Tuesday, September 30, 2008

October dining challenge

The economy is hitting us. We won't lose our house or have to sell the baby, but we're noticing the pinch.

When I took a look at our expenditures in recent months, I noticed one place that it can definitely be trimmed:

Dining out.

Swankette is a marvelous cook...and she enjoys doing it. In her current knocked-up state, she sometimes doesn't feel like it, in which case we reheat something from the freezer...or we just go out.

Sometimes Swankette has knitting night. And when she does, that means I'm on my own for dinner. Which means...well, I just go out.

Sometimes I forget to take my lunch to work. So by the time school's out, and debate practice ends, it's late, and I'm hungry, and Swankette might not want to cook until a little later...so I just eat out.

It adds up pretty quickly.

So I've decided to go cold turkey for the month of October.

This month, the SwankPoet household will do all we can to make our Dining Out budget a total of ZERO.

In order to accomplish this:

--I will NOT forget my lunch. Ever. The only sure-fire technique I've found for remembering lunch is to put my wallet in the refrigerator in the morning. That way, I'm certain to remember to make it!

--But just in case, I will purchase a big batch of almonds, cheese/cracker packages, and granola bars which I will stash inside my desk drawer at work. Those will be my emergency backup lunches.

--On days when I stay very late at school (like student-led conferences, which will be this month), I will plan ahead with TWO sandwiches, or maybe keep extra carrots and hummus for dinner.

--When traveling, I will pack picnic stuff in a cooler. This weekend will be a little difficult, since I'll be attending a 1PM funeral on Friday. I may be required to make a travel exception...but if we pack the cooler, I can have crackers and sausage and fruit to tide me over until we get to my parents' vacant house (almost said "my vacant parents' house," which would have been cruel, inaccurate, and funny all at once). There, we can eat at "home."

--Strangely, I will be eating out the first two nights of the no eating-out month. The area's debate coaches have long-since had our fall meeting planned at the Eagles' club tonight. I shall declare that this, as a work meeting, is a work expense rather than an eating out expense. Then, we're going out with my in-laws the following night. Can't break that plan. Perhaps I can make the month last from 10/2 to 11/2?

--I'll let you know the difficulties of this as they develop.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Two deaths

A popular math teacher at my school died last week.

He told his classes that day that he wasn't feeling good, so if they needed help with the assignment, they should come to him. Then he had a massive heart attack in front of his third period class. Students responded heroically, calling 911, getting other teachers and administrators in, tending to him. There happened to be an ambulance nearby, so response time was three minutes. Principals got on the PA and put us in modified lockdown (nobody leaves to the bathroom, but keep teaching), and held kids two minutes late at the end of class to keep halls and parking lot clear. And in spite of all of that, my colleague died. 49 years old.

I barely knew him, but students were devastated, especially the football team (he was an assistant coach). We helped each other out for a few days. Since I didn't know the man, I was mostly keeping an eye on students. Those who knew him were sad. Those in his third period were traumatized.

Thanks, man for your work. Your tribute is in the genuine grief I saw in kid after kid.

Shockingly, today the tables turned.

When I checked my email at lunch, I was shocked to learn that a former assistant principal of mine at the old place had died.

44 years old. Had an aneurysm while jogging.

I found a principal, told her the situation, and said I needed a half an hour off. She got coverage. I went to my car (privacy is hard to come by in a high school), called my wife, and cried.

Jay was a tremendous guy. We arrived at my former school together--he as band director, me as student teacher. He went on and got his administrative credential while I stayed in the classroom. He was the disciplinarian--the dude who doled out suspensions--but somehow the kids adored him. I don't know how he pulled that off. I sure couldn't.

The man put kids first under all circumstances. If you were a teacher who did anything to embarrass a kid, Jay would absolutely lay into you. I've seen him absolutely go off on teachers, but only if they've gone after a kid. I've seen him go to bat for kids who needed it. I've seen him cry after a troubled kid almost nobody knew passed from a drug overdose three years back. And I've seen him joke around with kids, faculty, and anybody else. As my teaching mentor told me, the kids are sacred and the classroom is sacred, but everything else you can make fun of. Jay got that.

Healthy as a horse, running a junior high now, adored by kids and his staff. He leaves behind his partner of 18 years. He's the second person who attended my wedding to pass away. The world, and the educational world, is a less just place today.

44 years old. I'm 38.

We'll all miss you, Jay. Kids are worse off without you, but I'll do what I can to remedy your loss.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Can't get this thought out of my head

If McCain doesn't show in Mississippi tonight (and I think he will), CNN is reporting that Obama will ask Jim Lehrer to make it into a town-hall meeting with questions. Whether Lehrer does that or not, this will turn into a 90-minute infomercial (which is why I can't believe McCain won't show).

There might be 1000 reasons this won't work, but I still can't get it out of my head...

Why not invite Libertarian Bob Barr? Say "The American People want an exchange on the issues, and since Senator McCain won't give them that, I thought I'd invite a candidate who would give the people what they want." Then shift the topic to the economy--thus giving both candidates the same amount of time to prepare, eliminating Barr's disadvantage.

That would, I think, be better for both Obama and the country than the infomercial would. (Plus, it'd help Barr pick off some votes from McCain. Not that this factors into my plan at all.)

So do it, Obama. Offer to pick him up in your plane if you have to.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

100 years ago today.

Fred Merkle. A century, and the poor guy still will be known for this.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dreeeeaaam, dream dream dre-eeem, dreeeeeeeeeam...

On my first try at the President Forever game, 2004 edition, I guided Kerry/Edwards to a tough win over Bush/Cheney. 50.1/49.9 popular vote, 310 electoral votes. Got all the states he got in the real world, plus Colorado, Ohio, Michigan, and Florida.

(This after finally breaking through with Obama on my third attempt, in a sweet reversal of 2000--I lost the popular vote but got the White House.)

May I recommend this game? It's taken up the entire 24 hours of my flu, and then some. And I can revise history and imagine what would have happened if only I were in charge.

Next stop, 2000. Al, we'll make it right this time.

Then, 1980.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Classroom management challenge

This happened last spring. I meant to blog about it then. But I didn't. So I will now.

I'm wandering around the room, educating the youth of America in some fashion, when suddenly, and seemingly without cause, most of the students startle themselves upright. "Geez! Knock it off!" one says. I look around, baffled. I resume teaching.

A few moments later, the same thing.

This time, more kids are angry. "Will you STOP?"

I'm totally baffled. "What's going on?"

"Can't you hear that?"


"Someone's whistling! A really annoying whistle!"

"Wow. I can't hear it. He must be doing it in a range that you guys, with your young ears, can hear, but I can't."


"Yeah. It's a sound at a really high frequency that doesn't register with my ears, but it does with yours. Anyway, whoever you are, you're clearly annoying people. Stop doing it."

That worked for about five minutes. Then, again, everybody in the room shivered to an upright position, some grabbing at their heads and ears.

I took control.

"ALL RIGHT! I want everybody in the room to point in the direction of the whistle--right now!"

Everybody pointed towards the back of the room, a couple of seats towards stage left.

"OK, Ed. Let's go outside."

Ed looked surprised, but started to go with me.

Thankfully, and to his credit, Floyd, who was sitting next to Ed, said "Mr. RefPoet, it wasn't Ed. It was me." And he joined me outside, saving Ed from a stern reprimand.

I briefly told Floyd he needed to stop doing that. But I was really interested in this whistling talent. After clearly stating he would not do this ever again in class, I said:

"So you really can do that?"


"Do it."

He put his front teeth against his bottom lip. All I could hear was a little air passing through.

"You're whistling?"


"Hold on a second."

I opened the door, and called for Josephine. She was the one who was reacting the worst to Floyd's whistling.

"Jo, you're not in trouble, but could you come out here with us?"

She did. Unwillingly, but she did.

"I want to see this. OK, now, Floyd, do it again."

He did. And while I stood there doing nothing, Jo ducked away and said "That's awful! Ugggh! I hate that noise!"

These are the kinds of situations that ed school did not prepare me for. But I think I passed the test, and threw in a little science lesson to boot.

I'm terribly sorry.

Under my breathtakingly sorry mismanagement, the Obama campaign lost to McCain/Palin 58.1% to 41.9%. We did manage to capture California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Delaware, and DC, but that's all.

I think, looking back, I made a few key errors:

1. I never let my candidates rest. As a result, Joe Biden collapsed on the campaign trail 5 times in October. Obama twice. And they BOTH collapsed from exhaustion the day before the election. (By then, it was all pretty well decided.)

2. Because I wanted to imitate Obama, I did not take federal election funds and decided to fundraise myself. But I didn't have any skills at doing so, so my reports would frequently say "We could not run our ads yesterday due to a lack of funds."

3. Biden didn't prepare for his VP debate enough. He actually lost to Palin.

4. In spite of my abysmal failure, I enjoyed the game so much that I plan on playing it again this evening. This time, I take the feds' funds. I'm not going to trust myself to raise money.

And this time, both candidates take two days of rest a week no matter what.

Dude, this game is addictive.

I don't like it when the newspaper report says "Obama unable to answer question on Jay Leno show." Sorry, guys. McCain may be president of my virtual U.S. soon.

101.1 Farenheit Degrees

That was last night. I felt AWFUL. I feel significantly better today, but I'm hanging out in the Sick Room.

And I'm bored. There's a limit to the number of Tivoed Lettermans a guy can get through.

So I'm going to try to win the election for Barack Obama.

I'm not a video game guy, but I've just bought a copy of President Forever.

I played the free version to try it out for a while. They wouldn't let me be my boyfriend Barack--they made me be Hillary trying to beat Giuliani. And I didn't get off to a good start...even Washington was in danger in mid-September. But I started figuring things out...had Bill barnstorming nationwide for me, getting lots of energy from the hot young love he was no doubt getting away from Hillary. And I just started figuring out how to use foot soldiers in the individual states. Giuliani still held the lead, but a good ad attacking him on Iraq was making a difference in some battleground states, and I was preparing for the first debate...

when the game said "To finish this election and beat Rudy Giuliani, you have to buy the game."

Sold! I've got a long day ahead, and the game kicks butt. Worth $20 from my fun budget.

So now, I get to start over. With Obama. Against McCain. I won't go negative. I plan on winning. I'll let you know.

(Really advanced players like to get the 1984 version and try to make Mondale unseat Reagan. Few succeed.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A sentence that's cool to say

As of tonight, I have an agent.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Is it a boy or a girl?

Sweetie has the answer...and it's a little snarky.

(But then, so are we...and while I appreciate that everyone means well, we're tiring of the question.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tina Fey=sexist? Come ON!

Tina Fey may make a difference in this election, and the McCain campaign has helped to make that happen.

I don't know if you saw Fey portraying Sarah Palin on the most recent Saturday Night Live, but she hit it out of the park. It was a fantastic send-up...

which McCain aide Carly Fiorina has denounced as sexist today.

Fiorina explained what makes Fey's impression sexist:

"The portrait was very dismissive of the substance of Sarah Palin, and so in that sense, they were defining Hillary Clinton as very substantive, and Sarah Palin as totally superficial," Fiorina told MSNBC earlier Monday. "I think that continues the line of argument that is disrespectful in the extreme, and yes, I would say, sexist in the sense that just because Sarah Palin has different views than Hillary Clinton does not mean that she lacks substance."


Fey's impression of Palin is sexist in the same way that Chevy Chase's Gerald Ford was sexist. Or Dana Carvey's George H.W. Bush. Or Darrell Hammond's Bill Clinton. Or Frank Caliendo's George W. Bush. Hell, it's sexist in the same way Caliendo's spot-on John Madden is.

These impressions...and ALL others, I believe...make the targets "look like they lack substance." That's what caricatures do. It's the nature of all satire. Show the foibles of the world--including the most powerful people in it--by exaggerating them. Fey does this perfectly.

What's especially bizarre about Fiorina's definition of "sexism" is that she does not believe that either Amy Poehler's impression or the SNL staff's writing of Hillary Clinton was sexist. Poehler and the writers give it to Clinton every bit as bad as they gave it to Palin.

But Fiorina tells us that saying Palin lacks substance is a sexist attack.

I cannot think of a definition of sexism that includes this. As I see it, the sexism test is this question: "Would the attacker say/do this if the target was the other gender?"

The answer: absolutely. Remember Dan Quayle? Ross Perot? They were made to look ridiculous. That's what we do to our leaders and potential leaders.

It is, however, GREAT news that Fiorina attacked the Fey portrayal as sexist. This means that a good chunk of people (and count me among them) will be checking in this week to see what Fey does next. As a result, more people--including many undecided voters--will get to see this portrayal of Palin as vapid and vacant. Whether or not it's accurate, it's damn funny, and it will stick.

Some think Chevy Chase's impression of Gerald Ford helped swing the 1976 election to Carter. I'm not certain that there will be the same impact this year, since I believe people vote for the top of the ticket. But Fiorina may have driven viewers to SNL, and Fey is absolutely up to the challenge.

Thanks, Carly Fiorina. Your choice to pursue this ridiculous argument really, really helped your opponent.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A scientific poll.

I met Bean today for the first time, the latest guy I've met via blogging.

And an interesting question came up.

I'll skip a few lines after the question so you can answer unimpeded by what brought this up.

Who is the first person you think when given the following name?


When the Kansas City Chiefs (the NFL team I would 32nd-most enjoy being a fan of right now) were reduced to playing Taylor Thigpen for most of today's game (surely you remember his work at Coastal Carolina?) Bean remarked how he remembered him setting a save record for the 1990 White Sox. It was the first Bobby Thigpen joke I've ever heard.

But, as big a baseball fan as I am, my default Thigpen is not Bobby. It's Yancey Thigpen. Mostly because my buddy Susan did a hilarious impression of a guy named Thigpen with a lisp hosting a show called "Thigpen's Pigskins."

Out of curiosity, we have asked two other people for their default Thigpens. Both of them...his buddy, my wife...selected not a Thigpen, but Pigpen. (My wife said "Somebody with a lisp saying Pigpen." Of course, no speech impediment that I know of changes a "p" sound to a "th" sound.)

I thought I'd go to Google to see the top Thigpen. Surprisingly, the top Google result for "Thigpen" is the Wikipedia entry for actress Lynne Thigpen, While I remember her, I had forgotten her name.

So tell me...who is your default Thigpen?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Portland NFL Fans!

Chiefs at Raiders? Really?

This is a game with no factual interest, no fantasy interest, and no interest to anyone, perhaps including the immediate families of the players.

Since that's our only choice for the early game tomorrow, if anyone reading this is going to be at any sports bar for tomorrow's early game, post it here. I may join you.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Palin interview

I just watched chunks of it on-line.

This is scary-ass shit.

I'm obviously really offended as both a human and a Christian when Palin states that the Iraq war is "a task that is from God." (Palin apparently skipped the parts of the Bible that refute her...a.k.a. the parts where Jesus spoke.)

But what's worse is that she looked us all in the eyes (Charlie Gibson is our proxy here) and said this:

"The reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln's words when he said...first he suggested, 'Never presume to know what God's will is.' And I never would presume to know God's will or speak God's words."

Governor! Comparing the morality of a war to free an enslaved people/preserve the Union and a pre-emptive war with ever-shifting rationale is problematic to say the least. So, as I see it, you sure as heaven don't get to use any whiff of Abraham Lincoln to justify Iraq.

But worse...WAY worse...she says that these are Lincoln's words that she was "repeating":

"Let us not pray that God is on our side. Let us pray that we are on God's side."

That's not what you said, Governor. You said "ours is a task that is from God." You were not praying that you were doing the right thing. You were telling people, in a smug, certain, Bushesque manner, that we were doing God's work. Look at your statement and Lincoln's side-by-side, Governor. They are actually opposites. You are guilty of exactly the sin that Lincoln warned us against.

And when you look the nation in the eye and lie about it, you are guilty of another sin, which, as I see it, is even worse.

I can't get past this, Governor. Five seconds after I saw you say one thing, you looked me in the eye and told me you actually said the OPPOSITE thing.

I don't need an Orwellian Vice President. Your relationship to the truth in this matter is, indeed, Orwellian. "We are at war with Eastasia...we have always been at war with Eastasia."

Did you honestly think nobody would notice that?

It might be time for me to check the savings account and see if I can spare a few more bucks for Obama.

The sky is not falling

OK, so McCain has taken the lead in a few polls in the last day or two.

It's just the edge of his post-convention bounce, which was intensified by the interest over Sarah Palin.

Two things will soon happen:

1. Palin's star will fade.
2. Debates.

The first Obama/McCain debate is September 26.

Give it a week after that. If McCain is ahead on October 3, there's trouble.

I predict he will not be. We're just riding a post-convention bounce. It will end. By November, everyone will be bored with Palin and sick of mudslinging, which Obama's been better about avoiding. They'll vote with their pocketbooks. They'll vote Obama for the same reason they voted Clinton in '92.

(I am a little scared of the Bradley effect, however.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Back at it

On one hand, my year has started well. Juniors are thinking and having decent discussions. On the other hand, with just a handful of assignments done, almost all done in class, I'm failing 30 out of 98 of them.

I'm hoping they've just stumbled out of the gate and that they'll right the ship soon better than sophomores do.

There's a lot to celebrate. The AP kids and debaters are awesome. The team is growing, and feels enthusiastic. I am making a difference.

I won't try to get too down this early. But if these numbers don't change within a few years, I may have to consider a new location. I can't last 24 more years of this kind of daily heartbreak, and unlike some of my colleagues, I'm unwilling to start treating apathetic kids as expendable just to make my life easier.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A pair of teaching conundra

I always have my kids write an in-class on the second day of school. I like to see what kind of hand I've been dealt. This year, I had them bring in an article from any section of the newspaper and write an opinion paper based on some issue from that article.

Conundrum #1: I'm not sure how to handle the kid who has loads of garbage fictional hateful rumors about a political candidate as "backing." It's obviously important enough to him that he's memorized the email/hateful website it contains. Did you know Barack Obama gave a speech about Afghanistan with unfiltered questions, and all he did was mumble in response, and then had the program removed from the radio? Did you know he tried to meet with Al Qaeda while in Afghanistan?

The kid did a lot of things well, touting Palin's experience as governor and condemning those who say her being VP is bad for her family. I don't agree with those, but at least they're based on fact. I didn't deduct points for his BS fictions (after all, this was an in-class diagnostic write, not a research paper), but I did call him on it and said he's way better off when he writes things that are true. But when he says "But my family showed me the email that said these things!", well, that'll be a tough row to hoe, especially considering that I don't want to reveal my politics.

I think I'll talk about the crazy lefty conspiracy theories, get him riled up about that, and then say that the same thing happens on the other side sometimes. He needs to be sure of these things factually, and support his party on the basis of facts, not fictions. But he may already be lost to the dark side of believing bullshit emails and websites (although I can't find a website that supports what he claimed).

Conundrum #2: I've got a smart girl in AP who I'm confident will write good essays on the exam (although she, like the rest of that class, has a way to go). Is it appropriate to tell her that it's time to stop dotting her i's with little hearts? Like it or lump it, I do think that it won't help the impression she makes on the AP graders. Do I leave this one alone?

Hmmm. My political self-censorship ends tomorrow night. But even though I'm putting the politics tag on this one, I don't feel I've violated it. This is about work, not politics.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

TRP's Fearless 2008 NFL Predictions

I have not yet watched any of tonight's game, so I'm clean.

Please note: this is based on almost no research. I've skimmed SI and ESPN the Magazine. That's all.

New England 12-4
Buffalo 8-8
NY Jets 8-8
Miami 4-12

Pittsburgh 10-6
Cleveland 10-6
Cincinnati 7-9
Baltimore 6-10

Indianapolis 12-4
Jacksonville 10-6
Houston 9-7
Tennessee 5-11

San Diego 13-3
Kansas City 6-10
Denver 5-11
Oakland 4-12

Dallas 12-4
New York Giants 9-7
Philadelphia 9-7
Washington 6-10

Green Bay 10-6
Minnesota 8-8
Detroit 6-10
Chicago 5-11

Tampa Bay 11-5
New Orleans 11-5
Carolina 8-8
Atlanta 3-13

Seattle 10-6
Arizona 9-7
St. Louis 6-10
San Francisco 4-12

New England over Cleveland, Jacksonville upsets Pittsburgh
Green Bay over Arizona, New Orleans over Seattle

San Diego over Jacksonville, Indianapolis over New England
Dallas over New Orleans, Tampa Bay over Green Bay

San Diego over Indianapolis
Dallas over Tampa Bay

SB XLIII: San Diego over Dallas

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

First day of school

went very nicely today. The two small classes feel great...they're full of kids who want to be there. My two big junior classes felt right. They were laughing at my jokes and hanging on my next word (because they weren't quite sure what it would be).

That fifth class, a smaller junior class, may be a challenge. But I think I'll get it licked. You see, I don't have a seating chart on day one. They sit wherever they want, and on the note cards they turn in, I ask if they have a seating preference and try to honor it (as far as where they are in the room...NOT who they sit near). There was a gang of five athletes who seemed to follow the rule of "it's okay to talk while TRP talks as long as it's at a lower volume than TRP talks." Not so much, fellas! I made sure to put their cards on the bottom of the pile so that none of them are seated anywhere NEAR each other.

First lunch starts at 10:20 AM. What the hell's up with that?

Anyhow, I'm feeling SO much better about this year already. Looking forward to getting a lot of teaching done.

And that's it.

I've become way too political of late. This stretch of posts solidifies it.

There will be NO POSTS OF A POLITICAL NATURE for the next week. Period. No matter what happens, no matter what McCain says tomorrow...PERIOD.

All this politics is making me irritable...more so than usual. I need a break. So I'm taking one. No Palin, no McCain, no Obama until next Wednesday night.

And the worst line of the night...

Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown.

And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves.

I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities.

Obama's decision to go to the trenches and work with the poor is my favorite thing about him. Palin's decision to say this solidifies the idea the Republicans could care less about the poor. (Were the poor or struggling families mentioned at all tonight?)

5.7% of families in Wasilla live below the poverty line, according to Wikipedia.

Yeah, that sounds about like Chicago's South Side. (I wonder what that number is in the neighborhoods Barack Obama worked in. 90%? More?)

Palin, McCain, and their party don't get it. This speech solidified it. Obama's choice to be a community organizer shows his values are immensely Christian. Have you noticed, Gov. Palin, how often Jesus discusses the poor? Those who value those teachings go to where the poor are and work with them. You know, in the community. Organizing it.


Why is it that, when the Democrats chanted "USA" during Obama's speech, I found it stirring? It felt like they were saying "Wow! I love what this country can be, even though we sometimes fall short."

When Republicans chant "USA," it sounds like "Fuck the rest of the world! We're number ONE! And we love America more than the other party!"

Maybe I'm just reading into it...but I'm not the only person who notices.

How did “USA” become a term of defiance and division? It sounds ugly, like they’re saying: “We’re real Americans – and you’re not.”

The profane things I shouted at the television screen

There's really no point in me rebutting. All Giuliani and Palin had were ad hominem attacks and one-line zingers. The only Obama one-liner I remember is the one about how McCain said he'd follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell, but won't even follow him to his cave in Afghanistan. That's a policy-related zinger, not the "he's elitist, he's arrogant" crap they kept throwing out there tonight.

Plus, this is her sixth day in the limelight and I've already got Palin fatigue similar to my Clinton fatigue...and it took them nearly 16 years to make me sick of them.

So much to say...too much. I'm tempted to sort out what I think has and has not been sexist about attacks on Palin. (In short: saying she needs to be a mom instead of running=sexist. People focusing on her looks, like both Joe Biden and Republicans wearing buttons saying she's "hot" did=sexist. Saying she's not experienced enough=not sexist. Did you see Stephen Colbert's line the other night? "And I will tell you, nation, I am sick and tired of people saying Sarah Palin is inexperienced. It is sexism, pure and simple. Her enemies wouldn't be saying this if she was a man like Frank Matheny. Oh, you don't know Frank? He's the mayor of Boot Hill, Montana; population: 7,500. In about 20 months, he's going to make a great vice president.")

Crap. I got carried away. Just because the comment's in parentheses doesn't mean it's not written...

But I'm honestly not worried. She didn't show enough tonight to convince fence-sitters that she should be a heartbeat away.

Once more into the breach...

Speech and Debate and AP Composition...small (20 and 18). The ability to give that kind of individual attention in tough classes with driven learners=Shangri-La.

Junior Lit...one section about average (28), and two that are large (32, and 33). I don't think there will be any management issues, since there are a few kids in each that I had last year as sophomores. Even a few kids who know the teacher doesn't suffer fools makes a big difference overall. But that doesn't mean that teaching in there will be easy.

The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away.

I must be amped up for today. I woke up at 3:45 and couldn't get back to sleep.

When this school year ends, I'll be a daddy. Wow.

Monday, September 01, 2008

How hot was the Palin thing this weekend?

Well, here's one measure.

Typically, my blog gets 30-50 hits in a day. Traffic spikes to nearly 70 if I write about Iceland team handball or if Sue Bird or Diana Taurasi are on TV and people start wondering if they're married, single, or gay.

My previous record for number of hits in a day was 251, both of them times when Jack Bog (who has, you know, readers and stuff) linked to me.

Sunday, on the strength of the Palin post, I broke the record...got to 257. Mostly from Google, but a significant number from Snethen.

Broke the record on a freakin' Sunday.

Monday--Labor Day...I have totally shattered the record. 327 hits with nearly an hour to go.

Obliterated my record on a freakin' holiday.

Apparently, people really wanted to check this sucker out. Never underestimate the drive of a conspiracy theorist with an internet connection.

TRP-1. Conspiracy theorists-0.

This ten-minute-old article from the Telegraph in the UK reveals that Bristol Palin is 5 months pregnant NOW.

So she can't be Trig's mother, since she was already pregnant in April.

(Unless, of course, you want to add another layer to the conspiracy.)

So, unless you believe the stork delivered Trig Palin, that baby had to come from Sarah.

Now, as far as what's next...

Let's show a little compassion for Bristol, her husband-to-be, and her baby. The extreme right is going to attack her as a whore (and her mother for raising one). The left is going to revel in schadenfreude of a different kind, making Bristol a symbol of the hypocrisy of the fundamentalist right.

It's hard enough being a teenage mother without the entire country actively using you as a symbol for different bad things.

People are not symbols. They exist for their own reasons, not to help us make political points. And while I'm not a fan of the fundamentalist right or abstinence-only education, I'm not going to make my points while trodding upon a pregnant girl.

I hope we have the restraint to leave the kid alone. But I bet we don't.