May rambling: lost in the crowd

Hating what you don’t understand

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UN report details humans have pushed one million species to the brink of extinction

China takes the lead on global climate policy and the U.S. steps back

Why You Can No Longer Get Lost in the Crowd

Physicians Get Addicted Too

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Lethal Injections

Southern newspapers played a major role in racial violence. Do they owe their communities an apology?”

Hating what you don’t understand

Riley Howell’s Parents Say He Was Shot 3 Times While Tackling the UNC Charlotte Gunman – eight minutes from my sister’s house

A California teacher on medical leave for breast cancer has to pay for her substitute

What should “electable” mean?

10 U.S. Towns Stuck in Time – I’ve been to 4 of them

The fact that I’m in front of you means that I was here first

Where the US’s Foreign-Born Live Has Changed Over Time

Kid’s ‘Wow’ reaction to hearing Mozart

How I Read and Why

Doris Day dead at age 97

Tim Conway, RIP

May Chris Farley’s memory be a blessing

“Behind the scenes” visit to Sesame Street done by 60 Minutes Australia

Roosevelt Franklin – Muppet of Sesame Street

The Tony awards are June 9 on CBS

Inside the World’s Only Museum Dedicated to Ventriloquism

Tennis star Hans Redl

Albany Patroons basketball game day

Binghamton Rumble Ponies get first no-hitter in 13 years

Afterlife in New Zealand

Now I Know: The Dancing Plague and Why You Shouldn’t Take Advice From a Board Game and Why These Windows Don’t Have Windows and When a Truck Driver Had a Very Delicious Meltdown and The Cars that Karaoke and Why Do I Keep Getting Calls from Slovenia?!

Hyper-Casual Games Gone Viral

Australian $50 note typo: spelling mistake printed 46 million times

She was the ‘queen of the mommy bloggers,’ then her life fell apart

Will this WordPress theme allow me to make money?

Funny goats: screaming like humans; an inside joke from staff training in Ithaca

MUSIC

Que Sera Sera – Doris Day

Mama – Clean Bandit

Believer – Bigfoot & Puddles

Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Mackenzie Johnson

Ottorino Resphigi’s The Pines of Rome

Grow – Sabrina Lentini

Danzas de Panama by William Grant Still

StillSane – Carolyne Mas

Alassio (In the South) – Sir Edward Elgar

I Eat Dinner (When the Hunger’s Gone) – Kate and Anna McGarrigle

Coverville 1261: Cover Stories for Billy Joel and Echo and the Bunnymen

The Story Behind The Twilight Zone Theme Song

The Simpsons’ “Upstate New York” song

When TWO bloggers, one who started in 1996 and the other in 2005 post this separately, who am I to argue?

The Beatles off-white album

T is for teachers taking action

There has been a tidal wave of teachers taking action in the the United States in 2018. Strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, North Carolina, and for the first time ever, in Arizona have made headlines. Educators in the Grand Canyon State, many of whom are Republicans, believe it’s time to raise taxes.

The actions are not limited to teacher salaries but for money for supplies and equipment, since 94% Of Public School Teachers Spend Own Money On Classroom Needs. This CNN article lays out the issue:

“Inadequate education funding has created the conditions that make teaching the daily struggle that has finally drawn teachers and families to the picket lines: unmanageable class sizes, inadequate resources, and facilities, cuts to essential medical and mental-health school services and more…

“To be sure, teacher salaries are also a significant concern: US teachers are paid 30% less on average than other college graduates, and in most states, the average teacher heading a family of four qualifies for several forms of government assistance… According to the Economic Policy Institute, US teachers’ wages have declined relative to those of other college-educated workers since the early 1990s, when they were at their most competitive — and when teacher attrition was much lower than it is today.”

Of course, strategies to discredit teacher strikes have been developed. The “manual” to smear the strikers include “teacher strikes hurt kids and low-income families,” even though students have often supported their teachers’ position

I found this 2014 article Why Aren’t All Teachers Covered By Social Security? I contacted an author of the original report who notes the data statewide are still accurate, though there are some states where charter schools are allowed to opt out that would then be enrolled in Social Security.

A new Rockefeller Institute report highlights equity gap in New York teacher Workforce. “It found no statewide teacher shortage in New York, but school districts with high poverty rates and minority student populations are more likely to face challenges in recruiting and retaining qualified teachers.”


Here’s something from 1855 in Binghamton, NY, a cellphone picture off a microfilm because the print function was not working. It’s a recruitment flyer to get more teachers, and indicates the skills necessary for the task.

Finally, here are some teacher-created, classroom-tested lesson plans using primary sources from the Library of Congress.

For ABC Wednesday

August rambling #1: Jon Stewart, and Roz Chast

the root of all evil
Nuclear arsenals.

Thanks to Reliance on “Signature” Drone Strikes, US Military Doesn’t Know Who It’s Killing.

John Oliver: Subpar Sex Education in U.S. Schools. Plus: DC Statehood; stay for the song at the end.

Here are 7 things people who say they’re ‘fiscally conservative but socially liberal’ don’t understand.

Senator Elizabeth Warren to the GOP: This is 2015! Also, Jeb Bush’s Grandfather Was A Founding Member Of Today’s Planned Parenthood.

FactChecking the GOP Debate.

What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?

Children’s illustrator Mary Engelbreit is losing fans because of her anti-racist art. “There are no words to express how little I care if I lose every bigoted, racist, homophobic and/or sexist follower I have.”

Key & Peele: What if we were as crazy for teaching as we are for sports?

The Cop: Darren Wilson was not indicted for shooting Michael Brown. Many people question whether justice was done.

Is this true? 2015 is the year the old internet finally died.

Michael Moore talks about his new movie.

Dealing with Diversity: Awesome Kid Graphic Novels.

David Brickman reviews Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs at Norman Rockwell Museum.

Dan the Man writes about Her Eighth Triathlon. The Wife competes in what might be the last Pine Bush Triathlon, but she did not compete barefooted like some.
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Jaquandor’s tools of the writing trade.

1000 Candles, 1000 Cranes by Small Potatoes.

Jon Stewart Started Small, Became Voice Of A Generation, and Exit, Stage Left. Also, from the last episode: Uncensored – Three Different Kinds of Bulls**t, and Our Moment of Zen.

Bob Crane, radio legend.

Cannabis discovered in tobacco pipes found in William Shakespeare’s garden

After Frank Gifford died last weekend, someone wrote, “Many happy memories sitting on the couch with my dad watching Gifford and the New York Giants on a Sunday afternoon.” True of my dad and me as well. Later, I watched him co-host Monday Night Football.

SamuraiFrog’s Weird Al rankings 20-16. I missed this: Weird Al gets Whiplashed.

From Bill Wyman, (correction) NOT the bassist for the Rolling Stones, All 74 Led Zeppelin Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best. And The ESQ&A: Keith Richards Explains Why Sgt. Pepper Was Rubbish.

One of the very first CDs I ever bought was Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits, but this commercial for Farxiga, a Type 2 diabetes medicine, is wrecking my enjoyment of the song Walk of Life.

An escalator for a Slinky.

Muppets: Sesame Street on HBO. Plus Harvey Kneeslapper and Jungle Boogie and Cookie Monster in “Jurassic Cookie.” 1974: Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog visit Johnny Carson’s show. The new Muppet TV show is a top pick for the fall, even though Kermit and Miss Piggy have split up. Not to mention a PBS special, An overview of the highlights of Muppet creator Jim Henson’s life and career, which premieres Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET. Check local listings.

K-Chuck Radio: Tony Burrows versus Joey Levine versus Ron Dante.

Dancing with the Renaissance Geek.

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are being chased by Elmer Fudd and escape into paintings in a museum, from the 2003 movie Looney Tunes Back in Action.

GOOGLE ALERT (me)

Arthur answers my questions about seeings things from the other side of the political and philosophical spectrum.

The near-twin is taking questions for Ask Gordon Anything through August 24.

I made Jacquandor’s brief trip ’round Blogistan, along with some other interesting pieces.

Dustbury notes The bigot on the front line.

Last Week at Trouble With Comics, plus this week’s edition.

Dustbury: Our fits grow ever hissier.

T is for the Trip Through Time, and Teachers

Nine of us went from K-9 together: Carol, Lois, Karen, Diane, Irene, Bill, Bernie, David, and me.

I grew up in Binghamton, NY, and when it was time for me to go to kindergarten, I was supposed to go to Oak Street Elementary School, based on where I lived. But both of my parents worked outside the home, and there would be no one home at lunchtime.

It was determined that we would instead go to Daniel S. Dickinson School so that we could go to my maternal grandmother’s house at lunchtime. She was only a half dozen blocks from my home. Incidentally, I don’t think Oak Street was any closer to MY house than Dickinson. The school was named for a 19th Century US Senator, as well as the first president of the city of Binghamton in 1834.

One of the peculiar things about schools in Binghamton at the time was that they would start in September AND February. Those of us born in December to March, maybe a month earlier or later, began school in February. The February class was always far smaller than the September class. One’s first semester was the B semester, the second the A semester. So when I went to school in February, I’d be in kindergarten B, e.g.

Dickinson was a K-9 (kindergarten through 9th grade) school, located on Starr Avenue at the west end of Dickinson Street, appropriately. The K-6 kids entered on the south side of the building, and the 7-9 children on the north side. It had clocks with Roman numerals, including the 4 shown as IIII, rather than IV.

Kindergarten: my teacher was Miss Cady. She was my mother’s teacher as well, which should indicate her vintage. I remember taking naps on a yellow rug; on one occasion, I actually fell asleep, and woke up to an empty room!

First through fourth grade: I don’t remember this stretch as well, because every single teacher we had in the B semester was gone by the A semester in September. I don’t know if they moved away or what, though at least one had gone on maternity leave, since she came back and taught my sister Leslie.

Fifth grade: Miss Marie Oberlik. She was of a certain age. She lived only three short blocks from the school and I walked by it almost every day. She taught us to count to 10 in Russian, which I can still do. I got 100 in the spelling final.

Sixth grade: Mr. Paul Peca. I’ve written about him. By that year, we had only 16 students in that class.

Additionally, we had:

Music: Mrs. Joseph from grades 3-9. We had these ancient blue books, which I was quite fond of. I loved them so much, in fact, that I found a book with a similar roster of songs a couple of years ago called America Sings, and bought copies for Leslie and me. Her husband was our 9th-grade biology teacher.

Gym: Mr. Lewis from grades 3-8. Every semester we had to do marching around the gym until it met his high expectations. (Column left march!) Then we could do something fun like softball or volleyball. Later on, perhaps as a result of a presidential fitness initiative, we were supposed to do certain activities, such as climbing ropes, which I was particularly bad at.

In 7th grade, kids from Oak Street, and from the Catholic school next door, entered our school. Mr. John Frenchko was the English teacher in 7B, 7A, and 9B; he was also the school’s assistant principal. Miss Gertrude Kane, who has the same first name as my mother, taught English 8B, 8A, and 9A. She had blue hair. She liked doing accents, and I foolishly let her know that I didn’t think she was particularly good at it. In the three marking periods, my grade went from A to B (after I made my comment) to C. I got a 90 on the final, yet got a C as a final grade.

By the end of 9th grade, we somehow had, again, only 16 students in the class. Nine of us went from K-9 together: Carol, Lois, Karen, Diane, Irene, Bill, Bernie, David, and me; if I had gone to Oak Street, obviously that would be untrue. Indeed, all of us except David, who stayed an extra semester so he could play basketball, graduated from high school together. They’ll all be turning 60 soon, and I’m likely to mention two or three of them in the coming months.

The school song:

Hail, Daniel Dickinson
Pride of our fair Binghamton
May we ‘ere our praises sing
With loyal hearts and true
May all our words and deeds
‘ere uphold thy glory
Guide us our whole lives through
Hail, Daniel Dickinson.

ABC Wednesday – Round 11

Teacher, Teacher

I just noticed in my daily e-mail from About.com that this week is Teacher Appreciation Week. (You’d think I would have figured that out from the chalkboard and apple at Google.) If you’re looking for ways to celebrate, go here.

I’d like to thank Miss Cady (K), Miss Marie Oberlik (5th grade, for the Russian lessons), Mr. Paul Peca (6th grade), Mr. Stone (history), Mr. Carl Young, Miss Helen Foley, and my 9th and 12th grade gym teachers, who were not the p***ks that the other ones were.

Also, in college and graduate school: Professors Deborah Andersen, Thomas Galvin, Glenn McNitt, and Alan Chartock. Yeah, ol’ lightning rod Alan. I had him PLS 216, American Government and Politics in the Fall of 1971, when he was a young whippersnapper.

Additionally, anyone who taught me anything useful about music, including my school and church choir directors and fellow choir members, but also Hemby, the SBDCers (especially my former office mates, DC and the Hoffinator), Tom Skulan and the FantaCo folks, Q104 Albany (c. 1978-1983), Mark Klonfas, Karen Durkot, my sister Leslie, and especially my dad, Les Green.

And there are, undoubtedly, others, who left me some wisdom that I’ve absorbed without necessarily realizing it.

Finally, thanks to a teacher, who taught for a couple years, left to work in the insurance industry for a dozen years, then returned to school to train to teach English as a Second Language, and is now a traveling ESL teacher in two or three districts. That would be my wife, Carol, from whom I learn something new every day.
*****
And speaking of education, what have we learned 35 years after Kent State? The country is still polarized over Vietnam, 30 years after the fall of Saigon, it appears, based on the last general election Bush bails! (Probably true, but still…)Kerry wasn’t THAT wounded! (Oh, brother!) Jane Fonda’s new autobiography, and the attendant promotion of same, becomes the new flash points in the debate. Kinda sad.