Monday, March 28, 2005

Spring break is over, so it is back to campus this week. I got some evaluation done last week, but (of course) not as much as I hoped. Just over the month until the semester is over. I don't want to wish my life away - but I am looking forward to being done this year.

I got a nice note from the editor of the Olive Press. He apologised for running the letter from Alden Thayer that attacked me.

I'm so happy, two weeks off antibiotics, and Rudy is fine. There is no blood in his urine, and he is not sore. Aside from the blood, the changes in his personality were very subtle. He is a very happy dog, the kind of dog that wags his tail, even when he is asleep, if you say his name. We think he was wagging it less when he was sick, and now he is wagging it a lot again. I don't think he is going to need the invasive urine test, but we probably will drop off another sample for a regular urinalysis, just to confirm that our observation is correct, that he is all recovered.

I attribute it to the power of supplements. Once the Baytril was finished, I started giving him CoQ10, cranberry extract, and these vitamins. (He's taken salmon oil and glucosamine for the past year.)

He didn't give me any trouble at first, but now that he feels better, he leaves some of the capsules in his bowl (and Sophie knocks him out of the way as she tries to get them). He usually eats the glucosamine, but he especially hates the daily blend since it is a powder that mixes with his food, and I'm sure it ruins the taste. Even yogurt or cottage cheese don't hide it. So, now I give him the capsules in ham, cheese, or an apricot (his favorite treat) rather than directly in his bowl, and I am going to switch him to plain B vitamins - since that is why I have been giving him the daily blend.

Friday, March 25, 2005

We spent a few days in Samsonville, and while we were there, we got new replacement windows installed in Castleton. It was money well spent, I don't think I have ever appreciated a home improvement purchase more. Too bad we didn't take before and after pictures. Here is the porch - it seems like we have an addition.

Here is the kitchen, we shelled out for wooden interiors to match the existing woodwork (instead of vinyl).

Here is my favorite, the bathroom, which is like a miniature version of the windows elsewhere in the house (the old window didn't match).

The best part? Not the savings on heat, air conditioning (because now we can actually open all the windows), the lack of drafts...or even that they are clean! It's that they took away all the awful dead spiders and wasps nests...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Monday, March 21, 2005

Friday, March 18, 2005

As a result of last night's and today's Google searching - I have been thinking about how much you can find out that way. It is kind of creepy, if you really think about it.

I also wonder if the person who attacked me here is the same as the creep in the Olive Press. Both were so personal, and irrational.
Last night, Ma emailed to let me know that someone had responded to my last letter in the Olive Press. The response letter is here, scroll down.

I couldn't sleep after reading it. I couldn't believe how personally, and specifically, the writer attacked me. So, I got up and wrote a response. The paper comes out every two weeks, so it won't appear in print or at the website until then. Today I sent two additional emails on the subject to the paper, not for publication, but just to express my concern and outrage. All three follow. The letter for publication is not a nutjob manifesto. The two emails are more emotional, but I needed to vent. I don't think there could be a greater insult to me than to call me unethical.

When I Googled his name, I did learn a few other things about him than what I mention in the second email. The most interesting, he's a landscape designer. Bob joked, maybe we should call him up and ask him if he wants to mow our lawn this summer. What else would someone with that title do in Denning? So much for Yale degrees. (I can be elitist too, you see.) He's gay. He's from NJ. His partner is from Puerto Rico and writes plays. His mother died earlier this month. (That is the one thing I feel bad for him over. But it still doesn't justify attacking my character.)

Something I didn't include in the part about theft from indigenous peoples, since the letter is more important in the print edition: Click here. Go to page 2. Scroll down to "Andrew Eckert," the picture is on the right. His mother was named Betsy North. Now, do you think maybe there was some of the Algonquian-speaking people's blood in his veins? (Somehow I suspect it is more likely than Ward Churchill's claim.)

To The Editor:

Imagine my surprise, upon opening the Olive Press after its recent hiatus, to discover a letter that attacks me, and in such a personal way! Apparently this person is not even a district resident, yet he has been annoyed enough by my words to take the time to write to the Olive Press. The letter writer challenges me to answer the questions he poses honestly. Well, I'm not sure who he thinks he is, to demand an accounting, but as all who know me are aware, I am never less than perfectly truthful, and so I will oblige.

Mr. Thayer wonders if I support compensating indigenous peoples (since he freely labels himself "clueless" he will not mind my pointing out that "Native American" is not the preferred term) for lands that were "stolen" by Olive natives, with roots that go back generations? His question makes two assumptions that must be scientifically solved before a thoughtful response can be mounted; first, that there were indigenous people settled in what has been known since 1823 as the Town of Olive; second, if the first assumption is correct (if it is not, this next part is a non-issue) that all of those Olive natives I referenced do not descend from indigenous peoples. How does Mr. Thayer know this? Because he judges based on surnames that sound European? What about matrilineal genealogy?

He then wonders if I support reparations? This question is not as easy to address as his assumptions about Olive's history and residents, but it is one that I have spent a great deal of time studying (not because of Mr. Thayer's letter, however; at the risk of infuriating him once again due to mentioning my advanced degree, I cover the subject in one of my classes). There are persuasive viewpoints on both sides of the reparations issue and I am not sure exactly where I stand. (Or at least I don't care to fully elaborate in a letter to the editor that is already too long; there are a lot of variables to sort out, such as who exactly would be the beneficiaries, who would do the paying, who would administer it, and how to figure out the amount to be paid.) Specific programs, including affirmative action and underrepresented student fellowships, while not precisely reparations, are efforts in our society to address this past injustice. So there is some precedent for taking historical "theft" into account when deciding contemporary "fairness." On the subject of eternity, the jury is still out.

Next, he describes the situation in the Tri-Valley district, but even given the advanced degree that so irritates Mr. Thayer, I was left scratching my head. In the first place, the comparison between districts is flawed. In the OCS district and in the county, it is Olive that does not have the votes, and we have been told that in no uncertain terms by our elected representatives.

Then, according to the NYS Education Department, in 2002-03 Tri-Valley spent $8,614 per student for general education and $19,607 per student for special education. Onteora spent $9,106 per student for regular education and $26,567 per student for special education. Both are considered "Average Need/Resource Category" schools, and both districts spent more than did similar schools ($7,111 per student for general education and $17,042 per student for special education). Also, both were above the Statewide average ($7,595 per student for general education and $17,818 per student for special education). Even if Neversink pays nothing and Denning pays it all, there is no way the disparity between towns in Tri-Valley could be what Mr. Thayer asserts ($33,500 per student).

At first I was not sure why he wasted his time writing an attack letter so specifically directed at me, instead of a more productive endeavor - you know, maybe getting involved in his own town and school, or looking at the beautiful view outside of the window or something. I wondered if he could be one of the Olive Press editorial writers? No, the name did not seem familiar, and although it could be disguised, it is doubtful one of the local journalists would be so personally vindictive. Then I decided that it is because of his extreme hostility toward his neighbors in Neversink due to his taxes and their not implementing the large parcel, coupled with an irrational jealousy over my having the nerve to "show off" my doctoral degree by (gasp) putting the letters after my name. If that upset him, oh well. I was a first-generation college student, and it took me 22 long years to walk across that stage and receive my PhD. I don't "flaunt" it most of the time, but if I want to advertise it on occasion, that's my right. There are a large number of folks in Olive who are pretty d-mn proud of me for earning it, I am still unspoiled enough that I consider it to be a significant achievement, and if that ain't humble enough to suit Mr. Thayer, that's his problem.

Certainly the most personally offensive thing he wrote was to question my ethics. That's a laugh. Now there's the mark of a sore loser - when all else fails, suggest that someone who disagrees with you is immoral, evil, a bad person. Upset the game board, make all the pieces fall to the floor, and run away. Why stop at unethical - why not call me a commie too? (How about "coy commie?;" then he could even use alliteration.) I don't know who Alden Thayer is - frankly, I don't care who he is - he may even be a she - but one thing is for sure. Them's fighting words. Is that plain spoken enough?

Mr. Thayer may scoff, but it does sadden me that some of our neighbors are so resentful. We never knew before the large parcel ripped open these old wounds. (However, it does make it much easier to justify voting with our dollars…what I mean is, don't shop outside of Olive.) In the end, I have concluded that if he is sparing the good people of Neversink his poison pen, I guess I am happy to be of service.

This morning's first email:

This is not a letter to the editor - it is not for publication. I am writing because I am concerned about a recent letter you printed in the current issue of the Olive Press and I wonder if you have any guidelines for what you are willing to publish, or if you include disclaimers.

The letter was signed by Alden Thayer and it attacks me in a rather personal manner. My mother (a pillar of the community, and one of the Olive natives whose family lost land that Mr. Thayer so disdains) was very upset, and emailed me late last night to alert me, so I visited your website and read it. Try as I might, even after taking a sleeping pill, I could not sleep after reading it, and so I got up and wrote a response (I used the "Contact the Olive Press" link on your website which directed it to the Phoenicia Times email address rather than this one that is listed with your masthead, I think). Probably I would not have bothered if I had been able to sleep on it - but I'm not sorry I did. It isn't a post in some obscure online forum - it is printed in a paper that is distributed free of charge to everyone in Olive. Now, the many people who know me and my family certainly won't think less of me because of Mr. Thayer's pointed attack - they will just think he is an AH because (this might be uppity) I am a nice person in an upstanding family.

I even received personal notes and thank you cards, and people called and emailed me and my parents with gratitude when I wrote my original (very long) letter to you on the large parcel subject some time ago. Many people who knew me as a kid said that I had captured exactly the way they feel about the Reservoir and Olive, but could not put into words. They wrote notes that said how proud they are of me for my accomplishments. That might be corny to some people but it wasn't to me. The sincerity of the folks in Olive is what has made me the person I am. They could have given me no greater compliment than to say that my writing expressed the way they feel. That is my goal as a writer.

I really don't care if Mr. Thayer questions me about the rights of indigenous peoples or reparations for slavery, and I also believe that he is entitled to disagree with me on the large parcel issue. It is a free country. On the other hand, I think taking a swipe at my level of education is a pretty cheap shot, but I write that off to jealousy from someone who always wanted to get a PhD but for some reason was unable to earn one - failing the dissertation defense or being unable to write one at all, not getting accepted to a graduate program, or having life circumstances such as raising a family or something of that nature intervene (and instead of making peace with it, always having regrets as a result). I do wonder if he would have so personally attacked me if I was a man, but that is beside the point.

What concerns me is that he calls me unethical. I pride myself on living according to my beliefs and not being a hypocrite. I opposed the construction of a Target that resulted in tearing down the historic Defreest Church House in Rensselaer County. We lost that one (as we may lose the large parcel battle, as our ancestors lost the valley), and the sad day the wrecking ball decimated that gem I vowed to never set foot in any Target - that was two years ago and I have not. I don't believe in extreme consumption, and so I do not drive, I grow organic produce, I recycle everything, and I do not buy something new unless what I have is totally shot (the homeless shelter would not even take my furniture). My tiny capital district house is in a working class neighborhood, and I have no interest in moving to a McMansion in Saratoga County like so many others. I hold my university students to a very high standard, and I am not afraid to take the time, or the professional risks, and report all instances of cheating and plagiarism to the university level.

To call me unethical equates me with scum like the jerks at Enron or even Martha Stewart. I was not unethical as a kid in high school when I lived in West Shokan and I am not unethical as a professor. It has nothing to do with my doctoral degree, it has to do with my moral compass, my upbringing, the fabric of my soul. I firmly believe in doing what is right. In fact I teach courses on Social Morality, Social Responsibility, and in the fall I will teach a course on Tolerance. It has been my life's effort to mentor and energize future K-12 teachers to be models, in the academic and the moral senses, for their students.

Maybe people today watch too many cable television shows where shouting is entertainment and they don't know the difference between TV and real life. But I would never individually attack another letter writer in your paper, and why he singles me out of the dozen letters in every issue that you print about the large parcel frankly scares me. I have wracked my brain about why he would choose me - did I know him in high school? (No, and that doesn't make sense anyway because I was a nobody in high school, not in a clique, apart from strong academics, I was not the darling of OCS - not at all someone others worried about, much less disliked). Does my family know him? Not that I know of. Was he a student of mine (which would be strange, as I am pretty popular with students) who didn't do well or was caught cheating or something? No, and I am sure, as I have only been teaching 5 years and I still remember all my students.

Could he have encountered me somewhere in the community and taken a dislike for some reason? Well, I sort of hide at my house in Samsonville when I am there on weekends, I just want to be with nature, get away, and see my family so that is doubtful. I do go to Olive Day but I don't have a booth or anything, I am a trustee and volunteer for the Historical Society, I take turns with my mother volunteering once a month so the museum in the Olive Free Library can be open, and I am secretary for the Mt. Pleasant Rural Cemetery (I wonder if as the result of the large parcel, we should dig everyone up (for some of them, again) and move them from Shandaken to Olive? hmmm now there's an idea) but I have never had anything but positive interactions in any of those organizations. I simply don't know anyone by that name. I don't think I even know anyone in his town. So his attack springs solely from my letter that you printed that objected to the tone of your editorial? Is Mr. Thayer somehow connected to your newspaper? That seems hard to believe. It is puzzling.

I am not a public official, I am not a member of your staff, I am a private individual and Mr. Thayer's so directly insulting my character is libel - or if it seems too trivial to rise to that level, then it borders on it. In the olden days (which if Mr. Thayer actually knew me, he would know those times are quite real to me), his remarks about my integrity would have earned him a slap in the face and a challenge to a duel.

Thank you.

This morning's second email:

An addendum to my earlier perplexed missive, this is also not intended for publication.

I couldn't take wondering whether Alden Thayer will be lurking in the woods near my house this weekend, or making crank calls to me or my parents, so I finally Googled his name and now the reasons for his irrational libel become clear. He's the head of Denning's planning board, and a weekender or fairly recent NYC-metro transplant. Probably hates locals and spends all his free time in Woodstock grooving with the other Olive haters. Maybe didn't know West Shokan's taxes were so much lower when he bought a place on the other side of Peekamoose and has been furious ever since.

His partner is a Yalie, we all know that means silk purse, while SUNY grads like me are cut from a burlap bag. Probably Mr. Thayer is not a big supporter of public education in general. That one of the rednecks had the nerve to go get a PhD and then write letters where she brags about it! What an outrage! I'll show her. She must be an ignorant racist to champion the rights of the folks in her hometown (witness his reference to White theft from so-called Native Americans and reparations for slavery).

Well, one thing he is right about. He is among the clueless I criticized, he may look at it, but he does not "see" the Reservoir at all, and he never will. He can't, he is small and it is big. It is beyond his comprehension. So I guess that sums up why he took my general letter as a personal affront. Well, I have a long memory. I'd advise Mr. Thayer to refrain from writing any more attacks on my character - if he does I am going to call the police over his harassment. I am not afraid of bullies.

Thanks, I feel better already.

Monday, March 14, 2005

On Saturday, Bob and I went to see Bride and Prejudice. I read a review of the movie where Ebert said that the director's other two movies make you smile just thinking about them. Well, I agree with that sentiment, and this movie makes a third! I didn't enjoy it quite as much as Bend It Like Beckham, but I did walk out of the theatre with a smile on my face that lingered for quite a while afterwards - and frankly, that alone makes it worth the time (and the price of admission)!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Bob and I went to see this play, 110 Flights at the university. Unlike most of the theatre department performances, it was written by a student, and she also plays one of the two characters. As a student effort, it was impressive; the acting was great, and the writer has potential. The set was the best of any I've seen at the university in the past couple of years; in fact, it was as good or better than at professional companies. But in terms of the story itself, the ending was dismal, many of the issues it raises were addressed in a very immature fashion (it was clear that it was written by someone without much life experience), and at times it was downright offensive, in a personal way. Oh well -- we have paid at least five times more for tickets to a performance at a bigger company and been insulted too.

Rudy is almost done with antibiotics and so he had another urinalysis yesterday. He still has blood in his urine. This was not a surprise, because although it is not bright red, sometimes I can tell in the snow that there is still a trace in there. He seems otherwise fine, as he always has been. Any other symptoms are very slight. This is a dog who has always acted half his age.

Anyway, the vet recommends that he go off the antibiotics for two weeks, and then he wants to take a sample right from his bladder, and see exactly what bug in his prostate is causing the infection. This is pretty much a standard procedure for resistant urinary track infections, and bladder or kidney stones, cancer, etc. have already been ruled out. It is not that big a deal, but still, I am not happy, both about Rudy still being sick, and about the next procedure.

Yesterday morning, when I had to catch the urine sample, he was not cooperative - he kept hopping along in the snow as he peed to make it hard for me to collect it. Then he ran behind the shed to finish so that I couldn't get to him at all. He never did this in the past. This bothered me, as we always tell ourselves that we have to make choices for the animals - something like becoming overweight isn't in their control. It is our fault, and we have to be the ones to solve it. But now it seemed to me that he was saying loud and clear that he didn't want any more human intervention. His life, his choice. I think the ultrasound experience has totally scared him, when he used to be happy and fearless at the vet.

Well, I am happy about the break from antibiotics, anyway. I am going to work on building his immunity naturally. Then in two weeks I'll see how I --and he?-- feel.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I finally told the students today (see my explanation buried in #8). Overall they took it well, although naturally the three who are not graduating were not happy. Also one of the graduating students was more upset that I thought he would be -- I guess he felt some ownership of the program after working on it for three semesters, and having it end feels like a personal insult (even though it isn't). He asked me if the reason is political or financial. Good question! Ha, some (and I used to) believe that everything is economic, but I said "political" almost without thinking. I told the undergrads too. They are not impacted as much but they were quite disturbed by the news too. Anyway, I am glad that is over, I have been dreading it for a month.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Something I forgot to add about The Jungle yesterday. One of the things the family does shortly after they arrive in Chicago is buy a house in the slums near the meat-packing plants. They are somewhat ripped off, at least in the sense that they don't understand the contract, and that they think the house is new, but really it is a few years old. It turns out the house had been sold several times before to families who eventually defaulted on the payments and then lost the house.

Anyway, it is described as a four room wood frame row house. I think when I read the book originally I imagined a brownstone of some sort, since I was not really familiar with cities or the architecture of the time, and thought of the urban areas that were familiar to me, and the type of buildings found there. But now that I live in a house that was built in about 1904 (which is almost the same time as the book's setting), I know the kind of house the folks in The Jungle purchased.

My house's original occupants were factory workers at a plant down the hill, and including the attic, my house was four rooms at the time of its construction (now the basement has been converted to living space and it is five rooms). It is a temple house, which is a variant of a bungalow. There are also little structures known as shotguns, and other bungalow relatives, all part of the Craftsman design. So I'm thinking the characters in the book lived in a house something like mine (at least until they failed to make the payments). Amazing to think of the changes in real estate over time. At the turn of the 20th Century, uneducated factory workers lived in my house. At the turn of the 21st, it is inhabited by highly educated professionals. So much for the revolution of the proletariat. Think I should rise up?

Monday, March 07, 2005

I've been reading The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. I read this book when I was a teenager, but at Christmas time when I was ordering gifts from Amazon, I noticed that there was an "uncensored original edition," so I bought it.

Naturally, as with all classics, there is an introduction written by a Sinclair scholar. It was interesting to read how the manuscript was discovered, the struggle to get it into print, the differences between the two versions, and what motivated the changes. However, now that I am about 75% finished with the book, I have a different interpretation than the one advanced in the introduction.

There it is argued that this version, which is still the teacher's standard, was too watered down to have much political impact, even if it did result in numerous reforms to the meat packing industry because people were shocked that food might be unsafe. But the introduction asserts that much of the political message was erased by the way the book was edited (by Sinclair, under duress), and so it did little to advance his socialist agenda.

Before I started reading, I remembered that the book was about the meat-packing industry in Chicago at the turn of the 20th Century, and that the main characters were immigrants with tragic lives. Probably the things I most clearly remembered were that in order to keep her job, the main female character was forced to be the mistress of her boss, and that she died in childbirth. I even distinctly remembered a sentence from the book, about the bloodspot on the floor where she had died.

I am pretty sure that I read The Jungle originally when I was in tenth grade in high school, as part of English class. We had what the school called "selectives" at that time; after taking ninth grade English, students could freely choose six electives to complete the four years of required English. (I think this idea didn't work out, and has been replaced by traditional English 10, 11 and 12 since then.) One of the first selectives I chose was The Novel; two of the other books we read were Giants in the Earth by Ole Rolvaag and My Antonia by Willa Cather.

It was a class that left me with several vivid memories, but not because the teacher or even the reading list were especially noteworthy. It was filled with kids from the popular clique, and most were a year or two older than me - the class did not attract sophomores. Many of the students either did not read or were otherwise clueless, but since they were popular, the teacher (who took every opportunity to be favored among the cliques) liked them anyway. But then the teacher was no genius, I recall that while we were reading Giants in the Earth, he made a remark about male and female oxen! I may have been the only student to catch his mistake, and I remember it hitting me like a thunderbolt that there was a lot teachers didn't know. (I'm not exactly sure why it took until I was 15 to figure that one out.)

In the introduction of the "uncensored" edition it says that although made by the author and not the publisher, the cuts were not done for artistic reasons, but to make the book less controversial. Certainly there is evidence for this (the packing house names were altered to make them even less similar to their real life counterparts), but I am not so sure there were not also valid literary reasons for the changes. Several chapters were cut, and now that I am getting to the end, I believe the book would benefit from some trimming. I am starting to lose interest in the story. Another insight from the introduction, that the socialist message was toned down by the cutting. This may be true, but even as a teenager, the strong socialist viewpoint was not lost to me in the shorter version. It did spark many reforms in the industry; that is quite an accomplishment for any book. Expecting a novel to result in a proletarian revolution is really pushing it, I think! Art does not exist in a vacuum; there were many other agendas at that time competing for air space.

Finally, the introduction states that the editing makes the characters seem less sympathetic. On this point I completely disagree. I do remember this problem with the book from my first reading, but the characters are not more sympathetic to me in the longer version; if anything, the excess description has the opposite effect. I believe the author himself did not identify with the characters. They were simply a tool in his political tract. He seemed to glory in making the characters ignorant. He does not allow the reader to figure things out and draw conclusions; instead he endlessly preaches his message, telling readers how they should feel about the events.

Also, he described the characters in ways that make the reader have no choice but to dislike them -- for example, all except the mother did not care much when one of the children, who was handicapped, died. Then, meat packing is awful. Not only are the sanitary conditions deplorable, which he demonstrated in disgusting detail, but the very nature of the employment is cruelty. This makes it hard to feel empathetically towards the employees. So, all in all, it has been a worthwhile read, but I don't think this version had a different impact on me than the other one did. [Note to students who land here from surfing for information on this book: Don't you dare plagiarize.]

Friday, March 04, 2005

This is today's dose of disgusting modern "culture." Here are the latest two links to the Times Union on bird hatred and cruelty. I don't own a gun, in fact have never shot a gun, and don't think it is a good idea to wildly wave guns around. My mother has one, I think she refers to it as her 4-10, but I could be slightly off because I am not up on guns. She has it at the farm mostly to scare predators away from the horses (that could include predators of the human kind). Although I am not a violent person, in my younger days I did appreciate pranks, and still occasionally fantasize about committing one again. I would never actually carry out the fantasy, however (there's a sentence that would not be necessary if this was a private journal).

Anyway, when I read the latest installment about the ducks in the suburbs, I got a vision of borrowing Ma's 4-10 (if that's what it's called) and shooting out the windows in that jerk's house (or should I say McMansion, because you know that's what he lives in) who has been killing the ducks. (I don't get a similar vision when I read about the crows, because there are far too many nutjobs with guns involved already. I just feel sick. And not about West Nile.) Getting back to the 4-10, though, I've had that same thought about Target's stupid sign for the location that is now where the Defreest-Church house once stood. It being a bullseye makes it even more tempting. The latest mind-numbing TV commercial for that despicable retailer reminds me of this every time.

And speaking of McMansions, a plastic person has had one built down the road. Incredible, in this old village with no vacant land and tiny 100 year old houses perched on all the hills, someone stupidly contracted for an ugly, enormous track house on the steepest slope. It is causing erosion of that hill and run off into the street. When it is cold the run off freezes into an ice/mud creek. I believe the house in front of it is suing because the McMansion violates all sorts of code. As I pass by and see it looming above our street, I wonder what it would look like with its tacky arched windows shot out?

Here's something completely different than 4-10 fantasies. It's a link from the Chronicle (and for a change it's a freebie) that made me laugh. I don't feel that I am treated badly -- maybe because in my former life I was an administrator (with tenure) and so know the meaning of abuse. But even at that, many of these points ring true. It's just that in my case, I don't want to be tenure track instead, I like to be free (see administrator with tenure, above). And if I am honest about what I really want to be, the answer is always the same: a writer.
I'm going to engage in a little obnoxious self-congratulations (the Oscars, the Mark Twain Prize [btw, giving it to Lorne Michaels is an insult to a true humorist's memory], so I figure, why not?). I noticed this article that offers a positive view of the urban ed classes, and it goes a long way towards explaining why the end is bittersweet. (It is an interview with a college student that I had forgotten about, and never checked to see whether the publication was up). Then there is this. It is the syllabus for a college course, someone is using my book. (I'm not sure why, but it was a surprise to see both.) I found them both (and many other things I'd forgotten about too) while clicking through my site counter entries.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

My January 28 entry is on this week's Carnival of Education. I'm not sure that it is my best post, but it is OK. It had to be on education and less than a month old when submitted.

Update to yesterday's post: a perfect illustration of #5 in my post from 2/28 about reflections on three years of blogging. Another commenter suggested I would like it better in a communist country! For wanting folks in my hometown to pay less taxes and be listened to by politicians when they speak out! Funny! I have a feeling it is someone local, that when they represent themselves as being from out of town they are not being truthful - I mean, either a teacher in the district or someone from one of the other towns, because of how personal and direct the reference to me is, also for mentioning having my house taken away for nonpayment. Now, I only mentioned my intentions in the Olive Press, who else reads that? Of course I suppose they could have read it here, but then if they were reading this I suspect they would attack me in the comments.

One thing is alarming, though. I mentioned it yesterday, but it bears repeating. It's scary how much hostility there is in the other towns toward Olive. We never knew how much our neighbors hated us. Well, it strengthens my resolve to boycott businesses that are not in Olive when I am in Samsonville for the weekend. It is a challenge, since there are not many businesses in Olive to patronize (hey, that's the point of our frustration with the taxes), but I vow to continue to not spend a dime elsewhere.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

My three year ejournal anniversary is today. My post from yesterday details my reflections. I didn't expect to post today, but we had a snowstorm last night, and so I canceled my day class. I am still expecting to go to campus for my evening class, however.

The Freeman covers another large parcel protest. Now, wouldn't you love to be represented by these two jerks? And the commenters - we never knew how much other towns hated Olive until the large parcel surfaced, although having been submerged in water for 100 years, I guess our ability to read others was drowned long ago.

My comment in response to the article: Amazing how so many people have a lot to say about an issue that is quite frankly none of their business. Oh, and expecting elected representatives to care about the people! How uppity of those Olive residents! Who are they to speak out? Don't they know they should be quiet and know their place? (Is that under water and forking over money with a smile?)

News flash folks: We are not moving, we are not whining, and we are not giving up. We are fighting. 100 years ago Olive was the victim of theft of its resources. We aren't going to let anyone, not politicians, not school board members, not residents of other greedy towns, get away with it again. So buckle up, I see the future. There will be a lot of articles in the Freeman like this one.