It's long been our tradition here at Seven Days, near summer's end, to sigh over college catalogs and pick out classes we would take if it wasn't for those incessant newspaper deadlines. Instead, we have to content ourselves with mangling the actual descriptions of the courses. If you're actually signed up for any of 'em, don't worry -- you probably won't have to ask for your money back.
Artificial Intelligence (Middlebury College)
Formerly entitled, "How to Get Ahead Without Even Trying," this course offers a real-life, hands-on introduction to a field that is gaining increasing respectability thanks to such experts as New York Times reporter Jayson Blair and President George W. Bush. Using such techniques as downloading, cutting-and-pasting, creative writing and bald-faced lying, students will acquire invaluable life skills, whether their goal is to get a passing grade without actually setting foot in the classroom, to see their word in print on the front page of a national newspaper, or to conquer a foreign country.
Acting Styles (St. Michael's College)
Boy, there's nothing I like better than going to the movies and talking about how much they suck, or not, afterwards. In this course I expect we'll examine stuff like exactly how Ben and J.Lo went wrong in Gigli (rhymes with "really"), and just why everyone seems to love Reese Witherspoon. I'm going to do my paper on how the Terminator, I mean, Arnold Schwarzenegger is likely to act as the governor of California, and how Ted Kennedy is going to have a cow when his nephew-in-law makes it to the U.S. Senate.
Beverage Management (Plattsburgh State)
No more spilling beer all over your pants or tossing your cookies on the way home from parties. Beginning with such foundations as drinking out of the closest side of the cup, this course covers everything from how to mix a mean piña colada to the principle of Never Mix Never Worry. Lab fee.
Food & Beverage Math (New England Culinary Institute)
After mastering Beverage Management (above), I'll move on to the more sophisticated realm of actually paying not only for booze but dinner in actual restaurants off-campus. Includes how to weasel a bigger food and drink allowance from mom and dad, and how to calculate tips so's to impress dates.
An Introduction to the Universe (Middlebury College)
It's hard to imagine how anyone could have made it all the way to college without ever having made the acquaintance of, like, all of existence. But assuming there is a demand for this class, I'm sure glad someone finally got around to offering it. Infinity is, like, so cool.
Vermont Field Studies (University of Vermont)
By the end of this course I'll be able to state with certainty, while driving down I-89, whether that stuff growing out there is alfalfa, corn, marijuana or whatever. My extra-credit project will be to identify the other stuff in the fields, like kinds of cows. Next semester I hope I can find out how perfectly good fields get turned into suburbs. Nobody can call me a flatlander!
The Age of FDR 1932-1945 (St. Michael's College)
Talk about gut! All you have to do is Google ol' Roosevelt to find out his birth date and it's just a simple matter of subtraction -- or is it addition? -- to figure out how old he was in the years from 1932 to 1945. Hey, is this a trick question? A math class in disguise, maybe? Well, anyway, I think I can hack it. Hell, I might even double this up with American Political Thought. How hard can it be?
Internship: Student Affairs (Plattsburgh State)
There once was a time when this sort of behavior was actually discouraged, even cause for dismissal. But here in the liberal Northeast, and with the "hey, whatever" attitude of the 21st century, fraternizing isn't only condoned, it's encouraged! This "intern-disciplinary" class probes the ins and outs of collegiality from the perspectives of sociology, psychology and anatomy. Admission by permission of the professor only. Send photo.
Reading Women's Writing (Middlebury College)
In this class, we will deconstruct the gender issues expressed in fancy "I" dots: big empty circles, flowers with petals and little hearts. We will inquire into the psychosocial significance of turning a "v" or a "u" into smiley faces: Is it an honest expression of emotion, or a denial of repression? We will also explore the long, looping tails of the "y" the "j" and the "g" from Freudian, post-Freudian and neo-Freudian perspectives.
Canadian Fiction (Plattsburgh State)
Don't let those bacon-frying, maple-loving folks pull the wool over your eyes. Celine Dion isn't all that great. Peter Jennings did not invent TV news. In fact, that big chunk of real estate at the top of the North American map isn't actually a separate country. In this class we'll learn to distinguish the goose from the moose, eh?
A Reverence for Wood (Sterling College)
Guys who have a thing for their thingy could cop some college credit for the hobby. Although this entry-level class is designed as an independent study, more advanced students who prefer working in pairs can move on to the follow-up course, Tools and Their Application.
Java Programming, Advanced (Champlain College)
Thank God for this course. I got a fancy foreign coffeemaker for my birthday and can't figure it out to save my life There's nothing that looks like an on/off button, for one thing, and the no-drip mechanism keeps dripping, and I can never get the customer service people to answer the 800 number. Caffeine high, here I come!
Exploring Sacred Magic Numbers (Burlington College)
I've always felt really good about the number seven and I can't wait to find out just how sacred and magical it is. With any luck my license plate will turn up some good numerical juju. I hear advanced students can take this with Stalking the Wild Mushroom. But wait -- this isn't about Magic Johnson, is it?
Early Childhood Practices (University of Vermont)
When I was a kid I used to sit in the closet on top of my mom's shoes and hold my breath until I nearly passed out. Maybe I can finally learn what the hell that was all about. And I think I'll take this in conjunction with Literature for Children (Community College of Vermont) -- I never did finish all those Dr. Seuss books.
Microeconomics (Johnson State)
Finally, a course that deals with my kind of economics: micro. As in tiny. As in so small as to be barely able to pay for beer and cat food, let alone friggin' tuition, you know what I mean? Give me a few hints about how to move from micro to macro and I am so there.
Molecular Cloning Lab (University of Vermont)
My project in this class will be to clone myself. After that, one me will go to class, study, sleep, eat healthy foods, and call my parents even when I don't need money. The other one will -- you guessed it -- par-teee!
Why Buildings Stand (Middlebury College)
Because they can't sit down, right? But I figure there must be some other reasons as well, or else no one would bother teaching a whole class on the topic. Maybe it's because all the chairs are too small. Or because seats are limited and buildings are just so darned polite. Unless, it suddenly occurs to me, that buildings are like giraffes. They don't sit down either, right? Because of bad knees or something? Anyway, after I find out the answer I'm hoping someone will offer a class entitled Why the Chicken Crossed the Road.
Decision Analysis (University of Vermont)
I really could use this class -- my mom is always yelling at me, "Make up your mind, already!" I wonder if I should sit in the front row, or maybe the back in case I decide to drop it. If I sit in the front, will it help my grade if I wear a mini, or should I stick to jeans? Hmmm. Maybe I should take Moral Decision Making (St. Michael's College) instead. No, wait...
Fundamentals of Lighting (University of Vermont)
I've always hated overhead lights, so it'll be nice to get to the bottom of illumination. Like, what's the right lamp for reading, how many watts should you have, and can you really go blind reading in the dark like my mom always says? When is it all right to turn the lights down low? Off? And finally, just what is mood lighting?
Alternate Realities (Johnson State)
This course asks the question: What if I'm not really a student at Johnson State? What if there's a parallel universe with another Johnson State exactly like this one except that in the alternate Johnson State I get straight As? Best thing about the class: If the professor asks why you're late, you can always answer, "Um, alternate reality, dude.