Meez Teaching

Me, teaching

Meez, Teaching. It’s kind of cool because it’s animated, and I thought I’d share.

You can make one of yourself at Meez.com.

When it promts you, if you say that LouFCD sent you, we each get 200 free coins. A lot of the stuff there is free, and you don’t have to give credit card info or anything unless you want to buy more stuff. You get 2500 coins just for signing up, by the way.

I only spent coins (which were free anyway) on the beard and hair, but there’s a bunch of different neat little things there to assist you in frittering away some time for no apparent reason.

Check it out.

HT: WriterDD at Skepchick.

Campaigning for The Tentacled One

Chew The Fat

Speaker, by Simon Scott

Speak and be heard.

Call it an open thread for the mundane stuff.  Family, friends, fishing, whatever relaxes and/or interests you.  Just keep it light.

From whence came the art:

That image is titled Speaker, by Simon Scott

Intimate Exam

ƒinals, by ƒreg @ FlickrProctor: [prok-ter]
1. a person appointed to keep watch over students at examinations.

2. an official charged with various duties, esp. with the maintenance of good order.

–verb (used with object), verb (used without object)

3. to supervise or monitor.

[Origin: 1350–1400; ME; contracted var. of procurator]

End of Grade exams (EOGs) were this week at my son’s middle school. A few weeks ago I had volunteered to help relieve teachers for while so they could enjoy some punch and cookies and a massage during Teacher Appreciation Day. At the end of the day, I was asked if I would consider being a proctor for the EOGs, and gladly said I would.

I was a little mystified about the need for proctors at a middle school, but upon looking into the matter the fog cleared quickly. EOGs are state level assessments, similar to the annual fill-in-the-circle exams we took when I was in school. North Carolina takes the integrity of these exams to a whole new level, however. Teachers check out a tub full of exam booklets and answer forms each morning, are required to keep that tub with them at all times throughout the exam period, and check it back in at the end of the day’s testing.

Proctors are assigned to each classroom to watch teachers and students, ensure that there is no cheating, and verify that each student has a matching color-coded test book and answer sheet with their name pre-printed on it, among other things. Proctors are not permitted to touch the exams, the answer sheets, or even the students’ pencils or calculators at any time, even to assist in handing them out or taking them up. Each item is meticulously and methodically rationed out by the teacher, one student at a time. Not even a “take two pencils and pass the rest” approach is permitted. If the proctor spots what may be an issue with a student, the proctor takes the concern to the teacher rather than address the issue directly. Should a student require an emergency bathroom break, the proctor escorts the student to and from the toilet.

It’s all very easy and mundane, with only one real hurdle to overcome: proctors are not permitted to sit at any time. So for a little more than four hours each of the last three mornings, I have diligently paced between the desks of students while they furiously but silently filled in little circles on answer sheets (with only number 2 pencils, of course!). It was an interesting experience, being able to just watch the students while they mostly paid no attention to me. It seemed almost like a science experiment where the scientist watches the behavior of his laboratory mice from behind mirrored glass.

I’ve written a little about it below the fold.

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Nasty Nightmare

My Own Nightmare, by Infinity Rain @ FlickrSometimes a nightmare will inspire me, once I’m awake and look back at it. Not this one. It just scared the living crap out of me. Fortunately, I woke up before the end.

I needed some pain meds yesterday, after being four hours on my feet in the morning. The last three days, I’d been proctoring for the middle school End of Grade exams, so for the first time since I injured my neck, I’d been on my feet for an extended period without a break. Yesterday was the last day, so once I’d gotten the kids home from school I took a couple of muscle relaxers. I thought about the pain killer but decided to skip it. I haven’t had one in a while and didn’t want to get started taking them again. It’s a very addictive narcotic, and it makes my head all fuzzy.

The muscle relaxers kicked in and I crashed out about six last night. I slept straight through to 3AM, woke up for about an hour, and went back to sleep.

I awoke from the nightmare a few minutes ago. It started out pretty good, though. I was a new teacher and a group of really old black men with silver hair were teaching me to play the saxophone in the teachers’ lounge (which was outside on the deck in the forest, ’cause that’s where teachers’ lounges always go, right?). I stepped away for a moment to talk to my wife, and when I got back, the table, the men, and the sax were all missing.

It must have been late fall, because the ground was covered in orange leaves and the trees were bare. My wife and I went looking for the sax in the forest. I found it at the bottom of a little dry creek bed, caught in the top of a fallen tree. When I climbed into the thick tangle of branches to get it, I suddenly found that the tree was not a fallen one at the bottom of a creek bed, but a standing one at the tip of a long, skinny spit of land overlooking a deep gorge, and it was swaying (with me in it) out over the chasm. I shifted my weight a little when it swayed backwards toward the safe ground, and got it to crack and fall, dropping on top of me as I hit the ground.

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The Evolution of the Intelligent Design Creationism Hoax

Jim Lippard pointed out this new video from the National Center for Science Education.

It’s concise and well done, concentrating on the transitional fossil found that chains the “Intelligent Design” movement solidly to its evolutionary ancestor, Creationism. “Intelligent Design” was itself an intermediate form, as The Hoax then mutated into “Teach the Controversy” and most recently into “Academic Freedom”.

These of course are just cheap disguises designed to fool federal courts into believing that there is a non-religious motivation behind attacks on Science education in America. Besides being scientifically without merit, they are both unconstitutional and dishonest. It’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from the crowd that pushes them.

Fortunately, federal judges, even “good old boy[s] brought up through the conservative ranks” and “appointed by GW hisself”” have thus far seen right through the veil of sciency sounding words.

Enjoy the video.

And for a bonus video, here’s one on the subject to which I am especially partial, with special guest star Dover Area School District Board-member, William “I never said Creationism” Buckingham:

Keith Olbermann Gives Bush the Smackdown

Courtesy of Greg Laden (read his blog!), …well, there is nothing I can add to the following two videos to improve them in any way. It gets better as it goes along, and I swear Olbermann nearly dropped the F-bomb (which would have been entirely appropriate in any sane culture).

The second, even better half of the exposition is below the fold.

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The Fix Is In

Pittsburgh Hockey LeagueIt’s pretty obvious. Goaltender Martin Biron has his stick deliberately trapped against the wall by a Penguin, ref not ten feet away and staring straight at it, and has to go back to the net empty-handed. A few seconds later, of course the puck is in the net. No interference call? That sucks, but the NHL is infamous for the worst officiating of all the major American professional sports.

Minutes later, Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is behind his net, and when a Flyer taps him while trying to avoid him, it’s a tripping penalty (worthy of an Oscar).

In the last two minutes of the first period the Penguins are finally called for their very first penalty. The color announcer has the shear chutzpa to make a sideways remark about the consistency of the officiating – but implies that the Penguins are getting the short end of the stick. Hello? Are you watching the same game I am? The play by play announcer was silent for a moment. I think his head asploded, and it took a few minutes to recover. In my mind, I can just see the blank, blinking face, trying desperately to process the stoopid.

I hate whiny fans. I’ve never been a fan of NHL officiating, and it’s never ever been worth a shit, but I’ve always felt it was fairly not worth a shit. If the officials are neutrally crappy, then they become like a chip in the ice, a pain in all asses equally, and I’ve always felt the NHL officials were just that – neutrally crappy.

I’ve changed my mind. Put me with the whiny fans. The NHL should change its name to “Pittsburgh Hockey Business Association”, or do the fake wrestling thing and run with “National Hockey Entertainment”. It’s been rumored that the NHL will make sure the young Pittsburgh phenom Sidney Crosby is in the cup round in order to sell more tickets, but I hadn’t given that rumor much credence until today.

The Flyers are down 3 games to 1, as they’ve been without both of their top defensemen since game one. Their number one defenseman, Kimmo Timonen, is back today. They’re down two three four five goals to none in this game, and if they don’t win, they’re done. It’ll be damned near impossible to win this, given that they have to play against the Penguins and the NHL, so here’s my thinking about the situation: they’re going to screw you, screw them back. Just start ending officiating careers. Check the zebras right into the emergency room and go drink some beer.

Further update: The Flyers put one in, and damn if the officials didn’t call it off. No goal, for no apparent reason. Fuck ’em. Up.

Final Update:  Well the final score was 6-0.  They’re certainly being more generous and sportsmanlike about it over at The700Level than I can be right now.  There’s plenty of reason for optimism for next season, but I’m not there yet.  I’m still pouting and bitching like a scorned school-boy.  Maybe I’ll feel better next week.  Maybe I’ll feel better when the Detroit Red Wings kick the crap out of the Penguins.  (The Wings are up 3 games to 2 in their series against the Dallas Stars.)  Or maybe I just need to kick someone in the shin.

From whence came the art:

I fixed that ref’s uniform for the NHL. They needn’t thank me.

Win Or Go Home

So the Flyers, without their top two defensemen (Kimmo Timonen is out with some weird blood clot thing since the end of the Canadiens series, Braydon Coburn took a puck to the eye in the second minute of game two one, requiring 50 stitches), are down 3 games to none. They’re in Philly tonight, so it’s actually “Win Or Stay Home”.

Deep into the first period, the boys are playing much better than they have, and they’re up 2-0. They can do it, and they can even come all the way back, but they’ve dug a deep hole. It won’t in any way be easy, especially given that hockey is such a team mate-dependent sport.

But they can do it. C’mon boys, one game at a time. Come back with a Vengeance.

Underneath The Blue Skirt

Underneath Her Skirt

Her skirts may be a deep, rich azure, but her petticoats are as scarlet as the blood in Cheney’s veins.

Sadly, it appears that asking a candidate how she will vote on a piece of legislation is verboten. It’s more of the same, “Shut up and sit down over in the closet until after the election – then we’ll talk” nonsense. One needn’t be gay to be mortally offended by such an attitude. I sure as hell am.

It was such a pretty blog, too.

From whence came the art:

That visual commentary on the BlueNC blog is my own work on their logo, and would fall under fair use.

J.P. Protests the Pledge Peaceably

But Why Take A Chance?Update at the end of this post:

My wife and I just returned from a parent-teacher conference at the middle school. My son occasionally (read – pretty much always) has motivational issues. He’d rather be skateboarding than doing homework. Duh. So would I. He’s actually been doing much better lately though, and for that, I’m very relieved and proud of him.

During the course of the conversation with his four teachers (they work as a team, one unit – great idea, by the way), his homeroom teacher (who is also his science teacher) mentioned that James has been declining to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. I was startled, actually. I had no idea.

I asked the reason, and Mrs. R. told me that he’s protesting the “under god” phrase in the Pledge. Wow. Really?

(More after the jump, please keep reading.)

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Au Revoir, Les Habitants

NHL.com\'s Frozen Moment For 5/1/08, by MPR529In the final minute, Mike Knuble slammed the door on the Montreal Canadiens with an empty net goal and sent the Habs home for the summer. After trailing 3-1 in the middle stanza, the Flyboys scored three goals in just under three minutes to go up 4-3. The Canadiens wouldn’t go down without a fight however, and tied it up at four in the third period. With less than five to go, Scotty Upshall deflected a shot from Jeff Carter to score what would be the game winner before Knuble sealed the deal on the Canadiens’ season.

After having his bell rung repeatedly throughout the series, Montreal goalie Carey Price had been pulled in the previous game in favor of Jaroslav Halak. As can be seen in the photo to the right, Halak faired no better against Philadelphia snipers. Showing all the guts of a future champion, the rookie Price returned to his place between the pipes last night with a brand new catching glove. Hoping the new glove would bring him better luck in the area where the Flyers had victimized him so badly all series, young Price started the game with determination and made several good saves early on. His resilience was no match for The Orange and Black though, who lit the lamp six times.

It was an exciting game to finish off the series. The Flyers won four straight games after the top seeded Habs took game one in overtime.

They now await the winner of the Penguins/Rangers series to see who they face in the Conference finals. Pittsburgh leads that series three games to one, and they’ll mix it up with New York this afternoon on the left side of the Keystone State. Look for the Pens to close it out, and make this a Turnpike series.

UPDATE: See you in Pittsburgh.

After having finished last season dead last in the NHL and with the worst record since the team’s inception in 1967, the Flyers are certainly Back With A Vengeance.

From whence came the art:

That image is titled NHL.com’s Frozen Moment For 5/1/08, by MPR529.

I’m Twenty Nine Today

Shakespeare CoolFor the thirteenth straight year, bitches!

From whence came the art:

That cameraphone snapshot is of Shakespeare, and was taken by Little John.