Sunday, July 19, 2009
Trout, Liposuction, and Foreign Programs
I am eating words right not because I am teaching in UF's summer program in Montpellier, France. Some readers my recall my criticism of these types of programs. In my defense my primary argument was that no new ones are needed especially in western Europe -- adult Disney World -- because there are more than enough to supply every student.
But participation has changed my tune a bit (not about the new ones) about these programs. In fact, this one seems to have three characteristics that make is work well. First, Florida requires its programs to break even -- no taxpayer subsidization. Second, you need a director who does not allow a program like this to turn into a vacation. In our case, the course load is tough and the director constantly finds ways to integrate the local culture into the program. Finally, and this is something I did not think of but should have, the students are self-selecting. They are looking for something other than a vacation. I've been happy with their level of engagement.
I ate all those words because I really wanted to talk about trout and liposuction. Montpellier has a market one place or another everyday. Markets with fruits, veggies, cheese, etc. are not that different from each other. Except for the one I saw today, at least for me. One vendor had a pickup truck with a pond in the back for trout who were swimming around. I've seen this. No big deal. When a customer wanted a trout, the vendor would catch one in a net and whack it on the head with a stick. Sounds tough, I know, but these were dead fish swimming as soon as they got in the truck. The most interesting part was he then gutted them and used what I assumed was a hi tech Wet-Vac to suck the guts out. Yes, the principles of liposuction were applied preparing fish to eat.
On the eve of the anniversary of the first moon walk, its good to think about the good things the space program has brought to all of us. Actually, I cannot think of any. BUT, depending on which came first you can thank medical science for a new way to clean a trout or trout seller for a way to suck out those unsightly fat cells from thighs, tummies and butts. Let's just hope those fat suckers do not slip.