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February 7, 2011 / Peter

Pissing match could have been avoided

It appears Pullman has its own Ken Schram in the form of Evergreen columnist Scott Darragh. In a column published on Feb. 3rd, Darragh took aim and awarded his “Golden Spitter” to the Greek community.

It was an interesting article, to say the least.

For the sake of brevity, I won’t go into too much detail about the article itself. It’s linked above. But suffice it to say: Mr. Darragh’s view of the Greeks is less than positive.

Darragh said they demand social mass-conformity, the “bro” ideal. Greeks exist entirely to drink “natty” and hit “slam pieces.” Aside: I had never heard the term “slam piece” before this article. It gave me a chuckle, but was wasn’t very rhetorically soothing.

It read like an incredibly one sided, narrow view of the community. But that’s not really what I’m writing about. I’m writing about the little pissing match that followed.

Nearly immediately, letters firing back against Darragh’s assertions were published. WSU student Paul Harrison countered that Greeks routinely beat average GPA’s for other communities and do considerable charity work.

Natty ice slam piece?

Kellen LaVigne, president of Beta Theta Pi, countered that Greeks are involved in all aspects of university life. Wherever you look, he wrote, you will find someone Greek.

Ok. Defending yourself is perfectly acceptable. It’s what anybody does when they are attacked. But, here’s my issue with this. Instead of firing back that Greeks are better academically and Greeks are CEO’s and generally important people, couldn’t they have denied the generalization but affirmed the notion?

To say drinking isn’t some kind of an issue beyond the reaches of Colorado Street is to deny reality. In that vein, to say that all Greeks want to do is get shitty also denies reality. But this could have been a more positive moment.

Why not, then, use this as an opportunity to reach out to the greater university community? Separate fact from fiction, while still affirming the realities of the situation. Tell students that Greek life isn’t all about drinking, but that problems have arisen from irresponsible use. Talk about the high GPA, but put that in the context of the size of the community and the fact it’s selective.

Defend your community. Defend your way of life. That’s totally fine. But can’t someone please, FOR THE CHILDREN, affirm reality every once in a while.

Another aside: It seems the author of the column seems to have proven one of his points: there is a divide between the communities on campus. And by trying to elevate themselves above the rest, the authors of the published letters dug an even deeper trench.


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January 24, 2011 / Peter

Mr. Wagner and the Tax Form

In my first of many posts in the #lifeinradio hash tag, I present a story wherein I discuss my wages.

According to the two sets of paperwork thingies I got marked “VERY IMPORTANT,” I’ve made exactly $579.23 in wages.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. It’s what happens when you work weekends, I suppose.

On a side note, I’m going to see The Presidents of the United States of America tomorrow at the CUB. Awwwwwe yeah.

January 22, 2011 / Peter

It’s been far too long, bloggy

For the record, this isn’t the first time I’ve explained my blog absence to you. I’ve blamed it on multiple factors; my job, my life, my lack of internet connectivity. While true, they are merely excuses.

My writing muscles have been dedicated entirely to broadcast copy, with its obscure numbering rules and hyphens between the letters of an acronym.

So I’ve decided to pick this back up again.

I’ll go back to sharing the details of my life too long winded for social media, but too impractical for personal conversation. I’ll share funny images and stories from work. Well, maybe some stories from work. I’m not exactly sure what I can and can’t talk about, so I’ll keep it to generalities about my observations of the industry.

When I last left you, I was “unemployed,” in the sense that I wasn’t getting paid for any of my work. I was gearing up to generally manage KUGR.org, which I now consider to be like a child to me. I was gung-ho and upbeat. How hard can management be, anyway? I wondered to myself and others.

It. Kicked. My. Ass.

You learn something about yourself as a “bossman.” My idillic view of how things work was shattered instantly upon taking the job. There was pressure where I thought there was none. There were roadblocks where I thought the path clear.

First semester taught me much, and I think I’m better for it. I understand the hoop jumping and politics a lot better. To my dismay, I’m getting much better at the latter.

The station, however, didn’t run itself into the ground. It did not light on fire. It did not get taken away. As far as I’m concerned, our best programming in years went over the interwebs last semester. Let’s see if we can do it again.

In other radio news, I’m currently employed by Inland Northwest Broadcasting (the ones who are paying me for my work.) If there were a better job in the world, please let me know. While I may only be tracking weekend shifts and coming in for the occasional staff meeting (G6, anybody?) it’s still something that I love. Radio, you see, appears to be the pinnacle of employment. Getting paid to do what you love.

So, that’s the news in my world. I’ll try to keep this updated as often as I can, and thanks to Rikki King for texting me about my lack of blog-age.

August 10, 2010 / Peter

Debunking the marketing speak: Microsoft edition

Usually, I just stay out of the Mac v. P.C. fray. I’ll admit, I’m a Mac. And I’m very proud. I try not to slam it down in someones face, because everyone likes different things. Some people like Ford and some people like Honda. Honda makes clearly superior vehicles, but who cares. Everybody has their preference.

But this latest addition to the you-know-what measuring contest has finally fried me. An entire portion of the Microsoft website is devoted to “Why a P.C. is better than a Mac.” If it was light hearted like the famous ads, that would be one thing. But these guys are bordering on outright lying to try and convince you to buy a product. Editors note: If the ratio of P.C. to Mac ownership is 10 to 1, why are you guys devoting so much time to shuffle me away from Apple products? Read more…

August 9, 2010 / Peter

“Garbage Day” and other junk

Many moons ago, our small group of friends were huddled around a computer monitor. This was the video we saw, and like Arrested Development, it has provided endless laughs to match the endless references we make to it. So, for your visual and auditory enjoyment, here is “Garbage Day.”

On another note, this video reminds me why Lufthansa is my favorite airline…

In other news, I’m less than one week away from returning to Pullman. This makes me very happy. Just wait for the picture-laden post extolling the virtues of my Palouse paradise.

July 31, 2010 / Peter

Just who is Goodspaceguy and why is he on my ballot?

Today was a very good day. I did my civic duty and voted in the primary election, which is sort of the rehearsal for the real thing. Everyone who wants a shot on the political stage dances and twirls and spins and pivots for months just to get to this point. Thousands upon thousands of dollars are spent just to see if you can make it to the actual election, which will cost you considerably more money to win.

While filling out my especially tall ballot, I noticed something rather intriguing. My vote could actually be cast in favor of someone named “Goodspaceguy” for Senate. At first, I laughed. This is obviously a hoax.

The explorer in me wanted to find out exactly how much it costs to file candidacy for Senate. My standard Google tactic of putting my entire question into the search bar seemed to work quite nicely, as the Secretary of State’s site came up first. After a little digging, I discovered that filing for candidacy costs $1,740.00. Quite a bit of money for a hoax.

So I dug some more.

As it turns out, “Goodspaceguy” actually has a blog. The first entry contained some basic campaign information, including his desire to “unsabotage [sic] the economy…” and colonize outer space. Hence the space-age name.

His blog archives extend all the way back to September of 2005, and so I decided to keep on checking. His first entry in 2005 finally revealed his actual name to me.

Goodpspaceguy is actually Michael Nelson, and Michael Nelson actually ran for Governor in 2004 as a Libertarian.

Nelson was defeated at the primary stage in 2004 by Ruth Bennet, the party chair in Washington, 56-43. Bennet was, obviously, defeated by Chris Gregoire in the general election.

As it stands at noon on July 31, Michael Goodpsaceguy Nelson has either raised no money or reported no donations or contributions to the Federal Election Commission.

I realize this is all probably common knowledge to most of you, but I thought it would be an interesting investigative experiment. See what I could find out about this fellow. As it turns out, he’s rather interesting.

You can read his blog, Our Spaceship Earth, for more delightful insight on the world of a candidate for Senate who sees the minimum wage as “evil” and dreams of a day when we can jet around the stars in the Enterprise.

Now that’s democracy in action.

P.S. – “Mike the Mover,” another conspicuous addition to the ballot, is listed on the FEC website as “Mike the Mover.”

July 30, 2010 / Peter

My Grandfather is this awesome

So I got to take a little vacation this week. My Gmail was set to “vacation,” my Facebook remained rather inactive. Tweets were few and far between. Why did I take this reprieve, you’re no doubt not asking? To see my grandfather, of course.

He’s 93 years old. Yup. He was born in 1917, and he’s damn proud of it. Old enough to enter World War II in 1939 (years before the “yanks,” as he once told me) my grandfather helped prepare vehicles for the Normandy invasion when he wasn’t slipping into London and drinking a pint or two. According to my dad and uncle, he even got the honor to guard Sir Winston Churchill himself.

Grandpa Wagner served in the Canadian armed forces back when the flag looked a bit different:

Yessir, back then Canada was rather beholden to the Queen. And dammit, they liked it that way. (More on the rather polite parting of ways between Canada and GB in a later post).

After the war ended, Amiel proceeded to sell propane in central Canada to those in need. With selling propane came selling cars. For the first 15 years of my life, I never saw my grandfather with the same car year after year. He loves cars. So he bought new ones every year for a long time. Why not?

About three years ago he turned 90, and on the occasion of his nearly being a century old the Prime Minister’s office sent him this (the main reason for writing this post):

Isn’t that awesome? I thought so.

Amiel turned 93 this last July, and he doesn’t look it at all. He still drives himself all over western Canada, still walks and has all his mental functions and more.

I really do hope I’m that awesome when I’m 93. Sadly I have no pictures on hand, but I’ll post some up later.