Friday, May 27, 2005

The Idiotizing of California's Kids

"California Assembly Says Shorter Books Would Help Kids" (reprinted here from for your ease of viewing)

If you are considering moving to California, don't bring your kids. Leave them behind. Don't bring them to our schools. California has fallen under control of the absolute nut-ball wing of the Democratic party, and will soon be sliding off into the ocean.

The California Assembly has passed a bill, along pretty much partisan lines, to mandate shorter textbooks for California classrooms. Yes, mandate. When I read the article I was somewhat perplexed at why the California legislature would want to give our kids abridged editions of textbooks, seeing as how most textbooks in their current forms just barely touch on the subjects they purport to teach. But the argument is that textbooks with 200 or less pages (how did they arrive at 200?) will be somehow more digestible and more understandable by students.

Easier. Gentler. Kinder. Lighter. Whatever.

I wondered, who authored this legislation? The answer was somehow not shocking: Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, a Los Angeles Democrat, chair of the Assembly Education Committee, and well known left-wingnut in the California Democratic Party.

Ah-ha! I said to myself with sudden understanding. Once again, the California legislature, those paragons of education reform and experts in child rearing, are telling locals schools what it takes to teach their children. Once again, the experts in Sacramento (who apparently need to go back to their own schools, because they ALWAYS mistake $1 in income as being equal to $1.10 in spending) have taken it upon their Solomn-esque selves to solve the bedeviling issue of boring textbooks by taking out the boring facts!

Make them shorter! More kid friendly. Better yet, direct them to... gasp! The Internet for more information.

That last part left me ROFLMFAO. (Oh, that's Internet speak... ask your kid, they probably know what it means.)

So, they want to take the fact-checked, vetted, and usually fairly accurate textbooks that schools provide for children.... shorten them down, abridge the information to fit a mandated textbook size, then..... LOL.... this is where it gets really good.... direct kids TO THE INTERNET for more information.

GAAA-HAHAHAHAHAHA-OOOOHOOO... hoooweee.... heh....

(Ooops, sorry... I think I actually snorted milk out my nose with that one.)

So we're gonna direct kids to the Internet for education? Not even considering the innately inaccurate nature of the internet, and how easily distracting it is to even the most focused kids.... is Assemblywoman Goldberg going to let all the low-income kids in South Central LA who have never even touched a computer come to her house and use hers? Is she going to mandate the districts buy each child a computer?

Who's going to vet these "accurate websites"? How long until these websites, who suddenly are being relied upon by California educators, will be required to meet obscure, inane, and arbitrary California education standards set by... heh... sorry, I can't help but chuckle... the California Legislature?

The stupidity in California continues. Please... take your kids elsewhere for an education. Guatemala maybe. Or Laos.

I hear Mexico is losing students at a fast clip, maybe they'd like a few of our students to shore up their schools? Hmmmm

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Frozen Lakes

I decided that Tuesday I was going to go fishing. I wanted to go up to the higher mountains lakes along my favorite highway, Hwy88. So, I went to bed Monday night and set my alarm for 6am Tuesday, and tried to go to sleep.

I couldn't sleep. For whatever reason, I just could not get my brain to quiet down and sleep. So, long about 3am, I decided, since I'm going to be up in just a few hours anyway, I'd get up, get dressed and ready to go. I left the house about 4:30am, and headed off into the dark.

I got up to Silver Lake about 6:30. It was light, but the sun had not yet crested the mountains. I was really surprised to find the lake still mostly frozen over, except for a small area by the dam.

This photo is about 5 minutes before the sun crested the mountains off to the east. For those of you unfamiliar with Silver Lake, it's about 75 miles east of Sacramento along Highway 88, at about the 7000' level of the Sierra Nevadas.

There was still lots of snow (obviously), but the snow level was much lower, probably about 5800' where I started seeing snow along the side of the road and back in the woods.

I didn't catch anything. Not even a bite. Silver Lake (and Caples Lake, a little bit further along the road, up at about the 8000' level) are still murky and haven't had a chance to fill with fresh run-off and clear up. I'll try back in about three weeks and see if conditions have improved. But overall, it was just a stunning drive.

On the way home, having not slept at all the night before, I got SLEEPY, so I pulled off into a shaded spot on the side of the road, put the seat back, and had the nicest 60 minute nap. Cool are, fresh breeze, birds chirping.... very nice. Glad I wasn't eaten by a mountain lion. Hehe

I've posted several more photos from the day over at my photoblog.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Feeling My Age

I helped my x-wife and her boyfriend move Saturday. Yeah, yeah, I know... why am I helping the x- and her boyfriend? Because they asked for help the help, because I'm a nice guy and there's no good reason NOT to help, and in the interests of peace and family tranquility, it just seemed like the right thing to do. And especially because it helped my girls, who, of course, spend about 1/2 their time at their mom's, and have a ton of stuff, too.

And now I'm sore. LOL

Now, I was only in on one trip, where we loaded up most of the large furniture and beds and such into a 25-foot moving van. We had one other guy helping, a good friend of the boyfriend's, so the work went fast, and is was only about 4-1/2 hours worth of real "work", but man.... I'm feeling my age! I'm so sore today... not ultra-bad sore, but "I know I worked hard, and haven't work hard like that in a long time" sore.

Last night, after helping the boyfriend move a few more pieces of furniture into the house from the garage (where they were placed on Saturday night because we were to tired to move them all the way into the house!), everyone jumped into the swimmin' hole they have in their new backyard, and the boyfriend cooked up some burgers and hot-dogs. I was invited to stay, as a way of telling me thank you.

I have to say, it was a bit surreal swimming with my kids, the x- and her boyfriend, all talking, playing with the dogs, etc. We had some good conversation over dinner, and I stayed until about 9pm. Had a good time.

People keep asking me, when are you going to finish the divorce? I tell them, life is peaceful right now, and it's no skin off my nose to let things lay as they are right now. My x- and I can talk when we need to without being angry. We can discuss the kids and we still see pretty much eye-to-eye on parenting issues. Her boyfriend and I get along pretty well, and there's no uncomfortableness with him like there sure COULD be, ya know? I wouldn't say we're good friends, but I like him a lot. Any other situation, he and I probably could be pretty good friends.
And, the biggest reason, the kids are at peace. Mom and dad aren't fighting. Both parents are pretty happy where they are. There's no power struggle, no tugging at the kids to chose one over the other.

Life is fairly peaceful. Why would I want to change that right now? There's plenty of time to deal with divorce issues later, as I know we eventually will. But for now... I'm feeling my age. Along with the soreness, I think, comes a little bit of wisdom. Long term, I think the x- and I will get a divorce when it's least painful to everyone involved, and causes the least upheaval. Long term, aside from the monetary issues (retirement, child support, yada-yada) which everyone always brings up, I think this is the wisest route.

Money can be made and lost in a day, and there's always more money to be made.

Relationships with one's kids and others who are in one's life, for better or worse, can be broken in a day, and there's not always a chance to make them over again.