Disclaimer: Some content is inappropriate for readers under 18 years of age or those offended by swear words, references to sexuality, atheism, and libertarianism.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Sadly, I find it thoroughly entertaining to go through the photos of the t-shirts on Threadless' website. My recent purchase made me laugh! It's a t-shirt showing an elated Buddhist, Christian, Jew and Muslim leaping in the air, hand in hand, with looks of glee on their faces! I love it! I got a few more too. I love the concept of the designs being made by various people. It's like buying artwork, especially since they are only on sale for a limited time. I wanted to get the one that said "Allow me to explain through interpretive dance", but it was retired. :( Ah well.


If ANYONE out there knows where I can find Fanfare chocolates, I will cover you from head to toe in warm gratitude and kisses! :P It was a favorite of mine and had a golden wrapper and inside was a little plastic tray of about five fingers of hazelnut chocolate wrapped in a wafer thin tube and covered with milk chocolate. Oh my GOD I miss those so much! They don't sell them in my old hometown anymore, so I can't even look forward to them when I visit my family. I did a brief search on the Internet and didn't really come up with anything.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Worm Quartet Wisdom

If I were to write a song about a crazy ex-girlfriend, I would wish it could be as good as Worm Quartet's "Great Idea For a Song." The premise is that he wishes his ex's name had rhymed with something horrendous to provide him with a chance to write a song in her "honor". The following is the part of the song where he rattles off names that would have given him such a creative opportunity:

"Oh your name…might as well
Rhyme with psycho whore from south of hell
Cuz of all the crap you put me through back then
Oh if only your mom and dad
Had named you something that rhymed with “walking talking maxipad”
Think of all the clever tunes I could have penned
Cuz Becky rhymes with yecky
And Missy rhymes with pissy
And Susie rhymes with floozie
And Patty rhymes with fatty
Elizabeth rhymes with kiss-of-death
And Eleanor rhymes with smelly whore
And Marigold rhymes with hairy-holed
And Lauren rhymes with scorin’
Celia Linda Park rhymes with “Feel ya in the dark”
Daisy Rhoda York rhymes with “Easy ho ta pork”
Rhonda Lynn Mae Stutback rhymes with “Fondlin’ my buttcrack”
I’d pay you to change your name to Shelly Hunt"
Great Idea For a Song by Tim Crist aka Shoebox of Worm Quartet.

Happy Black History Month?

I don't know how to handle racism within a single race, and I'm not talking about Jeff Foxworthy jibes about his own "Red neck" breed. I've seen bleach soaps marketed towards South Western Asians intended to lighten skin, and I've heard how beautiful and "fair" girls can be, but how do we stop such perceptions?

I have been stunned over the years of teaching to hear the following comments made about black individuals BY black individuals:

In college- "You gonna be RA? Maybe of the ghetto." Said mockingly of a young African-American girl who aspired to be the residential assistant on the freshman floor at the dorms. The bully laughed at her every time she raised her hand to answer a question in class and said she was trying too hard to be "white". The girl passed, the bully didn't.

In a junior high school- "He not cute, he too black."

Also in a JH- "The light skinneded girls are pretty. You is a monkey." A dark skinned girl I taught was mocked frequently by a lighter skinned peer. I frequently hear students refer to each other as monkeys. Oh and the additional 'ed' in "skinneded" is intentional.

In high school- "She tryin' to sound white, like she better than us." Said of an African-American female I worked with one year.

Also in HS- "Why Ms. So-and-So act so white all the time? She always pickin' on me."

Also in HS- "He retarded. They shouldn't let black people teach, they stupid. We black and he should help us, let us do what we want, let us play around." Said YESTERDAY about an African-American teacher who runs a very tight ship and teaches quite well.

When I first began teaching here in the States, I told students who said such things that I would not tolerate racist comments in my presence and that I can't believe people would say such things about their own race. Leaving out the whole calling-each-other-the-n-word thing, I was surprised they would perpetuate something their grandparents had fought so hard to rid themselves of. Oh, but it's not racism, apparently they can say that about each other- they laugh in response. I asked one of our recent previous bosses once, an African-American man, what should I do? How should I respond to this? He laughed and didn't really have an answer. I like the boss I have right now much better.

It is so damaging to hear any sort of bullying, let alone a form whose sole intention is to make a child feel ashamed of his/her African-American heritage. I continue to tell them to stop, and I continue to get the laughing in response, but at least I let the bullied student know that I won't stand for that kind of crap, that I will stand up for him/her and that I believe them capable of what others may not.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Kite Runner

Having read The Swallows of Kabul, I was interested to read the perspective of an Afghan ex-pat in Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner.

The Kite Runner presents the memories of a man who grew up in Kabul and turned 18 at the onset of the Russian invasion. Fleeing the country with his father, he leaves many ghostly memories behind but when they continue to haunt him in his new life in San Fransisco, he is forced to face them.

Highly sentimental (and not in a bad way), Hosseini weaves the delicious tangible, edible, olfactory, and audible strands into a tapestry backdrop and it made me wonder how many of these memories actually belonged to the author and not just his protagnist.

While it seemed to depict one disaster after another, and he presents such finality with the use of phrases along the lines of "It would be the last time...", "...I'd never see him again", "...it would be the last..." it came across as less nihilistic than The Swallows of Kabul. I wondered how much more I would learn about life in Afghanistan and I was fascinated to learn about the words in their language that were related to words I am familiar with in the Arabic language. I'm into language in that respect.
Quite enjoyable, but I must move on to a different genre to expand my horizons further!

Some Are More Equal Than Others.

I had a really interesting dream this past weekend. I dreamed all these people were being called to a huge meeting in some cavernous hall and we were being segregated into groups. Those with any amount of German blood into one, and all the others in another. Those with German ancestry were seated in a neat circle and I recognized them as people I knew and people I worked with, only they didn't look at me the same way any more. I knew it wasn't as bad as it was going to get, but I could see the beginnings of sneers and looks of superiority and disdain in their eyes. They were a mix of races, but had isolated themselves based on one superficial characteristic and used it as a means of isolation more than a means of identification.

In reality, I have a little Austrian in me (that's what she said), and I have no bone to pick with Germans, but obviously my dream was inspired by historical events, though purity wasn't an issue.

As someone who has never really felt part of one specific group, it was unpleasant to feel actively excluded from such a large one. I'm so lucky that I usually get to surround myself with such an amalgamation of various races, religions, and personality types that I always feel a part of something. As a child, I was pushed into so many molds into which I just didn't fit and was even fed the kind of lessons of superiority that I thankfully had enough sense to ignore.

Because we all know the real truth, don't we? If it's not Scottish, it's CRAP.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Bingo For Teachers!

I was forwarded this today and it made me smile. It can be easily adapted to meet whatever form of workshop you're required to attend for your work.



Do you keep falling asleep in teacher meetings and in-services? Here's a way to change all of that.

1. Before (or during) your next meeting, in-service or staff development, prepare yourself by drawing a square. I find that 5" x 5" is a good size. Divide the card into columns-five across and five down. That will give you 25 one-inch blocks.

2. Write one of the following words/phrases in each block:* no child left behind * test scores* core competencies *communication *standards * multiple exposures * benchmarks* proactive * win-win * think outside the box *action plan* result-driven * assessments * knowledge base * at the end of the day * touch base * mindset* differentiated * retention * skills * background knowledge* effective learning * exemplars * implementation * reflection *modifications

3. Check off the appropriate block when you hear one of those words/phrases.

4. When you get five blocks horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, stand up and shout "BULLSHIT!"

***TESTIMONIALS from satisfied "Bullshit Bingo" players***

-- "I had been in the meeting for only five minutes when I won." - Adam W., Atlanta

-- "My attention span at inservices has improved dramatically." - David T., Orlando

-- "What a gas! Staff development will never be the same for me after my first win." - Dan J., New York City

-- "The atmosphere was tense in the last inservice as 14 of us waited for the fifth box." - Ben G, Denver

-- "The speaker was stunned as eight of us screamed 'BULLSHIT!' for the third time in two hours.

--"The Bullshit Bingo Championship will be played at the next inservice." - Rod H., Nashville

The Wonder That Is Shoebox

Shoebox is the lead (and only) singer of the one-man-band Wormquartet. I think he's absolutely hilarious and writes some pretty witty lyrics (and some not as witty, but still funny, that involve his ass, nipples, or cucumbers). I've decide that putting a link to his site isn't enough, so I'm going to post a quote from his songs every once in a while in the hopes of:

a) Bringing a smile to your face.
b) Encourage you to buy his albums so he can feed his starving child.

From his song "I'm Gonna Procreate"

"I’ve gotten the impression, since I was in preschool
That some people are opposed to my wading in the gene pool
They’ve mostly been subtle hints, but it sure raised my suspicions
When 300 protestors showed up on my lawn and showed me their signed petitions

By Tim Crist (Aka Shoebox)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sadistic Bastards.

I love the last line of this article about the torture of suspects by Egyptian police:

"The authorities say they are investigating. "

Um. The same authorities who condone the sodomy and torture of prisoners/suspects and even sentence the abused to serve a sentence for "resisting authority"? Well, thank fuck for that. And I was afraid they wouldn't address this atrocity seriously.

Bloggers Beware

Sandmonkey has also been following the trial of an Egyptian blogger named Abdel Karim Nabil who was accused of insulting Islam in his blog as he criticised important Isalmic officials and is facing a four year prison sentence. He's a brave man and I fear the Orwellian implications.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Gotta Love The Japanese.

I have found yet another reason to want to visit Japan. The Festival Of The Naked. Nuff said. However, it is false advertising. They're not actually naked. Either way, these chaps look like they're having loads of fun.

Bus Yoga!

I can't imagine the fear that the Israelis and Palestinians live with each day with bombs going off all around them, so I can understand the popularity of doing yoga on a bus, but I don't think any amount of regulated breathing or assuming the lotus position would be of much help if a homemade pipe-bomb were to explode under my butt.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Do You Havidol?

It's a little sad when people assume a parody is a sincere expression of opinion, but it's downright depressing when people failed to see the satire in this artist's creation of a fake drug for a fake illness.

I guess with all the fantastic acronym's everyone throws around nowadays, this one wouldn't be too out of place!

I frequently have students who suffer from the dependancy associated with being an Attention Seeking Student. I've got LOADS of those.

Oh The Weather Outsite Is Frightful...

Last week, as I drove home, I was struck by how absolutely beautiful my journey was because of all the sparkling ice that adorned all the trees on either side of the highway. I almost drifted onto the shoulder it was so awe-inspiring, though it would probably pale in comparison to these frosty sights.

Lucky, Lucky Bastard.

I wouldn't want to even try to calculate the odds on this guy's luck. I covet his luck. I covet his luck like hell.

Read The Fine Print

I absolutely despise false advertising, so I was delighted to learn of the existence of this website which exposes the fine print you may struggle to read, let alone absorb and understand. Look up your favorite products and find out what they've been hiding from you!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Gloomy Sunday

I adore eerie stories, and though I've yet to see (and hence believe in) ghosts, I satisfy myself with tales that run a chill down my spine. One of my favorite stories is that behind the song "Gloomy Sunday". I often enjoy finding covers of songs I like and have quite a few versions of this one. The Heater Nova version here on You Tube is one of the many I've acquired over the years. Actually, I had initially found an instrumental one and was later surprised to find it had been altered to act as Heather's backing track. The cello was a perfect choice as it sounds as mournful as a man weeping.

In college, I had to take a philosophy class and so picked "The Philosophy Of Art". For my assignment, I had to compare two pieces of related art, so I choice the instrumental and the Sarah McLachlan's versions and did a fairly cool presentation, if I do say so myself, sharing the story of the string of suicides, dubbing it the "Hungarian Suicide Song"; how Billie Holiday's version had to have a sappy, happy addition made to it before the radio station would permit its airing in the era of America's climb out of the Depression onto the stage of World War II.

While my Sunday wasn't the least bit gloomy beyond the snowy skies overhead, I thought I'd share my rather Gothic interest in creepy stories!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Unconventional Means.

Within reason, I'll do a lot of weird things to get my kids to learn. Today, a colleague of mine was a witness to such embarrassment.

TeacherLady: Precipice?
Sweet Student: I dunno. Man, how am I going to remember that one?
TeacherLady: It means 'a steep cliff'. Um. Okay. I know this sounds dreadful, but you know how the last syllable sounds like 'piss'? Imagine a guy is peeing over the edge of this steep cliff.

I saw her eyes dart towards the door over my shoulder. I KNEW someone was there, but I had started my point and I was going to finish it! Her eyes looked back at me. The person must have left after hearing me talk about pissing off of cliffs. I had to keep things rolling.

TeacherLady: Precipice?
Sweet Student: A steep cliff!
TeacherLady: I bet someone was just looking at me really weirdly and wondering why I'm talking about urination with a student, right?
Sweet Student: (Nodding). Uhu. Yup.
TeacherLady: Great.

I found out who it was an explained myself. Thankfully he seems to be cool with it, but my cheeks are going to feel hot every time I see him now! Too bad he's in the class right next door!

By the way... She aced her vocabulary quiz.

Hidden Messages.

You know what's weird...? I'm more impressed by the stories mentioned in here about the Ancient Greeks' hidden message capabilities than that of the modern-day Japanese concept. I could just imagine a dramatic scene in a movie where a guy's head is shaved to reveal a message tattooed to his scalp!

The Shorter The Better?

I'm sick of Broadway spewing out revival after revival (or worse, basing their shows on average movies for lack of new ideas), but I'm also sick of Hollywood doing the same thing with remakes. Shortening the name of a previously made movie is NOT cool, nor does it impress me in its feeble attempt at creativity.

Guess Who.
Invasion. (...Of the Body Snatchers. They're remaking it again.)

I guess we should be grateful they didn't shorten Gone With The Wind to just Wind.

There's probably more, but I don't want to lose my breakfast thinking about them.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

I got my husband a gift card to get a massage at a salon for men run by hot chicks. Yep, I'm just THAT confident in myself. Or delusional. One or the other. Either way, I'm happy.

It's been weird not going to work for the past few days because of snow. I'd rather have my snow days spread out since we only get so many before they have to start extending the school year into the summer. Growing up in the Middle East, we had "rain days" when the inadequate drainage of the school building meant the place was flooded for a while. I feel bad for today's kids because I understand improvements have been made so that doesn't happen anymore.

*** Possible Spoiler for The Purple Rose of Cairo ***

Since my husband was working today, I watched The Purple Rose of Cairo which has been sitting on my TiVo forever. Perhaps if I'd known it was about the fact that wish fulfillment is but a dream and escapism is only as long as reality permits, I may not have chosen to watch it on a day that's supposed to inspire romance, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It struck me as a movie that would be just as good as a short since the message was pretty to the point and the subplots were more like cardboard cutouts set in the background to add a little more depth. I must admit, it reminded me of the fantasy I used to have about some intense, charismatic, witty, intelligent guy staring longingly at me across a crowded room and falling instantly in love with me before he even knew my name... However, he doesn't go on to do that thing all guys in movies in the thirties and forties did to their women- grab me by the shoulders and shake me saying something along the lines of "I love ya, I tell you, I didn't wanna... You hear me? I LOVE ya!" then mash his mouth against mine at the risk of knocking my teeth out, slipping a disk in my back, and crushing my skull in his grip. Yeah. I'm funny like that.

I'm still occasionally adding movies to my list, so feel free to make recommendations/suggestions/comments.

May the night bring you dreams of romance.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Dirty Laundry.

As I've said before, I could never hew to any one religion simply because I would never be able to believe all of the philosophies behind any of them, and if I discount one part of it as being inaccurate or archaic, who's to say the rest of it isn't erroneous too?

However, I think it's perfectly acceptable to embrace the positive aspects of a religion with the intention of improving oneself as a human being, a productive member of society, and a contributor to the development of humanity as a whole.

On the other hand, if your religion has beliefs that you find archaic, describe them as such rather than shrug or get defensive to the point of blindness. You can't pretend that certain passages and quotes don't exist and that certain crimes against humanity aren't carried out under the guise of religious doctrines.

This article may offend if you are not willing to accept that people sometimes do shitty things in the name of Allah, and almost as bad, that other people ignore it or claim it's bigotry to expose these points to the world. Don't get me wrong, on the other side of the fence you've got "God Hates Fags" freaks who commit enormous acts of stupidity in the name of their beliefs, so I'm not just limiting my complaints to Muslim fundamentalists alone (emphasis on the third and fourth syllables of "fundamentalists").

If people would be more willing to accept the truth that all humanity is flawed, fewer would adopt the holier-than-thou attitude that only ever leads of death and destruction.

Is that a Bomb in Your Bag Or Are You Pleased To See Me?

You can only hope someone in the bank did a Nelson-from-the-Simpsons "HA-HA" at this guy's lame attempt to rob it.
I love the captions to the photos these guys have on this website.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Joooin Uuusss...!

I think the plan to have a bunch of strangers meet up, dressed as zombies, and shuffle their way through London sounds like a fab idea! I'd just love to see the reactions of those who aren't in on it. I'd hope for something akin to the response to Orson Welles' War of the Worlds production!

Apparently this has been done in North America too, San Fransisco, Vancouver and even outside the American Idol auditions. Maybe it's time for the undead to walk YOUR streets!

Molecular Gastronomy

A new craze is sweeping through the culinary world and it's called Molecular Gastronomy. Basically, it's turning kitchens into chemistry labs, breaking down the principals of taste into its fundamental components of the combination of chemicals and substances to produce creative dishes that surprise and delight the palate. Being a poor bugger, I've never actually tried any of that fancy schmancy stuff, but I've seen a lot about it on the telly. I don't mind, but as soon as I see the words "high fructose corn syrup", I'm running a mile.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Curiouser and Curiouser.

I've seen some weird things on eBay before, but this is a new one on me.

Get Thee To a Nunnery!

It's a shame that in the modern country of the United States, you can't say the word "vagina" without having some freakish puritan jumping down your throat. If the lady in the following article was truly wigging out because her niece asked her what a vagina was, she's got problems. Changing the name of the show to "Hoohaa" Monologues is just farcical. What's to stop her niece from now having to ask what the hell a "hoohaa" is?

I guess we should be thankful she didn't ask the author of the play to be stoned to death for being a harlot.

About half the population of the world should thus be ashamed at their possession of such a beastly anatomical feature and should promptly whip themselves, bathe in bleach, and beg forgiveness for owning a dreaded "hoohaa".

Her Moans.

I have come to the conclusion that being a woman kinda sucks. At the risk of sounding like a feminazi who's about to yap on and on about the abuse and oppression of women in this testosterone driven world, let me clarify: Hormones.

While I have NEVER used hormones as an excuse for being a bitch in the past, I will now.

Having been a co-producer in the creation of a beautiful little person and having breast-fed that perfect little person for 6 months, mine are fluctuating like you wouldn't believe. I figured going back on the Pill would level things out. WRONG! The most stupid things can move me to tears and I've caught myself staring off, feeling... Well... Not much of anything at all. However, I now know why the Pill is effective in its primary purpose of preventing conception... It can reduce a woman's sex drive to that of castrated monk with no interests beyond that of building model airplanes.

It's now that I understand what my ADHD students mean when they say that their medications make them feel "not like myself". I feel guilty for all the times I thought "Well, the meds do what they're supposed to do, they're a success, so why fight them?" Thankfully, I never said anything like that out loud. I hate not feeling like myself, and I know my husband certainly hates it too! We both miss that naughty, naughty girl and hopefully, when a new option comes along, we will celebrate her return someday. With a spanking.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Swallows of Kabul

Algerian army officer Mohamed Moulessehoul used the pseudonym Yasmina Khadra to pen The Swallows of Kabul to avoid having to submit it to military censors.
The tale intertwines the lives of two men and their wives and follows them in a manner reminiscent of a camera dollying behind one man and then as the two strangers bump into each other, follows the other and offers an insight into his life. One is a jailer who has become inured to the sight of public executions, the other is a man who remembers happier times and longs for them again, along with his stunning wife. So beautiful is his wife that she refuses to go out as this would require her to conceal her beauty beneath a burqa.
The language of this novel is nothing short of caustic poetry, painting a vivid illustration of Kabul, Afghanistan, but it may very well have been an excerpt from Dante's Inferno, so bitter is the description. Deprived of basic human rights, the denizens have descended into savagery and live in a sort of suspended animation, forever teetering on the brink of death which few of them fear as it's a damn sight better than the existence they lead. Death is pretty much their only constant companion through the invasion of the Russians, disease, executions, and poverty.
It seems fitting that such a nihilistic work was originally written in the French language! When a book is translated, I often wonder how much of the credit should be due to the translator. Either way, I look forward to reading more of Moulessehoul's work.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Bling H2O

I wish I could think up a way of milking stupid rich celebrities like this... Bottled water that costs up to $90 at nightclubs. Unless you get a date with the model who is presenting said bottle of water on the website, I seriously doubt it's worth it.

Do You Have a Note Excusing Your Absence?

A bill has been proposed in Texas that would fine and punish parents who fail to show up for scheduled parent-teacher conferences. It has been suggested that this would be a sly way of weeding out illegal immigrants who fear showing up to school functions would reveal themselves to the authorities, but I think it's just a sure-fire way of making shit-loads of cash. I think out of all the parents who failed to show up for scheduled meetings with me, only one has called to inform me that they couldn't make it. I just figure they either forgot or something else came up, I hold no grudges. I certainly wouldn't think to fine them. Well, not unless I got the money....

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Friday Frenzy.

As I've mentioned before, my colleagues make it surprisingly bearable to come to work before 7am even hits the clock. Every Friday, a colleague of mine and I participate in what we call "The Candy Hunt". We scavenge from office to office, like creatures foraging for food in winter time. We shamelessly gallop from hallway to hallway in search of the best treats.
I now see the irony when my students keep asking me where all my candy is for them to stuff their faces with and I reply "Geez, you moochers, go get your own! I'm paving your bright and shiny futures of success after success!"

No one likes a hypocrite.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bread

(Sorry it's in all CAPS, I just cut and paste it from an e-mail sent to me and I can't be arsed to edit it.)
A student brought this is and I had to ask his mother for the recipe. Note: It's better with the nuts because that adds much-needed texture to it. Also note that this does make three pans-worth of the stuff.




Real Life Rocks Part 2

One of my favorite school-related stories is when the math teacher I worked alongside two years ago had to call home on a student.

Person on other end of the line: Hello?

Math teacher: Hello. This is Math Teacher calling from So-and-So High school, may I speak to Not-Too-Bright's mother, please?

Person: Uh. She's not here right now.

Math teacher: Oh. Who is this?

Person/Obviously Not-Too-Bright himself: Uncle.

Math teacher: I'm sorry, who?

Not-Too-Bright: Uncle. Uncle.

Math teacher: Who? Whose uncle?

Not-Too-Bright: MY uncle.

Realization dawns, and Not-Too-Bright hangs up.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Okay. This story isn't supposed to be funny, and of course the intrusion upon a child's innocence is NEVER funny, but HOW this bastard did it just boggles the mind. He's creative, I guess we can give him that. He's also worthless scum. We can give him that too. Along with a sound beating.

For Crying Out Loud.

This is why I want to adopt.

That's Gay.

In a colleague's history class yesterday:

Teacher: What do you call the people who lived along the railways during the depression?
Student: Homos!
Teacher: Uh. That would be hobos.

I recall my arrival to the States less than a decade ago. Someone referred to something as being "gay", and while I understood the word to either be an outdated term for happiness, or for current day homosexuality, I had never heard it used in this context before.

TeacherLady: Does that mean it was good or bad?
College roomie: Uh. It means bad.
TeacherLady: That's a shame.