Month: November 2013

Attack of the Naps

Napping. One of the great mysteries of life. Why did we hate them so much as kids, yet today think about them all the time. You might not, but I sure do! Ever have those days that just don’t seem to end and all you can think about is taking a nap? For me, it is more like every day. I fought them as a kid because I didn’t want to take them, and now I fight them because I have to “be an adult” and work. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? If only we wouldn’t have fought them so hard when we were younger. Anyways, I have noticed a pattern for these “nap attacks” so I thought I would share it with you.

Don’t we all?

5:00am The alarm goes off and the day begins with a shower and dressing.

5:47am  First thoughts of lying down to take a nap begin.

6:00am  Out the door for my hour long commute to work.

6:22, 6:39, & 6:52am  Thoughts of pulling over before my eyes close. “Head bobs” have begun and maintaining lane position is tenuous. Perhaps the back seat is more comfortable than it looks.

7:04am  The busyness of the day as a school teacher begins and the desire for naps subside for a short time.

10:44am  When is 3rd period over? 16 minutes, meaning a little over an hour to lunch. Should I use lunch today to take a nap with my head on my desk, or just lay on the floor behind my desk and use my jacket as a pillow?

11:23am  Only 37 more minutes till lunch and nap time!

11:24am  Only 36 more minutes till nap time.

11:33am  Man, this is a long hour. Only 27 more minutes to an awesome, quiet nap…gotta remember to lock my classroom door when they all leave.

Is that a keyboard impression on your face?

11:56am YES! It is almost time. Survive four more minutes!

12:01pm  Crap! I forgot to make copies for 5th period and I have to find time to eat. Maybe if I take my sandwich to the copy room with me and eat while the machine works, I can still work in a 20 minute nap.

12:03pm  The copier is out of toner and I have to walk to the office to get more (or it is jammed, out of staples, out of paper, or turned off completely). Nap time is slipping away. Maybe if I hurry…

12:04pm Please, people, I am on a mission and can’t stop to talk. Can’t you see this as I fly by you in speed-walker mode?

12:17pm  Copies are done (or other small project). The hope of a nap has faded since there is only 13 minutes of lunch left. Perhaps I should work on something for tomorrow. Maybe a nap before I go home for the day is still an option.

1:33pm  Short video in class today. The room is dark, and warm. If I sit in the back  and close my eyes, do you think they’ll notice my nap? “Mr. G, I need to go to the bathroom. Can I go?” Ok, if it weren’t for the interruptions I could make it work. Better not risk it. Dagnabit!!

2:23pm  Seven minutes ’til school is out. I can’t wait. Gonna close and lock the door. That afternoon Circadian Dip is working at full force. I may not survive. Stay upright, stay upright!

2:33pm  After several minutes of end of the day questions, closing the door for a nap is impossible as students filter in to finish essays, assignments, or take tests that were missed in previous days. I should have locked that thing before class was over!

3:09pm  Work, work, work! When will it be over and I can go home?

4:14pm  Time to head for home. A short nap when I get home might be a good idea!

4:36pm  “Head bobs” begin again.

4:44pm  I seriously begin to contemplate guardrails. What are they for? Hey, if I ease my car into it, I can take a nap and the guardrail can act as a guide to get me home. Think of them as bumperguides…

4:47pm  Guess the idea about guardrails isn’t a good idea. Naps aren’t worth the thousands in repairs needed for the car.

4:50pm  Begin pinching my arm, punching my thigh, and chewing gum to stay awake. A loud radio doesn’t work, as it eventually becomes white noise in the background. Turning on the AC (or rolling down the window at certain times of the year) doesn’t work either, the cold becomes overwhelming and the hypothermia lulls you into a desire to sleep as well.

5:19pm  HOME! My family is happy to see me (most of the time), a kiss from the wife, and read the mail. Desire for a nap has subsided at the moment.

5:24pm  Second wind has struck. Family activities dominate the evening.

7:55pm  Sitting on the couch, a brief thought of a nap comes back. However, it is close to bed time so I fight the urge, otherwise there will be little sleep tonight.

9:21pm  Bed time. Not really a nap, but I’ll take it. The warm, soft bed is calling my name. DO NOT GET IN MY WAY!

There you have it. My near daily battle with “nap attacks.” I am sure all of you out there have similar battles with naps. Tell me about them and we can commiserate together as we survive adulthood and responsibility, both of which don’t seem to make time for naps – even when we want to.

**Post script**  Whew!! That was tiring. All this talk of naps makes me want to take a nap. I think I’ll go take a nap now. Happy napping!

Rumors – Investigate and Authenticate

President Obama is an alien robot from a planet just beyond our galaxy that wants to do medical experiments on us, which started with changing our healthcare system to something no one can understand or navigate.

Shhh!

No, this is, of course, not true. But, if I had seen it on Facebook (liked or shared by a friend or family member), Twitter (I don’t participate btw), other social media site, or forwarded to me by a trusted person in my email contacts then I should assume that it is. WRONG! I am a skeptical cynic of much and very rarely do I lend any credence whatsoever to this stuff because it rarely is founded in truth. Rather, it is likely being perpetuated by someone that has some sort of agenda, whether is be political, economic, nutrition, health, or medical.

So yesterday I got yet another email from someone that failed to do their “due diligence” before forwarding it to my inbox. It would be comical, if it weren’t so sad about what people will believe without verification.

Please, before you pass something along, do your homework. You owe it to those you are going to communicate with. 

Check out the link below to see the latest offender in the rumor mill, which apparently is getting new life this year from years past.

snopes.com: Obama Explains National Anthem Stance.

A Liberal Double Standard

Let me first start, right from the top, by saying that this has nothing to do with political parties and everything to do with the small erosion of our rights.

Recently in class we have been studying the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments added to the Constitution in 1791. This is a yearly occurrence in my classroom with seniors and I try to get them to think about their rights in a different ways. I also try to point out areas in our society where the Constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights, makes the news almost on a daily basis. I try to impress upon them that this is still a living and active document. Some days are more successful than others.

The 1st Amendment has five clauses: freedom of religion, press, and speech; the right to assemble and petition the government. We focus on all of these, admittedly some more in-depth than others, but the one that usually makes me ponder more deeply about the state of our society is our “Freedom of Speech.” Because of our discussions in class, I can’t help but notice that our freedom seems to be getting eroded piece by piece, making this natural right harder and harder to use. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the government is taking away that freedom, we are actually doing it to ourselves.

It is generally believed that the only real limits to our speech are those that pose an imminent danger to society (i.e. shouting fire in a theater), statements of libel, or when there are certain national security interests involved (though there has been a flood of classified info on the government/national security in print lately). With these limitations in mind, why do we censor ourselves and others in society? The discussions with my seniors always make me wonder this. They believe that it is wrong to utter words that hurt someone’s feelings or that offend the sensitivities of others. They have all bought into that old adage that our mothers used to say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. – Voltaire (though attributed to Evelyn Beatrice Hall, his biographer)

Our debate in class usually begins with a discussion about the quote above. Based on the discussion, I can gauge that it appears to make sense to them and yet they still want to qualify it. They get stuck on the idea that something that may be offensive and, yes, even hurt someone’s feelings still shouldn’t be spoken. Have we gotten to be that sensitive, that thin-skinned, that mere words can hurt? What happened to the old “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” chant we used to hear on the playground? OK, yes, I admit it. Words can hurt. We all know that truth and I am sure we all have experienced it at some point in our lives. However, no matter how much they hurt, or are offensive to someone, don’t we (or they) have a right to say them if we choose to do so?

As of now, many of the words that have been CENSORED from society are still legal to say. We have taken it upon ourselves to declare them socially irresponsible, thus socially “illegal.” (Plug your ears or cover your eyes if you are sensitive because I am about to be socially irresponsible and politically incorrect). “Oh, that’s gay!” and “Man, that is so retarded.” There are other words out there but we don’t need to get into all of them. I think you understand my point. Now, we have seen our society jump all over people in the media or celebrities for using these words and typically there is an apology issued because of the pressure put on them via social media, etc. If directed at an individual and intended as an insult, these statements would obviously hurt an individual’s feelings or offend. If said as a general statement of disgust or disappointment, someone may get offended but in general there was no specific hurt intended or group targeted. This is the part where the first part of Voltaire’s statement applies – “I disapprove of what you say, but…”  Many people will say things that we don’t like or approve of. Many of us will be hurt by what others say or hurt others by what we say ourselves, but that is the crux of our liberty. We have the right to do so, if we choose, and we shouldn’t be made to censor ourselves because of someone else’s sensitivities.

This is one place where a liberal double standard comes in. In general, liberals are all about being open and permissive. “Who are you to tell me what I can and can’t do?” “I’ll do what makes me happy.” “Hey, live and let live.” We can see this attitude in our society as things that once were seen as unacceptable have become, increasingly, more acceptable. The list is long and I won’t even try to make it complete but I offer a few examples: abortion, tattoos, divorce, same-sex marriage, legal marijuana, assisted suicide, casual sex, atheism, nudity and cursing on television. As our society has grown more open and permissive in most areas, we have become more restrictive in others, language being one of them. So how far do we go in accepting these limitations? How much erosion of our freedom of speech can we tolerate? If it hurts someone’s feelings (and we are all a bit too sensitive these days), it is now off limits…I disapprove of what you say, but…

Let me be clear, I am not condoning the use of offensive or hurtful language. No one has a compelling need to use their words in that manner and certainly we should work to hone our own internal filters when it comes to the use of language. However, I am condoning a careful examination of the external censorship we allow others to exert on us. I have a right to say what I please and I have a right to choose not to talk that way. It was bestowed upon me at the foundation of my country. However, others do not have the right to tell me what I can and can’t say. The freedom of speech, as written in the Constitution, wasn’t intended to be abridged. There wasn’t supposed to be a limit on it, ever. Infringing my rights, or the rights of others, lets others censor us in the name of stamping out insensitivity. That sounds callous, I know, but the fact is that even in callousness there is freedom. “…but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

It is better to be angry than to be silenced.”  Megan O

The quote above is from one of my senior students. She reworded and summarized Voltaire’s statement with  a rather profound statement of her own. She realizes that being angered by someone’s voice is better than not hearing their voice, now matter how much she may disagree with what she hears. She understands that as soon as she silences the voice of another, her voice could be silenced as well. Her voice, as of now and into the future, isn’t something she is willing to give up.

How to Reach the 21st Century Student

This one made me giggle this morning! With high school students, it isn’t all that far off the mark.

The Official How To Blog

This post was quest-written by Darlin’, a not-at-all-disgruntled-teacher, from keyandarrow.com

teachersomeecard

On the same degree to which my preteen students often leave me perplexed, they almost simultaneously make it all worth while, and I must take time to ponder the ways to reach these complex creatures.  What I have discovered thus far: 

Step 1:  It’s All in the Name.  Introduce yourself as Ms. or Mr. (Insert last name first initial here).  Anything longer than that will take too long to enter into their smart devices.  Plus, it’s more difficult for them to turn your last name into an insult; i.e., Ms. Wright is Ms. Wrong, Mr. Johnson’s Johnson, and Mrs. Brown makes me frown.  See?  Easy.

Step 2:  It’s All in the Presentation.  Begin class with a video.  Make sure they know how long the video is.  This is the only thing that matters.

Step 3:  What are…

View original post 492 more words

A President’s Cone of Silence

It seems that our national security people have learned a little something from the old television series, “Get Smart.” The president travels with a sort of “Cone of Silence.” Check out the link from the New York Times.

Obama’s Portable Zone of Secrecy (Some Assembly Required) – NYTimes.com.

For The Veterans

Unsung heroes from WWII that sacrificed it all, even when the country they served didn’t see them as equal. What an incredible story! Had to share. Click on the link below to read the story @ USA Today. The photo below isn’t connected to the story, but when I did a Google search for the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion this photo from the National Archives came up.

Account of black soldiers killed by Nazis coming to light

“… troops of a field artillery battery emplace a 155mm howitzer in France. They have been following the advance of the infantry and are now setting up this new position.” June 28, 1944. Rothenberger. 111-SC-191890-S

Pet Perturbed

I have three cats and I hate them! I mean, I love them but I hate them and it is getting harder and harder to remember why I loved them. So I have to come to the conclusion that, after they are dead, pets will be banned from my household – forever.

Pets are often cute and cuddly. I can understand this as a motivation for getting a pet but that wears off pretty quickly, usually after the first couple of weeks and reality sets in. The “cuteness factor” is typically overwhelmed by the fact that pets are work and they don’t take care of themselves no matter which pet you get. More on that later, just keep reading.

Just a few of the offenders.

I can also understand having a pet as a companion, but this motivation has some serious downsides to it. First, a pet isn’t a person so don’t treat it as though it is one. If you must talk to it, do it in the privacy of your own home because there isn’t really a need for everyone to think you’re crazy. Don’t buy stuff it doesn’t really need, and of course they didn’t WANT it in the first place – especially clothing, they already have that. Americans waste a disgusting amount of money pampering their pets. I don’t really want to go there, but if you want to see how much you can look at this article. Second, not everyone in your life appreciates your companion so don’t take it anywhere. It was for you to enjoy in your home because you were alone and maybe that makes you sad. However, when in public, your pet isn’t enjoyed by most so please don’t take them to the store, park, hospital, beach, restaurant, mall, gas station, parking lot, or any of the other places I have seen them. Also, don’t take them to a place they were not specifically invited. Showing up at a friend’s house or at a relative’s house and expecting them to accommodate your pet is simply rude. I love you but if I have to make a choice between you and the pet, don’t come over. Finally, please don’t take them in the car with you. They shouldn’t be sitting in your lap or on your shoulder so they can see out of the window. That is just stupidly dangerous.

I have thought about this for a while, after all, I grew up around many different sorts of pets and I just can’t come to a point where I can think of a good reason for having them. I have often pondered if I would get another pet after my current ones have been disposed of, and every time these thoughts come up I find myself remembering all the negatives associated with the pet I was very briefly contemplating. So, I offer you the list of discouragement that comes to my mind to remind myself why I don’t want any more pets. Perhaps you are battling a significant other or maybe you have kids that know how to beg and plead to soften you up enough to even consider it. Feel free to use these justifications as ammunition to shoot down and defend against their pleadings.

Dogs: Because they are briefly cute when young and possibly loyal to the point of stupidity, there are no other redeeming factors for getting a dog. Sure, you can even teach them a trick or two, but that novelty wears off with time too. Beyond that, they have to be walked or exercised constantly and they can’t do it themselves or they get in trouble. If you don’t exercise them, they poop or pee in the house or they destroy stuff because they always have to have something to chew on. You have to let them out to poop or pee, so they do it in the yard, destroying the grass, and you have to go out and clean it up or run the risk of stepping in those landmines. You also have to do it in foul weather, another downside. There is hair to always clean up. They like to sit in your lap, regardless of their size. They want to sleep with you (GROSS!). If you have a big dog, they eat mountains of food, which of course turns into mountains of poop. They slobber on everything, have bad breath, howl, bark, whine, need their claws clipped, and can’t be left alone for more than an hour without destroying stuff. If left in the yard, they dig holes and escape causing people to worry and hunt for them at all times of the day or night. If you leave town and don’t take it with you, someone has to care for your pet because they can’t really fend for themselves. Fleas – don’t need to say more.

Cats: Again, they have the cuteness factor going for them when they are young. And, yes, they can be warm, soft, and snuggly. Beyond that, they are useless. The list here is long and I get more irritated as I think of them. Here goes…cleaning up hairballs and vomit. Not a single redeeming thing about that, EVER. There is cat litter in a box, thrown out of the box, and also tracked all over the house, which means cleaning the litter box on a daily basis (if out of town, you have to find someone to clean it for you – and feed them too). If the cat goes outside, they poop in the flowerbed and now your weeds stink too. Cat hair – on the furniture, on the bed, on your clothes, in the carpet, laundry, in balls that roll around the house with certain times of the year is worse than others. They apparently also have to be fed. Again, fleas. The constant licking as they clean themselves. You step on them in the middle of the night because lying in the middle of the hall is a good place for a nap or trip over them because standing right next to you is required in cat etiquette.

Hamsters/gerbils/all other small rodents: Yes, they are small and don’t take up lots of room. However, you still have to clean a stinky, urine soaked cage. If they get out or away, they could end up in a place you can’t find them or reach (where they die and their rotting flesh smells).  They’re fragile, seems you can’t look at them wrong. When they die you have tears from children and the awkward backyard moment burying the stupid thing for the kids’ sake. They also make a huge amount of noise at night. In most cases they are nocturnal so they take that endless spin on the squeaky wheel. Squeak…squeak…squeak…

Fish or other aquatic dwellers: These pets might require the least amount of work, but it’s still work. The water in the tank evaporates so you are adding water all the time. The aerator makes noise. Algae and fish poop (yes, they poop) collects at the bottom of the tank so the tank has to be vacuumed out (takes a special device) and it stinks. You are usually wet (up to the shoulder depending on the size of tank) after this. They still need to be fed and fish can be fairly fragile as well so you have to worry about them dying. That usually leads to the uncomfortable meeting around the toilet as everyone says a few words about how they will miss the fish.

Reptiles: As far as I am concerned, there are no redeeming factors for having reptiles as a pet. Lizards, snakes, turtles – not cute, not cuddly. They are boring to watch, with very few exceptions. They take food and a heat lamp (I see huge electricity consumption here). They STINK in almost every case.

Birds: I have been around a few of these as pets. All I could think was “Man, they are noisy!” and it is incessant! They flap their wings and the little seeds you feed them spread themselves out all over the room. You can’t let them out of the cage to “play” with them for fear they will fly away. They poop – a lot! They stink, which is weird because you don’t think of them as being dirty. You have to clean the cage. They aren’t cute and snuggly.

Horses/ponies/large animals: Large animals may have some entertainment or work value, but as a pet I don’t see anything but work and huge expense (never mind they can cost lots of money to even get started). Starting with the place to keep them, you need a field (property) and a barn (large building). Both of these, right off the bat, keep most people from even being able to attempt this one. Then to feed them you need grass, and lots of it! They can graze, but that only goes so far. You need grain or hay for them in the winter to round out their diet because the grass gets a little thin during the winter, either from lack of growth or it is covered in snow. To take them somewhere you either need to ride them (not real practical) or have a big vehicle to haul them in (there is limited places to take them anyway). They can be very temperamental to the point that they could actually hurt you very badly. You need lots of specialized, expensive equipment to enjoy them. Just doesn’t seem worth the investment for the amount of enjoyment obtained.

My last point in the argument really could apply to all the animals, except maybe the fish, because they all have medical expenses. The veterinarian bill for animals is just downright ridiculous! I once had to take a cat to the vet because something was wrong (who knew their digestive tract was so sensitive just from a food change?) and we couldn’t figure it out. Nearly $600 later the cat was feeling better but my wallet wasn’t. Mind you, that was just for treatment and an overnight stay to make sure the treatment was going to work. Also keep in mind that the cat got more healthcare money than I spent on myself that year. Turns out, it would have been cheaper to just put the thing down -$110 for a “sleeping cocktail” – why is THAT so expensive??

So, enough with the pets already!