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.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"To Sir, With Love" It Isn't...Mostly

I hear it all the time from relatives to neighbors, to Marcus' grandmother last week: there's a negative stigma attached to being a teacher. It's like we're all degenerates "Looking for Lolita," or we're 'way overpaid for only working six hours a day nine months of the year or the benefits we get are worthy of the CEO of Mobil/Exxon...and on and on. While compared to the najority of folks, we do ok, there are some things most don't consider. Here's how my last few days went:
I walked into a locker room last week to supervise after a gym class. As I felt a bit uncomfortable watching guys change clothes, I opened the door to the bathroom just for something to do. Some student had taken his lunch for a log ride (if you get my meaning) in the wrong receptacle. The stench was overpowering, and there was nothing to do but extricate the offending matter (I'm TRYING to be delicate, here) and put it in the appropriate place for evacuation. I could have tried to find the janitor and walked away, but I felt it was my duty to students to show them that if one sees something amiss and can rectify (so to speak)it, action should be taken. OK, day SAME THING!!! I knew it was the same person (really, it could have been DNA or a fingerprint and been less identifiable). Now, I was seriously peeved so I set about trying to nab the person who felt he had squatter's rights (as it were). Over a week later, and no return. Good and bad. Good in that I don't have to actually deal with it anymore, and bad because I had that rolled up newspaper all ready!
Yesterday, I almost get a sprained spleen as two kids came careening by me engaged in a "Flying Fists of Death" debate over who could swing harder and punch less. Naturally, I somewhat wanted to find out myself, but breaking up fisticuffs is in my job description, even as a casual passerby, which I was. Fortunately, my spleen remains intact, but a one-day suspension and a disorderly conduct fine each, and both were back in the friendly confines today. My rep has been greatly enhanced though...students stand, moth agape as they marvel at what they saw (this occurred in a commons area during break time and was witnessed by many). Other staff members a) avoid that area altogether now and b) take great delight in making up fierce nicknames for me.
Hoping for a calmer day was beyond expectation.
"Hey, Mr. Patterson, the urinal is overflowing in the locker room!" I rush in to note that such a thing IS, in fact, happening, and there is nothing I can think of to do since it doesn't appear to be blocked by toilet paper or any less desirable material. I rush to get Blackie ( sound asleep in his chair since it's lunch time) who hammers on the descending pipe for a moment and the process is reversed. Water is now running into the drain. A hammer? I could have done that if I'd known. Watch for broken pipes soon!
Tell me you get to do stuff like that with regularity in YOUR job!
I truly DO have the most interesting job on the planet

Monday, March 26, 2007

Just Another Tila Tequila Sunrise

It all started as a sociological experiment. My students and I were discussing relationships and the fact that teens rarely interact on a personal's all IM or computer messages. At best, it's a phone call...but rarely face to face. This is where comes in. Most of them have an account by which they can keep track of and send messages to PEOPLE THEY SEE EVERY DAY IN SCHOOL! One would think there would be little else to say, but, apparently, there is MUCH to say so they interact in cyberspace.
As an experiment, I set up an account just to see how long it would take for things to happen. Immediately, I had one "friend": a guy named Tom who was there to help me navigate the site. I instantly deleted him because it was just too wierd having a pseudo-friend. Navigating the site didn't prove to be that tough. After all, I are a college gradyouate.
One of the signs of status among MySpace adherents is the number of "friends" one has. Too few, and you are obviously not worthy...too many, and you are really shallow. I have yet to determine the numer that means "just right enough to be super-cool." I think I have 25 or so...mostly students and ex-students who discover it either by accident or by word of mouth. (Type in darrell and green bay, and you'll find me. Want to be my friend?)
So, the experiment was interesting enough, and I continue to add, maybe, one friend a week. So far, only two people whom I did not know asked to be my friend (yes, you have the right to accept or refuse...there are standards, after all!) I refused both of these people on the basis that they were probably FBI agents trolling for perverts in addition to the fact that I'm snooty when it comes to "friends." When there was no picture and no personal information provided, I opted out.
Now comes Tila Tequila: the queen of She gets requests for up to a thousand new friends a day and currently leads the country with over 1.7 million cyber-"friends." PC World has recently named her One of the 50 Most Influential People on the Web. She has a song available for download on iTunes...a rap-rock revenge fantasy (not my description) thing called "I Love U." She has a manager who also manages Clay Aiken (that should tell you something right there) and wants to make it big in the music biz. You can watch the video on her MySpace site (unfortunately), and what she lacks in musical ability she makes up for in lingerie.
Honestly, what's the internet coming to?
With friends like that...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Tintin Two...uh, Deux

The original Tintin. Our hero wishes to remain faceless.

Once again, I am absolutely the last to find out about something, but this time, I've made the discovery just in time. It always amazes me how someone who considers himself to be literate can be totally ignorant of widely-read literature more than 70 years old! I am speaking of the series of comic adventures of Tintin, cub reporter, which were originally penned in Belgium beginning in 1929 by Georges Remi under the penname of Herge.

Normally, I could excuse myself because these renowned stories were written in a foreign language in a country I'd only associated with waffles and horses. However, the more than 200 million copies of thse texts were sold by cleverly translating them into 50 languages! I have no excuse (since ignorance is never accapted as an excuse). Fortunately, my son Ryun came to my rescue when he gave me a T-shirt featuring Tintin the other day and patiently (somewhat) explained to me what I'd missed in my cave-dwelling days.

A trek to B & N proved him right, and I managed to pick up the first in a collected series of Tintin comics, explaining to my wife that our grandson would be getting these after he finished The Boxcar Children. When she appraised me with a dubious look, Ryun again jumped to my rescue by saying that's what got him so interested in reading: the fact that I'd read comic books to him for hours on end. Of course, one can reply that such an activity has also produced some less positive aspects of his personality as well, but that's another story. This is where the information comes in handy...there is a REAL LIVE DUPLICATE of Tintin existing in anonymity (until now).

In the stories, Tintin is an investigative reported who is always accompanied by his dog Snowy. Ne'er-do-wells are constantly trying to kidnap, kill or incapacitate our plucky hero, but he manages, with Snowy's help, to extricate himself from every sticky spot and come back stronger than ever with the mystery solved. So it is with Lee Lawrenz.

While only a seemingly local newshound, Lee is the embodiment of Tintin. He was slyly trying to ascertain just yesterday whether or not Gu was, in fact, a perfomance-enhancing substance used by the track team at Algoma High School. The coach was playing it close to the vest and tried to distract our intrepid reporter by asking him to take photos of the team. On his way back to the office, Lee was struck violently by an unknown assailant driving BACKWARDS IN A BLACK, PONTIAC GRAND AM IN THE SCHOOL PARKING LOT! Our hero flew from his feet to the icy pavement with his incriminating notes flying everywhere as the hitman screeched away thinking he'd cemented the Gu secret forever. Lee, his mouth set in a disdainful sneer, simply picked himself up, gathered his far-flung notes and went back to work.

No doubt, the vehicle is already at a chop shop in Chicago, but our gallant hero would not be deterred. He refused to even call the police or report the "accident,"
vowing to solve that incident later.

"Calling attention to this heinous attempt would only make it harder for me to solve this mystery," he said. "I WILL get to the bottom of this if I have to grill the coach three times this season instead of the normal one." Tension is, indeed, high, and we're all peering carefully over our shoulders and making every attempt not to stand too close to Tintin Two (Deux).

Thursday, March 08, 2007

"Just Happy To See You!"

If you ever wonder why prisons are overcrowded, examine these recent cases from Wisconsin.
One guy was stopped by the police and shoved his marijuana pipe into his underwear to avoid being cauight with it. Unfortunately, he forgot to zip his pants back up so the officer was naturally suspicious. The Q & A which followed disclosed the offending material. Let's listen in:
"Excuse me, sir, is that a marijuana pipe in your underwear?"
" No, officer, I'm just glad to see you!"
"Uh, well, that's nice. Let's just have a little look-see there."
Time to call for back up.
To make matter worse, he admitted the use of pot to a cellmate WITH A GUARD STANDING RIGHT THERE! There's no reason this guy isn't incarcerated for life just for being stupid.
Of course, there's the recent story of a young man who called a tow truck...from the middle of a cornfield...late at night. Sensing that the caller might be a bit intoxicated, the tow truck driver called the police. Sure enough...he was arrested for DUI FOR THE SECOND TIME IN A WEEK! Since the "corn maze" season was long past, there was little to do but book him for relentless idiocy.
Normally, these kinds of behavior aren't news, but taken as a whole, they makes me seriously wonder about society. It gives me the shakes just imagining how many more of these idiots there are out there that have not been apprehended yet.
And they got "Scooter" Libby, too, by the way.
Thank goodness I'M normal...and, as yet, unapprehended!