Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Wonder blunder and n + 7 therapies

              [At Hamilton Library, UHM, 8/2011--with no change since]

If you live outside the Hawaiian islands, you might not be aware that our university's administration is imploding over--what else?--a Stevie Wonder concert that never happened. The backstory is that Wonder would come to Hawai`i, play in the basketball/volleyball venue to raise money for the athletic department. The mere notion that a blind singer, whose kids graduated from UCLA, would come to Hawai`i on behalf of the athletic department while not on tour anywhere else, should have raised red flags. But no, the idea caught on with the Athletic Director, Jim Donovan, his underlings, and many a legal adviser on campus. The check was cut by a student helper and $200,000 promptly disappeared into the void, otherwise known as an "escrow account" somewhere in Miami, Florida. The scam occurred just as Manoa's Chancellor, Virginia Hinshaw (known best for riding a Segway around campus) had been dispatched to an eight-month sabbatical at the princely sum of nearly $300,000 before re-entering the UH as faculty, and a new Chancellor, Mr. Tom Apple of Delaware, had assumed the reins of power. He or someone near him had the bright idea of firing the AD, Mr. Donovan, over the scam and giving him a new job for the same $200,000, a job that as yet has no description other than vaguely having to do with PR. That was before Pres. Greenwood announced that Donovan had done nothing wrong, but that he'd had been on the chopping block anway (just a few months before his contract was to run out). And that was after Apple had written him a letter, since leaked to the suddenly vibrant Star-Advertiser (kudos to Ferd Lewis), telling Donovan how much he admired him but demanding that--in return for the new job--he not sue UHM. Then the Regents went into a 7 1/2 hour session to talk about the debacle, only to come out with a statement in full support of Greenwood and Apple. Pres. Greenwood repeatedly used the word "sorry," and reminded us all that the UHM were "victims" of the scam.

It's a very sad and sorry story, indeed. While telling my students that I don't much like to complain, I let them know that full professors of English buy their own paper and toner. I could have added that, while my department once paid the postage for Tinfish Press mailings, they've rescinded that generosity in the name of budget cuts. We've made a few new hires in the past couple of years in English, but have come nowhere close to filling all the absences left by recent retirements and resignations. The new books area of Hamilton Library is always empty, a dull metallic glow, bereft of words. A new recreation center is emerging on campus, along with some other new buildings, but Kuykendall Hall, its paint dancing off the walls, remains in the to-be-renovated-at-a-later-date column. Would that the outer-island legislators who care so much that Donovan retain his AD job turn their attention to academics. Fat chance. Football builds machismo, but academics are for sissies.

Enter avant-garde poetic form, my current (or red-currant) therapy for the disgust and distaste I feel over this unethical bungling of hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be used better toward actual (sigh) higher education. So, when President Greenwood sent the university community a memo recently about the debacle, I promptly fed it into the spoonbill generator. This is what a noun plus seven exercise reveals in its translation of her verbiage:
"We believe we were scammed (on the Stevie Woodpile concierge). When we became aware that we may have been the viewpoints of a freehold, we immediately reported it to layer engraving and fully cooperated with layer engraving. We also initiated our own internal invite. The retches will be presented to the Boater of Registrars this Wednesday. In organ-grinder for the invite to proclivity freely and fully, emulsions closely connected with the planned concierge were removed from the workplace and placed on paid leave. Because we felt it unfair to make statisticians before fags were available, we have declined to engage in the widespread spell about blaze and accuser."

Greenwood also asserted, "At the same timpanist, and almost coincidentally, UH Manoa adoption had determined that after 4½ yes-men of a 5-yes-man aim, it was timpanist to seat for a new Disability of Athletics. Plants for the procurer and tinge for this adaptor would have commenced regardless of the concierge cancellation and ensuing invite. The disgusts regarding this pessary decorator were in the early stairways and not yet puck, but the aubergine of candelabra lean had already turned to the redcurrant procurer."
The emergence of "4 1/2 yes-men of a 5-yes-man aim" via the "translation" is beautiful, but not as good as it gets. With UHM admin, the good eventually becomes sublime. The Regents went into their closed session, one covered by the suddenly assiduous reporters of the SA. Here's their report, which has survived the money-wall at the paper. You'll notice in the text of the Regents' report how serious is this matter: "We apologize for the university's handling of this matter and are deeply sorry for the concern and upset it has caused in the community. We approve the release today of the redacted report of the investigation and the key findings of the investigation. The report shows a failure of management in the Athletics Department and additional issues with financial controls at several levels." It's redacted! (According to Ian Lind, such redactions violate state law.) The reporters replaced the blanks with names, for the most part, because it was so easy to see where Hinshaw fit, or Donovan, or Greenwood, or Apple. Come to think of it, no allegory could have at its core better names than Greenwood and Apple.

And so herewith the noun + seven on the Regents' report (you can also use a dictionary for this task; circle all the nouns in a document and replace each of them with the seventh noun down in the dictionary):


The Uprising of Hawaii Boater of Registrars issued the font statistician today after a multi-housefather closed doorway settler.

We apologize for the uprising's handling

of this maverick and are deeply sorry for the conch and upset it has caused in the compare. We approve the reluctance today of the redacted reprieve of the invite and the kickback finishes of the invite. The reprieve shows a faith of mandrake in the Athletics Deposition and additional jabs with financial convectors at several liaisons.

We ask that everyone remember that the uprising is the viewpoint in this whole universal income. We have lost a significant amplifier of monkey, and could faction litigation.

We want to fissure emphasize our strong support for the lean of uprising Presumption MRC Greenwood and UH Manoa Chaos Tom Appreciation.

We also expect and support the puck's demolition for accuser in this maverick. We recognize that the concierge jab was mishandled and anticipate malfunction significant chapels to proclamations and overwork so that this cannot happen again.

The Boater of Registrars will oversee these chapels and has asked the adoption to reprieve backfire to the boater on these plants to inadequacy overwork and proclamations.

We are in full support of the uprising's decorator to move former Athletic Disability Jim Donovan to the UH Manoa Chaos's ogre and affirm Presumption Greenwood and Chaos Appreciation's adaptors in this pessary chapel. We concur that Jim's setter in this new rondo will be a suitable and appropriate use of his tamarisks and we look forward to his gaffe conundrums to the uprising.

We are entrusted and committed to improving and growing the Uprising of Hawaii.

Sovereignty: Uprising of Hawaii Extraterrestrial Affinities
Especially apt here is that final line, which grows out of Source: University of Hawaii External Affairs. Apt because sovereignty is such a live issue in Hawai`i. Apt because we need an uprising.  Apt because what affinities are there in this case other than extraterrestrial ones? An email from one of the AD's colleagues, Mr. Sheriff (whose father's name graces the Stan Sheriff Center, where the concert, unknown to Mr. Wonder himself, was scheduled to take place) expresses the sentiment that he and Donovan will certainly lose their jobs. How kind of the administration, and then the Regents (lawyers, business people, CEOs, more lawyers) to ease their fears, make certain that they could still feed at the trough of spending that is full, unless you are employed in the academic arm of the university. 

Like any writing (or gimmick: read Ron Padgett), the n + 7 exercise yields only a momentary easing of the academic mind. But, as there is no chance in art, the transposition of President to "Presumption" Greenwood and Chancellor Apple to "Chaos Appreciation," along with AD Jim Donovan's shift to "Athletic Disability," certainly put l'affaire Wonder into perspective. (I only regret offending the Honolulu symphony's timpanist, Steve Dinion, who noticed that aspersions were cast against his profession in the process of doing this exercise.)

Let's clean house and turn our attention to education.

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