Thursday, June 28, 2007

Because they're reeeeeeealy bored

Q: Why would anyone buy tickets to a sports draft?

M's/Red Sox

I had the pleasure of seeing the Mariners beat the Red Sox in the first and last games of the recent three-game sweep. I had given up the M's for dead, and they're going all Lazarus on me. I'm not quite on the bandwagon yet...if we take five of the next six (three against Toronto, three in Kansas City), well, we'll talk. Or maybe at the All-Star break. I seriously believe it'll come apart in August...too many 5- and 6-inning starts for the starters mean that our amazing bullpen will collapse around then. I hope I'm wrong.

Anyway, the best part of these games was shutting up the damn smug Red Sox fans who showed up in droves to Safeco Field. There's something about Red Sox fans that's smug beyond all reality. Case in point--this quote from here reported in Lookout Landing:

”Seriously, the Red Sox are like, the universal language of the people," says Sarah, who came to Monday's game from Spokane with her friends Christina and Jodi - all transplants from Connecticut. "You want to root for them - especially here in Seattle, because the Mariners suck."

As a "universal language of the people," you have as much appeal as Esperanto, Sarah.

So sweeping them was sweet. But least they're not Yankee fans.

The funniest moment was in the john. We're all there taking a leak between innings when a Red Sox fan, standing at his urinal, says this:

"Man, all of these Mariner fans are trying to look at my penis!"

Let's set aside the homophobia for a second, and consider word choice.

Penis? What, did the guy just leave Biology class? He failed even at the simple task of being a drunken homophobic shithead.

Nobody responded. Whatever. Drunken lame-ass visiting fan.

But then, seconds later, the guy went to wash his hands, and he couldn't figure out how to get the towels out of the dispenser.

He asked:

"Man, how do you get the towels out of this thing?"

There was a pause, and a response:

"I guess only a Mariner fan is smart enough to figure it out."

Laughter in the men's room.

Rachel Nichols

Does ESPN's Rachel Nichols staple her gorgeous hair to the front of her left collarbone before she appears on camera? Or does she use rubber cement? I mean, she's hot and all, but her hair is always precisely just so.

Helluva day.

I'm a-sittin' at the station
Waitin' for my change to come.
I'm sittin' at the station
Waitin' for my change to come.
If my change don't hurry up and get here,
I'm gonna have to go and get me some. (Change, that is!)

How long? How much more long? How long?

--Sweet Honey in the Rock

I've been rejected by two schools lately. The guy who looked me in the eye a year ago and said "I want you at my school" called me to say that gee, he has a lot of experienced teachers, and he'd much rather have a brand-new teacher than me. Whatever...good riddance to bad tease. I was first runner-up at a really good school more recently, and that one really hurt because I felt like I'd be a great fit there, and the panel seemed to be grooving on me. Then, another interview last Friday...he said he'd let me know early this week...and after three and a half days of a nervous wait, I got the "we've chosen someone else" voicemail. At the behest of my boss, I called to ask what impression they got of me, and the principal who turned me down praised me. "You were great. I wouldn't change a thing. You made the choice very difficult...that's why we took so long." I think that translates to mean that they had someone in mind for the position...a student teacher or some such.

So, I was a bridesmaid again. Damn. Still no job and a move staring us in the face. I spent a little time spewing forth profanities, and then hit the internet to expand the job search. I looked as far north as Kelso and as far east as Stevenson. Nada. I even started a preliminary look at Oregon schools. Then the phone rang.

It was the first school at which I was a bridesmaid.

My first choice.

There's another position open, and the principal asked if I'd taken another job yet. I hadn't. He said he had to post the position. I said "Let me see if I understand this correctly. Will you do interviews again?" He said he didn't have to.

Now, I've been burned quite often in this process already, so I won't be comfortable until I've signed a contract. In fact, there's no guarantee even then, since this will be a one year leave-replacement position. But that doesn't worry me as much; if I show up and am good for a year, they'll find a way to keep me.

The principal said he appreciated my loyalty. That's weird, because I wasn't loyal by choice! It'd be like a girlfriend appreciating my loyalty when I was out every weekend trying to sleep around...and failing. But hey...I'll take it. Barring another profanity-inducing turn of events, this may have a happy ending within a couple of weeks.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The perfect gift got better

A friend of mine had her first baby yesterday. Wife and I gave one of my favorite baby gifts: I go to the bookstore and buy a copy of several newspapers and just about every magazine on the rack. It's a time capsule! The mom and dad liked the gift, and liked it even more when they saw this on the front cover of the New York Times.

I guess the baby should be reading that article within the next month or so.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Yup, I know it's been a week.

But it's been FINALS week. So hey, cut me some slack.

My wife has been smart and funny and interesting on her blog lately. Read her.

And wish me luck. I have another job interview on Friday.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Out with the old, in with the Paula

For the first time in a long time, I've made some changes to the blogroll. Nothing huge...I've just tossed out some that haven't posted anything in a long while (with hopes they'll find time and energy to restart), and added one.

I recently came upon the blog of my high school debate coach, Paula Reed. She's a great coach and teacher, but that shouldn't be why you read her. She also writes a great blog. It runs the gamut--family, teaching, romance writing, the news, whatever else.

Check her out. And howdy, Paula.

Elijah Dukes

When Elijah Dukes went after a friend of mine with a bat last year, I thought it was an accident.

I had no idea that the guy was actually flat-out dangerous and no-doubt crazy.

Barely six weeks after threatening to kill his estranged wife, Dukes, a massively talented Devil Rays' outfielder, it has been revealed, has knocked up the then-17-year-old foster daughter of his step-grandmother.

Let's go through the play-by-play of Dukes' last four years, as best as I can piece it together:

Dukes fathers a child with NiShea Gilbert in 2003. It is his first child. He's 19.

His second child is born about a week later--to another woman, obviously.

Gilbert sues Dukes in 2005 for child support for their first child, and he is ordered to pay $222 per month.

In October 2005, Dukes is hit with a restraining order by the mother of his second child, and ordered to take an anger management course. Perhaps Dukes slept through the course.

He has three more children--one each in 2004, 2005, and 2006--with three different women, including his second with Gilbert. They marry in February 2006...five months before Dukes' fifth child is born to a fourth mother.

Dukes and Gilbert separate sometime in late 2006 or early 2007.

A few months later, Dukes has consensual sex with his 17-year-old foster sister/aunt/cousin (select the proper term for the foster daughter of your step-grandmother). That's sometime in February, based on the now-18-year-old-girl's November due date. Dukes broke no laws: in Florida, it's legal for 16- and 17-year-olds to have consensual sex with anyone under 23.

Two months after that, in April, Dukes shows up in the junior high classroom where Gilbert teaches and threatens her. He is escorted from the building by security, and later text messages her a picture of a gun. He leaves her terrifying, profane and threatening voicemails as well.

And now, this month, when the 18-year-old tells him that she's pregnant with his child, he responds by throwing a bottle of Gatorade at her.

That's six children by five mothers, at least three of whom he has committed or threatened violence against. Dukes turns 23 on Tuesday.

(Incidentally, this chronology only focuses on his issues with women. I'm leaving out many, many other incidents involving drugs, suspensions from baseball for on-field incidents, and other things that would be embarrassing to people with a sense of shame.)

Question: Dukes has a right to a job until he's locked up (which I simply think is inevitable). What's the best way to deal with him, or any dangerous guy who's due to blow up at any time? We're not talking about a guy from a rough background having difficulty adjusting to a new lifestyle. We're talking about a man who doesn't understand that his behavior harms others, or else doesn't believe that other people exist.

For what it's worth though, all 6 of his kids were conceived in the off-season. Is it possible that baseball could actually increase his chances of settling and becoming a member of society? Or will it make it worse? (After all, he told his wife that since he plays baseball, "no one can f--- with me.")

This isn't written clearly, but I guess I want to know what we do with a coiled-spring possible psychopath, famous or otherwise, who hasn't yet done anything to get himself locked up. Any ideas?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

It's like kissing your sister

"Mr. RefPoet, we were very impressed with your interview and with one other person. It came down to fit, and we decided to hire the other person. But we really think another job will come free this week, and we've set it up with Personnel that you don't have to drive down here again. I'm 99% sure it'll be this week. I'll be in touch when it happens."

"Thanks, Mr. PotentialBossPerson. You'll understand if I keep looking in the meantime?"

"Of course. Do what you have to do."

"But let me know. I really think I'd be happy at your school."

"I think you would too."

How dare they believe someone is better than me! Oh well--my rather inflated ego can take it.

It still looks like it'll be okay...just delayed, and I really wanted this over with.

It's still early. One entire big district hasn't even posted a single job yet, and I have my hat in the ring for several other jobs. But, to paraphrase Yogi Berra, it feels late early now.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Life change is afoot, and anon

Had a job interview on Thursday, at my second-choice school. It might well be my first-choice school now.

I've been so excited about the prospect of opening up a new building (my first-choice school) since the get-go. I've been working that angle hard from the beginning. The prospect of walking into a place and helping to create a culture from the ground up has been exciting.

But I've talked to the grade chair of the already-existing school. Philosophically, I'm totally on board with what they're doing there. Personality-wise, well, they seemed to laugh at all of my jokes in the interview.

So I was faced with the following question: Would I rather teach at an unknown quantity with an unknown philosophy and have the high of building a new school, or would I rather teach at a school where I would be excited about the direction they're going...and pass on the chance to open up a new building, possibly forever?

Well, I've received a lot of advice, and it's swayed me.

First, my wife. "You sound so excited when you talk about the existing school. That needs to count for something...I don't hear the same excitement when you talk about the new school." My response: silence. That's what I do when someone is right.

Next, a colleague. "You're still young enough that you'll get another crack at a new school, especially the way the population is growing down there." I'll have to check out the district map...I don't know how much room there is left for growth within the boundaries...but I suspect she's right. I'm not throwing away the new-school opportunity forever if I take the existing-school job.

Finally, my mom. "With all the changes you'll be going through in the next couple of years...moving, a new house, starting a might not have the energy needed to really start a new school."

All true. Every damn bit of it true.

My interview with existing-school was Thursday. The principal left me a message at noon on Friday. We didn't connect, but I suspect that the fact that he called me is a very good sign. You don't call back teachers for interviews you think sucked.

So unless he says I have to be yearbook advisor, it looks like I'll take the job. I'll call back new-school guy one more time and see if my perspective changes...but as of now, things are looking bright.

I may have a new job. The new house will follow in short order.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Need a speech in a hurry

I've been asked to speak at the pre-graduation celebration of the school-within-a-school that I'm a part of. 5 minutes.

Not too sure what to say. All the stuff I've always thought I'd say suddenly doesn't feel right. But I'll figure something out.

It'll have something to do with the falisty of us/them divisions.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sheffield opens mouth, says something stupid

According to this ESPN article, Gary Sheffield has told GQ magazine that the reason that there are fewer African-Americans in the major leagues than at virtually any time since integration is because Latin players are "easier to control" than African-Americans.

"I called it years ago. What I called is that you're going to see more black faces, but there ain't no English going to be coming out. … [It's about] being able to tell [Latin players] what to do -- being able to control them," he told the magazine.

"Where I'm from, you can't control us. You might get a guy to do it that way for a while because he wants to benefit, but in the end, he is going to go back to being who he is. And that's a person that you're going to talk to with respect, you're going to talk to like a man.

What hilarious excrement. It takes absolutely zero time to come up with exceptions to Sheffield's rule. Jose Guillen, anyone? Carlos Zambrano? One has been run off of a million teams, and another will be soon. Or, on the African-American side, not all ballplayers are incorrigible idiots like Sheffield. Ken Griffey, anyone? C.C. Sabathia?

I'd like more African-Americans in baseball again, but I do believe that pro sports is the closest thing our society has to a meritocracy. Inner-city blacks just don't play baseball much, so the most talented athletes become pro in basketball and football. There's a smaller pool of African-Americans playing baseball from the get-go. They're not being shut out.

Sheffield has been a moron twice in one week now: first, talking about an umpiring conspiracy, and now this.

I look forward to Sheffield being shouted down.