Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day

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

Monday, May 7, 2012


"But I really want an 'A.' "

So we go over the printed-out numbers again. Spotty attendance, lack of participation, late papers, missed assignments; no grades above  "C."

Mathematically speaking, she earned a "D."  No amount of extra credit, no last-minute work or grace can turn this sow's ear into a silk purse. In fact, it's only grace that has garnered the "D" that currently befuddles her.

"I feel like I tried really, really hard, and I really think that ought to count towards an 'A.' "

No.  Just....no. Accept the grade that you earned and stop embarrassing yourself (and me). You will have to take it again next semester; perhaps a bit more effort on your part will pay off. Maybe this has been a learning experience: better time management, more research, extra effort...

"But I've never gotten a grade this bad before. Ever! I tried so hard! Can't you just give me an 'A?' I really, really want one!" (Note: I've seen your college transcripts. This is a lie.Your performance is on par with last semester: abysmal.)

Across the hall, Dr. Flannel utters a Wookiee-like growl of utter aggravation and frustration, as I -- for the third time -- go over the math.

It adds up the same. "D." People in Hell want icewater; students want easy/unearned "A's." It's axiomatic.

She leaves, weeping and railing at my cruelty, my unfairness, the shame of it. Dr. Flannel gives me a sympathetic shrug as I watch her go. He asks her major, and snorts when I say "Counseling Ed."

God fucking damn the people who fill these kids' heads with unrealistic expectations. The ones who socially promote them, who tell them that everyone deserves a trophy, everyone's a winner...the ones who prop them up, and fudge their numbers in order to pad them from ever experiencing failure on any level whatsoever....and then turn them loose with no coping mechanisms to use when they do fail. They fall farther and harder when they've been cossetted and shielded for all their lives.

Some people just aren't meant for college. It's not fair to build their dreams, sell them a white elephant, and collect interest on their failure.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Oh, balls.

The end of the semester is always ripe with excessive stupidity. Sometimes it's alcohol-fueled, sometimes it's just sheer desperation but mostly it is utter bottom-of-the-barrel stupidity that produces the best stories.

For instance:

If you're going to use technological enhancements for an oral presentation, it's best to check your flash drive and be sure that the file name you click is actually your powerpoint, and not a particularly graphic set of clips/stills from your personal stash of raunchy porn. No one needs to see "Midgets Bandage Spank Inferno" on the surround-sound SmartPodium. Yes, we judged, and yes, that shit was all over campus before class was over, thanks to smartphones. And no, you're probably never getting laid by any of the chicks on campusagain, because your taste in cinematic snatch was pretty heinous.


DO all the papers on legalization you want, but feel free to leave your bong at home. as one of your classmates succinctly put it, "You stupid Goddamned dumbass."


Finally, a public service announcement, brought to you my my insurance company, which outsources its accident report calls to India:

Be sure that you --or the deer you hit -- calls the police to generate a report.

Be sure to exchange insurance information with the deer.

Be sure that you can give the deer's contact info to the accident tech.

Do NOT, in a fit of aggravated smartassery, report the other "driver's" name as John Doe. They have no sense of humor.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Embarrassment X2

My dignity...:(

Last Friday, I volunteered to be a Mass driver for SnarkGirl's school. They go every Friday, and uf the weather is nice, they walk. If it rains, they ask parents who can help to ferry kids to and fro.

I made two trips hauling kids, and made a last pass to grab a couple of the teachers. I ended up with Dr. Beardy (the Headmaster), Dr. Philo (the history and philosophy teacher) and Mr. Mink (the maths and Latin teacher).  As we made the five-minute drive, Dr. Beardy decided to turn on the radio to catch something on KYW...

Of course, at this point, I should mention that I like to play my music loud when I am in the car alone, and that my taste in music is eclectic at best. Frankly,  iTunes + blank CDs + my musical tastes = some seriously obnoxious mix CDs for personal car consumption.

Which is why these three austere, staid and learned gentlemen were blasted by Depeche Mode's "Master and Servant" as soon as he turned on the stereo. Dr. Beardy's flailing for the "skip" button did not improve matters when the next song to come blaring out was Nine Inch Nails' "Closer."

Oh, dear.

Once the noise was dispensed with, an awkward silence fell over the car. Until Mr. Mink started to giggle. Dr. Philo, sounding impressed, whispered, "Told you she was probably freaky." Dr. Beardy smirked a great deal and uttered some suspiciously-chuckle-sounding coughs.

God damn it.


SnarkGirl is getting to That Age. She has Questions. Generally, I encourage her to ask away, and do my best to answer honestly and completely -- and most importantly, without embarrassment.

Of course, I try to encourage her to ask her questions discreetly. This does not always compute in a pre-teen's mind, though. A couple of months ago, she asked her Daddy what "the big deal about penises was," nearly causing him to chock on his pot pie and collapse in a puddle of embarrassment.

At dinner last night, she busted out one of her most burning questions:  "So, Mommy, Daddy...do you guys still have sex, or what?"

Followed by OctoBoy's perking up to ask, "What's sex?"

And Ginger Beastie chanting, "Sex, sex, sex...."

Calvin's Dad just about stroked out, right there at the table. I also was taken aback a bit. He harrumphed something along the lines of "Theology of the Body! The marriage covenant! Healthy relations!" and excused himself.

I just looked her in the eye and said, "Yeah."


"What's the ...."

"Let's continue this discussion after dinner, in the privacy of your room, hmm?"

"Oh, OK. Is Daddy OK?"

"I think he just needs a minute, babe."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Some days...

...you're the hippo. But on most days, you're just in the splatter zone.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Throw it into 4-low and hit the gas...

Last week, I straggled (unwillingly) to a night class. I cruised the Faculty lot, spied one remaining spot, and pointed the Imperial Battlewagon towards it, only to have some douche in a Prius cut around me and nip into the spot. Just for good measure, he flipped me the bird. No faculty hang-tag -- a student, running late to class no doubt.

I raged incoherently for a full minute and continued on my search. I passed the douchecanoe a couple times on my scenic tour of Dante's Circuitous Lots of the Damned, and each time I drove by, the fat little blivet (who was wrapped in a too-small red 76ers jacket with a ridiculous ear-flap hat perched on his misshapen noggin) gave me a shit-eating grin and a jaunty little wave. (I think I deserve some sort of honorarium for not plowing him over, too.)

I finally netted a spot at the back ass-end of campus in the maintenance lot. Two of the physical plant dudes are former students, and I helped one of them write a scholarship essay that snagged him a couple grand, so I texted them to let them know I was parked there (lest they call security and Big Stinky Al the Security Mook give me a ticket for being 'Faculty NOT parked in the correct lot') and hiked my way to class.

Yes, I muttered dire imprecations and cursed the whole fucking walk. How well you know me.

I stalked into class, tossed my shit on the desk and apologized for being five minutes late because some idjit took the last faculty spot and was a rude jerkass in the process, and asked for another two minutes of sufferance while I called Big Al to hoist his fat ass over there produce his ticket book and unleash fiery vengeance, only to look up and...

Guess who was standing in front of me proffering  a shaking add/drop slip with an utterly gobsmacked/terrified look on his face? "Uh...hi. I know class started two weeks ago, but..."

I gave my best dead-eyed, sharklike smile and took the slip.  He shrank into his seat as class progressed, and was the first one sprinting out the door at the end of class.

Surprise, surprise. A drop slip appeared in my e-mail box Monday morning.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

RAR!! In which I am annoyed.

In preparation for entering the fray that is Spring '12, I logged in to all my official accounts to print out class lists, classroom assignments and other assorted crap. I had actually gotten it all via e-mail last week, but I could not be arsed to actually do anything with it until this morning.

Once I went through the rigamarole, I was greeted, not with my normal mail screen, but with a new G-mail account. A perfectly clean account, with no previous e-mails in it. Also missing were all contact lists, sent mails, calendar entries and everything else the previous account held.

Fuck a goddamned duck.

A new mail popped up, welcoming me to the NEW uni G-mail system! Hooray! The mail literally said, "Isn't this a lovely way to start off the new year?"

NO, you dozy, goat-felching, Ass-To-Mouth-receiving fuckmunches! NOOOOOO!

I called IT support. The tech sounded peevish. "You think you stodgy people would appreciate what we've done and what a cool surprise it was!" he grumped. Whatever, Smedley. I need to port over all my old stuff, I need my lists and contacts, and I really need them before battle-entry tomorrow morning. I'm not entering a hot LZ unarmed.

"Oh, we're going to a whole training series in mid-February. We will explain everything then!"

That's six weeks away, you numb bastard. Everything starts tomorrow. If I'd had some warning, I could have printed everything, or at the least, saved it to flash drive.

Who thought it was a good idea to completely scrub the old system and replace it with a new one less than 24 hours before opening bell --  with no warning?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Crushed, again.

In the process of gathering up and carefully storing all of our assorted Christmas crap, I ran across the box of mismatched  and orphaned Christmas cards.

Every year, I buy three boxes of Christmas cards -- a religiously-themed box, a vulgar/funny box and a non-denominational box. Inevitably, there are leftovers, and just about every third year I can get away with not purchasing cards.  For convenience, all the cards are stacked in a shoebox -- usually with a few stray cards and envelopes from people that need to be added to next years' card list.

At the bottom of the box was a colorful card with a Bethlehem scene on it -- sort of blocky and whimsical -- and covered in scribbles of dreadful handwriting. Three sides of the card were filled with bad puns, academic gossip and random, stream-of-consciousness goofiness.

William's card. From last Christmas.

I knelt there on the floor. First I teared up, and then I just flat-out sobbed for all I was worth.

I miss my friend.

When I had gotten myself under control again, I carefully closed the card and tucked it safely back into the box.

The life of the dead is placed in the heart of the living. -- Cicero