Friday, August 16, 2013

Song of the Week 259

Are qualifications important? Is where they come from important? Are they worth the fees, or even the paper they are printed on. Today's news about the ranking of Australian (and other) universities got me thinking.

In Australia, tertiary education was free until 1989. Coincidentally that was the year that I started university. I was fortunate enough to have the Army pay for my initial degree while many others, statistically women especially, are still paying off their debt. Today a masters level postgraduate degree will set you back at least $20,000.

As of recently I have three tertiary qualifications as well as a computing certificate. They are from three very different universities, but they are universities nonetheless.

There is a lot of snobbery that relates to where a degree comes from and I think it is ill-founded. 

While it is all well and good to aspire to a degree from a sandstone institution the fact is that for any number of reasons other than intellect,  it is beyond the majority of the population. My latest qualification is from a university that is ranked towards the middle of the field and I can tell you that I had to study just as hard for it as for my degree from a more prestigious seat of learning. 

Can I say though that none of the qualifications I have studied for and attained have been worth the money that they have cost. The administration and teaching has been average at best in many cases although there have been a couple of fantastic exceptions (that's you Paul Tranter and Ian McAllister both of UNSW@ADFA). For a user pays system there is a lot of paying for not much.

As someone who looks at resumes all the time with a view to employing people I think that it is important to look past the institution and see what has actually been studied and how those subjects have been used. For so many people, the closest university is their only option.

DJ Al-Ee-NeverBuyTheSun had a birthday this week. I know she's had a fairly torrid week so I hope that our love and gifts made her feel wanted. I was also really proud of both of our kids who made the leap to organizing presents without me! I don't feel redundant….much.

Here's a track from a new release CD that Angus got for Al-Ee…I think it sounds just like one of my favourite bands, Winterpills, so it's a winner.

Josh Pyke – The Beginning And The End Of Everything -


Winterpills – Broken Arm -

DJ H passed on some early Rolling Stones CDs to me on the weekend. I swear he's working very, very hard to convert me! However, whilst I enjoy the music I just don't get why they are so huge. This next song is on one of their albums. This is the original I believe and it's fantastic. I first heard it via the fantastic Australian blues band, The Bondi Cigars.

Solomon Burke – Cry To Me -

DJ Dr and I corresponded about these next two artists this week. He alerted me to this really cool live track where they play together. Well worth 5 minutes of your time.

Howard Jones & Nik Kershaw - Wouldn't It Be Good -

Howard and Nik took me back to the 80's. I remember the Thompson Twins, Corey Hart and then this gem popped into my mind. I'm sure it wouldn't get an airing these days.

Mel Brooks - To Be Or Not To Be -

Whats' that? You want more 80's? Well you have to remember that I was a teenage metal head but some other music did seep into my consciousness now and then, more than I care to admit. 

This was a great track...

Thompson Twins - Doctor Doctor -

And just in case you think I've gone soft...

Manowar - Carry On -

In one of my news feeds today was the headline, "Clapton's favourite guitar solo". I was interested so I clicked the link. It turns out that "God" likes listening to this one. Not bad, not bad at all!

Wilson Pickett (with Duane Allman) - Hey Jude -

I find it far too hard to pick a single guitar solo that I'd call my favourite but this one's up there in my list.

Eric Clapton - Layla (acoustic) -

That's enough for one week. Some "Desert Island Discs" next time.

DJ "my legs are worn out" Rob

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