Saturday, December 26, 2009
They sang songs about
the rain dropping down,
the rain dropping down,
the rain dropping down,
the corn growing up,
the corn growing up,
the corn growing up.
They danced and sacrificed
for their quaint gods.
important appointments are punctually attended.
But now and then we put away the clocks.
Years come and go.
The older I get the more I realize I'm older.
I've seen a lot of things,
I've heard a lot of things,
I've said and done a lot of things.
I don't care for more elucidation.
We know what we've done.
Years come and go.
I have faith in my beautiful body,
in your beautiful body,
in our brains, our lungs, our livers.
Believe in them. Our fleshy instruments
are there, making a symphony.
Have you stopped, when the clocks are away,
to bow before the majesty of the pancreas?
I reccomend it.
Years come and go.
A cold horse is on the horizon,
A cold horse is coming toward us.
Our blood will soon settle.
Electricity shocking the head,
weight pressing on the chest,
redness pouring from a hot torso spout,
the emasculating sickness whittling away
at earthly faculties,
scratching at the coffin ceiling
These things have their seasons
they come and go like ocean waves.
I have it on good authority-
the calmness of my mind-
that death is a blooming plant.
Watch out for nukes that will kill us all.
Await the warm embrace of a loving God.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Remember that letter I wrote to the President a while back? (I learned how to use the link function, so I don't have to copy and paste the whole URL anymore! I'm like totally a professional blogger.)
Well, I got a letter back from Mr. Obama. It was so kind of him to write back. I decided to post the letter here. My responses are in red.
Thank you for contacting me. I appreciate hearing your perspective on global warming. (Yeah, right.) Few challenges facing our Nation are more urgent. (I bet I can name at least thirty seven more urgent challenges. Thirty seven is more than a few. Oh, and by "more urgent" I mean "actually real.") The facts are clear, (Whatever you gotta tell yourself.) and the science is beyond dispute. (Say it over and over and it might come true.) We know that we cannot keep burning fossil fuels and adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere without consequence. (You're right about that one. The consequence will probably be more warmth in the winter, more coolness in the summer, more general health and comfort...) If left unchecked, our continued dependence on these sources of energy will further weaken our economy and threaten our national security. (Drill, baby, drill!)
We are addressing the climate crisis first and foremost by pursuing a clean energy future (Is "clean energy future" your special way of saying "COMMUNIST DICTATORSHIP"???!!!) that makes our country safer and more prosperous. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act puts Americans to work weatherizing homes and buildings, doubling our supply of renewable energy, and advancing scientific research. My 2010 Budget makes further investments in a clean energy economy that will create good-paying jobs through funding for wind and solar power, advanced biofuels, clean coal, and fuel-efficient cars. In addition, my Administration is pursuing comprehensive legislation to move toward energy independence and prevent the worst consequences of global warming while creating incentives to make clean energy profitable in America. (This is a good letter, rhetorically speaking. It sounds great, like your speeches. I'm being serious here. If I listen to you long enough, Mr. Obama, I might be spellbound by your charisma. You're a great politician.)
The response to global warming, however, must be global. (No it doesn't, because global warming isn't real!) Just as we work to reduce our own emissions, we must forge solutions that ensure every country does its part. (Solutions like dumping tons of U.S. money into the pockets of third-world dictators?)
Our choices as individuals and as a Nation will ultimately define the world we leave to our children. (You sound like you're in a beauty contest.) To learn more about my plan to act boldly (Why don't you act humbly or cowardly once in a while? Politicians are always acting boldy.) on global warming and meet our obligation to future generations, I encourage you to join me online at:www.whitehouse.gov/agenda/energy_and_environment.Thank you again for writing. (Hey, no problem.)
To be a part of our agenda for change, (a.k.a. to become an Obama zombie) join us at http://www.whitehouse.gov/
(Let me ask you a question, Mr. Obama: How many people have died so far from global warming? I think that number is a big fat zero. So why is global warming such a pressing issue? And why are you bent on spending so much money on it? Know how many people died in Poland this month from cold weather? 79. Here's the proof. Maybe burning more fossil fuels would have helped those 79 people see a few more sunrises.
I also want to tell you that I was disapointed that the climate change conference in Copenhagen turned anti-capitalist and anti-American. Hugo Chavez's speech was outrageous. He got a standing ovation for saying, "socialism... that’s the way to save the planet, capitalism is the road to hell….let’s fight against capitalism and make it obey us.”
But I suspect that the global warming movement was always secretly communist anyway. Mr. Obama, I wish you would have heeded Sarah Palin's advice and just boycotted Copenhagen.
I might write to you again, but I don't think it will do much good. I realize that I'm just talking to one of your staff members, and not really you, or maybe I'm talking to a computer program that searches for terms in my email and then sends back an automated response... say lah vee. But know that next November I'll be voting for conservative politicians. OOOooo! Doesn't that scare you?
Thank you. And I'm sorry for being rude to you. I just had to let off some steam. Can we be friends again?
Oh, and I have another suggestion for you, Mr. President. Look into this. The article on the other end of that link is about Nathan Myhrvold, a scientist who claims he can stop global warming by putting a hose up into the sky and pumping a bunch of sulfur into the stratosphere, thus preventing a little bit of the sun's heat from reaching the earth. According to Mr. Myhrvold, trapped C02 will make the earth a little warmer, more sulfur in the stratosphere would make the earth a little cooler, so the weather will get balanced out, and we'll all be just fine.
Here's my suggestion. Let's do nothing about global warming for a while. Say a decade or two. Let's concentrate on the economy and the war on terror for the time being. Then, if the temperature really starts rising like Al Gore says it will (which I don't think it will) then we can use Mr. Myhrvold's idea. Or maybe another scientist will come up with another way to cool the earth down that doesn't involve setting up a world government and plunging billions into poverty. Sound like a good idea?
But you probably won't look into Mr. Myhrvold's idea becuase you're in the business of supressing genuine science and you're into squelching prosperity, just because you want to be sooooo mean!
I wonder if oil is really a non-renewable resource, like the enviornmentalists keep telling us it is. The story we're often told is that oil is a finite fossil fuel because it comes from dinosaur bones that get mixed with lava or something, and you know, there's only so many dinosaur bones out there, so once they run out, we'll have to rely on wind and solar and live in teepees and blah blah blah.
Dinosaur bones! Ha! It's laughable!
The Earth is only 6,000 years old and there's no such thing as dinosaurs. The things scientisits call "dinosaur bones" are just funny rocks put there by Satan to dissuade believers!)
P.S. Merry Christmas.
I just got Bob Dylan's latest album, Christmas in the Heart. It's the first Christmas album he's ever done, and it's really really good. I just got it yesterday, and I've already listened to it three times all the way through. I think you’d like it, too.
I like the way that Bob Dylan doesn't take himself so seriously as a poet/musician/trapeze artist that he sees himself as being above doing a Christmas album. A snooty, serious, artsy artist wouldn't do a Christmas album, since Christmas albums can be seen as being overdone, commercial, and accessible to a wide range of people.
(Maybe that’s what prevented Bob Dylan from doing a Christmas album before… but I wonder why he didn’t do one during his heavily Christian phase, when he was putting out albums like Empire Burlesque and Slow Train Coming… it certainly would have been commercially successful, but who can know the mysterious ways of Bob Dylan?)
I'd say it's more characteristic of Bob Dylan to do a cover album of obscure folk songs, like he did with World Gone Wrong.
I also like the way Bob Dylan has no problems mixing secular songs like "Must Be Santa" with religious songs like "O Little Town of Bethlehem." Dylan is certainly not the first one to mix secular and religious Christmas songs, in fact it’s done all the time, but it was nice to be reminded that Jolly Old Saint Nicholas and our Savior, Jesus Christ are not mutually exclusive.
One of the big things that sets Christmas in the Heart apart from most other Bob Dylan albums is that people can actually understand what the lyrics mean. Contrast some typical Bob Dylan lyrics from "Chimes of Freedom":
“Through the wild cathedral evening the rain unraveled tales for the disrobed faceless forms of no position”
to the lyrics on this new Christmas album:
“Here comes Santa Claus here comes Santa Claus here comes Santa Claus right down Santa Claus lane”
And I like the way Bob Dylan doesn’t sing the Christmas songs in a sarcastic way, as if he's playing a joke on his audience. No, Dylan gives the songs the respect they deserve, he commits to the songs, and he sings them in a really nice way. The album is straightforward, simple, and great.
I'm not sure if I have a favorite song. They’re all good. But I particularly like "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Must Be Santa." I had never heard "Must Be Santa" before, so I thought maybe Bob Dylan wrote it, but no, the liner notes say that some guys named William Fredericks and Hal Moore wrote the song... but one of the cool things about the song is that it's got an accordion in it. It’s fun!
Ha! I just went to Rolling Stone.com and read some of the reviews of Christmas in the Heart. This one is a riot!
5 of 5 Stars
In this brilliant masterpiece of an album, Dylan puts a mirror in the face of American culture... and what America sees is not pretty. His gravelly voice implies a harsh new reality facing the nation. His rapidly increasing age is obvious in his voice, and through this he highlights the shameful rush towards progress, and bemoans the leaving behind of what were once treasures. With so many bands today focusing on materialism, Dylan takes the road less traveled by in portraying the sweat of the worker, the greed of the owner, the dreams of the children, the love of the parents, and the common hope for a better future, all under the guise of Christmas Carols. And in the end, this makes all the difference.
Some people take Bob Dylan much too seriously. And some people take themselves much too seriously. Like that reviewer, thefinerthings. Did you catch the pretentious allusion to "The Road Less Traveled By" by Robert Frost? I put it in bold.
And uh... were I and that reviewer listening to the same album? Where did he (she?) hear Bob Dylan singing about the "sweat of the worker" and "the greed of the owner"? All I heard about was the little drummer boy and the baby Jesus.
Certainly thfinerthings must be a Marxist, twisting Bob Dylan's innocent, American, wholesome Christmas album into communist propaganda!
Hmm. Thefinerthings must be more enlightened than I am. He can hear the true meaning of Bob Dylan's deep parables. Whatever.
I think Bob Dylan just wanted to sing some nice Christmas songs, and I’m glad he did. Bob Dylan did a good job. Oh, and all the profits from the album go to feeding the hungry, and so that's great, too.
What I’m wondering is, where will Bob Dylan go next? I hope he puts out more albums like Love and Theft. Well, wherever Dylan goes, I want to go too.
Thanks, Borris, for giving me the album for Christmas. I hope you don’t mind that I opened it early.
Monday, December 21, 2009
I wish I was a Teletubby.
As much as I give lip service to the notions of rugged individualism and self-government, all I really want to be is Tinky-Winky. Or Po. Or any of those little guys.
I want to play hide and go seek and play with fun magic things that fall from the sky. I want a television built into my stomach, and I want it to play the most wonderful shows for me to watch whenever I please! And I want that beautiful baby-sun to laugh at me all the time, and I want to eat gobs and gobs of Tubby Tustard and Tubby Toast, whenever I feel like it, and I want Noo-noo to take care of me.
Never mind about defending sovereignty and working for a living and engaging in capitalistic endeavors. Never mind about unpleasant, difficult things.
All I want now is to sit by the flesh pots of Egypt, and eat bread to the full.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
If you ever find yourself in need of writing a folk song in a jiffy, this list should get you started.
This list was compiled through arduous listening sessions to music compiled by Alan Lomax, Harry Smith, and Moses Asch… oh and you know and stuff by Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly and Roscoe Holcomb and Robert Johnson and all those old-timey folk singers that are so much better than the musicians today.
So much better.
I say so much better mostly because all those old folk singers are dead, and I have no access to them, except through glimpses of their glory captured on vinyl.
And the things I have no access to always seem great. Like Heaven.
I don’t mean Heaven is forever shut to me, but I mean that right this second the Holy Place of Never-ending Bliss is far, far away.
Maybe if we started singin' about the things in this list, we'd produce better music. Ha ha ha.
Without further ado, here’s the list:
5. them rich folk from town
6. that old river
8. Ol’ Bill
10. the paper
15. Standin’ on the corner
17. a graveyard
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Here's a letter I just emailed to President Obama:
Global Warming isn't real.
Please look into "Climategate" and take the research of climate change skeptics seriously, and don't sign the treaty at Copenhagen. You will make America less free and less great if you sign that treaty.
Thank you for your service to your country.
And here's a great video about the global warming myth:
Friday, December 4, 2009
I'm a cow and I hacked into your blog and I gotta tell you that you ought to stop making such a big deal out of animal sacrifce. I'm gonna get killed pretty soon so people can eat me. That's the grim reality me and all my cow friends and family face. Moo. I don't really care if my execution is part of a religious ceremony or not.
Secret Cow who hacked into Telemoonfa Time
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I'm really not trying to be Islamaphobic, but have you heard the news about the suicide bomber in Somalia who killed 19 people at a medical school graduation?
Those soon-to-be doctors could have helped the lives of so many people in the troubled nation of Somalia, but now they're dead.
And did you hear the news about Fort Hood a few weeks ago?
And did you hear the news about [insert act of Islamic terrorism here]
Are they totally unrelated stories? No, I don't think so. I think there's a commonality between today's suicide bombing and the recent Fort Hood tragedy. And the commonality starts with the letter "I" and ends with "slam".
Sorry to point that out.
Christians are terrorists too, sometimes.
But I don't want to become hateful, you know? I don't want to think bad things when I see a Muslim family buying groceries at Fry's. I want to love everyone and get along peacefully with everybody.
I had an interview the other day with Home Depot. It was for a "freight team" position. The position involved moving merchandise around using handtrucks, pallet jacks, and forklifts and putting stuff on the shelves where they go, you know, and the hours would have been great. My wife and I wouldn't have needed to get a babysitter.
But they didn't hire me. Maybe it's because I'm overqualified.
Ha ha ha. Overqualified.
I like thinking that's the reason they didn't hire me because it sort of helps my self-esteem. It's like when I was in school and I could'nt understand an assigment, I would just say to myself, "I'm too smart for this assignment! I'm like a genius who doesn't fit into the system."
What does that mean anyway?
There should be no such thing as an overqualified applicant. I think really smart and skilled and experienced should be the first to get the job. Even if Barack Obama applied to work at Subway, I think Subway should hire him because Obama is so smart and... (oh, wait that example doesn't work.) But you know what I mean.
Seriously folks! If you were the hiring person, wouldn't you hire the people who dress really nice and act polite and have spent a whole lot of time in college? But maybe jobs like working on the freight team go to big hulking guys who got kicked off their high school football team for doing drugs in the boy's room.
Or maybe there were more qualified applicants.
But wait! Sometimes teaching is bearable... and sometimes it's more than bearable... sometimes it's enjoyable, a little bit... and sometimes I think that maybe I could be a teacher for a longer time... and I think maybe they'll hire me back next year full time.
But if they don't hire me back, then I think I might go to truck driving school in the summer and then drive a big old honker all over this country, man, and stop at the truck stops and go honk honk honk and drink caffinated beverages all the time and listen to rock and roll on the radio, and get very very unhygenic. I might get lonely, but at least with the radio I'll have a disembodied voice to keep me company, and I'll start howling at the moon.
Te gusta espanol?
Me gusta it!!!
Her shirt says "pretty as a flower" and that's soooooo fitting b/c she IS pretty as a flower---
and did you see the little flower on her headband and the headband on her cutie pie face head???!!! AHHHHHH!!!!!
and the flowers on her chair and the flowers on her onsie and the flower on her head and all the flowers in the WORLD!!!
Tenemos picturas para los cuties de infantas 4-ever!!! AMore!
I blog @ Spanish b/c for U!!!
SHE'S MY BABY!!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Hindus do animal sacrifice!
How did I not know about that? I'm 26! I thought Budhism and Hinduism and all those Eastern philosophies/religions that nobody really is but everybody really wants to get into someday
http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/01/18/2-religions-that-their-parents-dont-belong-to/ were supposed to be really peaceful and in tune with the natural world and animal friendly.
I'm not mad at Hindus for doing animal sacrifice, by the way. I think it's kind of cool. But I'm concerned that nobody knows that Hinduism endorses animal sacrifice, and lots of it. Or at least when I would have conversations with college students about religion, they would always talk vaguely about how great Eastern spirituality was, and they would always hint that Christianity was lame.
I wonder if you wonder if I have some kind of hatred toward animals.
Um... I pushed a cat off of a second story balcany one time. I felt bad afterwards. The worst part about it is that I was a missionary at the time.
It was on impulse. (I was "in the moment" as Adam Lambert said of his bromantical kiss.) Let's see what I remember... Another missionary and I were walking up some stairs... I think there was a little bit of snow on the ground, but not very much. It was cold, I remember. Very very cold. And there was this cat standing on a railing, and I just nudged him off. On purpose. I watched him fall all the way down to the sidewalk. He smacked it and meowed in pain, and then he got up and limped away. That was the last I ever saw of him.
And maybe a neighbor saw me push the cat. I don't know.
So there's probably someone in Morgantown, West Virginia right now yelling, "No way am I joining the LDS church- they're the Church of the Cat-Pushers!"
Say Lah Vee.
But animal sacrifice is a lot cooler than what I did, because the Hindus are hurting animals for God, and what I was doing was... I don't know why I did it.
Have you ever had the pleasure of telling a bunch of little kids when they can and can't go to the bathroom? I have. I feel like writing a poem about it.
When I am in front of the students,
and I want to say the word "ooodents"
(even though it's not really a word but the un-really word really rhymes with students,
and the plural of ooodents is ooodents
and POOF now I know that the word
is a word that I've certainly heard
from the upside-down mouths of kabloo-dents
and thus is real)
They raise their hands and say, "I have to go to the bathroom"
and they get up and say, "I have to go to the bathroom"
and they wiggle and giggle and spiggle and say, "I have to go to the bathroom"
(don't ask about spiggle)
And I say, "But class, class, don't you know,
that it's important to know
all about Kabuki and all about Noh?"
"No!" "Yeah right!" "I gotta go so bad!"
"I hurt down there! So bad!"
"I'm gonna tell my Dad
that you would'nt let me tinkle,
and just wait 'til he sprinkles
you with pain!"
It's an emergency!"
So I let them go. All of them.
Gasp! It comes to me! They're lying.
Those liars, lying.
They went 5 minutes ago. They didn't really need to go. Liars.
They won't come back, those liars, lying.
They'll put their gang signs all over the stall walls. Gangsters!
Gasp! The children might smoke.
It's the parent's fault.
And the Democrats' fault.
OK, so that job with Fry's didn't work out because the Union decided not to strike... and uh... other places interviewed me but didn't hire me, and now Home Depot is going to interview me next Tuesday. I might be on the "freight team" which means I could unload trucks, move stuff from the back to the floor, use pallet jacks and forklifts and handtrucks and get all dirty and sweaty and ha ha ha and work with my body, which is good for the soul.
And the schedule should work out to where we won't have to get a babysitter. I can't imagine getting a babysitter for my three-month-old daughter. That would be horrible.
I still might be a teacher forever. I don't really know. I guess it depends on how next semester goes. And it depends on whether or not the administration wants to hire me back. I can understand them not wanting to hire me back next year. And I can also understand me not wanting to go back next year.
I'll tell you, physical labor, that's the kind of work that makes a man feel like a man- not this namby pamby stuff I've been doing at school- standing in circles with middle-schoolers, playing zip zap boink and pretending we're mimes, being all sensitive to little girls' feelings... I might as well be a hair stylist!
OK fellas, let take this to a whole nuvva level!!!
Listen to my commentation NEWS style 5000!
I used to like Adam Lambert a lot. I thought he was great on American Idol. Like remember his trippy version of "Ring of Fire"? Some people called it weird (in a bad way) but I called it weird (in a good way.) And remember his "Whole Lotta Love" performance? He was totally great and entertaining and awesome, and I was sort of rooting for him to win it all, even though I didn't admit it... because maybe I was supposed to go for the Christian... well... I didn't watch it much last season, but... Adam Lambert was really really awesome...
But now he's not cool anymore.
Well, he's still cool, but he's not all the way cool, you know?
I always have this problem with guys like Adam Lambert. They're really good singers, they're fun, I get just a little bit jealous of their stardom and gutsiness and rock-n-rollenness, but then they get all sinful.
Say La Vee.
Like Andy Warhol too! I like his art but oh my some of the things he did in his free time... and some of his "artwork"... THEY'RE UNMENTIONABLE!!!
As Thanksgiving approaches, it becomes and behooves us to pause and reflect on our blessings. Pause with me, won't you?
OK, are you done pausing?
Hey, stop pausing so you can read my list of things I'm thankful for:
1. Mitt Romney
Seriously Mitt Romney is so awesome and he will win in 2012 Hooray!
2. Sarah Palin
Seriously Sarah Palin is also so awesome and she can be Mitt Romney's vice president, Hey I want her new book, by the way, if any of you are thinking about buying me stuff for Christmas. Just mail presents to:
Camoflauged Secret Bunker # 41
3. Ted Nugent
(Cat Scratch Fever!!!)
4. My bunker stocked with guns and gold
5. My secret knowledge that Global Warming is bunk
6. My hunch that Al Gore is unhappy inside
7. Toast toasted by toasters using the power of Dirty Coal
8. Big trucks that go honk honk
9. Dead birds that I get hot and then bite
Hey have you ever heard these lyrics before, I've heard these lyrics before!
Positive vibration oohhhh, Positive! I'm feeling good now!
Rastaman vibration woahh eye-in-eye.
That's Bob Marley.
Bob Marley, man, one time, he was at a peace concert- doing music for peace, and it was in Jamaica, and it was the morning before the concert, and he got shot, man, Bob Marley, some guy just shot him, and then you know what he did? He KEPT ON SINGING and he went on that night and there was this one song, maybe it was jamming I wanna jam with you now, we're jamming, no it wasn't jamming, it was Buffalo Soldier, no it was... what was that song? Was it Jamming? Like we're feeling good? No... wait... stolen from Africa.... no, man, wait, man, uh, I think it was jamming, and he put that line in there "No bullet will stop me now"
No bullet can stop us now.
It was beautiful, and everybody felt it.
P.S. Wanna play hackey-sack?
Thursday, November 12, 2009
two three four five and six except they’re buffer now
and they all sneak into this guy’s houseboat
and the guys get out AK-47’s and
Uh uh uh uh uh uh uh
they just blast them all
and stab them sometimes too, with big old machetes,
Like in movies 1 through 6, too,
But in this one
the vampires have true hearts,
so it gets kind of sissy
and they love people and everything,
not just lust, but real emotional stuff
but the people don’t love them back
and the vampires just WHAM explode.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Maybe I should be a truck driver.
Truck drivers usually get paid more than teachers, and they get to listen to the radio all the time, and they get to see the country. And the country is beautiful. And I like looking at maps.
And there are lots of openings for truck drivers. I see them all the time.
I might go to trucking school in May after this school year if I don’t find something else by then.
I’d do long hauls around the country for a while, maybe a year, and then work my way into more local jobs, so I could spend more time at home.
Or maybe I’d like driving a Greyhound bus.
I spent a lot of time the other day looking at this charming web site: http://www.lifeasatrucker.com
But I don’t think I’ll really be a trucker, mostly because I’d be away from my family so much. Also, truckers are often lonely, depressed, and addicted to chemical stimulants.
Maybe I could work for UPS or the Post Office… I’ve already applied to those places, and I actually have an interview this Friday with the Post Office to be a temporary holiday postal worker.
Maybe I could try to become a community college professor. I almost have my Master’s degree in English. Community college professors have really easy jobs, I think… for the most part, anyway. They don’t have to worry about classroom management.
I don’t think teaching is working out for me. Have I told you that?
I teach two classes of drama at a middle school, and one class is pretty good and the other class is awful. Just awful. And almost every day I ask myself the question: Is it me or is it them? And I think it’s me, because those students don’t behave that way for their other teachers…
And you remember what happened with my English classes, faithful readers.
I got a job at Fry’s today! That’s good news. I don’t know what I’ll be doing yet. Maybe running a cash register, maybe collecting carts and bagging groceries, or maybe stocking the shelves. Fry’s workers are going on strike this Friday at 6 p.m., and the job I got will only last until the strike is over.
I suppose there’s a possibility if the strike lasts a long time, I could keep the job at Fry’s, which would be cool, I think.
I’m going to be one of the people crossing the picket line to do the jobs of the striking workers. I suppose that’s bad, whatever, it’s not that bad bad.
What’s bad bad is the shooting at Fort Hood. That’s bad bad.
Happy Veteran’s Day tomorrow.
So much is happening in this old wicked world.
Other good news: I met a lady from church who runs this business around Christmas time that writes people’s names on Christmas decorations, and she said if I have okay penmanship, she would hire me. It’s seasonal. Sounds OK.
Lately I’ve been looking closely at the people I see working at grocery stores and gas stations and construction sites and whatnot and wondering if they’re happy with their jobs. Some of them look content, some of them look sad, and some of them look like everyday they have a great day at work.
Like this guy at a Midas car fix-it place. He was great. He loved what he did. He was experienced. He was good at it. In fact, I wish I was a car mechanic. I’ve never had the brain for it. I suppose if I applied myself and really tried to learn it, I could learn how to fix cars… but I’m too namby-pamby and sissy for that kind of work. I should have taken wood shop and auto in high school, man. I really should have. I should have learned a useful trade. I still could… well…
And I’ve thought about going to law school, too. My brother’s a lawyer. I’m pretty sure I could get into a law school. But I’d be afraid that I’d go to school for 3 years, get into mountains of debt, and then when I got to be a lawyer… what if I didn’t like the job that much? What if I was miserable at it?
I got a job at Fry’s, so that’s good news.
And my daughter is doing well. She’s asleep on the couch, keeping me company.
How are you doing?
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
There are many rites of passage in our modern American life, many things one undergoes on the path to grown-up-ness. First date, moving away from home, riding a mechanical bull. But tonight I just underwent a new rite of passage, one that I never really considered a rite of passage until now- I gave away Halloween candy to some neighborhood children.
It was weird. I had never done that before. I had always either been the one trick-or-treating or I had stayed aloof from it all, mostly because I lived in places where trick-or-treating didn't happen.
But tonight was really nice. My wife and I sat in our driveway with our baby and friendly families came over and said "trick or treat" and we gave them candy, and the weather was nice, and I think trick-or-treating is a beautiful, beautiful thing. At least it was tonight.
The world is very beautiful. This country is a wonderful country. It's nice to live in the suburbs. The kids around here are good kids. There is a smile on my face, and it's a sincere smile.
How are you doing?
Friday, October 30, 2009
Now the title is a different color. And I changed the font. The dough will start rolling in any second now. Ha ha ha.
I already hate the advertisements and I want to take them down. I've sold out! I'm slimy.
I'm sort of thinking that I shoud become a truck driver or a nurse, because when I look for jobs on careerbuilder.com or other job search engine thingamajigs, there are always openings for truck drivers and nurses.
But I'm afraid that if I was a truck driver I would crash into things or run over curbs all the time, or run over cars or people. I can't drive a stick-shift. About two months ago I drove a U-Haul truck and it was kind of fun. But if I drove a truck I might fall asleep at the wheel and accidently kill people.
And if I was a nurse I would barf every day because I couldn't stick needles into people. BARF BARF PUKE!
I'm wasting time. How are you doing?
I don't think I want to blog for a living, anyway.
Blogs are so shallow, and I am so deep.
Know any easy ways I can make money fast?
(Preferably legal ways.)
I can identify with Biff from Death of a Salesman in Act One, page 22 of the book I'm looking at:
BIFF: I tell ya, Hap, I don't know what the future is. I don't know- what I'm supposed to want.
HAPPY: What do you mean?
BIFF: Well, I spent six or seven years after high school trying to work myself up. Shipping clerk, salesman, business of one kind or another. And it's a measly manner of existence. To get on that subway on the hot mornings in summer. To devote your whole life to keeping stock, or making phone calls, or selling or buying. To suffer fifty weeks of the year for the sake of a two-week vacation, when all you really desire is to be outdoors, with your shirt off. And always to have to get ahead of the next fella. And still - that's how you build a future.
HAPPY: Well, you really enjoy it on a farm? Are you content out there?
BIFF, with rising agitation: Hap, I've had twenty or thirty different kinds of jobs since I left home before the war, and it always turns out the same. I just realized it lately. In Nebraska when I herded cattle, and the Dakotas, and Arizona, and now in Texas. It's why I came home now, I guess, because I realized it. This farm I work on, it's spring there now, see? And they've got about fifteen new colts. There's nothing more inspiring or - beautiful than the sight of a mare and a new colt. And it's cool there now, see? Texas is cool now, and it's spring. And whenever spring comes to where I am, I suddenly get the feeling, my God, I'm not getting anywhere! What the hell am I doing, playing around with horses, twenty-eight dollars a week! I'm thirty-four years old, I oughta be makin' my future. And now, I get here, and I don't know what to do with myself.
I don't mean to be Captain Depresso. I hope you have a good day.
Barack Obama is the President and I don’t like him.
Little girl running around my neighborhood dressed like a hoodlum. Halloween! Face paint. Dressed like a devil. Thinks she’s funny. Raising Ruckus! What’s so funny about devils, little girl? Devils live in Hell.
That mother of hers isn’t much better. Ha! If she even is the mother! Mother! Could be an older friend dressed up like a mother - in disguise - to get more candy, like the President is disguised!
Obama sounds nice but he’s mean inside.
Mothers these days.
Took sneaky picture of demon girl with cell phone. Put on Internet. The sneaky Internet.
But that won’t teach anyone anything ever forever. Just another picture in sea of pictures.
Political speech. The freedom of political speech. Speaking things. That’s nice.
Guns say louder things.
I don’t know.
Sounds good to me.
Lets’ reform it.
But I did meet a pleasant postal worker the other day. She was stuffing mailboxes. I was walking. We exchanged pleasantries.
And the sky and the earth were there.
And the postal worker was thriving and glowing in the rhythm of her righteous labor, and for a moment she looked at me, and I looked at her, and we felt that we were products of the land, independent of all of man's worrisome institutions.
And indeed, even as we felt it, so it was.
you held the country together,
with your hands!
You were so tall, and your black hat was so tall,
and your body and your hat put together were so tall,
and everybody, even Robert E. Lee,
that rascally rebel,
was constrained to confess your tallness.
And now you’re a ghost.
And I’m alive and living in 2009,
and these buildings around me
these gigantic steel structures, they’re around me,
and I am subject to them,
and there’s farms, too, and that’s nice,
but there are no log cabins anymore,
like the one that you used to live in,
at least none that I can see,
and there are laws I don’t understand,
and they’re all around me,
and I am subject to them,
and people I don’t understand,
(Your wife was crazy, wasn’t she?
You and I should talk sometime.)
and they’re all around me, these people,
and I am subject to them,
I suppose they’re people,
but they don’t stop to see me,
and they move
and their faces change. I can’t
keep track of them,
But why would I want to keep track of them?
To make money, that’s why.
To get that benefits package
I’ve been hearing about.
So sometimes I ride my bike around
for no reason when I know I should
be making money somehow.
And Abraham Lincoln can I go where you are?
And maybe I can wear your hat?
Friday, October 23, 2009
They have great ideas for movies and novels,
and they love to tell me about their ideas
and I love to hear them.
Occasionally they write their ideas
on paper, whatever’s handy:
sticky notes, envelopes.
The serious authors type
their ideas on computer screens.
And when they write
their faces shine
like the face of Moses.
I’ve seen the shining.
My friends go back to their jobs,
and they eat, and they watch TV,
and they go to sleep.
But when it is break time, perhaps,
or when they are in their backyards
or garages, and something looks
like something it is not-
a brick wall looks like a twirling sparkly baton,
a slumped-over tree branch looks like a gallows-
then they think about writing it down
they think about putting the inferno
of emotions and thoughts into words-
freezing the fire forever, locking it
into a solid place- a museum
that is visited and enjoyed
and commented upon
by all interested parties.
But my friends usually do not have a pencil handy,
(And anyway the writing wouldn’t sell)
so they enjoy the ideas in their minds,
for a few lovely moments,
and they tell me about them now and then.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
I quit teaching high school English, but I'm still teaching drama at the middle school. That cuts my pay in half, and I lose my benefits, but, well, I have mixed emotions about quitting. I sort of think I should have stuck it out, and tried harder, but I also think quitting was OK. I was horrible at it. My classes were out of control. I was doing a disservice to the school and the kids by staying. I was robbing them of a good education. Or maybe I should say they were robbing themselves of a good education. I don't know. Oh, and I was/am emotionally messed up a lot.
On the other hand, I’ve got a wife and a baby to provide for, and that full-time teacher salary was nice, so maybe I should have tried harder. I don’t know.
Maybe I'll still be a teacher. Maybe not.
Tomorrow's my last day at the high school.
Here's a few things that have happened/ are happening in my class:
One kid shot a rubber band at another kid and now the kid's got internal eye bleeding and the fire department had to come or something.
One kid farted in another kid’s face on purpose.
A kid brought in a box of condoms and he blew one up into a balloon and tossed it around the classroom.
A kid folded up a piece of paper tightly like a boomerang and stuck a metal spike from a thumb tack into it. (He pulled the thumb tack from my bulletin board) The he flung the contraption with a rubber band into another kid's stomach. The kid had to go to the nurse and a Vice Principal and a counselor came into my classroom and interrogated two kids to find out who flung the metal spike. I don't think they ever found out, and I don't know if any disciplinary action was taken.
The students talk and they talk and they talk and they don't do their work and they don't do their work and they don't do their work.
They get out of their desks when they are not supposed to.
They called me Mr. Birdcrap.
After I say “This is due tomorrow.” A kid says, “What? This is due next week?” Or, “This is worth 20 points.” He says, “This is worth 200 points?” and he does it on purpose. Or I’ll say, “Turn to page 221.” And he’ll say, “Turn to page 1,000? There’s not even 1,000 pages in this stupid book.” Or I’ll say, “Get out the green book from underneath your desk.” And he’ll say, “There is no purple book underneath my desk!”
And I say over and over again, “Please be quiet. Be respectful of yourselves and others. Respect me by being quiet.”
While we’re supposed to be having a class discussion on something, they’ll ask questions that are totally off topic, like, “Mr. Telemoonfa, what time do we get out of this class?” and, “Hey are you going to the football game this Friday?” and, “Do you like my haircut? You didn’t even say anything about it.”
They don't bring pens or pencils or paper to class. They have backpacks full of mischief-makers, but no school materials. They expect me to provide pens and pencils and paper for them everyday.
They display affection publicly.
They break the dress code.
They whistle, and they make animal noises, and I can’t tell whose making the noises. (But even if I did know who was making the noises, what would happen?)
They stab their pencils into the walls just to mess up the walls.
They spray deodorant and perfume and it really stinks up the class.
They use horrible language. They are very crude. They talk about stuff that I didn’t think high school freshmen should know about.
They wear hats inside buildings, they chew gum, they listen to iPods, they text on their cell phones, even though those are all against the school rules.
They won't sit where I tell them to sit. I can't enforce a seating chart.
They throw paper airplanes.
They don’t respect my property. They get into my cabinets.
They steal assignments from each other and put their names on it.
They take each other's hats, backpacks, binders, etc. and they say, "Mr. Telemoonfa, so-and-so took my backpack." And then I say, "So-and-so, did you take his backpack?" And then they says, "No, this is my backpack. I brought two backpacks to school today because I'm a double-good student" or something like that. I never knew that being a teacher would involve trying to settle so many disputes over theft.
They lay on the floor.
They claim that they have to sit somewhere else because they’re near-sighted, or far-sighted, or because of the glare from the sun coming in from the window.
They sit on top of the desks instead of in their desks.
They don't do their homework.
They don’t do their classwork.
They don’t do any work.
One time I assigned homework. I made it very clear what their assignment was. I put the due date on the board. One person turned the assignment in! One person! Out of 33 students!
They eat in class. I tell them not to eat, and they say, “I wasn’t eating!” and they hide their food in their backpacks.
They say stuff like, “I hate this class.” “English sucks.” “When are we going to get to do something fun?” “Can’t we just watch a movie?” “This assignment is against my religion.”
They say stuff like, “You’re just assigning me this assignment because I’m black. You’re racist!” or, “You want me to sit in the back because I’m a black man. I see how you run things.”
I say, “No gum chewing!” and they say, “I’m not chewing gum. That’s my tongue. I have a weird tongue.” Or, “It’s a cough drop.” Or, “The nurse said I could chew gum because it’s like this therapeutic thing about stress or something. Watch, you should call the nurse and she’ll explain my condition to you.”
They ask to use my phone all the time. They have to call their parents to see if they can stay afterschool or something. If I say, “No, I’d rather you not use my phone right now. I’d rather you do the work you’re supposed to be doing.” They say, “No, you don’t understand, Mr. Telemoonfa, I have to call RIGHT NOW because my Mom goes to work in 10 minutes and she said that I wasn’t allowed to call her at work anymore and Coach said that if I don’t make today’s practice then I get kicked off the team, and if I stay after without Mom’s permission she’s gonna beat me!” So I let them use the phone.
My problem is, I don’t stick to my guns. For example, I’ll say, “No, you can’t go get a drink of water. You’ve already left once this period and there’s already one person out of the room, and my policy is that only one student can be gone from the room at a time.” But then they say, “Oh, please, Mr. Telemoonfa. My throat is so dry I can barely stand it and I get dehydrated really easily.” And I’ll say something like, “Well you should have thought about that earlier and brought a water bottle to school, or you should have got a big drink of water right before class started.” And They’ll say, “I’ll try to remember that for tomorrow, but right now I just have to have some water.” And so I let them go. And then the students get the message that they’ll get whatever they want if they just whine long enough.
I should have had consequences. Well, I gave them two warnings, and then I had them call their parents, or I called their parents. That improved behavior slightly for maybe 2 students, but for most students, that didn't do anything. Some of the parents are like, "Yeah, I can't control him at home, either."
The administration told us not to send people to the office unless they're doing drugs or attacking us or cussing us out.
Finally one day I sent a kid to the office. It was the day that I decided that I was enforcing the seating chart no matter what. I said to a girl, “Go sit in your assigned seat.” And she refused. I asked her several times, and she refused, and then I said, “Either go sit in your seat or I’m writing a referral.” She said, “You can’t send me to the office just for not sitting where you want me to sit.” And I said, “Yes I can.” She also said, “There’s no point in sending me to the office. They’re just going to send me right back. They’re going to laugh when they hear that you sent me to the office just because I didn’t sit where you want.” So I wrote a referral and gave it to her and told her to go to the office. She ripped it up, stomped over to the trashcan, and threw it away. I took the ripped up pieces of a referral out of the trash can, gave them to a reliable kid and told him to put them in his pocket, and they walked over to the office together. Right before she left, she yelled at me, “You better watch out, Mr. Telemoonfa. I’m gonna get your @$$ fired!” (and I remember thinking at that point, yeah, I wish I would get fired. That way I wouldn’t have to see you anymore.)
In about 10 minutes she was sent back to my classroom, and she still would not sit in her assigned seat. I didn’t know what to do. I had already called her parents before, and left a message about her behavior in the classroom. I couldn’t grab her and forcibly move her to another seat, because the faculty handbook says, “Never touch the students.” So what was I supposed to do? I tried to continue with the lesson, but I knew that the class was thinking, “Wow, as long as we throw a fit, we can do whatever we want in Mr. Telemoonfa’s class. There’s nothing he can do about it.”
That was the last time I tried enforcing the seating chart.
I tried a few things to manage the classroom.
I stood in front of the classroom and said, "I'm not going on until everyone is quiet." That didn’t work.
I complimented the quiet students and the students who were on task. “Thank you, Charles, for doing your bellwork. Thank you, Samantha, for listening so well.” That didn’t work. Or maybe it would work for a few seconds, but then when I went back to explaining instructions or giving a lecture or writing stuff on the board, they would talk and throw things and goof off.
One time I blew up and screamed louder and harder than I’ve ever screamed at anybody before. It was weird. I’m not that kind of person, you know; I’m not a screamer. It was after a kid got stuck in the stomach with the metal spike from a thumb tack. I screamed stuff like, “What is wrong with you people?! Shooting metal spikes into each other, always up out of your seats, not doing your work, not listening to me, not respecting each other- where did you people come from? Please just be civilized human beings!”
I handed out character cards and tried to write positive and negative things on their character cards, but they lost their character cards, or they threw them away, or they ripped them up and made fun of them, and I gave up on character cards in a few days.
They leave my classroom without permission.
They arrive to class late.
They come up with any reason to leave the classroom: getting a drink, going to the bathroom, going to get something they left in another classroom, going to see another teacher about a really important assignment and they have to go talk to the teacher RIGHT NOW because it's so important but they don't have a pass, going to the nurse, whatever...
They come up to me when I'm in the middle of doing something, like teaching or handing out papers, and say, "Mr. Bird I have to see my grade right now. My Mom said I have to have at least a C in your class or else I can't go to my friend’s house this weekend and blah blah blah."
They sharpen their pencils when their pencils do not need to be sharpened!
They unplug my phone when I'm not looking. They unplug random wires from my computer and then my computer gets messed up. They unplug the wire to the Smartboard so the projection goes away.
And I wonder, did I make them this way? Was there something about me that said, "Go ahead and treat me and this classroom and your classmates disrespectfully and that's cool?" Maybe...
As for consequences, I feel like there’s not much I can do to curtail their bad behavior.
I don't think there's detention... or if there is nobody told me about it. Nobody suggested, "Hey Mr. Bird, send them to detention!"
And the administration doesn’t want to suspend people. Luckily, the administration at the Middle School is better about behavior. The middle school has detention and they suspend kids a lot, which I think is a good thing. Some of these kids need to go to some kind of military school.
Failing them doesn’t improve their behavior.
And the kids know there’s not much teachers can do to punish students. Listen to this true story:
There once was a teacher who would not let a student leave the classroom to go to the bathroom. The kid was an ornery kid, you know, always causing trouble, always saying he had to leave to go to the bathroom or go to the nurse or go to the drinking fountain, etc. but he would be gone for really really long periods of time. So finally the teacher was like, "No, I don't believe you anymore. You don't get to go to the bathroom." And the kid peed on himself, and the teacher got fired for it within 24 hours.
Other teachers told me that I should never tell a female student she was breaking the dress code, because she could claim that I was sexually harassing her.
Here’s something that happened in a Mesa Arizona school district. A bus driver pulled over to the side of the road and turned the engine off because the students were being so disruptive. They waited for 5 minutes in the hot afternoon without air conditioning until they settled down enough to continue their bus trip. Well, the parents heard about it and they complained to the school administration and the bus driver got fired.
I really never thought I would say this, but, I wish teachers could use corporal punishment. I wish I had a paddle, and I wish that I could spank some of the students with it. After all, "Spare the rod, spoil the child."
Aren’t I turning in to a bad person? I want to beat children? How did this come about?
What's funny is that I used to write papers in college about how Alfie Kohn was so cool, and homework was bad for students, and school ought to be less structured, and students ought to be free to pursue their own interests, and not worry about grades, but they ought to realize the intrinsic value of a good education.
Well, now I think that if you turn some of these kids loose in a library, they won’t read the books, they’ll ignore the books and kill each other.
I think we’ve got to beat civilization into children. I really do.
Wow, it really didn't take me long to become a jaded teacher.
So… I’m leaving the high school. I’ve heard quite a few teachers have quit there already. The administration is bad about discilpline. But again, maybe it was me. Maybe I wasn’t strict enough. Maybe if I would have called home a little more, or… or I don’t know what. What’s frustrating is that I know that some teachers do really well at their jobs. They manage the classrooms just fine. And they don’t do it through beating kids or anything like that. They make the students do extra work or something. But it takes a lot of energy to keep up on those kids. And I’ve been liking English less. I’m starting to dislike books because I’m associating them with school, and school is a bad place.
It’s funny, I didn’t like high school when I was going there. I’m not sure why I decided to go back and teach there. I liked college a lot more than high school. Maybe I could be a college professor, but I don’t like how elitist college professors are. I don’t want to lose touch with the common people. Maybe that’s like saying I don’t want to be too successful… but no, I don’t feel like standing up in front of people and professing to know stuff anymore. I don’t feel like telling people what to do. And that’s what teaching is: telling people what to do over and over and over, all day.
I respect teachers. I really do. I was lucky enough to have some really good ones when I was in school.
I’ve heard that the first year of teaching is rough, and eventually you get better, but the pay isn’t that great, and you have to do a lot of work, and the parents can be quiff. I got yelled at by a parent over the phone because her son had an F and she says I should have told her about it before the progress report came in the mail. But you know what? Her son is disrespectful and he doesn’t do his work.
I’ve been rambling… now my plan is to either get another job or become a writer. But if I don’t make money off of writing really soon, then I’ll need to do something else, and anyway I don’t know if I’m really self-motivated enough to be my own boss and become a writer. I think I might be too lazy. Maybe I’ll stick with teaching drama long-term, and maybe I’ll be a teacher for the rest of my life, but maybe not. I don’t think I will.
See you later.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
in this hospital. They put a wristband
on her, the father (if he's around),
and on the baby. All matching wristbands,
with security codes.
The baby gets an ankle band, too,
with a clunky, awkward plastic casing
that houses an electronic device, like the kind
they put on clothes at the mall, and
the cashier takes them off with a special tool
after you pay. The cashier knows
that the clothes rightfully belong to you,
because of the authenticity of your funds,
because the cashier witnessed the exchange
of money and merchandise. You were
also there to verify the transaction.
Everything checked out.
What did a woman give in exchange for
ownership of a baby? Love? Pain?
Neither are recognized legal tender.
Why does hospital policy and local custom
state that a baby belongs to the mother
from which he or she emerged? Perhaps
the baby should stay with an adult
whose credentials are more becoming of a parent,
one who could promise a more profitable return
on that little bundle of human investment?
A parent's claim of custody
makes less sense when you talk about
it with cashiers when they're cashiering.
But if you discuss motherhood and fatherhood
with the people who I love and the people who love me,
(some of who happen to be cashiers)
parenthood feels lovely in the mind
and lovely in the heart.
Better yet, if you stay here with me
in this hospital room, and you see the cross on the wall,
that comforting reminder of our Savior,
and you see the crib, baby blankets and a teddy bear,
if you stay with me and my wife and my baby,
and maybe take a turn or two
holding the baby, things will feel lovely.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I have wonderful news. I am now blogging from the comfort of my own home! Hooray! My wife and I bought a house with 4 bedrooms, a little over 1500 square feet, and we're living in it now for real so things are exciting. Now I don't have to blog from the school where I teach. Those computers act funny because they block lots of stuff... it's like they want teachers and students to use them for educational purposes or something... whatever.
Anywho, so, my job is sometimes like ala-quiff, but sometimes it's pretty cool. I actually cried a lot yesterday afternoon after class and after school. I was in an emotional funk, feeling bad about myself, feeling like I wasted 6 years of my life going to college...
some of those students are very disrespectful to me, to the school, to each other... to the idea of private property... they use bad, bad language... they don't know very much good English stuff and stuff and the way they talk, well sometimes it's quiff, you know? And they don't follow directions and they don't do homework and a lot of them are going to fail and a lot of parents are going to be mad at me maybe because their kids or failing, but I'm just going to say, "Well, you know what? Your kid is ala-swiffern loopern stoopern, Mr. Parent."
And then Mr. Parent will say, "Oh, I perfectly understand you, Mr. Telemoonfa. I'm going to go punish my child so that he behaves better for you." And then I'll say, "Special Fancy!"
I've had quite a few students call home to tell their parents about their quiff behavior. Sometimes calling home improves their behavior, but other times it does not. I just have to get meaner and send lots of students to the principal's office or something. Everyday it's a battle with classroom management. Sometimes I win; sometimes I lose. I think my classroom management problems are karma, you know?
Like, I was a really bad kid in a lot of my high school classes. In English classes, even. I remember one time I brought a yo-yo to school and I kept playing with it in one of my English classes. (I'm pretty awesome fantastic with a yo-yo... ha ha ha not really but sort of you know ha ha ha) Well, my English teacher ended up crying. It was because I hit her in the face with the yo-yo! AND THE YO-YO HAD SPIKES ON IT!!! Ha ha ha, no j/k lol.
But I was disrespectful in a lot of other ways. I remember one time this particular teacher just stopped teaching, went to her desk, and cried, right in the middle of class, and our class kind of felt bad, I think. Yeah, behavior in a lot of American public schools is not that great. Luckily I think I have a pretty supportive administration... they suspend kids, and that's good.
I have a very easy going personality, and I think they can sense that I'm a new teacher, so they try to take advantage of me, and they chew gum when they are not supposed to chew gum, and they lie and say, "No, I'm not chewing gum, Mr. Telemoonfa," and they hide their gum under their tongues or something... and I don't teach too much. Mostly I just say, "Get off the desk. Do this worksheet. Don't talk."
But hey today was a lot better than yesterday. Two girls who were very very bad in my class got suspended for the rest of this week. Hooray! Hopefully they will be better behaved when they return.
Yeah, yesterday... um... after class I googled stuff like, "How much do cashiers at a grocery store make?" Because I was thinking about quitting and getting a different job, but the economy is pretty rough right now, and I don't know if I could get a job at all, even a quiff one, and if I did get a quiff one, then that would be really quiff. What would I do? I have a family to support now. If it was just me, I wouldn't worry about a big salary and benefits and stuff. I would get a quiff job and live in the forest or something.
Anyway... so my new house is really nice. I've never lived in a place where I've had this much square footage to myself. It's weird to think I live here. I just hope we can actually pay the thing off eventually and not get kicked out for not paying our mortgage. But bills add up, you know? They charge you for everything... trash service, Homeowner's Association dues, eletricty, water, phone, internet, homeowner's insurance, car insurance, and lots of stuff.
If we do get kicked out of our house, can we live with you?
You can come live at my house, if you get kicked out of your house. You can at least stay for a week or two or three, you know.
You should come and visit me! I'm lonely in this new town, where I don't know anyone. Although, it might be hard to visit an anonymous blogger who lives in a shroud of mystery in an undisclosed location. If you look for me like - bam - there's only a puff of smoke, you know? And you think I'm there in the shadow, there is some figure there, but you can't make it out, and you shine a flashlight on the darkness, and there is only a big POOF!
The next thing I want to do is meet the neighbors. They live right next door, but I have not made contact with a single one. I've only been in this house for almost 3 days, but still... I want to know who my neighbors are. One of them looked at me for a long time, out of his car window, when he was pulling out of the driveway. Another one sort of looked at me from across the street, and I think I waved at him, and I can't remember if he waved back. But we didn't exchange any words.
Teaching is a tough profession... I'll keep you posted about how it goes... but I've come to respect teachers more, because they really do have a hard job.
Oh, by the way, have you seen my latest sort of posts in the comments section? My computer at school would not let me do new posts, but it let me do comments on this blog, so my latest posts are in the comments, so click on the comments and read the comments because in the comments there's posts there and you really ought to read the posts are pretty good and I can't remember what they're about really but I know one of them is a poem I wrote that maybe I should not have wrote about Ted Kennedy and I kind of feel bad about it, but on the other hand I don't feel that bad about it, but anyway if you would just read everything I ever write on this blog even though it's not always awesome that would be really fantastic and if you would leave comments becasue I need emotional support, then that would be cool, but you can expect to see more cool stuff on Telemoonfa Time like poems and stories and stuff. Well, probably eventually, you know... um... more cool stuff...
OK, see you later.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
and tell you that I just ate lunch,
so um, you can’t have lunch with me
because I was hungry and um...
I’m excited to see you.
I wish I was with you.
I’m kind of like lonely and bored and wish
I was with you, hanging out.
And I called Kevin to talk to him about dinner
and he was all like hanging out with Holly
and you could hear him like laugh in the background,
and I was like “Man, I want to hang out with my husband.”
Anyway, I love you.
I hope you’re having fun and being productive.
And you checked emails, right?
Are you checking email, your email?
Check your email right before you leave
so that we can, you know, see if we get
that HUD to know how much money we need.
So, I’ll see you at 5:30.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
when the sun is resting in the saddle
just before the sky’s summit,
that’s where I am, in the suburbs,
and I’m riding a bicycle very slowly.
A garage sale. The nice family has furniture
in their arms.
The Dad wants to talk,
to tell me about his merchandise,
to talk of obviousness, and niceties.
The daughter wants to talk too.
She has toys that have lately grown lonely.
Her toys are in her hands, and she's
ready to let all that plastic go.
But I don’t get off my bike,
and I never hear their voices,
and I ride around the suburbs,
and I ride around the desert,
and I ride around the plains,
and I ride around the ocean.
I'm pedaling in all these crashing waves,
and I’m listening to music that’s
being put directly and instantly into my head by
a tiny magic machine that’s clipped
onto my cargo shorts. A metal wire
wrapped in smooth white plastic connects
the machine to my ears. It’s the Grateful Dead.
Brokedown Palace. I don't really know what
it's about- something about leaving one place
and going to another place, and hands and knees,
and rolling and rolling and rolling, and doo doo doo
doo doo doo, but the song
makes me feel like I need to keep on moseying
until I get more and more intimate
with the ocean, until all her fish know who I am,
and I know all her fish.
I'm somewhere else now,
in another part of the forest.
Was that an innocent garage sale?
Was he de-cluttering?
Was Dad doing it all to teach Sally
(We’ll call her Sally) a lesson on business transactions?
How nice Dad is.
Because that’s where she’s headed.
Girls named Sally always go straight to the marketplace.
Housethings in her hands, she’s putting them
on the driveway. She’s helping everyone.
And how are you doing, Mr. Sun?
Keep climbing, and
Shine on me some more.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
The Bob Dylan concert was canceled. He's not coming to Arizona at all anymore.
He's getting older and older. He's a legend, but he won't be around much longer, and I'm afraid I'll never see him in concert.
But I guess if I wanted to spend the money to travel somewhere to see him, I would.
Say la vee.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Next Tuesday, I'm doing something that I've wanted to do for a long time. I'm going to see Bob Dylan in concert.
If I remember correctly, the first few CDs I ever bought were Chris Isaak: Baja Sessions, Jimi Hendrix: The Ultimate Experience and Bob Dylan: Greatest Hits Volume 3. I listened to all those CDs a lot. A whole lot. I would play the things from start to finish and from start to finish and just lay on my bed in my bedroom and not do anything else but listen to the music. The stuff really moved me.
The music (and maybe the world) had a freshness and a relevance back then that I don't see as much anymore. Now things make more logical sense to me. The world is browner now. There are fewer rainbows, and fewer trolls.
And movies were better then, too. Strictly speaking, the movies were the same then as they are now, but my perception of the movies, and their force, was different. I think I've been desensitized by the passage of time.
When I think about it I know that I've been lucky to have music in my life, but too often these days I don't feel lucky.
But sometimes when I look at the horizon really slow I get the feeling of beauty that I felt back then, when I was in my bedroom listening to music, and sometimes even these days when the groove hits me just the right way, I get the feeling of beauty.
I hope I get that feeling of beauty next Tuesday.
I have bad news.
But it's sort of cool news.
My wife and I are staying in a haunted house.
It's not haunted by a really really mean/scary ghost, but it is haunted by a ghost who likes to watch the TV with the volume way up.
But we won't have to stay here long. And, like I said, the ghost isn’t mean or scary. Well... he is a little scary. In my mind's eye I saw him go sit in a kitchen chair and stare at us with a creepy ghost face.
I think he was there, looking at us.
And I sort of wished I was in his place, or one of his ghost friends. Like I could walk through walls and be a ghost, and fly around, and levitate, and teleport, and just look at people with a creepy ghost face- gray and blurry - because then I wouldn’t have to do lesson plans or grade papers. All my problems would go away.
But that's not the scariest thing the ghost did. The scariest thing he did was turn the volume up on the TV in one of our roommate’s bedrooms.
(We're renting a room from somebody we found on Craigslist, and we're waiting to get into the house that we're buying.
Yep, we're buying a house! A lot of big changes are happening at once. We moved to a new city, we both got new jobs, (well, my wife technically has the same job in a different place - she's a teller at a bank.) we moved from a small apartment into a good sized house and we're having a baby pretty soon, so a lot of things are changing really quickly, and I'm not good at adjusting to change, so I still don't feel settled here yet. Hopefully in about a week and a half, we'll move into our house, but for now we're staying in a haunted house.)
See, yesterday we were all sitting around the living room and kitchen area doing nothing, and one of our roommates, who I'll call Mister Mystery, said "Hey, who turned the TV in our room up so loud?" because nobody was in there, and he went and turned it down.
A few minutes later, I went to go use the restroom by the bedroom with the TV in it, and the VOLUME WAS REALLY LOUD AGAIN!!!
AND NOBODY – no mortal, anyway – WENT IN THERE TO TURN THE TV UP!
I'm really really sleepy.
I like thinking about ghosts, and wondering what it's like to be a ghost, because they don't have any of the same problems that we mortals have. Or do they?
Want to hear something personal and crazy? My wife and I have agreed that when either one of us dies, the dead one will go visit the living one, and we'll talk about things. That'd be nice. That'd be wonderful. I don't want either one of us to die, of course not, but if we did, it's nice to believe that we will still be alive after we're dead. We'll be in a different type of existence then. Our spirits and our bodies will be separated.
I wonder if I'll want to visit other people besides my wife, after I'm dead.
But why don't I just visit them now? And there are probably rules about visiting living people when you're a ghost. You're probably not allowed to visit people who don't believe in ghosts, unless it's really important.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Here I am, blogging again!
Hooray! Did you miss me?
And guess what? I'm blogging from my school computer! The one that's in the classroom where I teach. Ooooooo... I'm so sneaky. I hope I don't get caught.
The students are stabbing the walls with machetes, and chewing on the fluorescent light bulbs, and I think one of the really rambunctious ones just got pregnant (right now!). I should probably be "managing the classroom" but... eh... whatever.
Ha ha ha. Just kidding.
School doesn't start until Monday.
I'm pretty sure though that the secret school computer people can see everything I do online. I wonder if I’ll get in trouble for using this computer for non-educational purposes. Ha ha ha.
Ha ha ha. I live dangerously!!!
Getting ready for school has been crazy so far. I'm under-prepared and nervous.
Hey, the health care bill and the cap and trade bill are postponed until after the August recess! Hooray! But they still might pass eventually. Bug your public officials and tell them that the cap and trade bill and the health care bill are swiffer-liffer quiff! Celebrate our democracy by getting involved in the political process. Democracy: Use it or lose it!
By the way, have you heard about this "Cash for Clunkers" program? Ha ha ha. Oh man, there's our tax dollars at work again.
It's a government program funded by the latest stimulus package where people trade in their old cars that get less than 18 miles per gallon for different cars that get more than 18 mpg. When they make the trade, they get 3000 bucks or something. (Maybe some of my figures are wrong.)
(By the way, I was wondering what happened to the old gas-guzzling cars that get traded in. I thought that if car dealerships were smart, they would re-sell them, but the law is, if they participate in Cash for Clunkers, they have to destroy the engine of the old car. So with each transaction, the government is losing $3,000 by giving it to the consumer, plus they’re destroying wealth in America- they're destroying a valuable engine. And many of the cars will be scrapped altogether- not just the engine.)
Well, the program was supposed to last until November, but the billion dollars set aside for the program (from the latest stimulus package) ran out in about a week! Ha ha ha.
But have no fear, economically-minded car-consumer! The government picked 2 billion dollars from their magic money tree, so now the program should last a lot longer and we’ll enter a brave new green economy, right?
Ha ha ha.
That's the way the government works sometimes. They tend to handle money worse than the private sector does.
I should know. I work for the government, actually. The government cuts me checks. I’m a teacher at a public school.
And I can see that I handle my own money better than the government handles their money.
I see the funding madness happening already.
For example, voters in Florence (Arizona, not Italy) approved a "technology bond" a few years ago, where their schools got a bunch of money for technology. They voted on it before Arizona's budget tanked. But, the way I understand it, even though the economy is quiff, neither the state government nor Florence School District can divert the funds from technology to teacher salaries or anything. The money was allocated to technology and technology only.
Now, every student at the brand new Poston Butte High School in San Tan Valley (but in the Florence School District) gets a laptop computer.
Gaaahhh!!! A “free” laptop for every student.
Can you imagine how much money that costs? But class sizes in the Florence school district are huge, as they are all over Arizona. And Florence might have to reduce teacher salaries. And last year they had to RIF some teachers. (RIF = reduction in force = pink-slipped = laid off = they don’t have their jobs anymore.) Maybe they hired them back. Maybe they didn’t. I don’t know.
A less drastic but similar thing has happened in the school district that I work for. Every classroom in the whole district has a SmartBoard, which I think cost about $3,000 - $ 5,000 each.
(SmartBoards are these giant touch-screen boards that are kind of like a projector and kind of like a giant computer screen that can do a lot of tricks. They’re nice, but SmartBoards aren’t necessary. But we’re encouraged to use them. In fact, in our SmartBoard training, our trainer said something like, “We hope you get to the point where you’re dependent on SmartBoards, and you feel as though you can’t teach without it.” During the training, I couldn’t help but thinking about Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology by Neil Postman. It also reminds me of Taskstream. I whined about Taskstream on my blog before.)
But at the particular Middle School where I work, even though there’s a SmartBoard in every room, there's no money for drama textbooks, no money for afterschool busses, (no afterschool busses means no after school activities) no money to hire more teachers to get the class sizes down, and the principal told us to really watch the number of paper copies we make, because the budget is tight this year.
It seems a little crazy.
I don’t mean to criticize the people who make the money-spending decisions, though. Maybe I would have done the same thing were I in their place. I don’t want to be a disgruntled teacher mad at the system already. I just started!
In related news, I was watching Fox News last night, and I saw a report on a teacher conference for CTE teachers. (CTE stands for Career and Technology Education, I think.) They had some big wasteful conference at a lavish convention center where the teachers were supposed to attend a bunch of classes to help them teach better. Instead, the CTE teachers just sat by the pool for hours and hours and hours and got drunk. They were probably drinking coffee and smoking big cigars. (Quick! Name that song lyric reference!)
All on the tax-payer’s dime…
I'm suspicious about the CTE stuff, and the madness of government funding. When I was an intern at Sedona Red Rock High School in the fall of 2007, I learned how the drama teacher there got extra funding from the government by disguising her drama classes as CTE classes. She had to change the titles of the classes from something normal like "Drama" or "Theatre" to "On-Air Talent Development" or "Technical Production Management" and career-sounding things like that. She had to change her syllabi, too, to show the right government agency that she was teaching bon a fide CTE classes. But really, the classes were just normal drama classes. And a lot of times the classes sat around and did nothing. The Sedona high school did put on a good play, though. I remember that.
The same kind of wasteful spending can happen with teacher unions. Last year, a California teachers union donated $1 million to the No on Prop. 8 campaign. Several members of the teachers union disagreed with that controversial use of funds, but the money was spent nonetheless. That actually prevented me from joining the teacher’s union here. Plus joining the union meant getting an extra $550 taken out of my salary.
Maybe the general principle is that individuals who are spending their own money on themselves know how to spend their money better than leaders of groups do.
I just thought of an allegory.
A large group of people are trying to buy a pizza together, all contributing to the price of the pizza. Some of them hate anchovies, some of them love anchovies, some are strictly Jewish so they can’t eat ham, some are allergic to mushrooms, some are vegetarian, and etc. But for some crazy reason they insist on pooling their money together to buy one big pizza. They all chip in, get the pizza, and eat it, even though they are compromising their dietary preferences. They miserably swallow the pizza down with ugly faces.
That’s pretty much communism.
Everybody buying their own custom-made pizza slice is pretty much capitalism- people making their own decisions about what to do with their own private property.
Now one place where my general principle doesn’t hold up is at church. (My general principle about individuals spending their own money on themselves working better than groups spending money. Though, to be honest, it’s not really my general principle, it’s Milton Friedman’s.)
I give 10% of my income to the LDS church, and Church officials decide how to spend it. But I trust that church officials spend it well, because I trust that they are called of God.
I hope you don’t think that I talk about money too much. I’ve noticed that I do tend to talk about it a lot on this blog, but I’m not obsessed with chasing after cars and mansions and etc., (after all, I’m a teacher) but I’m interested in what money represents, and what money does to people, and how it moves around among our society. Because money equals power.
Well class, what have we learned?
We’ve learned that in a fallen world, in a post-Garden-of-Eden world, the right to have private property for all people is essential to liberty and individual autonomy. We’ve also learned that if people want different types of pizza, then they should each buy their own different types of pizza with their own money, dag-nabbit! (Subtle hint for my roommate: Keep your hands off of my side of the kitchen cabinet!)
Ha ha ha.
(I enjoy writing about this stuff on Telemoonfa Time, I really do, because I can’t teach it to my students or else I’ll get fired for indoctrinating them with conservative propaganda.)
Take care and I’ll see you later.