Monthly Archives: March 2017

Thursday, March 30, 2017 – There Will Be a Delay

Thursday, March 30, 2017 – There Will Be a Delay

There will be a delay in the posting Here’s What I’m Thinking, until I have returned from a luncheon. Then I will post Here’s What I’m Eating. Stay tuned.

Items I am thankful for today:

  • I do not have Sean Spicer’s job.
  • I do not work in Assessment at TEA.
  • I do not work at all.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 – It Was a Dark and Stormy Night. Thunderbolt and Lightening; Very, Very Frightening. What is the meaning of Bismillah in a Version of Bohemian Rhapsody?

Just to clarify – I was referring to the overnight weather in the Brazos Valley of Texas and not the seemingly daily happenings at the White House.

Since the rains prohibited golf today, I decided to pretend I was a front row media professional at the WH Briefing Room when Sean Spicer (SS) gives the daily briefing. Listen in to my imagination.

Me: It is true that the POTUS is not going to throw out the first pitch on opening day of baseball season? Baseball – America’s National Pastime. Why is that?

SS: The President was indeed asked to throw out the first baseball… He is currently, no, stop, I am not finished talking…I answered your question. You, Lady, stop shaking your head; no one from the Trump administration has verified the nepharious rumors that the President is not going to toss the first putt, I mean pitch, at a baseball game. His schedule may prevent him from opening day, but I am 100% certain at some point he will throw out the first pitch.

Me: Is it true that the POTUS only has a 36% chance of getting the ball across the plate? There is a greater percentage he will likely come up short and not be able to deliver the ball across home plate…

SS: Listen, I am not going to discuss the president’s balls or his capabilities. No more questions. Good day.

Me: HWIT. Thunderbolt and Lightening; Very, Very Frightening. How about a little Bohemian Rhapsody to start the day. Perhaps I will send to Sean Spicer to brighten his mood.

I see a little silhouetto of a man Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very fright’ning me (Galileo) Galileo, (Galileo) Galileo, Galileo figaro magnifico…

He’s just a poor boy from a poor family Spare him his life from this monstrosity Easy come, easy go, will you let me go? Bismillah! No, we will not let you go (Let him go) Bismillah! We will not let you go (Let him go) Bismillah! We will not let you go (Let me go) Will not let you go (Let me go) Will not let you go (Let me go) Ah, no, no, no, no, no, no, no (Oh mamma mia, mamma mia) Mama mia, let me go Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me, for me

Songwriters: Freddie Mercury. Bohemian Rhapsody lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

What is the meaning of Bismillah in Bohemian Rhapsody?

(It means “In the name of God”; the full formula is bismi-llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm, “In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.”) It is said that the bismillah in “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a nod to Freddie Mercury’s upbringing in majority-Muslim Zanzibar.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 – STAAR – Assessment Tails Wagging the Dogs of Education. Academic Lockdown

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 – STAAR – Assessment Tails Wagging the Dogs of Education. Academic Lockdown.

This is for all educators across the school districts across Texas.

Good Morning Boys and Girls,

I hope you are rested, well-fed, anxiety free, and prepared for the state assessment tests beginning today. The fact that your educational future is dependent upon your performance on this test should be put far back into your mind.

My career as a public school administrator began in central office when it was TABS. Takes you back doesn’t it? Texas Assessment of Basic Skills if I recall. It was part of the 1984 education reforms.

When I moved to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in 1989 my entire division’s opening lines for presentations to educational institutions were: “Good Morning, my name is _______ . I am from TEA and I have NOTHING to do with Assessment or PEIMS.”

However, what goes around comes around. Captain Hair Spray, then governor of Texas and now in charge of our nation’s energy and Texas A&M Student Body elections, line-item vetoed the entire agency where I then worked and removed $270 MILLION dollars ANNUALLY from public schools, public libraries and institutions of higher education. This single stroke of a pen sent me and many others spiraling downward into the pits of Assessments – probably located in the same level of Dante’s Hell as the politicians are.

Here is a look back on my career in assessment.

RP Unemployment – Scoring (we do not grade) assessment tests for $10.00 an hour or $11.50 an hour at night from 4:30PM – 10:30 PM. I would tell you more, but I might still be under Pearson non-disclosure papers. My therapist and I are still working through this repressive period of my life which I usually refer to as seeing “the asshole of education.” You talk about tax dollars at work – assessment is the place. And no, scoring is not always done by teachers or any other types of educators. If one can produce a piece of paper from an accredited educational institution with fancy writing and fog a mirror you are pretty much in.

I was fortunate to obtain a position in a central Texas school district as a central office administrator. Please, allow me to share my assessment experiences and your tax dollars at work.

One Year – I was An Assessment Bathroom Nazi – my role was to visit four assigned campuses in the morning and the same four in the afternoon. My duties were to relieve the individual guarding a bathroom for their 15 minute potty break. Please note there was another brigade of Assessment Lunch Nazis moving around their respective campuses to allow the actual test proctors a 30 minute lunch break. Also note that most of us driving around the district were highly paid central office administrators who also receive district mileage per diem.

One Year – I proctored the testing of a single 5th grade student in the campus’ computer lab. I suppose I was placed in that location because I was a technology administrator and he was placed there because he took his test via a tape recorder. This adorable young man was alone because his testing style accommodations included that he listened to the test via recordings.

For those not familiar with the ever changing testing rules, test proctors are not allowed to sit, eat, have a cell phone, check email if in computer lab, read, average grades and/or do anything else to be productive and alleviate the instant boredom for the next three and a half hours that sets in as soon as the student begins the test.

Remember the students are allowed to have snacks. I do not remember this extremely bright young man’s name, but at one point he looked at me and said “Dr. D. You look awful. Would you like some of my snacks?”

One Year – I proctored three fifth grade students in a classroom in a portable building. Just before I was to start reading the instructions at precisely at 8:30 AM – must be read verbatim at this time according to rules – I realized I had not signed out the instruction manual when I signed all of the other documents I had to sign that morning.

I think to myself – I am an experienced educator. I got this. “Hey, two boys and one girl. Seems I forgot something. Let’s all go back in the main building. I will get what I need and you can get a free bathroom break.” Off we go – still in single file – We are locked out of the main building. Remember, I do not get to take a cell phone.

Fast forward – Bang on outside door until somebody opens it; I sign document that says I forgot to pick up instruction manual; I must initial and resign document that I states I picked up instruction manual; students get free bathroom opportunity; I do not get to go and at 8: 38 AM verbatim instructions are read to three students.

10:05 AM– Campus counselor interrupts testing by knocking on door of portable classroom to inform me that I must be written up for not following rules and forgetting my instruction manual and not starting the test on time. I politely remind her that I came looking for her prior to the beginning of test, within time frame and she was off campus – also against the rules. “So I am going to have to write you up too, including the interruption of the test so you could tell me.”

Next morning – the truly awesome principal calls me in and together we discuss (i.e. Eye rolls over Starbucks) the two write ups – hers and mine. I still remember him saying as he shredded all of the write-ups “Assessment days suck! Well, I have to go earn my highly paid administrative salary and let Coach Jones go to the bathroom.”

That May I retired from education. Assessment – the Cesspool of Education.

Good luck, Boys and Girls. Good luck educators. And God Bless Texas and its Public School System.

Monday, March 27, 2017 – Last Week – That Was The Week That Was (TW3)

Monday, March 27, 2017 – Last Week – That Was The Week That Was (TW3)

Good morning Boys and Girls,

Our vocabulary word for the day is: Mumpsimus. It is a noun that means 1. adherence to or persistence in an erroneous use of language, memorization, practice, belief; out of habit or obstinacy 2. A person who persists in a mistaken expression or practice.

Now please use mumpsimus in a sentence.

The POTUS and his administration are a swamp filled mumpsimus.

HWIT – Rather than increase the numbers in the demographic of poor people with no health care with the new and improved healthcare, President Mumpsimus will just maintain the existing number of poor people who are unable to afford premiums and their outlandish deductibles as currently stated in the ACA. Correct?

While we are looking at numbers, check my math. Aren’t the Democrats in the minority in the House of Representatives? Help me understand, the Democrats that voted against Trumpcare are blamed for it not passing, but the Republicans, that voted against Trumpcare are not blamed.

Oh well, let’s just toss that critical issue of healthcare into the Potomac with all the people effected and tackle tax reform.

Shipwreck off cost of Maine – Photo by me. Maybe I should call it: USS Trump

I am blessed to have excellent health benefits and health care. I am thankful each morning I awake up and think “Thank goodness I am not Sean Spicer.”

Let’ close today with a quote from George W. Bush said early in his first term, perhaps even the first 100 days. “It’s hard to be president.” Never thought we would miss “W.”


Friday, March 24, 2017 –Snarky Friday. Just Because You Can Does Not Always Mean You Should. Rick Perry, the Aggies and Glow Stick Gate?

Friday, March 24, 2017 –Snarky Friday. Just Because You Can Does Not Always Mean You Should. Rick Perry, The Aggies and Glow Stick Gate

The perception is the reality.” That statement is one of many drilled into the minds of public servants. How does the public perceive your actions as a public employee? This concept is known as “perception reality.” YOUR perception is related to preconceived feelings and experiences that often create your current reality.

I am not sure I would have stepped into this bovine by product currently stinking on the Texas A&M campus.

Backstory – U. S Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, publically questioned the recent election process for Student Body President on the Texas A&M campus. RP, if I understand correctly, is questioning whether due process was followed.

The apparent winner was disqualified because of apparently not reporting a campaign expense for glow sticks. Granted, I have no idea the dollar amount for glow sticks in question. $1.00? $500? He was disqualified and the election went to the second place finisher.

There are so many issues at play. I can feel the fan blades starting the rotations as the bovine fecal by products hit it. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Federal intervention – RP is now a federal appointee to a Cabinet Post. As Governor of Texas his comments and intervention might have been appropriate. But as a federal employee it can be perceived as federal government intervention into a public institution of higher education. – Alma mater or not.
  • Freedom of speech – yes, RP can certainly voice his opinion, but his opinion is interpreted differently by many people. With his current political appointment RP now speaks for an organization.
  • Diversity – the newly elected Student Body President is openly gay.
  • Old Ags – RP is considered an “Old Ag.” This is not a derogatory term. It simply refers to older Former Students who are more resistant to changes in the university. Who remembers the lawsuits to even allow women to attend Texas A&M? Or the lawsuits to allow women into the Corps of Cadets? Or the lawsuits to allow women into the band? Sorry RP, the lawsuits for female Yell Leaders are waiting in the wings of diversity. If a woman can lead the entire, largest ever Corps of Cadets in Texas A&M history, then one can damn sure the lead the yells.

    First woman to lead the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets; Alyssa Michalke. 2015. Photo by me.

  • Money – always follow the money trail. The disqualified Aggie’s parents are major financial supporters of RP, (the $ix figure kind of annual donation$, my excellent sources tell me.). All campaign donations are public records.

In closing, more wisdom from the public servant hand book:

  • The perception is the reality.
  • You do not have to defend the results; you have to defend the process.
  • Just because you can do something, does not always mean you should.

Thursday, March 23, 2017 – Ensure the Insured.

Thursday, March 23, 2017 – Ensure the Insured.

Today is my required home health care visit. My (I am so blessed) state paid insurance calls for an annual home visit to check on my health and well-being. This is translated as – ensure the insured person is not squandering our money and is actually sick when she says she is, not selling her medicines on the street, appears to be sane, or any number of issues related their money.

As always I have prepared for my tests and am prepared to answer all of the questions on form. Here are some examples I am anticipating.

Q: Is your birthday still January 13, 19XX? Yes, my birthday is the same as it has always been. I did not change my birthday like my Aunt Myrtle. She changed her birthday on her headstone so she would not look her older her husband.

Q: How old are you?

A: A year older than last time you were here. Can’t you do the math or are you a product of our education system?

Q: Are you mobile? Do you have difficulty walking?

A: I am very mobile. Sometimes I do have difficulty walking, but alcohol is almost always involved. And it only happens going to and from the Uber or wherever the designated driver’s car is.

Q: Do you exercise on a regular basis?

Micky and Killer Queen, you two want to weigh in here? These are my PTs – personal trainers not physical therapists. Last year I offered to lift and tote the home health care person to the living room just to show off, but she declined. This time I might suggest a contest where we do 10 lunges across the living room. Maybe I will take it easy on her and suggest 10 push-ups (full body, of course) or the usually number of reps of sit ups. What am I up to now, Mickey? Three sets of 10?

A: Yes, I exercise on a regular basis. This is why I wear sweat pants. Not only for the comfort, but my butt looks good in them. No shake, rattle or rolls.

Q: How is your mental frame of mind?

A: Compared to whose mental frame of mind? I would like to phone a friend and let them answer. As my dear Mother used to say to me often “Everyone is crazy except me and you. And I am kinda worried about you.”

Magnolia House – note the look of pleasure on my face. Lost that “Not wearing a dress” fight to Mama that day. Note: the silhouette above my head: Anybody from 4th Grade remember those?

Of course, as the great 20th Century philosopher says “If we weren’t all crazy, we’d just go insane.” (J. Buffet.)

Jimmy Buffet – Austin, Texas 2014. Photo by me.

But to answer your question regarding my mental capacities – I do not Tweet at 3:00 AM in the morning. I often go to the bathroom at 3:00 AM, but no tweeting, just peeing.

May I ask you a question, lowly paid health care checker person?

How much longer is this going to take? If you hurry up I can almost get 18 holes played before tip-off of the basketball games tonight.

Where to I sign to show you have been here and you can show your boss what a wonderful job you did today. Now, go away, but thank you for stopping by.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 – It’s The Shoes or It’s The Chews!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 – It’s The Shoes or It’s The Chews! SFA and AXO!

One of my favorite scenes (they are all my favorites) in movie The Bird Cage is when Agador, played by the great Hank Azaria, must wear footwear for the senator’s and the family visit. He continues to fall and finally screams “It’s the chews!”

Walk with me here – yesterday I had to visit my primary care physician so she could “see me” in order to renew my prescriptions (See new rules and laws as of January 2017 regarding prescriptions.)

As she was renewing my meds, she asked “anything else today?” I replied, “No, my feet hurt, but it can wait until wellness in two-weeks. (See insurance rules)

She takes a quick look at my shoes and asks “How old are your shoes?” I reply “This is my best pair and they are at least a year.” She replies “You need new shoes.”

Here’s what I’m thinking – The doctor said I need new shoes for medical reasons. I always try to follow doctors’ orders. So I think this must include new workout shoes; new golf shoes; new summer footwear; new house shoes, new shower shoes, maybe even some new “real” shoes because I actually have some social functions to attend this spring.

WOW – check this out – light up sneakers for adults. I wonder if there is maroon and white LED version.

Little Sis? I wonder if there a purple and white pair? Wouldn’t light up sneakers be awesome to wear to our Alpha Chi Omega reunion when we all sing “… all Hail to SFA!”

I think this is my pledge class at The Fall Festival at SFA – 1969??

Therefore, I must go get my prescriptions and my shoes refilled. As Agador says “It’s the chews.”

Monday, March 20, 2017 – Spring Has Sprung! Brackets Bust!

Monday, March 20, 2017 – Spring Has Sprung! Brackets Bust!

Happy First Day of Spring! A poem for us all.

Spring has sprung;

The grass has ris;

I wonder where the flowers is.

Happy Spring Ya’ll. It is that time of year when we grab the kids and pets, park dangerously along the roadside and go sit our butts in the beautiful Texas bluebonnets for the family photo shoot.

Spring has sprung and so have most of the Basketball Bracketeers brackets. One side of my bracket totally collapsed when Duke was upset by South Carolina. I still have a Kansas Kentucky match up but it is not called March Madness without reason.

On the women’s bracket I am holding strong into the Second Round. And I actually have Texas A&M women playing UConn in the Sweet 16, but tonight it is UCLA. I am prepared – one beer per quarter for Quarters one, two and three and the remaining three beers during the Fourth Quarter. Hopefully by that time the beers and bears (Bruins) will be finished.

This is me practicing last year tailgating at Texas A&M/UCLA football game.

Before we leave resting on our maroon laurels, Saturday night the Texas A&M Women’s basketball team set an NCAA record for the largest comeback win in history. The Aggies were behind by 21 points going into the fourth quarter. The Penn Quakers began to quake and soon the Quakers were shaken, not stirred and all shook up. The Aggies outscored the Quakers 25 to 1 in the Fourth Quarter to win in the final seconds. In addition to a thrilling game, it was a joy to watch the coaching and execution. And of course the fact the Aggies won!

“Games can still be won with heart and passion. That’s what an Aggie is all about. Never count us out.” Gary Blair

Curtyce Knox – NCAA (men’s and women’s) current record holder for Assists per Game – averaging 9.2.

But tonight we focus on UCLA. I must go nap now because the game does not start until 8:05.


Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Fire the Weekend Graphics Intern!

Saturday, March 18, 2017 – Fire the Weekend Graphics Intern!

I am not sure what the Aggie Women are going to do, but I do hope they win. BTHO Penn!

Anriel Howard – Lashes – Probably just now seeing and reading the graphic.

Friday, March 17, 2017 – Top of the Morning to You Lads and Lassies. Bravery and Freedom

Friday, March 17, 2017 – Top of the Morning to You Lads and Lassies. Bravery and Freedom.

It is St. Paddy’s Day when everyone is Irish. It is 10:00 am so this will be brief as I must get to the pub early before all the seats near the bar, the bathroom and the piano are taken and before the amateurs arrive.

It is also Friday so that means a meatless Friday. The pub is offering a full seven course Irish meal – a potato and a six pack of Guinness.

So get your pike upon your shoulder and get ready to sing.

Of course my favorite Irish songs are the rebellion songs. If you are truly Irish, you know the words and shock the entire bar at Dirty Nellie’s in San Antonio when you, the piano player and the two Irish tourists know these songs and continue to sing along. An upfront apology to my friends of British ancestry, but after all if you had not treated us Irish so mean over the centuries, we might not have had to sing these songs in the first place.

The Minstrel Boy to the war is gone; and the ranks of death you will find him

His father’s sword he has girded on and his wild harp slug behind him

Land of song says the warrior bard; the world, the world betrays thee;

One sword at least I right shall guard; one faithful heart shall praise thee.

And said NO chains shall sully thee; the soul of love and bravery

Thy songs were meant for the pure and free

They shall never sound in slavery.

Now we’ll sing Kevin Barry…

…Another martyr for old Erin

Another murder for the Crown.

The British laws may crush the Irish,

But cannot keep their spirits down.”

And the Irish song of rebellion that sends the true Irish into tears and my favorite – Boulavogue – the mournful ballad that tells the story which began at Boulavogue. Here are a few words.

Then Father Murphy from Old Killarney

Spurred up the rocks with a warning cry,

Arm! Arm he cried!

For I’ve come to lead you,

For Ireland’s freedom we’ll fight or die.


“Look out for hirelings” said King George of England

Search every kingdom that breeds a slave

For Father Murphy from the County Wexford

Sweeps o’re the land like a mighty wale.


The Yeoes at Tullo took father Murphy

And burned his body upon the rack

God grant you Glory, Brave Father Murphy

And open heaven to all your men.

The cause that called you;

May call tomorrow for another fight

For the green again.

Great Grandfather – J. W. Duffey “In ever grateful remembrance of a confederate soldier.” Colfax, Louisiana. Photo by me.


Great Grand parents with photos of their children – First Generation Americans. The man is my grandfather – Charles Edwin Duffey.

And your cause that calls you may call tomorrow for another fight. Be brave.

Erin Go Braugh – Ireland Forever!