Saturday, March 26, 2011

Phone Etiquette

My grandson Brendan calls me periodically and gives telephone performances.  They can't really be called conversations except when he asks if I want to sing lead or backup for our duets or when he asks me to choose which story he'll quote or song we'll sing.  He's quite a character!  I've been trying to teach him how to end a conversation gracefully, but so far it hasn't taken.  Sometimes my son sets a limit and will give him a countdown to end the conversation.  I'll hear "3 minutes" in the background or whatever.  He's now worked this out to ask me if it's time to go yet.  If I tell him no, we keep talking.  If I say yes, he hangs up immediately.  No good-bye, nothing!  Just, "Is it time to go?"  Me, "Yes."  Then "click" and that's it.  He cracks me up. 

Sam's comment on the previous post referred to that in case you wondered. 

Future for Bernice

I found a new thing to worry about.  On Grey's Anatomy when Meredith and Derek administered the Alzheimers test and asked patients to count backwards from 100 by 7's, I panicked.  After 93, I have to subtract by picturing the numbers in the air written as a subtraction problem, concentrate really hard, and count on my fingers, which isn't easy with subtraction.  For one thing, sevens are HARD!  I asked Jackie if they time you and count off if it takes too long.  We were on the phone, so she asked her husband Ed, a clinical psychologist who specializes in head injuries, about it.  He had a field day messing with me and basically said I was doomed.  No help there.  Jackie told me to memorize it, so I could do it.  It's like studying for a test, I guess. 

Just in case, I'm going to make sure Brian, Melissa, Kathy, and my friends tell them if I have to take that test that I have never been able to count backwards like that.  How do people do that so fast?  If it were by fives or twos, it would be a snap, but not sevens!!  Also one of my pupils is naturally larger than the other, so I guess I need to wear one of those bracelets to let them know in case I pass out because that's a sign of something serious. OK, I'll stop now before I spin out of control.  Besides, I might need a paragraph on that bracelet for all my weird stuff. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Header Design

Anyone know what that is up there?  Melissa suggested that my granddaughter Kelsey make a circle inversion fractal for her calculus project for pi day (3-14).  Of course I had no idea what that was and never took calculus since it wasn't offered in my school.  I do know about pi because I did have four years of math in high school.  At our school that involved Algebra I and II, Plane Geometry, Solid Geometry and Trigonometry (semester of each).  I had a slide rule and knew how to use it!  Actually, I had two of them a regular rectangular one and a round one.  Anyway, I googled "circle inversion fractal" and thought they were pretty.  So now I have one on the header of my blog whatever they are.  I'm not willing to try to learn that math.  

Here are some others.  Some of them look like jewelry, a kaleidoscope, or other pretty designs.  Who knew math is involved?  Well, Melissa.  She's incredibly intelligent and reads physics books for pleasure.  It's amazing how much stuff she knows.  

I just read Mrs. Miss A's blog and noticed that she knows about fractals.  Shout out to you, MMA!

Monday, March 21, 2011


I deleted that picture of the cover of On Looking because I can't stand to look at it for many reasons.  If you missed it and want to see it, go HERE.  I'll bitch about that class later on.

What was your first thought when you looked at this book cover?  To me it looks like some sort of bony melty alien pupa type creature.  Then upon closer inspection, I realized that it's a neck and spine and shoulders.  Or as I like to refer to it - a man with his head up his ass.  I hate it.  This is one of the books of essays we have for the seminar on writing creative nonfiction. All the essays she included in this have something to do with looking at different things in various ways.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Romance might happen when it is least expected but so does murder.

Japan < US

What is it about the newscasters interviewing experts about the multiple disasters in Japan asking how this affects the US?  They ask if radiation will make its way here, if we have nuclear reactors that could do that, if we could have the same kind of devastation, how this will affect our economy, and on and on.  Those are valid questions.  No doubt.  But shouldn't they be asked AFTER getting information about Japan?  They are the ones dealing with the worst disaster in their history and probably any other country's.  Could we focus on that and not make it all about us first? 

Friday, March 18, 2011

You Might Be A Dumbass if ...

The dome light and courtesy lights on the door of your car won't turn off and causes the battery to run down.  So you call AAA to jump off the battery.  You've already removed the dome light but couldn't get the door lights out.  The wrecker guy from AAA removes them for you.  So you drive around for a couple of months without those lights, which is inconvenient at night, but you get used to it.  Then last Friday the car is towed to the auto repair shop because it won't start.  It goes rrr-rrr-rrr-rrr, but that's it.  That same AAA wrecker guy comes over to let you know it's not the battery and asks what you did about the lights.  Then he tows the car away.  So when the auto repair guy calls to let you know it's the fuel pump and to give you the bad news about how much it will cost, you ask them to check the problem with the lights not going off.  They take care of the fuel pump and the light situation.  Fast forward to when you pick up the car, and they show you how that switch that dims the dashboard lights will make them stay on when it's turned all the way to the right and makes a clicking sound.  That's all that was wrong.  Yep.

Not that I would know anything about this.


Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Buffett is trying to capitalize on the Charlie Sheen phenomenon ...He just filed trademark papers to create a drink: Tiger Blood.

Mo Rocca
Hipsters are Geek Chic. True nerds are Geek Orthodox

The Daily Beast
Utah Names Official State Firearm… 1st state in U.S. to do so, months after massacre

The Nation
Places that sent pizza to Madison capitol: Egypt, Australia, Turkey, Korea, Finland and others @ 'That's solidarity'

Steve Martin

Out on the town today. I tried to tweet but couldn’t find a tweet booth. Maybe they’re a thing of the past.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Computer Trivia

A chip of silicon a quarter-inch square has the capacity of the original 1949 ENIAC computer, which occupied a full city block.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I recently learned that gargling with ice water gets rid of hiccups.  Now you know, too! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

For Real?

Country star Lyle Lovett reportedly is afraid of cows.

But not horses?

Monday, March 7, 2011


The Japanese beetle, found in the eastern United States and Canada, is the only bug in these countries you need be concerned about if it becomes lodged in your ear, for it can chew through your eardrum in a matter of minutes. Other bugs can be removed without the same urgency.

I thought they were too big to get in our ears!  Not!  I had one of those beetles that look like pale brown spotted lady bugs in my ear and didn't know it until I went to the doctor who found and removed it when I was there for bronchitis or something.  It caused quite the stir with the nurses.  I still feel weird about it. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust (so to speak)

Another religious zealot hypocrite!  Read about it HERE.  He looks like a perv, doesn't he?
The Rev. Grant Storms, the Christian fundamentalist known for his bullhorn protests of the Southern Decadence festival in the French Quarter, was arrested on a charge of masturbating at a Metairie park Friday afternoon.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

While I'm Ranting!

Probably the major cause of the world's problems is overpopulation.  Think about it.  There are just too damn many people on earth.  Zero population, folks!  This is no time to get rid of Planned Parenthood! 

What I've Been Saying

Kailyn posted a link on FB I'll write more about later.  We're doomed as doomed can be as a nation if we don't make some major changes in education.  As I keep saying, we're not educating students any more.  It's not the teachers' fault.  They are trying their best but are handicapped by all these decrees from the federal government on down.  No Child Left Behind put so much emphasis on testing that teachers were told to teach to the test.  Then it got even worse when they ramped it up so that teachers here in my county have to write down the state standards they teach each day on the board, as if that makes any difference to the students and what or how they learn.  Students are tested within an inch of their lives.  I can't even keep up with all the tests teacher friends tell me they have to administer.  They can't TEACH!  They know how but barely have a chance to do it.

Our high schools were on the block schedule for several years, which means that there are four 90-minute classes each semester that make up a year's credit.  There are exceptions in some math and music courses and perhaps others.  Our director of schools changed this to a seven-period day.  Classes are so much shorter that the kids said it felt like speed dating.  With the block schedule, there was time to cover the material and to be able to determine if they caught on or not.  The kids, teachers, and parents are stressed out now.

The new director, who reminds me of W, has no high school experience.  He's been a coach, assistant principal, and principal of junior high and middle schools all of his career.  Not only that, but the principal and assistant principal of the high school were I taught last, secondary supervisor, other supervisors in the Central Office have only elementary and middle school experience.  Seems as if it would help to have someone who knows what needs to happen in high school, doesn't it?  When we changed to the block schedule, it was after years of study, visits to schools, and planning before making such a change.  Not so this time with the seven periods.  That change was made because that's how it was done at the middle schools.  Yeah.  No one realized how different the curriculum requirements and students are at those two levels.

Teachers are now being evaluated based on student scores.  That is so wrong because it depends on the students from year to year.  The ACT should be used because it's a standardized test used nationally.  What our state is doing now is too screwy to try to explain.  Let's just say it's supposed to give an indication of what is expected of those students the next year based on things I don't understand.  It's all crazy.

I've never seen teacher morale so low ever.  Most of the ones I'm around are so stressed out that it shows.  They care about their students and want them to learn.  They also want to keep their jobs.  Those two goals are in conflict the way the system is set up now, and it sucks.

Here's the article I mentioned earlier, which shows that unsurprisingly this dumbing down extends to colleges, but then how could it not?  We've already seen evidence of what being uninformed and unable to make rational decisions, think critically, and learn can do in a society.  This is an excerpt from the article "College the Easy Way" by Bob Herbert. 
The book is based on a study, led by Professor Arum, that followed more than 2,300 students at a broad range of schools from the fall of 2005 to the spring of 2009. The study (available at showed that in their first two years of college, 45 percent of the students made no significant improvement in skills related to critical thinking, complex reasoning and communication. After the full four years, 36 percent still had not substantially improved those skills.

The development of such skills is generally thought to be the core function of a college education. The students who don’t develop them may leave college with a degree and an expanded circle of friends, but little more. Many of these young men and women are unable to communicate effectively, solve simple intellectual tasks (such as distinguishing fact from opinion), or engage in effective problem-solving.

“This is a terrible disservice, not only to those students, but also to the larger society,” said Professor Arum. “I really think it’s important to get the word out about the lack of academic rigor and intellectual engagement that’s occurring at colleges and universities today.”

While there are certainly plenty of students doing very well and learning a great deal in college, this large increase in the number of students just skating by should be of enormous concern in an era in which a college education plays such a crucial role in the lifetime potential of America’s young people. It can leave the U.S. at a disadvantage in the global marketplace. But, more important, the students are cheating themselves — and being cheated — of the richer, more satisfying lives that should be the real payoff of a four-year college experience.

“You have to ask what this means for a democratic society,” said Professor Arum. “This is the portion of the population that you would expect to demonstrate civic leadership in the future, civic engagement. They are the ones we would expect to be struggling to understand the world, to think critically about the rhetoric out there, and to make informed, reasoned decisions.

“If they’re not developing their higher order skills, it means they’re not developing the attitudes and dispositions that are needed to even understand that that’s important.”

Oh Yes!

The psychology department of Dayton University reports that loud talk can be ten times more distracting than the sound of a jackhammer. Loud, incessant chatter can make a listener nervous and irritable, and even start him on the road to insanity.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Response to Comments and Voltaire

Since there were several comments on my previous post, I decided to address them here.  I think what the WBC does is like shouting fire in a crowded theater.  But yes, Voltaires (Bob, Beth, DTGuy) you are right - what we do here is defend the right to say it even if we abhor it.  I'm just afraid of repercussions from it.

They came here to my hometown to "protest" the funeral of a soldier, but motorcycle groups (local and other) dissuaded them.  They went away.  Maybe it can be like the KKK rallies held in Pulaski, TN, where the revival of it originated.  Businesses closed, people stayed away, and the town closed down.  I haven't heard anything about it for a long time.  Maybe they quit.  The citizens of Pulaski hate that part of their history and tried to stop them from having that parade, but the ACLU said they had the right to peacefully assemble, so they finally decided to ignore them.  Maybe Hells Angels, etc., will continue to block these hatemongers.

I was up in arms, downtown guy, when I first heard about them and blogged about it, but I don't exactly have a wide audience or any influence.  So yes, I was disgusted and irate and sick that they picketed funerals of gay people.  There were counter-protests then, too.  This soldier's father is the first who filed suit against them that made it to the Supreme Court. 

Oh no, Froggy, about your student.  That's horrible and scary!  It's not paranoid these days to protect yourself.  Glad you did it.  Teachers don't have the "right" to say or do much of anything any more.  That teacher should have been allowed to say whatever she wanted to on a restricted blog, Mrs. Miss A.  I feel freer to say what I think on here now that I'm retired but am still careful just in case and have worried about posting those answers I might delete.  I'd like to keep that job.

 Last Words Of: Voltaire, philosopher

This one requires a little context. Voltaire was a famous essayist, deist and apparently smartass.

So who is the "enemy" he's talking about in the above quote? It was his response to a priest at the side of his deathbed, asking Voltaire to use the precious few moments left to renounce Satan.

Disappointed in the Supremes

There's freedom of speech and then there's the Westboro Baptist Church, which is entirely composed of the Phelps family, in fact one of his daughters argued the case before the Supreme Court.  I heard on the radio that out of the many children, some are estranged.  The others are deranged.

I don't understand the 8-1 decision of the Court on this and am fearful of the repercussions from it.  Will hate speech, bullying, and other forms of violence be allowed now without prosecution?  Although all of them were repulsed by the words and actions of WBC, they upheld the First Amendment.  Article HERE.  I agree with Justice Alito in his dissenting opinion.
Justice Samuel Alito, the lone dissenter, said Snyder wanted only to "bury his son in peace." Instead, Alito said, the protesters "brutally attacked" Matthew Snyder to attract public attention. "Our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case," he said.
Where do we go from here?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Depressed State

Bob had a post about more oppressive and crappy bills TN state legislators introduced.  This one is anti-gay.  They're also trying to do the same thing to us that WI is doing.  There's going to be a rally Saturday in Nashville at the capitol building to protest them, and I hope it helps.  For those of you who think of TN as a total Red State, that's why the electoral college needs to be abolished because that's how ours go.  However, for the first time in 40 years, we now have a Republican majority in the state legislature.  This means that not only will the bastards pass some horrible laws but will have the opportunity to gerrymander the districts for an even bigger advantage.  The governor is Bill Haslam, Republican who owns all those Pilot gas stations and truck stops.  We're doomed.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Who Are These People?

OK, I remembered what I was going to say.  I've quit recapping DWTS but will watch it 'cause that's what I do.  That said, I don't know who but three of the dwarf stars are who will be on this season, and that's Kirstie Alley who probably won't be on there long, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Ralph Macchio.  Otherwise, I have no idea who they are but guess I'll get to know the ones who hang in there a while.

Kirstie Alley
"Psycho Mike" Catherwood
Chris Jericho
Sugar Ray Leonard
Ralph Macchio
Romeo Miller
Petra Nemcova
Chelsea Kane Staub
Hines Ward
Kendra Wilkinson
Wendy Williams

So Sad

I logged on here to post something I'd been thinking about all morning but now I can't remember what it was.  Bet it comes back to me as soon as I turn off the computer.  Have class this evening. 

Did Not Know

Early handheld lights used carbon-zinc batteries that did not last very long. To keep the light burning required that the user turn it on for a short time and then turn it off to allow the battery to recover. That’s how they originally became known as a flashlight.