ALUMNI: Another week; another issue of Jasper Jottings

Shipped! Time to start next week’s.

Interesting fury of findings.

(1) People don’t read how to update their subscriptions. And, I don’t know how to get them trained to do it. Argh!

(2) No way to copy the three tables (i.e., contents, by name, and by class) directly into the free, and unequaled, wordpressdotcom, via their web front end, blog desk, or msft live writer.

(3) MSFT particularly exasperated me. From their word processor to their blog front end! I’d have thought that was a short putt. Noooo!

(4) Live Wirter client has a help entry give feedback. (Fasten seat belts!) That takes you to an msn group. That require you to sing on with your MSFT PASSPORT. (Annoying but OK, I’ll play along. I can see that this is a train wreck. From a UI POV tooooo many steps!) So, I have a passport — real and the Microsoft kind — so I click on “sign on with my passport”. Yup, here the wreck. “Page Not Found”. (I could make this stuff up!)

SO my play time expired and I’ve left frustrated as usual. So what else is new!

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ALUMNI: Jim Couch Reunion Games – Father’s Day – June 17, 2007 @ Manhattan College

 Interesting that DIGG knows my blog. :-)  Doesn’t stuff things in the right category or in the right format but it stuffs it.

*** begin quote ***

New to the city landscape is the Reunion Games for Dyckman resident Jim Couch. Mr. Couch founded Dyckman Basketball in 1957. Dyckman’s own Kareem Abdul-Jabbar started out with him and currently through his program over 400 individuals have been steered to scholarship opportunities. The first game will jump off at […]

*** end quote ***

read more | digg story

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ALUMNI: JasperJottings-Daily now has it’s own domain

ALUMNI: JasperJottings-Daily now has it’s own domain

JasperJottings-Daily now has it’s own domain; like JasperJottings-Sports. JasperJottings Dash Daily Dot Com

It’s easier to remember and hard to confuse with the weekly news site

Your source for Jasper Alumni stories that doesn’t come from the College.

(Weekly) Jasper Jottings Dot Com

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ALUMNI: JasperJottings-Sports now has it’s own domain.

JasperJottings-Sports now has it’s own domain.

JasperJottings Dash Sports Dot Com

It’s easier to remember and hard to confuse with the news site

Your source for Jasper Sports stories that don’t come from the College.

Jasper Jottings Dot Com

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ALUMNI: The Alumni db I use is down

I have it on good authority that the replacement for mcALUMdb will be back on line at the end of the month. My source is a very honest Jasper, and I believe he believes that. But at the risk of sounding like our loveable cuddly Curmudgeon, I’d ask “which month?”.

Seriously technology projects usually miss dates, and this one is no exception. Only Jasper Jottings is like clock work. A ranting raving clock, but always ready for your after Sunday Mass coffee. (No cheating and reading it on Saturday afternoon.) Any way, a lot of my processes (the way I do stuff) keyed on the mcALUMdb for the Class Years, so they need retooling. I have a lot of the data just not in quickly accessible format. (i.e., a a fast directory as opposed to an Outlook contact record). It’ll all be better when I dump Microsoft later this year.

In the meantime, the new son of mcALUMdb will be so much better. Excuse me, I have to answer the door, the bridge salesman is here.

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ALUMNI: Creating class alumni groups on yahoo

Creating class alumni groups on yahoo

  • Name (steer clear of trademark, copyright, and such)
  • Logo
  • Build a FAQ
  • Have key text files ready:
  • Webpage and domain name
  • Source of invitations list
  • Ask people to sub and unsub without your involvement.

Create the group. Send the Invites. And prep for either a big flop or a lifetime of angst.

ALUMNI: Advice to a young alum who was rejected

Subject: Life moves on. So should you.

Life’s too short to waste on those who aren’t absolutely perfect for you. Of course rejection hurts, but now is the time to develop your response to it. Now, I’m not Doctor Phil, nor a trained psychologist, nor did I stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I can state unequivocally and with absolute certainty, it’ll happen again. Unless you get hit with the proverbial mack truck in the next ten minutes, (Brother Jasper forbid!), you’ll have to deal with rejection many times in your life. I have. Everyone does. Of course rejections hurt, you invest some of yourself in the relationship. The trick is in your response. You’re smart, beautiful, child of God. Who would NOT want to cherish you? A butt head. Just know in your heart that some day when he’s alone in his soul, he’ll wonder what could have been. And, that’s a killer! You OTOH will know that you did miss a thing. I know that all we can control in life is how we react to “stuff”. Glass half-full, joy! Glass half-empty, sadness. You are how you perceive events, react to or not react to “stuff”, and how you think about things. Your pair-of-dimes (paradigm — your mental models and memes) is your car fare to your destiny. Don’t waste it on a bad trip. Go for the gusto, bliss, or joy. Where ever you see it! Waste not a minute, for all to soon you’ll be old like me, and commenting to young Jaspers. Then think of me saying nice things to you. :-) And, give that youngster good advice. fjohn68

ALUMNI: Control of educational institutions

A Donor with Backbone
By Walter E. Williams
Wednesday, March 21, 2007

***Begin Quote***

Some colleges have brazenly violated donor intent. Princeton University has been taken to court by the Robertson family for misuse of $207 million of a gift estimated at $700 million in today’s prices. Because they violated donor intent, Boston College, USC, UCLA, Harvard and Yale have been forced to return multimillion-dollar gifts. It’s high time that donors large and small summon some of Mr. McGlothlin’s courage and hold colleges accountable to standards of decency and honesty.

***End Quote***

I like how Professor Williams cuts to the center.

When we give money, as opposed to when we have it stolen via taxes from us, we have a moral obligation to “first, do no harm”. When we don’t supervise the donation’s use, we become complicit it the abuse.

The fact that these “schools” are really pseudo gooferment entities makes it even harder to control their behavior.

If they were truly private free market entities, the their “customers” could discipline them.

ALUMNI: Changing my thinking

I have the Jasper Jottings website. But that’s weekly static and lots of work. I can simplify my workflow by blogging everything I see when I see it. Then, I can offer a daily raw feed. And, I think if I use BLOGLINES right, I can make the weekly build much more cut an paste. If all the news can come into BLOGLINES on one feed, and all the Obits on another, and each topic category comes in on its own feed, it’s easier. Hmmm!

ALUMNI: Have used a blog and BLOGDESK to change my thinking

I write my alumni ezine Jasper Jottings ( and each week I struggle to get it done on time, in the time “allotted”, and with a certain level of quality.

Up to now, I have just used email as THE communication tool. I email out the issue with the help of a Yahoo group after I post it on the website. I receive email from my fellow alums for inclusion.

Up to my laptop getting winrot and Microsoft Word 2003 stopped working, I’d just create the document and add to it every day.

I “budgeted” about 2 hours a day for Jasper Jottings. (That’s 14 hours per week for a hobby!) Some weeks I was better than others as on time, in time, and quality.

In the last year, at the readership’s requests, I spun “sports” to a blog. But didn’t do it very well. Recently, a reader didn’t want more obits. Also, the message traffic has dwindled to a trickle.

So my satisfaction is dwindling.

I did come up with an idea that would make it all better. A silver bullet!

Instead of my current methods, I need a new and improved method.


The weekly cycle is a problem. I’ve tinkered and pruned and noodled it around, but never came up with a breakthrough idea.

Till now!

What if I used a blog as my collection point? It has a lot going for it.

It would reduce my administrivia time. People could read it online, by email, or a feedreader. It would serve as a natural collection point for the weekly distribution. Sub topical feeds could allow that one reader to not subscribe to obits.

I’m working on the concept. But it seems to work for me.

ALUMNI: An idea for a real time Jasper news wire

I woke up in the wee hours with my next great idea. A real time Jasper news wire. Born out of my computer troubles, it has always been my thought to have an easy way to assemble my weekly ezine more easily. So why not use a wordpress blog, and just “stitch” it together for the weekly readers. It would allow that fellow to only see the sections he was interested in. Have to noodle that about. But I like the idea. Real time Jasper feed.

ALUMNI: Another high school classmates goes RIP

Argh! If I wasn’t bummed out enough last week and this weekend, everything seems to be changing in the wrong direction. I gotta strange call on Sunday night on my cell phone. It was the fellow’s widow and his kids calling me Evidently he had printed my high school home page and was planning to get in touch. Unfortunately the fates intervened. So they called to give me the sad news with details and I was able to express my sorrow. I promised to pass it along. That took about an hour. I was tired and made mistakes but I was able to push it before fogging out. It makes me sad. You just don’t think of it. Sigh!

ALUMNI: Someone asked about obits (Memento Mori)

Every morning, the first thing I do is look for the obits of my fellow Manhattan College alumni. It’s not a morbid fascination, although when there is one it can be a great read about a great life, but an attempt to atone for all my past sins. It’s ghoulish work but someone has to do it.

If I DON’T find one, then I thank the Intelligent Designer for giving all these great people, and me, another day to complete their life’s work and go about mine.

Upon finding one, I determine if it’s timely (i.e., announces a future service), then I create an “Actionable Obit” message. That message pulls together all the details and sends it to my alumni yahoo group for them to act on should they choose.

If not timely, I cerate a plain old obit message to the College alumni society, key interested individuals, and my weekly ezine.

If the obit has an online “guest book”, then I put in a small message of consolation. (There is nothing as depressing as a Guest Book with no messages. I check back before it expires just to read the comments.I actually put it in my personal Outlook calendar so I don’t forget and miss it.)

Then, I go about my day’s work, motivated by the knowledge that I only have a limited time to get all the important stuff done. I guess on average it takes ten minutes. Call it “morning prayer” or “mourning prayer”.

Weird, maybe. Necessary, maybe. Valuable, maybe.

Lot of maybes in that value equation.

It’s sort of like blogging. Valuable, maybe?

ALUMNI: Is doing these obits a “positive” thing?

>From: A fellow alum
>Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2007 10:33 PM
>To: Reinke’s Jasper (mc68alum) Persona
>Subject: Re: [ManhattanCollegeAlumni] JASPER ACTIONABLE OBIT:
>I click onto these things hoping to read good news and 95% of the time they are generated because of someone’s demise.

Oh, I see, someone returning to their “eternal reward”, isn’t good news? That’s the trick question that I have no answer for.

I do these obit broadcasts with mixed emotions. On one hand, I think it’s joyful in the sense that some of these fellow, even as communicated in a brief obit, have made a unique substantive contribution. Even badly described, it fills me with awe at some of those accomplishments. I enjoy seeing how someone reports how they lived. On the other hand, I find it depressing for several reasons: (1) They’ve left without doing a brain drain. Maybe they had “the answer”. (2) For the most part they were “good people” and the world is a “poorer” place without them. (3) I wonder if we are replacing them with the same caliber of Jaspers, since they leave so big shoes to fill.

From time to time, I hear from our fellow alums, or one of the departed’s family members, with appreciation for getting the word “out” and I get some story or other that makes me feel that the few minutes I spend each morning has made a meaningful “contribution” to the common good. Sometimes, it means that old friends get to pay respects, close the loop on an old friendship, or just know that someone cared about the deceased.

I’ve drifted into this self-appointed “ghoulish” duty with mixed feelings. Because of my “technology”, I’m probably uniquely able to do it. I keep questioning if it’s a “good” or a “bad”, positive/negative, or just a rut.

For you, I’d give the advice that if the title says “obit”, it’s probably not be the good news that you’re looking for.

On the other hand, perhaps it might help you: (1) focus on the truly important; (2) put all “problems” in perspective (it does for me); and (3) inspire you to “sing your song”, write your “brain drain”, or just do something you’ve always wanted to do. As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.

So I ask you, should I continue? I struggle with that question regularly.

ALUMNI: Big sites don’t allow obit search, aren’t indexed in the search engines, and have no feedback mechanism

In investigating the failure of the automated searches to detect two jasper obits last week, I found that the NY Daily News and NY Post don’t have searchable obits. Apparently also Google doesn’t index them either. As usual with big sites, there’s no way to ask either.