Pomp & Circumcise

by Bob Sparrow

     This week’s road trip is a virtual one to college campuses – much like how my college professors described my experience on college campuses – virtual. The ‘old’ definition of virtual according to my iPhone is ‘slightly short of or not quite accomplished’.  Yep, that sounds like something my professors might have said.  But I digress.

     This year will see 1,781,000 bachelor degreed students (That’s right, over a million and a half more people out there looking for jobs that aren’t there) sitting through their ‘last college assignment’- their commencement exercise.  Few of them will actually be paying attention to what is being said by their commencement speaker.  Pre cell phone, students who were mostly hung over, stared blankly into space as the speakers droned on.  Today, they’re tweeting, texting, taking pictures of that girl from Psych class who said she wasn’t going to wear anything under her gown, or they’re staring blankly into space.  It turns out students are well-justified in not paying much attention; most commencement speeches are either too pedantic or the start of some comedians summer concert tour.  This year students get the added advantage of having Obama and Romney preach to them about their responsibility to vote . . . for them.

     Advice has come from a wide variety of sources from Winston Churchill to Kermit the Frog.  Guess which one said, “Don’t be content to be a tadpole, work your tail off, get out of the swamp.”  Then there’s the famous ‘sunscreen’ speech.  It was supposedly given by Kurt Vonnegut in a commencement speech at MIT, but was actually written by newspaper columnist, Mary Schmich, as a commencement speech she would have given had someone asked her.  No one did.  In it she extols the virtues of flossing, singing, stretching, but most of all using sunscreen.  Jon Stewart, Will Ferrell and Stephen Colbert have given some truly humorous commencement speeches.  Pulitzer Prize winning humorist, Russell Baker’s comments to Connecticut College in 1995 still hits home today: “The best advice I can give anybody about going out into the world is this: Don’t do it.  I have been out there.  It is a mess.

      One that truly inspires, not only for what it says, but for who said it, is Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford in 2005, which included the following:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma–which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”

     He finished his speech with, “Stay Hungry.  Stay Foolish.”

     If you guessed Winston Churchill on the question above, you got it wrong, but he is known for giving the shortest commencement speech on record.  He gave it to his old preparatory school, Harrow School, in 1941 – he was a bit preoccupied at the time.                                                                                                                                                           “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy”.

That’s it.  It strode off stage, lit a cigar and got back to the war.

     And finally, Matthew Gilbert, columnist for the Boston Glove gave the speech that no graduate wanted to hear:

     Unfortunately, after a final night of Dionysian revelry, you will awaken to a strange, frightening, and unfriendly world. A world in which you must sacrifice all you hold dear for a paycheck, a world that strips you of your youthful vigor, a world in which a truck driver is paid more than a teacher, a world in which the glass is always half-empty.  In short, you will become that which you had hoped never to be: your parents!”

Congratulations grads and welcome to the mess – you’ll get used to it.


A Post Without Politics – You’re Welcome!

Headlines: Who Needs Ammo?

The army in old Mexico is not the one of old;

The one that fought for Spanish gold with bravery untold.

They were bold caballeros who fought until the death,

But now they’re rather mellow, finding 15 tons of meth.


Money: FBI Finds Out That Steve Jobs Was Different From the Rest of Us!

This week the FBI released its file on Steve Jobs;

They called him an elitist who would often act the snob.

They said that he did acid and probably smoked some pot,

But he’s the one who did create so many toys iBought.

Sports: It’s The ‘Lull Season’

Of NBA and college hoops there’s just not much to write,

And I’m only watching hockey cuz I’m hoping for a fight.

No football hype, no Tebow bash, no fans in soccer riot;

Why even Giselse Bundchen has decided to stay quiet.


Life: ‘Beach Gizzers’ Back Together at the Grammys

This Sunday is the Grammys, an all-star music fest;

The Beach Boys will be singing, but they’re hardly at their best.

Their skin is chapped and leathery, their voices strained and dry,

But their music always takes us back to those golden days gone by.

Be a ‘subscriber’; it’s free and we’ll come directly to your email

See box in the upper right of this page


Headlines: Does My ASStroid look big in this?

The Nobel Prize went to three guys whose find was quite distracting;

The universe, they proved, is expanding not contracting.

Just like us, it’s getting bigger, so now it needs to trim

By eating right and spending time in its Universal Gym.

Money: But can it put the seat down on the toilet?

The iPhone 4S was just rolled out

To some apathetic cheers;

The big thing: it talks back to you,

But my spouse has done that for years.

Sports: Sports Shorts

The D’back beat the Brewers to take it to game five,

 And the Phillies beat St. Louis to keep their hopes alive.

The NBA looks ready, but Tiger still has warts;

Iowa’s got NASCAR and that’s your day in sports.

Life: Steve Jobs  1955-2011

Let’s take time out to recognize an iCon in our time;

The CEO of Apple leaves us in his prime.

He was simply like no other, such an innovative guy,

We’ll think of him each time we see that uncapped Apple ‘i’

Need a writer?  Need something written? 

Tough time expressing yourself in writing?


We can help!

Core of Apple Leaves

Thursday, August 25, 2011

iGuess that we suspected it, Steve Jobs has said good-bye.

iWonder if at Apple there was even one dry eye.

iMac, iPod, iPad, iTouch, he changed the way we play,

iKnow for all the industry, it’s truly one sad day.

What is the panacea for that fickle Dow-Jones ticker;

Going short or going long or just going for some liquor?

Will gold go past two thousand, or will it stay beneath?

If it hits that magic number we’ll probably sell our teeth.

Cam Newton, out of Auburn, was drafted number one,

And hopes to show the NFL how he can pass and run.

He studies hard the play book to gain that QB knowledge,

And is making just a little more than he was paid in college.

In the Shadow of My Father, a new movie being shot

Is about John Gotti and his son; a family mafia plot.

Travolta and Pacino and Lohan they will use,

In hopes of making one great film that no one can refuse.