Saturday, December 22, 2007


Now that it's been a full week since my long term assignment ended, I've been able to look back and reflect on what I did and didn't do while I was there. And boy was it a shock to go back to day to day subbing again. It was weird to get home and not worry about grading, planning or the 1000000 other things that I dealt with while I was teaching those 9th graders.

One of the things I did learn is that I was not as hard core on turning in stuff on time as I thought I was. Now that may change as I get some sort of a system that will allow me to really keep track of work the kids turn in, but the ones who care will get the work turned in that the ones that want to fail won't.

I also learned that the bigger the class is the more time you spend managing it and the less time you get to really teach. Once you get above 40 kids it's really hard to keep all those balls juggling at one time, and that goes double for honors kids. And speaking of honors kids, they seem to like nothing better than a challenge. Every time I had them do something out of the ordinary like the compare and contrast project, or the presidential ad where they either support or attack a candidate and you get some great work. Now not every kid takes to this stuff like a duck to water but most of them did.

I also learned that sometimes the kids that challenge you the most are the ones who appreciate you the most. 3rd period, yea THAT 3rd period made up a card in class and had everyone sign it. And they also wrote me notes on a separate piece of paper the last day I was going to see them. I have them thumb tacked to my wall along with a couple of notes from students in other classes to help me when I get overwhelmed with trying to balance school work and family. It's hard to look at those cards, letters and notes and not get a lump in my throat. I miss those kids, even the ones who where a pain in the a**...

I also want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year. Thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to comment!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Now for something a little different

I'm still gathering my thoughts about my assignment that ended on Friday to put into a post. In the meantime while bouncing around on the web I saw this. Everything in bold is something I did. Feel free to copy and paste it for yourself and just bold the things you did.

Wanna play? It's simple. Copy, paste and if you've done it, bold it.

Wanna play? It's simple. Copy, paste and if you've done it, bold it.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said I love you and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights

15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper

21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight

28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can

32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run

36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer

40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends

43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero

58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater

66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married

73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an expert
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date

89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken some one's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery

120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed some one's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school

131. Para sailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one important author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved some one's life

Monday, December 10, 2007

The end is near

The end of my assignment at the high school, the end of 2007, and the fall semester are fast approaching. While I'm not sad to see the semester end, I am dreading turning in my keys on Friday and bidding that room farewell. I had such a blast the past three months and I dread going back to day to day subbing where I don't have a chance to really connect with the kids and I'm going off of someone else's lessons. Not to mention dealing with kids who are going to be playing games with me to see what they can get away with (nothing) in the classroom. The part that really sucks is that my assignment is ending a week early so now I'm once again trying to find work for next week. I found something for Friday but that's it so far so right now I'm only $400 short for the week. Woo hoo...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Is it that big a deal?

Over at Buckhorn Road, Mr. Chanman blogged regarding the black on black violence that not only about a column written by Jason Whitlockplagues the inner cities in this country, but claimed the life of Washington Redskins Safety Sean Taylor. His post was as interesting as the article itself was. Personally I love reading Whitlock's writings, he is often right on the money and cuts to the chase. I mentioned that I was using that column for an extra credit assignment and he thought that was a ballsy move on my part given the hyper sensitive world we live in.

When I made the assignment available for extra credit I did so because of three reasons.

1. It's a current event and many of my students are fans of the NFL and have heard about the case.

2. His column really makes the reader think and that's always a good thing when it comes to HS students, thinking is something they don't do enough in my (not so) humble opinion.

3. Because it's thought provoking it's perfect for a written response which is how 99% of my extra credit assignments work anyways.

I'll be honest, I didn't even think about how ballsy the assignment was, I just saw an opportunity to make my students think about the world they live in and maybe shake them out of their comfort zone, if only for a short time. I've already had some strong opinions on this assignment from my students and at least 6 or 7 of them are going to do it for the extra credit.

So was it that big a deal? Boy teacher Chanman really made ME think!

You get an A for that teach!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Switching Bodies...

Yea, that's it! That's why 3rd period acted like actual human beings and 7th period acted like a bunch of jackasses on a sugar high. To make matters worse for them, I had Karlana come in and observe that class today. I have not read all her notes, but the most honest assessment I can come up with to describe that period would be grease fire. Although train wreck, total disaster, and perfect example of how not to teach would fit as well. Those are the ones that don't involve the seven words you can't say on TV. Let's just say it was an embarrassment and a real learning experience. It was nice to have an extra set of eyes to point out the things I was missing and to confirm some of my suspicions.

On the other hand 3rd period which normally drives me to drink was by far the best class of the three. There are two reasons for this and neither involve yours truly. One of the big trouble makers got himself suspended pending expulsion and I had three other students move out of the state so now that class is down to 33 students, way better than the 40 I had when I started. They did all the things that 7th period didn't do. They knuckled down and got their work and took really good notes on a rather lengthy PowerPoint on the Presidential Cabinet. They have a test on Monday and hopefully they'll study their notes.

Well, I have three big projects to get to work on, so I'm off to actually do some homework myself.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Wow, that's all I can say after my first two honors classes had their discussions on their big project. Not only did they understand the material but they really caught on to what the candidates were saying, what they were not saying and what they were implying.
For those of you who are not familiar with what you're reading let me recap this quickly for you. My 9th grade honors students had to pick two foreign policy essays, one from a republican candidate and one from a democratic candidate. They then had to read both of them and take notes. Then they discussed their findings with the other students who had chosen the same essays that they had. Any new information was to be added to their notes and then put onto either a Venn diagram or a double bubble map. Then they would start on their essay drafts finally finishing them around the 11th of next month.

Right now two of the three classes just did the notes and the discussions and boy did they pick the essays apart. Hillary and John Edwards really got hammered in 8th period and the criticism was spread around pretty evenly in 2nd period. It was also nice to see that the periods had different opinions and views about the six essays. 7th period is going to do their discussion tomorrow and I am going to add a second set of discussions next week because it was so helpful for everyone today.

If this project is going to be my finale at this school then it looks like I'm going to go out with a bang and not in a ball of flames.

If you want to read the essays in question go here.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Winding Down

Well, my long term assignment is starting to wind down. I only have about three weeks until I go back to day to day subbing, something I'm not excited about. I did start my big project with the honors classes, I hope it goes well. It's nothing if not ambitious and if I'm going to crash and burn I might as well do it right the first time. Third period is still third period and they're not about to change although my goal is to do just that so that when their regular teacher comes back she won't have a stroke when they start to act up again.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Too many kids...

Sometimes I feel like I'm more of a zoo keeper than a teacher. Officially, I have 282 students over 6 classes. That's way too much some days. That averages out to 47 kids a class, but the most I have registered is 45 in two of them. Now some of them are suspended and others are sick but normally I have about 42 kids a class most days. . Now the good thing for me is that I was able to get semi caught up with my grading, which was a stack literally six inches high of assignments and projects that I had to grade. This will allow me to get caught up on my observation hours which I am behind on because of all the grading that I was doing for the last week or so. 1st and 3rd period get a pop quiz when the come back since they didn't feel like doing a flipping thing on Friday before the long weekend.

It's not wise to piss off the teacher and give him a headache.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Coming Storm by Vegas Art Guy

Grades come out this week. It should be interesting. I'm sure there are going to be some unhappy parents. And yet I don't seem to care, not one bit. Each student earned the grade they got and despite their best efforts I have not moved that 79.8% to an 80%. Maybe they should have studied harder on the test maybe? The one that most of them failed...

Maybe they'll study harder next time. But judging from the quick look at the amendment test, looks like they have not learned their lesson yet.

Friday, October 26, 2007

End Of Quarter by Vegas Art Guy

Well, the quarter ended today, well yesterday actually and there are going to be some angry parents and grounded kids next week. It's not like I didn't bend over backwards to make sure their assignments were turned in, (I did) and it's not like I didn't warn them over and over again about the end of quarter and what it meant because I did (even 3rd period) that as well. It's that they figured that somehow they'd pass without actually doing the work. Boy are they in for a rude awakening. I have 17 out of 40 kids failing in one class and 14 out of 42 failing in another. Toss in the fact that the mercy ended when school did on Thursday and it's going to be a long quarter for a large number of kids in my classes.

Oh, and one more thing, I have a new rule...

If there is no name on the assignment, I throw it in the trash.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Not just a bunch of rules... by Vegas Art Guy

We're in the middle of our unit on the constitution and the quick write that I asked ran along the lines of what do you now think about the constitution since we've been studying it? The most common answer had this in common:

1. I never realized how many rights we have.
2. It's not just a bunch of rules and regulations.
3. I learned a lot about how it was written.
4. The framers worked really hard on this and I'm thankful.
5. I have a lot more respect for it now.

It made my day to read things like this. Now they didn't all have these answers, but you would see at least one of those in a good 60% of the answers that I've read so far which is about 100 or so out of 265 kids.

Yea I have 265 kids to teach...

Yes I'm nuts...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Class Discussions by Vegas Art Guy

Last couple of days have been interesting. My last quick write asked my students (even those in 3rd period) what the most important issue facing the US was. Not surprisingly, immigration was top along with the war on terror (including Iraq), economy and education. What was surprising was they had a genuine desire to learn about those things. I am trying desperately to clear space on the schedule to have a class discussion. The honors classes are going to tackle immigration and the regular classes that understand 'sit down and shut up' get to deal with illegal street racing. It should be interesting to see how it goes but I'm just as tired of worksheets as they are. Worksheets are good and all but two weeks straight?

Me either...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

3rd Period... By Vegas Art Guy

Well, I now know what class is going to be the albatross around my neck. 3rd period has laid claim to that title and shows no signs of letting it go. Today they got a visit from another teacher who is Ms. Fogila's best friend and let them know that Ms. Fogila was not happy rant moan blah. She would have been better off banging her head against a wall, because they quickly reverted to form.

So now they get the bookwork treatment. From now on it's worksheets and bookwork. No group projects, nothing fun. And when they start talking they get booted out of class. Now this is on top of the essay they are working on and some of them actually had a draft done today. Those kids got extra credit points which meant some of them went from getting grounded to not getting grounded for their grades.

Wednesday they get to see the evil me, they've had flashes but this has not changed their behavior one bit. In addition I'm going to start moving people around and put all the yappers close to me so I can either keep them in line or kick em the hell out of class until they get a clue, their choice, because right now I no longer care about their feelings or what they think, I have a job to do and I will not allow a few bad apples screw it up for everyone else.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Irritated... By Vegas Art Guy

An irritated teacher is not a good thing if you're a student, especially if the teacher had previously warned you about talking in class after you had been told to stop. Sooooooo, I have not one but two classes of mine that are in the doghouse. Why? They can't keep their yaps shut. Looks like I need to start switching seats along with the Bill of Rights essay they now get to do.

It's so flipping frustrating because my other 4 classes are very good and yet I hate cracking down on them, but I don't have a choice. Tomorrow I have the day off and my daughter and I are going to go decorate my room for Halloween and I'll start coming up with more little assignments to keep them busy. Plus, I need to alter the essay to include a power point on how to cite a source because these kids have little or no experience on how to do that. PLUS I need to make sure that I'm not violating any IEPs with the time frame, rant moan blah. What part of be quiet do people not get? Welcome to the realities of teaching.

Don't get me wrong, I love LOVE teaching kids, the coolest thing today was helping one young lady who was totally frustrated and had gotten nowhere. I spent about 10 minutes helping her out (and chewing the class out) and then she just got BUSY. I think she has an IEP but I'm not sure. That was cool, I spent a couple of minutes helping her out and boom! She's off and running.

There's hope for me yet I think.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

You would think... by Vegas Art Guy

You would think that if someone wanted your vote for say, president, they'd put the addresses of the local offices someplace on their websites wouldn't you? After all if you wanted to get a sign for your candidate and put it in your yard to show support that local office would be the place to go right?

So I'm working on this lesson for my honors and regular history classes that I'm taking over tomorrow and I want to get some campaign materials to set the mood. The only candidate of the four that had office locations on their site happened to be John Edwards. Now while I'm not a big fan of his, I do appreciate the common sense his team had in listing office locations. Rudy, Barak and Mitt did not have locations listed anywhere and for once Google was no help. So I emailed the other three candidates and asked them for the location of their offices and hinted that displaying such information might not be a bad thing.

That lesson I'm referring to? I am going to have the students write an essay reacting to the foreign policy essays that they wrote earlier this year. The honors kids get to read 1 from each party and then compare and contrast them. I keep hoping Hillary will write an essay so I can dump John Edwards' essay but so far no luck.

Special Thanks to Dr. Douglass for posting the essays and giving me the idea for the lesson itself.

John Edwards' Essay
Barak Obama's Essay
Mitt Romney's Essay
Rudy Giuliani's Essay

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

For every action... By Vegas Art Guy

There is an opposite and equal reaction. Sound familiar? Maybe students should pay more attention to this maxim. Maybe it's the full moon, who knows. Yep, another class got to enjoy the wonders of essay writing, this time with a bonus, their parents get to sign it. (Don't worry Karlana, I didn't mention who gave me the idea) It's not like I told them more than once to be quiet, especially during a quiz, and it's not like I didn't flat out tell them what would happen if the continued to goof off. And yet, they played 'how dumb is the sub?' yet again, and yet again the sub wins. I'm now 5-0 this year. And the best part is the teacher I was filling in for knew that I kept that option open and had no problem with it. The sad part is that the first three classes were a joy to teach and the fourth, although chatty, did more work than anyone.

In addition, I was called off my prep period to sub for girls PE and about 6 of the girls I already had in my class, including the 5th period essay writers. Apparently my reputation preceded me because they gave me no problems and all I had them do was walk 1 lap around the field. They got to talk with their friends and get some exercise and I got an easy period. Everyone one. I made sure their PE teacher knew how well the behaved. I also made sure the science teacher I was filling in for knew who did what when.

One more note, how dumb to kids think we are? Do they really think they can wear an earring in the shape of a marijuana leaf and it goes unnoticed?One young man did and I made him take it off and told him if I saw it again, he goes to the dean. Boy did he lose it in a hurry... LOL

Friday, September 21, 2007

Much Better! By Vegas Art Guy

The last two days have been much better. After the RESPECT lesson from Wednesday, I was much better prepared for Thursday and Friday. I'd like to say that no other class got to write about respect, but I'd be lying.
Thursday went very well for the most part. The kids were respectful, eager to learn and seemed to enjoy themselves. There was however, one class that played "How dumb is the sub?", they lost. See, there are two bells for lunch. And this period leaves in the middle for lunch. Yes, that's how it works there. The thing is that this class has to wait for the second bell, but didn't. So I tell the kids still in the class that I am going to take roll and anyone not in the room is absent. Boy did kids re-enter the room in a hurry! Now I was not happy so I told them exactly how I wanted them to leave... or else.

Yea, they went 'or else'. So when they got back from lunch a new assignment was on the board. 5-6 sentences on respect. Then it went to 6-7 sentences and finally 7-8 sentences. Not to bright this bunch, that's for sure. What I find odd is that it's the 'regular kids' I have all the issues with. The honors kids are normally wonderful, and you'd think that the average group would be OK and the kids who are behind would the most trouble. But the kids who are in the 180 program have been very good for the most part. Can someone 'splain that one to me?

Today was only a half day, 3 periods with two classes. Yep, one class for two periods. The first class went great, surprise, they're the honors class. Good kids and good writers. The second class were harder but after telling them what I did to the last two classes, and that I'd be taking roll twice to make sure kids came back from the bathroom between periods everything was alright. I had to spend more time on managing the class that I would have liked but they did get real work done and they did use their brains, and I can sleep well knowing I did my best.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

R-E-S-P-E-C-T by Vegas Art Guy

I have a backup plan for every class that I am in. This plan isn't in case the regular teacher forgets a lesson plan and has nothing prepared. This one is just for the students who decide that listening to the teacher is not worth the effort. Like my 6th period Earth Science Class today at a local middle school. They were the perfect candidates for this lesson. Why? No respect. Here is how this lesson plan was executed today.

I had been warned that the 6th period class was rowdy, not just mine but the school in general, so I knew that I had to be meaner quicker. That was not a problem, because 5th period missed this lesson by about
that much and I was in a bad mood to start with. Being the honest person that I am, I flat out warn the class that I'm in a bad mood and unless they want misery the rest of the class they need to behave. I then offer the carrot of free time at the end if we can get the worksheet done early. Warning & offer fall on deaf ears, not surprised, just disappointed.

However, I decide that we need to get on with the lesson on convection, and begin the lecture, which after about 5 minutes was a train wreck. I then switch to nasty mode, which when you're 6'5" and 250+ can get nasty. I silence the mob for about 5 minutes and warn them that if they do not get on with work that I have another lesson they won't like that will last the end of the period. Now most kids when faced with choices like this would go the easy route, after all why add more work to your day right?

These were not most kids, after about 5 minutes of relative peace, they revert to form. I swing the trap shut. And they spend the next 30 minutes writing about respect, three kids get to sign the honor roll of kids who didn't listen and one brain sturgeon got to do the reflection sheet. They turned in incomplete worksheets (their problem not mine) and the essays.

My mistake as usual was that I was too nice for too long. I should have kicked out kids earlier and even sent a couple to the dean, but I am getting faster on the draw.

Here is the definition of Respect.

1.a particular, detail, or point (usually prec. by in): to differ in some respect.
2.relation or reference: inquiries with respect to a route.
3.esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment.
4.deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment: respect for a suspect's right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly.
5.the condition of being esteemed or honored: to be held in respect.
6.respects, a formal expression or gesture of greeting, esteem, or friendship: Give my respects to your parents.
7.favor or partiality.
8.Archaic. a consideration.
–verb (used with object) hold in esteem or honor: I cannot respect a cheat. show regard or consideration for: to respect someone's rights. refrain from intruding upon or interfering with: to respect a person's privacy. relate or have reference to.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I now know by Vegas Art Guy

I now know why I chose not to teach elementary school, because kids would die. Seriously. Today I subbed at an elementary school in the library. I had grades K-3 in the library today and while I would sub there again, I'll never teach long term at an elementary school.

Now the 3rd graders were the best of the bunch, they struggled with geography but listened pretty well and gave the work a good effort and that's what I want from students, their best shot. The kindergarten kids were also not bad, considering how young they are and that they are just learning how to read. The second grade kids did well with looking through a newspaper to find information and all of those groups had no trouble checking books in or out.

I also helped out a second grade class for a period with a writing sample about Las Vegas. I was impressed with their thought process and their willingness to write for someone they'd never seen before.

That leaves the first graders. Think of every stereotype of a school-aged kid and that was them, loud, obnoxious, deaf, etc... I made sure that the librarian who I covered for knew they were terrors. She had day long meetings so I met with her a couple of times to keep her abreast of things. The only good part was when I led the discussion about fiction vs. non-fiction books, but aside from that 10 minutes the rest was a train wreck.

I teach science tomorrow wish me and the students luck!

Friday, September 14, 2007

A complete 180 By Vegas Art Guy

Well, after yesterday's adventure in subbing, I figured that today's gig was going to be at least a bit smoother. In fact, it was the complete opposite of the behavior school and all the issues contained therein.
Today I got to sub a a local magnet middle school. My assignment was to go to three different rooms and help the kids there with their reading. Many of the kids I got the honor of helping today were reading at least 2 years behind where they should be and some of them were literally reading at the first grade level.

Now a few of them were on the cusp of getting back into a regular English classroom and one of the teachers pointed out a young man who came into 6th grade reading at the first grade level and is now at the 4th grade level. Yes, I know that he's still behind but look at how far this kid came. He basically jumped three grades in reading in one school year. My guess is that at the end of the year he'll be in a regular English class.

Now get this, and keep in mind I got paid to do this. My main job was to have the kids read to me and then I would have them tell me what they just read and what they thought about it. Now is that cool or what? Sure they stumbled over words, and a couple of them couldn't get the words out fast enough. One gal didn't think much of the main character's method's of getting the guy she had the hots for attention, she thought it was sneaky and underhanded. But they were getting it, and they were thrilled to read out loud to someone. I told several students to read about things that interested them and I gave book suggestions to one of the girls who is just about at grade level and gave the teacher some ideas for books to get that my daughter has read in the passed and really liked.

That's a job I could get used to in a hurry. Next week I have jobs 4 days next week and I think I'll get enough work to get me to October 8 when I get my own (sorta) class for the rest of the semester.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Well, THAT was interesting! By Vegas Art Guy

So, I just finished, or survived my first subbing assignment. I could have picked something easy, but no, I took the alternative school, you know the one where kids go when they get kicked out of their school and have to earn their way back in? Yea, THAT one. Jeffrey Behavioral School, and these kids were there for good reason, truancy, drugs, fighting, talking back to the teachers, that sort of thing.

Now the day started out pretty well, I had two English classes and they went pretty well. They read the short story Seventh Grade by Gary Soto, whose a great writer. They did not get all the way through it but they were catching on pretty good. Then the second period had to write down ten sentences according to the lesson plan left by the teacher. Third period was great, since it was my prep and I could relax and hope the second half went like the first. Not a chance in hell. Fifth period was OK but starting to really push my buttons. It was at that point I should have started the exodus to the dean's office, which would earn them an extra two weeks at the school. It was 6th period that was totally out of control. I sent one brat er girl down to the dean and should have sent 6 or 7 more right after that, stupid me. That class was totally out of control and it was my fault. I threatened and did not back it up. I learned my lesson for 7th period and after brat #2 got sent down for his 2 week extension things started to calm down. 8th period was just 4 boys and that went well because we talked about careers and they got into the discussion and had some good things to say.

Tomorrow I help out at a middle school so that should go better than this one did. I'd probably go back because I don't want to be the one that the kids run out of there. I'll start by stepping on necks and referring people to the dean until they get the picture. I'll let them know ahead of time to expect multiple kids from my class.

The good news in this, aside from me actually not committing a felony, is that the rate of pay is higher. Instead of $12.50/hr I get $15.28/hr, enough to buy some extra beer.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Life and More by Vegas Art Guy

I got to spend the day observing the class that I will be taking over in October for a teacher who is expecting her first child. (Thanks again Karlana) She is an excellent teacher and I hope that I can be half the teacher she is now. I'll be teaching US History to 9th graders for the remainder of the semester. Three of the classes are regular ones and three are honors classes. Mrs Fogila is also going to allow me to teach a couple of my own lessons in addition to the ones that she has already set up. She also gave me a copy of the power point presentations that I'll be able to use (and fix up) while I am in her class. Needless to say, I am very excited about this chance. I decided by that much to teach English instead of History so I won't be flying blind with this subject like I would with science or math classes.

Now on to other matters...
While perusing my emails, I ran across an interesting breakpoint commentary by Chuck Colson dealing with the sub-prime crisis and the forgotten third leg of the economic stool. It's a fairly short read and well worth the time. There is a line in the Bible that goes along the lines of man's inability to serve two masters.

It's also worth noting the passing of Dr. D. James Kennedy, of complications following a heart attack late last year. Alan Seers writes a nice obituary here. He did his best to live his life by the beliefs that he preached from the pulpit. I was lucky enough to hear many of them on the radio, and even when I did not totally agree with him or his guests (I'm not a young earth creationist), I was always impressed with how he backed up his statements and the amount of time he took to prepare his lessons for his congregation. He will be missed by many around the world, including this desert rat.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

She said what? By Vegas Art Guy

Whoppi Goldberg has decided to defend the indefensible. Yes, she actually had the gall to defend Mike Vick (now a convicted felon) and dog fighting. What, exactly, is she on? I don't care if it's part of the 'culture', dog fighting is brutal, and a felony is still a felony.

Let me ask you something Whoppi. The Jim Crow laws were part of Southern Culture for 100 years or so, why don't we bring those back too? Oh, wait those were wrong too!

Why do people continue to defend the indefensible? Why do people continue to make excuses for Mike Vick and his role in the dog fighting ring?


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Freedom Writers by Vegas Art Guy

Saturday night my wife and I watched the movie Freedom Writers based on the work done by Erin Gruwell at Woodrow Wilson HS in Long Beach CA. Ms. Gruwell took a bunch of unteachable at risk kids and allowed them to discover the human buried deep within. She had to convince not just her kids that they were worth a damn but the administrators and fellow teachers as well, many of whom had written off these kids long ago.

What really struck me, besides her dedication and pure will was the asinine attitude of the administration and her fellow teachers. More than once, my jaw hit the sofa as I listened to these so called educators tell Erin what reality really was.

I just hope that I can be half the teacher she is.

Click here for more information on the book and the movie.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Difference by Vegas Art Guy

There is a fundamental difference between the two parties and the news makes that difference stark.

Item #1: The GOP is working to force disgraced senator Larry Craig to resign. The GOP has told Craig that they will actively work to unseat him in next year's primary and will not support him in any way shape or form after his guilty plea. In fact Idaho's Governor has already picked his replacement.

Item #2: The Democrats fugitive fundraiser.

This gentleman has raised large amounts of money for many of the leading candidates including Hillary Clinton. Funny how out of all that money they returned pennies on the dollar.
You can read more about this fellow at:
Burkean Reflections
Oxford Medievalist, Double Dip!

My point, and I do have one is that while democrats like William Jefferson are still in office and no pressure that I have found has been put on him to resign, the GOP tends to do the opposite.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

What's more American? By Vegas Art Guy

I was listening to music via digital cable this morning and somethings been bugging me all day.
What's a more American form of music? Jazz or Blues? They're uniquely American and have a long history to back it up.

Can you help an art guy out here?

Which is it and why?

Now before you start typing asking why I didn't include rock in this discussion I have two words for you...

British Invasion

And I don't want to hear about country music either so don't bother...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It finally hit me! By Vegas Art Guy

I am actually a licensed substitute teacher, complete with a badge and everything. I took a long look at my Xerox shirt this morning, knowing that my time with them was rapidly drawing to a close.

Even though I'm excited about this opportunity, I'm also nervous and sad. Xerox gave me a second chance in the valley and they've been very good to me and it was not as easy as I had thought to leave Xerox for the world of education.

I'm of two minds about blogging about subbing. I don't know if I am going to do it here, or make a new blog dedicated just to the wonderful world of education.

What do you think? Should I make a new blog just for the subbing or include it here with the usual suspects?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Crisis of Faith by Vegas Art Guy

Time magazine had an article detailing the crisis of faith suffered by Mother Teresa. At first glance it looked like an attack on one of the great Christians in the last oh, 150 years or so. But once I had really gotten into the article I realized that God was merely answering her prayer to share in Christ's suffering. I shall pass on noting that you really need to be careful on what you ask God to give you. ;)

Every Christian worth their salt has had at least one real crisis where they felt like God was nowhere to be found. It could have been a marriage that fell apart, or getting molested by a family member. It could be an addiction, or an accident, job loss or a myriad of other things that may or may not be caused by them.

I have been through them, my pastor has been through a few doozies and now we know that Mother Teresa had them as well. Simply because God looks like he's not paying attention and does not care, the opposite is true. He does see and He does care. He never promised us an easy life, we're going to have great times and horrible ones. I wish it weren't so, but it is. He did promise to be with us every step of the way.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Books by Vegas Art Guy

Over at the The Oxford Medievalist, Angevin13 has an interesting point about the reading habits of both the left and the right. His list of books that he has read was well... not exactly Louis L'Amour or Danielle Steele to say the least. One of the commenter's suggested he read some fiction to lighten up and suggested Get Shorty to start with.

Of course as an English major I had to toss my 2¢ in with some suggestions, and no I did not suggest Shakespeare. I did however suggest some other books that he and his readers may like. Now I am going to throw it out to my reading audience about good books to read, and in case you're curious and too lazy (shame on you) to visit his blog, here is the list I suggested:

So got any good books?

Are you Efffing Kidding Me? By Vegas Art Guy

This is just fricking nuts. Have we lost all sense of reason and respect of law? So once you're here in the US you're no longer an illegal alien? Is this some kind of a sick joke? Why are those judges not up for impeachment? If you're here illegally, you're already breaking the law. Do we need to make one more law specifying that if you sneak across the border and don't get caught that your continued presence here is a crime? Isn't that why illegal is in front of immigrant?

What the hell am I missing here?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Should we forgive and forget? by Vegas Art Guy

Now that Mike Vick has pled guilty and will soon be sentenced to 1-2 years in the big house. The question is do we forgive and forget once he's done his time.

I posed the same question here on Wet Canvas. So far the answer on the poll is split between hell no and it depends on what he does after he gets out. Keep in mind that the NFL may ban him for life for his role in this dog fighting ring. Most likely he'll get at least a one year suspension at which point he'll probably get a shot a resuming his career. This suspension will take place after he gets out so it could be 3 years before Vick even gets a shot at playing in the NFL. I don't know about the Arena League or the CFL.

Look, Vick is now a felon, but at some point he should be able to try to make something of his life. One of the reasons why so many convicts go back to prison is that we don't forgive and forget, especially in the business world. If we want people to not go back to jail then at some point we need to let them start over.

Obviously some people need to be separated from society, pedophiles, serial rapists, etc. can't be rehabilitated. But for the people who did something really dumb or were feeding an addiction we need to be able to forgive and forget.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The 10 Best by Vegas Art Guy

So over on Wetcanvas there is a discussion about the 10 best rock albums of all time. This discussion is based on this result from a Seattle station. What they do is have people vote on the 102 best albums ever and then go from there. When I looked at the list I was stunned.

5. WHO: WHO’S NEXT 1971

Wow, so no great rock has been produced since 1980? I judge great albums to be ones that not just stand the test of time but also really influence everything that comes after. And yet no Metallica, no Nirvana or Pearl Jam. No Blondie or Sex Pistols? Really? And Queen gets one album?

What are they on and how come they're not sharing?
AC/DC's best is Back in Black? Grand Illusion is the best Styx came up with? Uh, no that would be Pieces of Eight or Paradise Theatre.

Anyway, have at it. Go ahead and tell me what you think the list should look like

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I made it!!! By Vegas Art Guy

YES! I will be substituting in the fall! I am very very excited to say the least. My application has been in review since the 6th of August and with school starting on the 27th I was very very nervous.

The main reason for this is that you have to explain to the school district any terminations or disciplines in your professional life. Well I had the twofer from the same company, AVW-Telav who not only wrote me up but fired me for no stated reason in January of 2003. To be honest I think this was an honesty test from the school district because I could have lied and said everything was fine. After all the only question that a company can legally answer is if you're eligible for rehire or not.

I made a huge leap of faith and was honest about what happened at my former employer and wrote them a letter explaining why I got fired. I figured that God would not have had brought me this far just to toss me off the cliff. But then again maybe there was some lesson regarding perseverance I still needed to be taught. Needless to say I had lots of sleepless nights.

Now I can get some valuable experience in the classroom while I am getting my teaching degree.

Thanks to Navy Blue, Clever and everyone else who has been cheering me on. It means tons...

Where did the water go? Part 2 by Vegas Art Guy

Back in June I blogged about the lowering levels in the Great Lakes especially my beloved Lake Superior. Today while perusing for news on the NBA betting scandal I ran across this article on fox news regarding how continual dredging and other commercial activities are exacerbating this problem for both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Here is a beginning of that article:

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — A "drain hole" in the St. Clair River caused by dredging and other commercial projects is costing Lakes Huron and Michigan a combined 2.5 billion gallons of water each day, according to a Canadian study released Tuesday.

Look I'm not a tree hugger by any stretch of the imagination, but come on! We certainly can do better than this. The Great Lakes are vital parts of two countries and several states. They are used for shipping, tourism, fishing and more. This 'hole' the article describes needs to be dealt with and now.

Maybe the Goracle could do something useful and bring some attention to this problem since it's an actual issue that needs to be dealt with. Oh, wait that means dealing with reality, can't have that now can we?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More tidbits to chew on by Vegas Art Guy

Today is certainly a target rich environment for bloggers! After perusing all the news fit to print, or not. I decided to focus on these two nuggets.

The first nugget is the fact that Hugo Chavez, the fearless lover of democracy and all things Anti-Bush is going to re-write the constitution so that he go from El Presidente to Thug for life.

As the article on reports:

"Chavez, who is seeking to transform Venezuelan society along socialist lines, unexpectedly announced late Tuesday that he would unveil his project before crowds of supporters at the National Assembly. He predicted it would bring renewed political upheaval to Venezuela.
Chavez's political allies firmly control the National Assembly responsible for reviewing his proposal as well as the Supreme Court
. His critics accuse him of becoming obsessed with power and seeking to become a lifelong leader just like his close friend Fidel Castro.
Chavez rejects allegations that he poses a threat to democracy.

The Venezuelan leader predicted that most people would support his proposal to reform the constitution, but he also forecast the beginning of a tenacious political battle with the nation's opposition.

"I have faith that we are going to convince the immense majority of Venezuelans of the necessity and the immediate benefits that this is going to bring the country," Chavez said during a televised interview."

Who exactly is going to benefit from this Hugo ole buddy? Certainly not the average Venezuelan, so that leaves you and your political allies. This is why our founders made it so difficult to change the Constitution of the US, to avoid horsecrap like this.

Power truly does corrupt.

The second offering is dedicated to the Goracle and his loyal followers regarding the inconvient truth about his inconvient truth...

A Washington, D.C., resident recently came across a 1922
article that revealed early signs of climate change.

John Lockwood found a 1922 article in The Washington Post when he
was conducting research at the Library of Congress. The article's headline read: "Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt," according to a report in the Washington Times.

The article reports "great masses of ice have now been replaced by moraines of earth and stones," and "at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared."

Click here to read the Washington Times story.

Lockwood said he's discovered other articles from the 1920s and 1930s on the same
subject."I had read of the just-released NASA estimates, that four of the 10 hottest years in the U.S. were actually in the 1930s, with 1934 the hottest of all," Lockwood said."

I love it when reality intrudes on the fantasy land that many on the left live in. Last I checked humans are responsible for about 3.5% of the CO2 that is released into the atmosphere every year. I do agree that we need to take better care of our planet, but I refuse to fall for the global warming claptrap that is eminating from the left. Go hug your tree and let rational people deal with this...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More Mike Vick by Vegas Art Guy

Things are now really getting interesting in the Mike Vick dogfighting case. The first bit of news is that the NFL has not made a decision despite all the rumours swirling around the offices in New York City. I'm sure the commissioner will make a decision and soon. Judging from the suspensions that he has handed out this year, expect Vick to face a long suspension, possibly the entire season for violating the good conduct policy that is standard fare in all NFL contracts.

The more interesting part is that the feds are offering Vick a plea deal and that his other two co-defendants are now going to testify against him. Vick has until Friday to agree or the feds are going to file additional charges against him. Ouch, the noose really is starting to tighten around him.

I've blogged on this case here and here chronicling the fall of this once great player.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Tidbits by Vegas Art Guy

For as little as $20.00/month you can land yourself in jail, er get revenge on those who have wronged you.

No, I'm not kidding although I really wish I were. I understand wanting to get even with people, but to start breaking the law is just dumb. The worst part is that when the UK government started to investigate the site owners started practicing what they were preaching.


Item #2...

McDonald's is getting sued for $10,000,000 because they didn't hold the cheese. Yea, you read that right. If I had an allergy like that, I'd make damn sure that the burgers were totally cheese free. Seriously, at some point people have to start taking responsibility for their lives. If you want a nanny state move to Canada or Europe for crying out loud.

Item #3...

A teacher in England wanted to give her students something to practice their handwriting with. Yea, you guessed it, it was from a muslim prayer. Any chance a teacher anywhere would do the same with a Christian prayer in a public school?

H/T Reader Clever for item #2
H/T Opinionnation for item #3

Friday, August 10, 2007

Arming Teachers in Las Vegas by Vegas Art Guy

The Las Vegas Sun had an interesting article dealing with arming teachers. This new idea revolves around making some teachers at all levels (kindergarten through college) reserve police officers capable of bearing arms while in the classroom. This proposal is different than the one that Bob Beers had to allow teachers to carry concealed weapons in the classroom after they had done 40 hours of training. (I was also in favor of that)

As the article states:

"To become reserve campus police officers, teachers would have to pass a physical and psychological evaluation, as well as a comprehensive background check. Those who make it through the selection process would have to pay about $1,190 for classes at the community college's Law Enforcement Training Academy, including "Firearms I & II" "Defensive Tactics/Physical Training" and "Introduction to Juvenile Justice." An additional $1,000 would be required for the academy uniforms and equipment.

After completing the training, teachers would be responsible for $1,500 in uniform and equipment costs, although their guns would be provided by the school police department. School districts would then have to pay the auxiliary officers $3,000 annually. "

Now I'd be willing to be there are some veterans and former police officers who would be willing to pitch in and help if this were passed. Personally I think it's a great idea that deserves serious consideration, if we truly value our kids and their ability to get an education then providing a secure environment for them should be part and parcel of the deal. This goes double for inner city schools and colleges that are in bad parts of town like San Jose State or USC. Imagine if there had been a couple of officers at VA Tech when that shooting occurred, think the death toll would have been a bit lower?

Our kids and our teachers deserve better security than they get now, anything that will improve that without breaking the bank should be implemented and the sooner the better.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A True Class Act by Vegas Art Guy

While perusing the web I ran across this article at, that talked about how Billy Graham is dealing with the loss of his wife Ruth. It's truly amazing how he is still positive about life after all he's been through.

After reading that article I saw this one in the side bar under related stories. In short it talked about how Billy Graham helped Hillary Clinton during the Monica Lewenski scandal and the relationship that he has with the Clinton's and many political leaders. Surprised? You shouldn't be. Billy was simply doing what was right, helping someone who was floundering in a difficult situation. Say what you want about Hillary, and I've plenty to say, but the fact that she forgave him is a good thing.

Of all the modern Christian leaders Billy Graham is at the top of my list. These two articles are a good illustration of why I hold him in such high esteem.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Sexual Harrasment and Gay Pride by Vegas Art Guy

Saw this story via the Point Blog. Now I don't have a problem with the San Diego Fire Department having an engine in the parade. That's all fine and dandy, this is America after all. What I do mind is the fact that these men were forced to be there against their wishes. I'd be willing to bet that some willing volunteers could have been found to march in the parade and drive the truck. Instead these men were forced via a direct order to march in the Parade against their wishes.

These same firefighters filed a sexual harassment complaint (warning graphic language) and rightfully so. A hostile work enviornment is a hostile work enviornment.

Finally I have to say that the Christian protesters at this event need to get reminded of the faith they claim to have. Telling these same firefighters that they're going to burn in hell for marching in the parade is just asinine. Romans 12:18 anyone?

More on the NBA Scandal by Vegas Art Guy

For those of you who don't follow the NBA, a betting scandal has erupted involving a referee fixing games for the mob. In short Tim Donaghy has been under investigation for betting on games in the NBA including ones that he was working at. Right now Las Vegas Sports Consultants have been hired to help the NBA look at betting patterns over the last two years to see if they can spot a pattern that would help them and the FBI determine if it's just one referee or several that are involved.

CBS has a great article detailing how a referee can alter the outcome of a game, specifically with the over/under for a game. For those who don't gamble the over/under is a bet where you wager on the total points that both teams score in a game. If the over/under for an NBA game is 198 1/2, and you take the over, you are betting that the total points will be 199 or greater. If you take the under you think that the total points will be 198 or lower. A few calls either way can move the over/under enough to put the total where the ref (and the mob) wants. If the ref wants a low scoring game, all he has to do is blow his whistle a bit more and the star player(s) have to sit on the bench so they don't foul out. If the ref wants the total to go over he can either sit on his whistle or spread fouls around until both teams are in the bonus which leads to more points scored.

Not surprisingly this scandal erupted due to illegal gambling and you can't blame legal sports books for this. Las Vegas has too much to lose to risk cheating. Trust is paramount in gambling, the casinos know that if you even think the house is cheating you'll take your money someplace else.

This scandal is going to touch other sports as well, as now every close call will really be under the microscope and whispers will start to be heard.

On sports radio stations I've heard more than once that college football refs need to be looked at as well. They work part time and have a reputation of playing favorites especially for home teams. Nor are they highly paid for what they do. They'd be ripe for bribery, especially considering the amount of money that is bet on football, and how much is riding on every game. One or two losses and you're out of the national title picture in Division I football. Personally there is no reason why the referees in college sports should not be full time employees. It's not like the NCAA isn't literally swimming in money from the fat football and basketball TV contracts they have. But I have a feeling that won't change until a similar scandal erupts in the collegiate ranks.

In addition, Major League Baseball is trying to negotiate with the umpire's union to get better background checks added to the employment process to help stop a similar scandal from tainting their already tainted product. I will have to give Bud Selig credit for being proactive here and the union grief for opposing this. Heck I have to go through a background check for teaching, is it too much to ask that we make sure our officials are on the up and up?

In addition it looks like congress is going to get involved as well. Anything to keep from draining that swamp I guess.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

14 years ago today by Vegas Art Guy

Today is my 14th wedding anniversary. Seems like yesterday my wife and I made our vows and committed our lives to each other. The Pastor gave us three things that we could use to keep our marriage together.




I would add faith to that list. Faith in each other and faith in God.
Marriage isn't easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

I am truly the luckiest man alive today and richly blessed.

Friday, August 03, 2007

This is an interesting... By Vegas Art Guy,CST-NWS-race01.article

A professor got himself into hot water by wondering aloud if Jew's rigorous study of their holy texts is one reason why the pass the bar exam at a higher rate than black student's whose churches are more emotionally driven and less rigorous in biblical study.

This, of course, got turned into a racial issue and the professor lost a 5% raise and was disciplined. He has finally resorted to the legal system for remedy. This is sad because I think that the professor raised some valid questions about religious study and study habits in general.
Churches run the gamut on biblical study from lots of study to none at all.

The one I attend falls in the middle. I have done small groups that do bible study and ones that don't. The services are heavy on Biblical references but the lessons are heavy on real life application and not pure study and discussion. Bible study is certainly encouraged but not mandated at our church. However the point the professor makes is a valid one I believe. Because their studies are rigorous, it better prepares them for the bar.

It never should have turned into a racial issue, the complaining students should have know that in the first place.

More Problems for Mike Vick by Vegas Art Guy

Fair warning... This is one story I will cover on a regular basis so expect to see plenty of Mike Vick as new information becomes relevant.

Mike Vick's troubles with the law continue. After getting indicted on 16 charges for dog fighting, one of his co-defendants has decided to testify against him. In addition, the NFL has suspended him for violating the good conduct policy that is a standard part of all contracts pending the outcome of their investigation and the outcome of the legal proceedings.

In addition Rawlings has ended its relationship with Vick, as has Upper Deck, Donruss and Reebok. Simply the fact that he's associated with the underground culture of dogfighting was enough to make those companies disassociate themselves with Vick.

Now Mike still has his supporters. The NAACP has urged restraint reminding people (correctly) that he is innocent until proven guilty. This view I happen to agree with, especially considering other high profile cases (Kobe Bryant and Duke) where there was a rush to judgement before all the facts were in.

Micheal Irvin is also supporting Vick and does not like the fact that he cannot attend camp saying that when he went through his own legal troubles that football was his only refuge. Not to pick nits here Mikey boy, but having a drug problem is one thing, most people can identify with an addiction at some level, but dog fighting is a totally different animal if you will. Most clear thinking people can't identify with a sport that reeks of brutality and death like they can with someone fighting a drug addiction.

And we can't forget Neon Deion Sanders who wrote a column that he probably should not have. I have a question for Mr. Sanders... How exactly are we using Mike Vick? He is getting his day in court just like every other defendant. He's not the only guy ever busted for this but he's also a public figure and he and his handlers should have known better.

Mike's troubles are just beginning, stay tuned this is going to be a very interesting case to follow.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A couple of eye catchers by Vegas Art Guy

What is it with these people? Don't they get the fact that when you're a Christian pastor that everything you do is going to get taken apart with a fine toothed comb and any screw up is going to get national press?

Take this gem of a pastor in Tennessee. He gets drunk on vodka and oxycodone then relieves himself at a car wash in front of kids then offers the cops a sexual favor. Oh and did I mention the fact that he was wearing a skirt? It's idiots like him that make real Christians and Christian leaders lives miserable because people don't trust them due to the idiocy of people like this.

I don't blame them either, you can't tell people the good news when you're in a skirt, drunk and offering sexual favors, the message rings a bit hollow to the audience.

H/T Drudge Report and WGAL Channel 8

The other item that caught my eye was this:

Fred Thompson has an interesting article at, discussing how the democrats are once again playing politics with judicial appointments. Why is it that when a democrat is the president, the republicans honor his appointments but the democrats forget their job when a republican is President. Is their hatred of Bush that strong or is this another example of their on-going power grab?

Probably a bit of both if you ask this desert rat.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Stupid Girls Pt. II

Funny how some things never seem to change! Stupid Girl Lindsay Lohan had barely gotten out of rehab when she was arrested again for DUI and felony cocaine possession. According to reports she had a BAC of .12 was booked on two counts of DUI, driving on a suspended license (where have we heard that one before?), as well as possession of cocaine and transportation of a narcotic into a custody facility. She was released after posting a $25,000 bond. Needless to say she's in deep trouble this time. If she thought 23 days in jail was bad for po' Paris, wait until she gets the book thrown at her for this exercise in stupidity. This goes back to the point I made in my earlier post that having wealth and power can't save you from your own stupid decisions.

Stupid Girls indeed.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Vacation and more by Vegas Art Guy

So, I'll be on vacation all next week, returning to the desert on the 29th. I do have a couple of thoughts to leave you with.

The first is the dogfighting ring that Mike Vick was indicted for running out of one of his homes and travelled across state lines to fights. How stupid can people be? One, race has nothing to do with it, this is about the cruel and inhumane treatment of dogs, you know, man's best friend?

He's in deep trouble over this because they are federal charges and not state ones. The feds don't mess around and most sane people have a visceral dislike to dogfighting these days. If he gets convicted of these charges and the IRS ones that are likely to follow (think he reported his winnings as 'income'?) his career is over. Nike has already delayed the launch of his new shoe until the dust settles on this.

The second is the betting scandal that involves an NBA referee. I'll be honest, I don't think this would have happened in Las Vegas because of all the internal and external policing that goes on here. Even though the sports books are in competition with each other, they will not hesitate to contact other books when any whiff of suspicious activity goes on. Bets, betting trends, and who's laying them are all analyzed for suspicious behavior. Things go sideways when the mob gets involved, once they get their hooks in you, you're dead meat.

The NBA is really going to have it's hands full with this one. David Stern needs to be very transparent with this issue and not try to hide anything even things that make the NBA look bad because a little pain now is preferable to lots of pain later. The refs themselves are also going to have to open their closets to make sure this is an isolated incident and do everything they can to avoid this in the future.

I'll see every one in a week, try to stay cool and avoid the truthberry punch kool aid!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Flashback by Vegas Art Guy

I was watching a History Channel Special on the Doomsday clock. This clock measured how close we were to doomsday and started shortly after WWII. It's gone from 15 minutes to midnight to about 5 minutes to midnight and back again depending on events like the cold war, SALT talks etc.

While this was interesting what made me remember this was one small scene that is still seared in my memory. That of airplanes slamming into the WTC on 9/11. I had not really thought about that terrible day in quite a while. And while the pictures of the buildings, ground zero and all that reminded me of that attack, the reaction wasn't the same. But when that airplane slammed into the tower I was brought back almost 6 years, and when the buildings fell I had tears in my eyes and a heavy feeling in my heart as those people ran for their lives among the death and destruction brought about by Al-Queda.

I hope that nobody ever forgets 9/11 and why we were attacked. If you ever get the chance watch the documentary that was filmed that day by a pair of French Filmmakers who were following around some of NYC's bravest. It shows both the best and worst humanity has to offer and is a stark reminder of the evil that faces us.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Why we hearken back by Vegas Art Guy

So why do many hearken back to the Reagan presidency anyway? Was the world that much simpler? Are we simply viewing those 8 years through rose colored glasses? Too much red state kool-aid? What is it about his administration that makes us all warm and fuzzy?

It's a few things actually. First and foremost, Reagan understood something that many in the GOP have forgotten. In most cases government is the problem, not the solution! He understood that in order to make our country as successful as possible that government needed to get out of the way and allow her citizens to do what we do best. He cut taxes, instructed his cabinet to go on a diet, cut red tape and then we did the rest.

Secondly he was not afraid to call evil, evil. He understood that you can't appease dictators and that the USSR was an 'Evil Empire' that needed to be defeated. In order to do this he did a couple of things. He supported anti communist forces like the contras. He increased military spending and development, trusting that we could not just increase the size of our military to match the USSR but that we could and did develop better tanks, aircraft and naval craft. You can't leave out SDI either. "Star Wars" as the press decried it was the final piece of the puzzle. It rendered MAD obsolete because we could shoot down their missiles and they could do nothing in return. It worried the USSR so much that they tried to get Reagan to cancel it during the 1986 talks in Iceland. Reagan not only denied this request but simply walked out of the meetings. What we didn't know at the time is that the Soviet economy was on the brink of collapse because Reagan simply out spent the Russians, knowing that their economic system was a corrupt as their political system. In addition he was not afraid to take military action either. After shooting down two Libyan MiGs, the Libyans bombed a nightclub in Germany killing some servicemen and innocent civilians alike. Once we knew that Libya was responsible, Reagan slapped them around, bombing military and economic targets alike. The result? We didn't hear much from them again until they gave up their WMD programs a few years ago. (The MSM really covered that story as well didn't they?) He knew that if this challenge went unanswered, that the terror would only increase. He did the right thing despite the howling from the democrats and the far left.

Finally, he came into office with a clear set of goals that he wanted to accomplish and then picked good people to put them into place. As long as the methods fell under his general guidelines his subordinates could come up with the best solution for the problem. This meant that from day 1 his administration could get to work and in addition it allowed them to drive policy and kept the press from controlling things because they were constantly reacting to the administration and not the other way around. As I remarked earlier, this was his one weakness and led to the Iran-Contra scandal because John Poindexter and Ollie North took advantage of their relative freedom and went down a path that Reagan didn't see coming and didn't want to go down.

Because the GOP had forgotten the Reagan model and his beliefs, they got their butt's kicked in 2006. If the GOP wants to retain the White House and regain control of congress and the senate, they're going to have to go back to the Reagan model. If it's not broke, don't fix it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

%*@#$ computer! By Vegas Art Guy

Sums it up doesn't? Tuesday for unknown reasons (no it's not Bush's fault!) my computer no longer powers up. After taking it to the local CompUSA where I bought it (no surprise it worked fine for the tech) I had to call tech support to have someone come out and look at it. Thank goodness I paid extra to have the extended warranty on that high tech piece of...

Anyway, the part the tech needs should show up in a couple of days, then I get to call the tech line back to arrange for the tech to replace either the power supply or the mother(effen) board. Meanwhile I have to access my personal email at the library and blog from elsewhere.

The good news is that I'll have more time to finish some reading and my latest art project. Wish me luck that I get my computer back up and soon.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Ronnie by The Vegas Art Guy

Now that school is out, I was able to start some serious reading. I just finished a book by Peter Wallison that talked about how Reagan governed in DC and why this style was both his greatest strength and his weakness.

Unlike many Presidents, Reagan came into office with not only a clear plan of what he wanted to do, but he also knew how he wanted to do it. He focused on a few clear goals, reducing the size of government, lowering taxes, defeating the USSR and allowing people to reach their full potential here in the USA.

He would then articulate those ideas to the members of his cabinet, who would then implement his ideas. As long as the end was accomplished, he allowed the people under him to come up with the best way to implement what he wanted done. By delegating his authority to the experts (something that good business managers do all the time) Reagan was able to focus his attention on the big picture. This worked very well for the first six years of his administration. Because Reagan had a set plan from day one, his administration were able to keep the press's attention on what he wanted to accomplish and why, in effect the press was not driving the activity of the administration like they had with many others.

This policy also hamstrung him with Iran/Contra. Because he did not involve himself in the day to day dealings of everything that went on (and realistically, he couldn't) and because he was not cynical by nature, it allowed the possibility of this scandal to occur.

Reagan gave conflicting testimony because he was unaware of what Poindexter and North were doing and why they were doing it. Now before you start sputtering and saying something along the lines of "Well he should have known!" ask yourself this. Would Anne M. Mulcahy be expected to know what's going on at every Xerox account in N. America? Of course not! That's the job of the Field and District Managers, her job is to keep the big picture in mind and to keep Xerox growing and thriving. You can't expect her to know what's going on in Las Vegas any more than we should expect the President to know what every person in their administration is doing at any one time.

Once Reagan got the full picture of what happened (not easy because North and Poindexter covered everything up) he was able to dismiss them, apologize and get his administration back on track.

Reagan was truly a great president, but he like all great leaders was not perfect and had his failures and shortcomings.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Stupid Girls by The Vegas Art Guy

Stupid Girls

“You pretend you're high
Pretend you're bored
Pretend you're anything
Just to be adored
And what you need
Is what you get

Don't believe in fear
Don't believe in faith
Don't believe in anything
That you can't break

You stupid girl
You stupid girl
All you had you wasted
All you had you wasted”

Those are the lyrics to the song “Stupid Girl” by the band Garbage. I picked those lyrics because they embody the attitude of characters in two stories that I am going to talk about, and how their stories relate to today’s pop culture and a couple of infamous pop tarts.

The first story that I am going to discuss is “Daisy Miller: A Study” by Henry James. In this story a young rich American girl named Daisy Miller travels through Europe breaking every social taboo she can get her hands on. The rules and social mores that guided how European society operated were to be bent, used and ignored depending on how she felt at the moment. It’s also worth mentioning that she was an American and the rules in the United States were different than those in Europe. However, she had been in Europe long enough to know right from wrong in social settings, and she enjoyed upsetting the social structure simply because she could. She’s a master at getting her own way and has a crowd of male admirers orbiting around her like the moon orbits the earth. Her father is nowhere to be found, her mother can’t control her little brother, much less Daisy, and she comes and goes as she pleases. One of these men, named Randolph Winterborne, who starts out totally captivated by Daisy and ends up distancing himself from her at the end.

In her world everything and everyone is hers to use at her pleasure. She doesn’t help rein in her little brother because if her mother is too tired to keep tabs on what she is doing and whom she’s doing it with Daisy can then come and go as she pleases. All the men in her life are there to take her places usually without any sort of chaperone, which was a huge deal those days because ‘good’ girls don’t do things like that in Europe. She, like many people of wealth and privilege likes to think the rules don’t apply to her. Daisy continues to push the envelope and eventually ends up dead as result of her poor decisions.

In the short story “Winter Dreams”, written by F. Scott Fiztgerald, Dexter Green becomes addicted to Judy Jones, a young rich hussy who flits from sexual partner to sexual partner, never wondering or caring about the cost of her lifestyle. Dexter meets her at a party she is holding while her parents are on vacation and he instantly falls under her spell. Even though Dexter and many of her other lovers know about each other, they have all fallen under her spell, and when she beckons, they come running. Dexter is no different, even ruining his marriage in order to have one last fling with Judy. Finally he moves far away from her and just when he thinks he’s heard the last of Judy Jones he finds out that not only did she get married but that her husband is militantly unfaithful to her. Although Dexter gets little satisfaction out of this information, most readers certainly do.

Finally we have the real life examples of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. Both of these young ladies have made the headlines with their poor decisions, fondness for alcohol, and a penchant for breaking social taboos as they see fit.

Paris Hilton just finished up a 23-day stint for a probation violation stemming from an earlier drunk-driving incident in which she pledged not to drive until her license was reinstated. Now since she swims in hundred dollar bills, it’s not like she couldn’t afford to hire a driver to take her from place to place, she just figured that the laws of the land didn’t apply to her. Her story has gotten so much attention that recently Mika Brzezinski refused to lead the news on MSNBC with the latest in the Paris saga and literally tried to burn the story on air. This follows incidents where photographs of intimate body parts were taken as she exited vehicles and partied at local hot spots. In addition, one of her ex lovers had video taped them while they were having some private time and then turned that private time into an adult movie ala Pamela and Tommy Lee. Needless to say she’s managed to combine the worst traits of both Judy and Daisy Miller into one blonde mug shot. Yea, that’s “Hot” alright.

Although Lindsay Lohan hasn’t yet starred in any adult films, she is facing the same legal problem stemming from a crash in late May where she tested at double the legal limit for alcohol. Keep in mind that she’s not yet 21 years old so you can add that to her legal troubles. Lindsay is also in rehab for her alcohol problems, something that she has in common with her father. Now that the Paris saga is over, expect Lindsay to push important things like the war on terror off the front pages and lead stories of newspapers and broadcasts.

As the four ladies have found out to their detriment and even early death, money and prestige cannot save you from your own poor decisions. They all thought that they were either bullet proof or made of Teflon due to their wealth, prestige or social standing. Instead they all learned the hard way that in the end, what you do will eventually catch up with you. Stupid girls indeed.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

All Slaughters are not equal... by The Vegas Art Guy

Michael Yon, who is currently covering the real war in Iraq has reported on the true face of the enemy in Iraq. Be warned, the photos are brutal to look at, so if you have a tender stomach scroll past them. Long story short, AQI is not above depopulating villages that don't subscribe to their brand of Islam. Recently US and Iraqi soldiers happened across what was the village of al Hamira. The village was abandoned with the exception of booby trapped roads, animals and houses. The question on every one's mind "Where are the villagers?" was answered soon enough in a nearby palm grove where the smell of dead bodies were overwhelming.

At last report the total body count in the palm grove was 14. What has made many online very angry is the lack of reporting on this story by the MSM. While every coalition soldier's death is reported along with every mistake, abuse and other blunder by the MSM with huge headlines and lead story status, the silence regarding the barbarity of Al Queda and their ilk is staggering, but not surprising. Why would the media, who hate Bush with a passion, do anything to help him out? Why would they reverse themselves on their mantra of "Iraq is a failure", "Cut & Run", or any other idiocy? Because that would mean admitting they were wrong about many things. The nature of the enemy in Iraq, the real story about Iraq, President Bush and a great many things regarding the war on terror.

Their failure to report on stories like this is why more and more people are using the new media to get their news, the old guard is to interesting in pushing politics to accurately report on what's really happening in Iraq and around the world to be trusted, and their declining circulation and viewership is a direct result of this poor journalism.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Gridlock in DC by The Vegas Art Guy


The very name conjures up images of huge traffic jams where tempers flare and time stands still. In Washington it's used to show how the system is broken and in need of repair... or is it?

Would it surprise you to learn that gridlock is built into how we make laws? Separation of powers, a bicameral legislature and an independent judiciary are all designed to make sure that it's very difficult to pass legislation in Washington DC.

Our founding fathers wanted to make sure that power was not usurped into the hands of a few, so they dispersed power into three branches and then allowed all the competing interests fight with each other knowing that change would come at a snails pace when no crisis was facing the country and that in times of war the country would come together out of self preservation, much like the Greek City States did in ancient times.

The result is that many times legislation does not get passed unless it's either very routine or in response to a true crisis. The minority party has enough power most times to scuttle legislation it does not like. That's why the filibuster in the Senate and procedural rules in the house are in place, not to irritate the average citizen but to protect them and us, from the government.

So the next time you hear or read about gridlock in DC, don't be alarmed, it means the system is working.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Surge Part III by Vegas Art Guy

Update #1...
Iraq the Model has got more news on the effectiveness of the new strategy employed in Iraq. The authors of this blog live in Iraq and are an excellent source of information regarding what is really going on over there. In short the Iraqis are really starting to turn on the insurgents and have thrown their lot in with the coalition troops.

"Iraqis are awakening, one very telling example can be seen in the ongoing operation in Diyala; members of the 1920 revolution brigades, once bitter enemies of the US military and Iraqi government are now assisting US and Iraqi military in fighting al-Qaeda even though the majority of the Iraqi soldiers and officers are Shia.
If the change in exclusively Sunni Anbar is good then the change in Diyala is good beyond words."

Need I say more about what's going on? This is a far cry from what you hear in the news about Iraq and the quagmire it's become.

Over at Burkean Reflections, Dr. Douglas has an interesting read about the military strategy behind the Surge in Iraq. Despite what Senator Reid and many on the left believe, the early signs, while mixed, are becoming more and more positive, especially in the Anbar province, once considered enemy territory.

I've commented here, here and here about Iraq, Iran's role in Iraq, and some well deserved justice for Iraqi kurds. In short there is more going on here than the MSM lets on too. Considering the liberal leanings of the MSM I'm not a bit surprised by this.

His opinion and the testimony that he's reacting to are both easy to read and very informative. One of the biggest surprises about this new strategy is the stunning success in Anbar where we now have the support and cooperation of local and tribal leaders in the fight against Al Queda and the like.

Michael Yon has also seen first hand the effects of this new strategy and mistakes by AQ as noted in Betsy's Page, who also has some good insights into what is actually happening in Iraq.

One of the most interesting things that I read in the article is that security has to be established before real political progress can be made. And while things are far from over and the Iraq's ability to defend themselves has progressed unevenly, it is progressing. Obviously it's going to take some time to undo the mistakes that the Bush administration made from 2003-2007, but it's folly of the highest order to say that we've failed with this new strategy, especially considering all of the additional troops have only recently been deployed and some equipment is still en route.

It took us 4 years to screw this up, it's going to take more than a couple of months to fix it.