Thought I'd start today with school lore of sorts, specifically, the University of Southern Cal. (Is that an oxymoron?) Wikipedia says this about Tommy Trojan: "Many people identify ... (it) as the symbol of the university. However, Tommy Trojan is not USC's official mascot; that title belongs to Traveler, a white Andalusian horse." That would make Tommy Trojan what? A horse's ass? Wikipedia goes on to say, "Before Traveler, a real local dog named George Tirebiter served as the unofficial mascot. A statue of the dog is also a feature of the campus."
Can we all agree that whatever value Wikipedia has, it's immediately clear that dogs figure prominently in the symbolism that represents Southern Cal? I'm guessing it went to the dogs within the first week, if not the first two days, of its existence.
The second item takes us to San Jose State. While I'm sure almost all its students are as kind and decent as students everywhere, a few seem to have only three-fifths as many brain cells as the rest of the human race. Why three-fifths? Ah, therein lies a tale.
It turns out that four white students on that campus decided a "prank" involving a black roommate should include, among other things, placing a bicycle lock around his neck and calling him "three-fifths," a reference to how slaves were counted — not as people but as three-fifths of a person — in deciding a state's population during the dark days of slavery. Not surprisingly, the N-word was also used, and a Confederate flag, along with Nazi paraphernalia, were apparently on display. A postscript: Three of the students were charged with misdemeanor battery and hate crimes (not sure about the fourth student, who was a juvenile).
There remains, then, that vexing question of numbers; specifically, whether the white students do indeed have three-fifths of the brain cells of other people. After a few minutes of reflection, I've decided that three-fifths is too optimistic. Mark me down as believing these students have one-fifth the brain cells of other people. The math sounds about right to me.
And finally we come to our beloved alma mater. Last month, campus police, exhibiting due diligence — and, some might say, a bit too much exuberance — stopped a car whose driver allegedly was not using a seatbelt. Fair enough except that when the driver reportedly refused to stay in his vehicle while police ran a license and registration check, he was temporarily handcuffed. One problem with the way things worked out: The driver was a Superior Court judge who has apparently filed a complaint against campus police.
As Kurt Vonnegut said, "And so it goes."