Itching and burning.

Kate’s pediatrician laid a fact on me the last time we saw her that I’ve been mulling ever since: About 80 percent of Michigan residents suffer from some form of seasonal allergies.

“It’s because of the humidity,” she said, which didn’t make too much sense, but I didn’t challenge her. Not because I’m not a doctor-challenger — the world needs more of those, and I’m happy to do my part — but because I was relieved that she thought that was the cause of Kate’s occasional headaches, and furthermore, that we didn’t need to do any expensive diagnostics to confirm this. Because of the 80 percent thing. When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras. You get headaches during allergy season, exactly like one of your parents? Eh, you probably have allergies, too. She takes an over-the-counter antihistamine daily, and that takes care of it, for the most part.

The parent who also gets headaches isn’t me. I am apparently in the 20 percent who doesn’t have allergies. Everyone else? When the spring flowers bloom, when the autumn leaves rot, when the summer’s goldenrod sways in the breeze, sending its pollen out to drive 80 percent of you insane, I remain immune. Lucky, lucky me.

I told the pediatrician this. “Wow, I feel really lucky now,” I said. “Because I’ve never been allergic to anything.” She looked at me with that look doctors get when you say things like that.

“Seasonal allergies can present at any time of life,” she said. If this were a movie, that line would be staged like a gypsy curse, with visual effects and maybe a spooky echo.

Because my eyes are burning and itchy. They’ve been that way for days. At first I thought my contacts were inside out. Nope. Sweat running in my eyes? A likely culprit, but I doubt it. Not enough sleep? It’s happening on days when I grabbed close to nine hours the night before. What could be the problem? What?

The other day I was working in the yard and paused to drag the back of my hand across my forehead, which had an immediate effect on my eyeballs. It all came clear: Oh, riiiight.

Granted, it’s possible it was some other plant-based irritant, like oils from one of the weeds I was pulling up. But using the standard layman’s medical diagnostic technique of dividing the first thing that pops into your head by something some guy you know told you once, I feel confident I have now joined the 80 percent. I hope someone else grew out of their own allergies at the same moment, just so we can keep it all even.

At this point I’m glad it’s just the eyes. Because I hate feeling like I have a cold all the time.

Actually, I’ve suspected for some time that I had a mild hops allergy. The first beer of the night used to give me a stuffy nose. I experimented for a while with different brands, but it was one of those things where after a while, I sort of lost the thread of the scientific method. Drinking beer will do that.

Why are the eyes so vulnerable to all of our ills? Is it the watery-goo thing, or the windows-of-the-soul factor? Last night, I was doing some reporting for an assignment I’m working on for a magazine. I was in the midst of a crowd of drug addicts, all 12-stepping it, and I was sitting there letting the impressions accumulate — the smell of cigarettes, that rode-hard-and-put-up-wet look so many of these folks have, even in sobriety. I caught the eye of one of them. Like that guy, I thought. He looks like he’s still stoned. Bad eyes on that one. A few minutes later, the leader of the meeting singled him out.

“Get out of here,” he ordered. “Don’t come here to nod. Dirty on benzos, you are.” A subsequent urine test confirmed it. Huh.

Boy, you can tell it’s August, can’t you?

On to the bloggage!

There’s something about that ReasonTV badge on the microphone that makes Matt Damon’s smackdown of this twit so much sweeter.

Mittens Romney, Mr. Maturity. Right.

For you Game of Thrones fans, an effects reel from the house that did all those amazing painted backdrops. And to think David Benioff said the hardest thing about that project was working with horses.

With that, I think I’m off to eat a late breakfast. Happy Tuesday, all. I hope the heat wave is breaking.

Posted at 10:15 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

96 responses to “Itching and burning.”

  1. Barbara said on August 2, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Love my antihistamine eye drops!

    32 chars

  2. jcburns said on August 2, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Look Nance (and fellow ancient journalists), youngsters forced to work with manual typewriters, x-actos, film, darkroom chemicals: and I find it interesting that they’re not really sure about the point of this exercise, other than “we got funding to do this.”

    358 chars

  3. Jen said on August 2, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Love that Game of Thrones effects reel!!! My husband and I just watched Game of Thrones the weekend before last – my husband has read the books – and we loved it. It’s fascinating to see what was in real life and what was computer-generated. They definitely didn’t skimp on the effects for that show – they did really high-quality backgrounds, but they also built what they needed to build to make it feel real, like the lift at the Wall. That’s what you really need to make a good fantasy show or movie. So often, they skimp and it looks fake and cheesy, because there’s a real cheese factor to medieval fantasy. (I say that with the utmost love, being a pretty big fan of the whole medieval fantasy thing.) If they don’t do it just right, it doesn’t really work.

    764 chars

  4. Suzanne said on August 2, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Claritin, all the way. Years ago, when we first moved out into the hinterlands of IN and August had me gasping for air, my doc gave me a prescription (thank goodness it is OTC, now) and told me to take it several weeks BEFORE I normally have trouble so it would build up in my system. Works like a charm.

    306 chars

  5. brian stouder said on August 2, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I find it interesting that they’re not really sure about the point of this exercise, other than “we got funding to do this.”

    Sounds like a visit to Colonial Williamsburg, where you can churn butter or use 200 year old wood-working tools, just so you can say you did it!

    edit: the headline of this post immediately made me cringe, because it reminded me of a commercial I saw for the first time a day ago. It was a Vagisil commercial starring a bride in full regalia, and with a troubled look on her face.

    526 chars

  6. Deborah said on August 2, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I haven’t watched any of the Game of Thrones at all, but that effects link was amazing. Makes me want to buy a DVD of the first season.

    JC Burns, my fellow graphites at work can’t believe it when I tell them how we used to do graphic design before the computer. But I honestly think it made us have ideas before we started. Now, I see all of these young folks looking for the idea inside the computer instead of from them. Don’t I sound old?

    I’m not allergic to anything except mango trees and since I live in Chicago I don’t have to worry about that. As a kid we had a mango tree in our backyard. My husband is terribly allergic to our cats and it’s getting worse as time goes on.

    687 chars

  7. baldheadeddork said on August 2, 2011 at 10:57 am

    The “10% of people in any profession are bad” is a bit of cultural herpes left to us by Jack Welch from his days of running GE. He created/pulled out of his ass this idea that all of GE’s companies should find the worst-performing 10% of employees every year and fire them. It doesn’t require thinking so conservatives and the idiot wing of the libertarian movement have latched on to it as gospel, never mind that it’s one of the reasons Welch left GE a train wreck of a company that had to be saved by TARP two years ago.

    525 chars

  8. coozledad said on August 2, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Part of the psychoactive charm of beer is it triggers a mild immune response in most people. I experienced that for a while until I started making beer in twenty to forty gallon batches, and my immune response just gave the fuck up.

    I seem to recall a kind of jock/wingnut welfare system that provided 97% of the shitty teachers at the public schools I attended. There were even courses developed specifically for the battered guys who’d gotten a phys-ed degree while they attended some state college on a partial tackling dummy scholarship.
    My wife took “Americanism vs. Communism” in high school from a guy listed in her senior yearbook as “Hog” Hall. No shit.
    A lot of the sports staff taught driver’s ed at my school.There was even a defensive coordinator who suffered from retinitis pigmentosa and had to wear something that looked like night vision goggles while he was teaching the highway section of the course.

    925 chars

  9. Linda said on August 2, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Re: Matt Damon interview and dumbass interviewer. There is something about the current hate for teachers that brings out the dumbness in a lot of folks. See this interview with Bill Gates:

    “I watched the movies. I saw ‘To Sir, With Love’… but they didn’t really explain what he was doing right. I can’t create a personnel system where I say, ‘Go watch this movie and be like him.’”

    Bill, honey, that was a fictional teacher, not a real one. Again, a CEO who figures everything can be fixed by canning underperforming employees. LMFAO

    682 chars

  10. moe99 said on August 2, 2011 at 11:21 am

    George RR Martin was at Town Hall in Seattle last Friday. It was sold out. My friend and I got there and had to take seats in the back. Most of it turned out to be book signing but there was an hour of him speaking and questions. I learned that there are gay characters in the books, its just that he wrote about them very subtly–HBO given its time and storytelling constraints was more open about them. He said that he was surprised by the number of women who have written to him demanding, no recommending, no suggesting that he make the gay scenes more graphic. Got a chuckle out of that. Did get vol. no. 5 autographed.

    631 chars

  11. prospero said on August 2, 2011 at 11:30 am


    Bill Gates aside, underperforming CEOs are more common as a %age than are underperforming employees, and they get paid 300 times as much, up from 262x just five years ago. Of course that 38% jump is easily explained by their excellent stewardship of the economy over those five years.

    Tomasky: Obama got schooled by Rep. OOmpa-Loompa and Sen. Massey Energy?

    Exactly how. Please explain. Bullshit.

    And if MarkH is around. I do indeed own a copy of the Qur’an, which you seemed to doubt on the last thread. It’s the Arthur Arberry English translation (widely considered authoritative), and no, I’ve never claimed to have any deep knowledge of it, though much of what I have read in the book matches the poetry of, for instance, the Song of Solomon, which got the real Will Shakes treatment and is thus embarrassing to fundamentalists and many born-again Christians for it’s sensuous and explicitly sexual imagery conflated with seeking God, and which sounds more like the Sufi poet Rumi than anything else. Actually, most of my reading in this book resulted from some Newsmax type “quoting” the Qur’an, invariably erroneously when I checked references. I enjoy reading the book, and I count it a bargain at $1.00 I paid for it at the used book shop at my library.

    1477 chars

  12. Connie said on August 2, 2011 at 11:42 am

    My brother posted this on facebook and I just had to share: Comparing Gabby Giffords to the Tea Party I’d never guess which one has a hole in their head.

    Over the last couple of days I have twice posted a link to Free Press story about the local filming of the OZ movie and never saw the comment show up. Stars are James Franco, Mila Kunis, James Franco as Oz, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams as Glinda. When Miley Cyrus and Demi Moore filmed in the area last year, word is Demi lived in my neighborhood. So I will watch for them all at the grocery store.

    565 chars

  13. prospero said on August 2, 2011 at 11:46 am

    That Matt Damon interview reminds me of my favorite scene (by a mile) in Good Will Hunting, which he probably also wrote.

    196 chars

  14. alice said on August 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    If you enjoyed the smack down of the Reason reporter, there’s more!

    133 chars

  15. Mindy said on August 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    I was allergic to August for only three years starting in my late twenties. Had the same burning and itching that has been plaguing my husband his entire life. Only mine cleared up just as mysteriously as it began, and now my only August complaint is humidity. I hope you have the same luck. Used to swear by Drixoral which the Google states is no longer made. My husband takes Allegra with his breakfast this time of year. We’re so glad it’s available over the counter now since the prescription was spendy.

    514 chars

  16. Jen said on August 2, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    @Moe99 – Your comment about the gay characters made me laugh. When we watched the series, there was a scene with two male characters as lovers. My husband, who has read the books, commented, “Hey, they weren’t gay in the books!” It surprised me a bit that they would add that because the show follows the books really closely, but I just shrugged it off as HBO being HBO (I also watch “True Blood,” which doesn’t follow the source books very much at all in order to amp up the sex). Then, I mentioned it to my sister (who hasn’t read the books), and she said that one of her friends (who has read the books) mentioned that the two characters ARE lovers, but it’s just in the subtext and not as obvious as it is in the show. Apparently the subtext was so subtle, my husband COMPLETELY missed it. I wonder how many other times, as they make more series, my husband will be surprised by characters who were only gay in the subtext.

    @Deborah – I highly recommend “Game of Thrones.” It’s well-made (as you can see by the video!), but it’s also well-written and well-acted. The biggest issue is probably the fact that there are a LOT of characters that you have to keep track of, but they do a pretty good job of giving them distinguishing features so they don’t blend together (and in most families, everybody has the same hair color, so even if you can’t immediately identify who it is, you at least know which side they’re on). And, if you’re exceptionally grossed out by graphic violence and sex, you might want to proceed with caution – the series has quite a bit of both. In general, though, it’s a great show. My hubby and I watched all 10 episodes in one weekend.

    1668 chars

  17. Julie Robinson said on August 2, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Awww, how could you not love Matt Damon?

    My allergic response is mainly headaches too, and we didn’t have any specialists in my hometown so diagnosis took the maybe-it’s-a-brain-tumor route. I’m grateful for the good meds available now versus the zombiefying ones of the past.

    If I never see another Vagisil commercial it will be too soon.

    346 chars

  18. prospero said on August 2, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    I lived for years in NE Georgia where pine and oak pollen is endemic, and I never had any symptoms of allergy. Living on Hilton Head, Pines are not quite as ubiquitous, but huge old live oaks are, and I’m at least somewhat symptomatic most of the year. Apparently pine pollen is relatively largeand not as much of a problem, more likely to be filtered in your nose. Oak pollen is an absolute scourge. We have days when all the cars in our parking lot, hell, the parking lot surface itself, appear to have been painted metal-flake gold. The pollen can be thick enough on the ground that people leave footprints like astronauts on the moon’s surface. My dad, the pediatrician, theorized that allergy symptoms are likely to emerge as people get older.

    This is a different situation, but this area of the south is liable to have biting gnats (no-see-ums). First year we moved down here from the NE, they tortured me. Ever since, I’m immune. No idea how to explain that. People try all sorts of remedies, most commonly AVON Skin-so-Soft, and sometimes rubbing one’s integument with fabric softener sheets. The SSF odor can ruin a beach day if the crowd is too big. And the stuff feels like Crisco. I’m sure more of this goop is sold for bug protection than for whatever purpose it was originally intended.

    1303 chars

  19. nancy said on August 2, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    “A partial tackling-dummy scholarship” — Cooz, when are you going to write your book and give the rest of us something to hold in our little hands?

    Now that I think about it, the high-school football coach taught American government and taught from the outline in the teacher’s edition of the textbook, including the prefab tests, which were the easiest (and shortest) I’d ever taken to that point in my academic career. Straight As for me all year in that one. I’m grateful he didn’t hold my filthy-hippiehood against me.

    526 chars

  20. Dorothy said on August 2, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Mindy – me too! I was starting to think I had imagined an August or two back when my kids were pretty little and I was so stuffy and sneezy and miserable. I can’t remember how many years I had it, but it was not many, and I don’t have any it anymore. You described it perfectly – it’s a mystery!

    I’m back to work, half time, as of yesterday. Had the cast off last Friday and I’m in a custom-made splint. I get mild shakes sometimes when I have the splint off and I’m bending my wrist and trying to move the thumb ever so gently. Have no idea why THAT happens. I’m just sleeping so much better now that the heavier cast is gone. How do people tolerate them for 4-6 weeks when they have broken bones?! I have never had to and consider myself very lucky.

    Over my sick-leave time I finally got to see nearly all of Season 1 of Dexter. (The final episode should arrive from Netflix this Thursday.) I’m only 5 years behind … I like it. Took some getting used to but I really like it. I can’t recall if it was ever discussed here much, but I’m sure there must be a couple of fans of it here.

    1101 chars

  21. beb said on August 2, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I used to love the smell of new mown lawns. Now it makes my eyes itchy and scratchy.

    I don’t understand the animosity some people (mostly conservatives) feel towards teachers. There are good teachers and bad. And after a while you begin to realize how much work they do during the school year (well exceeding the 40 hour work week). Do these people hate-on teachers because they always hated going to school? Or do they hate teachers because they, like trial lawyers and reality have a well-known liberal bias?

    513 chars

  22. Jeff Borden said on August 2, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    I wonder if Obama didn’t just seal his fate as a one-term president with the debt ceiling deal. The nation’s economy is going to continue to sputter along with high rates of unemployment and a general feeling of hopelessness among many who are barely getting by. Most folks vote with their wallets and it’s hard to see how they are going to be any fatter in next year with all the cuts and slices. We need to be spending MORE not LESS, particularly in non-defense areas, but we’re doing the opposite.

    The fucking teabaggers ought to be labeled for what they are: traitors. They would rather weaken and punish their own country to hurt a black president they cannot abide than act in the best interests of their fellow citizens. And how the fuck did the White House get caught up in all this debt bullshit when survey after survey shows the single largest issue by a sizable margin is jobs??? Why Obama was not out there day after day pounding these simpletons for continuing our economic malaise is beyond my comprehension.

    And thanks Matt Damon. The guy is clearly very, very smart while those libertarian droolers at Reason are revealed for the callow and shallow asses they are.

    1187 chars

  23. Sue said on August 2, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Nancy’s comment reminded me of something I read in a bio of Stonewall Jackson, how when he taught at VMI his method was to simply read aloud from the textbook. When a student questioned him on something his response was to go to that portion of the textbook and read it aloud again.
    That story and the troubles Grant had in his pre-Civil war life always made me wonder about how many of these guys couldn’t really function outside of their area of brilliance, and whether that was a Civil War general thing or if all war guys are like that.

    543 chars

  24. Lex said on August 2, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I turned up allergic to cats in my mid-30s. After nine years of cat ownership. With nine more to go before we used the last one up.

    After which, the kids immediately adopted a puggle. I don’t think its allergenic, just dumber than box of rocks. Which probably qualifies it to teach American history in Gatesworld.

    316 chars

  25. LAMary said on August 2, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Our high school football coaches were both history teachers too, and one of them did hold my filthy hippiehood against me. He loved the cheerleaders though. Literally.

    Speaking of tits, it’s World Breastfeeding Week. Celebrate accordingly.

    242 chars

  26. prospero said on August 2, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Is the music on the GoT clip representative? Who is credited with the score? Very fine, I think. Mild Irish inflection, evocative, atmospheric and propulsive at once, a difficult thing to acchieve. Reminds me of the music from the great Firefly series.

    252 chars

  27. Bob (not Greene) said on August 2, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Mary, You actually posted “Speaking of tits, it’s World Breastfeeding Week. Celebrate accordingy” in the presence of Brian Stouder?

    133 chars

  28. Deborah said on August 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I watched Obama’s speech a few minutes ago. I don’t know what else he could have said. He looked pretty disgusted with the whole thing as well he should be. Makes you wonder why he would even want to go through another term.

    224 chars

  29. Bob (not Greene) said on August 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Nance, you must be beaming with pride.

    143 chars

  30. Bitter Scribe said on August 2, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    At my prep school, whose alumni include several individuals named Bush, there was this hot-shit swimmer who was brought in to coach the swim team. But because coaches also have to teach, and he had been an engineer, they made him a physics teacher.

    Didn’t work out so well. We had to tell him things like why 1,000 square centimeters do not equal a square meter.

    As for Romney, he’s a consultant, meaning he’s professionally trained to tell people what they want to hear. That would seem to be a perfect preparation for politics, except that politicians are supposed to believe in something besides winning the next election.

    631 chars

  31. prospero said on August 2, 2011 at 1:42 pm


    Exactly who in the world will people that see things as you describe vote for, or will it be 25% of registered voters bothering to vote? In which case it would be all teabaggers all the time. I can say , I think for sure, that the sorry-ass performance of my retirement mutual funds since this idiot wind started is a direct result of the bullshit debt ceiling issue on markets and business behavior, which has unquestionably been detrimental to the jobs situation. Anybody suffering the kind of cognitive dissonance necessary to ignore who produced this situation out of spleen, bigotry, and self-interest, is clearly in no manner competent to be allowed to vote. The Republicans have themselves in a box which does not allow them to play this gambit between now and the election. You can say “people vote their pocketbooks” but it would take a gibbering cretin to figure voting for the teabag party serves that purpose, by any delusional stretch, after the last two months.

    An illustrated poem for the heat wave, suitable for National Breastfeeding Week, and Brian.

    1196 chars

  32. Judybusy said on August 2, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I am totally pulling this out of thin air, but I strongly suspect the disdain for public teachers is fueled by a plan to make lotsa money when it all goes private. First, though, they need to vilify the teachers and repeat that our schools are failing till enough people believe it. There was a great line in the beginning of the second Reason TV video (Alice, #14) that mentioned the privatization of prisons and “now they want our schools” or something like that.

    Also, please remember the teabaggers are well-funded by very rich, very powerful itnerests. They try to act all grassroots, but they’re not, not by a long shot. Follow the money questions with any elite, and you’ll usually figure out what’s behind the policy. And thank you, choir, for listening to my sermon today!

    785 chars

  33. brian stouder said on August 2, 2011 at 2:01 pm


    Huh? What?

    Tits?!! Breast feeding week?

    Hey – I’m IN, baby!!

    82 chars

  34. Deggjr said on August 2, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    The teacher hate is driven by union hate, full stop.

    But it leads to interesting questions. Douglas McGregor proposed Theory X-Theory Y for employee motivation. ‘Under Theory X, workers dislike work and require close supervision and control. Under Theory Y, workers are self-motivated, seek responsibility, and exhibit a high degree of imagination and creativity at work’.

    Damon touched on it in the video, what kind of person would do a crummy job on purpose? Someone like the cameraman, who like other Theory Xers, thinks everyone would do a crummy job if they could get away with it, like the cameraman would.

    Michael Jordan supposedly once told a heckler ‘put on a pair of shoes and come play’. Many teacher critics could be a full-time substitute teacher at an underperforming school tomorrow but they would never, never, never walk their talk.

    866 chars

  35. Julie Robinson said on August 2, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    One day while I was volunteering the teacher was gone and the sub asked if I wanted to read the kids a story. Usually I worked with them individually or in groups of two or three, and things fell apart very quickly. These were kindergarteners! Never in my lifetime could I be a teacher.

    287 chars

  36. Bitter Scribe said on August 2, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Conservatives have always been hostile to public education.

    In the 1970s, the state of Mississippi was debating whether to institute free, mandatory kindergarten. One of the Solons down there declared that he was damned if he was going to spend taxpayers’ dollars to babysit African-American children.

    Only he didn’t call them “African-American.”

    Most opponents of public education are too smart to use the language that guy did, but I think it’s a large part of their motivation.

    489 chars

  37. basset said on August 2, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Our high school basketball coach didn’t even make an attempt at teaching history, just sat up front reading the paper, drawing X’s and O’s, whatever and told us to read the book ourselves and come take the chapter quizzes when we were ready.

    Every once in awhile he’d go off just to break the monotony – I remember him leaning down over my desk red-faced and screaming, telling me I was stupid and useless and would never get into college. He did, however, win more games than any other coach in the state, ever, so nothing else mattered. Got an A in the class and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it except throw a fit.

    638 chars

  38. prospero said on August 2, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    I used to have a sister in law that had a debilitating allergy to cats, but only when she could see them.

    105 chars

  39. Jolene said on August 2, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Again, a CEO who figures everything can be fixed by canning underperforming employees.

    I’m not a fan of the teacher-bashing that has taken hold, but that’s an unfair shot at Gates. He has tried to figure out what makes great teachers successful and to develop ways to pass that expertise on to other teachers.

    What is wrong in schools is so complicated that just talking about it is exhausting. Too many kids come to school w/o adequate preparation. Too many parents don’t have the resources (time, money, education) to help their kids do well in school. Too many teachers don’t have adequate intellectual or professional skills. (In Finland, a country that is invariably at the top of international comparisons, a high school physics teacher must have a master’s degree in physics.) Many more lack faith in their students.

    Most of us are old enough to have been taught, at least in elementary school, by women who were among the best-educated and most ambitious of their generation. That’s no longer true.

    I really do think public school teachers have one of the toughest jobs imaginable. Most of us would quake at the thought of spending a whole day directing the activity of 24 10-year-olds. But the fact that it’s hard isn’t an excuse for chronic failure. Forget about achievement levels. When there are dropout rates of 50% or more in some schools, something is clearly very, very wrong, and being defensive about the source of new ideas isn’t a way to make things better.

    1499 chars

  40. prospero said on August 2, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    My track coach in HS had doctorates in both English and Latin. And he was a great teacher. But, ya know, Jesuit School is a different world.

    140 chars

  41. Deborah said on August 2, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I was a teacher before I became a graphic designer. Lots of people in various professions started out teaching. I realized that my idealistic vision of what it would be like to be a teacher didn’t fit the reality of my situation and I got out of it. It’s hard work, true, but that’s not why I quit. I don’t have the personality to be a good teacher, and I wanted to be a good one, I’m too shy. I like to mentor one on one but teaching in a full classroom is not my forte. I love my design profession and have been doing it now for 30 years.

    I agree with Deggjr that teacher hate is wrapped up in union hate

    609 chars

  42. Sue said on August 2, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I’ve been making the prediction that with all the turmoil in WI we will be experiencing a severe teacher shortage within a decade. Lots of teachers come out of a family tradition of going into teaching, and I don’t know a single teacher right now who would encourage their own child to choose it. Students without that background aren’t going to hear words of encouragement from any teacher-mentors because what teacher would push a bright student into a profession that is so reviled?
    It’s going to get interesting.

    520 chars

  43. Sherri said on August 2, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Has Gates really tried to figure out what makes teachers successful? My impression of the Gates Foundation is that they tend to believe they already know the answer and spend lots of money to implement whether it works or not. I don’t have the impression that they study first.

    School reform has largely been driven and funded by three big foundations: the Gates Foundation, the Broad Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. Many of the charter school programs have substantial funding from one or more of these foundations. The Broad Foundation runs a superintendents academy to produce superintendents versed in the corporate model of school reform, with an heavy emphasis on lots of testing and teacher evaluation based on testing.

    For a counter to the corporate view of these foundations, check out “The Death and Life of the Great American School System”, by Diane Ravitch. I don’t completely agree with her, but at least she’s been involved in education for a long time and has some perspective. The thing I’ve always wondered about Gates is, where did he learn about public education? He never attended public schools, and neither do his kids.

    1162 chars

  44. Bob (not Greene) said on August 2, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    There is a lot of teacher hate these days, much of it the result of union hate and govt. employee hate generally. At the core of the problem is a system of teacher pay and benefits (and I’m only talking about here in Cook County, Illinois, because that’s the only thing I know) that is completely unsustainable. Teacher contracts consistently give raises and provide benefits that far outstrip any school district’s ability to levy additional taxes to cover them. Add the pension obligation to the mix and that is where the anger comes from, because no one in the private sector can get the same kind of deal.

    The way the anger manifests itself is completely wrong, however. Teachers as people are insulted and reviled just for doing what they do, which is completely idiotic. People are lashing out because they feel like they are being forced to feed a broken system through constant tax increases (that’s the only way to keep funding these contracts), and politicians like Scott Walker use that frustration to drive through radical wholesale anti-worker agendas.

    Where I get frustrated here in Cook County (and Matt Damon brings this up in that video piece) is when people complain that teachers are poorly paid. They are not. I’m not saying they’re overpaid, but they are certainly well paid here in Cook County, with top notch benefits and excellent pensions. That’s great, and I don’t begrudge them that, except when I’m asked to keep paying more for raises that are far above the cost of living (factoring base raises and step raises, that easily can be 5 to 7 percent or more per year) and especially when my pay is either frozen or getting cut and my benefits keep getting worse. If the relationship between educators and taxpayers is to be a partnership based on mutual respect, it’s got to cut both ways.

    Just for an example, here is salary information from one of the suburban high school districts of about 1,500 students.

    The info comes from the Illinois State Board of Education and gives both base salary and other compensation. I’d say the numbers are par for the course in suburban Chicago, which covers a lot of ground.

    What teachers need to realize is that future raises and benefits need to be tied to the way revenue is raised for school districts in Illinois and not an arbitrary and unsustainable figure.

    2398 chars

  45. paddyo' said on August 2, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    That whole Reason.TV thing was fascinating. They’re getting beaten down by every interviewee with everything but the microphone, and yet they still post and run it on their website. What on earth must the outtakes have looked like?!

    Ahh, but just as “There is no bad PR,” in Reason.TV’s peculiar world there’s no bad celebrity interview, either (“Look everybody, we got Matt Damon!!”) — even when MattyBoy smushes their faces in it.
    Remarkable . . .

    454 chars

  46. Jolene said on August 2, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Sherri: Here’s a description of one part of the Gates Foundation’s work on education in the U.S. If you just skim the titles of the sections, it’s clear that the Foundation is studying teaching and working with teachers to make teaching more effective.

    Whether Gates went to public school is not, I don’t think, relevant. I imagine he has learned about issues in education in the way that most of learn about things we don’t experience directly–by reading and by talking w/ other people who are experienced and well-informed. Also, he is not doing this work alone. There are many people throughout the country whose work is funded by his organization, as well as professional staff at the foundation offices in Seattle, who have been working in education for years.

    872 chars

  47. Suzanne said on August 2, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    When my kids were in school, what I noticed was a huge, huge disconnect between teachers perception of “the real world” and the real world. There would be last minute assignments which would interfere with plans long ago made (no excuses allowed either), some very odd lessons (putting desks in a circle and turning out the lights to imitate native Americans sitting around a campfire because that is pretty much what it was like), and the nonsensical school supplies list (as in the year I drove all over hell’s half-acre in search of a yellow folder and steno pad, only to be told the kids just needed multi-colored folders, not necessarily yellow; the steno pad? Used once). I learned early on not to plan out the year too much, because the schedule could change on a dime and we would be expected to jump in line with it. I think year round school would help. I cringe every time I hear a teacher in August complain about having to return to work after a 6-8 week break when I, back even when I had a good job, got at most 4 weeks vacation. The last two jobs, I get no vacation at all and no benefits. The real world.

    I will give you that teachers work incredibly hard, and it is not a job I would ever want to have. I try to understand that. I know they spend hours preparing, grading, etc. I support them and think what happened in Wisc. and what our man Mitch is doing is a disservice to our children. My kids had some wonderful, wonderful teachers. But I often wish teachers had a better understanding that many of us work very hard, too, for lousy money and that they are not the only ones overworked and underpaid. It’s hard to hear a seasoned teacher complain that his pension will practically leave him in poverty, when it is more per year than I currently make.

    1783 chars

  48. Bob (Not Greene) said on August 2, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Well I guess the link doesn’t work. The gist is that more than half the faculty have base salaries of $80,000 or more. And they get to those levels quickly because of step raises and lane changes in the salary schedule.

    219 chars

  49. LAMary said on August 2, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    If any of you are facebook users and you have a minute to do something nice, the pediatric hospice affiliated with the hospital where I work needs votes on facebook to win a specially equipped van. Here’s the link:

    There are very few pediatric hospices around and we are very proud of the program at ours and the services it provides children and their families.

    Oh, and the votes can only happen on August 2, so today’s the day.

    486 chars

  50. moe99 said on August 2, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Actually, I can answer the question as to whether Gates went to public school. He went to my kids’ public school, View Ridge Elementary for a number of years, then his folks moved to Laurelhurst and I think he finished grade school at Laurelhurst Elementary, also a public school. I don’t know about middle school but he went to Lakeside, THE private high school in Seattle. It reflects the growth in his father’s income as an attorney in private practice.

    459 chars

  51. brian stouder said on August 2, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Well, anything I think I know about public schools pertains to Fort Wayne, and the FWCS district. Long story short: Our* local school system has a “LEAD” program (initially affecting 11 of the 52 schools in the district, but ultimately this will affect all our schools) whereby they really do transform each school; roles and missions and training and equipment are all geared toward maximizing measurable progress, and furthering the district’s core moral and educational missions. The upshot is, when your school goes into the LEAD program, all of the teachers and all of the administrators have to re-apply for their jobs. There is no ‘comfort zone’, and no guarantee that you will make the cut, and there is no room for failing to get measureable, positive results. I am fairly sure it would still be fun to be a teacher – if you already loved that job – but it would be no fun at all to be an administrator. There is no place to hide.

    *I take very great pride in referring to our schools as “ours”. Local control is alive and well in Fort Wayne, and – at least while we have the right people at the helm, it has been steadily succeeding. And indeed, our local teachers’ union has been a full partner in that continuing success

    1254 chars

  52. prospero said on August 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    LAMary, which name?

    19 chars

  53. LAMary said on August 2, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Providence Trinity Kids Hospice.

    32 chars

  54. Sherri said on August 2, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Jolene: All the stuff on the Gates Foundation web site looks well and good until you start digging beneath the surface a bit, and discover at the bottom, it’s still all about test scores. Their teacher effectiveness project is to determine which teacher characteristics improve student test scores the most. They’re also doing the study in districts which have been heavily influenced by the corporate model of school reform.

    And I do think it’s relevant to have experience with public schools before you start trying to reform them. I think a big part of the problem with the current model of school reform is that it has been too top down, driven by people with little to no experience with actual students and classrooms. Teacher, parent, and community input is valued much less than business input. I’ve seen this in both small diverse districts and large affluent suburban districts.

    I don’t think Gates’ goal is union busting, or the destruction of the public school system, though I think that is true of some of his fellow travelers. I think Gates truly does want to improve public education. I also think, like many a techie (and I’m one of them), he’s a little too quick to think he has the solution. His success in the computer world does not make him an expert in education, or public health for that matter. There are starting to be signs that the Gates Foundation is learning a little humility, and I hope for more. The enormous amount of money they have has a very distorting effect on any field they choose to enter.

    1539 chars

  55. prospero said on August 2, 2011 at 7:03 pm


    It’s fun sometimes. Other times not. When I was teavhing, I had a class in a trailer, right after a prep (free)period and a lunch with no duty.I used to have lunch with my girlfriend off campus. One day, I pulled up to my trailer (portable classroom, nice parlance, eh) with my sunroof open and Bone, Thugs and Harmony on the stereo. Kids flocked to my car, and began dancing like they were at a party, which was fine with me. Buncha pretty good teenagers in a civics class they were cynical about, but who knew that if they behaved reasonably, paid attention, took notes and didn’t skip classes would get my best effort to get them all good gradess in that class. There was a 19 yo kid in the class, who was a well known crack dealer, in his brother’s footsteps while his brother was on the run from cops for a double murder. One of the victims was a 15 yo girl from our school. When I knew the bell was about to ring, I turned off the CD player and loocked the car and told the kids to get inside and crank the AC. All but one, and a bunch of these kids were problems in other classes, hopped to it.

    One kid stood over me glowering. Dopeman. He said “Gimme your keys so I can listen to that.” He was very menacing, but I could see some football players nearby that would have come to my rescue. So I was only moderately scared, while a crowd gathered. I told him to get to class or I’d call the resource officer and he’d go to Juvie, the only half-assedly effective threat available to the faculty. What else? In-school,suspension, expulsion? They don’t give a shit. Then this thug, sorry, no racial connotations, but C. would make a great actor in one of those hopelessly bogus James O’Keef videos about intimidating Panthers at polling places. Guy was a thug, plain and simple. At this point, he directly threatened my life. Some girls started crying, figuring it was imminent, and kids scattered, figuring gunfire was next. I told him to get his ass off campus, and that I’d give him 10 minutes before I called the police.

    This all happened at Christmastime. I knew it was traumatic for many of my kids, and I knew I needed to do something surprising to get them back on track. I had students that were despised by other faculty (inexcusable), 9th grade social promotions that had never passed anything (that’s on administrators, not teachers), inveterate troublemakers and smartasses (easiest to coopt to my aims, being an inveterate troublemaker and smartass myself). Meanwhile C continues to show up on campus, and he scared the shit out of students and faculty alike. I was told by the principal that I’d need to file a formal complaint and see the case through, to get this bastard institutionalized in a juvenile facility. Sure ruined my excessive teacher’s length Christmas vacation. But kids showed up at personal risk to testify to what had happened and it dawned on me. I’m teaching Civics here, and we’ve got Civics in action. Lesson plans were out the window. We went straight to dealing with the legal system and Constitutional principles.

    Meantime, for that Christmas break, I walked into class and told them we’d be knocking off early for the Holiday. All hell broke loose, and I was swarmed by really cute 15 yo girls who had decided a ways back I looked like Paul McCartney, which is nonsense, but may have something to do with racial identifiers. I do have a chin dimple which Macca sort of does.The helium came out of the balloon told them it wasn’t that easy. I explained my plan was too develop a study guide for a comprehensive semester final (went over real big), explained college study groups to them , split them into groups (this is tricky, there are kids nobody wants for no rational reason, and if you can get one of these generally earnest and pretty smart kids accepted, this is serious progress with a whole class).

    I told them they’d take a final for their entire semester grade, and that they’d take them as a group with benefit of their study guides (they had to cooperate in locating this information. They’d never be asked in a job to do anything more. I told them the work was all on them, but I’d help if they asked intelligent questions. We planned the exam for two days before official break. I collected all of the papers, graded them overnight with the help and forbearance of my beloved, came out with 60% As and 40% Bs in a class as far from AP as you get. Brought little prizes and bags of Christmas candy to class next day and announced the grades to applause from the peanut gallery for every classmate. And we played Motown music and Otis and the Godfather on the Boombox. These kids were shining.

    Back for 2nd semester and the case dragging on. I was made to take a polygraph exam about what C. said to me. Big Whoop. Kinda etched in stone, but I staarted to worry about kids that had supposedly snitched on him. I know there wer school personnel, cafeteria Ladies that heard every thing the asshole said, that weren’t forthcoming like my students. Hearings were far between, I figure they figured they had the dangerous thug in lockdown so nobody felt a sense of urgency. Eventually, C was locked up for a while. I went to see him. He was as hateful as he’d ever been. And I’m not making this up, the stupid malevolent shit asked me “How’d you make them chumps choose you over me. I couldn’t resist: “Matter of skin color Bro.” C. shrugged and said , “Maybe so.” I told him I had no beef with him, he said “Nah you either, man.”

    As Paul Hrvey would say: “The rest of the story.” I have no idea what happened to that kid, but I know state law had him on campus the day he threatened me. At the time, I was a long term sub, taking a class for a veteran teacher that had a bypass. School Board rules limited my pay to $100/day. We discussed the law and this case for an entire semester and put it on a stage. We sold tickets, and believe me I’ve got the whole thing on tape, amazing ad libs and all. I complained like a stuck pig about having to deal with the legal system when administrators were too chicken shit. But what would a decent human being do? Try to get this kid swerved into a rehabilitative situation or leave a buncha other kids exposed to predation. At this point I had been subbing a lot to supplement my spec writing income trashed by Raygunomics. I had worked everyday with dedicated teachers. Believe me, there are effective teachers that outnumber ineffective teachers, but for every instance in which Administrators that hide under desks, there are teachers not willing to give up. I’ve been ther and teachers are dedicated and good at their jobs. If Republicans want to take down teachhers in Unions, it means one thing. They want to privatize for profit and teach kids the earth is flat.

    In the long run, the union got these cheap bastards to pay me 150 a day. The days were 15 hours. $10/hr. for this sort of shit? Sure, all those asshole poor parents that find teachers at fault. Give it a try, Brave New World shitheels. I have run into kids from that class that graduated from college and heard from them all sorts of things about how I may have helped. Believe me This is something inconceivably important You’d have to be a soulless idiot not to find this moving and inspiring. The feeling of accomplishment is incomparable, but I don’t take credit. I acted the way I was supposed to and kids got the message. And lot’s of them became true academic stars, including some of the jocks you buncha prejudiced assholes. Did I do this for $100/day? I think I’m smarter than that. Maybe not.

    Now about the jock bashing, I was All City in football, All-America in swimming and All=State in track. I was also a national honor society member, and I’m fed with this horseshit about jocks. This is woefully ignorant. What is wrong with you dumbasses. In my HS we sort of treated athletic ability on a par with National Merit Scholarships. Most of us reached that plateau. Was that supposed to be difficult? I went to a school where academic acchievement an brilliant intellectual acchievement carried the same sort of cachet that physical prowess did. After academic attrition, there were fewer than 200 0f us that had passed the entrance exam that graduated. It was not dog-eat-dog, we all liked each other, but for the occasional bully that everybody despised. Why can’t HS be like that? Well, at the time it was all guys, so there was none of the HS girl pirranhaism girls cavort in. I’m thinking about Madame Thatcher, Raygun’s other mammy.

    8563 chars

  56. nancy said on August 2, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Bill Gates notwithstanding, the thing I found so amusing about that Matt Damon clip was how typical it was of libertarian thinking and practice. Those people live in a world of theory and meetings and blogging, always buffing their precious libertarian philosophy like some rare sports car that never gets driven on an actual street. The girl reporter has decided that the only thing that motivates Damon is money and “job insecurity,” so he’s driven by that — and that alone — to be excellent.

    Damon demolishes her in a matter of seconds, so her cameraman pipes up with another stupid idea, the aforementioned Jack Welch 10 Percent Theory. Maybe you’re a lousy cameraman. Or maybe you’re just a guy with a wealthy dad and an unpaid internship at Reason magazine. Enjoy the sports car while it lasts, pal.

    811 chars

  57. prospero said on August 2, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    No Sweat Mary, my vote’s a lock. Can I vote more than once?
    My brother Matt died of Leukemia. And it was devastating to my family. I wonder if a hospice situation could have eased the burden, or if my mom and dad could have handed things over to a Hospice. I don’t know if I could have. I felt I was the big brother and I was supposed to do something. I was about 10. I’ll guarantee. I never got over this loss. And well-meaning adults (not my parents) made me go see Matt in the coffin. I’ve been mildly fucked up ever since. Matt was taking methotrexate, so his face was round, but it was the only thing they knew to do back then. HE was cherubic and my perfect brother. I figured he was fine, and then some dumbass old ladies that were my grandmas friends made me walk up and see him. This was my animated intelligent childhood friend that pretty much looked just like me. Way bad adult judgement, As I understand things, people don’t die anymore of what killed my brother, and holy shit this pisses me off, to this day.

    1025 chars

  58. prospero said on August 2, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Nancy @56: And convincing their asshole selves they are some sort of deep thinkers and strategists and philosophizers. Any ten of those shitheels added up ain’t Che’s balls. The paucity of actual thought, much less intellectualism is hilarious. The abject cowardice is overwhelming.These folks be dumb as grunt outside of pure greed and world dominance, and claiming some sort of genetic world dominance when they are demonstrably stupid.

    Libertarians tell themselves they are intellectual, and Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Aquinas, Teillhard don’t rain on their parade because them guys were not as enlightened as the hideous cigarette harpy nobody would want to have sex with, which was all she really cared about. Ayn Rand was a porn junkie, like Adolph. She’s so inconsistent in her alleged philosophy she ends up sounding like Geli Raibaul. Why don’t the vacuum-brain libertarians track tht reference down? Welll, these assholes always fall back on the most desirable and supportable aspects of the bible. or are the rugged individualists about to admit they think the Bible is bullshit. How them teabaggers figure Ayn Rand manages to meet up with the Word of God. “Whatever you do…” , “Blessed are the meek…”. Jesus was not a shitheel that thought it was a good idea to dump on people. so how in hell do fundies and born agains meet up with asshole nihilists like the Ayn Rand teabaggers? Do you people believe in anything at all? Couldn’t tell by me. What you are all in agreement about, seems to me, is the Sherriff is a Ni … Getting by abject raacism to dislike a particular brown-skinned man, well that’s a dance, done incredibly clumsily. IT CHOKES THEM. AND THEY ARE SO FUCKING OBVIOUS.

    1711 chars

  59. prospero said on August 2, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    If you decide, because you latched onto Ayn Rand that you’re a political intellectual instead of a fanboy of a more or less ugly fantasist idiot that’s too stupid to quit cigarettes when she’s diagnosed with lung cancer and then sucks off the public teat she ridculed, by God you re a libertarian. What a buncha maroons. Nobody could ever convince me Gary Cooper believed in this anti-humanist shit.

    Libertarians have a single thing going for them, and how does that sit with the Raygunites? Free use of pot? Hypocrisy is thick in here, as Curtis would say. These people are some sort of liars looking to render the USA a country without a government. Without a government this degenerates to Lord of the Flies. Should that come about, Grover Norquist is the Pig’s Head. He’ll be piggy that get’s what he deserves. I’ll see to it. These assholes are destroying the country I grew up in, on purpose. It is outright treason. Assholes that claimed to be patriots when they were actively plotting undermining the government. And why are they doing this now? Brown-skinned President is unacceptable. This is no-brainer, this is their problem and their motive. Is anybody stupid enough to be kidding about this shit?

    LA Mary, vote placed and out in front.

    1257 chars

  60. brian stouder said on August 2, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Prospero-55, that was a superb post; thanks for sharing it.

    Paddyo’-45 and Nance-56; precisely. It is a genuinely strange clip, and Paddyo’s point about Reason being proud to put it out there (rather than erase it and try again!) really captures something.

    The fashionable pose seems to be high dudgeon, these days. Here in Indiana, our green tea-party faux-patriot member of congress (who never missed HIS family’s farm subsidy government checks) voted “NO” to the debt ceiling (of course), while our Senator Dick Lugar has drawn unending scorn for bothering to govern, and to openly FAIL to kowtow to the tea-party totem.

    We’ll see if he survives his primary; and therefore whether Indiana still has Hoosier “common sense”, or whether our state has gone chucklehead

    edit: Mary, good ol’ Pam went into Facebook and gave you her vote

    860 chars

  61. Deborah said on August 2, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Prospero, I’m sorry to hear about your younger brother, I can kind of relate to that, my mother died when I was14 and it fucked me up for decades. It has only been in about the last 10 years or so that I’ve found peace about it, and I’m 60.

    LA Mary is there anyway I can contact you off-line? I’m working on a huge hospital project, designing signage and way finding for about 12 hospitals and could use some info about the experience of patients and their families.

    469 chars

  62. LAMary said on August 2, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Deborah, Nancy has my email address. If you ask nicely she might share it.

    74 chars

  63. coozledad said on August 2, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Nancy, paddyo: Another thing that struck me is the blank look on the reporter’s face. The presumption in her questions reminds me there’s a very thin epistemic membrane that separates libertarians from airport Hare Krishnas. It’s voluntary cognitive impairment in its ugliest form.

    You almost want to strap a ventilator on these people to see if it would wake them up.

    371 chars

  64. prospero said on August 2, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Brian, that was a stressful part of my life. The Raygun collapse of spec office space was killing me financially. But I also took my responsibility seriously teaching those kids and considering their attitudes moving on. I think I managed to convince them I seriously cared about what happened to them after we weren’t dealing with each other every day. I believe it makes sense for teachers to make cultural and personal connections with kids. Bone Thugs, Diggable Planets, Tribe Called Quest. Benefits accrue to both sides. I also think that teacher’s understanding student interactions is crucial. I never took a single education course, but this stuff seemed obvious. I think I did a good job in a difficult situation. All I really had to do was to think of the best way to make sure the kids knew I cared about each of them. That seems like a no-brainer, and somebody could tell Bill Gates. How difficult is it to make a kid understand you appreciate their decisons and their efforts? It isn’t. I had an army of kids on my side against the virtual darkside because they understood I understood and liked a lot of the things they liked, and really cared about them. It wasn’t hard to convince them, because I really did. I think, from my experience, teachers are people that really do care about every kid they are presented with.. I’m sure I could have gotten in big trouble by playing NWAA at our Christmas Party. It was a moment of truth, but it was silly. One of the class clowns claimed I couldn’t name the members of NWA. Of course I could, and I knew Cube’s raps by heart. How difficult is it to gain kid’s trust by immersing yourself in their culture. It seems to me this is an immediate jumpstart to trust.

    Tell you what. Every active critic of teachers ought to do a couple of sub gigs. It’s near impossible, it’s frightening, and it’s dangerous. The critics are woefully moronic assholes that ought to try the line of fire.
    died-in-the wool chickenhawk assholes that believe W served his country in the military. How fucking stupid can anybody be?

    I’m sure for an absolute fact, if any of those kids had a run-in with Justice, they probably knew what was going on more than the cops oppressing them. Which they were without a doubt. I got fucked over big time on remuneration and the administrators pulled a fast one laying danger on me, but I’d sure as shit take those kids over again. We accomplished something excellent, and a lot of them applied themselves after that. I am pretty proud of myself. But I’ll take shit for feeling that way. Some of those kids, the experience was worth the association.

    I have never met a teacher that didn’t care about every kid in every class. People that become teachers are suckers for reaching out to every kid. Anybody that wants to claim that teachers are looking for a salary and summer off, well that is a fucking moron. Teachers work through the summer to pad their dogass salaries and to keep up with continuing education. And nobody works less than a 14 hr. day when school’s in session. People that expect teachers to raise their kids to be decent educated people are grossly over-rating their monetary contributions to teachers’ lives. These people are likely teabagger assholeYou debonnaire critics of teachers, try a day as a sub in a shop class, you wussie assholes.

    3348 chars

  65. prospero said on August 2, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Brian, one bon mot for another. Dexter and MarkH would question my veracity, and this is getting way old. That story is Pure-D true. and I have been worried ever since. The malfeasor involved is a malign POS and I won’t ever be sure he isn’t tracking me down, or the woman I’m in love with. She knew a lot of the kids from going to a picnic for 4th fireworks. This guy was evil but Courts required information to be supplied that I have never been comfortable with. So from me to you, in the interest of National Breastfeeding Month, one perfect breast. Catherine Deneuve may well be the most beautiful woman ever lived, I suppose that’s arguable, but her right mammary is obviously as perfect as perfect gets.

    813 chars

  66. prospero said on August 2, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    seriously, my first sub job was in shop, and when i pulled my assignment from the teachers mailboxes, everybody behind me chortled like it was some bad Monty Python joke. There was no such thing for me as a difficult assignment, including doing in-school, but seriously, these assholes that question the difficulty of teaching in modern public schools, you would run faster than you ever imagined you could possibly run you flaming assholes.

    441 chars

  67. Deggjr said on August 2, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Teachers have a relatively great deal. Tenure is more secure than employment-at-will (although not secure). Pensions are better than 401(k) accounts and benefits are better than no benefits. Steady 1-2% annual increases are rare in the private sector.

    Teaching didn’t become financially lucrative because of unions. It became relatively financially lucrative because the private sector economy is regressing. The Proprietress posted on June 23rd that the median income in Indiana fell by 15% in the last decade. That drop didn’t affect the seniors because nice Democratic Presidents made sure they have a steady income and medical coverage. That drop didn’t affect government workers. The drop affected private sector workers.

    It’s depressing that the first general reaction is ‘let’s spread the misery to the government workers’ but there it is.

    862 chars

  68. brian stouder said on August 2, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Prospero, when you said Catherine Deneuve may well be the most beautiful woman ever lived, the first thing I thought was “but she’s a blonde” – and I’m definitely a brunette-man.

    But then I looked at the picture, and I gotta agree. Ms Deneuve may well be the titular ‘most beautiful woman who ever lived’ (so to speak).

    Anyway – thanks! And now, it’s off to bed

    374 chars

  69. Deborah said on August 2, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    A thought about the debt crisis fiasco, could part of the problem be the the revelation of the sausage making of governance? The instant availability and transparency of the process is unprecedented because of the internet’s advances, so we are shocked by it because we are not used to it? Just a late night thought after some wine with dinner.

    345 chars

  70. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 2, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Bob (NG), Ohio is much the same. I think your analysis is spot on.

    Deborah, you may want to go see “Cowboys & Aliens.” Note to all: the violence is quite startling and graphic for a PG-13, or maybe I’m just behind the times. But 80+% of the shots were filmed at Ghost Ranch just west of Abiquiu, NM — I had fun watching for all the ways they’d try to avoid putting Pedernal in shots to keep its distinctive shape from creating false coherence in the landscape (they used a number of very close together spots, simply shifting 180 degrees, but carefully edging around the 5 degrees of the horizon that holds the flat rakish cap of Pedernal Peak). When they were filming just behind Georgia O’Keefe’s house, Casa del Sol, I just about laughed out loud.

    758 chars

  71. alex said on August 2, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    The thread has kind of strayed from itching and burning, but my two cents’ worth on that is this: Age can affect things, but so can the place you live.

    Growing up I suffered horrendous hay fever in Indiana. When I moved to Chicago, it dissipated to nothing in a few years. But then I began developing a new allergy at a different season. In springtime, it was the tree molds, or so I was told.

    Cats also didn’t bother me as a kid, but now they inflame my skin and make my eyes burn.

    Back in Indiana six years, no burning eyes or rhinitis this time of year, or at most a very light touch of it.

    603 chars

  72. prospero said on August 2, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Brian, you couldn’t have looked at that picture and thought that. In my lifetime, I’ve been drawn to women with brunette hair. Never but one particular blonde that I met in Geneve and was head over heals. I slept with her in her house, and her dad was a Swiss Olympic marksman, and came upstairs early. I thought I was lunch, even though I wasn’t there early. These things happen And I’ve always found redhaired women pretty alluring. We have been taught from J School to never refer to redheads. No such thing. But for the Godawmighty Bird. There are red-haired women and auburn. which is particularly captivating. NYT stylebook, there is no such thing as a redhead. But Brian, if that doesn’t look like a perfect breast, I have to wonder about your vision. And Catherine Deneuve is a great actress that is so perfect it’s amazing. Why did Yuri Zhivago choose Julie Christie over Geraldine Chaplin? God knows he made the wrong choice. No telling why. People make inconceivable choices.

    You have to admit, Catherine Deneuve is entirely awesome. And she’s a ridiculously great actress. I mean, she’s in an acting sorrority that’s almost Vanessa

    1162 chars

  73. prospero said on August 2, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Brian, you couldn’t have looked at that picture and thought that. In my lifetime, I’ve been drawn to women with brunette hair. Never but one particular blonde that I met in Geneve and was head over heals. I slept with her in her house, and her dad was a Swiss Olympic marksman, and came upstairs early. I thought I was lunch, even though I wasn’t there early. These things happen And I’ve always found redhaired women pretty alluring. We have been taught from J School to never refer to redheads. No such thing. But for the Godawmighty Bird. There are red-haired women and auburn. which is particularly captivating. NYT stylebook, there is no such thing as a redhead. But Brian, if that doesn’t look like a perfect breast, I have to wonder about your vision. And Catherine Deneuve is a great actress that is so perfect it’s amazing. Why did Yuri Zhivago choose Julie Christie over Geraldine Chaplin? God knows he made the wrong choice. No telling why. People make inconceivable choices.

    You have to admit, Catherine Deneuve is entirely awesome. And she’s a ridiculously great actress. I mean, she’s in an acting sorrority that’s almost Vanessa
    Redgrave. And Herself. Catharine Deneuve brunette.

    1328 chars

  74. maryinIN said on August 2, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Well, there’s nothing more I could add about teachers, so I am going to come to the defense of goldenrod.

    “…when the summer’s goldenrod sways in the breeze, sending its pollen out to drive 80 percent of you insane…”

    From what I understand after attending numerous workshops on native planting, goldenrod’s pollen is so heavy it does not become wind-borne but drops right to the ground, and is therefore not the cause of much allergy-related distress. It is blamed, however, because it releases its pollen at the same time as ragweed, which has irritating pollen that is light enough to become wind-borne, and goldenrod, being striking-looking, attracts attention, while ragweed is not lovely and goes largely unnoticed.

    732 chars

  75. basset said on August 2, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Prospero, high school may have been just wonderful in your exclusive little enclave, but it was quite different for some of us out here in the real world.

    >>I have never met a teacher that didn’t care about every kid in every class.

    I don’t believe that for a minute. Or maybe I do, private rich-boy high schools get to weed out anyone they want so I can see how it’s possible that all of your teachers could have been highly motivated and perfect role models for young educators… but in four years in two rural southwestern Indiana high schools and ten years as a central-office, non-certified support person in a large urban district in another state, I have seen plenty of teachers who just wanted to get each day over with and move one step closer to retirement. In the latter case, I can sure understand why; in the former, I saw enough screaming, hitting, public ridicule, ego trips, and power games to last me the rest of my life.

    >>I was All City in football, All-America in swimming and All=State in track. I was also a national honor society member, and I’m fed with this horseshit about jocks

    Neither of the public high schools I attended had swimming or football, and track was just there to keep the “basketball boys” in shape. I don’t recall even being aware there WAS a national honor society, that wouldn’t have helped “us” win the sectional. Don’t recall having choir, drama, or music except for a band to play at the games, but the gym had nearly eight times as many seats as the school had students.

    >>You debonnaire critics of teachers, try a day as a sub in a shop class, you wussie assholes.

    Our subs were either priests or local ministers as a rule, I suppose the school figured they’d had some kind of education so they’d do for a few days. One of them ran his hand into a plane in wood shop and trimmed all four fingers straight across, had to go around with his arm in a sling till it healed up enough to quit bleeding every time he let his hand hang down.

    Prospero, for every powdered-butt, expensive, exclusive private school there are many more with completely different priorities. Trust me, I saw it myself… but “we” went all the way to state one year, and what else is there?

    2259 chars

  76. prospero said on August 2, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Tal Wickenfield Nancy, this is the best bass player going. Kate should keep track of this young woman, This is how to play the bass if you aren’t going to put on Bootsy’s glasses and diapers. How to play. And you really need to have Kate listen to What we need in the long run, Bootsy. She should learn how to slap. and hit the pedal. Please put some audio of the band on the internets. The kid needs to hear Jack Bruce. I know you have Wheels of Fire in your record collection. That’s how to play bass, too.

    To a young child

    Margaret, are you grieving
    Over Goldengrove unleaving?
    Leaves, like the things of man, you
    With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
    Ah! as the heart grows older
    It will come to such sights colder
    By and by, nor spare a sigh
    Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
    And yet you will weep know why.
    Now no matter, child, the name:
    Sorrow’s springs are the same.
    Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
    What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
    It is the blight man was born for,
    It is Margaret you mourn for.

    And how do we make up for this? You have this all wrong. The poem is perfect. It sure doesn’t need anybody to add anything or make things up. What you may have thought nobody else was claiming? No way to worry about it. It’s a nearly perfect poem, isn’t it? Awesome. I’m not joking. What do you all think of as a good poem? I say Under Ben Bulben. Cast a Cold Eye, on life and death, Horsemen pass by. If you intend to write your own epitaph, you are coming up lame to that one. Greatest poet in the history of modern English speaking people.

    1670 chars

  77. basset said on August 3, 2011 at 12:01 am

    “Close to the Edge,” “Red,” “Rubber Soul,” and “Sgt. Pepper” are how you play (rock) bass, slapping is just showing off.

    122 chars

  78. prospero said on August 3, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Basset, nonsense. The guy in the diaper that invented it proves you wrong. I might go along with Close to the Edge, but I’d counter with any of the first three Procul albums. Whoever was playing the bass on Truth and Beckola, and the guy in Seger System. Bass in all MC-5 songs. Anything by Jack Bruce. Absurdly great, faster on fat strings than Eric Clapton. And a spectacular singer. Steve Winwood on Hammond pedals. When all is said and done, The Ox, John Entwistle, non pareils. far and away but not so far from Jack Bruce, best bass player ever lived since Mingus. Anybody that doesn’t understand that doan no dick about playing bass. But this young lady plays with Jeff Beck, she is absurdly great. and she’s still just a kid.

    779 chars

  79. basset said on August 3, 2011 at 1:16 am

    I say again… “Close to the Edge,” “Red,” “Rubber Soul,” and “Sgt. Pepper” are how you play (rock) bass, slapping is just showing off.

    I’ll give you “Live at Leeds,” but Beck… never could understand why anyone found that kind of pseudo-jazz noodling interesting, was channel flipping awhile back and saw him on tv with that young female bass player and it sounded like the damn Weather Channel.

    Believe that was Ron Wood on the early Beck albums, working from memory here. Half the bartenders in Nashville can play better bass than Jack Bruce.

    569 chars

  80. Brandon said on August 3, 2011 at 2:00 am


    Are you thinking of the jazz-fusion group The Weather Report?

    72 chars

  81. ROGirl said on August 3, 2011 at 4:39 am

    Good news about the Troy library. The millage vote passed 58.19% to 41.81%.

    75 chars

  82. Deborah said on August 3, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Jeff tmmo, I’ve seen that movie advertised and have wondered if it was filmed in NM. When we bought our land we had four views that were important to us, we would have been happy with one. The seventh property we were shown had all four so it was a no brainer. Of course one of those views is pedernal. We normally go there four times a year but haven’t been since March and won’t go again until Christmas because of various other trips and work. I miss it.

    457 chars

  83. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 3, 2011 at 7:39 am

    The filming clearly took place below Huerfano Mesa, Battleship Mesa, down by the Chama, and up west of Chimney Rock three spots along the edge of Mesa Montoya, right down into the climactic scenes into what Georgia called her “black place” and the ranch folk call the badlands, with some interesting computer augmentation that, other than the alien ship, struck me as gilding the lily. The town of Absolution was filmed on something called the Bonanza Ranch in NM which I’m not familiar with, but I suspect wasn’t that far away. Heard of it?

    The funny part about Pedernal is how it barely shows up in the opening scenes, and then it keeps playing peek-a-boo with you out on the edges of the shots. I probably missed a fair amount of alien ichor watching to see if it would make it into the screen.

    Love Ghost Ranch — gotta get out there again soon! Plus to visit Chimayo.

    Hey, ROgirl, congrats! That’s truly good news.

    928 chars

  84. basset said on August 3, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Brandon, I did mean the Weather Channel, and the wallpaper music you hear right after “And now, your local forecast.”

    Never could connect with Weather Report either, though – definitely a politically incorrect opinion when I was hanging around the IU music school in the mid-Seventies, all the cool kids thought fusion was what it was all about. I was referring to a show on, think it was HDNet, with Beck’s band playing in some little club, they had a young female bass player and I believe that’s who Prospero had in mind. No honor students or champion swimmers, though, as far as I could tell.

    601 chars

  85. Connie said on August 3, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Brian this blonde is sorry to hear you prefer brunettes. 🙂

    60 chars

  86. Deborah said on August 3, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Jeff tmmo. That’s Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe. Lots of movies have been filmed there, while it’s still a working ranch. And good old Chimayo, the area’s biggest heroin problem. I have little bowls of holy dirt all over the place, I even rub it on sometimes when I’m not feeling well. It can’t hurt, right?

    312 chars

  87. brian stouder said on August 3, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Connie – as I learned over lunch some time ago, you are most definitely the exception that proves the rule!

    107 chars

  88. coozledad said on August 3, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Basset, prospero: I still like Au Lait, by Pat Metheny Group, even if it does go on a little long. Reminds me of Erik Satie.

    124 chars

  89. Connie said on August 3, 2011 at 10:28 am

    THanks for the compliment Brian, our lunch was a pleasure, as was my lunch with Alex the following day.

    104 chars

  90. LAMary said on August 3, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I developed a fondness for the music on the weather channel when I had a newborn and was up all hours, sitting on the couch, trying to get him to sleep. I remember Strunz and Farrah is one group they played a lot. Another mother of a newborn told me she went to the trouble of finding out what band that was so she could buy the CD.

    332 chars

  91. basset said on August 3, 2011 at 11:57 am

    You mean those are actual bands? I thought it was just generic production music.

    Meanwhile, I will try to hold off on the rants about how awful high school was in never mind what Indiana county… Prospero just hit a nerve, though.

    236 chars

  92. prospero said on August 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Basset@75. Tuition at my HS my senior year was $750, and many kids were on scholarship. I’m sure there were a few kids whose families were rich, but most were decidedly middle class. My dad was a doctor, but we were not rich by any stretch, because he worked in a hospital where the majority of the clientele were UAW members and doctors salaries were about 1/3 of what private practice docs made. Prior to that job he worked for a similarly low salary in a Kaiser Permanente hospital the provided free care for miners in the heart of Appalachia. Before that he made less than $15grand teaching at the U of Arkansas med school. We weren’t rich by any manner of speaking.

    670 chars

  93. LAMary said on August 3, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Basset, check out the website:

    They don’t mention the heavy rotation on the Weather Channel on the website.

    144 chars

  94. basset said on August 3, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Prospero, you miss the point; think about your school’s priorities and what got rewarded compared to mine, and about the attitudes that produced.

    145 chars

  95. Brandon said on August 4, 2011 at 2:24 pm


    I see. I guess they compose and play their music in-house.

    69 chars