Friday, November 21, 2003

I can think of no better thing to write for tomorrow's 40th anniversary of JFK's assassination than this, my thoughts from a year ago. I notice this entry gets a lot of hits from search engines (the search term is usually something like "gym teacher from hell").

All this week the anniversary has been covered, and covered, and covered again in the media (when it isn't distracted by the lurid story of the day). A few days ago, I asked Bob, "I wonder why other past presidential assassinations don't receive coverage? For instance, McKinley's?" (He laughed & laughed.)
I am done teaching until after Thanksgiving, and tomorrow I start a 5 or 6 day marathon of working on the book project (my deadline is Wednesday). And, I'm still pretty sick.

I got some (tentatively) good news today, that I might be taking over an interesting administrative/supervisory education-related project next semester...I plan to agree to it, if it seems I will be able to fit it in the time I used this semester for the book updating, and still have the work-at-home flexibility. So far, it seems promising. Details to follow.

Monday, November 17, 2003

An update to this entry. On average, 117 people per day were killed in traffic accidents in 2002. Seems like that deserves some outrage, occasional front-page coverage, and perhaps a demonstration.
On Saturday, we went to the Pride of New York Harvest Festival at the Desmond Americana Hotel. It was the second year we went, and it was great! Then, yesterday, I broke in my new sewing machine, and made a pair of curtains for the porch. They wouldn't win any county fair blue ribbons, but they serve the purpose.

And I am sick today. I am taking zinc since yesterday to ward off a sore throat and the beginning of a cold (I find it does mitigate symptoms, but it doesn't eradicate them completely). But then today I have been those other types of sick too, I mean "bathroom" sick. Ugh. I probably picked up something at the Desmond. There were big tables with piles of fruit and (NYS cheddar) cheese cubes in the midst of the wine and products tasting tables, and community grazing is a sure fire way to pick up some bug. Anyway, today I couldn't even keep ginger ale down, but my abdomen seems to be settling down now.

Friday, November 14, 2003

My hands are cold as I type! Winter is here.

I am remembering, that back in my Oneonta college days, I had several friends who lived in railroad apartments over the shops on Main Street. They were heated with big old gas stoves that sat in the middle of the living room floor. (I was fortunate, in that most of the old Victorian houses had fancy radiators with steam/hot water heat, or had been converted to forced hot air.) Anyway, the ceilings in those Main Street student apartments were high, those gas stoves really only worked well in one room, and Oneonta was quite cold in the winter. Plus, most of my friends had better things to do with their limited dollars; keeping the heat on wasn't always a priority. In my mind's eye I see one friend wearing gloves and a jacket, working on calculus problems, and another wearing a bulky sweater and baking cookies, while reading Max Weber.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

This & that: Here is the Times Union's review of the BNL concert.

I've worn the blogger sweatshirt a few times, and I think it is nice.

Then, there is this, which makes me sick (literally). The story doesn't mention this, but on last night's news, it said the driver had gotten four prior DWIs, but that because so long lapsed from the accident to the arrest, whether he was drunk this time will probably never be known.

Sure, like there can be any doubt.

But that is beside the point, really. He murdered that boy, whether he was drunk or sober or sleepy doesn't matter. And just because he used a vehicle instead of a knife or a gun or his bare hands makes no difference either. On top of that, he drove away and let that kid bleed. Bob says that someday, the bloodbaths that are our nation's roads and highways will be marveled at, in the way we look back at women not having the vote, or segregation, and shake our heads and wonder.

So often we wring our hands about some situation - say Iraq, or violence in schools, but traffic fatalities are so commonplace we hardly blink. It seems to me that people drive worse and worse all the time, and road rage increases. Yelling "F-You" or giving someone "the finger" is normal. A speeding ticket is a badge of honor. I teach on Tuesday nights, which must be the same schedule as the town court's meetings. Every semester numerous students must miss class to go to the local court because of some violation, often they report it is speeding. They aren't one bit ashamed when they tell me, they are almost proud.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Last night we went to a Barenaked Ladies concert at the Palace theatre. The Palace has been recently renovated, and it is beautiful. In terms of the concert, it was awesome. We had much better seats than I expected, and it was a high-energy performance. I'd say the crowd had a mean age of about 33.7 years. Most stood for the entire concert, except for one or two songs. At first I wasn't too happy about that, but then we decided to make the best of it by dancing, rather than just standing there. Afterwards we agreed that we should have been in the front row. Everyone around us was enthusiastic (except for two couples who kept leaving and then coming back a while later - they passed us many times in the row), but I think we topped most.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

I am tired, stayed up too late last night. We picked up a friend at the airport, and her plane got in at 12:30 am. Afterwards we went out for a drink, since it is the only time we had to visit. When we got to the bar, she asked me if I minded, and then she lit up a cigarette. It didn't occur to me that this is now illegal in NYS, as I don't smoke, and also, I very rarely go to a true bar anymore. By that I mean, a place where booze, not food is the primary focus. Anyway, the bartender quickly told her that she couldn't "do that in here." There were Yankee Candles on the bar, for pete's sake. She moved to Virginia before the new legislation was passed and didn't get it, asking, "you mean this isn't the smoking section?" So we both explained the law.

Bob and I accompanied her outside, because we hadn't seen her since March and we all wanted to chat. Before we left, she wanted to smoke again, so we went back outside. On our way out that second time, the bartender asked, rather anxiously, "are you folks all finished?" and we said "yes." I thought he wanted to clear the table, but instead he followed us out the door, and once outside, he lit up a cigarette too. After the night was over, and we were on our way home, Bob had the funniest observation. The bar was empty, not because there were no customers, but because all the smokers were outside, smoking. The nonsmokers were outside, visiting with the smokers. And, the person who was supposed to be helped by the law, the bartender, was outside, also smoking. (Earlier, he had grumbled, "the law is supposed to protect my health, but since the smokers were chased away and business is down, I can't afford health insurance.")

Yes, bars are more pleasant for me without the smoke, but I don't frequent bars, and I think people who do either smoke or don't mind. I don't know a lot of nonsmoking bartenders, actually. Or maybe a compromise, there should be a special rule - ban suspended after midnight, when no-one cares, or should care. Standing on the sidewalk with this group while absorbing secondhand smoke, we were panhandled three times. So it seems the bums are the folks who really benefitted from the smoking ban.

Anyhow, once again, my sleepiness seems to have postively impacted class...discussion was better than usual. Wish I could bottle the demeanor.

Monday, November 03, 2003

I am seeing daylight (or at least I was, because it is already dark out). I finished (at late Friday night/early Saturday morning - 2:30 am) sending midsemester evaluations to my online class. Today, I managed to get the third essays graded for that class, too, and I caught up on various details for my on campus classes, such as entering attendance and other recent grades in my spreadsheet.

In the meantime, there have been lots of things to write about, but I haven't been spending any time on it.

I'll start here. A couple of weekends ago, Ma & I finished planting garlic. We were so pleased with the results this season, which was our first attempt at garlic production, that we greatly increased how much we are growing...we planted more than 100 cloves this time, which is probably five times as much as last time. We used 400 pounds of cow manure. I'm glad we got it done, because it has rained a lot, and been much colder in recent weeks, with the exception of Saturday, when it must have been 75 degrees outside. Anyway, we planted two varieties this year, one softneck (Mother of Pearl) and one hardneck (Romanian Red).