Thursday, September 29, 2005

Teaching amidst chaos

____Second hour was a surprise: during my planning period, the principal had directed some one else's history class to come in and sit with me. No problem, I can do that.
____Five or six students hadn't even brought their books. I tried teaching them the old fashioned way, in a group, in discussion, or having them listen, but that didn't fly. These high school students were either just going to try having a field day, or they were just one of the most undisciplined, lazy, rude students I have met.

____But no problem. I got their names, I got their attention, and maybe they learned at least a little something about pre-Christianity, the rise and fall of the Greek and Roman Empires.

____Now it's quiet again, the lit class is back. This is an open book test.

What's long, hard, and full of_____?

Answer: a sub.

Today I'm a sub. The topic is English literature. Some classes are taking an open book test on Farley Mowat's Never Cry Wolf. Others will be either doing some other book, or Homer's Illiad and Oddyssy.

Wow! It's actually quiet for a change. I've become used to teaching middle grade classes.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

SEYM Newsletter Summer and Fall 2005 arrives

We got this in our mail box today, I believe. Some details of the 43rd Annual Session of Southeastern Yearly Meeting were released. It was held during the third month (March) of this year, the 23rd through the 27th, at the United Methodist Life Enrichment Center, in Leesburg Florida.

The focus of this meeting was "Living in the World as Quakers."

There is a concern about the FUM minute 88-GB-52, which supports a personnel policy that is discriminatory toward Gays and Lesbians.The following three queries were shared by the St. Petersburg Meeting:

#1 What does it mean to be affiliated with the Friends' United Meeting?
#2 What has been the real level of our activity as members of FUM?
#3 Are we viable members of FUM or members in name only?

I will consider these queries, just as I'm considering the "Adult Guide for Going to Confession" that has been distributed to our local Catholic church, Saint Jude's of Glennville.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Spike Lee lectures at SCAD's Trustee Theatre

Yeah, I'm blessed. Got to hear Spike Lee talk about these troubled times, the war, the aftermath of the hurricane, racism, and his career in film.

Post meridiem, I recommence the work day

Am still tasting the mid-day meal, boneless ribs and fried rice, a lunch special from one of our local Chinese restaurants, where I'm trying in small ways to practice my Chinese Mandarin. Alas! but my efforts are still weak.

I delivered a copy of the article on bookcrossing below to one of our local newspapers, posted a copy of the November 3 Theses on the door of a local Democratic Party committee head, who happens to be a judge, and I dropped off for bookcrossing at one of the local fast food places. So the day has been somewhat productive.

Can I do the same article in Spanish? Here's a chance to try out one of the translation programs, which I've used but only for isolated words, maybe a phrase once or twice. I'll try to shop this to some other newspapers. No real hurry here, but while I'm on a roll, I'll work on the translation and free-lancing it.

Book sharing program comes to town

You may have noticed, while going about your daily rounds or errands, a book lying, seemingly forgotten or misplaced, in a place maybe where you don’t normally see books. Or it may have posted on it a yellow sticky note, reading “I’m FREE! I’m not lost! Please pick me up, read me, and help me with my journey!” If you do find this, then you have come across a “bookcrossing”, a practice for which a word has been coined, even entered into the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, back in August of 2004:

n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.

As a matter of fact, a fact which is registered and updated constantly, as new members join the growing movement, there are now, as of the time this is being written, about 402,920 members and 2,400,032 books registered on a web site founded by a group of book lovers and internet technology professionals, among whom stands Ron Hornbaker, who describes himself as “one of the founders of BookCrossing, an incorrigible serial entrepreneur.”

“We've always liked sites like Where's George? ( This site tracks U.S. currency by serial number)… (which releases disposable cameras then tracks their whereabouts and displays the pictures taken along the way), and (where you can stash and search for items with GPS technology), …so we thought to ourselves, "okay, what's something else that people would have fun releasing and then tracking?" …we thought of books, which made perfect sense, since everyone (well, almost everyone) loves books. Twenty-eight mostly sleepless nights later, on April 17, 2001, was launched.”
In the time that it took to compose the last paragraph, the global membership grew by a baker’s dozen. In Georgia alone, there are about 4,294 members, including 769 in Atlanta, 145 in Savannah, 15 in Statesboro, 2 in Fort Stewart, and 3 in Glennville.
Bookcrossing, as noted above, is a grass roots activity, and what Mr. Hornbaker likes to call a real example of how to ‘think globally – act locally.’
Mr. Hornbaker adds, “The real credit for this site should go to my parents. Both school teachers, they taught me the joys of reading and learning at a very early age.”

If you do find a book which has been registered with Bookcrossing, you may have also found its number, which may be written somewhere on the inside of the front cover, or on the fly page. You may, if you wish, read the book, then send it again on its journey, by recording a journal entry on that book. Enter the URL, the web address of the journal entry page, then enter the BCID number, and leave a brief note so that others will know what's happened to the book. Maybe you're not even interested in the book, and don't plan to read it, that's okay too... you can still express that in the journal entry, along with your intentions concerning the book. Should you finish the book, or get tired of reading it, you are encouraged to pass it along to a friend, or release it into the wild for someone else to enjoy!

Supposing you do release a book, how would you know when someone finds a book I've released? The bookcrossing system will send you an email notification whenever someone makes a journal entry on a book you've released. You could also check your “Bookshelf” page on a regular basis to see all the journal entries on your books.
The percentage of books released which have been caught is a minority so far – about 20-25%, depending on where you release the book, and how well you label it. Mr. Hornbaker reminds us that “we're still very early into this project, and books travel slowly,” since it takes time to read them. He also notes that not everyone has internet access. Although Glennville now has internet access, not everyone may feel that he or she has the time or energy to get to the library, school, community center, or an internet caf? in a neighboring city where they can get online. But he reminds us, “The world is still a better place due to your generosity.
“Think about this: you may get an email notification 5 years from now, letting you know someone has made a journal entry on one of your books. And that someone might be halfway around the world. Imagine how excited you'll be that day, and how much you'll wish you had seeded the world with even more books over that 5 year period. Every released book, just like every message in a bottle and every note in a helium balloon, won't get caught - but the ones that do have the opportunity to brighten a day, initiate a friendship, or even change a life.” This is the portal, or home page, for the Book Crossing website.

The following are the web pages for local bookcrossing groups in Georgia and the Low Country area:

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Back in the saddle again

I'm the cowboy of my life, riding my horse Destiny toward a lovely glowing sunrise.

I started a short story, based on thoughts and memories which pranced and gamboled about the pastures of my mind in the early morning hours.

I may also work on the application to the Cafe' for which I'll look for a location to start the Coffee House and Book Shop.

But it's time to get dressed to ride out, pick up my buddy, and drive to teach.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Substitute teaching

Oh my Gawd! That last class -- life science, with today's topic being genetics -- was not very nice.

And I see that keeping the students to the assigned seating chart makes a WHOLE lot of difference. Man did these kids act up.

But this is not going to be setting the tone for the rest of the day. No siree.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Satuday, Constitution Day, 17 September 2005

Just got off the phone with F. from S.C., just across the river. Nice morning conversation.
Have in mind to do attempt some writing. Have already done a response to Jeremy Butterfield's weekly essay on words in the English language. Checked in on a couple of the Sacramento bloggers for the first time since early summer, it seems. Did some writing in Cleaned out some of my mailbox.

I’ll get into my running things within the hour.

First, to finish my web logging:

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Whazzup? Ain't much happenin' hee-uh

Frybaby released "Silence of the Lambs" at a newspaper box on King George and Wild Heron Road in South Side Savannah.

I considered for a few minutes whether I wanted to change my itinerary to include Savannah, tonight or tomorrow. Hmmm... Some one's bound to find that book sometime by the o'dark hours before tomorrow morning. Naaahhh... I've already read that. But for me to even consider the 1.5 hr. drive makes me realize how much I'm getting into this Book Crossing scavenger's hunt thing.

Am listening to a concert broadcast to honor Otis Redding. Pre-recorded in Macon some time ago, on the occasion of his birthday. McKnight was the radio host.

That ended some six minutes ago. Been talking with my wife, who recalled an incident which our children's godmother told her earlier this weekend. Seems that the computer tech guy brought his wife or lady friend with him on a home consultation. The companion was annoying our friend and neighbor, not letting her listen to the computer man's explanation.

Soft classical piano now. No other sound but the whir of the computer fans and the high pitched sound in my right ear, a little louder than usual. Almost drowns out the high pitched sound in my left ear, ha ha.

This week's operation in Iraq: Tal Afar

We wish everyone well. May God bless you all.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Looking for a friend or relative missing after Katrina?

Here are some links that may prove helpful to those who either wish to help, need help, or are looking for survivors:

If you are a student who has been displaced by Katrina, you may find assistance here:

Picayune editorial voices peoples' anger

I'm sipping cafe au lait, listening to Johann Strauss, Jr, and otherwise just typing in little commentaries and other thoughts this American Labour Day, Monday. I'm still looking for the link directly to the excerpt below, but if you read the articles in the MSNBC sites, you'll come across it:

“We’re angry, Mr. President, and we’ll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry,” the editorial said. “Our people deserved rescuing. Many who could have been were not. That’s to the government’s shame.”

“Every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be fired, Director Michael Brown especially,” the letter said. “No expense should have been spared. No excuses should have been voiced.”

Sunday, September 04, 2005

"The US is independent" --Treaty of Paris., 1783

My depression raised up its ugly head today again. Cause this time? Maybe the drinking last night at my buddy's birthday party. I had a Foster's in the large can, and most of a pint of Dewar's with Coke.

The result was a lame work day at the Family Garden Restaurant. Oh, yeah, they hadn't been treating me all to well either, so I'm sure that has something to do with it.

Anyway, from Garrison Keillor, we have this:

The U.S. War of Independence officially ended on this day in 1783 with
the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

The war, which began at Lexington and Concord in the spring of 1775,
had more or less been over for two years (after Cornwallis surrendered
his army at Yorktown), but the American navy continued harassing the
British, and by the time the treaty was signed the American fleet had
captured dozens of British ships. The treaty required Britain to
recognize the independence of the United States and to cede all lands
east of the Mississippi to former colonies.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Fancy hotel's guests given priority

As I read what's going on in New Orleans, the news of inequities and more tragedy never ceases to amaze, shock, and sadden me. Here, from MSNBC, comes the age old story of privelege of the upper classes, including the middle class tourists:

"At one point Friday, the evacuation was interrupted briefly when school buses rolled up so some 700 guests and employees from the (name deleted so as not to give them free publicity) Hotel could move to the head of the evacuation line — much to the amazement of those who had been crammed in the stinking Superdome since last Sunday.

" “How does this work? They (are) clean, they are dry, they get out ahead of us?” exclaimed Howard Blue, 22, who tried to get in their line. The National Guard blocked him as other guardsmen helped the well-dressed guests with their luggage.

"The 700 had been trapped in the hotel, next to the Superdome, but conditions were considerably cleaner, even without running water, than the unsanitary crush inside the dome. The (Blank Hotel) was severely damaged by the storm. Every pane of glass on the riverside wall was blown out."

Friday, September 02, 2005

Declaration of independence of Vietnam, Hanoi's Ba Dinh Square

Garrison Keillor tells us that "It's the anniversary of the independence of Vietnam in 1945. The region had been a French colony for decades, but during WWII, Japan
conquered the French forces there and took control. In August, 1945,
though, when the Allies defeated Japan, there was a sudden power
vacuum in Vietnam, and the Communist Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh
moved to fill it. He'd fought alongside the US during the war, and on
September 2, the day WWII officially ended, he appeared in front of a
crowd in Hanoi's Ba Dinh Square and used lines lifted from the
American Declaration of Independence--and proclaimed Vietnam a
free state: He said, 'All men are born equal: the Creator has given us
inviolable rights of life, liberty, and happiness...' "

Message in a Bottle

I have enclosed a screen shot of some individuals throughout the world who have made sending a message in a bottle a goal. Of course, there’s no telling who’s going to find it, and what that person is going to do with it.

Dear stranger

I wonder what sort of day are you having.
Have you been fishing?
Travelling the river in the canoe or in a motor boat?
Are you born and raised here?
Your families have been here for generations?
transplanted from Kentucky here by the military.
I’m trying an experiment to get
ways for folks to stop being such strangers,
and share their stories and thoughts with each other.
and if a body was in trouble, folks would help ‘em out,
‘less that person was a complete pariah.
Maybe we can start to practice some
of this Christianity or whatever faith
we profess to have in our hearts, and on our minds.
Write your local newspaper and express yourself!

Cheers! cafegroundzero

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Georgia’s “Abysmal” SATs “at Home in the Cellar”

(Atlanta) The bad news is in: Georgia is last in SAT scores. Today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s editorial “At home in the cellar” and Columbus Ledger-Enquirer’s “We’re back on the bottom" wrote of Georgia’s decline.

As the AJC notes in their editorial:

“In his 2002 gubernatorial campaign, Sonny Perdue promised Georgia voters he would boost SAT scores.

‘We're dead last in the nation in SAT scores. If that doesn't convince you we need to try something new, nothing will,’ said Perdue in a TV commercial.

Well, Georgia is ‘dead last’ again in the SAT, based on the scores released Tuesday by the College Board. Perdue probably hopes that voters have forgotten that TV spot. It's obvious the governor himself hasn't given it much thought since the election.

He's done little to fulfill his pledge to "try something new" in either overhauling SAT scores or education in general. He devoted his first term to rolling back the education reforms and class size reductions set in motion by his predecessor. There has been barely any perceptible change in what or how students in Georgia are taught.” [emphasis added]

Governor Perdue argues that the Governor’s Cup has been put in place to improve scores. But the hard reality is that trophies don’t help much without the resources to teach our children.

“Gimmicks don’t cut it when you slash school funding by nearly $1 billion dollars and you pack more and more children in the classroom,” said Bobby Kahn, Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia.


Working Families Devastated

Please Help

Hurricane Katrina
has devastated
working families in
Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Please help.

Click on the link below to make a
tax-deductible contribute to the Union Community Fund's special Hurricane Relief Fund. Donations will be targeted to meet the most critical needs among working families.

(Click here.)