Tag Archives: startling realization

Never Say Never!

12 Dec

Well here it comes: 12/12/12…

The 12th of Never!

So to all of you who once said, “Not until the Twelfth of Never!”

Here it is!

Your big chance to  pay out, collect up or break it off.

It’s now or…

Never!

And starting on the 13th, you can once again safely make those “Twelfth of Never” promises anytime during the year…with an option for 99 more.

We all Pledgeafallegiance!

24 Oct

Just another side note on Monday’s debate.

Must all candidates wear an American flag pin now? Always? Is that the only way to let all of us Americans out there know that they’re Americans too?

I remember a big to-do on the internet over a picture that showed President Obama without his American flag pin on…gasp! He doesn’t love America…how could he? Where’s the pin?

Have we become that shallow in this country? Or that needy?

Did anyone else notice that Mr. Romney’s pin was bigger than President Obama’s?

Do I sense an escalation in the war on flag pin size???

Couldn’t we just ask all presidential candidates and all presidents from now on to always dress like either     Evel Knievel or Wonder Woman so we could be absolutely, positively, definitely, without a doubt, 100% sure that they love America? Because otherwise, I mean, how are we gonna know? Really?

Earrings and Killer Robots

23 Oct

I was switching back and forth between the debates and the Monday Night Football Game…what can I say, I’m an American…and while I’m watching the game (the one with the football) One of the players takes off his helmet and I notice that he is wearing 2 giant sized diamond earrings! (How could I miss them?) Really? Earrings in football? There’s no earrings in football!

That got me thinking about the pregame in the locker room…

“Hey Bro, how do I look in these earrings? Do they match what I’m wearing?”

“Yeah you look great sweetie, now let’s go kick some ass!”

Then I switch over to the debate (the one with the presidential candidates) and finally the two rivals are in agreement on something. Is it peace on earth and good will to men? No! The one thing they’re both in favor of is more unmanned drones!

I know you’re all gonna say that I’m just getting too old, and I know it’s no use in longing to go back to a kinder and gentler time (The stone age!) or anywhere again for that matter, but I really do miss the days when a coach could say to a professional ball player (And politely I might add) “Hey big fella, Might I suggest that we leave the jewelry in the locker room until after the game? You know it’s just a thought on safety…not to mention, oh… fashion sense!

And I long for a time when two men who were vying for leadership of the free world might agree on “Strength and readiness and more protection for our citizens and oh… saying something like …might for right! …  but never …            We need more killer robots!”

Killer robots and fashionable ear wear for football players. Really?!

If I were younger would these be good things?

Weird Science II

17 Oct

If you are having trouble deciding about the never ending debate over global warming perhaps you should ask nature!

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that it’s October 17th and all of the leaves are still green like it’s the middle of summer? I’m in New Jersey near the east coast of the USA and here, Autumn just ain’t what it used to be.

Maybe my memory’s going but I seem to recall piles of smoking leaves back in the 60s right around this time of year and trees with beautifully colored and falling leaves of orange, red and gold. And November was a cold month where the trees were barren and winter was on the way. Yet today I have flowers blooming and grass still growing and leaf raking is somewhere in the distant future… I guess???

It’s definitely getting warmer! I don’t know whose fault it is but perhaps the fact that there were 2.8 billion people on  the Earth when I was born and now there are over 7 billion people 57 years later and another 2 billion 30 years from now (keep your fingers crossed) might have something to do with it…

I know for you naysayers it still snows in the winter (usually) and it’s still hot in the summer (very) but is it staying warmer later where you are?…and getting warmer earlier too?…just checkin’ and just sayin’… but it seems to me that there’s no point in trying to debate… or debunk nature.

Ho Ho Ho and a bag full of leaves for Santa!

The Nouveau Poor

11 Oct

The Nouveau Poor

Being poor in America just doesn’t seem to be what it used to be. Today a public school district is considered “poor” or classified as a Title I district when a certain percentage (40%) of its children qualify for a free or reduced lunch. Once any school or district reaches a point where over half of its students qualify for free or reduced lunches (in other words they are living in poverty) they’ve reached what’s become commonly known as their “tipping point” and those schools begin to spiral downward into the abyss of failure, almost never to return to successful stature again. Poverty really does equal failure in America. If you are poor then you can bet (if you have any money) that you will be hounded throughout your life by failure of one kind or another.

But whose fault is poverty? Does it have a fault? And what do I mean by the Nouveau poor? Isn’t poor, poor? To be poor means to be without money, right? That’s what I always thought but throughout my years teaching in a poor, Title I school district I have noticed some subtle changes in poverty.

Many of today’s “poor kids” (at least in my school) wear expensive clothes and they wear expensive sneakers and shoes (often several pair of various colors to match their various outfits) They carry cell phones which means they have monthly fees to pay just for the privilege of texting (they don’t even call) their friends who are sitting only a few feet or classrooms away. (Remember writing notes?) They drink 2 dollar bottles of water when water from the tap is virtually free. They are all wired with headphones and MP3 players. And many if not most even have regular jobs. Today’s poor kids just don’t have that one thing that would qualify them as NOT being poor…money! And it’s not just the poor who are poor anymore!

What family saves these days? What family pools all of its economic resources to pay for the important family bills like food and heat and housing and then skimps on the luxuries? It seems as though luxuries come first these days. Non essential first, then we eat. I’ll use my cell phone to text home, “I’m hungry!”

I’ve had students tell me that food is something they can steal if they need to, but not electronics or clothes etc. “They guard that shit!” Say the kids. Kids need to pay to have those things.

Think about it: Those stores have security measures and employ security guards while most food or grocery stores do not.

I’m not advocating being poor, nor am I saying that poverty doesn’t exist. Nor am I trying to blame poverty on the poor as many well off and no doubt well meaning people do. It just seems as though poor ain’t what it used to be. And poor isn’t just for poor people anymore either. Everybody wants to get in on the action…Today poor is when after you’ve spent your money on what you don’t need, you don’t have enough left for what you do need…like food and as the kids would say, “dumb crap like that.” I’ve even had friends tell me from time to time that they don’t know if they will be able to meet their month’s rent on their apartment or home. And they tell me this at the restaurant, just after having come from their health club, while checking the internet on their phone, and before producing a credit card to pay for their tab!

Many of today’s families are sliding down the socioeconomic ladder in the pursuit and the acquisition of goods or luxuries that were previously unobtainable but are now made tantalizingly affordable through  mass marketing and mass production in places like China and India where sadly, the real poor live. Here in America many of our young people are learning about their new found poverty the hard way, by spending their way into the ranks of what I call the Nouveau Poor. They may be poor but at least they have the clothes, and the technology and the sneakers and the stuff that says, “We’ve earned it!”

What today’s public schools need is a better public: One that both collectively and individually pools its resources to spend on that which is essential and important before its wastes those same resources on what is frivolous and unnecessary. We need to tone down the marketing frenzy that tempts and lures our citizens, from their cradles to their graves, to behave in opposition to their better natures and encourages them to spend their hard earned money (In many cases before they’ve earned it!) on things they don’t really need or can get elsewhere for free. What we need to do is to start leading and encouraging our students and citizens to put their money where their mouth is, meaning to start spending it on their proper nutrition and diet and personal health, education and welfare where it will most directly contribute towards enhancing their chances of improving their lot in life. That is the true pursuit of happiness that Thomas Jefferson was speaking of in the Declaration of Independence and that George Mason had previously penned in the earlier Virginia Declaration of Rights to which he added “and obtaining.” (Curiously Jefferson borrowed Mason’s idea but dropped “and obtaining” from the end of “and the pursuit of happiness” when penning the Declaration. Hmmmmm…foreshadowing perhaps?)

America’s students need to be taught that they not only have the right to pursue their happiness but also the right to catch up to it and hang on and that it’s not only a right guaranteed by their government but also a responsibility expected and required of them and every other citizen of the United States. We won’t be able to keep whining about money spent and taxes levied, as long as we know that it is being spent on that which benefits the greater good of us all.

It would help of course if our politicians would chime in by showing some responsibilities of their own. One (1) predator drone, excuse me, Unmanned combat air vehicle, costs as much as 5 Sesame streets! The entire program of (let’s face it) “killer robots” costs 11.8 billion dollars! That’s 26.2 PBS stations! Call me a socialist but is it really better to kill than to receive? Which one of the above mentioned programs is for people and which one is for anti-people? Which would be the best way and the cheapest way and the most sensible way for our government to help keep us from going broke and becoming the Nouveau-est poor country in the world? By cutting 2 trillion dollars in additional defense spending or that other crap like housing, food and educational spending? Yes, I’m a socialist! Up with societies! Down with blowing up societies!

When will we learn that we cannot keep pursuing the “YouDaMan!” tactics of selfish capitalism? Instead we must seek the “Eudemonia” of a free society for all. And I’m not going to help you with that one. You’re going to have to look that word up on your own!

Hey,  I’m a teacher! I know the odds of you looking it up…

eudemonia: happiness as the result of an active life governed by reason.

More Quiz Stats and Info

4 Oct

Someone who read my quiz asked me to post how other countries compared to the United States and who was first in each of the categories that I listed so here is the leader in each category and our closest competitors…One thing I’ve learned from looking at these statistics is that I really don’t know much about the world outside of the United States.

These stats come from The 2012 Global Competitiveness Report which is a yearly report published by the World Economic Forum.

 

Life Expectancy:   __30__

1. Andorra (Isn’t this a planet on Star Trek?) 29. Bosnia (How can Bosnia beat us in anything? That’s like losing to the Mets!)

 

Internet Speed:      ___15__ 1. Japan (figures!) 14. Germany

 

Education:              ___35__ 1. Taiwan 34. Russia (Didn’t we beat them in the cold war?)

 

# of people who believe in Angels: __1__

Hard to find other statistics on angel belief around the world but what studies have been done seem to indicate that angel belief is on the rise and more people believe in angels than global warming.

 

Mobile Phones per Capita: __16__ 1. Germany (who are the Germans calling? Very interesting…15. Algeria (Algeria? Who are they calling?)

 

Renewable Energy Use: __27__

1. Iceland (They live on a volcano. No fair!) 26. Australia (There on an island…but come to think of it, aren’t we all?)

 

Defense Spending: __1___

We spend More than the next 14 countries combined! (Why???? And then I have to ask, who are we defending ourselves from?)

 

Scientific Literacy: __33__ 1. Iceland (They live on a volcano!) 32. Cyprus (Cyprus has science?)

 

Quality of Healthcare: __37__

1. France (Mais oui!) 36. Costa Rica (You’ve got to be kidding???)

 

Prison Population: __1__

# of inmates As of 2009 (International Center for Prison Studies) US 2,193,798: China 1,548,498: Russia 874,161: Brazil 371,482: India 332,112 (Does more freedom mean more trouble?)

 

Infant Survival rate: __31__ 1. Japan 30. Slovakia (We have got to be able to do better than this!)

     When one considers the tremendous amount of wealth that we have in this country and our standings in these categories internationally, it seems to me that we must also have a tremendous amount of poverty in this country that we ignore. We must also have a great deal of waste and misspending and… judging by our increasing belief in angels, we might also conclude that we as a country hope it will all just magically get better?

 

 

 

 

Pop Quiz! Rate the States!

1 Oct

                                                        Which #s Belong Where?

     I have to thank another blogger (thanks INSIGHTFUL) for this idea but I have restructured some of her post in the form of a quiz just for fun. We all love America. This is where I have lived all my life… and very happily I might add. I have some complaints but who doesn’t. I’m quite sure that no place is perfect but I also must admit that I have never lived anywhere else so I am ignorant of what life is like in other places. In education though, we like to test and measure and create teams and have competitions so it is only fair that when thinking about our country we should also be willing to hold our accomplishments up to others and see how we stand.

     Are we (the U.S) more like the Superbowl champs in this category or that category or more like the…you know…the team on the other side of the river? (Actually on the same side of the river and in the same stadium!) Why don’t they just start calling them the NJ Jets for crying out loud and get it over with?! But I digress…

      In this quiz you get the following numbers and have to place them in the boxes next to the appropriate category rating the United States’ standing in the world compared to other countries. Here are your numbers.

(15, 16, 27, 30, 31, 33, 35, 37, and three 1’s)

So, where does the United States stand in the world when it comes to?

These stats come from The 2012 Global Competitiveness Report which is a yearly report published by the World Economic Forum.

 

 

Life Expectancy:   _____

 

Internet Speed:      _____

 

Education:              _____

 

# of people who believe in Angels: _____

 

Mobile Phones per Capita: _____

 

Renewable Energy Use: _____

 

Defense Spending: _____

 

Scientific Literacy: _____

 

Quality of Healthcare: _____

 

Prison Population: _____

 

Infant Survival rate: _____

 

(Look for the answers in my next post and see how smart you are and how successful the U.S. is in each category… If you root for the NJ Jets then your rating abilities are probably pretty screwed up anyway)

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