Friday, April 22, 2011

Just Another Friday

Mmm...the possibility of sleeping in, but it's never a reality. As usual, I rose before six and started my morning coffee. Facebooked for awhile, and looked around at the eventual mess that I would have to clean. Thinking to myself, just another half hour of sipping coffee before I tackle the day's work.

Annie had a couple of friends sleep over. They're still asleep, some on the floor, others on the couch and her in her big overstuffed Lazy Boy chair. As hard as she tries, she never manages to stay up and is most often the first to slip off into slumber. I tell her that it's better to not have to do the day sleep deprived, that's not much fun.

I find myself on the verge of completing a lot of small goals. Some I have been attempting for quite a while and others I have just started. I tend to have too many "things" going and never seem to get them completely accomplished, but I fear that's going to have to change.

Today's agenda, although not exciting, is one that must be adhered to. Oh, just simple stuff, such as cleaning out a closet or two, clearing out the carport and cutting a bit of hard West Texas grass. See, obviously, not exciting.

My son is working on his English research paper. Being an English teacher, I don't often come across student writing that knocks me off my feet. You may think that I'm going to be a bit biased, but then you wouldn't know me very well, if you actually thought that. I don't fill my kids' head with unworthy praise. In my opinion, giving them proper praise and encouragement, let's them know that when I really like something they have done...then it means it's really great.

My son has taken on the big question of Free Will vs Determinism. Quite a task, I know and a question that's been around for eons. His approach to writing this paper is rather unique, or maybe it's not, but I've not read a junior research paper ever done like how he has decided to write. I'll let you be the judge and jury and share his first page:

Your alarm goes off, you groggily hit the snooze, at exactly 3 minutes after, it goes off again, and you turn it off, remove the covers and stagger out of bed. You then begrudgingly drag yourself to the kitchen for your morning cup of Joe. Water is poured into the glass pot, the filter is then added along with the coffee grounds and now you patiently wait for your coffee to brew.

As you silently watch your coffee being dripped into existence, you can't help but go back to when you were a child watching the rain and how it would drip from the swing set to the brown patch of dirt beneath it. A soft gurgle brings your mind back into reality. The coffees done, you grasp the pot and pour it into your superman coffee cup. 2 teaspoons of sugar and just a dab of milk, you slowly then ease the cup to your mouth and take a small rewarding sip followed by a much greater one after that.

You look at the clock that's centered on the coffee maker (6:17), you still have a few minutes before you need to get ready for work. So now, you're left alone with your thoughts, you start to remember the argument you got into last night with your girlfriend, about missing dinner that makes you feel like crap. She swears she can't breathe without you, when sometimes you feel you can't seem to breathe with her.

You finish the last of your coffee and start getting ready for work.

Take shower, the steamy water assaults at your body as if attacking an unsuspecting prey, it feels good, a quick and easy way to wake up and deal with the day to day routines of life. That's when you're struck with the thought, is everything we're doing being controlled by a higher power? Do you have a say in what happens to you?

Before you let yourself wonder too far, you grab yourself back into what you perceive as reality.

Brush teeth, the minty paste on the white wire like bristles from your toothbrush enters your mouth and clean and polish your teeth. Is it maybe God that oversees you and governs your every action? You remember back to a time when you were taking a philosophy class at the University of Texas in Austin. Professor David Sosa, you believe his name was. "In a way, in our contemporary world view, it's easy to think science has come to take the place of God. But some philosophical problem remain as troubling as ever. Take the problem of free will. This problem has been around for a long time. Since before Aristotle in 350 B.C., St. Augustive, St. Thomas...these guys all worried about how we can be free if God already knows in advance what you're going to do."

Before you can ponder on this any further, you quickly rinse your mouth out and begin getting dressed for work.

You head to your car, but you can't help but wonder about what else Professor David Sosa said. "So now you might be tempted to just ignore the question, ignore the mystery of free will. Say, Oh, well, it's just an historical anecdote. It's sophomoric. It's a question with no answer. Just forget about it. But the question keeps staring you right in the face. You think about individuality for example, who you are. Who you are is mostly a matter of the free choices that you make. Or take responsibility. You can only be held responsible, you can only be found guilty, or you can only be admired or respected for things you did of your own free will. So, the question keeps coming back, and we don't really have a solution to it. It starts to look like all our decision are really just a charade."

To be continued...

Friday, April 8, 2011

DOOM & GLOOM...What Now?

The impending government shutdown, I'm sure, is the number one blog fodder this week. So, I thought I would "jump on the band wagon" and join in! I really hadn't given it any thought, until my seventeen year old son, called me with worry in his almost manly voice. He really was afraid. Afraid of anarchy and rioting and chaos...

I listened patiently as he expressed his concerns and woes. Then, I used my motherly calming effect and told him that any government job related to protecting the people and our property would continue. That only nonessential government bloated cheese whiz stinky repulsive jobs would be temporarily shut down. Oh, I wasn't that harsh, but I had to relieve his fears.

Then I went on to tell him that it's happened several times before, this government shutdown thing. I'm thinking somewhere in the neighborhood of about sixteen or seventeen times. That it's just a "stall" tactic, a "scare" tactic, a "bullying" tactic that the political pansies play with each other to get their way. Basically, congress is throwing a big huge hissy fit.

Well, he calmed down a bit and decided to not leave the country. He was already thinking about going to Australia, where it would be safe. Is this being tested on the TAKS? Hey, TEACHERS!!!! Leave your stupid ridiculous idiotic fear ridden psychotic thoughts at home!!!! I don't need your end of the world bullshit infecting my already emotionally hormone challenged teenager. Damn, and I get reprimanded for offing Santa???

Monday, April 4, 2011

TAKS Season and Texas Cuts Education

It's the beginning of TAKS Season again. I wonder how many casualties we'll have this year? Will the socio economically disadvantaged be left behind or will it be our English as a Second Language students? From what I'm hearing, we in the great state of Texas will all be left behind, due to pending budget cuts.

According to our state legislatures, the administrators of education need to trim down their education budgets by 10 percent. Of course, the powers that be, believe that this "trim" back would be the cutting of "unnecessary" non-teaching jobs.

“Local school district officials are in process of making some very difficult and very painful budget decisions. Leadership is about making choices. We strongly urge them not to be shortsighted by sacrificing the classroom in favor of bureaucratic education establishment.”

But isn't that exactly what our state government is doing? Sacrificing education in order to keep the status quo of bureaucratic education establishment? Isn't all the unnecessary spending actually due to the increasing efforts to improve an antiquated system of assessment? Aren't we now, changing directions and creating a whole new testing system, titled the STAR? When is this testing madness going to END? Oh, yeah...that's right, it became law under George W. Bush.

"HEY, President Obama! Do us a favor and REPEAL the NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND!" Want to make your presidency count for something or are you really the puppet of the Republican party after all?

HEY, Honorable Shapiro...I'm thinking that maybe our lovely state government should do a bit of cutting back as well. How about you fellas and gals make your own phone calls, pick up your own lunches and dry cleaning, mail out your own letters and important documents, lick the back of a few stamps, make copies of valuable propaganda rhetoric, kill a few more trees in the name of TAKS, vacuum the carpeting in your offices, clean the windows, take out your trash, scrub the toilet down the hallway and a few of those other "can't survive without" functions. Then and only then, I'm sure you will possess the ultimate wisdom, the empathy and passion to address the state budget deficit. Since when did becoming an elected official allow one to be an elitist?

Oh, and don't think Shapiro was working alone, she had a bunch of support, here are a few of the names: Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston), Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Austin), Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Southside Place), Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock), and Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls). And if you'd like to watch the atrocity of a crime against the children of our great my guest. Once you're there, click on Press Conference: Senator Florence Shapiro.