Friday, January 28, 2011

More Rambling Of Assorted Thoughts

Congress has just started up and already the talk is of the elections of 2012. With an improving economy I’m sure the Republicans in Congress will benefit as they claim success for any turn around. Naturally Obama will claim credit for any turn around as it happened on his watch and he’ll use that for a second term run where he just may be successful as he drifts more towards a centrist position. Nice to know the new campaign starts just about three months after the previous one ended.

The Dow Average continues to creep up to 12,000 or pre 2008 disaster levels.

Airlines are becoming profitable again thanks to eliminating flights and increasing fares.

According to various reports companies will not rehire at significant rates simply because they are use to operating now on leaner staffs. I’m sure that being in the dreaded private sector means many 50+ hour work weeks and a diminishing benefit structure. I would never want to be in the position of operating a small business and have to deal with the day to day myriad of requirements by various government agencies while trying to best make a reasonable bottom line for my employees and my own well being.

The Daily Beast has rated Massachusetts children as the smartest in the nation based on various test results. This is rather common knowledge and a good portion of the “success” is based on MCAS which does have rigor that exceeds that of national requirements. Do teachers teach to the test? Of course you have to do that since you are required to follow the frameworks and the frameworks are represented in MCAS testing. For the last several years I have tutored students who have failed MCAS - usually multiple times - and the retesting rate of passing is significant. Most of it is just having a formulated approach to the tests and improving test taking skills.

School curriculum is usually designed to meet the requirements of the frameworks so that the material that you present in the classroom will be found somewhere on MCAS. This is what the curriculum developers do and by that I mean those who sell the books and programs to schools. This is a highly competitive business and one that have often left me wondering. In the school system I retired from they had three different math programs while I was there. Students and staff would get use to say Connected Math only to have it pulled in favor of say Chicago Math. Experienced teachers - meaning those with over 20 years of service - would often “hide” some of the older textbooks that they could use to supplement with the newer. This practice was often frowned upon by administration but some would realize that some of those old methods were quite successful but did not have all the glitz of the newer material.

Several years ago one of my jobs for a few years was actually teaching teachers but most of it was in the area of behavior or classroom management. This would occasionally require me to participate in team teaching since I felt it was necessary to integrate myself into the daily routine within the building. There was one class where a teacher with a few years experience was attempting to show how to multiply and divide fractions using some newer math concepts as divined from the Gods of Curriculum. The kids were lost so I asked if I could teach a lesson on it and did so my using the methods that taught me less - of course - the threat of physical violence. Within thirty minutes the kids understood exactly how to handle division and multiplication of fractions. No great skill on my part but just pushing forward how it was taught to me by Mrs. Nash back in the 50s.

I have an algebra book that dates back to 1949. It was a book I had in school and there is nothing colorful about it. No multi-colored pages. No little gnomes or other creatures with cheery faces. No real gimmicks of any sort. Just a real basic approach. Much of that book I have used in the classroom and in tutoring. I have had other teachers copy sections of it. I hate to degrade the new stuff with “back in my day” logic but from my own experience the material that was used to teach me was damn good.

Cumberland Farms is experimenting with a drive-thru. That should be simple - smokes, lottery tickets and milk. At the Cumby’s I frequent the other day someone came in and was buying laundry detergent, about ten cans of cat food and some canned goods. The expense of these items at a Cumby’s is astronomical compared with a jaunt down the street to Hannaford’s. This was early afternoon and I just could not believe running up a $30 tab over stuff that would cost $10 at a super market. They also left in a Hyundai and not an Audi or a Mercedes.

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are now poseurs compared to what they once were. Is this the curse of the Eli after losing to the Giants in the SB? Brady has been outplayed and BB out coached in their last three playoff games - games in which they were favorites to win. To me the Patriots are now in that same territory that fans of a certain NY baseball team are - anything less than a World Series or Super Bowl win for the Pats is a failure and Brady and BB have failed.

Where will be the next resting spot for the Tribe? Middleboro and Fall River have failed so they are now on the hunt again. Where oh where will they land?

Gambling will be on the agenda for the next session in the Massachusetts House. Supposedly Patrick and DeLeo have some type of compromise in the works so that not only will the state grab your bucks but so will a casino.

It’s the little things. Wastewater is being treated in Middleboro for plant use. Savings of about $10,000 a year.

Saw an article on Cougars - the ones that go after younger men in the ten to twenty years younger range. That means any Cougar chasing Bogo would be in her 80s. Guess I’ll have to hang out around Island Terrace.

Chuck Turner of the Boston City Council got three years but the collection of former felon House Speakers have nary a day in jail. His crime was a $1,000 bribe but the real crime was two fold - the first was his arrogance in court and the second was being Black.

All those snow days mean no school days and that translates to an extended school year as the days are made up in June. Many school systems have half days built into the school calendar and that is classified as a full day. Usually “professional days.”

BB is doing another show at the Flatiron Café. Hopefully more of the singing chores will be taken over by his wife who has quite a nice voice. Now if Marese can only play the guitar then BB can go around carrying the instruments while she entertains. Hey…maybe she can try her hand at writing a newspaper column?

David Merrill had a wonderful column a few weeks ago in The Enterprise regarding cable companies and his was rant specific - Comcast or as I prefer to call them - Comacast. His complaint is an old one and one that just drives me off the very deep end and that is the inability of the consumer to actually select the channels they want without having to purchase a package that may contain a few channels they actually watch. I have questioned Comacast many times on this issue and the response is always the technology cannot do it. Total 100% BS and they know it.

I have a friend who is representing himself in court and that is a daunting task. It is their playground meaning the judges, lawyers, hacks from probation and assorted others. They know the process so that makes it difficult since they have so many linguistic twists and turns coupled with procedural roadblocks. Representing yourself is like going into a casino and playing slots - difficult to win. I have used small claims many times but that process is simplified compared to the other legal arenas. I am really cynical of the legal process as I have seen first hand a level of incompetence, lack of common sense, questionable character and on and on from lawyers and judges. Politicians have replaced corporate CEO’s as the least respected profession with Congress on top of that list. Most represented profession in Congress? Lawyers. Case closed.

Republican Jeff Perry lost out on his gig to go to Congress but that just opened up another employment opportunity since the Republican sheriff - after a nation wide search - found him a nice $110,000 slot - one in which the previous occupant received $57,000.

I read a nice headline on the State Of The Union address - Long On Rhetoric and Short On Facts. About sums it up for President WOW.

Another two-bit Chicago hack was also in the news as Rahm Emanuel - formerly of the WOW Administration - has failed residency requirements to run for Mayor of Chicago. The case will now be bumped up to the state SC for review. If it is a Daley court he’s a lock to get the go ahead kiss.

And speaking of Chicago it is one of my favorite places to visit. This is a great city that IMO far surpasses NYC.

One stock I have liked in the last two years has been Boeing Aircraft (BA) but at times it is a roller coaster ride. Right now it has taken about a 3% dive in the last few days over profit erosion and Dream liner delays. Still at around $70 a share it is a great buy. IMO it will be at $90 within six months.

Taco Bell is in the news about some of the contents of their products especially the not quite 100% beef taco. As someone noted “At least we now know what happened to the “Chihuahua.”

Now for awful chain restaurants just step right up Red Lobster! There are no Red Lobster restaurants in New England as far as I know and for good reason - we know sea food and have some - if not the best - in this area. I had an “experience” with RL out in California a few years ago where I ordered a seafood platter that consisted of a few pieces of tilapia, some clams, a few shrimps that looked out of a can and some things that I was no sure about. I rarely complain about food but when the waitress asked me about my meal I said “It was the worse seafood I have ever experienced in my life.” The manager had a long talk with me and was willing to comp my meal but I refused saying it was obviously standard to their menus and I was use to my homespun version of seafood. Since he had spent some considerable time in Portsmouth, NH he had to agree. I also noted that their tank containing “Maine Lobsters” had “Product of Canada” attached to the claws.

Not sure of the current status of the Green School but I assume work has been limited by the weather. I also assume that the project may qualify for CPA funds.

Ocean State Job Lot has started selling garden items.

Bristol Palin gets between $20,000-30,000 plus expenses for a personal appearance. Why would anyone want to see or listen to Bristol Palin?

Woe is me time is hitting the Middleboro budget for the annual deficit circus that this time has a tab of $1,500,000 according to the TM. The big crunch is the health care and that can be controlled a wee bit by having GIC.

“We have a major malfunction.” Those were the words utter by flight control when the Challenger shuttle broke up. My son had just returned from Kindergarten and watched the break up - not and explosion - and the impact obviously didn’t leave any scars regarding flight since he became a commercial pilot. The shuttle will now be retired.


bogofree said...

Suo posted on previous blog entry. More appropriate to this since I gloss over MCAS a bit.


'BB should go to the Middleboro Schools and learn how to research an article.

Bogo, as a teacher what kind of (unbiased) grade would give that article if it were done by an A.P. high school senior?"

Interesting and intriguing. I'd have to create a rubric based on what was expected and assign points to each. I'd have to have research, content, construction and so on. The research would be in the toilet since none was done and what was done was clearly cherry picked to support a conclusion. I pointed that out on a post on his blog. There was also an error - I assume - where he mentioned lessons when I assumed homework. I questioned that but he did not respond so I have to assume he was meaning lessons. That would show a lack of understanding curriculum and MCAS in general. On this current blog I cover some of that. A second part is due so since I am an easy grader and run with him ( yeah...biased) the grade would be a


anonymous said...

I would give a grade of B- since he did provide both a positive and negative appraisal. Not a great article so maybe part II will be more informative.

Suo Mynona said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suo Mynona said...

With the advent of the Internet too many people think research is just two clicks. It is reminiscent of when people would research a topic by using only the World Almanac and Brittanica.

Real research is multifaceted and requires many sources, including interviews from people (on both sides of the issue) in the trenches that live the problem day to day.

bogofree said...

As many primary and secondary sources as possible.

Family Guy said...

I would say the Middleboro schools have performed better that Bumpkin has as a columnist. Not saying much for either.