Archive for May, 2008

Until The Fat Lady Sings


It took me two days to recover from my ‘vacation’. Two days. I’ve still got leg cramps from sleeping on the damn bus. Next time they need a chaperon for 42 inner city kids I will be busy. Very busy.

While I was away, I noticed that Obama has certainly gotten a bit cocky. He’s been thanking Hilary for the great campaign as though he believes it’s over. Uh, I thought there were still some states left to vote there, Barak. It’s a chicken counting party. Certainly, Hil is behind. All of the media outlets have proclaimed Obama like a great political messiah who will come and solve all of our problems. But that doesn’t make it so, now does it ?

The gentlemanly thing to do would be to wait until everything has been counted and the nomination has been solidified at the National Convention. In fact, I would say that would be the expedient way to behave. Not to suddenly ignore the person you are running against as though they don’t exist.

Obama has decided he is the winner and is now concentrating on running his campaign as though the primaries are over and the actual presidential election is on.

It is not. The Primaries have not ended. The Presidential race has not yet begun.

I know this because the Democratic National Convention has not been seated, douche bag. Ergo, You, Barak Obama, do not yet have the nomination of your party. Therefore you are not the one who will be running against John McCain, yet.

For Obama to behave this way is just as distasteful and arrogant as coming to Michigan to receive support from Edwards. Discounting Hilary because the media tells you you’re going to win is possibly the stupidest thing I can imagine for a candidate to do. It is interesting to me that Obama is all for rules and decorum when it suits him, such as the seating of Michigan and Florida delegates, but not when it doesn’t.

I think it says a lot about how his Presidency would be run. No matter how many people back him I don’t think he will be much different from the guy who now sits in the Oval Office. Because of his lack of ties in the international community, lack of experience in foreign relations and world wide monetary understanding, it seems to me, as nice as it would be to have a black president finally, Obama would just be another Puppet President whose strings are pulled by lobbyists and political hacks. And already we are seeing the results of bad advice he is receiving. If this is how he treats a fellow Democrat during a very tough campaign how is he going to treat Heads of State during the difficult financial times ahead, or even in dealing with the Iraq war?

Seems a like a whole lot of iffy to me. And I’ve had enough of iffy, haven’t you?


While The Dog’s Away


I’m off on vacation  for the next five days.

It’s less of a vacation than a school related Bataan Death March of tourism. However, I plan on buying lots of junk with my stimulus check to help stimulate the economy.

See, I’m helping. Kind of.

I’ll see you cats and dogs back here on Friday.


Don’t Come Around Here No More


John Edwards made a speech last night. It went something like this:

“There is one man who knows and understands that this is a time for bold leadership. There is one man that knows how to create the change, the lasting change, that you have to build from the ground up,” Edwards said. “There is one man who knows in his heart there is time to create one America, not two…”  And that man is–

Alan Greenspan??

Warren Buffett??

William Easterly??

Noooo, Barak Obama.

Edwards, after waiting months to see how the race would turn out, has thrown all of his political weight, all 20 ounces, behind Obama. And he did it right here in the Mich.

Are you (radio edit) kidding me? I smell ploy. Big, billowing clouds of political ploy wafting all over the west side of this state. Seriously, one whole side of our mitten is now covered in snake oil. Someone call the Nature Conservancy I think we have a disaster site that needs cleaning.

These two couldn’t be arsed when it came to the problems with our primary. They blithely stuck with Howard Dean and his mindless drones at the DNC in their quest to disenfranchise Michigan voters. They punished every voter in this state because our primary date was moved. Obama has gone so far as to suggest he get half of the delegates. Even though he refused to put his name on our ballot. Now they’re grandstanding in Grand Rapids?

Ya know who else visited Grand Rapids? George W Bush. Dick Cheney. John McCain. Bono. Ya know why they go to Grand Rapids? Because, Lansing, Detroit and Ann Arbor won’t allow them past the city limits. They have standards. While Grand Rapids is the Babylonian whore of Michigan cities.

The new financial center of our state is located in Grand Rapids. If one wishes to cull the political newbies who control or have large amounts of cash, Grand Rapids is the place to do it. Not to mention, it being the home of one of our most benign and lovably forgettable Presidents, it tends to make a statement. Which statement I’m not sure. Maybe something like “I’m a political hack who wants you to equate me with President Ford.” or maybe “See, I’m a harmless conservative” or “Give me all your money.”

My position is this: When I see Obama in a pair of old jeans, hosting a rally in Flint, shaking hands with Michael Moore and holding a steaming hot pasty, then I might lighten up.

But watching these two slick snakes spend a night patting one another on the back in OUR state is just tasteless and petty.

Tom Petty.

Because as I watched events unfold this is what went through my head:

Don’t come around here no more

Whatever you’re looking for

Give it up


Give it up

And now I can’t get that damn song out of my head.

One more thing to hate them for.


I’ve Got A Java Monkey On My Back


I woke up to a cup of cleverly disguised cream with a tinge of coffee flavor. If my coffee doesn’t try to choke me when I wrestle it into my cup , it’s not coffee. This is why I get up at ungodly hours just to make it to the coffee pot before anyone else. Like the man I married who, after many years of listening to me whine, still can’t make a proper pot of java..

I love him but if he doesn’t get this coffee thing under control well, I may have to send him out for lessons.

Reminds me of the Tarentino scene in Pulp Fiction. The speech he gives about the coffee, that’s me and mine.

I take my coffee seriously, without the caffeine I’m just a lump of groggy human. Unlike Superman who leaps out of bed like a Disney character ready to start his day. That’s just too much happy at the start of the day.

I hate that.

Love him, hate the happy.


Ironic Monday Rides Again


Okay so not so much ironic but it certainly gives pause.

Several articles are blaring that Salman Rushide is the favorite to win the Booker of Bookers. It seems like a pre-announcement doesn’t it? Takes all the fun out of waiting to see who wins. Not to mention, there are at least three writers on the short list who are better and more coherent.

On top of this announcement is an article in which Doris Lessing says wining the Nobel has killed her ability to write. Bastards. I like Doris Lessing and now she’ll probably never finish her last novel. Thanks guys.

And has anyone else noticed that they seemed to have gagged President Bush as requested by this blogging dog? We haven’t heard a peep out of him. Not even a little quip on the marriage of his daughter. Hmmm, strange. Maybe we just can’t hear him over the raging gun battle of the Democratic Primary.

Well, I’m off to teach French to a group of students who can’t answer the question: ” Comment vous applez vous?” not even when I change it to “Comment t’appelle tu?” Apparently, their teacher never taught them the difference between formal and informal usage. Weep, Weep,sigh.


Thanks, Mom


Today is Mother’s Day. A Hallmark holiday surely. Or is it?

Technically, it is an invented holiday. Yet, let’s think for a moment about why it is a good idea from more than just a marketing standpoint. Let’s really think about Mom.

Your mother has, over the years, done a variety of things for you. She has:

Made your bed

Fed you

Tended you when you were ill

Went through a gross of band aids

Picked up your dirty clothes

Washed, folded and put away those clothes

Erased any evidence of your cave drawings

Taught you to cook for yourself, wash yourself, tie your shoes properly

Wiped the dirt off you, above and below

Hung drawings on the fridge

Gave you alphabet magnets and tinker toys

Sent you to school

Yelled about your grades

Went to every play, conference, activity she could

Gave you the car keys

Took the car keys away

Picked you up when you fell

Sat you down when she should

Worried about you

Cried over you

Cautioned you

Stopped you

Fought with You

Kissed you

Bragged about you endlessly

And she never got paid in cold hard cash. The only thing your Mom ever asked was that you make choices that make you happy and safe. And when you didn’t, well, she was there to help fix everything.

Now, the thing is, a Mom is any woman who did these things for you. Could be a sister, an aunt, a grandmother.

And it’s only right and proper that you say thank you at least once a year. That thanks can be anything, a hand drawn card, a kiss, an interesting rock. It’s a symbol of appreciation for the frustrating, backbreaking, annoying, incredibly rewarding work a Mother does on a day to day basis, 365 days a year for your entire life.

Doesn’t seem like much to ask, now does it? Of course a Mom would never ask, so instead we have an entire day just for them.

Hallmark holiday or not, it’s still a good idea.

Happy Mother’s Day.


Not By The Hair Of My Chinny Chin Chin


The Burmese/Myanmar government is making a bad situation worse. It’s what they do. This particular group of military yahoos like to do as they please.

Yet, I think that the American government criticizing the Burmese/Myanmar junta’s reluctance to help their citizens’ in this time of disaster is a bit of the old pot and kettle.

For proof, please take a look at the Katrina disaster that is still going on. Most of the reconstruction of the hardest hit areas has been accomplished by churches and private groups. The government is too busy suing and arresting fraudsters to do much about the actual damage. They are not doing a thing about the lag time of the insurance companies. There are people out there still waiting for an estimate. The list of crap that is not being done is endless. And I still can’t get past the fact that after the hurricane the CANADIANS made it to New Orleans faster than FEMA.

Makes one want to weep with shame.

So the Burma/Myanmar military government may be a hotbed of  malignant narcissists with guns, but really the Bush Administration may not want to draw too much attention to that fact. Not when our own Natural Disaster Area still looks like it does and thousands of people still can’t go home.


Are You Gonna EAT That?


I was thinking about an incident this year. While teaching at a school for the Cognitively Impaired I came across a woman with no sense of humor. A speech therapist so green she refused to joke with the students because it might not be politically correct. Trust me, these students are funny and have a great sense of humor. One of the aides for the class I was working in felt sorry for her because she had no friends. The aide wanted to take her out to dinner. The problem was this ST was apparently heavily into organic food. I suggested a local restaurant that caters to vegans, raw foodists and only serves organic food. When I suggested it to the ST, she went off. And by off, I mean I was grilled mercilessly for fifteen minutes. How do I know it’s organic food? She asked with a sneer that suggested reasons why she might not have any friends. I responded with “Uh, I personally have never eaten un-organic food. Plastic doesn’t digest well.” She was not amused. Eventually, I gave up and offered her a flip response about being a run of the mill vegetarian and walked away. I don’t feel bad about it either.

I couldn’t care less what other people eat. And that’s the way it should be. Yet, if you mention having a diet different from what most people consider normal, oy vey! Suddenly you are the weirdo with the salad, wearing hemp sandals, about to offer a speech on why a Prius is the only car to drive. And all the omnivores will gang up on you, pelting you with bacon and reasons why you shouldn’t be so strange.

I’ve been vegetarian on and off for over twenty years. I can go either way. I’m a food swinger you might say. I prefer a vegetarian lifestyle. I feel better and my weight doesn’t fluctuate so wildly. Less Giantess. However, I live in a house of carnivores who will snarl if not regularly thrown carcass. Sometimes it’s an eat it or starve situation. Eh, whatever.

What I don’t understand are those who feel their entire moral being is tied to what they eat or don’t eat. They want a medal and a standing ovation for not chewing the fat. PETA comes to mind here, as do several celebrity vegans. It’s food. Fuel for the body to make sure you can get from here to there without passing out from lack of nutrients.

I’ve never seen a vegetarian diet as all that strange or abnormal. I just take the veggies and leave the ham behind. It’s a choice. No wailing needed. Those, like our speech therapist un-friend, who set up social barriers with regards to their eating habits, have issues. Deep, therapy required, issues. I think for them it’s less about health than about identifying with a group. Perhaps a need to feel as though they belong and thus are morally superior. They’re not, just more difficult to please and less pleasant to talk to. And I hate it that I regularly get confused with these people.

I don’t belong to PETA. Not because I don’t like animals. I do. Particularly the fuzzy ones who bark you awake at 4 am because they need to pee. I don’t support PETA because I couldn’t consciously support a group that rants on about animal cruelty and regularly euthanizes more animals than the Humane Society. Hypocrites.

I won’t talk you ear off about harmful chemicals in your food, become rhapsodic about the benefits of a soy based diet, or shriek in horror when you steam a vegetable. I just don’t care enough, I’m afraid.

Eat what you want. Leave the attitude at home.

And if you see me with a giant plate of Baba Ghnoush, you really don’t have to stop and tell me what you think it looks like I’m eating. Honestly.


If You Only Knew


I read a news report about a substitute who was fired for doing a magic trick in class. Oh and he let students use a computer. I’m willing to bet he didn’t let the students use it, they just waited till he wasn’t looking. Or lied to him.

Another Sub was fired for having blue hair.

The charges against the Subs were, respectively, wizardry and paganism.

I find this interesting, considering that Subs are expected to be magical beings who can wave a wand and keep a class of forty two strangers under control while simultaneously getting them to do ridiculous busy work.

The complaints came from parents. Parents. Oh, parents.

Recently, I was redirected to another job at the last minute. After getting into the class and starting my morning walk about, a parent came to the door with two little ‘uns and began without preamble to scream at me. I watched and waited for them to take a breath. This took a while. When they finished calling me everything they could think of except ‘fine individual’, I smiled and said:

” I wasn’t here yesterday and I have no idea what you are talking about.”

“Aren’t you the Sub?”

“I am a Sub, but not the one you are looking for I think.”

” Oh. Well my kids” indicating the two children who hadn’t said anything thus far, “said he was screaming at them.”

I nodded. ” Well, you could go to the office and discuss it with them but, right now I have to finish reading the lesson plans. Sorry.”

“Right.” Then they left.

The problem is that the parents have no idea how their children behave in school. The class mentioned above contains no less than eight conduct disordered and special educations students. I know this because I have spent a lot of time in that particular class. The students don’t get away with much when I am there, though they do try. Of course they try, they’re kids. And it’s ten times worse when a Sub is there. On this day, a student from this class was given a three day suspension. He came back after I sent him to the office and said ” You got me suspended.” I replied in my best teachery voice, “No, —, you got yourself suspended by making a poor choice. Next time, think carefully before you act.” Which of course was followed by the student yelling “I hate you.”  Sigh.

If parents could see what their children really do when Substitutes are in the room, I think the two people at the beginning of the article would still be employed.

Wizardry and Paganism are not really the issue. The issue is parental complaining. If they think that their children are being treated badly they don’t stop to rationalize the problem, they just go off. My children, over the years, have come home telling me about a mean Sub and I always ask them what they did to make the Sub mad. Inevitably, the answer is ‘nothing”. Bull. I know better. And so do they.

In the course of this last year I have been subjected to: Paper airplanes , paper wads, bits of erasers, pencils, paperclips, books and marbles thrown at me during lessons. I have been threatened with physical harm, spit at, screamed at, pushed and physically intimidated. I’ve been told to fuck off, get fucked, fuck you. I’ve been called bitch, geek, loser, stupid, dumb, not a real teacher, idiot. These are general education students. Every parents’ precious little snowflake treats strangers this way. Strangers, I might add, who have come into the class to help them learn.

So the next time your angel comes home whining about a Sub who was mean, take a minute to think of all things said angel might have done to push that person too far. Everyone has limits, even substitutes.

Paganism and wizardry, my ass.


Bad Poetry Month


Turns out MySpace poets aren’t the only ones who need classes. has spawned a whole new level of horror. Rate My Poem.

In this little gem, you read the poem and then rate it on a scale from 1 to 10. The people with the best rating are published on the front webpage. The first three were bad enough to rate a one from me. One of the poems is called, and I’m not making this up, God’s Gay Love. That writer should be publicly whipped just for the title.

I was going to post these musings but then I thought, “No, it would just encourage them if they saw the link.” I don’t want to encourage them, I want to discourage them from their apparent belief of good writing.

Sentiment is nice, but form without function is useless. This holds true in poetry as well as most of the other art forms. Just saying the sky is pretty tells the reader nothing. Comparing the pretty sky to a major life event such as Death, Life, Birth, Sex, any of the usual suspects, is better. Understanding and exploring the themes of humanity using a pretty sky then contrasting it in an unusual way via language is best.

This is Poetry month. Why they insist on having it in Spring when most of the best poetry is written about Winter or Fall I have no idea. However, if one is inclined to wax on (haha) about one’s teenie tiny world without trying to see the world at large please don’t post in a public place. It’s a nightmare for those of us looking for new writers.

I look for writers who posses a unique view. Poetry, listen up MySpacers and Poetry.comers, doesn’t have to be beautiful. It has to be true. Many poets have given us lines that are hard to take, difficult to look at and downright ugly. But we keep looking because they are honest. Stop trying to find what’s pretty. That’s what children do. Find what’s real.

I suspect that many of you, and you know who you are, don’t read. By reading I mean books. Poetry, fiction, fantasy. Those things. The newspaper doesn’t count. The following is a list of ideas you can start with:


Norton Anthology of Poetry (any edition)

Elizabeth Bishop


Sharon Olds

Restoration Poetry

Dada Poets

Lord of the Flies

Black Mountain Poets

New York School (1&2)

Joseph Conrad



I could keep going but that should hold you for a while. While reading don’t write anything. Think. Try not to hurt yourself. I know when you are trying something new, like thinking, it can be painful. Just give it time and you may be surprised.

If you can’t be bothered to do any of these things then, stop writing. Please, I am begging you. It’s like watching American Idol auditions. If you don’t know you are bad and keep doing it you will never get better. And people will cringe and laugh, no matter how much you rationalize it.

It sounds like this:

“God’s Gay Love;


That’s me, laughing at you.