Archive for September 2010

A Hundred? WTF?

September 17, 2010

Not only today, but triple digits through f’ing Monday. That’s not heat index either, that’s straight up temps, well over ten degrees above normal, and near record highs.

Man, I’m sick of this weather. Tonight, I ought to be putting on shorts and a long sleeve shirt to go enjoy some high school football. Instead, I’m debating whether the game will be fun enough to justify sweating my ass off in steam bath conditions.

Making the enduring heat worse, last winter was nothing but rain and freezing cold. Then, with no transition period, since last April it seems like every day has been ten degrees above normal. In other words, we went immediately from cloudy days with highs in the forties to sunny days with highs in the nineties. And it’s only gotten hotter since then.

It has to cool down eventually. But if the cool down becomes another winter like last year, I swear to all that is holy we are selling the house and moving out of state. I need a few weeks of decent weather a year, and so far, this whole year has sucked.

In A Post, My Workweek

September 16, 2010

Monday

Monday afternoon, my principal wants to seem me. He asks me to provide him with an excuse for my failing to show for a school board meeting that night.

Why was I supposed to attend a board meeting? I was not. At a faculty meeting two weeks ago, our superintendent “invited” several of us to give a presentation, at the next board meeting, about some of  the new things our school is doing this year. Not wanting to attend that meeting or do the extra work to prepare for it, I declined the invitation. Some of my fellow teachers, though, took the word “invitation” to mean “command.” Whatever, if that was what she meant, that’s what she should have said. “Invite” means the choice was mine, and I exercised it by saying no thanks.

Unfortunately, the more sheepish among the faculty resented my decision. Why, they wanted to know, were they staying at school late and then going to the meeting while I cranked my car and went home? Thus, my principal’s request. He wasn’t faulting me, but trying to placate my co-workers. I gave him my excuse, he relayed it. They may or may not have accepted it. Either way, I went home happy.

Tuesday

Displeased with something I said or did, I don’t remember what, a student whom I’ll call Patrick called me a “white bastard.”

At that the other students stopped making noise and looked at me, expecting me to whip out a referral, write him up, and send him to the office where he would hastily be suspended for a few days. Instead, the following conversation took place:

Me: Wait. That’s not fair.

Patrick: What?

Me: You calling me a white bastard?

Patrick: How you mean?

Me: Because, if I called you a black bastard, you’d be in the office crying about how I’m a racist, and I’d get fired.

At that point, his friends all laughed at him, and he acknowledged the double standard. Did he learn anything? Dunno. But I did put him back in his place without having to sacrifice three days of his education.

Wednesday

For the first time in my career as an educator, I had a student toss their cookies in class.

The girl had said she wasn’t feeling well, and had called home. But no one had arrived yet, so I let he put her head on the desk and rest during class. About half way through, with no warning at all, not even an attempt to get to the trash can, she just lifted her head and spewed all over the floor.

My first thought was “Shit. This is the kind of thing my sister the kindergarten teacher has to deal with. I’m in high school, I shouldn’t have puking kids in my class.” My first words were “Hey, everyone shut up and get back to work.” Try as I might, though, I couldn’t get them to ignore it. So I put the class outside, escorted the girl to the office, and found the janitors to work their magic. No surprise, that was the end of productivity for that period.

Thursday

An honest to God conversation

A student, I’ll call him Brandon: Mr. Wheeler, do white people even go to church?

Me: Yeah, but we worship the devil. Now get back to work.

Another student, I’ll call her Kimberly: No, they go, but they only be there for like half an hour.

Me: Just because we’re not there from nine to five listening to Reverend Cleophus bring the word doesn’t mean we don’t go at all.

Brandon: But you can’t get no real preaching in only half an hour.

Me: Exactly.

Friday

That’s tomorrow. Who knows what it will bring. Whatever it is, it’ll be interesting.

My Dog And I Are Depressed

September 12, 2010

We’ve been dog and car sitting all weekend, and now both gave to go home. Both belong to my sister-in-law, who’s been in Dallas, enjoying a concert and other big city activities, I’m sure.

Why have I had both all weekend? Well, because my car crapped out on my way home from work Thursday, blowing out a spark plug. It’s done it before, but this time the threads were stripped, so the repair requires a bit more than just putting the plug back in. Hence, my car was out of commission Friday. Normally, that would not be a big deal, I’d just have to drive the mini-van to school. This time, though, the wife and kids were supposed to head out-of-town Friday, meaning, obviously, she needed the van. In stepped my sister-in-law, who was riding with friends to Dallas, and who kindly let me borrow her car for the weekend. In appreciation, I agreed to watch her dog, Stanley.

So, rather than spend my bachelor weekend stuck at the house, or cruising in a mini-van, I lived it up in a Ford Mustang. Meanwhile, my dog, Allie, got to hang out with her best friend. Throw in thee days of non-stop football, and it was a pretty nice weekend.

I know it’s pathetic and clichéd – I’m a male in my mid thirties with two kids – but a Mustang may be my next car. It’s not like we ever take my family car on family trips; the mini-van is for that. Ninety nine times out of a hundred, I’m the only one in the Taurus. As for the cost, I’m buying used, and there are tons of late model, low mileage cars available. I’d have no problem affording a GT with under 25,000 miles. In short, it fits our lives and I can afford it, so why not drive something fun?

Anyhoo, last time Stanley stayed for more than a few days, when he went home, Allie moped around enough afterwards that we took her to the vet, concerned she was sick. Nope, the vet said, probably just depressed. As for me, I enjoyed the Mustang enough to spend a few hours yesterday test driving similarly impractical vehicles, including a Camaro and an Infiniti G37. Liked both, especially the Infiniti, but not as much as the ‘Stang. Unlike my dog, I won’t need medical attention, but I am going to be depressed when I get back into my own car.

Aww, how sweet.

Even sweeter.

Don’t Get Lost In Lafayette At Night

September 8, 2010

Circling the block while trying to find your way will soon be a crime:

The council began discussing an ordinance Tuesday that would allow police to issue tickets when a vehicle passes the same spot more than twice in a two-hour period between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.

According to the article, the city council only intends to ban the undefined activity of “cruising.” What that is, I don’t know, but they assure all that it’s something that leads to plenty of cars using the public streets. According to the local police chief, it’s dangerous for cars to use public roads because “You are not going to get a fire truck down that street. It is just that congested.” No word on whether that problem has ever actually occurred. Or why, if it has, no one bothered to write tickets for failure to yield. Or if they did, why that didn’t solve the problem.

The council also assures all that even thought they’ve banned lost drivers, people looking for parking spots, taxi services, busses, pizza guys, curriers, and who knows how many other people, no one need worry about overreaching. The police chief promises that “If you have an acceptable explanation, you are not going to be cited.” Whew! That’s a relief. I’m sure no one will mind being stopped and having to explain themselves to a cop . I’m also sure that, with no clear definition of what is and what is not cruising, the average cop’s discretion is a great way to decide who does and who does not get fined.

All in all, this makes as much sense as that other great local government creation: Saggy pants bans.

What Is It About Religion That Makes People Say Such Stupid Things?

September 7, 2010

No, I’m not talking about the nut jobs in Florida who will be burning Korans for September 11th. I’m not even talking about the fact that their church’s name is the Dove World Outreach Center.

What I mean is reactions like this:

Richard Cizik, founder of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, warned Jones and others like him to “watch out, for if you so casually trample on the religious rights of others, your own children may someday see their religious liberties deprived.”

Bzzzt, wrong answer. These loonies aren’t trampling anyone’s religious liberties. They are expressing their own. If the First Amendment protects anything, it’s the absolute right of anyone to mock, scorn, and ridicule anyone else’s faith. Sure, they might be trampling feelings, but no one has any right to have the law protect their feelings.

Equally annoying is this one:

The Wahid Institute and several other Islamic groups also have called on the U.S. government “to immediately stop the uncivilized plan [that] not only constitutes a violation of human rights, but can also trigger religious tension and conflict all over the world,” according to The Jakarta Post.

Again, no one has the right to be free from offense. The human right at stake here is one of free expression, and the wackos are exercising it.

Finally, this one makes me truly mad:

“We advise Western countries to prevent the exploitation of freedom of expression to insult religious sanctities, otherwise the emotions of Muslim nations cannot be controlled,” [Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin] Mehmanparast was quoted as saying.

Shorter version: “Do what we want or we will throw a worldwide temper tantrum.” Sorry, but I advise everyone to continue to absolutely support freedom of expression. And if world wide Muslims really are as ignorant and childish as Mehmanparast thinks they are, then the more insults the better. Repeated mocking might help them learn to deal with it like intelligent adults. That is, Mehmanparast make me so angry, I’m almost tempted to agree with the book burners in Florida.

College Football Is The Greatest Sport In The Universe

September 6, 2010

Exhibit A: Boise State’s last minute win over Virginia Tech. In no other sport would you find that much excitement, that many storylines, that much significance, and that much passion from fans, announcers, and players, all for the two teams’ first game of the year.

The NFL and MLB are great if you want to take a nap on a Sunday afternoon, especially if Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are calling the game. Even the players don’t care about the NBA until the finals. The first two days of March Madness are probably the most fun two sports days of the year. But for passion and excitement every week, college football rules.

“When We Get Bigger, We Will Like Beer, Too.”

September 6, 2010

Those were my three year old son’s exact words, spoken yesterday in the grocery store as I tried to decide on a good Labor Day beer. Went with the High Life, and responded “If you’re anything like your Dad, you certainly will.”

That exchange made me laugh, but it made me think, too. Kids will always ask what you are drinking. I’m sure some parents avoid questions about alcohol by not drinking in front of their kids. Other might give alcohol code names like “Mommy’s special juice.” Me, I’ve never hid it; I never will. If they ask, I tell them, whether it’s beer, wine, or bourbon. Alcohol is healthier than your average soft drink. The dangers are in uncontrolled excess, and my theory is that normalizing it will help them avoid that danger. In this neck of the woods, at least, the message seems to be you can either be a responsible adult, or a drunken loser. The truth, of course, is it is perfectly possible to enjoy tying one on now and then, and still be a more than productive member of society. I’m an example of that, one I hope my kids will learn from.

Man, This Is Going To Be Bad Season

September 4, 2010

Yes, LSU won. But not only did their game against an ACC team come down to the final play, that second tier team was basically playing their backups the whole game. The conference results will be ugly. Oh well, at least this ought to be it for Les Miles.

Louisiana College’s Local Law School

September 2, 2010

The promised fundamentalist law school will soon be a reality in Shreveport.

I’m happy to have something that big in downtown. Hopefully it succeeds and the students’ spending leads to new retail and such in downtown.

Still, I don’t think much of the idea.

For one, Louisiana already has four fully accredited law schools. This one won’t be accredited for years. In the meanwhile, there won’t be much reason to pick LC over the four accredited ones. Sure, anyone could, but going to a non-accredited law school is kind of like going to med school in the Dominican Republic. You get the degree, but not the respect. That means the people who attend LC will be people who, for one reason or another, could not attend a real law school. LC will have to fight for left overs.

That doesn’t seem like a path to success, but LC’s president, in a statement I thoroughly critiqued, here, promises to make this a Christian law school like Liberty, Jerry Fallwell’s school. That might help, as it gives them a niche. They’ll be creating the type of lawyers who can go work for organizations like the Alliance Defense Fund.

Unfortunately, those are also the type of lawyers who have little to do other than scuttle the constitution. There just is no way to do Christian contracts, or tax, or torts, or property, or criminal law. There is, however, a strong Christian version of conlaw:  filing religious liberty cases with Christian plaintiffs and defending establishment clause cases with Christian defendants. There’s also a soft spot for the second and tenth amendments. The rest of the document might as well not exist. In all other situations, these kinds of lawyers are indistinguishable from the rest of the pack, though probably a bit dimmer.

Why Does Caddo Commission President John Escude Hate Christians?

September 1, 2010

For a while now, the right wing in this country has led an all out assault on Traditional Christian Families. Movement leaders Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh have seven wives and five divorces between them. In clear contradiction of the Bible, that’s something other than death causing a lot of parting. Of course, there’s plenty of lesser luminaries who’ve followed their lead. Closer to home, we have David “Diaper Dandy” Vitter. The assaults aren’t just on marriage, either. Bobby Jindal wants to make it easier for the Pope’s minions to sodomize our children. The misnamed Louisiana Family Forum wants to prevent children from having proper medical care.

And now, we have our own local leaders joining the war. Here’s Caddo Commissioner John Escude speaking about good church going people, as he discusses the fourth district congressional race between Dr. John Fleming and David Melville, pastor of First United Methodist in Bossier:

I’d rather keep an ex-naval officer and business man in office fighting for the soul of this nation than send one who makes a living preying on the fearful and week minded sheep in his flock.

Even for a conservative, a member of a movement that has attacked and belittled Christian values for years, that is a shocking statement. Never mind that he’s supporting a man who has majored in money over a man who has  majored in God’s word. The true insult is that John Escude considers you, good people, to be “fearful and week minded sheep.”

Well, I have news for him. Yes, True Believers are fearful, but only of the LORD. Paradoxically, our fear of HIM makes us STRONG. In thanks, we will use that strength to glorify HIM. And of that, John Escude ought to be afraid.

So, all good Christians, get your posterboards ready and go march against the devil’s agent on the Caddo Commission: John Escude. Or, if that’s too much trouble, send him an e-mail (jescude@caddo.org) and let him know that while he may love mammon, you love God, and John Escude ought to be fearful that he’s soon going to be out of a job.

P.S., That, John Escude, is how you do sarcasm.