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About ChrisR

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    The Lone Star State: TEXAS
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    Things that are interesting!

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  1. I can't believe Trump said this!

    How do you propose to change the government to get your legislation passed? Neither Demo or Repub administrations, with or without congressional majorities, have succeeded in doing so since 2007, and that's assuming either side has really even tried. (That one was to stiffen - slightly - the background check process. Nothing else.) Even Obama fell short, issuing toothless Executive Actions vice serious Executive Orders. As for the idiot principals denying young people the right to actively participate in democracy, they should be docked 2 days' pay for each day of a student's suspension. (Somebody smarter than me will have to make sure our junior geniuses don't game the system!) Maybe if all the government class teachers declared a field trip day for the protest? Or brought in a good lawyer (pro bono, of course) for the students? What was it the police chief said in Young Frankenstein? "A riot is an ugly thingk... und I think it is just about time that ve had von!"
  2. I can't believe Trump said this!

    I'm pretty sure, Pedro, that we are more along the lines of a so-so-ciety. For the record, I'm researching some of the items we discussed earlier. The US, for example, has some 90,000 elementary schools (students ~5-14 yrs old), and 26500 public and 10500 private secondary schools (students 15-18 yrs old). It does NOT look good for mental health evaluations out there. With only about 32,000 total school psychologists and 60% of those looking to change professions, it doesn't seem to be a promising field of endeavor.
  3. Movie Trailer

    "Realist", Colin! I didn't read 'Stand By Me' in 89 minutes nor 'Hunt for Red October' in 2:15, but I most definitely wasn't disappointed in the film translations. So enjoy the show and in the post-film chow-down with your compadres, compare and contrast the book and film. Of course if the movie is a loser, it's all your fault. ;)
  4. I can't believe Trump said this!

    I live in a rural county. There's a school about 2 miles from my home and they had a community pot luck 2 weeks ago with students, parents and neighbors all invited. The classes all performed goofy songs and skits, and a generally great time was had by all. The school itself has 3 classes - K-2, 3-5, 6-8. Then they're off to high school 15 miles down the road. So you get a feel for it, the 6-8 class has 7 kids total. (Including one forlorn but plucky solo 6th grader as the solo boy.) The two younger classes have 10 kids each. The local sheriff substation is about a mile from the high school, so 15 miles away. And, of course, the single duty officer at any given moment might be at the other end of the district, so 30 miles away. What's your plan? Somebody walks in to our school with an AR-15 with a 30-round clip, she won't even have to reload. No cell phones? Perfect - one snip and the landline is down for the count. The perp could be two counties over before anybody knows a thing. Full-time security guard? No problem if your first shot is good. Meanwhile, back in California at my old 2000-student high school, kids will have to show up an hour before school just to make it through security. (So the bandies will have to be showing up about 0630. AC Transit doesn't even run buses that early!) And of course there are the added costs of all this security. Don't forget replacing windows with bulletproof glass. And air conditioning systems with tamper-resistant seals. And...and...and... And the inevitable result is ever more cleverer murderers out there. Yes, Trump is anything but the solution. (I can already hear his disparaging "I knew it wouldn't work!") But hearing just naysayers doesn't do any good either. What CAN we do?
  5. Support System, by James Merkin

    Brilliant tale, well presented. Certainly not on one of our trains though, where a creepy jerk carrying a large knife would scarcely raise a ripple. That kid (and those kids) are lucky y'all are in your town!
  6. London Bridge is Down

    Having once worked on a related alert system, I found the story quite credible. Hopefully there's some validation protocol before BBC puts it on the air. What I found far LESS credible was the "accidental" incoming missile alert in Hawaii last month. According to the Washington Post, the "This is not a drill!" message was sent out because the system operator clicked the wrong item on a drop-down menu - less than a quarter-inch boo-boo that sparked panic among a lot of listeners! Mind you, when the US system hiccuped back in the late 70s it was from putting the wrong tape in the alert system. Totally different. :) So a WWII-vintage alert system works just as well (or not) as the most modern technology. (By the way, when NORAD put out the war alert across the country, exactly one radio station believed it and broadcast the alert.) It's the people, stupid. NUTZ!! My only question, though, is how the short story quite fits the Valentine theme! :)
  7. Since we can't trust our politicians....

    Has the teacher actually done anything with this sizable data collection or is it simply 19 years of un-annotated data points? Considering there appear to be few guidelines for how the kids should consider their responses, how does one interpret the results? And are things correlated by observed behaviors, such as cooperation levels, athletic abilities, GPA, family income,etc.? It's tempting to seek ANYthing that can help explain and prevent a recurrence of the shooting, but frankly nothing seems to have worked since at least the UT Tower shooting. Obviously the last thing we need is another 20-year government study on children and machine guns, or anybody else and mass shootings, but how else do we we separate them? Perhaps a tougher gun law could be reinstated. But while advocates for such are disappointed that the 2004 gun limitation law expired in 2014, it failed renewal not because of a Republican majority - it failed despite a Democratic majority (53-44)! So even party lines can't be counted on. It can't mean that we stop trying, but we need to find something that will work in a timely manner. I frankly don't have the answer. And I look for workable solutions which can save our next generations. If you, Glennon, and Chase's Mom are onto something, let's hear it! CR
  8. Hava Nagila Boys

    As we used to sing it: Have a nagila! Have two nagilas! Have three nagilas! (They're pretty small!)
  9. Can you help me find this story?

    This is clearly a reminder that no matter how great it may taste, you never want to see how sausage is made!
  10. Clouds of Glory by Mihangel

    AARGHH! Why did you have to do that, Des?! I thought I'd cried ten lifetimes of tears when I first heard this when OBA first presented it. (And the thousand or so times I've listened since, too.) And now it starts once more... Caution: Vocal degrees can be hazardous to one's (mental) health!
  11. The em dash

    When we can't resolve the issue of whether an em-dash has a space before and after or not how on earth can we even pretend to give peace a chance? Much of the problem is the multiplicity of 'standards' meaning there isn't really any standard! I have a personal preference for a space at each end of an m-dash, and my editor had better let me get away with it or there's going to be ink in the streets tonight. But the overriding consideration would be does it a) look good AND b) transmit the author's intent. Anything else is po-TAY-to versus po-TAH-to and does anybody really say po-TAH-to?
  12. The Knight's Cowboy's Tale of 33 Names

    And here I thought Tang was a breakfast drink. Yeowch!
  13. Can we say this now? About Frickin time

    By the way, Chris, a friend reminded me of something -- perhaps unique to Texas -- that changes the equation for me. A bit. As a result, I'll modify my disagreement and will okay higher payouts for bullying if the school is forced to pay it from high school football stadium tax monies! Just maybe along with serious anti-bullying programs. The school districts have now topped out at $80,000,000 for a complex in Cy-Fair, TX, and I'm sure the costs will keep going up. Mind you, Cy-Fair is able so say it's much more than a mere jock house because in addition to the 12,000 seat stadium and 9,500-seat arena (i.e., basketball gym) there's also a whopping 456-seat theater. Equality at last! (Of course that requires 26 sell-outs of As You Like It per sold-out ballgame but such is life.) And just maybe if that means they have to build the awesomadium elsewhere else, the jocks will migrate there as well and at least some of the bullies will migrate with them.
  14. Can we say this now? About Frickin time

    Thanks for the follow-up, Chris. This comment I agree with almost completely. I asked one of our county teachers this evening what her take on it is and she said the first thing to be changed if they want to get control of the problem is the abuse of social media. When the County Board tried to rein in its 'abusage' during school hours a couple years ago the community uproar was enormous. How can mommy and daddy warn Billy and Suzy that they'll be late picking then up today? So the errant/criminal usage gets a pass because there are some positives to be accepted. Or is there a cutoff point "after 'n' students commit suicide"? And you're right that teachers are overworked, underpaid, and stressed to the max. The last thing they need is chastisement, job loss, or civil/criminal charges for not eagle-eyeing Bubba in the back row while simultaneously summarizing Chaucer for the entire class. And there are privacy laws that seem to frown on intercepting private communications (appropriately so!) not to mention the sheer number of messages that float around a school of 2000 teens even during inter-period class changes. And I'm not too crazy about the Department of Education forming its own NSA branch. There's still a lot of unknowns about the WHY of teen suicide. A good listing of factors can be found at: But overall, statistics do little to help understand the crisis. Nationally, for example, stats show high school class sizes average from 8.5 students in Wyoming to 28.5 in Washington but without parallel suicide numbers. That said, however, you've broached a critical issue with today's young people in this societal maelstrom. And it hasn't fared any better in the previous few administrations compared to the present. Perhaps it needs to be addressed far more from the PREVENTION mode than the PUNISHMENT.
  15. Can we say this now? About Frickin time

    Sorry Chris, but as compelling as the argument is I am weary of schools being saddled by so many things above and beyond education. Things such as behavior, interpersonal relations and common decency (if that's still 'common') should fall under the responsibility of parents. But over the past few decades, schools have assumed responsibility for not only teaching but: vision and hearing tests, inoculations, personal hygiene, physical development, mental health, feeding the hungry, and the list rambles on. Schools and teachers must also ensure that no child fails academically, no matter how low they have to re-set the standards. (I attended the high school graduation of a California friend's son a couple years back who was one of 18 valedictorians - out of a roughly 200-member class. So extraordinary must each child be.) And now people would have schools accept responsibility for students being bullied? Where are mom and dad? Come to think of it, of both the bully and the bullied? And schools should have to pay? Let's see... a million dollars can take 100,000 kids to theater or musical performances, museums, and the like. But it should instead be spent on lawyers for both sides and any resulting settlement. Not helpful. To anybody. Suicide is a tragedy. Suicide of a bullied child is a catastrophe. And the knee-jerk American reaction is SUE THE B*STARDS! But expecting teachers and school staff to observe the symptoms where their average student/staff interaction is less than two minutes per day is unrealistic. Time to remember that the parents are the parents and they need to accept the responsibilities that entails.