An 'A' Grade Hard To Get? Welcome to Queen's...:
Princeton has apparently announced a plan to cap 'A' marks to 35% of students in any given course. Grade inflation -- rampant in US colleges, even in the prestigious Ivy League schools -- has apparently progressed to the point where up to half of students earn 'A' grades.
The article linked above attributes the rise of grade inflation to the Vietnam War, when sympathetic professors doled out artificially high marks to keep students from being subject to the draft. Perhaps, then, I can blame the reluctance of my professors at Queen's to dole out 'A' grades on a Canadian antipathy towards conscription? In any case, the next time one of my students here at McGill complains about their B+, I'll let them know that I only provide re-reads if they are facing compulsory military service. Ha!
John Kerry's Farnsworth Bentley:
Priscilla drew my attention today to a cute NYT story on the towering (6'8"!) Torontonian Marvin Nicholson Jr., who serves as butler, aide and "chief of stuff" to presidential hopeful John Kerry. I particularly liked the fact that he turned down a Senate internship to be a caddy at Augusta.
The Hundred-Million-Dollar Dress:
Also via Priscilla, a bizzare eBay listing for a wedding dress, proceeds of a divorce, modelled by the jaded ex-husband. Quoth the Divorcee:
"I gotta say it did make me feel very pretty. So if it can make me feel pretty, it can make you feel pretty, especially on the most important day of your life, right? Anyway, I was told to say it has a train and a veil and all kinds of shiny beady things. I think it's funny that one picture makes it look like the chest plate off an Imperial Storm Trooper."
The cross-dressing model is only the first strange element. When I first visited the page, bidding was at nearly $2,000 -- for a dress worth $1,200 new. Strange, I thought. Within half an hour, the price had been driven up by a series of bids, with the present price now set at ninety-nine million dollars (up from ten million when I started writing this blog entry, by the way).
Though the bids are clearly not serious, the seller might be able to cash in anyway: This article describes the contract-law implications of bids on an auction without reserve. I would imagine the business cards of litigators are already being sent to the seller's attention in anticipation of the inevitable welching to come.