Wednesday, October 25, 2006

fund raising idea

Cities, towns, etc. are always short on funds for worthy projects, ranging from schools to roads to libraries to health care for the poor. I have come up with the answer, and it doesn't involve bake sales: parking tickets.

To be more specific, anyone who pulls into a fire zone and doesn't immidiately drop off a handicapped, heavily pregnant or otherwise classified "person in need of a short walk" then pull away to park will be ticketed to the tune of, oh $1000. The ticketee will complain bitterly, but I guarantee you that no matter how many tickets they earn, the ticketee will do it again.

I've noticed this trend several times today - on campus, at the library, grocery store, church - and out of thirty-nine cars (yes, I counted) only one pulled up, droppped someone off and moved on, as is required by law.

Such smugness on my part is only possible because I can honestly state that I've never parked in a fire zone. I saw the film Backdraft right about the time that I was learning to drive. There's a moment when a fire truck pulls up to a building and the way is blocked by a very expensive sports car. The fire department them is entitled to break all of its windows and pretty much trash it because they need to get to the burning building, damnit, and save the 10, 000 people trapped inside. Thanks to director Ron Howard, I got the message!

Friday, October 20, 2006

So many of your who scored a mere 60% and I rank as a 100% nameless guest figure? Is that ever good for my ego...

Ego, what ego?

My student loan payments kick in as of November 1. In other words, I will be reminded at least once a month for ten years that I failed out of grad school. This will trouble my advisor (who I hope is happy) and #2 (who maybe can have nice days) not a whit and will not even occur to #3 and #4 so may they die in - well, may they at least be miserable, though it won't happen as they are well insulated.

Target is hiring seasonable employees. #2 and advisor would be horrified that the idea of making $7/hour is appealing, but neither would they offer to help with the bills. I am qualified to do much, but paid to do little.

Sorry so morose - positive thoughts later.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Quiz - a tad more serious

I posted the last quiz with a firm sense of humor.

This one is rather creepier.

Your results:
You are An Expendable Character (Redshirt)

An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
Deanna Troi
James T. Kirk (Captain)
Geordi LaForge
Will Riker
Beverly Crusher
Mr. Scott
Jean-Luc Picard
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
Mr. Sulu
Since your accomplishments are seldom noticed,
and you are rarely thought of, you are expendable.
That doesn't mean your job isn't important but if you
were in Star Trek you would be killed off in the first
episode you appeared in.

Click here to take the "Which Star Trek character are you?" quiz...

This is rather what I've always suspected - I'm not a star. My ex-advisor (who I hope leads a reasonably happy life, be it short or long, preferably wracked with guilt) is s star. He's rank as a Picard. How apt is this ranking? Ye gads.

ours in humility
(no more quizes!)

Monday, October 16, 2006

I'm who?

It's been a few decades since I watched the Superfriends, but my only memory of Green Lantern is that his mask stayed on without any sort of support.

Your results:
You are Green Lantern

Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
Iron Man
The Flash
Hot-headed. You have strong
will power and a good imagination.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

ko-hoh! ko-hoh!

There are several different routes that I could take to work, but the one which is generally the shortest is also the prettiest. The road winds along past sheep pastures, plus the occasional horses, cows and, to my astonishment, swans.

The first time I drove past the swan pond, I assumed that the fog or my bleary eyes misled the active part of my brain. On following trips, I watched for the pair again. It took me a while to realize that on some mornings they swam in their pond, and on others simply dozed in the grass, under the weeping willow tree.

I'm curious about this pair; clearly this is home, but for how long? Why do they not waddle into the road as with the Canadian Geese who seem to have invaded suburban Indianapolis on such mornings? There's no visible fense, and with everything I've been told about the potential agressiveness of swans, I can't imagine installing the collars for an invisible fence.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

rant revisited

My rant about the draft has generated more comments and more "blog traffic" than I ever anticipated, so a follow up.

I am a firm believer in the old maxim of "put your money where your mouth is." It's very easy to put a bumper sticker or magnet on the back of a car, or wear a purple heart band-aid. However I believe that such choices should only be made if the consequences are taken on as well.

An annonymous comment on my rant begins:

How does the draft = if you support the war then fight in it.

Um, it does. If you support the war, you should be prepared to fight in it. During World War II (the gold standard of wars) people over the age of 18 fought. People over the age of 40 organized the black-out drills, Victory Gardens, administered rationing, etc. Dropping a box of wet wipes into a collection box at Kroger isn't the same thing.

There are alot of young people who do not support the war and I don't see how making them join the war is going to help anything.

Huh? Did you actually read what I said? These are not the folks I want to be drafted. The people with the bumper stickers get drafted, not the people who oppose the war. By the way, "a lot" is two words.

I say NO to the draft. If they need troops then offer good incentives for young men and women to a living salary, better benefits and combat pay.

No disagreement from me on that point.

Americans have always responded when in need at war time. They will continue to do that into the future.

Ah, but that response takes many forms. Again, consider the WW II ration program and imagine trying to implement it today. Wouldn't happen. Apart from the inevitable lawsuits, Americans are not willing to be restricted, even if it means supporting the troops. Yes, we'll respond, but where are the 60, 000 additional soldiers going to come from? There aren't enough volunteers for the present need and to carry out the present need well. We're going to see troops serving multiple tours of duty ever longer and closer together.

All branches of the military have exceeded their quotas and will continue to do so. Young people do not have to join the military to get an education. If they did it's because their parents & guidance counselors did not take the time to advise them of what's available. Joining the military for money for college is a cop out. There is money available if you're willing to sacrafice and work for it.

This connects to my post how? I said nothing at all about this. I'm actually all in favor of giving educational credits to military folks, but I have no idea how this is related to my argument that we need 60, 000 additional troops and should get them from the bumper sticker people.

Why do I think Americans should be held to a higher standard? Two reasons. 1) We're the last super-power and 2) because we're Americans. If we are truly the greatest nation on Earth, we should prove it - in other words, put our actions where we've put our words.

here endeth the rant revisited.

Friday, October 06, 2006

on teaching

I'm exausted. Every time I hear someone say that teachers work wimpy hours, with summers off and all sorts of holidays, I want to scream, "yeah, you do what I do and then say that." Teaching is not only mentally hard (you grade 100 essays on the Lewis & Clark expedition without turning to vodka) but hard on the body as well. Teachers have to be perky and "on" all day - no coffee breaks, just there. 110%, all the time, whether in front of a blackboard, in the elevator, walking along the main path of campus, etc.

I love what I do, but it does wear me down. Right now I'm really looking forward to a hot bath, a large glass of merlot and an early bedtime.

Then I do a blogroll check and read about Xy's work as a teacher in New Orleans and feel quite ashamed of my weakness. I may invest heart and soul into what I do, but my students do not face the same challenges or dangers, God willing.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

onward, onward and onward

Lemming progresses.

It happens more slowly than I would like most days, but as I plow through the first set of exams and assignments, I can see that I have actually managed to teach something to everyone. I've never done of one my current courses before, so I keep waiting to be called an imposter and sent out - yet I seem to be able to communicate not only the material, but a passion for it.


I am sickened by and having nightmares about the attack on the Amish schoolhouse. Unlike so many events that are described as "freak accidents" this truly was unpredictable and probably unpreveventable. Nonetheless it is horrific. Listenng to the BBC radio reports, I am struck by how frequently the British commentators expect that this will somehow change American gun policy.

Please don't get me wrong - nothing in current or future gun laws cold have prevented this from happening. Still, it doesn't improve our international standing.

Yours in pondering national and foreign policy,