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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Hearty Congratulations

Truly great news, Irina at the Ignoble experiment blog graduated from Law School and is currently getting ready to take her bar exam. Well done and good luck.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Battleship

My senior year Dad bought a '69 Fury III, It was yellow with a green fabric top, had a 318 V8, and one problem. It had extensive hail damage on the hood and trunk, but it drove like a dream. When everyone was telling Dad not to buy a car with that much body damage he decided to buy it (low mileage and low price) by saying that the hail damage didn't help or hurt it go down the road any better or worse.
When I graduated and had a scholarship to Wayland I naturally wanted to take my Rambler Classic with me. Mom wouldn't let me. Mainly, though on a full ride, I didn't have any money to put gas in it, make repairs, or pay insurance. Needless to say I wasn't a happy camper. My room mate was from church and we drove off to college in his '69 Sport Fury (only difference was that it had a 353 V8). The 318 had good power from a stop, but topped out at around 80 mph, the 353 was a little sluggish from 0 to 40, but could cruise all day long at a 100 mph.
Mom took in a boarder that fall. A Vietnamese college student and sold the Rambler to her. Mom's regretted selling that car ever since. The girl wrecked it not too long after buying it.
When I was attending Seminary in Fort Worth and needed a car Dad gave me the Plymouth. They'd driven it for five years and I drove it for four. It took a beating and kept on ticking.
When I met Grinnygranny and we started dating I was a little embarrassed. The fabric top had split and looked real raggedy, there were a number of dints and scratches, the paint had faded, so I had the dints fixed and repainted it. I didn't have enough to fix the hail damage, but I'd gotten rather used to them.
When Penni married the first time and needed a car we were in a position to let her have it. She drove it for about a year. By that time they stopped selling gas with lead, and the engine wasn't designed for unleaded.
This car was a real work horse and about the best car all of us ever owned.
If Chrysler still made cars this good, they wouldn't have gone bankrupt.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cadillac of the drive-in

The third car I learned to drive was a 1963 Rambler American 330 station wagon. The way it worked was that Mom drove the Pontiac to work and back, Dad drove the Rambler, Bruce and I fought over who would drive the Olds, he usually won that argument since he was a Senior and I was a Sophomore.
The Rambler was a standard shift and Dad picked me up the summer between 9th and 10th grade at driving school. He took me out on a dirt road (this was before Albuquerque exploded in population growth) and I got my first lesson in how to use the clutch. It took me ten minutes to strip all the gears and Dad had to drive home in reverse.

It had a cast iron flathead 6 cylinder engine that was about as easy to work on as any engine ever designed. It got 100 horse power which was plenty of pep, but not drag racing fast.
Bruce bought his first car. Mom and Dad traded in the Olds and Pontiac on other cars and I inherited the Rambler Spring of my junior year. This was the best car in the world for dating, especially going to a drive-in movie. Keep in mind this was before head rests. AMC introduced the split seat that had adjustable backs. In fact they would go all the way back to level with the back seat. At the drive in you could drop the front seats and that created a nice comfortable space to enjoy your date. Mom really hated this feature.
The summer between my junior year and senior year I worked as a bus boy at Sears in their coffee shop (yes they used to have such things). Almost every penny I made went into fixing this car. I replaced the shocks, the water pump, tuned it up, new tires and was ready to go. School started, I quit my job to run cross-country and track, which as everyone knows is a bad place to be -- all systems go.
Saturday, Sept 4 1971 I was on my way to pick up my girl friend to see a movie. A car ran through a red light hit me on the back left tire, spun me around like a top. He spun one way I spun off the other. I had to get out the passenger door as the drive door was jammed and the bastard that hit me took off.
He snapped the axle and if the grill of his car had not caught between the car and the tire he'd have flipped me over. (No seat belts I wouldn't have walked out in one piece). My only injury was a bruised knee cap that hit the emergency brake handle.
Bruce was a Police Aide at that time and by sheer coincidence was OJT in the "hit-and-run" department. He saw that my case wound up on top of the pile. They found the car that hit me a couple of miles away, but the driver was long gone. They traced the car to a man who had taken a .45 and blew his brains out in the car two weeks before I got hit. The car was given to his ex-wife who left it on the street, in summer, without cleaning it out, and someone stole the car. The gal's brother had a two page arrest record and if you connect the dots most likely was the guy who totaled my car, but since I couldn't make a positive ID that's as far as it went.
On record I got hit by a dead man.
The insurance company paid off on the blue book value, which wasn't much. Mom gave that money to Bruce to buy his car so he could buy another one.
My Rambler station wagon was replaced by a '62 Rambler Classic sedan (it also had the front seat levels with the back seat feature), but it needed lots of work that I didn't have money to fix it up with.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Old Clunkers

In a previous post I mentioned I learned to drive in a '58 Olds, actually I learned in three cars, that was just one of them.
The second car was a 1963 Pontiac LeMans. I can't find a picture of the car in question. Pontiac upsized the LeMans and that's all I can find. Pontiac also had a Tempest that was their version of the Chevy Corvair, and it's not the same car either. This car looked a lot like the '66 Dodge Dart.
The Olds had a huge powerful engine, the Pontiac was a gutless wonder. It had a slant 4 cylinder engine (looked like a V8 cut in half) and though the car looked fast it took forever to build up speed. The transmission never worked properly and it had a stupid little knob on the dash to put it into gear instead of a column shift or floor shift.
This was the car Mom preferred I drive, it was the last car I'd try to drag race in. The real reason I took the driving test in the Olds was that when I got home from school that day the Pontiac had a flat tire. The dome light only worked for one night.
It was the first night I wore my letter jacket (lettered first semester in high school in cross-country). After a basketball game I drove to the A & W Rootbeer stand where I'd worked over the summer (I still prefer A & W Rootbeer to all others). I was starting to get out of the car to go inside and say hi to everyone I still knew that worked there when a car of about five guys pulled up from the rival high school and ran at me. I barely had time to lock my door when they started banging on the hood and roof. I started it up, backed up and drove away. The dome light came on that one time as a result of their banging on the roof.
Bruce tried driving it with four friends in it up a steep hill and threw a rod. The one car we were not sorry to get rid of. I think the reason Pontiac doesn't have picture of this car anywhere on the WWW is because they are ashamed to have ever produced it.

Summer Starts

  • There's three good reasons to be a teacher: June, July and August.
  • Schools out for now and I'm on my long (unpaid) vacation. 
  • Grinnygranny and I went to see the Star Trek movie. A wife who enjoys all the incarnations of Star Trek means I married well. We enjoyed it. There's a number of other movies out or coming out we'd like to see at the theater, but not sure we'll get to all of them. All you have to do is wait six months and they show up on DVD, PPV or premium channels. When we got home we watched Marley and Me on PPV. I didn't expect it to have such a sad ending.
  • Mom came over to get a bud off my rose bush, it reminds her of a rosebush Dad used to have at another house.
  • Had a nice round of golf with my golfing buddies this morning and am now taking it easy.
  • Grinnygranny and I have a tee time tomorrow morning.
  • Summer is getting off to a good start.

Friday, May 22, 2009



I have this rose bush in my front yard. It's always been a real scrawny thing. The other bush is an American Beauty and is huge, putting out hundreds of flowers from May to November. This bush has never been very big and usually only puts out one or two flowers a year.
I've babied it using rose food and fertilizer for fifteen years and that's all it's ever done. About two weeks ago as the other bushes were starting to bloom this one looked dead.
I was contemplating digging it up so I found a couple of rose bushes at Big Lots and I bought a big bag of potting soil. I planted the two new bushes in the potting soil in a planter to get them going and thought I'd move the one that survived (a real nasty wind storm happened a couple of days after I put them out) in the place of the poor dead bush. 
E dumped what was left of the potting soil on top of the bush I intended to dig up and in just two days it came to life. I've taken six roses off of it and there are five already in full bloom with six more ready to open. I must have scared it, or it just needed potting soil instead of miracle grow.
 It's bloomed more in the last week than in over ten years. The reason I've worked with the bush is that it has gorgeous flowers. A light yellow with red tint and around three inches in diameter.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Glad They're Over

Dancing and Idol are f-i-n-a-l-y over.
Let the screaming and yelling begin.
Come on people neither one is about talent, they're about popularity. If they were about talent Gille and Adam would have won hands down.
Can either show come up with more pure garbage to drag out announcing the winner?
Oh the things men do to please their women, like suffering through shows like these. Unfortunately America's Got Talent is waiting in the wings.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Past Cars

When I was fifteen we were eating at a restaurant across the street from a used car dealership. After dinner we walked across the street to look at the cars and came across a pink '58 Oldsmobile Super 88. When Dad asked how much the guy said $100. Taking it out for a test drive the first thing we noticed was that it had a really powerful engine. The only real problem was that the odometer was stuck. Dad bought it. About a month later we took a trip down to El Paso. When we got to the motel and Dad added up how long it took to get there, he figured we averaged over a hundred miles an hour. The one thing about this car was that at a hundred mph you didn't know you were going any faster than 40. It only got ten miles per gallon, but when gas only cost forty cents a gallon it wasn't too bad.
This was the car I learned to drive in. It had a 398 four barrel V8 engine and that car could move. When I did the driving test to get my licensee I thought I was doing a great job, then as we were on a residential street the inspector asked me how fast I was going. 40 in a 25 zone. He asked me why I was driving so fast, what you would call an oops moment. Getting in he told me that speeding on a driving test was an automatic failure. Ever have that sinking feeling? He was  nice enough to pass me so I got my license.
The car did have a few problems. It would kill a battery every six months and it always seemed to die as I was getting ready to go out on a date. I'd be all after shaved, and dressed up, go out and the damn thing would not start. The heater got stuck and you could not turn it off, the only good thing about that was that the heater finally died in March before it got too hot outside to drive it with the heater on. I did race a bit with it making everyone driving those mustangs and camaros wonder how I could keep up with them. One time I had the whole cross-country team in it driving up I-40 and to show off I ran it up to 120. I didn't go faster than that because at that point it would hydroplane. When Dad got home late that night he walked into my room and asked me when I was going to put tires on it. I said I didn't know it needed tires (I was seventeen, give me a break here) he took me out to look at the tires. They weren't bald, they had cord showing through. To this day I wonder why I'm alive.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Viva Sha Yexin

Today I'm doing a duplicate post. This is also at Captain's Log.

Scott Horton has an interview with Sha Yexin a Chinese author and dissident. It is an absolute must read for the entire interview, but the most clearly articulated and informative answer I had to copy here. He is answering in the context of China's totalitarian state, but it so perfectly applies to the eight year reign of Der Decider aided and abetted  by the mains stream media who only reported the talking points given to them by the government, when they should have been holding them accountable.

Why shouldn’t one write for power? Here are my reasons:

First, power corrupts. The British historian Lord Acton said: “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This famous quotation has now become political common sense. Its correctness has been borne out by the intensifying corruption in China, where power is exercised without oversight or restraint. When corruption and power exist in co-prosperity, how can people fight corruption? In present-day China, anti-corruption is kept at a certain level to ensure that people will not revolt while power will not get out of control. In some districts, corrupt elements have become leaders of the anti-corruption effort. Undiscovered corrupt officials are fighting those already exposed.

Second, power makes people stupid. By using mathematical theories, the American scholar Jonathan Bendor proves the great value of independent thinking and the limitations of decision makers. When leaders are too busily occupied with myriad state affairs, institutional methods can be used to ease their cognitive constraints, by seeking wise solutions from among the people and encouraging independent thinking in government officials. But in a totalitarian country, such institutional methods do not and cannot exist.

Most power-holders in such countries are fond of dictatorship. Each of them puts forward his “ideas” and “theories” when it is his turn to rule the country, hoping to see his thought adopted as the “guideline” to unify the thinking of the whole nation. Acting in this way, they deprive themselves of the kind of wisdom and talent that are needed to solve the thorny problems facing the country. As a bunch of dumbbells, they can not help becoming an object of ridicule among the people.

Third, power brings flip-flops and hence suffering to the people. Since power has reduced the wisdom and intelligence of the power-holders and their think tanks, setbacks caused by repeated policy changes including the adoption of reactionary measures are bound to occur. Frequent ideological reversals and repeated changes in ideas and policy bring about great social instability. It becomes very difficult to attain a truly harmonious society and avoid more flip-flops in the future.

Fourth, power produces cruelty. Those who hold power can be overwhelmed by the glare of the spotlight that accompanies power. They may experience a peak period in which they feel accomplishment, happiness, or pleasure. But according to Abraham Maslow, the American psychologist, this peak period does not last long. The powerful had problems coping with the end of this period. Once they reject oversight, checks and balances that come from outside, they immediately become completely irrational and inhuman. If someone wants to share power with them or seeks to replace them with new power-holders, they become mad and cruel, and have no scruples in resort to guns, cannons, and tanks, producing huge social disasters.

If you are a writer who writes for power, objectively you are working, directly or indirectly, for corruption and stupidity, for more suffering and cruelty for the people. You may have some excuses if you are forced to write for power. If you write for power out of your own will, how can you evade your responsibility as an accomplice?

As may be easily understood, what I am speaking about is power in a totalitarian state. It is power without oversight and constraints, as compared with power born from democratic elections. Refusing to write for power also means refusing to write according to the will of those in power, or to promote their ideology in one’s writings.

One may choose to write for any other purpose: to write for art, for life, for oneself or others. But he or she must not write for power.

Monday, May 18, 2009


In Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged she says: "If two men disagree on an issue they discuss it and let reality decide. One may be right, the other wrong, but they both profit."
The one constant in our economic disaster is that all the Masters of the Universe on Wall Street and the neo-cons treat Atlas Shrugged as if it was their economic bible. The last three leaders of the Fed were devoted disciples of Ms Rand and Objectivism, the philosophy she spawned.
There's only one problem with that little quote. It doesn't take into account the human capacity for denial. Some call it skepticism, but skepticism entails the willingness to change one's mind once that which is being doubted has been empirically proven. (Doubting Thomas saying he'd have to see Christ's wounds and place his hands in them.)
I've said all this in preamble to what Michael Prescott posted on his blog today. Michael writes a lot about para psychology and the para normal and he posted a list of all the reasons given for not believing those who practice, accept and believe in them.

  • The experimenter was lying.

  • The experimenter was drunk.

  • The experimenter was insane.

  • The experimenter was hallucinating.

  • The experimenter was tricked by some specific (but unproven) ruse.

  • The experimenter was tricked by some unknown ruse that may be determined in the future.

  • The experimental protocol was flawed in some specific (but unproven) way.

  • The experimental protocol was flawed in some unknown way that may be determined in the future.

  • The equipment malfunctioned.

  • The photos (or videotape, etc.) were faked.

  • The witnesses were in cahoots with the experimenter.

  • The experimenter was in cahoots with the test subject.

  • The results were a meaningless fluke.

    What struck me by this list is that just about the same reasons those objectivists who worship Ayn Rand use for rejecting Evolution, global warming, etc. They have their minds made up don't confuse it with facts.

    I'm not much into psychic healing, communicating with the dead, premonitions, and other kinds of mysticism, but this list is about denial not skepticism. 

  • Friday, May 15, 2009

    This Caught My Eye

    Damian Whitworth has an article entitled, Is History So Horrible? The website is from England so the arguments deal with a different educational system, but some of his arguments make sense here too. 1. History needs to be taken more seriously, that the emphasis on math, science, basket weaving, feeling good about yourself, etc has shoved history out of the elementary and middle schools, by the time students encounter history classes they don't have a solid basis for understanding. 2. It needs to be presented in an interesting manner 3. There needs to be hands on, field trip, real world instruction.

    My only complaint with the article is that those talking about improving education think the panacea for improving education is more technology. Makes you wonder how Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Jesus, Confucius, and all the other great teachers over the centuries educated without smart boards, DVD players, and Sesame Street. The problem with technology is that it gets old very fast. In the 1950's there was a movie called Black Board Jungle. A teacher who had trouble getting his students to pay attention shows a cartoon with a 16mm projector, and miracle of miracles the kids are interested. By the 1960's all schools had 16mm projectors and many teachers only function was to turn them on and fix the film when it broke. By the 1980's all those old reel to reel films were transferred to video. In the 1990's it was computers. Today we have DVD players for movies and documentaries, computers to surf the web, power point presentations provided by the book publisher so you don't have to come up with your own lecture, and many other new gadgets. And for each of the new technologies ( all of which I gladly use) the students were interested in for about one or two years, and then it becomes routine and they shut down. Isn't it time we stopped treating students like a baby in the crib that has to be pacified with rattling car keys?

     By the way I'd like to have a copy of the DVD on the battle of Hastings and a link to the video game.

    Tuesday, May 12, 2009

    Name in the paper

    I attend Southwest Writers Workshop every month to meet and greet a large number of writers in this area, they have monthly competitions and an annual competition on 33 different genres. Each meeting has a guest speaker and I've written a number of posts where what one of these speakers has said inspired me in one way or another.
    Another writers group I go to sometimes is Writers 2 Writers. It meets on the second Monday of every month from 6:30 to 7:30 at a west side Hastings, and though I always intend on going most of the time I hit my self in the head just before I go to bed that night and say, "Oh shit, I forgot again."
    About four months ago I told David Correll, who coordinates the group I'd give a presentation. Last night was when I gave it on how to write a hook. When I got there David was really happy. He'd tried for years to get the local paper to say something about these meetings and Sunday's paper had a one paragraph blurb in the living section, last page with the book reviews mentioning that I would be speaking. I'd read the paper, even read the book reviews, but the right hand column that listed book signings and other things I skipped. When I got home I looked at the page again, read that column and sure enough pm Prescott (sic) was mentioned. Did the paper think my initials reflected the fact that the meeting was held in the evening? Oh well, at least they spelled it right.
    It was an enjoyable evening. I gave a hand out on what makes good hooks, explained the time I showed Optimus to a Zondervan editor how he cut my first paragraph to ribbons which opened my eyes to why a good hook is so important. A number of those who came (around twelve) shared their first page. They had lots of questions and I even had a handout of cliche opening sentences for them to practice writing a hook from. Unfortunately no one wanted to buy one of my books. The problem with writers groups like this is that they all have a book to sell, but are not all that interesting in buying.

    Monday, May 11, 2009

    Good Weekend

    Saturday did some shopping for DIL, Mom and wife. In the evening I met with a couple of bloggers that normally leave comments at my Captain's blog.
    Sunday Grinnygranny and I played a round of golf then had dinner at Mom's. Over all a really good weekend.

    Friday, May 08, 2009

    Merit Education

    Just about everyone thinks they know how to improve education, and they all start by mentioning merit pay and raising test scores.
    In the NY Times today some republican retard was praising the charter schools of Harlem for raising their test scores, he even mentioned that they did it by teaching standardized testing in their curriculum. See previous post on gaming the system.
    Now on Huffington Post Joel Klein has his lame brain idea of how to improve teaching. Here's his formula:
    1. Lower entry barriers for incoming teachers
    2. Set up longitudinal data systems to evaluate teacher performance
    3. Use outcome based measures to assess teachers
    4. Assess and document impact of probationary teachers
    5. Makes tenure based on progress measurements and assessments 
    6. Bonus and merit pay for teachers in inner-city schools and hard to find subjects like science and math
    7. Tenured teachers periodically reassessed on student achievement
    Half of this bullshit is pure gibberish and the other half is unrealistic. All of these assessments and measurements of students would still impact a teacher's evaluation years after the teacher had them in his or her class.

    Let's take item 1. Lowering entry barriers. It's a mixed bag. Intel has a big plant here and after every lay-off a number of those out-of-a-job use the schools as a back-up. They don't have to do the usual year of pre-student teaching and student teaching. We have an apprenticeship program that lets them come into the classroom. The program changes every year so I'm not sure on all the particulars, but they are supposed to have a mentor teacher keep tabs on them for two years. Those with college degrees in other fields can also go through this program. Some retire military and other business professionals have become teachers this way. They're about as mixed a bag as baby teachers coming right out of college. About half last less than a semester. They find out that about fifty percent of teaching is trying to get the students to: be quiet, stop texting, get their heads up off their desks, stop writing grafitti on the desks, stop talking back and calling me filthy names. Some quit and others find better jobs. Those that can get control of the classroom do just fine. If retiring military were NCO's they do better in the classroom than retired officers as a whole. Officers have never had to deal those under them talking back. A good number of those coming in this route teach only long enough to get an administrators degree and then leave the classroom for the admin ladder.

    Items 2-5 and 7 is the attack of the anal retentives. The numbers crunchers want to micro manage the classroom. The classroom is not a laboratory filled with rats or guinea pigs, and I really wish the politicians and colleges of eduction at our universities would stop treating them like they are. Sometimes what we learned from a teacher doesn't kick in for years afterwards. The teacher you hated the most at the time will become the teacher you admire when you reach a higher level of academia and they prepared you better than the teachers you really liked. A hard C has more value than an easy A. Standardized test scores don't gauge this. When all teachers are forced to game the system and teach only how to pass a standardized test instead of the subject the miracle of learning will die. We'll only graduate robots without the metal skeleton.
    Item 6 is laughable. Inner cities don't have the tax base or political base for this to happen in the real world. And if you did implement it all those wonderful, successful teachers leaving the suburban, upper middle class schools for the extra pay, would get fired as their measurements and assessments would reflect the ability of students they're teaching.
    Snide aside: If all these computerized data measuring systems were correct, wouldn't coaches like Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, Don Shula. Wouldn't they have won the Super Bowl every year instead of once or twice a decade? I wouldn't matter what kind of athlete was on the team, how much talent they had, the coach is who makes champions. Point being teaching and students are a symbiotic relationship just as coaching and athletes. It takes both working together to make learning possible or winning games possible.
    There is nothing on this list that mentions the responsibilities of parents or students in their test scores. These test scores will determine if a teacher makes tenure, or keeps their jobs. How stupid is that?

    I've got to brag

    Of course my new grand daughter is the most perfect child on the planet. That's because we don't have to get up with her in the middle of the night, I don't have to change diapers, and we only get to hold her and feed her in the evenings. Grinnygranny and Auntypesty were nearly in a knock down drag out last night over who would get to hold her and feed her. She's going to be one really spoiled kid.

    Yesterday it was ninety degrees so after school I went to the golf course and played nine holes. I played the back nine and I'm usually happy if I get one par per nine holes. If I'm speaking Greek to non-golfers realize I'm a golf fanatic.
    I did my usual bogeys on the first five holes then I don't know what happened. I parred the fifteenth hole (back nine remember). I thought I had my quota and was happy. The sixteenth hole is a short par three and I par it regularly so it was no surprise when I got a par there too. I'm really happy. Then I come to the par 5 seventeenth. This is the hole that is the bane of my existence. It has a water hazard surrounded by tall cottonwoods on the right protecting the dog leg and a gully to the left with Salt Cedars at the bottom, you hit wrong either way just get out a new ball. Many times in the last ten years I've picked up after the tenth stroke and haven't even made it to the green, I've parred it twice. Well yesterday I had a nice drive down the middle of the fairway, a good second shot and as a real surprise overshot the green on my third. The ball was on the second fringe, but the pin was down hill so I putted and it went in for a birdie (one below par for non-golfers). Unfortunately I was playing alone and no one saw it. I did my usual bogey on the last hole, but to have a round with a couple of pars and a birdie has me walking on air.
    This winter has been dry and mild leading to mid to late summer scores. I'm getting pumped for summer already.

    Wednesday, May 06, 2009

    P A N I C

    Wow after sixteen schools closed in our state, delaying all district and state competitions, now the CDC says, "Oops!"
    NM got it easy compared to Texas, that really went over the deep end.

    Then I read this tidbit, can't remember where right now: It does no good to close schools if the students still come into contact with each other either at day care or the mall.

    Mexico had a problem and took sensible measures to solve it. That didn't mean the US had the same problem or needed the radical steps that were imposed. This over reaction is going to do more harm in the long run than any good that might have been gained.
    Most reports I've read say the real problem with this flu will come in the fall, and by that time there should be a vaccine.
    That said, I give my sincerest condolences for the loss of a Texas teacher who died from this flu and don't wish in anyway to diminish the loss her family feels at this time.

    Friday, May 01, 2009

    Media Overreaction

    Do you get the feeling like this flu possible pandemic is closer to chicken little?
    The news media always trot out the Spanish flue of 1918 and the millions that died. One of the textbooks I use places the number at 20 million, the paper last week said 57 million died world wide. Then they mention the Hong Kong Flu and Asian flu in the 60's and 70's where the number was 2.5 million world wide. The other number thrown out is that every year 35 thousand die in the US every year from the normal, common variety flu.
    What all this increased attention on the boogeyman flu says there are good things happening in making people aware of infectious diseases. That washing hands often, or cleaning them with anti-bacterial foam, gel, wipes or spray is what we should do all the time, not just when there's a panic.
    The down side, is that when this is all over, and it turns out to not be nearly as bad as predicted the general public will become cynical and shrug off all the precautions they've been using.
    Prudent precautions need to be taken all the time: washing hands often, keeping counter tops and other surfaces wiped down, getting exercise to keep your immune system working properly, seeing a doctor if you get a high fever with a cold (if you can get in to see him/her within two weeks).
    Closing an entire school district of 80,000 because the state had 26 confirmed cases? I don't know seems a little over the top for me.
    Monday I get ten e-mails from the school nurse about this flu. I spent about fifteen minutes in all my classes explaining what I'd read in the paper over the weekend. I have students bring in cleaning wipes as their school supplies every fall. I passed out plenty of wipes had them wipe down the desk top, the metal frame and their hands, which I tell them every fall they should do as a matter of course throughout the year. Monday they listened. By Wednesday a few students would come in get a wipe and clean their desk. Today every class comes in and cleans their desks and wipes their hands. I'm getting low on wipes, but I think it's a good thing. If nothing else I'm not having to clean off graffiti.
    It has reminded me of college. With only a thousand students at Wayland almost everyone would go to the SUB which had a snack bar. You could always tell which students were taking micro-biology. Most everyone would come in sit down with their order and eat. m-b students would wash their hands, clean the table, clean the chairs, cover the food exposed to air with napkins and were very fun to watch. By the next semester they were over their germ phobia and would be back to normal.
    I do hope this "sky-is-falling-in" panic taking place doesn't turn us into Mr. Monk's, at the same time since I started watching that show I have kept my hands much cleaner.