confuse Santa with Jesus, or even to displace the Christ with the Claus. However, this article ensures you shall not be fooled!

There is no scriptural basis for Santa Claus. This disqualification separates the fabrication of world-traveling gift giver from the more somber religious traditions practiced by sober adults.

Testing for Yourself

Unlike one who tests an inobedient God for miracles, those who spy on the Christmas tree throughout the night from December 24 into the early hours of December 25 will indeed see a sign!

Either of the following shall be observed:

1) Their parents, telling them to get back in bed before Santa comes! (if caught by their parents)

2) Their parents, putting presents beneath the tree! (if they don’t see you first)

If you stumble into Situation 1, then you pretty much have to obey or face punishment. To balk at this stage, right before receiving the payload of presents, might motivate your parents to remove a gift (which they will probably blame on Santa, rather than take personal responsibility).

If you’re stealthy enough to happen upon Situation 2, then you can either:
A) Confront your parents on the spot for their lies about Santa being the one to deliver the gifts — to which your folks might respond, “Santa just handed these off to us just now!”; or

B) Attempt to covertly record their gift laying, which is quite difficult in the dark. But don’t turn on the light, because that would throw you into Option A!

[Legal Disclaimer:] I take no responsibility for any spankings, groundings, or other punishments doled out in response to you daring to question your parents’ dishonesty during their attempted cover-up. They’re tired and will probably be grumpy at their kid disrupting their plans, so act uncooperatively at your peril.

And if you’re a parent looking to punish me for having a frank public discussion in an open forum (an Internet blog) about the falsities of the Santa Claus myth and the social dynamics concealed by its traditions, then blame yourselves for not being forthright; turn your outstretched finger against yourself when you excessively punish your kid for having the gall to act on inferences he or she drew from reading this article. [/Legal Disclaimer]

Option A: Confront While Gifts are Being Placed

This approach is incredibly risky because you might startle your parents into thinking you’re a burglar and/or otherwise inflame their anger at being foiled in their plans. You could turn on a light to assuage their fear of an intruder, but that would be too bright for everyone. Bring a flashlight instead!

Either way, it’s kind of like catching the Watergate crooks during the break-in — except it’s a heist-in-reverse; and you’ll be in for some vaguely threatening, potentially unlawful punishment if you catch temperamental parents doing their best to trick you.

Your folks ought to be proud that you were smart enough and sufficiently daring to evade detection and properly time your “honesty sting” to eliminate all doubt that they, and not Santa, had put “gifts supposedly from Santa” beneath the tree! (The whole “hand-off from Santa” line is bogus, because you were watching a long time before your folks crept to the tree.)

However, parents also have egos. This means that when you claim to hold a moral high ground, your folks might disregard or adversely react to your moral stance (no matter how right you might be) because it is an insult to them — indignantly intolerable — for the one they’re raising to have somehow developed a more enhanced moral intelligence than they!

To summarize the possibility of confrontation: Because parents are imperfect people and prone to emotional outbursts like any stranger would be, I advise you limit your Santa subversion activities to intelligent discussions with those questioning their Santa beliefs and by secretly recording those pretending to give gifts on behalf of Santa.

Again, being detected (seen, heard, smelled, or whatnot) puts you at risk for being punished. Your parents’ mood at this time will largely determine what happens.

Remember, they’re sinners like anyone else and can act like bad people! Will they blame Santa for your disappointment, pain, and grief?

Option B: Covert Footage of Santa Substitutes

This approach is less hazardous to your personal well-being or health as a family unit, but it does pose technically challenging unless you’ve the luxury of both infrared imaging technology -and- something to record those infrared images.

I hope you had the forethought of buying some type of deer camera or comparable low-light security imaging device, or else all you accomplished by hiding a video camera stuck on “record” mode is a bunch of dark frames where nothing is visible!

Back-up (hyphenated because it’s a verb) the footage — make a copy of it — to a thumb drive or other media you can hide so that your secret footage of gift placement is not sitting around on the hard drive for any family member or visiting friend to see and possibly destroy.

Once you’ve made a backup (written as one non-hyphenated word because it’s a noun), wait until your parents are in their best mood the next day to show them the original footage. (But say nothing about the backup copy, in case they get angry and delete your on-device movie file showing their nocturnal gift dropping.)

Thoughtful parents will respect your genius at having documented the situation without getting in the way; and they will applaud how to did not interfere or otherwise involve yourself in a potentially contentious situation where tempers could have flared.

(They might even recommend you train to become a news videographer , but make sure you find a school that gives you statistics for how their videography graduates are faring in the labor market. And less education is better, because it frees you to work full-time sooner! That means more money for you!)

Critical Thinking About Kris Kringle

I encourage young ones to print this article and to share it with peers, parents, and teachers alike. Note who responds with which arguments; and record who agrees and disagrees.

If your parents are upset for you trying to blow their cover as the real Santa Claus, then calm their nerves by showing them this is an educational article!

Promoting insightful discussion is an educator’s goal. The following are critical-thinking exercises about society’s promotion of the Santa Claus myth:

Observation 1) People of similar social standing tend to hold more similar opinions than those of unequal socioeconomic power. This association of ideology might be stronger on some issues (economic policy) than it is for others (whether Santa Claus should be discarded as a dishonest urban myth).

Question 1) Ask your friends, parents, and teachers why adults say Santa Claus is real, despite knowing better that he is a made-up commercial character based on an otherwise forgotten Catholic saint. Write down their responses. What are some common themes? In other words, which ideas were communicated by at least a few people?

[Write notes and then type them up into a response paper. Look back at your findings a few years from now to evaluate how your understanding of Santa-as-ideal-society has evolved.]

Observation 2) Friends of varying social standing (those who voluntarily associate with you) might agree upon the need to discontinue societal uses of Santa Claus, but for different reasons; Mom and Dad (domestic authority figures) might disagree on some points but agree on others; and teachers (school authority figures) might refuse to give an opinion because they’re fearful of parental backlash. (In which case, ask for a different teacher who has some guts!)

Question 2) What does your parent, teacher, or friend gain or preserve — morally, emotionally, or otherwise — from either agreeing or disagreeing with the anti-Santa stance taken in this article?

[Write notes and then type them up into a response paper. These can be consolidated within the same response paper file from above; but make sure you hit the “return” or “enter” key -below the existing text- a few times and then paste so that you’re not overwriting, if you’re copying from one file into another.]

Global warming?!? My ice floes are fine... Instead, sign this other petition! http://goo.gl/nYDjrU

Time Management Snafu Causes 8-Month Hiatus

I chose this title for its frankness and for its click-bait quality. Most readers would have expected the word “issues” after “time management,” but I wrote “snafu!” What a well-thought-out swerve…

Anyway, this title is probably not something a human resources person wants to see after asking you the interview question, “How do you manage your time to deal with conflicting deadlines?”

However, I’ve since resolved the issues by finishing the most challenging tasks first so that I can sleep-walk through some of the easier duties. Namely, finding a steady line of work that doesn’t require a long commute! Blogging took a backseat.

Of course, I would not reference “sleep walking” into any task if part of a job interview response, but my point is that most mental and emotional resources should be spent on the most important goals. (These should be the most challenging, but not always.)

Nonetheless, I’ve noticed the older I get, the more difficult time management becomes. And I haven’t even had my first full-time job yet, just a few part-time jobs, some of which are only seasonal!

So, how can anyone who’s only responsible for feeding and housing himself — and doesn’t watch TV, play video games, or aimlessly web surf — spend so much time and accomplish so little?

My primary problem is that I’m too ambitious in scope and have to switch off among projects to finish one while leaving the others to collect dust while I take notes on life experiences; get enough sleep to be alert and quick for work; and of course, actually perform paid work outside the home.

It is therefore clear that I’m not “wasting time” in the traditional sense of “slacker who sits around mentally idle.” Rather, I’ve been laying the groundwork for big things in 2016. To quote Frank Sinatra, “The best is yet to come,” but it requires much planning and proper implementation.

For example, on December 11, 2015, I launched the world’s first petition calling for occupational outcomes of the prior year’s cohort of program graduates (not just a few hand-picked “superstars”) to be announced publicly prior to disbursement of Title IV funds (financial aid) to any particular university.

A lengthier article on the petition is forthcoming — but for now, I’m finishing certain confidential commitments and will post once more before year’s end. Just remember: The sooner you prioritize full-time work, even the lower-waged jobs from any field that won’t reasonably kill or maim you (although some brave souls thrust themselves into such dangerous jobs), the sooner you can have a steady income schedule and thereby be free of the difficulty of how to monetize your spare time.

That is, you won’t have much more free time other than to sleep, but you’ll end up wasting less money — such as by avoiding the grave error of “sheltering in academia” — and be in an urgent frame of mind that forces you to prioritize, as opposed to attempting everything and end up failing miserably at time management.

To quote and rebut the Masser & Jennings song made famous by Whitney Houston, “Didn’t we almost have it all?!?” No. Why not?

You and the others merely focused upon a subset among the infinite domain of possibilities. To “almost have it all” implies approaching the real limit of these possibilities, which in reality not even the best mortal manager of time can do! It would take eons to “almost have it all!”

Well, I’m signing off before I take more tours into tangents. A lot of this is pure SEO bait, anyway. Why search engine optimization? To point to my petition! (One link per page is enough, however, lest a search penalty be applied.)

Global warming?!? My ice floes are fine... Instead, sign this other petition! http://goo.gl/nYDjrU