Funny Business with Jane Wells

College Goes To The Dogs

Can't get into Stanford? Don't worry. They're accepting applications at the Humane Society University. The Humane Society University? What, like, do they have a football team? "The Mighty Mutts"? Are their cheerleaders called "The Beeyatches"? Do they scrimmage against "The Fightin' Forest" of the Sierra Club College?

And what do they teach? "HSU" says its online courses are meant to "help volunteers and animal care workers gain the skills needed to maximize their ability to help animals." I assumed this meant subjects like how to nurture abandoned puppies or the newest spaying methods. Not so much, though there is a new course called Canada Goose Egg Addling--"This course will prepare students to humanely addle Canada goose eggs in their own communities." Sign me up! I'm addled already!

Still, animal-specific coursework isn't what HSU is touting in the press release it sent me. Instead, it wants to showcase classes like The Guide to Interviewing ("so tell me a little bit about yourself, Fido"). Actually, the class focuses on interviewing humans--"To become more productive and efficient, we must consistently hire top performers." The class is free, but for $25, you can get the more intense Guide to Effective Staff Selection, which teaches you the skills needed in "analyzing resumes, conducting legally defensible interviews, and identifying job competencies." Traffic school sounds more exciting. And humane.

Finally, the Humane Society University is also offering for $25 an online course in Standard Operation Procedures to "create the environment for a clear, complete, and organizationally accepted understanding of who the agency is and what its role is, or should be, within the community." Perhaps if you create a numbing bureaucracy the animals around you will be too stupefied to procreate.

Of course, any non profit or for profit business manager needs to know how to analyze resumes, conduct legally defensible interviews, identify job competencies and develop clear operating procedures. I suggest some aspiring entrepreneur enrolls in HSU, receive and frame a diploma, hang it on the wall and begin a business in, say, oh, missile technology.

Phil Flynn of Alaron Trading said last month that gasoline could go down to $1 a gallon this year. In California, where prices are usually 25 cents due to taxes, prices are starting to inch back up. Apparently we've temporarily lost some refining capacity out here. But today I'm launching my daily Gasoline Watch of 2009, checking out the price of the cheapest gasoline at a station I drive by every morning. Today--$1.89.

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