A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Can you say "Hostile Work Environment?" I THOUGHT you could.

We have a young female teacher new to the school. She is funny, lively, and quite the attractive young thing. Apparently, Mr. Lowjack in her class has noticed this, and has made a few comments. She was being tolerant, not wishing to appear to be one of those people who write up young miscreants at the drop of the ol' pants, but...

The other day, he complemented her on her attire and then suggested she had gotten some of her jewelry at a Mardi Gras celebration. Think about this for a minute. You'll get there. this was not the first inappropriate thing he has said or done.

So of course, that's sexual harassment, and she did write up said miscreant. Here's where it gets fun: the admin who is responsible for this alleged student basically gave him a slap on the wrist and is now putting pressure on her to allow him to remain in her class.

The cluelessness is awe-inspiring. Other pug-uglies in the class have now been emboldened to mouth off because the consequences for such lipping-off are considered inconsequential, and its SOOOO amusing to be able to attempt to humiliate a teacher or indeed any "girl" in front of a class that is half knucklehead in composition.

Is it because this administrator cannot imagine a kid doing this to her? I think it's because we teachers are supposed to check all expectations for dignity and and respect at the door. Now, if this kid HAD said this to our admin in question (unlikely, by far, for many reasons but, nonetheless--) I imagine five days out would have been the minimum consequence. But hey! She is being an ADVOCATE for this poor misunderstood little cretin, and wants to give him ONE... MORE... CHANCE....

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Movie Madness Monday 140: Paprikash edition

It's Monday, some of us are feeling beat up and beat down, so Ms. Cornelius is going to refer to herself in the third person. Like the Queen. Or Richard Nixon. Consider those two things together while I supply you with a new edition of MMM. Remember, place your quotes from the movie in the comments section. Love ya!

"I have it all figured out. It's an eighteen hour trip which breaks down into six shifts of three hours each or alternatively we could break it down by mileage."

"The story of my life isn't even going to get us out of Chicago I mean nothing's happened to me yet. That's why I'm going to New York."
"So something can happen to you?"
"Like what?"
"I can go into journalism school to become a reporter."
"So you can write about things that happen to other people."
"That's one way to look at it."
"Suppose nothing happens to you. Suppose you lived out your whole life and nothing happens you never meet anybody you never become anything and finally you die in one of those New York deaths which nobody notices for two weeks until the smell drifts into the hallway."

"Don't you have a dark side? No you're probably one of those cheerful people who dots their eyes with little hearts."

"I don't want to spend the rest of my life in Casablanca married to a man who runs a bar. I probably sound very snobbish to you but I don't."
"You'd rather be in a passionless marriage."
"And be the first lady of Czechoslovakia."
"Than live with the man you've had the greatest sex of you life with, and just because he owns a bar and that is all he does."
"Yes. And so had any woman in her right mind-- women are very practical, even Ingrid Bergman-- which is why she gets on the plane at the end of the movie."

"We are just going to be friends, ok?
"Great! Friends! It's the best thing."
"You realise of course that we can never be friends."
"Why not?"
"What I'm saying is... and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form, is that men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way."

Weekend Update: Ordering a sandwich at a deli was never the same after we all agreed with Rob Riener's mother in


Nora Ephron's sparkling dialogue at its very best! Billy Chrystal and Meg Ryan as the perfect odd couple! If you have not seen this you have much to learn about movies... and women.

Thanks for playing!

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010


You will, I hope, be pleased to learn that the administrators in our school district have realized that, yes, they were on the verge of violating federal law with my student about whom I wrote last week. So she is back in class, and hopefully there will be no more problems. Poop heads. So there's something good that happened this week.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Movie Madness Monday 139: two danishes on the side of her head edition

Welcome back to Movie Madness Monday, the movie quote trivia game. Since most of us have some time this Monday, I suggest we all watch this classic! I'm pretty sure this won't stump anybody, so jump right in with your own quotes in the comment section. I will name the movie on the weekend.

"He doesn't like you."
"I don't like you either. You just watch yourself. We're wanted men. I have the death sentence on twelve systems."

"What good is a reward if you ain't around to use it?"

"We have an emergency alert in detention block AA-23."

"Boy, it's lucky you have these compartments."
"I use them for smuggling. I never thought I'd be smuggling myself in them. This is ridiculous."

"Now don't you forget this! Why I should stick my neck out for you is far beyond my capacity!"

"Someone has to save our skins. Into the garbage chute, fly boy!"

"Don't call me a mindless philosopher, you overweight glob of grease!"

And GO!

**** Weekend Update: After dealing with a tsunami of crises, I am now able to tell you that, yes, The Force Will be With You. Always.

STAR WARS! The Original, now called Episode IV!

I don't know about you, but I was basically Princess Leia-- loved Luke like a brother, but Han Solo? MMMM-MMMMMM-MMMMMMM!

Thanks for playing!

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Friday, January 15, 2010

My analyst told me that I was right outta my head....

That's the song in my head when I read these:

Pat Robertson strikes again, and this time it's Haiti that has pissed off his Mesopotamian version of God. Oh and then there's this clever rejoinder from Satan, himself....

Well of COURSE Mary Kay is more important than Columbus, DUH! But I wonder if they know that some of our founding fathers denied the deity of Jesus?

Do Vermont secessionists realize that they would have roughly the same population as Montenegro?

One usually doesn't apologize and turn oneself in BEFORE one commits the crime....I wonder if this guy wasn't just looking for three squares and a cot?

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Infuriating! Idiotic!

One of my AP students came into my room and handed me her homework. "I may not be here for class, Ms. Cornelius."

"Oh? Why not?" I asked.

And then she started crying. Big fat tears from eyes squeezed tight.

"The school... the school... they are kicking us out and say we don't live where we are living...."

To sum up, it basically equals a lost job, a lost home, living with a family friend until they move into a new apartment in a few weeks. They pulled her out of her class and told her she was no longer enrolled and to go home. They did not contact her parents, and she doesn't drive. So she huddled in my room for two hours until she finally could get grandma to come and pick her up.

By the way, during that time, she voluntarily took a quiz (got a B on it, too, even with the tear stains) and took notes from class discussion. Even knowing she might not be back.

Now, they ARE living in our district, and I have told you before that this district is usually more than willing to allow any batch of malcontents to remain in our district even if they claim they are living at the Mailboxes-to-Go store down the street. And once granted the boon of a completely free edjicashun at the expense of the actual residents of this district, these non-resident kids promptly proceed to fight, skip class, sass teachers, call other kids fags, and whatnot. These kids still roam the hallways of our district. There are several dozen of them in my school alone. Some of them even live in a nearby state. They cause chaos and disrupt learning as naturally as breathing.

But hey, let's fitfully start enforcing attendance on a kid with a B grade point average in honors classes. Let's KEEP the miscreants and toss out the students! Because I notice they haven't dragged the other kids out of here that we all KNOW live twenty miles away.

This is a hard-working, diligent young person who has kept working through economic turmoil, who has been and remains a resident of our district.

And -- well, let me just go there. Let's also consider that, as a student who falls within TWO targeted categories on NCLB, this kid's presence at our school should actually be considered a blessing when it comes to making AYP across targeted groups. Maybe that would help overturn this stupid decision.

Makes me want to barf.

And yes, I did suggest to her that the magic words to make this all go away were "homeless student," since they believe that her family is lying about living wherre they live.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Movie Madness Monday 138: Resurrection edition

There was once a game we played around here called Movie Madness Monday. It was a movie quote trivia game. I chose a few starter quotes, and then readers commented by adding their own quotes. I've decided it's way too gloomy out, and so I need a distraction. So here we go! Let's see if anyone will play!

"I was most unfortunate in my youth to come across a vomit-flavored one, and since then I'm afraid I've lost my liking for them. But, I think I could be safe with a nice toffee." (Pause) "Alas! Earwax!"

"A pity they let the old punishments die. Was a time detention would find you hanging by your thumbs in the dungeons. God, I miss the screaming...."

"Daddy's gone mad, hasn't he?"

"Isn't he beautiful? Oh, bless him! Look! He knows his mummy! Hallo, Norbert!"

"Five points will be awarded to each of you.... for sheer dumb luck!"

"Me? Books and cleverness. There are more important things: friendship and bravery."

"Thirty-six?! But last year last year I had thirty-seven!"

So put your quotes from this movie in the comment section!

****Weekend Update: The one that started it all, and ALMOST as good as the book-- It's


I still say, if I could be anyone in the movie it would be Professor McGonagall! Thanks for playing!

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Friday, January 08, 2010

A gal walks into a school, and....

So yeah, literally two point five minutes after I walk into school, lost in my own thoughts, I get to help break up a girl fight as one of the school cops stands there open-mouthed until the danger is over. As I am thinking, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner," I'm having to put some silly kid in a hold to keep her from knocking over a fellow staff member before 7 o'clock in the dang morning, and thinking, "Damn. I shoulda stood in bed."

I am sure the copper was stunned by my mad skillz as I put Dummy Number 1 up against a wall before she went back for a third helping of butt-whupping, but really.....

Dude, are these the reflexes we wish to see in our law-enforcement personnel? Because, you know, I am just an amateur, as the French would sneeringly say, but umm? You can't move faster than a middle-aged fat lady?

But one of my students who witnessed the whole debacle emailed me a .wav file of Darth Vader saying "Impressive." Now that made me laugh after a long, hard day.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Let the New Year Begin! And impatient for the karmic wheel to finally crush the snot out of mine enemies

The Soundtrack of My Life for Today

Sing along with me, children!

"Better Things" (Ray Davies)-- three versions:
1. The Kinks
2. Dar Williams
3. Fountains of Wayne

Here's wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme,
And the very best of choruses to
Follow all the doubt and sadness
I know that better things are on the way.

Here's hoping all the days ahead
Won't be as bitter as the ones behind you
Be an optimist instead,
And somehow happiness will find you.
Forget what happened yesterday,
I know that better things are on their way.

It's really good to see you rocking out
And having fun,
Living like you just begun.
Accept your life and what it brings.
I hope tomorrow you'll find better things.
I know tomorrow you'll find better things.

Here's wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme,
And the very best of choruses to
Follow all the drudge and sadness
I know that better things are on the way.

I know you've got a lot of good things happening up ahead.
The past is gone, it's all been said.
So here's to what the future brings,
I know tomorrow you'll find better things.
I know tomorrow you'll find better things.

This is what I repeat to myself: especially as I listen to my fearless leader, the Billy Ray Cyrus of all department chairs (AKA Redneck Mother) chortle in response to the possibility that I might have about sixteen preps next year because I am the only person qualified to teach certain classes that suddenly the administration has thought are a good idea. Which they aren't, may I say.

For the life of me, I can't figure out why this person is always out to completely screw me, except for perhaps the time he had lied to an administrator about something and I inadvertently confirmed that a lie had occurred, after which I was screamed at about "violating the chain of command"-- which puzzled me, since I don't remember enlisting anywhere, and frankly, I felt like saying, if you're going to scatter lies around like Scarlett O'Hara, perhaps you might apprise me as to which lies you have told to whom and when. What is it that threatens you, you shrink-wrapped, petty, catty, backbiting, hypocritical, vituperative, malicious, timorous, cowering, testicularly-challenged, mange-infected, flat-topped, flat-headed ignorant son-of-a-Bob?

O wonderful blogosphere, thou allowest me to vent and be completely bitter with no consequences! How I love thee! I am sure I will be ashamed of this rant someday,

but not now. Now, I just need to vent. Bastuuuuhd.


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