Thursday, November 02, 2017

Friday Fragments: “Happy Little Clouds” edition

Apparently, 11 percent of doctoral degree holders and 13 percent of professional degree holders got their start at community colleges.

For all of the talk of STEM and workforce development -- entirely fine, as far as they go -- community colleges also serve as the most accessible on-ramps to higher education.  The “transfer” function doesn’t get the attention that the workforce one does, but it should.  After all, for jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher, facilitating transfer _is_ workforce development.

One out of nine Ph.D.’s.  Just sayin’...


I got home too late and emotionally drained to blog on Wednesday, but it was worth it.  The Matawan-Aberdeen school district, here in Monmouth County, is establishing a “Recovery” high school on the Brookdale campus.  Wednesday night was the celebratory/fundraising dinner.

The “recovery” in question is recovery from addiction.  The high school exists to serve students who have struggled with addiction.  It gets them out of the environment full of triggers of bad habits, and gives them intensive supervision in a new setting to help get them back on track.  

Of course, a mission like that is born of stories.  One woman who works as a counselor now told the story of her own life as the child of addicts; by the time she was done, I was emotionally spent.  And when she talked about some kids she wasn’t able to save -- kids the age of my own -- well, as a parent, it’s hard to hear.  It was somehow both unimaginable and vivid, and entirely heartbreaking.

The school is an expensive experiment, but it will save lives.  It’s a monument to a sort of humane sanity that sometimes seems scarce.  Hat-tip to Matawan-Aberdeen for going first, at least locally.  

The kids got extra hugs that night.


I think of the tv personality and painter Bob Ross, if at all, as an artifact of the 80’s.  But he’s weirdly popular among teenagers now, long after his death.

The Boy and The Girl both catch him on Netflix from time to time.  TB describes him as “the king of chill,” and explains that something in his voice and persona is just incredibly calming.  The “happy little clouds” have taken on new lives as memes.

The Girl took it to another level.

For Halloween, Her Friend (HF) dressed up as Bob Ross, complete with facial hair (in the form of her Mom’s eyeliner).  TG dressed up as a “happy little cloud.”  She painted a fluffy white cloud on a sky-blue background, and cut out a hole for her head in the middle of the cloud.  As she and HF approached a door, she’d put the frame up around her face.  

As Halloween costumes go, I had to give it to them on creativity.  It wasn’t vampy, cliched, or last-minute; it took thought and preparation, and they were both fully dressed.  

If you had told me, in high school, that my future children’s exposure to 80’s culture would have consisted of Bob Ross, I wouldn’t have believed you.  Happy little clouds live on.