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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pondering Again

If a blue dog's nuts got caught in a vise, would he feel it?

Saturday, January 30, 2010


To start Yogi in Tulsa, Ok has posted a nice review of Optimus. Check out what he says.

Had a tournament today. On the way I was stopped and got the first speeding ticket in over thirty years. The officer said it would be $74.
When I got there to the course we weren't sure it would be held since there was still quite a bit of snow on the course. The grounds crew did a fine job of brushing off the greens and we played.
It was a simple tournament with four different levels based on handicap. I won my level hitting my average. I got a check for $75. So lest I boast too much I only netted one buck for the days effort.
Still I usually don't get anything so it's better than nothing.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Waste, Waste and more Waste

I ran across this website and post from Schoolgate. It addresses an often underlooked at problem with all schools. Their half-assed approach to technology. I think every teacher has a war story that deals with the way computers, televisions, projectors, younameit is unfairly distributed in a school.
Schools set up a couple of computer labs and put a bunch in the library. Wow wonderful for the five or six teachers, usually friends of the person in charge of the labs, who get to the list the first day and monopolize them for the whole year. Signing up to take your class to the library? Good luck. Most of the time it's being used for testing!
We have a mobile lap top lab. You can't check it out without proper training, which I have, but they won't let anyone in our portables use them since we have such lousy paving that the jarring in transporting the lab to our rooms would destroy the computers.
Technology in a school always goes to the chosen few. We have some of them at my school. They have ceiling mounted projectors, a smart board, five or more computers for students to use, their own laptop plus desk top for grades and attendance. While 3/4ths of teachers have a chalk board, overhead projector and the desktop for grades and attendance. If the district hadn't mandated computer attendance they wouldn't have the lone computer.
Enter the Technology department. Five years ago they took a teacher allocation to hire one "techie" to maintain and set up all the computers. We now have five, count them five techies, that are boxed in by non-used monitors, and boxes of keyboards, other peripherals and dead cpu's. How many thousands of dollars are now sitting around their office as useless junk?
Meanwhile I had five computers received from a grant that had to be discarded last year because the district would not put the new anti-virus protection on them.
Meanwhile this year I'm teaching economics without the students having a book and no classroom set. We are using three different textbook adoptions of books still in somewhat usable shape for U.S. and world history, NM history doesn't even have a book written for it.
Maybe I'm old school having been around since before the flood, but it doesn't have to be this wasteful.
I recognize that some subjects are worth the cost of computers and software ie Computer Aided Drafting.
  • With a computer and a projector life is much better than a chalkboard or whiteboard. This cost is negligible compared to the cost of smart boards and labs. This should be available to all teachers at the school, not the chosen few.
  • All students need a book. Without it the rest is meaningless.
  • Most work should still be done with paper, pen or pencil.
  • Teaching the subject should be more important that teaching to the test.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Question To Ponder

When I was in high school the activities director was Jay Thiebert. His door was always open to any student not supposed to be in class. My senior year I only needed 4 classes to graduate out of the six period schedule. I spent a lot of time in his office with other students.
He was an accomplished artist and I guess out of boredom he started drawing figures of all the students that were regulars in his office and assigning everyone a nickname. The day he made mine he was stuck for about a minute, but he noticed I was wearing my AFJROTC uniform. I was captain of the school's huddle of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and chaplain of the JROTC, so he chose as my nickname Wild Blue Yonder Ponderer.
I've always pondered or thought about things that other people either accept or don't even bother thinking about, which really drives Grinnygranny crazy. There's only one other person I've met who ponders things the way I do and that's Anne Littlewolf, which is one of the reasons we call each other twin.
Soooo, I thought I'd start writing down some thoughts to ponder.

Number 1:

If you work for a soul less entity, will you eventually lose your soul?

Sunday, January 24, 2010


  • This morning the sun was shining for the first time in three days. It looked really nice, so I went to the golf course. Temperature was low forties, but the wind picked up. At first just a gentle breeze but it cut like a knife. I made it through the first nine and went on to the tenth hole, but then the wind became sustained at around 30mph. Headed home. It took some time to thaw out.
  • This is a crazy year for Pro Football. Usually the teams with the strongest defense dominate the playoffs. This year none of the teams playing to day displayed much defense. Maybe offense is in the ascendance.
  • One of my favorite shows this past season is Lie To Me. It shows the different facial expressions and mannerisms people use when lying. You wouldn't think a show whose gimmick is body language would be that good, but it really is. It also has made me a little more attentive to some forms of facial expressions. This morning I watched HBO's Inside Sports with Bryant Gumble. They showed an interview done three years ago with a Doctor in charge of policy regarding concussions in the NFL. Every question about the dangers of concussions and their after effects he repeatedly said, "No," then brought his lips tightly back in a grimace. He did it every time. After about five questions I started laughing. It was a prime example of lying through your teeth. He was obviously grinding his teeth in anger for being forced to lie by the league knowing full well what the real effects of concussions are. In every answer he was violating the Hypocratic oath. Such are the effects of our corporate masters.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Back To Normal

Daughter is back and home and recovering. Things should be getting a little more back to normal. I wish to thank all those who posted comments expressing their concern.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Worry Time

Daughter is having surgery. After three weeks of doctors saying there's nothing wrong yesterday they finally admitted there was. She was admitted in the afternoon but it took until 3:30am for them to get her a room and she is scheduled for surgery, who knows when it will actually happen. This is what happens when you have one of those Cadillac plans Obama wants to tax. I wonder what would have happened if we were on an HMO or no insurance?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I Don't Give A Damn

Readers of this blog know that on many issues I am very passionate and speak my mind on them. There are however some things I really don't care about and unless prodded beyond endurance refuse to comment on. So here are some of the things I don't give a damn about:

  • Anyone elses sex life, be they politicians, athletes, or celebrities.
  • Obnoxious loudmouth television and radio personalities be they liberal or conservative.
  • Anyone predicting the end of the world or blaming natural disasters on whichever group they want to pick on.
  • How to get rich quick.
  • Who is or just came out of drug/alcohol, sex, blah blah blah, rehab.
  • Listening to 911 tapes.
  • Red carpet pictures, with the exception of wardrobe malfunctions.

Give me some time and I might add to the list.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Laws and regulations are about the same thing. Both are needed so that everyone can get along in society. In civil society we have laws, police, judges, jails, prisons for those who don't want to play by the rules and get along with everyone else.
In business there are regulations that everyone is supposed to play by so that in all transactions both parties get value for value.
Look at a society where the rule of law has broke down. The laws are laughed at, the police are corrupt, judges take bribes, jails and prisons either don't exist or are death traps. That's a country we would consider hell on Earth. Another name would be a society ruled by "dog eat dog" morality. Anarchy in short. Survival of the fittest or social Darwinism.
Why would anyone halfway sane believe that business doesn't need laws, cops, judges and prisons for those handling all the money in an economy? Yet that was the kool-aid offered under the Reagan economics and such is the fallout we have today.
Would any sane country hold a commision in which the top felons from murderers, rapists, burglars, armed robbers, and drunk drivers are asked if they think laws against them should be tightened?
Take away the tatoos and baggy clothes, dress them up in expensive suits, have them come in private jets it still doesn't make those who are testifying before congress any less thieves. It's just that they have bought off Congress for pennies, Judges for a song and are continuing to plunder the national treasury in broad daylight.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Papers falling down

Picture: hands in air a group of papers thrown in air and falling down to the ground.
I ran off twenty copies of Friends Forever and sent them off to Anne to sign and send me some so I can sell them.
She sold ten copies to one of the ladies heading hospice in Gunnison and the another lady wants as many as she can get and is taking it to the state hospice convention.
She's keeping me busy running them off. I guess my next job after I retire will be as publisher. I'm certainly not getting to sell any of them down here. I don't want to sell any that aren't signed by the author.
Frustration aside, this book is turning into something special. If Colorado's hospice decides they like it then going national enters the picture. They may even decide to act as publisher or get it to one.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

To Annon. from Vermont

I've contacted Anne Littlewolf with your request on how she gets all the nice little trinkets for her Cowboy Christmas Trees. If she wishes to share that information she'll post a comment here for you.

And here is Anne's response:

HI---the Cowboy Christmas trees are a combination of found objects (native sage, grasses, etc), an elk spike, a piece of wood for the base (cedar is my favorite when I can get it) and fencing wire. The cowboy motif decorations are from Hobby Lobby, and since they're not mainstream golf, football, baseball, etc. they can be a bit tricky to find. The little packages and strings of bulbs, etc.,are common Hobby Lobby stock, so that's no problem, but the cowboy style things can be a hunt. I also use twine, Indian beads, horseshoes, sort of whatever strikes my fancy on each one. No two are exactly alike, but they sure are fun to make.
Hope this helps, and thanks for asking.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Way back in the day, I'd left Seminary and my future, my marriage was over and we were fighting over who'd get stuck with the bill. I was living at home which was near Bataan Memorial Park. I took a little poodle, Mom's baby, named Mimi for a walk at the park. Across from the park I noticed a new book store had opened named Trespasser's William. I picked Mimi up and walked inside.
There was this nice lady who greeted me and we had a wonderful conversation about our favorite writers. She opened the store with children's books and used books. She asked me if I'd ever read anything by Harlan Ellison, and I recognized the name. I'd read a few of his short stories that I'd come across in science fiction anthologies: Repent Harlequin, Said the Tick Tock Man, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. One thing about Ellison is that you never forget his titles. She told me I had to read The Glass Teat, which is a series of articles about television in the 60's. So I bought it and I was hooked on Harlan from then on. In that summer of lonliness I'd go into her store where there'd be a few people just sitting around talking books. Eventually I found a job and got on with my life, but those times of discussion helped bring me back to the real world.
Reading Ellison's writings helped me recover from those dark days too in a strange way. There's a warning at the beginning of his book Deathbird Stories not to read it in one setting as the content is too distrubing. They are disturbing stories and very depressing and it may not sound right, but reading depressing stories lifted my depression. He put into words what I was feeling and I knew that I was not alone in my pain.
I traded in a number of used books for more of Ellison's until I'd exhausted her supply and I had to go down by the University for more. It was a moment in time where my interest in him and the publishing industry meshed. Most of his stories were being re-released in anthologies and out-of-print books were being republished. Over the years I've gobbled up just about every book of his that I've found.
Back in that day if a paperback book didn't sell the store would rip off the front cover, send it back to the publisher for a refund and throw the rest away. She gave me a box of books with the covers ripped off and in that box was almost a complete set of Robert E. Howard's Conan series. Those books kept me awake as a security guard on the graveyard shift.
I have many favorite authors: Isaac Asimov (my first love so to speak) Robert Heinlein, Poul Anderson, James A. Michener, Edgar Allen Poe, Barry Sadler, Mickey Spillaine M. M. Kaye, Bari Wood, Anne McCafrey, Colleen McCullogh, JRR Tolkein, CS Lewis...
Harlan Ellison is top of the list and I have Gwen to thank for introducing him to me.
After Grinnygranny and I were married and moved into an apartment far far away I didn't go back to the little store for some time.
Gwen shut down her used book section and focused on children's books. I went there and bought some books after Eddie was born. She'd started going into the elementary schools and putting on book fairs. Many teachers would take their classes to her store on field trips. It wasn't long until that little store across from the park wasn't big enough and she moved further up the street to a larger location. I don't know when she closed the store and moved away I was just disappointed when I drove by and found it gone.
Last night at the Writer's2Writers meeting Dave, who I'm taking over this writer's group from, gave me a newsletter from the children's writers group to read in way of some announcements. While reading the newsletter I came across one item letting everyone know that Gwen had passed away last November 21 in Colorado.
She will be sorely missed as she had a lasting impact on the children of this town and my life.

Friday, January 08, 2010


  • I put all the names and addresses onto the e-mail account and tried to send them the first e-mail for Monday's Writers2Writers meeting and Hotmail puts a hold on new accounts for mass e-mails. I had to get Dave Corwell to do the mailing for me, hopefully I'll get the situation up and running by next months meeting.
  • I've run off twenty copies of Anne's book Friend's Forever and the kind lady in the production room is in the process of binding them. The first ten went in the blink of an eye.
  • It looks like the Curmudgeons will be meeting again on the 16th at a place yet to be decided. There are many problems in the world that need to be solved over a beer or two.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

All Good Things Must End

Tomorrow it's back to school, at least for a little while, nothing is set in stone right now.

I've finally added all the names and e-mail addresses (164 of them) to the Writers2Writers e-mail account so I can contact everyone before each meeting. Yahoo has been a real pain letting me only post 3 or 4 at a time and I'm still fighting them on my first e-mail to the group, seems they put a hold on the account afraid I might be spamming.

Friday, January 01, 2010

A Big Step

Next week I'm going to contact the retirement board and look into the feasability of retiring. For the last three years I've had the luxury of teaching because I wanted to not because I had to. As long as it was still fun, interesting, and I looked forward to walking to work each day I'd stay with it.
Last semester wasn't fun, it wasn't interesting and I dreaded the short walk to my classroom on certain days. If I have to I can finish the year out, but if I'm that burned out it wouldn't be good for the students (as my Dad said when he decided to retire, "They have to be here, I don't), and not good for my health either.
The nice lady who used to teach next to me for many years and this last semester was across the walk from my portable resigned and will substitute. Another fine lady, special ed teacher, will be leaving for another school within a few weeks of the coming semester.
When I was younger a good friend of mine said about administrators that we (teachers) are permanent and they are temporary. If I was still a young teacher and needed the job I'd stick it out until La Madronna goes on to greener pastures, but I don't have to put up with this nonsense anymore and I won't.
I might find a job at a private or church school next year. The upcoming legislative session is going to close the double dipping law that would let me teach and collect retirement so I won't be going back into an APS classroom. I'm a teacher not a babysitter so I will not substitute, been there done that, not interested right now.