Saturday, April 26, 2008

FAIL!

How do you do so badly with 2 first round picks? A smart QB without any physical ability whatsoever and an injury prone OT? That's the first round for the Falcons. At least they picked up smart players. Too bad they didn't know they'd need a QB so badly last year. They could've picked up Kolb. I'd be willing to bet a lot of money he'll be a better NFL QB than anyone in this draft class and that's saying a lot coming from me considering I'm not a particular fan of Philly and only root for the Houston Cougars due to SWC comraderie reasons. The Raiders and San Diego seem to be the only ones willing to pick up the best athlete available. I know that's considered old an old school way of looking at things but I have this funny idea that coaches should craft their strategies based on their strengths and weaknesses instead of having some sort of system they blindly follow win or lose.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Rush is Back

I have to admit for the first time in years I've been tuning into the Rush Limbaugh Show daily on my lunch breaks. Back in the early 90's, I built houses in the summer with my father. We'd listen to Rush every day at lunch.* Back then, there weren't as many options for news and Limbaugh picked up a lot of stories that you just couldn't get anywhere else. Nobody else covered Al Gore asking "Who are these guys?" when looking at the busts of our first four Presidents in a museum. Nobody else was particularly thorough when covering the government shutdown. It was new and fresh and the content was unique.

Nowadays we have a lot more reporting options. There are at least a few news outlets like CNN and Fox News who actually try to hire competent conservative analysts instead of patsies who make the other side look better. Back then it was Limbaugh and Firing Line and that's it. There are even comparable popular radio talk show hosts these days. And to be honest, for a long time Rush just got a bit stale. When Athens started broadcasting a sports radio network, it got most of my attention during my lunch hour. I'd switch to Limbaugh and listen for a few minutes on occasion but I never stayed long.

In the past few weeks largely thanks to Operation Chaos**, that's started to change. The show is amusing again. I doubt that Operation Chaos is really having a significant effect on the primary process but Rush is covering the primaries while keeping it interesting by wrapping it up in this whole Operation Chaos theme. He's also angering people who are taking the idea way too seriously and that's further amusement in and of itself.

If you haven't listened in a while or if you've never listened, you might give the 12PM - 1PM time slot some attention. That's the monologue hour and it's usually when he trots out his best material.

* We don't listen to the radio and work unless it's Sunday and a Cowboys game is on the radio. I don't understand that rule of no radio-listening but it's an unsaid custom of anyone working with my family. And by "my family" I mean any of the 30-40 involved in the business of residential construction. I even find myself steadfastly turning off any sort of radio or TV while doing any constructionish work.

** From the wiki: "An effort promoted by Limbaugh to cause chaos in the Democratic Party primaries by encouraging Republican voters to either cross over or change parties (depending on state election law) in order to vote for whichever candidate is trailing, thus prolonging the primary process."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Closing the Deal

We all know what happened in Pennsylvania, electorally speaking, by now. Which is, for all intents and purposes not much.

What I can't seem to get is how the media is somehow painting Hillary as the "underdog" in this election. I read one article where a Hillary pundit was asking "why can't Obama close the deal." Are they serious?

I reckon it is a tough sell to have the Clinton name brand, 16 years of public spotlight on you, the prohibative favorite at the start of the season and having everyone and their mother know she'd be running for President this year.* I guess there was just some trouble running as the "change" candidate and the "experience" candidate when you've been a part of a government that has failed its nation for almost two decades. I mean, that's a tough climb.

But underdog? Will someone from the sports bureau please contact the political editors?

That's like saying the Michigan Wolverines were underdogs in the Big House to Appalachian State at the start of the fourth quarter. The metaphor is apt: Michigan, one of the most storied programs in college football history, a high pre-season ranking, all the key players back, possible national championship run, all those oodles of Big 10 football "experience" vs Appalachian State; a division I-AA team brought all the way from North Carolina to open the season in Michigan's house.

And we know how that ended, don't we? Appalachian State kept just ahead of the Wolverines when it counted. But they weren't able to "close the deal" until the final play of the game. Blocked field goal. Delerium. Pandemonium. Couches burning in the North Carolina mountains in raucous celebration.

One of the greatest college football seasons in memory ended months later: Michigan needing a new coach, Appalachian State with another national championship.

Close the deal? Hillary and her people thought this would be a coronation. She had everything going for her at kickoff. Obama is the underdog until he wins the nomination, because Hillary was supposed to win. every. thing. Her people just didn't count on having to play a full game.

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Spindig Shindig

This just showed up in my inbox. Thought everyone would like to know. I wonder if they would take questions from the floor...

Hi Everyone,

You may have heard that the Scott Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives is hosting a forum on the State of Public Education in New Orleans on Monday, April 28th at 5:30pm at Tulane University.

State Superintendent of Education, Paul Pastorek, is the keynote speaker, and they have a panel of very informed educators. This event is being hosted in partnership with Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, and the Business Council of Greater New Orleans and the River Region.

The event is free and open to the public, so you should all come and feel free to bring friends along. Attached is the invitation (in pdf and Word formats), and additional information can be found online at this site.

We hope to see you there!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

East Lake Solutions

One of the big pushes in society today is to "change the culture" in areas in which we are failing. I see this most prevalently at school, where an unnamed system administrator recently informed the folks at my school that we have to come up with a 'better school culture' without really expounding on what that means.

I've heard this sort of thing for a while. The program I was in that trained me for teaching this year had a lot of focus on culture as in: "high expectations," "big, hairy, audacious goals (BHAGs)," and working your ass off despite all the obstacles put in front of you by a culture that does not reward or value educational acheivement. Bill Cosby got in a lot of trouble in recent years for decrying cultural attitudes that he percieved to be holding back African-American populations. We spend endless hours discussing the "culture wars." The city of New Orleans markets parts of its culture in exchange for tourist dollars. Catholics and other religious leaders speak often (or did until recently) of a "culture of life."

So, as the book says: "Culture Matters," and there are many interesting takes on how to go about understanding and changing cultures.

But you can talk the talk, if you don't walk the walk you're just a pundit. There are some success stories, and many many failures for those who have tried to do just that. Finding the success stories is a big deal, because when it works, it works well.

That's why I was glad to see the MSM giving some love to one of the ATL's success stories today. Go and check out some of the write up on East Lake in Atlanta and how things can go right.

It is an especially important read for folks in New Orleans, as this city continues on the path to rebuilding and renewal. Many of the old urban developments are coming down right now, amid high drama. Many other neighborhoods are looking for ways to revitalize and get away from the crime ridden streets of past and present.

I'm not saying that this model is perfect. Golf will not save every neighborhood and fix every problem. But it is the outside-the-box thinking coupled with a willingness to cross cultural boundaries that made East Lake a success story, even if it did happen in Atlanta.

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Offer Accepted, Hilrod.



I accept your kind offer and will henceforth refer to you as Hilrod. I know you only extended the invitation for the WWE event, but I think it's a great idea so I'll stick with it. BTW, you still have my vote, Hilrod.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Taking Out the Trash

Hmm. Should a city's trash pickup/sanitation service be a government responsibility or a private enterprise type situation? Feel free to discuss using the following articles and your own personal experiences:

'Iplod Government' by Oyster at YRHT

'Junk It' by JMac at Safe As Houses

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Stuff Cousin Pat Likes

Usually, I am labeled as the "wrong kind of white person." My taste in t-shirts doesn't cut it, I threatened to move to New Orleans instead of Canada, and I don't usually wear any outdoor performance clothes.

But, dang, I got pegged on this one. The graphic included is even my favorite item of the line in my favorite color. I've worn out three pair of those already. But this does explain why my students are always "ribbing" me about my footwear...

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You just don't get it, do you Mitch?

And Republicans wonder why they've lost both houses of Congress and are well on their way to losing the White House. Here's a nice tidbit from Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels while trying to drum up support for McCain:
“Nostalgia is fine and Reagan’s economic plan was good, but we need to look towards the future rather than staying in the past.”
Yeah, the cornerstone of the modern conservative Republican movement (Reagan's economic plan) was okay and all but you really need to get over that whole reason you started voting Republican in the first place and throw your vote behind the decreasingly conservative R we put in front of you. Thanks but no thanks. This isn't about Reagan vs. McCain. This is about looking back 28 years and realizing the people we voted for to bring change to our country aren't even trying anymore.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

There Will Be Smack Talk

Is it October yet? Some of Louisiana's brightest young minds are on display in a video over at Georgia Sports Blog.

I love football. I love college. I love what happens when those two things are mixed over a bottle of fuzzy beverage and are garnished with a video camera and a microphone. And I love the greatness that is the LSU fanbase.

And if 12 beers in an hour isn't a worthy mission, being a drunk obnoxious Georgia fan way down in Tigerland surely is.

Woof.


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quieten off, as my grandmama would say

Last weekend I got to see some of you folks and to meet at least one of you gentlemen for the first time. It was fun as hell, and it reminded me that it's been far, far to long since I wandered this way with a post about the idiocy and madness of this grand world of ours.

States all over America are banning smoking -- in bars, in restaurants, in San Fransisco. But Europe has us beat hands down. They are banning loud music...in concert halls. And i don't mean the latest Rammstein show.
[Orchestras] are altering their repertories. And conductors are reconsidering the definition of “fortissimo.”

That's right: turn that damned Wagner down, you punk kids.

More Debate Shenanigans

HT to Suspect Device.

Sometime soon, regular Americans of all political stripes will just have to up and start setting up and moderating our own debates. (This is kinda what New Orleans should do this Presidential election....) We invite the candidates, dare them to turn us down, and then invite local media to come in and watch. And if anyone asks a stupid question, we hoot and boo them down. We can do this easier if we book a sports venue, and make the media enter through the visiting team's gate. I think that would really set an appropriate tone.

Because this is only funny because it hits far too close to home.

Thinking of ideas to piss off media-types; we should also start a nationwide response primer: When someone from the media asks anyone a stupid question, an appropriate response would be YAHH TRICK YAHH!!!

And another thing: I don't usually read the Huffington Post, but that's what I'm talkin' bout. (And don't forget to click over and watch Jon "I'm Not Questioning Your Journalism" Stewart's opinion on the debate.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dangers of Headbanging

"I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was." -Toby Keith

I hate those moments where you realize you can't still party like it is 1999. The bones are older, the liver isn't the well oiled machine that it once was, and the facts of growing up are difficult to accept. Bo had one of those moments at the Bachelor/Bachelorette party last weekend. Can't say I escaped that night unscathed either, but living in New Orleans is good training for that sort of thing. For the rest of the weekend, people thought my slight limp was just me "walking like a pimp."



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Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Jones Case

In the news, the Georgia Southern Univeristy and New Orleans bars came across the wire, and not in a good way. Most recent news is of the acquittal.

But here's a take on the incident by the Athens Door Guy, from the perspective of someone who works in the bars and makes it a profession to do so. As a longtime member of the service industry, I can respect this opinion.

It sounds sad, and it's a shame. I truly believe that. A human life should never be lost because of bar scene bullshit, but it happens sometimes. Alcohol makes people do dumb things, and when you throw in a few variables here and there, sometimes people get hurt or get killed.
I think everyone who's been around the block a few times knows that sometimes situations get out of control. Shit happens, especially when alcohol is involved.

And sometimes, situations can have tragic consequences.

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Hilarious Link

It has to do with the Democratic candidates for President, that ridiculous debate last night, the utter. Utter. stupidity of punditry and media driving our politics and what they all really were saying. Its like subtitles.

HT: Dangerblond

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Thank Yous and Foggy Recollections

Disclaimer: I said I hoped that the only posts made about the wedding this last weekend would be from SAWB. I didn't count on my friend Jerz, who shared many of the festivities with us, to actually write about it. So I'm ripping it off Myspace and posting this one here, in all its profanity laced glory. He sums up what happened better than most. I've done this without his permission, for it needs to be cataloged in a place of honor far greater than a MySpace bulletien. Word for word:

This weekend was one badass experience from top to bottom. As my good friend Andy put it "it was like going through St. Patty's Day, Mardis Gras, and the UGA-Auburn game back-to-back-to-back". Anyway, here is a list of family I'd like to thank for making April 10th-April 12th an oxymoronicly(is that a word?) hazy yet unforgettable experience.

Thank you to Jessica and Andy for mercilessly ripping Patrick for good reason and giving an asshole a couch to crash on.

Thank you Patrick for asking "AM I WEARING A PINK SHIRT?! AM I WEARING A PINK SHIRT??!!" when he's already late to his best friend's wedding and rendering myself usless, leaving me in a pile of laughter for the next 45 minutes.

Thank you Jacob and Becky for getting fucking married in the first place and giving many friends an excuse to drink too much and gather for another slammin' weekend in A-town. Double time to Becky just because we have the same birthday next week.

Thank you Hannah for showing me the healing powers of fried chicken when you drink 30 beers and 1 sip of whiskey the night before.

Thank you Ruby, for that 1 sip of whiskey that proved to me that I NEED to go to bed and that NOONE needs whiskey at 4:30 in the morning.(sorry for spilling a whole glass minus 1 sip on your hotel room floor.

The smell must've made you sober)

Thank you John and Patrick for proving to me that, yes, you can win at golf even when shooting a 115.

Thank you Lizzie for straight up laughing at me when I admitted I was hitting on you.

(thank god you don't drink, otherwise my sizable bar tab probably would've doubled)

Thank you Corwin for playing "Paradise City" and completely ruining any shot at the single women in Tastyworld.

(I've GOT to learn a musical instrument)

Thank you bartenders at Tastyworld for either taking pity on my plight or siding with a huge tipper when I drunkingly requested 4 rolling rocks after last call and not only serving them but then sayin: "I got these dude"

Thank you Married Chick who 15 seconds after receiving 4 Rocks heard the line: "Do you wanna fuck or a Rolling Rock?" She laughed and I drank 3 Rolling Rocks.

Thank you Dante for throwing up on the side of the road on the way home on Friday, because on a weekend like this, someone HAD to do it.

Thank you Kevin for wearing floods during the driest year in Georgia history.

Thank you Michael and Kelly for giggling when I got systematically shot down by the bartender, the doorgirl, and every 19 year old that resisted my Keystone Light charms in the streets of Athens.

Thank you Sarah Harper(is that your last name?) for guffawing when I said "I'm sorry we couldn't sleep together" at the Wenska breakfast.

Thank you Mike and Tina for proving to me that time travelling is sort of fun.

Thank you MAGS for having huge breasts, and tell Todd 'way to go'.

Thank you Ty Manning for writing "Piss Drunk". That song touched me in ways that, actually, you completely understand.

Thanks to everyone who owns a building and saw me on Friday. If I walked over your threshold, I biblically shredded your toilet while losing about 3 inches of small intestine. Double time to Andy and Jessica who were dealing with both me and Patrick who were stuck in a home-run hitting contest in their bathroom. (I hope the wallpaper stops peeling.)

Thank you every single nameless girl I saw on Saturday for proving to me that wearing a pink shirt is just too much handicap for this hound dog to overcome, even with my superior wit and Keystone Light Tall Boys fueling the eloquent shit that was flying out my mouth. Cheers.

That is all I've got. If there is anyone I have left out, may I buy you a beer next time I see you. And to Jake and the Beckster, my last wish is that your marriage be at least half as fun as your wedding was.

Peace bitches,

Jerz


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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sweet Emotion

Today is day two of life back to 'normal.' My best friend of 22 years married a beautiful young lady we've known for 14 years on Saturday. Along with most of the other entertaining comrades they have gathered in the past decades, we sent them off into married bliss with a four (or five, depending on who you ask) day wedding festival that left me so physically and emotionally drained my hands are shaking right now as I type this.

The good news: we didn't go to jail and the event we've been working on (especially SAWB, who deserves an MVP trophy for the bachelor/bachelorette party) went off like a Saturn V rocket. The bad news: none, except that now we all have to go and tend to the errands and projects we've been putting off until this thing is over.

The only real post I hope that gets made about the whole thing would be SAWB's "what ifs" scenarios, if he chooses to post them.

But that's where I've been, if anyone was wandering.

Update: No, I hope other posts are made, especially if they are made by Corwyn, concerning his take on how things went down. Like this. But if you don't know us, you may not be interested. (I still don't know who "AK-57" is...)

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Vouchers

For those of y'all who may not know, the state of Louisiana has been legislatively considering tax breaks for folks who send their kids to private school. Because I teach in a public school, I got to hear about how much others in my profession thought of this idea. I don't need to get too far into a description to let you know that such an idea wasn't held in such high esteem.

The two big arguments against, the ones that I heard anyway, were 1) that private schools aren't really that much better, educationally speaking, because they may or may not be required to hire certified educators; and 2) that such a plan would take money away from an already cash strapped public school system.

Then there was 3) much ado about this program being an effective tax break for rich people, who send their kids to private schools anyway.

For those of y'all who know me, you know I couldn't keep my mouth shut. You see, I am of the firm opinion that:

1) Certification programs have very little impact on how good an educator someone is. I took EDU classes at the University of Georgia for several years, I helped administer Masters of Education classes at a sattelite campus for Troy University, and I've taken certification courses through the University of New Orleans. In all that time I learned a lot about what Ed.D's and Ph.D's think of the field of education, but not much of it prepared me for life in an actual classroom working environment. Things that prepared me more for the classroom included participation in local theater for 10 years (how to plan a show), working in the restaurant business (prepped me for the general minute-to-minute abuse) and playing in various bands throughout my life (how to keep the show going even when everything goes wrong). Just because you can take 25 - 30 semester hours of college level courses does not mean you are automatically an effective teacher.

2) Public school systems (in places like Coastal Georgia, Northeast Georgia, Southeast Louisiana and anywhere USA) are cash-strapped and it has very little to do with private school patrons getting a tax break. People who think about the problem this way are oversimplifying the argument, and doing so only gives succor to the people who are the really real problem.

If you want to know why your public schools have no money, go and look at how much money administrators at the state and local level make. Look at how much money is being spent on education-industry subcontractors (hell, just look at the cost of endless standardized testing alone). Look at how much money is being wasted by leaving infrastructure issues to fester until they are far larger problems (and higher dollar items) for the physical plant. Look at how much sheer time teachers and administrators have to burn handling behavior-management and ineffectively run special education situations instead of spending their time teaching and improving instruction. You think it isn't a waste of money every time I have to stop class because some clown thinks it is funny to cover school desks in blue ink from a pen they purposefully broke?

Tax issues are a problem in their own right, but let's put a fine point on it: cash-strapped educational institutions arise from mismanagment at high, high levels by people who are elected or hired specifically to keep these same issues under control. Private school tax breaks are a drop in the bucket in comparison to this stuff.

3) Tax breaks for folks who send their kid to private schools are tax breaks for rich people. They are also tax breaks for middle and lower class folks who are tired of their kids going to school in a system that is not serious about dealing with behavior managment issues or handling special education appropriately and effectively. The rich folks are going to send their kids to private school anyway, but with a tax break, some middle and lower class folks might be able to make ends meet a little better and get their kids into a safer school - or a school that isn't legally required and hamstrung to keep "aggravated assault students" on their rosters.

Which is the primary reason a lot of folks put their kids into private schools in the first place.

It isn't a good solution to the situation by any stretch of the imagination. It allows politicans to create a wedge issue instead of doing their jobs and dealing with the real problems. It allows establishment industries and special interests to wail about unfairness in funding. It creates further animosity between teachers, parents and administrators. It creates further paranoia and cynicism in the population most in need of effective educational institutions.

But it is -a- solution of some stripe, as much as it pains me to say it. Are the drawbacks worth the rewards? Who can tell? But with the current legal, systematic and entrenched environment, expect more stuff like this coming down the pipe. And expect it to win big in the hearts and minds of the majority.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Farewell

Ashley Morris is gone, and the world already seems a quieter, less lively place.


Memorial posts & pics:
YRHT

Dangerblond

Liprap

Suspect Device

Dammit


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Book List



Here's something new for your personal book list, and if you read this blog, you'll have a good time reading this one. Written by Tim Hartford, The Undercover Economist is written to flow, and uses plenty of analogies to simplify the understanding of basic economic concepts behind many of the forces marching through popular culture today.

The chapter on "Why Poor Countries are Poor" was fascinating to read as a resident of New Orleans and a former resident of both provincial (and modernizing) Coastal Georgia and newly modernized Athens, Georgia. It was also a little embarassing to read about coffee shop economics, having worked in one AND having been a coffee snob in the past. I had to laugh about the ways I had been nickel and dimed by the marketers.

I was also blown away on the environmental impacts of globalization and the very point by point description of the modernization of China. It is rare when I read a book that generally exposes me to a completely different way of looking at the world, especially one that helps me explain my own attitudes more effectively.

Overall, quite a worthwhile read for us out here in Average Joe land.

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