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

Monday, April 30, 2007

Forgive Me, World, For I Have Sinned...

I'm sorry, but aren't confessional booths around to protect privacy? Sharing everyone's online confessions on a website with any Tom, Dick, and Harry who surfs along just seems to be a blatant means of titilation rather than salvation. Here's another.

Stereotypes Come About For a Reason.

This news story cheered me up a bit... As long as you look at it as a dog show (but with camels), you're less likely to think of lonely bedouins looking for love...

Au Revoir, Until Next Time, Sandmonkey.

With all this talk of Big Brother, it seems almost fitting that Sandmonkey would be hanging up his keyboard in light of the dangers of being a blogger in Egypt at the moment. This doesn't mean that "they" have won, just that caution is a wise bedfellow in these uncertain times.
It's easy to accuse him of being a quitter when you don't really understand the true threat of living in a society where freedom of thought and expression is not a right and where friends and neighbors can vanish into the clutches of a corrupt police force, leaving you with no higher authority to turn to other than whatever God/s you may believe in.

Good luck, Sam, please be safe and take care of yourself and don't be a hero. You're far more valuable to the cause OUT of jail.

Friday, April 27, 2007

George Would Be Proud.

A number of years ago, the SciFi channel aired a number of short films on a show they called Exposure. It has now grown into something else involving the Sundance Channel and they no longer give access to the old shorts they used to have on that website. I still recall some of them that had an impact on me, and one of them is "Me And The Big Guy". It's a charming little parody of 1984 that can be found on Atom Films. I didn't fully appreciate it until the end, so make sure you watch the whole thing.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Sweet Heat Peanut Dip.

I got this recipe from Meals.com and it went down really well during my baby shower oh so long ago:

6 tablespoons NESTLÉ Table Cream
2 to 4 tablespoons MAGGI TASTE OF ASIA Sweet Chili Sauce
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon chopped roasted peanuts (optional)
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro (optional)
COMBINE table cream, sweet chili sauce and peanut butter in small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve. SPRINKLE with peanuts and cilantro before serving.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Serve with grilled chicken skewers or raw cut vegetables.
Serving Size: 4

I like to add a tiny splash of lime juice to mine.

My Buddy: Big Brother.

I've heard the suggestion more than once... That we should film our students without their knowledge in order to show parents how their lovely little darlings behave. We all dismiss the idea as a possible violation of their rights, but not this lady, and now she's getting into trouble over it. In looking at the article, I thought it was supposed to be "underhandED" and not "underhand", but anyway...

I'm seeing a disparity between the rights of teachers and the rights of their students... Students often secretly record their teachers in order to amass proof of unprofessional behavior. The evidence is brought to light, and the teacher is disciplined appropriately. However, should a teacher wish to do pretty much the same thing, he or she is treated far differently. If the video isn't posted on the Internet or shown on the local Jumbo-tron, I fail to see the real problem.

I am aware, however, of the fear of opening the door to violations of privacy as more and more cameras are pointed in our direction, but if limitations are placed on their use (ie. if a teacher feels the ongoing conditions in the classroom are potentially dangerous and he/she has exhausted all other means of behavior modification and the filming is the next step in the whole process as a means of documentation that can not be argued by subjective parents), then I think it can be used within reason.

People always jump to conclusions that each open door will lead to an inevitable floodgate explosion, but with well-worded legislation, limits can be made. It isn't always an all or nothing situation.

If you do get sick and tired of feeling like a victim of the paparazzi, do what I do and give them a little dance routine. If anyone IS actually watching, it should at least brighten their day a little bit.

A Nerd's Dream Come True.

Right. I've finally decided on where I want to go on vacation.

I'm a little disappointed at how much of the information is based on extrapolation and supposition, but I guess that's the best we can hope for in this day and age.

Please Let Me Pee In Peace.

Where there's a will, there's a way, and the will of deviant students often leads the way to the restrooms.

When I used to work in a Junior High building, students were beaten up in the restrooms, weapons were found in the restroom garbage cans, smoke wafted from the loos, paper towel dispensers were set on fire, and a teacher told me of the time he walked in on a girl who was servicing a NUMBER of boys in the boys' bathroom.

A similar problem with the loos in British schools has led to this proposal to have misted glass walls around each toilet cubicle. It's a sad state of affairs that has led to their having to do this, but I guess it's a fair representation of the type of environment they should expect in prison where their privacy is valued even less if they continue to break rules and put others in danger.

I often use the student's restroom as it is far closer than the staff one, but God knows I HATE overhearing the things that I do. I only wanted to go in for a pee and I come out having to write up a gaggle of class-skippers.

My work never ends. I am the po-po, the Five-oh, and there's no rest for this "Hot Fuzz"... Ooh, that sounded more exciting than I meant!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Clean Up Your F*cking Language.

Somehow I don't think Russel Simmons' decree that all rap should exclude the use of words such as "n*gger", "bitch" and "ho" will go down well. He may lose a lot of artists from his label, so I admire his prioritization of his morals over moolah.
I find it difficult to agree with the censoring of any art form, but it's within his rights to control where his money goes, so good on him.
I can see what the propagation of these negative attitudes can have on the behavior of teenagers and their lowered expectations of themselves, their female peers, and on a race as a whole. I don't know what it would take to diminish these attitudes, but this is a start.

Anyway, I much prefer being called a "whore". I find it more empowering.

"To Whomb It Maye Concern..."

"Pleeze relees Timothy Rouse what has been a very good bouy and has payed his debt to sauceiety."

That's my guess as to what the fax looked like that that was sent to the Kentucky Correctional and Psychiatric Center and allowed the unauthorized release of Mr. Rouse. I would have written it in crayon if I could have.

I bet Michael Scofield is kicking himself.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Shame Your Feline! It's Fun!

I love my cats. I also love laughing at them. What better medium to do this than through Stuff On My Cat? Above is one of my personal favorites. I had seen the start of this website a while ago, and from what I recall it was just guys piling their remotes and beer cans on their kitties and it has evolved into this.

Don Your Hijab!...Or Cape?

Muslim superheroes are making it to the comic book page and I'm looking forward to seeing if they're any good. We've got AKcomics and The 99. I just hope that if the original Arabic text is well-written that nothing is lost in the translation.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sad But Funny!

Based on what little I know of this man, "Gorgeous George", I guess I can't feel too bad that his public access TV program got hijacked by prank callers to the point of being impossible to run. He sounds less than open-minded and comes across as quite the greasy little man, especially when his tone changes as he realizes he has a female caller on the line.

I'm a Muppet! But I Guess You Knew That...

You Are Kermit

Hi, ho! Lovable and friendly, you get along well with everyone you know.
You're a big thinker, and sometimes you over think life's problems.
Don't worry - everyone know's it's not easy being green.
Just remember, time's fun when you're having flies!

A-Number One Photography!

Having grown up in a country with at least two dank little photo studios on every street, I've seen my fair share of cheesy backgrounds and really horrifying "special" effects.
However, this is the first time that the "before" picture is as doctored as the "after" as found on this website.
There's little to compare to the beauties shared on this sadly abandoned blog. Those made me laugh so hard, I cried!

Cheesy photography is an institution in India and as much as I make fun of it, it would be a cruel world indeed if it had never existed. To view such delights as the one below, visit this site.

Forget Your Pints...

... Make mine an anti-oxidant, risk of cancer reducing strawberry daiquiri.
Men, the next time someone laughs at your fruity pink drink, tell them you'd rather be mistaken for a fairy than get cancer. THEN we'll see who's laughing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wanna Be A Hussla?

Fancy yourself a bit of an online entrepreneur? Why not look to the University of Nigeria for their detailed courses on Macro Econimcs, acccounting, and subliminal seduction to name a few.

Don't Be Naive!

My in-box is no stranger to forwards of all kinds... Children dying of cancer or the greed of less than technology-savvy people are meant to urge me to forward them on. The claim is that the e-mail is being tracked so that moneys can be awarded according to how many people are forced to endure the presence of such shite in their mailboxes. Obviously, no such tracking is taking place.
While I may forgive my mother for sending me such forwards in the past, even she has learned what bull they are now that she is wiser in the ways of the Internet. I would forgive her anyway, because she's my mum and she can kick my arse.
Others are not so quick on the uptake and they still believe they're going to get a slice of Gates' squillions of dollars or that the nice Nigerian chap is going to thank them for the use of their bank account with a nice lump of inherited money.
Yesterday, I was sent a forward for one of those well-meaning, but troublingly naive people in the form of a story about little Theodore Stallard and how his teacher's actions changed his life for ever. The story is that his teacher looked into his file and realized that little Teddy was behaving apathetically towards school because his mother had passed away and so she took the time to work with him and, long story short, he becomes a big shot doctor. I've been sent this message before, though not as well-produced (this one had a slideshow of well taken photos to go along with the story), but I decided that this time I was look into it.
Which brings me to my point. For God's sake, people, look things up. It takes barely a moment to find out if the reason something smells suspiciously fishy is because it's a big stinking fish. Anytime there is mention of a last name, use your favorite search engine and find out if the person even exists.
Little Teddy never existed. It's a cute story, sure, and fragments of it are BASED on true events, but please don't believe in everything you're sent.

On the other hand... If you really believe in the honesty and goodness of man, I've got a few million dollars that need a place to stay, so if you'd be so kind... All I need is your social security number, bank account number, and home address.

By the way, baiting scammers has become a source of much amusement and here's an example of the scammer being the one made to look the fool. Here's another. I love it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Role Playing Silliness.

It's a shame this role playing t-shirt isn't funnier... Because I need more t-shirts that tell the world just how much of a geek I am.

Too Late.

Why do schools only want to recognize a serious problem AFTER it's already taken place? As I've said before, our school continues to have multiple means of access for anyone off the street who may bear a grudge and an awful lot of fire power. I bet you nothing will be done about it until we get a maniac of our own storming in here and ruining countless peoples' lives forever.

Monday, April 16, 2007


You're probably already well aware of the bovine political and economic commentary that begins with the words "you have two cows...", but just in case you missed a few (or all) of them entirely, I've reprinted some of my favorites. I skipped on some that I felt were lacking.
My personal favorite is the surrealism one.

ANARCHISM: You have two cows. The cows decide you have no right to do anything with their milk and leave to form their own society.

ANARCHISM: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to take the cows and kill you.

ARISTOCRATISM: You have two cows. You sell both and buy one really big cow - with a pedigree.

ARTIST -- VISUAL: You have two cows. You stuff them and put them in glass display boxes. In London.

BAHRAINISM: You have two cows. Some high government official steals one, milks it, sells the milk and pockets the profit. The government tells you there is just one cow and not enough milk for the people. The people riot and scream death to the government and carry Iranian flags. The Parliament, after thinking for 11 months, decides to employ ten Bahrainis to milk all the cows at the same time to cut back on unemployment.

BRITISH: You have two cows. They are crazy. You try to sell them in Europe.

BRITISH -- MAJOR: You have two cows. One has BSE. You get a vet to give the other one the all clear, and then declare there is no problem from BSE in your country.

BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

CAPITALISM -- AMERICAN: You have two cows. You sell one of them, and buy a bull. The cow and bull have a great love life; you sell the movie rights to Hollywood. Then you go into real estate.

CAPITALISM -- HONG KONG You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt / equity swap with associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax deduction for keeping five cows. The milk rights of six cows are transferred via a Panamanian intermediary to a Cayman Islands company secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who sells the rights to all seven cows' milk back to the listed company. The annual report says that the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. Meanwhile, you kill the two cows because the feng shui is bad.

CENTRALISM: You have two cows. And a problem finding them in the middle of the field with 100,000,000 other cows.

CONSERVATIONISM: You have two cows. You lock them up, and charge people to look at them.

COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both of them and gives you part of the milk. Once.

COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both cows. The government sells the milk in government stores. You can't afford the milk. You wither away.

COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both and gives you spoiled milk.

COMMUNISM -- CAMBODIAN: You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.

COMMUNISM -- CAMBODIAN: You have two cows. The government sends a teenager in a red bandana to shoot them, then he shoots you.

COMMUNISM -- CHINESE: You don't have any cows. The government sets up a joint venture with McDonald's.

COMMUNISM -- CHINESE: You have two cows. You take care of them. The government takes all the milk, but you are encouraged to steal some of it back (before someone else does).

COMMUNISM -- CHINESE - MAO STYLE: You have two pigs. The government launches a campaign to convince you to donate them "voluntarily" to provide meat for workers in the city. The government then declares that people don't need pigs to make pork. Quoting the correct phrases from your little red book, you and your neighbors try to create pork from sheer willpower. Your local party leader reports that you have exceeded all expectations. Your neighbors starve.

COMMUNISM -- CUBAN - CASTRO STYLE: Fidel Castro has two cows. They are F1's, a cross between the Cebu cow and the Holstein cow. Only one cow, "White Udder," works. When she dies she is stuffed and placed in a museum by Castro, "The Dictator of the Cows," where "future generations could admire her magnificent udders." You have not seen cow milk since 1985.

COMMUNISM -- CUBAN: You have two cows. Fidel tells you some undercover CIA agents have infected all of the cows in your region with a foreign disease that kills the cows. You and your family become malnourished. It begins to occur to you that Fidel doesn't know what he is talking about.

COMMUNISM -- CUBAN: You no longer have any cows. They sailed to Miami. You still have no milk - but you do have Fidel.

COMMUNISM -- "PURE": You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

COMMUNISM -- "PURE": You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk. Well, maybe the local bully gets more, or a few neighbors band together to kill you so that there is more milk for everyone else.

COMMUNISM -- SOVIET: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk. Then the government sends you to prison.

COMMUNISM -- SOVIET: You have two cows. You count them and realize you have four cows. You drink more Vodka. You count the cows again and realize you have eleventy six cows. You drink even more Vodka. After a while, you realize that eleventy isn't a real number. You count the cows again and have two cows. You open another bottle of Vodka and try to drown the loss of eleventy four cows.

DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.
DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. A vote is held, and the cows win.
DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. They outvote you 2-1 to ban all meat and dairy products. You go bankrupt.

DEMOCRACY -- AMERICAN (a republic): You have two cows. The government exercises those powers delegated to it by the people, who are sovereign. The majority does not rule because the people and their representatives (elected, appointed and employed) are constrained by various checks and balances, including the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the three co-equal branches of government, and the 50 state republics (see, e.g., Article IV, section 4). So what the government does with your cows and with the milk from those cows depends on the interaction between the people and the checks and balances mentioned above.

DEMOCRACY -- BRITISH: You have two cows. You feed them sheep's brains and they go mad. The government doesn't do anything.

DEMOCRACY -- REPRESENTATIVE: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The government takes both cows and drafts you.

DUBAISM: You have two cows. You create a website for them and advertise them in all magazines. You create a Cow City or Milk Town for them. You sell off their milk before the cows have even been milked to both legitimate and shady investors who hope to resell the non-existent milk for a 100% profit in two years' time. You bring Tiger Woods to milk the cows first to attract attention. Your cows are tended to by underpaid migrant workers and your cows' rights outweight those of your workers.

EGYPTIANISM: You have two cows. Both are voting for Moooooobarak! Or not. He gets “elected” anyway.

EUROPEAN UNIONISM: You have two goats. The EU declares them to be fruit in order to conform to a rare Belgian custom of making Cow Jam (jam being required to have at least 45% fruit).

EUROPEAN UNIONISM: You have two cows. The EU develops a quota system that "limits the gas emissions from flatulent cows." You sell your carbon allotment, not the milk.

FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.

FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes one away and presses it into military service.

FEUDALISM: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

FRISBEETARIANISM: You have two cows. One of them flies up on the roof and gets stuck. You hope the government provides cow ladders.

IDEALISM: You have two cows. You get married and your partner milks them.

INDUSTRIALISM: You have two cows. You dissect them both and figure out how to build a milk-factory instead.

IRAQISM: The British Government sends in a herd of 20 cows in a trial run to help a village outside Basra. The villagers are extremely grateful for the extra milk and the health of the children improves daily. A terrorist group then kidnaps the cows and accuses them of being traitors to "the cause." The terrorists then produce signed confessions from the cows and systematically assassinates each one in front of Al Jazeera television cameras.

KUWAITISM: Upon hearing how popular cows are in the Gulf region, a group of young male Kuwaitis buy a herd. Unfortunately, they attach so many accessories (ski-racks, 3500 watt sub-woofers, nipple lights, etc.) that the cows almost collapse under the weight and/or embarrassment. The herd are all tragically killed in a massive pile-up while their owners are attempting to perform donuts by the Towers.

LEBANONISM: You have two cows. One is owned by Syria and the other is controlled by the government.

LIBERALISM: You have two cows. You sell both to the rich. The government then taxes the rich one cow and gives it to the poor.

LIBERALISM: You have two cows. You give away one cow and get the government to give you a new cow. Then you give them both away.

LIBERTARIANISM: You have two cows. You let them do what they want.
LIBERTARIANISM: Go away. What I do with my cows is none of your business.

MARXISM/LENINISM: The proletarian cows unite and overthrow the bourgeoisie cowherds. The egalitarian democratic cow revolutionary state with the cow party as vanguard disintegrate over time. Marx choked on a veggie-burger before he could explain what happens to the use-value, exchange-value and sign-value of bovine leather.

NAZISM: You have two cows. The government takes both and then shoots you.

NEW DEALISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and pours the milk down the sink. The government insists there is a giant storage tank where all the milk goes.

OMANISM: You have three cows. They are all healthy and produce good quality milk for sale at the market. Unfortunately, your son discovers that the money he received at the market can be used to buy beer. Your grand expansion plans for a new high-tech farm are put on hold indefinitely.

PACIFISM: You have two cows. They stampede you.

PEROTISM: You have two cows. You aren't allowed to sell the milk to Mexico.

PLATONISM: You have two cows. You look for two other cows to milk.

PLATONISM: You have a reflection of two perfect cows. Their milk tastes like water. You look for two real cows to milk.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESSISM: You are associated with (the concept of "ownership" is a symbol of the phallocentric, warmongering, intolerant past) two differently aged (but no less valuable to society) bovines of nonspecified gender.

QATARISM: You have two cows. They've been sitting there for decades and no one realizes that cows can produce milk. You see what Dubai is doing, you go crazy and start milking the heck out of the cows in the shortest time possible. Then you realize no one wanted the milk in the first place.

REDISTRIBUTIONISM: You have two cows. Everyone should have the same amount of cow. The government takes both cows, cuts them up, and spends more than the cows are worth giving everyone a little piece of cow.

SAUDIISM: You have two cows. Since milking the cow involves nipples, the government decides to ban all cows in public. The only method to milk a cow is to have a cow on one side of a curtain and a guy milking the cow on the other side.

SIMPSONISM: Don't have a cow man!

SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes one of them and gives it to your neighbor.

SOCIALISM -- BUREAUCRATIC: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and eggs as the regulations say you should need.

SOCIALISM -- PURE: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.

SOCRATIC METHODISM: How many cows do I have? Why?

SURREALISM: You have two aardvarks. The government paints one green and requires you to take harmonica lessons.

TALIBANISM: You have two cows. At first, the government makes them wear burkas, but later shoots them because "they are Hindu religious symbols."

UNITED NATIONISM: You have two cows. France vetoes you from milking them. The United States and Britain veto the cows from milking you. New Zealand abstains.

YEMENISM: You once had a cow. But then it got kidnapped.

Giving Imus a Run For His Money.

If the author of Avenue Q is to be believed,"Every one's a little bit racist", and this fact can be a source of much amusement to the rest of the world. We balk at inappropriate comments and giggle at the sheer shock value. In a similar vein, I must laugh at the comments made by a German army instructor who tells his soldiers to fire at the enemy as though the targets were African-Americans from the Bronx who insulted their mothers.

I guess that answers my question as to whether or not Germans appreciate "Yo Momma" jokes. Whoever said the Germans didn't have a sense of humor?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

What The Hell Is This In Your Purse??

I've got a plan. Being half Arab, I've been "randomly selected" for extra searching in airports all the time, even prior to Sept. 11th, and each time I try to think of things to put in my luggage in the hopes of making the guy blush as he rifles through it. I put my best underwear on top one year, edible massage oils another, now I have this to look forward to! Rather than be a bit too obvious and put an enormous vibrator in there (far too predictable), something more subtle and confusing such as a Banana Bunker might just do the trick.
If they ask what it's for, I can say:
"It keeps my banana snug," and wink for extra effect.

Hell, if it were my job to go through people's personal belongings, I'd pray for something bizarre and interesting to break up the monotony.

Those Fun-Loving Japanese.

Don't get me wrong, out of all the places in the world the country I would most like to visit is Japan, but I can't help worrying about them when I see segments of their game shows! In this particular show, the point is NOT TO LAUGH. If you get caught laughing, they beat you on the buttocks with a rather frightening looking cane!
In this episode, they have to refrain from giggling at people who struggle with the English language, and I could have EASILY refrained from laughing at that for so many reasons, not the least of which is that the average reading skills of the 9th graders I help teach is about the 4th grade level in one class in particular. That includes both kids who are and are not identified as having special needs.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I finally got sick of hearing students 1 and 2 talk about drugs and got a number of reports all day from other teachers that they were talking about having dime bags so I wrote them up and asked security to come search their lockers. Of course the bastards had to come up to the hallway we were in with the intention of getting to their lockers just as we were about to search them, so they saw me and the gloved security guard. We didn't find anything, but the guard said he could smell a faint trace of weed.

Student 2 just saw me in the hallway just now, glared and hissed "Five-oh". It's their nickname for cops.

Great. I thought I was having a hard time with them before, now it's going to be hell on earth. If you don't see any more posts from me, you'll know I got shanked by some thug on the way to my car!

It's a shame Henson isn't hiring right now...


If you haven't seen the Snuke episode of South Park, this won't mean much to you, but apparently the South Park studio was very excited to receive a "snuke" from the studio that brings us 24.
In looking at their behind-the-scenes photos, I've now learned there are two organizations on Earth that must be fun to work every day... South Park studio and any Sesame/Henson/Muppet related set-up.

A Moment in History Class.

Which state had the highest population before World War II?


Sigh. They had a test on all 50 states (yes, 50, not 52 as some had guessed erroneously) at the start of the year. We do what we can...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ah Back To Work...

I believe in Darwinism.

Here is an example of natural selection I witnessed today:

Student 1: Nah man, it's true, it cleans out your system.

Student 2: Mr. Science Teacher, is it true that bleach cleans out your system?

Science Teacher: No, it burns the insides of your stomach.

Student 1: Nah man, if you gotta take a drug test, you drink a small amount of bleach and it cleans out your system.

Not that I would ever wish harm upon a child, but Student 1 is a known drug dealer and drug addict and it would be in everyone's best interests if his mistaken beliefs led him to be put into suicide watch care. Hopefully he'd still be tweeking and they'd realize it and give him a real system clean out! Nothing like a detox in the morning.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Best Medicine.

In my line of work, nothing can compare to the invaluable gift of laughter and the ability to guffaw at all the slings, arrows, and general shit life may throw at us.

When I started doing volunteer work with individuals with disabilities, I decided to get my start while I was on summer vacation in Britain. I was 14 and decided I'd best ease into it by beginning in a country that had better facilities than I was likely to see back home in the Middle East. I spent two or three days a week helping young adults with disabilities spend their day at the youth center designed for socialization for the handicapped. I mainly spent my time with two fantastic young woman, both of whom made use of wheelchairs.

Shantha desperately wanted children, but admitted that her disability would make it unlikely since she'd had a number of miscarriages. She had made a pair of bootees and often kept them in her pocket. She was almost blind as her vision had deteriorated over the years, but she told me she still remembered what colors looked like, especially when she dreamed. She would often pretend she could see, out of politeness or denial, I'm not sure which, and would remark how pretty people looked or how adorable their children were. She always insisted on "seeing" photos so I learned to make sure she picked them up the right way and I commented on what I could see as though I was supplementing and explaining what she could see rather than blatantly describing them as though she was blind. She seemed to like that.

Sara's disability left her rather like Daniel Day Lewis in My Left Foot, but it was her right foot that she had more control over. Unlike his character though, she was unable to speak and only made guttural sounds or her own form of laughter which sounded like she was gasping for breath.

When I first met Sara, she was lying on the floor with a computer monitor laid a few feet from her face. A keyboard lay under her right foot and it was a regular keyboard, which made her skill even more impressive. Given her very limited control over her body and very spastic movements, it was an enormous feat (no pun intended) for her to type out her sentences, but she persevered and did it anyway. Her foot would waver in the air then come crashing down abruptly. If she hit the wrong key, she was deft at sweeping her foot to the backspace button and begin the process again.

She would also use her feet to sign out letters of the British Sign Language alphabet (BSL), so on my second day there I took off my shoes and tried my best to adapt my shaky, self-taught alphabet to my feet. I had always thought BSL was so impractical because so many of the signs rely on both hands, but it suited Sara just fine because it's easier to form shapes with two feet rather than just one.

She had an IQ of 140, which is apparently what mine is if I'm to believe the online IQ test I took. (Feel free to make use of your own sense of humor here and laugh at my expense). Also like me, she had a fantastically sick sense of humor. She realized just how dreadfully incapable she looked, strapped into her huge wheelchair that provided support to just about every part of her, how her noises did little to betray her intelligence, and how her spastic jerks made her look as though her inability to control her body may extend to her ability to control her mind... Which made it perfect for her to play practical jokes on people who didn't know her!

To permit her communication with us, her right leg was left free of restraint on her wheelchair when we went on outings. She made full use of that by kicking strangers in the ass and then doing her best drooling and grunting expressions she could make to get away with it. The said stranger would initially turn around in anger, see and hear her then look uncomfortable and maybe smile then move away. That girl laughed every single time. It never got old for me either!

Thursday, April 05, 2007


I'm a big fan of The Beatles, so I thought this video of 40 Jewish and 40 Arab children singing Imagine was cute, even though Bill Clinton didn't know the words and rather ruined it all by trying to sing it but he could hardly decline the invitation... Lesser things have led to wars. :)

Okay, so it may not bring about world peace, and all the kids are girls when the boys are the ones who constitute most of the violent actions and need to be the ones involved in bridge-building as opposed to blowing up or seizing and occupying, but it's a start and it's the thought that counts.

The video was sent to me by a fabulous friend of mine who happens to be Jewish and knows I get all teary eyed and girly over stuff like this!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

When I Was But a Wee Student Teacher.

I had some fascinating experiences when I student-taught for a number of months towards the end of my college "education". One that can't be beat is the very first meeting with my second co-operating teacher. A co-operating teacher is the teacher who kindly offers to mentor and observe a student-teacher as he/she gradually takes over her class for a few months in exchange for $100 and the offer to do mindless photocopying and the like.

The first lady was a rather genial older lady who had been teaching for thirty years and joked about keeping wine coolers in the fridge in the classroom. Funnily enough, she wasn't really joking! Being the small world that is is, she happened to recognize the name of the co-operating teacher I was to go to next.

"Oh wow... Mrs. So and So. Heh! You're going to have an interesting time."
"What..? What does that mean? Is she terrible?"
"No, no, not at all... Heheheheh... Do call me and tell me how it goes, promise?"

Not a very encouraging exchange.

Days later, I began my next appointment with my second co-operating teacher, feeling a little nervous but excited at the prospect of teaching at her school. It's a school for creative and performing arts and I knew I'd be excited to hear strains of my favorite musicals down one hall and the barking of dramatic Shakespeareans lines down another.

Her assistant was an extremely sweet and smiley motherly woman with a trim figure and a stunning blaze of red hair. If she was able to work with this "interesting" woman and maintain her soccer-mom apple-pie demeanour, I'd be fine.

My confidence heightened, I walked into the classroom with a little more pep in my step and I smiled warmly at the older woman behind the desk who had a charming grey neat crop of hair cut into a sharp, almost childlike, bob.

"Hi! I'm Student-TeacherLady! Nice to meet you!" I stuck out my hand. My hand hung there. And hung there, in much of the way that bricks don't as Mr. Addams would put it. My main motive for leaving it there as long as I did was because at first I thought she hadn't seen it. I then noticed with some confusion that the co-operating teacher appeared to be pretending to rifle through the papers that choked her desk. Had I done something wrong? From the corner of my eye, I could tell Mrs. Red Head was feeling as awkward as I was as she pretended not to see.

It turns out the poor lady has Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder and doesn't allow anyone to touch her. I felt dreadful. What a way to start! Had someone simply told me (her ASSISTANT perhaps??) I would have easily avoided the whole situation. Thankfully, it didn't dictate the direction our relationship took. If I had a socially crippling disability or disorder, I would hope that I'd be able to have the strength and objectivity to mock it in front of others to let them know that, yes I'm aware of how stupid it may seem, but it's how I am and if they can find the therapy to fix it and are willing to pay the bills, more power to them.

In light of that, Gordon Ramsay should just give in and admit he has fucking Tourette Syndrome. Fuck. Poop. McDonalds.

Short of Having Pig's Blood Dumped On Her Prom Dress...

I can't even begin to imagine the kind of psychological trauma this young girl must be experiencing since she's learned that her abusive 17 year old boyfriend was actually a 30 year old woman. Also, how messed up is the 30 year old?? Geez. And the thought that often goes through my head when I read an article like this: "They didn't even include a picture?"

Top 5 One-Liners

1) "Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!" - Kenneth Williams (Julius Caesar) Carry On Cleo (1964)
2) "He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy." - Terry Jones (Brian's Mum) Life Of Brian (1979)
3) Robert Hays (Ted Striker): "Surely you can't be serious." Leslie Nielsen (Rumack): "I am serious... and don't call me Shirley." - Airplane (1980)
4) "Remember you're fighting for this woman's honour, which is probably more than she ever did." - Groucho Marx (Rufus T Firefly) Duck Soup (1933)
5) "Don't knock masturbation, it's sex with someone I love." - Woody Allen, (Alvy Singer) Annie Hall (1977)

I've seen all but Annie Hall, which is a little disappointing to me. I'd rather think there are a billion amazing one-liners I have yet to hear.

Groucho certainly had some amazing ones... "Last night I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas- I don't know!"

Or Mae West... "Goodness, what diamonds!" "Goodness had nothin' to do with it..." Okay, not a ONE liner because you need the context... She's got a squillion more funny ones too.

I'm sure some real great ones will come to me after I post this.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Always the Teacher.

Even before I gave birth to my fabulously adorable offspring, I had worried that being a teacher would make a dreadful mother. I would turn everything into an educational opportunity and drive my daughter into becoming a screaming rebellious teenager who would set fire to books, get pregnant at 14, and run away to join the circus.

Hopefully she at least won't do the first two things, but I am finding it harder and harder to fight the instinct to teach.

Being the frighteningly oppressive and pushy teacher-mum that I am, I've been showing her the letters of the alphabet on the foam play mat I bought for her when she was a fetus.
"Duh, this is duh." I figure teaching her the sounds of the letters might be easier than the names. She chews on the purple letter D and drools onto the mat. Ah well, it's one way to explore a letter.
"Duh!" she echoed one day. I light up.
"This one is duh, say duh again!"
It's not long before I can ask for "duh" and she pulls it out of the mat and hands it to me. I have a genius child. A teacher's dream come true. This one won't be eating paste, or asking if Apollo 13 is set in space...

Time and again, she is able to retrieve "duh" every time I ask for it. At 10 months old, she has shown me that reading books to her from birth has not been for nought, that teachers really do make good parents.
"Okay Midget, get duh for me again!"
She grabs the letter B.
"Duh!" she announces. She then wanders away unsteadily saying "duh, duh, duh." Apparently, the letter F also makes the sound "duh".
We took her to the zoo: "Duh!" she named every single animal.

It didn't take me long to realize I didn't give a shit that she can't tell me consistently which letter is D at 11 months old because she's a happy, beautiful, healthy baby and I love her so much it hurts (especially when she hands me a book into my EYE) and she'll learn in her own damn time, thank you very much.

And anyway, we all know that in this world, it's good looks that count, so even if she never learns to read, she's set for life ;)