As the parent of a Purdue grad, I just received a letter from the university’s president, Mitch Daniels. Given the time of year, and the fact that Mitch and I are not regular correspondents, I assumed that the enclosure would be a pitch for money. And it was.

But after looking at the envelope, I hope that President Daniels chooses to invest some of the money Purdue will get from other recipients to fund some remedial education. That’s because the headline printed on the envelope noted that this was “no oridinary time” for the university.

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(I’ll take a break from advice and counsel today, and tackle something lighter.)

My son attends Purdue University, and he shared his frustration with the massive swarms of gnat-like insects that have descended upon the campus in recent days. The infestation is so great that the Indianapolis Star covered it, describing how the sheer millions of tiny soybean aphids had even disrupted marching band practice.

It reminded me of my own freshmen year in the land of the St. Joe Pumas, about a half-hour north of Purdue. For some reason, Halleck Center, the student union building, had become infested with more houseflies than I’d seen before (or since). I’m not just suggesting that there were a lot of them; it was more in the realm of a Biblical plague. And since we dined in Halleck, it was a cause of some concern.


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Wisdom shows up in the oddest places sometimes. While visiting the Society of Physics Students lounge at Purdue with my son, I pointed to a phrase someone had tacked on the wall, and told Joe that it was one of my favorite expressions. The sign said “Eschew Obfuscation.”

Okay, I realize that a lot of people reading this are now getting ready to click over to TMZ or something that’s not quite as painful, but eschewing obfuscation isn’t complicated. In more common terms, it means the same thing as the time-honored “keep it simple, stupid.”


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