Tom Chappell vs. the Unfeeling Administrative Machine

I went to see the CSUN Graduation Evaluation department today. They have a physical office, but I’d always called them on the phone.

“When will you have my Grad Check done?”

“Oh, well, you submitted your Grad Check application late–”

“–late, six months ago–”

“Yes, yes. So, we should have an answer for you in four to six weeks.”

“But when I asked you this same question in early March, you were telling me mid-April, so that was six weeks at that time, and it’s mid-May now, and you’re still telling me four-to-six weeks…”

“Well, you have to understand, Mr. Chappell, you *did* submit your Grad Check late–”

“–late, six months ago–”

“Yes, yes. Well, another way to put it is that we are currently working on the forms submitted in September and October.”

“Ok, so no chance whatsoever that it will be done in four to six weeks. What about Commencement? Do I still go?”

“Oh, sure! You just go, 4:00pm Thursday, June 3. I mean, nobody gets diplomas at Commencement. We haven’t had a chance to evaluate the grades by then. Everyone just gets a handshake. The people who submitted their applications on time can expect to get their diplomas in July or August.”

“All right, I see. I’m not going to hold my breath. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.”

Larry Helmerich makes the point that back when we were in college the first time, in the late 70’s, schools managed to have the diplomas ready on the day, even though computers were so very much more expensive. Of course, clerical help are the very last thing that donors or legislators want to pay for (they’d rather pay for buildings, or labs, or teachers, and understandably so), so in a way, I can understand.

50 Years Ago Today…

…a few activist judges ruled that a “Separate but Equal” form of education for African-Americans was a clear violation of the United States Constitution.
(United States Supreme Court, Brown v. Board of Education)

Fifty years later, a few activist judges have compelled the State of Massachussetts to no longer require a separate-but-equal form of state-recognized union for gays and lesbians.

Fifty years from now, people will look back upon these events and say, “Well, of course! We’re a civilized country, you know.” It’s already legal in Canada right now. For that matter, 25 years ago, when Canada was setting up their newly-independent Constitution, they passed an equal rights clause for women as a matter of course.

Of course, they’re a civilized country, you know.

Welcome to Level Two!

California State University

Department of Computer Science
College of Engineering and Computer Science

Dear Student:

I am pleased to inform you that you have been admitted to the Computer Science Master of Science program as a fully classified student. On behalf of the faculty and staff I welcome you to the University and wish you success in your academic endeavor.

As a fully classified student you are free to take graduate classes and work towards your degree. Please visit our web-site to find out more about graduate requirements, writing a thesis, etc: You are welcome to email me (, see me during my office hours, or call me at 677-7776 if you have any questions.


Dr. Jack Alanen
Graduate Coordinator
Computer Science Department

Inhofe Outrage

WASHINGTON – At a hearing today held by the Senate Armed Services Committee investigating the horrible abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, dangerous right-wing fundamentalist idiot Sen. James Inhofe shocked those who had never before heard him speak.

“I’m probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment,” said Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican and well-known asshole.

“I am also outraged that we have so many humanitarian do-gooders right now crawling all over these prisons looking for human rights violations, while our troops, our heroes are fighting and dying. These prisoners, you know they’re not there for traffic violations – If they’re in cellblock 1-A or 1-B, these prisoners, they’re murderers, they’re terrorists, they’re insurgents. Many of them probably have American blood on their hands and here we’re so concerned about the treatment of those individuals.”

When asked to explain this novel interpretation of Christ’s teachings, prominent religious leaders stressed that Inhofe is an Oklahoma Republican and well-known asshole.

Globe & Mail 11 May 2004