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Far be it from us to puff up with pride over the old alma mater, but if we do say so ourself, Aarkvard University offers its students that certain something that none of its fellow universities, despite their infinite complexity and richness, can ever hope to boast: Aarkvard merchandise.






TRY AN AARKVARD CODPIECE.


But why take our word for it, or even President Ephram M. Cloaca's, when you can have it straight from the Aarkvard University viewbook, that rare specimen - reprinted here in full - where candor is king, information is plentiful, and carbohydrates are 30% less.* Take it away, boys!


~THE HISTORY OF AARKVARD~

Aarkvard University was founded in 1669 or possibly 1996 by Josiah T.W. Aarkvard, noted visionary and dyslexic. He was considered the foremost visionary of his time based primarily on his indeterminate aroma, as well as his vast collection of Hot Wheels and cereal pieces he had dropped on the floor and would not allow anyone to throw away. A virtuoso on the toilet-paper kazoo, Aarkvard received his musical training at the Juilliard School, afterwards meeting with only modest success in his performing endeavors. Ultimately, he would gain greater recognition when he began performing topless, though his moment in the sun would be curtailed upon his tragic death in a nipple accident. Sadly, Josiah's legacy perished with him, though the university was subsequently re-named after his nephew, teen idol Bobby Aarkvard.

Despite his death, Josiah remained frisky in later years, becoming a model for Cosmopolitan magazine. Once again his dreams of super-stardom were dashed when he was beaten out for the August-September cover by songstress Mariah Carey, but Josiah was prominently featured in a major article, sharing his views on How to Make Him Moan. Josiah Aarkvard now tours the globe giving inspirational seminars on this same topic. His wife, Betty Aarkvard, was also instrumental in the shaping of the University, donating in its entirety her collection of her personal phlegm.



~THE ARCHITECTURE OF AARKVARD~

Aarkvard University features a great stinking deal of architecture, all of which is frankly as boring as your Uncle Bud but blessedly without the housing-market anecdotes. The only potentially non-boring examples of architecture are the erotic gargoyles, and even these are not worth your time, except maybe for the one the student body has nicknamed "Lefty," and this is purely a matter of personal taste.

Also of note is the 16-story Aarkvard Chapel, which, on account of Aarkvard administrators' perpetual hovering between heartily endorsing faith and violently condemning it, is made of Legos to facilitate periodic insta-destructions. The Chapel's apparent "stained-glass windows" are in fact made of colorful construction paper. If you look closely enough, you will see that the renderings of "major religious figures" on the windows are, in fact, jumbo-sized stickers of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Plans are afoot for completion in 2012 of four new dormitories built entirely from cookie dough, to be constructed by fictional architect Howard Roark from Ayn Rand's book The Fountainhead, but without ever compromising his foremost philosophical principles, namely to strive, above all else, to talk for 2,694 pages straight about his foremost philosophical principles. Students will be permitted to eat these dorms, but only if it is done for the clear, cold purpose of self-fulfillment.

(TO BE CONTINUED...)



*No, we don't have to tell you THAN WHAT. In fact, you will never know.



©2008, Nicola McEldowney
The Snark Ascending
Institutions of higher learning fall into five categories. Some people say it is six, but these are people who, when counting, forget "four." Regardless, it is imperative to bear in mind, as you peruse the following study in contrasts and disparities, that all colleges, at the end of the day, are the same, in that they allow all manner of students to come together and - casting off their socioeconomic, religious, racial and political differences - throw up on each other.

Not that I am suggesting for a moment that this is all there is to college: no, there are also "shower caddies." A shower caddy is an item nonexistent outside the college sphere. It may not carry much, but by owning one you can be sure you will make a statement to your peers (namely, "Hi. I am a dork with a stupid bucket").

Which is to say, there exist myriad* types of colleges, breaking down as follows:


BIG-ASS SPORTS COLLEGES

These are by far the most celebrated among institutions of higher learning, featuring student bodies consisting of hulking, spitting, wind-breaking hominids for whom a typical academic day consists of asserting that five and eight equals seven, and being told, "Close enough." Such institutions are so high-profile that sometimes they are even made into major motion pictures, starring actress Scarlett Johansson as a shower caddy.

Not to toot our own horn or anything**, but our own alma mater, Aarkvard University (motto: "Quantum forum in est dum-dum") (literally, "Whadda you lookin' at?"), in addition to being a shining beacon of intellectualishness, happens to be a Big-Ass Sports College. Our bendy-straw-bending team took the state title three years in a row, and our scratching team is as yet unparalleled. And we're not just saying this for purposes of self-aggrandizement.*** We're saying it so as to inform you, in a deft parenthetical manner, of our team name (the Aarkvard Gerunds).


"GERUND" IS FUNNY.



PRESTIGE SCHOOLS

These are the schools where the student bodies consist of people with names like E. Forsythe Browridge Whackington-Tuffett Lexus of Greenwich VII Jr. Morgan M.D., for whom a typical academic day consists of asserting that five and eight equals seven, and being told, "Close enough." Not that I am suggesting these guys are anything like the aforementioned student-athletes. On the contrary: these guys can't throw a ball to save their lives.

Application to a Prestige School should be approached with caution, inasmuch as yearly tuition totals approximately - in the words of the financial aid department at one such institution - "your eyeballs."**** The students at these institutions also spend most of their time throwing up on each other, but theirs is high-quality barf, the kind you can buy in little boxes at Williams-Sonoma for $14.99.

Just kidding, of course. Har! It is $34.99. Also, Williams-Sonoma is way too white-trash for them.


DISCUSSION QUESTION: WHY IS DEAN MARTIN SINGING "VOLARE" THE ONLY THING THEY EVER PLAY AT WILLIAMS-SONOMA? DO THEY KNOW OTHER SONGS EVEN EXIST? EXPLAIN.


LITTLE-KNOWN GEMS

Alternatively known as the "unsung wonders" or the "bad" schools, these are the institutions no one knows about for a reason.***** Located in Montana, these dynamic institutions have names like Speculum College and are situated in towns with names like Rat Spit Falls ("The Rat Spit Production Capital of the World"), where bottled rat spit ("The Thinking Man's Perrier") is a supermarket fixture, located adjacent the Cherry Coke.


INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS

These are located in other countries.


LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGES

These are the institutions that house the cream of the intellectual crop. Here, the most tortured, heartfelt, misunderstood vomit is produced, the most gravid academic sentences composed, the minutest analyses conducted:

It must be noted that the unnamed speaker commands the little star to twinkle not once but twice, [line I, see also VI, cf. ILIAD book 3,459], thereby suggesting an overarching sexual deviancy further compounded, in the sense of being compounded, by the fact that the speaker wonders, yet never proactively undertakes to discover, the star's identity (II.iv.viii). His subsequent and, concomitantly, consequent likening of the star to a "diamond in the sky" (IV.xi.iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii) therefore and thereby serves as blatant evidence of his tenuously tenuous grip on reality, inasmuch as diamonds are typically found on the Earth's surface (Limpknacker, 1905; Globgulper and Feeb, 1926; Jiffy Lube commercial, 1997).

We are told these are the institutions where the great thinkers of our age go, though we are wondering how this can be true if they do not drink bottled rat spit. Nevertheless, you can tell liberal arts students are deeply serious about their academic work, because they go to the library to throw up. Then, afterwards, they analyze their output:

Student A (darkly): That is a fine act of throw-up.
Student B (darkly): Yes. Capital. All at once tortured, heartfelt, and misunderstood.
Student A (darkly): Yes. Let us celebrate our socially fashionable angst by cutting ourselves.
Student B (darkly): Capital. Oh, but not too hard.
Student A (shocked) (but still darkly): Oh, no. That might hurt.
(They scratch themselves lightly with fork tines)

This would probably be a good time to note that we personally have never, technically speaking, attended a liberal arts college, and our knowledge of these institutions is therefore, technically speaking, squat. However, we have conducted extensive research on the topic, thanks to which we now know liberal arts colleges to consist of the following:

1. A place called "Bowdoin," which is pronounced funny.
2. Other ones.

Seeing as after approximately .05 seconds of research, we returned to watching videos of guys figure skating on YouTube, that last bit of data above is a rough estimate. But we will have you know, on the authority of no less than the American Federation of Big-Ass Sports Colleges, that it is "close enough."




*This is a literary term, meaning "myriad."
**Disclaimer: no horns were tooted in the making of this platitude.
***Disclaimer: yes we are.
****Student Recreation Fee may also apply.
*****Also, student vomit sells for pennies.


©2008, Nicola McEldowney
The Snark Ascending
N.B. For those just joining us, the following material was written this summer, originally intended as part of a book (the complete Snark Ascending guide to college admissions). Sadly, the idea had to be scrapped for artistic reasons, namely that there's really not that much to say about college admissions. Furthermore, I find it harder and harder to remember what it was like to be an applicant. (Though naturally I have vivid memories of meeting the Kool-Aid man at Food-4-Less as a two-year-old in Lincoln, Nebraska. Ah, Kool-Aid man.) But it took me 100 pages to figure that out, hence your snarks for the next few weeks. Oh, and my apologies for the increased number of asterisks. Just take my word the book was to be in a hugely altered format. And now.....


SNARK YOUR WAY IN: INTRODUCTION

To best understand the intricacies of the college admissions process, we must first consider its prehistoric origins. The first college application dates* from the Upper** Paleolithic, when one day a fresh-faced young Cro-Magnon took stock of his life, and realized that while rich in certain elements, such as poop, it was sorely lacking in others, such as knowledge, leadership, and culture.*** Many moons he spent in silent yearning to fill the void. Then one day, in a burst of inspiration, he took a small sharp rock, knelt in the dirt, and - calling upon the courageous pioneer spirit that had earned him his name**** - threw the rock at a bird. Nine thousand years later, the first college was founded.*****

Times have changed since the Upper Paleolithic, of course. Nowadays, colleges and universities proliferate.****** They can be found in big cities, small towns, airports, Canada, California Pizza Kitchens, your local Department of Motor Vehicles, etc. And with this explosion of institutions has come a concomitant splat of literature advising you, the Hopeful Applicant, on how to be admitted to these institutions. Such volumes, assembled by teams of Experienced College-Admissions Professionals with credentials such as hair, aim to "demystify" the road ahead by acquainting you with the following Hot Points of the admissions process:

1. Getting into college is hard.
2. But with effort, dedication, and just a smidgen of luck, you too can get accepted into your top-choice school!
3. Well, okay, not you personally.

Some guidebooks take a more optimistic view, appending the following conditions:

4. Okay, okay, maybe, provided you mutate into a homogenized Frappuccino-brained community-servicing platitude-spewing little Rotary-bot who spends his summers in impoverished nations with names like "El Burdizzo," teaching American swear-words to disadvantaged schoolchildren.*******
5. You must have evidence of this in the form of multiple color photographs.
6. For best results, it is advised that you photograph yourself with only the attractive children.
7. Additionally, you should apply complete with the sponsorship of the National Honor Society, the DAR, NASCAR, the International Olympic Committee, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
8. ...and Viewers Like You.
9. But take heart, Hopeful Applicant! Studies have shown that even unendorsed gobs of ear wax such as yourself are just as likely to be admitted to college as sheep with brain damage!********
10. Remember, it's bad to feel good about yourself.

This guide serves an entirely different purpose. Only we are not entirely clear, technically speaking, on what that purpose is, seeing as our research process consisted largely of looking at Internet photographs of male figure skaters, in between which - let it never be said that we are anything less than an indefatigable go-getter - we consumed large quantities of Lucky Charms. This is the sort of bullet we are prepared to take in the name********* of higher education.

Which is not to suggest that our research team is without its own credentials. On the contrary, we boast many fine qualifications, such as:

- Discreetly referring to ourself in the plural;
- Having personally attended college, where we once saw a lizard;
- Also, we went bowling, personally achieving a score of "53."

You name me ONE TEAM of college-admissions professionals who can top that. And if you remain skeptical, consider this: in assembling this guide, we have enlisted the services of none other than the venerable Ephram M. Cloaca (1521 - ), president of our alma mater, prestigious Aarkvard University. President Cloaca has graciously agreed to make appearances throughout the guide, for to provide Helpful Hints such as the following:


ALWAYS WIPE FRONT TO BACK. NEVER BACK TO FRONT.


We trust this allays any uncertainty you may have had apropos getting the desired "bang for your buck" out of this guide, and, if not, it is from the bottom of our heart that we say: tough shit.

So take our hand, Hopeful Applicant, and if, as we lead you through the wild and woolly world of college admissions, we may impart but one message to you, let it be this: your hand is sticky.





*It has been linked with Tom Cruise.
**Around 78th and Broadway.
***Not knowing the words for any of these, he called them all "poop" as well. But in his heart, he knew which poop was which.
****"Gwunngghhh."
*****Look me in the eye and tell me this was a coincidence.
******This is an academic word. Example of usage: "STOP PROLIFERATING IN THE RESTAURANT! WAIT UNTIL WE GET HOME, THEN PROLIFERATE!"
*******They are too poor in El Burdizzo to have swear-words of their own. When a man in El Burdizzo drops an anvil on his toe, he just looks around thoughtfully. It is the saddest sight you will ever see.
********Source: Yale University Student Alliance of Sheep with Brain Damage.
*********Also "Gwunngghhh."


©2008, Nicola McEldowney
The Snark Ascending

Snarkus Interruptus - just slightly!

So it was going to be tonight. Honest it was. But the snarking anew will have to begin tomorrow, on account of I am spent for the night, having spent it ensconced in enervating academic affairs otherwise known as "going to see Spamalot."

Tomorrow, I promise!

Oct. 7th, 2008

Howdy doody.

Awhile back I referred to a "mega-snark" I was in the process of cobbling over the summer. At the time, it alone stood in the way of my posting here. Now that I'm in the thick of Aarkvard II with eight thousand things standing in the way of my posting here, I've - you guessed it - decided to start posting here again.

Here's the thing. Due to the eight thousand impositions, I may not be able to compose anything new for awhile. Instead, I was thinking of posting piecemeal the "mega-snark" I wrote over the summer, seeing as it dissolved midway to completion. It was the complete Snark Ascending guide to college admissions.

So does anyone mind hearing about college admissions by way of your weekly snark provender, at least forawhile?

Updateless update

I should like to emerge briefly from my Pod of Silence tonight, for to observe that I am not posting anything. Folks have noticed. I am sorry. This was not the plan. Life here is simply too full for regular posting. Priority must be given to other pursuits, such as homework, and posting about not posting.

The good news is that life here is sublime, culturally nutritive and endlessly fulfilling. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but thus far I have managed, with the endlessly inspirational and diverse cultural and artistic resources of this dynamic city at my fingertips*, to find a website chronicling the history of the Happy Meal.**

I promise I will snark more soon. I don't lack material, only time.



*Disclaimer: Nothing May Technically Be At The Author's Fingertips.
**Really.

Sorry sorry.

Yeah, I suppose this qualifies as embarrassing. My absence of late, I mean. There was the bathroom incident in the second grade, too, but I never bring this up.

I hope you'll forgive me. The best reason I can give is I've been working on another project, a mega-snark of sorts. More to come.

I've toyed, on and off, with the idea of updating this blog with more miniature commentary, rather than the full-length snarkage. I'm still toying with it, and hoping that once I am at Aarkvard II and have relaxed into a routine there, I can deliver on a (more) regular(ish) basis. In the meantime, apologies for the MIA-ness. And for the bathroom thing, too, while I'm at it. One-shot absolution. Cool.

What's wrong with this picture?

The Internet is messing with my mind. It wants me to believe my knowledge of standard genitals is below par. Having no such shortcomings, having in fact taken a university course in Comparative Genitals (An Epistemological Approach), I take umbrage. Here is why: when searching the term "supplementary penis" yesterday morning, for sound academic reasons*, my search engine of choice provided the following Helpful Commentary:

Perhaps you mean: Supplementary pennis

I am still pondering this suggestion a day later, and finding no peace. I figure it may be at the root of all global problems, but beyond that, I have no answers. So I leave it to you, faithful Snark-followers, to help me sort this out. Thoughts?



*Shut up.





EDIT: Okay, since I know I am going to hear the question, "supplementary penis" were the first two words of a piece I posted here last year. I wanted to see if I could find it by googling those keywords. If you MUST know.


©2008, Nicola McEldowney
The Snark Ascending
Since announcing my departure from Aarkvard, I have been inundated with communications from faithful Snark-followers the world* over. These communications fall more or less into one of two categories, in that they offer either:

1. The faithful Snark-follower's own university, as a substitute.

Or:

2. Condolences at my having been unable to hack it at a made-up school called "Harvard."

It is high time** we cleared the air. Therefore, the following passage has been ever so strategically laced with Gleamin' Nubbins o' Clarification! See if you can spot them. Ready? Okay. Here goes. Deep breath:

(HUHHHHHHHHHHHHH)

In inventing humorous names for universities, I tend to overlook the obvious, for which reason, had "Aarkvard" actually been Harvard, chances are I never would have thought to call it "Aarkvard." Likewise I would never think to call my actual former college "Puke University," and it would certainly never cross my mind to call it "Douche" University (AARKVARD UNIVERSITY WAS DUKE UNIVERSITY). It is for this same reason that I would just as soon continue using the name of Aarkvard, rather than the more heavy-handed moniker of "Bolumbia," to refer to my new college (I AM TRANSFERRING TO COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY), where I am going because, having received straight A's (MOSTLY FOR WRITING PAPERS CONSISTING ENTIRELY OF STATEMENTS LIKE "THE BIFURCATION OF THE AFOREMENTIONED AND COMMENSURATELY FOREGOING BIFURCATION IS ACCOMPANIED BY INHERENT IMPLICATIONS, IT WOULD SEEM, OF A BIFURCATION QUA BIFURCATION"), I could. In the meantime (NOW), I plan to fritter away my remaining summer vacation having delightful meals at the Blue Moon Classy Diner, revered for its squash and its frequently-played recording of "What's New, Pussycat" (WHOOOOOAAAAA-WO-WO-WO-WO).

That is all. Whew! I'm burned out. Clarification goes against every fiber of my being. Don't make me do this again.

P.S. But it is this business of trying to foist your own university off on me that I really must address. I do not WANT your university. Okay? They are a HUGE drain on resources. They eat all the tomatoes in your garden, drink all your beer, kick back in your living room with their big filthy feet on your couch and keep your TV tuned to the home shopping network ALL DAY.



*This figure includes Montana.
**7:51.



©2008, Nicola McEldowney
The Snark Ascending

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