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Posts Tagged ‘Good Men Project’

What Are YOU Prepared To Do?

In Be a Guy, Fleshed Out Tweets, Yes, You are a Wimp on April 11, 2013 at 10:37 am

From NYTIMESHmmmmm.

Police Now Advise Assertive Response to Mass Attacks

Of course they do…

Gallant thinks it is because the authorities realize that they can’t be everywhere at once, that there were cops on site when Columbine, Tucson and Ft Hood started, that if the rule of law worked the judge you saw in traffic court wouldn’t have a carry permit.

Goofus thinks it is because most cops count on being struck by lightning before they have to draw their weapons on duty and that they are more interested in their vinyl siding business, putting in their 20 and retiring with medical then they are in shooting it out with some kook.

So maybe you better remember the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared”; oh and good luck. If you wait for a killing to become mass, to consider an action plan, to contemplate the morality of braining someone with a ketchup bottle, you are too late. If you act earlier on your suspicions you are the NYCPD doing stop and frisk or George Zimmerman and are probably at fault.

Do it in school and chances are you’re disciplined- if not suspended.

Do it on the street and chances you’re sued.

Do it in the subway and you’re a racist who can’t find any peace like Bernie Goetz.

Do it at all and you risk getting branded as some kind of toxic-macho aggressor.

Be a toxic- macho fool who can’t mind his own business & you shoot Trevon Martin.

My first real boss was retired from the Coast Guard “We get paid to go out, not to come home”.  He taught me that you move in a crisis; either towards it or away; me I suggest moving away from gunshots.  He would have laughed at the Steubenville first responders who are all stressed out at having to see bodies.  Well too bad for you, sometimes it isn’t all swagger and lights & sirens, I hate it too when I have to do my job.

The dirty little secret of the Columbine shooting is that the police were behind Fire Trucks & Ambulances waiting for some other guy to go in and do the job for which they were hired as children and teachers bled out. Hillary Clinton was visiting my children’s elementary school while Columbine went down and the school went into complete lockdown while waiting for Marine One to whisk her away. Shortly afterwards I sat my kids down and explained they were under no circumstance ever to stick around for another lockdown- break a window, lay coats or books over the glass and head for the hills. Of course the Jefferson County cops may very well have shot a few students fleeing the school they were so dysfunctional that day.

The lesson of 911 might be that only 25% of Americans could get organized to fight back. Todd Beamer was a rugby player- so by definition he made football players look like wimps and practiced a proto-heteronormative masculinity by playing a contact sport- but he was able to use his faith & his team working experience to save, probably, other lives.

The dirty little secret of the Colin Ferguson LIRR shooting is that Ferguson reloaded magazines, not swapped out mags, but pushed bullets into the magazine for his pistol while the other riders waited for the authorities to do something. Nobody took a ball point and stabbed him in the eye, ear or neck. Eventually, passengers did rush & overcome Ferguson when the police didn’t show up. But bodies did stack up waiting for the authorities. [Full disclosure; the night of this shooting my phone rang several times and the callers said “Good you’re home”. I had no idea that this had occurred on my train line.]

So what is a Good Man of vetted liberal credentials to do, a guy who agrees that post Steubenville & Torrington football should be outlawed? How can a man who believes it when told that physical aggression is an extension of toxic-masculinity pick up the slack while waiting for the cops? It’s tough to toe the line and admire Anonymous taking things into their own hands- unless you can include physical action in your solution tree to physical confrontation.  It is all a slippery slope. Maybe you can see yourself speaking up to a line cutter or grabbing a fire extinguisher. Now try and grasp the basic theory behind gun ownership “when seconds count and the police are minutes away, what are you going to do?”  Are you stuck with the logical progression of the fight back argument- who wants to show up at a gun fight with an umbrella?

The problem, with the escalation of too many incidents, is that increasingly we just don’t know how to fight. In a world of zero tolerance the will and ability to fight back is stripped; we’ve been programming boys away from it for the past 40 years.  This is the Good Men Project here, so let’s talk about men and boys. Where every push or poke is bullying how one does develop the skill set of fighting? You don’t learn to street fight in the dojo, you may learn some techniques that might work in a fight in a sterile situation, but until you’ve busted a guy in the mouth while he is still talking smack you haven’t fought. Until you’ve had your eye opened and your knuckles busted you don’t know what you can do and more importantly how you can carry on hurt.   The next best thing to schoolyard fighting is competitive contact sports if one wants to learn to react instantaneously to violence.  This week that much maligned male “the Football Jock” stepped in in a timely manner.That would be sports with winners and losers, bumps and bruises. I’ll go on record now I’d rather be kicked by a Tiger Schulman disciple that booted by a soccer player.

The rest of the world isn’t worried about participation ribbons. A few million kids got out of bed this morning and hoped that someday they will kill a kid just like yours.

Children the age of your little darling woke up in Asia, Africa and South America grabbed their Kalashnikov and went to work.

A few thousand troubled souls awoke this morning, right here in the US, planning on raping your child or shooting up a public place.

Years ago I had to face that I am not brave enough to be a pacifist. A few years later I came to understand what I disliked about my mother’s favorite novelist- Pat Conroy, I disagreed with his message that it is better to live on your knees than to die on your feet. The only promise she ever asked of me was not to be a cop or a fireman as she was convinced I would run into a burning building. The piece I did about Walking into a Bucket of Blood was interpreted by some as funny- it was a serious piece told in a jocular manner. Threat assessment is a good habit every day and every place.

Dan McKown was prepared at the Tacoma Mall and is in a wheelchair because he fought fair, because he didn’t practice total war.

As Sean Connery asked Kevin Costner in “The Untouchables” “What are your prepared to do?”


Ultimately the end of the Boston situation came about due to a civilian.
“Then one man emerged from his home and noticed blood on the pleasure boat parked in his backyard. He lifted the tarp and found the wounded 19-year-old college student known the world over as Suspect No. 2.”

Another version of this was first published at


What if Kidnapper’s Neighbor Had Just Walked Away?



Well Done, Weld One: 10 Paragraphs On Welding

In Be a Guy, Cat Skull Studio, Did You See This?, Tool Kit on March 16, 2013 at 8:02 pm

This originally appeared at the Good Men Project and I thank them for the exposure.

2Anvil (1)

Back in my bar days more than once we started and accomplished a drunk just talking about welding. I recall a guy who worked on 6″ thick aluminum tank armor discussing tricks. Another pal had learned from ship makers and tried to explain how they could move massive plates into alignment with the heat of the weld. As with most besotted lessons I didn’t learn how to do these things, but I was aware of the possibilities.

A good man’s skill set includes changing physical things, to create wealth & tangible items, to make & repair. A good man knows you can’t heal the world, but you can change your immediate surroundings. In much of the country the question is “who’s got a welder?” I’ve heard plenty of guys say I wish I knew how to weld. I can weld, I’m not a welder.

1It is not rocket science unless you are working on rockets. Or high pressure steam. Or gas or oil transmission. Or fire escapes on which people’s lives depend……

Weld Burn- a 6' high top rail on a lax goal is overhead for me,

Weld Burn- a 6′ high top rail on a lax goal is overhead for me,

2Safety Rules. I’ve rarely started a fire with a clean station and a fire extinguisher handy. Don’t stand in a puddle of water. Work in a well-ventilated place. The leather thing is not a Village People thing- protection goes a long way towards strong welds; it is tough to concentrate on the puddle when you are on fire. You don’t need the full kit- but don’t wear polyester which will melt and weld with your skin. Yeah I know; eye protection is for sissies & one-eyed mechanics, I wear glasses under the welding helmet or face shield. I wear a leather apron because I’m tired of pulling cup brush needles out of my scrotum. Once you use an auto-darkening helmet you’ll never go back.

3- MIG Welding is not as easy as caulking. [neither is caulking .] You can buy a wire feed welder for the cost of a golf outing. Get a pile of scrap, cruise YouTube and you can make stuff pretty damned soon. Follow the directions, flip open the cover on a MIG welder and there will be a handy guide for setting amperage and wire feed speed. Technically I’ve been talking about flux-cored arc welding. Add inert gas and a different wire and you really are MIG welding-gas metal arc welding- which has it’s advantages.

Flux Core Welding vs. Solid Core Welding With Gas – Kevin Caron

4- Stick welding, shielded metal arc welding isn’t as hard or dangerous as it is supposed to be. It does raise sparks and the work gets red hot. Make sure you have the right electrode, both for your machine and for the application you plan. Read the package for amperage. Buy new rods for anything semi-important; if you are getting anything from this piece you don’t have an oven. Yeah I know it’s not the tool, it’s the craftsman but dry electrodes work a lot more effectively. In my experience woodworking, carpentry, logging and bar tending were a lot more dangerous than welding.

How To Weld: Understanding Stick Welding Duty Cycle by ChuckE2009

5- I have no personal opinion on TIG welding, other than I pay a pretty penny to have it done, it is worth it and it is pretty. Anyone who would like to assist me in having an opinion on the subject I’m available nights & weekends. I’ll bring my own hand tools and lunch.

Tig Welding Stainless Steel Repair  by Jody Collier

6 Torch welding/brazing and faggot welding are subjects for another article. [Faggot welding is a blacksmithing process here; it’s a marriage equality issue on the rest of GMP.]

Blazing Brazing byKeith Fenner

Faggot Welding by Keith Aspery

7- Cheating isn’t cheating, 40 some years of on & off welding and within the past year I saw a guy guide the end of a new, long, rod to the joint with his off hand- Brilliant. Lay the project on it’s side or set it on milk crates, whatever makes it accessible. You don’t need to make each assembly a 6G test. I recently clamped a plywood angle to the table parallel to a joint I wanted to look great and drew the rod against it; it worked. Clamping is not cheating.

8- Preparation is time well spent, clean rust, scale & oil off of the material. At the level that I weld there is no percentage in blowing through rust, paint and grime. Grind bevels at the joints, space the joints & preheat the pieces. A good ground is as important as a good lead. Make a dry run through the length of the joint, better to know how you will get there before you have to get there, wear your helmet during the practice. Clamping is a must.

Stack of Dimes by Jody- a Big Boy

Stack of Dimes by Jody- a Big Boy

9- A stack of dimes bead in not inherently strongest- but when you run one, you will take a picture.

10- Certification is a bit tricky, there is AWS (American Welding Society) certification , In-House certification (let me see you run a bead) and Get-Er-Done (can you fix this?). With a welder in your tool kit things need welding. My rule of thumb is: I’m certified to do whatever I feel comfortable doing. I’ve been paid to make things and that qualifies as certification for that project. That being said I wouldn’t touch anything “go fast” like a motorcycle frame. I would repair a bumper for you. For me I’ve got joist hangers holding up the floor of the bedroom where I sleep most nights that were inspected by an engineer and that I made.


Octagon Box

The Complete Anvil Stand

Ten Things I’ve Learned About Walking into a Bucket of Blood in a Strange Town (and Getting Out Alive)

In Be a Guy, Did You See This?, ReBlog on February 21, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Men gathered for a drink in the Road House Sal...

This piece first appeared at The Good Men Project where I get very little traction. For some reason Justin Cascio has faith in me and has become the most unlikely friend  I have.   They give me space to access a wider audience and cross pollinate with The Huffington Post & Salon, as well as innumerable feminist blogs of, in my opinion, misandrist tendencies.  I may or may not write up something on the subject of my poor showing- but let’s face it; the primary problem is my writing.

Bucket of Blood: Old Western slang for a notoriously violent bar or saloon. Still occasionally used in modern times. —

Bucket of Blood: The kind of bar that has sawdust and vomit on the floor,  if you bring your own sawdust.—- John Howard

  1. Walking across the parking lot, close one eye. This is why pirates wore eye patches. You want some night vision as soon as you get in there. If you can, pause just outside the door with both eyes closed for a bit.
  2. Scope the exits immediately.
  3. Dress non-descriptively. If things go south, don’t make it easy for the cops to put out a description: “Neon bike shorts and a cutoff Save The Whales shirt.”
  4. Piss now. The men’s room is a choke point and ambush site. Figure out how bad it is right away. Can the stall doors be kicked in or out as a sneak attack? Is there a mop you can break the handle off of and use as a weapon?
  5. Stay away from the games for a while. Challenging the pool table right away is too aggressive.
  6. Drink like the locals. If it is a bump and a beer joint, go with the flow. Nobody cares about your knowledge of esoteric vodkas; actually they do care and it gives them a pain in the ass.
  7. Tip the bartender appropriately. He’ll resent it if you try to buy his attention for the rest of the night right away and give you a soapy glass if you suggest you’ll get him next time.
  8. Stay away from the juke box for a while longer. Nobody cares about your taste in music.
  9. Stay away from the former Home Coming Queen, period. If she’s still in town there’s a pretty good chance she is with someone or has recently broken up him. If he isn’t there, some of his friends are.
  10. Just leave when you leave. If there are guys planning on jack rolling you, don’t give them time to execute their grand scheme.


Where the F Do I Surrender?

In Be a Guy on September 8, 2012 at 5:09 am

I’m in 2nd grade: Mrs. Hogan, my teacher, tells us about The Saturday Evening Post article and Alcoholics Anonymous. Fifty years later, who else remembers this? Mother, no stranger to the rapine path of “the drink,” sits me down to watch “Lost Weekend” the way other families watch “The Wizard of Oz.”

I’m nine or ten, and we are entertaining Father’s client. Mother is out front, teaching us to drink responsibly like worldly European children. I’m wearing a suit. I sip some wine. It’s terrible tasting yet, seductive.

I’m a good boy; when the adults retire to the living room for cigarettes and coffee, I clear the table. With two hands I carefully carry the goblets to the kitchen and drain each before setting it down. Years later at Mass, I recognize the move when a priest finishes up the Communion chalice. I’m on the couch buzzed laughing at stories I don’t understand when Mother leads me off to bed.

A week later—while a puzzled babysitter watches—I drink two bottles of Welch’s Grape Juice and am surprised it does nothing for me. I know wine is made with grapes. There isn’t room enough in the refrigerator for the gallon jugs of cider we buy in the fall, which get stored in the garage. I learn about the sweet spot between cider turning to alcohol and turning to vinegar.

I’m 15: Tomorrow is my 16th birthday and the guys and I are drinking pitchers of Schlitz at the College Inn. When I rode past Cagney’s as a kid, the open door leading to darkness, the strange smells, sounds, and smoke, were scary. A booth in a bar turns out to be a womb; a stool at the bar, a saddle.

I’m 16 and painting houses for the summer. We order paint, and, while it is mixing, duck into Uwe’s for nickel beers in juice glasses. I ride to school in Bugs crammed with bodies and marijuana smoke. (Two years later one of the drivers will be dead of an overdose.) I drop a fist full of white crosses for soccer games, smoke a joint before skipping rope in the steam room to make weight, and drink a few tequilas at lunch time on lacrosse game days.

I’m 18; I smoke a J, drink some beers, and give a class graduation speech.

I’m 19 and drink my way out of the Ivy League. My Dad and I have a few epic fights and some extraordinary benders. I get into a real bar fight with my junior-high football coach.

I’m not yet 21 and at the town dump, 2,000 miles from my family, unloading a truckload of my garbage bags. Hitting the ground, they split with the weight of beer bottles. I am embarrassed or, more accurately, paranoid about the neon-green caps from the U80 syringes with which I shoot coke and speedballs.

I’m 23; after a particularly humiliating weekend I announce to my running buddies that I am going to AA. They explain that alcoholics are old men in grubby raincoats, and pour me a shot and a beer.

I eat half a dozen DUIs, under a couple different names, the way other people deal with oil changes. I’m arrested on live TV during Sweeps Week, and the guys at the Punch Bowl pass a hat for my bail. Even the cop who got the call about my sideswiping the Eyewitness News van is sympathetic.

I’m 27 and have relocated back to my home turf. I have a driver’s license in my own name with no DUIs on it. At a bar I tell some story about running my own construction firm. I’m indignant when another barfly calls me on my bullshit, observing that I drink like he did before being cashiered from the Air Force, and suggests that I will end up on my ass, too.

I’m 27 and attending a family wedding; there is my hell raising, ass-kicking, hero-cousin with a wife, house, and a child. My reaction is, “Shit, shit, shit … .” He is in AA, and I hear footsteps.

I am 27; I’m scratching a lottery ticket and have an auditory hallucination from behind me: “You won’t hit the lottery until you quit drinking.” I am alone in a pickup truck.

I’m 28 and find one of the all-time hall of fame gentleman bartenders. He pours my morning shot 2/3 full and turns his back to prep fruit. I dip my head and lap the first drink; horrors splatter the bar if I attempt to use my hands. After several gentle minutes Jimmy returns, says “I think I shorted you on that” and pours me a full measure. I’m a functional alcoholic, most are: drinking and drugging is expensive. After work, in the same bar, I vomit red blood in the toilet and order more whiskey for its astringent values.

I’m 28; I wake up a week after Halloween, covered in blood, hands broken.

I check my head for lacerations and, amazingly, find none. I don’t know if I’ve killed someone or been slaughtering hogs. Aloud I ask, “Where the fuck do I surrender?” and call my cousin. He explains: “Right here and right now.” I end up washing Thanksgiving dishes for forty people in rehab.

For some reason, I exhibit classic PTSD symptoms: I duck when the shadow of an airplane covers me. I have not used since the day I called Ronnie. Ten years later I repay the bartender’s kindness by sitting with him through his first white-knuckle week in church basements. Over the years I tell many people, “I don’t care if you want to drink, I will care if you don’t”; succinct, glib and so true until now.

It’s almost Labor Day. I’m 55 and attending the family-education session in the same rehab where I washed those Thanksgiving dishes. I’m here for my 17-year-old son. I sit in a room of upset parents in a state of acceptance, if not serenity. I’m glad he is here, though I had no real expectation of his living through the summer.

Perhaps if he gets it now, he will graduate from college, may not worry about his liver, and might choose a spouse wisely—preferably one without the addictive line in her family.

I’m disturbed and dismayed these past several years at the hubris of my youth and my denial that the child of two junkies would, almost, have to end up a junkie. He hates me, and I don’t care all that much. His value system and mine have been at odds for years.

Perhaps we will find some future commonality past the genes with which I damned him.

As he is the spitting image of me, my heart bleeds.

This piece originally appeared at the Good Men Project. Justin my editor & mentor suggested it would get more traction from search engines and less filtering if we dropped the FBomb… To which I replied ” What the Fuck do I know?”

6/18/13 This morning, over the transom comes a news-bit about 2 young men killed in an accident. It is too sad to read. This afternoon comes the call one boy is the namesake of a guy with whom I got sober. They were 22 or so- and almost made it through to adulthood.


Bank Walkers and Locker Room Code .2

In Be a Guy, Thoughtful- Items I'd Like you to Read on September 3, 2012 at 12:03 am

This is an updated & expanded version of an earlier piece of the same name.
This version originally appeared in The Good Men Project which has given me an oppurtunity to reach a larger audience and done something with my spelling.

In the Peoples Republic of Mass years ago; visiting my brother, I end up going to the pool club with my wife, daughter, infant son, Sister-in-Law, nephew and infant niece.

As we ready to leave, the babies are with the mommies and my nephew and I are in the men’s locker room. I’m a little peeved because if I weren’t here this 8-year-old would be in the women’s room.

In the locker room I tell PC to drop his suit near our locker- we don’t care about being naked- and not to wrap his towel around his wet body.  You want it dry after a shower.
We finish showering, go back to the locker, and I put my shorts on immediately. My nephew starts in with his T-shirt. I’m dressed in maybe a minute and he’s still dicking around with his top. So I ask what he’s doing and he hems and haws a bit until I ask ‘hasn’t your Father taught you anything?”
“First thing you put on your pants. There are two theories about this:
1- if this place catches fire you can walk right out with your money and car keys.
2- If there is some guy scoping your package in here; you don’t want to lead him on.
Next you put on your shoes:
1- if you’re leaving in a fire, shoes are handy.
2- You don’t know what’s growing on the floor here.
Your shirt is last; you hung out at the pool without a shirt.
And most importantly: we must be waiting when your Mom and Aunt come out of their locker room. Job one is to be sitting outside and asking them ‘What took you so long?’”

And I hear a gentle voice inquire “Does he really need to hear that kind of thing?” I turn and consider this character, maybe 5 years older than I, which makes him prime hippie age, in a (I shit you not) “Save the Whales” T-shirt . For all I know he’s my brother’s neighbor, but I just have to reply “Yes I think he does. This is how it was explained to me and it’s worked out pretty well and I intend to have harsh words with my brother about him not knowing this. And now I’m going outside with my nephew and discuss how it might or might not mean something when a stranger strikes up a conversation in the locker room”.

To the best of my knowledge I will now have a heart attack on an elliptical machine for divulging these secrets to a mixed gender crowd, my nephew never did.

There are two types of guys- Bank Walkers, as they say in Texas, are guys who are unashamed about their nakedness. My father was a bank walker; as are my brother and I, so are my sons.
[Evidently, LBJ was a bank walker with a hog that would fill a Ten Gallon Hat. I picked up the term from an interview with one of his aides. It’s a reference to while most boys will hide their nakedness and enter & leave the creek as close as possible to their clothes “bank walkers “strut up and down looking for a better place to dive in or to show off their manhood. LBJ may be the all time bank walker. He would leave the door to the bathroom, in the Oval Office, open and insist his aides continue conversations while he took a shit. That’s a little too intimate for me.]

The rest of the guys may or may not be sissies. At one time I thought only latent homosexuals were worried about hiding nascent erections caused by being around other naked men and consequently were embarrassed by nudity. On a business trip with my Father we stayed at the Union League Club with a male only no swim suit pool and it seems to me that there were Y’s (before the Village People) where one swam naked.  Years later I ended up utilizing a gym in Chelsea where I was one of the few straights and noted there were walkers and hiders in that crew, too. (So I backed off the homosexual angle and now blame poor upbringing.) This was a place where the steam room was closed by order of the health department and there were signs in the locker room advising that sex would not be tolerated and I don’t recall any erections. Say what you want about me and that last and next observation. I don’t maintain eye contact with strange men- I watch their center of gravity and hands, where an attack will originate. There are Chelsea bank walkers with bull pizzles and with peckers like a scared turtle.

The Chelsea club was pretty humorous- hard boys in Daisy Mae cutoffs, sleeveless Flannels and Timberlines. Older guys in designer exercise outfits. Everybody is chatting with, spotting for and wiping sweat up for each other.  I’m on the treadmill one day and remark to one of the few women there that I must really be over the hill, not one guy has said hello in the six months I was a member.  She asked how did I think she felt, not one guy even eyed her. Well I opined, nothing personal, but you’re the wrong flavor  for this crowd; me I couldn’t get laid here, or a woman’s prison, if I stapled a $50 bill to my forehead. She didn’t disagree.

My sons are now involved in High School athletics. They are bigger, faster, stronger and more skilled than my teammates and I ever were. The equipment and uniforms are space aged. Hell, my first year playing football there was a galvanized water tub, a dipper and salt tabs. There is one thing missing: towels. Wet towels on hot days draped over their heads and towels around the coaches necks on cold days. Towels filled with ice on abrasions and bruises. Evidently High School kids no longer shower at school- one of my sons is a rare user of the locker-room shower and has to bring his towel. For me showers were a luxury as were clean towels. Unlimited hot water was a rare commodity. The folks went out and I took a tank draining shower. I stood under a scalding shower between classes to sweat off pounds and jumped rope in the shower room with 8 heads going to make weight. My mother assigned each of us a towel for the week and in school I got a clean towel daily. As my rank on the athletic food chain rose so did the number of towels the managers would give me.  The season I won the states (a small trophy in a small division) I received an armload of towels daily some of which went to insulating my rubber suit. Nothing said varsity letter like one towel around your hips, another around your neck and a third drying your hair. My old wrestling coach blamed MTV for kids not showering at school anymore: “They are embarrassed at not having that MTV six-pack”. I believe that MRSA and ringworm attacks are directly linked to not showering immediately.  Of course Jerry Sandusky types may also have had something to do with the drop off in hanging around the locker room.

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