Friday, September 14, 2012

Why there is no future

I was working job number two today (substitute teacher). I was assigned for the morning to a fourth grade class. The lesson was probability.  After a half hour of explaining vocabulary, problem-solving strategies and examples, the students were assigned a few problems from their books.  Most did ok deciding if an outcome was certain, likely, unlikely or impossible. However, when it came to working with actual numbers, I realized it is no wonder so many people can't maintain a checking account or hold a job.  The economy is in trouble because apparently, kids today don't even know what a number is.
Here's the question in the book:
                                  Use numbers to describe the probability of choosing a cube that is not yellow.
 They had a few minutes to think about it and write down an answer. I started going around the room asking for responses.  The first kid said "10 out of 2". At least the format was right, but there are still two things wrong with this answer. One, there can't be ten desirable outcomes if there are only two possible outcomes. Secondly, the kid had answered the question for yellow, rather than anything except yellow. This shows not only a complete lack of understanding of the math topic, but also demonstrates poor reading comprehension skills.
The second kid who offered an answer said "2 out of 10". I made the mistake of feeling hopeful and optimistic at this point, thinking at least the math was on the right track even if the reading skills left something to be desired.  Oh , how foolish and naive I was.  
After suggestion they all carefully read the question again, FIVE individuals claimed to have figured out the answer:

Huh. Who knew blue was a number. Maybe I should ask for a red% raise after dealing with this.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Is it November YET?

OK...I try really hard not to answer the question "Who are you voting for?" for three reasons:
1. It's none of anyone's fucking business.
2. The correct question is "For whom are you voting?"
3. This year, I honestly don't know.

I strongly believe that voting is not only a right, but also a responsibility. If those of us who are reasonable, moderate people willing to consider all sides of an issue don't vote, then the nation's future is left up to the wing-nuts.  With so many idiots running for office, leaving the voting to idiots doesn't seem wise.
However, I don't feel that I can, in good conscience, vote for either presidential candidate this time around. Romney would set civil rights back 50 years: women's rights and the LGBT community would suffer under his administration. He's too quick to cater to the tea-partiers. And he proved that he is a selfish twit when he immediately attacked the current administration before expressing genuine sympathy for the loss of American life at the embassy in Libya. On the other hand, Obama seems to be trying for less restriction on welfare rather than more: I feel almost ill at the sight of a woman pulling her food stamps out of a designer bag and typing on her smartphone with her acrylic nails while I'm feeling guilty about buying the lean ground beef instead of the cheap stuff even though I work three jobs. The Obama presidency has also left a lot to be desired when it comes to supporting and respecting military personnel. I just don't see a clear choice when the issues I care about most don't fit into either platform.
There is one thing I am certain about, however. This is the point I really want to make:
Whichever way I decide to vote, my choice will be based on issues and job performance.  I am truly appalled at the right-wing blowhards who insist that Romney is better for "Christian America" because Obama is a Muslim.  First and foremost...a candidate's religion should NEVER be considered because of a little thing called separation of church and state. Secondly, I was under the impression that the Obama family attends a Christian church (Christ Church in Chicago and a Baptist church in DC) while Romney is a Mormon. IF one was to take a candidate's religion into account, wouldn't an established world religion with similar core values AND a belief in Jesus (granted, only as a prophet) be desirable over what is, at best, a 'new' religion filled with magic and secrecy even stranger than the other religions in question?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

preachers and pastries

This morning, I was enjoying a delightful danish with my husband in the local bakery.  This random guy walks up and asks if we're from the area.  Thinking he may want directions, we confirm.  He proceeds to explain that he is the minister at a nearby church and invited us to a service.  A thousand replies, none of which would have been nice or necessary, pop into my head.  The result of keeping those thoughts to myself is that I start laughing.  My more disciplined, military husband was able to keep a straight face and politely nod as the man finished his spiel.  After the man walked away, my husband scolded me for my response.  I asked him if he would have felt obligated to be polite if our breakfast had been interrupted by someone selling insurance or vacuums.  Of course not.  But he still didn't see why I was offended.  Here's why:
If I had interrupted his breakfast with an invitation to the upcoming Reason Rally , or a gay pride event, or a Planned Parenthood fundraiser, he would have been offended and outlined his convictions.  (While this is conjecture regarding this specific individual, I have found this to be the general reaction.)  Why should I be expected to keep quiet when someone imposes on my time and space?
It's like those Jehovah Witness people...who thought knocking on the doors of busy people, expecting them to drop everything and listen, was a good idea?  What would they think if I showed up on their doorstep while they were trying to make dinner and handed them a copy of a Richard Dawkins book?
 Bottom line: Don't bother me when I have a danish.