Friday, November 30, 2007

Gentlepeople, Start Your Vitriol, Mudslinging and Backstabbing!!!

Folks around the world have all been wondering the same thing: when will Burque Babble officially start to care about the 2008 Presidential Race? In order to stop the incessant calls from Le Monde, Al Jazeera and the Aiken County Standard asking me this question, I now formally announce that I am almost ready to care about it. Caring could begin as early as Saturday, unless I have more laundry than usual, in which case caring will have to be moved back to Sunday.

As some of you may remember, especially if you don't have many things to remember in your life, I have been a useless proponent of going to a 90-day official election period instead of the 24/7/52/infinity system we have now. My rebellious throwing of an argumentative dirt clod into the ocean on this matter has resulted in zero change. Meanwhile, I have largely missed approximately 2.75 million televised debates, YouTube debates, Manchester Rotary Club forums on C-SPAN and avoided any news concerning the State of Iowa, despite the importance Iowa and its citizens play and have played in my life.

This news moratorium has extended up to now to all Election 2008 races with the exception of the U.S. Senate Primary, and anyone would have to admit that whole deal is a unique situation all around. Plus, it involves Marty Chavez, and...well, I think we've said enough about that to last us a while.

The impetus for setting a possible caring start date? Hearing Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani argue. Like the rooster crowing at dawn and Christmas retail commercials appearing on TV in late October, the sound of Republicans sniping at each other over who is more xenophobic can only mean one thing.

Admittedly, I have some catching up to do. Evidently, somebody called Hillary the "B" word, Hillary said something about wearing a highly protective pantsuit, Romney has a full-staff of illegal immigrants working at his castle and every candidate is a fan of both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox simultaneously.

Still, I get the feeling that catching up with Election 2008 is going to be like seeing a soap opera for the first time in two years...not terribly tough to catch up on. Does Obama hate Hillary? Does Bill just prefer running for things over doing an actual job? Is Mitt's hair penetrable by anything less than a bunker buster? These plot questions will most likely still be hanging in the air for some time, and I won't have missed a thing.

So this morning I actually went to, stayed for about 10 seconds until the "total blog election coverage" headlines made me run away. Maybe Carla Aragon should consider moving to JoeMonahan, her experience with "Breaking News", "First on Four" and "Look at Me!!!!" is perfectly suited for Mr. Monahan's site.

Then I went to Haussaman and caught up on actual information presented in a way that didn't make me feel like I was reading a slightly more pornographic version of the NY Post. I caught up on Southern NM politics while also reading about a little commenting brouhaha that surfaced on Haussaman's site. I plan on spending far too much time at "Haussaman on New Mexico Politics" in the next 11 or so months.

And there will be the other usual suspects like DailyKos, RedState, Rasmussen Reports, and myriad other sites to gaze at for far too long at relationship-straining intensity. But all that can still officially wait until Saturday, or Sunday if the laundry is really piled up.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Sincere Apology To Our Readers...

It has come to our attention that Burque Babble has won some sort of award or something. Frankly, we (that is I) have no idea what this award is for ("Most Typographical Errors in a Blog" perhaps), but rest assured that we will do everything in our power to make absolutely sure this sort of thing never, ever happens again.

P.S.: We also promise to stop making inane, self-referential posts as soon as the onslaught of intra-holiday work gets below neck-level. Rest assured that the level of inanity will continue to be absurdly high, as Babble readers have grown accustomed, but we (that is I) promise to be less self-referential in that inanity.

Thank you, and again...we apologize.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Who Were The Other Two Finalists?

I admit the question above was my initial response to reading that outgoing APS Superintendent Dr. Beth Everitt beat out two others to get the head job at Aiken County Schools, S.C.. Given any semblance of administrative experience on the part of the other two finalists, just who could Everitt possibly outclass for the job?

So, thanks largely to the Aiken Standard newspaper and an ABQ Journal link, I found out about the two who aren't getting the job.

Dr. David Mathis

Dr. Frank Roberson oh, and Dr. Roberson has his own web page too.

Both of the newspaper profiles make, in my opinion, interesting reading, especially in a detached I live in APS bizarro land and it's good to see things are just as screwed up and confusing in other parts of the country sort of way.

They say the grass is always greener in another time zone, and I guess they'd be right. I also guess I wish Dr. Everitt well, even if I wasn't that impressed with the job she did here in Albuquerque.

Dr. Everitt, I hope your new Titanic floats a little bit longer than the ship you just jumped from. Don't worry about us, we'll just be floating out here with the icebergs.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I Seen The Stuffing And The Damage Done

Somehow this song fits on a cloudy day-after-Thanksgiving post-engorgement "nod". Plus it was evidently recorded on "The Johnny Cash Show". The juxtapositions are just too hard to resist, even if it is one of these new-fangled Internet Video things. Mr. Young, fresh from Canada and looking about 13 years old.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Let's Have The Airing of Grievances Early This Festivus

In some ways, the Thanksgiving Break is a vile tempter (I'd say the usual "vile temptress", but that phrase has always struck me as sexist in the same way that women can be called "bitches" and men don't really have a identical word to be dropped on them).

I'm sorry, where was I...oh yeah, Thanksgiving Break can be a vile tempter-person. It is a highly anticipated break, especially in public school, but it's so darn short. Or maybe when you're conditioned to teaching summer and winter vacation, it seems like a piddly excuse for a respite.

Faithful readers of Burque Babble, all 20 of them, have probably noticed an even higher level of acerbity in recent postings. I'll admit It's been a bit of a tough haul these last few weeks heading up to Break. And, as usual, solving the ever-changing puzzle of how to best motivate and inspire schoolchildren has been a two-hour therapeutic massage compared to wrestling the broken puzzle that is Albuquerque Public Schools, K-12 education "policy" and the adult human population in general.

So when I read stories like the one in the Tribune yesterday (I'm guessing it was yesterday as see it online this morning) about teacher in-services, my acerbity-meter goes to eleven, at least on this first morning of break. I mentioned yesterday that APS seems to be in the news, almost always for the wrong reasons, enough to put out a daily newspaper entitled APS Sucks Post-Gazette. Perhaps the Tribune should be purchased just for this purpose.

Anyway, this story about in-services is maddening in that way news stories about your profession often are. It starts off with the fine premise that in-services are a complete waste of time. If one polled teachers throughout APS a strong super-majority would be in agreement. So I'm expecting a story with specifics about what a waste of time they are.

Then the story switches gears with this "graf":

An evaluation summary released this month for the September in-service day showed an 86.4 percent endorsement of the "usefulness" of the course material.
As the famous book title says there are "lies, damn lies, and statistics", but you've have to go way past "damn lies" to capture the uselessness of the 86.4 percent number above. This number doubtlessly comes from these little quickie eval forms that presenters pass out at the end of their in-service spiels. I'm here to tell you they are statistically worthless (unless your job is to defend your existence via useless evaluation forms).

There are two main reasons for this:
  1. Teachers are far too nice on these forms because they, too, are professional presenters and feel empathy for a in-service presentation regardless of how useless it is.
  2. Teachers know these evaluation forms mean nothing, that in-services will continue to be worthless as they have been from the beginning of time, and instead of ruffling feathers why don't I just circle a few Likert Scale 5s for "outstanding" and get the Hell out of this education-forsaken room and have a two-hour lunch?
I'd like to conduct my own survey for teachers. It would have one question on it. That question would be:
"Do you prefer an in-service day or a day teaching students?"
Even in my presently still-acerbic state it would be highly pleasurable to see the results of such a survey question posted along with a newspaper story entitled "Albuquerque Public Schools Teachers Ponder Worth of In-Service Days". In fact, I think I'll start my Thanksgiving Break winding down from the intensity of the past few weeks by daydreamingly contemplating the publication of such a survey.

I could then dreamily envision a special meeting in which the survey findings result in the decision to cancel all future in-services and burn all the Likert Scale evaluation forms in a ritualistic ceremony at APS Central Office. Then the fire from this huge bonfire of wasted paper would get out of control and start to engulf APS Central Office itself. Firefighters would try, but be unsuccessful as the APS towers burn to the ground, orange flames visible throughout the overly-gigantic district as ever-larger numbers of on-lookers rejoice and perform primordial dances of ecstasy.

Like I said, I think I need a longer break.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dear Surly, Distrusting Parent: Thanks For Dropping By!

We middle school teachers stand out in the hall between passing periods, performing "duty". Especially as my room is right next to the "Nurse's Office" (quotation marks absolutely needed), I see quite a few adults visitors swing by as I'm standing there smiling and watching semi-closely for neo-adolescent miscreants.

I'm pretty good about greeting each of these unknown adults with the vague Texan greeting of a nod of the head. Often they nod or smile back. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes I wonder why some aren't nodding back....and then there's a news day like this:

"Schools Not Checking For Past Crimes"

"APS Finds Teacher Absences Spike Ahead of Weekend"

"School Bus Driver Avoids Rabbit And Injures Twelve Students"

not to mention the continuing saga of "Stupid Elsy Fierro Hearing In News For 10,000th Time"

and I don't wonder why these adults aren't smiling or nodding back anymore....

P.S.: Being as it's the day before a one-day extended Thanksgiving Break, I also wonder how many times an announcement will come over our 1949-era intercom system: "PLEASE, CAN SOMEONE PLEASE COVER FOR MR. BLANCHARD (name invented) 4TH, 5TH AND 7TH PERIOD, HE DOESN'T HAVE A SUB. PLEASE!!!!!"

Such a pleasant way to start the morning with about eleven such stridently desperately cackled pleas. Happy Day Before The Day Before everybody.

Monday, November 19, 2007

And Now An Anachronistic Word From An Old, Crotchety Guy

There are two kinds of people, those who do/will like the new Duke City Fix layout and those that do/will not. It is with a reluctant, quavering blog voice that I admit I do not. I say this even though we bloggers should all stick together and one should especially be nice to the McDonalds (as in big, not reprehensible) of Albuquerque blogs. More importantly, I reluctantly say this because I can just tell from looking at the new DCF that by stating my dislike of its new look I am:
  • Old
  • Unhip
  • A Web dinosaur destined for extinction and eventual placement in an Internet museum as a relic of a distant unhip past
  • Really old
I guess it all boils down to my general desire for the Internet to go in a time machine and return to the year 2002 or so. I want my Internet pre-video, but with today's bandwidth (and yes I realize I posted three THREE separate YouTube vids on one post last Friday...but I can tell you it felt...kinda creepy).

I do not like "avatars". I do not like even typing the word "avatar". I do not like MySpace or Facebook or whatever new, hip site exists now for people to express themselves through "avatars". I make it a point to avoid MySpace sites, not because of any concerns about safety for its millions of teenage members, but because I can't stand being bombarded with crude "avatars", horrible backgrounds and cloying music that bring back all the horrible memories of those 1990s-era vanity webpages (here's an example), (oh, and here's another) but with tons more "avatars" from "friends" and other misuses of our increased bandwidth.

More than anything else, I detest the use of the Internet for "social networking". Okay, I detest the use of anything for "social networking". More to the point...I detest "social networking". I prefer my Internet video, avatar and "social networking" free. I like my Internet information-rich and visually poor.

I guess I like the 'Net more for its Wild West libertarianism than its High-Tech Socialism. Last week I showed part of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" to my film class. I freely admit it was the single least popular movie I've ever shown to a class (Westerns unpopular..whoulda thunk it?) Anyway, as you may recall that movie is all about the idea of the vanishing West, with Paul Newman and Robert Redford's lawless characters eventually forced out by the steady creep of "civilization".

Looking at the new Duke City Fix I feel a bit like Paul Newman's character (but without the beautiful blue eyes). Maybe I need to move, as Butch and Sundance did, to the Internet version of Bolivia. Or maybe even, dare I say it, read a book.

Friday, November 16, 2007

And We Wonder Why Al Gore Doesn't Run For President....

My wife was professionally obligated last night to watch the Democratic Presidential debate in Las Vegas. I was under no such duress, but happened across the first few seconds before my Wolf Blitzer gag-reflex kicked in.

Despite the rapidity with which I ran from the room in horror, I was reminded that U.S. TV "culture" and its current love of "reality TV" is based in part on the success of Japanese game shows. Those with cable here have probably already run into an old 1980s show, which in its skewering, below-sophomoric English translation edition is called "MXC" or "Most Extreme Elimination Challenge". Here's a clip...

Seeing, if only for a few pre-gag seconds, Wolf Blitzer, and an Las Vegas studio audience obviously swept up from a Ronco infomercial, was enough to make me think that we're about two logical heartbeats away from just putting Hilbamawards and crew in helmets and having them play "Human Tetris" and jump over icky moats in fashion-lapsed track suits.

Of course, for those who missed it, we now have another video-related invention to relive it in all it's gag-worthy glory. My Japanese game show dare for today is that anyone actually make it through all the introductions in the clip below. Viewing it is, in my opinion, far worse than simply trying to hop along a bunch of plastic "logs" to avoid an icky moat.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Reasons For Marty: Chávez as Colonel Kurtz

I promise I'll stop writing about Marty Chávez. Promise! My dog just had its knee surgery staples removed, and I've been spending all my time on Marty. Bad dog owner, bad.

And I'm taking a break from Marty to write about dog surgery staples, accordions ....anything but Martin Chávez just as soon as I explain yesterday's little wordblob in which I suggested Mr. Chávez become Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent. Maggie over at the dynamic trio of blogdom known as m-pyre rightly responded to the Chávez idea with a basic "huh?" and asked for an explanation. As I pack for my Marty vacation, here are a few reasons why I think this is a good idea, seriously.

"We had to destroy the village to save it"
--Alleged quote by a U.S. military officer during the Vietnam War
I've read with some interest about the process of finding a new APS superintendent. I respect and admire the work that has gone into cultivating public comment from every stakeholder group involved (including students, and that's great). But as we now go from public input to School Board decision-making, I am increasingly convinced that things are far too screwed up to expect:
  1. A powerful superintendent to come in and make significant inroads;
  2. The School Board to know a powerful superintendent from a bureaucratic hole in the ground, what with all their bickering, self-interest and general lack of vision;
  3. Any chance of real improvement barring the full-blown figurative destruction of APS village.
And that's where Marty comes in.

Yeah, I admit part of the appeal is that the Mayor has repeatedly talked about his desire to be involved with APS decision-making, boastfully implying and right out stating he could do a better job. And to those boasts I say "prove it". But there's more to it than that. Hiring Chávez instantly becomes the equivalent of bombing the village.

All the festering, open sores around the District (the latest being an audit showing the District can't even balance a checkbook) would immediately become battle lines between a defensive School Board and District employees and the supremely overconfident ex-Mayor (and yeah, he'd have to quit the Mayor gig and that has an appeal for many reasons including the fact that it would add to the already existing 5.2 million open political offices in New Mexico).

Armed with political cachet no former educator can claim, Chávez would "get things done", regardless of whether the solution was wrong or right, which would further inflame the Board and employees. Quotes from Superintendent Marty would quickly go up in Teacher's Lounges and Workrooms around the District, quotes like "I am not going away!" Many disaffected folks would leave, while others would entrench, digging bureaucratic trenches deep and well-protected.

The ex-Mayor would continue to boast, even as the situation implodes well-beyond its current quagmire and enter an "Apocalypse Now" level of the surreal. I can just hear the Doors music playing over press conferences by Fall-2009 as Superintendent Chávez explains why the test scores didn't improve and that everywhere he is surrounded by "errands boys, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill".

By 2010 everybody would be saying, in unison...."the horror......the horror....". The implosion would be complete and those not professionally dead or gone would pick up the pieces, form little charter schools amid the wreckage perhaps, or maybe finally split that South Valley into its own district.

I can see the little kids walking over hot, steaming metaphorical debris on their way to school, smiles on their figuratively smudged faces. They smile because while the District may have been destroyed, at least its destruction was sudden and complete, instead of the far more agonizing dysfunctional bureaucratic coma in which it currently reclines.

P.S.: But I could be wrong. I would love, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the School Board and District to prove me wrong. I would dance a happy jig of wrongness joy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's Not A Marty Coup de Grâce, Merely A Wafer-Thin Mint of a Proposal

It's true, many of us have done some serious Feudal Prince Marty Chavez bashing the last few days. Giddy with news that Tom Udall might/will run for U.S. Senate, we tipped back the political champagne bong and drank greedily. Making a little prognosticatory timeline of Feudal Prince Marty's dismal future might have been good for a laugh or two, as well. Well, at least for a scant few of us.

But now we've had our little divertissement, and it's time to get serious. Namely, the moment has come to put the final piece in the bizarrely complex puzzle known as New Mexico Election '08 into place. And the only thing worthy of completing something so bizarrely baroque is the sublimely bizarre. With no further adieu, may we solemnly, seriously recommend the following:

Martin Chavez for Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent

And no, I'm not joking.

I could bore you with some of the many reasons I think this is a good idea, and no not ALL the reasons are based on a strong love of Dadaist art and literary Absurdism. Some reasons, granted, but certainly not all.

Instead of boring you with these many reasons (at least now), I will instead bore you with the simple fact that, as Mayor, Martin Chavez makes right around $100,000 a year. Outgoing APS Superintendent Beth Everitt makes $185,000 $193,000 annually (a figure that always seems to be noted in every single media mention of her). Twice the salary for a fiefdom truly worthy of the name "Feudal Prince Marty". It's a marriage made in Dada Heaven.

And for those thinking that perhaps your humble blogmeister has taken one too many draughts off the political champagne bong, I know it's might sound crazy, it might sound antithetical to...uh...everything. But imagine...just imagine...and have some more champagne. Garçon!

P.S.: I was a little low on the salary. Now I see the District is thinking somewhere around $260,000 a year. $260K AND a fiefdom? Who needs Washington? Heck, I'm thinking of going to Almeda University for a quickie Ph.D., making a few other résumé touch-ups (the period 1987-1993 could use some work), and applying myself. Don't you think you could almost put up with the APS School Board for $260,000 a year?

P.P.S.: And no, I don't know what's up with all the French in today's post. Maybe I was thinking about Mel Brooks playing Louis XVI. It's definitely good to be the King, n'est-ce pas?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Accordion Dreams Courtesy Guy Klucevsek

The only Klucevsek playing I could find at YouTube, here playing as music score to F.W. Murnau's "Faust.
I guess the "avant-garde" doesn't get quite the YouTube action of Miss Teen South Carolina.

For me, going to a show at the Outpost Performance Space is like hiking. I don't do it that often, and every time I get around to it I ask myself..."why don't you do this more often?"

Ah those psychological mysteries: What makes us strongest eventually kills us, we seek out what we wish to avoid, and we don't go to the Outpost enough.

Anyway, the Klucevsek show was great. Solo accordion and I got to sit 15 feet from his flying left hand as it prodded, probed and danced around the bass buttons like a romantic surgeon. It brought out all my old attempts at playing the instrument (two years of lessons around the turn of the Century), but without the horror-inducing trauma of the lessons themselves.

Of course I'm now planning on going to at least 15 more Outpost shows this season, a number sure to be reduced close to zero by reality. But, man, what a great show.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Where In the Political World Is Marty San Diego?

Okay, Coco is right. The crashing multi-year political fall of Martin Chavez is not that important. But at least it will be good for some laughs while watching the war between the U.S. and Iran get "out of hand". Now that I think about it, both Chavez and current U.S. foreign policy are all about hubris and fear (e.g., Chavez' warning that Tom Udall is too "liberal"). Marty would have fit in perfectly as a spokesperson in the Bush Administration. Especially at FEMA, what with the fake news conferences and all.

Meanwhile, Udall appears to be in the Senate race, and I'm celebrating by taking the highly geekified GPS out to the Sandias for a hike to the TWA Crash Site. And yes, it's somewhat of a muted celebration when one is going to a place where many people died. From what I hear though, it's very possible that my hiking buddy and I will be celebrating by getting lost, even with a GPS. Oh well, sometimes getting lost is all the fun.

And maybe if we're lost we'll find what's politically left of Marty Chavez out there (besides Tom Udall...sorry for the highly confusing pun-like reference).

P.S.: Waypoints for the Political Career of Martin Chavez 2007-2010

Nov. 2007: Udall announces he's running. Chavez has far too much hubris to switch to NM-1.
Primary 2008: Udall trounces Chavez like the New England Patriots playing New Mexico State.
Sometime 2008: Bill Richardson is appointed Secretary of Something by the Hilbamawards Administration. Denish appointed Governor.
Rest of 2008-2009: Chavez wanders the political Earth as increasingly distant ABQ mayor.
2009: With renewed hubris, Chavez recommits to taking on Diane Denish for Governor.
Primary 2010: Denish pummels Chavez like a Dollar Store pinata in the Gubernatorial primary.
Sometime in 2010: Chavez finally takes that job as FEMA Press Spokesperson in the Hilbamawards Administration.

P.P.S.: Did anybody else get that robo-poll last Thursday night about Udall, Chavez, Darren White and the rest of the cast of "Lost: New Mexico Politics 2008"? Interesting stuff, especially when the last question to me was: "If the New Mexico Congressional District Number One election was between Martin Chavez and Darren White, who would you select"? I'm serious...I stared at the phone keypad for about two minutes on that one.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

New Mexico and the Rose Bowl Parade: A Short Retrospective

2006: Two years ago, it was Bill Richardson and Diane Denish sitting together under an attractive plastic tarp on a rain-soaked wagon-house combo while attendant blue plastic servants stood nearby. Diane has never been anywhere near Bill since:

2007: Last year...well last year I couldn't find an image. Probably because the state spent all its money on a 75 foot tall Manny Aragon balloon at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (picture not available...but just imagine it bounding down Broadway)

2008: And this year the State Department of Time-Wasting Faux Art Work gives us this prototype:

No comment is necessary. Absolutely unnecessary to say anything this, whatsoever. So my comment will be unnecessary and flippant. I like how the "Spaceport" so closely resembles a nuclear mushroom cloud. And the little rocket to the side looks so very much like a nuclear warhead with teepee overtones. And are the aliens gleefully peeing off the side of the tophat-styled "spacecraft"?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Drawing Kids Like A Really Bad Magnet

I've avoided writing on school issues for a number of weeks now, as the mere thought of doing so makes me want to slit my wrists and the wrists of anyone in razor blade proximity to me. Okay, that's a pretty harsh image for 5:48 in the morning.

How about the mere thought of school issues has made me want to curl into the fetal position on the floor near my post-surgery dog and whimper in non-narcotic seizures of pain as I hold him desperately?

That doesn't seem much better, and the same can be said for the new-fangled but really very old and tired idea of APS School Board denizen Robert Lucero regarding Del Norte and Sandia High Schools.

As noted in this fascinating KOB "story" from last night, both of these schools are literally falling apart and enrollment is dropping. So what is Lucero's faux exciting idea here:

"The school board is considering the possibility of turning Del Norte High and Sandia High into magnet schools. It's an idea that school board member Robert Lucero said should have been put in place a long time ago. 'I think it's a great idea, it's long overdue that we need a magnet process for our high schools to keep our students motivated and keep them in school,' said Lucero."

The story goes on to say that school board members are batting ideas around like making a school a "film production" magnet school, in addition to the usual candidates: technology, science, fine arts, and sumo wrestling.

Very academically sexy sounding stuff, and in the antiquated thinking of APS positively "out of the box". Kooky enough to be "charter school thinking" even. But before prospective public school families arrest the flight to the Westside that has played a bigger role in Sandia/Del Norte declining enrollment, let's look at another "magnet school" done APS style.

Hayes Middle School is, as its web site states, "A Scientific Research and Technology Magnet School". It's located at the corner of Texas and Lomas N.E., at the edge of what was once known as the "war zone", alongside I-40 and a bunch of car dealerships.

Enrollment at Hayes has been dropping for years, and its test scores have been bad for as least as long. I worked there back in the 90s, and we tried to make the best of a bad situation through a steady diet of public funding for technology stuff. Because the school had plenty of "poor" students, the Feds were happy to throw money at us for things like fancy network servers, and I, as "technology coordinator" (quotation marks most needed), dutifully filled out grant applications and called state legislators to get more money for computers, robotics stuff, GPS equipment and anything else that could be termed "technology".

After I left in 2000 to experience my own hallucinatory trip through "Charter School Land", Hayes officially became a "A Scientific Research and Technology Magnet School", and had even more money thrown at it toward this purpose.

Maybe you didn't know Hayes MS is a magnet school. Maybe you just remember seeing Hayes' test scores in the paper and remember that the school is still "failing". Maybe you don't know anything about the school because the enrollment is still very low and going nowhere, even with new construction all around campus.

The bottom line is that Hayes is "A Scientific Research and Technology Magnet School" in name only. You can't have a "magnet school", if it has no magnetic pull. And one might argue marketing ideas like "magnet schools" have a real tough time succeeding when the District running them has demonstrated zero marketing ability. Less than zero.

APS can call every one of its institutions a "magnet school" if they want, but that doesn't mean squat. What might really draw, or retain, students better? How about just being a good school? How about being a really good school? I would much rather the District, and its individual components, focus on the grinding, unsexy drive to bettering itself over the illusionary academic sexiness of something like a "film production magnet school". And I say that as a teacher of a "film class".

Okay, I'm going to lie back down on the floor with the post-surgery dog now, and reminisce about Hayes Middle School, the 1990s and having no gray hair. Ah, the Clinton years....

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Monday of Zonked Dogs and Outraged Citizens: Good Times, Bro...Good Times

Okay, the dog still has a cruel series of staples running along half of his right back leg (not visible in photo above), but this Tramadol is quite a drug. We're supposed to be using "extreme confinement" as our Golden recovers from knee surgery, but with Tramadol prescribed "extreme confinement" means watching the dog sleep even more than the 14 hours a day he usually does.

A bit of wiki research informs me that Tramadol was part of the overdose cocktail that killed rapper "Ol' Dirty Bastard". You have time for this kind of research when your job is nursing a dog that sleeps 20 hours a day.

Meanwhile, I was getting all excited about tonight's City Council meeting, what with the scintillating possibility of discussion about red light cameras and closing city golf courses, but according to the Journal promo neither of those measures might be finalized tonight.

Pity. I was looking forward to lovingly petting my dog's surgery staples while watching verklempt golf nuts and other bad drivers go all apoplectic as they plea for cheaper golf and traffic violating.

In matters of full disclosure, let it be known that I occasionally go golfing with some buddies, and played at Puerto del Sol only two weeks ago. Yes, we thought it was too expensive ($15.25 for nine measly holes, if I recall correctly, not to mention $4 for a Heineken from the traveling beer cart), but I've always felt about golf the way some men feel about putting on women's clothes. It's just not me.

For years now I've gone, in increasingly rarer instances, just to spend time talking with some guys I don't see that often. We could be sitting in a bar (or shopping at the Mall, I suppose) and it would be the same thing, but golf offers the illusion of physical activity without the deleterious health effects of sitting at a bar.

Frankly, I'm hoping the price of golfing goes up to the point where my friends will decide social encounters are better suited to a hiking trail instead of a municipal course. Hell, make it $100 per nine. Make it more than it currently costs to run a red light at a red light camera intersection.

Other people, men most of them, feel differently. Golf is a big deal to the guys, and I'm looking forward to them spitting with rage about raising the price of their game. And lead-footed drivers screaming about red light cameras, too? Misplaced Testosterone Jackpot!

Most prefer watching alleged "reality shows" like "Top Chef", but I dig the ultra-real world of televised City Council meetings. My Tramadolized dog and I are really hoping for some great red-faced with rage diatribes tonight. Oh, the travesty of it all! The unfairness! Stalin would be proud! Hitler! Worse than Hitler!

Okay the dog doesn't really care...he's sleeping all night. But I'll be tenderly stroking his staples and stubby regrowing leg hair while watching it, watching and laughing.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Who Even Knew Dogs Had Knees?

Our Golden Retriever had ACL surgery yesterday (yes, sadly his days as a professional running back are now behind him), and he's making low, deep groans of what I can only interpret as pain. You can't blog when your dog is hurtin', people.

Besides, blogs are stupid. Even/especially when they get Albuquerque Journal hype even before they start. By the way, where were the newspapers when Burque Babble started? That's it...I'm firing my agent, my public relations folks, the hairstylist, everybody....out of here.

I'm doing the entire blog operation myself from here on out, just as soon as this dog quits hurtin'. In the mean time, I'm taking a break for a few days to attend to the poor guy. Don't do anything interesting while I'm gone, like start a fascinating blog entitled "Politician X is a Big, Fat, Egocentric Meanie Person Who's Like All Mean and Self-Centered". I wouldn't want to miss something as original, shocking and profound as that.