31 July 2009

Awwww... here we go

I don't like the Snuggie - think it is ridiculous. I don't care how comfortable some people think they are. Use a blanket or wear a robe. If it is so cold in your home that you can't reach from under the blanket without fear of your hand freezing to death for those 5 seconds, you really need to stop going to so many expensive dinner places, stop putting 37" rims on that SUV that is about to be repossessed and save some money for your heat bill.

As though that invention didn't irk me enough last winter, now there is a Snuggie for dogs. My sister gave me the heads up and you can click here to see video on the Snuggie for Dogs.

As though people need more outfits to dress their dogs up in. And more reason to get a dog carrying case that matches their Gucci/Prada purses. I guess now the owner can dress in matching Snuggies with their dog. Hopefully when the dog wears its own gown-blanket, it won't look like it is being choked -- see woman in the picture.

30 July 2009

This is war, and I will take prisoners

Who the F&%$ is this, waking me at 3:46 in the morning, crack of dawning, now I'm yawning.

That remake was what I was saying to myself this morning as my bedroom door was opened by my man and he switched on the light saying that there was a mouse in the house.

Of course I got up. Didn't really know what to do. I stood on the bed for about five minutes as he continued to look around the house with a broom as though it was an AK he could kill the critter with. I started moving things away from the walls so I could see it moving about; I put on some shoes (first shaking them out in case they were in there); I grabbed another broom so I could feel armed as well.

We went into the kitchen and I started throwing stuff away and cleaning out the drawers in case it went in any of those, or had a craving for stale crackers, nearly empty cans of Raid, or warranties of a broken dishwasher.

As I am cleaning and he is looking in the basement for me, the little Mickey ran under the broken dishwasher. Fortunately, or not, the last guy who came to try and work on it had removed the face plate from the bottom of the machine, so the mouse ran right under. I could use the flashlight and watch it move.

I had to make sure that the counters are flush with the walls so that it would not crawl back there, get in some drawers, or run to the other parts of the large spacious kitchen. Fortunately they are flush.

Every so often the little thing would peak its head out from under the dishwasher, see us with our weapons, and dart back under.

I had him stand guard as I went to Walgreens to get some sort of mouse killer (sorry to you animal lovers, but I don't like these things in my home). Got back with some traps, but none of that sticky stuff, which I figured would catch this thing best.

I built a makeshift tunnel from the dishwasher to the door in the kitchen using all the old teacher-binders and teacher's edition textbooks (thank you UbD and Social Justice Advocacy for the duplicate binders that I have yet to throw away for some reason). The pathway was great. Reached the door with no openings for the mouse to sneak through.

We waited for it to come back out.

And it did.

But not through the tunnel.

It came out the side right by the dishwasher/tunnel connection spot.

Now I'm starting to feel like I am the secretary of defense having to map out my strategy and weaponry.

This. Is. War.

I leave for another run. Gas stations have nothing, so I head to Home Depot. By now it is 6:40, but they are fortunately open. I find the products I need -- gummy pads and some poisonous bait. As I head to the checkout line, I have three men walking toward me (not together) who for some reason think this is the perfect time for them to hit on me. "Damn, you sure are sexy." "Can I help you with your problem, Miss Fine Thang?" Whistles, and more. It is too early for this. And I look like shit. It is early, I am stressed, and I probably have some serious morning breath.

When I get to the self-checkout line, another man comes at me asking if he can get my number so he can give me a call and get me his cat. I take Joseph's number and rush out.

Get home and place the sticky pads in front of and underneath the dishwasher.

At one point, I decide to take a break from my vigil and take out the trash.

Walk it around to trash bin on the side of the house and what is waiting for me there?

No, not the mouse. My local Jehovah's Witnesses.

They have been coming around for about a year. I haven't answered the door for about 8 months. They got me. They were truly excited to see me after all this time. Wanted to talk about the issues going on with race in society and how it ties to their recent Awake! and Watchtower pamphlets and what the good book says. I politely listen for awhile. Then point toward the back and tell them I am doing some work. They look at my roses in the front of the house and start admiring them. Thank you. But I really need to be getting back.

My hands are shaking for fear that the mouse has escaped and gone through the house.

I am still sitting vigil.

Waiting for this thing to come out, feed on the poison, get stuck in the goo, or get smashed by my broom.

Can't wait until it is done so I can rest easy.

As Bob Marley said:
That until that day
The dream of lasting peace, world citizenship
Rule of international morality
Will remain in but a fleeting illusion
To be persued, but never attained
Now everywhere is war, war

29 July 2009

Depression shouldn't lead to dismemberment

I don't watch the news much anymore. I heard about this case through Kid Sis #2 who lives in Texas.

This is truly crazy. The woman dismembered her kid, ate part of his brain, and chewed off some of his phalanges. WTF?

This is beyond insanity.

It has apparently been pretty normal that women who kill their kids there get off with the insanity plea.

If she gets off on some sort of postpartum depression deal, I will be even more disgusted than I already am about this case. Read a little bit more on the Otty Sanchez case here.

Wordless Wednesday: Beautiful images of women/girls

Going back to showcasing some cool art for Wordless Wednesday.

Some beautiful images of women/girls from various artists.

Hi Fructose / cinderella_web
Olga Ert

Tiger's Eye / Mark Sarmel
Amy SolLyubov Dubina
PoorSailorL Filipe dos SantosJinyoung Shin

24 July 2009

Yo homeboy, I said yo homeboy

The past few days have been filled with the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good:
  • My post on the All-Star Game was chosen as the "Local Blog o' the Week" for the local newspaper the Riverfront Times. I guess I'm almost-semi-locally-acknowledged. If you haven't read it and wish to know my views on baseball, check out my point of view on the All-Star Game here. I guess I am one of a very few bunch of people who can be called "baseball-hating". I don't apologize. Thanks to whoever nominated me as well as to the RFT people for picking me.
  • Weather has been nice, which means I am saving money by not running the AC.
  • This year of work, I have been able to limit my spending and save a significant amount more money than I have ever saved before.
The Bad:
  • The basement floor leaks. I should not really be too surprised since leakages seem to follow me the past few places I have lived, click to see the stories of water past.
  • Even though I have saved money on AC, I am having to shove out ridiculous amounts on fixing the basement leak. This house is basically a brand new rehab, but I guess the contractor and constructors of the place were relapsing when they built it because the basement is shit. Concrete is so thin, that when the waterproofers started to demo to put their system in, they reached dirt in less than an inch. That explains the leakage.
  • Dishwasher is also broken and leaking onto the floor during the wash cycle. So I have to get a new one of those. Didn't ever use it when I first got here; I have only used it about 5 times in the past year (really 3 months).
The Ugly:
  • Not only is the basement leaking and I have to pay for that, but the home builders did not have a footer on this house so I have to pay extra for the waterproofing system people to use a different technique than they normally would.
  • Then today as the waterproofers took a break from listening to and singing along with Hart, Lisa Loeb, and Mötley Crüe, the foreman came up and informed me that the sump pump is not functional. Explains why the water was not draining.
  • The money I was able to save is going to be almost completely gone after this.
  • I don't get paid again until the end of August. Good luck to me.
I am reminded of In Living Color and the fabulous Homeboy seminars the two guys used to present.

Only in my case, it seems as though everyone else is trying to figure out how to get mo' money, mo' money, mo' money from me.

21 July 2009

20 July 2009

Ask Henry Louis Gates if this is a post-racial era

You really can't honestly believe that we live in a post-racial society. Can you? Seriously?!

Many of you who read have heard of Henry Louis Gates, Jr -- scholar, author, international speaker. I don't agree with everything this man says and think he is really arrogant (that is a whole separate long post), but I know who he is, and I have respect for the man. Plus he is a professor, which is just awesome in my eyes.

Gates was arrested at his house in Cambridge in what I can only associate with racial profiling. A woman called the police and said that two black men were breaking into a house. Turns out Gates was trying to open the jammed door to the home that Harvard (the university he teaches for) provides for him.

The police come and assume that he is a black man breaking into a Cambridge home (just as the woman assumed). You can read his statement made through his lawyer here. At the bottom of that page, you can click on the link to see the actual police report. The charges were for disorderly conduct. I can only imagine what must have been going through his mind. First, maybe relief that the cops may have come to help him out, happiness that his neighbors were looking out for him. Then disbelief that they are there thinking he did something criminal, then anger that they are repeatedly asking for him to identify himself and prove that he is not breaking into a home where he belongs. Then even more anger as this continues. Then getting arrested because he is upset over all the confusion when he is just trying to get a door opened that the school should have fixed.

I really don't have full words to describe my disgust about this.

With summer, I have more time to think about what is going on in the world, and it keeps coming back to race relations and discrepancies. It never seems to end. Despite that people think we are all fine now that we have a president who is considered black.

A president who though he can now enter so many places in the world, still has children who may not be able to get into a pool in Philadelphia to swim in the summer time due to the color of their skin.


It's been two years of integration for this school

In 2008, Mississippi's Charleston High School held its first racially integrated prom.

Read that again. It is no typo.

If you have cable watch the documentary on the event and the town on HBO -- Prom Night in Mississippi. I remember hearing about this when it first happened, now we get to see first hand accounts of the event from the students and some parents.

What I can't get over is the fact that even now, as they integrated prom (can't believe I am using that word about current issues), there were white parents who insisted that their children not attend the prom with black children -- they still held a separate prom.

How can we hope to provide brown people with good education when some people think they should not even touch or be around their children?

17 July 2009

Obama - we need more than education to help minorities

The President spoke at the NAACP and again harped on the need to push for education to help African Americans advance and strive. He actually said a lot of areas that are needing improvement to help minorities survive and do well, but as a teacher, I tend to think about education.

Education is a big part of the "race" problem, but there is more.

When kids can't focus in school because they have to worry about what is going on at home,or are up late due to a second or third job they have to work to raise money for the family, or they are taking care of small siblings instead of doing their homework, there is no way for them to succeed in school. The system is not designed to help these people. There are some areas that have assistance for students like these, but in my state (MO) the governor has said that he will not fund education in areas that did not vote for him (St.L and KC to be specific). These are the areas with large black populations. These are areas where parents need more than just to try on their own to help their children.

These are the areas where there are less wealthy kids who have nothing to worry about but what new items they will buy and what new drugs they will try as they sit at home and do their homework while watching "The Hills" and "NYC Prep".

Even the educators cause problems. Many of them are not really looking out for the minority students. Many of them punish unnecessarily the brown kids. (You should look at the disproportionate number of referals for brown kids -- and many of the write ups are for little issues that a good teacher should be able to address in the class.) If you go into any in-school-suspension room in this area, no matter what the racial distribution is of the school (it could be 95% white) there are more brown faces sitting in there. These kids are the ones who miss class, who miss assignments because the teachers are tired of sending work to ISS to help these kids succeed while they are out of the classroom.

So then you have to wonder about some of the administrators. Why are they allowing this type of discrepancy in suspensions (in and out of school) to occur? Why are they not teaching teachers how to deal with classroom management? Why are they not making sure that teachers send work to the kids who are in ISS? And when some do send work, why are they not making sure that the work is meaningful and relevant to what the students in the class are working on so that the student is not falling behind the material?

There are a few more liberal teachers in the profession who care about kids and push them to do better. But I am starting to wonder, for what?

These teachers want the students to go through a system in a way that they themselves did not, and in a way that they themselves would never want their children to go through. These kids often have so many struggles out side of school that the teachers cannot help with.

We need to get the community, and the government, and the people who create minimum wage laws, and the landlords who charge way more in rent than is necessary in the area, and landlords who kick people out of their homes in order to build fancier, more expensive condos, and the repo people involved in caring about these people's lives. We need to get police officers who are not going to harass and arrest young people hanging out in the Loop having a good time just because their are more than 5 brown young men together. We need more organizations like College Summit (which my brother works for) who will help young people get into college. We need to get people who will help these students once they get into college, who will hire brown people once they finish college. (Why do I know so many brown lawyers, and other professions who have the highest degrees possible, but cannot get hired full time in their field? Brown people who have given up on trying to "get a job" and instead are trying to start businesses with little start up money since they do not fit the diversity model of the companies they are "overqualified" to work for?) We need to create a community of brown people who are willing to work together to help each other in their times of need. People who will share their resources (not just money, here) to help others.

Until all of these (and more) people work together, there is really not that much more that I, and my fellow good educators, can do to ensure these students better lives in school, or success out of school.

15 July 2009

No shame in their game - attacking children and the president

I am not completely surprised by the reactions/comments made by these people about the Obama family. After all, these are the same people that compared the President, his wife, and other African Americans to monkeys. And then had the gall to say that it was not a racial comparison -- that despite the historical connotation that animal has to brown people, they did not mean any harm by the comparisons.

This is from when the family was in Europe. Thanks to afrobella for the heads up.

They attacked Malia, her appearance, the family, and the man with them. Click here for a summary from the Canadian Vancouver Sun.

They have no shame in their comments. See the comment thread here. Click the image to make it bigger so you can read what they say -- I don't even want to bother repeating any of their comments.

13 July 2009

All-Star Game and meth issues

So, the All-Star Game (baseball) is in town. Which means the city officials have finally decided to clean up some of the garbage in the area, redo some broken windows, and hide the homeless for a few days.

A lot of people I know are talking about the festivities that have been going on since the weekend. They have bragged about getting tickets, talked about going to the America's Center to do some of the games, going to the celebrity softball game, and ventured to the down town area to go to some parties in the hopes of ogling over some famous people that they might just see.

I don't know why they keep telling me about these things, or talking about baseball in front of me at all.

I would rather smoke meth, become addicted to meth, have my face sink in and become acne scarred as my teeth continuously fall out even from eating apple sauce, spend all my money on meth, sit in the house in a drug induced coma until I need the next fix, then go to one of corners of Forest Park Parkway and beg for more money from the people who drive by and curse me and spit on me, at which point I would spit back at them, get arrested and have a nice free place to stay for awhile since I would be evicted from lack of paying rent and from stealing from the neighbors to pawn their flat screens, video games, and fried chicken, as well as sell their gold jewelry to Gold4Cash.com to get my next fix for the meth that would slowly kill me. Then the police would kick me out and I would sleep in the park across from Union Station down town, or crash in one of the abandoned homes the city did not fix up since they are more than 10 blocks from Busch Stadium waiting to come down enough to steal some more to get more drugs and possibly go to 7-11 for a Slurpy and a corn dog, which ordinarily I despise, but on meth, they might be good.

This is what I would rather do than even think about considering going to / attending / viewing / hearing about / even seeing pictures of anything having to do with baseball.

I don't even want to drive on the part of Highway 70 that was named after Mark McGuire. I don't want to go to the zoo unless I can be guaranteed not to see animals playing with giant baseballs.

I only hope that if I have kids, they do not have an interest in little league.

Just a few more days until the fanfare is over in this town.