Monthly Archives: October 2009

Pet Peeve of the Day: Superficial People.

I just got off the phone with someone that a friend introduced me to.  He thought it would be a good idea that this guy and I talk.  OMG!  Bad, bad, bad, bad, BAD idea!!!  The guy ended up being a superficial jerk!  (I have more negative adjectives to throw, but I’ll make my words kind, gentle and tasteful for now.)

Yes, I know we’re all superficial in one way or another.  But, what gets me, is the people who espouse that they’re a “winner” and have no idea what in the world they are talking about and they inevitably come out sounding like the loser they really are.

I used to hang out at Spago.  I was the chiseled 5’5″ blonde hottie that all the guys would drool over at the bar.  I stopped going because I got sick and tired of all of the superficial rah-rah that goes on with those types of people.  I mean how much credibility can a girl have that has plastic surgery out the wazoo?  What does it say?  To me it says that they’re not happy with themselves, so they’ll pay a surgeon to cure their self-esteem woes.  I’m sorry, but I’ll be horrible and judgmental for a moment…I am in no way, shape or form jealous of the plastic surgery Barbie dolls that walk around here in Vegas.  I find them absolutely revolting.  Besides, having to hear one talk is painful.  You can see IQ points drop off the people they are talking to.  I mean, the phrase “Dumb Blonde” yeah, it was from someone who’s spent time in the Vegas social scene and seen it first hand.

I have issues…that a guy tells me from the get go that he’s not Oprah and doesn’t care?  OMG, how self-important and self-absorbed can you get?  One word to describe it…asshole.

I just don’t get superficial people.  I never will.  I just do NOT dig on people who have all the depth of a shot glass.  Or worse yet, the ones who think they’re all that and will sit in the seat of judgment like they have no faults of their own.  Oh how I detest self-important people.  Pride!  There it is again!  That nasty, repugnant malicious pride rearing it’s ugly head.  *Sigh*. I’ve just got no room for it because I live with my faults day in and day out and I’m well aware of them, thank you very much.  The fact that these self-important people think they’re the gods gift to the world…go ahead say it with me…”The human race never fails to disappoint me”.

Good news though…my “You be the judge” paper for NV School Law is done.  Glad to have that out of the way.

Keep moving forward

Doc T went to New York this week, so all I had today was Nevada School Law.  I have to write 2-3 pages on a section out of my textbook called “You be the judge”.  I’m not overly excited about it really.

To be honest, I’ve not been excited about much lately.

I don’t know whether I’m my own guest of honor at my own personal pity party or not.  I’m not trying to be.  Lately, I’ve just been consumed by how lonely I am.  Being lonely shouldn’t be anything new to me.  I grew up alone, I was bullied, the butt of the joke and spent the majority of my childhood alone.  I remember how much I hated it.  In my estimation, nothing feels worse than being lonely.  Loneliness is horrid isolation that leaves you without an ounce of hope.

But, the brave part of you says, “Keep moving forward”.

That’s easier said than done though.  I looked around my apartment today.  I really don’t miss the mess my Ex used to leave.  But, I miss how he made me laugh.  I really enjoy people who make me laugh, it distracts me from all of the other miscellaneous rah-rah that flies around in my head constantly.  So, I guess it’s not my Ex that I miss, I just miss another human being around me.  Someone who gives hugs, someone that reminds you that you’re not alone in the universe.  I’m not afraid of being alone, far from it, I rather like living alone, but I dislike being completely alone.  The ex was anti-social, and with me being as social as I am, his influence has once again robbed me of something I would have had, had it not been for him.  If I’d have lived on my terms for the last seven years, at least I’d have friends to show for it, but thanks to the ex, I have just my online friends that are scattered throughout the country, save for one person here in town I barely speak to, I have no one I can actually reach out and touch.  I have made some acquaintances through school, but no one I would go out to the movies with, they’re just people in passing.

But, the brave part of me says, “Keep moving forward”.

My question is, ‘forward to where?’  Where am I really going?  A classroom filled with kids who will never understand how many special gifts I have?  Job after job where I never really feel like I’m making a difference?  That every night I’ll go home to an empty house?  That all I really have is a computer and a blog to talk to, that doesn’t hug back, that doesn’t give love, that sits there as a repository for every inane thought I have?

Problem is that lately, I’ve just been numb.  A lot of the time, I think about what my Ex did and the string of events that was going on behind my back that I was too trusting to see.  That maybe I was too mean and too demanding of him.  But then I sit back and realize that he would have just done it anyways, that it is his nature.  After all, a tiger can’t change its’ stripes, no matter if he changes his environment or what have you, it’s still the same tiger.  So, I’m desperately trying to stop blaming myself for what happened and why he left.  My marriage was doomed from the start, and there’s really no point in trying to shove the manure back into the horse.  When I look at who my Ex is/was as a person, I find him completely repugnant, arrogant, prideful and a whole host of detestable qualities.  I tried to find the bright side of him, but, I just couldn’t find one.  I racked my brain trying desperately to find what I saw in him to begin with, and well, I don’t remember at all why I liked him in the first place.  Maybe that’s a sign.  Maybe I’m so bitter about the last seven years that I’ve forgotten. Maybe it’s just the simple fact that it just wasn’t meant to be.

I often find myself lying in bed reading the latest romance/action novel by Sherrilyn Kenyon.  She’s very witty, her characters are fun, but she just writes the same story over and over again.  The stories always have the hero, that has a past filled with horrifying abuse, paired with someone who finds their redeeming qualities and loves them for it.  I guess I identify with her stories because they mirror my life.  They’re a way of coping with the abuse, neglect and loneliness I’ve faced all my life.  That maybe there is hope that there is someone out there in the vast reaches of the universe that will love me, despite all my faults that can cope with all of the abuse I’ve taken my entire life.  At this point, I dare not hope, because if I did, that would leave me even more vulnerable than I am now.  It’s not fun being gutted and left for dead, nor is it fun to be the butt of the joke, the scapegoat or the reason to do unthinkable things to another human being.  The neglect my ex gave me is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Sometimes, after putting the romance novels down, I think about the qualities of an individual I’d like to be around.  To be honest, I’d like a long-haired, rich bum.  Now, of course that sounds bad at first glance…because what do you see first, the word ‘rich’.  Money doesn’t buy happiness, trust me, I know it all too well, but money puts food in your stomach and the roof over your head, but not much more than that.  Money doesn’t hug you when you think your heart is breaking, nor does it tell a joke to make you laugh when you’ve had a hard day either.  Let’s face it, you can’t live on love alone.  But ‘rich’ can also mean of spirit, heart and mind. So, when I add ‘bum’ to the back of the rich part, it’s the wealthy fellow who has run out of ‘give-a-shit’ and doesn’t show he has money; who loves, hurts, hopes and dreams just like everyone else without a shred of pretension.

Maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic, or as Kathleen Turner’s character in “Romancing the Stone” put it, a hopeful romantic.  There’s a difference between the two.  I often think of meeting one of Kenyon’s heroes, the dark, brooding, emotionally drained kind of guy…but then I remember my ex, who was dark, brooding and emotionally retarded.  Definitely don’t want to go that route again.  I really want someone who makes me laugh.  That would be a good start.

But then, when I remove myself from the world of the romance novel, I realize, I wouldn’t mind too terribly meeting a guy with kids.  I know one, and he’s beautiful and funny, but he’s sometimes emotionally retarded too.  But, I know he’s angry about what happened to me, just like I despise his ex-wife, who did to him exactly what my ex did to me.  But, he’s not one of those guys who will outwardly say what he feels either.  I often think about my friend and his kids and how I’d love to be in the constant turmoil that is raising a 10, 13 and 18 year old.   Just so I could see first-hand what I chose not to have.  If he’d roll out the red carpet tomorrow and invite me to be a permanent part of it, I’m not sure of what I would do.  I’ll never have kids of my own, so I’d like some modicum of experience in it, even if it is just a weekend of it.   I often wonder if he understands why I’m bitter or harsh, that I surround myself with concertina wire because I’m mortally afraid of being hurt or rejected again.  I often wonder if he knows that I’m in so much pain I can barely breathe sometimes and by just him making me laugh, or going out on a limb and telling me how he felt, I’d feel a little better and a little more human.

I love the line from Disney’s “Aladdin”…
Phenomenal Cosmic Power….Itty Bitty Living Space“.

Go out on a limb with me…Imagine for just a moment, that you’ve got creativity that just won’t stop, a propensity to love with all your heart, 24 hours a day, so huge that someone came up with the phrase “Love is the only truth and worth sharing every day” to describe you, that you’re so aware of everything and everyone around you, a protective streak that will protect and defend your family with passion and ferocity, massive intelligence, quick wit, a sense of humor, a laugh that borders on infectious, the ability to convey thoughts and emotions with vivid clarity and thinking that goes so far out of the box that if you were famous, they’d have to redesign what a box would look like to fit what you can do. But, here’s the kicker, along with all of these amazing gifts, you’ve been damaged so bad that you can barely cope.  Add on top of it that no one will take a chance on you.  Imagine what that would be like.

Breaks your heart, doesn’t it?

Welcome to my life.

I really don’t feel sorry for myself.  When I sit back and think about it, I realize how incredibly strong I am.  So much so that it intimidates most people.  I sit back and think of the mental and physical abuse I’ve taken from practically the first day of my life, only having brief respites until it starts all over again.  The mean, ignorant children that I grew up with who saw that the pretty, book-smart girl was also gullible, so they took full advantage of it.  The boyfriends who hit me, recovering from drug addiction (I’m in my 9th year of sobriety, yay for me). To a husband who mentally abused me and neglected me, that turned around and betrayed me after he taught me how to trust…my list is long of the things I’ve survived.  I’ve walked away from all of them, banged up, heavens yes, but still I walked away from them alive.

And the brave part of me says, “Keep moving forward”.

I don’t have much to do this week.  Just write my paper for my school law class, work on my outline some more for my Comp II paper and then look at the walls of my apartment.

I just wish there was someone here to talk to.  I really would love a hug and some reassurance, but that’s what I’ve got to do for myself.  It’s like what Jennifer Hudson said in ‘Sex in the City’…”See this? [holds out a metal keychain that is shaped into the word ‘Love’]  That’s love, and I’m bringing it to me all day long.”  The problem with that is that I really don’t know how and don’t know where to begin.

Maybe there’s a guy out there for me.  Maybe there’s not.  But, sitting here, I have to believe that if I’ve survived everything I have in my life, the curve ball that will start the next grand adventure is right around the corner.  What will define me is how I handle it.  Maybe a beautiful man is the one who will throw it, a Kenyonesque hero that will love me despite my faults.

I’ve gone out quite a bit in the last couple of months, but I haven’t quite found a worthy adventure.  So, for right now, it’s me and the four walls.  I look at them, they look at me, I read, I write, I talk to my friends online, I try to stay busy, but at the end of it all, no matter how hard I try to avoid it, I’m alone.  

But the brave part of me says, “Don’t cry, keep your chin up and keep moving forward”.

An A+…someone pick me up off the ground.

Yep, got my annotated bibliography back today.  Believe it or not, I got an A+.  Now, I not only wanted to cry, I hugged poor Becky’s neck until her head almost popped off.  (She’s that one gal I term as a bright shining star…she’s such a darling, she sits next to me in class now.) 

Now, my paper I have to do for Comp II is supposed to be 7-10 pages in length.  My annotated bibliography ALONE was 11 pages.  Yeah, I think I’ve got enough info to work from, and I didn’t even include ALL of my sources.  There’s a few books and even a lecture from Columbia University from 2006 I watched on the web AND a piece from the Washington and Lee law review that I didn’t even begin to cover in my annotated bibliography.  You could say I educated myself well on my topic so that I could write about it.

Funny part of all of this is that I stayed up on Monday night until 5am to write the annotations.  Now, believe it or not, I was so delusional after I got 1/2 way through that I didn’t even know if I made sense in the darn thing or not.  I ran out of ‘give-a-shit’ and just turned the thing in.  All of my annotations were short and to the point, but giving the summary of each one was the long part of it.  I came back with an A+.  I still can’t believe it.

Anyhow, now it’s on to drafting the actual paper.  My next few days?  The outline.  I’ve got to draw one up and organize my thoughts and really get it super specific, precise and absolutely clear.  I don’t want to monkey it up…and given my subject matter, that is pretty funny thing to call a mess up…with a lot of extraneous rah-rah.

The fun part about this is that I get to write a “that’s just me of course” that is going to argue the fool out of why creationism shouldn’t be anywhere near a science class and convince that the only place it could possibly go, if the creationists would just shut up and listen, is in a philosophy class.  Here’s the sticky part…the whole lynch pin to my argument is that the philosophy class would have to be taught by someone completely unbiased that wouldn’t risk proselytizing it. My vote?  Get an atheist to teach it.  That way you’ve got no way a religious agenda could be presented. 

Now, that’s another can of worms altogether.  Atheist.  All that means is that it is a-theistic = no god.  Now, I know a lot of folks who hear that I’m atheist say, “I’ll pray for you.”  Don’t bother.  Don’t even start to get on the holy rollercoaster, I don’t need it.  I actually looked something up in my research for my paper in the bible…oh man…it’s the realm of the boogeyman.  A couple of passages I read, my brows knit and I just sat there going, “What the…”, it was real simple, the passage I read was “if you don’t believe in God, you’re going to hell.”  Ok, and who says???  I’m a better ‘christian’ than most folks who beat on their bibles and go to church every Sunday!  I know plenty of ‘christians’ who talk out of both sides of their mouth that sin from Monday to Saturday, but come Sunday, they act like they’re cleaner than a nun’s underwear!  I don’t get that.  Don’t preach to me if you don’t live it.  Hell, I’m atheist and I KNOW that I’m a good person.  I’ve helped more people, loved stronger and been tolerant to individuals who think they know better than everyone else. 

If you dissect the 7 deadly sins…they’re just simply character flaws.  I’m serious!  Let’s look at the list…

  1. Lust
  2. Gluttony
  3. Greed
  4. Despair/Sloth
  5. Wrath
  6. Envy
  7. Pride

They’re pretty much self-explanatory.  #7 is the one that gets my goat every day, PRIDE.  There are two very strong variations on #7.  One, which I term ‘good pride’ is taking pride in your appearance or pride in good deeds.  That’s making sure you’ve had your shower, put on your deodorant, had your fingernails done.  It’s simply taking good care of yourself or, it’s taking pride in yourself that you took the time to help someone or did a task to the best of your ability.  Whether it be offering support, loving someone with all your heart, that’s good pride.  You can be humbly proud of yourself when you do something inherently good.  There’s lots of examples of good pride, I’ve just named a few.

Then there’s the bad version of pride.  Now, I’ve seen this one way too often in my life not to know a bit about it.  Bad pride is something I could probably write a book on how many people I see fall flat on their faces with pride.  Bad pride is akin to arrogance.  It’s the “I’m better than you are” mindset some people just can’t shake.  It’s the “I’m prettier”, “I’m this”, “I’m that” business.  It’s what none of us really have room for when we see other people do it.  It’s a character flaw.  It’s got nothing to do with a religious pretext at all.  It’s that mean streak that goes through everyone at one point or another.  I know I’ve apologized for being prideful lots of times.  Being prideful turns people off.  It enslaves, belittles and it’s just flat out mean. 

But we ALL can tell the difference between good pride and bad pride.  We know it when we see it.  It’s like that thing in Uru: Ages Beyond Myst.  We don’t step on the “backs of the least”.  That’s prideful and it’s wrong to belittle someone then step on them.  I want to slug the hell out of people who do that.

And that takes us back to my paper.  Now, not only have the Creationists been prideful in the worst sense, but they’ve taken that pride to an all time high with saying that you can’t teach evolution because it’s anti-religious.  You can have evolution and God you know, it’s not unheard of.  What’s wrong with reading a how-to guide about being a good person, having a deity that you pray to so you can be comforted?  Nothing at all.  But, when you look at all of the weed killers you use on your lawn for those pesky weeds who just seem to keep growing more resistant or the new strains of antibiotics you take to get rid of the Swine Flu (which by the way has evolved so it is more drug-resistant), you have to thank evolutionary biologists and scientists who make the more powerful weed killers and antibiotics because that’s evolution at work before your very eyes!

So, sit back, think.  Don’t make someone into a round peg that doesn’t fit your square hole just because it’s different!  That’s prideful!  It’s the ability to turn the box to find the round hole that makes you special.  It’s not called “thinking outside the box” for nothing.

So, onto the Outline!  Woot!  Only a month and a half left in the semester.

Yes, I’m up late.

Just like sands through the hourglass, these are the days my brains turn further into mush.

Ok, if you didn’t laugh at that, there is something wrong with you.

But I’m up late because I’ve spent the entire day in research.

Today, I spent time at the UNLV Library.  It’s very nice.  It’s not what I remember libraries being like.  Here’s one that’ll make you laugh for sure.

I grew up in a little bitty town…and you have to hear the itty bitty voice I do the “little bitty” in…because let’s face it, my hometown is basically a dirt speck on the map.  Move your hand too quickly over the map and you’ll probably brush it off of there…and nothing would make me happier.  That little bitty town is right smack dab in the middle of Texas, and it’s called New Braunfels.

Now, I wouldn’t call New Braunfels special by any means.  When I was growing up there, it had a whopping population of around 22,000 people.  Yes, you could call the wrong number and talk for an hour, it actually happened to me.  My first boyfriend, Ronnie (and this goes back to the question of why do men always leave me for ugly women…) he did, he bailed on me for this ass ugly girl named Andrea.  Ok, one sunny afternoon in 1987, I’m home alone after school (which was the norm, my parents were as absentee as you can get) and the phone rings! The conversation looked like this:

Me:  “Hello”
Ronnie:  “Sheri.”
Me: “Ronnie.”
Ronnie:  “Um, I went to call Andrea and I dialed your number on accident.”

I’m not even kidding, Ronnie dialed the wrong number and we talked for an hour.

Why is it that the men I’ve been around all my life have a tendancy to bat low after I get done with them?  Never mind the Ex having a woman that looks like a bassett hound…and I’m serious about that.  Ass ugly doesn’t even begin to cover her.  Ok, but enough about Asshole and Bassett, they’re just not worth my time.

The New Braunfels Library back in my day was a small white building, not much to look at.  It had a cute little bridge out front where I went through going from a Brownie to a Girl Scout.  It was cool.  Yes, yes, shut up, I was a Girl Scout.

But the whole thing about the library is that it didn’t dare be sophisticated.  We were fortunate enough to have 2 microfiche machines back in the day.  You were lucky if you could find a periodical that wasn’t ripped to shreds and of course, if you wanted to find a book, you had to go to the card catalog to find it.  Oy veh…I’m so grateful for computers now.  I looked up the New Braunfels Library just now and well, lucky for them, I guess they tore the old one down and build themselves a new one.  OMG, that place used to just smell awful!  Just thinking about the smell of that old library reminds me of the smell of my Ex…musty and painfully boring.  I can’t say enough good things for change.  Anything they do to bring that piss-ant town into the 21st century will do every child that grows up there a greater service.  But anyhow…that was my memory of the library I grew up with. 

Walking into the UNLV library today to research my paper on Evolution vs. Intelligent Design in schools, it wasn’t at all like that musty old fire hazard I grew up with.  When you walk in, it’s a spacious open atrium with rows of computers.  I looked around for a spot to grab a computer and I noticed to the left, just up a few steps were even more computers.  I’ve got to hand it to higher education, they know how to do things right.  So, I sit down and start going through the process of looking through CQ Researcher which is a very fancy way to find articles that have been published in academic journals and so forth.  An hour with that and then it was on to finding books.  Now I need 7 references for my annotated bibliography that’s due on Tuesday.  I found so many books on the subject that I nearly dislocated my shoulder walking out to the car with all of the ones I checked out in my book bag.

There was one though that I had to go all the way across campus to the Law Library to get…and you know to me if it’s law, I’m pretty much well convinced that it’s going to be pretty dry.  Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I found a law case from 2005, Kitzmiller v. Dover.  Now get this, the book I found is all about that case and it’s called The devil in Dover: an insider’s story of dogma v. Darwin in small-town America.  

Before I break down Kitzmiller v. Dover, I have to take time out to talk about common sense.  As I said in my inaugural “That’s just me of course” piece along time ago…

“Common sense is the rock in the road that people trip on, but they never bother to figure out why they landed face down on the ground in the first place.”

You know that’s the one thing I’m learning in NV School Law, some teachers and school administrators love nothing more to shove their heads clean up their own ass and then take their common sense and throw it clean out the window.  It’s like something brushing past your face really quickly on it’s way out a wide open window with the shears blowing in the breeze…startled, you holler “What was that?”, then some fella walks up and says, “Oh shit, I think it was my common sense…did you see where it went?”  I’m serious…some people (and tune up your southern drawl for this one) just walk around with their heads so far up their own ass, they are their own proctologist!  They can do a colonoscopy on themselves it’s jammed up there so tight!  I mean some people are just ignernt…and yes…I spelled it wrong on purpose…I-G-N-E-R-N-T.  They don’t have enough brains in their head to get the rest of the letters in ignorant…they’re not smart enough to earn them.  I mean this is a regal case of the dummy.  Or as Daddy would say, “they’re just eat up with the dumb-ass”.

So, here we go…Kitzmiller.  Some fella becomes the head of the school board there.  Well, this wart on the ass of humanity says basically that he was going to make it his mission to return America to it’s roots as a Christian Nation.  Ok.  We gotta stop for a sec.  You know Washington, Jefferson, Adams…those white farmers who also decided to draft a really kickin’ constitution?  They weren’t Evangelical Christians.  They were Deists.  Now, BIG BIG difference between being a Evangelical Christian and being a Deist.  Check it out, from the Library of Congress website:  (3rd paragraph)

Another religious movement that was the antithesis of evangelicalism made its appearance in the eighteenth century. Deism, which emphasized morality and rejected the orthodox Christian view of the divinity of Christ, found advocates among upper-class Americans. Conspicuous among them were Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Deists, never more than “a minority within a minority,” were submerged by evangelicalism in the nineteenth century.

This means that those white farmers didn’t believe in the divinity of Christ.  Any Evangelical Christian worth their salt will swear up and down that Jesus Christ is the son of God, that he died and came back to life.  That not only do they believe in his divinity, but how could we question otherwise?  Well, according to the Library of Congress…guess what?  They weren’t Christians per se.  So how can this bonehead up in Dover, Pennsylvania make the claim that we were founded as a CHRISTIAN country?  Actually Jefferson, after the Constitution was written was a HUGE HUGE proponent of the separation between church and state!  Let’s ice the cake…good ol’ first amendment!  The government can not endorse a religion, nor can it inhibit practice of whatever religion floats your boat.  So, our friend Mr. Head of the Schoolboard…I should call him Mr. Head up the Ass…but I digress…made it his mission to remove evolution from the school curriculum.  The teachers were freaked, they could feel the pressure coming down.  But you know, the teachers, this was a really neat fact…all of the science teachers in that school district?  Christian.  Every last one of them.  BUT the physics teacher, the biology teacher, all of them said, ‘we have to teach evolution, it’s what all science is built on.’  They didn’t let their personal bias get in the way, after all, as teachers, we’re not supposed to.  We’re supposed to present the facts and make sure the kids understand the principles we’re teaching, no more, no less.  Our personal opinion is just that, ours, it’s not a part of the curriculum.  But here’s ol’ Head up his Ass telling the teachers that they have to instead of the normal science textbooks, they now had to teach from “Of People and Pandas”.  Ok, let me just break this down really succinctly.  Pandas is nothing but a Creationist textbook.

So, several of the teachers get together with the ACLU and a couple of other organizations and basically put that bastard’s nuts over the spit and grilled them rotisserie style.

Let’s just add more fuel to the bonfire I’m about to burn ol’ dummy at…during the case, the judge saw right through that fella’s nonsense and when the trial was over, basically said he perjured himself, he lied to people, he denied things he actually did.

Now, the whole thing is that he told someone and repeated himself to several people that he was going to replace Evolution with Intelligent Design.  He actually told one teacher, “I won’t allow my daughter to be taught Evolution”.  Oh lordy, I nearly came unglued when I read that.  I was like, “do WHAT?”  That sold me on the whole thing that that fella right there needed a swift kick in the butt and multiple shots with a cattle prod.

But the findings were worth their weight in gold…sufficed to say…it is against the law to teach Intelligent Design in schools because as Judge Jones found, “…Intelligent Design was just a label for creationism”.  Which by the way, yeah, Creationism in schools, it violates the establishment clause…you know the whole “can’t endorse or impede religion” thing from the first amendment?  Well, they took that first amendment and shoved it up that fundamentalist, evangelical, right-wing nut jobs backside.

Now, thanks to Kitzmiller…you can’t even breathe on Intelligent Design in school curriculum.

The whole case?  It cost $2 million dollars.  Now let’s really spell that out… $2,000,000.  Do you know what a school district can do with $2 million?  A whole lot!  That’s lots of textbooks, lots of computers, lots of supplies, that is a boatload of great things!  What did that SOB do that was in charge of the school board?  He wasted it just because he had to put his dick in the middle of everything!

So, yeah, gonna use that case in my paper…that’s enough to sell anyone on the fact that the ID guys, they’re just really really bad snake oil salesmen.

Emerson!  Gonna go get ol’ Ralph again!

Sing it with me!

“The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next.”

Followed of course by a good ol’ Sheri stand-by…

“The human race never fails to disappoint me.”

My brain is turning to mush

Yes that’s right, my brain is slowly starting to turn into a big ball of mush. 

I woke up today with a singular purpose:  to get my research for my annotated bibliography done for my Composition II class that’s due on the 20th. 

The nice part is that Doc T gave us a nice road map to work with in the form of Michael Moore’s infamous “Bowling for Columbine”.  Now if you look beyond the Michael Moore shock tactics, the film has a discernible outline of an argumentative paper.  As we watched the film, I started taking notes as to the outline of Michael Moore’s argument about gun control and that the United States is a country bound up by fear. 

So, I started to tailor my thoughts about my paper according to the outline notes I took about “Bowling for Columbine”.  First off the bat, I need to show my readers why I can be judged as an authority to talk about Intelligent Design versus Evolution in schools.

Let’s set it up.

First, I was raised in Texas.  Now for those who don’t know, Texas sits at the bottom of the Bible Belt.  Now given that, you can give a stretch to the question I asked my father tonight at dinner. “Dad, as a lifelong Texan, what do you find is more important to Texans in general, religion or science?”  Dad answered without hesitation, “Religion.”  I inquired as to why that was, and he said, “Science you have to think about, religion you just have faith in.”  My jaw sat wide open on that one.  My mind literally locked up.  How could anyone be so shallow as to not question the universe?  But, that’s what he said, so I’ll just let you percolate on that for a while.

This afternoon, I sat in front of my computer digging up statistics for my paper as well.  According to the U.S. Census, in 2008 the town I grew up in, New Braunfels, has a population of roughly over 53,000 people.  Then I took time to look at the census numbers for 2008 for where I live now, Las Vegas, and inside the city of Las Vegas itself, not including all of the suburbs and so forth, there are 533,000 people living here.  Ok, so now I’ve got a nice set of cold, hard numbers.  Vegas is ten times the size of New Braunfels.

I dug some more to find the ratios of churches to people.  In New Braunfels, there is roughly 1 church to every 900 people and in Vegas, you’ve got roughly 1 church for every 1500 people. 

I dug some more!  I dug into the curriculum for Comal County and for the New Braunfels Independant School District to see whether or not they taught Evolution.  Not a mention of it.  They don’t teach it.  Digging into Clark County, there it was, larger than life…Evolution is taught in the life sciences section.

But then came the cherry on the cake.  As I was digging for the number of churches in New Braunfels, what do you think I found?  A church that claims its address is my high school.  I’m not kidding.  There is a church in my high school.  I nearly hit the roof.  I sat there pointing at the screen going “Uh uhhhh!!!!” “No way!!!!”  OMFG!!!!  My mind reeled for a while on that, in fact still is.  But to make sure that I wasn’t just going off half cocked, I dug into the budget for the New Braunfels ISD, and guess what I found…federal funding.

Now, for those of you who haven’t been sitting with me through Doc McC’s Nevada School Law class…well, here ya go.  In the first amendment of the US constitution, it basically says that the US government can not endorse a religion OR prohibit anyone from a religious belief.  So they basically covered their ass and said, “Look, as a government, we’re not going to tell you what to believe, but we’re also not going to get in the way of you worshiping the flying spaghetti monster either.”  But!  (And you’ll have to forgive me because my brains are mush between having to take my mid-term this week and all this research)  There’s a nice little thing that says that if a school takes federal funding, they can’t teach religion in school.  It’s a no-no to mix schools and religion…but there it is in black and white, a church showing my high school’s address as their own.  Somehow, I just don’t think that’s kosher.  But, under the Equal Access Act, the school can be used outside of instructional hours for different purposes.  Just as long as the religion isn’t being taught in a classroom and the teachers aren’t involved, the people renting out the space can do as they wish (well, not ANYTHING, but within reason.  There’s tons of legal precedent and so forth for it, but I’m not going to explain it now).

So between all of this stuff, my head is going for a serious swim.  Then over dinner, my mom absolutely made my head swim further when she said “Religion has nothing to do with politics”.  OMFG, I think I have eye-strain from her saying that because my eyes rolled clear into the back of my head.  There is nothing more political than religion.  When I went to rebut her, well, she quickly changed the subject.

So, here I am trying to write a paper that says science deals in cold, hard facts, that religion, like Emerson once said, “The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next” but we have to make sure that we respect everyone’s opinion on the subject (1st Amendment).  But the only way we’re ever going to stop dropping bombs on each other and having wars of ideology is to make sure that we understand everyone’s viewpoint, we don’t have to agree with it, but we have to respect the person that believes as they do.  Maybe then we’ll have a society of enlightened individuals that will embrace the differences instead of rejecting them, and finally giving world peace a fair chance to happen.

But then again, my brain has turned to mush and I’m just trying to make sense of the total brain overload I’m experiencing right now.

By the way, the mid-term went well.  I am not going to be arrogant and say “I aced it” because that wouldn’t be the truth.  I boned a couple of questions pretty hard, and I know I frigged up one of the essay questions.  So I’m expecting a low A or a high B.  Not great, but not epic fail either.

I’m going to go play WoW…maybe that will help my brain gel into a consistency that will actually allow me to think.

Mid-Term today

Well, I spent all weekend reading, re-reading, quizzing myself, then reading some more for my NV School Law mid-term.  Doc McC says it’s going to be hard.  Well, in 3 hours I’ll know whether the course content stuck with me or not.

See, the whole thing about NV school law is that really, it’s the awareness that counts.  It’s valuable to know that law cases like Lemon v. Kurzman and a whole host of others exist.  I mean, they named a test after the Lemon Case, in which, and this is one I had to memorize…the Lemon Test:

  1. secular purpose
  2. doesn’t advance or impede religion
  3. no excessive government entanglement with religion.

Ok, basically, all it means is that if you’re teaching and you run into a sticky religious topic, you should really avoid it or if you’re going to tread on that ground, you have to make sure that you don’t violate any one of the 3 parts of the Lemon Test.  It’s really supreme court fodder, but it’s there just in case someone steps on their whatevers.

I’ve gone over fancy schmantzy vocabulary words like “Certiorari” which I turned into a mental cue called “Sure we’ll hear ya”, all it means is that you’re granted a hearing by a higher court.  Then there’s “Stare Decisis” which I call “Stare at the Decision”…it literally means “Let the decision stand”.  Then there’s Per Curium and that one, hell…I can’t make a mental cue about it no matter how hard I try…and it’s not sticking well, that’s the one that means that it’s an opinon of the entire court as opposed to an opinion rendered by a single justice.  How the heck do you make a mental cue out of that?  Well, I’m going to have to take my chances with that one and thank the gods that it’s a multiple choice and true/false test, hoping I’ll know it when I see it.

My school law class often makes me think about my pal Kathy.  She’s a paralegal along with being my surrogate mom.  How she knows this stuff day in and day out is beyond me.  But the one thing I find so peculiar about the whole “Law” thing is that it’s really all about common sense and simply lawyers get into the mix when someone’s common sense flies out the window.  I mean some of the stuff I’ve heard about in my school law class has been enough to make me absolutely blanche.  Some teachers just have their heads fly clean up their own asses.  Take for example this one lady teacher who made lewd comments to her student.  I mean what the hell was she thinking!!!  I would have not only thrown the book at her, I’d have smashed it over her head a couple of times.  The finding in that case?  “You have to maintain a distance from your students to remain impartial”.  No shit, ya think?  Oy veh.  But that’s the thing about common sense, it isn’t all that common.

Doc McC says that teaching is all about decision making, that we make more decisions in 20 minutes worth of class time than a principal or any other school administrator makes in their entire day.  Somehow I think that’s really true.  Teachers are at the front lines and we get paid like shit to make sure that the greater good is served, creating an educated society.

But over the last week, I’ve done nothing but go over constitutional amendments, fancy schmantzy words, been aghast at cases like Plessy v. Ferguson…oh and that one is just evil.   But then there are the ones that give you hope…like Brown v. Board of Education that finally integrated the schools.  Now to me, Brown v. Board is another common sense one.  I don’t give a shit if you are blue, green or aquamarine, we are all HUMAN.  H-U-M-A-N.  This means that if you’re a breathing human being, you deserve an education.  Separate yet equal?  Holy Lordy…that’s just ugh!!!  You can’t have separate yet equal as the courts found in Brown, that’s so violating the 14th amendment, it’s just common sense that everyone should get equal everything.  Tell me I can’t teach a child because of their skin color, religion or whathaveyou and you’ll see me get into Mother Bear mode and I’ll rip someone’s fool head off!   Every single child born should be given the best possible education.  That’s putting tools in their hands to create a great life, to find happiness and all the other good stuff that the founding fathers put in the Constitution…

What REALLY chaps my ass about the whole thing is the pay. As a teacher, I’m charged with having the responsibility to provide the best education I can.  I’m shaping the future, one student, one hour, one class at a time and that kind of dedication in Southern Nevada will get me $36k a year.  $36K for a job that money can’t even begin to possibly measure its effects on humanity.  I don’t get it.  Instead of a lawyer or even a valet parker here in Vegas making 100’s of thousands of dollars a year when they really don’t come close to how much impact they make on humanity as a teacher does…oh come on!  Then we’re expected to pay for all of our teaching supplies?  We pay to be a teacher while some valet parker just parks a car and makes 10 times what we do.  THEN if you want to move up the pay scale, you have to keep going to school.  Now I can understand the need to go and take more classes or workshops or clinics to stay current with the materials, new teaching techniques and whathaveyou, but it’s ludicrous to have to pay over $1000 a year just to make sure you move up the pay scale.  The retirement benefits are nice, but whew, you sure do have to be dedicated and love what you do to be a teacher. 

Personally, I think we’re worth a hell of a lot more than they pay us, but….there is a small matter of quality.  Now there are some teachers out there that suck.  Let’s face it, they are awful.  But, then for those who know me, know how good I am in a classroom.  I teach to the triple threat, the auditory, visual and tactile student.   I capture imaginations and make them work!  I teach with laughter…because if you’re not laughing you’re not learning.  If I can get a 60 year old to learn Photoshop and be proficient in it or if I can take an ADD disabled student and give them a better life, hell man, I’m further ahead of the game than most others.  But to be able to do what I do with no training at all, then ice the cake with the degree that will give me a license to teach and all of that knowledge put on top of my natural gifts?


But, gotta jet, I’ll be back after the mid-term to tell how it went.

Reality Sinks In…

On the way home from school today, I cried like a little girl…I got my first B today.  Now, for those who don’t know me, I’m a perfectionist from the word “go”.  I like being without flaw or fault.  We ALL know that life doesn’t work that way and that perfection is unattainable, but it is a worthy goal, albeit one that drives people to drink on a regular basis. 

Since I started back to school, I’ve had nothing but a succession of A’s.  No A+’s , but lots of regular A’s and A-‘s.  Not one B, until today.  Now when you’re riding a crest like that and the bottom falls out, you tend to crash pretty hard even though the bottom falling out is the equivalent of a stair-step.  It was a B+.  I needed to put in more details in my paper and cut out more of the extraneous stuff that I like to go on about.

Ugh.  I have to tell you, even though it’s a B+, it’s still pretty hard to take.  Most people go, “Hey, that’s still really great.”  To me, I can hear my childhood coming back to haunt me like the nightmare it was.  I can hear my parents in my head saying, “Why isn’t this B an A?”  I remember getting ridden so hard because my report cards didn’t hold straight A’s all the time.  When I got my paper back with a B+ on it, you could have knocked me over with a feather.  I sat there in shock, reading through Doc T’s notes as to why I had screwed up so royally.

Now, you may be going, “Sheri, it’s not an F for chrissakes!”  Well to me, it might as well be.  A B+ says that I missed the mark, that I’m not doing what I ought to be doing.  That I’m missing things, and knowing me and my lack of common sense, what I’m missing is probably right in front of me.

I read through Doc T’s comments, and he was absolutely right in giving me a B+, I didn’t detail clearly enough why I was railing against the argument.  I didn’t give it enough oomph of telling why a narrow view is simply untrue.  I didn’t give enough details.  Doc T was right.  I needed that B+ to wake me up and shake me to say “Hey!  More!  You’re not active enough yet!  Keep pushing!”

This B+ is a reality check.  I’m thoroughly disappointed in myself.  Whereas other students would look at a B+ and thank their lucky stars, to me, it’s an eyesore and a disappointment.

But, what do we do when we fall down?  We pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and keep walking.  I’m just really crushed right now and it’s because, as I’ve been told by a few people, “I’m waaaay to hard on myself.”

But, gotta jet.  I’ve got my mid-term in NV School Law on Monday, 100 questions to answer.  I hope to gods some of Doc McC’s lectures sunk in.  Also, another essay to write for Doc T.  This time, one on my favorite song.  My favorite song?  Gods, with a list of tunes that I like a mile long, that is going to be tricky.  I don’t ever classify a song as “my favorite”, that does a disservice to all the rest of the music I like.  I never play favorites amongst anything, whether it be students, teachers, movies, music, people in general or anything!  Labeling something as a ‘favorite’ just doesn’t sit right with me, I think it denies me the opportunity to view other things, take in other viewpoints and denies me the nutritional value of everything else in the world!

Call me crazy, but I don’t have a favorite anything!  I like everything equally!  Except onions, peppers, etc, because I don’t like the taste of those things on their own, but I enjoy their contributions to different dishes that they’re included in. 

So I have to label something as a ‘favorite’.  Oh joy.  But I did pick the song I intend to write about…a remake of the Jimi Hendrix song “Bold as Love” as done by Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders.   Youtube didn’t have The Pretenders version of the song…but enjoy John Mayer’s version.

But that is so me, I’m Bold As Love.  Never fearing the rainbow of the 26 million colors of life, valuing each of them as unique and special.

Duck, dodge and weave

These last two weeks have been really something.  Yes, I’ve been battling the Ex.  I’m convinced he’s just NOT a nice man.  Anyone who can lie and keep lying even though he’s been busted and humiliated just isn’t right in the head in my book.  Anyhow, I battled a week of depression and so forth just to get through it.  I’m feeling better now, thank goodness.  The reason I got through it so well was school.  It’s really my saving grace right now.

Pulled down a few more A’s.  Grateful for those.  But I do have to say, my Comp II teacher is a rock star.  I’m serious…the guy is an outright rock star when it comes to teaching.  I’ve been taking mental notes on how to guide discussions from the guy.  He takes hip and young and applies it with a suave touch to make things so fun to participate in.  He’s stylish and he speaks TO you not AT you, he’s making every step of the way through that class immensely enjoyable.  It’s challenging yet fun.  When I get my own classroom, that’s what I always want my classes to be like.  He’s not a Robin Williams kind of instructor like I am, but he takes the outlandish and makes it cool.  I find that he’s really different one-on-one than he is in the classroom.  He always seems so mad in class, but then when you talk to him in his office, he’s sweet.  I can understand that completely though, you NEVER want to seem like a buddy or a pal to college students, you have to have that rigorous, “I’m the professor and the authority, you are the student” kind of structure so that your authority is never undermined.

Lots of laughter going on in the class though.  My favorite is the young sorority gal who wants to be a brain surgeon when she finishes school.  *Note to self*  Be afraid, be very afraid if I ever need brain surgery and this girl is at the helm with the scalpel in her hand.

My real favorite though is a young freshman, not but 18 years old.  She loves the Beatles like a 5 year old loves Cotton Candy…brilliant young woman, I am getting a real kick out of watching her progress.  She’s such a bright star in a dark world, let’s hope she can keep that brightness as she goes through life.  Gods, I hope nothing ever taints her. 

But really, the Comp II class is turning out like I wanted it to…it’s something I’m really enjoying.  I’m getting to write…although this week I was asked for one page and gave two…but the subject matter was SO very juicy, I couldn’t help myself.  I mean this was some sexy stuff!  Ok, let’s set it up:

I got a read/summarize argument/respond assignment for Dave Hickey’s “A Home in the Neon”.  Oh gods, how I would love to give you a link to it so you can read it, but I couldn’t find one.  So let’s just summarize…Dave Hickey says in the article that basically when people from outside Las Vegas look at us, all they see is the glitz and glamour, they don’t get what it’s like to live here.  Take for example, the most common one, that people say, “Las Vegas?  People actually LIVE there?”, and you just want to smack them and go, “well, where the hell do you think all the people who work in the casinos live?  Los Angeles?  You think we bus them in every day? DUH!  There are only over a million people living here!  Smack!  Smack!  Smack!”  I hate it when people think Vegas is just a town filled with the casinos, there is a hell of a lot more here than that!  But, I digress…so Hickey says in the article that people misconstrue what it’s like to live here, that they live in such boresville all the time that when they come to Vegas it’s all excitement and so forth because let’s face it, it’s a 24 hour town.  Hungry?  You can find a beer and a steak 24 hours a day, anything you feel like eating, you can find somewhere in the city at some ungodly hour of the evening.  To someone who doesn’t live here, that’s exotic and WOW!  To us, it’s normal. 

Hickey goes on to talk about what culture is.  He talks about how “Easterners” look at Vegas with a dismissive eye and have the audacity to think we live in a culture-less society.  Ugh, give me a break.  Vegas has a culture all of it’s own.  We might not get all dressed up to go to the opera, but we have a small symphony, we’ve got museums, they’re not the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Smithsonian but we have them, hell we’ve even got the freaking ballet (cringe).  We DO have culture in Vegas.  It’s just hard to find and it’s not typical of what you’d find in a big city like New York, Boston, Washington DC or Los Angeles.  It’s not huge, but it’s there.  Let’s just say this, snotty, babbity, uppity, head-up-their-ass outsiders look at us and say with a snotty accent, “Vegas has no class” when they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about and to which I throw up a hand and waggle my middle finger in their face…   But, here I go again on another tangent…let’s stick to the goods…  Sufficed to say, Vegas is unorthodox compared to the other big cities back east.  Our culture is different, but they’re too snotty to see it that way.  (Closed minded jag-offs. grrrrrr.)

The asshole wrote me recently and told me “when the only tool you have is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail”…ok…here’s one for ya that I KNOW you’ll love as much as I do…

WITNESS…the asshole getting torn a new one thanks to John L. Smith at the Las Vegas Review Journal.  Thanks John!  You made my day!  Now you know what it feels like to be married to him!

Go ahead, enjoy it with me.  I found this a few weeks back, I even posted it on my facebook so that all of my friends could revel in my freedom with me.

Here is EXACTLY the point Hickey made in his article published back in 1995, that’s 14 years ago folks, that some snobby-ass Easterner (as Hickey puts it) is judging something he knows nothing about and fails to see that Vegas is a unique brand of cat, that it was never intended to be like any other city in the country.  My ex has lived in Vegas for roughly 7 years, roughly half the time I have, and there he is being the hammer and the whole world looks like a nail.  Newsflash asshole!  You’re not in Montreal anymore!  How’s the view of the world as a hammer!  Looks like a nail to you, doesn’t it?  I’ve said it time and time again, “SOME PEOPLE JUST DON’T GET IT”.

The people who live here really don’t have a huge interest in museums and such, they’re busy living their lives, but what’s worse is that a good majority of what those snobby-ass Easterners bill as “culture” is housed in over-priced exhibits!  They want $16 to go to the aquarium, $16 to go to the museum, $75 for a yearly pass to an overblown sustainability exhibit that has really little to do with the history of Southern Nevada!  John Smith was right in his article!  People want culture in Las Vegas, but it is NOT readily available to John and Jane Q. Taxpayer!  It’s all over-priced tourist attractions!

In every classroom I’ve ever graced, I’ve known one thing, you’ve got to make the content you’re teaching applicable to EVERYONE.  Not just the high-IQ or wealthy ones, but to the ones on the ground working their way up.  Humans want to be educated, curiosity is a base human instinct.  People don’t want to be talked down to, they want an environment of equality, so that anyone can step up to the plate and get the nutritional value out of what they’re seeing.

For some jackass to come along and say, “You have no culture and no class, and to look at anything and ask questions as to it’s validity is mindless”, dude, why don’t you pack up your snobbery and hop a plane back to wherever it is you came from and leave the rest of us the hell alone.

I hate it when people talk down to me.  Just because I was raised in Texas and live in Vegas does by no stretch of the imagination mean I’m stupid.  I could care less about museums, symphonies and what-all.  I’ve lived in Vegas long enough that it’s my hometown, and I doubt I’ll ever leave.  I go to Spago, I have lots of friends, I’m an icon in 2 online worlds, I teach, I have a pretty damn good life.  So for some babbity, snot-nosed, pretentious asshole to even try to make me feel dumb or like I have no class, oh lordy, they better re-assess the situation and think about who they’re talking to, because none of that crap is going to go over well.

It’s like I always say, “No amount of money or education in the world will ever buy class.  People are born with class, you either have it, or you don’t.”