Thursday, May 26, 2005

SOUTHERN Idol

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Okay, I got sucked in. A group of teachers at my school were addicted to American Idol, so every Tuesday and Wednesday we got the rundown about who was doing what, who got voted off, who should have been voted off, yada yada... Long story sort, I rooted for Bo. As usual, my jinx kicked in. I have a very bad habit of killing the hopes of the Cincinnati Reds, Gator football, and Tarheel basketball by watching big games--if I tune in, they choke. I watch Idol for the first time, and the guy I like (hey, anyone who'll sing the Allman Brothers for a cheesy pop competition, "Whipping Post," no less, deserves to win) gets taken out by the blonde.

Idol's such a phenomenon, though, I know a lot about it even if I've never watched it. I start thinking about the other winners and discover a really interesting pattern:
  • Season 1: Kelly Clarkson (TX) and Justin Guarini (PA--only finalist from north of the Mason-Dixon line)
  • Season 2: Ruben Studdard (AL) and Clay Aiken (NC)
  • Season 3: Fantasia Barrino (NC) and Diana DeGarmo (GA)
  • Season 4: Carrie Underwood (OK) and Bo Bice (AL)
Guess that means that Americans' idols are Southern. Take that, snotty Yankees.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Dawn of the Dead

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Yesterday, we said our goodbye to the Class of 2005. They graduated at ten am, and last night at midnight we herded them into Project Graduation. We sprung 'em at five this morning. They were tired. We were tired. We crawled under the covers a little after six and didn't make a peep until well after noon.

I'm a zombie.

Of course, it doesn't help that we're in the last week of school, so I'm mostly zombified anyway. Anyone who thinks teachers have an easy job because they have summer months off is nuts. We're wrecked at this time of year, having expended a year's worth of emotional and mental energy in ten months. People in the corporate sector who think their jobs are tough ought to try working with kids all day. Think about your own children and how tired they make you. Now think of a class full of other people's children--you know, those same people who don't teach their kids manners and let them rot in front of a TV all day--and you might get a clue what I mean.

Last night was fun, though. It's fun to watch ultracool high school seniors play like little kids, or stuff their faces with hot wings. It's lots of fun to shoot at them in the Laser Tag arena, and hear them laughing when they shoot you and yell, "That's for the research paper!!" It's evil fun to turn on the earthquake simulator they fell asleep in at 3 am (I am so bad).

A little lost sleep is worth it if they're off the streets, not drinking, and not getting themselves in trouble for their graduation night. Congratulations, Class of 2005. We'll miss you.

At least we will when we're finally conscious.

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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The end of the school year looms, and we teachers are whipped! Here are two men who would freshen things up nicely:

BED LIST: ERIC BANA



There's something about those Australians that really rings my bell. Must be the accent or something. Or how nice they look with their shirts off, like Eric Bana here. Or how they convincingly play the hot smart guy, like he did in Hulk. Or practically steal a movie from Brad Pitt, like he did in Troy. Or be a supportive shark in a twelve-step anti-fish group, like he did in Finding Nemo (he's the voice of Anchor, the hammerhead). Hey, Eric--find me!!

DINNER LIST: SEN. BOB GRAHAM



Please forgive the cheesy official Senate portrait. The recently retired Sen. Graham is very popular with we denizens of the Sunshine State for a variety of reasons, including his intelligence, his borderline obsessive-compulsive behavior (that journaling habit of his is way out of hand!), his wardrobe of State-of-Florida ties (look at the official picture carefully; he wore a tie embroidered with Floridas throughout his political career), and most of all, his workdays. How much more respect would members of the august Senate body get if they ripped a page from Sen. Graham's book and spent one day at a regular job that a regular person in their state did? During his years as Florida State Senator, Governor of Florida, and US Senator, Sen. Graham worked over 400 workdays, including jobs as diverse as police officer, railroad engineer, construction worker, fisherman, garbageman, factory worker, busboy, airline baggage handler, and teacher. Cool, huh? I'd be proud to host Sen. Graham at dinner--he wouldn't have to work for a thing.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Crushed

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So my school gets its FCAT scores today. They stink. No surprise there, unfortunately. The strongest correlation between standardized test scores and some other factor is income. The higher the income of the student population, the higher the scores. The lower the income, the lower the scores. Since our school is located in one of the poorest ZIP codes in Central Florida, you get the picture.

This past year, I have been busting my ass doing exactly what the State of Florida says is the ticket out of the F-rated school basement. My fellow teachers and I have been doing it so well, the State has been sending other schools to us to see how to implement their vaunted program. We're whipped. Our faculty looks like extras from Shaun of the Dead. We gave until we bled, figuratively, and all for nothing.

I know my kids learned. I know they progressed. I also know that the morons populating this state who let numbers do their thinking for them (read: legislators and pundits) will pass judgment on me and my fellow teachers because of the numbers. These numbers have far more to do with lack of preparation and home support than they do with teaching, but I'll be taking the hit for it. My professional reputation will suffer because I choose to do the hardest work in teaching: inner city high school. I just want to scream.

I wish screaming would do any good. I wish legislators would listen to teachers instead of well-heeled constituents. I wish the quiet racism that pervades our society, the kind that looks at a "failing" grade at an impoverished, inner-city school and nods knowingly because surely black kids can't do any better, would evaporate. I wish someone would admit that American kids should be celebrated for their individual gifts and not ramrodded toward college because we're in some ridiculous competition with every other country on the planet for educational superiority (according to those blasted numbers again). I wish someone would shake some sense into the brothers Bush. I wish...

Hell, there's no use wishing. Guess I'll go beat my head against a wall. It'll be about as productive.

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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We're addicted to CSI at Chez Mimi. Seems only fair that we investigate a couple of picks from the Las Vegas cast.

BED LIST: GEORGE EADS



Lord have mercy, look at that grin. (The rest of him's rather delicious, too.) Tall, dark, handsome, naughty twinkle in his eye. George Eads is more than welcome to investigate me from head to toe.

DINNER LIST: WILLIAM PETERSEN



Gil Grissom is the thinking woman's sex symbol. He's quirky enough to be endlessly fascinating, but not so weird you feel, well, weird around him. William Petersen himself is another interesting guy--played football, member of Chicago's famed Steppenwolf Theater Company, brought down Hannibal Lecter first (he originated the role of Will Graham in Manhunter). Gotta love a hero.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Sarah Rocks!

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My good friend Melanie and I went on a girl date last night--she had tickets to Sarah McLachlan. (Her hubby wasn't feeling the vibe, so I got lucky.)



Wow.

This was seriously one of the best concerts I've been to. Sarah was warm, funny, fabulous. Great balance of the hits ("Adia," "Building a Mystery," "Angel," etc.) and some terrific newer material. Plus, a totally fun sing-along to "Ice Cream" that was impossible to resist. Time to stock up on CDs.

I have great friends.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Bed List/The Dinner List

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More 80s effluvia in the system, it seems. Today's picks:

BED LIST: PATRICK DEMPSEY



I admit to having watched Can't Buy Me Love several times during my teen years. It's sappy and romantic, natch (can't resist romantic). Patrick Dempsey's the cutest thing in that movie. He was cute--and seemed accessible--in a few other 80s movies, then he seemed to disappear. No word from Camp Dempsey for years. Then he shows up as the fiance in Sweet Home Alabama, and all my friends and I thought Good Lord almighty!! Patrick grew up hot. SHA is sappy and romantic, too, but I have to say that I would have taken Patrick over Josh Lucas. It didn't hurt that Patrick seemed to know his way around a certain floor at Tiffany's. But no matter. Just show up, Patrick. No diamond ring required.

DINNER LIST: DAVID BYRNE



David Byrne's just a genius. Intelligent, well-read, creative--he'd be a fabulous dinner partner. Talking Heads music (specifically Stop Making Sense) is responsible for most of the housecleaning I get done. Nothing like scrubbing down a shower to "Psycho Killer." It's brilliant. He's brilliant. Come over anytime, and I make you anything you want.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Runaway Bride, My ***

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I'm finding all the kvetching over Jennifer Wilbanks, Duluth, GA's infamous "Runaway Bride," quite interesting. Here's the short version: Ms. Wilbanks, faced with her impending 600-guest wedding, told her fiance John Mason she was going jogging, then disappeared. A manhunt--er, bridehunt--ensued. When they finally found her, in Albuquerque, NM, hell and gone from Duluth, she said she'd been abducted. She finally came clean to having cold feet, which means that she cut her hair, went to Vegas, spent a couple of days gambling, then went to Albuquerque and turned herself in.

No real apologies to the groom, who got shaken down by the cops, or her parents, who were planning to fork over in the six figures for her wedding, or her in-laws-to-be, who had double worry on their hands.

Seems to me that Leonard Pitts is right again. Somehow, we've conjured a generation of selfish, self-centered people who don't know how to take responsibility for themselves. Got problems in school because you're not doing well? Have mom come in and raise hell about your teacher. Surely it's her fault. Can't manage your anger? Talk to Dr. Phil and blame your parents. Surely it's their fault. Freaked out about your supersized wedding (the one you planned, by the way) and its out-of-control costs? Skip town and say a Hispanic man kidnapped you. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Normally, I'm all over the romantic happy ending, but not this time. After Jennifer returns all those wedding gifts, including the Waterford crystal ice bucket and apologizes--hell, grovels--to John, she should pay back the almost $60K the City of Duluth shelled out to look for her during her "abduction." Maybe then, the concept of personal responsibility might take hold.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Flying Solo

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DH flew to San Antonio for the International Reading Association conference, so I'm playing single mom this week.

I have a headache.

Things started out well--got DH to the plane with plenty of time (we did have to peel DD off him in the dropoff lane), made it to church, had a nice afternoon. Then I forgot that today my juniors were taking their AP exam and I'd promised to make them breakfast. Of course, there were not groceries in my house. Of course, by the time I realized that, it was 9:30 and my kids were in their pajamas. Oy. So I sweet talk my mom into coming down the street so I can nip over to the grocery store.

That worked. Woke up this morning and made the casserole, no problem. Got the kids up. DS is whining about how his tummy hurts. I get the kids into their clothes and get ready to head out the door with my casserole, cups and plates, juice, grapes, and my usual load (huge tote and briefcase). DD out, check. DS takes two steps into the driveway and barfs all over everything.

Great.

So now I have to get a sub with fewer than 45 minutes until the start of school. I still have to drop off all this breakfast stuff. My office partner was out--she was closing on a new house today--so there were two subs in our neck of the woods. Double oy.

Long story short, I stayed home. DS kept throwing up. I think he's a little better, but now I'm wondering whether to keep him home tomorrow just in case or pray he's well enough to go to school. I pounded some ibuprofen, too.

I still have a headache.

How the hell do single moms do this every day?
 

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