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Friday, May 26, 2023

Good heavens! Let me sweep the deck and turn on the A/C...

 I have been very remiss in keeping up the blog. Ever since I was (re)elected Faculty Senate President, I was basically forced to resume using The Nameless Evil Rhymes-with-Chasehook Machine (TNE) to communicate with colleagues, trustees, and the public as a whole.

My time in office, however, is drawing to a close.  Come August, I will unfettered again, and I will likely only use TNE to do the college football column, and occasionally link to posts here.  It is unlikely I will switch to Substack, because a) I'm no copycat, and b) too many people are already associating Substack with "REE REE REE RIGHT WING BADTHINK REE REE REE." 

--oh, don't mind that.  I'm an Austro-Jeffersonian crank.  I dislike what the cool kids like, but not for the same reasons as most.

Monday, September 13, 2021


Brethren, let us gather and sing our opening hymn:

For truly, beloved, we all too often take for granted the things which make Saturdays worth watching, and when they are gone, all is sorrow and pain and talk of looking at the transfer portal for help.

1) GLASSES OF WATER TO THE BUCKEYES AND CYCLONES!  Oh Brother Booth, this loss was most unexpected and tragic.  No one had any idea that the lines were in need of prayer, yay and verily.  This is a sore blow, for while before was hope and avoiding a first-round playoff game against Bama, now is a question if tOSU can survive its own division.  At least this was a non-conference game, but Penn State and Michigan look better than they were.    As for the Cyclones, alas for them, they did take for granted that they had all the momentum, and it did vanish, ironically enough for them, like dust in the wind. 

2) SHOT OF WHISKEY FOR THE SEMINOLES!  We seek special comfort in a painful time for Sister Denham.  We have gone from emerging from the long darkness of post-Winston to the reality of losing to a FCS opponent.  At home.  On the last play of the game.  

And you, Trojans, belly up to the bar.  Brother Reid, Brother McDade, we have shots for you as well.  This was not as bad as being No. 1 and multi-touchdown favorites, but losing to Stanford never goes well.  Fight on, indeed, but not on the opening kickoff…

3) Longhorns, we do feel your pain, for you don’t realize how much you miss having multiple playmakers until you realize you don’t have any.  Brother McNeil, Brother Rienstra, did we not speak last week of this?  And lo, your ancient enemy fell upon you like…. well, hogs at the feed trough.   Your defense is not as bad as you might believe, because the score could have easily been 56-21 (63-14 if the pick isn’t made, that intended receiver was gone to glory otherwise).  At least you do have multiple quarterbacks of comparable ability…

4) which, my beloved Aggies, is more than we can say of ourselves.  This was the ugliest win since the Nebraska game of legendary status.  We were not ready to have our cheese moved.  Calzada needs to improve quickly or he will be Mond 2.0 for another two years.  Yet I predict this will not be the last time a good team almost chokes because they no longer have real depth at critical positions because of the transfer portal.   Bud Light Seltzer for us.

5) Notre Dame, you were warned, now twice.  Repent now, and come to games ready to dominate, or pay the price later.  Miami, we thought the Bama beatdown would have awakened a desire to prove something, but perhaps not. Your Seltzers are coming after the service.

6) Celebratory beverages all around for: Bama, Georgia, Oregon, Iowa (but you watch, Ferentz gonna Ferentz…) Cincy, Florida, BYU (glass of water for the Utes!), OU, Penn State, Arkansas, Auburn, VT, UNC, and Brother McDade’s other team, the Fighting Herms of Arizona State.   Sister Griffin, hottie tottie gosh-a-mighty, you can have one, too! 

7) Elsewhere: rejoice, Frog Nation, the Berkeley heathens know you are Christians by your love.  Baptists… well, that was a FCS opponent, but still, good for you.  Tech Mafia, you don’t get beer for squeaking by against SFA.  And in the great crosstown battle of ancient SWC rivals, we saw UH smash Rice into porridge. 

8) Pet peeve this week: this week’s gripe is end of half time management for the umpteenth time.  This time, though, it was Oregon at the end of the half being oddly aggressive against tOSU that I said was a mistake. As I recall, beloved, Oregon chose to  throw a pass on second and twenty from the OSU 46 with 50sec  the Buckeyes having one time-out.  This was a mistake, I argue, because you have one time-out yourself and they hadn’t been doing a good job of stopping the run.  You run something like a jet sweep to the outside and see what you can pick up for third down; if you get a first down, you can run one or more plays to the end-zone before trying to kick a field goal to go up by 10. If you don’t close the gap to FG range, you let the clock run down and make them burn the TO. Instead, you threw the pass and it went incomplete, saving OSU a TO and giving them a chance to get the ball back.  

9) Bama, Georgia, Oklahoma.  After that, it’s now all officially a fog.  Frankly, brethren, I just would like to see the Ags win more than seven games this season at this point.  The weekend was so stunning, I lack the spirit to give the barometer out at this time.

And now, let us all join in the closing song, where we contemplate again what happened when Arkansas greeted future conference-mate Texas..

Monday, September 6, 2021


 Beloved, let us gather and sing this morning’s hymn…

Oh dear, it appears Coach Kelley seems to have inserted one of his favorites into the list.  We’ll be counseling him on his choices soon.  

And now…

Glass of water for Mr. Grainger....

1) GLASSES OF WATER FOR THE HOOSIERS, TAR HEELS, HURRICANES, HUSKIES, AND BOTH SETS OF TIGERS!!!   Oh beloved, it is always a trial to see your team go down before Labor Day, yea and verily.   The Condolences team will be making visits this week to several of you.  Oh Sister Taylor, that was a battle of defensive titans, with no long-haired blond warrior to make the rescue at the end.  Oh Sister Rosenthal,  I also share your burden, and so does Deacon Collette:

Speaking of which, the LSU defense is still a “neaux.”  We offer comforting thoughts to Sister Chartlon, Sister Henke, and Brother Saurage, and point out that for 11M/yr you can probably get Jimbo —the price went up recently.  


But for true misery, you could have TWO schools and watch them both lose on the same weekend.  Green bean casserole and persimmon pudding to Sister Meacham (UNC, Indiana).  

2) Several teams won, but only deserve hard seltzer (“The Bartles And Jaymes for Millenials!”) for narrowly escaping defeat.  I’m looking at you, Notre Dame (and condolences to Sister Denham). Repent of not coming prepared and letting FSU come all the way back on you!  And Iowa State and Oregon, we see you sitting on the back row, thinking no one notices you playing with your phones!   And you, Ohio State and USC, we saw those halftime scores, quit looking so smug.  No game card for you, Brother Booth. Brother Reid, Brother McDade, you may need to look across town, one of your three rivals is waking up again.  And Sister Novak: 14-0 at the half against Florida Atlantic?    

Yet there is one such team that stands out above the rest...

And so, out of sheer principle, the last can of White Claw this week goes to the Sooners.  Brother Bloss!  This was Tulsa Tulane (worse!).  At home.   On short notice for them of change-of-venue.  And they almost won the game!  This is not a team that is going to survive the Big XII undefeated.

3) Oh Ags, you don’t deserve beer, either.  Yes, you covered the spread, but I was there on the radio (owing to a horrible miscalculation involving Xfinity tiered subscriptions and the lack of ESPNU) and that halftime score was nothing to yell about.  Now to be fair, more than one observer predicted that Kent State’s offense would cause problems in the first half, and that the game would not be put away until late.  But this wasn’t quite accurate on closer inspection.  KSU moved the ball, yes, but could not score (LEON!!!) A&M had the same problem, though, and while King’s picks may be debatable as to “not fair, those passes were deflected,” the fact remains he chose those receivers.  Jimbo may have been running a whole-team diagnostic, true.  But there are questions, and tomorrow is never a guarantee (is Colorado for real this year, at long last?)

Bier hier, bier hier, oder ich fallum! (Junge!)

4)  Celebratory beverages to the Georgia Bulldogs, even though they couldn’t score a point on offense any more than Clemson could.  Virginia Tech, your time may have come again, rejoice.  Penn State winning at Camp Randall is a worthy feat, although that game was a snoozer —and yes, it is a fair question to consider if we carelessly mock that game (16-10, scoreless at the half) when the Big Game Of The Day was 10-3 with zero offensive touchdowns.    

UCLA: Chip Kelly, your time has come… for another beer!  The Bruins may have turned a corner.

Rolling along: Cincy, Utah, Coastal Carolina, Bama.  Iowa Hawkeyes, enjoy your cold one, but remember, Ferentz does this every few years or so to keep his job: he makes some noise, maybe wins his division, and then it’s 7-5, 8-4, 7-5, rinse-and-repeat.   

5) T-sip watch: yes, Texas may be back.  Specifically, Texas may be a running back named Bijan Robinson.  Brother McNeil, Brother Rienstra, can you show the congregation that your team is more than a stellar runner and a hot young QB?

6) Elsewhere: Guns Up!  The Tech Mafia makes a statement over its soon-to-be-cross-state-in-conference rivals (condolences to Brother Duplantis).  Alas, the Owls had Arkansas right where they wanted them, but then they remembered that they’re Rice and let the game get away from them.   Baylor outlasted Texas State, but the year is still young.  Did Lamar play this weekend?  

7) Airing of the Grievances: this is an old one, but it really came out in the second quarter in the OU/Tulane game when the replay people took a longer forever than usual to make a call on an out-of-bounds play near the goal line.  Folks, this is 20211  You’re telling me that with all of ESPN/ABC’s resources, you can’t have a time-stamp on every camera feed so that you can instantly align all replay angles simultaneously?  

8) Bama, Ohio State, and Georgia are in leagues of their own at this point.  After that, there is a serious drop-off.  We can debate whether A&M should jump OU (flip a coin), or if Clemson should fall out of the Top Five (they should), but for now that four-spot is a sacrificial lamb.  This may change as the season goes on.

9) Barometer games for the coming week are not just about the big games.  They are also measures of relative strength, reexaminations of earlier assumptions, and morbid curiosity.  So for the coming weekend, I ask for wisdom and discernment for the following contests:

  • Coastal Carolina/ Kansas
  • Ohio State/Oregon
  • OkieState/Tulsa
  • Pitt/Tenn
  • UCLA/Fresno State
  • Ags/Colorado
  • Iowa/ISU
  • Texas/Arkansas
  • Washington/Michigan
  • Utah/BYU

And now, beloved, let us depart in a spirit of certainty, much as Coach Edsall at UConn knowing immediately after his game was over that he would be “retiring” at season’s end. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021


 I did abandon Facebook as a daily place to post things and such, but there is one project I decline to let go, and that is BAH GAWD!  IT'S COLLEGE FOOTBALL!!!

I will be making my BAH GAWD! posts here, on my own blog, and cross-posting them to Facebook. This will allow me a bit more creative leeway in terms of formatting, plus I can start inserting graphics and memes, such as when a Big Ten team inevitably loses an easy game that they were previously favored to win:

--yeah, Brother Booth, I'm looking at you.

Tagging will be actually become easier, as I won't have to edit the names in the textbook to reflect FB status; I can just type in folks as I see fit and then use the FB tag feature when I cross-post.

  1. GLASS OF WATER FOR LSU!  Brennan is out indefinitely, and I am not sold on the other guy.
  2. GLASS OF WATER FOR ZACH CALZEDA: Jimbo named Haynes King as his starter.  We'll see...
  3. GLASS OF WATER FOR THE B1G.  That Covid/forfeit policy may come back to bite someone on the hiney this year --it SHOULD have cost tOSU its conference title slot last year, but whatevs.
I will likely post the first full installment on Labor Day, although a Kickoff Weekend version will be here in a few days.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Is Face Mask Skepticism Beyond The Pale? (Reason.com)


From the beginning, however, the Great American Mask Debate has been strongly influenced by partisan and ideological commitments, with one side exaggerating the evidence in favor of this precaution and the other side ignoring or downplaying it...  But rational discourse entails rebutting arguments by citing contrary evidence instead of treating them as too dangerous for people to consider.

I generally refuse to discuss masking with people anymore.  It's an article of holy faith, and I'm not prepared to expend the energy at this point against either side's positions. I'll wear one, but I don't like it, nor do I think it's going to save anyone's life.  

Folks, we've seen this movie before: Ultraviolet.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Chock Full O' Wisdom Today!

  1. Men, zippers are your friends.  Keep them UP! 
  2. When in doubt, get it in writing.
  3. Email is forever, particularly when the Open Records Act is involved (Texas Government Code Chapter 552 passim)
  4. When they pound the table harder and harder, they've run out of facts and the law is against them.
  5. Any bureaucracy over a certain size becomes more concerned with its survival than its mission, and most politicians over a certain level are more interested in serving their own interests than serving the public.
  6. Follow the money.
  7. If the medicine cures one disease but leaves you vulnerable to something worse, consider riding it out. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Relational Contracts and HCC: some observations

Innovation In Contracting

Psychological contracts are unwritten relationships in which an individual holds a belief in mutual obligations between themselves and another party. An often-cited example is an employment relationship. There may be a written employment contract but, beyond that, an employee may have tacit expectations about job security, personal development, recognition, promotion, growth, personal well-being and respect. If these are not met, they may withdraw effort. Employers are well-advised to empathize with the unwritten expectations of the psychological contract in order to optimize employee motivation.

Okay, that's something that tends to be forgotten by many administrators.  Good ones remember it, though.

A brand promise can be a similar psychological contract. Brand make overt promises regarding the benefits they claim to bring to users. In turn, users create their own expectations — as we always emphasize, value is subjective and customers engage in a value learning process when they interact with brands. Their subjectively-defined expectations undergo continuous change, especially as they make comparisons with alternative offers and alternative sources of satisfaction. It’s imperative for brand owners to monitor the evolution of customer-perceived mutual obligations. Customers hold a strong perception of how much consumption work they have to do to receive the benefits that the brand promised, and if the equation gets out of balance, they’ll withdraw their effort. 

Now this has multiple applications.  The idea of creating a unified culture at HCC, for instance, runs into challenges at multiple levels.  Viewed through this lens,  the students approximate being customers in the classroom.  The challenges of learner engagement can be understood from this angle in the present day.  This may not entirely be a desirable thing, but we cannot ignore the perspective entirely.  

At the same time,  instructors are internal customers and the various levels of administration are providers, particularly when we talk about culture.  The money quote: "It’s imperative for brand owners to monitor the evolution of customer-perceived mutual obligations."  If upper-level administrators are ignoring their end of the mutual obligations, they will not get positive results.  This is something we have seen repeatedly over the last twenty or more years: when faculty feel like their buy-in is not going to get them anything useful in return, they won't do it.  The implied threat of "we can find someone else, there are lots of adjuncts who want jobs" rings hollow, though, because we are not a closed society --word gets out when a place is not a good place to work, and we have trouble attracting quality applicants.  

Finally, the community at large is a customer base unto itself irrespective of the students.  If the college is not providing added value, they will not support the college.  This is why it is critical that the college maintain a good public image --and that means being honest and open and admitting mistakes when they occur.  

Sunday, July 4, 2021

We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident

  • That all are created equal
  • That we are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights
  • That among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
  • That when people complain about this country being a failure, most of them are at heart longing to make those words live and breathe in the world around them
  • That there are scoundrels out there who would twist that disappointment to their own ends
  • That the cure is oftimes worse than the disease, insofar as what the scoundrels would have of us
  • That when they move to create silence, they do not have your best interests at heart
  • That when good people do nothing, the nothing will consume all

Saturday, June 26, 2021

More Wisdom!

  • Orwell was right about so many things, it scares me a lot of the time. 
  • "Four legs good, two legs bad" has a modern equivalent; I leave it to you to discern its identity.
  • Bonus points: notice it's already begun a transition to "Two legs better!"  It's subtle, but I assure you that it's happening.
  • Avoid making policies that are designed to remedy bad management.  The solution is better management.  The more policies, the more lawyers.
  • Illegitimi non carborundum may be bad Latin, but it's still good philosophy.
  • It's rarely too late to do the right thing, but it helps to start early.
  • Maintain a wide circle, it broadens the perspective and enhances accuracy.  It's still okay to keep your own counsel, though.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

"Yes, yes, yes, I heard. Stop bugging me."

There appears to be a scandal in the offing just now, and sadly, I know some of the involved parties. For that reason, I cannot make public comment, and I'm tired of answering the phone and text messages.  What's done, is done.  So what have we learned?

  • Little Brain is evil. Don't trust Little Brain.
  • Thorough background checks are never a bad idea for anyone.
  • Tell the truth early and often, because once you lie, it's over.
  • Document, document, document.
  • Fight like hell, but do what's right, and you will sleep well through the night.

Monday, June 7, 2021


  • If you go to bed at 7pm, you should not be surprised by waking up at 2am. 
  • Your students will not read the Syllabus unless you make them.
  • No matter how early you login to make tweaks to your course, there will always be at least a few students who already go in and are asking questions.
  • Everyone likes tomatoes.  They are less eager for squash.
  • Idle hands are the devil's workshop; idle feet walk the road from Matt Smith to Matt Berry.  (nb both are fantastic)

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Gardening at night is never where...

 ...you want to be at any other time of the year except now.  We are now entering the "get it done before 9" portion of the summer, and that occasionally is going to mean low-light situations.  But it has to be done.  Now that I have downtime, I am starting to get things cleaned up thoroughly from the freeze.  It's too much to do in one day, even working through the mid-day sun. So I break it up into sections.  

Today was preliminary weeding in the Near Yard (as opposed to the Front Yard and the Far Yard), and that ended up involving the flamethrower ("Dracaris!")  I couldn't go all-out on the patio because the Bermuda grass is finally showing signs of life and I want it to take over between the flagstones.  Also, the shrimp plant has recovered and is going to remain the centerpiece of its bed, so no mass-flaming there.  

In theory, I should be also working on syllabi, reading, and doing a grade appeal panel, while dealing with larger integrity issues across the college.  I am, in fact, but I'm very non-linear in my approach.  

Monday, May 17, 2021

The rare moment of quiet

For absolutely no reason, I got up before the Mrs. today.  I would have gone for a ride, except it takes me about an hour to be fully ready, and by then I am on household duty in case Boy wakes up early and decides to turn on the TV.

There's only so much one man can do around the house until he annoys his still-somnambulant spouse. Laundry has its limits, as does policing the kitchen.  In the end, the office is still the safest refuge, at least until the coffee is ready for sharing (two Splendas, whipped cream on top --I take mine straight, the way God and Mom intended).

Grades were posted at 5:45am, and files uploaded shortly thereafter to the departmental server.  Enough of you have heard my semi-annual tirade about how this is NOT 1997 and most of this is pure kabuki BS, so I will spare you all but the details: Canvas plus PeopleSoft plus auto-generated reports from the Registrar equals much less work for faculty IF people become even halfway aware of how things work.

So I am done, at least until students actually notice their grades and start whining.  And it is at this point that they all get reminded of what I said on the very first day: "The time to worry about your average is today, not the end of the semester, and certainly not the day after the semester ends."  

Meantime, I drink my coffee in peace.  

Friday, May 7, 2021

An Open Letter On Shared Governance

To: my HCC colleagues, including admins and Trustees but primarily faculty
Re: Shared Governance

“David, why is shared governance eroding?”

Shared governance is eroding because there are those in the administration who believe that faculty will always do what is mandated, without complaint. If the mandates were mostly reasonable, or could be shown to produce demonstrably positive outcomes, that would be one thing.  But increasingly they are not so.  Yes, the Senate speaks out when we see questionable things, but there is a distinct impression that we are merely rabble-rousers.

I really don't want to get into personalities, because multiple fingers can be pointed at multiple people.  Ultimately, though, it comes back to "rank-and-file" faculty basically not speaking up.  Leaders believe it's just the same group of people, always causing problems and making mountains out of molehills.  Yes, I speak loudly and often, perhaps too much so.  I'll own it.  But if I don't speak, who will?

The Board, I feel, sometimes believes faculty are only self-interested, and have begun to ignore us. Again, part of this is because they are used to seeing the same people making the same complaints. This must end.  The Board will eventually meet in-person once again. When they do, we need to be there, and not just “the usual suspects.”

Those of us fighting the fight for shared governance are not in this for our own hind ends, or to advance our careers.  We are in this because at the heart of shared governance is the a priori tenet that faculty are the experts in dealing with students, and that the things we bring forward are going affect the students at some point.

True, HCC has traditionally been an exemplar in shared governance. Faculty here have had a louder voice than at our neighbors' joints.  Yet our peers also teach us something: happy faculty mean better outcomes.  No, that's not a demand to "pay us or we'll do lousy jobs." Being happy faculty is more than just being well-compensated.  It's about feeling valued as part of the institution. 

When you love going to your job (or, pace Covid, logging in to your job), you can accept certain trade-offs.  One of the trade-offs we at HCC have historically made is that we aren't paid as much as our friends at Austin CC, or Tarrant County, or Alamo.  But we can't do all of the giving here.  We can't lose our voice in helping run the college AND be paid less AND be made to do things which will ultimately hurt our students, all good intentions notwithstanding. 

If regular faculty sit by and let these things happen, or rely on the same folks to fight their fights, it's all going to keep going downhill.  And I cannot fight alone.  I'm tired.  I should be up at the lake, doing a lot more fishing and cigar-smoking and grading.  

But not yet. I will be heard instead. Here I stand, I can do no other.

Join me.


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Some of the Austrians have already said we're entering Weimar territory. They may be right.

Read the whole thing, as The Man might say.   But then go starting looking at these folks at the Mises Institute.  The Austrians have long warned that inflationary effects usually benefit those nearest the spigot, and that when they have exacted all the benefit they can from it, they turn the spigot off to stop the flooding from reaching their doorsteps.  We may be seeing this now, as even the Fed is starting to say that interest rates may need to rise to stop inflation.

Hey, I remember the Seventies vividly.  Inflation is for tires, not for people.