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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Last Year's Zeitgeist.... Hillary and Barack

So a class discussion about Reconstruction was hijacked by a severe case of LAST YEAR'S ZEITGEIST when we somehow got sidetracked into a really in-depth conversation about the relative merits of Hillary Clinton versus Barack Obama, with some really fervent partisans on both sides.  I was didn't have the heart to clamp down on it because some of the kids felt so strongly and were  surprisingly civil with one another!  Go figure.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

An Amendment to the Laws of the Internet...

I propose that Godwin's Law, while normally in effect for all internet discourse, is not in effect for any discussion of watercolor painting.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Post

Interesting article in the Post today.  Two things caught my attention.  One, is that the Post is unsure of why there are so many first and second year teachers in the meat-grinders that are the poorest schools, and that the Post can't really analyze data from DC because it's so messed up.  Great. 

I can only say that the one-size-fits all obsession with the DC-CAS scores will continue to drain experienced teachers away from poorer schools, because they just aren't willing to risk their careers by trying to serve those most in need instead of waiting for retirement at what the article describes as a "cream puff" school

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Last Year's Zeitgeist: Indiana Jones and the Search for Spock

Friends, welcome to this installment of my ongoing series: Last Year's Zeitgeist. In this installment, I will both condemn Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and made a bold call for another Indy flick to be made. More? Oliver Twist wants more, you say?!? Please, sir, may I have another I say.

While our sample size is a still small, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the Indiana Jones franchise suffers from Reverse Star Trek Syndrome (RSTS). For those of you out of the loop, Star Trek Syndrome was named, of course, for the Star Trek movie franchise. The disease causes odd numbered movies to range from "suck" to "meh" while even numbered movies range from "yeah" to "fuck yeah." Indiana Jones just suffers from a variant of this debilitating disease. So instead of painting Kingdom of the Crystal Skull with the same brush as The Phantom Menace, realize that it's not George Lucas or Stephen Speilberg's fault; they just can't help it.

To wit:

Raiders of the Lost Ark = Fuck yeah
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom = Meh
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade = Fuck Yeah
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull = Suck
Indiana Jones and the TBD = Fuck yeah???

Ladies and gentlemen, we're due for some "fuck yeah." so let's not hang up the fedora and whip just yet.

Friday, April 24, 2009

And now, what really happened:

Friends, I am beginning what I hope will be a long series of posts, where I re-examine a famous moment in history to find what really happened.

On the final day of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin looked at the seat of the President of the Convention, George Washington.  Upon the back of the seat was engraved a sun on the horizon.  Franklin remarked, "During the course of these proceedings I have often gazed upon that chair and wondered whether it was a rising or a setting sun.  I am now confident, upon the conclusion of our labors that it is, indeed, a rising sun."

Traditional Interpretation:  Franklin was concerned whether the young nation would long remain whole under the weak and decentralized Articles of Confederation, but was confident that the nation, represented by the sun, would rise in prominence and flourish reorganized and reinvigorated by the new Constitution.

What really happened: Ol' Ben Frank was usually so hammered that he didn't know whether it was day or night, much less what day it was.  For posterity's sake Alexander Hamilton and Charles Cotesworth Pinkney forcibly sobered Franklin up for the signing of the final draft, and he felt the need to point out that he resented being up before noon on a Friday.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Why the Teabaggers are wrong....

While I count myself among those who believe that our government spends too much and often frivolously, I need to come out in opposition to the Teabaggers that have been dominating so many news cycles with their dross.  The Teabaggers are citizens of the freest and greatest nation on Earth.  Instead of patriotically embracing that nation and the ideals of that nation, they choose to frame their protest in the trappings of Revolution, with only the thinnest veil in their threats of violence.  

The patriots who were responsible for the Boston Tea Party did not enjoy the freedom that todays Teabaggers disdain.  The patriots of the Boston Tea Party did not have elected representation nor an effective recourse to petition their government.  Now, if the people of the District of Columbia-- the last bastion of tyranny in North America-- were to rise up against their oppressors from Texas and California and Utah and Vermont and the other 46 represented states and commonwealths then I would support the powdered wigs and the garb of the minuteman.  But to compare the Fox News watching troglodytes of the modern Teabagging to Sam Adams and Paul Revere is a farce.

Not in any form have I seen a call to an electoral recourse for the concerns of the Teabaggers. Not one voice calling for candidates to begin campaigns for office.  Nor is there even the traditional Republican campaign to impeach our new Democratic President.  In a nation of laws, the Teabaggers call for extra-legal solutions.

Yes, I want spending cut.  Yes, I was displeased when I finally  hit "send" on my tax return and saw how much of my money was siphoned away from me.  Yes, I hate that work is taxed more than mountains of accumulated wealth.  But there is not tyranny in the land (excepting 61.4 square miles).  It is insulting to the Patriots who risked their lives and property for the call of freedom for the Teabaggers to wrap themselves in their memory over what amounts to a squabble over the effective rate of taxation.  

So I say vote and protest and editorialize and march, but stop the drama queen demagoguery; it's downright un-American.

Taxation without Representation is Tyranny!  Taxation with Representation is Life.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Devil in the blue pants or How I learned to stop worrying and love the budonkydonk

I have to admit that I am a regular reader of George Will, because of all the conservative op-eds that saturate our dead-tree media his is the only one to have an occasionally witty turn-of-phrase or even make a little sense here and there. But in his most recent sartorial editorial, he decries the number one threat to America: BLUE JEANS???

I read so you don't have to: Blue Jeans are a threat to America because you can't make class differentiation. Blue jeans should only be worn by gold prospectors and cattle ranchers, George Will once wore a pair of jeans to a birthday party because he had to.

All this is from a man obsessed with watching men wearing pajamas.

Oh and insert your own cheap shot about the bow-tie because I just can't bring myself to do it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Real Men.

Hey FOXNEWS, give it up! Everyone knows that real men drink loose tea! Tea bags are for grandmas and wimps! Loose tea's got balls.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Religion and Pirates.

It appears one of the major tenets of Pastafarianism is false. For those of you outside of the loop, Pastafarianism is a religion that believes that life was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and that there is an inverse relation between global temperature and the number of pirates in the world.

Lately, we have seen both an increase in mean global temperature and the prevelence of pirates. Can this be a sign of the end times? Or could the Flying Spaghetti Monster be testing our faith in his noodly appendage?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Dyngus Day!

For those of you outside of the loop, Dyngus Day is a Polish holiday-- the day after Easter. Traditionally, boys throw water at girls they like and the girls reciprocate by hitting the boys with pussy willows. I hear that libations, dancing and music may be involved as well...