Where I Probably Get The ALA All Up In My Grill

Mrs. C's kind comment on my last IEP post made me think about my most and least favorite things about teaching English. Reading.

I love reading. I love reading to students and I love discussing books with kids when they care about the book. I love watching them challenge and predict what's going to happen in the text.

... and it's that very love that makes me hate making them read.

Every once in a while, I allow free read time in class. I take the kids to the library beforehand to insure they have a book they'd enjoy, but somehow the kids who hate reading the most are also the only kids who always have overdue fines. They're also the ones who are unjustly charged these fines--imagine that. Many times, they're the kids who want their reading scores to magically rise.

Planning for free read time this Friday has reminded me of all that struggle and caused me to dream of a rap artist sponsored reading promotion. Imagine the photos, these are just the captions.

Read Or Die
(this particular poster would have to feature Sean PuffyPDiddyDaddy
Combs, a la Rock The Vote)

Read, Bitches

Books Are Your Daddy

Other poster ideas?

Anything Can Happen Day

I really don't get why Grease is still one of the most popular plays performed on the High School Stage (The Educational Theatre Society ranks them yearly and it's still the #2 most performed musical for 04-05). Think past all the good time singing and dancing and remember the closing scene. The gang is neatly resolving all its conflicts--Danny falls for Sandy all over again when she proves she can smoke, wear leather, and bitchslap Patty Simcox (the uppity cheerleader I portrayed in Shawnee Little Theatre's 1992 production) and Kenickie and the gang give a great cheesey cheer when Rizzo shares with the whole group right in the middle of the Burger Palace that they need to stop by the drugstore because "her friend is here". Doody proclaims to everyone that indeed the Mickey Mouse club is right, "it's Anything Can Happen Day"!

And off we dance into the curtain call. Everyone is happy.

I have taught in a school where we've been told not to share anything about sex. We don't talk about religion for fear of how parents will respond, we don't share anything. It's funny that this is the very school in which Grease has been performed twice in the last twelve years, to great success. I tend to believe that it's so popular because so few people see it as what it is-big, broad, satire. We don't like edges to our High School musicals (and that is a topic for a whole other post).

I say all of that to say this: I found myself in the last scene of Grease today. The Saint came by with news. Her friend is here. Woooo!!! Anything Can Happen!!!

Right after we have Ms. Educat's long important talk on birth control.

A Knitted Mockery

I just had a flashback to the bed dolls my Great Grandmother made (and yes, I am serious, I have at least one of those ruffly, ruffly, acrylic yarn monsters hidden somewhere at my parent's house with my name on it)!

Go to Stitchy McYarnpants and find your laughin' place.

Then work the name Stitchy McYarnpants into conversation and laugh all over again.

This Week In Nerd

When I told you of what I shall now call "The Day Of Four", I should have pointed out that two of the four were told to me by a friend of the girls themselves. I say this because I didn't "officially" know. I listened to their friend (last week's milkshake girl) because it burdens her when she sees all her friends making these choices, but promised to keep the info under my lid.

Yesterday after our weekly nerd event, #2 told me. Teen pregnancy #2 is The Saint. I hugged and questioned and listened and by the end we were joined by Milkshake. Somehow, the conversation turned to my knitting. Would I knit for this baby? (and let it be said that I am torn here. I have no answer for the question at this time and will speak of the conflict later) I told the saint how much I would rather make her a lovely scarf for college graduation. By this time, I think that Milkshake is so happy to have someone officially share the burden of this secret that she's dancing (yes, again with the dancing).

"I want a scarf! Make me a scarf!! I should get a scarf with a V for being the
only virgin!!!"

You know, I can't make a habit of knitting for students, but I just might sneak her something. What's the perfect pattern for a Virgin scarf? Let me know...

Can I Push Just One Value?? Pretty Please???

That story of the first IEP (I try not to use to much teacher-eese here, but by now the uninitated may have figured out that the IEP is an annual {roughly} meeting that happens for SpEd kids and their parents) is probably my favorite, but the whole reason I got to thinking about it was the wackiness of my most recent IEP.

At least one regular ed (that's non-SpEd, nothing about my normalcy or dietary fiber intake) teacher must attend these meetings. SpEd teachers loooove the reg ed teachers who attend these meetings. There's much begging on their part to get us there.

I was begged and begged and begged to attend the one that was held last week. The girl is in my English class and since our semester just began, I really barely know her(although I should probably tell you that she is #4 of the four pregnant girls in 24 hour fame). I told the teacher I would dash in for a moment as I have my after school English class, but to expect me. The SpEd teacher was uncomfortably eager to get me there. "I will cover your 5th Block!" "How long can you stay? Five min?? Ten???". Finally, I asked if there was some big surprise scheduled for the meeting. If she needs me this badly, is something wrong? Should I wear body armour? No surpirses, she responds. Just come.

So I go. I have some reading scores and a writing sample. I go and give my basic talk about reading levels and how to improve them. I talk about the State test she will take at the end of the course and again stress reading. The English II exam is the only State test that's written on grade level. I again urge her to read more. Read at home! Find a book she enjoys!! Read-ity read read read!!!

...and in comes mom to save the day.

"You know, I wouldn't worry about that reading comprehension stuff. Mine
wasn't never no good anyways."

There's so much talk about how as a teacher I should impart values. Then at the same time, I am told not to force values on kids. Don't worry, I want to respond, I don't tell your kids about sex or birth control (I never wanted to, but now might rethink that stand. ), I talk about faith without endorsing any one faith or any levels of practice, but can we agree that this value matters? Can we get together on this idea that reading matters? Please??

No Such Thing As A Stupid Question

Everyone has heard that saying "There's no such thing as a stupid question"? Or, "The only stupid question is the one you don't ask".
Yeah. Right.
The longer I teach, the more I'm convinced that there IS indeed such a thing as a stupid question. The stupidest questions I get are the ones that we've already answered as a class, or the ones with answers written on the board. Usually the stupid question comes from one of the students who talks to his neighbor most of the period. The other person who asks stupid questions is the kid who asks one that has already been answered THREE or FOUR times. And this guy doesn't ask it for mere clarification - he is completely unaware that there is anyone else in the room besides him.

I have this other student, who in the middle of class will randomly raise his hand and ask "Is my grade improving?" "Am I missing any assignments?"

A couple of years ago, a student of mine (whom I refer to as Hothouse Flower) raised her hand as I was passing out a quiz. "I have a headache. Do I have to take it?"
"You can go to the nurse if you want. You'll have to make up the quiz later."
"But I don't want to miss class. Can't I just sit here?"
I shook my head No. "If you're here, you might as well take the quiz"
Later that afternoon (thanks to cellphones), I got an email from Hothouse's mom telling me how embarrassed her daughter was that in front of the class, I told her she had to take the quiz. Remember: Hothouse Flower asked in front of the whole class.

Once as I was handing out a study packet (stapled and collated), a student asked "How come you never three-hole-punch things for us?"

And, my personal favorite "Did we do anyting in class yesterday?"

To All The Parent Meetings I've Loved Before, A Flashback

The Special Ed department has marked me, along with a few other teachers, as a Golden Child. I've been chosen to plan inclusion teaching (SpEd kids in regular classes with a regular and SpEd teacher working in the room together). I don't know how good I am with those kids, but I make up for shortcomings in volume.

I have been in thousands of SpEd parent meetings, and most of all I remember my very first.

Imagine me as a wee baby Educat. Twenty three years old and just out of college. I am teaching at my alma mater. At the meeting we have myself, my really loud Southern principal, the matronly and patient SpEd teacher, and the child and her parent. The child always looked disoriented to me, like she really was perpetually lost. I have run into her several times over the years and she's kept that look, adding tired and perpetually pregnant to the mix. The father has a similar look (but not pregnant) and I think was the first person on whom I used the phrase "slack jawed".

The meeting goes well. It's a good mix of praising the child's strengths and admonishing her to work harder. The father supports us and by the end, we're happy chatting about the child's possibilites. Daddy tells us how glad he is to send babygirl to Alma Mater because he went there and...well...issa good schoo.

"Weeelllll!" Loud Southern Principal yodels, "Ms Educat went to almuh matuh too!!! Mi-uzzz Aeducayt, whut year did yew graduate!?"

I shoot her a look that asks is she really knows where she's driving this car. "Well" (pointedly) "1989."

Get it, lady, I. Would. Not. Have. Known. This. Man. Iwastwentythreeyearsoldandhehasateenager!!!

She, clearly not smoove, goes on. "Mistuh Dauhdy, whut year did yew graduate?"

"Well," Daddy replies, not getting it, "I graduated in sevventy six, but you woulnd'ta knowed me. Ah'z in Special Ed."

Save me. At least I hope I've gotten smoover at these meetings. I plan to blog soon on the story of my most recent one.

Lo, The Sap Has Already Risen

Perhaps it's the fact that we've had an unseasonably warm winter. In the last 24 hours I have discovered four of my girls are pregnant.

They're from a variety of situations. Four totally different cultures. Half with two parent homes, half without. Two of them middle class and two of them lower middle class to poor. Two honors kids and two not. You cannot prove from this experience that this or that causes teen pregnancy. Each situation is tragic for different reasons. All of them will make the best of it, but it will be second best.

This nerd season is making me numb.

No Mean Child Left Behind

I have a class right now who is mean. They're not all mean. I would venture to guess that most of them have souls, most of those not even dark evil souls. But the collective personality is mean. Usually, when a class personality is mean, you can isolate one or two of them as the source of all evil and concentrate efforts on them. Sometimes that fixes the evil and peace can reign.

Today, I think I found the source of all darkness.

She's pretty, goregous even. Blonde hair and clear blue eyes. The boys in the class are clearly her pawns and so it's easy to watch her venom spread.

I first figured it out when she "traded seats" with a young man today. He was out on a hall pass, she moves his stuff to sit in his seat. When I call her on it, she assures me she had approval. In walks hall pass boy who looks quizzically at Meangirl. "Mean," I ask, "did you really trade seats with him?". "Oh yeah. He just doesn't know it yet." and she flashes her blinding white grin at the boy, who suddenly doesn't mind his new seat.

She laughs. She laughs loud whenever anyone trips, stutters or even sneezes and somehow she was always "laughing at someone else". She yells---yells--- out loud when a question doesn't meet her approval "This question is gay!!!!" (Does the question really love other questions, Mean?).

I need a new approach for Mean. Today, I would ask her what she was doing. I'd ask her if she meant to be mean. It's not working, there's either an excuse for her ugly ways or she somehow justifies her evil with a supposed happy outcome ("See, she's my friend! I can talk to her that way!"). I plan to reapproach tomorrow with more nice.

Mean classes are the hardest of all. The best stuff I do shows my soul. Telling stories that relate to literature show you who I am and as incapable as a 16 year old is of truly hurting me, it sure doesn't want me to unpack more of myself. So this class gets cheated. Both because of time I waste making the kids play nice and because you don't play with the puppy that bites you.

All Things Considered ran a piece yesterday from a teacher with some mean kids. It's here. She's getting what she needs from them, but she wonders if her kids are being cheated as well. Has a kid really learned anything at all when their education doesn't improve them at all?

Art Saves Another Monday

Today, for my job that paid me money, I got to talk about this quilt all day.

Image hosting by Photobucket
“The Quilting Party at Arles”, Faith Ringgold

We talked about Van Gogh and women planting seeds of freedom like flowers. We talked about the love and care involved in crafting an heirloom and how we should care for the equality that these women crafted.

Lovely. They don't even know yet that they'll relate this to an Alice Walker story tomorrow.

Who Else Wears Suits For A Road Trip?

I believe in road cokes. If I am to drive more than 1/2 hour, there shall be beverages! The trip to today's nerd season event was an hour and a half so as we departed for home, we stopped at Braum's.

Imagine the sight we were. Nine children in suits pouring out of a school van, far too excited about ice cream. I am checking on kids, getting ready to get back in the van, but stop to speak to one girl who is ever so slightly dancing while drinking a milkshake. She's one of my favorites, and not at all a fluffy girl, but she's dancing away.

"Your milkshake good?" I ask quizzically, referring to her happy dance.

"Yeah." she answers as the dancing stops and her face goes deadpan. "It does not, however, bring all the boys to the yard.".

I Don't Want To Brag, But I Have A Gig Reading From The Sophomore Literature Anthology Tomorrow

Tomorrow, while I hand back reading scores to my English classes (whose average reading level is around 7th grade), my friend Vanessa will be appearing on As The World Turns.

I have never watched an entire soap opera in my life, but don't think I am missing this.

Two lines. Neighbor of main character. This could be a recurring character. Let's stage a "bring back that one girl" campaign!!

She reads the blog, you may stroke her ego here.

I Don't Say I'm No Better Than Anybody Else, But I'll Be Damned If I Ain't Jist As Good!*

The Crib Chick sends humbling and wacky news. She frequents a Classical Homeschooling message board often. They have a great educator's community--it seems to do for her work what my cherished nerd camps do for me.

So it seems that The Mental Multivitamin was speaking of the BoBs (where you too can vote once a day until the 30th!) and sharing the good news that several board regulars were nominated. As she listed nominees who were "friends of the board", she mentioned me as a "familiar face"!

I really am flattered to be familiar to a group of Classical Homeschoolers. For all the basic differences in the way we spend our day, we value many of the same things. Sometimes, I am sure that reading my stories affirms their choice to teach their kids at home, but I do hope that sometimes something here resonates with them.

"You know what this is like?" from Crib Chick in her phone call
tonight. "It's like that song. What is it? The Farmer and The Rancher...?"

"No, it's the Cowman. The Farmer and the Cowman should be friends. And you
know the chorus? 'Territory folks should stick together'. And that's what this
is. We're territory folks."

So thanks for reading, homeschool chums. And thanks for the mention, M-mv. You got a click from me today.

*Note that all bad spelling and grammar in this title is, in fact, part of the lyric and should not be counted in any evaluation of my spelling (just in case you're checking, BoB).

Because Somehow All You Folks Searching For Oprah Keep Landing Here...

It's Night. Oprah's book with the bazillion dollar essay contest is Night. Which we read anyway, but will not have finished in two weeks. So, it's up to the kids who have already read it.

Breaking News

BoB lets you vote once a day. Thanks for all the congratulations and votes thus far, I think we are running a close third with the popular vote.

Thank you, it's nearly as surreal and freakish as when I made the ballot for Prom Queen.

I came in third there also.

Our Lady Of Perpetual Silly Choices

I've been thinking all day about how to tell you this. Our Sainted Runaway has had me in the hole all week. I have struggled every day on the tightrope where "this really isn't your business" is on one side and "who else is going to help this child" is on the other. Either way, I fall, hit a net, and get all bruised and strained. I have colleagues who have given me the responsibility of calling this guy we really don't like--I refused to take this responsibility. It really doesn't seem safe and even if I don't like it, there might be nothing I can do for the situation. So then I worry, what if she just needed someone to pull her out of this? What if I get yelled and cussed at by this boyfriend but it saves this girl's life.

And then, do I really dump all this onto my silly blog? I use this as a place to vent and one of my hopes is that in seeing all aspects of my life, someone may understand what people in the public schools really face (and then we sing all 6 verses of "Just As I Am", and as the Spirit leads, you come.). I will admit, this is the stuff of stories and film, the story is just outrageous that this girl could be so precious and that these kids could love her so much and that this ending would be so dramatic and frightening, but it's someone's life. Someone's very real life. I didn't know how much to share here.

But when things started ever so slightly to turn, I felt better about trusting my doubt and I feel much better about sharing with you.

She called me last night. I was with friends who have genuflected at her altar. The phone number was "withheld" and it took me until the third time she called to actually take it (which makes me a poor heroine to the story and proves that I am not the heroine. The Sainted One is.).

"Ms. E? Don't freak out, it's The Saint."

"Wow. It's so good to hear from you! Are you safe right now?"

"I am. I chose to be here. I didn't run to my boyfriend as much as away
from my parents. But I wanted to ask you something...Do you think that maybe I
could come back to school?"

"Yes. Yes, I do. I think school is the best place for you to be. Are you
planning to stay with your boyfriend or go back to your parents?"

"If they'll let me, I'm going home."

This call went on for a while, and I honestly don't remember much of what I said. I may have to rely on Karina, but the quick explanation is that she's coming to the school tomorrow to talk with her teachers and see how she might make up some of the time missed. I am humbled that I even got to be near this call, much less the recipient of the call.

This story isn't over, it could go so many different ways. Pray for the Sainted, Flawed, Blinded, Sweet girl tomorrow as she starts to find her way home.

All Pending Knitting Projects Are Hereby Temporarily Tabled

Last Friday night, a yarn run with a good friend brought me a lovely skein of red chenielle at half price. I didn't know why I bought it, but the price was right.

I think I know now. The Orphan Foundation of America is sponsoring a Red Scarf Project drive. The goal is to offer handmade scarves as a part of a care package for college age foster children. If you live near an Enstein Bagel, you can drop yours off there, but if you don't you can ship it directly to them. If you're an OKC knitter, your scarf can catch a ride with mine. Let me know.

When I was growing up, my favorite stuff was always handmade by my mom. She is hands down the finest seamstress I know. She's mastered everything from fine english handsmocking to luggage (yes, I have hand sewn luggage from my mother). When I costumed in college, I remember not wanting her to see my sewing up close (Any OBU Theatre kids here remember me telling you to change out of your costume before greeting Dave and Shirl?). Her sewing is so perfect, you could almost wear it inside out. At my prom, I felt like a 1980's big haired version of Grace Kelly in my simple pink satin dress that my mom made and this Christmas, I got the best pajamas ever--complete with a handmade robe and slippers.

When she was a kid learning to sew, making your own clothes was a necessity. She grew up very poor and sewing was the way she looked good enough to match her peers. For me, sewing said something loving and special. I think that's why I picked up knitting. Sewing was...umm...ok for me. I never fully developed the skill, and it demands that I sit in the same spot all the time to work. I don't do that. Knitting travels with me and it gives me a way to show the love my mother shows me. I can't imagine someone who never has had someone make them something.

So Crib Chick, I have a package almost ready for you. It's gonna have to wait. Miss Harper, you have a couple of hats that will carry you for a short time (because I am sure you are already reading blogs). Your gown is on the needles and it'll keep for a day or two. Some kid never had anyone make them anything by hand and I have just the yarn to fix it.

How Does One Do This Gracefully?

You can vote here for Best of Blogs. You have a friend who is up for Best Education/Homeschool Blog.

That's it. Just saying.


It's finals week, and all of us--teachers and students-- have reached new desperation. Compound this with our runaway and nerd season events every weekend, and we've gone quite mad.

I witnessed a trusted soul turn in another student's journal, an argument over which student called me a whore, and bizarre challenges to my grades. I have two students pretty upset that they aren't getting A's this semester. Let's meet them.

Buffy is on an IEP--which means she is some sort of special ed. She normally watches me slack jawed while I teach and after the elaborate song and dance of my teaching will raise her hand and grace me with a robot like, "I'on't git it.". So I back up, thanking her for the question and noting that if she had this question, lots of other students probably had it too. So I probe, "What's the first thing I said that you had trouble with?".

"I'on't git it. Nunuvit."

So I dance back to the beginning. Even when I am tempted to go back to "Hi, I'm Ms. Educat and this is English II.". I have rexplained and paraphrased every work of literature we have read. I have drawn pictures of every form of writing we have done. And at the end, I always look at Buffy, smile, and say, "Does that help?".

"No. I'on't git it."

She muddles through her work and despite her low estimation of her ability, has eeked out a C. She's average! She never gits it but has worked up to average!! Ring the bells!

But no, she wants an A. Why come she don't have one?

I'on't git it, so let's move on.

Jody has just tested out of English Language Learning. This means his conversation skills are rated proficient. Anyone care to imagine what that means about his instructional reading level? He works mightily in class. He wants the short path out, but I don't often give it to him. I let him work at home to finish assignments that take the rest of the class twenty minutes--and he does it at home. I praise him to the class and call him my hardest worker, and his work shows. He's making a B. He's above average! But he hardly looks at me in class today and ignores me repeatedly and when I finally pull his problem out, he just can't get why he doesn't have an A.

Learning should hurt. It should be a good hurt, but it should hurt. Somewhere, in big and small ways, we have communicated that an A is everyone's right. We are all excellent. Again, I'on't git it.

So when I tell you this, I am not asking for an A. I just want credit. I just want credit for not having said any of these things out loud this week.

  • I did not tell the child who told me "thass retarded" that he couldn't leave on a hall pass in the middle of the final that perhaps it is retarded, and he can write it an IEP and stick it on a short bus, but it isn't going away.
  • I asked no child if they were raised by servants.
  • When Jesus fell asleep in class, I didn't sing "Away In A Manger" (and I will admit that if it started on a lower note, I might have).
  • At no time, did I use the phrase "despite your best efforts" as in "You have a D, despite your best efforts."

There. Thank you. Now I love people again.

Take This Out Of Context And This Is A Whole Other Sort Of Blog...

Tonight's quotable quote:

"Get your pants off and I'll be right there."

...and how sad that it only refers to Granny, who is still in compression stockings from her knee surgery and she needs help. I am getting quite fast at this. I am thinking of hitting the compression stocking rodeo circuit. I am getting my time waaaaayyyy down, seriously.

That's what I had to say for the evening and now it seems totally off base. See...um...I am nominated as a finalist in the Best Education/Homeschooling Blog by Best Of Blogs. Wow, that's really weird to say. I would be honored to have your vote if you ever find the voting instructions (I don't think it hurts my standing to be a moron where finding such things are concerned. If it does, well, that ship has already sailed. Let us know of you master this one.). Popular vote only counts partially toward overall standing--they also consider overall look and content. So this is where I thank Karina again for the charming banner and my soul sister Ms Cornelius at A Shrewdness of Apes for the nomination in the first place.

Didja know that Susan at Friday Playdate is up for best mommy blog? Now you do. Hooray for her!

Now, I have lots to say about grade inflation and finals week, but first I must actually finish composing my final. See, in order to edublog, I must first edu. Much as I'd like there to be, there's no way around it.

Educat Is The Name The Pigs Gave Me, You Call Me Tanya!

I've been thinking about Patty Hearst quite a bit today.

Her story has always fascinated me. How could a girl who seemingly had the world on a string forsake her privilege for a crazy life that would lead her into crime? How could she look someone in the eye and believe that she was not the person she truly was?

Brainwashing is strong and today I have seen it.

My sainted one hasn't returned from Christmas Break. Her friends have called the sainted home and the sainted mother (who, remember, has limited English) tells them she has run away. And we're pretty sure it's with her 26 year old boyfriend.

It's high drama in my teeney world. The kids have all sorts of speculations about this guy (Some of which were verified by simply searching local court records. If I ever have a teenager, I am searching these records before my kids ever go on a date.) and today in class, I even pretended not to see a cell phone when a call came from her sainted cell phone. It's the not so sainted boyfriend, who cusses out my babygirl and tells him the saint is enrolled at another school and to leave them alone.

So her We The People team is muddling along with out her. The rest of her team is two freshman boys who have risen dashingly to the occasion. After their hearing today, I sang their praises loud and long and told them that if they had to do this without their saint, they have done an awesome job. We miss the saint, I told them, but we can't cry over it now.

I dare you, DARE YOU, not to tear up a bit when a freshman boy looks you in the eye with tears in his and says, "Is it ok if I cry? What would you do if I cry?".

"You can't do it.", and my eyes totally defy that my voice is still strong "because I will too."

Pause, pause, pause...

and up pipes Shecky Green who sings, "Iiiiiiffff you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!".

Thanks, Shecky. I clapped. We all clapped. We needed to.

Want to know something funny? A girl ditched that very class today to go sit in the cement tunnels that border the lake by my school. In the snow (Oh, yeah, it snowed just a bit today. So it was wet and soaked the ground just a bit. It's not enough but it's something). I wished a bit I was in that tunnel with her (and would that not have been hilarious! She ditches to get away from me, and I show up in the tunnel! Someday when I'm not wearing any dry cleaning, I might try that).

Think gently of us tomorrow, internets. I have an appointment with the counselor of the sainted one to report her to DHS first thing in the morning.

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.

I Am So Using This Photo The Next Time I Teach Deportee

To begin, forget that I found this album a whole seven years after its actual release. I didn't even have rehearsal, I just missed it.

That said, Hooray for Karina for giving me a discovery this Christmas! You know me, my dear. In 1998, Billy Bragg and Wilco teamed up to put music to some "lost" poetry of Woody Guthrie's. The result was Mermaid Avenue.

But you already knew that, didn't you?

This leads me to some lyrics blogging. Christ For President takes a whole other Jesus and suggests that he run for office. It's not the Jesus we're running today, it's the one who feeds the poor and champions the weak. Sounds good, right? Nah, he'd piss people off too. Running the Kingdom of God isn't any way to run a nation, right? It facinates me, though, how Guthrie had this picture of a God-run government. I don't know exactly when he penned these lyrics, but remember he died in 1967 so it would be long before the era of the Christian right. I wonder what would have happened if this picture of Jesus was co-opted for the purpose of politics.

Just thinking, here's the song.

Christ for President
Let's have Christ our President
Let us have him for our king
Cast your vote for the Carpenter
That you call the Nazarene

The only way we can ever beat
These crooked politician men
Is to run the money changers out of the temple
Put the Carpenter in

O It's Jesus Christ our President
God above our king
With a job and a pension for young and old
We will make hallelujah ring

Every year we waste enough
To feed the ones who starve
We build our civilization up
And we shoot it down with wars

But with the Carpenter on the seat
Way up in the Capital town
The USA would be on the way
Prosperity Bound!

Words by Woody GuthrieMusic by Jeff Tweedy/Jay Bennett
Words © Copyright 1998 by Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc

The Correct Answer Is Always Jesus Or Seven

This time, it's seven. Ms. Cornelius tagged me with something fun, here it is.

But first, you know how you see these memes and first you scroll down to the bottom to see if you were tagged? I shall dispense with that. I don't know who to tag. Do you do memes? Does any of this sound appealing or fun to you? Do it. I tag you. Answer just one question. Answer it with one answer or eighty. It's not that I don't care, I just don't know who needs the material.

There, the pressure is off. Read.

Seven Books (Or Series) That I Love
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn
The Little House Series
Savage Inequalities
Oscar Brockett’s History of The Theatre
Young Oxford Companion To The Supreme Court
David Sederis’ Naked
Mr. Darcy Takes A Wife (only for the present, can’t see reading this more than once)

Seven of my Favorite Movies (Or series)
Raising Arizona
Waiting for Guffman
Shawshank Redemption
Coal Miner’s Daughter
The whole 80’s John Hughes Teen Series
The Whole Hugh Grant Snooty/Silly Genre

Seven Things I Just Can’t Do (Or Don’t Wanna)
Find a more appealing career
Give up any of the nerd season activities that take up every weekend of my life for the next couple of months (Because, really, I love it. No matter how often I have to remind myself)
Cut down on coffee
Have hair that I have to “fix” for more than 2 min
Cut down on cell phone minutes
Stop correcting subject/verb agreement in conversation
Stop the happy cry. It’s a curse that has befallen me since I turned 30. I don’t get it, but I can’t avoid it.

Seven Things to Do Before I Die
Either create from my body or get enough money to pay people to care for me when I am old and mean so that my death is not simply heralded by the smell of my dead body coming from a sad apartment.
Develop a stash of knitted gifts so I am never taken by surprise and always have something special to give.
Direct or act in a stage adaptation of a Marx Brothers Musical (I get more like Margaret Dumond with every year—I think she might be the total realization of my character actor type)
Take a team to We The People Nationals
Perfect an instrument enough to be able to sing and play at the same time
Find the perfect sweater pattern to knit
Become so thin that my head looks too large for my body (perhaps I should just get a bigger head)

Seven Things That Attracted Me to Blogging
Vanity, the ridiculous vanity of it all.
The intersection of technology and vanity
It was free!
To have the luxury of answering those “tell me what you’ve been up to” emails with a simple URL.
Geez, I am vain.
It’s nice to not have to email silly links to everyone anymore
To see if I could write

Seven Things I Say Most Often
Holy Mother of Crap!!!
Is the coffee done?
This isn’t going away, friends
I need you to listen…everyone…even you (“who, me?” In a fake voice) Yes, even you.
Crap Agnes!!!
Sorry I’m late
There ain’t a guilty man in Shawshank, is there?

Seven Impractical Things I Think Would Be Really Cool Anyway
Lifetime standing pedicure appointments!
My very own teacher nerd camp that I totally plan, complete with social activities
Taking all my days of leave
Making learning the only priority in education! (stolen from Ms Cornelius)
Following Lyle Lovett on tour until he realizes that he loves me
Lunch breaks in teaching long enough to chew and perhaps accomplish an errand
That one summer where I hit the road in a 1979 Vanagon and sing folk songs across the land (that or buying the world a Coke. You know, just to keep it company).

Somehow, This May Even My Bad Spending Karma

Don't hate me. I bought a Glamour magazine for the first time in probably the last decade.

It was an innocent mistake. My plan was to read their article on "Women Who Blog" as it included an interview with Heather "Dooce" Armstrong.

The article was not worth the money I spent, and the magazine as a whole reminded me of my belief that there is a subset to the female gender. There are Glamour women, the ones who fret and fret over the size of their sunglasses and have to see a model wearing five shades of lipstick before they purchase one (I just go to Target, select three finalists in shades of plum, and somehow end up with one. It takes about 2 min.) and there's the other kind. The other kind does worry about whether or not they look like they've entered the new millenium, but not obesessively so. I like a pedicure, but don't have a pedicurist on speed dial. I don't know if I am the subset or the Glamour woman is, but suffice it to say that we differ.

So I have this glossy, guilty magazine and I have decided that the only way to absolve myself of the guilt of this purchase is to a. allow any of you that I see in "real life" to read the article so I can say I bought the magazine for the public good or b. to bring you some small bit of laughter by reading the Selma Hayak interview the way I hear it in my head.

So this brings the audio. Ms. Hayak is interviewed by Ashley Judd, her friend and fellow celeb. I shall be reading the voice of Selma Hayak in some generic foreign accent (after listening, a cross between The Count from Sesame Street and Natasha from the Bullwinkle cartoons) and Ashley Judd in my normal voice (because, of course, Ashley Judd sounds vaguely Southern and that sounds quite normal to me).

Please Enjoy. Every time you laugh, it's like a spent a dime less on this crap.

this is an audio post - click to play

The Eatmisery Dead Pool*

Now this is an outstanding idea. Not, of course, that I would wish death on anyone, but just fascinating. I would second Dick Clark, but would so miss making Anna Nicole jokes (which, of course, are entirely distasteful if she were to pass and leave her son, attorney, and personal assistant).

Just to record for posterity, anyone have any Dead Pool predictions?

*which, when taken out of context could be my second most morbid entry title of all time.

The Sky Was All Purple There Were People Running Everywhere

My dad said the sky today reminded him of Amarillo in the early 50's. When my Grandpa was stationed there, he remembers school being out for dust storms. I wondered how similar the sky looked when members of my mother's family left here for Northern California to find work long ago (Yes, seriously, we have Joads in the family. Southeastern Missouri Hillbillies on my Dad's side and Okies on my mom's.).

A couple of days ago, our Lieutenant Governor declared a State of Emergency--except in the audio clip the news used, she said "decoration". I swear. I heard it on the TV news and confirmed it later on the radio. I imagined an Emergency Decoration--"Dammit, get some drapes up in this State and do it now! Hang some pictures!! This place is a mess!!!".

I don't know that I have ever found myself praying for rain until today. Just running through my head "pleaseGodletitrain".

Trying To Center Myself

I have already hinted here about my fears that I am not really using my degree. After spending all of High School, College, and my first four years of teaching in rehearsal every night and always working on finding the next play, I haven't directed or been onstage for eight years (It is also the reason I am in a sort of arrested pop culture development. I know far less Seinfeld than others my age and hardly even saw movies during that era. I was in rehearsal.). In those eight years, I find myself wondering more about why I don't miss it than actually missing the stage at all.

Then sometime, I remember. Call it the Peaches and Herb Effect. When I spend time with friends from that time, it makes me think about the stage again, almost even miss it. I have talked more in the last year with old college friends more than I did for the whole last decade combined, and I find the urge creeping again. Here's what's funny, though, I don't know that the old crazy extrovert is eliminating my new more introverted self as just leveling it out. I want to enroll in the stand up comedy classes I found, but want to find time for a sock knitting class also. I want to introduce the person I was to the person I am now and see if they get along.

I like it here in the center. If I do take time to perform again, it's not going to be the crazy "I have to do this to make a name for myself and have a show all the time" life but I don't ever want to be as introverted as I became when my depression was at its worst.

So here's to the new year, and the center.