Guns In the Classroom

For all the “Arm the teacher” advocates out there in the wake of the Florida school shootings, let’s hear from a recently retired teacher:

Endless Bitchen Summer

After dedicating 18+ years of my life to teaching high school before retiring this year, I can say with authority that arming teachers with weapons is a very bad and dangerous idea. While some of my former colleagues may disagree, I assert that only more tragedy will occur on an armed-and-ready-to-shoot campus.

Most people who propose arming teachers have not set foot on a high school campus since they graduated. So let me enlighten you. Schools are over crowded. My last teaching assignment was at an at-risk school – the largest Title I school in Nevada. I had 230 students. Most classes exceeded 40 students. Desks were jammed so close together that in an effort to assist students, I had to squeeze between desks. In that type of proximity, a motivated student could have disarmed me in seconds.

While most of my students were great kids, I had legitimate gang…

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Wendell is Smiling


All right, let’s hear it for Darrell Wallace, Jr.

Which is who, you ask?

Oh, he just finished second in Sunday’s NASCAR Daytona 500 stock car race. In only his fifth ever career start, no less.

Second? Big deal, you say.

Well, it is, and here’s why: It’s the highest finish ever at Daytona by an African American driver.

Not that that list is a terribly long one. Anybody know the last black driver in the Daytona 500?

Answer: Wendell Scott, in 1969.

Yep, you read that right. 1969. Forty…nine…years ago.

And Sunday, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, Jr. made a little history in Black History Month.

Congratulations, Mr. Wallace. This is a well-worn cliche, but even though you finished second, you’re definitely a winner.

That’s all I got today. Just wanted to shine a little spotlight on this man.

Take some time this month, or any month, to read up on some important folks whose lives we commemorate during Black History Month. Their history is very much part of ours.


Fire, Bleed, Repeat


Really, is there any point?

Any point at all in discussing the school shooting in a Florida high school on Wednesday?

The one that left seventeen people dead, at the hands of a nineteen-year-old former student? With a rifle?

That filled our TV screens with crying students and crying parents and SWAT teams and somber reporters?

That rang the bell for Round Whatever of the great Gun Debate?

Really, is there any point?

When we all know the end result will be…nothing.

And the story will disappear from the news cycle in a week or two.

And the whole f####ng scenario will play out again. And again. And again.

I honestly don’t know where to go from here. I can’t offer any hope. I can’t offer any rage. I think it’s all a waste of my breath.

So, I’ll just offer this:

To those of you who lost people you loved in this tragedy, I am so very deeply sorry. My heart is broken for you.

But, just as heartbreaking, is that you’re likely just the latest in a never ending line.

Because our attention span is just too short to allow us to care.

That’s the truth.









Say, Your Ties Are Loose


But, last night, I thought, what is a family, anyway? They’re just people who make you feel less alone, and really loved.

Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore), “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”


So, when was the last time you spoke with certain members of your family? The ones you’ve been meaning to contact, but time just got away from you?

Yeah, it’s been awhile for me, too.

I have tried, in the past, to reconnect with some family members I haven’t spoken to or heard from in years, with very little success. It seems, at times, like I’m the only one trying to reach out. Nobody wants to reach me.

That’s how it feels, anyway.

Now, please understand me. I don’t blame anyone for this condition. I fully realize, we all have our own lives to lead, with our own schedules and activities and appointments and such. We’re all busy; I get it. And that’s good. We shouldn’t just be sitting around, watching weeds grow.

And I’m sure, in some cases, we simply don’t know how to get ahold of each other, or we surely would.

Besides, trust me, I let the time get away from me, as well.

But…I don’t know, I just wish we were all closer to each other. Maybe with age, there comes an undercurrent of urgency, a keener awareness of the sands of time running out, and a greater need to connect.

Plus, doggone it, I miss these folks. They’re blood, they’re family. I’m tied to them. Part of all of them is in me, and vice versa.

And, I’d prefer to not wait until someone’s funeral to catch up with them. That’s how it usually works, sadly.

Is it like this with your family?

If it isn’t, if you’re all in close contact with each other and the ties are strong, bless you; I admire you. (And envy you, a little)

If it is, perhaps it’s time to ask yourself, as I am, “What am I doing to get us closer together? Do I need to just quit waiting for someone else to take the lead? What if I keep waiting until it’s too late?”

That would be a crying shame. Literally.

So, I’m just going to have to work harder at this. I can’t help but think it’ll be worth it. Whether they want to hear from me or not, if I can help it, they’re going to. And hopefully, I’ll hear back from them.


One other thing: Even when we don’t correspond as often as we probably should, I still know I’m extraordinarily lucky to be part of a family that I love, and that loves me. If you’re alone, and have no family, or you have the kind you’d just as soon never hear from, my heart goes out to you. I can’t even begin to imagine how that must feel. I can only hope that you can find a family somewhere, a group of loving, caring people you can be a part of.

The essence of why we’re all here, I believe, is to give and receive love. Don’t cheat yourself out of it.


Love Me Do



Andre Malraux, French author (1901-1976)

They were like death. And un-American. Somebody said treasonous. Can we call that treason? Why not? They certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.” 

donald trump, U.S. Fake President, on the Democrats not clapping during his State of the Union address


There you have it, folks. If you don’t applaud trumpy’s every word, if you don’t go “crazy wild”, as he said the sycophant Republicans did, then you are being un-American, even committing a treasonous act.

Well, you certainly couldn’t accuse trump of being un-American. The guy even applauded himself, for crying out loud.

I wonder how much clapping he’s done in the last couple of days, as the Dow Jones fell over 1,100 points Monday, right after falling over 600 points last Friday.

Now, you and I know, the President has little to do with the stock market’s rises and falls, but if donnie’s gonna take all the credit for the good news, as he has, he better be ready to take the blame for the bad news.

Has he? Not that I’ve heard. Now, the official line from the White House is all about the “long-term economic fundamentals.” Convenient, huh?


But, back to the bull$#!t about the treasonous Democrats.

trump has made it clear, America has no room for un-Americans, such as Mexicans, Muslims and, I guess, now Democrats. And the penalty for treason is imprisonment, perhaps death.

So, my takeaway from all this is, if you didn’t go “crazy wild” for donald trump’s SOTU address, you should be thrown out of the country, locked up or killed.

Land of the free, right? We’ve already seen this administration’s attitude toward protesters, accusing them of “terroristic acts.” It’s George W. Bush and, “You’re either with me or against me,” taken to an insane new level.

One other thing: Let’s imagine for just a second President Hillary Clinton was giving the SOTU address. Would the Republicans’ likely tepid response be just as un-American and considered to be treason? Just askin’.

As crazy as it drives you to hear this, donnie, everybody doesn’t love you. And, as much as you want to, you can’t punish everybody who doesn’t. That’s not how this works, bubby.

The above quote from Andre Malraux was the Quote of the Day in my morning paper, today. It immediately made me think of trump, and the kind of “leader” he has been. How he demands that everyone love him, lest they be punished.

You know what, though, donnie? I do love America. Very much.

But not you. Not at all.


A Phabulous Day phor Phootball


Well, well. It phinally is sunny in Philadelphia.

Congratulations to the Eagles, sworn enemy of my Dallas Cowboys, on their phirst ever Super Bowl victory, led by their superstar backup quarterback, Nick Pholes, er, Foles.

I did not watch the game. I heard it was pretty good, though. I recorded it, so I can watch all the commercials at my convenience.

Not being a phan of either team, I really didn’t care who won. Phrankly, I was hoping that, by some once in a lifetime miracle, they both lost.

Oh, well, at least, it’s someone besides the New England Patriots this year. Sorry, New Englanders, but the rest of us were getting ph***ing tired of you guys winning all the time. You were becoming the New York Yankees of the NPhL.

But, I’ll give them their due. Since quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill “This IS My Excited Face” Belichick have been a partnership, they have been to eight Super Bowls, counting yesterday, and won phive of them.

Incredible. You’re not likely to see as successful a run as this ever again. And, it will continue, as long as the Brady-Belichick tandem remains intact. So, appreciate the standard of excellence these guys have set.

And then, if you still want to hate ‘em, go ahead.


Meantime, phill your glass and toast the Philadelphia Eagles. The top of the mountain rightfully belongs to them, now. They earned that real estate, thanks in large part to the magnificent work of Mr. Foles who, as I mentioned earlier, is the Eagles’ number two quarterback. Their number one, Carson Wentz, had performed at MVP-caliber all season, until an injury in early December put a cruel and abrupt end to that, and everybody counted the Eagles out at that point.

Not so phast, pholks!

Veteran quarterback Foles stepped in and took them the rest of the way, like they never missed a beat. So now, phor the phirst time, the Lombardi Trophy resides in Philadelphia, PA.

Do yourselph a phavor. Eat a Philly cheesesteak sandwich, in their honor.

They’re phantastic!


The Thing (For Mature Audiences Only)


WARNING: If you are easily offended by discussion of male organs (and I don’t mean Hammond or Yamaha), it’s best you stop reading here. See you next time.

That just leaves the curious and the perverted, so let’s proceed.


Guys, ya gotta admit, this thing is a pain sometimes, you know it? This thing that dangles between our legs.

Well, dangles for some. For the rest, it more closely resembles a baby bird in a nest.

Except for first thing in the morning, right, fellas? When it’s popped up like those things they have in turkeys now to tell you when the bird’s done cooking. Only, in your case, it’s your bladder saying, “WAKE UP, SPARKY! I NEED DRAINING!!

Okay, so you get out of bed (I hope) and go into the bathroom to do your Morning Chore. Once you get started, you notice hey, that’s not where I’m aiming, what’s going on? Guess I’ll point it this way…Whoa, why are you going that way, now? Redirect, redirect…oh, NO, two directions at once?? MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY!!!

This is why you need a trough in the bathroom, guys, to remedy the problem of inaccuracy.

And, just think: as you get older, you get to experience this in the middle of the night, too! Maybe several times. Sweet dreams.

At least, you can practice your basketball skills during the day whenever you have to go. (Here a dribble, there a dribble…)


Okay, now, just a few words about another annoying situation:


You know what I mean. You sit down, you have to readjust. You stand up, you have to readjust. You emerge from the water in your swimsuit, you have to readjust. You start to feel like the pinsetter at a bowling alley. It reminds me of when I was a kid, watching my dad up on the roof of our house, moving the antenna around to get a better picture on the television.


Ah, but then, there’s that other function for this thing, am I right, dudes? The one that, starting in adolescence, occupies your mind pretty much all the time.

Now, first of all, let’s discuss the presentation. The narrator in one of Stephen King’s novels rhetorically asked, “Is there anything more unintentionally comical than a sexually aroused man?”

My reply to that would have to be a firm (sorry), “No!”

I mean, really, it’s laughable. Depending on your vantage point, it looks like either a coat rack, a toll booth gate, or the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

I remember one time I took this girl on a date to a water park. We’d already been down a few water slides, and were waiting to go down another one. As I stood behind her in line, I began to realize, I was faced with two options: I could get up closer to her, and let her know exactly how I felt about her, or I could stand back away, and let everybody know exactly how I felt about her, including any astronauts orbiting overhead.

Stupid swimsuit.

Now, to the function. As you know, guys, there are three pivotal events that occur in your young life, predicated on the moment you first look at a girl and, instead of thinking, yecch!, you think, hmmmm…

And eventually, WOW!!

One, Old Faithful erupts for the first time, a seminally climactic event. (sorry!)

Two, you make the discovery that you can have some FUN with this thing!

Three, you make the more important discovery that you can have some fun with this thing WITH SOMEONE ELSE!!

And THAT, gentlemen, is when the Thing takes control of the logical part of your brain. Seriously.

Remember, though: How long it stays in control is ultimately up to you. It can be your ally or your mortal enemy. As they say in the ads, enjoy responsibly.


Now, a word about those other things dangling down there, except in cold weather, in which case you have to send out a search party:

I am convinced their primary function is to itch uncontrollably in the most awkward social situations.

Any argument, guys?

All Aboard?


We’re gonna keep this train a-rollin’
We ain’t gonna break down on this highway
We could sit here waitin’, worried, wonderin’
Wishin’ we were somewhere other than right here
But we’re right here

“Keep This Train A’Rollin’”, Doobie Brothers


Well, we are right here, aren’t we?

And we’re all witness to the infancy of a historical revolution.

Ladies, I’m looking at you.

A distant voice is calling, growing in volume and intensity. It’s the voice of millions of women – of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientations – standing together to say emphatically, “TIME’S UP!

Women are speaking out against sexual harassment from powerful men, finally revealing secrets they’ve kept for years under threat of swift and severe consequences.

Women are speaking out against pay inequities at work, along with other forms of discrimination they experience on a regular basis.

Women are speaking out against the body shaming culture that denies their right to simply be themselves, and be happy with that.

Oh, yeah, the revolution is happening. This train is a-rollin’.

And I’m on board.


This week’s Grammy Awards ceremony gave us two definitive moments in that revolution.

First, there was artist Janelle Monae, issuing a clarion call for the just treatment of women in the music industry, holding out an olive branch in an ironclad fist with the unequivocal declaration, “We come in peace, but we mean business.”

Immediately following that was recording artist Kesha who, backed by an all-female chorus, delivered a devastating performance of “Praying”, an anthem for every woman who has endured the worst kind of treatment, only to emerge victorious.

Mind you, this follows on the heels of Oprah Winfrey’s energizing speech at the Golden Globe Awards earlier this year, which was inspired by the #Me Too movement, which itself emerged from the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Put coal on the fire, and the train gains steam.



You fellows that have terrifying visions of armies of militant, man-hating bitches marching down our street, ready to castrate every male they see, like so many bulls down on the farm:

Honestly, get over yourselves.

If you feel threatened, welcome to their world.

Women aren’t looking for dominance. They’re not looking for supremacy. They’re simply asking to be treated with respect. Aretha was right all those years ago.


When I was a lad, pop singer Helen Reddy released “I Am Woman “, a confident, self-assured statement which became a huge hit song, and was adopted as the anthem of the Women’s Liberation Movement. The lyrics remain amazingly relevant, I think:

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again
Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong

I am invincible
I am woman

You can bend but never break me
‘Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long, long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

From the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the 19th century, all the way to the present, the struggle for women has been long and arduous; at times, disheartening, at times, rewarding. After all, just two years ago, a woman was nominated for President of the United States.

If there’s one thing you should take from that, guys, it’s this:

They ain’t givin’ up.

The train is a-rollin’. Get on board.





Michael Phelps Earns Another Gold




In the eyes of the world, he was superhuman.

Absolutely nobody owned the Olympics like swimmer Michael Phelps. 28 medals have hung around his neck, 23 of them gold, over the span of five Olympic Games. An athlete for the ages.

But guess what? As Phelps publicly admitted this week, during that astonishing run of championships, he was suffering from depression and thoughts of suicide.

Read Michael’s story at  If you think CNN is a bunch of “fake news”, get over it and read this, anyway.

Men, especially, I want you to read this. Pay attention when he says he realized he needed help, and how he now understands the importance of opening up and talking about depression, instead of keeping it to yourself.

Listen to me. I don’t care what you tell yourself; you cannot, you will not beat depression on your own. Believe me, I know. It is far too formidable an opponent. I know us men are supposed to be the strong, silent type, but it’s precisely that silence that could kill you.

Go to to learn about depression. I know, that’s kind of a creepy name for a website, but it’s an excellent resource on the subject. If you think you have it, please call someone for help.

It could very well save your life.

Michael Phelps, thank you. This is your hardest earned, and most deserved, gold medal. I’m glad you got the help you needed. I wish you continued good mental health.