Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Howard Beale

Howard Beale in the movie "Network" in 1976 is credited with uttering one of the most famous phases ever captured on film.  What you may not remember is the rest of the monologue.  Here it is...

I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!' I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

Folks, things in public schools these days are ridiculous.  In Virginia, the state Math test has been made "more rigorous."  Why?  I suspect it's because children were mastering the old tests and the 100% Doom-Line was only two years away  (you know..the date when 100% of all students needed to pass 100% of all tests).  How would it look if the Doom-Line came and no one met doom?  Last week I had one of my third graders take six hours to finish the blasted thing.  Most children were taking between three and four hours.  What kind of child abuse is that?  If a parent had locked a child away in a room for six hours without a break, a meal, or fresh air...I suspect that they'd be charged with child abuse.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Regarding Memorial Day

Carmel Beach  Photo by Sam Ryder
I've been trying to avoid thinking about this day. Memorial Day is an oft misunderstood holiday. Many believe that it's a time to thank a vet or a current service member, but, while that's never a bad thing to do, it's not really a day designed for that sort of celebration. Instead, Memorial Day (Decoration Day) was instituted to honor those who have fallen in service of their country.

Today, I affixed a Marine Corps flag to the side of my house. I hadn't done this previously because I was trying to bury the thought that my son is out there serving in the most dangerous of zones doing the most dangerous of things. It's hard to explain, but my pride and emotion got the better of me today. I had approached his deployment by buckling down and trying not to think about what he's doing. It seems to me that the best way to make it through this period is to become numb to it. But today, I allowed the emotion to get to me. I am so very proud of him for choosing a life that he could have easily avoided and shunted. He could have done anything with his VT college degree, but he chose early on that his country is worth personally defending. On this day, I lift my head and publicly ask God to protect him. All other days, I bow my head in quiet silence and pray that God deliver him safely home before Christmas.

I'm so very proud of my daughter-in-law for her service in the Army. She's already safely returned from her first deployment with another in her sights. I can only imagine how hard these deployments are on their young marriage. 

These wars are painful. They aren't easy. They aren't simple black and white. The brave soldiers who have given their lives deserve remembrance at the very least. Each of them believed in service before self. Each of them had hopes, desires, and plans. Each of them gave everything they had. Memorial Day, to me, is a unique day. I'll be glad when it goes away so I can lower my head and plow through the next 7 months.


Sunday, May 06, 2012

Tomato and Pepper Catalog 2012

It's that time of year again.  I've started way too many tomato and pepper plants for my personal use, so I'm selling the rest.  This year,  I suspect due to advanced aging, I forgot to plant my hot peppers.  I discovered this error shortly after I tried to murder about a third of my tomato plants by burning them with chicken poop fertilizer.  But, I saved many and replanted others.  The replanted tomatoes are coming along and will be ready in about three weeks.  The hot peppers have germinated and are trying to get bigger.  They'll be ready late in the month as well.

You can view the full, expansive and entertaining catalog from my dropbox.


Friday, May 04, 2012

Kentucky Derby 2012

Well, it's almost Derby Day 2012.   I thought I'd drop in long enough to share the ARFTCHC analysis by The Annoyed Handicapper.

Visit my Dropbox Links below


Part 1

Part 2

May the horse be with you.