Service of Questions and Loss

March 14th, 2019

Categories: College, Loss, Scams

I just lost my dearest friend and companion. Many times daily one of us would ask the other: “what do you think about _______?” In 34 + years we never tired of discussing the news, information we read in books and events and concerns involving the people we knew. Weren’t we lucky? It broke my heart of late when I’d ask and he’d reply “I don’t know.”

Until very recently, since November 2008, he added beautifully crafted often surprising and erudite comments to my twice a week posts. You might have read some of them and enjoyed a glimpse of his remarkable mind, grasp of history and memories of his quirky, colorful life. He signed in as Protius, Lucan, hb, mbj, Horace Peabody, Seneca, Dave Cummings, Charlie S., CKP, Hester Craddock–to name just a few pseudonyms. He rarely if ever signed in as Homer Byington.

So in this brief post I will ask you what I would have asked him:

  • What do you think about the people involved in the college entrance scandal? There were many players from the mastermind Rick Singer and participating parents and children [though some allegedly didn’t know], to the bribed, whether college officials and coaches or SAT administrators. Were the parents really helping their kids in the end even if they’d not been caught? Should the students involved be refused a diploma? Are colleges culpable because they don’t seem to vet students recommended by sports coaches?
  • And what’s with the FAA/Boeing 737 MAX story? Why were we so slow to the table to stop flights? Wall Street Journal reporters wrote: “Since the crash on Sunday, regulators in dozens of countries suspended flights by the single-aisle airliners, including longtime safety partners such as the U.K., Australia and Canada, whose airspace U.S. airlines regularly enter, even during domestic flights.” We didn’t ground the planes until yesterday. And how could Boeing sell a product that had problems and required essential training before it could be flown?

All these years you’ve also been my sounding board. Thank you.

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9 Responses to “Service of Questions and Loss”

  1. EAM Said:

    The college scandal is a hot topic around here. I mean wow. I’m stunned by the lengths that people will go to get their kids into school. People act like this is breaking news, it’s not. For years, we have people making hefty contributions so their kid can get in.

    I’m sorry you’re missing Homer so much, you can still talk to him.

  2. Anonymous Said:


    The sad thing is that the children whose parents pull strings on their behalf don’t benefit in the long run. Eventually they will be under the gun in a situation that’s meaningful to them and they won’t have the resources to respond. I keep thinking “what if your surgeon cheated in med school and didn’t know how to remove your appendix?” Sort of like that.

    As for speaking to Homer you are right. I can’t quite do it yet–however I’m speaking and thinking ABOUT him a lot.

  3. Bob G Said:

    The entrance scandal has been going on since the beginning of time in some form. A wealthy person gives a university a million dollars for some building project. In turn the university wouldn’t dare reject one of their children. I don’t see bribery as something too different than the description above. Both examples are certainly wrong.

    The FAA was sluggish because of the Trump, Republican mentality of not harming big businesses. I think they acted fairly fast under pressure from the public to protect lives. I wouldn’t have set foot on one of those flying apartment buildings.

  4. Anonymous Said:

    I’m so sorry about Homer. I loved the two of you together. The college scandal makes me sad all around. I’m sad for the kids who deserved to get in on their own merits and didn’t, I’m sad for the kids who thought they got in on their own merits and now know that their parents didn’t believe in them, I’m sad for the schools that have been duped, I’m sad for the adults who thought this was ok. The wealthy donor comparison isn’t apples to apples though. I agree it’s wrong to admit students based on their parents’ wealth. My dad used to say, “Well someone has to be at the bottom of the class, even at (insert name of fancy school here.)” But at least in the case of the wealthy donor, the money is being used to benefit the greater good if it’s used to build a library. Plus it’s legal.

    RE; the planes, nothing surprises me any more.

  5. David Reich Said:

    Jeanne, Homer will always remain your sounding board. You’ll find yourself unconsciously asking his opinion and, somehow, you’ll know the answer in your heart. Homer will continue to speak to you.

  6. Anonymous Said:

    The college scandal has likely been going on for decades.
    Plenty of scandals in Republican and Democratic parties.
    Race/color, child of alumnus( especially ones who donate heavily) tip the scales too, regarding admissions. Paying and bribing goes on in many sectors of our lives, so it is not a big surprise.

    Do not know if all 737s were from the same lot, but all need checking. Typical Government with politics tied to airlines as well.

  7. DB Said:

    As to college scandal.
    This hits home big time. Grandson Kyle class of 2019 Whitman HS, bethesda Wait listed many elite places with a 1520 sat, 4.5 grade point, 7 AP , athlete , internship, on and on.
    He had legacy at U. Of Pennsylvania which was his first choice and was rejected on early admissions. Even his classmate Rod Rosenstien’s daughter was rejected.

    It makes you wonder how may cheaters elbowed these quality students out at any school.
    As Chris Cuomo said , “this is the tip of the iceberg.” The students know the game is rigged by some.

    He was Accepted to honors at Maryland with a dean’s scholarship. He is at university of Michigan and plays volleyball for them. They also took all his AP.

    His brother Blake, Whitman class of 2021 just got a 1580 on his SAT. I think the admissions game will be fair for him next fall.

  8. Kathleen Said:

    The college admission situation has so many working parts. Who is more to blame — the parents, the coaches or the schools? In some cases the kids may not play a part, but many may be aware of the score. How do authorities find out the truth? I was not aware of the extent of the bribery. I thought it mainly was sports departments trying to get excellent athletes to win games. Nothing is sacred!

  9. CG Said:

    Jeanne, my heart is breaking for you. BS joins me in sending many, many hugs.

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