Lessons to be learned.

I was just looking over Kate’s class requests for senior year when I noticed one we stuck in on a whim: “Living on your own,” class content self-explanatory. I pushed for it because in the midst of all those honors and AP classes, a kid has to have one thing that might actually be useful information in years hence, and I’ve been struck many times on how long my high-school health class stayed with me. Just the unit on quackery has stood me in good stead through oat bran, chiropractic, vaccine refusal and “toxins,” among many other ridiculous attempts to part me from my money.

Add to that the fun of seeing the teacher tell us in all seriousness that black men had larger penises than white ones, and I call that a good education.

So when I found the Red Flags of Quackery today, I knew I had to pass it along.

I’m not one of those who believes it’s the schools’ job to teach our children everything, but I’m equally aware that there are some things they just don’t want to learn from their parents, because PARENTS. So if some teacher can handle checkbook-balancing and credit-card smarts, then my hat is off to him or (more likely) her.

Yesterday in comments some of you skated off into a small discussion about teacher tenure, and the coming battle over it. I don’t have a lot of developed thoughts about it, but a few general beliefs. They are: While tenure evolved as a protection for scholarly research that might be unpopular for various reasons, it’s true that secondary teachers can fall victim to the same sorts of popularity crosswinds. Principals change jobs a lot more often than teachers; should they lose their jobs because they had a bad boss for a couple of years? Teacher evaluation systems are still a mess, for good reason — it’s a very difficult job with a million moving parts, and no one has really figured out how to grade them. Do teachers lose their jobs because they have the wrong group of students?

It goes on, but I best keep my mouth shut.

Quick bloggage: Men, sex and guns. From NYMag, so you know where it’s coming from, but:

Rather than back away from the theme, the gun lobby is leaning into it. A recent episode of “Noir,” a National Rifle Association–sponsored web series by a popular YouTube vlogger and gun enthusiast named Colion Noir, features a sexy shot of a woman in Jimmy Choos, alone on a dark street. “Unaffected elegance. Too cool elegance. Not for you elegance, you say. There’s got to be something wrong with her; that attitude, high maintenance, hiding something.” The voice-over continues, “She’s not easy, and she’s not flawless. But she’s never wasted her time thinking about it.” It’s the sort of feminine ideal put forth in a million lad-mag profiles.

“She is the HK MR556.”

Oh, wait. She’s a gun.

Yep. Happy hump day, all.

Posted at 12:29 am in Same ol' same ol' |

51 responses to “Lessons to be learned.”

  1. Sherri said on June 25, 2014 at 12:47 am

    Your high school health class was much better than mine. Mine was taught by the football coach, and my strongest memory is of the day he told us the differences between idiots, morons, and imbeciles. He had IQ cutoffs and everything. I was sitting in the back of the class trying to decide which category to put him in.

    Not to tar all football coaches, though; the football coach he replaced was my math teacher, and he was a great math teacher (though a mediocre football coach.)

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  2. Deborah said on June 25, 2014 at 3:40 am

    I had a design project for the AMA headquarters in Chicago and did a lot of research about them at the time. Combatting quackery was one of the main reasons they existed in their early years. The Internet has brought out a lot of quackery again, if ads on my Facebook page are any indication. Miracle cures and celebrity Doctors abound. Do people actually fall for that?

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  3. Dexter said on June 25, 2014 at 4:24 am

    The only damn thing I remember about health class was Alvin, a classmate, who would get a boner and get anybody and everybody’s attention to point out that yes indeed, he had gotten another hard-on and he wanted everybody to watch as he made the bulge surge and move around against his restraining jeans. And, of course, the class was co-ed, and our teacher loved to assign seating with the girls in the front row so he could look at their legs and hope to see anything else he might get a peek at. I remember the fucker dropping a lot of pencils near the desk chairs so he could bend over and get a nice close look. Yes, and as the decades rolled by and Al Gore was kind enough to invent the internet for us, and old classmates rekindled friendships, that teacher and his perversions were brought up more than a few times.

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  4. Suzanne said on June 25, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Yes, Deborah, people really do “fall for that”, much to my amazement. The anti-vaccine crowd really mystifies me as I’ve known a few people, well educated people, who seriously considered not vaccinating their children.

    We did the driver’s ed book work in health class, leaving summer driving class for, well, driving. I don’t remember discussing quackery, but do remember watching some grainy movie about bloody car wrecks. It was called “Signal 51” or something like that. It was pretty awful.

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  5. Basset said on June 25, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Our ninth-grade shop teacher closed the door one day and told us about “fornification” and other potential pitfalls; I’m sure the girls got a similar lecture.

    Some kind of life-skills or “living on your own” class should be mandatory, I sure coulda used one. Had to settle for boys’ cooking class, and walking out in front of the whole school on awards day to get my prize for being top of the class, a charm-bracelet charm. That and high score on the army classification test (hey, it was a little rural school) must have gotten em talking… i was supposed to be a natural for either electronics tech or helicopter pilot, Vietnam being on at the time, but if the recruiters had seen my math grades and lack of physical coordination they’d have known those were both non-starters.

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  6. alex said on June 25, 2014 at 8:24 am

    I don’t remember health class particularly, but I remember government (a graduation requirement) being taught by an Archie Bunker-ish dolt. The fact that he could be employed as a teacher was more astonishing than any of his wild-eyed anecdotes about the world going to hell in a hand basket, but he wasn’t by any means the first teacher to impress me with an inferior intellect. I’d had some of those as far back as grade school. They didn’t have high-stakes testing in those days, but if these sorts could have been weeded out by such a process the school system would have been well served.

    My dad likes to reminisce about his days at IU law school in the 1950s when he made money in his spare time writing papers for IU education majors without ever having to crack their books or attend their classes.

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 25, 2014 at 8:27 am

    What is a high school education for? That’s the discussion we’re still working out. Because for a generation or two, it was non-controversially to prepare young people to work, and so our classrooms and shop floors were structured and the day was run to get kids out of elementary general education (readin’, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic) from first to eighth grades into a “high” school where you had college prep (mostly preparation for life in office settings) or vocational track (our VOCA/DECA kids actually had a time clock next to the door, and you punched into and out of class).

    The liberal arts ethos of education to form a well-rounded citizen was always more important in some districts than others, and over the latter half of the 20th century it had a heyday in the basic theory of “what is a high school education,” but it was always the first casualty when other “it ought to be mandatory that high school kids should” classes came along. Chunk by chunk, those legislative mandates chipped at arts and literature and rhetoric and philosophy, natural and ethical, while budget reforms chopped at them from the other.

    So now we’re down to a grudgingly accepted model of “high school is preparation for being a hireable, employable young person” while big pieces of it don’t really help employability in today’s economy, and other parts of it border on the inhumane. We teach math that’s useless to the vast majority even of those going to college, reading as a functional skill akin to the calisthenics we no longer provide in phys ed (God forbid we use the vast athletic facilities built into all new high schools for anything that all students use), science & technology is taught in most high schools at the highest level possible with 1990s tools and techniques, and social studies are carved into a patchwork quilt cut up by Statehouse whims over the last thirty years that sap energy and initiative from the best of teachers as they work through an incoherent checklist of mandates (three branches, check; how a bill becomes law, check; the latest list of people the legislature thinks they should know about in political movements, check; the module on the Holocaust wedged into the junior year because it was a pet project of a state senator with a child who was a junior in 2003 when the bill was passed, check).

    And one of my major jobs is to chase after kids who have neither interest nor hope in their futures, and families who are even more resigned to futility, and communicate to them why they shouldn’t keep skipping school and getting tagged in the system as “chronically truant.” Whatever else I might think, the main message being put across by everyone on my side of the table is, again and again, “you’ll never hold an entry level job if you miss more than a day or two a year, so attending classes you hate in a building you loathe is simply good practice for life.” I kid you not, principals and counselors often say it in EXACTLY those words.

    And they have a bit of a point, so I don’t argue.

    But I keep asking, “what is a high school education for?” If we don’t define some major element of it as “a means to prepare you to enjoy and appreciate your life in the world as an autonomous adult,” it’s going to suck. More than it does now, that is.

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  8. beb said on June 25, 2014 at 8:28 am

    The anti-vaccination crowd starts with a known fact and goes crazy with it. When you vaccination tens of millions of kids some small portion of them will react negatively to the vaccine. The anti-vaccers take that small occurrence and conflate it into an epidemic and conclude that vaccination is a bad thing. So now we have epidemics of measles and whooping cough. Thank You helicopter parents.

    By law Big Pharma has to list the counter-indicators to their drugs when advertising on TV. If you bothered to listen to the often huge number of complications that could arise from using their pills it’s a wonder anyone takes meds at all.

    Living on your own as a high school class. This seems like a great idea. Simple sewing (I confess I don’t know how to sew on a button), simple cooking (or at least how to read a cook book), balancing a check book, washing clothes… things kids often don’t learn at home because it’s just as easy for mom to do it for them.

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  9. beb said on June 25, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Jeff, what kind of coffee do you drink that you can knock out the kind of essay @7? Most of us are still wiping the sleep from our eyes and you’re writing better stuff than Mitch Albom.

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  10. coozledad said on June 25, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Pain science has been so hobbled by the war on drugs that its postoperative applications remain dependent on addictive opioids. There have been a couple of times I’ve avoided treatment because of the enormous expense, the likelihood of being incapacitated too long, or not having a particularly helpful outcome. The kicker for me, though, is postoperative meds. The couple of times I’ve had access to them they were brain candy, and if my parents hadn’t been around to eat most of them (Mama? you awake? I didn’t know you even liked The Price is Right!). I could easily have developed illegal substance abuse issues. Having been in bands with smack addicts, I still shudder at adding Fucking intractable prick boring heap of meatmud to my drug CV.

    Acupuncture has helped me. It’s not miraculous, and it’s nowhere near codiene or the dissociatives in terms of deliciousness, but I don’t have to worry about falling off a scaffold or losing a hand while ruminatively operating a mitre saw.

    But here’s an example of how big a hophead I can’t help myself from being: I’ve been watching research about the use of lemon balm suggesting, among other things, improvement in cognitive function and anxiety reduction. It’s taking over the garden anyway, so I’ve been eating it, drinking it, smoking it and finally, vaping it. I built a vape kit from a chemistry supply company that caters to homeschoolers (and probably meth cookers). I have far fewer muscle spasms from an old back injury now, and my lungs are so clean!*

    Next up, vaping passion flower passiflora incarnata. Clinical trials suggest it has the same wallop as benzodiazapenes and it grows wild in the Southeastern US. And right now, law enforcement won’t separate you from your property for drinking or inhaling it.

    But every time I think I might be, as Lenny Bruce put it, “a Louis Pasteur” of inebriation, I find hundreds have already been there first. Junk science is the most thankless.

    *These statements have not been approved by the FDA.

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  11. Deborah said on June 25, 2014 at 9:50 am

    I think we are growing some lemon balm. We didn’t know what it was. It looks like mint but smells like lemon. We also have regular mint which is growing in the same pot, along with some other herbs. We got it at Trader Joes. I’m going to have to try some tea or something, to see if it’s calming. That would help me sleep better, maybe.

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  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 25, 2014 at 9:57 am

    beb, it ain’t writing, it’s getting stuff out of my head before it explodes. Most of it was “written” in interior monologues weeks and months before it seemed pertinent here . . . which is what becomes an overlong post instead of an insightful comment. But it feels good to get it out there, and better to read responses to them, even when someone notices a big hunk o’ stupid I had caught in my thoughts.

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  13. Icarus said on June 25, 2014 at 10:10 am

    one thing I have never understood is why is phys ed graded? It should be pass/fail unless it is designed to level the playing field between regular students and the valedictorian candidates.

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  14. brian stouder said on June 25, 2014 at 10:13 am

    a big hunk o’ stupid

    See – that describes where I am on the spectrum.

    With graduation, I’ve been all caught up in the emotional side of the educational process. The starkness of the endeavor really hit me.

    You’re 18, you’ve completed the requirements, you’re a graduate, goodbye.


    Now what?

    And you’re still a kiddo, and yet you’re transitioning into an adult….what if that is indeed the end of your formal education?

    Yes, this is a free country, and you’re free to fail. Certainly, we don’t want to set kids up to fail, and we don’t want to instill unrealistic goals; and we also don’t want the young folks to aim too low and miss opportunities….

    This is really, really big stuff, and answers aren’t easy, nor readily available.

    But gutting the public education system and reducing the teachers and administrators to WalMart-employee status is absolutely NOT the answer, no matter how “good” the return on investment is to the slicked-back hair crowd from Wall Street or Silicon Valley

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  15. brian stouder said on June 25, 2014 at 10:19 am


    The lead:

    As I watch the education “debate” in America I wonder if we have simply lost our minds. In the cacophony of reform chatter — online programs, charter schools, vouchers, testing, more testing, accountability, Common Core, value-added assessments, blaming teachers, blaming tenure, blaming unions, blaming parents — one can barely hear the children crying out: “Pay attention to us!”

    None of the things on the partial list above will have the slightest effect on the so-called achievement gap or the supposed decline in America’s international education rankings. Every bit of education reform — every think tank remedy proposed by wet-behind-the-ears MBAs, every piece of legislation, every one of these things — is an excuse to continue the unconscionable neglect of our children.

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  16. brian stouder said on June 25, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Another interesting Ravitch post


    the lead:

    The Detroit Free Press is running a week-long series about Michigan’s charter sector. The first story was about a $1 billion industry with no accountability and poor results. Most charters in the state operate for profit.

    The industry’s response? National Heritage Academies, a for-profit charter chain, bought up the advertising space around the story to tout their wares. See the screen shot.

    OK – I’m done! I have today off, and have run a few errands…and now the yard awaits being mowed down, and I must whack my weeds (that sounded vaguely… seedy)

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  17. Connie said on June 25, 2014 at 10:46 am

    I see that Madonna’s daughter Lourdes will be a freshman at the University of Michigan this Fall.

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    • nancy said on June 25, 2014 at 10:54 am

      As I’ve mentioned before, Madonna was my celebrity-pregnancy doppelgänger (every expectant mother needs one), and her baby was born one month before mine. She’s a year ahead in her schooling, though — thanks, Indiana’s earliest-in-the-nation kindergarten-cutoff date!

      Actually, I have no problem with the date, which is June 1. (Children must turn 5 by June 1 to start kindergarten in the fall.) The mothers I know who pushed their “too bright for another year of preschool” kids into kindergarten early didn’t all have great outcomes. But I think it’s amusing, just the same.

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  18. DanB said on June 25, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Rana was just telling me about her tangles with quackery: the amber teething necklace enthusiasts. She’s part of a number of new mother forums (we had a baby last October, by the way) and was telling me about the two groups she couldn’t deal with: the anti-vaxxers and the amber teething necklace folks- and there’s significant overlap between the two. One of the striking things about the amber people is that they don’t argue back against anyone questioning or challenging them; they just ignore them altogether. She’s posted links to a few well-written critiques of them- and it’s as if nothing happened. A real contrast to anti-vaxxers, who can be very argumentative (as well as being a lot more dangerous).

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  19. Deborah said on June 25, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Congratulations on the baby DanB and Rana!

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  20. Connie said on June 25, 2014 at 11:58 am

    So I indulged my curiousity about amber teething necklaces and learned that they are NOT for babies to chew, but just to wear for pain relief. Too weird.

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  21. nancy said on June 25, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    It’s times like this I’m glad to be out of the new-baby maelstrom. Every age figures out a way to punish new mothers, but this one seems particularly cruel.

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  22. alex said on June 25, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    As Indiana goes, so goes the country:


    Or something.

    My partner’s out of town on business all week so we won’t be rushing to the courthouse. Besides, we’d have to drive down to Bloomington or someplace where the court clerks aren’t rabid right-wingers.

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  23. Connie said on June 25, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Another state falls.

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  24. DanB said on June 25, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Our take on the necklaces is that they’re something you can do when your baby is in pain. There really isn’t that much out there for teething babies- maybe they’ll chew on a teething ring (ours basically doesn’t), and then there’s the occasional dose of Tylenol. That’s about it. Putting something “natural” that’s supposed to be absorbed through the skin on feels like you’re doing something, and then confirmation bias and wishful thinking convinces you that it’s working. And then you evangelize to other anxious new mothers.

    I will say that from my somewhat removed perspective, the internet can be both a blessing and a curse for new mothers. It does provide a community and a sounding board. But the way it can intensify that toxic strain of judging new mothers and providing a platform for people absolutely convinced that their mode of parenting is the best and anyone who deviates from it is wrong-wrong-wrong-hurting-their-baby-irreperably can only make an already stressful situation worse. It helps both of us that we’re very much on the old side for first-time parents and have enough confidence to decide that we don’t need to care what strangers on the internet think.

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  25. Kirk said on June 25, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Amber teething necklaces is a new one on me. I’m not surprised to find, after a quick google, that these trinkets are available at anywhere from $10 to $26.99.

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  26. nancy said on June 25, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    There was a couple here in the Metro-D region who had something like 10 children, and lost EVERY last one of them to CPS. They were both a little nuts, and at least one child had died in their care before the state stepped in. She was a type I’ve gotten to know over the years — the woman who is simply in love with the attention and hormones of pregnancy, but quickly loses interest in her children after they’re born and gets to work on the next fetus.

    They received attention because one of their kids died in foster care, which allowed them to wave the bloody flag among the down-on-CPS crowd.

    But the most interesting detail is this: After all their kids had been taken away, she found a place on one of these “user-generated content” websites, writing under a pseudonym, doing what? Dispensing parenting advice! RIMSHOT.

    That seems to tell you everything you need to know about getting advice from strangers on the internet.

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  27. Dorothy said on June 25, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Dan if your baby won’t use a teething ring, try wetting a terry cloth wash cloth, refrigerate it, and then let the baby chew on it a bit. Might help a little. You might have to “guide it” to the tender spot to give her/him the idea.

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  28. Basset said on June 25, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Reba McEntire was Mrs. B’s celebrity doppelgänger, used to see her in the OB’s office. And Vince Gill was my sports injury double, same thing in the orthopedist’s waiting room.

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  29. Judybusy said on June 25, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I think I shared this before, but the wackiest thing I’ve heard in the last year was that drinking camel’s milk would help kids with autism. I heard it during a discussion at a presentation on the disorder last winter. A special-ed teacher shared that one of her student’s moms was adamant the school find camel’s milk for lunchtime. They tried really hard, but couldn’t. Frankly, I would have kindly told her that getting camel’s milk in Minnesota ain’t gonna happen. I think it really fed into her hopes for a false treatment. I did a little bit of searching about it, and yes, there are people out there that really believe it helps.

    One thing I’m thankful for is being taught the scientific method in high school, taking stats in college, and just reading a lot of science-related material for fun. Are there double-blind tests for that camel’s milk? All you’ve got is anecdotal evidence from sad, desperate parents? No. Yes. That’s all you need to know.

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  30. Jeff Borden said on June 25, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    As someone who teaches at the college level, my continued part-time employment is directly related to how the students rate me at the end of every semester. Both Loyola and Oakton Community College have forms students fill out twice per semester, which are then reviewed by the department chairman. Oakton also has another professor sit in on a class every other year, which generates another review and constructive suggestions for improvement. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t work in primary education and, probably, not in secondary education, either. I would’ve trashed my chemistry and French teachers, who were bold enough to give me an F, lol.

    I’m simply not smart enough to figure out how to attract, hire and retain good teachers while firing or retiring the bad ones. Clearly, there are many bad teachers just as there are many bad truck drivers, salespeople, etc. And clearly, unions and tenure can protect the lousy ones while shutting out those who would bring fresh passion and new energy to the task at hand. I’m sure not sold at all on charter schools and I’m actually saddened at the idea of turning education into yet another for-profit venture driven by bottom line concerns. There’s enough controversy and corruption around Michelle Rhee, one of the leading proponents of charters, to make my stomach hurt.

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  31. Charlotte said on June 25, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    We’re finally out of the infant zone with my BFF’s five — but we used to put frozen bananas in these mesh thingies — like a popsicle stick but with a mesh bag over the top. Worked great for the miserable teethers … of course, my mother’s ancient off-the-boat Irish OB/GYN told her to rub our gums with whiskey. Worked, but way to make baby lushes of people …

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  32. Sherri said on June 25, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    The way to deal with teething is to remind yourself, through gritted teeth of your own, that this, too, shall pass.

    There are only three pieces of advice I give soon-to-be mothers. Sleep when the baby sleeps, because sleep can be hard to come by. The difference between a good mom and a bad mom is, the good mom only thinks about throwing the baby out the window. Finally, the days may be long (oh so long!) but the years are short.

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  33. Dexter said on June 25, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Baby talk. The stork abides, this time in Las Vegas, Nevada.
    My step daughter and her tribe moved there , must have been eight years ago I reckon, when the divorce was final and she re-married. Oldest step-granddaughter enrolled in UNLV, was doing fine, then got sick of school and got all tatted up and joined the work-a-day life as a McDonald’s manager. The son joined the US Army and was medically discharged for a bad back. He’s now attempting to “join Metro”, which means he wants to be a Las Vegas PO-leece. And the baby of the bunch, now 19, informed her mom she is gonna have a little bitty baby early next year. It’s so hard, being a single mother , as she will be barely 20 when the child arrives. Like everybody does, she will find a way.

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  34. Joe Kobiela said on June 25, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Ok 31 years ago today at the Garrett legion a couple hundred people including the Fort Wayne Rugby Club showed up and consumed 10 kegs of Budweiser, cake, chips, ham sandwiches, and danced the night away, it was hot like today, but the bride and groom had a great time with all their friends, then after headed to Lake Gage for a nice week alone, except for some one brining up their golden retriever to visit, wouldn’t trade the last 31 for nothing looking forward to 31 more.
    Pilot Joe

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 25, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Amen, Joe! May it be so.

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  36. brian stouder said on June 25, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Congratulations, Joe and Mrs Joe!

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  37. Judybusy said on June 25, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Congratulations, Joe! Although I will admit I had to re-read the honeymoon sentence twice. I thought it said you went to see Lady Gaga. I hope you have many happy years ahead!

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  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 25, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Snoop on Deborah’s neighborhood by bus . . . their tour guides are generally knowledgeable and enjoyable if you’re in that wild and wide open neighborhood.


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  39. Deborah said on June 25, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Jeff tmmo, that woman in the photo who is listed as the contact, Karen Butts, is literally my neighbor in Abiquiu. She and her partner Rebecca, have a small house that they built themselves on the next Mesa over from our land. They have 3 horses. Karen gives all kinds of cool tours at the Ghost Ranch. We gave ourselves New Mexico names a couple of year’s ago, Karen’s is Dusty Butts and mine is Debbie Adobe, I don’t remember the rest.

    Little Bird and I are back from another Dr visit in Albuquerque, that one is Dr number 4, and she is going to refer LB to a 5th one, who hopefully will know more about her condition.

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  40. Dorothy said on June 25, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Happy anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. Pilot Joe! And for those of you keeping track, it’s 6 months ’til Christmas today.

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  41. Deborah said on June 25, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Congrats Joe!

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  42. adrianne said on June 25, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Happy 31st,Pilot and Mrs. Joe!

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  43. Sherri said on June 25, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Congratulations, Pilot Joe!

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  44. Sherri said on June 25, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Combining the ideas of quackery and tenure, I present to you, Dr. Oz!


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  45. Connie said on June 25, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Alex, weddings have happened today in Allen County. http://interactives.wane.com/photomojo/gallery/12933/241923/judge-strikes-indiana-gay-marriage-ban/judge-strikes-indiana-gay-marriage-ban/

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  46. FDChief said on June 25, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Ah, yes, “teacher testing”…I wrote a whole blog post about that back in the day, drawing on the contrast between my time as a public school teacher and as an Army sergeant. (Here’s the post, BTW, if anyone’s interested: http://firedirectioncenter.blogspot.com/2010/08/hot-for-teacher-testing.html)

    But here’s the nut graf:

    “I could have told you that twenty years ago, and saved a lot of money I spent on getting a teaching certificate. Because when I was an Army sergeant part of my evaluation was a graded exercise called an ARTEP. Several months before the ARTEP I would gather my squad for a friendly talk.

    “We’re about to do this graded field problem” I would explain. “We will be graded as a squad but the grade will only reflect on me. The graders will not listen to my explanation of how many of you are gimps, wheezers, chronic self-abusers, morons, gomers, mouth-breathers, learning disabled products of the union between a Marine and a gorilla, the offspring being, of course, a retarded gorilla. They will not believe that the reason we fucked up were because you oxygen thieves were unable to learn. They will blame it on my being unable to teach you.

    Therefore, I will carefully explain everything we will do. I will show you how to do it. I will coach you through it. You will then do it for yourselves, with my direct supervision and correction. Finally we will do it at combat speed.

    After that you have my personal assurance that any subsequent failure on your part, however small, will result in your horrible lingering death, probably involving a red-hot poker and one or more of your bodily orifices.”

    Now I never failed an ARTEP. But this is, in effect, what high-stakes testing will do for teachers and students; make the student fuckups the teachers’ problem.

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  47. Bitter Scribe said on June 25, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Nancy’s old buddy Mitch Albom made a (mercifully) rare appearance in the Chicago Tribune today, with something about how fathers are too important even if lesbians can now get married and have children so there something something my dad was great blah blah happy belated Father’s Day. That man gets paid more to say nothing…

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  48. Jill said on June 25, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Happy anniversary, Pilot and Mrs. Joe!

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  49. alex said on June 25, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Happy anniversary Pilot Joe! Hope you’ll wish me the same one day if my man gets his ass back here before David Long puts his turds in the punch bowl and spoils the celebration. He and talking head wife of ABC affiliate used to be liberals when they lived in W Central and partied with the fags. And smoked dope. They’re now a Tea Party Poster Couple. And have aged about as well as mayonnaise. Fuck you too!

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  50. David Edelstein said on June 29, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    NY Mag “so you know where it’s coming from.” Yes, indeed. National Magazine Award winner for the best magazine in the country last year and in its circulation class for several years running.

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