The Cost of a Year at New York University

The estimated total cost of attendance for an on- or off-campus student attending N.Y.U. over the 2022-23 school year is $83,250.

From Here.

This cost is baffling to me.  How can it cost a single student what a single professor makes in a year?  And what do they mean “on or off” campus?  Surely, room and board is a big chunk that can’t be “on or off”?

Let’s imagine a university that awards degrees in History, English, Sociology, Psychology, Art, Music, Business, and Economics.  Let’s imagine it has 1,000 students.  Let’s call it Jester College.

In my imaginary university, let’s have 20 professors.  I know, I know– there would be many different professors for different specialties at a real university.  Bear with me for a moment.

The 20 professors each earn $100 K.  Not extravagant but not unbearable.  So our annual budget for salaries is $2 million.   Let’s say each of them has to work really hard and teach three classes.   That’s 60 classes of an average of 17 students each.

The cost per student for salaries would be about $2000.  Of course, that doesn’t include the cost of administration or rent or utilities or mascots.

Of course, that’s a silly amount.  The buildings would cost a lot and we have a president and a dean and so on.   But the cost of the essential service of a university is $2,000.

Let’s say Jester University acquires some land for $6 million and builds dorms at about $60 K per unit for about 600 of the students.   Thirty-six million dollars.   Of course, the money is borrowed, so let’s allocate $162,000 a month or $1.9 million a year for the dorms and roughly $1 million for the land.

We still have students paying $4,000 a month to cover the cost of land, dorms, and professors.  The classroom buildings will cost quite a bit less than the 600 units of the dorms.   You need a gym and a library.

It’s all crazy of course.  I’m just trying to imagine some genius entrepreneur coming along and looking at the costs of university education and deciding he could make a lot of money by offering the same basic service for a lot less than $82K.

All you need is a qualified professor, a class-room for each session of each class, a dorm for students to live in, and a few other ancillary items for education to take place.  The students go to class, listen to the professor, go to their dorm rooms and study and go into town for a beer or pizza or hang out at the gym or the library.

Jester U.  doesn’t offer chemistry or biological science because it’s too expensive to build the labs.  You can go to New York University instead and pay $83K for the privilege.  But a lot of academia consists of reading and writing and studying and testing and that can all be done a lot more cheaply than $82K.

Why doesn’t someone do it?

Because students are generally unsophisticated and willing to take out gargantuan loans to pay what Universities demand, the Universities’ demands are based on costs that have very little to do with providing the essential service that students used to go to Universities to receive.

Let’s say that those 1,000 students each pay $10K in tuition, room, and board, per year.  That gives us an annual budget of $10 million.   How does this get to $82 million for New York University?

Go ahead and get a lab and lots of other stuff.  Let’s double it: now you have $20K.

I know: this is ridiculous.  I’m sure there are other expenses I am not accounting for.  But I’m also sure that a lot of those expenses aren’t really necessary or essential or important.  They are part of the established bureaucratic structure of post-secondary education in 2023, and very, very hard to dislodge.  You have deans and financial officers and accountants and secretaries and clerks and heads of departments and so on.

I would suggest you could jettison a lot of them and still provide a solid post-graduate degree to most students.

On the Cost of Textbooks

More news on the cost of college & university.









Clark vs Maravich

Look folks, I’m sure Caitlyn Clark is a magnificent player, so let’s not spoil it all with bullshit about her achievements.  For about a week, I have been hearing and seeing reporters– most disquietingly from Christine Brennan on PBS News (who has become rather slavish of all things women sports lately, especially the USWFT)– raving about Clark’s “unbelievable”, “astounding”, “unprecedented” career achievements, as if she is the equal or better to the best male players.

Pete Maravich averaged 44.2 points a game per season.  He scored 3,667 points in 83 games.  There were no 3-pointers in his era, so all of his points were earned through field-goals and at the free-throw line.

Clark averages 32.1 points per game.  Her “record” total was achieved in 130 career games.

Are we clear now?  No, Caitlyn Clark is not the greatest basketball player ever.  Peter Maravich, arguably, still is.  I say “arguably” because there may be other male players who come close.

The idea that Caitlyn Clark is now the all time best college basketball player of any gender is sheer nonsense.

Socialism for the Rich

In the contest for dumbest government programs, state funding of Hollywood productions must rank near the top, along with sports stadiums.

‘After a state economist determined that “the film incentives represent lost revenue” and that their economic benefits were “negligible,” Michigan, which cut funding for the police and schools while facing a severe budget deficit, eventually decided to end its incentives.’

Now Michigan wants to restart the program. Because Georgia and Indiana do it and we must compete in this race to the bottom! Both parties do it while selling the myth that these productions generate local jobs and increased tax revenue. Clint Eastwood, hard core self-reliant pull-your-bootstraps up Republican, is more than happy to take advantage of this welfare program for actors and directors.

‘A recent report prepared for state auditors in Georgia estimated that the tax revenue returned on each dollar spent on incentives was 19 cents. A similar report from New York determined the return was between 15 cents and 31 cents.’

Socialism for the rich.

It is very disappointing, to say the least, that taxpayers who are outraged by this or that or everything completely miss the biggest spending scandals happening right in front of them.

On Dylan’s First Album

One of the most astute comments I ever did see on early Dylan:

“These debut songs are essayed with differing degrees of conviction,” writes music critic Tim Riley in 1999, “[but] even when his reach exceeds his grasp, he never sounds like he knows he’s in over his head, or gushily patronizing … Like Elvis Presley, what Dylan can sing, he quickly masters; what he can’t, he twists to his own devices. And as with the Presley Sun sessions, the voice that leaps from Dylan’s first album is its most striking feature, a determined, iconoclastic baying that chews up influences, and spits out the odd mixed signal without half trying.”

From “Inside the World of Rock” posted to Facebook, 2024-03-20.

My second quote of the day, from the NYTimes, on South Dakota Governor Kristi Noemi, who appears to be grooming herself for a shot at Trump’s VP:

This approach to political image-making has its roots in the pantomimed femininity of Phyllis Schlafly and Sarah Palin, where the promise of a powerful woman was defanged by her participation in the pageantry of traditional gender cosplay.

NY Times



My response to a Facebook post praising actor Tim Robbins, especially for his super, mega, amazing role in “The Shawshank Redemption”, a highly over-rated film that substitutes the outward trappings of “significance” for real depth.  (Watch “Cool Hand Luke” for a film that really is what “Shawshank” thinks it is.)

Here it is:

It’s called “method acting” and I cringe every time I encounter it in a film. Makes me love British actors and others who speak in normal tone. The delusion is that by mumbling you latch into some kind of elusive authenticity or, better yet, convince everyone that you’re like Brando. (Brando could get away with method because he really was a very good actor at times.)

Devotees of method will even mumble, absurdly, when speaking into large crowds or from distance. It’s like you believe that if you use the same plates and silverware as a gourmet restaurant your food will be just as good.

My comments on Reddit about the magnificent opulence of John Williams movie soundtracks:

I know I’m a minority (sigh) but I don’t think there is a single piece of music by Williams that moves me. Most of it reminds me of brass bands in parades. Most of it is pretty similar– individual pieces never stand out to me. In movies, Williams provides big crescendos to tell you to be impressed by the director, and the quantity of movement in the scene (armies, machines). Does he have a single melody you could say is “haunting”? Music in movies that did move me: Yann Tierson (“Amelie”); Ennio Morricone “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. Maurice Jarre (“Doctor Zhivago”), Nino Rota (“The Godfather”). The theme from “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Elmer Bernstein is quite beautiful and lifts the movie. The music from “The Third Man” is not my favorite but it is at least very distinctive.

Oh My God! You Mean Hamlet Dies?!

On the Stratford Festival Theatre Website:

“This production contains references to death and dying that some people may find distressing”.

You have got to be kidding.

You mean the theatre company that has regularly presented “Hamlet” and “Macbeth” and “Richard II” and “Henry IV” etc., for more than 50 years, has suddenly decided that audiences need to be warned that some characters in the play they are watching might get killed?

Is there a risk that some people might spend $130 on tickets and travel all the way to Stratford and then accidentally stumble into Macbeth offing King Duncan, or Hamlet offing Polonius, or Ophelia offing herself?

“Some” people? But not “all” people. Me, for example: I think I might enjoy seeing Othello or Lear bite the dust.

I would prefer not to be warned.

But seriously: have the promotional team at Stratford Festival Theatre lost their minds?  Do they imagine some theatre-goer rushing out of the theatre weeping and traumatized because they didn’t know Banquo was going to get killed and are shocked that a play at a Shakespearean festival theatre would have death in it?

Look, folks, Stratford itself has the solution:  it now offers a multitude of anodyne confections for every taste!  Check it out,






Spinoza Would be Appalled

I read this today in the letters section of the New York Times in response to this article on Spinoza.

If one were adhere to the worldview of Spinoza as defined here, you would be very saddened by the way democracy is practiced in this country today. The founders viewed liberty and freedom as the bedrock of a self-governing country. We have become over the last century or more a country whereby unelected unknown individuals working for the government have taken control of aspects of our lives for our supposed own good. Spinoza would be appalled as would the founders over how we have lost much of our liberty to think and run our lives.

I responded thusly:

@bill walker Your comment stopped me. Really? So you wanted to read a controversial book and couldn’t find it? You wanted to go to any church at all and someone prevented you? You wanted to see a movie, attend a lecture, take part in a political rally, and were held back? You couldn’t choose a doctor or go to a private or public school or drink from a public fountain or change your gender or post a letter to the editor because “unelected unknown individuals working for the government” were out to limit your freedoms? Spinoza, if he were here today, would be plainly astonished at the amount of freedom we have. Objectively, no people have ever been more free to express their wishes as we are today. It’s not those unelected unknown people who want to limit your freedom: is those elected MAGA stooges who forced libraries to remove dictionaries because they define words that describe bodily functions. In other words, they are us, if we let them.

Trump Support May Not be as Firm as People Think

In a recent discussion with Republican voters in Iowa, I was surprised– and then, not surprised– at the level of skepticism expressed towards Donald Trump.  These are Republican voters.  Most of them supported him in 2016 and 2020.  They believed the innumerable stupid things he said, without proof, without objective verification.  And now, suddenly, some of them feel that he has become self-centered and self-pitying.  They even actually seem to suddenly feel that his divisiveness is a liability.

Four out of eight of these selected voters said they would not vote for Trump if he were convicted of the criminal charges he is facing.  Really?  That matters to some Republicans?  That is astounding.  We have been given the impression by the media that Trump supporters are rigid, inflexible, and devoted.  Yet, most of the eight people interviewed had serious misgivings.  They didn’t like the chaos.  They didn’t like the whining about being persecuted.  They are not going to vote for Biden, by any means, but some of them sounded like they might not vote at all.

I don’t think the media was wrong.  I think these voters have become more conscious of what people might think of them if they continue to parrot Donald Trump’s idiotic incoherent campaign tropes.

If this is an accurate reflection of the real Republican core, Trump has a problem.

They sounded like they don’t want people to think they are stupid.

At least one of them asked the very solid, germane question: what, exactly, will you (Republican candidate) do about the border?  We all agree there is a problem: what solution do you offer.  He observed that none of them gave any specifics.

One striking thing: they don’t flatter Ron DeSantis for not criticizing Trump.

One of them (John, 67, engineer) said this:

Mr. President, do you know how to serve us humbly? Strength and humility go together. Strength and bullying don’t. But I’d really like to have him address why he thinks that it has to be that way. It doesn’t.

Huh.  And I’ll bet he voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020.  And just now has come to the realization that admitting it might make him look stupid.

The 2023-24 Maple Leafs

There are about 10 or 11 teams in the very competitive NHL that could make a serious run at the Stanley Cup this year:

Winnipeg Jets
Vancouver Canucks
Boston Bruins
Colorado Avalanche
New York Rangers
Florida Panthers
Dallas Stars
Vegas Golden Knights
Toronto Maple Leafs
Carolina Hurricanes
Los Angeles Kings

Several teams are not far behind this cluster and could easily make a run at the playoffs if they get hot.  It is a very competitive league and, as has been observed, winning the NHL championship is likely the most difficult challenge of any major team sport.  It is long, hard, and grueling.

I have been a Toronto Maple Leaf fan since about 1967– I am so old that I actually saw the Leafs win a Stanley Cup (in 1967).  I remember that at that time, they were close behind the Canadiens for the total number of championships: it was 13 to 11.  Since then, it has become 24 (!) to 11.

The Leafs have a notoriously bad record in recent years in the playoffs.  They actually have a good record of making the playoffs, each of the past seven years, but, with the exception of last year in which they eliminated Tampa Bay, they have not won a single series.  It is a stain on the careers of Austin Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander, Mitch Marner, and Morgan Rielly, none of whom have performed particularly well in the playoffs.  It is an even bigger stain on their goaltenders, Jack Campbell and Frederick Andersen, neither of which have been able to “come up big” in decisive playoff games.

This obscures the fact that the Leafs do have a very good team.  They can score goals but their defense is suspect.  Their No. 1 goalie, Ilya Samsonov, is a wreck and has been demoted and their next most auspicious candidate, Joseph Woll, is injured.   Matt Murray– last I heard– was hurt and will not return (I think he was moved to Pittsburgh, last I heard).   Martin Jones has stepped in and is currently performing exceptionally well.

No Leaf fan can forget how they led the decisive game 7 against Boston 4-3 in the third period a few years ago only to see Frederick Andersen allow three highly questionable goals, including the egregious one through the five-hole that gave up the lead.  The Leafs lost 7-4 (one empty net goal).

The Leafs have lately looked pretty good, with Martin Jones in net.  But so has Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, New York Rangers, and Boston.

I am optimistic– I always am, this time of year, recently– about the playoffs.  The Leaf “core four” (Nylander, Matthews, Marner, Tavares) are a year older.  Tavares in not getting more effective, but the other three are entering the years in which most athletes are in their prime.  They also have the bitter experience of losing in the first round in six of the last seven playoffs (and the second round last year) to teams that appeared to be inferior to them.   They should know now how much grit, consistency, and determination is required to win a seven-game series.   They should be tougher, more resilient.  Matthews in particular seems to have stepped up his game.

I am suspicious of Nylander– he can be brilliant but he also gives the puck away far too often and sometimes seems to be coasting outside the blueline waiting for a pass.  Both he and Marner make risky passes and it’s hard to assess whether the pretty goals they generate outweigh the ugly goals they give up.  One immediately remembers overtime in a game against Boston this year in which Nylander turned back with the puck– a thing he likes to do too often– and fell.  He just fell, giving up the puck to the two deadliest forwards on Boston (and the game-winning goal).  The other night, he was coasting to the bench while Colorado was in full press mode towards the Leaf net.  They scored.

There is also hope in regard to the Leafs 3rd and 4th lines, and other secondary players like Matthew Knies who is improving in every game.   Jarnkrok in particular has become more effective, Domi is showing some determination and more skill, and Robertson occasionally threatens.

On defense, Rielly is actually playing better than he did last year when he seemed to be struggling at times and lost his instincts for contributing on offense.  Brodie and Giordano or good– not excellent– Liljegren seems to be improving.  McCabe can be forceful.  Timmins and Lagesson strike me as filler material.  They could use another good pick-handling defenseman.  The need a good defensive defenseman even more:  they often mishandle the puck in their own corners and end up running around chasing while the opposition sets up.

The Leafs made what I consider a major blunder is allowing Justin Holl to walk– I thought he had improved significantly over the past few years and  he is playing pretty well for Detroit– and an even bigger blunder is signing forward Ryan Reaves (thank goodness he’s out right now) and an incomprehensible blunder in signing John Klingberg (out for the season, I believe), who has a career -40 rating.

When Woll returns, will he be as effective as he was at the beginning of the season?  Will Jones continue his solid performances?  We haven’t seen Dennis Hildeby in action yet– he is a great unknown, a large (for goalie– for anybody) player at 6′ 7″ and 200 lbs.  The Leafs will almost surely start him at some point in the near future, for there is a perception out there that the Leafs have overworked their #1 goalies the last few years perhaps contributing to their disappointing performances in the playoffs.

So, as usual, I will expect the Leafs to finally advance further than the first round this year.  I expect Matthews, Marner, and Nylander– with their increased experience– to contribute more.  Matthews in particular seems more able than ever before to summon his formidable talents into a gritty two-way game that can actually redirect the teams momentum at crucial moments.   I hope the Leafs do pick up a solid defenseman somewhere for the playoff run.   And then we have to hope that Jones and Hildeby or Woll perform well.

Tavares?  Tonight, against Detroit, he was worse than ineffective.  He gave the puck way, lost almost every battle for the puck along the boards, and seemed slow and lethargic.  He was so awful I wonder if he is hurt.

The NHL is a very tough league.  The Leafs have shown this year that they can beat any team on a any given night.  Perhaps this is the year they finally show that they can win a seven-game series against a tough opponent.  If they do, they need the “core four” to perform well but I expect they will win only if they get unexpected contributions from players like Knies, Jarnkrok, and Domi.  The impact of sensational players like Matthews is generally not as great as most people think it is.  (I thought the Blue Jays were deluded in their vain attempt to sign Ohtani in the off-season: for the same money, they could have improved themselves at four or five other positions and that would have had a bigger impact on their overall success.)

Look at the winning teams for the past decades: they are comprised of a star or two, yes, but more importantly an assembly of strong secondary talents, reliable goal-tenders who don’t allow soft goals at crucial moments of the game, and defensemen who, once they have the puck, can smoothly move it out of the defensive zone to forwards who have positioned themselves to receive it and advance into the other team’s zone.  Justin Holl’s major fault, until last year, was the frequency with which he blindly shot the puck along the boards to the opposition point man, or passed the puck to players who were either being checked or didn’t exist.  Jake Gardiner, before him, was even worse at that.  This is the play before the play that results in cheap goals against.   Teams don’t win championships with great saves by their goalie (though Montreal, with Carey Price, came close a few years ago).  They win by preventing those chances in the first place.

The Leafs appear to me to have improved in this area.  Until recently.  They have recently looked weak and disorganized.  Both the power play and the penalty kill have been atrocious.

Given the level of talent on the club, you have to look elsewhere.  I believe it’s time to fire coach Sheldon Keefe.