Archive for the ‘hope’ Category

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.


Wordy Goodness


I am not always about the rants. Sometimes I find something good on the internet. Like today, I found a site everyone should visit.

It’s called Free Rice. It’s a vocabulary word builder that donates 20 grains of rice to the U.N. for distribution in starving nations for every word you correctly identify. So that’s cool. You have fun and the world gets a little brighter. Find the link below and get playing.



Anybody Got An Asprin, I Think I Have A Cold


Last week some poor scientisty person kicked it due to Plague. That sucks for him. And anyone he may have coughed on.

This week I have been noticing some pretty ominous ads on Televsion. One is an ad sponsored by the CDC (I think) stating that this years flu season could be deadly so get your flu shots. The others are some grim ads by Lysol about germ transfer. It implies that if there are germs in your house, you and your whole family will die. I scoffed, as who wouldn’t, until I read this mornings news and then I thought, oh well, thanks for the info and does anyone know where I can get a Hazmat suit?

There’s a new sheriff in town and he looks a lot like an old sheriff in new clothes. The cold virus has new attitude. It has been killing people for the last year and a half. Quoi? And of course they are just telling us now. Surprise it’s not the Bird Flu, it’s a cold virus.

The CDC can’t seem to get their opinions together. In one article: it’s ok, nothing to be alarmed about, just though you might like to know. And in the next the CDC is practically screaming that we’re all gonna die.

I suspect the truth is somewhere in between. It’s a mutation they have never seen before on a virus everyone has had at least once. Scary, the unknown. Yet, only ten people have actually died though hundreds have been infected.

I like to think back fondly on the Flu Epidemic of 1918. When people thought God was passing judgment and millions of soldiers died in trenches, hacking and coughing themselves to death. Where one in every three people died. Yes, that was the hey day of viruses.

Of course we invented ways to stop that sort of thing. Now the viruses are reinventing themselves like some over blown eighties pop star who wants to re-issue an album that was good when it was first put out, but now really is kind of dated and frankly, hasn’t everybody heard all of these tracks, do we really need at twentieth anniversary edition?

Wait, where was I?

Oh yeah. Getting a flu shot won’t help. It’s a cold virus, not a flu virus. Lysoling everything within a twelve mile radius will not help either. Unless you are taking a Lysol bath. Sneeze and infect. Cough and infect. Talk and infect. It’s called droplet transmission . It’s also the reason I don’t like to eat out. The cooks talk over your food while they re cooking and, and well… ick.

So good luck everyone. Try to stay warm and cold free because the cure for the common cold is the same as it was for the Flu back in 1918. And you remember how effective that was.


What I Learned After Summer Vacation


Let’s talk about Education in the United States. It’s coming up on election time and I notice that the pundits and the candidates are so busy rattling at Iran that they have all but forgotten the next generation of pundits and candidates.

When I decided to substitute teach in an inner city district I thought I was prepared for the abuse from the students. What I wasn’t prepared for was the lack of education in our Education system. All brought to our students by two Acts. The Mainstreaming Act and the No Child Left Behind Act.

First let me say mainstreaming had good intentions. I think that is obvious but here is what it has entailed: Special education is now fragmented to the point of confusion. If I take on a Special Ed assignment I never know what I will find. Everything from students who just need a little extra tutoring to those considered severely emotionally impaired. And the Aides in these classrooms are underpaid to the point of resentment. The crux is some children do not benefit from mainstreaming, they are shoved into classes at the back of the school building and not allowed to to mix with the general population. Thus the school can claim mainstreaming when in fact these students are just as cut off from the educational process as if they had been sent to a special school. Deaf children receive the least benefit. I subbed one class where there were four deaf students and one interpreter. One. I later found out that this interpreter is paid like an aide rather than a professional with years of schooling. If you teach students who come with an interpreter, you are not allowed to call on them or in any way indicate that they are part of the class.This is always clearly indicated in their IEP. So why put them in a mainstreamed position if they cannot be treated as a part of the class? Severely Cognitively Impaired children are also put into classrooms by themselves. Often there are only three to six children in a room and not always at the same time. Again not really ‘mainstreamed’ just put in to a room in a public school building

And the act that grew out of mainstreaming does the most damage.The No Child Left Behind Act not only teaches to the test and does nothing for learning the skills of critical thinking, it separates students and is a back door way of instituting that most heinous of tactics, blocking. This is where you group the smart students in one class and the not so smart students in another beginning in Kindergarten and that is where they stay all through school right up to graduation. I see it everyday. One class will pay attention and ask questions and the next will throw paper wads and avoid the assignment like the plague. And if you want to know which class has the slow learning blocked students just ask the office personnel which is the most difficult class for that particular teacher.Without thinking they will tell you. There is no general mix of students anymore. Because the smart kids are held back by the dumb ones and the dumb ones can’t be taught anything. Which is crap. There are no dumb students, just bored, harassed and frustrated teachers. Because inner city high schools have 40+ students per class. Ever try to get forty adults to do the same thing at the same time? Well it’s worse with students because they always want to know why. But thanks to the NCLB Act, we’re not allowed to tell them if it’s not on the test.

And that’s all I have to say about that. (Actually it’s not, but I am nearing the sixty minute mark so..).


Mayday, Mayday, Government Down!


Our state government shut down for three hours last night.

It was horrible, I tell you, horrible. For all of twenty minutes you couldn’t buy lottery tickets or booze. There were villagers with torches and screaming children wandering the streets.

But that’s not the worst part. No, the apex was all those poor campers who wanted to camp out in the fall on a Sunday night. Well, they were locked out of the parks. That’s right, nowhere to pitch a tent for them. I’m so glad they got everything under control or all the bow hunters might have converged on the Capital, making it impossible to get to work. And that would be a freakin’ tragedy wouldn’t it ? Though, the phone call would be funny:

“I’m sorry, I can’t make it to your school, the roads are blocked by angry bow hunters who were forced out of the national parks last night when the government shut down for thirty seconds.”

“I see. Any chance you could walk here?”

“Walk? Uh….”

At any rate by upping the income tax and raising sales tax on services they have managed to save the day. So all of the government workers can get back to their red tape. Of course, the lawmakers themselves get the day off. Well done, well done.

It never occurred to them to just take a pay cut. Why does that solution never catch on with overpaid lawmakers. I suspect it’s their student loans.

Anyway, crisis averted and hopefully this dire situation will not happen again.


Information Please


Information. A broad topic. I find the idea of information interesting. Particularly the fact the no matter how hard one tries, sometimes, one can never have ALL the information.

We are in the so called Information Age. Ideas and knowledge are passed in an endless stream and as humans with computers we have only to dip our modems in that stream to pluck out what we think is relevant. How do we judge what is relevant? Generally by choosing what is important to us at the time. Like today, I needed information on Lentil Soup and Hearing Ear Dogs. But not mixed together. That would make hairy soup and that’s just yucky. I clicked, I got, therefore I cook.

But what about those times when you can’t get all the information? I suspect that if we had had all the information we wouldn’t be at war. The Senate was given a bit of knowledge and didn’t stop to garner anymore. Voila, War. What if we had all the information about the Hijackers before 9/11? Perhaps it wouldn’t have happened.

Being a person who is addicted to knowledge, I love gathering and dispersing ideas. Sometimes, in devilish mood I throw out an idea just to see the reaction. As I did in class this last week. Our instructor asked us to write down something we know about the Deaf community. I wrote the mantra of Gallaudet University: “Deaf people can do anything but hear”. The reaction was interesting. Most of the class objected including the instructor, who is a licensed interpreter. I found that curious. What do a roomful of hearing people know about the subject of actually being Deaf? Only what they observe and experience from the outside. They don’t have all the information and in this case they never will. The people in my class, including myself, will never be deaf or Deaf. So to object to that statement is silly. I suspect but will never know how liberating an idea like that can be for a group of people the medical community is constantly trying to fix like a broken toy. And I always say, If it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it. Okay, that was the Disney writers, but the idea holds true. Then again at this stage, I know I don’t have all the information so perhaps in time my position will change.

That’s the other great thing about information, when the blanks get filled in, the opinion can change. Once all the information is gathered weighed and tested, an idea can be embraced or rejected. That is also what makes a little information so dangerous. Those with a tiny bit of knowledge can embrace detrimental positions. Like Mbeki. He fully embraces the idea that AIDS can be controlled through a proper diet and that live saving drugs such as AZT are not needed. Ergo, his country has one of the highest AIDS rates in the world. If he would find more accurate information perhaps his position and the skyrocketing rate of infections in South Africa would change.

In the end I believe that being ignorant by not having all the information is less objectionable than being ignorant on purpose.

Like Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, who have chosen to remain informationally challenged. Ijits, both of them.


School Daze


I wanted to issue a blanket apology to all seven of you who come here on a regular basis looking for the mocking and satire.  My posts have been spotty because,well, it’s that time of year.

That’s right, they’re back! I am frantically getting ready for another round of angst and inattention. All of my time is spent looking for a good quality red marker. My motto is: If it doesn’t read, it must bleed.

So, as the days wear on, I hope to pick up the thread and pillory public figures for fun and amusement on a daily basis. Bear with me as we make this important change over from carefree summer days to slogging through papers that were obviously written ten minutes before class started.

Oh the Humanity!