Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

David Stern Meets Frank Lasee

Charlton Heston and Frank Lasee must be livid. Criminals who hang out in strip clubs in the wee hours just got great news: National Basketball Players like Steven Jackson have been asked to keep their firearms at home when going out on the town. David Stern, the commissioner of said hoops league issued that statement today. He indicated that the league's collective bargaining agreement allows players to own firearms but asked that they not be in evidence during team business. My question is this: how does going to a strip club and firing five shots in the air qualify as "team business"?
Stern allows that in these times having a gun at home for protections is OK, but he figures out on the street, packing heat is a no-no. Let me see...where would a guy like Jackson need more protection? At home? At a strip club? At The Palace in Auburn Hills? And another could anybody hide a gun at a strip club? Can you imagine a lap dancer asking, "Is that a gun in your pocket"? Firing shots in the parking lot seems like a good way to let off "steam" to me. Then, of course, the fracas with the Pistons would have been a lot shorter had someone had the foresight to bring a pistol to the game (though the suspensions might have been served on the rock pile). Hey, here's an idea: we could get L'il Kim and her posse to guard NBA players...she would never see a gun being brandished.
All in all, I think it's much ado about nothing. Barring NBA players from carrying guns is like saying to fathers of 6-yr. old football players that they shouldn't point weapons at coaches who are not playing their sons's just not realistic. Pretty soon, AT HOME is the only place that there WON'T be firearms. Frank would like that, and it would certainly keep kids from wandering the halls at school.

Friday, October 20, 2006

"Red Dawn" It Ain't

As our school once again prepares for the annual joke known as standardized testing designed to gauge our fitness as a district, it is interesting to note that candidates and legislators are grappling with education reform as well. We need to prepare our students for entrance into the world, not just our little corner of it. I agree, and keeping our kids safe from crazies with weapons is also a major concern, but I want to know...who the hell is thinking of this stuff?
Bill Crozier, a candidate for the job of state superintendent of school in Oklahoma (a state where even land rushes start ahead of time), has suggested placing heavy books under each students' desks to be used as protection in case of flying bullets! Our candidates in Wisconsin merely throw mud and cow flop at each other...this guy conjures up images of flying bullets! Crozier, a teacher and former security officer in the Air Force, has produced a short video in which he shoots a variety of weapons at a language book, a math book and a telephone book. The rifle penetrated two books while a single calculus book stopped the 9mm projectile. The new Harcourt,Brace textbooks will, no doubt, have kevlar covers and come only in 15"x18" versions. I say just give everyone a copy of something written by a Russian novelist, and they're good to go. Yet, the craziness doesn't end there.
Burleson, Texas, has the idea of giving every student "combat" training presented by Robin Browne, and instructor for Response Options, a company that provides training for such emergencies. Using training methods, students scream loudly at the first sight of a gun, then throw books (presumably stored under their desks for protection)and everything within reach at the attacker's head and body...then RUSH THE SHOOTER AND GRAB ONTO ARMS AND LEGS!! Pencils can then be used for close combat and, I guess, rulers can be used to rap knuckles smartly, rendering the assailant helpless. Lest you think this is a hoax akin to bombing NFL stadia, Browne says, "Five or six seventh-graders and a 95-pound art teacher can immobilize a 200-lb. man with a gun."
I was relieved to hear that. It takes the pressure off of physical education teachers like me. I am free, it would seem, to run quickly the other way and accompany my students out the door. Remember, this is an entire school district buying into the idea of having youngsters attack armed assailants. Their theory is that sitting quietly will only result in getting shot while attacking a gun-toting lunatic will result in fewer youngsters getting shot. I know I'd teach my kid to be the first to volunteer for heading up the posse.I guess.
The prize, though, goes to Rep. Frank Lasee of (shudder) Wisconsin who suggested recently that the real answer lay in allowing teachers, principals and administrators to carry concealed weapons in order to foil any would-be attack. He did suggest that strict training precede the ability to pack heat (Karl Walters shooting TVs and VCRs comes to mind)and admitted that there might be a glitch due to the federal prohibition against firearms on school grounds. NRA logic would respond that if guns were not allowed, only criminals and school shooters would have them. (another argument for another day). Lasee backed off following the firestorm of protest and said he really meant that guns should be locked in a secure place to be retrieved in case of emergency.
"Would you excuse me for a moment? I just need to run to the office for a sec." Uh, yeah.
While teachers in Thailand and Israel were used as examples of such a practice, I hardly think our schools face the kind of threat found in those locales. That reminds me to cancel my application to teach in Bangkok, by the way.
It is presumed that handguns and not sawed-off shotguns would be categorized as concealed weapons. In that case, what are we going to do if someone rushes into our building carrying an AK47 and a calculus book or Dostoyevsky novel?
And you thought election season was going to be the same old story?
You'll have to figure out the "Red Dawn" reference for yourself.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"Thay, What?"

I've always been interested in piercings...not on me, mind you, but on others. I always wondered whether sneezes caused an emission of snot from noses which have been pierced or how much lint catches in a belly button that has been lanced. National Geographic issues with natives having plates hanging from their ears and lips were my favorite. They didn't look dangerous, just cool. Word now is that piercing one's body can be, uh, painful (no fooling?) as well as dangerous and can lead to prison! Here's the poop (as it were).
Stephani Fraccalvieri experienced knee-buckling pain in her face 20-30 times a day; pain that lasted between 10 and 20 seconds at a pop. Doctors diagnosed something called trigeminal neuralgia, a nerve disorder which is also called the suicide disease becasue the pain is so intense that sufferes gladly traipse to the nearest bridge or carbon monoxide outlet.Following a series of medication failures, the doctors decided to try something radical: they took out her tongue stud. Within two days, the pain was gone though soup still dripped through her tongue, I presume.
What followed was a veritable litany of reasons not to pierce ones tongue. Due to the blood rich areas of the tongue, infections can spread rapidly to major organs, resulting in tetanus, heart infections, brain abcesses (!), receding gums and, at least, chipped theeth (that's how one might pronounce "teeth" with a pierced tongue). While such disorders are somewhat rare, would you take the risk? Experts indicate that only "implant grade" material should be placed through the tongue. That begs the question: who wants silicone on his or her tongue? Not me.
But "What about the prison thing?," I hear you ask. Check with Deborah Robinson: she'll be spending time (perhaps as much as 5 years)at the crowbar hotel as a result of a piercing.
It seems that her 13-yr.-old daughter decided to pierce her own navel...perhaps not so unusual in a person who's frontal lobe is a LONG way from putting out smart decisions. Anyway, infection followed, and the girl dropped 40 pounds down to 75 and couldn't even move off the couch because of the severity of the infection. The court decided that the mother was to blame for not seeking medical attention during that time. My guess is that Mom figured that this was typical teenage girl behavior and thought nothing of it. Perhaps an audition is upcoming for the daughter on that runway model reality TV show while Madre is making license plates, or at the very least an appearance on Tyra Banks' show.
As for me...piercing screams at the fact that "The Gilmore Girls" is still on TV is all you'll get from me.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sticks and Stones? Try "Idiot."

It seems as if everyone is getting a bit testy these days. Sometimes it's a big deal as in the cases of killers and would-be killers in our schools. Wisconsin has had a couple of high-profile cases lately. Interesting to me is that in one case, a student actually told someone when his friend made a threat, and in the other case, a student did nothing after he was warned that "the principal won't make it through Homecoming week." In one case, the tragedy was averted, and in the other case, sadly, the principal DIDN'T make it through the week. In each case there were reports of name-calling and general mean people behaviors which led to the potential for destruction. Calling into question a person's sexual orientation or pointing out somatotypes hurts, no matter what anyone says; it shouldn't happen in school though it does. But how about at the airport?
If you've flown any time in the last few years, you know the screening thing is tough. Getting patted down every time I go through a check point simply because I fly standby has gotten to be an irritant. The woman in Wisconsin last year got so irritated by "getting felt up" that she clocked the TSA woman, earning her a day in court. Mind you, this was a retired English (I think) teacher! She didn't conjure up any Mike Tyson references to me.
Anyway, with the new regulation barring certain liquids and/or certain volumes of liquids, trying to get on a plane must be like trying to understand Medicare Part D. No wonder Ryan Bird was upset! Bird, a vice president for an industrial manufacturing firm was so incensed by what he called "idiocy" in screening techniques and policies that he wrote "Kip Hawley is an idiot" on a clear plastic bag into which he had placed the aforementioned liquid items. Hawley, of course, is the guy in charge of TSA. As the bag went through with his belt, his change, his shoes and his first-born, Bird was summoned by the operator...who called a supervisor...who called the Milwaukee sherriff's dept...well, you get the idea. The screener told Bird, "You can't say things like that." Freedom of speech, it would seem, ends at the security check point.
After something of an upper-level disturbance in terms of conversation, Bird was allowed to board his plane.
What's next? Jay Leno getting hauled off for a monologue bit about Donald Rumsfeld? Me getting hauled off for mentioning Hawley and Rumsfeld in the same blog entry with the word "idiot"? Maybe this is all a result of not being able to post The Ten Commandments on the courthouse lawn...or maybe it's the parents' fault (Freud might agree). Somewhere along the line we need to take name-calling and such idiotic behaviors out of schools and into the airports where they belong.