Tuesday, September 26, 2006

[Red Worm] -- Free at Last!

Thank you, HT. It's nice to breathe some fresh air.

Lord Almight, I'm free at last!

Take that Dr. Schneider.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

[Fashion Files] -- Cool People already know this

Hot: Neck tattoos
Not: Calf tattoos

Hot: Cream cheese with eggs
Not: Goat cheese with eggs

Hot: Hiccuping caused by soup consumption
Not: Hiccuping caused by alcohol consumption

Hot: Tapas
Not: Chaat

Hot: 28
Not: 26

[28 is the new black]

Hot: Tight pants, skinny jeans, leggings
Not: Tight pants, skinny jeans, leggings

[with skinny lower-body wear, please proceed with caution]

Hot: Halal, Kosher
Not: Vegan, Raw, Macrobiotic

Hot: Coffee
Not: Tea

And now you know.

[Dr. Holoway] -- Are they dating?

In the absence of any interesting letters from readers in recent weeks, I started reading the news, expecting to find (for some reason) something newsworthy.

In the absence of any apparent competence in the field of journalism, I found several gossip-worthy items insted.

So, to get us through these slow weeks and give us a kickstart into the coming fall season (neck tattoos: still in), we'll play a game: Are they Dating?

Condi and Peter MacKay: No
Andy Roddic and Maria Sharapova: Yes
Historical Tarak and Dr. Schneider: No (and they won't as long as she is holding Red Worm captive)
TRS-1 and Marie Antoinette: Yes (why someone who can time travel would end up in 18th century France on the wrong side of history is beyond me, though)
Jessica Simpson and that wussy John Mayer guy: Nope
YZ's elementary school class president and Jessica Alba: They just got married

Until next time,
-Dr. Holoway

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

[Historical Tarak] -- i miss you too

red worm,

i miss you, too. life just isn't the same without you. i have had more energy lately, but i feel as though i'm missing a part of myself. i'll see if there's anything i can do to help.

dr. k, caleb, dr. holoway, d-dash, moderator: can any of you help? i've spoken to dr. schneider a few times (hot hot hot!) but i'm not sure if i have enough sway to obtain rw's release.

readers: let me know if there is any way you can help.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

[Dr. K] -- Quaint Area #2

I've said it before, but it bears repeating: the East Bay just seems so quaint.

The most recent example: The case of recently resigned Vice Chancellor George Strait

Mr. Strait resigned, it turns out, because an audit showed that he "engaged in a pattern of intentional deception to defraud the University." Basically, he was getting reimbursed for personal expenses by the university by claiming them as work-related.

Sounds bad right? What did he do? Gamble away thousands of dollars and claim the losses as travel expenses? Claim a weekend vacation to the Bahamas as a work trip? Use the university account to rent out a condo for his stripper mistress?

Actually, he made 28 separate claims totalling a wopping $1969.72. No, that is not a typo. So, not including the $265 that he stole from the university and DONATED TO HIS CHURCH, Strait averaged $63.14 per fraud. When confronted, he paid back the $1969.72 (will they go after him for the interest?) and resigned.

Don't get me wrong. The man lied and stole money from the university. Looking at the audit, many of his transgressions weren't borderline cases, they were brazen fraud. For example, he claimed different dates on his reimbursement forms than the dates that expenses actually occurred to make it look like they happened on weekdays. He claimed a night in a hotel room (perhaps for a night with that stripper mistress of his) as a business dinner. And so on.

The problem I'm having is why he couldn't do a little more? I mean, Enron and Tyco, those are scandals worthy of my attention. Even options backdating results in the movement of several hundreds of millions of dollars from shareholders to executives.

But bilking under $2,000 from one of the largest public universities in the world, with revenues in excess of $1.5 billion and over $3 billion in assets, it seems a little lazy, no?

The man made $170,800 in salary, so he should be familiar with the lifestyle of a high-middle income earner -- e.g. where the nicer hotels are. He was staying in San Diego -- according to the documentation, at the Grand Hyatt San Diego -- and he apparently was only charged $67.67. Did he stay in the basement? Help wash dishes? What is the matter with this guy? And more to the point, why lie to get reimbursed for such a small claim when he's making 170k? How did he deem it worth the risk?

Item #21 is especially damning: $3.24 to visit CNN offices in order to advocate for more publicity for UC Berkeley professors and experts. Did he buy a gumball on the way in? Or are expenses in Atlanta that much lower than the rest of the country? One can't help but wonder what he was able to buy with $3.24. And why his salary didn't allow him to pay for it himself.

There was, unfortunately, no Vita-Mix Blender on the expense sheets he submitted.

In the end, Strait didn't deserve to be Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs. Not only because of his questionable sense of ethics, but because of his complete lack of imagination and ambition, and his inability to calculate simple risk-reward ratios.

Next time you defraud a public university, at least make it worth your while.


[Red Worm] -- Hostless

I miss Historical Tarak. I've been living without him (if you can even call this living) for several weeks now, and it is hell.

They've been keeping me in this isolation room and performing tests on me the whole time. Someone please save me.

-Red Worm

[Historical Tarak] -- i am such an asshole

living in berkeley again, i occasionally run into some of my old students from my teaching days. for me, this is generally very exciting. the excitement is only tempered by my social awkwardness -- sometimes i'm just not sure what to say. so today, i was walking back to work from yali's and ran into an ex-student i was particularly fond of. her name was destiny and she was a senior when she was in my algebra class. she had been accepted with scholarship to sf state, but needed to pass my class, which she was in danger of not doing. she worked really hard, but was struggling with some of the material, so i spent a lot of extra time trying to think up new ways of explaining things to her and tutoring her at lunch and before class. she worked super-hard every day and was able to improve her grade quite a bit, and as a result i was able to give her a pretty good grade.

anyways. i was walking back to work and not paying a whole lot of attention when i hear "mr. shah!"

i look around, and then i see destiny at the atm.

me: hi!
destiny: mr. shah!
me: how are you?
destiny: good. do you remember me?

at this point, i wanted to say: "of course i remember you destiny. you worked your ass off in my class, and i really appreciated it. i took your success in that class very seriously and nothing made me happier than giving you a well-deserved passing grade at the end of the year. you were going to go to sf state, right? how did that go?"

instead, i became riddled with doubts: "what if i'm remembering wrongly and her name's not destiny? she'll think i'm a total jackass who doesn't remember his students. and what if she didn't end up going to sf state, or she did but didn't like it or it didn't work out for some reason? then it'll seem really rude to have brought it up. blah blah blah."

so, to avoid the risk of potentially looking like an asshole, i went another route, and definitely looked like an asshole. here's how it ended up going down:

destiny: good. do you remember me?
me: of course i do! [brief pause]. umm, it starts with a 'd', right?
destiny: yeah, it's destiny
me: yeah. sorry . . . so what are you up to now?
destiny: i'm at sf state, i'm in my last year.
me: wow, great!
[brief pause]
me: so, what do you study?
destiny: american studies, with a minor in africana and la raza studies.
me: wonderful!

i never ended up mentioning, for example, how proud i was of her and how glad i was that things worked out, or even that i remembered her and often wondered, or that when people asked me about my teaching days how i would often refer to the student who was struggling but really made an effort to learn the material and ended up doing well, and going to college.

i don't know why i'm such an asshole.


Monday, August 28, 2006

[Historical Tarak] -- oddly enough

i've been noticing patterns in the reuters "oddly enough" section lately. india is the home of all rare medical anomalies (flies flying out of penis, "An Indian businessman born with two penises wants one of them removed") and cruel doctors ("Three Indian doctors caught on camera apparently agreeing to amputate the healthy limbs of beggars"). japan is home of creative perversion ("A Japanese man was arrested this week after making 37,760 silent calls to directory inquiries because he wanted to listen to the "kind" voices of female telephone operators"), and china has some stressed out people ("Stressed-out Chinese can now unleash pent-up anger at a bar that lets customers attack staff, smash glasses and generally make a ruckus", also a woman caught smuggling -- wearing -- panties soaked in heroin). stupid thieves are most commonly found in germany and austria, although they are common in other european countries ("Thieves in Germany stole 7,500 euros ($9,554) from a man by throwing feces at him from behind and then pick-pocketing him while they pretended to help clean up the mess", "A would-be robber was arrested after he tried to hold up his local town hall, mistaking it for a bank, Austrian police said").

also, word of the day: diphallia. don't confuse it with genital bisection.

one last note: eliza has a new blog. it's really good.


Monday, August 21, 2006

[Moderator] -- D-Day

August 21, 2006 marks the 24th anniversary of the birth of intrepid HNB travel correspondent, brilliant med-student, and all-around hottie D-Dash.

Please celebrate accordingly.

Friday, August 18, 2006

[Historical Tarak] -- pizza


dude, all i'm saying is if i were in the idf fighting in some stupidass war, i'd at the very least expect some goddamn falafel. knaw' i'm saying?