Alma Maters

Exhibit 23.3

Destruction Myth by Mathias Svalina

I don’t think there’s another writer that I stole as much from when I was deciding what kind of writer I wanted to be. If Mathias weren’t so nice, he probably would have punched me in the face by now. There’s still time, honestly.

I remember how blown away I was when some of the “Creation Myth” pieces that make up the bulk of Destruction Myth started appearing on his blog (I did not steal his blog’s tendency to be interesting though he recently appears to have borrowed my blog’s commitment to dog photography). A combination of verse and prose, of birth and death, Destruction Myth is a book I have spent years waiting for and it does not disappoint. It is hilarious and smart and sad, and it is the 3rd amazing book of poetry to have come out this year from someone who was in Lincoln during my tenure there. Naca, Zach, Mathias. I was very, very lucky.

If you haven’t ordered the book yet, watch Elisabeth’s video interpretation of one of the book’s best pieces and become convinced:

Creation Myth from nocoastfilms on Vimeo.

Pick the book up from CSU here or here.

Oh, and if you haven’t gotten it–Mathias’s Play from The Cupboard is super great. That series is the full-length I want to see next.

Comment / Posted in Alma Maters, Poetry, Writing

Exhibit 8.5

In honor of Drake University having made the NCAA tournament, I plan on doing some comparisons between them and their first round opponent, Western Kentucky University who won the game on a last second three pointer.


Drake vs. Western Kentucky

Winner: Western Kentucky.

Apparently they’re about two points better at basketball. It was an amazing game though. Drake was up one with five seconds left and lost on a running three. Western Kentucky was locked in all game and played great. Congratulations to the Hilltoppers.

We’ll be taking our conestogas back to the plains now.

Comment / Posted in Alma Maters, No good, Sports

Exhibit 8.4

In honor of Drake University having made the NCAA tournament, I plan on doing some comparisons between them and their first round opponent, Western Kentucky University because I’m pretty sure this hasn’t gotten old yet.

School Motto
Veritas vs. The Spirit Makes the Master

Winner: Drake

Sorry, but there’s something quasi-problematic about this whole spirit/master thing. It’s not just the valuing of spirit–that’s fine–but it’s the priviledging of mastery as opposed to, say, decency. If Western Kentucky wants to fill the hills with a bunch of little Ayn Rands, that’s their business.

Plus, it’s in English when everyone knows that any motto should be in a dead language. (I’m looking at you, Nebraska).

Veritas wins easily.

1 Comment / Posted in Alma Maters, Sports, Truth

Exhibit 8.3

In honor of Drake University having made the NCAA tournament, I plan on doing some comparisons between them and their first round opponent, Western Kentucky University. This meeting of two college basketball powerhouses will surely go down in history as one of the least important things to ever happen in Tampa.

Biggest Rival

Creighton vs. Shingles

Winner: Just kidding.
Comment / Posted in Alma Maters, Diseases, Sports

Exhibit 8.2

In honor of Drake University having made the NCAA tournament, I plan on doing some comparisons between them and their first round opponent, Western Kentucky University. The game is at 11:30am (central) today and before then I’ll post some smaller comparisons. They’ll each have to be an individual posts because formatting these isn’t fun.

University President’s Facial Hair

David Maxwell vs. Gary Ransdell

Winner: Push.

Mr. Ransdell doesn’t have facial hair, and everyone wishes Mr. Maxwell didn’t either. Some bonus points should be given considering Mr. Maxwell is a Russian scholar and the son of a jazz trumpeter. I mean, he probably should have a beard with a resume like that.

It’s not his fault that he’s genetically incapable of growing one.

Comment / Posted in Alma Maters, Beards, Sports

Exhibit 8.1

In honor of Drake University having made the NCAA tournament, I plan on doing some comparisons between them and their first round opponent, Western Kentucky University, because really, there’s not a lot else going on that’s holding my interest and I’m going wherever this bandwagon takes me.

Most Famous Alumni

Michael Emerson vs. Cordell Hull
Let’s look more closely at this.

Hull: Secretary of State for FDR
Emerson: Ben on Lost

Hull: Good
Emerson: Evil

Hull: Boss was FDR
Emerson: Boss is “Jacob”

Hull: Credited with creation of the United Nations
Emerson: Has crush on Juliet

Hull: Longest serving secretary of state
Emerson: Killed his own father

Hull: Won the Nobel Peace Prize
Emerson: How does he get off the island? Seriously, I want to know.

Winner: Western Kentucky although Hull didn’t actually graduate from there.

For the Hilltoppers, it was Hull or John Carpenter and even though Hull’s connection to W. Kentucky is pretty tenuous–he went to their predeccessor school at the age of 15–I couldn’t serve up the guy who made Escape from New York since he also didn’t graduate from the school.

You may ask why I didn’t pick someone who did graduate from Western Kentucky. Well, if I wanted to do that it would have either been the drummer from The Black Crowes or the guy who played Roy on Wings. I couldn’t decide which of those two would be more famous, so I went with Hull.

For Drake, there’s pretty much no question it’s Emerson. Sure, they have plenty of governors, writers, and Billy Cundiffs, but you can’t get better than playing Ben Linus. Drake’s pool of accomplished alumni is far deeper, but it’s hard to argue with the guy who was the Secretary of State during most of WWII and created the UN.

Reluctantly, Western Kentucky takes this one. Even though it’s a tainted victory, I’m sure they’re all standing on top of their hill waving towels. I sort of love them for that.
1 Comment / Posted in Alma Maters, Escape from New York, Sports

Exhibit 7.26

In honor of Drake University having made the NCAA tournament, I plan on doing some comparisons between them and their first round opponent, Western Kentucky University. I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who gets really behind their alma mater. I swear to god, if they get past the second round I’m buying a Drake license plate holder for my car.


Bulldogs vs. Hilltoppers

Winner: Drake. The bulldog may not be the most original mascot, but the Hilltopper is just nonsensical. As far as I can tell they are named the Hilltoppers because A) fox hunting or B) coal mining or C) the campus just happens to be on a hill. Since the first two are examples of humanity at its lowest, I don’t think they can win this one.

Also, the problem with an intangible mascot is that the concept must somehow be stretched into an image that conveys its meaning. As you can see, the Hilltoppers gave up on this and decided to go with Thing from The Addams Family waving a towel. On the plus side, they do have someone dress up in a Grimace-esque costume and play the role of jubilant, team-spirit inducing hill. Nothing wrong with that.

2 Comments / Posted in Alma Maters, Grimace-esque, Sports

Exhibit 7.24

Here is another great article on Drake’s remarkable season. Needless to say, nobody saw this coming. Let me put it another way: The day I arrived on campus as a freshmen I met the RA on my floor who was a junior from some small town in Iowa. A nice guy of average height and build who showed no particular athletic ability in the ultimate frisbee games he played in front of the union, one day in the hall he mentioned that he had to run to basketball practice.

Me: Oh, are you on a club team?
RA: Oh, no.
Me: Is it a fraternity thing?
RA: Didn’t I ever tell you this?
Me: What? That you play co-ed basketball?
RA: I’m on the basketball team.
Me: Yeah, but which one?
RA: The basketball team.
Me: Our floor has a basketball team?
RA: Yes, but that’s not the point.
Me: Why didn’t anyone ask me to play? I’m taller than you.
RA: But I’m on the Bulldogs. You know, the school’s team.
Me: Oh.
RA: Yeah.
Me: So do you guys ever play the floor’s team?

Now that guy–not that guy but pretty much that guy–is the Valley player of the year and the lynchpin to Drake’s first tournament run in over 30 years.

Comment / Posted in Alma Maters, Needless, Sports

Exhibit 6.15

Last night we went to go see the Number 22/23 ranked Drake Bulldogs take on the unranked Creighton Bluejays at the Qwest Center. It really is a pretty fantastic venue for basketball and, say what you will about it, but Omaha really comes out to support the Bluejays. This game is also notable for featuring two out of three Korver brothers and all three were in the building. Guess which is which!

Drake (17-1, 16 game winning streak) won in overtime which made me very happy and the children in front of us very sad. I probably didn’t need to taunt them by telling them this means Keno Davis gets to choose the next pope.

In my defense, at the time I thought it was true.

2 Comments / Posted in Alma Maters, Keno Davis, Korvers

Exhibit 5.18

I should probably point out that Drake University’s basketball team is 9-1 and starting to get articles like this written about them.

Comment / Posted in Alma Maters, Keno Davis, Sports

Exhibit 3.26

Back from Des Moines and the reading went well. Everyone at Drake was very nice, and it was great to read with Aaron and Shanley (who were both fantastic). Shanley’s poems were like polished rocks, all pretty but scary underneath. Aaron’s reading was wild and fun. There was a projector involved. Mostly, it projected excellence.

Guess which of the following was not asked after the reading?

  • “How does it feel to write in English?”
  • “Do you speak a foreign language or play an instrument? If not, how do you communicate with people who speak other languages?”
  • “Where do you get your ideas?”
  • “Have you ever travelled?”
  • “Who decides what’s good?”

You’re probably wrong. Anyway, the answers:

  • ┬┐Que?
  • (guitar solo)
  • Advertisements for consumer electronics
  • Does this count?
  • Probably John Updike. Or you. Probably definitely you in conjunction with John Updike.

I wish the man who asked most of these questions could follow me around and keep me on my toes by occassionally shouting out questions connected only by a vague interest in foreign policy. He had a beard and seemed very nice.

If he were writing this post, he’d end by asking, “What’s our responsibility to people in Madrid?” Really, it’s hard to beat that.

1 Comment / Posted in Alma Maters, Beards, Readings

Exhibit 3.19

Shanley Jacobs, Aaron Plasek, and Adam Peterson

Reading at Drake University on Thursday, October 11th. Cowles Reading Room at 7:30 p.m.

(That’s actually as close as I can get to a camera. Any closer and the camera explodes. I’ve never thought to ask why).

1 Comment / Posted in Alma Maters, Readings, Unanswered questions