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Dribbles and Grits to Crumpets and Bollocks: July 2014

Dribbles and Grits to Crumpets and Bollocks

Dribbles and Grits to Crumpets and Bollocks: July 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Internet Debates: Cheap Tactics People Vomit

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Internet debates are like a form of crack that suck you into a world of dumbfuckery to where you neglect major life duties like a shower or sleep because "someone on the internet is wrong." They are so addicting, some people have to create drama just for the high of a debate, and others, they flock to it like drunks to a place that serves breakfast. I'm the latter. If I see any status of my friends on facebook that shows an ounce of drama and debate, I'm there just to read the asshattery and state my opinion, with popcorn (sometimes, it's a great spectator sport).

In the heat of a great internet debate, you have different types of debaters and cheap tactics people use. You are probably one of these people, at some point. I'm sorry if I offend you. Hahahahahahahaha, no I'm not. I tried to type it with a straight face though. I really did.

You should totally share this when you see friends  frienemies who fall under these categories, you know, for passive aggressiveness, especially if you are on Facebook Vaguebook.

1. The Researcher

I like these people. They are my favorite kinds of people on the internet. They are the ones who post the snopes link in the comments showing your story is bull shit. You can't debate with them without them showing links to prove their argument, usually packed with facts, statistics, and truth. They are awesome for the most part.

They can POTENTIALLY have two downfalls that turn their awesome quickly into asshattery. For many of them, sometimes your argument is invalid because you didn't supply a link, or you didn't supply a "credible" link. It's really hilarious when these people get into such a sheeple mindframe that they think their link from a biased organization designed to promote their argument is more credible than wikipedia. In fact, don't ever dare to give them a wikipedia link because, "haha, anyone can write that," as if the rest of the internet was written by God himself. They don't even care if their sources are cited in the bibliography because they are superior to you intellectually for supplying the cited sources as opposed to the wiki link that took them to that place in the first place.

The second downfall? As if things can't get any worse. When their link supports your argument more than it does theirs, and they are just too stupid to realize it. You can quote their link all you want, but you are talking to a brick wall. For example: You are anti-gun control. He is pro-gun control. He shares a link that states in the 3rd paragraph that studies show gun control doesn't curb gun related crimes. He posted that link to support gun control because it's from a liberal website, and he probably didn't read it. You mention the third paragraph, and he ignores it completely stating the link supports gun control with studies and facts. Where's your studies and facts? Oh you don't have any. Well that one you provided doesn't count because I don't like the source. The other one I didn't feel like reading, and my link doesn't count because I provided it and not you.

2. The wolf pack

You see this one more in female groups, more specifically, mom groups. But these are people who act like cyber-bullies, usually unaware they are being bullies. They operate in packs. They are the ones who post statuses like, "Hey, did you read that mean comment someone left me? Here's the link." The people who usually argue on their behalf are only arguing on their behalf, nevermind the topic, it's about loyalty. For the most part, this is a great way to combat trolls.

Image from one of my most favorite people on the web:Hyperbole and a Half
For example, someone I know wrote a blog about the difficult decision to give away her dog. It just wasn't really compatible with her children. He was too aggressive, and there were some other issues. As much as she loved the dog, she had to choose between the dog and her kids, and the dog had to go. She got quite a few comments from dog loving freaks who shamed her for not treating her dog like it was a kid. These people were fanatics, with absurd arguments that made you believe they secretly rape their pets. Of course, my friend posted about it, and before you knew it, 50 of us were there saying things to the commenters (not the blogger) like, "You are an asshat twatwaffle" and my input, "Your dog would be delicious in Korea." It promoted my friend's blog, like she had more readers than usual for that post in particular. But more importantly, it made her feel better about making such a difficult decision because she was surrounded by a mob of people who supported her decision and empathized with her feelings.

But the wolf pack can go seriously wrong when they use it to bully an innocent. Imagine a scenario where a woman says, "I breastfed my kid for 3 months now, I'd like some advice to ween her to the bottle." And someone is like, "No, you should continue breastfeeding if you care at all for your child." And that someone then, before any comment is made their way, retrieves their friends to come over and support their shaming. So a woman seeking advice is bombarded with comments designed to tear her down emotionally and psychologically, and she is not in a position to be there because her kid needs her boob, now, no time to stand up for yourself on the internet mom.

It can go even worse when a member of the pack stands up for the mom because the mom was in the right. The whole pack shows no mercy when ostracizing a member of their own, and because they are in the same circles online, they usually take their debauchery to other social media methods. They will stalk the excommunicated member for months to come, leaving random nasty comments whenever the opportunity for it arises, manipulating others into picking their side, usually spreading rumors and lies. The person doing the right thing gets treated like shit by people she cared about, cyber-crucified for having an opinion of her own, all to help someone who shows no appreciation for the sacrifice made on their behalf. Then they all post an anti-bullying link, you know, to deceive people (and themselves) into thinking they aren't assholes.

3. The Delusional

The perfect example to this...

"The gay community wants to abolish age of consent laws. Which means children…we would do away with statutory rape laws so that adults would be able to freely prey on little children sexually. That’s the deviance that we’re seeing embraced in our culture today".- Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)

What the fuck Michele? Did you make that shit up for attention? Or do you really think that's the case? Because while you are right in your stance, yes nobody wants to see children raped, the issue is that NOBODY wants to see children raped. Like quit putting stupid words in the mouths of people you hate just for the delusion that you win the debate. Of course you feel superior to gay people when you put it like that. Of course, it's that shit that makes you infamous for being a fucktard with an IQ that cannot possibly exceed the qualifying age to join the AARP.

Then what happens is all her little sheeple followers believe that, and before you know it... You will argue with them about gay marriage. And when that day comes, you will say something like, "Equality. Gay people deserve the same rights to love and marriage, and divorce, as you and I." And they will respond with, "I can't believe you are so fucking stupid to allow children to be raped." You are like, "WTF? I wasn't talking about children at all..." 

And then other people join the conversation and because they are either too lazy or too stupid to read exactly what you said, they take the asshole's version of what you said, and they truly believe you just said that you want children to be raped, and there's nothing you can say otherwise to change their mind because the asshole is more qualified on the subject of your feelings than you are. 

In essence, they create their own villain to argue with. The arguments on both sides come from their own mind, and it's just unfortunate for you that they think you are the villain they created and that the mindless zombies spectating believe them. 

I see this the most with any kind of fanatic full of hatred for those against them, whether they are Christians or atheist, conservative or liberal. 

I'm obviously not the only person who noticed. 

4. The Stereotype

This is really another version of the delusional, but they are people who argue with you based on your stereotype. For instance, just say, "I own a gun," and then you get the response, "I bet you believe Obama's trying take your guns. Murica." Or better yet, "The day I listen to a gun toting redneck like yourself is the day I hang myself." What they are arguing? Every meme they read about people who own guns. You don't even have to argue, they will just assume you are arguing their beliefs because you have one. You might believe in gun control, they don't care. You're still a gun-toting idiot. 

I have been in debates where I mention I love God and Jesus Christ, and all the sudden, I am anti-science (not the case, I understand Einstein's theory of relativity and Schrodinger's cat better than the geek mainstream, and I can hang in a discussion about neutrinos and photons), anti-evolution (not true)... everything that anyone could contrive a Christian to be. And it doesn't matter what I say about neutrinos, my argument is invalid just because I'm an idiot Christian who obviously believes the world was actually created in seven 24-hour days, three thousand years ago. I can say, "I agree with science on this one," until my fingers turn purple, and these people think I'm lying because I'm a Christian, and I'm not allowed to be a Christian AND agree with science.

5. The Hypocrite

Everyone is a hypocrite in some fashion, to some extent, but in the realm of the internet debate, it becomes obvious in ways that make you want to vomit. For example. I have a friend who is atheist. He hates it when Christians are forcing their opinions on others. You can't put a Bible verse on the wall at school because that's forcing your religious beliefs on others. You can't quote the Bible as literature in school because duh, it's the Bible, but it's ok to read The Crucible, Of Plymouth Plantation, Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches, and other texts that promote Christianity. That is a level of hypocrisy in of itself, but then let's take it further. 

Then the atheist friend who is so sick of people shoving their religious beliefs on others trolls your conversations about religion. Any time you mention God, Jesus Christ, a Bible Verse, or anything, they comment some belittling comment on how you are an idiot for having faith, and they turn every inspirational text you find on the subject of your faith into a debate on whether or not God is real and that you should just believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. In essence, they are shoving their beliefs down your throat, with more determined hatred than Westboro has against gay people. Christians will do it too, but we expect that don't we? 

And it's not just religion. Look at political memes. The guy who is Pro Life is anti-immigration pro-guns. Mixing the two subjects it gets even worse. Anti-Christian liberals believe in everything Jesus Christ ever preached, but they are anti-Jesus. Extreme conservatives believe against everything Jesus Christ ever preached, but they are Pro-Jesus. I say this because if Jesus was on this earth today, based on what He preached according to the Bible, He would be pro-welfare, pro-immigration, pro-life but also pro-women's rights, anti-violence, anti-war, anti-corporate greed, pro-humbling... He'd be a Pro-Life liberal. The liberals hate Him. The conservatives love Him. And aliens are standing by waiting for us to destroy ourselves because that's easier than declaring war on earth. 

When you call them out on it, especially when it involves any form of hatred, they deny it, like it never dawned on them they are exactly like the very people they hate. I'm here to tell you how you feel about others is usually a solid reflection on how you feel about yourself. That's a tough pill to swallow sometimes. 

6. The Last Worder

I fall in this category. I have to have the last word. Part of it is because when you are so kind to respond to me, even in disagreement, I feel that it's only polite to warrant a response back. I do this in friendly emails. Even on the phone, saying goodbye to me takes 10 minutes because I keep responding. My chats look like, "Well I'm going to go to bed.... I should too, good night and sweet dreams... Good night and sweet dreams to you... They will be sweet if I dream about you... Really? Do you dream about me?... ... ... Well goodnight then.... Goodnight to you... Sweet dream... you too...  :) ... :)... :).... :)............." 

But when it comes to debates, I do think I have to have the last word for whatever reason. I have no idea why, but I do. You really are fine if you just don't say anything more stupid, but that rarely happens. Arguing with me, your last word is going to be stupid, and I have to, like a crack addiction, call you out on your stupidity. It's almost like the grammar nazi trying not to type, "You're" to correct someone's "your so stupid." I can't resist.  The reason you are bound to say something stupid in a last word to me in an argument is that if you are arguing with me at all, you probably are stupid. You can disagree with me and not be stupid. That happens a lot. But if you are straight arguing any comment or opinion I may have, you are probably dumber than the flies that circle shit. I can still love you as a friend, even if you can't keep up on an intellectual level because I can appreciate that there is way more to life than being smart, but I can't resist standing up for what I believe, or straight facts, when you challenge my words with stupidity.

There is a fine line between a debate and an argument, and that fine line is usually a vast amount of IQ points.

And my favorite part is where people act like the childish nature of having to have the last word supposedly discredits all the facts you gave them. And the hypocrisy (see number 5), is that it's pretty childish to mock someone's actions as a desperate reach into giving you a false-sense of winning the debate, especially when your logic and facts didn't do it for you. Of course, changing the subject is the easiest way to direct people's attention away from your original points of stupidity.

The girl is totally winning. 

7. The Logic Nazi

These are people who have trained themselves in the art of identifying logical fallacies within other people's arguments. They get super excited when they see one, I'm sure, that they are so intellectual to point it out using words that force anyone to have to Google it. Unfortunately, they lack the self control to avoid the use of them in their arguments, and they usually also lack the humbling ego to admit they do it, even when caught red-handed.

But there is a list of Logical Fallacies that basically say, if you do this, you are illogical. Most people who are obsessed with pointing these out never actually thought it through and instead just took everyone's word for it. Like they probably couldn't do a logic puzzle, but because they can identify a fallacy, they are suddenly logic experts.

Just because someone uses a logical fallacy doesn't mean they are wrong (that's a logical fallacy in of itself). It just means they need to change their approach. 

8. The Statistics Humper

I honestly think there are people who really suck at math that are physically attracted to statistics. They don't understand statistics, but when they see them, they get a boner nevertheless. These are people who have to point out statistics to prove their point. They totally fuck statistics when they misuse them to prove their point, and that's what happens a lot. Even the media sharing findings from a scholarly study often misrepresent the facts and numbers.

Some things to remember about statistics... Correlation does not prove causation. For instance, gun control. Many previous studies on gun control showed a correlation between high gun ownership in an area and higher crime rate. It made a lot of people believe that gun ownership causes violence. New studies are suggesting the opposite. They changed the approach to the study and on a worldwide scale, have discovered that Gun Control Laws are often correlated to a higher violent crime rate. But the other studies? Are they wrong? No. There really is a correlation between high crime rates and high gun ownership, but they are realizing that what happens is that people who live in areas with high crime rates are more apt to go buy a gun for protection, legally. But you will still see people citing studies and statistics about gun ownership and crime rate in order to prove their justification of gun control.

There are also different types of statistics. Some just inform. Like I could ask 100 people, "Do you prefer Pepsi or Coke?" and 45% can answer Pepsi with 55% answering Coke. Let's say I ask the same people "Do you consider yourself overweight?" and 75% of the people drinking Pepsi said Yes and 45% of the people drinking Coke said Yes. Some people are quick to think, "Pepsi makes you fatter than Coke does." No. Those statistics like that only describe. That's it. They do not show any correlation. You have to do some crazy math shit with a formula that looks greek to most of the world to see if there's enough statistical evidence to prove any correlation.

So when you tell me X amount of people died from gun violence last year, that doesn't mean that it proves we need gun control. If you keep posting the stats and referring to it like it's a guide, I'm going to assume statistically that you are dumber than my left tit.

9. The Grammar Royals

These are not your average grammar nazi's. Grammar Nazi's correct grammar for OCD, anal-retentive purposes, many attempting to conserve the English language in a world of little brats graduating high school thinking LOL is a real word. The Grammar Royals take it to a whole new level. They act like the ability to point out your grammatical error (usually only one or two of them, missing the other 50 you made) somehow makes them superior to you and your argument. They believe that they have completely discredited you by discrediting your grammar, and as a result, they won the debate because they discredited your facts and logic.

I want to see this LIVE

Obviously they are right. Like if you wrote a phrase as a sentence, you are ok. If you have a dangling modifier, you're fine. But God Forbid you say, "your not understanding," ok now you are just being a terrorist, and you totes deserve being ass raped with a cactus.

I'm supposed to type a conclusion here, but I really suck at conclusions. I like letting you come up with your own. I suppose I could say something inspirational, promoting peace, like "Don't be a dick."

Keep an eye out for the next part of this. Like subscribe to this blog so you can get advice for arguing with assholes. I'm not an easy person to debate, and I shall share some of my secrets in the near future. I'm also going to share some all natural ways to relieve constipation, so big things coming. 

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Education Reform by Cyber-Parents

For a Printable, Document version, CLICK ME!

I have compiled some thoughts about education from parents and parent bloggers online, including some of my own unique thoughts.

Education Reform
by Parent Bloggers and Parents
compiled by Michelle L. Grewe, blogger for Crumpets and Bollocks

Another Title might be Ways To Spend More Money, but it needs it.

Top Topics of Parent Bloggers regarding Education

  • Safety from school shootings
  • Common Core Curriculum
  • Attendance and Education Neglect
  • Driving your kid to school wearing flannel pj’s (we won’t go any further into that one)

Topics covered below:

1. Standardized Testing
2. Bullying
3. Attendance
4. Security
5. High School Curriculum and College Credit
6. Classroom arrangement
7. Common Core

The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that parents possess the “fundamental right” to “direct the upbringing and education of their children.” The Court also declared that “the child is not the mere creature of the State: those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right coupled with the high duty to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” (Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 534-35) The Supreme Court criticized a state legislature for trying to interfere “with the power of parents to control the education of their own.” (Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 402.) In recognition of both the right and responsibility of parents to control their children’s education, the Court has stated, “It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for the obligations the State can neither supply nor hinder.” (Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158)  From http://mrsmomblog.com/2014/03/29/why-my-children-will-not-take-state-assessments/

When asked “What do you think are major problems in today’s education and how would you resolve them?” on my Facebook Pages:

Benjamin M Keysor The problem is kids are not punished for doing something they should not of been doing. When I was in elementary school, when someone did something they weren't supposed to they could potentially get paddled, with a wooden paddle. There was also detention, in school suspension program- where you sat in one room all day doing your work and only leaving the room for a few restroom breaks and lunch. You could also be suspended from school a few days. Then there was Friday and Saturday school. Friday school is where you would sit in the cafeteria for 3 hours after school let out. Then Saturday school, you reported to school on Saturday morning at 9 am and sit in one room doing school work/home work for like 4 hours. I would often get Saturday school from being late so many times but I would usually skip it and then end up getting suspended for 3 days. Now days you don't even hear of a kid getting detention.

Kim Myers In my opinion teaching has moved too far away from the teaching of children and into the teaching what curriculum has been funded and lobbied the most. As well as "teaching to the test" instead of teaching to the development of successful students.
The students recognize that once the standardized testing "season" is done essentially there is nothing left to do.
In short less focus on standardized testing and more focus on successful teaching and students.

Barbara Dodson I now have Grandchildren in school and as IN THEIR school, it would be more of NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND IF they went back to learning by unified recital of the ABC's n Timestables as well as the pledge of allegiance and morning prayer. THE POLITICIANS DO IT WHY SHOULDN'T we or our children.

Randi Evette All children do not learn the same way and the kids that aren't like everyone else get left out. Most teachers don't observe their students to see what makes them click, what gets their wheels turning. They are set in their ways and whoever doesn't catch on gets left by the wayside. This relates to special needs children as well as kids that just learn differently. I feel that we need to take a look at how other countries teach their kids, because they're smarter and somehow seemingly happier. I'll think of some ideas and email them to you. I just woke up and saw this.

Misty Boley Agreed Randi, I understand they have things that need to be taught on time, but, not every child is the same, learning struggles and set backs and teachers keep on moving forward

Lina Mumm Just take back everything George Bush has contributed to our wonderful education...no child left behind has ruined it. Teachers teach to the standardized tests. It doesn't help those who need the extra help to actually learn the material, and it bores the gifted students who actually need to be challenged. Kids shouldn't go to school to be brainwashed...they should be there to learn critical thinking skills.

Marguerite Louis More play to calm kids down

Shelly Bastion Drys Get rid of Common Core! This is killing today's kids love to learn and is even more difficult on kids who have learning disabilities.

Shannon Styles:  In a nutshell, here are the main problems with Ed Reform:
*Common Core was introduced and thrown on districts with little to no research. In order for states to receive the Race To The Top federal money (which turns out to be roughly $12 per student) the states needed to have an approved APPR (teacher eval) plan.
*The new APPR uses state test scores as a part of the eval score that put entirely too much focus on testing and prep rather than authentic learning.
*The new state tests are now CCSS aligned, but students in grade 3 have only been exposed to the CCSS standards for one year...there is disparity there.
*Modules:  NYS created modules which are units for teachers to use that are scripted and aligned to CCSS. They were not created by teachers and are extremely developmentally inappropriate.
*Money: districts are spending more each year on testing materials, yet state funding is decreasing every year. While schools are cutting staff and programs, the cost of Pearson testing materials continues to increase. Districts are spending more than they received through the RTTT federal money to implement CCSS and testing.
*The links I provided (below… look for Shannon Styles) go into detail and explain each point here.

Details of Issues

1. Standardized Testing

There is too much testing going on. The Problem? One, the schools are not adequately staffed to handle that load of testing. The burden usually falls on the Guidance Counselor, whose primary purpose is to counsel troubled students, one that gets the shaft when it’s testing time. Two, teachers tend to teach based on test performance as opposed to their primary purpose, to teach children in a manner where children learn. Three, students are being tested on subjects BEFORE they get a chance to learn them. We need to pick one test (SAT 9 is recommended most) and use that in all 50 states, once a year, end of the year. That’s it. All states using the same test would make it easier to compare results nationwide.

The money you save from excessive, anti-productive testing could be used toward better ideas listed below.

2. Bullying

West Virginia supposedly has one of the best anti-bullying policies out there; unfortunately, we parents have no idea what it is, or how to combat bullying when it happens. I have seen students bullied, not only by their peers, but also by the teachers, principals, and coaches. It’s out of hand in my state, and a problem nobody wants to admit is happening. We are in denial that bullying on every level exists.

What we need to do is not only create an anti-bullying policy on a federal level, one that is a no-tolerance approach much like a sexual harassment policy in the workforce, but we need to incorporate a system for fixing the situation. We need a place to report bullying, up a chain of command, where some form of enforcement takes place to resolve the situation. We need a protocol because some people are too busy to really know what to do or how to handle a bully-victim situation, and a protocol that disciplines those who neglect their duties in this realm (because frankly, some teachers and principals just don’t care about whiny kids complaining that their life is horrible because some kid is tormenting them). It would also have to have an investigation process to avoid abuse because bullies have no problem reporting victims as bullies in order to bully their victims.

3. Attendance

I understand attendance is important for successful learning; however, too much emphasis has been placed on it that it has become anti-productive.

For example, my child broke her arm at school last September, during recess, on the playground, and no teacher could tell me how it happened. She missed school to go to the doctor, get an xray and a broken arm diagnosis, and again to get a cast from the orthopedic, and then again when she broke out into a rash around her cast, and then again when she submerged her cast in water. Those 4 days had a doctor’s excuse, and I had a teacher lecture me about how those absences were interfering with her learning, threatening education neglect my way. Then, my second kid got head lice. The school explained to me that she was not allowed back until she was nit free. She missed two days for it, one of which was with a doctor checking for nits and the day the nurse sent her home. Yes, I got rid of head lice in less than 5 days including a weekend. That’s amazing considering some parents battle head lice for a year. So when the school threatened education neglect over her missing 2 days, including the day the nurse sent her home, I was a little livid to say the least. The year before it? My child was missing her chicken pox vaccination because the doctor ran out of it. The school explained to me she was just not welcomed there until she got it. She missed 5 days waiting for an appointment to get that specific vaccine, and not only did I receive a letter threatening education neglect, the nurse who kept her home those days demanded that education neglect charges be placed upon me for those specific days. Prior to that, when my daughter was in pre-school, the principal used to threaten education neglect charges against me for her absences, and the guy who actually does that explained there is no law requiring her attendance for pre-school in the first place.

If you cannot tell, people are abusing the attendance policy. It needs to go away.

Here is the problem this insane policy poses. You force parents to visit a doctor when the child does not need medical attention in order to obtain an excuse note, many of whom cannot afford it.  You force parents into sending their kid to school contagious, creating more absences from other kids. You take away the parent’s right to do what is best for the child. Sick kids do not need to be in a socially awkward, challenging learning environment. They need to be home in bed.

A solution might be to take the emphasis off of attendance and place it upon learning. Make a lot of the material covered in school available at home. While a kid might miss school for the stomach flu, the kid can at least not miss what was taught. I’m not talking about homework; I’m talking about making the learning structure available to the home. If the classes were online to that depth, it would be a great resource for home-schooled. In this day and age of technology, the information should be accessible from anywhere outside of the classroom. Of course, the policy would have to give time after the absences to get caught up because sick kids are busy being sick to learn at home, and some kids do not have access to a computer (schools have computer labs for when they return to get caught up). If this was implemented; however, there would have to be more funding placed on education specifically for the jobs this would add to the system. It would not be a cheap solution.

4. Security

Obviously, with the onslaught of school shootings, school security could be heightened. This is a top topic among parent bloggers, and most of them seem to lean toward Gun Control while others like myself lean toward Mental Health Awareness (see below for links to blog posts). My solution toward the general security is to have a cop on duty at the schools during the school day; more than one for larger schools. This could also include a dog capable of sniffing out bombs and drugs. Bars have bouncers. Banks have security guards. Many restaurants open 24 hours has a cop keeping guard during the wee hours of the night. Where are our priorities here?

If anything, we could start training our teachers to be military cops. Honestly, most teachers I encounter could use a little military basic training on their resume. Most politicians could too. For the character alone. But in all seriousness, we could easily train our teachers some of the following: securing an area; violence readiness; things to look for regarding safety; and self-defense/Marine Corps Martial Arts (as it’s the best for someone who is out muscled, though it all leads to death so maybe tweaked for civilian use and minimal force). The Air Force (with some Marines) can provide the training easier and better than any civilian contract.
In addition, this thing looks handy and should be in every classroom. The Sleeve.

5. High School Curriculum and College Credit

The problem: The playing field is not even. Lower-income children do not have the same opportunities as the wealthy. They are often working while attending college, building up loans they will never be able to pay back, and facing problems like homelessness during the week of finals while people like Mitt Romney gets his tuition paid for by his parents, in cash, without loans, and doesn’t have to work or worry about financial troubles when studying for finals. In addition, when I went to high school, I took honors classes, Calculus, Physics… just so I can do it all over again in college, but this time on my dime. I was so bored in college it was unbelievable. They just repeated my high school, and in many classes, it was easier than high school.

The solution: Make a basic education free for all. In this day and age, a basic education that gets you an entry level job is a Bachelor’s Degree. It would be easier than you think to merge college into our public high schools.

The general education requirements toward a bachelor’s degree generally includes classes like English Comp 1, English Comp 2, a Literature course, a Psychology course, a math course, and two science courses. The high schools already teach these courses, and we could tweak the curriculum to cover the basic necessities for a college to honor those courses as college credit. Each high school class would have to be designed to cover two college courses in the matter of a year. Considering high school usually offers 7 classes in a day while college usually offers 4 at a time to be full time; it’s possible to prepare students with more credits than necessary. Some universities are probably more lenient about giving credit, and I suggest checking with colleges like The University of Wyoming, West Virginia University (they offer a Regents degree based on work experience), and The University of Maryland University (they offer quite a few online programs).  

Then as you get into the upper curriculum geared toward the degree, the schools can shift learning to an individualized online learning system, utilizing computer labs. This is where the government wheels and deals with a college, like University of Maryland University Online, to educate on those programs, or provide a waiver program to pay tuition to a list of colleges a student can choose from. In essence, a high school junior and senior would be taking actual college classes online.   

Students then graduate high school with a high school diploma and Bachelor’s Degree, and the only education they have to pay for is their Master’s or Doctorate if they so choose to do such a thing. If people can gain college credit through portfolios based on work experience and CLEP tests, then I think a high school can offer something more than what is being offered if they just applied themselves.

6. Classroom Arrangement

Studies are showing that kids learn better in a flexible learning environment. One where the classroom is designed more for group activities, problem solving adventures, and collaboration between students and teachers (as opposed to the Victorian classroom settings we use for the most part). I really think this is important for grade school. Middle school has too much bullying and drama for group activity, in my opinion, and should be more of an individualized, learn-at-your-own-pace environment like a lot of private schools who use Lifepacs or Paces. Basically, I think the goal in elementary education should be to get the children to work together to learn; however, middle school’s goal is to keep the children away from each other as much as possible. If you are laughing, it’s only because you know I’m right. I assure you, get middle school kids in a group, and there is less learning and more bullying.

7. Common Core

No parent seems to really be a fan of common core. I think a lot of that is that the parent has yet to be educated fully on what common core means (as I am one of them), but I also think (based on mom bloggers I have read) the schools hastily ran to it without much testing and experimentation on the subject (which is really an ethics issue). Not every kid learns the same as others. A teacher needs the freedom to teach in the manner his/her specific students learn.

Creating modules that are a scripted nightmare for both the teacher and student is not the answer. You are ruining children. You are killing their spirit. You are making them believe they are dumb because they can’t multiply and divide on the exact day that the module says they should be multiplying and dividing. You are creating a generation of disengaged children who now feel insufficient.” Shannon Styles

Blog Posts About Mass Shootings and Fear of Children’s Safety

Crumpets and Bollocks

The Bloggess

High Gloss and Sauce

Mary Tyler Mom
She has multiple posts on gun violence demanding gun control

Ups and Downs of a Yoga Mom

Life with Penis People

Blogger Shannon Styles is a Mother and Educator

On common core

On State Assessments

On Teacher Evaluations

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Top Ten Stupid Superstitions I believed in high school and maybe most of my adulthood and possibly still believe in them...

10. Padiddle

The Padiddle game is a cutthroat ruthless game where you scream Padiddle every time you see one headlight on a car (the other burnt out) and punch the roof of the car before everyone else does for the point. If you didn’t already know how to play this game, please flip the rock off of you and see the light (one headlight). Caution: this game is brutal, ending more friendships and relationships than monopoly. BTW, I always win when I play against myself.

Best strategy: Scream it louder than the next guy so you win the tie.

9. The magic 8 ball

Confession time. I still have a Magic 8 ball, and I still use it to make some of my biggest decisions of my life, like we didn’t move because the 8ball told us not to (well that and packing sounded awful and it wasn't like we were really thinking about moving anyway), and apparently I am a unicorn. I mean how else would I know the answer to things I’m just not sure of due to an overwhelming amount of insecurity and lack of confidence? Stock investment? Ask the Magic. Marriage Proposal? Ask the 8 Ball. Most definitely, ask if your crush loves you, at least 3 times a day.

For those who don’t know, the Magic 8 Ball is this MAGICAL BALL, go figure, which answers your yes or no questions. You shake it and roll just a little, and flip it upside down and this little triangle thing floats up in this blue solution with an answer, from yes to no, to definitely, to ask again later. According to the Magic 8 Ball, don’t eat yellow snow. That was a definite no. You’re welcome.

8. Paper Fortune Teller

For questions too complex for the Magic 8 Ball, there is the Paper Fortune Teller. Instead of asking if he loves you, this one you can ask more detailed questions like, “When am I going to get laid?” and “What should I make for dinner?” You make up the responses because you make the origami. Visit WHAT I MADE on how to make one, and you can have the fortune responses to be anything you want. As opposed to just yes or no answers, the Paper Fortune Teller can predict things like, “You will be attacked by a dirty diaper” and “Drink a Vodka for insight.”

7. Serendipity movie and true love

This one is all me. Nobody else does this. Back in the day of VHS tapes (if you don’t know what that is, you are too young to read this), I had the movie Serendipity, a love story about how fate brings people together. I started to watch it by myself in my bedroom. I hate romance movies, especially when I was single, like screw all those characters who are not real at all for falling in love and embracing happily ever after. So when the movie approached a scene where the guy was reading his own obituary he wrote, right before the impending happy ending, I turned off the movie in protest to happily ever after. I didn’t want to see the happy ending until I had one of my own, and I decided the man who watched the end with me by fate is my Serendipity and meant to be for me. I still have the tape somewhere, queued at that scene.

Fast forward to later, I had this boyfriend, the TV was on cable, and I walked into the room to him, and low and behold, he's watching Serendipity at the scene where the guy is reading his own obituary. I took it as a sign and cried. I did marry that guy for reasons beyond this movie, but how romantic is that? You know what would be more romantic? If the guy did dishes and housework. Serendipity, you suck.

6. Flip the cigarette upside down

For those who don’t smoke, when you buy a new pack of cigarettes, you are supposed to take the first cigarette, flip it upside down, and put it back in the pack. That then becomes the last cigarette you are supposed to smoke from that pack, and it will bring you luck. It’s also important because you don’t give out your last cigarette because that luck is yours and no one else’s. I'm sure it also brings cancer with that luck, but you know, everything has a price.

5. Itchy

They say if your nose itches, someone is thinking about you. If your ears itch, someone is talking about you. If your left hand itches, you will receive a gift. If your right hand itches, you will meet someone new because the right hand is the one you use to shake hands. If your boobs itch, someone is thinking about you intimately, and if your crotch itches, you need to see an OBGYN STAT.

This one is actually true. Completely. There is no scientific evidence to prove it. That right there tells you it’s true.

4. Fortune cookie

Did you know that in order for the fortune in a fortune cookie to actually work, you have to eat the fortune cookie in its entirety BEFORE reading your fortune? It’s true. It’s also true that if you drop your fortune cookie on the floor, you have 5 seconds to eat it without worrying about germs.

Did you also know that the fortune cookie originated in Japan? That’s why you get them with your Chinese Take-Out. Now a days, most fortune cookies are American, made in America, because only our Chinese food items (and fireworks) are not made in China unlike everything else we sell.

3. Good Fuck

When you run a yellow light, if you punch the roof of your car and scream “Good Fuck,” you will not only get laid soon, but you will also get a good lay. Knock those boots people. Knock them hard. Knock them down. Knock them sideways. And why? Because the yellow light declared it so. Try not to hit anyone while driving, and don’t get a ticket for accidentally running a red light in your heated moment of passion-seeking behavior.

For a cleaner version, scream “Good Luck” and nothing will happen like luck because it’s not supposed to be luck. Duh. It’s supposed to be for whores trying to get some.


This is a game only the cool people play. If you haven’t played it, then you should so you can be cool too. For those who don’t know, draw a box on a piece of paper. Write MASH at the top of the box. The M stands for Mansion, the A for Apartment, the S for a Shack, and the H for a Hotel. Then on the left side, list out four careers or car types. On the bottom, write 4 numbers. On the right, write 4 boys names. Some people do more without the box adding things like college majors, things they want to be known as, or anything that pops into their mind.

You then start drawing a spiral without looking (or have someone else draw it for you), and you decide when to stop. You count the number of arcs in your spiral (like 2 for each full circle) for a magic number. You then start at M, and going clockwise, you count as far as your number. Mark it off. From the next item, count again. Mark the item you land on off. You continue to do this until there’s only one option left in each category. For instance, if you counted it out and crossed out ASH, then you circle the M and continue around the box without counting anymore from the top of the box. When you are done, you know the house you will live in, the career you will have, the number of kids you will have, and the man you will marry. Just because it’s different every time doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen like that. And if you get an answer you are not happy with, you must do it again.

I still use MASH to this day to help me prioritize what goals I'm going to work on...

1. Straw Game

Tie your straw wrapper into a lose knot. Grab the edges of the straw wrapper and pull it tight. If the knot frees itself, the person you are thinking about loves you. If the knot stays, they don’t. Some do “people are thinking of you,” but that’s not true. That’s the nose itching, remember? You are totally allowed to try to pull the knot through again, like a repeat, and it totally counts if it pulls through. You can also sit there and maniacally rip the knot clear, and that totally counts. It means you just have to work at the love thing.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

How to be Lord of the Flies: a pep talk for the next school year

With the school year about to start again, YAY, YAHOO, WHAT! WHAT!... yeah I'm a mom of 3. Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeah, with the school year about to start again, FANTASTICAL!, I have compiled some pep talks we should give the children, especially middle school and high school aged. Profanity laced because kids remember better when there's the occasional use of profanity. It's like it flips the real talk switch.

My nephew is a teen, and I can vouch that the kids today are much bigger asshats than the ones of yesteryear who are now online telling you that you should die a thousand deaths covered in hornets and mosquitoes who all carry STDs because you didn't breastfeed for longer than a week. Yes, their kids are better at the asshattery than they are. And your kid? Well he's about to meet their kid. Without any adult supervision. Lord of the Flies.

Face it. Teachers and administration today really don't give a shit about bullying, they are educators, not babysitters, and some of them are the biggest bullies in the school. Your kid is about to dive into a world of savage children and adults, again, without your protection, and attempt to survive another school year in hopes to make it without a drug addiction or serving jail time. Fuck learning. Just get through the day.

It's really sad it has come to this, you know, because we adults created the system this way. No matter how many mom bloggers and credible journalists write about bullying, no matter how many students write notes about how they were bullied and it led them to shooting up the school killing innocent children, no matter how many suicides take place as a result of bullying, we adults are so cold-hearted to turn our heads away from that because there are more important issues at stake, like gun control.

So I've put together a little social survival guide pep talk... 

1.  The one that inspired this post...

This is probably the most important rule to follow. Not only does it protect you from catching the butthurt, but it also helps you in the popularity realm because this is alpha male behavior. Kids don't follow followers. They follow the person who just doesn't give a shit. The resiliency to any form of rejection is a key component to surviving high school. You should master this skill to a point where you can ask a member of the opposite sex out, and they say no, and you are like, "whatever" and then you ask out their friend.

The important thing to remember is unless you are an asshole, people's feelings tend to be more of a product of their own internal struggle more so than any external reason. In other words, if you are a good kid, and a kid doesn't like you, most likely the other kid just has an issue and it has nothing to do with you. Self hate is a mysterious, strange phenomenon, and that's usually what you are up against when it comes to haters.


I know when you are stuck in a savage world surrounded by less-than-human beast-like behavior, your first instinct, as a savage animal in the wild kingdom, is to either beat the shit out of someone, or maybe fight back with weapons. Don't do it. Contrary to what the video games and gangsta rap has to say on the subject, violence is not cool. If you like violence, like have a natural inclination to kicking ass, then may I suggest keeping your nose clean and when you become of age, join the Marine Corps because no civilian is ever as badass as a Marine. Period. Otherwise, the popular majority really views violent people as monsters. If you have been viewed as such, it is not you who they view as that, but the violence you portray. Many times we turn to violent behavior in an attempt to scare people into being decent, and it doesn't work that way.

I know this because I used to get into fights. I used fear as a source to control other kids around me. And I did this because I was sick of being bullied. It never worked as well as love and joy. Instead of punching someone in the face, or dropping something heavy on their foot "by accident," try making others laugh with any kind of dumbfuckery that isn't mean. You'll make more friends that way and finish the day feeling better about yourself. If they don't like you, refer to rule number 1. Some people just are never going to be decent.


Ok, there are some exceptions to this rule. Being a bigger asshole to the asshole is sometimes entertaining, as long as you don't go overboard and it's all in the name of fun. The important thing is, don't be mean to nice people. There's no reason for it. Your unkind words should never be an offense. Never throw the first insult.

What you stand for should speak for itself. If you stand for good things, you will be untouchable in the end. If you stand up for the nice guy, no teacher can fuck with you for that. If you stand up for the asshole, you are in a position where you need asshole things like lies, deceit, and more assholes to cover your ass. If you stubbornly stand for things like the truth, kindness, patience, compassion, love... You will grow as a person and bloom like a flower. If you stand for the opposite, you will probably achieve a short moment of glory before you fall, hard, and it will hurt.

Honestly, do you really want to have something like someone's suicide on your conscience? I mean, what kind of person would you be to know that someone you were an ass to at school committed suicide a few days later claiming in their note it was because they couldn't stand the bullying anymore? Don't be a dick to people unless the situation warrants it.


When you got someone consistently fucking with you on a regular basis, you need an army of people who make you laugh, lift you up, and just be your friend. It's a human wolf-like phenomenon, but I guarantee you, most social bullying takes place in the form of a pack against a loner. The only way through it without changing schools is to shift that balance of power. It's the same way walking in the city late at night. They tell you to walk with people and not alone because most bad guys prey on someone walking by themselves, especially if they are female (assuming they see the female as the weaker gender, which it's not). That's the thing, wolves prey in packs on the weak and injured, and bullies are the same way. The easiest way to protect yourself is to find your tribe.

The tribe is the place where they make you feel better about yourself, where you are comfortable being who you are or comfortable not knowing who you are yet. Don't be so quick to jump into defining your identity. That happens naturally on its own over a series of decades, and you'll never totally figure out where you belong in the sense of how you define yourself and how you want others to perceive you. But the tribe isn't about that. It's about a group of friends just hanging out, having fun, and protecting each other on a social level. It's the people who have no problem with your differences while embracing the similarities.

Many kids find their tribe by joining some extra-curricular activity. Sports teams generally stand up for each other, and you can even find some good friends joining the yearbook team. If you like acting, you will find other people who like acting by joining the drama club. The ROTC is probably the best place to find a lump-all-interest tribe because the military is designed to operate as a team despite how different you are from each other. I noticed with the loners, their biggest obstacle is their fear to try to find friends.

When I was in high school, I had a bunch of tribes by the time I hit my junior year. I had my first tribe I made friends with in 9th grade. They were just a group of misfit outcasts like myself, all very different, where our only common trait we shared was that we didn't belong in any clique and we were too nice. Then I made friends with the popular nerd. She was a 4.0 student (all through college even) who had a little wild side about her. Then I made friends with a popular girl in general, through choir, which I didn't sing but my mom taught choir. There I made some popular acquaintances who have become good friends throughout the years into adulthood. Then I found a clique I belonged. The g-funks. They loved me because I had money, and a car, and I was good at talking the police out of arresting anyone, and I loved them because I had a posse of ass kicking protection bouncers. I also loved hip-hop, so that worked out well. Of course, my parents hated it. By the time my senior year rolled around, I was friends with everyone who wasn't a cheerleader or a jock, the group I hated the most. My biggest bullies. The irony? I hit college and my tribe there was the cheerleaders and football players. I say this because it doesn't matter if it's a reflection of who you are, or your identity, but just a group of people you get along with.

You don't have to do everything they do. When I hung out with the g-funks, they smoked pot a lot, and drank a lot of booze. I never got drunk with them. I didn't smoke pot with them. They didn't care.


I know it's cliche, but my reasons for this are not. I'm here to tell you that a good grade is not a sign of intelligence. It in no way reflects on whether or not you learned anything, or are ready for college, or could master any kind of job. It doesn't really matter if you have good grades to get into college. Why then would someone want good grades?

The biggest issue in high school is having the faculty back you up over the next kid, especially when it comes to getting in trouble. You will have much more freedom as the teacher's pet than as anything else. And the Principal? In every school system in the US, the principal is bombarded with bull shit from the board of education, and the most important thing to that principal is how well the school looks on paper. It is the kids with the high GPA, good attendance record, and who score high on standardized tests that make that principal. They know it. Most good principals will kiss your ass if you have a good GPA, a great attendance record, and score high on standardized tests. 

I did this in high school. I took Honor's Classes, and had a great attendance, and my GPA averaged 3.5. My mom taught at the school, so that helped, but not all the teachers liked me. The principal did. That mattered. A friend was expelled for missing school, and I had that turned over by simply telling the principal to reinstate her. I used to leave class in the middle of a lecture to go next door to get a diet coke, or to steal donuts and coffee from the teacher's lounge. Nobody flinched. I remember one time this guy was following my sister around calling her a "n-bomb (he used the real word) loving whore." I got in his face, threatened to kick his ass, using the fuck word every other word, and my principal tapped my shoulder. This guy's face turned whiter than his normal crackerness when that principal showed up, and the principal asked, "Is this guy bothering you?" I replied, "Nothing I can't handle myself, sir." He replied, "Could you handle it elsewhere? because the teachers in the lounge can hear you, and your language is bothering them." I replied, "I think we just made my point clear."

The easiest way to get good grades is to show up to class on time and try (that means stay awake, actively take notes, and study a little). Teachers will give you better grades for showing effort and learning nothing than knowing the subject and showing no effort. Period. It's the world we live in. If you know the subject, you have to pretend to know less than the teacher or you will get a teacher who just doesn't like you.

But I promise you, good grades kick ass. Ever notice every story about a school-aged kid in the media, they tell you whether or not the kid got good grades? It mattered to these people. Trayvon Martin was shot by a neighborhood watch sociopath, and the question many people asked in order to decide who was innocent and guilty was, "What was Trayvon's GPA?" Stupid isn't it? Yes it is. But it's the way of things, so that stupid GPA is important. You want that credibility.

One of my greatest accomplishments in high school was that day I realized my Principal was comfortable enough to say the word "Damn" to me, while mocking a clique I never really appreciated (the hippies, they could be downright mean for a group of pot-smoking peace-loving crunchy people). That's the kind of relationship you want with the guy in charge.

Just remember these 5 things, and high school will not be a breeze. It will not be a snap of the fingers. But it will be bearable, conquerable, and you will survive it without jail time. And hopefully, through the miracles of Jesus, this generation of kids with a worse education than what my generation received, with less morals than were on the streets of my childhood, with more medication than before the FDIC became more lenient, and with more helicopter parenting of my time will grow up and fix all the bull shit my parents generation started and my generation provoked. In other words, you think high school is bad now? Wait until your kids are in high school.

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