Saturday, October 31, 2009

Not OUR Crazy

Here's a little Halloween story for you. A lady in Benton, Illinois, recorded a ghost bartender on her surveillance camera. Or so she says.

Kelly Davis, assistant manager of the Crazy Horse Bar, says the recording shows a dark figure standing behind the bar, making bartending movements. The dark figure then sits of a bar stool.

What she doesn't mention is that the dark figure flies to the ceiling for a while, darts all around, and then sits on the bar stool. Well, she DOES mention it when being interviewed on the video. She even uses the word FLIES.

Which is what this appears to be. A big ol' honkin' FLY on the lens of the camera. What self-respecting ghost bartender would fly up around the ceiling while on work detail? Check it out for yourself. Don't take MY word for it!

And whoever wrote the copy for KFVS in Cape Girardeau isn't any better than the hacks at KSDK in St. Louis. At least the ghost-whispering chick isn't from Missouri. Illinois can keep their crazy.

Friday, October 30, 2009


The Pony woke up this morning, healthy as a horse. Slight headache, not much coughing, temp of 99 degrees. Since I already made the appointment, I whisked him off to the doctor. I mean nurse practitioner.

Whisked is perhaps not the most descriptive word. After about 3 inches of rain last night, we floated an expedition to rival Lewis and Clark in order to get the #1 son to school, and The Pony to the doctor. I mean nurse practitioner.

River Rafting Guide H left for work around 6:00 a.m. By 6:30, he was back home, having called to tell me what creeks I would have to drive through, how deep the standing water was on our gravel road, and which route to take. RRG H said it would be light by the time I was ready to go. Au contraire, RRG H, it is always dark when we leave for school.

RRG H was sent ahead as the scout, and I followed his Pacifica, reasoning that if it could cross a wide expanse of rapids, so could T-Hoe. We made it out by a different route than usual, after fording a little bridge on our gravel road that is usually dry as a bone. We did have to puddle through the gravel road beside the creek, but it was only standing water, as the creek was still about 6 inches below road level. After a torturous, winding route about two miles out of our way, we arrived in town.

Woe were the highway workers who left a big white panel truck parked under the bridge they were working on. As we crossed the bridge on the old highway, we could see the river halfway up that panel truck. Surely the workers were smarter than to be working down there this morning. What price, progress? There go more of my tax dollars for a truck parked under the newer highway bridge.

After giving #1 to my mom to drive to Newmentia, The Pony and I sailed on to see the doctor. I mean nurse practitioner. Imagine my embarrassment when the hale and hearty Pony was found to be afebrile. I swear he went up to 101.2 yesterday afternoon. A physician's assistant (must have been a nurse practitioner's assistant) stuck two giant Q-tips up The Pony's nostrils all the way to his brain, and twisted them until his eyes bugged out and he had to blow his nose. That was a swab for the flu. Which The Pony was found not to have. But when the real nurse practitioner broke that news, she said, "But the test is not always accurate. So if he gets worse, call our Saturday Critical Care Clinic, or bring him in next week if he's not better. I'm not going to prescribe Tamiflu, because he seems to be doing well now and his lungs are clear. But there was some reason for that fever, so we need to watch that it doesn't come back." She looked like she was 12. Where is that comforting doctor who I last saw wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a green knit rasta hat w/braids, swilling a long-neck Bud at the Catholic Trivia two years ago?

The Pony got a medical excuse to return to school on Monday. I had tried to persuade him to go back this afternoon, but he was having none of it. And the excuse said November 2.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sick Bay

I am home with the swine flu today. Technically, I am home with The Pony, who may or may not have swine flu. He woke up with a headache, a dry cough, and a 99.2 degree fever. This would not have gotten him sent home from school last month when the nurse called me because he had a fever of 100. Nope. She only wanted to know what to dose him with so he could make it to the end of the day. They can do that now, give medicine. As long as the parent signs a form, students can get acetaminophen, ibuprofen, antibiotic ointment, calamine lotion, etc.

Lately, however, a fever earns a trip home. Better to be ready than have to scramble in the middle of the day to make Pony arrangements. I don't want my mom around him. So I got a sub and brought The Pony back to the Mansion after dropping off #1 at Newmentia. By 9:45, The Pony was the proud owner of a 100.6 degree fever. It comes and goes. By 2:00, The Pony reported body aches. I am letting the fever do its work for now. Tonight I will dose him up for the overnight hours. He doesn't seem to feel bad, other than the headache. He DID have the seasonal flu shot over three weeks ago, which may or may not help, depending on which study you read. Whatever he's got, it's not the seasonal flu. Gossip-Monger H reported last night that one of the bowling league kids came down with swine flu on Sunday night. The Pony had a scratchy throat yesterday. Who knows when he started feeling symptoms?

I am going to call the doctor and see what to do. No need to trap myself in T-Hoe with the little germ-monger if it's not necessary. If we can treat him at home, fine. If they want to swab his nose, I will haul him to the doctor. Which probably means the nurse practitioner.

I'm off to check on The Pony's fever and pour some fluids into him. His appetite is holding up, though he turned down a sausage biscuit for breakfast because he said it would take him too long to eat it. He consumed some fish sticks for lunch, and has asked for ramen noodles for supper. That's kind of brothy.

I figure it will hit me on the weekend, though I'm doing my best to avoid it. The Pony has been forbidden to breathe on me. So much for that swine flu shot that I didn't plan to get my kids that has not been available around here. Why bother? Ship it off to the starving children in China. Oh. I don't think the Chinese want the swine flu shot. Maybe they think we contaminated it as payback for that toothpaste and pet food.

Aside from some aches, which may or may not be old age or the rainy weather, I feel fine. I gargled some warm salt water for good measure, shot up my daily generic saline nasal spray for stuffiness, and I'm still kickin'.

Don't hate me because I had a day off work. Hate me because I'm building my immunity to the swine flu.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Quenching The Thirst

We arrived home this evening around 6:00, and upon exiting the garage, we were greeted by a plethora of goats. They're herd animals, you know. Goatherd H learned that on the internet. Once inside the house, I could hear the clippity-clopping of 24 goathooves on my porch. I think they might have indulged in a snack of dogfood as well. I am afraid to check my rosebush.

This week is flying by. My classes have wrapped up another chapter with a test, and are now reading Science World magazine for a few days. This issue had a picture of five puppies cloned from a 9/11 search dog. Now, you would think that the business of cloning cute little shepherd puppies would grab their attention. But no.

One class was preoccupied by the humans in the photo. Five cloned puppies were not enough. Two garden-variety men were. "Mrs. Hillbilly Mom? Why are those men sitting so close?" Like I had even noticed that two men were in the picture. "I don't know. Maybe they' lovers." Why can't two men sit next to each other on the grass with five puppies on leashes without somebody insinuating that they are HOBOs? That's what The Pony asked about Michael Jackson one time. "Mom, is Michael Jackson a hobo?" Sweet Gummi Mary only knows what he heard at school. Do these kids not understand that when you take a photo, the photographer (that's PHOTO-grapher as pronounced by my students) tells the people to move in closer. For all the inquiring minds demanding an answer, you'd think the two dudes were french-kissing or engaging in anal intercourse.

Another class wanted to know if a girl could clone her grandma. Well, perhaps illegally, for a lot of money. You can't convince me that somewhere in the world, a government or private research facility has not attempted to clone humans. And they might have done it. Money makes the world go round. Private citizens can clone their dead pets for the right fee. I saw it in a previous Science World. Anyhoo, the girl was a bit discombobulated when I said that Granny would not recognize her. As I told later classes, people don't stop to think that the cloned organism has to go through growth stages like any living thing. Granny would start out as a baby, and eventually grow into grannyhood, but in the meantime, the girl would be aging, and would always be older than Granny. Plus, Granny would have her own set of memories from her clone upbringing.

My students have a thirst for knowledge. In fact, they yearn for it. Which makes them clones of Charlene on Designing Women.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday Evenings With Hillbilly Mom

Or in another incarnation, Random Thought Thursday on Tuesday.


Can a woman of -ahem- mature years develop scoliosis overnight? Because I have a pain in my shoulder, and my back is all sore, and it feels like my spine is akimbo.


Did you hear? The first daughters were vaccinated for the swine flu last week. I KNOW! And there wasn't even a photo op! Funny thing, the entire first family got their seasonal flu shots last week, too. That's a head-scratcher. So many minutia to puzzle over. Around here, they're pushing the flu MIST for kids 2-18. And you can't have both the mist doses of seasonal flu vaccine and swine flu vaccine with 3-4 weeks of one another. So perhaps the girls got the injection. Now, little 8-year-old daughter will need another shot in three weeks, because she's under the age of nine. So will there be a press release the week after she gets both of her follow-up shots? Oh, and the elders are waiting until healthy adult people are being vaccinated. Does anybody see anything wrong here? If one person should be bumped to the head of the vaccine line, would it not be the freakin' PRESIDENT?


More oddities of the flu vaccine variety. Dr. Marc Siegel on FOX & Friends this morning vaccinated himself on air with the swine flu vaccine. Only he snorted up a honkin' helpin' of that flu MIST. As he did that, I was thinking, "That dude is sixty if he's a day!" So then he explained that yes, he IS over the age of 49, but because he's in good health, he can take the attenuated live flu virus mist. Who knew? A doctor not following the guidelines set forth by the CDC. And what's wrong with the vaccine that he won't take that on camera?

The good doctor pointed out that the vaccine DOES contain Thimerosol, which is about as much mercury as in a piece of fish. Hm...what size piece of fish? And you don't exactly inject the fish deep into a muscle, either. Seems that the mercury might be metabolized a bit differently by digestion than by intramuscular injection. But what do I know? I'm not an old doctor on FOX & Friends taking a child's life-saving nose candy.

Did you see Brian Kilmeade's face when the doc was taking his hit of FluMist? That expression reminded me when alleged child-abusing comedian Paula Poundstone did a routine about her cats sitting outside her shower, watching her, with looks of, "How do you DO that?" Oh, and for those of you who are not regular watchers of this train wreck of a morning show, Brian is the goofy one on the right, with the black hair. The other goofy one is a bigger idiot, and his name is Steve Doocy. Don't believe anything out of his mouth. He mangles the 'facts' of every story.


I think I have a bunion. Whatever that is. The side of my foot hurts. I blame my recent bout with scoliosis.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Shoot Me Once

There's nothing much to report from Hillmomba.

In local news, the paper says that oodles of people showed up yesterday for swine flu shots at the fairgrounds. Yep. It IS Hillmomba, people. To give shots at the county health center or a hospital would make too much sense. I wonder if it was near the pig pen area of the fairgrounds? This event had been planned for about a week, with the county health department to give 800 shots. Turns out there were 2200 vaccinations available. Who knew? Of course they said that people would be screened at the main gate, with pregnant women and children having priority, and kids with chronic illnesses getting preference. I'm betting that a lot of kids suddenly developed chronic illnesses on Sunday. What kind of proof were they asking for, anyway? Oh, and earlier in the week, pregnant women and children under 3 were cautioned that they could not have the shot with preservatives, but Sunday morning, it was suddenly OK for them to have a shot with preservatives. We're talking thimerosal, people. Mercury. Seems that the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services granted an exemption last Thursday to allow pregnant women and kids under 3 the H1N1 shots with thimerosal. What's next, spraying up their noses with live swiney virus?

Did you know that people who get the nasal flu mist vaccination can shed live virus? Here's a bit of a technical study of seasonal flu virus shedding after the flu mist. It was a small sample, and I think it was a vaccine for Influenza B. But here is what they found out, in case you don't want to read a whole paragraph of scientific lingo. 10 out of 20 people who received the flu mist were found to shed the live virus on day three after their misting. That's HALF of the people who had it, were sneezing out live virus that could infect somebody else. OK, so they sampled this by swabbing their noses, but you can't tell me those people went without sneezing or picking their noses for three days. The research also showed that the younger the subjects, the more likely they were to shed the virus, since the younger people did not have a history of as many previous flu vaccinations. Makes you think, huh? Who are they pushing this flu mist on? Young people between the ages of 2 and 49. OK, so 49 isn't all that young. But still, all those kids are gonna go to school sneezing that stuff out and touching the desks and drinking fountains and each other with their snotty booger-pickers. Because with the flu mist, you actually get a slight case of the flu, except that it can't survive in the higher temperature of your lungs, so supposedly it stays in your nasal cavities while your body builds your immunity.

Needless to say, I did not trot my Pony and #1 son out to the fairgrounds for a shot. Don't go lookin' for them to get it if it is handed to us on a silver platter. The seasonal flu shot was as far as this Hillbilly family is going. No squirt of live virus up OUR noses. No sirree, Bob! Don't go pointing your booger-pickin' fingers at ME when there is a peak of swine flu cases around here in a couple of weeks. We are not getting the mist, nor the shot for swine flu.

We will donate our share of this vaccine to the First Family.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lazy Woman Falls, Narrowly Missing Recliner

Looks like I won't be bringing home a brand new recliner. With only one week left in my prep football contest, I have fallen into a tie at 6th Place. I am only 5 points out of the lead, but there are four people ahead of me, and one I am tied with. Two bad weeks in a row will do that to you. I blame my hometown team for losing when I pick them, and winning when I pick against them. What's up with that? The other reason was my own fault. I meant to pick West Plains. Those Zizzers are somethin' else. I used to teach at a school that was in their football conference, and everyone down on the Missouri/Arkansas border knows that you don't underestimate the Zizzers. Imagine my surprise when I was checking scores, and saw that I had picked against the Zizzers. That was not supposed to happen. My fingers betrayed me. Such a calamity!

I was all ready to drown my sorrows in some Lazy Woman's Chicken and Dumplings, but Plan Ruiner H walked by the kitchen and said, "Oh, did you put some of that in a container for my lunch tomorrow?" Um. No. Plan Ruiner H had already eaten a portion of the LWC&D, and went out to admire his chickens. I was washing up the dishes, planning of having some lemon pepper baked chicken, which I had packaged the remains of for lunches this week FOR ME, when I saw that the container in which I was saving the leftover LWC&D would not quite hold it all. I put the rest in a small bowl and decided to have that instead. But no. Plan Ruiner H ruined my plans. Funny how that works. So I made up a lunch for him, which has never been part of this marriage deal, each of us agreeing to see to our own lunches, after I would pack them for him and he would instead go out to lunch and spend money back in the days when we lived in my $17,000 house and not the Mansion.

Here's how to make Lazy Woman's Chicken and Dumplings. It's so easy, a lazy woman could do it. Even a somewhat active child could do it. Take a large pot and dump in two cans of chicken broth, two cans of cream-of-chicken soup, and two large cans of canned chicken. Add some black pepper. Boil it up and add a package of cut-up flour tortillas. Boil five minutes, and VOILA, it's done. You might want to add the chicken last, so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wouldn't You Like To Be A Possum Too?

Some of my students have created an exclusive club. You have to be initiated to get in. My son did not pass the initiation. That's his own fault, but he swears he was put through a tainted initiation. They call this club something like Authenticated Possums. That's not the real name, but it escapes me right now. The initiation consists of one of the current Possums asking the pledge four questions, but I can only remember three:


*How much dirt is in a hole two feet wide and two feet long?
*A plane crashes on the Canada/U.S. border. Where will the survivors be buried?
*A rooster sitting on a rooftop lays an egg. Which side does it roll down?

The #1 son says his questioner asked, "There's an egg laying on a roof. Which side does it roll down?" Too bad, so sad. He should have asked for more information. I don't really have much sympathy for him. It's not like he applied to Mensa.

I do, however, feel the pain of one young lad who had just returned from a four-day absence with a medical excuse. He was not quite up to speed, having lolled about on a six-day weekend, not having to tax his brain with such burning questions. His initiation went a little something like this:

How much dirt is in a hole two feet wide and two feet long?
I don't know.
There's no dirt in a hole!
Yes there is!
No. There isn't. It's a HOLE!
Yes there is! The sides are all dirt.
But the hole is empty.
How do you know? What if it rains? Then there's mud in it, see? It's not empty.
Nope. You missed it.

A plane crashes on the Canadian border. Where are the survivors buried?
They're DEAD!
You don't bury survivors! They're ALIVE!
Well, you COULD bury them--but they'd be really mad.
You CAN'T bury survivors! They're alive.
You could bury them alive--and THEN they'd be dead!
No. You missed it.

A rooster sits on a rooftop and lays an egg. Which side does it roll down?
I don't know! Either side.
A rooster doesn't lay eggs! You missed them. You can't be in our club.
Well ain't you guys slick! You SHOULD let me in, because I had a good answer for all your questions.

The bell rang then, and I don't know if membership was granted. I would have given him a second chance for effort.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The 1950s Called. It Wants Its Gym Class Back.

The Newmentia boys have started their basketball season with a series of open gyms. Having spent at least 30 minutes per day practicing on his own all summer, plus the summer open gyms and team camp and individual camp, the #1 son is much improved. Mr. S is taking credit.

Don't get me wrong, Mr. S is a stand-up guy. His heart is in the right place. By that I mean it's beating inside his chest on a regular basis. He was a bit of a local basketball star in his day, and earned a basketball scholarship. #1 asked him early in the year if he had any basketball tips to improve his game. #1 needs the nuts and bolts of post play, having only begun playing during his 8th grade year. Mr. S agreed to stay after school on Wednesdays and instruct #1 for an hour. This was all out of the goodness of his correctly-placed heart, as there was no remuneration or perks of any kind. Due to various scheduling conflicts and sundry calamities, they only met three times. One day was in the classroom, and two days were in the weight room. They never once set foot in the gym.

Mr. S meant well. He gave #1 a workout program that included sit-ups, push-ups, hurdler-stretches, wall sits, one-legged leaps, arm circles, and milking-the-cow. That cow is kind of like a stationary arm circle, with flexing of the fingers. How this is going to make my boy better at basketball, I do not know. I have given him a more skill-specific workout myself, being no stranger to the coaching profession, but shy of actual post-play in a game situation. Imagine my surprise when Mr. S asked me yesterday how #1 was doing with basketball, and when told that he has improved since last year, stated, "Ahh, yes. I gave the lad some pointers."

I appreciate all Mr. S has done for free for #1 on those three hours he spent with him. Mr. S is a better man than I. No extra non-paid work for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom after hours. M-O-O-N. That spells nobody's milking this cow for free. But let's get real. Did those three hours of calisthenic instruction really improve my boy's game? I think not.

That workout prescribed by Mr. S was nothing that could not have been garnered from a 1950s gym class. I'm surprised #1 has not asked for a one-piece short/shirt combo with a zippered front, solid shorts and a striped shirt like a big ol' Onesie for the high school P.E. student. This workout had nothing to do with basketball, and everything to do with warming up for gym class. Not that I was ever in a 1950s boys' P.E. class. For that matter, neither was Mr. S, but I'm sure his coach was, having stashed away that vital knowledge to pass off as a basketball workout.

To further shove sand down my craw, Mr. S made his statement in front of Stuart. Stuart is in his fifth year at Newmentia on his two-year grant for teaching something which I am sure he is very good at, if I only knew what it was. Stuart and Mr. S were apparently opponents in high school or college basketball. Surely Stuart knows what Mr. S is like. Surely Stuart does not think Mr. S has created a new Larry Bird. But that's the way Mr. S sounded.

It makes me want to stab a thorn in Mr. S's side. A thorn named The Joke is on Your Beloved Obama. Yesterday morning, you see, the boys and I were watching Morning Joe before school. Savannah Guthrie had interviewed Obama about a basketball game at the White House. A basketball game to which only MEN were invited. No female congresswomen or staff. Savannah Guthrie called him out. She felt that this was a networking opportunity, and the women were cheated out of a chance to bend the President's ear off the cuff. In a bit of a kerfluffle with Joe Scarborough, Guthrie gave us the perfect sound bite. To take it out of context and crop it for evil purposes, the quote was: "...he plays with men nearly every weekend."

You see, Mr. S, making a statement without revealing the entire background is like telling an untruth. At least where my boy's basketball prowess is concerned.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Petri Dish 100

I am not a true germaphobe, but I play one in my classroom. I don't want the kids touching my stuff. Who knows where their hands have been? Just last week, I watched an 11th grader stick his finger up another kid's nose. And leave it there for over a minute. For fun. Not for some kinky challenge on a reality program. For fun. Then he proceeded to touch the desk and chair and the pencil of a buddy who sits behind him. That is just OH SO NASTY.

A kid who sits right in front of my desk has been hacking up half his right lung for the past three days. Does he sit like a normal person, feet under his desk, facing the front of the room, breathing at a 90-degree angle to the inhalation zone of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom? You know from the question that the answer is SWEET GUMMI MARY, NO! He turns to sit sideways in his chair, feet pointed at my desk, and splutters his phlegmy goodness in my direction. It's enough to make me get up in the middle of writing the 8 out of 18 absences in my Old Red Gradebook and hike around the room.

Then there's the Gum Crier. I have one in every class.

"Hey! There's gum under the desk!"
"Why do you act like I should care?"
"Well, there's gum under the desk!"
"It was there yesterday, and it will be there tomorrow."
"Yeah. It looks pretty old."
"I did not put it there."
"I know that."
"You people put it there. What do you expect me to do about it? I say "No Gum", but people come in with it and stick it there so they don't get caught. Some of that gum is over 10 years old. You don't think I'M going to pick it off for you, do you? If it bothers you so much, you are welcome to clean it off, and all the other desks, too."
"No. That's all right."
"Then you need to stop harping on it, like you just discovered Bigfoot."

"Hey, do you know Lily BleachHair?"
"Yes. I am familiar with Lily."
"Every morning in band, Lily gets tired of her gum, and she sticks it up under the shelf where the tubas go. You should see it. It's all full of writing and...well...gum."
"Does the band teacher know about this?"
"Well, he does now."
"Just make sure Lily doesn't find out I'm the one that told."
"You have my word on that. But there are a lot of other witnesses here."
"Hey, guys. Don't let Lily know that I'm the one saying it."
"Why are you so candid about Lily's gum-stashing? Are you out to get her?"
"No. She's just so...I don't know."

Yeah. I don't know, either. But kids are just freakin' nasty these days. They even complained that day we did the erosion lab, because MY ROOM SMELLED LIKE SOAP. How dare I!

Do you know where I can buy some BO smell in a spray can? I'd like to give these little germ factories a snort of their own medicine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More From CharityGate

Well, now. Little E from yesterday's story about making my $10 for a fundraiser candle disappear was at it again today. Before she even entered the classroom, she ganged up a gaggle of her classmates in my doorway. Not because she is OH SO POPULAR, but because she was standing right in the doorway, blocking entrance. "Your ten dollars was stolen." Give me a break. "No. I paid my ten dollars to you to buy a candle. After that, it was no longer my money, but yours. I don't have ten dollars to steal. I have a candle." She insisted that it was my $10. I sent her into the classroom.

That meant that when the bell rang, I had to go in and lecture the class on not clogging up the doorway, being IN their seats when the bell rang, and not yelling out things at me just because I walk into the room to start class. Because they were whipped into a frenzy by something. I blame Little E, but it could possibly be the storm that's moving in tonight.

All through class, Little E, who sits right by my desk in a terrible coincidence of alphabetical roulette, tried to talk to me. No pretense of doing her work, just turned around in her seat, dangling her legs over the back rest, trying to jaw with me to infinity. She personifies The Never-Ending Story. Topics included how she hates her stepmom, her dog, her neck scar, her quietness at home, her buddy E-Friend who stole 'my' money, and other stuff that I was able to tune out.

Chill, Little E. There are 24 other students in this class. You do not have a monopoly on my attention. It is of no consequence to me that E-Friend stole that $10 that you were responsible for to buy my candle. I don't care that she was caught red-handed with the $10 on her yesterday, and that she isn't here today, and that you don't know why Mr. Principal didn't give you back 'my' $10. Life is not a Tweety cartoon, Little E. Just because Granny whacks Sylvester over the head with a broomstick and pries open his mouth to extract Tweety, and then leaves Tweety alone with Sylvester again, does not mean that you are going to be trusted with that $10 now that it was 'found' on E-Friend. You are Public Enemy Number One where fundraiser money is concerned.

Or else your story is bogus.

After telling Little E approximately 37 times that I did not have time to chat, Little E came to me in the last five minutes of class, as I was strolling around the room trying to avoid being a captive audience for her.

"Are you staying after school?"
"Why do you ask?"
"Because I'm staying after. Isn't this science day? I'll be in here."
"No, you won't. I don't do the afterschool program. And yesterday was science day."
"Oh. Well, what day is it? I'm staying anyway."
"It is language day."

Guess who waltzed into my room at 3:10? Yep. Little E. I was trying to enter some grades and copy and paste parts of next week's test so I could rush off to the bank before #1's practice.

"Why are you here?"
"I want to talk to you."
"I don't want to talk. I am busy."
"You need to leave."

Little E left. I don't know where she went. I don't know if she went to language day. I don't know if she went to get on the bus. I don't know if she was abducted by aliens giving $10 rides in their space ship.

I am not a personal attention-giver. I can lock up shop and hit the road at 3:10 like over half of the faculty. But I don't. I stay to work. The kid was in class 50 minutes trying her attention-sucking repertoire. She said nothing about a matter of life and death. I see no need to indulge her needy behavior. I don't drive to her house and barge in without knocking and interrupt her while she's counting her purloined $10 bills. Nope.

There are limits. I will not be stalked.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fool Me Twice

No more Mrs. Nice Mom. I am done. Done, done, done. For years, I have tried to support the students and their fundraisers. Anybody who was first to ask me, I would buy something. Just because they took the time to ask. But those days are over, my friends. No more. I am not a charity.

Last week, a student stopped to collect for the items she had sold me for the FCCLA fundraiser. The only problem was...I had already paid her. It's a cash deal. I don't want students running around with my checking account number or knowing where I bank. I've never had any problems with irresponsible student accounting. Until now.

From this little saleswoman, whom I shall call Little S, I purchased one dozen Krispy Kreme donuts at $6 per dozen, and one candle for $10. On the day she asked me to buy something, I had seven dollars in my pocket. I said, "Can I pay you for the donuts today, and the candle tomorrow?" She agreed, and took my $6. The next day, I had a $20 bill that I had been unable to change. Little S took it to either the FCCLA sponsor or the office, I don't know which. She returned, and gave me $10 back and kept $10. I was paid in full. I did not ask for a receipt. I've never had a problem.

Last week, Little S came to me in the hall before class, and said she needed the money for my fundraiser stuff. The donuts had already come in and been consumed by my personal children, but the candle had just arrived. I said, "I thought I already paid you." Little S said, "Do you think so? You only paid for one of your Krispy Kremes." I reminded her that I had only bought one dozen of the Krispy Kremes. Little S seemed confused. "I remember. You had me go get change for a twenty." Yes. And if I had a twenty, why would I have only paid $6 of my $16 tab? Huh? But there was no reasoning with Little S. She went off to see if her sponsor had the money. Right. That is the largest club EVAH! Like the sponsor would know if Little S was short $10. And if so, that it was MY $10. Little S came back. "She doesn't have it." Duh. So I forked over another $10 to get rid of her, though I KNOW I am right. I just bought a $20 candle.

Today, another embezzler reared her ugly head. This one for FCA, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, though this girl is not on any teams, and probably doesn't even know what FCA stands for. They're a bit lax on their membership criteria. FCA was also selling candles. For $10. Little E, the embezzler, told me today that the money I paid her was lost. I told her, "That's not MY problem. I paid $10 for a candle, and I expect a candle." Fool me twice, shame on y'all, but fool me thrice, and I can't be fooled again. I really have to stop listening to those old snippets from George W.

Sweet Gummi Mary! What are these kids doing with the money? Little E had demanded payment the morning after I ordered the candle. She had no envelope to carry her money and order form. I told her I would make her a little envelope out of printer paper, and give it to her 7th hour. "No," she said, "give it to E-Friend who is in your class 1st hour. She can give it to me 2nd hour." OK. No skin off my nose. I folded and taped a little envelope, and labeled it "Little E's Candle Money." I put in my $10 bill and gave it to E-Friend. That day, 7th hour, Little E said, "I like that little envelope you made me." Nothing else was said until today. 7th hour.

"You know that candle money you gave me? Well, I had it in the back of my notebook, and then E-Friend picked up my notebook, and she doesn't know how to hold it right, and I guess the money fell out." Too bad, so sad. Either cough up the dough for my candle, or I will see that you are ex-communicated from FCA. Because fair is fair. Little E is trying to sell FIVE candles so she can also get an FCA T-shirt without paying for it. My purchase, her first, was enough to pay her dues. I have no sympathy for Little E. It sucks that she doesn't have $10 to replace my $10 that she lost. But life has consequences. I think not being allowed in FCA is getting off easy for stealing my $10.

I am not a charity. Nor a bottomless piggy bank.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hardly Worth The Effort

This is parent conference week, so we have two late nights and Friday off. The #1 son has late practice the other two nights, so you won't find much entertainment here unless monkeys fly out of my butt or I run over Charlie the Unicorn.

I would have typed up this bit of unbridled excitement earlier, but I was watching Monday Night Football. My mind wanders sometimes, and I could have sworn that somebody left the game with a hamster injury. That conjures up that OH SO WRONG Richard Gere urban legend.

Did anything interesting happen in the world today? I have been incommunicado much of the day. This make-up work grading is driving me crazy. Today I had a ten kids absent in a class of 18. Not all were swine victims. About half were FCCLA members on a trip.

The #1 son has been headachy and nauseous and muscle achy and fatigued and coughing since last Thursday, but he was never feverish. His cough is a bit worse today, but other than that he says he feels better. I don't know what he's got, but I don't want it. We gave Concussor a ride home across town today, and he and I both put our windows down and told #1 to keep his swineyness to himself when he hacked up an invisible hairball in the close confines of T-Hoe. Supreme Immunity H has not even gotten his seasonal flu shot yet, and has been hacking and sneezing and spraying me with his breather germs for three nights. I think I might sleep on the couch tonight.

I don't like my chances of dodging this virus.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Those Naughty Teachers

Since yesterday's post generated so many comments (Mrs. Hillbilly Mom heaves a sarcastic sigh and rolls her eyes dramatically), I decided to continue the subject today. Nobody really wants to hear how I am now tied for 4th Place in my local prep football contest, three points out of 1st Place, having had the worst week EVAH in my pigskin prognostication. Nobody wants to feel Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's pain as that recliner slips from her grasp like a bar of soap in a prison shower.

The local Michiganers were all a-flutter with comments about how those drunk-shaming teachers should lose their jobs for what went on at that end-of-the-year party at a private home after school hours with no students involved. "Off with their heads!" seemed to be the sentiment of most commenters regarding the Haslett Six.

To what extent should teachers be held accountable for their actions away from school? Yes, they were drinking at a bar, then at a private residence. They were all over 21. Alcohol is legal. Do they not have a right to live a life after school hours, after the school year is over? A Chrysler assembly line worker makes more than a teacher. Is a Chrysler assembly line worker not allowed to drink alcohol on his own time? Is his job not as important as a teacher's job? What if he puts in a part wrong? Somebody can be killed.

I have worked at a school where a teacher was told that he could not have his truck parked out front of his fiancee's (a fellow teacher) house past 10:00 p.m. Where a teacher was fired because she got a traffic ticket for not having a license plate on her car, because "It looks bad for your name to be published in the paper for a traffic ticket."

At another of my schools, a popular coach was run out of town in the middle of the night because some college girls finally came forward after 10 years of silence with tales of his sexual abuse in junior high school. He was convicted of a Class D felony, lost his Missouri teaching license, and moved back to New York. Let's hope he isn't teaching again. The school personnel said there had been rumors of this for years, but nobody believed it.

I have worked in the middle of nowhere, where teachers had drinking parties every Saturday night. That's all there was to do. But nobody drunk-shamed anyone. And married teachers brought their spouses. Some indecent proposals were made, but nobody was dosed with a date-rape drug.

Teaching is a high-stress profession. Why begrudge teachers the opportunity to blow off steam with a party every now and then? Where is it written that teachers give up their personal lives when they sign a contract? This is not the pioneer days, where teacher could not be married, and lived with families of their students.

The whole Haslett incident would not have been in the news if Veronica had not had an axe to grind against the administration for not punishing her drunk-shamers. It happened two years ago, people. Why did she just now contact the press? Perhaps the administration was trying to get rid of her because she wouldn't let the incident go, so she decided to fight back. Anyway, it looks like Veronica is one of those prickly kind of people who just love to stir it up. Check out her comment on a youth football game. Not only was Veronica busy contacting the Michigan Messenger, but also the Lansing State Journal.

The facts are, though, that Veronica went to the police the day after her drunk-shaming happened. She had a rape test. She admitted to smoking marijuana that night, but the only drug found in her system was flexeril, a muscle relaxer. So whose prescription was it? That could lead you down the trail of the 'date-raper', though no evidence of sexual activity was found, and no charges were filed. For anything.

If Haslett is trying to get Veronica to move on, they'd better beware. They tried it once, after she used up all her medical leave in 2007, with no success. It's hard to get rid of a tenured teacher. Especially an "openly lesbian" tenured teacher with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights in her back pocket.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Drunk-Shame On You

Sadly, this is not The Twilight Zone, but the real world, present day. Still, presented for your consideration, a group of teachers, letting off steam at the end of the school year, unaware that they are about to enter The Twilight Zone.

Six co-workers, three men and three women, went out for drinks to celebrate the end of the school year. The Michigan teachers decided to continue the party at the home of one of their group. On the way there, the three women went home with one of the men for a quick toke in the garage.

After more partying at the party, Veronica passed out between the couch and the coffee table. Her buddies decided to make her skin a rich tapestry of penises and balls. Veronica did not like her new artwork, and the next day went to the police and filed charges. She also went to the hospital for a rape test because she said she had been sexually assaulted in the bathroom prior to passing out between the couch and the coffee table. After a police investigation, no charges were filed.

In September, 2009, Veronica emailed the Michigan Messenger to complain that Superintendent Mike Duda was culturally insensitive in a PowerPoint presentation that he gave to kick off the school year. That's because he included a slide that said, "If you want this in another language, move to a country that speaks it."

Now Veronica has gone public with the photos of her skin tapestry from the incident in June, 2007. Mind you, these photos were never shown to anyone but the police and school administrators until Veronica foisted them on the public. It is reported that the high school kids at Haslett are posting them on their social networking sites. Good job, Veronica. Way to heap even more embarrassment on yourself. You must be one heck of a grudge-holder. You're biting off your nose to spite your face, gal.

The upshot is that Veronica thinks the school and police should have punished the drunk-shamers for drawing on her. The police did their investigation. The school says they don't have a legal leg to stand on.

I say that Veronica is a bad apple, and a crybaby to boot. If you smoke the wacky tobaccy and drink until you pass out, you kind of have to accept that your own actions led to penises and balls being drawn on your fair skin. Not to blame the victim, but she says she made some bad choices. She says she couldn't give consent to that sexcapade when she was so messed up. But on the other hand, weren't the other people also messed up? Didn't they use bad judgment? How can they be held responsible? They were messed up. Works both ways, sister.

I also say that those teachers were some piss-poor artists with their male anatomy. Had none of them ever seen a penis before? And who is stupid enough to go to the trouble of writing 'balls' backwards on Veronica's forehead so she can see it in a mirror, but write it upside down? Does Veronica stand on her head to look in the mirror? At least nobody teabagged her and posted it on the internet, like happened to Obama's close personal friend Reggie Love. No. I'm not linking it.

This little escapade was on their own time. No students were involved. They were of legal drinking age. Police decided not to prosecute the marijuana possession. Being a butthole is not a crime. Veronica is a poor sport. End of story.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Today's Quotable Quotes

You are like a science teacher.

Why don't you just take a two-by-four and whack the self-esteem right out of me like so much cheap stale candy in a pinata? A Mrs. Hillbilly Mom pinata. I have been a science teacher for more years than I care to reveal here. For a wet-behind-the-earringed ears freshman to come at me with a question prefaced by, "You are like a science teacher," is a bit much for my elderly heart to bear.


If I was going to kill somebody, I would not use a book bag. I would use sulfuric acid.

Good to know. Note To Self: Do not drink any unopened beverages or consume any unpackaged goodies given to me by this student.


How did you get so smart?
I read the directions.

Not a question for me, but for another student who told a group how to make a graph for their little experiment this morning. They were astounded by his answer, which brought on the counter-reply: "Oh, so now you're going to get all smart about it?"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Random Thought Thursday 10-15-09

People piss me off.


If I hide in a box in the attic, will people think I fell out of a helium balloon and leave me alone?


The new white Miss Hampton University is in some hot water for writing a letter to the President asking him to visit her college and talk about diversity. How dare she! The President is a busy man! He doesn't have time to travel about the country willy-nilly, speaking about diversity. What was she thinking?


The Obamas went to church!!! It's true! They went to church on October 10. And guess where they finally found a church, after looking for a whole 11 months for a church that would fit their needs? Right across from the White House! Who knew? I'm sure that took a lot of careful consideration, what with two young children to bring up. You can't have them going to just any church, now can you? Wouldn't want them exposed to anything controversial.


Did you hear about the mom who was afraid her 400-pound teenage son would be taken away from her because...well...he weighs 400 pounds? Plus he has diabetes and high blood pressure, and just maybe he wasn't taking his medicine and going to the doctor regularly. That poor woman. She has four kids and no job and she admits that she just "...wasn't there for him." Where the f*** WAS she? No job and four kids, and not there for him, and just what puts that truckload of food he eats every day on the table? Oh, but the mom wants to know, "When am I gonna get a break?" I'd say she's had one all these years, not working and having four kids that apparently are not going hungry. And I wonder how she pays for living quarters with no job. Don't you?


People piss me off.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Two All-Beef Patties

Hey! Larry King wants to take away your hamburger! He had people on his show bemoaning how hamburger can paralyze and kill people with E. coli. Give me a break! And a big juicy hamburger.

Sweet Gummi Mary! Peanuts kill people all the time. Let's outlaw peanuts, those murdering, munchable legumes! I'm not feeling the fact-check vibe tonight, but I'll wager my lottery ticket money that more people are severely allergic to peanuts than die from E. coli in hamburger. There's no NO HAMBURGER table in my son's school cafeteria.

What are we supposed to do, ban anything that might make a person sick? No wonder half of all babies born today are expected to reach the age of 100. The other half will be killed by people who are mad at them for trying to over-legislate the few remaining guilty pleasures. Should we all just give up and live in plastic bubbles, the greatest fear in our lives being a visit from George Costanza and a heated game Trivial Pursuit? Oh, noooo, I'm so sorry. It's the MOOPS. The correct answer is, The MOOPS.

Why are we such a bloodless, limp-wristed, dabbing at our brow with a scented handkerchief, fainting-goat type of society? Quick, get the smelling salts! I feel one of my spells coming on. Are we not made of hardier stock? Can we not eat ground meat without kicking the bucket? Have you ever watched The Amazing Race? Anthony Bourdain? Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern? In India, people drink milk right out of the cow. OK, not right out of the teat, at least not on TV. But a dude milked the cow, toted that warm milk in a metal container on a motorbike all over town, selling dippers full of milk to his regular customers. No pasteurization, no disinfecting the teats, nada. Oh, and they have markets there where food sits outside in the sun with flies crawling all over it until somebody buys it and eats it and DOESN'T FREAKING DIE! Last time I checked, there were still plenty of Indians (dot not feather) keepin' on truckin'. There's no population decline in India.

Toughen up, Buttercup. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. At least that's what I heard that one of Angelina Jolie's tattoos says.

Here's more.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This Porch Is Made For Walkin'

Let me take you on a tour. Don't cost nothin'. You don't even have to buy a map of the movie stars' homes. I'll escort you myself, on a walking tour of where Mrs. Hillbilly Mom walks every day. Well, not every day, because some days she walks at school in the hall, where it is climate-controlled, and where she is truly a celebrity. This she knows because so many people stop her to chat, even though she is on a mission to walk at least 30 minutes every day.

Mrs. HM's home away from school is the wrap-around porch of her Mansion. It is cushier to the feet than the tile school hallway, although the back section by the kitchen is a bit too cushy at times, what with needing some boards replaced because they are not under the overhang of the roof, and Missouri weather wreaks havoc with untreated lumber. Come on. You didn't think Private Contractor H actually kept up the Mansion like those Thompson WaterSeal people recommend, did you?

We'll begin at the front door, stepping out the threshold onto the five-foot span, taking care not to bump the decorative black metal mail box full of wasp nests, and ignoring the nonworking doorbell. A quick left turn sets us in motion for a counterclockwise romp around the walking track that is Mrs. HM's porch. Careful, now. The entire front of the house has no porch rail.

Stride past the picture window to the living room on your left, and glance at the plastic spinny thingies my grandma made for me out of 2-liter soda bottles on the right, dangling just below the dark brown metal guttering with last year's Christmas lights still attached. Make that five years ago's Christmas lights. No need to take them down for 11 months of the year. This is the country, by cracky!

Just past the rosebush on the ground to your right, make a 90-degree left turn. Silly. If you kept walking straight, you would have toppled over the rail of the side porch, and tumbled toward the Hillmomba Zoo. It only has chickens and goats and rabbits right now, but I am expecting an elephant any day.

The side porch showcases the DISH Network dish. It gives good transponder here. The path narrows a bit due to two large plastic doghouses with cedar shavings spilling out. Such a soothing sound from within the master bedroom, those doggies scratching and growling as they settle in for a long winter's night.

Club Momba is now in sight. Careful, or you'll topple over the back porch rail and fall nine feet to the Poolio Deck. A sharp left turn takes you into the back porch proper, with french doors to the master bedroom on your left, and Club Momba's regulars pussyfooting along Poolio's edge in the abyss to your right. The Regulars love to push the envelope. The envelope being Poolio's silvery plastic winter cover, weighted down with rain water that is a delicacy for The Regulars. They walk on ice to sip a single slurp.

Against the wall to the left are three silver serving dishes, because dogs don't share, and an old school desk with a lidded wastebasket full of dogfood on top. Also occupying the desktop is a big round fish bowl that once housed The Goldfish Who Wouldn't Die, received by the #1 son as a parting gift from preschool. He was briefly mourned at the end of 1st Grade. Just past the desk, donated by my mom, most likely from an expired school, we find the laundry room door.

If you keep walking straight, you will step your left foot into an electric doggie water bowl, and ram your face into the first of three kitchen windows that jut out from the back of the house like half a hexagon. Wooooo! Raise your arms over your head for this sideways roller coaster leg of the tour. Don't panic. There's still a rail to protect you from the 12-foot drop on the right.

Quick now, jaunt left a bit so as to miss the two Weber grills in your path as you disembark from the coaster ride. The kitchen door is on your left, if you care to grab a beverage. Don't smack your head on that metal bell mounted beside the door frame. Collector H wanted it for some reason. Along the wall is a welcome mat that the dogs have commandeered for sleeping, and The Pony's bedroom window. This area is the widest part of the porch trail, big enough for a small dance floor. Over the rail past the Webers is the brackish green Hillbilly Fish Pond. Don't knock it. There are goldfish in there about a foot long. Not that you can see them unless they come up out of the murk for food.

Another 90-degree left turn takes you along the side porch by the garage. No more rail, but four steps down will get you to the concrete sidewalk. Branching left off of that is the brick sidewalk that goes around front of the Mansion, made by Bricklayer H out of bricks that used to be an alley behind my house in town. The $17,000 house.

But let's stay on the porch, and continue past the cedar support pole that is a home for wood bees. Every summer, Entomologist H seals up their hole with putty, and every summer they tunnel out again. That pole must look like Swiss cheese on the inside. Tread lightly here. A hop, skip, and a jump puts you at the front corner of the porch, overlooking the five-acre front yard. Shame on you. I told you to tread lightly. Enough with the hopping and skipping and jumping!

A sharp left brings us to the front of the Mansion again, with #1's bedroom window on the left, and three metal chairs and two stools used as tables that Home Decor Expert H put there. Watch your step, because we are still without a rail, though the drop here is only three feet into the lava rock that is the base for Mineralogist H's rock garden.

That concludes our tour. Hope you had a good workout. Exit down the front porch steps to your right.

Monday, October 12, 2009

One Man's Pie Is Another Woman's Cabbage

Once upon a time, my teaching buddy, Kellie, told me a secret. Oh, it wasn't the key to reaching the students, and turning them into superduper learners, little Einsteins. No. It wasn't how to win friends and influence people. It wasn't even how to stop a psycho neighbor from stealing your morning paper, reading it, and returning it propped up on the breast of a dead sparrow.

Kellie told me how she kept her husband from eating her special delicacies that she stored in the refrigerator. This may not seem earth-shattering to you, but nothing sucks more than having stashed your leftover treats for later, and then finding them gone. Gone, baby, gone. Gone into your husband's stomach, because he thought it was for anyone, because even though he ate HIS portion already, he didn't see why you would want to save yours until later. No matter whether it be leftover Chinese food, a piece of your very own birthday cake, or, in Kellie's case, a chocolate Easter bunny.

The secret was handed down to Kellie by her mother. The mother who exacted revenge on Kellie's buttmunch landlord one time because he kept her security deposit, after she and Kellie spent an entire day cleaning the carpets with a steam-cleaner, and Easy-Offing the oven, and the whole nine yards. That revenge came in the form of Momma visiting the real estate office of the landlord, and upon receiving no satisfaction, asking to use the bathroom, whereupon she spied a tiny tear in the wallpaper, so she pulled it just a little bit, and accidentally ripped a whole sheet of wallpaper off that bathroom wall.

The secret is to wrap whatever you want to save in aluminum foil, and shove it in the back of the fridge. Kellie kept her chocolate Easter bunny until September, munching furtively whenever the mood struck her.

But I'm not here to discuss Kellie's chocolate Easter bunny.

We had a bit of a kerfluffle in The Mansion last night. I was minding my own business, checking football scores on the computer, when Food Critic H sent The Pony to my office. "Dad wants to know if you got the apple pie from Grandma." First of all, I didn't know if 'Grandma' referred to my mom, who is The Pony's grandma, or my own grandma, who Food Critic H had just returned from visiting. If it was MY grandma, how would I have gotten apple pie? I didn't go visit her. She didn't come to The Mansion. So I ruled that one out.

My mom, however, had delivered the #1 son after church. She had cooked a pork loin for us, and gave me a pack of little boxed raisins, but certainly no apple pie. She used to bring us treats from one of her Old Expired Food Shoppe haunts, the one that we call The Day Old Bread Store. In fact, she has brought Hostess apple or cherry pies from there. But nothing today. So my reply to The Pony to relay upstairs to Food Critic H was, "Apple pie? What apple pie?" I know. That sounds guilty as heck. Like something Snack Swiper H would say while stalling for time to get his alibi together.

Food Critic H hollered down, "The apple pie in the soup container in the bottom of the refrigerator." Oh. THAT apple pie. You see, we had a problem. I had sent my grandma some vegetable beef soup via Courier H. It was sealed in the bottom of the refrigerator, in a quart plastic container that I save when I get Hot & Sour soup. They seal up real good. Then I had put the pork loin in the bottom of Frig, my shiny Frigidaire friend, wrapped in foil. Not so much to hide it, but because it arrived wrapped in foil, and that was the only open spot left. While cooking supper, I took out that pork loin and sliced off five pieces. I have lunch duty this week, and no time to warm up my lunch, so I will be taking sandwiches all week. Unbeknownst to Food Critic H, he will be having pork loin for at least two meals this week.

Now between the time I started supper and removed the foiled pork loin, Food Critic H had arrived home from Grandma's house, made a little small talk, and headed out to admire his new goats. Yeah. We have six goats now. Anyhoo, during part of this conversation, I was in the laundry room with my head in the washer. When I came out, GoatHerder H was gone. So I sliced my loins and put the foiled loin and my Saran-wrapped loins back in the bottom of Frig. They toppled off the Velveeta cheese box, and there I saw a soup container of what I assumed was a delicious concoction of cabbage, potatoes, and smoked sausage that we had last week. Only it didn't look so delicious now. It looked kind of lumpy and discolored. So I did what any normal hillbilly would do upon finding spoiled cabbage in the bottom of Frig. I tossed it in the trash can, plastic container and all. It's not a good idea to open a container of spoiled cabbage, by cracky!

When supper was ready, I called The Pony and #1 upstairs from the basement Wii. The trash was full, so I commanded #1 to empty it. The Pony's job is to put in a new bag. #1 tossed the trash bag by the kitchen door, as he is wont to do, to take out at his convenience.

All this pie questioning finally tipped me off that what I had thrown out was not rotten Cabbage Surprise, but special apple pie with artificial sweetener that my grandma had made for Newly Diabetic H. When I told him I threw it out, he ran to the trash bag. I didn't see it, being downstairs, but I sure heard the pitter patter of big work boots chugging through the kitchen. He dug out that hermetically-sealed pie and didn't look back.

Those are really remarkable containers that my Chinese people use for packaging that Hot & Sour Soup.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ted Williams's Head

In my continuing series on death, today we visit Ted Williams. Not the living and breathing Ted Williams, the baseball player, because that would have nothing to do with my death theme. But lucky for us, Ted died in 2002. We are going to visit Ted Williams's head. Ted has something in common with Walt Disney, you see. And that something is cryogenics.

I'm no expert on cryogenics or Ted Williams. I don't know if Ted wanted to be frozen, or if his son came up with the idea. But the facts are that Ted Williams's head is a popsicle, and The Globe had a story on it that caught my attention. That's where I get a lot of information, The Globe. Maybe that explains why I'm like this.

Don't think I believe everything I read in The Globe. It's not The National Enquirer, you know. The Enquirer broke the John Edwards love child story. Then again, The Globe is not The Weekly World News, either. The WWN has stories like the woman who didn't eat for 50 years. It's not even in color! Back in my earlier days, when I lived elsewhere and had not yet met HH, my teacher buddies, Karen and Jim, and I would drive to Sullivan, MO, every payday to do our shopping at Walmart and Shop N Save. We took turns buying the WWN, and read it aloud on the way home, after a hearty meal at Golden Corral. Our favorite story of all time was Top Model Eats Herself To Death. Tell me you don't find that funny. We hooted over that one for years. A distant second was the story of the old man who somehow drove his car onto an airport runway, and drove himself and his wife off the end of it, into the ocean.

Anyhoo, I only bought The Globe this week because the lead story was the feud between Michelle Obama and The Oprah over Chicago's loss of the Olympics. But near the back cover was the Ted Williams head story. Some dude has written a book about it. I think his name is Larry Johnson, but the title of the book escapes me. He claims that workers at the cryo lab severed Ted's head, and set it on a Bumblebee Tuna can to take a picture of it. Then they drilled holes in Ted's head for microphones to pick up the cracking of Ted's brain as it froze. But that's not all! Since Ted stuck to the Bumblebee Tuna can, one of the workers whacked Ted's head repeatedly with a giant monkey wrench to knock it loose. Well, don't we all know that THAT didn't end well. Pieces of Ted's head sprayed around as his noggin was knocked with the monkey wrench.

But what really gets my goat is the title of that article. Ted's Frozen Head Hit Like A Baseball. I was expecting a rousing game of monkey-wrench headball, not just a couple of whacks to dislodge a Bumblebee Tuna can. If The Globe insists on misleading me, I will refuse to buy the magazine, and only read it in line at The Devil's Playground. Sweet Gummi Mary! If you can't trust The Globe, who can you trust?

No word from the Bumblebee Tuna people on whether they appreciate the free publicity.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

On Death And Driving

Let's talk about death. You know, because I've used up all the other topics over the last five years, and I don't think I have fully covered this one. And I'm in one of those moods to piss people off. The death I'm going to dwell on today is furry death. Animals no longer breathing. Four-legged victims of man's need for speed.

The #1 son told me of a student at school who ran over a squirrel. She called her mom, in tears, so upset was she after flattening a forest rodent. I don't remember the exact consoling quote from her mother, but I want to think it went a little something like, "Don't worry. There are a thousand more waiting beside the road to take his place." See, nature expects animal casualties. That's why animals have litters several times a year, instead of one baby after 9 months. They're animals. They die. The world doesn't end.

On the way to The Devil's Playground this morning, I heard on the radio that some famous singer had crashed his car due to a deer in the road. I don't remember who it was, or when, because I was only half listening to XM '70s music, and switching stations willy-nilly. But the gist of it was that the dude was driving home at 3:00 a.m. (sober as a church mouse, I'm sure), and a deer stepped into the road and was mesmerized by the car lights. The singer dude hit the brakes and steered to the right, and went up an embankment and hit a tree. He wasn't hurt badly, but the car was totaled. Oh, and the focus of the story was that, "...and the deer's life was saved." People. It's a deer. If some of them are not killed by drivers or hunters, they will become overpopulated and starve to death. I doubt the singer dude thought, "I must steer away to save this deer's life!" No, more than likely, he thought, "Oh, sh*t! There's a m*****f***ing deer in the road! I'm going to die when it crashes through my windshield!" Then he yanked the wheel.

One of my dormies in college was on a run for the border, taking several buds to Taco Bell for a late-night snack. She ran over a cat that darted out in front of her old station wagon. As if it wasn't bad enough to be driving a station wagon. She was so discombobulated that she drove back to the dorm, having lost her appetite for beany goodness. All because of a cat. Yes, it was probably somebody's pet. But if that somebody really loved his pet, he would have kept his pet in the house or on a leash. Because that's what you do in the city.

Here's the thing. Fluffy is not a child. Some people get attached to their pets, but Fluffy is still just an animal. Folks make a big deal about wanting revenge on a person who ran over their pet, or think that the killer should stop and knock on doors until they find the pet owner and break the news that Fluffy is now deceased. No. Keep Fluffy safe. Don't point fingers. Fluffy bit it because Fluffy tried to occupy the same space at the same time as a metal deathmobile. The driver can't swerve into oncoming traffic, or drive off the road just because Fluffy is running from her shadow. PEOPLE'S lives could be at stake. Fluffy should be fenced or leashed. Fluffy's owner murdered Fluffy, not the driver.

I live in the country. My dogs run loose. We are a mile from a paved road. If somebody ran over my dog, I would not be happy. But I would not blame the driver. It's my fault. I let the dog run free. The driver is on the road where cars belong. Not dogs. My mom ran over one of my childhood dogs. Too bad, so sad. A car-chasing dog will come to a bad end. HH ran over Cubby in our driveway, because Cubby did not get out from under the truck when HH started it up. Cubby was too dumb to live. That's not to say we didn't mourn for Cubby. But Cubby was just an animal. He could have lived his life for 10 or 12 years at the end of a chain, neurotic, barking, straining to get free. Or he could roam the countryside. It's a gamble. You have to weigh the options.

There are hundreds of Cubbies cooling their heels in dog pounds, waiting to be adopted. But while they're in those dog pounds, they're not running free. In fact, they probably ended up in the dog pound because they WERE running free. And the penalty for running free is death. Because if they don't get adopted, they die.

Life's a b*tch, huh? And so am I. A heartless, cold, anti-pet b*tch, so ugly even the dogs won't play with me. OK, that last part was courtesy of a student from my first year of teaching. But that's my opinion, and I'm stickin' to it, unpopular though it may be.

Now I must go ruminate on new ways to bring you down each evening.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Shiver Me Members

Hey, where did that ol' global warming go? It was 48 degrees here in Hillmomba this afternoon. Our little billy goats were shivering, the dogs were shivering, and Chicky was sitting up on a bar Farmer H stuck through the chicken pen, clucking his fool head off. I took my evening walk around the Mansion porch while wearing a jacket and gloves. Thank the Gummi Mary, we made Farmer H turn on the heat two days ago, when we arrived home to a 68-degree Mansion. That's just too cold for HM.

My mom says she hasn't turned on her heat yet. That she kind of enjoys a cool house. Uh huh. That's not what she said in the summer when her thermostat was set on 89, and she said she was quite comfortable, as she dabbed at her face with a crumpled paper towel. I'm onto her tricks. That pantry full of expired food must wreak havoc with her temperature-regulating mechanism.

The Pony is on the living room couch, wrapped up in a blanket and a beach towel. He feels the cold like a thin Pangle in Cold Mountain. Oh. The Pony IS a thin man. A thin 11-year-old man. But I refuse to make him a coat that is half for a man and half for a horse.

I think it might get down into the 30s tonight. This week, we had a couple of mornings in the 30s, and T-Hoe told me ICE ICE ICE when I looked at the mirror. But I didn't see any ice. T-Hoe is fast becoming The Car Who Cried Ice. And when I stop believing him, I am sure to slide off the road into a ditch.

I've never really been fond of T-Hoe.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Glimpse Into Mrs. HM's World

Today I overheard two kids arguing about some mutual acquaintances. That's what I get for allowing partner work. It went a little something like this:

"No. That's not her. I'm not talking about the skinny one. I'm talking about the really thin one."

"Oh. You mean the blond one."

"Yeah. They are both blond. The one I'm talking about is almost 40."

"Well, they're twins. So they would both be almost 40."

Welcome to my world. Sometime this year, I'm going to try to teach them the Who's On First routine.

In other news, the #1 son had a substitute in his Drafting and Design class. I think that's the name of it. It's something techy. They are building bridges out of some specially-ordered wood. #1 said, "I love that substitute in Mr G's class. She let us do whatever we wanted." His criteria for a good sub are a bit different from mine.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

She's A Mean One, Mrs. HM

Today a kid told me, "You take all the fun out of everything."

OK, he was joking. But for a minute, I got all excited, because that's my goal--to take all the fun out of things those kids should not be doing. Like hanging around beside by classroom window while waiting for the bus, slamming a fellow student against the brick wall.

It all started because I told two of #1's cronies that I did not want to hear them talking while I was giving my lesson today. They took offense. "Since when? Since when do we talk in class?" Of course that deserved an answer. "Oh, let me see. Since the first day of school? Yes. I think that's it."

I proceeded with the lesson, and when I was passing out the assignment, I said, "Why are you two so quiet? Cat got your tongues?" The Concussor said meekly, "We are not talking during the lesson." And LegHairPuller put on an emo face and said, "You take all the fun out of everything." I wasn't about to let that slide. I continued around the room, passing out papers. "Yes, I do. I take all the fun out of everything. I can even take the fun out of waiting for the bus." I shot a look at the Brick Wall Gang. They had a twinkle in their eyes. I went on. "I can take the fun out of holding someone in a headlock underwater for 60 seconds in his own pool." That was a tale that the victim had related about LegHairPuller earlier in the year.

LegHairPuller turned around. "That's not funny." But he was close to cracking. I just had to work it a bit more. "Well, that's the way it goes. I have to amuse myself. Whether anyone else finds me funny is just a bonus."

My stand-up routine might need a bit more polish before I take it on the road.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I took my boys to get their seasonal flu shot today. It's been a couple of years since they had one. The good news is that the #1 son could still feel his legs after his shot, and The Pony did not vomit. That's what happened last time they got a flu shot. #1, on the way to the parking lot, said, "I can't feel my left leg." I call it hysterical paralysis. The Pony did not complain, but upon arriving home 15 minutes later, promptly vomited. I call that a case of nerves over getting a shot. Anyhoo...they both went in without me, got shot, and returned. All with no untoward effects.

I would love to entertain you with further tales of heart-pounding excitement, but I am OH SO TIRED, and must forsake you for a nap in my recliner.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Real World: Hillmomba

This is the story. Of four goats. Picked to live in a pen. And have their lives blogged. To find out what happens. When goats stop being polite. And start being real. The Real World: Hillmomba.

OK, you won't get that if you are not familiar with The Real World, an MTV staple. But play along. I mentioned that Farmer H got a new goat on Saturday. Farmer H got THREE new goats. Count 'em. THREE. It would be easier if I gave you a picture of them, but that ain't happenin' until the weekend. Here's how it went down.

We were happily minding our own business on Saturday afternoon. Farmer H had returned from bowling, with the boys. The #1 son was supposed to assist Farmer H in rebuilding an old truck that he wants to enter in car shows. Don't hold your breath. He's had it for 11 years already. So anyway, the phone rang, and #1 answered it because it was the mother of one of his bowling friends. She said that her husband had a goat for Farmer H.

Farmer H was busy with his Number One Son, the one with two little girls who were being taught to shoot a shotgun. I know. That's about as hillbilly as you can get. The plan is for him to take the girls deer hunting with a shotgun, "So nobody gets hurt." Upon hearing about the proffered goat, Farmer H abandoned his son, who stayed in the BARn with his girls and our #1 son. Farmer H took The Pony to town, on a 10-minute drive to pick up a goat.

I'll admit that I was curious. And that curiosity grew as time ticked away. When Farmer H and The Pony returned from the two-hour tour, they had not ONE goat, but THREE. OK, two are small, and would only add up to one proper goat. But still, they each have a mouth to feed. We now have FOUR goats. Farmer H put the two baby billies in the old rabbit pen, since Spot the rabbit is currently on a world tour of the area around the BARn, what with Farmer H not checking the internet to see if you can keep rabbits in a pen with a dirt floor. The baby billies are about the size of a big fat cat. They have little horn nubs, and are cute as buttons. One is gray and one is black-and-brown. The other goat is about half the size of Goatrude. Farmer H thinks she might be the mother of the gray billy, because they have similar coloring. He also thinks the black-and-brown billy is a pygmy goat, not a baby, because he has a couple of dangling parts that are well-developed, according to Farmer H. The goat expert. Goats are herd animals, you know.

Goatrude used to bleat longingly when we got out of T-Hoe. Or when we opened the front door of the Mansion. The Pony used to bleat right back at her. Same thing with Farmer H. Those guys and Goatrude had a regular thing going. Since bringing home the new goats, Goatrude will not respond. She dropped Farmer H and The Pony like a prom queen drops the friendly nerd when the football team walks by. Farmer H says she doesn't need them now. She has her own people. Which happen to be goats.

Goats. They're herd animals, you know. It's on the internet.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Somebody Stop That Guy

Oh, dear. That poor Jon Gosselin just can't catch a break. The nanny that he denied having a romantic relationship with has been giving interviews about having sex nine times with Jon (and not very good sex). OK. Maybe Jon did not see those nine times as A) romantic, or B) a relationship. Seems that Stephanie Santoro only worked for Jon for a week. Wonder if that was Jon's choice, or Kate's choice.

Here's the worst part (besides that image that can't be scrubbed from your brain of Jon having sex): they went to the garage apartment to finish this hot-tub fling. That means that after Jon loving checked on his 8 children ages six through ten to make sure they were asleep, HE LEFT THEM ALONE IN THAT BIG HOUSE so he could go have sex in the garage. You can't just let sleeping children lie. No, no no. Anything could happen. But that seems to be a low priority on Jon's Screw As Many Women As I Can list.

Nanny. Hmpf! That Santoro woman was paid, all right. But she wasn't paid for watching those 8 kids, was she? Because she wasn't watching those 8 kids. She was engaging in sexual activity with Jon.

Here in Hillmomba, we don't call that a nanny. We call it something else. Call Jo Frost. Let's see what SHE can do for Jon.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Little Of This

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Another prep football contestant and I are now tied for 2nd Place, two points out of the lead. My old alma mater dared to WIN in spite of my confidence in her as a loser. How dare she! There are four weeks left in the contest. I don't want that recliner to slip away from me.

At school, basketball is gearing up, with conditioning practice beginning on Monday. The #1 son is eager to hit the hardwood. He practiced all summer on his own. I don't think he will be picked last in the pick-games.

GoatHoarder H went to pick up a new goat this afternoon. I have not seen it yet, but it took him an hour and a half to get it, even though it only lived 10 minutes away. No word yet on whether it is a girlfriend or boyfriend for Goatrude. GoatHoarder H has been letting Goatrude out to run on a dog leash and clothesline. He lets her eat the brush around the animal compound. Funny thing, Einstein H trimmed the brush so Goatrude wouldn't get hung up while she's on the leash eating the brush. There's something O. Henry would appreciate there. Well, if he wasn't dead.

We got a past-due statement on the #1 son's ER bill due to his concussion in July. That is crap. CRAP, I say. I paid the $100 ER co-pay that very day. Then the hospital billed us $621 for the doctor. Insurance paid $113, leaving that hospital to hound us for $508. Insurance Mediator H called GHP after the last statement, asking how they could say the doctor was out-of-network, when he was working at that hospital that is in-network. What were we supposed to do, drive around to emergency rooms knocking on those sliding glass doors, until we found a doctor that was in-network? And what if we found one, but he was at an out-of-network hospital?

Insurance Mediator H called GHP again on Friday. Funny thing, GHP had sent the hospital a check for that $508. A check that the hospital had cashed two days before the statement date. Somebody needs to introduce the left hand to the right hand at that place. Something's not up to snuff in the billing department. I had told Personal Assistant H that he needed to call the hospital on Friday, too, so they could put a note in our file. He said, "Yeah. A note that we don't pay our bill." I think he missed the point. When I am off in the summer and deal with crap like this, they always put a note in the file that we are haggling with the insurance company. Anyhoo...I'm not paying that $508 that they already cashed. They can bill me until the goats come home. Fair is fair.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rude Awakening

The students seem to think I have superpowers. Just today, one asked me, "Did you give Goldilocks ISS?"

"No. I don't have the power to give anyone ISS."
"Didn't you give him his fifth tardy?"
"I don't give tardies. People earn them."
"Well, because you gave him his fifth tardy, he got ISS."
"If you are not in the room when the bell rings, that is a tardy. It makes no difference to me what happens after I record a tardy, or how many tardies you have before or after that one."

Reports later in the day were that Goldilocks did not get ISS, because a certain teacher wrote him a note that he was not tardy for my class. Funny that on the day in question, Goldilocks did not say he was late because he had to gather his stuff from that certain teacher's class. Goldilocks, in the hall, not even to the drinking fountain yet when the bell rang, said, "You're not giving me a tardy, are you? Because it will be my fifth one." Like I care. You're not in the room when the bell rings, you're tardy.

This afternoon, I had three people tardy in one class. There was no reason for it. They were just lollygagging in the hall. I also had two others late (but not tardy) because I gave them permission to collect their FCCLA Krispy Kreme Donuts for their fundraiser, and another one late (but not tardy) who came in with a note from a teacher. See? I'll work with you. But no permission-no note-you're tardy. One of the lollygaggers had the nerve to say, "I better not get a tardy." To which eagle-ears Mrs. Hillbilly Mom announced to the classroom in general, "That better not be a threat about me giving a tardy. If you're not in the room when the bell rings, you're tardy."

This lollygagger complained that he was late because he had to go all the way to the other end of the hall to get his book. Never mind that we're in the eighth week of school, and he has been bringing his book the majority of days we've had class. Never mind that all other students are expected to bring their books. Never mind that I have told him to take it with him to his previous class so as to avoid the locker trip. Nope. According to Lollygagger, he can't take his book to lunch and then take it to his tech class because books are not allowed in tech class, and besides, he can't take it to lunch because he has his books from before lunch with him then. Which begs the question, "What happens to those before-lunch books when you go to tech class?" If they're not allowed, you must be going to your locker before tech, huh? And I find it quite odd that books would not be allowed in tech, because there is a classroom separate from the shop. I think I'll ask Mr. Tech tomorrow if he outlaws books from his building.

The next Little Einstein to give me a superpower gave me psychic ability. I had just finished warning my 7th hour class before handing out their tests, "Some people got most of them wrong, but their wrong answers matched the right answers on the other test." Meaning that I had two forms of the test, and somebody cheated in an obvious way. Of course they clamored to know who, but my lips were sealed. I only told them, "They know who they are. But I haven't called them in yet to discuss it." Leaving Little E to ask, "Was one of them me?" Dear me. Where do you start?

"Since you haven't even taken the test yet, I don't think one of them was you. Unless you are trying to tell me something. Because I would have to be psychic to say that you cheated on a test you haven't even taken yet."

Dang. I am one mean and crazy, ISS-giving, cheating-predicting, master teacher!