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Friday, July 31, 2009

Milton Educates Phil...

Milton Friedman educates Phil Donahue on "Greed"...

HT: CarpeDiem

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mountain Lion Sighting!

It's been a few years since this sign first went up. Claudette and I always take a look at our surroundings when we are out walking but we've never seen anything...

...until today.

I was walking through the park at the end of the block. I crossed the rusty bridge over the creek from the park on the way to McD's for lunch. As I was walking the path along the top of creek bank out to the main road, I saw a mountian lion meandering in the creek bed about 20ft below.

I watched it walk away around the next bend in the creek while silently cussing myself for not having a camera.

Google Maps Coordinates: 37.298945,-121.769012
The cat was just about between the green and red pointers in the picture (click to enlarge) below:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You Might Be a School Employee If...

Attributed to Jeff Foxworthy:

1. YOU might be a school employee if you believe the playground should be equipped with a Ritalin salt lick.

2. YOU might be a school employee if you want to slap the next person who says, 'Must be nice to work 8 to 3:30 and have summers off.

3. YOU might be a school employee if it is difficult to name your own child because there's no name you can come up with that doesn't bring high blood pressure as it is uttered.

4. YOU might be a school employee if you can tell it's a full moon or if it's going to rain, snow, hail....anything!!! Without ever looking outside.

5. YOU might be a school employee if you believe, 'shallow gene pool' should have its own box on a report card.

6. YOU might be a school employee if when out in public, you feel the urge to snap your fingers at children you do not know and correct their behavior.

7. YOU might be a school employee if you have no social life between August and June.

8. YOU might be a school employee if you think people should have a government permit before being allowed to reproduce.

9. YOU might be a school employee if you wonder how some parents MANAGED to reproduce.

10. YOU might be a school employee if you laugh uncontrollably when people refer to the staff room as the 'lounge.'

11. YOU might be a school employee if you encourage an obnoxious parent to check into charter schools or home schooling and are willing to donate the U-HAUL boxes should they decided to move.

12. YOU might be a school employee if you think caffeine should be available in intravenous form.

13. YOU might be a school employee if you can't imagine how the ACLU could think that covering your students chair with Velcro and then requiring uniforms made out of the corresponding Velcro could ever be misunderstood by the public.

14. YOU might be a school employee if meeting a child's parent instantly answers this question, 'Why is this kid like this?'

15. YOU might be a school employee if you would choose a mammogram over a parent conference.

16. YOU might be a school employee if you think someone should invent antibacterial pencils and crayons...and desks and chairs for that matter!

17. YOU might be a school employee if the words 'I have college debt for this?' has ever come out of your mouth.

18. YOU might be a school employee if you know how many minutes, and seconds are left in the school year!

...and as a substitute teacher, I can identify with: 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 12, 13, 14 and 16.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Don't Get Sick on Sundays...

I've said my bit about personal dealings with health insurance companies but I'm pretty ok with the doctors and actual medical services provided -- except the cost, of course.

But I don't think I want to change to anything resembling this...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Seabreacher for the boys...

My sister lives on a lake in Georgia. I'm hoping she'll buy one of these before we come to visit next year.

Hey, Sue! Don't ya think the boys would love this thing?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Atlas Shrugged Finally Done!

I started reading Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” several months ago. It’s taken me several months to read because at 1168 pages, it’s a large book. It doesn’t help that I had to return it to the library every three weeks and try to check it out again as they would not allow renewals because there were always several people “on hold” for the same book of which they have only seven copies.

With several weeks delay between checking the book back in to the library and waiting for the next available copy to continue the novel, I was able to complete the last third of the book this week with only six days left before I have to return it.

Who is John Galt?

That’s the main catch phrase of the book revived by popular current day Conservative radio and TV personalities commenting on the apparent direction our US government is leaning.

In the book, John Galt starts out as a legendary myth that later turns out to be very real. John Galt seems to be Ayn Rand’s alter ego whose political view seems to be somewhere to the far right of extreme Libertarianism.

At one point in the book, John revels himself in a hijacked radio address to the nation with a three hour speech explaining his belief system and actions. I started reading the first few pages of Galt’s speech and noticed a recurring theme. I skipped several pages and picked up reading the same theme. Skipped more pages and found the theme continued.

Ayn Rand had become Ayn Rant which pretty much boils down to: “Government! Leave me the hell alone!”

It was only because I skipped much of that 60 page radio speech that I was able to finish the book by the library deadline.

I’m tempted to checkout her book “The Fountainhead” but I hear there is movie that I can complete in about 2hrs.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

No New Friends…

In the five years I’ve been subbing, I had no idea what she looked like.

“Oh! Hi there Ms. E! Are you working this week?”

This was from one of the teachers in the teachers’ lounge the last week of school. I was eating my lunch at the time and when I heard her name, I had to turn around to see who she was. Ms. E is one of the very few subs I hear talked about (favorably) at the schools I work.

Overheard in the office:
“See if you can get a hold on Ms. E if she’s available…”
“We need someone reliable for Ms. X’s class. See if we can get Ms. E”
“Ms. E and Mr. Homework are already booked, who else can we get?”

I picked up my sandwich and went over to introduce myself.

Me: “I just wanted to come over and introduce myself since I’ve heard so much about you from the teachers here. The kids here call me Mr. Homework but my real name is Mr. P.”

Ms. E: “So YOU’RE the Mr. Homework all the kids talk about. It’s finally nice to put a face to the name.”

It turns out that we started subbing about the same time five years ago. We traveled the same school circuit but never seemed to cross paths until today. Comparing notes, we both realized that neither of us could recall the names of any subs in this district except each other.

In the five years I’ve been doing this, I can recall the names of only two substitute teachers in the schools I work. One of those is a guy I’ve never met face to face. We only communicate via email. After finding my blog, he figured out from clues that we work the same schools. He quit the first year.

The other is Ms. E.

That is one aspect of substitute teaching that is different from any other profession, at least from my personal experience. You do not easily get to know others in the same profession. The infrequency of contact doesn’t sustain familiarity.

Other than the initial meeting at the start of the year where the newly minted subs and retreads like me get the mandatory job safety and rules of conduct training, there are no “meet and greet” type events where you can easily get to know your fellow subs. There are no “Sub Club” after school hangouts where you can down a few Diet Pepsi’s and swap war stories.

Unlike some work friends from some of my previous professions:

I’m still in touch with a guy, currently in real estate, that I knew from our pre-teenage days as paperboys.

My once a week racquetball partner is a guy I worked with over 30+ yrs ago on a private software project.

A twice a month “anyone up for lunch” friend is a guy I worked with for three years at a defense contractor company some 20+ years ago

A friend I don’t’ see enough of is a guy I met at my very first job at Fairchild Corp just out of college in 1970. That was in the days before Intel and Microsoft were invented.

…On the other hand, local anonymity sometimes has its advantages as the author of an online blog.