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

Saturday, February 27, 2010

When orders of protection fail

Tacoma special education teacher Jennifer Paulson was murdered outside the elementary school by a former college classmate who had just been released from jail for violating a restraining order. Here is the link to the AP article.

Once again, no protection is given to those who legally seek it, but plenty of protection is given to crazies-- and of course, they always can get their hands on guns. In fact, Ms. Paulson's murderer, Jed R. Waits, was dishonorably discharged from the National Guard in 2009.

Until we truly make it impossible for restraining orders to be meaningless, and as long as violent predators can legally obtain guns, people like Ms. Paulson will be victimized. God bless her and her family, and may we all pray for her.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Movie Madness Monday 144: Joy and sorrow edition

This week's Movie Madness Monday comes on the heels of a shocking death of a friend who loved to laugh, and I know she loved this movie. So put your quotes in the comments section while I try to laugh through my tears.

"Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let the aeroplanes circle, moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message 'He is Dead'.
Put crepe bows 'round the white necks of the public doves,
Let traffic policemen wear black, cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East, and West.
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong."

"I would just like to say this. I am, as ever, in bewildered awe of anyone who makes this kind of commitment that Angus and Laura have made today. I know I couldn't do it and I think it's wonderful they can. So, back to Angus and those sheep."

"How do you do, my name is Charles."
"Don't be ridiculous, Charles died 20 years ago!"
"Must be a different Charles, I think."
"Are you telling me I don't know my own brother!"
"No, no...."

"I always just hoped that, that I'd meet some nice friendly girl, like the look of her, hope the look of me didn't make her physically sick, then pop the question and... um... settle down and be happy. It worked for my parents. Well, apart from the divorce and all that!”

"Where's Gareth?"
"Torturing Americans."
"How thoughtful of him."

"In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spigot. Err--Spirit!"

**** Weekend Update:


One of the greatest scenes ever. And one of my favorite movies ever.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How do you keep your job as a teacher without actually showing up?

So there's this teacher who claims that she has all kinds of esoteric, bizarre health issues. She has been out of the classroom eight times as much as she has been in the classroom. Her students have been in the hands of short-term subs and permanent subs for the LAST FOUR YEARS.

She basically shows up for a couple of weeks each year and then disappears with symptoms of scurvy or trench foot or whatnot.

She has written no lesson plans, done no grading, done no teaching for nearly her entire tenure in our district. She has also discriminated against students who do not share her ethnicity.

By the way, while claiming to be so incapacitated that she cannot possibly come to work, she has been seen in the mall and has been in texting contact with some of her students. During the school day, even. It's really good to know that her thumbs are apparently the only working body parts she possesses, along with a very active VISA account filled with a salary she has not earned.

Needless to say, this is her tenure year, and she realizes that this pattern may impede her chance at receiving what is called a "permanent teaching contract."

So what strategy has she devised now?

Apparently, now she is claiming racial bias and a hostile work environment from her fellow teachers and colleagues who have been left to put a bright face on a bad situation for four... long... years. Right now, all that has been promised is that she won't return to this building next year.

Really? I guess I shouldn't be surprised if she ends up being an administrator three or four years from now. I mean, the last time we had a totally incompetent teacher on this team, she was promoted to principal and then moved to a neighboring school district as an assistant superintendent faster than you can say, "Nincompoop."

This kind of situation develops due to poor hiring decisions, refusal to admit that a mistake has been made, and laziness on the part of... everyone. I will be ABSOLUTELY FURIOUS if the administration doesn't do the grunt work and get the documentation to make sure students get the teacher they deserve.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Movie Madness Monday 143: blood and sawdust edition

Here is yet another Movie Madness Monday, and I will attempt to balance the gender distribution here, although I personally do not think there is any such a thing a guy movies or chick flicks... But I'm apparently the only one who thinks this way.

So, ladies and gentlemen, place your quotes in the comment section....

"At my signal, unleash hell."

"What we do in life echoes in eternity."

"Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained??!! Is this not why you are here?"

"He will bring them death, and they will love him for it."

"Those giraffes you sold me, they won't mate. They just walk around, eating, and not mating. You sold me... queer giraffes. I want my money back."

"Tell me again, Maximus, why are we here?"
"For the glory of the Empire, sire."

****Weekend Update: Russell Crowe never looked so good as in


I dunno, I guess the guys who read my blog missed this one......

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Are you prepared for an emergency?

I have a medically fragile student this year-- a great kid who tries so hard to overcome insurmountable odds-- but I got him at the last minute, so have been kind of playing catch up (studying up on his illness, reading his very very long IEP, making adaptations since the IEP hasn't kept up with his condition, etc.). The other day he suddenly started bleeding from his nose while I was working with another student. And very quickly we had several problems.

It all ended okay-- one kid let me know what was happening, the kids all stayed calm, he stayed calm, I stayed calm, we all tried to distract him as another kid found paper towels. I called the nurse (thank GOD for nurses!) who came very quickly.

But I just want to say to you, Edusphere friends, it reminded me of a few things.

Please make sure you have the following items in your classroom, even if you DON'T have medically fragile students:
1. Non-latex gloves, several pair
2. Spare trashcan liners in which to dispose of biohazard waste
3. Gauze pads
4. Bleach wipes

Then, here's the first aid for a nosebleed (advice directed to the person who is bleeding):

1. Tilt your head downward toward your chest, NOT back (tilting your head back causes blood to flow down your throat where it could make you throw up or possibly aspirate it into your lungs). Place something beneath your nostrils to absorb the blood-- gauze, but at least a paper towel or a clean cloth if you can get it.

2. Place pressure with the last joint of your thumb and forefinger on both sides of your nose below the bridge-- think of it as a pincer movement rather than a pinch.

3. Breathe through your mouth calmly.

4. Maintain pressure for several minutes. If you feel faint, try to lower your head toward or below your knees and call for help.

You never know when you might need to know this stuff.

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Monday, February 08, 2010

Movie Madness Monday 142: Great White Way edition

Welcome back to Monday, which means it's time for Movie Madness Monday, the movie quote trivia game. I provide you with some starter quotes from a movie, and you provide your own quotes in the comments section. I reveal the name of the movie on the weekend. Okay?

"Unhappy... unhappy... So unhappy...."
"Very very very very very very very..."

"I'm not going to the toilet, I'm going to showbiz!"

"Where did we go right? Gimme those books Fat, fat, fatty! Gimme those books! Fat, fat, fatty! Books, fat! Books, fat! Books, fat! Books, fat! Lousy fruit- Kill the actors You ever eat with one? Then you ran to Rio And you're safely out of reach, I'm behind these bars you're banging Ulla on the beach! Just like Julius Caesar was betrayed by Brutus, Who'd think an accountant would turn out to be my Judas! I'm so dismayed, is this how I'm repaid? To be... Betrayed! BETRAYED!"

"Settle down, you teutonic TWIT!"

"Do I smell the revolting stench of self-esteem?"

"Springtime for Hitler!"

**** Weekend Update: I stumped you with the movie adaptation of a Broadway musical adaptation of a 1968 Mel Brooke movie, which just goes to show that Mel Brooks is a genius and that Broadway can at times get desperate:


Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane do a pretty good job of being Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel.

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Friday, February 05, 2010

Well, certainly, let's make an education the last priority!

I received a royal summons to attend to a counselor when he was actually in the building in between his numerous workshops. He wanted to talk to me about one of our students. Seems the young lady has overextended herself-- has taken on a bunch of leadership positions and extra-curricular activities, and is feeling very stressed. As the counselor recounted the list to me, it certainly WAS formidable.

The counselor asked the young lady if there wasn't anything she could cut back on, and she really didn't want to give any of it up. But here's the punchline: the kiddo was most concerned about my class, and basically wanted to be excused from doing most of my assignments for the next six weeks so that she could fulfill all her other activities, but didn't actually want to approach me herself (I wonder why?). So instead, she thought it would be okay if the counselor talked to me for her, and the counselor asked if I couldn't somehow do something to lessen the load.

I'm thinking about presenting a lesson on the concept of "opportunity cost" and prioritizing.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Sauce>Goose. Sauce>Gander?

(Yep, those ARE headlights you see reflected in his eyes....)

The citizens of my beloved hometown of Tulsa just elected themselves yet another dipsy millionaire as their mayor (past honorees of note? See Sen. James "9/11 was retribution from God for the US not supporting Israel" Inhofe). Tulsa's new blow-dried Hizzoner has been intent on breaking the policemen's union and the firemen's union and forcing the people who protect the city of Tulsa to take sizable cuts in staffing, pay and benefits, but assured everyone that all parts of city government would take similar hits. But notsofast:
The Mayor’s Office is not sustaining a budget cut and, in fact, is projected to need an infusion of cash before the end of the fiscal year so it is not over budget, Tulsa’s City Council learned Wednesday.

Budget Director Pat Connelly told councilors during a special meeting that budget amendments incorporating more than $10 million in cuts to the general fund will be brought to them next week.

But it will not include a 4.4 percent reduction for the Mayor’s Office as all other city departments have taken, he said. Such a cut would have decreased the executive office’s annual budget of $1,048,000 by $46,000.

This development comes in spite of Mayor Dewey Bartlett having maintained throughout the process that all city groups would share equally in addressing the city’s budget crisis.

Connelly said the payroll for the current staffing level in the Mayor’s Office will exceed its appropriations. The council soon will have to transfer more money into its budget.

“So it doesn’t make any sense to cut them now when you’re just going to have to go back in and provide some additional dollars,” he said.

The staffing expenses come from a combination of then-Mayor Kathy Taylor’s administration and Bartlett’s new administration, which took over less than two months ago, Connelly said.

Some councilors laughed at the revelation in disbelief.

“Good luck with that,” Councilor Bill Christiansen said...

Muh-huh. Just what you expect from a guy named after one of Donald Duck's nephews.

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Oh, yeah, you're a RIOT.

So remember the last fight I broke up?

The same copper who stood there open-mouthed whilst your gentle narrator took one of the miscreants firmly in hand saw me today and said, "So, Ms. Cornelius, used any ninja moves lately?"

I thought about saying, "No-- but could I practice on your pointy head? I need a practice dummy." But you know, he does have a gun, so I just ha-haaaed and walked away.

Gives new meaning to the word "flatfoot."

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Movie Madness Monday 141: Redundancy over and over edition

Welcome to February, MMMers! The doldrums of sunlight deprivation have becalmed what little mental capacity I may have once had, and I long for warmth and bright blue skies.
So put your quotes from this movie in the comment section!

"What if there were no tomorrow?"

"For your information, Hairdo, there is a major network interested in me."

"Somebody asked me today, 'Phil, if you could be anywhere, where would you like to be?' I said to him, 'Probably right here.' Elko, Nevada. Our nation's high at 79 today. In California, they'll have warm weather tomorrow... gang wars and some very overpriced real estate. Up in the Pacific Northwest, they'll have some very tall trees."

"People like blood sausage too. People are morons."

"Did you sleep okay without me? You tossed and turned, didn't you?"
(Disgusted) "You're incredible."
"Who told you?"

"This is pitiful. A thousand people freezing their butts off waiting to worship a rat. What a hype."

"Okay, campers, rise and shine. Don't forget your booties because it's COLD out there today!"
"It's COLD out there every day. What is this, Miami Beach?"

"I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster, drank piña coladas. At sunset, we made love like sea otters. THAT was a pretty good day. Why couldn't I get THAT day?"

"Three hundred and thirty-nine dollars and eighty-eight cents!"

"You want a prediction about the weather, you're asking the wrong Phil. I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be gray, and it's gonna last you for the rest... of... your... life."

****Weekend Update: If you had one day to live over again, would you eventually become a better person? That's the question in


This movie while hilarious while actually very deep philosophically. And who could not love Andie McDowell?

Thanks for playing!

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