Saturday, September 29, 2007

5 Bloggers I'd Like To Meet

Like others, I have my favorites of the bloggers that I like to read, some on a daily basis or as often as they update their blog. Here are the bloggers I'd like to meet in person and sit down to discuss education issues:

1.Mr. Teacher - I laugh when I read his site, I laughed when I read his book, and I laugh at his shameless self promotion of his book. Right now he's shamelessly promoting his you tube videos.

2. NYC Educator - although his site is largely about NYC issues, he has a way of pointing out absurdities that I wish I could copy. One thing about NYC Educator, he calls 'em like he sees them.

3. Ms. Corneilius - a keen eye and a sharp with, not to mention her weekly Monday movie challenges. Lately I have no idea what movies she's talking about so I may have to knock her down a notch.

4. Joanne Jacobs - Joanne Jacobs was blogging long before it was cool to blog. She has often been called the queen mother of all education bloggers. Although I don't often agree with her (and most of the people who comment there), Joanne is always civil in her disagreements.

5. EdWonk - the driving force behind the weekly Carnival of Education, currently in its 8th billionth week. Ed is so respected nearly every education blogger links back to him. He also has a sharp eye for pointing out absurdities not just in our schools, but in our society as well.

I tag anyone who wants to add their favorites here or at their own sites.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Teddy Bear War

I'm very fortunate to live less than a block away from my best friend. His house sits on the corner of a street that intersects mine, and I can actually yell to him in his backyard from my front yard. Being so close to a good friend can lead to some weird happenings.

About 3 weeks ago I found a nasty, smelly dog chew toy in the shape of a teddy bear stuck on the trailer hitch of my truck. I knocked it off knowing that my buddy had placed it there. What I didn't know was that after he came over later that night, he placed it back and wedged it in so tightly that it stayed put. I didn't discover it until after I come home from work the next day, which means the teddy bear was stuck to the back of my truck for the 50 mile round trip to work, and the 10 mile round trip to the racquet club.

Of course you know that meant war, so I HAD to zip tie it to the front grill of his truck. Several days later, when I got to work, I found it hanging from my rear bumper by fishing line. Since then we've taken turns sticking it somewhere on each other's trucks. One day at the racquet club I found it zip tied to one of the rims on my truck, having once again made the round trip to work.

Last week I stepped it up a notch, I duct taped it to his antenna. I had originally planned to use an entire roll of duct tape, but that stuff sure makes a racket at 11 o'clock at night on an empty street. I also added a 2nd chewtoy, and rigged it so it would fall down from his bumper the first time he braked and hang behind him without dragging the ground. It was his turn to spend the day driving around with a chewtoy hanging from his truck.

Which means it was perfectly logical for me to drop $7 at Radio Shack for some super strong magnets, which I have placed inside the teddy bear and stuck to the bumper of his truck, sneaking over like a thief in the night ( or a NINJA!).

Sometimes you just have to make your own fun.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Goodbye To An Old Friend

Yesterday I received the sad news that an old friend had died. For those of us who knew him the manner in which he died is incredibly hard to believe.

Stinger Wallace was a larger than life character. I met him through a local model airplane club where, besides being the club's instructor, he was also know as one of the top "hot dog" pilots in the country. I imagine there are hundreds of r/c pilots in East Texas who learned the difficult task of flying and landing a model airplane under his tutelage.

There are other memories I have of him. In 1994 my wife and I lost everything in an apartment fire. Stinger used his connections as a police officer to find us at the home of a friend and made sure we were not in need of anything.

One thing you could count on, every model airplane event you went to someone would have a good Stinger Wallace story. Once outside of Crockett, Tx Stinger confronted a woman who had stolen a cell phone, we could actually here it ringing in her purse as the owner called it. Stinger got the woman to turn the phone over, and then we all watched in amazement as she cuts across grass fields and streets to leave the scene, leaving her husband and one of his friends behind. Another time he sent us all diving for cover as he tried to actually fly a model airplane with his feet at the controls. When the dust (and the wreckage) cleared we all had a good laugh; only Stinger would try such a thing. I often used to say to him, "Only you, Stinger, would try and (fill in the details, there was ALWAYS something).

When I first moved to Texas I spent many a night in Stinger's shop, talking planes and working on planes. The local r/c club was an instant group of friends for a newcomer, with Stinger as the older brother everyone looked up to.

I'm struggling with the decision to attend a memorial service for him. After all the events that transpired in 2005 I have struggled with depression and anger, and I just don't know if I'm ready to hear the sad details of how he came to pass. Perhaps one day old friends from the flying club will gather to talk of Stinger and tell all the old stories again.

I will strive to remember him for how he lived and not how he died. I hope he is free of whatever demons were haunting him.

Goodbye old friend.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Life's Little Disappointments

Today I discovered that the gorgeous woman who exercises next to me in yoga class, who always smiles and tells me hello, who can do seemingly impossible poses with as much ease as the instructor . . .has hairy underarms.

I'm so disillusioned.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Mike in Texas To Speak Before House Education Committee?

Ok, so its unlikely to happen, but after reading some of the reviews of Rep. Miller's revisions to the law at Schools Matter I decided to follow Dr. Horn's urging and email Rep. Miller.

In my email I offered my services as a veteran teacher and volunteered to come to Washington on Sept. 10 to discuss my opinion on NCLB and the proposed revisions.

I wonder what kind of odds the Vegas oddsmakers would give me on that actually happening?