Friday, July 22, 2005

From Ludicrous to Obscene

Alabama's junior college chancellor, Roy Johnson, barely able to make ends meet, was granted a $43,192.00 last May, which put him in a class with most CEO's of major corporations with a salary (not including benefits) of nearly a quarter million dollars. In October, when the state raises teacher pay by six percent, he will then be pulling more than a quarter million a year at $257,861.00 a year PLUS an expense account of $3,600.00 PLUS a housing allowance of $18,000.00 a year which boosts him nearly to $300,000.00 a year. The State Board of Education should be hanging their heads in shame. The whole lot of them should be fired and run out of town. No wonder a lot of Alabama's school systems can't even afford toilet paper. I would say how can Roy Johnson sleep at night, but I would imagine he sleeps with a smile on his face at the idiocy of the Beauracracy.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Pondering the 'School Supply List'

When I started school in nineteen-forty-seven, my 'School Supply List' was one box of eight basic color crayons, a 'Big Chief' writing tablet, and a sack lunch. Three decades later, when my own children began school, Pla Doh, pencils, and tennis shoes (for gym class) had been added to the 'School Supply List'. Last week my daughter brought home her first child's list and (except for the basic eight box of crayons and Pla Doh) it looked like a list for the Janitor supply room.
Herewith is the 'School Supply List': One package of brown paper bags (sans lunch packed in one)-- 4 antibacterial wet wipes for hands (do they come individually packaged?)-- a box of Mr. Clean magic eraser (a new one on me, what does it erase, Magicans?)-- plain pocket folders (doesn't say how many but, in boldface it does say 'PLEASE DO NOT PUT NAMES ON FOLDERS')-- a bottle of dishwasing liquid-- three Clorox antibacterial wipes (I assume these are also individually packaged)-- two packages of napkins-- three bottles of antibacterial soft soap-- two large boxes of Kleenex-- one box of Crayola washable markers-- two boxes each of quart size and gallon size Ziplock bags-- two reams of copying paper (noted after this 'for Journal writing'...???Are these kindergarteners keeping journels, they must teach writing mighty fast)-- two cans of Lysol spray (noted after this, MAKE SURE THE CAN SAYS IT WILL KILL 99% OF BACTERIA AND GERMS)-- three rolls of paper towels-- one box of 13 gallon tall kitchen garbage bags-- and lastly, two bottles of PineSol.
The only thing missing was toilet paper but a neighbor said her kids list also included a 32-roll package of toilet paper. Both lists are for K-4.
The school also requires uniforms which will damage my daughter's budget considerably...if she has anything left at all after filling the 'School Supply List'.

Well, I ponder, what is going on over at that school? If this list is any example, it looks like they're expecting a major illness epidemic or a biological terrorist attact or somebody has a horrible paranoia about germs...and with twenty-six kids in my grandsons class, they'll have enough PineSol (after mixing fifty two bottles with water, enough to have over a thousand gallons of solution) to wash the whole room down daily during the school year!

This 'List' is just plain ludicrous and demands an explanation, so, after school begins, Grandpa will make a visit to the classroom just to see how all of these unusual (and expensive--note the name brands) are being put to use. I once taught so I do have a practised eye and I do expect a certain amount of being dumbfounded, just as I was when I first read over this insane list...I'll report my findings in a few weeks.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Boom, Crash and Whoosh

When the building boom crash comes as it surely will, this time around it's for the same old reasons: high prices by the developers and construction industry (both of whom are inisightful but always short-sighted folks) and inflation plus the mindset of young married couples who must have a new home (which will quickly turn into a repossession or be put up for sale before the shift (in their spendable income) hits the fan.

What brought this glaringly to my attention was the short hiatus in Nashville I had when I went to Nashville to escape the 'Wrath' of Hurricane Dennis which turned out to be highly over-rated. The subdivisions they're now building in Nashville (which could and should be called a 'strip city') contain homes ranging in the quarter million dollar range and up. I saw no middle-income subdivisions nor low-income single family housing except for a 'project' which will be doomed for falling apart in the nearest of the near future.

So, the cycle continues: Boom, Crash, and now Whoosh as the inflation bubble bursts. The industry (to use an old axiom) needs to wake up and smell the roses (along with the whoopee, let's spend government) before we all wake up and smell nothing but stinkweed.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Review: The Mind of Mencia

As tropical storm 'Cindy' powder-puffed her way inland last night, I shut down my PC as the lightening storms became frequent. I flipped on the boob tube and watched 'The Mind of Mencia' premiere on the Comedy channel.

Mencia himself is a rolled-into-one Mexican version of Lenny Bruce, George Carlin and Jan Stewart and his show is one refreshing half hour of adult comedy, parady and gaffing about--well, anything that pops into his head. No one, politician (including the Prez himself), religionious leaders (or religion) stars (famous or infamous) is safe from his gaffs. In one short half-hour, he managed to skewer most all races and religions (Muslins were 'tagged', as he calls it), politicians (including Dubya), border guards and even his own mother. He was the last of fourteen (or maybe it was sixteen--I was so busy laughing I didn't catch the amount but it was something teen) and he claimed he was drug around by his umbiblical cord before she even realized she'd dropped another kid. In another short segment, he had a highway sign that has been posted along the San Diego Freeway, a yellow caution sign with profiles or a man, woman and child running. He ended the sketch with an actual interview with a highway bigwig who tried to explain the sign as a warning sign to motorists that any family might suddenly dart across the freeway...because, well, it was just a danger they had to watch out far. When Mancia tried to pin him down about what kind of family would do such a stupid thing, the guy balked and Mancia turned to the cameraman and said, 'Shut that off' then asked the bigwig, 'Just between you and me, who does that sign really represent' and the guy said, 'Wetbacks'...and Mencia had a hidden camera that was still recording.
The only way this show could be better would be to expand it to an hour. It is one of the fastest, funniest and sometimes bawdy half hour the tube has to offer.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Pondering Hurricane Season

Cindy, a third tropical storm, is ashore now and breaking down. This morning, on my porch here in SouthCentral Alabama, the wind is just light and a little gusty from the thunderstorms. Actually it's a nice change from the past two weeks of hot days and night.

The weatherman tells us this is the first Hurricane season in history where we've had four 'tropical storms this early in the season. I wish they'd keep some things to themselves because tropical storm 'Dennis' is now brewing south of Cuba and they're projecting it to develope into a hurricane and it's path is going to be close to that of hurricane Ivan's path of last fall. So the bible-thumpers are probably fervently at work on next Sunday's sermons, developing themes around the worn out prognostication that this is another sign of how close the end is; how close it is to when Jesus comes down to gather up the evanglical 'chosen 100,000' folks and cart them up to heaven while the rest of the millions of us 'sinners' wait for whatever catastrophic end God's famous (or infamous) 'plan' calls for. Meanwhile, the tree huggers will be castigating us with 'We told you so's' and statements about how miserably we humans have been treating Mother Earth. Scientists will plod on with their work of divcovering how things really work and, of course the rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer, and the body count in Iraq will continue to rise. The government will continue to hoodwink us while condtinuing to lay waste to the astronomical National budget, slide the usual amount of 'pork barrell' bills through congress and give themselves another 'needed' raise while figuring out ways to put the axe to Social Security, ways that will placate the baby-boomers while not pissing off the growing population of retirees, so the politicians won't lose ground to either in the upcoming elections.

As Walter C. used to say at the end of his newscast: 'and that's the way it is...' and Linda Ellerbee's sign off: 'and so it goes...' and my new sign off, 'Curious as it is...' or maybe 'be good to yourself, you're all you've got to work with...' or 'stay hydrated...' or 'don't grow up, life is but a playground...' or 'don't use a peacekeeper to keep the peace, it might backfire...' or...well, you get the idea.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Bound to Happen

I turned on the boob tube Sunday to catch the last hour of golf--Tiger trailed Furak but never caught him. One of the commercial breaks had a promo for the fall season called the E-Ring. I would say Gollywood has gone bonkers on this one as the premise is the military questing to find a villan who supposedly stole the 'Holy Grail Microchip'. Makes me wonder if they got the idea from a blog I posted a while back called 'God talks to Peter' wherein God's computer crashed. E-ring, I would say, especially in this era of evanglecal fervor, is probably destined for cancellation.


Chris Rose (who writes for Newhouse News Service) caught up with the old slicker, Mickey Rooney aboard the Mississippi Queen. The old trooper has a touring show called 'Let's put on a Show!"--a famous line from his movie career as the Hardy boy in the forties (maybe earlier, I can't recall offhand) which also featured a very young Judy Garland. When Chris Rose asked about the 'Tom and Katie' media blitz, Rooney replied, 'That's the publicists and the media and thank God for it because that's what we live on.' Well, I would say, that and self-agrandizement which Mickey Rooney was always master of.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Laughing at Myself

My doctor keeps telling me how young I look. My wife keeps telling me how old I look. At my age my doctor gets most of my income.
People have a fear of being kept alive when, medically speaking, there's no why do they call it a 'living' will?
I'm sixty-seven years old and I hope my sex life stays as good as it is for a few more years...once every other month fits my schedule just fine.
My wife told me I'm not as romantic as I used to be...I don't understand why, I hold her hand everytime she helps me get out of a chair.
In the spring, a young man's fancy turns to old man's fancy turns on the air conditioner.
I spent my life moving in the fast lane...the only time I'm moving in the fast lane now is when I have to go to the pot.
When I was younger I spent a lot of time hanging out in my favorite bar. Now my favorite bar is the one I hang onto when I get up off the john.
In order to maintain my energy level, I take fifteen to twenty minute 'power' naps...about every fifteen to twenty minutes. It also makes for a shorter work day, usually two or three hours.
That's about it...time for a power nap so I can get back to some real work.