The Random Yak

Yak of the Week: The Future of Academia

Filed under: Education Yaks,Yak Rants,Yaks of the Week — Random Yak @ 4:06 pm on April 1, 2010

Apparently, the Dean of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles has somehow convinced himself (and others) that the best way to help his students find jobs in a lousy economy already glutted with would-be lawyers is…

retroactively raising everyone’s GPA by .333, and prospectively implementing an easier grading curve.

Had the story not broken yesterday, I would have taken it for an April Fool.  Even so, it staggers the imagination and stuns the mind (mine at least) almost beyond the capacity for rational thought.

So, just when I thought society might have risen above it, I’m re-instituting the Yak of the Week Award.  This week’s victim recipient:  Loyola Law School.

Above the Law reports that the Dean justifies this brilliant maneuver by pointing out that (a) other law schools have already resorted to grade inflation to help their graduates get jobs, (b) employers pay very close attention to law school grades when hiring new employees for legal positions, and (c) over the last few years, Loyola Law’s students have “improved significantly” – though apparently without the increasing GPAs to prove it.

In other words:

1.  We know you’re doing better, even though the evidence doesn’t prove it.

2.  If we raise your grades, you’ll we’ll everyone will look better to the guys you’re trying to convince that your law degree is still worth more than the recycling value of the paper it’s printed on.


3.  Everyone else is doing it.

Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but where I come from #3 is the kind of excuse that holds about as much water as the average industrial sieve.  In The Random Parents’ Household, when I was growing up, it was the kind of excuse that not only didn’t accomplish your objective, it also got you two-to-five (days) hard labor in the flower garden and an extended lecture on “What You Should NOT Do If Your Friends Jump Off A Bridge.”  (See: The Riot Act, Articles 9-13).

Had I responded to questions about my own grades with something akin to (the aptly named) Reason #2, I would have been grounded and/or beaten to a pulp for lying, depending on the forum in which I chose to make my ill-conceived announcement.

And as for Reason #1…facts and words both defy me to explain the utter idiocy of that proposition.  But I’ll try anyway.  The whole reason for “grades” is to let a student, their professor(s), and the world at large know how the student’s work compares with some objective scale.  At least in theory, when work improves, grades also improve – particularly when the same faculty member(s) are applying the grading scale from year to year.  (We’re ignoring the occasional rogue and/or grumpy professor, as well as the literally undeserved low grade.) This isn’t a case of “same students, same grades” or even “same students, plus improvement, same grades” – in which case I could understand some adjustment.  This is a case of hundreds of students, spread across a continuum which does not change – and which, for the record, is pegged to licensing requirements. I’ve taught law school.  I’ve even been an Associate Dean.

In other words: I know how it works.  A low C (71-72%) represents “minimum passing” on the Bar exam.  Therefore, a law school grading curve should be set so that students whose work would barely pass the Bar exam (“as if by fire”) get….a C.  From there, we scale upward.  And, regrettably but necessarily, downward.   It’s not rocket science…and it’s also not subject to artificial inflation “because we think you’re a really really cool bunch of neat-o guys who should really really be awesome lawyers and we like your socks.”


If your curve is right, you have no reason to change it.  Even if your curve is wrong, you have no reason to change it retroactively. Worst of all, I suspect Loyola’s curve isn’t wrong.  I suspect, if you compared the 70-72%+ students, most of them pass the Bar exam, and the ones below that number, don’t.  If that wasn’t the case, the students would have self-selected for other law schools.  That’s the way it works – if your graduates don’t pass the licensing exam, people don’t go there.

Another clue: the need for Thing 2 and Thing 3…which point quite strongly to the Cat in the Hat in the corner.  It seems to me that if this was really a grading curve problem Loyola would have issued a very different statement.  Something on the order of “oh noes, the LOLcats got into the grading system and brainwashed all the professors!!!!!11!!!”  Well, that or “we’ve discovered our grading system doesn’t appropriately track the Bar examiners’ standards and are making necessary adjustments to ensure that our students have an accurate picture of how they will perform on the Bar.”  Not “oh noes, our grads are out of work.”

And so, we proudly bestow the Yak of the Week Award for A+* Education to Loyola Law School.


  • Instituting not one but two grades above a 4.0 (Yes, Virginia, there is something above an A+.  We call it A+*);
  • Teaching a whole generation of lawyer-candidates that it’s not what you do, it’s what everyone thinks you did that counts;
  • Raising the Bar (candidates) by any means necessary; and
  • Proving, once and for all, that Anything Really Is Okay If Everyone Else Is Doing It.

Congratulations, Yak of the Week.

As a parting thought: someone might want to point out to the Dean that when they said the “grads” were a problem, the solution wasn’t “I’d like to buy another vowel.”

A Valentine to Hillary

Filed under: Yaks of the Week — Maniyak @ 1:38 pm on February 14, 2008

Valentine’s Day card to Hillary Clinton:

“To know her is to love her Barack.”

Race Before Sex, Favors Obama

Filed under: Yaks of the Week — Maniyak @ 12:07 pm on

Barak Obama should be elected President before Hillary Clinton because racial equality has a constitutional and historical priority over gender equality in the national interest, just as the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution guaranteed racial equality post-Civil War but gender equality, the right of women to vote, did not come until the 19th Amendment, post-World War 1, and gender equality did not become established in constitutional doctrine until after the Vietnam War. 

The political race goes to the race. 

In Honor of Lincoln’s Birthday

Filed under: Yaks of the Week — Random Yak @ 11:57 am on February 12, 2008

February 12: the birthday of Abraham Lincoln.

In honor of the occasion, I’m rerunning my 2007 Lincoln’s Birthday post.  I don’t think I could do any better if I tried rewriting, and let’s face it – nobody learned anything from it the first time.

February 12 is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. While we don’t go in for birthdays much on this side of the mountain, certain individuals deserve a little extra time and this is as good an excuse as any.

Abraham Lincoln made many wise comments which, despite changed times and circumstances, nevertheless remain remarkably on-target.

Among my favorites, of course, is the oft-quoted “Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

A few others, submitted for your consideration against the backdrop of current politics:

“I am rather inclined to silence, and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual nowadays to find a man that can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot.” (”Remarks at the Monogahela House” (February 14, 1861))

“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.” (”Letter To Henry L. Pierce and Others” (April 6, 1859))

“The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me.” (”Speech on the Sub-Treasury” (in the Illinois House of Representatives, December 26, 1839))

“Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part from him when he goes wrong.” (”Speech at Peoria, Illinois” October 16, 1854)

Lincoln was agreat President, an outspoken Christian and a man willing to do what he believed right regardless of the personal consequences. May our modern leaders – and the rest of us – listen and learn.

Yak of the Week: The Mississippi Legislature

Filed under: Just Yaks,Yak Rants,Yaks of the Week — Random Yak @ 2:17 pm on February 4, 2008

When I first heard about the bill that earned the Mississippi legislature the newest “Yak of the Week” Award, I actually considered opening a whole new category just for this post.

Why, you ask?

Because some ideas are so astonishingly bad, so mind-numbingly ill-conceived, as to require – nay, demand – special treatment.  They pause in screaming “Look at me! Bask in my breathtaking stupidity!” just long enough to make us wonder whether anyone, anywhere could truly have judgment that poor.

But then I realized I already had a category for that sort of thing.  Around here, we call it “Yak of the Week.”

Granted, it hasn’t seen much use in the past few months.  Not because people’s judgment miraculously improved, or because nobody deserved the title.  In fact, it was more a case of “too many candidates, too many choices.”  That, and perhaps I’d allowed myself to be lulled into a false sense of security.

No more.


Or, as we affectionately call it the “no fries for you, lard butt,” Act of 2008. (more…)

A Little Friday Humor

Filed under: Yaks of the Week — Random Yak @ 11:08 am on January 25, 2008

Having problems with your attitude about Global Warming?  Want to know whether you need absolution from your carbon-based sins?

Better visit…

The Goracle.

(Check out the “Hall of Saints” while you’re there.)

Minor warning: site is safe for work, but I’m sure it will offend some of you.  (Statistically, the same 11% that probably shouldn’t be reading this blog in the first place.)

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Filed under: Yaks of the Week — Random Yak @ 10:51 am on

January 25, 2008: “Fun At Work Day.”

In honor of the occasion, permit me to “re-run” last year’s ‘Fun at Work’ offering, “Just the Fax.”  (Note: if I find a better prank, I’ll let you know.  Until then, let’s go with this one.)

Today is official “Fun at Work” day. In the spirit of the occasion, permit me to offer one of the best and funniest office pranks around: The Voice-Activated Fax Prank.

The setup is simple (though the trick doesn’t work so well around highly technical people): place a note on the fax machine which reads:



We are currently testing new voice-activation software on the fax machines. To operate the fax, please use the following instructions:

1. Place your outgoing fax on the machine as usual.

2.Using a loud, clear voice, state thearea code and fax number to which you wish to fax your documentand then say “Send Fax.” Remember to start with “1″ if you are faxing outside our area code.

The machine will then send your fax as usual.

During the testing and calibration period, the machine may need assistance learning to recognize individual voices. If the machine fails to send your fax on the first attempt, lean closer to the machine and repeat theinformationin a louder voice. You will be able to speak at conversational levels once the machine learns to recognize your voice.


Note to the wise: This isn’t a smart thing to do if you’re in a position where it could get you fired, disciplined, or showered with coffee. I.T. won’t fall for it, but I.T. will usually go along with it (In fact, I.T. is where I learned it in the first place). If you work in an environment where this kind of thing goes over well, thisis a classic – but I’m not encouraging anyone to actually try it where this sort of humor isn’t appreciated.

Nonetheless, feel free to amuse yourselfby considering which of your co-workers would probably fall for it.

Blog Fog Horn Blower Leaves Falling Bare Hope

Filed under: Yaks of the Week — Maniyak @ 10:24 am on December 28, 2007

Having been in a dense fog since late August, I cannot determine whether I fulfilled my pre-2007 New Year’s resolution to contribute at least one blog entry per month for the year to the Random Yak.  I know I must have posted something, but I perceived nothing from September 1 to today and I can recall nothing from August 31 back to January 1.  I’m hoping that this entry will complete the promised set (or did I actually promise?).  It’s not that I have had nothing to say. . . .  It’s that, well, I have been brain dead and living robotically (or is it roboticly? These robots have dreadfully inadequate spellcheckers) for so long that I have lost track of whatever I was thinking about saying when the thought crossed my mind that I probably should blog something about whatever was going on in my head at the time that I tried to begin to blog and to dredge up something rational and intelligent to say in concise and pungent terms that no one will be able to forget that I did not keep my promise to blog every month in the year if that is what I said and not that I would post at least 12 blogs sometime during the year which will end in three days so that I cannot go back and post blogs in the past months, although technically that would be possible to post-date the blogs and that might be considered keeping my promise, if I made that promise, although most reasonable people would probably say that a promise to blog every month means to write a blog during that month and not to post date 12 blogs on December 31, unless “acts of God” intervened to prevent keeping the pact, which arguably is exactly what happened — all right, force majeur, then if you don’t want me to appear to blame God for everything that I got myself into over the past 4 (and probably 12) months, if I could recall them now as I look back over the year and consider how to improve myself for the coming year, without undue reliance on overdosing self-prescribed medication, but not the kind that you get offered constantly with those viral spam adverts for voodoo pharmaceuticals that promise that you will always recall whatever they enable you to do better now than ever since the beginning of time for another toast to the coming of the New Year to yakdom, somewherever out on the mountainside where God is watching over that random yak that I am these days of yore.  Thanks for listening.  I’m MYak, remember me?  Me neither.  But I hope so.  Thank God.  You, too.

Thursday Frivol: A Study in Reciprocity

Filed under: Yaks of the Week — Random Yak @ 1:44 pm on December 27, 2007

In recent years, it seems every Christmas brings yet another story of someone stealing Baby Jesus from the manger of one or more nativity scenes.  This year proves no exception, though this time someone finally came up with a solution:

Lojack Jesus.

The owners of a Florida nativity scene have replaced the stolen Jesus with a new baby - but this one contains a GPS system.  In the interest of security, they have also installed GPS units in the statues of Mary and Joseph (the donkeys and sheep are on their own).  

A word of advice to would-be thieves: step away from the manger.

Jesus always knew where you were.  

Now the police do, too.

The Carnival of Christmas: Coming Soon to a(nother) Blog Near You!

Filed under: Yaks of the Week — Random Yak @ 12:32 pm on December 4, 2007

This year’s Carnival of Christmas will be hosted by our friends at Cathouse Chat.

Great thanks to Adam of Adam’s Blog, founder and previous host of the Carnival, both for putting it together and for all his work editing, organizing and setting up the carnival in years past.

Great thanks also to Kat of Cathouse Chat, for stepping up and offering to host the Carnival this year so Adam can have a much-deserved Christmas Day break.

I encourage everyone out there on the ‘nets to remember: Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, please to put an entry in the Carnival hat!

Submit your entries via the Blog Carnival Website, and please remember the baseline rules (as written by Kat and stolen by me):

“the post [must] be respectful of the Holiday and in the Spirit of Christmas cheer and kindness.” So pictures, poetry, meditations, family traditions, recipes, holiday memories are all welcome – so long as they conform to that one, simple requirement.”

You can also link positive, Christmas-themed posts to the Christmas Alliance HQ Homepage, where I’m compiling a “one-stop shop” of links to Christmas blogging for 2007.  The Homepage will stay up all year, so get your links in now!

Monday Frivol: Rocky The Frying Squirrel

Filed under: Yaks of the Week — Random Yak @ 1:59 pm on October 22, 2007

The headline reads “Flaming Squirrel Ignites Car in Bayonne” but the lead line (which I stole for the title of this post) beats it hands down.

The story: a squirrel chewed through a power line, setting itself on fire.  The flaming fuzzball tumbled from the power line, landing in the engine compartment of a woman’s car.  The car caught fire and blew up.

Fortunately, the woman’s insurance apparently covers attacks by furry suicide bombers. (That, and damage by ficus…)  The report quotes the victim’s brother as saying the event will be funny when his sister gets a new car, but that “it’s not funny yet.”

Sorry bro.

This one was funny from the get-go.

Trackposted to Webloggin, third world county, Conservative Cat, and High Desert Wanderer, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.  

biatch ringtones

A truetone (also known as “realtone”, “mastertone”, “superphonic ringtone” or “audio recording”) is simply biatch ringtones recording, typically in a common format such as “MP3″, AAC, or WMA, and represents the latest evolution of the biatch ringtones .

ringtone composer free keypress

In North America, ringtone composer free keypress ring cadence is “2-4″, or two seconds of ringing followed by four seconds of silence.

free download 3 sidekick for ringtones

Breaks were introduced into free download 3 sidekick for ringtones to avoid this problem, resulting in the common ring-pause-ring cadence pattern used today.

free ringtones bellmobility

Under FCC regulations, and US law, all mobile telephones must be capable of dialing 9-1-1, regardless of the presence of free ringtones bellmobility card or the payment status of the account.

free to mp3 ringtones

Lithium-Ion batteries are sometimes used, as they are lighter and do not have free to mp3 ringtones depression that nickel metal-hydride batteries do.

samsung ringtones free sch for a630

The switch in turn connects samsung ringtones free sch for a630 to another subscriber of the same wireless service provider or to the public telephone network, which includes the networks of other wireless carriers.

tracfone christian ringtones free

The first SMS text message was sent from tracfone christian ringtones free to a tracfone christian ringtones free in 1992 in the UK, while the first person-to-person SMS from phone to phone was sent in Finland in 1993.

mom funny ringtones

In early party line systems this pattern was mom funny ringtones code letter indicating who should pick up the phone, but today, with individual lines, the only surviving patterns are a single ring and double-ring, originally Morse code letters T and M respectively.

iraq ringtone

[29] As iraq ringtone penetrations grew past fixed landline penetration levels in 1998 in Finland and from 1999 in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, iraq ringtone health authorities have run continuous long term studies of effects of iraq ringtone radiation effects to humans, and in particular children.

ringtone me better make

Concepts covered in this patent (cited in at least 34 other patents) also were later extended to several satellite communication systems.

Friday Reading List and Weekend OTP

Filed under: Yaks of the Week — Random Yak @ 11:31 am on October 12, 2007

With no further delay, today’s reading list from The Yak:

1.  I do not engage in Friday catblogging  (really, I don’t…) … but Pet does.  We are also glad to see she’s home from the hospital and apparently out of danger.  Nice to have you back, Pet!

2.  JD skipped the Chicago marathon so I didn’t have to.  But I did anyway.  Like JD, God made me for a purpose  (and also like JD, it isn’t running).

3.  I have no comment on Ann Coulter or the recent fiasco in which she’s involved.  This doesn’t mean I have no opinion, just that I’m leaving comment to others.  The Anchoress has the story and commentary.

4.  Got an improvement on one or more law school names?  Althouse has issued a Call to Snark.

Want to write on the walls?  Link and track back from your site, from now until I post another one.

Promoted, as always, at:

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

Friday Frivol: Heroes…On the Half Shell?

Filed under: Yaks of the Week — Random Yak @ 8:09 pm on September 27, 2007

A Pennsylvania pet store has a new addition this week – but the tiny newcomer won’t be going on sale any time soon.  A turtle collector recently sold the shop a rare, baby red-eared slider – unremarkable in breed (red-eared sliders are one of the more common pet turtles in the United States) but unmatched in appearance.

You see, the turtle has two heads.  On opposite ends.

Although the wee beastie apparently “swims awkwardly” and would not have survived in the wild, the two-headed turtle does well in captivity and may even live out the 15-20 years normal for its breed.

Don’t ask it for its opinion, though.

It’s always a split decision.

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Rising to the Challenge, Sinking to the Depths

Filed under: Yaks of the Week — Random Yak @ 6:11 pm on September 26, 2007

Received a trackback this morning from Jennifer (aka Jenny) at The So-Called Me.  The post in question challenged bloggers to re-post their first post, and although I didn’t formally receive a tag (*cough, cough*) regular readers know only too well that you don’t have to tag me to get me to play, you just have to spark my interest.

Consider me sparked.

The first post I ever posted here at The Yak, titled “Tube Sock Behavior,” contained excerpts from A Field Study on the Behavioral Patterns of the North American Tube Sock(Note: it also caused several family members to question my sanity, in one case quite literally suggesting that I might need mental help -Ed.) Memory and satire begins below the fold: (more…)

Wednesday Frivol: BFF … Cop ?

Filed under: Yaks of the Week — Random Yak @ 4:12 pm on September 25, 2007

A nineteen year-old man sent a text message to a friend asking if the recipient would like to buy some drugs.

(Got Reefer?)

Unfortunately for our well-texted subject, the friend abandoned the number some time ago.


As often happens, the telephone company had reassigned the number … to a local police officer.

(R U serius?)

Thinking quickly, the police officer responded in the affirmative and set up a meeting.


At the meeting, police arrested the suspect on charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute.

(No way.)



The moral of the story?  A lesson in three parts:

1.  Cell phone service (with text capacity) to use selling drugs … $99.00

2.  One call to information to double check your friend’s phone number before sending an unsolicited offer to sell marijuana … $4

3.  Listening to the suspect’s cell phone ring from the evidence room, as all his friends text him with “R U stupid? LOL” … Priceless.

Trackposted to third world county, Right Voices, The Pet Haven Blog, and Nuke’s News & Views, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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