30 March 2008

Big/small time sports and 33 years

I meant to give these guys a shout out last week, but was super busy and, honestly, forgot.

I really could give a care about basketball, but since it is March Madness and people are obsessing over brackets for D1 ball I figured they need some props too.

How often do you see a team with kids with doing well in sports in college AND doing well in school? There are some, but I know from my D1 college experience that most of the football and basketball athletes are not too stellar in the classroom. One of the guys is rocking a 4.0. At Washington University in St. Louis. In Computer Science. And they won by a lot.

In other news, I am moved. I woke to the huge storm last night and was so reassured that I did not have to immediately bounce up and make sure the rain buckets were in the right spot and being emptied at the correct intervals.

I guess now I have to get back to regular life and grade papers or something after giving my parents their wedding anniversary gift. 33 years and counting! Amazing!

28 March 2008

Too much stuff, but I'm hopeful

Counting down the minutes when the movers will call to say they are ready to haul my stuff.

Last night the dripping was almost soothing.

Packing sucks. I have been getting rid of and giving away a ton of stuff over the last couple of years to simplify my life, but I still seem to have a butt load of books, binders and other miscellaneous items. Kitchen stuff is the worst.

I'm starting to get excited about track. I was really indifferent at the start of the season. Mainly because last year was such a let down due to circumstances out of my hands. But I am finding it hard to be pessimistic this season. But I am ready yet to fully embrace all the possibilities that could come together this year. I think the kids see it too, though, so hopefully it will work out. The kids are working hard and I think I still can own Donnie's name for me "Coach Sargent Murder".

Things I don't think will happen this year that happened in previous seasons:
  • Shit found on a bus blamed on my athletes, but likely placed by the angry bus driver
  • Hotel fights among girls who are after the same dude
  • 4 hospital visits via ambulance in one season
  • 21 second 100m dashes
  • Kids getting pulled by their mothers the day before the District qualifying meet
But it is still early and you never know what will happen.

Got to get back to packing.

27 March 2008

I am not a receptionist

When you make a phone call at 4:55 in the morning, you should really double check to make sure you are calling the correct number. And when I answer the phone (thinking it must be some sort of emergency, other wise why would someone be calling my number that early) sounding like Walter Matthau, and I do not answer with the zest or pizazz you are expecting, and I don't refer to any sort of institution, PLEASE do not go on asking me three times if I am sure this is not the naval hospital and that Dr. (I-can't-remember-the-name-she-asked-for) is really not available.

Have some courtesy.

Now, I'm awake, still listening to the incessant dripping of the leakage even though the rain stopped early last evening. The people said the new place should be ready Friday, and I am not-so-patiently awaiting that moment hoping with all hope that when I return from work today there is nothing on the floor soaking wet due to the buckets over flowing.

On the positive side, at least there was no family emergency. And I have been able to make up some clever songs to the 70 beat per minute tapping of the water -- in both 3/4 and 4/4 time.

However, I am still upset at this lady and the fact that she ruined my already not-so-good night sleep.

26 March 2008

Unsure insurance assurance

There always seems to be the same issues that the politicians and the media seem to be focused on during their campaigns. And rarely do they actually tie to what is going on with the majority of people's every day lives.

One issue that they don't typically talk about or debate enough is health care. Every day there are a ton of people in this nation who do not go to the doctor for serious ailments because they do not have health care. There are people who stick with jobs they hate just so they can keep the health benefits.

The AFL-CIO conducted a seven week on-line study where respondents answered questions about health care. Ninety-Five percent of the people surveyed believe the health care system in this nation needs to be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt. Shocking, isn't it? Not really.

Here are some of the results that they gathered from the 26,000+ people responded to:
  • Ninety-five percent say they are somewhat or very concerned about being able to afford health insurance in the coming years.
  • Forty-one percent who buy private insurance say preventive care and checkups are not covered or affordable, versus 36 percent overall.
  • Fifty-three percent with Medicare, compared with 46 percent overall, say prescription drugs are not covered or affordable.
  • Fifty-two percent of people who buy private coverage say prescription drugs are not covered or are unaffordable, compared with 44 percent who have employer-provided coverage.
  • A third of college graduates say they or a family member skipped recommended medical care because of cost.
  • Half of people in insured families say their coverage does not cover all the care they need at a price they can afford.
  • In the past year, 76 percent of people who lack insurance themselves and 71 percent of people with insured children say someone in their family did not visit a doctor when sick because of cost.
  • Sixty-seven percent of the uninsured and 66 percent of those whose children are uninsured report skipping medical treatment or follow-up care recommended by a doctor.
  • Fifty-seven percent of the uninsured and 61 percent of people with uninsured children had to choose between paying for medical care or prescriptions and other essential needs (such as the rent or mortgage and utilities)
What is really going on?

And why are more people in the media not asking the candidates what they plan to do to change this situation?

20 March 2008

Flooding, signing day, and unmitigated disaster

The weather here has been crazy. There are deaths and missing people. The Mid West has been declared a spot that can be called an emergency. There are people being displaced due to flood damage to their homes.

What I have experienced the past few days in no way compares to all of that, but it has been really annoying.

I can't remember when it started raining. I just know that on Tuesday the leaks in the apartment started. Tuesday night they got really bad. It spread to six of the eight windows in the place. I am on the top floor of an old building with a flat roof that is draining into my apartment.

The dripping was so incessant that I literally couldn't sleep Tuesday night. I had to get up, no joke, every hour to empty buckets. This went on until Wednesday morning when the rain stopped. Then I was only having to empty buckets every couple of hours. The sun started shining, is still shining, yet I am still emptying buckets that are steadily filling.

I couldn't sleep last night, either, because the dripping was so loud.

I have to move to another apartment.

The manager said he will help by providing movers if I stay in their buildings. I hate moving. I hate packing up stuff. I have seriously downsized my belongings, but was looking at them yesterday and realized that there is still a lot of stuff. So today I will get rid of more. This is the way I am spending my Spring Break. Wonderful.

I will hopefully move this weekend. If you have boxes, hook a sista up.

On a totally different front.

Why is this such big news to our society? Why don't we hear news of top academic recruits to schools? Why are schools not given public acclaim for the awesomely smart people they get into their schools?

Back to the war. Democracy Now! from yesterday talked with soldiers who had to deal with rape in the military, with raiding the wrong homes, as well as with parents who had soldiers with PTSD and couldn't get treatment for their twenty three year old son who after returning from the war committed suicide. Check it out.

Also check out the Granny Peace Brigade who staged a knit-in in New York to protest the war.

19 March 2008

Something right with the world today

People everywhere are talking about race issues.


Unfortunately it has come at a time where it all could be the highlight or downfall of a man's run for presidency. Many are pointing fingers saying this is a sign that this man is not willing to give in to both sides, others are saying that this is a sign that he is a true uniter. You be the judge.

Over the weekend, I rode with a friend for a about three hours total. For about 1 1/2 of those hours, we talked about race issues. She is white, I am brown. It is really refreshing to have when people are willing to discuss, ask questions -- just try to understand people who are different from them.

The whole "debate" going on in the country right now is nothing new to brown people. It is new to others because they tend to push the issues under the rug, and ignore the big hump of dust, dirt, and grime that is blocking their way to the other room.

I try not to address political issues with this blog. I did so recently because of all the issues going on with this continuous war, with the campaign, and even with brown people's views of themselves (although that is not entirely political).

This one is somewhat similar. I want people to learn from this, to talk about it, to not be afraid to talk about what other people are thinking and feeling about being members of this nation.

AngryBlackBitch wrote on the topic wonderfully on her blog.

18 March 2008

It's already been five years

Coming up on the fifth anniversary of the US invasion of the Iraq.

Soldiers' stories. Check them out. We really need to understand what is really going on, why we are they, when we are going to declare the job finished, when we will get out of the area.

Winter Soldier hearings (modeled after the hearings held during the Vietnam War) where veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan gathered this past weekend to testify. Of course this was not in the mainstream media. This link is to DemocracyNow! It is in two parts so far this week. Check back because I believe Amy Goodman is doing more the rest of the week. Part One, and Part Two. They are long transcripts, but you should really read them. Read what they say is the typical treatment of the local civilians -- the "haji" (extremely derogatory term for the local population that is used by the military from the highest ranks all the way down).

Another link is Iraq Veterans Against the War explaining 10 reasons veterans, active duty, and National Guard men and women are opposed to the war in Iraq.

17 March 2008

Is Boston a city or a continent?

It seems the work of a social studies teacher is never finished. And that, sometimes, it is never really absorbed.

Today as I was driving during the day to run some errands (thank goodness for spring break when I get to feel like a regular adult who can do errands during regular hours and not put things off until Saturday). On the radio they were doing a quiz show type game involving the caller answering five questions correctly.

One of the questions asked where the first St. Patrick's Day celebration took place. The DJs even said that it was in the first 13 colonies, caller just had to answer which city.

That narrows it down to the East Coast of the US.

Which city?

Some of the callers answered that question right and just missed the some of the other questions.

One caller however made me seriously question humanity.

His answer to which city in the original 13 American colonies hosted the first St. Pat's Day shindig was....


Yes. Which city? In a current state? On the East Coast?


This was a grown man.

12 March 2008

I know people like peace and quiet, but come on now

I know that sometimes couples have arguments, disagreements, or they may just need to be apart from each other temporarily.

I also know some people really enjoy their bathrooms. I can only imagine when I am able to make the perfect Ikea bathroom. It will be an oasis.

But this... this... I really have no words to say about this issue. So please just read the article.

I guess I do have a few things to say:
  • Why did the boyfriend not think something was wrong with her when she did not come out of the bathroom after even a few hours?
  • Why did he not think something was going on when he started having to bring food to her in the bathroom?
  • Why did the lady not ever get up to wash her hands, move around, stretch, etc?
  • What leads someone to want to sit in one spot for that long?
  • Her feet must have been really asleep when she finally walked. Imagine those pins and needles.
  • Imagine the doctor conversations when she came in to the hospital. Or the medic conversations after they pried her toilet seat from the base.
  • Most importantly -- Why did she never GET UP TO WIPE?
    • Imagine the fungus/disease/rankness that is her ass. Or better yet, don't imagine that shit -- for your own sake.

Branching out?

Launching a new site with my cousin in England. It's new and we are going to try and do a few collaborative things with it.

non-sequitur fallacies.

11 March 2008

Considering politics and religion

It is really amazing how people are so uninformed and do not care. How people can live in such a diverse place and still not embrace the diversity. How people can live and work around you and you really cannot tell that they believe things completely against you and might even despise people like you. How there can be people who still cannot support a candidate who is of color even if that person may support your beliefs and support actions that would better your life.

I ramble. I have been looking at articles recently, considering diversity issues. And thinking of what is going on in my life and with people's lives close to me.

Some things on my mind:

This whole election campaign. And the low digs people are taking on all sides. How is it that race is still an issue. An article on Sunday said that
Obama's strong support from blacks made it easier for some whites in Ohio and Texas to vote for Clinton...

Eighteen percent of white Ohio voters said race was an important factor in their decision
I'm not saying brown people should vote for him just because he looks similar to them, but you should definitely not NOT vote for someone because he is a certain color.

Supporters are blaming his success on his race.
Geraldine Ferraro who sits on Clinton's finance committee and has spoken at her rallies, sparked the firestorm when she was quoted by a California newspaper as saying: "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position."
This completely negates the progress and the work he has put in to get to where he is, to prove himself through his actions in office, and his research into developing ideas as to what will work if he becomes president.

And it goes both ways on the Democratic side. How are you going to be talking with a reporter and try and tell them some negative shit about your candidate's opponent and not expect them to publish and make public that statement.

There is also the issue of what campaign workers do to keep people from voting in ways they do not want them to vote. From an interview on Democracy Now! in January:

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the phone calls that you were having made in New Jersey, using the voice of, as you put it, “a ghetto black guy” calling households to ask them to vote Democrat.

ALLEN RAYMOND: Yeah, that’s an automated call, and again, the design was to tap into what might be there. I’m not saying, you know, every white household has racial bias, but the intent there is to tap into something that might be latent, something that might be within that household that drives them to, again, either stay home or vote against their best interest on other issues. So, again, this is all about motivation, persuasion. And, you know, it’s powerful stuff.

AMY GOODMAN: I was thinking about Ed Rollins, who according to Wired was named the campaign manager of Mike Huckabee or the national campaign chair of Mike Huckabee. Go back a lot of years, about fifteen years, to when he was boasting as campaign manager for Christine Todd Whitman about spending something like half-a-million dollars for “walking around” money from the state Republican Party to depress the vote in urban, heavily democratic areas, to pay, for example, black ministers not to urge people in their congregations to go out and vote, to suppress the black vote. Now he’s being resuscitated.

ALLEN RAYMOND: Right. I was actually in New Jersey that cycle running the reelection campaign for two assemblymen, Steve Corodemus and Tom Smith, and ironically in this case for me, you know, Tom Smith, who served with great distinction in the Assembly, was African Americans, and I was running the campaign for both gentlemen, and both were outstanding assemblymen, great public servants. And I remember that, and I also remember—and, you know, for the record—that Mr. Rollins later came out and repudiated his statements about this walking around stuff. I think some of that’s bravado.

But I’ll tell you, I mean, you know, my experience in working in New Jersey politics was—you know, now, this goes back a long time, and laws have changed and things don’t operate the way they used to, but there was such thing as walking around money, and it did get spread around.
Are you serious?! I don't know if I am more disturbed by the fact that they disguised their voices to sound like "ghetto black guys", or the fact that they did it to make sure people realized that they were going to be voting the same as someone who spoke that way and therefore would change their vote, or not vote, or the fact that this was likely a well thought out strategy, or the fact that this strategy likely worked for a lot of people.

I'm sure that some people got off the phone and said, "Damn, that guy was super ghetto. I cannot possibly have the same beliefs as him. What would that make me? I better not vote, or I better vote Republican."

And bribing churches with money to get them to not urge their congregations to get out and practice their civic duty of casting their ballots.

Why is it that it is ok for McCain to accept support from a radical religious person, but not for Obama? Why does Obama have sense to denounce such support, but McCain doesn't? Could it be that many people believe what televangelist John Hagee says? I don't know, I would not put that one too far off your mind. It is really likely.

On a different note (but still tied to politics) even though homeboy is linked to a $5,000-an-hour prostitution ring, he is still trying to push some legislation that according to JoAnn Smith, the president/CEO of Family Planning Advocates of New York State, says will "guarantees every woman a right to choose or refuse contraception or birth control and choose or refuse abortion. It very clearly puts choice where it belongs: with the individual charged with making that choice."

Going back to religion, the Vatican and the Southern Baptist Convention have announced that they are going to take a stand on environmental issues. Though in the same statement, the Pope says that genetic manipulation is bad, so if you are Catholic, I guess you will never be able to select the eye color, sex, or brain capacity of your child.

Finally, this video is a bit old, but, please, watch it and help me understand how people can view this and hear this and want to join Tom Cruise and his people.

09 March 2008

Misuse of cell phones

Cell phones are awesome. I cannot even remember what it was like to not be connected with people so easily. They do have some down sides, though. People can connect with you easily. You are always just one text/call away from everyone.

People complain about constant texting. Students at school are constantly doing it, making some institutions ban them from classes for fear of cheating, or just communicating on them instead of focusing on what is going on in the classroom. There is a whole new language that has come about to ease the thumbs and first fingers from having to type out whole words. Even sites to help you translate and understand wtf ppl r sAyn.

And there is the danger of distractions while in the car. Studies have shown that people who drive while talking on the phone and texting are basically similar to those who drive under the influence of alcohol. Crazy, huh?

Now, I guess the same can be said for those who walk while walking.

London is always a city ahead of the game in many ways. Now they are trying out something to help those who can't seem to multi-task without getting injured.

I really wonder about people. Can you really be so absorbed in your message that you can't see a huge pole in front of you? What happened to peripheral vision? The study in the article says that 1 in 10 people have been injured while texting. Come on now. Get it together.

Imagine how ugly this city is going to look with padded lampposts. And even uglier with if they follow people's suggestions and add lines to the ground to help people follow those since they can't simply lift their eyes to see where they are going.

But, I guess it could save 68,000 people from getting injured next year.

I'm sure the city could save money if people could just text while standing still or sitting down. But that would be too easy. Or, I guess too difficult. After all, why would you want to enjoy your surroundings, talk to people actually in your presence, and watch where you are going when you could engross yourself in little words on a screen or try to find the music and pictures you have on your phone?

Spk 2 u l8r.

06 March 2008

Don't die in France

Help me understand how you can punish someone for dying.

In a small village in southern France the mayor has "threatened residents with severe punishment if they die."

What could the punishment possibly be? Maybe he was listening to that old Chris Rock song where he talks about "you gonna die, twice."

04 March 2008

She loves me, but it means nothing

My mom called in to excuse me from the rest of the day.

The attendance secretary busted out laughing. Emailed me. I said it wasn't a joke. She then said that my mother would have to come in to sign me out in person. Unfortunately she is at work all day and cannot do that. She then said that even if she did come in, she didn't think the administration would allow me to leave early.

Students are upset. Faculty is unable to be productive due to the high absences. But we have to strive on in order to have a certain number of school days this year.

I guess I shouldn't complain too much. Some people have to go to work regardless of the weather. And I guess it is better to be here now than have to add day to the end of the year.

My frozen, snow filled glass is half full, instead of half empty.

May I have your attention, please?

The school police officer came down from the middle school and said that the radio announced that only one school is open today despite the bad weather.

Please give a shout out to us for being that lone school dedicated to focusing on the number of days we are here in attendance rather than the little things like student and faculty safety when leaving the various school buildings later today.

The sky and horizon are completely white. It is actually really pretty.

02 March 2008

Truly, truly, truly outrageous

I think that the shoe prints on my windshield were just a sign of what was to come. I don't feel as though the world is walking all over me - taking advantage of me. More like the world has put on its shit-kickers and is confusing me for its target.

Details, perhaps another time.

One thing, though, that can always, at least momentarily, cheer me up -- this video. Me and Kid Sis #1 used to have some star earrings that we would wear and "contact" Synergy. And be so angry with the Misfits.

Again, I apologize for being a dork. But, please, enjoy the other videos on the side bar from YouTube. It's like the best-of. Only it is all so cheesy. Perhaps you can watch "Who Is He Kissing?", or "Click Clash." Wow!!

But I know I am not alone in my childhood love for Jem and the Holograms.

01 March 2008

Car stomping, behind bars

I was driving last night and noticed a smudge on my windshield. I examined it at the stop light and realized that it was a shoe print. Freaked me out. My mind starts rushing to who at school could have done this. Which teachers were not paying attention to the middle school students as they marched to lunch through the parking lot?

We got to our destination and I looked at the front of the car. There was a print on the hood. Two of them. Then I looked on the ceiling - two more prints. And one on the trunk, as well.

What the hell. Who walks along someone's car?

Leo said he knew a kid when he was younger who did just that. The kid said that when a car was in the way, that's what they did in California. They just walk over the car.


In other news, yesterday on two stations, I heard some astounding news. Here's how they said it on Democracy Now!

Record 1-in-100 Americans Behind Bars

A new report has found that a record 1-in-100 American adults are behind bars. According to the Pew Center, the prison population has grown by 25,000, even though the rate of violent crimes has decreased. 1-in-100 black women are jailed, compared to 1-in-350 white women. 1-in-36 Hispanic men and 1-in-15 black men are in jail or prison. The US has the highest rate of prisoners in the world, with more than 2.3 million people behind bars.
I don't even really know how to address this issue. It has been known for the longest that there are a ton of black men in prison. But when you see that it is 1/15!!! That is truly enraging.

Why are the candidates not addressing this issue? Why do they not talk about what can be done to fix this nation's prison and judicial systems? There has got to be something inherently wrong when the minorities make up the extreme majority in the prison system.

We have 2.3 million people in prison. That is more than the population of a lot of countries.

Think about that.