On prayer in school.

prayerinschool

If you really think we need school-led prayer, then consider the fact that to be legal it would require your kids to participate in prayers by any religion that wishes to be included. Imagine your kids reciting a Islamic or a Hindu prayer. How about a Wiccan spell, which is like prayer in many ways. Shinto prayers can be interesting and, if pressed, I’m sure even us Atheists could come up with something in the way of a Secular Invocation. Would you have a problem with your kids being required to participate in any of those things? If so then shut the fuck up about schools not being allowed to lead kids in your Christian prayers.

Your kid’s elementary assembly is not the place to do a striptease.

In the right time and place getting up and doing a striptease for an audience can be a very liberating and exhilarating experience. In the middle of an elementary school assembly, however, probably isn’t the best choice.

But that didn’t stop 24-year-old Aydrea Meaders of Albany from giving it her best shot:

Police: Woman undressed in front of elementary school assembly – NEWS10 ABC

“It had been going as a terrific event. The cafeteria was full. We probably had about 200 students in there from throughout the school,” said Ron Lesko of the Albany School District.

The school district says Meaders joined in on the assembly – at first just dancing with the students.

“Wasn’t an expected part of the routine but she wasn’t doing anything inappropriate,” said Lesko.

But that’s when things quickly went in the wrong direction

“Suddenly she stepped to the front of the group threw off her coat and stripped from the waist up,” said Lesko.

Staff rushed the stage to protect the kids from seeing naked boobies which would undoubtedly scar them for life and Ms. Meaders was arrested and charged with seven counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child and one count of Public Lewdness.

The article doesn’t say what her motivation was or if she was drunk or high at the time. It could just be that she works up one helluva sweat dancing and finds that dancing topless is the best way to moderate her body temperature. Even so, the potential corrupting influence of naked tits is too much of a risk to allow to go unpunished.

Not much to say at the moment…

So here’s a quick update on what I’m doing.

New semester starts today and I’ll finally be taking my Cisco classes, which was the whole point of going back to school. Two seven and a half week courses back to back so it’s going to move at a breakneck pace. Plus I get out of class five minutes before I start my shift at work. Which means I’ll be a little late to work, but I usually end up staying past the end of my shift anyway so it all works out in the wash. Boss is OK with it and that’s what matters.

Been sending out resumes like complementary breath mints. My contract at Big Dot.Com company comes to an end at the end of April so I don’t have much time left to find someplace else to work. There’s been a fair amount of postings for IT people, but they’re asking for people with a lot more job skills than I currently have. May have to, once again, consider looking out of state for work. Can’t really afford to be out of work for any length of time.

All of that is what has been keeping my attention which is part of why I’ve not been blogging as much lately. I’ll try to devote some more attention to the blog in the coming weeks, but it’s hard to think of stuff to write about when you’re busy preparing for a looming deadline like the one I’m dealing with.

What have you guys been up to?

Back to the daily grind…

Despite my best efforts I didn’t become filthy rich over the two weeks I had off from work so today finds me back behind my desk doing that voodoo that I do, also known as work. I had one voice mail waiting for me and it was from the old lady that doesn’t understand the concept of voice mail who calls every so often looking for “Mike and Cindy” only to wonder why I never say anything after the initial message and beep. Today’s message was: “Oh, I’m sorry. This is the wrong number. I wanted to talk to Mike and Cindy. [short pause] Hello? [longer pause] *Click*”

I’ve not been keeping up with my RSS feeds so I have a couple of thousand entries spread across the blogroll to dig through which should occupy some of the downtime today. We’re surprisingly slow support-wise considering we just got off a two-week break. I thought there’d be a ton of issues to deal with, but so far I’ve only gotten a couple of calls.

Other than that the only other news is the amazing lack of snow we’ve got here considering how much we had at Krismas. We had one day were we broke a record high of 60 degrees and the landscape has looked more like spring than winter since then. We might be getting more snow later this week, but it’s pretty bleak looking out there at the moment.

Lastly the next semester of college classes start next week. Not looking forward to it as it means I’ll be going from work to school Monday through Thursday nights every week for 15 weeks, but it’ll get three more classes out of the way. Decided to go ahead and take the PC Hardware class even though I already know 90% of it (been building my own PCs for years) as there’s still that 10% to fill in the blanks with. If nothing else it’s an easy A. The Windows Server 2003 and ISA classes will actually be new to me, though, so those should be fun. Speaking of classes, my grade for last semester was a solid A giving me the first 4.0 GPA I’ve ever had. Kind of cheated in that I only took the one class and I knew most of it already, but you take your accomplishments where you can find them.

CRISIS IN PORTLAND OREGON! GRADE SCHOOL DROPS PLEDGE FROM CEREMONIES!

It’s shocking, but true! The Commie Pinko Latte sipping Liberal bastards that run the Capitol Hill Elementary school have opted not to have departing fifth graders recite the Pledge of Allegiance during this years ceremony. One local mom is HORRIBLY, HORRIBLY distraught over this injustice:

“I was sad,” said parent Briana Reese. “The flag was sitting up there, you know. Two of the kids went up and they said ‘everybody rise’ and we rose and I thought for just a second ‘oh yeah, we’re going to put our hands on our hearts and we’re going to salute the flag’ – but no.”

Reese had heard that the principal planned to take the pledge out of the ceremony.

“I think that’s what they should be doing – telling kids you should be pledging your allegiance to this country,” said Reese. “This is a great country. You’re here for a reason.”

Yes, the reason you’re here is because your parents were Americans and they had sex. What better way to celebrate your reason for being than to recite your allegiance to a flag at an age where the sentiment is completely lost on you. How the hell can you possibly grow up to be responsible gay-hatin’, Republican votin’, gun totin’ adults if we don’t indoctrinate the living hell out of you by the time you leave the fifth grade? I bet the ACLU is behind this! BURN ‘EM! BURN THE WITCHES!

And just what did they replace the pledge with? Probably some recitals from the Communist Manifesto no doubt!

The pledge was instead replaced with a singing version of the preamble to the Constitution.

Oh. Well. That is a catchy little tune. Still it’s NO REPLACEMENT for the God fearing patriotism to be found in the Pledge! I’m sure EVERYONE is as outraged about this issue as Briana Reese is!

KATU tried repeatedly to talk with Principal Pam Wilson but got no results. However, in an e-mail response to Reese’s questions, she explained the pledge was removed “out of respect for the diversity of religious faiths.”

Some parents support the principal’s decision.

“I think it’s nice to be trying to consider everybody,” said parent Teri Price. “But I don’t think she necessarily meant it to be that controversial. I think she just wanted a change.”

MORE COMMIE PINKO LIBERALS! BURN ‘EM!

Random bits and bobs on life in general.

So after getting an email from an SEB member who was cool enough to look up instructions on how to replace a washer fluid pump on my Grand Prix I went out to Auto Zone and bought a new one to slap in there for about $25. Got home, popped the hood, and started looking around for anything that matched the illustrations included with the instructions. Based on the instructions the washer reservoir should have been easily accessible and the swap of the pump wouldn’t require any tools at all. Except that the reservoir is not easily accessible without tools and, in fact, I couldn’t begin to fathom how the hell I was supposed to reach it. So I went back inside and did a couple of searches online and found two different sets of instructions one of which suggested removing part of the fender guard until you could reach it from underneath and the other suggesting you haul the battery out and reach down from that side. Nether prospect seemed like the sort of thing someone who has no mechanical aptitude at all should be undertaking especially when he doesn’t have access to a garage. Had this been summer time I might have attempted it out there in the driveway, but I opted instead to call a shop today and see if they’d be willing to slap the part in for me for the cost of labor. There’s one not far from home that said sure thing and told me to swing on by immediately after work which I will do.

Speaking of work, they’ve decided to change my location once again. Next week I’ll be working at a site in Ypsilanti Michigan and who knows where the hell I’ll be after that. The week of Christmas I’ll have off though I’ll only be getting paid for Christmas, New Years, and possibly the Eve’s of both though I have to double check on that point. I have no idea what kind of access I’ll have to a terminal in Ypsi so posting may slow down again for a bit, but I’ll try to squeeze more of it in when I get home as per usual. The two weeks here in Milford have been nice because not only have I had access to a terminal, but it’s been somewhat busy with minimal downtime so the day’s have just flown by. There were a couple of days where we didn’t do much as all deployments were on hold while they worked out some nasty bug with one of the builds that was eating user’s data (always a bummer), but otherwise it’s been steady enough that I go home at night feeling like I’ve at least accomplished a thing or two during the day.

The past few mornings I’ve been waking up and feeling like I really don’t know what the hell I’m doing. As a kid I always thought that by the time you reached middle age you’d have figured out what you’re supposed to be doing as though someone handed you a Life Instruction Manual at some point in your late 20’s and pointed you in the right direction, but every day I’m faced with new problems that I haven’t a friggin’ clue how to solve. I’m not talking about my job either, but relationships and career choices and father/husband stuff. For example: Anne and I had a bit of a blow up last night because I managed to hurt her feelings without realizing it. It involved a mistake Courtney made, one that she’s made more than once in the past, that had irritated Anne and I managed to open my mouth and put my foot fully in up to the ankle with a passing comment about it. Anne tried to let it slide, but she eventually came downstairs to confront me about it and I felt totally blindsided by it because I had completely failed to recognize the taste of my own shoe leather at the time I made the comment. This, of course, made me defensive and that, of course, led to a bigger argument which drudged up a lot of stuff we’ve argued about before not the least of which is the fact that I can be an amazingly clueless and insensitive jerk at times. This is a fact I do not deny, but it’s not for lack of trying to improve.

I’ve always been a little obtuse when it came to being able to pick up on subtle emotional cues from other people. It’s a fact I’ve lived with my entire life and probably explains why I went through so many relationships before I found someone who could put up with me enough to actually marry me. By the time I started dating Anne I had completely given up on ever finding anyone to settle down with because I was apparently either too stupid or just plain incapable of holding a relationship together and I was resigned to the idea that I’d be a bachelor for life. Some of it is just the nature of being ADHD, but I’ve managed to improve a bit at a time over the years by learning to think twice before I say things around most people especially if they’re not overly familiar with me. I’m much less blunt with the average person than I once was so I’ve developed a little tact and it has served me pretty well in my career, but around family members I tend to relax and let my guard down which inevitably means I’ll end up pissing someone off sooner or later. It’s not intentional nor is the fact that I often fail to pick up on the fact that I’ve just stepped on someone’s toes, but it appears to the folks I’ve harmed that I just don’t care enough to watch where I’m stomping my feet. It’s a problem I keep working on but am far from having overcome and it’s incredibly frustrating. Inevitably people accuse me of not caring and I can’t get across that that’s not the issue. I do care and I’m not happy that I’m hurting feelings unintentionally, but it’s something I haven’t been able to figure out how to fix.

One of the ongoing sources of tension in my life is my lack of a college degree. This is another area where I often feel overwhelmed because of a number of issues. First off I recognize that it was a mistake to have dropped out of college after only a year and a half back in my 20’s and I recognize that I really need to go back and get at least a bachelors degree in… something. By the same token I also recognize that I should really lose some weight, but I’m not exactly busting my ass to do that, or go back to school. I know what my problem is. Namely I try to avoid things I find unpleasant and I find both attending school and exercising to be unpleasant. I don’t recall what kind of a student I was prior to high school, but my memories of high school are that I struggled with it. Courses I had an interest in, computers for example, I tended to do very well in and I had a hard time with everything else. The weird part is that it’s not an issue of being incapable of doing some of the work, but the fact that even when I do it right I often don’t understand how I managed to accomplish it. Math was a killer for me and the only math class in high school I got an A in was Geometry and I can’t even begin to tell you how the hell I managed to do that other than I’d been programming for awhile at that point and it made a weird sort of sense to me despite the fact that I had to take Algebra twice to get a passing grade. History was another subject I did horribly in which is bizarre because I enjoy reading and watching historical documentaries all the time as an adult.

I think a lot of it has to do with the regimented structure of school leaving me overwhelmed. I’m expected to learn X things by Y date and demonstrate said knowledge on a test at Z time whereas when I’m learning on my own I can take a week or several months to digest the material and absorb it. This isn’t a criticism of how school works so much as an admission that I suck at it. So that’s one thing I worry about. When you add in the fact that I have to figure out what school to attend, what degree I want to pursue, and the fact that I need to do well because it’s costing me money this time around then, well, in all complete honesty, I’d rather not think about it and I end up doing nothing. Maybe it’s laziness—I’ve had plenty of people tell me that’s what my problem is over the years—but I’m not inclined to think so because when I have tasks that I enjoy or have a deep interest in I can work at them all day long. I told Anne last night that going back to school is like a dark storm cloud on the horizon that I’m headed towards. I know I’m going to have to deal with it sooner or later, but I keep trying not to think about it because I don’t know what to do about it. When I get to it I’ll plow through it as best I can because that’s all I really know how to do. Even when I try to plan things I usually end up having to scrap them and just plow through it once push comes to shove. My thoughts are only on doing everything I can to get to the other side of the storm and put it behind me before I get zapped by lightning. I can’t get excited about it because I dread it and I have to really psyche myself up to try and tackle it.

I know why it takes me so long to tackle unpleasant tasks: because I’m trying to find a way around it. I can be a fairly clever guy and I often come up with creative solutions to problems that surprise even me. To go with the storm analogy once more, it’s like I’m biding my time trying to see if there’s a path available that would lead me around the storm rather than straight through the middle of it. I am, indeed, a path of least resistance type of person. I know a lot of folks think that’s a kind of personal failing and I admit it has its drawbacks, but there are also advantages to this approach. Which is not to offer excuses for it, it’s just the way I am and it works for me. For the most part anyway. There are times, however, when I have to roll up my sleeves, take a deep breath, and come to grips with the fact that there’s no way around the problem and that I’ll have to plow right through it. The anxiety that realization brings is only amplified when I feel like I don’t really know what the hell I’m doing. Going back to college is one of those sorts of problems.

So, yeah, too often I feel like I don’t know what the hell I’m doing or, for that matter, am supposed to be doing. I think this is part of why I have a hard time reconciling the fact that I’m a 40 year old guy at the moment. I feel like I should have my shit together a lot better than I do at this point in my life. Like I shouldn’t be so overwhelmed by things other people seem to manage just fine like swapping out a stupid washer pump or going back to school. I’d like to be more like normal people in that regard and I am trying, but so far to little effect. Overall I’m fine with who I am, but I’m trying to improve the rough edges where I can. I don’t know if I’m doing a very good job of it, but I’ll keep trying just the same. I feel like a bit of a fuck up at times, but at least that means I’ve got room to improve.

Well, that’s one way to keep your student’s attention…

Bibb substitute teacher disrobes in front of fourth-grade class – macon.com

A substitute teacher who worked her first day Wednesday at Bruce Elementary School took off all her clothes from the waist down in front of a class of fourth-graders, according to school officials.

“They noticed she started to disrobe,” said Bibb County schools assistant superintendent Sylvia McGee. “From her waist down, she was totally nude.”

McGee said the substitute, whose name was not released, may have been on medication at the time, because after students went to another classroom to tell another teacher, the substitute was found in the classroom “nonresponsive.”

“We’ve never had this to happen,” McGee said.

Depending on the teacher this could either be the best day of school ever or a horribly traumatizing experience. Alas the article doesn’t mention what her hotness quotient happened to be.

Happy Ironically Named Holiday!

Only in America would we have a holiday in honor of working where we celebrate it by taking the day off. Also known as the Excuse-For-The-Last-Trip-Of-The-Summer day, a good chunk of the younger generation starts their school year this week. Summer itself won’t end for a few more weeks, but there’s already hints of the coming fall in the weather. Evening lows have been dropping into the 50’s as of late making for good sleeping, but a need to turn off the fans and pull out the comforter.

I’m spending my day lazing about. How about the rest of you?

Woman claims school’s dress code targets her daughter’s religious beliefs.

It’s somewhat amusing how uppity some Christians can get when their (not so) subtle attempts to proselytize are disrupted by rules they don’t like. Be it taking down Ten Commandment plaques from Government buildings or, say, wearing shirts with religious slogans in violation of a school dress code. It seems that Highland High School in Indiana, like many schools across the nation, have implemented a new dress code requiring students to wear khakis and polo shirts and prohibits shirts with any slogans or logos on them. Teenager Brittany Brown decided to ignore that dress code by wearing a t-shirt promoting her Christian beliefs on four different occasions and was finally suspended on Monday as a result.

Naturally this has led her mother, Tracy Prochnow, to start playing the “poor persecuted Christians” card:

The mother of a student who was suspended for violating her school system’s dress code says the rules unfairly target religion, WRTV in Indianapolis reported.

Prochnow said the school may be violating her daughter’s rights, and she has asked the school board to change the code.

“I don’t believe it matters what she’s wearing—whether it be a T-shirt and jeans or polo and khakis—as to what she’s going to learn,” Prochnow told WRTV.

I’m no big fan of dress codes myself, though given what passes for fashion these days I think some regulation is in order, but she’s got a hard case ahead of her if she really wants to claim that her daughter’s rights are being violated. The courts have ruled on a number of occasions that students have a much more limited right to free speech in a school setting and that schools have a lot of leeway on determining what is an isn’t a reasonable dress code.

The front of Brittany’s T-shirt features a cross and the words “This Shirt Is Illegal In 51 Countries.” The back quotes the Bible’s Romans 1:16: “I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God … the salvation of everyone who believes.”

“The school is basically saying I can’t wear a shirt that talks about Jesus or Christ or God or any religious type of T-shirt because we have to wear a polo,” Brittany said.

The school’s principal, Mark Finger, said the dress code doesn’t target religious beliefs.

“The policy states there are to be no logos or slogans on a shirt,” Finger said.

If the school had a policy that specifically and only limited the ban to shirts with religious messages on them then these folks might have a leg to stand on, but it doesn’t and they don’t. It’s a very reasonable policy and the only reason these folks are upset is because it prevents them from engaging in a silent form of preaching to others. Ah, but there’s an advantage to being part of the majority religion:

A city council member, Ollie Dixon, said he would work to change the policy. It wasn’t clear what changes he would favor.

I wonder if Mr. Dixon would be so keen to get involved if the shirt in question promoted an Islamic or Pagan message. I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts he’d laugh them out of his office.

Smell that? That’s the stench of Christian hypocrisy at its worst.

Taking a four day weekend.

Looks like I’ll have an extended weekend this week, which will be nice considering both Saturday and Sunday will be spent with friends and family celebrating my 40th birthday. I’m taking Monday off to return to the University of Michigan Dental School to take care of a missing filling on the lower left side of my jaw which has made eating a trial. With any luck this’ll be the last dental visit I’ll need before I can land a new job with decent insurance and get back to regular routine visits. Tuesday I’m taking off as we need to register Courtney for her senior year of high school that day. That’ll make you feel old.

It’ll be a bit of a hit to the paycheck, but it has to be done and I’m not that upset that I’ll be getting a little more time off after a busy weekend.