New routine: they’re home at work

You are what you are, and you ain’t what you ain’t – Dear Abby, John Prine

Stormy
I’m told I can’t use cat pictures on my blog. The only exception is if it’s MY cat. Here’s Stormy, seeking sustenance.
My household has established a new routine on most weekdays. There are variations but often it looks like this: The alarm goes off at 6 a.m. THE ALARM GOES OFF – ugh. At least it’s a half-hour later than it USED to go off when my wife traveled to work.

While my wife takes a shower, I check my email. I’m looking for articles to send to Jeff for his regular newsletter about COVID-19.

My wife watches CBS This Morning; increasingly, I don’t. I can’t do all COVID, all the time. But I do catch a bit when feeding the cats around 7:30 because they think it’s their right to be fed. My wife and I eat breakfast.

She goes to work in the guest bedroom. Her workload as a teacher of English as a New Language is so much greater than it was when she could actually meet with students in person. One day, she had a noon teleconference, then a 40-minute phone conversation with a parent of a student, 20 minutes to wolf down lunch, then a 2 pm teleconference. Another day, she spent about 100 minutes on the phone with two brothers.

I start writing a blog post but take a break to wake my daughter, who almost certainly has stayed up too late. Time for her to go to school too, which turns out to be on the borrowed laptop in her bedroom. Classes at 9 and 10:30, an hour for lunch, classes at 12:30 and 2. Sometimes I help her with her homework in the evening.

Old school

Time to call two people on the telephone. This has been an amazingly great exercise. Sometimes, I call people I haven’t seen in a few months, while others I haven’t been in contact with for years. (Hi, Janet!) They average about 45 minutes; some last 10 minutes, but I spoke with Bill, a grade-school friend, for about two hours. I never leave a message on answering machines because I don’t want to obligate people to have to call me back. But some see my phone ID and check back anyway.

I’ve discovered surprising simpatico with a guy whose wife also asks followup questions when he’s only reading her a news headline. A cousin of my father told me a family secret last week she had assumed I already knew. My pastors are now mailing the sermons to one of my fellow church members without a computer.

Some point, I’ll take a walk or ride my bike, take a shower, eat lunch, empty and reload the dishwasher plus washing some pots and pans, read the paper, finish the blog post, and watch the previous day’s JEOPARDY! After dinner is the daily Google hangout call of my wife’s family, ostensibly 15 minutes, but generally close to an hour. I’ll miss it because I’ll be attending church remotely on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

Here now the news

Watch the evening news, which is recorded, so I can zap past all those pharma medicine ads. I either help my wife and daughter, or at least stay out of their way. I’m happy to be retired.

I should note that working on the COVID newsletter has been great. I don’t have to obsess about the issue. Oh, I still think he’s doing a bad job. I was furious that Wisconsin voters had to go out and vote in the midst of a pandemic, risking the health of themselves and others.

And I was strangely mortified that an SBA program to help small business was so poorly introduced. A CBS story showed personal information showing up on the SCREENS of the next applicant in the queue. The SBDC, where I worked for nearly 27 years, is an SBA program.

And I’m terribly sad about the death of John Prine, who was not only one of America’s greatest songwriters but apparently a really nice guy. He beat cancer TWICE only to succumb to complications from COVID-19.

Hello In There – Bette Midler
Dear Abby – John Prine
Angel From Montgomery – Bonnie Raitt& John Prine

Lydster: high school lockdown

In the lingo, “hold in place” means one stays where they are, and do not change classes. Activity within classroom can go on, however.

I had missed the first message. So when she wrote that she was frightened, I thought it might be in response to some video she watched. Nope, her high school was in lockdown. She was seeking more information.

I got on a Facebook list for the parents of Albany school children. I also reached out to a news anchor I know, all of us sharing what little we knew.

As it turned out, a kid came to school with a BB gun, looking to retaliate against somebody about something. The student did not come in through the standard security entries. A person let the student in through a side door. The school notes: “While our investigation indicates there was no malicious intent in allowing the student entry to the building, this was a serious breach of our security protocols.”

What made both my daughter and at least one other child in the school nervous was the lack of seriousness her classmates took the event. Many of the students were very loud throughout the lockdown. Also, often the classroom window on the doors were not covered so anyone could look in and see all the students. Both of these issues made them feel vulnerable to an attack.

Of course, when their kids are anxious, parents can’t help but feel the same, along with a dollop of helplessness. Because they have no idea what’s happening, another child believed someone was going to hear them and rush in firing.

Technically, the lockdown lasted 33 minutes, followed by 27 minutes of “hold in place”, which, in the lingo, means people stay where they are, and do not change classes. Activity within classroom can go on, however.

This took place on the same day a 14-year-old planned to commit violence at an Indiana middle school. The police were tipped off and the boy, after firing at some cops, ended up killing himself.

Also that week bomb threats were emailed to multiple locations across the country, including schools, trying to extort the targets unless they paid a Bitcoin ransom.

The next day was the sixth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, during which 20 first-graders and six educators were killed. Naturally, the school needed to evacuated after a bomb threat.

According to an April 2018 Pew survey, a majority of U.S. teens fear a shooting could happen at their school, and most parents share their concern.

It is a scary world, and parents are often powerless to credibly say, “It’ll be all right.”

Parkland: different response to latest mass shooting?

“This is not a political issue. This is not a constitutional debate. This is a pandemic that’s killing children.”

Unaccustomed as I am to optimism about public policy, I have found guarded optimism that SOMETHING to address the factors that led to the most recent mass casualty shooting, at the high school in Parkland, Florida, will be enacted, perhaps before the November 2018 elections.

I think that it won’t be just the same as every other time, with the predictable articles about how predictable the response will be, such as this from the Boston Globe:

Mass shootings have become so familiar that they seem to follow the same sad script. He will be a man, or maybe still a boy.
He will have a semiautomatic rifle — an AR-15, or something like it — and several high-capacity magazines filled with ammunition.
The weapon will have been purchased legally, the background check no obstacle.

The reason: it’s the anger, the rage.

From here: According to Cameron Kasky, there were many heroes at the Florida high school that former student Nikolas Cruz shot up on Wednesday, — but he see’s no heroism in the words of Republicans who only offer their ‘thoughts and prayers.’

“This is the only country where this kind of thing happens. I’ve heard from other people, they don’t have gun drills. We had to prepare extensively at Stoneman Douglas. This is something that can be stopped and will be stopped.

“This is the time to talk about guns… But there’s much more that can be done, much more that needs to be done and much more that people like Senator Marco Rubio [who was Three Billboarded] and Governor Rick Scott are not doing.”

From here: One student, identified as Sarah on her Twitter account… “I don’t want your condolences, you f@#$ing piece of s#!*;, my friends and teachers were shot. Multiple of my fellow classmates are dead. Do something instead of sending prayers. Prayers won’t fix this. But Gun control will prevent it from happening again.”

Back in February 2017 the regime made it EASIER for people with mental illness to buy guns. As a Broward County official said, “How can you come here and talk about how horrible it is, when you support these laws?”

Adding to the outrage is the news that, on January 5, the FBI received a tip to a public reporting line that Nikolas Cruz might carry out a school shooting, but failed to pass the information to its Miami field office or investigate any further.

Mother of slain Parkland teen screams in grief and leaves CNN reporter, congressman speechless.

From here.: Bess Kalb, a writer on Jimmy Kimmel Live, responded directly to condolence tweets from members of Congress by pointing out the amount of money each federal lawmaker has taken from the NRA —which has shamelessly advocated for less restrictive laws on firearms in the wake of gun-related tragedies.

“This is not a political issue. This is not a constitutional debate. This is a pandemic that’s killing children. And it’s perpetrated by hypocrites who preach a doctrine of ‘life’ but take money from a profit-driven gun lobby,” Kalb said in a tweet.

To that end, Russian Bots Hit Twitter With Pro-Gun Tweets After School Shooting.

So sure, the calls to ban AR-15s and high-capacity magazines have already run into the SECOND AMENDMENT!/Gun Bans Won’t Work In America/What if teachers had been armed? arguments

I remember the polite pleas of the parents of the adorable six- and seven-year-olds slain in Newtown, CT in December 2012. They were almost always unfailingly polite in their sadness as they unsuccessfully advocated for change. But Parkland just might be the rude political tipping point I’ve been simultaneously dreading and hoping for.

Albany school district facilities vote Tuesday

One of the frustrations about living in the city of Albany these past several years has been paying for a number of charter schools that have failed.

vote-button-3I’m voting in favor of the two propositions on the ballot on Tuesday, January 10. The school district notes that “enrollment from prekindergarten through eighth grade has grown 26 percent – about 1,400 students – over the last eight years. It is forecast to continue to grow well into the next decade.”

Proposition #1 is a $6.5 million package of updates, providing an “equitable learning environment” for students at 50 North Lark Street, in advance of September’s opening of the new middle school to serve students on the city’s north side. About 400 students will attend in the 2017-18 school year. This will reduce crowding in the city’s other middle schools, one of which my child attends.
Continue reading “Albany school district facilities vote Tuesday”

December rambling #1: 21st Century Schizoid Man

If Hollywood designed the perfect candidate to represent the anti-Christ for evangelicals, he would be thrice married, twice divorced, a builder of casinos, a sexual predator (unless the women are ugly), a liar…

simple-but-wrong

New York Times investigation: Guards punish black inmates more severely than whites inside New York State prisons

The Essential Selfishness of School Choice

Why didn’t Andrew Cuomo’s special-session wish list include closure of LLC loophole?

Reagan press aide’s response to AIDS crisis

John Key departs as New Zealand prime minister, and the civility of opposition leader Andrew Little was stunning, compared with American politics

The long history of the U.S. interfering with elections elsewhere

John Glenn Dies At 95. Continue reading “December rambling #1: 21st Century Schizoid Man”