Category Archives: College Fun

The factory goes for a beat-down at MSU

Those blue-collar, wall-smashing Emus are a 45 point underdog against Michigan State this weekend. That game starts at noon in East Lansing. It sounds like the coach is preparing for a loss and pitching the game as a learning opportunity. Here’s a quote from an article in The Eastern Echo:

“This week – massive respect for a program that again you can tell really believes in themselves and are confident, they’re well coached, they’re disciplined – they have an aura about them and you respect that because that’s the kind of program that you want to build and you want to have,” EMU coach Chris Creighton said. “So we’re definitely excited about the opportunity to continue to improve and to go up there and to play Eastern Michigan football.”

Or “we’re just happy to be here.”

For some reason, it occurred to me this morning that the opening scenes from the classic silent film Metropolis is perhaps too accurate a metaphor for “The Factory” so far this year. You have to get about 4:30 minutes into the video to see the scene I’m talking about, and if you’ve never seen it before, you should. Anyway, maybe the Emus will beat the spread.

Meanwhile, the liberal arts college in Ann Arbor is hosting a game of the football with the University of Utah at 3:30 (plan you Ann Arbor travel accordingly). That’s supposed to be close, but the highlight of the whole thing is liable to take place before the game with (as reported in mLive) a 15 aircraft fly-over to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the aerospace engineering program at U of M. My guess is they’ll take off from Willow Run, so maybe we’ll get a show in Ypsi, too.

“Professor rants against professors who hate their students”

I came across this the other day on Facebook, and it struck me as the perfect thing to share on the first day of actual classes of the semester. I think this dude– Karl Gude at Michigan State– is spot-on right.

Oh, don’t get me wrong; I get kind of frustrated by some students some of the time. I think that’s just human nature. But What I think Grude is ranting about here are teachers of all sorts who seem to really not like their students, I suppose because of the frustration of having to teach them the same things again and again and again (though of course, it’s always new to the students and just “again” for the teacher).

Higher education is definitely a competitive field– especially for faculty on the tenure track– but I think too many professors make it a competition of sorts between them and their students. Anyway, I’ll be watching this again before my first face to face class today.

Emus break down the wall (barely) to get to a factory hit by lightening. And they won (barely).

A Facebook friend and EMU colleague posted this link as a comment: from the Fox News Sports College Football reporter comes “Eastern Michigan’s attempt to bust brick wall goes horribly.” I have to quote from it kind of extensively:

For some reason, Eastern Michigan decided it would be a good idea for its players to LITERALLY take sledgehammers and bust through a brick wall before entering the field because, you know, what could possibly go wrong?

I don’t know it this was supposed to be a metaphor for the kind of toughness the Eagles want on their team or the resilience of the program or their ability to conquer all challengers. The only thing that matters is the wall stunt did not work out so well. Here, watch the video:

(Still laughing … give me a few more seconds.)

OK. Look, this isn’t to pick on the Eagles. This is to pick on forced metaphors that are totally unnecessary. Want to be a tough and resilient team? Run out of the tunnel like normal people and go whip somebody’s ass.

Luckily, Eastern Michigan beat Morgan State 31-28 and nobody met the wrong end of a sledgehammer.

The music so makes this video.

Lucky they won indeed, but as one commentator pointed out in the article on mLive, winning by a field goals when you were picked to win by 19 isn’t exactly decisive. But hey, a win is a win.

By the way, I understand there was some sort of weather delay/lightning delay. How long did that go on? Kind of weird because I live maybe 2 miles from the stadium and I didn’t notice a thing.

And enough with tortured factory metaphor already! Please, for the love of whatever Gods you worship, no more greyness, big wrenches, hard hats, sledgehammers, bricks, time clocks, etc., etc.

And football begins again….

Just a few fun-facts to welcome you to the first Saturday of the football season:

  • The UM versus Appalachian State game is in Ann Arbor at noon. Plan your travel into and around AA plans accordingly.
  • There’s kind of an interesting photo gallery at mLive about Michigan Stadium here.  My main response to Michigan Football is “Go Hawks,” but I have to say that the tradition of it all at Michigan is pretty impressive.
  • EMU is a 19 point favorite over Morgan State for tonight– though I’m not sure when the game starts. I couldn’t even find that info on the emueagles web site and there are zero stories about the Emus in mLive. I guess when the big story is “hey we’ve got a grey field” when the game actually begins and such just isn’t as important.

“Why I’m Asking You Not to Use Laptops” (though if you were in my class, I’d ask you to bring your laptop every day)

Also from a loyal reader (though I came across this one myself, too): from the Chronicle of Higher Education blog/site Lingua Franca, “Why I’m Asking You Not to Use Laptops,” by Anne Curzan, who is an English professor at the University of Michigan. In the nutshell, her reasoning for the no laptop rule includes the dangers of multitasking and not paying attention and being distracting to others because of your open laptop. And she even trots out a frankly dubious study about how it’s better to take handwritten notes.

These basic arguments against laptops come up often enough with faculty in the hallways and at department meetings and the like. I always find it interesting how many of my faculty colleagues who have these kinds of “no technology” rules in their teaching spend time in various meetings with half an eye on their smartphones or tablets or laptops.

In any event, I disagree with Curzan. For starters, I think the dangers of “multitasking” are grossly exaggerated. Don’t get me wrong– I’m not saying we should all be texting while zipping down the Interstate at 80 miles an hour or whatever. I’m just saying that most of us do a certain level of multitasking all the time. As I’m typing this post, I’m listening to music, something I almost always do while writing (though not usually while reading). We drive and drink coffee, which is probably a more dangerous habit than talking on the phone while driving. My wife and son habitually play silly games on various devices while we watch junk TV as a family. And yeah, I think you can be listening to and even paying attention to a lecture or a meeting while having your laptop open.

I also think what Curzan is also saying to her students (probably not consciously of course) is “pay attention to me because I’m the professor/boss/sage on the stage.” To which I guess I’d say “well, be more interesting.” Or, as is the case with the kinds of classes I teach, have students talk with each other, make stuff, and otherwise interact. Admittedly, that’s a lot easier to do in the kind of classes I teach (writing courses capped at 15-25 students) than it is to do in the big lecture hall classes Curzan is teaching. So until we get rid of these big lecture hall classes, I guess she has to rely on being more interesting.

And as for taking notes by hand: as someone who failed handwriting in the fourth grade and who rarely hand writes anything other than a list or doodles, let me assure you that I would not learn more if I took notes by hand. I’d take few notes. For me, any kind of serious writing means typing.

Granted, it’s pretty easy for students to get distracted by cell phones or laptops, especially when they’re sitting in a boring lecture hall class. And I don’t know if my students always use their devices that wisely– taking pictures of the board with their cell phone, for example. But it’s not as if students automatically paid attention before these devices were around. When I was in a boring class as a high school and then college student, I tended to read paperbacks or magazines.

Anyway, if you’re in my class, bring the laptop.

Susan Martin and EMU Athletics Folks Take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

I have to say that I’m personally a bit of a cynic when it comes to this ALS ice bucket challenge thing. I don’t know why; I’m very happy that ALS research is getting the donations and I think that’s all fantastic. I guess I just don’t enjoy watching people dumping ice on themselves. I think Patrick Stewart perfected the challenge here.

Anyway, EMU President Susan Martin, various coaches, and some other EMU folks took the challenge in a big way the other day. Here’s a link to the mLive story about it. And if you want to donate to the ALS foundation (ice or no ice), check out their web site.

This is what I see whenever I receive a campus-wise email from Geoff Larcom

Endless Geoff Larcom

Via Mr. Larcom’s Facebook page. Could not resist.

“The 10 Craziest Playing Surfaces in Sports” makes EMU’s parking lot gray look kind of tame

Viat the Facebook this morning, I came across “The 10 Craziest Playing Surfaces in Sports” from a site called “Stack.” Here’s what they said about EMU:

What do you do when your program hasn’t won a conference title since 1987 and hasn’t had a winning season in nearly two decades? Give it a makeover, of course.

This summer, Eastern Michigan decided to install gray turf, to symbolize the program’s new dedication to toughness. The idea was born when head coach Chris Creighton told his team that they will compete against “anyone, anytime and anywhere . . . even on a parking lot.” Now Eastern Michigan will play on a field that actually looks like a parking lot.

The piece goes on to share some even stranger basketball courts and football fields and the St. Patrick’s day green-dyed ice of a Kalamazoo minor league hockey team. My personal favorite is the Central Arkansas football field which is “alternating sections of purple and silver turf and black end zones.”


“Movie Night at The Factory Set for August 25″

Here’s kind of an odd one, IMO: EMU is going to be hosting “Movie Night at the Factory” on August 25 in Rynearson Stadium “The Factory.” Here’s a quote:

Fans can vote between Frozen, Gravity, Monsters University and Rise of the Guardians to be the film shown on that Monday evening. Voting will be available on until mid-afternoon Thursday, Aug. 14.

Attendees will be asked for a $5 donation, which 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the American Heart Association.  All seating will be on the turf and fans are encouraged to bring blankets to sit on, while furniture of any type will be prohibited. Concessions will be available for purchase and the money raised through concession sales will be donated to the American Heart Association as well.

Okay, so for five bucks, I can go to the football stadium to watch a movie while sitting on the new “‘EMU Gray’ FieldTurf” (as the article calls it)– but don’t bring a lawn chair or something because that would mess up the turf, so I’m going to be watching a 2 hour movie sitting on the ground. Really?

And how does 100% of the proceeds get donated? How is the EMU athletics department paying for stuff like basic security and the film itself?

Okay, one more kickball post

From mLive, “Real Madrid defender Nacho suits up in Eastern Michigan equipment, team tries American football.” A quote:

Real Madrid defender José Ignacio Fernández Iglesias, known as Nacho, tweeted a photo of himself donning Eagles green and white Thursday evening after soccer practice at EMU.

His tweet read, “Eastern Michigan !!! Go.”

Here’s the picture:

Kinda cool.