Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

"But what about what *I* want/need!" Meditations on convenience.

"Hey, I stopped by your office to ask you a question about my final paper, but you weren't there! T^here wasn't anyone in any of the offices, and I need to meet with three different professors and NO ONE is in their offices! Where the Hell is everyone?"

"Uh, no, I wasn't -- no one is on campus right now. It's Christmas break. The whole U is closed until the 4th of January, and even then it's skeleton crew until the 9th. Didn't you notice the empty parking lots, and the fact that all the lights are off?"

"But I have stuff I need to do on campus! I want to , and today is the best day for me to get things done. Why isn't there anyone there?"

"...because everyone is enjoying their break? No one has to be on campus until their report-back date except security, and they are probably asleep in their pen?"

"That's awful! I want to get my errands done today! Can you drop everything and come in right now? "

"No. I am on break. I don't have to be back until the 10th. I'll be in my office by 9 AM on that day."

"Well, that's ridiculous. Who though that professors ought to get a break, anyway. It's not like you need them, or anything. Your jobs are the easiest."

*click*

** edit, for clarity: we are "asked" (read: required) to give our cell phone numbers as alternate contact info "in case of student emergency." Guess how often that gets abused?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kiss my mistletoe, buddy.

I should know by now that answering my mobile when I don't recognize the number -- especially on a holiday -- is a bad idea. Foolish, foolish me.

So, at 6 PM on Christmas day, comfortably stuffed full of baked ham, smashed 'taters and lighter-fluid-spiked eggnog,  I should have juts let that sucker roll over to voicemail. Instead, giddy with holiday cheer, I answered it.

Sobbing Student : "It's your fault my parents ain't lettin' me back livin' on campus, bitch!'
CM: "Who is that? What?"
SS: "You flunked me, and momma says I have to commute until I gets better grades!"
CM: "Who is this? I only had fifty students last semester...wait, never mind. Was my class the only one you failed?"
SS: "Naw. I flunked Bio, Freshman Year Experience, and Math I, too. Got a D in Philosophy, though!"
CM: *giggling* "Hooooly shit. You flunked FYE? All you had to do was show up and sit in the auditorium for forty-five minutes, once a week! It's a joke of a class!"
SS; "..."
CM: "Again, who is this?"
SS: "...Raymonique-Shane Relondo."
CM: "Dude, you failed my class because you missed 23 out of 30 class meetings. You did not turn in 2 of the 4 major papers, and the two you did turn in were wrong, because you missed the classes that we discussed them in. You slept in 3 of the classes you did manage to attend. You didn't turn in a portfolio, skipped your last conference and basically did no work. If you recall, you were given a midsemester grade warning, referred to tutoring and were told to get your shit together by me, your advisor and the Dean. This is all documented."
SS: "I'm fighting this grade 'cause you're sexist! You're a bitter old dyke who hates real men, and you failed me 'cause I gots a penis!"
CM: *laughing uncontrollably* "Merry Christmas, dude. See you in the Dean's office when school starts up again!"

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It came upon a midnight clear...


In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.  And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
  and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. 

*~+~*~+~*~+~*

Merry Christmas to you and all of yours. If you are reading this, you are among my many blessings, and I wish you love and light.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Litany

With two weeks left to go in the semester, things are winding down. Unless someone fails to turn in a portfolio paper, or does not show up to the final,  grades are mostly set.  This, of course, is cause from drama for those who are going to hop aboard the FAILroad. Thus, the Litany has begun.

The Litany is the last gambit of the student who knows a) they're going to do badly, and b) it's beyond too late to do anything about it.

The opening feint of the Litany is sickness. Whether it's personal or familial, someone spent the semester fixin' to die (in one memorable case, it was a grandma, and for the third time). Hospital visits/admissions, massive amounts of drugs...all prevented Precious Snowflake from completing classwork. Usually this feint can be blocked by asking for documentation of any type. A doctor's note (from a doctor that does NOT have the same last name, thank you), hospital paperwork, anything. No docs, no grade bump.

The secondary assault usually involves stress/anxiety/overwork/the Freshman 15....take your pick. It boils down to "College is haaaaard, and I didn't realize that I had to manage my own time and schedule appropriately!" Honest bonus points awarded to the guy who flat-out admitted that he partied too hard and studied too little, and deserved his "D," but was hoping for the best.

Whatever strategy is adopted, the fact is, no one can go back in time and do what needs to be done: work harder.

Sadly, they lesson won't be remembered next semester, either.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I, uh. Oh, dear GOD.

So we spent this Sunday at my 'rents place, helping them winterize. Yard stuff in the shed, limbs trimmed and stacked, firewood moved, furniture re-arranged and vacuumed under...the works. In the process, my step-gator dragged me down to their finished basement to show me her newest purchase.

Now, as much as I love the step-gator, she's a sucker for "miracle cures." Her back has been bothering her, and we've gone through massages, chiropractors, orthopods, etc.  She'd strap a mongoose to her back and wear weasels in her pants if she was promised that it would make her lumbar spine feel better.

A few weeks back, while she and the Da' were at a street fair, they came across a vendor selling what were described to me as "these fabulous chairs that float and take away your back pain altogether!" She was most serious when she told me that all she needed to do was sit in the chair for about ten minutes at a pop, and her lower back pain melted away.  "Of course," she said, "it takes a bit of getting used to, but it really does help. It's a suspension-y sort of thing -- you just hang there kid of weightless...your dad put it up in the basement. He attached it to one of the joists, and I can sit in it and watch my shows!"

She went on to describe it's construction, but I admit that I was tired and sore and only paying perfunctory attention, nodding in all the right places as I followed her down the stairs to be confronted by one of these hanging from the rafters.

That's right. My mom and dad basically bought and installed a fuck swing in their basement.

I just about swallowed my teeth. Worse, I was subjected to my mom (whom I adore, but she is rather Emperor-penguin-shaped) clamber into the contraption and explain how all the straps for your knees and ankles work to help support you and make you weightless.

As she was hanging there, and I was trying to not cry/laugh until I peed myself, the husband came down and did a visible double-take. I shot him a "shut the holy fuck up and don't say a word or I will gut you like a God damned fish" look, and helped her disentangle herself. She then, generously, offered to help ME into the device, because it "really would make your back feel better!"

Husband assumed the biggest, most shit-eating grin I have ever seen on a human and concurred that I ought to give it a go. I demurred.

I swear to God I am going to track down that vendor and strangle him with one of his own products.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

In memorial.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
-- John Donne 

Rest well, William. The world is a lesser place in your absence.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

S'up, brochacho? A few random notes...

If it's fifty-fucking-FOUR degrees out and your dumb ass is wearing flip-flops, booty shorts and a halter top that shows your gunt, you bet your ass I'm judging you. Particularly if you're complaining to everyone in earshot about how cold you are. You're lucky if I don't flat-out call you a stupid slunt.

*~*~*~*~*

Listen up, honey-pie: scheduling a two-and-a-half week vacation in the middle of the first half of the semester makes you functionally retarded. Oh, you're carrying 21 credits this semester? One of those classes is O-chem? You're getting home from your vacation in the middle of midterms week?

"Do you think missing that much class will do bad things to my grade?''

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH*gasp*HAHAHAHA*snort*HAHAHA!

No. Of course not. Not only will you get straight A+s across the board, I bet they'll nominate you for Student of the Year, and award you the Class Presidency.

*~*~*~*~*

"Duuuuuude, my weekend started on Thursday night. I'm soooooooooooo hungover right now."

Great. However, it's an 11 AM class that's a core requirement. There's a mandatory attendance policy in place.

No, I will not turn off the lights, close the blinds or shush my lecture voice. Man up and handle your hangover!

*~*~*~*~*

The youth of today have no intestinal fortitude.

Truthbomb.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Someone had one Hell of a night.

I was running late this morning, due to various roads being flooded or trees being down. I got to campus with about ten minutes to park, pee and beat feet to my ten AM class.

I managed to sprint from the far-flung faculty lot to the class building and up three flights of stairs to the first convenient Proffy pooper. It was uncharacteristically smelly, but I was too hurried to thoroughly check things out, I rushed in, dropped my bag, slammed the door and unleashed, only to look up and discover...

...hanging on the little hook usually reserved for purses or keys/ID on lanyards, a pair of (formerly) white, hippopotamic, beshitted granny panties. We're talking step-ins vast enough to be a sail for a forty-foot vessel.

It's not as if someone rinsed them out and hung them to dry, either -- oh, no. These were ripe and lump-laden.

I damn near lost my coffee on my shoe-tops.

I eased out of the stall and grabbed the nearest maintenance worker (poor bastard), who marked the bathroom out of order.

The Hell is wrong with people? At least throw your dirty squirrel-covers out, don't festoon them around the only bathroom on the fucking floor!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ooooh. Iceburn.

(All the more sad because it's entirely accurate. God damn.)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Douchecanoe

If you show up to the first class with a two-page, handwritten list of class dates and inform me that they are days you will NOT be attending -- not asking me, but telling me -- you are not allowed to get huffy when I laugh in your face and ask if you'd like your "F" now, or at the end of the semester.

Idiot.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I am never complaining about my job again.

(But I bet this dude has a future in politics.)


Monday, August 1, 2011

The Ass of Terror!

The last week and a half has been a whirlwind of birthday parties and back-to-school parties for all three kids. At one of them, the Wee Ginger Beastie acquired a balloon. Bright red, cheerful and fat with helium, it floated merrily on the end of its yellow curly ribbon.  We tied it to the foot of her bed. She was pleased to no end.

Bitey considers all things ribbon-like to be edible. He also considered the balloon to be his mortal enemy. Last Wednesday, while we were out, he attacked, deflated the Red Sphere of DEATH and summarily devoured its Unholy Yellow Tether of Tastiness. Drama abounded. The conquering hero rested on his laurels (actually, a ladybug pillow pet) with an exceedingly smug look on is face as he was scolded by his teary mistress.

Thursday night, I got home from class to find everyone in the house asleep, despite what sounded like a thundering herd of wildebeests rampaging through the dining room. I dropped my messenger bag and flipped on the light to be confronted by quite a scene.

Bitey, frantic and wild-eyed, being chased around the dining-room table by a piece of his own poo.

It seems that the ribbon had made its way through his digestive tract largely whole. He crapped out a ball of poo-compacted ribbon...but the remainder of the ribbon was still in his butt. There was a golf ball-sized turd tethered to his pucker by about five inches of ragged yellow ribbon. Bitey found himself terrorized by this smelly follower, and was unable to escape from it no matter how fast he raced around the table.

I grabbed a handful of paper towels, cornered the cat and gently tried to remove the menacing piece of excrement, only to discover that there was still a great deal of ribbon lodged inside the cat.

Have you ever watched a magician perform the "never-ending scarf trick?"
Have you ever struggled to pull-start a chainsaw?

Close your eyes and imagine a twenty-pound, wildly flailing, howling, spitting, hissing Cuisinart with a shit-soaked pull-start cord.

Yeah.

Fucking cats.

Monday, July 25, 2011

What is this world coming to?

About a week and a half ago, the tall bespectacled SnarkGirl had a dental emergency.

Despite all eveidence to the contrary (especially the fact that she's my daughter), she has a tiny jaw. One of her baby molars was coming out, but the teeth in her jaw are so tight that as the adult tooth was pushing up the baby molar was not moving. Eventually it cracked in to four pieces, and then the gum around it got lacerated and infected. One trip to the dentist later, it was disimpacted, cleaned out and we left with a script for antibiotics.

At the time, we paid our regular co-pay. I knew that there was no way Blue Balls/Poo Shield would cover the whole visit, but the admin and I agreed we'd submit and hope for the best.

Today I go the letter from the insurance company, stating that we owed the dentist $275. Ouch, but not entirely unexpected. I called the office to double-check the amount and ask when I should drop off the check. No one answered, so I left a message with my name, cell number and my questions, assuming someone would call back.

I got a call back 30 minutes later. The secretary asked me a favor: "Can I put you on speaker so you can ask your questions? I'd like the others to hear."

I assumed it was a training thing, and agreed. "So, I want to double-check that the amount we owe is $275, and I want to make sure that it's OK that I drop the check off on Wednesday morning."

Dead. Silence.

"Seriously. I can come in Wednesday and pay, right?"

An unknown voice from the background chimed in: "You're volunteering to bring payment in, without complaining or negotiating trying to weasel out of it? Really?"

"Yes. I OWE the money, and I'd like to PAY my bill as soon as I can to clear the debt. Is that acceptable?"

"Wow. That;s just...holy shit. WOW! Yes, come in whenever you want!"

That can't possibly be that rare, can it -- that an office full of people is utterly shocked that I'd want to pay my bill, in full, in timely fashion?

Good grief.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Thunderheads on the horizon.

The "get ready for Fall!" e-mails have started arriving.
The end-of-summer faculty meeting/boot in the ass session has been scheduled.
Book order forms and preliminary class lists have started appearing in mail boxes.

Fuck.

I just got back from vacation!

A quick look at my schedule confirms that I teach my last summer session class on Aug 15, and start the new fall semester on August 29.

Double fuck!

After the horrible spring semester, I was pretty crispy from burnout, and had decided to take summer "off" by only teaching one course. That was knocked galley-west by a colleague going out on FMLA, and I went from "summer at ease" of one class scheduled to "full boat" of three classes in the space of a week.

Everyone's papers are due in the same week, which gives me a fuckton of grading to do on top of my fall semester prep.

Triple fuck with whipped cream on top!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In which I am a dreadful person.

One of my step-nieces has joined an evangelical fundie cult. Her new church is all about "praying the ghey away," speaking in tongues, laying on of hands and prayer to heal (rather than traditional medicine), exorcising demons and snake-handling. (I wish I was kidding. Friday services feature serpent wrangling.)

The pastor of this dubious organization urges his members to disconnect from all family that is not willing to attend a series of informational lectures on his church. He also asks that all his female congregants call him "pastor daddy."A lot of his female followers found his church when they were emotionally fragile and vulnerable. Apparently God has directed him to hang out around various AA and support groups to minister to those fragile women who need spiritual counsel.

He's a fucking vulture. A sweaty, long-haired, fat-fingered greasy predator.

My niece is marrying his son this August. In her year-long association with this group, she has stolen money from her father (my step-brother) and my step-sister. This was OK, according to her an "pastor daddy" because she was only taking it to give to the church. She also makes a point to tell everyone that they are, in fact, going to Hell.

I was invited to see her church, out of pure concern for my soul. You see, as a Catholic, I am not saved. Nor am I Christian. I am a heathen who worships the whore of Babylon. Before I can go to her wedding, however, I would have to submit myself for personal exorcism by pastor daddy (which involves "shedding the outer layers of this world and being fully immersed"  - i.e., getting naked and dunked in his backyard pool). Only then would TEH CATHOLIC COOTIES be removed.

The wedding invite (with a list of pre-conditions) came via Facebook -- honestly, who sends wedding invites via FB? -- yesterday. I mused on it and sent my regrets.

Then I sent them a Catholic Mass card of congratulations, telling them that they've been enrolled in Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration and Masses for the next five years. I mailed it to them care of their church storefront's address.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

He died the way he lived...


...with car parts in his anus.



Seriously, if you're going to drink and drive -- or drive in excess of 100 MPH on a two-lane country road rife with winding turns** and Kamikaze deer -- you're asking for a Darwin award.

The first picture is from the local news affiliates. It's what's left of a 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 after it hit a guard rail, plowed through several yards of trees and foliage and burned to the frame. The two occupants died of "blunt force and thermal trauma,"  according to the local coroners prelim autopsy report. Tox isn't in yet, but he tweeted a pic of himself and two buds (one of whom was the other fatality) drinking at Barnaby's in West Chester, and they all looked pretty hammered. I'd not wager on BAC (mostly because I'm not sure how they'd test, given the crash and subsequent fire).

I hope with all my heart that they were both dead on impact, and didn't suffer. The idea of being torn to pieces and then burning alive is a dreadful one.

The second picture is from Dunn's infamous "stuff a toy car up his ass" stunt on "Jackass." Yes, he really did use his rectum as a carpark for a Matchbox car.

(**I live about ten minutes from the accident scene, and drive by it several times a week. People drive like absolute speeding assholes, and there are routinely accidents with fatalities along its length.)

Monday, June 20, 2011

*urp*

I hate boats, Hate, hate, hate.  I fucking hate boats.

God, that felt good.

My in-laws are avid boaters. They have had multiple boats over the years, and boat gatherings are their favored social event. April through October, the cry goes out: "Hey! We should all go hang out down on the boat!" In fact, everyone is supposed to suit up for a jolly good time on ye olde boate this coming weekend.

Here's the problem: I get motion sick on friggin' escalators. So, a boat outing for me goes one of two ways -- either I take enough Dramamine to be non-functional (seriously, I'm floppy as a marionette with cut strings), or I literally spend all my time vomiting, dry-heaving and so nauseous as to be useless. Even giant cruise ships make me seasick. Wristbands, fresh air, all sorts of home cures for seasickness prove useless in the face of my shot equilibrium.

A day on a boat -- any boat -- is a very unpleasant experience for me and everyone around me who gets squicked out by being vomited upon or uncomfortable around a woman who has been, for all intents and purposes, roofied.

Unfortunately, everyone seems to think that "this time, it will be different! You'll be OK! You can learn to enjoy it!"

Crap. Utter crap.

The other side of this is, "Well, fine. You can stay on shore and (insert activity)." This usually leads me to grumble that I have other things I could just as easily be doing at home, rather than sitting on an uncomfortable dock, or a useless yacht club.

However, I'm generally branded a sourpuss who refuses to have fun whenever I complain. Which is what I'm doing here.

Seriously? Fuck boats and boating in general.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Tale of the Pooters.

Saturday classes are a blessing and a curse.

On the one hand, there are very few people on campus -- those who have to teach, their students, and Campus Safety. EVERYTHING is closed, or has very abbreviated hours. Book store, Java Junkie stand, library -- everything is shuttered on Saturdays. There are very few on-campus Saturday classes, so it's not unusual to be the only one in your particular building during your allotted course time -- particularly if the class starts at ass o'clock  on a summer Saturday (or 8AM).

This means that you can make noise with impunity, leave doors open to catch crossbreezes and relax classroom decorum a bit to include eating and drinking. It also means that you can turn a lecture on Poe in to a multi-classroom scavenger hunt or "CSI"-style investigation, to keep everyone interested and awake.

The downside is it's a very "Silent Hill" type of experience to have to unlock the whole building, turn on all the lights and vending machines and otherwise wander around a dark, empty classroom building well before anyone else is around. It ALSO means that anyone who wanders on to campus and has questions will take you for the Person in Authority that can answer everything. Enter the Pooter family.

I was whipping through my lecture, hoping to wrap up a half-hour early, when the classroom door banged open and in wandered three people of dubious provenance.

"HI!" boomed the father. "We're the Pooters! Y'all should be expecting us!"
One dad, a widely smiling mom (who looked like she had been carved out of Lily Pulitzer and cream cheese) and a very uncomfortable and embarrassed-looking young woman stood in front of me, waving a campus map.
 
"Uh, I beg your pardon? This is Themes in Literature Seminar. We aren't expecting anyone, and we're in the middle..." He barreled on as if he didn't hear me.
"Now, my daughter, Pitty Pooter, will be here in the fall, and we came up to poke around campus, but nothing is open. We'd like you to show us around."
"I'm sorry. Did you get a letter stating today was your official acceptance/orientation tour?" (I knew full well the answer was no, because official tours are scheduled for late July.)
"Yeah, but we wanted to have our own, hands-on tour. Now, show us where the bookstore is...you have keys? Can you let us in and sell us a sweatshirt or two? How about the cafeteria? Oh, and we want to see Pitty's dorm room -- I want to take a few measurements..."
"Sir, I am sorry, but I am not a tour guide, and I am conducting a class right now. I can direct you to Campus Security, but everything is closed, and you'll get more out of your offical tour later next month. Now, I really have to get back to teaching..."
"But who is going to show us this campus? Surely you can do that!"
"No, I really can't. I have to finish teaching the class that you interrupted. Now, Campus Safety should be able to answer some of your questions."

(It was a fine line because on the one hand, I did not want to alienate them, and on the other, I had to cover at least another hours' worth of material. I wanted to thump Mr. Pooter about the neck and shoulders with my Norton. Argh.)

I ushered them out in to the hall and gave them directions. Then I went back into my classroom and called Big Steve, the Security dude on duty, to warn him. I knew Big Steve was not going to be pleased, because Big Steve's idea of policing campus during the summer is playing WoW  and online poker, and not bestirring himself out of the air conditioned security offices unless he needs to piss, or hit the vending machines. Big Steve has all the personality (and personal aroma) of curdled milk, and the welcoming mien of a semi-rabid stoat with inflamed hemmorhoids.

Big Steve uttered a stream of profanities that did my heart proud, and was still cursing a blue streak when I hung up. I turned back to my class, all of whom had entirely lost their trains of thought.

"Guys..." I looked at the clock. The entire debacle had taken 45 minutes, and brought us to within 20 minutes of class being over. There was no way we were getting anything else done. "We'll catch up next week. Let's get out of here."
"Yeah, before they come back!" one student interjected. We all beat feet for our cars.

As I pulled out of the faculty lot, I saw Big Steve truculently leading the Pooters over dormwards, with a sour look on his face. I said a quick prayer that Pitty would not end up in any of my sections int he fall, because I get the sense that her parents are the Sikorsky of helicopter parents.

Friday, June 10, 2011

"Oooops." The bitter end.

Finally, the day arrived: Last class! I practically sproinged out of bed and sprinted to class. I was very eager to shake the dust of this section off my heels and walk away.

I collected all of the various forms I needed and distributed course evals, and then departed to give them some privacy to fill the forms out. (Apparently, if the prof is in the room, students might feel too intimidated to give accurate feedback. What the fuck ever.) I met up with the other section prof in the hall; she shared a sour and commiserating look before we returned to our rooms.

I gave the traditional end-of-semester speech, turned them loose and grabbed the sealed envelope of evals -- which seemed to weigh fifty pounds. Off I went to give them to my department head. The other prof and I met up in the hall and walked, silently, together. We arrived at her office at the same time, and we handed over our evals like a jury foreman handing over the results in a capitol murder case. we sighed in unison.

She took them, thanked us and then gave us a long, measuring look -- and then tossed them, unopened, into the trash.

"Have a good summer, ladies. New texts will be in the mail late next week." Then she turned back to her computer.

We left, a little more optimistic. "How many challenges do you think we are going to get?" she asked.

"Probably a shit-tonne. Opportunistic little fuckers will see what they can get, and parents are pissed. I suspect we are going to be filling out paperwork for months on this one."

"Fuck." "Indeed."

Over the course of the following two weeks, 17 out of 19 challenged grades in my section; 20 out of 20 in hers. We did spend about six weeks photocopying, e-mailing, justifying and printing out reams of documentation. I spent more time on campus providing paper trail than I do during a normal semester.

In the end, admin actually stood behind both of us, and every single grade was upheld.  So, win for us...I guess.

Though both of us agree that we're never volunteering for shit again. The whole incident left a very bitter taste in our mouths, towards the canned prof and frankly, towards students. I hope that a light summer schedule will help me get my optimistic mojo back, and I won't start in the fall by giving every single frosh that crosses  my path the evil eye.

I will serve on curriculum committee and judicial affairs before I pick up an orphaned class again. Fuck that shit right in the ear.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In which a jackbag earns public ridicule.

(Go to Breda's for a wee bit of expanded background.)

So. An invertebrate who shall not be named grabbed a copy of a picture of Breda open-carrying at her local China*Mart from her excellent blog post on "Open Carry Day,"and  re-posted it on his blog with a rather misogynistic and offensive title.

(I'm not naming or linking to the invertebrate. I suspect the resulting Bredalanche has him furiously massaging his prostate with a turnip twaddler while wearing his dead grandmother's nightgown and sniffing his uncle's dirty, piss-stained y-fronts in ecstasy. You can find him fairly easily.)

When Twittered a request to remove the offensive post, followed by polite e-mails and comments on the post itself (from Breda, her husband and a vast swath of the gunblogger community) Gun-not-so-s-mart doubled-down on the ignorance and dug in his heels. He DID eventually remove the pic, but kept the offensive title.

One of the commenters on jackbag's blog decried mob rule and infringement of jackbag's FREE SPEECH OMG!!!ELEVENTY!!

Here's the thing:

Jackbag is absolutely free to say whatever the hell he wants. No one is preventing him from showing his bepimpled, cellulite-ridden hemmorhoidal ass all over the place. HOWEVER, he also should be prepared to put on his Big Boy Boxers and deal with the consequences. Public shaming and censure from a fairly small and tight-knit community can sting a bit. Wear your cup.

This is otherwise known as the "Dixie Chick Provision." Act like an ass, and you can't expect acceptance and readership. In fact, you can expect to have that ass handed back to you, with several sets of boot prints on it.

Several other very excellent writers have already opined on the issue; have a read or several:
I suspect the next Vicious Circe is going to be quite a raucous one. I may have to call in!

Monday, May 30, 2011

In Memoriam, 2011.

The dead soldier's silence sings our national anthem. -Rev. Aaron Kilbourn

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Maternal example.

This is how I try to parent.
Have your tissues ready.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Ooops," Part the third.

It was probably the longest six weeks of my teaching career. Thank God my other classes were well in hand, and had good students. In addition, several former students, having heard the buzz on campus, started swinging the truncheons in my favor. At one point, trudging to my doom class, a very flamboyant student from several semesters previous ran up, all a'twitter:

"I just want you to know that I will NOT tolerate those snippy bitches, and the Gay Mafia has your back, sister!"

"Uhm. That's lovely, Jerome. What are you speaking of?" (Jerome is very dramatic, and everything he says has dramatic flair -- snaps in the air, gestures and eyerolls. It's amusing.)

"WELL. Carl, in my Fashion Class, told me he overheard some of those students from your *new* class badmouthing you. EVERYone knows I adore you,because I would have failed out if it weren't for you kicking my butt,  and all my friends know I just  would NOT allow that kind of shit-prattle in my presence. So Carl told me, and I took those uppity snatches in had. Ooooo, I let them have it!"

"Well, thanks. I appreciate it."

"Oh, no worries. If you have any more problems, you just let me know, because my God, those cows are just the end. All my girls are on it, too -- the Gay Mafia is you copilot!"

This cheered me slightly. Another former student, now a peer mentor, dropped an e-mail indicating that a couple of current students were her mentees, and that she had given out some ass-kickings, as well.

Maybe I would survive the semester, after all!

I used the academic calendar in my planner as a countdown, and got immense satisfaction from crossing the days off. If I could make it to Easter, I wold be home free!

Except for student evaluations. And individual conferences. And grade submissions.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Oops." Part the second.

Once the brimstone settled, a routine was established which added several layers of adminstrative bullshit and documentation. . I would show up and lecture. I would take attendance and issue warnings for non-attendance.(Eventually I added a sign-in sheet.) I would send reminder e-mails hither and yon. I would copy-furnish the Department Head and Dean on all communications. I met personally with Department Head and Dean once a week to update them in person.

Copies of amended syllabii, course calendars and assignment sheets -- at least 300 board-feet -- were actually air-dropped over the region.

The students continued to give no fucks. Many continued to actively sabotage themselves, me and other class members. In fact, as we (I) dug in, things actually got worse. Several of the students had become close, personal, intimate companions of the previous Authority (ha!) Figure, and were doing their best to disrupt proceedings.  At least one was acting as live-in "personal assistant/au pair." A few opportunists, sensing blood in the water,  got their parental units involved. There was a great deal of drama, rancorous e-mails and phone calls were exchanged, FERPA was invoked more than once. Several dozen extra meetings and a lot of antacid consumed.

Culpability was distributed far and wide. The students, for not reporting shit (though they felt they were amply "rewarded" with lack of work, lack of class time and  the guarantee of an easy A). The prof, for being a sleazy, amoral jackbag with the ethics of a sociopath. The Department Head, for not checking up. The Dean, for not "leading appropriately." Everyone was pissed at everyone else, and the fingers of blame were pointed, Mexican-standoff-style, in all directions.

In the middle were myself and the other prof who got tagged with remediation and completion. We were there to fix things so that 1) the students would not have to re-take one or two classes, and 2) that the uni would not have to cough up cash/let them re-take for free. I can honestly say that we had giant targets on our asses for students, parents and Admin alike, and yet were the only two people who really had no blame whatsoever in the sitch. We spent a lot of time commiserating, and regretting that we had answered the call to help.

The ventilation device, having been ramped to "wind tunnel," had been thoroughly doused in a dense, brown, odiferous substance with hints of corn and peanut. Repeatedly. It got to the point that I dreaded the drive to campus, walked to class as if I were headed to the firing squad, and left feeling like I'd been bludgeoned. Twice a week. Migraines and stomach ailments became de riguer. People kept asking me what was wrong or who had died. Family members crawled up my ass and pestered me to "cheer up!"

The hell of it was, all of this personally offended the shit out of me. See, as much as I bitch, I love my job. I like teaching and I like teaching English. I enjoy the writing process and explaining it to others. Usually, I like my students; watching them transform, become more articulate, better workers....it's what keeps me doing this despite shitty pay and very little Admin support. I actually care what happens to the little bastards. I want them to succeed -- graduate, get decent jobs and have good futures. What I am teaching them is, I believe, the foundation of that success.

I'm offended at the liberties the previous prof took.
I'm offended at the dereliction of duty to students and uni alike by several people.
I'm offended at the laissez-faire attitude towards responsibility by almost everyone involved.
I'm offended by the students' lack of give-a-shit.

Mostly, I'm pissed that it only took six weeks to make me seriously sit down and ask if this was something that I wanted to keep doing. I always told myself that when teaching got to be less fun and more work, I'd walk away before I burned out.

(Part the third tomorrow.)

Monday, May 9, 2011

"Ooops." Part the first.

I knew something was up when I got four messages from Ms. Indifferent Lazy Student in a 45-minute period.

The day before, I had given their final and collected their writing portfolios, which included research notebooks and final papers. I had a stack of 35 of them remaining when my phone went bonkers. As time was limited, I ignored the messages while I slogged through grading and commenting on a great deal of dreck.

Opening Ms. ILS's portfolio was an eye-opener.

Scribbled all over her notebooks were variations on a theme: "I wish this fat bitch would shut the fuck up." "Her clothes are atrocious." "I fucking hate this boring-ass class." "This woman is a pain in my ass." "I fucking hate English now." I'm going to hit this bitch with my car." There were also several "round-robin" notes with at least three participants, all of whom were bemoaning the fact that they had to, you know, actually do work in class.

Ms. ILS's class was one that I took over in mid-March; their previous prof had "resigned for health issues" halfway through the semester. (Yeah. As in the Dean, Provost and other Admin bigwigs said, "It would be good for your continued health to get the fuck off campus and never set foot on property again, you sleazebucket." Mmmm-hmm. Improprieties abounded.)

Upon assuming the duties for the class, I discovered that there had been no work done -- period -- for all of the first (fall) semester and the first half of the spring semester. There were no grades, no assignments, no records whatsoever. In other words, we had to cram roughly 21 weeks' worth of remediation and six weeks' worth of new material into the remaining seven weeks of semester, or everyone was going to have to re-take classes.

Fuck it. I could do this! I'd drag them, kicking an screaming, through this class! They'd pass, they'd learn something ... they'd excel, God damn it! I created a plan, worked out a syllabus, scheduled extra sessions, made myself available for supplemental work, re-worked the grading scale, dealt with Deans and Department Heads falling out of my asshole...it was a shit-tonne of work. I was confident that they could do the work, and that we'd all survive the semester.

Except for the fact that they had grown accustomed to not having to do shit -- not even show up to class.

My optimism was sadly ill-founded.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Yom HaShoah -- Holocaust Remembrance Day

More light! More light! (Anthony Hecht)

(For Heinrich Blucher and Hannah Arendt)
Composed in the Tower before his execution
These moving verses, and being brought at that time
Painfully to the stake, submitted, declaring thus:
"I implore my God to witness that I have made no crime."

Nor was he forsaken of courage, but the death was horrible,
The sack of gunpowder failing to ignite.
His legs were blistered sticks on which the black sap
Bubbled and burst as he howled for the Kindly Light.

And that was but one, and by no means one of he worst;
Permitted at least his pitiful dignity;
And such as were by made prayers in the name of Christ,
That shall judge all men, for his soul's tranquility.

We move now to outside a German wood.
Three men are there commanded to dig a hole
In which the two Jews are ordered to lie down
And be buried alive by the third, who is a Pole.

Not light from the shrine at Weimar beyond the hill
Nor light from heaven appeared. But he did refuse.
A Luger settled back deeply in its glove.
He was ordered to change places with the Jews.

Much casual death had drained away their souls.
The thick dirt mounted toward the quivering chin.
When only the head was exposed the order came
To dig him out again and to get back in.

No light, no light in the blue Polish eye.
When he finished a riding boot packed down the earth.
The Luger hovered lightly in its glove.
He was shot in the belly and in three hours bled to death.

No prayers or incense rose up in those hours
Which grew to be years, and every day came mute
Ghosts from the ovens, sifting through crisp air,
And settled upon his eyes in a black soot.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Problem-solving skills.

With the coming of spring, genus douchebaggus teenus emerges. Driven by their fierce, hormonally-addled instincts, they seek to attract the female of the species in courtship display. Prime among their tools (heh) is the playing of loud music as they drive endlessly around the local blocks, windows open and bass rattling sternums for miles around.

(One of the only upsides I can see to ridiculous gas prices is the fact that maybe some of these assholes won't be able to cruise around all summer.)

This afternoon, I was sitting out on the front porch, watching a thunderstorm roll in and generally communing with nature as the kids played with sidewalk chalk. I passed a few words with a neighbor across the street, and then, roaring down the block, came a carload of bepimpled idiots, blasting Lil' Wayne's "Pop That Pussy" at  a volume best described as "planet-shatter."

As they made their second strafing round the block, I ran down to the sidewalk and started gyrating wildly. Ms. Reuben-Jeanne, my neighbor, immediately saw what was up, and did the same on her front walk.

Imagine: two very white, very middle-aged, slightly reubenesque moms shaking their asses, Shakira-style. We enthusiastically worked our mojo. It was when RJ (who is technically classified as a small planetoid) got down to the deep squat-pelvic-thrusts that the carload screeched to a halt and the boys, utter horror upon their faces, exclaimed:

Horrified teen: "Yo! What the fuck, man? Jesus Christ, what the fuck is wrong with you two?"

Me: "Dude, if you didn't want us to dance, you wouldn't have had your music up so high!"

RJ: "That's right, baybee! I hears that hot stuff and I gots to shake mah booty!" (With an extra jiggle and an ass-slap for emphasis.)

*silence, broken only by whimpering*

"Ma'am, would you like us to turn our music down a little bit?"

"Well, actually, a  lot. Some of those lyrics are a bit much for children. Plus, you're going to go deaf."

"We'll keep it down."

"Thanks.  Though the dancing is a Hell of a good workout."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Indispensible

Every parent needs to go out and buy this book.

Immediately.

"Go the Fuck to Sleep."

It's a real book, and it's hilarious.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Huh.

Dino posted a mini-rant on homeopathy and its utter lack of usefulness. I got to thinking about it, and...

I was going to make a comment on the fact that we've also become a style over substance society, hence all the Hope and Change we're experiencing...how we feeeeeeeel about things has become much more important than actual results.

As far as I am concerned, homeopathy is the Obama of scientific/medical world -- in the end, it's an empty bottle/suit that costs a shit-tonne and does absolutely nothing.

Edit: I'd point out that, also like homeopathy, it's easy to sell people a bill of goods based on appearance; a "blank screen on which people project their own views,*" if you will.  It looks good on the label, and promises to fix everything  but in fact does not treat things and makes them worse.


Trading big companies fucking people over (when you have legal recourse, no matter how convoluted) for big government fucking people over with impunity is not improving things for anyone. The Obamacare bill does not do anything but add several levels of bureaucratic bullshit. It does not improve access or quality of care, but it looks good on Dear Precedent's resume.

(A quote from "The Audacity of Bullshit," if I recall.) 

Generation Ass-bitten.

The anxiety on campus is palpable; a wet, heavy blanket you could wring sweat out of. Senior grades are being submitted directly after Easter, and Commencement practices have begun. Several hundred young people are about to spread their wings and fly out in to a "real life" world of jobs and responsibility. This is the moment they've anticipated for the last four years! Freedom! Independence! Disposable income! Unfettered adulthood, in all its fabulosity! All their lives, they've bought in to the fairy tale: Go to a good school get a degree, get a good job.

The problem? The economy and the job market can best be described as "shit on toast" -- if toast weren't so God damned expensive, and if you could afford to fill the gas tank on your beater to get to the store. And after you've started paying off those student loans.

On-campus interviewing for entry-level, corporate sweatshop jobs has been sparse. Campus Counseling has been overwhelmed with stressed and depressed seniors. The job boards are empty save for the paper-printed, tiled 'goatse' that some enterprising frat d00d  wallpaper-glued to the cork.

The upperclassmen fall in to one of two categories:
  1. Drinking to self-medicate from the stress of having no job prospects lined up. They wander campus, mouths set in grim lines, and utter Poe-esque horror stories. They trade interview tips, power ties/accessories, networking links...to no avail. Even nepotism is failing them at this point. They are like dementors, sucking the hope and joy out of people who pass too close. The prospect of having to move back in with their parents and find a fast-food or Shore job terrifies them. The prospect of no job at all is unthinkable.
  2. Drinking in one last burst of 'apres moi, le deluge' nihilism and enjoying the last few weeks of responsibility-free hedonism. Watching them party non-stop, 24/7 is like watching some grand guignol fin de siecle. They are manic in their pursuit of ass, grass or alcohol. It's exhausting to witness. Local pharmacies are out of rubbers, Quell and KY jelly. Noise violations and alcohol write-ups are through the roof, safety officers have permanent scowls and if housekeeping has to clean up one more puddle of Jaeger vomit or Rumpleminze-tinged piss, they will riot and stab people with their broken broom handles.
There's a lot of fear and anger evident. This is their trial by fire; their youthful idealism and optimism is being trumped by reality. There was a lot of enthusiasm for Hope and Change a couple of years ago, and now there's a lot of discontent at broken promises and dashed expectations. The competition of jobs is fierce, they are up against people with decades of experience, and most of them are as unprepared for rejection as they were when they graduated from high school.

I suspect my campus is not unique in atmosphere right now. I wish I had some tidbits of positivity to pass on to them, but I'm having a hard time seeing any silver linings in the gathering thunderheads. If the economy doesn't turn around soon, the hard rain that's going to fall is going to sweep a shitload away.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Field trip nonsense

I chaperoned SnarkGirl's field trip yesterday -- a walking tour of historic Philadelphia! We saw the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross' house, the Old Christ Church and Franklin Court. The weather was chilly and gray, but the rain (mostly) held off. However, a few observations:
  • What kind of frickin' dumb ass shows up to what was clearly labeled a WALKING tour in three-inch, platformed, spike-heeled, pointy-toed stilettos? "I just couldn't find anything else to go with my Lily Pulitzer!" I wanted to rip off her ridiculous shoes and stab her in the eye with them every time she complained about how much her feet hurt.
  • Being in charge of several children who are not your own is exhausting, due to heightened situational awareness and hypervigilence. Strangers, street crossings, making sure they don't wander off...it is a lot like taking six goats to market without lead ropes.
  • I should have hired a sherpa to help me buttle all of the girls' stuff, and they shed sweatshirts, jackets, lunches, cameras and souvenir bags constantly, and guess who got asked to hold it all?
  • The standard Mom Kit -- first aid stuff, water, wipies, hand sanitizer, hair elastics, hard candies, gum, loose change and a good evil glare is indispensable.
  • So is a bellow that will halt forty-seven little girls in their tracks.
  • Merchants who festoon their window displays with trashy lingerie, sex toys and bondage accouterments should be forced to answer the questions that such displays will encourage from young girls on the cusp of puberty, and endure the ensuing shrieks of "Oh, that's GUH-ROOOOOSS!"
  • Security at the Liberty Bell is ridiculous, the guards have no sense of humor, and I did not appreciate having a large woman in purple nitrile gloves fondling my personal regions and showing the world my C-section scar.
  • I feel really, really naked and vulnerable wandering around Philly without my firearm. The historic zones are...unique in flavor, to say the least.
Most of the places we visited had large signs advertising the fact that they were firearm free zones, and no guns were permitted on the property. Ironic -- the cradle of liberty  pretty much ignores the amendment with God damned well guarantees liberty.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

That's just my ceremonial title.

The Real Political Spectrum Quiz
Your Result: Blood-Sucking Conservative
 
You are Rosemary's baby and the Omen combined, the devil incarnate, the love-child of Darth Vader and Cruella De Vil. (No, this quiz does not have a liberal bias.)
Xanadu-Chasing Liberal
 
The Real Political Spectrum Quiz
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Disney can eat a bowl of dicks.

Mausageddon continues in our house, but has hit a small, ginger-haired snag.

Raised on a steady diet of cute, anthropomorphic rodents, Wee Ginger Beastie is not at all on board with the eradication of small, brown rodents. In fact, she will happily bring armfuls of Disney-produced propaganda and expound upon the helpfulness of mice.

"Cinderella?" They make dresses.
"The Rescuers?" Bernard and Bianca are the heroes.
"American Tail?" Fievel is so sweet!
"Angelina Ballerina!" Enough said.

Have you ever stopped to consider how much mouse-related nonsense there is out there, and how it might affect the opinions of children towards vermin? It's staggering.

My daughter has become the French fucking Resistance, secretively supporting the round-eared, long-tailed, crumb-snatching, pellet-shitting Maquis.

My feckless cats are basically the feline Vichy government.

I have to arrange for the firebomb of Berli -- I mean, my basement.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cats are Useless Twats

Mausaggeddon officially opened with my trying to persuade our three cats to do what should come naturally -- i.e., hunt down mice. This was an unmitigated disaster.

Cat the first: Bitey! He can be a mean fucker, right? He'll engage Fierce Mandibles of Death as soon as he realizes there are mice! Right. I scooped him up off Ginger Beastie's bed where he was lazing in a sunbeam on her pillow with his concubine the Sock Monkey and hossed his fat-assed freight to the basement. I carried him from corner to corner, pointed out a few likely places for mice to lurk, and put him down. He blinked at me apathetically. I pointed emphatically; he sniffed my finger for any traces of butter. Then he flounced off like the tarty little git that he is, back to bed.

Cat the second: Meela. She's the youngest, most feral of the three. Plus, female cats are traditionally the mousers. Instincts will kick in, and we will be up to our ankles in mouse corpses first thing in the morning! Yeah...no. I opened the basement door and ushered her down the steps. She made it to the bottom step, flopped on her side and began to roll luxuriously in the sawdust. Then she hopped up, streaked up the stairs and tracked basement dirt and sawdust through the kitchen, on the table and up the stairs.

Aggravated, I called in the Big Gun: Cat the third, Bill Z. Bubba, Elder Statescat. Surely he would not stand for rodents in his domicile! I located him curled in a pile of feather comforter on my bed, and processed ceremoniously to the basement with His Majesty, our Great Tabby Hope, hoisted high. Upon placing him on the basement floor, he withered my with a look of supreme disdain, looked around the basement, twitched his whiskers disgustedly and stalked back up the stairs -- tail held high in the "talk to the browneye" position.

A total rout. Mice 3; Cats 0.

I tried cutting back on food to encourage them to hunt for fresh mouse meat, but the howling at all hours of the night was more than any of us could stand.

Oh, well. There are still conventional weapons, traps and flamethrowers in the mix. Except for the fact that my daughters are actively thwarting the process.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Motherfucking Mouse in my Muffin Tin

A lazy Saturday morning. I wander into the kitchen with vague notions of breakfast..."Blueberry muffins, maybe. That sounds good." Wee Ginge Beastie enthusiastically agreed, provided she could help make them. We started to assemble ingredients, and I opened the stove drawer to procure the muffin tin, only to find a fat, brown mouse squatting in it.

A fat, nasty, verminous, disease-bearing,  foul abomination of a rodent. In. My. Muffin tin! (No, Dino -- that is not a euphemism.)

I screamed. It jumped and scurried. I yanked the drawer all the way out, ran to the back door and launched it in to the back yard like I was going for the shot put record (narrowly missing CalvinsDad, who was fixing the hose). This commotion drew the Usual Suspects (three children and a dog) who all looked concerned. I explained that we had a mouse, and that I had freaked a bit.

SnarkGirl did not help when she elbowed her little sister and said, "You know what THAT means, Ginge? Our house is the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!"

"COME INSIDE, IT'S FUN INSIDE!" Ginge bellowed at the top of her (tuneless) lungs, and proceeded to march around the dining room table, leading an imaginary parade. Both girls, raised on the Disney-esque idea that all critters are cute, friendly, tame beasties, were horrified at the thought that we would soon be engaged in an all-out assault on all things rodent.

Fuck. Me.

Nevertheless, plans four Mausageddon were laid. Husband and I consulted on traps, poison baits, flamethrowers and thermonuclear weaponry. He convinced me that conventional weapons ought to be a last resort. OctoBoy danced excitedly from foot to foot, eager to be on the hunt. He wanted to saddle up all three cats for battle.

A trip to the hardware store, and the war was joined.


Soon to be followed by part 2: "Cats are Useless Twats," and part 3: "Disney Can Lave My Nethers."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The definition of lunacy.

Suffice it to say that the "supermoon" must indeed have sway over the mentally ill; the SMother has surfaced again and is being a pain in my posterior.

It started with a communique from the Banana Slug -- her latest husband -- wanting to know where she was. As I have not communicated with her in three years, I allowed as to the fact that I had no fucking clue, and good riddance to bat-shit crazy rubbish, as far as I was concerned.

Apparently, BS came home to an empty-of-all-valuables house and a set of divorce papers on the table. She took everything and evaporated.

Ho, hum.

Then, the collection calls started. LOTS of collection calls. As SMother has stolen my SSN and used it before, I re-upped all the security on my credit reports and started checking my credit report weekly.

The flood of letters and cards started lest week, asking for forgiveness, money, etc. Oy.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Swirly for Bill Z. Bubba.

Once upon a time, SnarkGirl was a wee brown-haired beastie -- though milder in temperament than Wee Ginge. As she was the First and Only she had the run of the house.

She was around two and a half when she administered her first swirly -- to a cat.

Not just any cat, but Bill Z. Bubba, Elder Statescat and notorious grump. Bill was my college cat; he predated grad school, marriage, home ownership, the dog and children. He spent his formative years being fed pizza and developed a taste for dark beers; he saw no use whatsoever in husband, canine or small children. In fact, his rather dyspeptic expression seemed to snarl, "Wasn't life better before all this nonsense? We didn't need them!"**

Bill would often take up station on the (closed) potty lid while I showered and dressed every morning. On this particular morning, the lid was left up, and so he precariously perched on the ring -- careful not to sully his stripey tail with toilet water while he watched the morning's doings.

Perhaps inspired by her recent bout of potty training, SnarkGirl decided that he needed to relieve himself, and only needed the proper instructions to do so. While I watched, she launched herself at him, hollering, "KITTY GO POTTY!"

And she pushed him in. With such force that the lid slammed down, effectively trapping him in the bowl. A fiendish, despairing  howl arose from the toilet, as he struggled to launch himself out -- without being able to gain purchase on the wet porcelain, or throw the lid open. The lid rattled and thumped ominously as I ushered the toddler out and grabbed a towel.

Holding the towel out like a goalie's net, I used a toe to open the lid. The wet cat rocketed out at light speed and I caught him. I wrapped him in the towel and briskly rubbed what felt like twenty pounds of pure shaking, flailing rage, and then launched him towards the hall. Still wailing and in a state of high piss-off, he evaporated with what sounded suspiciously like a sonic boom in his wake.

We didn't see him for the rest of the day. Frankly, given his demeanor towards SnarkGirl, I don't think he's ever forgiven her.



**N.B.: Bill Z. Bubba will be twenty -- a ripe, respectable age for a house cat -- in April. is attitude and opinions have not changed to date.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Old friends, new friends and an aching gut.

It has been one Hell of a week.

Last Saturday, I got to eat and trade stories with the fabled Ambulance Driver, DinoDoc and new friend TOTWTYTR. A good time was had by all, and I can't wait to do it again! In fact, I may persuade Calvin;s Dad to let me road-trip up to the next Boston-area blogger met, just to catch up again.

Sunday, I felt...icky. (No, not hung over, just, uncomfy in the tummy.) Monday, I was in a moderately serious amount of pain, with a lot of nausea and drama. I called Dino, she said to hie myself to the ED. Off I went, anticipating that my appendix and I would part ways. Nope...mesenteric adenitis. Which sucks. (Multiple blood draws and nasty nurses also suck, as does dilaudid. Oh, my yes.)

Despite feeling like hammered crap, it's MIDTERMS, AHOY! this week, which meant that, though discharged late Tuesday, I had to teach Wednesday and Thursday night. This was predictably a joy-filled experience. Argh.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Combining two of my favorite things: Invective and history.

Once upon a time, a Turkish Sultan (Mehmed IV) got in to a bit of a scuffle with some Cossacks. Despite the fact that he got his fat ass miserably stomped, in typical fashion, he demanded that the Cossacks surrender to him. Here's the text of the Sultan's letter to the Cossacks:

As the Sultan; son of Muhammad; brother of the Sun and Moon; grandson and viceroy of God; ruler of the kingdoms of Macedonia, Babylon, Jerusalem, Upper and Lower Egypt; emperor of emperors; sovereign of sovereigns; extraordinary knight, never defeated; steadfast guardian of the tomb of Jesus Christ; trustee chosen by God himself; the hope and comfort of Muslims; confounder and great defender of Christians—I command you, the Zaporozhian Cossacks, to submit to me voluntarily and without any resistance, and to desist from troubling me with your attacks.

The Cossacks, being absolute bad-asses and no respecters of those who held themselves in too high esteem, sent back the following reply:

Zaporozhian Cossacks to the Turkish Sultan!

Thou art a turkish imp, the damned devil's brother and friend, and a secretary to Lucifer himself. What the devil kind of knight art thou that cannot slay a hedgehog with your naked arse? The devil shits, and your army eats. Thou a son of a bitch wilt not ever make subjects of Christian sons; we have no fear of your army, by land and by sea we will battle with thee, fuck thy mother.


Thou art the Babylonian scullion, Macedonian wheelwright, brewer of Jerusalem, goat-fucker of Alexandria, swineherd of Greater and Lesser Egypt, Armenian pig, Podolian villain, catamite of Tartary, hangman of Kamyanets, and fool of all the world and underworld, a fool before our God, a grandson of the Serpent, and the crick in our dick. Pig's snout, mare's arse, slaughterhouse cur, unchristened brow, screw thine own mother!


So the Zaporozhians declare, you lowlife. Thou wilt not even be herding Christian pigs. Now we shall conclude, for we don't know the date and don't have a calendar; the moon's in the sky, the year in the book, the day's the same over here as it is over there; for this kiss our arse!


Koshovyi Otaman Ivan Sirko, with the whole Zaporozhian Host.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine: What the Holy Living Fuck??

Overheard in the Giant this morning:

Trailer baby in onesie, snow boots and hat: "I love you, mommy!"


Mommy in stretch pants that really had no choice: "I love you, too. You're just the cutest thing I ever pooted out my 'giner!"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Address to a Haggis (Burns night!)

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' yet tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o'a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin was help to mend a mill
In time o'need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin', rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash, 
As feckles as wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro' blody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' hands will sned,
Like taps o' trissle.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer
Gie her a haggis!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snow demons!

The litany always starts early. The more hype the local weather idiots lay on, the sooner the calls start:
  • "Didja hear about the storm on its way?"
  • "Do you think we're going to get snow/ice/locusts/frogs?"
  • "Is it supposed to be really bad?"
For day classes, it takes a documented Act of God or a Decree from the Chair of Peter  to cancel classes. Better to have several hundred immature, over-sexed maniacs sitting in their classrooms, rather than bored (and therefore extra-imaginative when it comes to mayhem) in their dorms. The call to cancel classes -- wildly infrequent -- is made by 7:30 AM. Even so, many profs end up coming in, because they are on the road by the time notice is issued.

Night classes are a different story. Evening division is about 85% commuters -- mostly adults coming from full-time jobs -- and traffic/road conditions are always a factor. Even when classes are not canceled, if the weather is bad enough you'll have mostly empty classrooms. The call to cancel evening classes is always made between 3 and 4 PM -- and if off-site/off-campus classes are canceled, usually on-campus classes are canceled, as well. (Hooray for parity!)

The calls and e-mails increase (in frequency and hysteria) as the afternoon wears on. There's a ratio of storm hype to  length of class to amount of time before class. As the university never makes the call until the veeeeery last minute, generally I can expect my cell phone to explode between 3:55 PM and 4:02 PM.

The more ballsy among them will flat-out ask: "Are we having class? What are the penalties if I skip and claim bad weather as an excuse?" Annoying, but at least honest. The fact is, if there is a legitimate weather event, I can't do shit. The metric is common sense: "If you are worried for your safety, stay home."  This meas that i can make it in to class, and spend three hours sitting in an empty classroom because everyone was "worried about the roads." (This has happened more than once.)

In the last week, classes have been canceled once and delayed twice for weather. Looking at Accuweather, we have storms lined up for Thurs/Fri, and again Mon/Tues/Wed.

This semester is going to be a doozy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A case of the crab-ass

The Wee Ginger Beastie is in dreadful fettle today.

I'm convinced that a wandering hermit crab, disoriented from the cold, wandered in to my house, mistook her butt for a shell, crawled up her ass and set up housekeeping. Now it's pinching her tuchus and causing her to be an absolute Toddlesaurus.

Clothes? To Hell with clothes. She'd rather be naked and feral -- despite the fact that it's colder than Pelosi's box up here.

Food? There is no food oh Earth hat would satisfy her. Cereal, fruit, hot cocoa, milk, water, juice -- all have been summarily eye-rolled, though she will wander in to the kitchen and whine that she's hungry. Even peanut butter and nutella isn't the right thing.

Toys? "I don't have anything to plaaaaaay with." "I'm tirrrrred." "NO!" "NO!" "NO!"

We've bundled up and gone for a walk, and played hide and seek/chase-ass around the house.

Naps have been rejected out of hand.

Three temper tantrums in to the day, and I am praying for a wandering band of Gypsies.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Abandon all hope, ye who shop here.

I am convinced that when I finally arrive in Hell, Satan will chain me to a grocery cart with one broken, squeaky wheel, assign me three gibbering imps to corral, and sentence me to an eternity of grocery shopping in Gehenna's Wal*Mart.

Yesterday was the first day back to a "normal" schedule -- or as normal as it ever gets around here. Daughter and Son off to respective schools, Toddlesaurus off to preschool; five minutes to savor a cup of coffee and groove on the silence of the house was mine, all mine!

Of course, after a week a and half of kids home, there was laundry, vacuuming and re-stocking the pantry. As it's easier to make way through the Giant without kids in tow, off I went. Everyone else was doing the same fucking thing.

I hate grocery shopping. I tend to whip through the store at 50 MPH, knocking stuff in to my cart, only getting what we absolutely require. It's a race -- my personal best door-to-door time is fifteen minutes for $200 (or two weeks') worth of groceries. That INCLUDED check-out time.  ( I really, really hate shopping.) This means that I had to linger behind meandering carts, get caught in various traffic jams and wait at the deli counter for a good twenty minutes. The checkout line -- because why would you have more that two out of twelve open on a Monday morning? -- was ten people deep. By the time it was all done, I was at the store for an hour and a half, and was frazzled as Hell. (Have I mentioned how much I loathe shopping yet? I really do.)

When I got home, I had enough time to put everything away and go pick up Ginger Beastie. SO much for a relaxing morning!