Plenty of Time to Think

First, an apology. Last night I seem to have sent some comments to trash by accident. I managed to track them down and think I have replied to all of them, but I can’t get them back onto the main site. I hope you have all had replies, but if you haven’t let me know. If you have been ignored it’s down to stupidity rather than bad manners.

Earlier today I was watching Walker, Texas Ranger. It comes on after Perry Mason, which follows Matlock. With the best will in the world, it isn’t a particularly demanding schedule. However, whilst watching Walker, I did pay some attention to the plot, if you can call it that.

The villain was a violent criminal and fraudster who had started his own church after purchasing his ordination certificate online, or possibly some sort of forerunner of the internet.

Now, what you may not know about me was that I once planned a career as a fraudster, having formed the idea for a postal business college. In those days it was legal to offer meaningless qualifications through the post and you could get £1,000 for a PhD – all the candidate needed to was send a cheque and write an essay, which was a lot easier than taking a proper PhD. I had it all ready to launch, including the name Carlton Business College, when the government changed the law and out a stop to it. Fortunately I had not incurred any financial costs so all I lost was my time and my dreams.

Before you ask, no, I didn’t have any qualms about it. I had just done a post-graduate diploma course as a mature student, and had learned several interesting things about “proper” academic institutions. One was that several of the overseas students on the course were intending to sell copies of their certificates on completion of the course. The second was that not everyone on the course had to go through the same selection process.

row of books in shelf

Photo by Pixabay on

I, having applied for the course without having a degree, had to undergo a stringent interview and written test. Some of the overseas students, who paid many times the fees we were paying, had managed to get on the course without qualifications, without a written test and without the ability to write intelligible English.

Julia, who is much more intellectually accomplished than I am, noted the same when she did her Master’s degree.

So there you are, even today “proper” universities are allowed to peddle substandard qualifications to overseas students in return for cash, but I am not.

Anyway, enough of my lack of morals, and back to today. It seems, when I checked up, that you can become an ordained minister for $29. It is priced in dollars, because the “church” is American. I’m fascinated by the American marriage laws, where a$29 dollar minister is allowed to conduct legally binding marriages in 48 states.

Then I wandered onto this site, and wasted more of my day.

By the time I write my next post I may well be the Reverend Quercus. Julia says we have enough trouble without me attracting any Divine Wrath, but I’m seriously thinking of it. Well, it’s not like I’m doing anything else for the next three weeks, is it?

cute little dog wearing red sweater

Photo by Vlad Chețan on

When I searched the free photo library for “dog collar” this wasn’t actually what I was hoping for.

26 thoughts on “Plenty of Time to Think

    1. quercuscommunity

      When Julia did her Masters the University moved a block of students onto the course from another course. It soon became clear their English wasn’t adequate. After the rest of the course complained they were moved and dumped on someone else. They were getting no quality of education, and the quality of the course declined for everyone as a result of chasing foreign cash.

      1. Clare Pooley

        This is really shocking. When my daughter studied and later-on worked at Sheffield University a very large proportion of the students were Asian, predominantly Chinese. I think the students had to have a knowledge of English to get places there but many of them suffered from an ignorance of our social mores and how we behave and therefore missed out on many aspects of life as a student; some students suffered greatly.

      2. quercuscommunity

        Tricky. Number Two Son was at Sheffield Hallam and he definitely enjoyed all aspects of the life as a student, as evidenced by a 2:2 and a number of “loans” from his soft-hearted mother. 🙂

      3. Helen

        The reason for the surge in overseas students is due to the government withdrawing funding for British Higher Education. ‘Internationalisation’ and ‘inclusivity’ are the new buzz words.

      4. Helen

        I think the issue is partly down to government policy going back to the 1990s of having 50% of people having a university education. Simultaneously, they didn’t want taxes to be increased, so international students have become the milk cows of choice. There are a lot of victims in this situation.

    1. quercuscommunity

      I don’t have time for essays – too many other things to do, honing my procrastination skills for instance. Spam, on the other hand, is more of an issue, as I have a tin and am slightly afraid to use it. I used to love it as a kid, but as I have aged I have become more Spam-averse.

  1. Helen

    Amazing what you find in the free photo collections 😊

    Education is truly in a mess – I had the same kind of grievances as Julia when I was doing my Masters. Still, it is a meaningful qualification if you do it properly – ie I did it to learn as opposed to the certificate. And teachers would much rather teach genuine students 😊.

    Anyway, sounds like you have (had) some enterprising ideas. I think it has become possible to conduct online weddings, hasn’t it?

  2. arlingwoman

    I am astonished by your television. Here we’re watching British TV, there you’re watching really old American TV. As for someone being allowed to marry in various states, they all have different laws, so while someone might wed religiously, it doesn’t matter if they don’t get the civil paperwork right…I wonder if part of the course is learning all the civil requirements…Comments seem to be quite messed up lately. On my blog, if I answer in notifications, they aren’t showing up in the comments, which is what we all like to read after the blog!

    1. quercuscommunity

      Comments are the first thing I read. If I have time I then read a few blogs. If comments go wrong it really annoys me.

      I’ve never understood all the rules about marriage – I think some of ours go back centuries and are designed to prevent unscrupulous men marrying gullible heiresses.

      As for TV, America is an exotic other world for us boring Brits. 🙂 Even in black and white.

      1. Helen

        Comments definitely seem to have awry on a few sites over the last few days…

        Like you, comments are what I would read first. As they (should) come up on my phone, they are something I tend to do on the go. However, I’ve just been driving with Maps, so my phone was on and I therefore didn’t get notifications in the same way.

        Always little traps to keep us on our toes!

    1. quercuscommunity

      I couldn’t resist him. 🙂

      I am very tempted by the idea of ordination but my “flock” is not keen on the idea.

      I did look at a Masters in Fine Art but it was $495 and the website was written in very ungrammatical English, so I’m not sure the diploma would be very convincing.


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