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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

From the Mouths of Babes

So, students in DCPS took the first DCBAS statewide assessment today, and from my quick perusal, I was pretty pleased with the work a lot of them did. At the end of the assessment, their are two questions called Brief Constructed Responses (BCRs) in which students read a passage and write out an answer to a question about it-- as opposed to multiple choice. The first passage was about how the enineers who designed the SEGWAY modeled many of the features on the human body. The question asked students to describe how a segway and the human body are similar.

My favorite response was this:

The segway is like a person becasue both can balance (yes, excellent start!) A Segway will listen to anything you say to it (ok, not so much, let's see how he sticks the landing...). And also maybe just maybe if they made fake skin and hair a segway would maybe be a person (oh no!!!).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

28 minutes later...



Traditionally, humans become infected by zombies through zombie saliva or blood. I propose a variation on this theme: infection by flatulence. In my upcoming movie, "28 Minutes Later," humans will become infected by inhaling zombie farts. The title will refer to the amount of time it takes a zombie to digest a human brain enough to pass as gas. Gas masks, air filters and other modern technologies will be useless at stopping the plague. Can humanity be saved?

Possible taglines include: "Scent of an Un-Dead Woman," "You Smelt it, the Reanimated Corpse Dealt it," and, of course, "Silent but Deadly."

PS: I have to add, "Night of the Living Blech"

Saturday, October 25, 2008

From the Minneaoplis Star Tribune


Mary Johanson of Mount Rose, Minnesota reports being brutally attacked last night in Saint Paul.  After being accosted and robbed of her hot-dish and bars, the young woman reports having the letters "AF" carved into her cheeks.  She reports her attacker as being of average height and build and "very Jewy."  The attacker was reportedly wearing an "Al Franken for Senate" t-shirt, and shouted, "This'll show you that he's good enough, smart enough, and dog-gone-it people like him!"  Police have yet to apprehend any suspects and are investigating the situation.  

Friday, October 24, 2008

More DCPS....

     The radiators in DC Public Schools are intense.  Like an inferno in the classroom, and my classroom has no thermostat, so the second that heating season in upon us, the sweat begins to pour.  As an environmentalist (and a concerned tax-payer) I am appalled at the energy (and money) being, quite literally, burned by DCPS in this way.  Yesterday, it was so hot that I was, reluctantly, convinced by the pleas of my students to open the windows.  At first, just a crack, and eventually, all of the windows were wide open.  Still, it was HOT.  The kids were  begging me to turn on the AC.  I steadfastly refused.  Still, the heat built.  Another teacher came into my room and remarked how hot it was, and suggested turning on the AC.  With a broken heart, I agreed, and watched as the heater and air conditioner battled in a room with wide open windows.

     We are LEED certified at the lead level.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This just in...

It has been recently discovered that known thespian Kevin Bacon is connected to Anti-American terrorist Bill Ayers through six intermediaries or "degrees of seperation."  While authorities cannot release information about the complex web of  suspected "thespo-terrorists", there is speculation that it includes Jane Fonda by virtue of her relationship to Bridget Fonda who provided voice work alongside Bacon in the animated feature Balto.

Building a Bridge to the 19th Century...

So I am a public school teacher for the District of Columbia Public Schools. The District has a lot of excellent teachers both veteran and new, but it also has A LOT of dead weight. The Chancellor has made it very clear that she envisions new teachers as the future of DCPS, and has gone to great lengths to recruit new teachers as well as to entice veteran teachers to leave. Part of the problem with the new teachers is that we are shoved into the classroom with really minimal training and preparation and expected to sink or swim. The attrition rate is extremely high. There are a lot of reasons for this.

One of them is paper.

DCPS has the most archaic bureaucracy I have ever witnessed. Every day brings a new flood of paper. Paper from the District offices. Paper from the principal. Paper from the school office. Even though all of the school's attendence records are stored digitally, each teacher is legally bound to keep each student's attendence recorded on a paper card. Report cards are filled out by hand and CARBON PAPER copies are kept. I think there is probably one carbon paper factory left on Earth and its only customers are DCPS and John McCain's Senate office. Every day, almost, my principal gives me paper forms to fill out and is concerned when I lose them. Here's an idea, E-MAIL!!!!!

I was forced to attend a staff deveopment training on the new DIGITAL Professional Development process. Teachers can now sign up for professional development sessions on the INTERNETS (hooray!)! We digitally check in and out at these sessions (yeah!)! And then to prove to our principals and the teacher certification office we have to print out a certificate of attendence physically take it to the professional development offices to have an official seal put onto it, and then pysically take it to the central office, which is in a different part of town. WHAT!?!? Yes, the new digital PD system can force you to trek completely across the city multiple times on your own personal time and gas (or METRO fare).

WORD TO DCPS: People under thirty don't use paper; we lose paper. DCPS's record keeping is archaic, wasteful and idiotic, and is just one of a myriad of reasons young teachers are fleeing.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hockey season is upon us....

The heroic Buffalo Sabres currently have four W's and one shootout loss recorded this season. Not bad, but not 10-0.

The heroic Buffalo Bills play the villainous Chargers.

I really think that the media should do an in-depth investigation into which teams are pro-America and which are anti-America.... I think you'll find a lot of teams named after states are of dubious allegiance.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cheap Crass Plug

If you are interested in some excellent artwork or jewelry, Mrs. Sasiadizzle offers a variety of excellent choices: Here and Here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Unicameral

New York State (and all the rest) really needs to follow the example of Nebraska and get rid of the State Senate. A bicameral legislature makes sense on a national level (the houses represent different political constructs-- people vs. states), the houses have different jobs (treaties, approving appointees, originating spending legislation, impeachment and conviction, etc.) and having two houses slows the pace of change.

A state needs to be much more nimble in its legislating capacity. Each state is directly competing with each of the others for jobs, residents, tourists, and tax revenues. While nations compete as well, the competition is muted by legal and de facto barriers such as borders and language.

The powers of the national government are a lot scarier than that of the state, so the deliberative nature of a bicameral legislature is called for. A state can't declare war, approve treaties or move to amend the Constitution (without the backing of the other states), so deliberation is not imperative.

A bicameral legislature stalls meritorious legislation and obfuscates the guilty parties. Senators can point the finger at the Assembly; Assembly members can point fingers a the Senate. Both houses can pass different versions of popular and meritorious bills, and then let them die in conference committee. Members can chalk up politically popular votes with no fear that legislation hostile to their powerful special interest backers will not pass.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Where's George can eat it!

Major windfall for me today. Shortly after getting my change from a local sushi joint, I noticed that one of the quarters didn't sound quite right as I jauntily jingled it. I took it out of my pocket and realized that it was a silver quarter. Further internet investigation revealed that it contains almost $2.00 worth of silver. A $1.75 windfall! I say savor the little victories.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Finish Him!

I've blogged twice now on the astounding possibilities for the Democrats in the Senate, and I have to link to a great post from dailykos. Where Kos exhorts the Dems to leave it all out on the campaign trail and destroy the Republican party worse than it has destroyed the economy and America's standing in the world. Not only are the Republicans looking to be locked out of power, but to have tiny minorities in both houses and to lose several of their leading ideological voices, like Tom McClintock and John Shadegg (and I need to add Mitch McConnell).

For me, though, the sweetest victory of election night is going to be when Jim Martin sends Saxby Chambliss packing.

I won't be completely happy  until the Republican Party is a rump of its former self, completely bankrupt with terrible credit.  I want to see tiny little ideological factions fighting each other with the same venom they have used against the rest of the country these last 15 years.  I want RNC meetings to look like a flock of buzzards pecking at one another trying to get at a rancid carcass.

PS: Yes, I do know that there is some sort of a Presidential thing going on too.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills still lead the AFC East, but the bye could not have come at a more welcome time in my book. Whole lot of injured talent that needs the time, and the rest of the team needs to regroup after their shellacking by the stupidly named Cardinals.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

John Kerry

Has anyone else noticed that John Kerry has completely fallen off the face of the Earth?  Looks like the Obama camp wants no chance of a "botched joke" this October.... 

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Neil Young

So, a major and obvious omission to my current poll is Neil Young. Neil Young is so fucking awesome. I declare him to be the greatest Canadian of all time. The Canadians, though, disagree and have voted Jack Bauer's grandfather as the greatest Canadian. Whatever...

Why do I love Neil Young so much? I really can't describe. I wish I had the critics knack for describing things in ridiculously silly terms that ultimately sound poetic. "His vocal temerity is ironically the bravest element of his music-- not unlike to Northern winds amongst the quacking Aspen of the Canadian Rockies. It is hauntingly beautiful, ethereal, yet ultimately worldly."

Anyone who can illuminate me, and describe my affection for this harmonica virtuoso, I am forever in your debt, and to you I say: "hey hey, my my, rock-and-roll will never die"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Senate, 2009-- titilating possibilities

Just a reminder to all, the Senate in 2009 may very well include Al Franken (Cause he's good enough. He's smart enough, and dog-gone-it, people like him!), an heretofore unknown engineer from South Carolina, a green energy advocate from ALASKA,

AND the Senate may very well lack: Mitch McConnell, Liddy "Watergate" Dole, "Big Bad" John Cornyn, and the absolutely reprehensible Saxby Chambliss who compared Max Cleland to Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
Publish Post

Also, after much consideration, I have come out unequivocally in favor of Bob Conley in the South Carolina race. He may be off on immigration, but he is right on Iraq-- unlike Lindsey "endless war" Graham.

Now maybe someday democracy can come to America and the District of Columbia can get its due-- a Congressional vote and two senators.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Major League Baseball

Want Baseball to be more interesting late in the season? Take a page from the European soccer leagues, and drop the bottom five major league teams to the minors and move five top performing minor league clubs up to the majors. Crappy major league teams will have to stop phoning it in a the end of the season to keep from being relegated, and the prize for winning a minor league pennant will be all the sweeter.

Add to this the fact that different mid-sized cities will be getting major league teams every year, and you'll see a real renaissance of interest in baseball in places like Buffalo, Rochester, Durham, Richmond, Norfolk, Omaha and Sacramento. Not only will teams have the chance to play in the majors if they work hard enough, but team owners will have to keep stadiums ready for the majors. Better facilities can only help attract fans (well, maybe not, judging from the Washington Nationals season this year, but it should hold as a general rule....)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Drill. Baby, Drill

"Drill baby drill!" is the addled cry of a gambling addict, his stack of chips rapidly dwindling, begging fortune for a seven.