Friday, September 30, 2005


Tammy was struggling with what to get me for my birthday. It is just four days away. She asked me a night or two ago what I really wanted for my birthday. I told her that I had everything I wanted or needed. I asked her how she could give me more, on one day, of what she has given me since we met.

It is really hard to put into words. When we are together or apart, I still feel her. When we are together and doing other things besides cuddling, she is always near, and never farther than the call of her name. The days seem lighter because I know, no matter what happens, she is waiting at or near the end of my day. No matter the worries, or stress, I know I can lie my day down and she will carry me.

She doesn't know how many times I have taken her up on her wedding vows. She promised that she would always have a place where I could lay my head or my heart. That was nearly two years ago, and I have lost count of how many times she has been my rock.

What I want for my birthday is more of the yesterdays. I want fifteen thousand plus tomorrows. I want more of her tender touches. I want more of her sweet kisses. I want more nights, waking up, and finding her next to me. I want more mornings, playing spider solitaire on the computer, and feeling her come up behind me and wrapping those soft arms around me.

My life is great. It isn't everything it could be, but it is moving in the right direction. Whatever changes come, I know Tammy will be with me. For what more could I ask?

Happy birthday to me, early.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

For the love of Pete ...

The flight attendants union is asking their membership to boycott the movie, "Flightplan" because it depicts flight attendants as rude and disrespectful. Speaking of another attendant in the movie, working with a US marshal in an extortion plot, "We could get over the rudeness, but the evilness, to be the villain, that is not acceptable," Corey Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants tells the Los Angeles Times.

Oh My Gosh!!

get over it folks. It is just a movie. In the movies, villains come from all walks of life, and yet, we don't see postmen, coal miners, cops, firemen, teachers, and other professions, boycotting movies. So what ! So, it is your turn in the barrel. Big deal. Tomorrow the villain will be a garbage man, or a scientist, or a politician, or a teacher.

Grow up and grow a pair.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The issue is abuse.

The question is out of my hands. My response is clear-cut and was defined long before I became a teacher. There is a specific course of action when this is presented to any teacher. That course begins with a call to Social Services. They are to begin the process and the paper trail.

One of my students came to me this afternoon and told me that he/she didn't feel up to working in the shop. "A" would have been satisfied to take a "0" for the 10-point daily grade. This was unacceptable to me. While I cannot force a student to participate, I can find other ways for that student to participate. This was the case today. A expressed a non-desire to work on the class assignment. A further told me of an abusive action which occurred at home involving A and A's parents. A showed me bruising, which when asked if I wanted to see, if I didn't believe, I responded with a "no need. I believe you."

I fully realize these are 15 to 18 year old students, which will occasionally have disagreements with, and run crossways with parents. Even then, there is a line between punishment and abuse. Punishment will sometime bring the anger to the surface and cause screams of abuse, even when they are not warranted. These cannot afford to be ignored. If it is just the cry of an angry student, it is still needful to be brought to the attention of those best suited to resolve whatever issue brought it to the surface. Especially if it is abuse, of any kind, it needs to be addressed.

My personal feelings aside, it is still an issue that cannot be ignored. No child deserves to live in fear. I cannot cure the ills of society. I cannot alleviate the suffering of every child. However, if I can stop one parent from abusing one child, I have made a difference. Too often, we get the idea that we must act in broad strokes to make a difference. This is simply not true. The most of the work in done in the trenches, in small acts. This is my small act. I made the report. The calls were made. Action is being taken.

How much difference it will make in A's life, I cant guess. Nonetheless, it will not be because I stood idly by and did nothing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Quiet ...

It's quiet ... Almost too quiet ..

It is like in the movies ... The music fades ... The background noise diminishes and eventually fades ... Someone speaks .. "It's quiet, too quiet." ... Then all the dickens breaks loose ...

That is how it is here today ... The quiet before the storm ..

Just an interesting thought .. Wouldn't life be much more predictable if we had a running soundtrack ?

Monday, September 26, 2005

As the week slowly struggles to get to it's feet ...

This is one of those slow starting weeks for my students, it seems. They seem to be holding on to the effects of the weekend. It isn't so much the sleeping in or staying up late part that they are maintaining. It is that mindless, absence of structure, free to do what I want, part that they have dragged into the classroom.

It is hard to keep them on task. They are easily distracted by anything and everything that happens around them. It would be easy, on days like today, to become frustrated with this calling.

Fortunately, days like this are few and far between. I have discovered, it is best, that even on "free days", there should be some kind of structure. This holds true, even if that structure is just sitting and watching a movie. You cannot let them get used to doing whatever they want, anytime. With kids, if you let them do it anytime, it means they can do it every time. THAT would be totally destructive to the learning environment.

There will always be students that are unwilling to learn. There will always be students that we haven't reached and even some that we will never reach. We cannot allow those students to dictate the atmosphere of the classroom. We cannot allow them to inhibit the learning of those the do have desire to do so. We must 'corral' the unruly, and keep them from bothering those that are trying. This is a difficult task at times.

We (the Vocational schools) are generally given the students that the high schools can't do anything with. We have a collection of students that genuinely want to be here, mixed with a groups that are walking orphans. These are orphans because someone somewhere has given up on them. Only 26% of high school seniors will go on to college. Only 12% will actually graduate college. That leaves 74% to 88%, that will walk into the work force with only a high school education. Some of those have passed only because schools want graduates.

Somewhere along the line, a teacher reaches that point with a student. He/She can't do anything with them. They make that very painful decision (at least, I hope it would be a painful decision) to leave that student for the good of the herd. They must take the rest of the students into fertile grounds of learning. They must take them to the next level. An orphan is created. Their grades begin to dwindle (one of only 3 common words in the English language beginning with 'dw') and they begin to fall further behind.

A teacher is like a shepherd, given charge of the children of this nation. It is our job to find the way to feed them, find a way to teach them, find a way to reach them. It is our job to TEACH them. It is not our job to fail them. We are not called 'fail-ers'. We are not called 'separators'. We are not called 'cull-ers'. We are called teachers.

Doing my job doesn't always sit well with my students. They may think I am being mean at times. They may think I am being strict at times. They may think I am unreasonable when I refuse to let them 'not' learn. They may think lots of things, but they will know that I am a TEACHER.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Boxes of goodies

We went to the auction last night. We returned with the back of the Bravada filled with goodies. We even took the kids. They enjoyed it.

We got a full set of glass Visionware cookware for ten bucks. We also got a great queen sized quilt for ten dollars. We bought a coffeemaker, and cake pans, and glassware, and books, boxes of various odds and ends. We still spent less than $60 to fill up the boot of the Bravada. It was a good haul.

Tonight is the Munch. Dinner with 30 or so friends. It is going to be a busy weekend.

Tomorrow is a 2 hour class and a board meeting.
Getting my running shoes on ...

Friday, September 23, 2005

Auction Bound

We are foregoing the Karaoke tonight and heading to the auction. I will let ya know how we do.
Good luck to the GRC Cardinals in their homecoming game against border county rivals, Montgomery Co.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The dull thud of shit ... Hitting a fan

One more push and it was over.

This afternoon, as I walked down from my classroom to eat lunch, I noticed the empty file cabinets by the stairs were all opened. I closed them as I passed. Then I noticed all the lockers without locks were opened. The drawers of my downstairs desk were all opened. The lab-volt equipment was all opened. Someone in my 3rd block class thought it might be funny to open everything openable and leave it for me to close.

Now it is my turn to be funny. I have prepared a ten page (front and back) test for that class. Tomorrow was to be a 'finish project, work in the weld shop, and free left over time' day. Suddenly it is a 'most horrendous test ever' day. They will all flunk the test. It is a grade killer as well. I will explain to them that I will shelve the test, and it will remain shelved, unless we have another incident of disrespect like the one today.
Yep, there it is ... the dull sound of shit hitting a fan.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Field trip !!

We have just returned from a field trip.

90 students

3 teachers, 1 principal, and 2 chaperones

approximately 80 miles

We went to the first Kentucky Construction Career Days Fair. There were over 50 construction employers represented. There were several educational groups represented. It was spread out over the Shelby County Fair Grounds. It was hosted by the Kentucky Construction Career Choice Council, the Associated Builders & Contractors of Kentuckiana, the Associated General Contractors of Kentucky, the Home builders Association of Kentucky & Home Builders Institute, the Kentucky Association of Highway Contractors, and the Kentucky Association of Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling Contractors.

The students had a blast. They were invited to do hands on work in most booths. They could explore several different construction occupations from more than just a book stand point.

I was on my feet for 3 hours, walking around this place. As glad as my back was to get back on the bus, by the time we got back to the School, my butt was happy to get out of that seat. My air conditioned room and comfortable desk chair has never felt so good. I remember all too well why I am not out there in the heat and on my feet all day.

The Executive Director of the Kentucky Electrical Contractors Association, Inc. spoke to me about teaching some classes for him, and affiliating my program. This (the affiliation) will give my students a leg up on the competition coming out of high school with the equivalent of one year post secondary credit in their apprenticeship program. I made several other contacts as well. We will see what rabbits we may pull from the hat before this is all over.
There's the bell. The school day (for students) is over. Twenty minutes and I am out of here. Gotta run. More work to do.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Give me a fracking break

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Texas woman has sued ABC's popular reality show "Extreme Makeover" for more than $1 million claiming among other things that an abrupt cancellation of her appearance on the program led to her sister's death.
Deleese Williams of Conroe, Texas, claims she came to Los Angeles to be a contestant on the show after undergoing a series of medical exams to determine if her crooked teeth and droopy eyes could be fixed and her small breasts enhanced, according the suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The suit starts with the blunt description: "Deleese Williams is considered ugly" and says one doctor promised her "a Hollywood smile like
Cindy Crawford."
To prepare for the show, the producers sent a crew to Texas in January 2004 to interview Williams and her family.
The suit claims the "Extreme Makeover" crew manipulated Williams' sister, Kellie, into making cruel statements about Williams' looks.
The night before Williams was to begin her makeover, the show's producers told her it would take too long for work on her jaw to heal. They canceled her appearance and sent Williams home where Kellie, distraught over what she had said about her sister, eventually killed herself, according to the suit.

Give me a break !

When we will stop blaming everyone else for all our ails and ills. Not everything that happens in life is someone else's fault. Crap happens. Get over it.

I hate to be insensitive, but this is just to ignorant for words.

Some folks just need to get over themselves. Even if the actions of the network did, in any way, give this poor unfortunate girl the extra push to commit suicide, are they still legally responsible? How about everyone in her life that caused her pain, or made her feel unloved, or made her feel less than they were, are they liable as well?

And, I am sure that at some part in the girls life, her sister added to her pain, as siblings do from time to time. Also, why is the sister suing? What was her financial loss? Where do we get the idea that if you hit me, you should pay me money?

I know, that large companies, in an effort to increase their bottom line, do things which might cause harm to individuals. They should be held accountable, and the only way they recognize their wrong is to debit their bottom line. However, you must verify the intent and the callous disregard for the safety of individuals. Who could have figured, in any conceivable manner, that the sister would be 'so distraught' that she would commit suicide?

Puh-lease !

Monday, September 19, 2005


Every now and then, a new word will come along and strike my fancy. One of my regular daily visits is to There, one will find a daily word and several word games. I love the word games because they are a fun way to enhance my vocabulary.

Today's word of the day is:
coquetry\KOH-kuh-tree\ noun : a flirtatious act or attitude.

Sometimes, however, a new word is derived from a mispronunciation of another word. We were talking about a word on Saturday. Tammy and I have several words that we pronounce different ways. One of these, that comes to mind right off the top of my head is the name of the fault line that runs in the western part of Kentucky. It is the New Madrid Fault. I pronounce it the way I have heard it pronounced here on the news. That way is New Madrid (Mad-RID). Tammy pronounces it the way she heard it where she was and that is New Madrid (MA-drid).

The word in question on Saturday was "Leviathan". I pronounce it "li-'vI-&-th&n". Tammy pronounced it "li-vI-a-thon". I looked it up, but forgot to show her (how could I forget something so important ?!?).

Sunday evening, I remembered and showed her. We decided that the difference in the pronunciation was merely her country accent. Now, Tammy is really smart. She is a dangerous creature. She is a redneck with brains. She reads 4 or more novels a week. She absorbs knowledge. She has a marvelous memory. We were discussing the difference in the way we said the word, when Kyle overheard (one of his habits is almost overhearing ... He listens in, but usually mis-hears what is said ... He is a wealth of misinformation.) what we were talking about. He came up with the new word because of his mis-hearing.

He said the word he thought we were trying to pronounce. "Leviathong?" he asked.

And there it is ... Leviathong ... Monster drawers.
They are panties for the massive masses. They are the most in the least amount of coverage. Never has so little exposed so much. Get yours today.

The Leviathong !

Friday, September 16, 2005

Projects !!

The students are finally in the shop doing actual electric work !

I love the book smarts part of electrical. It is actually a lot more intellectual than many people realize. There is algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. There are formulas (which define the relationship between objects) and a book full of materials to remember. The best Electricians are the ones that do it in such a fashion that it looks simple.

However, beyond all the book smarts that are required to do this work, there is still a fair amount of skill involved in the performance of the job. There is something about the challenge of installing (running) conduit, with 90's, offsets, kicks, and saddles, that just compliments the rewards of doing it right. There is something special about stripping wire, bending the hooks, putting it under the screw (in the direction of tightening the screw), and installing that outlet, switch, or device. There isn't much that can replace the feeling of doing it right and seeing it work.

My students have been in that this week. They have been installing boxes and romex (first year class) and conduit (second year class). All of them have been wiring up switches, depending on the year as to whether they were single pole or three way switches.

They complain that they cant do it. They require constant reassurance and helpful instruction. Still, nothing can replace that look on their faces when it is finished and they have done it right. They have actually completed an electrical project and it is wired right !

The real reward of teaching is in the multiplication, taking the knowledge that I possess and multiplying it by the number of students and dividing it among them.

Remember ... MATH is FUN !!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Straighten up and fly right

Germans were ordered to stay serious when having their photographs taken for new passports, wiping away any grins, smirks or smiles so that biometric scanners can pick up their facial features. Interior Minister Otto Schily ordered passport authorities to only accept pictures taken from the front showing the "most neutral facial expression possible," starting Nov. 1.

Facial recognition systems match key features on the holder's face and work best when the face has a neutral expression with the mouth closed. "A broad smile, however nice it may be, is therefore unacceptable," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

All happy folks must now stay in Germany. Jovial people and habitual smilers will not be permitted to leave the country until they lose their smile. I am thinking that being stuck in Germany might be a reason to lose your smile.

My mom is full blooded German. She was born in Freising Germany in 1934 and didn't leave until she and dad were married in the early 50's. Dad was in the USAF. She was there in the good old days, when you were allowed to smile even though you didn't have a reason. Her brother-in-law came for a visit to our house in 1975. As we drove to the house we passed the dozen or so horse farms that dotted the road upon which we lived. When he came into the house, and after the hellos, he told mom that he could see why she never came back to Germany. He fell in love with Kentucky.

In light of the new ruling, Germans will straighten up, or they wont fly, right ?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

My right to privacy

Or .. On my terms.

I was musing about several issues today ands wondering which one would grab my attention and make the blog. There were:
The nursing home owners now charged in 34 deaths of residents in the wake of Katrina,
The school system in Nawlin's cannot pay it's teachers because it is broke,
Ophelia sitting off the coast of Hatteras and the residents refusing to evacuate,
The impending 60% price increase in utilities in Katrina's wake,
And a host of other local and national interests.

I began, however, to muse about my privacy. I am familiar with the 'Right To Privacy' act of 1974 which states that there are only 4 groups which may legally ask you for your Social Security number. They are: Your employer, Your banking institution, your local Government (drivers license), and the IRS. Most of these are for purposes of taxation and benefits. Old SS cards used to have "Not for Identification" printed on the bottom of the card. It isn't there anymore. Check your card, I'll wait.

Identity theft is rampant these days, because of Americans not realizing the power of knowing one's SS#. Protect yourself. Protect your number. K-mart does not need it to process your check. There was a provision in the 1974 act which states that any business, demanding your number, and being informed of your right not to give it, which still requires it is subject to a $10,000 fine.

NOW, realistically, the pimply-faced girl/boy at the register of your local Wal-mart doesn't know a thing about the law or care about the fine. They are just doing what they were instructed by their supervisor and have no ability to by-pass said instructions.

What I do, when faced with this question, is to ad-lib. "My SS# is 407-35-8724." It isn't. It is different every time anyone asks. Quicker. Easier.

Then, we come to this blog. (Curious as to why the spell checker on the blog doesn't recognize 'blog' as a legitimate word. ?!?) Here, I openly discuss matter that are private. Here, I sometimes bare my soul. This is where the words, "on my terms" come into play. Here, I decide what I will share. I decide what is too personal and what is blog fodder. This is my privacy on my terms. I will give a person the shirt off of my back, but never ever try to steal it from me. Same here. I will tell you just about anything to be told, but don't come prying.

I may blog about what goes on behind my bedroom door, but don't try to peek in the windows.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The more I look ...

The more I look, the more I worry.

I know we are a resilient people. In the aftermath of 9/11, Americans rallied as they haven't in years. We came together as a people. We had a common enemy. We had a common cry.

This time it is different. There is no enemy to rally against. There is no outrage of injustice.
There is just need.

We have tossed a box of bandaids at this problem. We are worried about whether Nawlin's will be rebuilt, when we should be concerned about the rebuilding of the American economy. This is a bank buster. We have not begun to address the tendrils of this disaster.

The first repercussion was an almost instantaneous jump in gas prices. 11% of the refineries supplying gas to the country were shut down by the storm. This has nothing to do with the price of a barrel of oil. We can buy all the barrels available and it is meaningless if we cannot refine that oil into gasoline. Tendrils.

The rise in prices raises the cost of transporting goods, which is passed along in the price of those goods. Tendrils.

58 percent of Gulf oil production remains shut down, as does 38 percent of the region's natural gas production. Look for an increase in the cost of natural gas as well. Tendrils

About 8,000 people with HIV and AIDS who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina now face the massive challenge of trying to manage their disease without their doctors, their clinics and their support systems. Tendrils.

If Nawlin's is rebuilt, the drain on the building supplies available will cause prices to jump upward. Tendrils.

We scurry about looking for who is to blame for the gap in emergency services, while workers armed with only bandaids try to fix an ever growing problem.

I applaud the efforts of the American people in trying to reach and meet the needs of the individuals displaced and affected by Katrina. It is time for the Federal Gov't to step up it's efforts in fixing the economy problems.

Before the tendrils become unstoppable ...

Monday, September 12, 2005

Imagination boggled

NEW ORLEANS - Forty-five bodies have been found at a hospital that was abandoned more than a week ago after it was surrounded by floodwaters unleashed by Hurricane Katrina, a state health official said Monday.

The bodies were located Sunday at Memorial Medical Center, said Bob Johannesen, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Hospitals. Johannesen said the bodies were those of patients, but he had no other information.

The Louisiana death toll rose to 279 on Monday, up from 197 on Sunday, Johannesen said.
On Sunday, reporters were kept at a distance from Memorial Medical by law enforcement officers as workers removed bodies from the hospital, situated in the city's Uptown section.

The 317-bed hospital, owned by TenetHealthcare Corp., remained closed Monday and was still partially surrounded by floodwaters.

This just boggles my imagination !

The petulant child

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." ... Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America.

"Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long survive." ... Opening statement of the Gettysburg Address .. Abraham Lincoln.

I am not an expert on beginnings or stability of any given nation. I have only the hindsight of history to judge what might be the future outcome any beginnings today. This is not a predictive post. It is merely an observation from the armchair of history.

Today, the last of the Israeli settlers moved out of Gaza. The Palestinians took over as the ruling state. At long last, they have what they have cried and fought for, for many years. Let's look at their beginning.

The house of Moussa Arafat, former Palestinian security chief, cousin of late Palestinian leader, Yassir Arafat, was raided and Moussa Arafat was killed.

Israeli synagogues were burned and Palestinian flags were painted on the rubble.

For years, Palestinian authority figures were figures of rebellion. The children of Palestine have grown in this light. Defiant opposition is all they know. Fathers have taught their sons the art of war and rebellion, as they were taught by their fathers. Now, they are free. They are free in their own state. There is no-one to defiantly oppose. They have begun, already, to turn that rage internal. They will tear themselves apart, if left to their own imaginings.

How do you tell a child, to whom you have preached hatred and violence for years, to put down his weapons and pick up his plowshare? How do you suddenly stop preaching the doctrine of hatred and return to the doctrine of peace?

For all practicality, what has held the nation of Palestine together has been their common hatred of Israel and the rest of the free world. Their mistrust of everyone else in the world has been their rallying cry. Now, that enemy has departed. They stand alone on their own soil for the first time in the life of many of them. They have no clue what to do with this freedom. They have no clue what to do without a neighbor to hate.

Time will tell. Will the realization of their lifetime goal be the end of them? Will they fade without the fuel for their anger? Will the raging flame within them consume them for lack of another suitable target?

Once again, I am no expert. I am an armchair politician. That is just how I see it.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Bush declares war on Hurricanes

In a strongly worded speech last night, President Bush declared war on Hurricanes, which have "through a systematic effort taken American life over many years." They have "shown a strong disdain for justice, freedom, and the American way." This type of active aggression "cannot be tolerated any longer."

Bush has deployed already weary National Guard troops to the Bahamas to mount a "wall of opposition" in an effort to repel the now developing threats to our way of living.

"Make no mistake: The United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these heinous acts." The President has commissioned a committee to study the attack tactics of recent hurricanes to best develop a plan for combating this often faceless enemy. "We will no longer live in fear of the Katrina's and Andrew's of the world."

The President ardently denied that he was profiling storms. "We do not believe that every storm or every gust of wind is a killer. There are good winds. There are beneficial storms. We will not act hostilely to just any breeze. But, we will no longer tolerate killer storms just dancing across our borders."

"The American people can sleep soundly tonight knowing that all the resources of the Federal Government and all the attention of the Executive Branch is focused on eliminating this threat to our very freedom."

Rest easy, America.

The short week closes

It is the end of the week. It is a week that started late and still lasted a long time.

I forgot my DR appt on Tuesday. It was rescheduled for yesterday afternoon. I had to leave work a bit early, stop and pick up Tammy (the good part), go to the DR, and then rush back to work for an open house event where parents could visit the classroom. The DR visit was a trip. It was just for blood work. It was my 3 to 6 month blood work to check my thyroid. This time, the lady that was going to take my blood had difficulties. She poked my left arm and poked and prodded around looking for the vein that escaped her. She dug around for a little while and gave up. She then poked the other arm and dug around in it for a bit before she got exasperated and gave up. When she withdrew the needle, my arm didn't even bleed. It really wasn't her fault. I told her that I must not be in the mood to bleed today.

She said, two pokes and she was done. She called for Mike, the guy that usually does my blood work. He went to the left arm, one poke, and filled the vial. Then it was back to work.

I had two students stop by, one with her sister and one with his mom. There were already three people in my classroom, as the plumbing class meets there on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

We finally made it home a little after seven. I was supposed to finish writing a test last night, but I procrastinated until this morning. Several of my students are diligently working on that test right now. It is worth 40 points. Most of my morning students ended up with 34 or above. That's 85% or better for 90% of the class. If most of the students do badly, I figure I didn't teach it well enough, and I grade on the curve. Then we redo the high points of the lessons and retake the test. The highest grade of the two stands.

We will see what the rest of the day and evening brings.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The apple cart

As I was driving to work this morning, I took a different way. I had seen a road that was connected to Colby (one of my three regular pathways home from work). I recognized the name from a sign on US60 (one of my other regular pathways). I assumed this was both ends of the same road. Today I had to take Chris to work, which caused me to go past my usual turn on Combs Ferry Rd. Instead, I went just a couple tenths of a mile up on Winchester Rd (US60), and turned on Venable Rd. This was a way I had never traveled before. It did just as I had assumed. It took me to Colby and then on to work. It was a small change. It was just a detour from my regular path. It didn't upset the apple cart.

Many people go through life with the worry of upsetting the apple cart.

My life is not bad. It is actually quite good. I have a challenging and rewarding job. I have a plethora of friends. I have a great family. I have a wonderful wife. There is drama from time to time, as there is in anyone's life, but overall, it is still a good life. However, there are still things that I need to change in my life. Some of these changes are minor. Some of these changes will be major. The scale of the change is directly related to the aspects of my life that will be affected.

Changing my drink from Mt. Dew to Diet Mt. Dew is a minor change in that it will not affect the places I go or the people with whom I associate. It can become a large change in as much as it might help me shed some of this weight that is killing me.

As I was driving on Venable, I started to think. It was one of those 'off my regular route' kind of thinking spurs. I did a quick look over my life. There were definite changes that I need to make. While these changes will affect every major aspect of my life, they will not change the base of those aspects. They will not change who I am. They will not change who I love. They will not change the people I love in my life. All of those people (most of whom would not be worried) can rest easy. They are in a safe place.

I thought about my relationship with God. It definitely needs to be changed. I need to be closer and more in line with his goals in my life. There is a line in a country music song that says, "if you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans." I realize that I have no long range goals. I have no real thought about what I want to be next year or even next month, for that matter. I just assume that I will be driving the same stretch of road back and forth between the same job and the same house.

I have plans for completing some education that could be considered goals, but these are plans the State made for me by requiring them for my continuing employment. These are not goals that I sat down and made based on a decision of where I want to be in 10 years, 5 years, or even 1 year.

I am getting that 'floaty' feeling again. I have reached a niche and have settled in. This is not a bad niche. As niches go, it is quite comfy. Still, there needs to be a change. There needs to be a threat to the apple cart. Just as I look back on the things which brought me to this day, I must look forward to the things which will take me farther.

Today, we might (can you be a little more wishy washy) begin to upset the apple cart.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Oh Skipper !

Bob Denver is dead.

He was Gilligan on Gilligan's Island. The show ran from 1964 to 1967. I remember watching the show as a kid and later in syndication. It provided many laughs and spurred many questions. One such question was:
"If the Professor can make a radio work using parts of a coconut, why can't he build a raft?"

That was just one of the many reasons I learned that logic is often the enemy of laughter. Laughter comes sliding off the surface of us. It is little wonder that tickle spots are on or close to the surface of the skin. Laughter was never meant to be a deep philosophical work. It was meant to be spontaneous and instant. Deep thought is often the curser of laughter.

"Laughter doth the heart good like a medicine." (Biblical)

TV critics hooted at "Gilligan's Island" as gag-ridden corn. Audiences adored its far-out comedy. Writer-creator Sherwood Schwartz insisted that the show had social meaning along with the laughs: "I knew that by assembling seven different people and forcing them to live together, the show would have great philosophical implications." (Quoted from Yahoo news article)

Seven different people ... Forcing them to live together ... Philosophical implications ??

Sounds like the reality shows that dot every channel and every evening !

Good-bye Bob ... It was great to share a few laughs with you.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Labor Day

It has been a good day at the end of a good weekend.

We went next door to Frankie & Mary's for a cookout. Frankie is a friend of Tammy's from Jr. Hi. School. He moved in next door recently. The other part of the trinity is Pete, and he is moving in the apt upstairs from us. Frankie and Mary prepared and grilled out ribs. We brought some burgers and buns. It was great.

It seems that Mary and Frankie met on the internet. She moved here to Lexington from Kansas. They seem to get along great. As much as anyone can tell from an afternoon cookout. They had the friendly poking of each other with no underlying anger. It was good to be with them. I think they might be one of the few people that might be able to understand our relationship.

I have to prepare a test for my first year classes. It shouldn't be difficult for them. I am usually thorough in my lessons and examples. I allow for liberal questioning. There is no reason to fail the test. Every opportunity to pass is given. However, make no mistake about it, it is a test in every sense of the word. During any lesson or exercise, my students can ask anything. They can request help at any time. When the test hits the desk, asking is over.

Anyway, the weather has been great. The company has been great. It has been great to have an extra day with Tammy.

Friday, September 02, 2005

A light in the middle of turmoil

Kyle is 9 years old and a 4th grader in Lexington, KY. He is not your typical kid. He is quite intelligent for his age. He still is 9 yrs old though.

He will lie to you to stay out of trouble.
Case in point: He was taking a shower. I was outside the door in the living room, working online. I smelled something distinct.
I asked him, "Kyle, what are you using?"
"Loreal," he replied.
"What are you using to wash your body, Kyle?"
"I haven't started washing my body yet," he answered.
"Kyle, I smell Axe (Chris's bottled body wash soap).
"Well, it is open."
"It doesn't make that smell just being open."
"Well, I did use a little of it."

He will sneak to get away with something he shouldn't.

He will conveniently forget his bedtime.

Last night we were talking about the victims of Katrina.

Now, Kyle gets a check from his dad's social security disability. It is $51 a month. Within certain bounds, he is allowed to use that money for whatever he wishes. He uses it for little toys and Yu-Gi-Oh cards. He shops on eBay.

Last night, Kyle told me, as we were talking about helping in the relief efforts, that he would donated half of his monthly check. He is giving $25 to help people he doesn't know.

I know that $25 isn't a great deal of money. However, to a 9 year old, it is a fortune. This $25 is half of his months spending cash. This is half of his eBay money, half of his toy money, half of his card money, and half of his occasionally allowed treat money.

There is a light in the midst of this darkness.
If no one else recognizes his sacrifice, I do.

Way to go, Kyle !!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

What ever happened to ...

I was watching TV yesterday and saw a show advertised that was asking the question, "what ever happened to ..?"

The funny thing was, they were talking about some people that were on their reality show the previous year. Is there a rule about how long someone has to be out of the spotlight before we begin to seriously wonder what happened to them? I know it is only 15 minutes of fame, but shouldn't it be more than 15 minutes later before we air shows about where they went ? They may have just walked down to the corner market !

I have the similar question going through my head about a much more popular star of years gone by. It used to be that you couldn't go anywhere without seeing him. He was everywhere. He was in every home. He was on every street corner. You couldn't go anywhere without encountering him. Now, he seems to have vanished.

I am talking about the ever popular "Courtesy". I rarely see him anymore. Used to be, he opened doors for ladies and older folks. Used to be, he gave his seat to ladies. Used to be, he didn't drive like an idiot. Yes, now we have reached the meat of the post.

I was driving home when along my route, where I was traveling about 65 mph, two cars pulled out of a side street some short distance in front of me. That isn't so much of a problem. However, one of the two, the back one, decided that she didn't need to travel that rate of speed. I didn't have to lock my brakes up, but I was slowed down to 50 mph. I looked behind me. There was nothing there. There were no cars. There was no line of traffic behind me. All this driver had to do was wait 5 seconds and she could have pulled out behind me and drove as slow as she liked without affecting anyone. Courtesy would have done that.
Later, farther down the road, a truck pulled out in front of her. He caused her to slow down even more. Behind us? Nothing !

It seems Courtesy has left the building .. And the highways.