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Friday, June 16, 2017 – Snarky Friday and A Stream of Consciousness

Friday, June 16, 2017 – Snarky Friday and A Stream of Consciousness

What a world! As my dear, departed and very wise Mother used to say about politics and other sordid activities: “Play in shit, you gonna get shitty.”

Today I shall just have a stream of consciousness regarding this week’s activities as they relate to the increase in fecal material hitting the rotating blades of the oscillating fan surrounding The Potomac and outlying areas. For a little extra, you might try listening to some appropriate music while trying to read. I am listening to Joan Baez – “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around. Keep on a walking; Keep on a talking, gonna built a brand new world…”

Ready? Read.

What happened? Be careful what you wish for or in this case who you vote for. Only 145days? Crooked Hillary did it. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. I am not under investigation. I am not a crook. I did not have sex with that woman. Resignation. Impeachment. And now POTUS you are under investigation. You’re lying. He’s lying. She’s lying. Lock her up. GOP. Resist. James Comey. “You’re Fired” only works in business on TV. Putin. Putin. Root and Tootin! FBI. Department of Justice. Tweet some more. GOLF. Lawyers, lawyers, filling Washington, D. C. I should have gone to law school. Russians. Russians. Let’s Make a Deal. Michael Flynn. More lawyers. Democrats. Jared. Ivanka. Donald Jr. A New Jersey Lawyer? Money laundering? I miss The Sopranos. Bada Bing. Constitutional Crisis. Really good chocolate cake and we the US just bombed the crap out of Syria. Are there any US Allies in the World left? This is gonna take a long time to clean up all this shit and those playing in it get shittier. Meanwhile, CAN WE PLEASE STOP SHOOTING EACH OTHER AND SIT DOWN AND TALK FOR THE GOOD OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?

Happy Friday.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 – The Eve of Comey, Spinners and Twitter

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 – The Eve of Comey, Spinners and Twitter

I purchased one of these spinner things for $3.00 the other day.

It is called Stress Gear for use at office, home and school. I am having a gross of them shipped to Washington D.C. Half (do the John Wax math) are labeled as such:

For the Congressional Hearings: For those attending former FBI Director, James Comey’s hearing(s) with this note:

Thank you, Mr. Comey. Stay calm and carry on regardless. He gets a red, white and blue one.

The remainder is to be sent to The White House. Jared is to receive the red one (not pictured).

The Glow in the Dark one, as I have, is to be delivered to President Twitter with the following note:

Dear Twitter-in-Chief,

This new secret communication device is better for firing off senseless statements of 140 characters in the middle of the night – or early morning depending on your perspective or what time it is in Russia.

This orange (like your hair) glow in the dark one sends a signal to the Universe as it spins in your little hands giving all of the other aliens and non people like Democrats access to The WH Spin. Be sure Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conman get a spinner. This special model is able to distinguish between fake and real news and sends only the real news and not altered facts. The others can be distributed at random.

The reverse of the package reads:

“Helps focus; Relieves boredom, anxiety and stress and Great for ADHD, ADD, and Autism.” All of this is untrue and unsubstantiated as most of your thoughts and Tweets are. And since you exhibit tendencies of all these serious conditions, I thought this specially designed communication device would be something you would enjoy and could use.

Please use this during former FBI Comey’s testimony tomorrow instead of Twitter. Just keep spinning.

Oh yes. Your entire WH staff can take their spinner with them when they leave – one way or another on their way to egret.

 

Monday, May 22, 2017 – Global Update and Texas Public School News

Source: Monday, May 22, 2017 – Global Update and Texas Public School News

Here’s to you, Mrs. Traugh. Renascence.

Here’s to you, Mrs. Traugh. Renascence.

 

“I know the path that tells Thy way

Through the cool eve of every day;

God, I can push the grass apart

And lay my finger on Thy heart!”

The day when Mrs. Traugh read the Renascence aloud to a bunch of unrulry juniors in English III, American Lit in 1966 at Magnolia High School was one of her favorite memories. To capture the emotions of a high school class as she did that afternoon extends beyond remarkable teaching.

Edna St. Vincent Millay is a great poet to study for both poetry and performance. It is said the best way to combine her poetry with performance is to listen to it as a class paying attention to the theatricality and the musical qualities of language.

Or just recall Wanda Traugh reading Renascence in English III, 1966. Magnolia High School. Magnolia, Texas.

Renascence

By Edna St. Vincent Millay

All I could see from where I stood

Was three long mountains and a wood;

I turned and looked another way,

And saw three islands in a bay.

So with my eyes I traced the line

Of the horizon, thin and fine,

Straight around till I was come

Back to where I’d started from;

And all I saw from where I stood

Was three long mountains and a wood.

Over these things I could not see;

These were the things that bounded me;

And I could touch them with my hand,

Almost, I thought, from where I stand.

And all at once things seemed so small

My breath came short, and scarce at all.

But, sure, the sky is big, I said;

Miles and miles above my head;

So here upon my back I’ll lie

And look my fill into the sky.

And so I looked, and, after all,

The sky was not so very tall.

The sky, I said, must somewhere stop,

And—sure enough!—I see the top!

The sky, I thought, is not so grand;

I ‘most could touch it with my hand!

And reaching up my hand to try,

I screamed to feel it touch the sky.

I screamed, and—lo!—Infinity

Came down and settled over me;

Forced back my scream into my chest,

Bent back my arm upon my breast,

And, pressing of the Undefined

The definition on my mind,

Held up before my eyes a glass

Through which my shrinking sight did pass

Until it seemed I must behold

Immensity made manifold;

Whispered to me a word whose sound

Deafened the air for worlds around,

And brought unmuffled to my ears

The gossiping of friendly spheres,

The creaking of the tented sky,

The ticking of Eternity.

I saw and heard, and knew at last

The How and Why of all things, past,

And present, and forevermore.

The Universe, cleft to the core,

Lay open to my probing sense

That, sick’ning, I would fain pluck thence

But could not,—nay! But needs must suck

At the great wound, and could not pluck

My lips away till I had drawn

All venom out.—Ah, fearful pawn!

For my omniscience paid I toll

In infinite remorse of soul.

All sin was of my sinning, all

Atoning mine, and mine the gall

Of all regret. Mine was the weight

Of every brooded wrong, the hate

That stood behind each envious thrust,

Mine every greed, mine every lust.

And all the while for every grief,

Each suffering, I craved relief

With individual desire,—

Craved all in vain! And felt fierce fire

About a thousand people crawl;

Perished with each,—then mourned for all!

A man was starving in Capri;

He moved his eyes and looked at me;

I felt his gaze, I heard his moan,

And knew his hunger as my own.

I saw at sea a great fog bank

Between two ships that struck and sank;

A thousand screams the heavens smote;

And every scream tore through my throat.

No hurt I did not feel, no death

That was not mine; mine each last breath

That, crying, met an answering cry

From the compassion that was I.

All suffering mine, and mine its rod;

Mine, pity like the pity of God.

Ah, awful weight! Infinity

Pressed down upon the finite Me!

My anguished spirit, like a bird,

Beating against my lips I heard;

Yet lay the weight so close about

There was no room for it without.

And so beneath the weight lay I

And suffered death, but could not die.

Long had I lain thus, craving death,

When quietly the earth beneath

Gave way, and inch by inch, so great

At last had grown the crushing weight,

Into the earth I sank till I

Full six feet under ground did lie,

And sank no more,—there is no weight

Can follow here, however great.

From off my breast I felt it roll,

And as it went my tortured soul

Burst forth and fled in such a gust

That all about me swirled the dust.

Deep in the earth I rested now;

Cool is its hand upon the brow

And soft its breast beneath the head

Of one who is so gladly dead.

And all at once, and over all

The pitying rain began to fall;

I lay and heard each pattering hoof

Upon my lowly, thatched roof,

And seemed to love the sound far more

Than ever I had done before.

For rain it hath a friendly sound

To one who’s six feet underground;

And scarce the friendly voice or face:

A grave is such a quiet place.

The rain, I said, is kind to come

And speak to me in my new home.

I would I were alive again

To kiss the fingers of the rain,

To drink into my eyes the shine

Of every slanting silver line,

To catch the freshened, fragrant breeze

From drenched and dripping apple-trees.

For soon the shower will be done,

And then the broad face of the sun

Will laugh above the rain-soaked earth

Until the world with answering mirth

Shakes joyously, and each round drop

Rolls, twinkling, from its grass-blade top.

How can I bear it; buried here,

While overhead the sky grows clear

And blue again after the storm?

O, multi-colored, multiform,

Beloved beauty over me,

That I shall never, never see

Again! Spring-silver, autumn-gold,

That I shall never more behold!

Sleeping your myriad magics through,

Close-sepulchred away from you!

O God, I cried, give me new birth,

And put me back upon the earth!

Upset each cloud’s gigantic gourd

And let the heavy rain, down-poured

In one big torrent, set me free,

Washing my grave away from me!

I ceased; and through the breathless hush

That answered me, the far-off rush

Of herald wings came whispering

Like music down the vibrant string

Of my ascending prayer, and—crash!

Before the wild wind’s whistling lash

The startled storm-clouds reared on high

And plunged in terror down the sky,

And the big rain in one black wave

Fell from the sky and struck my grave.

I know not how such things can be;

I only know there came to me

A fragrance such as never clings

To aught save happy living things;

A sound as of some joyous elf

Singing sweet songs to please himself,

And, through and over everything,

A sense of glad awakening.

The grass, a-tiptoe at my ear,

Whispering to me I could hear;

I felt the rain’s cool finger-tips

Brushed tenderly across my lips,

Laid gently on my sealed sight,

And all at once the heavy night

Fell from my eyes and I could see,—

A drenched and dripping apple-tree,

A last long line of silver rain,

A sky grown clear and blue again.

And as I looked a quickening gust

Of wind blew up to me and thrust

Into my face a miracle

Of orchard-breath, and with the smell,—

I know not how such things can be!—

I breathed my soul back into me.

Ah! Up then from the ground sprang I

And hailed the earth with such a cry

As is not heard save from a man

Who has been dead, and lives again.

About the trees my arms I wound;

Like one gone mad I hugged the ground;

I raised my quivering arms on high;

I laughed and laughed into the sky,

Till at my throat a strangling sob

Caught fiercely, and a great heart-throb

Sent instant tears into my eyes;

O God, I cried, no dark disguise

Can e’er hereafter hide from me

Thy radiant identity!

Thou canst not move across the grass

But my quick eyes will see Thee pass,

Nor speak, however silently,

But my hushed voice will answer Thee.

I know the path that tells Thy way

Through the cool eve of every day;

God, I can push the grass apart

And lay my finger on Thy heart!

The world stands out on either side

No wider than the heart is wide;

Above the world is stretched the sky,—

No higher than the soul is high.

The heart can push the sea and land

Farther away on either hand;

The soul can split the sky in two,

And let the face of God shine through.

But East and West will pinch the heart

That can not keep them pushed apart;

And he whose soul is flat—the sky

Will cave in on him by and by.

Portland Head Lighthouse. Photo by me. 1975. My first visit to Maine.

 

Thursday, April 6, 2017 – Over There! The Yanks Are Coming. 100 Years Ago Today

Thursday, April 6, 2017 – Over There! The Yanks Are Coming. 100 Years Ago Today

Over there, over there, Send the word, send the word over there – That the Yanks are coming, The Yanks are coming, The drums rum-tumming Ev’rywhere. So prepare, say a pray’r, Send the word, send the word to beware. We’ll be over, we’re coming over, And we won’t come back till it’s over Over there.

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into World War I. Who wrote the most famous United States propaganda song upon the entry into the war in Europe?

At the time, 1917, the fighting was called The Great War. Sometimes it was called The War to End all Wars. Obviously the ending of end of all wars name did not work out.

By the time the United States entered the war, Europe had endured three years of trench war fare. This combination of antiquated Napoleonic military tactics (long parallel lines with soldiers now in trenches) was met with the new mechanized war fare of the machine gun, airplanes, poisonous gas and bombs. The combination left hundreds of thousands on both sides dead in places named The Somme. Verdun, Ypres and all across Europe.

It was the war that destroyed the monarchies of Europe. Governments did away with the kings or reduced the powers of them. It was the war that left the French country side littered with trench cities filled with decaying remains of men and animals.

It was the war that made the United States a global power. It was the war that created waves of nationalism and all of the other “isms” (imperialism, socialism, communism, isolationism, and ethnocentrism) that would eventually take the world to September 1, 1939. “Good job, well-done Neville Chamberlain for bringing us “Peace in our time.” On that date in history, The Great War was renamed World War I as nations aligned to fight World War II.

Upon the eve of Britain’s entry in to WWI on August 3, 1914, the British Foreign Secretary Edward Grey is quoted to have said, “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.”

How prophetic. I wonder if it is still true today and includes my life-time.

George M. Cohen wrote Over There.

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.

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!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 – Beware the Ides of March or EVERYBODY DANCE NOW!

This time last year.

Here's What I'm Thinking

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 – Beware the Ides of March or EVERYBODY DANCE NOW!

Basketball Primer – Part III – How to Complete Your Bracket

The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Selection Show was last night on ESPN. I am keenly disappointed I did not see myself on TV as I did last year. The Fighting Texas Aggie Team will begin play in College Station this Saturday against Missouri State. But to play the tournament one must complete a bracket.

Here are the steps to complete a basketball bracket.

  1. Download and print a bracket. If unable to do this on your own, ask your grandchild or another child about aged 12 for assistance.

http://i.turner.ncaa.com/sites/default/files/external/gametool/brackets/women_2016_final_w_records.pdf

Bracket (450x800)

  1. Find a low budget word processor like a pencil or pen.
  2. Select the teams you think will win and write them down. For example, if you think Texas A&M will win over Missouri State write TAMU…

View original post 237 more words

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 – Here’s What I’m Thinking

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 – Here’s What I’m Thinking

How about this idea? The United States Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos DeVoucher wants “school choice.” This is when affluent parental units are able to remove their children from low performing schools. The Lt. Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, wants students to go to the bathroom based on the gender listed on their birth certificate. This is to avoid sexual predators. FYI – Dan, it’s not like sexual predators don’t go into other bathrooms, janitors’ closets, alleyways, parks or even in their homes.

So here’s what I’m thinking – Why not have all the charter and voucher schools implement DP’s bathroom bill and then leave the rest of the public places alone?

Everyone just wants to be free to pee.

Thursday, March 2, 2017 – March 2, 1836 – Texas Independence Day!

Thursday, March 2, 2017 – March 2, 1836 – Texas Independence Day!

While the fighters were defending The Alamo, the suits and politicians were signing a Declaration of Independence stating the Mexican state of Texas would henceforth be free and independent.

Five days later, on March 6, Santa Anna’s armies would breach the walls of The Alamo and order “no quarters” which meant “kill them all.” A few days march later, there was The Goliad Massacre. History books state Colonel Fannin split his troops into two sections (not good military strategy). Neither did he tell his troops there was to be “no quarters.” These decisions vilified Fannin and his widow and two daughters for decades.

Meanwhile, General Sam Houston and the entire town of Gonzales were hauling their newly independent asses toward the Gulf Coast with Santa Anna in hot pursuit. Had General Santa Anna not stopped along the way, he might have overtaken them. That would be “no muy bueno. Es muy mal.”

The ending battle for Texas Independence was April 21, 1936 at San Jacinto. The Battle of San Jacinto is considered a world changing battle. Texas was free and independent. I know, RP, it should have stayed that way.

Today is a day when we celebrate all of Texas and its heroes of The Revolution. William B. Travis, Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, Sam Houston, DeWitt, Rush, Rusk, and all of the others Texas heroes of the day.

But here is my Texas hero. J.V. McClanahan from Luling, Texas. JV waving from bus (800x530)

Five years ago, I had the privilege and honor to escort Mr. J. V. on Austin’s first Honor Flight carrying World War II Vets to see their monument in Washington D. C.ww-ii-2

untitledOn March 2, 1945, Mr. McClanahan was taken POW by the Germans during The Battle of the Bulge. He remained a POW until VE Day in May of 1945. Upon his release he sailed home on The Queen Mary.

Thank you to all The Texians. Thank you, J.V. and to all those who protect our freedom on a daily basis. Here’s a big 10 gallon Texas HAT’S OFF TO YOU!

Texas Flag @ Sunset (800x600)