Entries from blogs tagged with “Technology”

What about bi-sexuals, Mr. President? Where is their right to marriage?

I wasn't particularly surprised when President Obama made the statement about his personal feelings on the issue of gay rights. His opinion that they have every right to be happy in a legal marriage along with all the amenities that affords is held by about half the population.

Marriage: the formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife.

The above definition is about to change. My interest lies in just how far it will.

Wikipedia definition of bisexuality:

'Bisexuality is a sexual behavior or an orientation involving physical or romantic attraction to males and females - especially with regard to men and women. It is one of the three main classifications of sexual orientation, along with a heterosexual and a homosexual orientation - all a part of the heterosexual-homosexual continuum. It has been observed in various human societies and elsewhere in the animal kingdom throughout recorded history.'

Does our President hold the belief that marriage is sanctimonious to a union between two people only? Do you? I know the word monogamy generally comes up in discussion about marriage - gay or otherwise. Can a bi sexual relationship among three consenting adults be classified as monogamous?

I believe as with heterosexual and homosexual individuals, the bi sexual individual is born with the sexual imprint of who they are and where their sexuality lies. The definition of what we hold marriage to be is about to change.....just how far is the change gonna come.

(This is a beginning blog about an ongoing in-depth investigation about bisexuality that I've been undertaking for the past several weeks. I became aware of how predominate it is, when I went out with a gentlemen several weeks ago who decided to place an ad on Craigslist stating we were a married couple seeking another male to participate with us sexually. For clarity sake, I do not consider myself bisexual nor did I encourage the male's action. I was initially shocked and surprised by the overwhelming response my 'friend' received. I decided to not continue my relationship with my acquaintance, but I have subsequently made contact with several of the gentlemen and have been interviewing them about their bi sexuality. They are all married men)


The Heartland Institute Steps in It Big Time.

As most people know the Heartland Institute is staffed and backed by people who are to put it mildly, skeptical about global warming and our species role in climate change. The other month a climate activist admitted getting access to the Institute's e-mails by posing as an Institute board member. The Heartland Institute in response has decided to shoot itself in the foot with an "experimental" set of billboards comparing climate scientists to the Unibomber and other assorted terrorists.

Well the blowback was immediate and the H.I. took down the billboards after even some of their own supporters including insurance companies objected to the campaign. See this article from the Washington Post for details.


A visit to the Institute Website reveals this interesting comment:

Billboards in Chicago paid for by The Heartland Institute point out that some of the world’s most notorious criminals say they “still believe in global warming” – and ask viewers if they do, too. The first digital billboard – along the inbound Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) in Maywood – appeared today.

Really, granted there are extremists on both sides of this issue, but I wonder where the H.I. got their data about the beliefs of the world's most notorious criminals. If their opponents do stoop to name calling...do two wrongs make a right?


Prickly Pear

This is a prickly pear cactus from my garden. It is in a pot but I leave it out all winter since it is supposed to be hardy here in Kansas. Of course with this mild winter and the steady movement north of the hardiness zones due to climate change, the plant certainly was not challenged by this last winter.


You saw it here first.

OK. I know it been a long time since I've posted any photos. I keep meaning to...really, I do.

I happened to see this link on CNN where my idea has been used on a more global scale.

For those of you who don't what I'm talking about, I had a long series (spanning more than 3 years, starting in 2007) where I posted a small photo (or portion thereof) and invited readers to try and identify it. Here is a link to the last (or I'll hopefully say latest?) in that series of posts..

Where did I put that camera anyway....


District Two Kansas Authors Club Writer’s Retreat Enrollment Deadline Rapidly Approaching

retreat: 'the act of withdrawing or going backward (especially to escape something hazardous or unpleasant), withdrawal for prayer and study and mediation, withdrawal of troops, an area where you can be alone, a bugle call, a military signal for withdrawal, a place of privacy, make a retreat from an earlier commitment or activity, pull back, move back, move away for privacy....'

Urban Dictionary - retreat: move forward, progress in self awareness and creativity, the act of writing the best damn prose and/or poetry you ever dreamed possible, to bond with other writers, professional and novice, to enjoy the guidance and camaraderie of like minded and accepting spirits, to delight in the healing and creative aspects of nature, to form new friendships and strengthen existing ones, to become a vessel of newly written material.

Where: scenic Lake Doniphan Conference & Retreat Center, 12856 Doniphan Lake Road, Excelsior Springs, Missouri.

When: June 1 - 3, 2012. Registration forms should be completed and submitted by May 15, 2012, for the June 1-3 retreat.

How much: the one day retreat is available for $65 and includes breakfast and lunch Writers may additionally choose to stay Friday night and/or Saturday nights for an additional fee.

The retreat is sponsored by Kansas Authors Club District Two as a yearly fundraiser, but one need not be a member of KAC to attend. (membership fee is $25 annually)

Background information on KAC:

Kansas Authors Club has several hundred members statewide within the 7 Districts.

District 2 has approximately one hundred members. District Two encompasses the following counties: Anderson, Boubon, Coffey, Franklin, Johnson, Linn, Lyon, Miami, Wyandotte, Osage in addition to Douglas.

The statewide association has been in existence since 1904. The club offers writers from all walks of life the opportunity for a discussion of problems unique to writers. Writers from backgrounds such as creative, technical, academic, journalistic and poetry are welcomed.

Districts offer contests as well as support.

As Susie Nightingale, District Two President, states, "I think the main thing the club provides is networking with other writers and opportunities for improving writing skills."

Well known poet Bill Karnowski will be Master of Ceremonies.

Questions may be directed to Susie Nightingale, District Two President, at swimmer10@sunflower.com or (785) 760-1274.

Additional information can be found at: kansasauthors.org "District Two News"

Reply 1 comment from


You’re celebrating the last stop day, the last prom, the last final and the last day you’ll be a senior.

Graduation day is almost upon us. Soon Lawrence will explode with balloons, grill outs, parents in downtown bars (yeah, we’ve seen you there), cards stuffed with money and students rushing to partake in one last party before they take the next big step.

Duh. Right?

Well, we’re excited for this year’s graduates and want to be a part of the fun. That’s why we’re asking you to share the photos you take on Instagram throughout your graduation festivities. (Keep it PG, though).

It’s called Instagrad. We’re celebrating all of the grads of Lawrence. Grads, moms, friends, little sisters, uncles, roommates and everyone in between can participate.

Here’s the just: Take a photo of your favorite graduate some time during the graduation celebrations with the Instagram app on your mobile phone. Tweet your photo to @LJWorld using either #instagradKU (KU grads) or #instagradLKS (high school and Haskell grads). We’ll be compiling the tweeted photos into an album on the LJWorld.com Facebook page to celebrate all of the graduates in Lawrence.

Until then, good luck on your finals, packing and all that other lame stuff. When the party gets started, don’t forget to Instagrad. (And please don't laugh too much of my dorky grad photo above.)


138th Running of The Kentucky Derby - Under a Full Moon

I know the 138th running of The Kentucky Derby is going to take place this afternoon, not this evening. I also know the way my mind works. Years from now, I'll picture all those pretty thoroughbreds running on a blazin fast track under the largest moon 2012 has ever known.

For now, I won't let the reality of a hard rain falling overnight in Churchill Downs, knowledge of a humid, 86 degree day with continued chance for thunderstorms and a questionable run by some of the horses this morning affect that photo finish I have going on in my mind.

Like most people, I have used several methods of picking Derby winners over the years. I've gone from choosing the filly, merely because she was a filly (Eight Belles was a tragedy), to a pick of the horse reminding me most of the stallion from The Black Stallion series, to just picking one based on best personal, and often heart wrenching, story about jockey and or trainer/owner.

This year, I'm going with the alignment of the stars and the moon as to which horse will be pulled into the winner's circle.

Here we go: the Kentucky Derby is a 1 and 1/4 mile race - ten furlongs (and you can bet your mint julep the track will be fast and dry by gate time), the super moon is 221,802 miles from Earth this evening, it is referred to as the Perigee which sounds like pedigree which remind me of thoroughbred......Have I lost you?

Even the names of the ten most likely horses to win (isn't that a larger than average field), seems to reiterate the cosmic connection: Alpha, Liaison, Creative Cause, El Padrino and SaberCat. (that last because I think cats are cool)

So....I may go with the horse in second post position because of all the twos in the above mentioned series of moon and earth and track alignments, or Liaison, because it sounds like it's meant to be, or Creative Cause, as that is what my life is about, or El Padrino - the Godfather should rule on Cinco De Mayo.........ok, the last didn't work.

Crap, does anyone have a coin I can borrow......


Lawrence Public Library Reading April 25th with Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg: 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Dr. Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Poet Laureate of Kansas, will be reading this evening, April 25th, at the Lawrence Public Library from seven to eight p.m.

April is National Poetry month and Goldberg will be reading old poetry as well as some new material. I for one can't wait to hear some of her new material. Goldberg, whose book, "The Divorce Girl" will be available from Ice Cube Press in July (preorders can be placed by going to www.icepress.com), will be reflecting on a month of poetry.

Goldberg read an excerpt from her novel, "The Divorce Girl" at The Raven bookstore this past Saturday night, and I'm hoping she will find time to read an additional chapter tonight. The book is referred to as 'A story of art and soul' - it certainly is artfully and soulfully written. Main character Deborah Shapiro, a New Jersey teenage photographer, tells the story of her parents' divorce and where that takes her. A coming of age story about a quirky and extremely intelligent teen, Goldberg has found the perfect medium for Shapiro to convey her story. Giving the main character access to the inner most workings of everyone and everything around her through the use of a camera lens is brilliant. The book is as delicately and intricately woven as life itself as the reader follows Shapiro from one hilarious adventure to another. It isn't just about laughs, however. Goldberg brings the same intelligence, compassion, all encompassing acceptance of cultures and the world at large to "The Divorce Girl" that she does to her poetry.

For additional information, call 785-843-1178. The Lawrence Public Library is located at 707 Vermont St. The reading will be in the auditorium.


Google Drive: It’s Official

It's a rumor, no longer. Google Drive was released today.

Google Drive has the potential to become a major resource for local start-ups, team collaborations, business owners, and even for families who like to share photos and videos under the radar of social media.

We have questions for both sides of this new, sparkly cloud service, though: 1) Will people be trusting enough to give up their files to Google and trust its security? and 2) How long until we have to amp up our service to the next tier because we uploaded too much?

Which side are you on? Will you start adding your beloved files to a Google Drive account tonight? Or are you keeping them right where only you can see them on a computer or external hard drive?


Mary Stone Dockery’s Mythology of Touch - a poet to be reckoned with - Reading at The Raven, Saturday, April 21st

If there is one reading you should catch this month (April is National Poetry Month), then it is the one that includes Poet Laureate of Kansas, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg - check out her July release, "The Divorce Girl" www.icecubepress.com, Cassie Premo Steele, South Carolina, reading from her newly released, "Pomeganate Papers", and Mary Stone Dockery reading poetry from a new Woodley Press release, "Mythology of Touch".

I've become a huge fan of Goldberg over the years and have heard her read aloud enough times that I'm able to hear her voice when I read her poems - yes, she is that good. Her poems always leave me feeling like a better person. Though engaging and varied in topic, they are profound, spiritual (in a nontraditional way) and lift me above the human condition. Her absolute love of every living creature, family and Kansas shine through. Even her beautiful sing song delivery lulls me to a peaceful world. She is a healer.

Mary Stone Dockery presents a different style of poetry. Honestly, I wanted to negate it, somehow be able to question how and why someone so young could be winning so many contests (to refresh your memory, Mary won the 2011 Langston Hughes Award), have so many poems in print, and now......a 90 page book of lyrical narrative poetry! Dare I add she is not yet thirty years old?

Mary Stone Dockery grew up in a small town and farming community in NW Missouri, living in St. Joseph and graduating from Missouri Western State University in 2009 with a BA in literature. She married husband Dustin the same year, and they moved to Lawrence because of KU's MFA program. She graduates this May.

Here then are a few lines chosen at random from Mary's Mythology of Touch poem

You have always been cranberry,

soft jazz swaying in front of me

your mouth wings of a moth

carcass that dreams itself

across my shoulder blade.

and an excerpt of a personal favorite of mine...

Almond Milk and Rosemary

...It was another blue bird perched on its marble bath in the backyard then flying away when she whispered its name....another Bob Marley lookalike chaffing his fingers up her thighs and into her, saying, Redemption. It was another bug smashed against a windshield, splattering, oozing across glass, its blackness etching along her ribs, or was that her lung revealed, her kidney, her liver?.....

It was her heart, Mary, your heart revealed. I went to sleep last night trying to think of a reason not to like Mythology of Touch. I woke up filled with new ways to create with words, a new awareness of how words and life can be observed, shared and lived. I have Mary to thank for that.

It's almost 24 hours until I hear Mary Stone Dockery, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and Casssie Premo Steele reading at The Raven, 6 E 7th St., Saturday evening at seven. But who's counting.....

Mythology of Touch may be purchased at The Raven, or online from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It is 12 dollars spent that will change your world forever.


InstaFacebookGram: Storified

As you probably saw last week, Facebook opened up its ginormous wallet and bought the immensely popular mobile-based app Instagram for $1 billion.

And the collective social media sphere let out an “Oh, great.”

It was pretty split on whether that remark was uttered with some shred of optimism or if it was said just before a smartphone was hurled into a wall.

Jokes were aplenty, fears that the app would suffer gained notice, and speculation swirled as to what was to come of the app that had just garnered 5 million downloads for Android in just six days.

We’re still on the fence on this one and are anxiously waiting to see how this plays out. Until then, we’ve compiled some of the chatter we saw on social media as this story unfolded last week on Storify.

Check it out here: http://storify.com/MeganSpreer/instafacebookgram


Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and The Poetry Caravan Cancels Emporia Reading 4-14-2012 due to weather conditions

Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, and members of The Poetry Caravan, has made the decision to reschedule the Emporia, Kansas reading previously scheduled for Saturday, April 14th, at 7:00 p.m. at Emporia State University due to the high probability of tornados and severe thunderstorms forecast to move through the Oklahoma City area and north into the Salina, Kansas regions that evening. Many of the predicted (CNN is reporting a hundred) tornadoes are expected to stay on the ground for a lengthy time period and form after dark.

Goldberg will reschedule the event which called for Art Funding reinstatement for the state of Kansas, as well as readings of BEGIN AGAIN: 150 Kansas Poems and an on-line in concert Renga project, and will announce the date soon.


Saturday, April 14th, READ-OUT, SING-OUT, SPEAK-OUT, ACT-OUT, DANCE-OUT On EARTHCARE Schedule of Events

Well known local poet and educator, Beth Schultz has once again been instrumental in compiling an exciting list of presenters for the fifth annual Earthcare celebration. Presenters will have approximately ten minutes each in which to celebrate good old Mother Earth in about any means they care to.

The following is the list of performers and the times they will perform on the east side of South Park, Lawrence, Kansas, opening with Schultz at nine a.m.

9:00 am Opening: Beth Schultz

9:10 am Sarah Hill Nelson -- Presentation

9:20 am Jean Grant -- Reading

9:30 am Bob Fraga -- Reading

9:40 am John Poertner -- Reading

9:50 am Ronda Miller -Poetry Reading

10:00 am Rick Mitchell -- Reading Rudolf Steiner

10:10 am David Hann -- Reading Stories

10:20 am Roger Martin -- Reading

10:30 am Charles Gruber -- The Directions

10:40 am Ann Haehl -- Story Telling


11:40 am Jerry Jost-- Speaking on Kansas Land Trust

11:50 am Cleta La Brie

12:00 pm Mary McCoy -- Reading on Sandhill Cranes

12:10 pm Kelly Barth -- Reading

12:20 pm Laura Caldwell -- Presentation on Kansas Rivers

12:30 pm Group Poetry Reading includes: Iris Wilkinson, Dixie Lubin, Micki Carroll, Kimberli Eddins, Libby Tempero and Louie Gallaway followed by Iris Wilkinson in separate poems

12:40 pm Micki Carroll -- Reading Poetry

12:50 pm Kimberli Eddins -- Reading Poetry

1:00 pm Dixie Lubin -- Reading Poetry

1:10 pm Libby Tempero -- Reading Poetry

1:20 pm Louie Galloway -- Reading Poetry

1:30 pm Eileen Jones -- Compost Demonstration

1:40 pm Eileen Jones -- Compost Demonstration

1:50 pm Daryl Nickel -- Singing and Guitar

2:00 pm Juliet & Isaac Outka -- Dinosaurs & Other Creatures

2:10 pm Sarah & Sophia Walsh -- Lima Beans & Fossils

2:20 pm Lana Maree & The Prairie Moon Singers

2:30 pm Sandy Sanders -- Research on Nature and Children

2:40 pm Thad Holcombe -- Speaking and Reading

3:00 pm Rabbi Moti Rieber -- Speaking

3:10 pm Dan Bentley -- Speaking on Ecosapiens

3:20 pm Stephanie Barrows-- Reading Poetry

3:30 pm Loring Henderson--Reading

3:40 pm Dee Miller -- Kyoto Solar Cook Stove Demo

3:50 pm Stan Roth reading Paul Jantzen

4:00 pm Soka Gakkai International -- Dramatic Presentation

4:10 pm Elm Dance – Led by Joan Stone

(Reminder): Approximately thirty poets gather from across Kansas in Emporia at 7 p.m., Saturday evening, April 14th, at the Emporia State University Memorial Union (Room Lower 048), for a reading of BEGIN AGAIN: 150 Kansas Poems, the ongoing renga project, singing of "Home On the Range" and a request that the Arts Funding in Kansas be restored.


Poetry Caravan Lands in Emporia at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, April 14th. A call for reinstatement of Arts Funding in Kansas

The Poetry Caravan -- poets published in the Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems edited by Poet Laureate of Kansas Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg -- is landing at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 14th in the Emporia State University Memorial Union (Room Lower 048) to give its 20th reading and call for restored state arts funding. Approximately 30 poets will be caravanning to Emporia State University for the reading from throughout Kansas, both to share their poetic vision of Kansas and their collective belief in state support for the literary arts.

"We have been touring the state since last November when Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems debuted, and the Emporia reading, our 20th statewide event, seemed the perfect moment to speak through our poetry about the importance of the arts," Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg explains. As poet laureate of Kansas, she has continued on in her post despite the loss of the largely dismantled Kansas Arts Commission, which previously housed the state poet laureate program. "We come together from many walks of life because arts matter. Through our poetry, and through how our lives are continually changed for the better by what we write and read, we know how essential the arts are in helping Kansans live lives of connection, meaning and joy.

The poets will each read a poem from the anthology, which was based on 150 poems Mirriam-Goldberg curated on the website www.150KansasPoems.wordpress.com throughout 2011 to celebrate the state's 150th anniversary of statehood. The year, the website, partnered with the national organization America: Now + Here, is focused on a renga entitled "To the Stars Through Difficulty" -- a conversational poem in which 150 Kansas poets each write 10 lines as part of one large poem. Poets reading in Emporia will also read their renga portions, and the readings will conclude with all the poets singing a special version of "Home on the Range."

Poets reading include from Wichita: Roy J. Beckemeyer and Diane Wahto; from Pittsburg: Steve Meats and Olive Sullian; from Lawrence: Karen Ohnesorge, Ronda Miller, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Gary Lechliter, Brian Daldorph, Elizabeth Black, Iris Wilkinson, William Jo Harris, Peter Wright, Nancy Hubble and Ken Lassman; from Hutchinson: Bill Sheldon, Jo McDougall and Daniel Pohl; from the Kansas City area: Al Ortolani, Linda Rodriguez, Maril Crabtree, Donna Wolff, Wyatt Townley, Roderick Townley and Thomas Reynolds; from Emporia: Kevin Rabas; from Leavenworth: Rick Nichols; from Topeka: Carol (for Max) Yoho and Eric McHenry; from Salina: Hazel Hutchinson; from Cawker City: Lee Mick; and from Bridgeport: Jackie Magnuson Ash. ` The reading, organized by Kevin Rabas (one of the poets and a professor at ESU) is free and open to the public and will conclude with a reception.


When should you blog?

A great way for businesses, groups, organizations and individuals to increase their online presence and authority on a subject is to start a blog.

However, after the blog is up and running, some common questions usually pop up.

Am I doing this right? When is the best time for me to put up these posts? How many am I supposed to write in a day? a week? a month?

There are a few best practices in blogging, but of course, these kinds of things will vary based on your audience and subject matter.

However, we stumbled across this great infographic from Kissmetrics, Dan Zarrella and Search Engine Land that laid out some basic ground rules. Their findings report similar data to what we've seen.

*Side note - The trendiness and shareability (yes, I just made that word up) of infographics make it a hot form of content right now. Not only are they easily shared on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, but they're great for Pinterest too.

This infographic highlighted some great information for blog owners and writers. I picked out three main points that I've heard raised as questions recently.

1. When should I post a new blog?

In my own experience, I have found this to be true. Most readers come to blogs in the morning. If I want to have the most traffic on a blog post, I generally try to have it up by at least 8:30am. People tend to like to get their information first thing in the morning. Traffic usually starts tapering down as the day goes on. Granted, this won't be true for certain industries targeting blog readers who work hours that don't allow readership at those times, but for the general public, this seems to be the rule.

2. What day will get the most traffic?

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are the heavy hitters with Monday being the overall winner. Readers seem eager to play catch up after spending a leisurely weekend offline.

3. How often should I post?

The data revealed that bloggers who updated numerous times a day garnered the most unique visits. It makes sense. If your readers are used to frequent, fresh content, they're going to regularly come back for updates.

Are you a blogger? What posting strategies have you found to be the most beneficial in building and maintaining your audience?


Recess: Studies confirm common sense

This article from CNN, describes some elementary schools that reduced or eliminated recess--and parents efforts to rectify the situation.

I recall when my youngest son was in sixth grade here in Lawrence. Recess was eliminated or drastically curtailed because of the time it would take from academics.

Now, having read the article below and reconsidered, I deeply regret not taking action. I'm older, crankier, and more confident that I don't (always) need studies to make decisions. It shouldn't have taken something like this to wake me up. I, and all the other parents in that class, were persuaded that it was for the best.

Let me say now, what I should have said then. THEY'RE SIXTH GRADERS, PEOPLE! Or second graders, or ...

If you have elementary age kids, how much time do they get outside at school? Is this an issue in Lawrence? In my, or actually my son's, case, it was ten years ago. Is it still going on?

Does this have anything to do with the U.S. being the most obese country in the world?

One final, and somewhat satirical question. Is there anything our educational system does right?

(Hey, I know there are a lot of good teachers out there doing their best under difficult conditions).


Redbud Spring

Went to Clinton Lake today to take pictures and enjoy this nice Spring(?) weather. I am going to be really interested in the state March average temperature data. Looks like this month could be a hundred year event. Here is a brief slide show of my pictures from today:



The Timeline Deadline is Here

Is your Facebook business page timeline ready?

Well, ready or not, it's rolling over to the new format tomorrow.

If you haven't already acquainted yourself with the upcoming changes, you're in for some big surprises. Whether they're ideal still has yet to be decided, but they will require you to rework your previous strategies if you were a fan of the page wall and landing tabs in the prior version.

Some of the key changes include:

  • Cover photos that span the top section of the page
  • An admin panel that's mounted to top of the page
  • Posts that are organized in chronological order and easily navigable by year
  • Admins can now post business milestones
  • Posts can be pinned to the top or highlighted on a timeline

The biggest and perhaps, most criticized change is the deletion of a Page's ability to send traffic to a custom tab. In the new Timeline format, your custom tabs still exist, but all traffic must be directed to the timeline. There is no wall anymore, either. It's all on the timeline.

This has the potential to be a great asset to businesses. The new Timeline format has the ability to create an interactive "About" page for your company. You can add the date the company was founded, input old photos of the founders and post stories about past successful product launches. Facebook will allow you to input all of this in chronological order so that your viewers can learn even more about your company and they also can share their own memories within the posts. Early studies on Timeline have shown that it drives more engagement with followers of brands, especially with photos and videos, which are larger in the new format. So if it's used well, your Facebook Timeline page could serve to be one of your company's best assets.

To learn more about Timeline for Pages, Facebook has released a comprehensive guide on the new format.

What do you think of the new Timeline? Love it or hate it?


Abdicating Responsibility


(I consider this to not be one of my usual rants, but an insightful analysis. Your opinions may vary)

Does anyone think that the suggestion in this poll has any merit whatsoever?

Using such a simple method for adjusting, or maybe even determining, teacher salaries is a symptom of the mentality that has come to dominate our dysfunctional culture. Although I suspect, or at least hope, that no one would consider making this the primary factor in determining a teacher's salary, it is just an extension of the common practice of trying to find measurable, and preferably "simple" metrics to free us from having to make difficult decisions.

We all know that decisions like this just aren't simple? Right? Just as in private industry, a supervisor or manager is usually responsibile for determining an employees performance and their worth to the business. This worth equates to the amount of money the company is willing to pay to retain them--at least in theory-- assuming competent management (not a safe assumption).

So why do we think that should be different in education? Because it might not always be fair? Because it could become political?

Guess what, that's life in the real world.

My contention is that our "leaders" most fervent desire is to find ways to avoid responsibility--to put everything they can on someone else. In essence, the goal seems to be to come up with a complex series of rules and policies so that the effort consists of evaluating the problem in the context of those rules and policies instead of looking at the actual facts and merits of the situation under consideration.

Why is it we have to make everything so hard...so complex?

We all know that there are many factors that affect how effective a teacher is, right?

Let's face it, some of our students come from backgrounds where they have tremendous disadvantages, and to expect a teacher to overcome those is criminally naive.

Let's not forget some of the some others. How many teachers have the support of their administration? How many times to they get the backing of their principal or district superintendent when their is a parent complaint? Some students just don't care, while others are motivated to learn on their own. It's a much larger and complex problem than I can do justice to here.

Is it just human nature to look for easy answers to difficult problems?

Has the time when we met challenges head on come to an end?

Are we unwilling to accept the possibility that it is possible for someone to make a decision with the best intentions, using all the information they have, and still have it turn out badly? I see enough decisions turn out badly (enough for hundreds of blog posts), that I'd be happy about a bad decisions, as long as it was acknowledged and the maker learned from it.

Heck, I have to admit I've made bad decisions. I know I leared from at least some of them. Maybe they should be the subject of another post.

Leaders are those people who make decisions and take responsibility. Maybe if we can find some, then everyone else won't really mind because it will just make it easier for the "shirkers" to avoid their responsibilities.


A New Convenience

I write this will sitting on the K-10 connector to Lenexa/Olathe. I started a new job in November of last year and since then have had the mind numbing drive each day from near Stull to College blvd near I-35.

When I first started, the "Jo" routes in Johnson County didn't make using the bus feasible. Recently, though, they have extended the routes and now I can go from 23rd and Crestline to JCCC, change busses and be dropped off a block from my office.

The travel time is longer, but since I just filled my tank at $3.65/gallon yesterday, and I hate burning 2 hours a day behind the wheel even more than paying for gas, this is a great alternative.

Who knows, I may finally fulfill that dream and write the great American novel in those two extra hours I now have each day.

And if not, at least I've left the ranks of the morning zombies who accompany me each morning (and evening) on K-10.