Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Fever

March 27, 2011

Friday morning was so pretty that I got all fired up to do some Spring Cleaning.

Fortunately for my family, by the time I got home from work, the weather had turned ugly again and cooled my enthusiasm.

Well, there's always April...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Didn't She Ever Read Dickens? (Or a History Book?)

March 20, 2011

Whoever killed Missouri State Senator Jane Cunningham’s bill to gut the child labor laws, thank you.

Whoever voted her into office, please don’t do it again.

(Cunningham's rationale was that having jobs helped her kids grow up to be responsible adults. I wish that all parents and employers were as pure of heart as she is, and would only use child labor to benefit the children. I would also like to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and to meet the tooth fairy.)

Idaho Legislature

March 20, 2011

Idaho’s legislature wants to force colleges and universities to allow guns on campus. In case somebody comes gunning for the kids, they want everybody else to be prepared.

For some reason, this has some administrators and parents perturbed.

Teenagers, hormones, booze and guns. Why not?

I’m not anti-gun. I’m not anti-teenager. But I’m not anti-common sense, either.

If a university can restrict underclassmen from bringing their cars to campus, why can’t it tell the kids to leave the guns at home, too?

(I understand that there are campuses in other states that allow guns, and they don’t seem to have inordinate problems. But that was the schools’ choice, not the legislatures’. Allowing the schools to make the choice is one thing—taking the choice out of their hands is another.)

Just the Facts?

March 18, 2011

I was fascinated by the coverage of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, but not for the reasons you’d expect. It’s always interesting (but not pleasant) watching the reporters trying to steer the experts they’re consulting into a certain declaration, usually intended to inflame fear or anger. (A certain CNN reporter covering New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina comes to mind.)

The Today Show had a woman interviewing a tsunami expert on what Hawaii could expect. She kept trying to get him to make some dramatic declaration about The Catastrophic Consequences of such a wave; but he only talked about the great warning system they have in place, and how there probably wouldn’t be much to worry about. He never did say what the people should do to prepare for it (which I actually thought would have been helpful, just in case).

At the end the interviewer said, “So, people in Hawaii should get to high ground.” He was like, “Yeah, sure.” But his heart wasn’t in it.

It stinks when the people you’re counting on to sensationalize a story won’t cooperate.

Random Thought on Recycling

March 18, 2011

The same old recycling debate surfaced recently: It takes a lot of power to recycle, so are we really any further ahead in saving the planet? Well, we have to mine fewer minerals for cans, for one thing. That can’t be bad.

Then I wondered, “Suppose Joe Biedenharn had never figured out how to bottle Coke? Where would we be now? Still under tons of trash?”

Obviously, if Joe hadn’t worked it out, somebody else would have. But it’s an intriguing premise for a story (or a science project): What exactly has been the effect of bottled/canned soft drinks on modern society?

If I wrote a story about it, I would call it “Reinventing Joe Biedenharn” and have people travel back in time to direct him away from figuring out the bottling process—so soda would still only be available in drugstores, and the soft-drink industry wouldn’t have boomed. Then I’d take the scenario out further, to see what the other effects might be. Heck, forget the trash, just think of the reduction of bad teeth and obesity. (Of course, we’d still have to deal with fast-food restaurants.)

Anyway, I’m not going to write the story, so if anybody else wants to, be my guest.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Teacher Salaries

March 9, 2011

A Wisconsin teacher asked me to post this. It's on Democratic, and it looks like the person who posted it is identified as demtenjeep.

Teacher's Salary

Teachers' hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year!

It's time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do—baby sit!

We can get that for less than minimum wage. That's right. Let's give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked, not any of that silly planning time.

That would be $19.50 a day (7:00 AM to 3:30 (or so) PM with just 25 min. off for lunch).

Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children.

How many do they teach in a class, 30? So that's $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day.
However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! we're not going to pay them for any vacations.


That's $585 x 180= $105,300 per year.

What about those special teachers and the ones with master's degrees?

Well, we could pay them minimum wage, and just to be fair, round it off to $7.00 an hour.
That would be $7 x 6 1/2 hours x 30 children x 180 days = $245,700 per year.

Wait a minute--there's something wrong here!

Average teacher salary $50,000/180 days = $277/per day/30 students = $9.23/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student. A very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even try - with your help - to EDUCATE your kids!


And the parents don't even have to buy us pizza!


March 9, 2011

Okay, I felt bad about the March 7 post. Even though I was taking a potshot at the media, it might have seemed like I was picking on Charlie Sheen. And I wasn’t—he is a goofball, but he's never picked on me, so I'll leave him alone, too. I was just tired of the excessive coverage, just like I’m tired of hearing what Kate Middleton is wearing, or what she had for breakfast. (Yes, he’s asking for the coverage and she’s not, but it’s excessive either way.)

So I took the post down, turned around to my TV screen—and there was Charlie!

So I said, “What the heck!” and I put it back up.

By the way, I tip my hat to Craig Ferguson, who didn’t have Charlie on his late show on the grounds that it would be exploiting the mentally ill. Nicely done, sir.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Day without Charlie is Like…Nice!

March 7, 2009

The Week in Review

Monday: Get up, make sure child is eating proper breakfast, play with cat, vacuum, plan dinner, get child off to school, get ready for work, check on Charlie Sheen, and leave.

Tuesday: Get up, make sure child is eating properly, throw in a load of laundry, play with cat, plan dinner, get child out the door, check on Charlie Sheen, get ready for work, fold laundry, and leave.

Wednesday: Child, laundry, cat, dinner, Charlie Sheen, work

Thursday: Child, laundry, vacuum, cat, dinner, Charlie, work

Friday: Child, laundry, cat, dinner, Charlie, work.

Did I say “check on Charlie Sheen”? I meant, “turn on the news.”

At least I used to.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Concerned Parent or Meathead?

March 4, 2011

To the parents in Wisconsin who called teachers "Glorified baby sitters" and said that they deserve minimum wage:

Here's something for you to try:

Over summer break, sit your child down for a day and try to teach him something—anything: Division; the use of the conditional clause; the importance of Chancellorsville; Newton's Laws of Motion...

And they have to GET it; you can't just rattle the stuff off, make the child repeat it, and call it a day.

Then see if you appreciate the "glorified baby sitters" a little bit more.

We've all had at least one bad teacher. But if they were all bad, where would you be today? Not reading, not writing, not balancing the checkbook, but possibly getting stiffed on your wages because you wouldn't know if you were being paid the right amount or not.

Yes, we need to find a way to weed out teachers who are not in the right profession (to put it mildly). But don't refer to all teachers as "babysitters". Or someone might refer to you as a raving loon.