Tag Archives: Rice Thresher

New York Times is offering online classes for college credit

I always knew Krugman was a professor, but this is getting ridiculous. According to the AP guys, The New York Times is going to be offering online classes for college credit.

The New York Times Knowledge Network and New Jersey’s Fairleigh Dickinson University are teaming up to offer online courses in subjects ranging from homeland security studies to global health care.

Of course, there are many jokes to be made here about what classes the NYTimes will offer.

Krugman 101: Always Being Right

Brooks 302: If you cite enough studies in one article, you won’t have to cite any in your next one

Wedding Announcements 201: Why didnt you go to Penn?

Style 203: Youth Trends… uh… shit, make up something

And Kyle B’s contribution: NYT 101: PAYWALL

I can never get into that class, so I just get notes from HuffPost.

Anyways, I brought up the topic on Facebook, and Lily made an (un?)intentional reference to a Backpage I once did.

Well, in response to Ames calling me out (pdf: Evan classes Backpage):

These jokes are funnier if you went to Rice.

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Eliminate Cardozo’s Student Speaker, so Elect Me!

I had another column, as usual, in this month’s Cardozo Jurist. I was inspired by an April 21, 2006 column in the Rice Thresher, written by none other than CNN’s own Jo Ling Kent. You see, Rice graduation doesn’t have a student speaker, and Kent thought that this needed to change. As she wrote in: “Commencement deserves student speaker”

Not having a student speaker at commencement is like having free tuition in 2006: It is shocking and grossly archaic. I polled a few students for their reactions to this, and most responded with some variation of, “We don’t have a student speaker? I just assumed we did.”

But according to the Board of Trustees’ newly adopted mission statement, Rice is “a leading research university with a distinctive commitment to undergraduate education.” Keeping this in mind, inviting a student or two to share anecdotes about their Rice experiences would fall in sync perfectly with the undergrad-centric goal of the university.

However, Kent never really explained why a student speaker would be such a good thing beyond her general claim that it would fit with the goals of the university. But that is an awfully broad claim. Rather than back it up, she spent the rest of the column preemptively rebutting arguments against a student speaker.

So what exactly is holding Rice back from unveiling a refreshing and long-overdue twist on commencement? Over the past year, I discovered that there are a number of administrators, faculty and alumni who oppose the idea of a student speaker lineup every May for either flimsy or outdated reasons.

Most people said picking a student speaker would be political and therefore unfair. A selection process via committee or election would be inadequate, they say. Simply granting the Student Association president a few minutes to speak might not be fair either, given the voter turnout or lack thereof. With this logic, they claim no student should speak at all.

So, if everyone does not agree on who the U.S. president should be, we should just forgo the presidency altogether. Brilliant.

Another major point of contention is whether a student speaker would jeopardize a controversy-free ceremony. Heaven forbid we ignite any controversial dialogue on this campus. And for those who are worried about streakers and protesters, do not forget that commencement falls on May 13 this year. Nudity will inevitably be front and center.

And if protesters are a worry, tell me about a time when you have seen enough protesters at Rice to disturb an event, and I will show you a pre-med who does not obsess about organic chemistry.

And finally, my favorite argument: An additional speaker would force commencement to last too long. Well, if that is a problem, switch on a handheld mini-fan and enjoy the show.

I remember at the time supporting her position. But after talking it over with people in the Thresher office, and just generally around campus, I was convinced otherwise. Stephanie Taylor summed up the arguments against a student speaker quite well in her letter to the editor. Notably, the final sentence:

Instead of allowing a few students to inflate their egos for a few minutes, Rice should continue to make commencement a time when all graduates are congratulated in the same manner — in heavy gowns and by people who have actually been adults in the real world.

There is a certain mystique to graduation. However, after sitting through my own high school and college graduations, I think it is a fair assumption that all the grandeur is generally an illusion. You sit. You wait. You listen. You want to go home. By law school, we should all be over that, and merely appreciate the graduation ceremony stripped down to its most basic essence. A graduation speaker at least has the premise of being someone who can give guidance as you enter the real world, or for law school, the legal world. But a student speaker can’t say anything that everyone else at the school already doesn’t know.

And if a student speaker does have something important to say, why wait until the last minute to do it?

But these days, even the role of graduation speaker seems to be reduced to a celebrity position to appease students and get attention, in exchange for cash payment of course.

Cardozo has a student speaker. Another addition to the already long ceremony. However, that position is elected by whichever group of students decides to show up to a speech competition and listen to all the potential speakers. Thus, I threw my hat in the ring, with the promise of not giving a speech if elected. I probably won’t win, but in your heart, you know I’m right.

Anyways, my column (pdf: Evan for cardozo speaker)

Creepy alum in the Rice Trasher

Every year, the Rice Thresher comes out with an annual April Fools (or just whenever) satirical version that is entirely unrelated to the Thresher, titled the Rice Trasher.

Apparently starting in the 1920s, there was an annual April Fools’ Day parody of the Thresher known as The Flesher, which was printed nearly every year through the middle of the century. Only since the 1960s was this satirical version known as The Trasher.

However, this traditions has had its gaps and missed years, most recently starting in 2008 because of my own hubris and penchant towards libel. However, it is back this year with a rather impressive and hilarious issue.

In addition to the usual sex jokes, penis jokes, and staff bonability bracket, there was also a possible reference to me, Evan. (pdf: creepy alum)

Obviously, Sarah is the creepy alum

Now, I’m not sure it is about me. It is difficult to tell just what exactly is going on, given what I assume is Davers‘ rhetorical version of glitch art. However, there is another creepy alum in the picture: Sarah. So perhaps the creepy alum referenced is actually her.

Or maybe Stephen. It is probably Stephen.

Michael Cera is coming to Rice University

Attention all mumbling, awkward, beta-dogs: Michael Cera is coming to Rice University. Apparently, Cera plays bass for Mister Heavenly, which will be performing at the 20th annual KTRU Outdoor Show.

You should go. I imagine it’ll look something like this:

However, this is not the first Rice-Cera interaction. In 2008, Michael Cera was the Backpage write-in candidate for RTV5 station manager. (pdf: Michael Cera Rice Thresher Backpage)

Him?

Julie said that he wasn’t coming. But it was just one of her tricks, which is something that a whore does for money. Or candy.

Anyways, KTRU set the record straight.

So check it out as he bass-battles against Double Dragon DJs, or an Albino vegan, or Will Fischer for station manager, or whatever.

Steve Holt!!!!!!!

March Madness and the Tournament of Everything

So I filled out my March Madness bracket. My method was based around favoring schools that friends support or attended. Also, my distaste for Duke. Usually I suppress Texas A&M, but they haven’t done anything too awful in a while, and I recently had some quality interactions with some A&M folks. Anyways here is my hastily filled bracket:

But of course, March Madness is also time for another wonderful tournament: the Tournament of Everything!

I did the first Tournament of Everything when I worked on the St. John’s Review. Honestly, Joe Mathlete had done it before and I just stole the idea from him. In high school, I actually created a big chart and had people vote for a winner every day until we completed the entire bracket. I think when Joe did it, Luby’s Macaroni and Cheese won. And this is before Pappas Restaurants bought Luby’s and grossed up their delicious Mac and Cheese.

The Tournament was continued to the Rice Thresher Backpage, where I just kinda made it myself. The general concept is a competition between the best things of everything. Of course, it is somewhat limited by the author’s own provincial knowledge, but I tried to include some great universal concepts. (pdf: ToE 2006ToE 2007)

That is a bit grainy, here is a closer view of the bracket.

And the 2007 version:

I’m not entirely sure which year was better. 2007 doesn’t have the quirky breakdown and analysis that was in the 2006 version. This difference is probably because I was busy with my expanded role in the Thresher after the March staff turnover.

However, one of the critiques about the 2006 version was that it was too much of a “Tournament of Evan” rather than something more universal or accessible. While I still think it was an inspired joke to have Males ages 18-35 be the winner in Adult Swim v. Guitar Solos, in what universe would Mountain Dew go that far? Answer: The Evan Universe! If you compare, I did try to fix it a bit in 2007, eliminating some inside jokes and expanding the number of Rice jokes. Though the Magic Flute from Mario 3 was my favorite carryover. Alas, I was slowly learning my lesson that the Backpage was supposed to be for everyone and not just a bunch of Evan jokes.

This blog thing, on the other hand, can be nothing but Evan jokes! Which is why I am planning the first annual Tournament of Evan. In it, I would lavish myself with naval gazing, self-obsession, and inside jokes as I compete the various aspects of my life and attention against one another, breaking down the safety barrier between character schtick and actual personal issues, blurring into a grey mush of neuroses and spelling errors.

The 4 Categories for the Tournament are, so far: Women, Popular Media, Funny Third Thing, and Politics/History. If you have any recommendations or submissions or critiques or personal insults, please feel free to contribute in the comments or just yell at me IRL.

Cigarettes are not magic, comma, don’t mess with Texas.

I wrote a column. The style reminds me a lot of my later work on the Thresher, where I had a point, but only through a layer of jokes or metaphors. I didn’t know what I was going to write for this issue, and then suddenly the topic came to me after the first day of the semester and I saw overflowing ash trays and cigarette butts all over the sidewalk in front of Cardozo. Honestly, majority of the time writing this column was spent trying to determine the perfect band to fit the tableau of a high school, weeknight concert. Some people recommended the Strokes, but I thought it was a bit too mainstream. Joy Division was too old. Republica, I think, was a good choice and also a subtle Venture Brothers reference.

Once I got through there, the rest flowed pretty well. The cigarette fairy part is stolen from Brett and Dan, though I think any jokes coming from 251 are officially joint works under WIPO. Honestly, this is a column I have been wanting to write since junior year at Rice, when we would mock the girls and their gay friend who smoked cigarettes outside the Hanszen servery, and then just throw their butts on the ground.

And the part about cigarettes as some Antionettian opulence is stolen directly from an IM conversation with Sara Franco.

Originally, the column had a different ending, but I wanted something punchier, and was reminded of an old commercial titled “Jimmy,” about a kid who just goes around collecting old cigarette butts. And it is nice to remember that Don’t Mess With Texas is an anti-littering campaign. Now only if fracking, or pollution, were considered littering.

Anyways, my column from this month’s Cardozo Jurist: Cigarettes are not magic, don’t mess with Texas. (pdf: Mintz cigarette texas column)

Another Evan Mintz column for the cardozo jurist, this time about littering

Flashback Fridays: Nuclear Bongs, North Korea, and Pot at Cardozo

[EDIT: As seen on Above the Law]

Last month North Korea launched a small attack against a South Korean island. This was probably North Korea’s biggest provocation since its (failed?) test of a nuclear weapon. At the time, I referenced this event with a Rice Thresher Backpage titled: North Colleges Test Nuclear Bong. (pdf: North Colleges Test Nuclear Bong)

James Baker asked for an original copy of this Backpage.

I was rather proud of the Backpage at the time. The original drafts were a little too blunt (haha!) with some of the pot jokes, but then EIC David Brown helped smooth them out. In a depressing turn, apparently some Rice students did not quite get that map of Rice was supposed to be in the shape of North and South Korea, with North and South colleges at appropriate ends. But perhaps worse, some students didn’t even realize that was a map of Rice. Maybe if you don’t know what to look for, it is hard to see. Oh well.

Anyways, this Backpage is rather appropriate for a flashback this week. The Korean conflict may be a bit tardy, but it does demonstrate my habit of writing pot-related columns that will surely damn attempts at finding a job. Just this month, I wrote a column for The Cardozo Jurist about how the law school should provide free marijuana for students. It is supposed to be a satirical reaction to the law school’s new restrictions on alcohol and alcohol advertising, and also to the study aids pills that are normally popular during finals. And I’m sure I made some other points in the column, which you most certainly will find to be an exemplar of Swiftian wit. (pdf: Mintz cardozo jurist pot article)

However, this column is not the only reason why that Backpage was appropriate for this flashback friday. At the time, James Baker had just released a new book, titled: “Work Hard, Study…and Keep Out of Politics! Adventures and Lessons from an Unexpected Public Life.” I used the occasion to mock one of Rice’s resident talking clubs, the Baker Institute Student Forum, which did a very good job of discussing current events and then handing out name tags at Baker Institute speaking events.

Anyways, apparently James Baker’s wife, Susan Baker, has just written a book titled Passing It On. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle about her new book, Mrs. Baker demonstrated that either she is hilarious, or just doesn’t care anymore, or funny third thing, as she used the interview as an opportunity to talk about her sex life with the former Secretary of State, Secretary of Treasury, and Chief of Staff James Baker. I guess she wanted him to do to her what he did to the country during the 2000 election recount. (My jokes are so funny and topical!)

“I used to think I needed to be a good supportive wife, so I shouldn’t fuss or stomp around or be angry. But holding all that in makes you emotionally sick. So I started expressing my feelings. Jimmy was surprised at first, but over time, it gave him a new respect for me, and without a doubt deepened our relationship.”

She pauses for a second.

“Thank heavens for good sex. It can get you through a lot.”

I doubt that James Baker would request the original version of whatever Backpage is associated with this recent news event. As Tim Faust put it: The Baker Institute for Pubic Policy. Zing!