Archive for April, 2008

Caving In


Yesterday I came to a life changing conclusion. I would really like to give up my ‘modern life’ and go live in a cave. Yes, I want to be a troglodyte. I picture long nights in my cave with a low campfire, maybe a dog to keep me company.  Perhaps a cave by the beach so I can faintly hear the sound of crashing waves but, really, it’s not that important where. Just a cave. Sand fleas, mysterious scuttlings, perhaps a reflected eye or, even better, two to scare me when I get bored. Ah yes, I really think Cave life is for me.

So I said “Self, where would one go to find a suitable cave to practice one’s hermit tendencies?” And Self replied “I’m sleeping, get a life would you.” Self is never a help at three a.m. Then it came to me. To rent a superior cave I need only let my fingers do the asking. People always say you can get anything on the Net. So I took my chances and typed in “rent a cave” and lo, This is where I think I would like to spend the rest of my life.

Sadly, it’s not a life long rental but a vacation spot. While roomy, I was thinking of something a bit smaller, cozier, if you will. So I typed in “rent a small cave”. The only one I could find was in Romania. I’m not sure I’m ready for such a long travel plan associated with cave dwelling. Yet, most wise and wizened hermit types usually live in mountain caves. So I typed in “rent a mountain cave”.  All I could find was a rather spiffy villa in Spain trying to pass itself off as a ‘cave house’. My idea of cave dwelling does not include a pool and DVD player.

I am not giving up. There’s only a few years left before this angry giantess has to turn in her chalk and glib answers. I’m thinking a nice cave in my mother’s homeland. An Irish cave. Surely, they must have them somewhere. The place is an Island and I know from extensive reading of books like Lord of the Flies and Robinson Carusoe that all Islands have caves. Ergo, I should be able to rent a cave there. However, I wonder how wise I would become living in an Irish cave? Maybe I should think a little broader, like Tibet or China. According to media reports and books like ‘The Inn of the Sixth Happiness’, they have caves and wise people.

Either way I am in the market for a cave of my own. So, if you, my readers, happened to hear of one where I can spend the rest of my life please feel free to pass that info along. Keep in mind, said cave should be able to get WiFi. Cave dweller I might be, but I am not a Neanderthal.


Oh, You!


Obama had an interview on Fox.

Let the howling begin. Apparently, liberal bloggers are upset. They think he should ban Fox news and their unholy pack of ‘journalists’.

I’m a liberal blogger and I’m not upset. Well, I’m upset that most people think Fox is a ‘news’ outlet rather than the propaganda fear machine it is. But Obama had to do the interview because Rev. Wright won’t shut up.

In order to undo the damage the Rev keeps inflicting on his campaign Obama has to seem like a middle of the road, average joe willing to sit down with the bad guys and look calm and collected. Which, he did. Mission accomplished.

I still don’t like  him, though.

He’s acquiring quite an oily sheen, actually.

Rub up against enough lobbyists, campaign managers, and Rock The Vote aficionados and that could happen to you, too.

I wonder how many Nature Conservancy volunteers it will take to get him clean and ready to fly again?


Uncommon Idea


I keep reading about the world wide food crisis. It sounds awful. Oh wait, it is awful but I have revolutionary idea that might help.


I know that this position will perhaps make me even less popular than I currently am, but it’s chance I am willing to take. Especially when one considers that we have a huge ball of self renewing energy in the sky that has proven itself more than capable of helping out. Oh and that little thing that sweeps down from the hills from time to time freshening our lives and creating the perfect ambiance might be useful too.

Yes, there are obstacles. Problems like, no one wants to pay for the conversion. Cheap is not helpful. If they can ask us to pay extortionist prices for gas while simultaneously starving entire populations to create new fuels, they can invent a supersolar conductor with their 900 bajillion dollar oil profits.

Ridiculous. When are we going to get mad enough to capsize this incredible ship of fools ?

Because these things don’t need to happen, we just let them.


And Now For Something A Little Different


I found this article by Michael Chabon in the L.A. Times. Well, found is a little misleading. I stole it from Neil Gaiman’s blog.

The article, which is an excerpt from one of Chabon’s books, is a quixotic look at the nature of entertainment. Particularly in relation to books.

I urge you to read the article not only because it is well written but because it gives one something to think about other than the grocery list of horrors the media serves on a daily basis.

Happy reading.


Oh Holy Java!


Anyone else out there ever find a hair not belonging to you or any of your household floating in your coffee?

I just did and while I am all for global expansion, I do not include body hair in my list of things I’d like to see globally expanded.

I have to go throw out my fair trade coffee and buy a new machine.

Oh, and vomit.


Edumacation And Bad Spellings


I could rant on about the candidates, but watching them shadowbox each other is so boring I can’t be bothered.

However, I can rant on about the new No Child Left Behind regulations that Margaret Spellings is rolling out.

Miss Spellings , a woman who has never been in a classroom, whose degree is in political science, has decided we need more ‘accountability’ from the schools and more programs to involve parents.

I live in a place where all three high schools have failed to meet the NCLB standards for the past five years. The city’s solution has been to make ALL of the teachers re-apply for their jobs for next fall. When I ask student’s about it, I get an earful. They are afraid that the teachers they are familiar with enough to take their problems to will be gone next year. When I ask teachers about it they just roll their eyes and shrug, as if to say ‘What can you do?”

Spellings is not concerned about the students or failing schools. In this district there has been a significant elevation of students who are classified as Emotionally Impaired, most of them being conduct disordered. However, there are few solid programs to deal with this influx and many EI students end up in general classrooms, where they are disruptive. Overcrowded classrooms, lack of educational aides, run down, non-functioning schools are just some of the actual problems facing Administrators. Where are the increases in Federal funding to help? Don’t hold your breath waiting for Spellings whose real concern is mirrored in the following statement:

“Over their lifetimes, dropouts from the class of 2007 alone will cost our nation more than 300 billion dollars in lost wages, lost taxes and lost productivity,” said Secretary Spellings. “Increasing graduation rates by just five percent, for male students alone, would save us nearly eight billion dollars each year in crime-related costs.”

Because being fully educated means one will never commit a crime. Alberto Gonzales, Paul Wolfowitz, various Republicans caught with their pants down.. these people have cost our nation millions in prosecution and work loss but apparently, if you’re over educated this is more acceptable.

As for parental involvement. In this district they practically drag parents into meetings and programs. Every night I get phone calls about town meetings, forums, PTA, special programs for  parenting…. it”s endless. The fact is, some parents just don’t care. Many do but, some just don’t. All the regulations that Spellings wants to impose on the schools won’t make them care. It just makes the NCLB goals that much harder for the district to reach.

I have a solution. If Margaret ‘I’m a Political Hack” Spellings were replaced with an actual Teacher or School Administrator whose primary concern is real students rather than imaginary numbers things might change. Continuing the number crunch and calling it Educational Reform is just garbage. The NCLB is churning out students who can take a test but can’t hold a job, spell or do basic problem solving. And people like Spellings are taking it out on the only people who are willing to work for low pay and even less respect, Teachers.

Education is about the students and their futures. It’s about making sure that student’s have the basic tools to live and work in an increasingly complex system. NCLB and Margaret Spellings are throwing political wrenches into that system at  will and then blaming the very people who are trying to do what they ask.

Our political system, the one that controls our education system, is full of twits.  And Spellings is the worst of the lot.


The New Van Diemens Land


So your 17 year old son or daughter had decided they don’t want to join the military to get experience and see the world (i.e. eat sand in Iraq). That’s ok. The Government is not worried because they have a whole new resource they can tap into for bodies recruits.

Sex offenders, murders, burglars and others of the conduct disordered variety are now getting their chance to give back to society. They’re getting a one way ticket to Iraq.

That’s right, the American government is taking the advice of comedian Bobcat Golthwait and sending criminals to do our fighting for us. As Bobcat pointed out “These are the men with experience”.

If this little plan to avoid a draft works out our prisons should be empty by 2019. Excellent.

Of course, there might be a few discipline problems. They are using men who couldn’t abide the rules of an open society and thrusting them into a system that has rules for everything, including when and how to eat.

Oh well.

That’s the price you pay for governing with your head firmly entrenched up your ascot.