Fish

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I Do My Job-Why Can't Other People Do Theirs?

A valid question.
I'm a high school teacher with all the job responsibility and paperwork that entails. I make lesson plans,  grade projects, call parents, go to meetings, make arrangements for competitions, collect permission slips, and on and on and on. I do this year in and year out.

We got a coordinator that we share with theater and dance.
She's handsomely paid.
For what I am not sure.
I call and she's never in her office. She allows her pet teacher to run meetings which means every event is designed to fit nicely with that teacher's schedule and not necessarily ours. This year, because this teacher wanted to win all the top places in our district show, they had the once a year, district, high school art show in late January. Never mind that we just got a new crop of classes and kids. Ignore that our regional show is coming up shorting. Forget that we have GRADES due-and all of that in the same week.

Fast forward to now. Teacher in question did win all top prizes-I'm not sure how when my kids got first in painting and first in drawing, but whatever. And Monday is Open House and Eighth Grade Roundup where we talk kids into taking art-and our "art coordinator" decided it would be a good thing for us to take down the show in the 90 minutes between school getting out and the event. We physically cannot do it. It takes 30 minutes just to drive over there and another hour or so to take down the art then 30 minutes to get back. That means no break from 7:30 am until 9:00 pm.

I already have high blood pressure. I simply cannot continue doing this kind of thrill kill schedule.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Here We Go Again

So once again radical Islamist decide that they are the arbiters of what free people can think, feel, write or draw. That this happened in France should be no surprise-they've been trying to remove all religion from their midst becoming a secular society by banning religious jewelry and only consolidated Islamists into a unified force. The moral of this story is appeasing bullies does no good.

This is not the first attack in Europe. A bus was targeted in London. A British soldier butchered by Islamist terrorists on the street. A bombing in Madrid. The thing that is different is that in every case the European response was to cower and allow sharia to grow. It is the same sick liberal mentality that refuses to see the Boston Marathon Bombing, the Ft. Hood shootings or the Navy Yard shootings for what they are-raw Islamic terror attacks.

It is deeply disturbing when I see Islam growing in suburban areas. While I would love to think these mosques are innocuous as the local Presbyterian church, I don't see the members of that synod throwing firebombs at shopping malls, Indeed, no other religion right now has exhibited such unbridled and unwarranted attacks as those who claim Muslim heritage. From Somalia to Indonesia random acts of violence on innocent people for the sole cause of not being Muslim make this appear to be the actions of some type of delusional madness.

Is that what Islam preaches? Violence? Hatred? Death?

And what is more, have the apologists in Europe-and here in the U.S-FINALLY gotten the message that the only way to end this is to seize control of these Muslim nations and take away their power? It's either that or somebody is going to end up flat and glassy and glowing.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Illustrated Star

My husband and I have been married for 32 years. We've been together nearly 40 years. Neither of our families was wealthy. HIs family had so many kids and my family just never seemed to accumulate wealth. I went to college on a Pell Grant. My husband went to college for one year because his Dad was a self made man and believed if people wanted college they would pay for it themselves. Nobody gave us anything because nobody was in the position to give us anything. We never asked.

Our first Christmas two months after we married was bittersweet. We lived in a small, bug infested suburban apartment and we were so strapped for cash we couldn't afford a tree. I guess Christmas was on a Friday or Saturday because two days before Christmas we found a medium sized tree in the dumpster. We took it home, put it in water. I borrowed old (and probably hazardous) lights from my parents, bought pressed glass ornaments from the dollar bin at Pier One and our tree was set-except for the star. My Christmas trees have always had stars. The star signaled the shepherds and wise men. The star signaled hope and gave direction. I went and dug out my colored pencils and drew a star. The star was flat, made from thick scrap illustration board from my class. But I drew it so that it looked three dimensional. It has been on our tree for 32 years.

Our Christmases came and went. I started each child on a collection of ornaments. Mike had cars. Bobby had puppies. Christi had cute little animals. As they grew, the collections grew. And then the kids moved out, married and now have their own Christmas trees with their own pieces of our Christmases on them. I will never have a designer tree. Oh yes, they're beautiful and make wonderful backdrops for the holiday photos, but my trees and my ornaments are little pieces of my memory. Memories don't always conform to fashion. And they shouldn't.

When I look at my kids, none of whom are wealthy or in prestigious careers, but who are good people who work hard and pay their bills, it makes me fear for them. It seems that virtues like honesty and honor, trust and faith, love and respect are no longer part of the fabric of the American Dream. Fame, notoriety, provocative behavior and greed seem to trump the sweetness of what used to be goals. I'm not sure who speaks for my children anymore. They have no champions in their corner. All I can cling to is that time changes everything and life is more a roller coaster ride than a road. Let's hope this pendulum swings back before we lose more than just Christmas, but our souls.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Recreating the 1960's

It seems to me that lately we have a generation-the grandchildren of those who marched in Selma and who fought for civil rights for all people-intent on reliving and recreating those years. While I understand the legacy of slavery 150 years ago resonated in the dissolution of families and culture, there's nobody alive now who was a slave or a slave owner. Most of the victims of Jim Crow laws are quite elderly and unless I'm unaware of it, the openly racist tactics of pushing people of color into second class status have been over for quite awhile.

We have programs designed to help minority students acquire a high school diploma and even to advance to college and professional schools. So why are so many students failing to take advantage of the system set in place to help them achieve? We've culturally simplified the tests-we even offer a safety net of tutoring, retests and mentoring programs to help the historic underachievers. Here's a little secret some people may not know-Anglo kids fail too. And they have far fewer safety nets in place. The idea that being white somehow protects you is a joke and half to these kids.

So we move the most recent unpleasantness. Like the Trayvon Martin case, the Michael Brown case was tried in the court of public opinion by those who have social and political agendas. In both cases, evidence was misrepresented by reporters who should have known better. In a similar way, agents and provocateurs used both of these cases as leverage to get the locals to open their wallets. Be careful when someone claims to be here to help-ask who they are helping beyond themselves. As the result of this false "evidence" rioting was promoted and occurred. The end result of this has yet to be seen, but there's no doubt that some businesses and their associated jobs will go away. This means that as the result of rioting Ferguson will have fewer job opportunities and is almost guaranteed to drop in terms of the ability to sustain itself.

The complaints of the 1960's were discrimination in housing, in education and in jobs. With fewer businesses, there's less tax revenue meaning the schools get less money. Few businesses also means fewer jobs and more people on welfare. It's almost as if this was the endgame for the entire situation was to create more poor, minority people. When you look at the protests, they are based on complaints that are legally flimsy. While nobody wants someone killed, neither do citizens want petty thieves and bullies wandering the streets. For all the public complaints about Michael Brown's death there have to be those who know the real background. Brown was kicked out by his parents and by his grandmother-that's not what happens to "gentle giants". Brown had to make up high school credits after graduation. That's not what kids with a bright future do. That is what kids who have a history of disrupting classes, bullying peers and skipping school do. So why are so many so willing to protest? I'm not saying all cops are golden, but it seems like certain cases have been hand picked by DOJ and the media for some purposes beyond the peaceful promotion of racial equality.

Who is pulling the strings on this and why?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Subjective Judgement: A Comparison

When we look at the instance of Darren Wilson shooting Michael Brown, judgement seems to line up largely according to political lines. Of course those who had seen the shooting, who had no dog in the hunt and who gave anonymous testimony were probably the most accurate in terms of what happened and when. But the rest of the "witnesses" seem to cling to what they want the story to be even when it is refuted by evidence. They would never tolerate that kind of treatment of one of their own. So it breaks down into a game of "Who's The Hypocrite?"

Twitter also plays these games. I like twitter-probably a little too much. It's a good way to get information quickly and allows for a free flow of back and forth if you choose. Twitter is not the only site that has this kind of dubious ambiance, but it's the best known. My biggest problem with twitter is the nagging tattle tail enforcement of their "rules". Twitter's "rules" seem to change at will. And enforcement of those rules is based on whichever little meathead is in charge of the site at the time. For example: The New York Times published the address of Darren Wilson opening up not just him, but all of his neighbors, to attack. The two writers who did this hid behind a cloak of arrogant journalistic hubris. A few hours later two other websites posted the writers' addresses-one in Chicago and the other in New Orleans. I copied them and posted them AS DID MANY OTHER PEOPLE. My account was suspended. 

Keep in mind that tax rolls are public records. While I didn't do the heavy lifting of sifting through tax rolls, I don't think suspending my account makes sense when other subsequent people posted them as well and seemingly were not banned. Furthermore, if it is wrong for me-a private citizen who COPIED addresses from two other blogs then why is it not wrong for these self-important trumped up reporters to post Wilson's address exposing him and his neighbors to violence? What kind of game is twitter playing here? If they want to be the arbiters of what is right and wrong, fine. But by God do not get on a high horse over distant reporters' addresses when you allow them to point out a man who's life is in danger by publicly issue threats from the New Black Panthers. If it is wrong for one, it is wrong for all. I am willing to abide by that, but are the New York Times or Twitter?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Today

Today is better.
I am not going to subscribe to the notion that the wave election of last week is the cause but it certainly helped. It's nice to know you aren't alone in your angst. That we now have some government paid clown telling us what Tea Party types always assumed-that ACA is not sustainable and that the data given to the CBO was all lies-finding out the Ivy League "expert" quoted by one and all on the DNC thinks we are a bunch of inbred boobs pretty much dooms him to a limited income and future.

I started painting little four inch canvases for the holidays. I play to put a loop of ribbon on them and sell them as the school bazaar for money for competition. Maybe then some of my students will compete....maybe. Anyway, painting has altered my mindset for the better. I got a big canvas and I have my drawing ready. It's time to paint.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Tired

Perhaps it is the world we are living in.
Perhaps it is my age.
I am tired.
So tired that if I could I would quit.
It isn't that my job is any more difficult than it was before. Nor is it that I am incapable of doing my job well. But I am losing my grip. I notice that I miss having a walk on a cool October morning. I don't have time to bake, to sew, to draw. I don't have time to clean. My house is a disaster area because between my "full time" job that lasts days on in and my husband's pieced together quilt of part time work, nobody is at home in any amount of time. Dustbunnies are flourishing under my bed. What laundry I wash and dry seldom gets folded and put away. The cursory cleaning I do of the kitchen and bath keeps the Health Dept at bay, but in reality it creates a lonely world because I am too embarrassed to have anyone come over.
I am so tired.
I am so sad.
Sometimes I am scared. The world has become a scary place. It's safer and more secure when you are the World's Cop than when you are the World's Piggybank. I love how nations that revile us are so quick to stick out their hands. In the meantime, here at home we have a president who seems disinterested in the heavy lifting of governing. He leads an alphabet soup of  Federal agencies and offices that seem to be nothing more than organized theft and spy rings intent on stealing from and spying on people like me. I see my kids struggle. They put off buying homes. They put off having kids. And these are the very people who should be parents. In the meantime ignorant inbred folks breed like bunnies assured a Federal handout will come with every new kiddo.

What has happened to us? When did we allow small groups to dictate to the large ones? When did we replace rule of law with the rule of who is loudest? I watch the news and the protesters in Ferguson are little different than those mobs that call themselves ISIS in Syria and Iraq. They only want their views expressed and they're willing to kill and main anyone who dares to have a different view. This is not the way it used to be. And it's not the way it should be. What has happened to us?