He Said/She Said

He Said/She Said: Graduation Rates

Earlier this month, just in time for March Madness, newspapers reported that the UConn men’s basketball team has a dismal sounding graduation rate of 31%. You don’t need to have done well, or even taken a sociology class to know that’s bad.


He Said

How is it that only 31% of the men’s basketball team has managed to earn a degree? Academics and haterz are up in arms over this number, saying Coach Calhoun doesn’t care about academics, the university doesn’t care about the student-athletes it gives scholarships to, or how big time college sports are a farce.

All of which might be true… who knows?

However, this study (which has UConn ranked just above Arizona, who they just beat in the Elite Eight!) does not take into account players who left school early for the NBA. When you hear that someone is no longer in school and did not graduate, it conjures up an image of someone who bombed out of school, is living back with mom and just got a job manning the register at the local CVS (those people always seem SO miserable).

That’s not the case with those who have gotten drafted in the NBA. Those are individuals who have taken advantage of an incredibly lucrative opportunity and have turned their ability to shoot a basketball into millions of dollars. What a country! But should those players count against the graduation rate? Technically, yes. But it still seems misleading to call the school out for its miserable graduation rate when really its just got a ton of desirable players.

The other factor these numbers aren’t taking into account are the players who might have transferred to another school or returned to their native country, in the case of foreign born players. In reality, the only way to objectively look at these numbers is to get a list of players from the given time frame and look at it case by case. Due to privacy concerns, that might not be legal… but it should still be done. ‘Cause now we need to know! It would be nice to see The Courant run that story but they’re pretty lazy over there so don’t hold your breath.

So to all those people bugging out about the graduation rate; calm down and get a glass of brandy. In other news, UConn is in the Final Four! Go Huskies! And after the tournament, please do your homework.

She Said

As someone who did actually manage to graduate from UCONN, I just want to point out what a monumental task it actually is to get out of that school in four years. When I was there, the advising  was so abysmal and it was so common for students to have to spend an extra couple of semesters there, that I basically minored in “Getting Out of Here On Time.” When I finally showed up in my real advisor’s office (which didn’t happen until sometime Junior year) he was so shocked at how well I’d planned out my schedule that he barely knew what to do with himself. So, it’s no surprise to me that only 31% of the men’s basketball team manages to graduate.

I don’t really agree with Ring Nation that the numbers don’t matter, though. If it were my son, I’d want his ass to graduate! The NBA is great and all, but like any smart parent… I’d insist the kid had a back-up. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a hardass like me in their lives, though.

I’m also not buying this transfer/foreigner argument either. I mean, no school wants to admit its students would rather finish out their educations at BYU or return home to Estonia State University. Seriously, if you can’t convince your kids to hang around with the promise of a free (or partially paid for) education, and god-like treatment…you’ve got a serious problem.

For those Huskies that do manage to graduate, I have one piece of advice though. Don’t bother walking in your graduation. I was stressed out by graduating college beyond belief. I would have spent the day alone in the woods if I could have but I felt like I had to go to the ceremony, for my family. But if you’re part of the CLAS there is no way your family would even know if you actually walk or not…except maybe when the picture the school takes of you on the stairs and charges a ton of money for doesn’t show up. There are so many students they don’t even bother calling your name, and your family would have to have CIA spy equipment to find you in the crowd. So, if you’re one of the 30% that manages to earn a degree, I suggest pretending that you’re going to the ceremony and then just using the time to pack up your dorm room while getting hammered.

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He Said/She Said: Stewie & Bridgeport

You, like the rest of Connecticut, may have heard about Bridgeport’s big moment in the sun…getting made fun of on Family Guy.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF18swhgvg4

You know we love to tease Bridgeport, but we don’t like it when anyone else does it (even that smug, sexy bastard, Seth MacFarlane). But Stewie wasn’t exactly wrong about Bridgeport and we’re here to discuss it.

She Said

Frankly, I’m just tickled pink that anyone at Family Guy knows enough about Bridgeport to make a topical joke about it.

I like Bridgeport, I really do. Captain’s Cove is my favorite summer hang out, and you’ve all read about the fun PrissyBitch and I have had at bars all across Bridgeport. I’ve been to the zoo (which was depressing—but I’m biased, I find all small zoos depressing) and the Barnum Museum (which has the best miniature elephant poop around). I went curling. I even spent the 4th of July at a Bridgeport carnival surrounded by the overweight and scantily clad. So, I feel as though I speak with authority when I say Stewie was not wrong about Bridgeport.

Bruce Berrien, Flickr Creative Commons

Like most cities, it looks like a complete and utter shithole from the highway (think of Hartford’s butt-ugly building or New York’s co-op city). And if you get off the highway, well, it continues to look like a shithole. There are warehouses, abandoned buildings, seedy tattoo parlors, and some of the worst looking housing projects I’ve seen outside of 1990s John Singleton movies. The thing is: there’s nothing wrong with any of that.

Bridgeport’s downtown is trying to revitalize. Some nice apartment buildings, a Two Boots, and what appears to be a new fashion boutique are just a few of downtown Bridgeport’s attractions. But the downtown is small, and not where most people live. There are lovely parts of the Park City with old mansions, and beautiful parks, as well as the kinds of places white people warn their kids about. But aren’t these just part of what makes actual cities diverse, and worth living in?

A while back, Bridgeport was voted one of the best places to buy property. This is because people like PrissyBitch leave New York in search of their first home and find Bridgeport to be the only reasonably priced place within commuting distance. Which brings me to my next point: Revitalization really just means gentrification. Start moving in the displaced Manhattanites and before you know it, we’ll have Williamsburg Brooklyn on our hands (minus the enormous Hasidic population).

People love living in urban areas when it means art spaces, fancy restaurants serving cuisines from countries you can’t find on a map, and living next door to obnoxious hipsters whose ironic mustaches and over-use of flannel is insulting to the working class folks who used to live in the city, and wear mustaches un-ironically. (Ask Queer Theory about his exodus from Bridgeport for New Haven.)  They don’t like living in urban areas when it means empty factories, or living next door to people from countries you can’t find on a map. (Just ask New London.)

Well, there are some people who don’t have a choice. Living in the PJs next to the power plant is their only option and while a bunch of hipsters and yuppies moving into their city might benefit the tax base and school system, it won’t necessarily help the people who already live there if the city decides to bulldoze their homes for a convention center or some other bullshit.

Don’t get me wrong, I think our cities deserve all the help they can get—and I love a good condo in a renovated mill with exposed brick as much as the next gal—but city life isn’t all about coffee shops and nights at the symphony. The people who already live in Bridgeport deserve a safe, clean place to live. But cities can’t all be sanitized places filled with annoying outdoorsy types (I’m looking at you Portland, Oregon), and not every Times Square can be turned into Disneyland for adults. No, we need to learn how to accept and work with the gritty parts of our cities, how to live next door to them without judgement or gentrifying them into non-existence….because without the working class, how will hipsters find their next ironic trend?

He Said

The day after Family Guy aired, I opened up Facebook and found status after status recounting how right Family Guy was and what a total dump Bridgeport is. I realized that what happened was that joke at Bridgeport’s expense turned into an attitude of “I give up.”  I love that Anti-Couric (and certain other drunken CuTters) loves Bridgeport (I’ve been to Captain’s Cove with her…believe me, she loves it) the problem is that she’s largely in the minority. Most people I know won’t set foot in Bridgeport, and not because they’ve been there and realized there wasn’t really anything going on. To the contrary, they’ve never been there. They have no idea what’s going on in Bridgeport, and they’re not exactly sure why. They just heard that Bridgeport sucks and is just a bunch of run down shitty buildings…and hey, if Family Guy noticed, it’s gotta be true, right?

The problem is that the joke has taken on a life of its own and has morphed into an “I give up” attitude.  It’s true, I used to live in Bridgeport and I am one of the people who wears flannel to match my ironic mustache. I’m holed up in a pretty nice area of New Haven and I love it. I got out because I wanted a more thriving urban experience mixed with affordability. But I have family still living in Bridgeport and I hang out there a fair amount. Yes, downtown is getting a little better, and a lot of Bridgeport’s neighborhoods are not, but revitalization doesn’t have to mean gentrification. Nor does it mean that we obliterate the gritty parts of our city. It does mean that we have to figure out a way to help neighborhoods revitalize themselves, not so that new people can move in, but so that the people living there can feel invested in their own neighborhoods and turn them around with the help of a community. But first, we have to stop laughing, at least a little.

I’m not debating that it’s unattractive and that parts of it couldn’t be seen as down right dangerous, but its one thing for Family Guy to have a good laugh about it and make a point about what’s happened to Bridgeport and a million other places in the US.  It’s another thing for CT’s citizens to give up on one of its cities. Any de-industrialized city across the country knows exactly what’s going on here: suburban flight left a bunch of people on their own and then they started laughing from the outside.

It’s funny how you never hear anyone saying they went to catch the Greater Bridgeport Symphony show after hanging out at one of the 26 parks in the city. I can’t remember the last time I heard someone in southern Connecticut talking about the Bluefish game they caught or that they just got some kickass seats to the Soundtiger’s hockey game.* I’m not saying we should all move to Bridgeport; believe me, the city has a lot of work to do before I would consider moving back, but I think CT should ease up on Bridgeport and maybe try to make it a little better.

*Editor’s Note: Queer Theory isn’t checking in with The CuT often enough.

He Said/She Said: The Whale

So you’ve probably heard that Howard Baldwin, the new head honcho over at Hartford’s AHL hockey team, is changing the name (and colors) of the team from the Hartford Wolf Pack to the Connecticut Whale. Some people think it’s a marketing scam and other think it’s the first step to getting the Whalers back. Here at The CuT we think it’s a little of both.

He Said

There have been plenty of people saying Baldwin’s name-change is just a way to cash in on the now popular retro-Whalers gear. Megan Fox was recently photographed in a Whalers t-shirt and Adam Sandler wore one in his latest movie Grown Ups. As the person at The CuT who clearly knows the most about sports, you might expect me to agree.

No way.

As soon as I heard of the name change, I became immediately interested in going to more games this year. Yes, I realize it’s not the NHL, they’re not the real Whalers, and the team is still affiliated with the New York Rangers (ugh.) But there’s something about that name and those colors that will draw me and hopefully many others to games this season.

Us sports fans have to look at the bigger picture. Baldwin is not just looking to take over an AHL team. He’s looking toward the NHL. The south and westward expansion of hockey over the past few decades has not exactly gone to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s liking. Go figure, hockey hasn’t taken off in places like Arizona or Miami! Those southern cities’ teams are going to be ripe for the picking in the coming years and Baldwin wants to show that Hartford is a viable option.

In order to do that, Hartford has to be able to draw a crowd to the AHL games, and is there a better way to do that than name the team after the old team that the people of this area loved? I say it’s a great idea. While Bettman would rather cut a finger off than place a team in Hartford, he might not have much of a choice in the coming years unless he wants teams to relocate back to Canada.

While this might strike some as akin to Philip Morris changing its name to Altria, I don’t exactly see it like that. I’m just glad I’ll be able to once again root for “the Whale” and hum along to Brass Bonanza. Let’s go Whale!

She Said

Sometimes, it’s like RingNation is trying to prove my point for me:

“As soon as I heard of the name change, I became immediately interested in going to more games this year.”

He’s a marketer’s wet dream.

I think the name change is stupid for multiple reasons. First of all, what would happen if we did get an NHL team back and we already had the Connecticut Whale? Wouldn’t that get confusing? And will the vintage Whale stuff still be cool and sell like hotcakes when there’s this imposter Whale wandering around?

More importantly, why the hell isn’t Hartford supporting its team now? Wolf Pack games are a lot of fun, and cheap. AHL hockey players really beat the crap out of each other. And if we want the Whalers back, are we really too dense to figure out we have to support the Wolf Pack unless someone changes the team’s name? Oh…and what’s gonna happen to that old guy who goes to all the games and dances like crazy? It seems cruel to take the Wolf Pack away from him.

He Said/She Said: Sonic

We saw an article on The Courant’s website (from CTNow.com) about why we should be excited and grateful for Sonic. Yes, Sonic … the burger joint. Because the Anti-Couric happened to have visited the Sandy Hook Farmer’s Market recently and was in food-nut mode again, watching Food, Inc. –and some really ridiculous thing called Beautiful Truth–she got all up in arms about it. So, here is our take on Sonic. (more…)

He Said/She Said: World Cup Fever

Hello, fellow Americans! Soccer fever is running wild from Augusta to San Diego and the fever pitch is sure to pick up now that Uncle Sam’s soccer squad is moving on to the single elimination round where they’ll have a favorable draw and could make it fairly far in the world’s biggest tournament. Does this mean that MLS is going to rival the MLB, the NFL, and NBA to become a dominant sport in the U.S. like it is in the rest of the world? (more…)

He Said/She Said: Strippers

RingNation is off in Las Vegas for a bachelor party, most likely making it rain on some poor stripper…or getting sunburned by the pool, by himself. Either way, his impending departure got us thinking about the whole stripper-customer relationship, and we asked him to ponder it before getting on the plane so we could celebrate along with him and his buddies with a new “He Said/She Said.” (more…)

He Said/She Said: Corey Haim

RIP Lucas

We here at The CuT are in our late-20s. We’re damn near 30. Which means we’re in the age-group most likely to be affected by the death of one Corey Haim. Haim’s all-American good looks and sweet Vanilla Ice hair kept him from getting some of the prime roles that the other Corey got (think Stand By Me and The Goonies). I mean, Haim would have been a lousy “Mouth” but the Anti-Couric will admit to having enough of a crush on him to sit through a terrible movie where he humped Nicole Eggert at a ski resort.

So here are Asian-Persuasion and RingNation with their thoughts on the late, great Corey Haim. (more…)

He Said/She Said: TV Executives

We here at The CuT have been thinking an awful lot TV executives lately. Like the rest of America, we’ve been watching two dramas play out on our screens. One is a true tragedy, unraveling in a completely devastated Haiti. The other, is a feud between a bunch of rich white guys — and we find ourselves siding with the funniest of the rich, Conan O’Brien (a fellow CT-resident, or at least he used to be). But since we’re all pissed at TV execs for different reasons, we think it’s time to air our grievances publicly. (more…)