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My humorous thoughts about life.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

#GBE2: Do Over of "Why I Read Kid's Books"

Back when I first started blogging, I had no followers and 108 hits for the entire month of July, 2009–which beats May, 2009 where I received zero. Now with 386 GFC followers and 105 on Network, I receive quadruple that number of hits, or even more, daily. With GBE2's "do over" theme, I'd like to revise and repost one of my early attempts at blogging.


Originally posted: July 14, 2009

Why I Read Kid's Books

My daughter has said, “Mom, you’re an adult. Read adult books!”


Sure, I had my days inside the mind of psycho killers brutally murdering helpless victims. I used to be pasted to the pages of Dean Koontz novels, but I’ve moved on. Usually, we advance to more challenging adventures, not me. I write for children.


So, I wonder: am I immature when I laugh hysterically over Gordon Korman or Louis Sachar? Let’s face it, an adult story will never have Cap Anderson innocently referring to his classmates as Buttwad or Jerkface like in Schooled or the fun antics of kids breaking into a lowlife’s house in Swindle. Furthermore, will we ever see the silliness of Wayside School in the adult section of the library? "Class, let's learn about gravity by dropping this heavy and expensive computer down thirty floors." Ha! Doesn't happen in the adult literary world.

Not only do I like kid humor, but the YA section of your library or bookstore contains plenty of nerve-racking stories such as Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Shadow Children series where third born children must hide or be murdered by an uncaring government; or how about, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins? Young Catniss must fight for survival in a future world. And YES, I love Anthony Horowitz’s, Alex Rider character. This junior James Bond is sure to hold anyone’s interest. Of course if you want to battle monsters in a modern day world, Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson adventures make for a fine read. Adult novels seem to only fight sex monsters. 



Not long ago, I actually read an adult novel. The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas leads the reader through an adventure about an adult who slaps another couple's child at an outdoor barbecue. This one event leads to the unraveling of the entire social community as a lawsuit progresses and friends take sides. Though a good book, every chapter had details about sex and the like. I enjoyed the read, finished, then picked up my next kid's book.

Probably being a bit ADD, I love the way a child’s story taps into a scene or character quickly without boring me with too much detail. So next time you're in the library or bookstore, check out the kids’ section. If you're like me, you won’t be disappointed.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lessons From the Playground

Back in the early seventies, I was another dumb kid just trying to fit in when I learned a powerful lesson on how to treat people. As a reward for all of our hard work, the school took us on a field trip to one of the best playgrounds in the world–Six Flags.

Being middle schoolers, we radiated cool as we weaved from ride to ride with a large group of boys and girls. All was wonderful until the lead nasty girl huddled us in a group and whispered, "Let's ditch Dan."

Well, okay. Gee, I had no mind of my own, so if she says we're going to do this, I went along with it. At her signal, all of us darted away from poor Dan.

Next, she chose a second victim, and a third. The group continually grew smaller as we ditched one kid after another. Being that this nasty girl was my good friend, it never dawned on me that eventually I would be the one ditched. They ditched me.

Alone and terrified, I shook in the middle of that huge amusement park. Strangers surrounded me as I wandered up and down the paths looking for one, just one familiar face. Why had I gone along with the pack earlier? Why hadn't I had the courage to speak up and say, "Stop! This is wrong" or  "No! I'm not ditching anyone." I'd never even thought about how cruel our stunt was, and if I hadn't gotten ditched myself, maybe I never would have. So I'm glad they left me. And as for my nasty friend... that was the END of that friendship.

Okay, I confess, she is a current Facebook friend; so, do I paste a link to this post in a private message to her? After that day, she didn't seem to understand why I didn't want to be her friend anymore. Would she understand as an adult? Has she ever thought of Six Flags since or is my horrible memory a faded smudge on her bridge. I have found the ability to forgive her, but I will NEVER forget. It was too painful.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Dog Cartoons

Here are a couple of cute cartoons by Mark Parisi.









And here's a photo from a group I "Like" on Facebook. Dogs Against Romney


How could anyone put a dog on the roof of a car and drive to Ontario? Unbelievable!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

#GBE2: Upset

Today's GBE2 topic is "upset," which if not done correctly could be a downer. Not feeling like posting a blah-blah-life-sucks piece, I present you with excerpts from three of my unpublished novels.

No real people have been harmed in the writing of these stories.

Hope you have a laugh!

From: Don't Eat the Chipmunks by Joyce P. Lansky
 
      Last night, me and the guys tiptoed to Adam’s bunk where his chlorine-bleached hair spread across his pillow in a do like a dead chia pet's. We played dot to dot with his freckles--just in case he wasn't dorky enough already. When he got up, the kid scrubbed his face pink but still looked like a road map.
 
Was Adam upset? Of course not because I didn't write him that way.
 
From: Being Bompsy Carleffa by Joyce P. Lansky

            Gil placed tomato-based soup in front of each of us. When I blew and sipped it off my spoon, I was shocked. Cold soup? All this money, and these people can't heat the soup?
            Do you like the gazpacho?” Fiso asked. 
             I dropped my spoon on the table. Why would he mention the Gestapo? What was he, a modern day Nazi? Sure, doesn't everyone like murderers? Sick. This guy's really sick! 
 
Yes! Ben was upset, but he stays upset throughout the novel. What do you expect? His dead dad turned out to be an alive mobster who has kidnapped him.
 
And finally, in case you haven't read enough, here's a little something from my WIP (Work in Progress).
 
From: Mrs. Zimmerman's Donuts by Joyce P. Lansky
 
Slater’s mom pulled a chisel-shaped knife out of the top drawer and leaned her head back. With the precision of a surgeon, she gently slid the blade downward until it disappeared into her throat. Next she thrust it out with one gigantic swing. Blood covered the blade while red liquid filled her mouth. Her eyes rounded as her lips curved into a smug smile. She winked at me! Blood gushed out of her mouth, and she winked! While the room spun in oval circles, I couldn’t decide if she was crazy or if I needed the loony bin.
When a thick, red droplet dribbled down her chin, I squeezed the back of a chair and stepped backwards. My pulse pounded in my ears, and I worried that I might hurl at any moment.
“You’re b-bleeding.” I gripped the chair with my other hand too until my knuckles went as white as Mom’s had when she drove me home after I’d gotten in trouble the other day. “Hospital. We need to t-take you to the h-hospital!”
Slater, Calfie, and Mrs. Slatker laughed so hard tears filled their eyes.
“What are you laughing at? I think she’s really hurt!” I plopped into a chair, put my elbow on the table, and leaned my head into my palm. “I don’t feel so good.”
“It’s fake, Knob,” Slater said in between chuckles. “She squirted fake blood in her mouth!”
“The blade’s fake too.” Mrs. Slatker placed the knife on the table then wiped her mouth with a paper towel. The knife had a squeezable handle and juice filled holes on the blade. “Sorry to scare you, but we like our little jokes around here.

If you are an interested agent or editor, feel free to contact me.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Silly Sunday: The News

I see dead people.
It's Silly Sunday, which means I can post an old joke or for something more stupid, open a newspaper. I choose the latter.

Did you catch the story about Jerry Miller, the retired drill sergeant who the government killed four times? A veteran in Florida was denied pension because, get this, he died! Furthermore, he was asked to repay some $94,000 worth of benefits that he should not have received because he's dead. Miller asked his congressman to help him, but so far, being alive has not been sufficient proof that he is not dead. That makes sense. Look at zombies. They're dead and it doesn't keep them from hobbling around. Some of them even dance.




This story reminded me of my friend Al at the University of Missouri. The school mixed up his student number with that of a dead guy. To make matters worse, they mailed a sorry-about-the-death-of-your-son letter to his mom and cut off his student ID which allowed him his meals. Al marched into the administrative office, flung his arm forward and said, "I'm alive! Feel my pulse." Unlike today's morons, the college believed him.

None the less, calling someone dead who isn't could be worse. Get this:

Doctors and nurses at Pelonomi Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa were baffled when two patients died on consecutive Friday mornings in the same bed.

Checks revealed no bacterial infection, virus or problems with the air conditioning, temperature, cleanliness, nor circulation of air in buildings and rooms; but, interviews with staff revealed the shocking truth.

Each Friday a cleaning lady would go onto the ward and plug her floor polisher into a socket by the bed.

When finished, she would unplug the cleaning machine and replace the plug that was originally in the socket - the life support equipment.

It's okay to laugh. 

Snopes says that the last news story is FALSE.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Writer's Post: Accidents

This week's writer's post topic is on accidents. How fun is that! It brings back all sorts of wonderful memories about my childhood.

Hey, Boo Boo!

When I was a little girl, my daddy called me his "Little Boo Boo." I'm not sure why, since we never stole any pic-a-nic baskets, and it's not like I messed up too much... okay, I confess, my bother called me, "Miss Breaker," but pul-lease. I'm not the only one in the family to have accidents. I didn't crash a bicycle built for two on the horse trail in French Lick, Indiana, nor did I back into the dishwasher to emerge with a big freakin' knife hanging out of my booty. That was someone else in the family.

I'm also not to blame when the old neighbor crashed his bike on the side of the road. I was maybe eight years old and carefully looping my wheels around the neighborhood when I happened to pass an old guy––probably younger than I am now, but old to me––wobbling back and forth on a tiny bike made for his kid. He obviously never learned how to ride a bike, since "they" say one never forgets. 

Anyway, I spun past him, minding my own business and the dude crashes! I didn't push him. I didn't veer into him. In fact, I wasn't anywhere near him; however, his old biddy wife comes pounding the door screaming at how I caused her sweetheart's accident.

How could anyone as cute as I was cause trouble?

Anyone who grew up with me knows I was just the type to grit my teeth and plunge into old guys on undersized bikes just for kicks. No, Mr., that was your kid! Remember, him? He used to dig holes in the park, cover them with leaves, and wait behind a tree, so he could laugh at seeing "someone" have an "accident." I'm surprised he didn't have an accident in his pants the day the scary sixth grade teacher picked him up hitch hiking. I know I would have. Accidents. Yeah, right!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Men Can Fix Anything

Got this from an e-mail my sister had sent. The photos are labeled There Fixed It, which gives multiple links to humor. Here are some of my favorites.

Electrical Problem



Bookshelf Problem



Who needs an ice chest?



Heat the coffee



And finally the best one from http://funzu.com/


Out of Diapers

Sunday, January 29, 2012

#GBE2: What's Funny about Lunesta Commercials? Plenty!


I'm ready to tell you my secret... 
I see glowing green butterflies.

I just saw a commercial for Lunesta, a drug to help one sleep. Its first nineteen seconds tells the consumer what the drug does, while most of the remaining airtime lists the multiple side effects that could occur.

For those who have not seen it, here it is:


"Walking, eating, driving or engaging in other activities while asleep without remembering it the next day have been reported."

Sounds like the movie Werewolves of London when the dude went out for nightly kills without remembering a thing the next morning. "I'm innocent by reason of Lunesta, Occifer."

"Abnormal behaviors may include aggressiveness, agitation, hallucinations, or confusion."

Yeah! You might imagine you see a green butterfly floating over your head; or if you take the drug, aggressiveness could cause you to fight and have someone knock you out. Voila, you're asleep... or maybe you just thought it happened?

"In depressed patients, worsening of depression along with risks of suicide may occur."

Suicide, huh? That's a sure way to get some sleep.
 
"Allergic reaction such as tongue or throat swelling occur rarely and may be fatal."

Another sleep enhancer with an added benefit. If your tongue swells large enough, it could stop you from snoring and help your husband, wife, or roommate sleep too.

"Side effects may include unpleasant taste, headaches, dizziness, and morning drowsiness."

Bad taste? Well, forget that drug! 

I don't know about you, but if I have a head ache or feel dizzy, I'm going back to bed. And if one is drowsy in the morning, what's the point of taking a drug to help you sleep?

"Ask your doctor if Lunesta is right for you."

And before he answers, pray he likes you.

"Sleep well on the wings of Lunesta." 


Yeah, right! It has so many side effects, I'd be awake all night worrying about them.

Here is a funny spoof ad for Lunesta. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Silly Sunday: Erca Style

This January 29th reminds me of my youngest child who not only turns nineteen today but is also the silliest person I can think of this Sunday.
   
Erica, aka Bear or Erca, loves to snap goofy pictures of herself and post them on my cell phone. She also enjoys playing with my computer's photo shop, or at least she did years ago. One of my favorite shots is when she barged in on my parents' honey moon.
 
Wherever we go, she's great fun to have around, especially when she teams up with her brother to do the college strut. The two of them headed down the sidewalk as if they owned the place. Judy, my middle child, respectfully pretended not to know them as strangers stared. Erica said, "They're looking because they're jealous."

She also once called her brother's cell phone and said, "I'd like a cheese pizza and an order of chicken wings."

He said, "Erca! This is your brother."

Without missing a beat, my baby replied, "Da-nel. When you start working at Papa Johns?"

In case you missed it the first time, here's Erca and Wilberfoss giving a news report.

video

Don't you wish you could be silly too... or just turning nineteen? Happy Birthday, Erica!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Writer's Post: The Blues

This week's Writer's Post topic, The Blues, reminds me of the Jazz, Blues, and Folk Committee at the University of Missouri. Back in the days, I had fun meeting artists and working the stage for great ones like BB King, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, and the one and only Leon Redbone. Of course, I have no actually memory of meeting Mr. Redbone; he performed the night after the 24-hour Dance Marathon. FML. Lack of sleep could definitely give one the blues. If you want to hear pathetic blues, listen to Leon Redbone sing I Ain't Got Nobody.


Sounds sad, but what's sadder are the stories you can read at http://www.fmylife.com/. Here are samples of real blues from that site. 





Today, my husband and I were talking about names for our expectant child. I told him since I named our daughter he could name our son. He's decided on a name from 'God of War'. My son is going to be named after a make-believe cartoon character - Kratos. FML


Today, my daughter turned 11. Since she LOVES Harry Potter, I decided to write her an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. When she saw the letter, she screamed and showed me. When she found out I wrote it, she told me she hated me, started crying, and stepped on my foot. FML


Today, I showed up at my boyfriend's work to surprise him by speaking in Spanish, his first language. I've been taking classes secretly. He smiled, kissed me, and then finished telling his friend, in Spanish, that I'm boring and ugly but he's got nothing better going on. FML


Today, I was taking a nap. Apparently, my two year old daughter decided to crawl on top of the covers on my bed because she was scared since there was a thunder storm. I thought she was one of our cats so I kicked her off. She hit the wall. FML


Today, I was a TA for a history class and the class was taking a test. About halfway through, I noticed one kid had a small piece of paper in his hand. I ran up the row, grabbed his test, and ripped it into four pieces. Then I took the note from him. It said "I believe in you, -Mom." FML


Today, while at the Golden Gate Bridge, I spotted a large group of Asians trying to take a picture. Trying to be a diplomat, I slowly say "You... want me... take picture?" while using hand motions. The man looks at me and says "No thanks *sshole, I got it," in plain English. FML


The Writer's Post Blog Hop

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: More Photo Games

Back by popular demand, here we go.
If you have a chance, check out http://www.worth1000.com/. It's a cool site!

What do these pictures demonstrate?










Card Shark













Gator-Aide
  














iPod












King of Pop

Did you do better this week?
 

Monday, January 23, 2012

#GBE2: No Time For Time

Some twenty-five years ago, at a time when I didn't know anything about brand names, someone gave me a Rolex watch. As an anti-fur, don't be ostentatious type gal, I had no idea of the cost or prestige of such a gift. My sister even poked fun–simple me wearing a showy piece of jewelry–as if I knew I had something of value.

Being that it is pretty, I wore it for over twenty years without ever servicing it or buying other watches. I justified it by thinking how in the long run, its cost might be equal to the purchase of multiple watches that break every few years.

The watch has never kept great time–always five minutes slow. Someone told me to buy some gizmo that will spin it twenty-four / seven since it's wound through perpetual motion. I never have.

Last August, about the time this school year began, it stopped. Not having the time to get to my jeweler, who's a good drive from home and closes early, I paid $11 for a slap-on watch that kept better time than my Rolex; but, it eventually rolled off its band and disappeared. I figured I'd use my Fall Break to visit the jeweler and get my Rolex back.

Come vacation, I drove down Poplar to the shop where I found a sign on the door, "On vacation. Be back--yep, you guessed it, the day my vacation ended.

After another month, we finally got the watch to the jeweler who sent it across the country for ridiculously expensive services. I wore my watch almost a month, and then, the band broke. Back to where I started. Will I ever find the time to fix my time keeper? Maybe someone like me is not meant to wear a Rolex.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Silly Sunday: The Blonde Mortician



A man who just died is delivered to a local mortuary wearing an expensive, expertly tailored black suit.

The female blonde mortician asks the deceased's wife how she would like the body dressed.  She points out that the man does look good in the black suit he is already wearing.

The widow, however, says that she always thought her husband looked best in blue, and that she wants him in a blue suit.  She gives the blonde mortician a blank check and she says, "I don't care what it costs, but please have my husband in a blue suit for the viewing."

The woman returns the next day for the wake.  To her delight, she finds her husband dressed in a gorgeous blue suit with a subtle chalk stripe; the suit fits him perfectly.

She says to the mortician, "Whatever this cost, I'm very satisfied. You did an excellent job and I'm very grateful.  How much did you spend?"  To her astonishment, the blonde mortician presents her
with the blank check.

  "There's no charge," she says.

  "No, really, I must compensate you for the cost of that exquisite blue suit!" she says.

"Honestly, ma'am," the blonde says, "it cost nothing.  You see a deceased gentleman of about your husband's size was brought in shortly after you left yesterday, and he was wearing an attractive blue suit. I asked his wife if she minded him going to his grave wearing a black suit instead, and she said it made no difference as long as he looked nice."

  "So I just switched the heads."


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Writer's Post: Censorship

In a previous post, I mentioned that I didn't want folks telling me what religion to follow. Along the same vein, don't tell me what books to read, what music to listen to, nor what shows to watch. Part of being an American is having the freedom not to have someone else censor my life.

But what's really wrong with censorship is the fact that your mind might fill in the blanks with a whole new meaning. Watch this censored version of The Count.







Or look at part of this speech that I've shortened and censored just for you.


You have been reading about a bad *%^ I got. I have been in *#% and have received #$* from @*&. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his life just to #$@ with *%^ for even one #$@?  


              Ooooo wouldn't you love to #$@ with #$@? Just ask Lou Gehrig.

I leave you with one more clip. Enjoy.





Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Photo Game

Can you guess what the pictures represent?












Dr. Pepper

 Let's try again.









eggplant


You have the idea.


  




 pool table


   


  




  
tap dancers

If you got them all right, congratulations! I'll post more another week.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

#GBE2: Pet Peeves



When it comes to "Pet Peeves," there are two types: a few that matter and most that don't. Which reminds me of a speaker at a gifted teachers' conference years ago. She spoke about little quirks present in our smart students, how we probably share these, and finally it's not an accident that we ended up teaching these perfectionist kids.

If you want to drive a gifted kid nuts, it's easy. All you have to do is hang one poster at an angle instead of straight. You do this, and I guarantee most intellectually gifted kids will be focused on that crooked poster because this is THEIR pet peeve. Of course, I could never perform this monstrous task because it would drive me mad too.

Although my house is far from spotless–perfectionism gone too far–when folding towels or bedsheets, those corners better match up. Peanut butter must spread across every square inch of bread, and toilet paper drops from the top. Annoyance at seeing a sloppy job is a silly pet peeve of mine. Furthermore, I can't stand to have the light switches positioned the wrong way. After all, up is for "on" and down is for "off." I will tread across a dark room at the risk of breaking bones rather than flip the switch in the wrong direction. As you read this, half of you are thinking, she's nuts, while the other half is nodding in agreement. Either way, my gifted class is just like me, so maybe there's something to this?

And here's another one... see pants drop.

I also have multiple pet peeves when it comes to drivers, but I've already written about this:  Idiot Drivers

Now on to a pet peeve that matters a little more.


Religion. 

I know many feel like they are doing G-d's work or saving my soul when they try to push me to believe what they believe, but I find it nauseating. I don't tell you who or what you should worship, so how dare you try to push your beliefs on me! Missionaries who venture into some Arab countries have found themselves in fear for their lives. While I don't condone putting missionaries to death, I certainly understand the anger. People who have been practicing their beliefs their entire lives don't appreciate some no nothing telling them they are wrong. Just like you value your religion, I value mine and others value theirs. I don't tell you that your life learnings are incorrect nor do I tell you you're going to H*ll if you don't believe what I believe. So, this is my true pet peeve... leave me alone.




At the same time, I can appreciate those missionaries who have made a difference in the lives of starving people in third world countries. It's all a matter of who they approach and how. Along this line, I have friends who have told me that they pray for me. While I appreciate their concerns and know they do it out of love, if they are praying for me to change my religion, they're wasting their time. I love my faith.

My intelligent and learned brother has seen the end of missionaries trying to convert him. The last poor guy to walk across his threshold found his beliefs thrown back at him in such a way that he had no choice: he could admit that what he preached was messed up or give away his pants. The missionary left in his underwear.☺


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Writer's Post: Misdirected Ambition

Many ambitious people strive to be the best, but sometimes ambition can be misdirected. I hope y'all enjoy my post on choice winners for ambition, along with my writer's privilege to stretch the truth. ;-)

 In New Orleans, lives Aevin Dugas who sports overly ambitious hair with the world's largest afro. Her hair measures a circumference of four feet, four inches long. Heck! I have students that size, but I wouldn't want them stuck to my head. Having super-sized hair includes a few problems. For example, once Ms. Dugas got her hair stuck in a car door. After that, her son, who was waiting in the car, thought it was a rat and beat it with his little league glove. At least he didn't have it stuck in his drink like the dude at the bar.


Another winner is a bozo named Scotty Kay who wanted to set the record for getting the most women to kick him in the nuts. At least we don't have to worry about him passing his idiot genes to future generations. Check this out. Is that ambitious or just plane stupid?




And if that isn't enough, here's ambition with Michel Lotito, also known as Monsieur Mangetout, who holds the record for the largest meal ever eaten. This dude ate a Cessna 150 airplane. Unfortunately, after eating the plane, he heard a mysterious voice from his insides. Apparently, he'd accidentally swallowed a passenger who'd fallen asleep and missed deplaning. So the moral of this story–next time you fly–STAY AWAKE!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Sixth Grade

Can you find me? If not: GOOD!

Maybe you can find the actor who worked at the airport booth in the 
movie Fargo (below). He should have slugged Steve for being so rude.
Please excuse the bad language aimed at my nice classmate!




Sunday, January 8, 2012

GBE2: History–Lincoln was Funny

This week's topic–history–is one of my faves; but at the same time, it was hard to narrow my post to one event. In searching historical events online, I remembered Abraham Lincoln who was not only a great leader, but also one of the funniest presidents we've ever elected.

Here are some fun anecdotes about him:

*Once as a young lawyer, several attorneys wrestled outside the court house before a trial. One of the men split his pants causing the others to pass a note asking for money to buy him a new pair of trousers. When the note reached Lincoln, he wrote, "I have nothing to contribute to the end in view."


*A ranking man in the post office, who was a personal friend of Lincoln's, died. A job applicant immediately asked the president if he could take his place?”
“Well,” replied Lincoln. “It’s all right with me if it’s all right with the undertaker.” 


*During the Civil War, Edmund Stanton, the Secretary of War, told Lincoln that General Grant was boozing in his tent.
“Find out what kind of whiskey he is drinking.”
“Why is that, Mr. President?”
“Because I want to send a case of it to my other generals.”


 And finally, here is my favorite story!


*A visitor once asked Lincoln how many men the rebels had in the field. Lincoln replied seriously, “Twelve hundred thousand, according to the best authority.” 

The visitor turned pale and gasped, “Good Heavens!”

Lincoln continued: “Yes, sir; twelve hundred thousand. You see, all of our generals, when they get whipped, say the enemy outnumbers them three to one, and I must believe them. We have four hundred thousand men in the field, and three times four makes twelve. Twelve hundred thousand; no doubt about it.”


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Silly Sunday: Teacher Arrested

Not so breaking news:

NEW YORK -- A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule and a calculator.
 
At a morning press conference, the Attorney General said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement.
 
He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction. 'Al-gebra is a problem for us', the Attorney General said. 'They desire solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute values.'
 
They use secret code names like 'X' and 'Y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns', but we have determined that they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country.
 
As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, 'There are 3 sides to every triangle'.
 
When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, 'If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, he would have given us more fingers and toes.'
 
White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the President.
 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Writer's Post: Making a Difference

This week's Writer's Post topic is making a difference. Here are five things you should know to make a difference:

1.) Before visiting the dentist one has two choices: floss regularly and have a quick visit or don't floss and have some lady jab your sore gums until blood gushes onto her tools and you're screaming, "Holy sh*t!" Flossing makes a difference.

2.)  When coloring hair, put dye on ones roots for ten to fifteen minutes and then put it on the rest of the hair for the remaining time. That way one's hair won't turn bright orange. Not leaving hair dye all over one's head makes a difference in whether one looks like Bozo or not.

3.)  When one has a scab, don't pick. This will keep it from healing and give one a big, ugly boo boo that won't go away–usually on one's face. Not picking scabs makes a difference.

4.)  When one reaches old age, dump the mild kid deodorant for something stronger. Otherwise, one will stink like an old hag. Switching deodorant makes a difference.

5.)  And finally Mitt Romney made a difference for many when he caused them to lose their jobs so he could make money. Watch the video and remember: Who you vote for makes a difference!



Monday, January 2, 2012

GBE2: Work

This week's GBE2 writing topic is work. For better or worse, here's my take on it:

For over twenty-five years, I've taught intellectually gifted kids in an affluent suburb of Memphis. I've seen dramatic changes in what and how I teach since the eighties. Don't get me wrong, the kids are great other than the fact that they never grow older. They will always be around nine or ten even though I've aged twenty-five years. Yet their parents have grown younger. When I first started teaching parents were old people, so how did they get so young? Scary!

As for gifted curriculum, it used to be if the kids were happy, the parents were happy, and administration was happy too. I only was responsible for meeting the IEP goals which I wrote. Not anymore. It's all about test scores and achievement.

Gone are the days of paper-mache´ puppet shows, fancy tooth pick bridges, or spending 100,000 fictional dollars on the stock market. Today, teaching is all about curriculum. My math lessons follow closely to what the classroom teacher is doing yet tougher. I teach reading lessons, with reading groups that cover novels. At least they still let me pick my novels–sorta. We have a list of board approved books.

I still love my time with the kids, but I miss egg drop competitions that plummeted raw eggs with goofy faces and silly names down shoots into kid designed landing pads. I can do some of the fun stuff, but by golly I better find an SPI objective before I do.

I used to start each class with a Shel Silverstein poem; now, I begin with Daily Grammar Practice. Sounds awful, but it's not bad. The kids' ability to diagram complex sentences is even impressive.

But teaching means unbelievable pressure. We've heard of teachers cheating to raise their students' test scores. I certainly don't condone this behavior nor would I ever cheat on a test; but honestly, I understand where this is coming from. It doesn't matter if you have a Doctorate degree or how long you've been teaching, it's getting to the point that your students better show growth or you could be out of a job.  Do you know of any other profession where a person's bread and butter is dependent on fickle kids?

In Tennessee, every public school teacher has a minimum of three (was supposed to be four) evaluations every year. These evaluations involve massive time commitments and paper work as administrators who are stretched thin enter classrooms to watch us teach. Plus, the same folks are scouring over value added scores. This is a comparison of students' growth on tests from year to year. Mind you, I teach gifted. This means that even though my students' test scores are already in the upper nineties, I need to show growth! However, when it comes to other measures of student achievement, I'm scored on the performance of the entire school. Ie., kids I don't even teach.

Please remember, I love the kids! I love the delight when they understand something new. And I love hearing them laugh when I inject humor into my lessons. However, I'm ready to retire because I'm tired. Typically, I arrive at school between 7:15 and 7:30 and leave sometime between 5:00 and 6:00 in the evening. Many times, I bring my work home with me once I leave. Sure I just had two weeks of vacation, but I spent several hours of it completing special education report cards, writing IEPs, making flip charts for my Promethean board, grading writing, and re-reading chapters for discussion this week. Unfortunately, the pressure on us is so intense that the fun has evaporated. In fact, when my college age daughter took a career placement test to help her find a major, the counselor said, "Be a teacher."

I said, "Don't you dare!" Those who are eligible to retire are doing so in mass... and this is supposed to improve education? What has the government done to my profession? I know my teachers from the 60s and 70s never worked as hard as I do nor did they get blamed when I misbehaved. We are one of the most disrespected professions and have even been blamed for the weak economy because we have too many benefits. I pay for my insurance, and it's not cheap!

November 1, 2017, that's when I'll be eligible to retire... unless our lovely legislators raise the retirement age.