Sunday, April 29, 2007

Crisis avoided

Good to see that most teachers realized that you don't cut off your nose to spite your face.

If you can't tell, I voted "yes". The way I look at it, teachers would have been given less if a mediator were to have come into the district because the district doesn't have money. You can't give away what you don't have. Now, this means that cuts need to be made (and they have been), but that is something that needed to be done awhile ago. We haven't been looking at the school as a business, and therefore haven't been looking at efficiency. To survive the lean times, we need to start thinking smarter and further ahead.

Still, with a district that might have about 40% of its teachers retiring in the next 5 years, there better be some serious investigation about how we are going to recruit and retain good teachers.

Lowest pay in the area + out of control health care costs + high standard of living costs + declining enrollment = a situation that could easily get very, very ugly.

Everyone, and I mean everyone (district, administrators, teachers, community) better start doing some serious work regarding the efficiency of our schools or turnover will become a huge issue.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

One last thing

Let us not forget the racial ambulance chaser that is Al Sharpton. Thanks to his selective attacks on Free Speech, another radio disc jockey was taken off the air by doing the old Morning Zoo bit of calling a restaurant and poking fun at people.

We are talking about a man who would sell his own mother to get his picture on the news, or on Chris Mathews' "Hardball". Let it be clear however that he will not sell his mother to cranky, old white men because they are racist, but he will sell her to black rappers like Cam'ron, even though mom would probably end up dead and Al would never even know it, because Cam'ron doesn't snitch.

Mr. Silva-Brown, why are there tests anyway?

I answer this in a variety of ways to my Seniors, and I'm blatantly honest. See, this year we have jumped into "incentive mode" with many of the other academic institutions by implementing a variety of prizes for taking idiotic tests that serve no purpose but to pacify ignorant constituents. Pizza, ice cream, class rings, Homecoming Points for next year, cash........yes, we too have stooped to a new low because the idiot parents that sign their kids out (and then bitch about AYP/API scores later) need a real reason to send their kids to school. Here's a funny reaction, a lot of kids are embarrassed about the school offering prizes.

I tell my Seniors that the STAR test is needed for the following reasons:

1) Because society is too lazy to really investigate the problems with education, and want the answer in a tiny test score/soundbite. I don't tell them the other part of this; that parents don't want to hear that they are a huge part of the problem.

2) Because politicians want to get elected.

3) Because many teachers are not getting it done.

Yes, I commit the cardinal sin of teaching, I tell my students that part of the reason we are testing is because some of us are not getting it done. And guess what, they already know that. By the way, they already know that parents aren't getting it done too. In fact, you might be shocked at how well many students really know "the system", and many simply maneuver down the nicely paved roads that we create for them. Students, even those that don't really give a shit, know full well the teachers that are trying to feed them jive and teachers that really give a damn. Of course, many of those teachers that hate the test don't take the test seriously, and then don't demand that the students take the tests seriously, and that is simply totally unacceptable.

Might I remind some of my colleagues in our profession that regardless of our feelings about testing, we have a professional job to due. Part of that job is that we have to humble up once a year and give in to the bullshit that is STAR testing. We don't get to sign out, we agree to that every year that we agree to return to the profession. We don't get ice cream or pizza, we jump through the hoops so that we can move on to other things that we can teach to get our students to really succeed. When teachers decide to not take the tests seriously, they make the conscious choice to screw the school district by putting everyone towards that goal of "Program Improvement", which means the elimination of electives and the intervention of the state. In the end, the kids suffer.

It's two weeks out of the year. The test sucks, is pointless, and society really has no clue.

It doesn't matter. Get over it. We are professionals, we have a job to do, so do it.

Suck it up.

It feels non-stop, even if it isn't

Quite simply, it's just one of those weird times.

I'm busy, and every time I get something done, something else jumps in to take it's place. Starbucks essays are graded, now I have to grade Power Points, which are now done except that I have to prep for a week of STAR testing, which is done except now I have to grade quickwrites from my Intro students about gun laws and Iraq, which are finished except that I have to type up my AP audit, which isn't fucking done yet.

Get it?

I'm not really angry about it, its just busy and busy becomes mundane after awhile. I mean, teaching means you are constantly busy, but it's one of those "controlled" busy feelings where you have a good handle on it. Mine slipped this week, and worse, I didn't really feel like getting a handle a whole hell of a lot. It didn't necessarily impact my ability to teach, just my ability to grade, although I was quite a bit more sarcastic than usual on Friday. Oh, and the fact that I saw an ex-student that was super nice..........until I asked her if she was pregnant again, and she wasn't.

Oops. Hey, it was Friday, I was tired, and it was hotter than hell.

Yes, for the last two days it has been in the high 80's, which will allow me no sympathy from those that are getting railed by storms and freezing weather back east. Fine, but realize that I'm teaching in a classroom that currently has no air conditioning, and Friday was murder. 85 degrees outside feels like 92 inside, with 30 students trying to take a test. I would have loved stay after school and do some serious work, if it wasn't 90 in my classroom while the fan pumped in nice, warm outside air. So I went home where I vowed to work, only to sit on the sofa and veg out for the evening.

Just blah, what else is there to say.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Best and the Brightest is gone

Tragic news out of the world of literature, political science and sports.

David Halberstam, author extraordinaire, died in the Bay Area in a car accident. Some of the great works from Halberstam included The Best and the Brightest, Playing for Keeps, The Summer of '49, October 1964, and one of my favorites, The Fifties.

We all have different authors that really influenced us, inspired us, or just made life better with a good book. David Halberstam came along while I was a Junior in college, when professor Bob Cottrell often referenced The Fifties in some of his lectures. Then I read parts of The Best and the Brightest, and finally I was convinced by listening to George Will in a quick interview at a Giants game that Halberstam was a great baseball writer.

I'm very saddened that I won't have another David Halberstam book to look forward to. My heart goes out to the Halberstam family, and to all the readers that now must fill a large, empty hole.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

How about a Movie meme

I'm a sucker for movies. Thanks to Leesepea over at "But Wait" on the blogroll.

Name a movie you have seen more than 10 times.
Many, but I've seen Raiders of the Lost Ark more than any other, if you include childhood.

Name a movie you’ve seen multiple times in the theater.
Star Wars, as a little kid and all the rereleases.

Name an actor who would make you more inclined to see a movie.
Denzel Washington is one of the best actors. I also like Uma Thurman as an actress.

Name an actor who would make you less inclined to see a movie.
I don't find David Spade to be funny. I also don't really like Rosanne Barr in film.

Name a movie that you can and do quote from.
Please, which don't I quote from? Pulp Fiction, all the Star Wars flicks, every John Hughes movie!

Name a movie musical in which you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs.
I would wonder if History of the World, Part One counts as a musical. "The Inquisition, here we go........"

Name a movie you have been known to sing along with.
Pump Up the Volume. I don't know, I just like the Leonard Cohen and Above the Law beats.

Name a movie you would recommend everyone see.
Pulp Fiction. You will either love it, or hate. There is no middle ground.

Name a movie you own.
Seriously? Out of my collection? Ok. Cinderella. Caught you off guard, didn't I.

Name an actor who launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops.
I would have to agree with Leesepea on this one, Marky Mark.

Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what?
I watched a few, although the most recent was The Fugitive at the drive-in along Highway 50 in Sacramento.

Ever made out in a movie?
In high school. And only twice, I think.

Name a movie you keep meaning to see but just haven’t gotten around to it yet.
Akeelah and the Bee

Ever walked out of a movie?
When I was younger I used to walk out of crappy movies all the time and slip into better ones.

Name a movie that made you cry in the theater.
For some reason, Eternal Sunshine on the Spotless Mind got me teary.

What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?
Wow, um, Clerks 2? We don't hit the theater in Ukiah much. Netflix baby!

What’s your favorite/preferred genre of movie?
Good science fiction.

What’s the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?
Star Wars. It was the beginning of a beautiful thing.

What movie do you wish you’d never seen?
Event Horizon

What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed?
Eternal Sunshine on the Spotless Mind

What is the scariest movie you’ve seen?
I don't do scary movies. Arachnophobia, but that was more cheesy scary. Sixth Sense was jumpy, but not scary.

What is the funniest movie you’ve seen?
Oh God. Blazing Saddles, Tootsie, Dogma, Beverly Hills Cop, Major League. That's a start.

What can you really say?

I don't know.

I can't even imagine the pain that the families feel for the students and teachers that were killed at Virginia Tech University. This is so tragic on so many levels: student deaths, the death of a Holocaust survivor, the loss of security for schools, the ramifications for law enforcement......the whole thing is just awful.

Besides being extremely saddened, I became angry when I looked at the reaction of President Bush, and his mention of the Second Amendment. That is a discussion that is for a much different time and place. Get some perspective.

My heart goes out to all those involved.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A note about the 60 Minutes piece about Don Imus

A little note on the 60 Minutes piece that is running about Imus this evening. Most of it is from a 1996 interview that Mike Wallace did with the shock jock. The interview has been very edited from the 1996 piece. One line in particular that was uttered from Mike Wallace himself is strangely absent:
"I listen to Imus and I have to admit that I find him irresistible."
Another name to add to the hypocritical lynch mob.

Guess we gotta move on.....later

I really respect Gwen Ifill, who is an excellent reporter from The Newshour and Washington Week, but she needs to seriously lighten up. She's coming off as a very angry, bitter little brat that can't take not only satirical comedy, but the fact that not every thinks like her. From Meet the Press:
You know, it’s interesting to me. This has been an interesting week. The people who have spoken, people who have issued statements, the pop—the people who haven’t. There’s been radio silence from a lot of people who’ve done this program who could’ve spoken up and said, “I find this offensive” or “I didn’t know.” These people didn’t speak up.

Tim (Russert), we didn’t hear that much from you.

David (Brooks), we didn’t hear from you.

Gwen didn't hear much from former guests because it's a no-win situation if you support Imus' right to be on the air. Of course the comments that he made were inappropriate, but if you back up his show you come off as being racially insensitive, or morally corrupt because you find that poking fun at people has comedic value. At least Russert had the balls to tell a shocked Gwen Ifill that he'd return to an Imus program if he returned. David Brooks had the more lame and kiss-ass excuse that he was ignorant of the show's real content.
Well, you know, I did the show about a half a dozen times, and Gwen and I have talked about this. But I, I, I have the lamest excuse for why I did it, which is I didn’t know what he said.

What a load of crap. I love Brook's books, but that comment made me question the validity of his spine. You went on the show because it gave you clout, and at the same time, the show was a place where you could relax and talk about provocative stuff without people getting all up in arms over stupid comments. Grow a pair, David.

And then you have these idiots like Eugene Robinson who say "I've never listened to the Imus in the Morning show", but in the same breath say,

And I’ve tried to, to, to make the point that you don’t have to wear a sheet to be a racist. You don’t have to burn crosses to be racist. You don’t have to consciously think, “In, in my heart, I hate black people.” If you think black people are different or lesser or open to ridicule or, or some sort of quote “other,” other than yourself then, you know, I think that qualifies

Now that is just great. Let me get this straight, if I think that blacks, just like anyone else, are open to ridicule, then I'm a racist? And since Robinson hasn't listened to a minute of Imus, how the hell can he make a snap judgement regarding the words that come out of a persons mouth? Yesterday morning I heard Whoopi Goldberg say,"...and God said, 'No nigga, you a bat'", at the end of her comedy routine. Should I judge her based on that sentence? Of course not. I've listened to her comedy for years. However Robinson, like Al Sharpton, Gwen Ifill, and a bunch of other "offended peoples", have now taken it upon themselves to sort out America's morality problem. That alone should be a warning sign. Borat, South Park, Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken, Saturday Nigth Live......look out, you might be next. Think I'm over blowing it? Notice how the conversation is drifting away from race, and towards "respectful conversation". Tread carefully.

And what about parents? Where is the issue of personal responsibility in this conversation? Gwen Ifill and others stated that they where going to have a major problem explaining Imus type situations to their children. Really? My father was very good at saying to me, "See that? That's make-believe" or "That's comedy" or "That person is an idiot and what he does isn't necessarily right". I can't even to begin to say that I know what it is like to be a parent, but part of parenting is explaining to your child that some things are ok, and some things are not ok. What Imus said is not ok. Neither is what Chris Rock says, Sasha Baron Cohen says, or what Whoopi says.

Anyway, onward and upward. Break is over and back to work we go.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A sad day for race relations and the First Amendment

It could easily have been a huge dose of karma. When a man like Don Imus spends his career ripping others, when the tables are turned, it isn't pretty.

Then again, neither is the truth. And the truth is race relations and the First Amendment have suffered because society has decided to wage war on "what is offensive".

Let's really take look at the situation?

First of all, here is the spokesman for the entire controversy. Al Sharpton, who is notorious for using race to line his own pockets with money and to get his fat mug on television, has successfully managed to become the voice of morality in this issue. We are talking about a man who refuses to apologize for attacking white men in the Tawana Brawley case, and in the recent Duke Lacrosse rape case. We are talking about a man so angry at racism in America that he walked into the CBS/Viacom Headquarters and demanded the removal of the horrible depiction of black women on MTV. Oops, no he didn't. He went in and attacked a comedian that made a mistake, and has a history of supporting black leaders and black causes. What is worse is this, "It is our feeling that this is only the beginning. We must have a broad discussion on what is permitted and not permitted in terms of the airwaves."

It is so interesting that his examples, and those listed by the other pundits on that are back this clown, are mostly conservative talk radio hosts. No mention of Howard Stern, Dave Chapelle, Louis Farrakhan, or Alec Baldwin (who called for the death of Congressmen who went after Bill Clinton). No marches against MTV, BET, or the dozens of rap artists who totally and intentionally degrade not only women, but blacks. No complaints about Halle Barry (who will star in the movie "Nappily Ever After"), Chris Rock (who used the word 'nigger' a half dozen times on Bill Maher), or Snoop Dogg (who stated that rappers could use 'bitches' and 'hoes' because they are from the street). Nope, the speech attacks are selective, the moral imperative that is brought on by Sharpton is selective, and the attempt to pass selective judgement is disgusting.

Also disgusting is the fact that all these people that Imus helped elect, that called him a friend, that actually participated in the banter, and now washing their hands of the show by considering themselves above the issue. Chris Dodd, who has been on for years, refused to get into the discussion and used the time to hump some stupid agenda for national discussion. Funny that he didn't really want to touch it. Al Franken, one of the more funny guests on the program, went off and torched the same guy that he agreed with on my issues regarding conservative politicians. And then you have all the stories of the new "victims" of this 'hateful' act by Don Imus. Serena Williams telling Larry King about her pain, Dela Reese wanting Imus to do a better job searching for Jesus in his life, and a host of op-ed columnists who have stated that Don Imus has created more damage to the black race than anyone in the last 30 years. Wow. Now, you are telling me that a 66 year old disc jockey from New York can create this many victims simply based on idiotic words from the airwaves of the 14th ranked radio show in syndication? Are you serious? And you think Imus is the problem? How about the idea that everyone is a victim, that seems like a much bigger problem.

A commenter on a previous post asked "I know if they were young women in your care you wouldn't have found it humorous. I can't see you inviting him into your first period class and to call the young women hos, or the young men on your losing basketball team faggots." This poses an excellent question for a teacher or coach in regards to the youth of America; did Rutgers and the basketball coach, Vivian Stringer, handle the situation in the best interest of the kids. In my opinion, not at all. In fact, she provided a disservice to those women by making them out to be victims. What would I have told my players? I would have told them, "Who the hell cares who Don Imus is? He's an old idiot that is paid to make dumb ass remarks to bug people. Nobody can take this away from you, especially not some old disc jockey from New York. In the end, nobody really gives a damn what he thinks anyway." No, I would not have pulled a media stunt and paraded those kids out there like they had recently been hostages in Iran. No, I would not have made a huge media spectacle portraying my players as poor little kids whose life is destroyed by a grumpy old man. No, I would not have gone on Oprah to parlay my image as a race victim to a woman who is only interested in finding another cause. And no, I would not have made these arrangements to have everyone and God meet with Imus at the Governor's mansion in New Jersey. What would I have done?

Dear Mr. Imus,
It has come to my attention that you called my basketball team "faggots"
during last weeks program. It should be known that your attempts at humor
have more than crossed the line and I'm expecting a full apology. Your
words are disgusting and crass, and I find them very offensive.
Jeff Silva-Brown
Ukiah High School Basketball

Then you do what you are supposed to do when the loud-mouthed blowhard wants attention.....ignore him. You take the high road, the kids gain a sense of empowerment, and you don't give the real idiots, Sharpton, and in this case, Imus, any power to completely overblow a situation. But no, now the Rutgers women are symbols of malice, and will forever be labelled as 'victims'. These women, who admitted to never hearing of Don Imus, have now been told by the media, Al Sharpton, and every other angry soul that they are victims from a few words from an old man from New York.

We have done nothing in this crisis of race but create more hypocrisy, more anger, and find time to make a valiant attempt at tearing down the First Amendment. We have destroyed a show that popular (polling data is 75/25 in support of Imus) and thought provoking, while empowered a pair of race hustlers that compare themselves to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Instead of filling these Rutgers women with a sense of empowerment (FU old man!), they are now the Nancy Kerrigan ("Why me?") of racial progress. We have ignored the real plight of race in America (inadequate education, loss of focus on family, poverty conditions, a feeling that the 'American Dream' isn't there), and in it's place we substituted a 66 year old white grump from New York.

A lot of damage has been done today. When are we going to have the balls to face it, and fix it?

Thanks to Jason Whitlock and the majority of the American people. (almost every poll is like this one).

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Imus is dropped from MSNBC

Well, the cave in finally came about in the slobbering form of NBC News President Steve Capus, who stated that Imus in the Morning will no longer be broadcast by MSNBC.

Oh well, I guess I'm going to have to find a way to get it off of WFAN in New York. Anyone know how to get Realplayer to record shows every day?

I would get all incensed and say "Boycott MSNBC", except that MSNBC is going to be hurt a whole lot more than Imus is. Imus in the Morning was one of MSNBC's top ranked shows, and nothing is going to be able to replace the ratings in the morning slot.

I'm sitting here right now listening to Clarence Paige and Armstrong Williams calling today a "good moment for our country" because people are "being honest and following an equal moral standard". Jesus, what a load of crap. Broader discussion of racism?

-The standard-bearer of this whole issue is Al Sharpton, a race hustler who has down nothing but capitalize on this incident for a few more moments in the spotlight.

-Snoop Dogg stated today that what Imus said is much worse than what rappers say.
"We are rappers that have these songs coming from our minds and our souls that are relevant to what we feel."
-Jesse Jackson is on Keith Olbermann now talking about getting rid of any speech that might seem hateful. He is mentioning the Rush Limbaugh's and the Michael Savages of the world. He has not mentioned the rap artists of the world.

I'm still waiting for the serious discussion of race in America. I'm also waiting for the discussion of speech; including the implementation of satire and comedy in media.

So, Realplayer? Daily recording?

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Hypocrisy of the Imus situation

The single easiest thing that a person can do in any situation is to call something they did racially motivated. Say the wrong thing, write a disagreeable post, hell, even give someone a cross look, and it can become a racially charged incident.

Enter the situation with Don Imus, who made comments that were rough and probably offensive about the Rutgers women's basketball team. Now the famous "nappy headed ho's" comment has become the "Remember the Alamo" cry for every Rainbow Coalition activist and Al Sharpton kiss ass in America. Today I watched an excellent and intelligent comedian become a walking billboard for politically correct apologies, and my wife and I looked on in horror as the mainstream media swallowed every last drop of the faux activism. I don't know what is more disgusting; the fact that Imus actually went on Al Sharpton's radio show and melted like a Popsicle in the sun, or the comments on talk shows and blogs (including this one) that label Imus as a racist.

The hypocrisy is so thick that you could cut it with a chainsaw.

Am I wrong or are we talking about Don Imus? I mean, the same guy that accused the Bush Administration of racism after the Hurricane Katrina incident. The same guy that stated that Tennessee Senatorial candidate Harold Ford lost the 2006 election because of abject racism. The same guy that raises millions of dollars for kids of every color with ailments that are debilitating and life threatening.

As for the comments regarding the Rutgers team, since when are women or African-Americans all of a sudden exempt from humor? And don't give me the absolute dogshit excuse that it was a degrading comment that was meant to be racist because that is simply not true at all. Imus has gone after just about everyone on the planet in terms of nasty, political, comedic rhetoric; from calling NBA players "thugged out pimps", to calling his own wife "The Green Ho". Fine, you don't have to like the humor, don't listen. Eddie Murphy made comments about gays and blacks that were mammothly offensive (or haven't you seen Raw or Delirious), yet no one demanded that he get thrown out of acting or comedy. South Park has degraded and amplified numerous stereotypes, even so far as to show two special education kids in a fight (one with a wheelchair, one with crutches), and still the show remains strong. No, Al Sharpton and Jessee Jackson have simply picked this time to make a move into the political limelight in an attempt to become relevant in an arena that they can no longer relate to.

By the way, let's talk about Al Sharpton, who is the worst possible person to be apologizing to in this incident. This is the same man who supported Tawana Brawley when he had no clue about the facts in the case, and was later sued for it. This is the same man who regularly slandered Jews in New York, creating an uproar that eventually lead to the death of a student. This is the same Al Sharpton that demanded the jailing of the Duke Lacrosse students, and we know exactly how guilty the students were.

In the end, this is an argument over personal responsibility and what people find as offensive. His brand of humor is offensive, just like Murphy, Chappelle, The Blue Collar Comedy Tour, Bill Maher, and endless episodes of South Park. Be offended, and then don't listen. But don't come on to the scene, having little or no understanding about the show, and start screaming about racism when the man is simply not racist. Sharpton and Jesse Jackson will jump on any stage they can to get attention, and they would rather have you follow their judgements instead of you making your own informed decisions.

Here's my hope. I hope that a backlash will begin to spread, one that attacks the idiocy of Jackson and Sharpton, while bringing into the foreground the real issues of race in America. I hope that Imus gets on the air this morning, offers one last apology for the offensive comment, and then tells Al Sharpton to kiss his ass. Imus isn't a racist and screw Sharpton for his witch hunt tactics at tagging anyone he feels like with the mantra of "racist". Then I want to see Cardinal Egan come on the air and remind everyone that nobody is immune to comedy. Afterwords, I want Bill Maher (who will be on this morning) to get on the air and tell Al Sharpton to go f#$k himself. Then I'll laugh my ass off and enjoy the remainder of my morning.

One last note before I'm done. I've listened to Imus in the Morning since 1993, when I was a wee lad out of high school, and I find his brand of humor funny as hell. I have no problem with the idea of being an equal opportunity offender, especially in the realm of politics. I've learned more about politics and government from Imus in the Morning than from any class or textbook that a person can read. John McCain, Tim Russert, Presidents Bush "Forty-One" and Clinton, Michael Bechloss, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jim Leher, Senator Chris Dodd, Joe Lieberman, Bob Dole, Mike Wallace, Bob Schieffer, and countless other political figures have helped me get a much better grasp on government. The show has also done something much more important, it has taught me to lighten up and laugh at myself sometimes.

Oh, and don't come on here and give me the "ohhhhhhh, you're a teacher, you shouldn't think like this" routine. I don't bring my opinions to class (unless it's country music) and this blog isn't talked about in class. I'm a professional, and I do my job with a professional attitude. But this blog is my forum and my thoughts, and being a teacher doesn't exempt me from expressing opinions.

Updated 4/10/07

Comment if you are looking for a serious discussion about race in America. Do not comment if you are calling me a racist or saying that I'm a horrible teacher.

Updated 4/10/07, later in the evening

Let's also comment if you actually have any context at all regarding the Imus in the Morning Show. All these idiots on the cable news channels are making judgments, then stating that they've never seen the show. By the way, did you notice that no Rutgers girls basketballl players stated that it bothered them until the media brought it up? Or the editor of the Rutgers newspaper stating that the story had no legs until Al Sharpton made a big deal about it?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Live, from Chico, California!

One thing that I have now confirmed is that I no longer have the stamina of teaching for 8 hours, and then driving to a destination that is six hours away. Yuck. In a decision that must have been influence by a lack of sanity, my wife and I chose to drive to Ashland, Oregon on Friday, right after school was out. Not only that, we chose the pretty way; Ukiah to Willits (pick up wife) to Eureka to Crescent City to Grants Pass to Ashland. Oh yeah, the pretty way is six hours long. Sure, the beauty is undeniable, but after teaching all day, who really gives a shit. So, at 4 p.m., the wife and I left the confines of Willits High School for the trek up Highway 101 north. After a stop in Garberville for Aztec Grill (the most underrated Mexican food anywhere), a stop in McKinleyville for Starbucks, and a stop in Crescent City for a Pepsi, my overly caffeinated body finally made it to the Best Western Windsor in Ashland.

Here's a note to the Best Western chain of motels; your motels are starting to seriously suck. At one time, my wife and I really enjoyed your service and the quality was excellent for the value. However, this is the fourth Best Western in a row that I've stayed at where I would have rather looked elsewhere. For those that I considering going to Ashland, here's a tip on the Best Western Windsor Inn:
-The room was well priced ($71) and huge.
-The carpet was stained all over the place.
-The rooms were worn.
-The people above us were bouncing around well past midnight on both nights. Complaints to the front desk had no effect.
-The showers produced either hot or cold water, never warm.
-The bathtub/shower had ants all over it.

In other words, we are starting to shop elsewhere for lodging. We are in Chico now, where we spent an extra $20 for the Courtyard by Marriott. Much, much nicer.

Not all is lost in on this trip however. I saw my wonderful Grandmother in Ashland, and she is 87, and more busy than I am. It's one of those situations were it was nice to see that I seemed to be interrupting her when I visited. I like that she is totally busy and enjoying life. I also had multiple breakfasts at an outstanding restaurant called Morning Glory. The price is reasonable, the portions are huge, and the omelets are insanely delicious. My favorite was the rock shrimp with bacon, tomatoes and pepper jack cheese. Don't call ahead though. They don't do reservations, but the food is well worth the wait! The second establishment of fine dining was a new wine bar called Liquid Assets, located in downtown Ashland. The bar is a combination mellow jazz setting and upscale artsy setting,with nicely arranged works of art on the walls, but comfy tables, chairs and couches for a person to enjoy a glass of vino while soaking in the atmosphere. I like the their idea of customers opening bottles of wine right off the shelf for only a $5 corkage plus retail. My Grandmother, my wife and I enjoyed a Washington pinot noir in the front of the restaurant while bathing in the afternoon sunlight and listening to the soft music in the background. Too bad they aren't in Ukiah, because that place is right up our ally.

We made our way to Chico today, back to the old stomping grounds that my wife and I both loathe. We are now visiting her father, and then it is back to the homestead.

There truly is no place like home.

Unbelievable (Updated)

Does this sound right to you at all?

The Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians own the Shodakai Casino that is located a few miles north of Ukiah in Redwood Valley. Check this out:
(The new development) includes a 200,000-square-foot hotel with 118 rooms, a 105,750-square-foot, two-story casino with 33,750 square feet of actual gaming floor and another 73,000 square feet of food, beverage, retail and meeting spaces, a 25,000-square-foot entertainment hall with seating for 1,500 and a 163,500-square-foot, three-story parking garage. A waste water treatment plant and storm water drainage and water supply facilities are also being proposed.
Cool. That's exactly what we need, a bigger casino. As if the increase in crime, low wage jobs, and the absolute corruption that inhabits the tribe isn't enough (the State shut them down a couple of years ago for basically stealing money), how about this:
Because the project is within the reservation's boundaries, it is not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act or local zoning regulations as other developments in the county are. According to the report, the decision to move forward with the project is entirely up to the seven-member tribal council.
Back in the mid-1990's, I voted for the legalization of Indian Gaming in the state of California. Boy was I dead wrong in that vote.

Instead of casinos, how about eliminating the concept of reservations, but allowing the tribe to create a community in which the current land owners are the owners of the property. Instead of giving money to 18 year old kids to blow on cars and bling, make a condition that the students can receive assistance to go to college and will receive the Federal dollars after they gain a college degree. Instead of this forced segregation, why not truly integrate a segment of the population that is not thriving in it's current state?

Or, keep making casinos everywhere. That's really helping the situation.

Updated 4/8/07:
The Sacramento Bee has an excellent article that provides some nice depth into the issues of California tribes, with a focus on the Coyote Valley tribe. Although I would agree that it was disgusting how the State and Federal governments dealth with Native Americans, I would point out that the current methods of Federal hand-outs and casino revenue have done nothing to help get the younger generations prepared for society.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Politically Correct comedy

"That's some rough girls from Rutgers," (Don)Imus said. "Man, they got tattoos ..."

"Some hardcore hos," (Bernard) McGurk said.

"That's some nappy headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that," Imus said.
Yes, I laughed. No, I don't apologize for laughing. Yes, Rutgers and everyone else needs to get over it.

That comment has created a nation-wide firestorm that involves my favorite TV/Radio program "Imus in the Morning". Don Imus was one of the first "shock jocks" and has turned his show towards more of a political satire situation, while still maintaining the degrading bathroom humor. Well, apparently, the Rutgers Women's Basketball team is now exempt from humor because, well, they are women, and some are black.

One thing that has become abundantly apparent in the last 15 years is the inability of society to laugh at itself, and the double standard society allows in regards to who you can and can not make fun of. For instance, it is ok to make fun of the following people:

White men
Rednecks who live in double wides
Cocaine dealers
Crack users
Car Salesmen
Corporate CEO's
The British
The French
Fidel Castro
House of Representatives
The United States Senate
The Media
The President and the entire Executive Branch

However, the following groups of people are exempt from being made fun of, because it would make them feel bad:

Gay males and females
People who are overweight
Native Americans
Women who run for President

All those idiots that are looking for Imus to be fired are barking up the wrong tree, and WFAN and MSNBC would do well to tell people to lighten up and realize that it is comedy.

By the way, Al Sharpton is demanding that Imus be fired. There's a clear sign that Imus is doing something right.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Yes, he's alive. And in perfect hibernation.

I don't know, but it would seem that the great phrase from The Empire Strikes Back is just fitting right now. I'm alive and kicking, I'm happy with how my teaching is going, buy I'm simply not blogworthy at this point.