Tuesday, June 30, 2009
If you find it so please stop reading and exit this blog.
So I am going to comment of the story in the daily news yesterday and today regarding 'Book burners' plan prayer vigil.
This article made me think of the short story by Shirley Jackson - The Lottery. For the complete short story: The Lottery--Shirley Jackson For a brief summery The Lottery - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. To ensure a good harvest every year someone in the small town is stoned to death as a sort of sacrifice. Very odd story but a good one and an American Classic. There was also a movie made of it.
When it was first published people were screaming that it should be banned and was an atrocity to the literary world. Shirley Jackson was condemned and ridiculed for it. Frankly I think it is a great story and if you look at it from a different perspective you can draw different hypotheses.
So now we have a book burning debate in good Ol' West Bend. Could it get any better? Yet the WISSUP blogger, Ginny Maziarka, claims that neither she nor her group are affiliated with the CCLU. Christian Civil Liberties Union. Well even if that is indeed a fact their timing could not be worse for her and her faction. She claims she has never asked for the books she is contesting to be removed, which she has. She claims it has never been a homosexual issue, which it has. I don't care that she changed the verbiage of her complaint, it is her use of the word never and the like.
HERE COMES THE POTENTIALLY OFFENSIVE STUFF
Here comes the CCLU. When I read that article in the paper today I literally thought oh good grief here we go... I wondered when I stepped into a time capsule and catapulted back to 1933.
May 10, 1933 - Nazis Burn Books in Germany. So does that mean that if you are blond / brown / red hair with blue / green eyes and Caucasian we should gather in the town square and stone those who look different or have a different faith belief or different moral standing or just basically do not look like the All - American specimen? Wow now that would make headlines. Stoning in West Bend WI due to a small faction trying to infringe on others rights and shove their "moral" beliefs down the rest of the towns throat! I'll go to the quarry and start gathering the stones. Do I have any volunteers for the first person to go? Suggestions? Taking names and making lists... Don't be shy. After all that is basically what the CCLU is asking for. Maybe a noose would be more fitting for them. Or even a crucifix? A modern day crucifixion. Quick call Charlie Gibson I'll get the popcorn and lawn chairs.
The CCLU says that they are praying the mayor will read the Bible which states "thou shalt not kill" and "thou shall not condemn thy neighbor." Oh I love it. Stupidity at it's finest. I can cherry pick Scripture as well. Judge not lest you be judged. Or another frequently quoted one "He who casts the first stone..." What about all the other buzz words, forgive, love, patience and all the other fruits of the Spirit? Being Christians at least I assume being the CCLU or Ginny's group you should know these things, Yes? Are you not to live and walk according to the Word? Where is that? Not in the library issue. Just about as ridiculous as a bunch of elderly people perusing the young adult section and finding books in the stacks that just so happened to have slang language regarding sex, homosexuality and race. That it is so offensive to people in different counties that the mere presence on the shelves has scared them and caused mental and emotional anguish and effects their well being. REALLY? WOW, Gotta love that one too. What is even more distressing is that 4 elderly men are perusing in the youth zone to begin with. When I was a kid they were called 'dirty old men'. What the hell are they doing there? Shouldn't they be reading techniques for better using a computer, or the Internet. Educating themselves with modern technology? or reminiscing about World War 2 or the Korean war? Or going down the list of all their medical ails. Or maybe re-taking the road test for the DMV.
In MY opinion this group, CCLU, like our own local group are professional complainers. They are pushers. Not drug pushers but morality pushers that operate under the guise of protesting kids. They use that argument to garner as much public support as possible, get a community all riled up and then let it take it's course.
The most amazing thing about all this is even as all this crap is costing West Bend money that will have to be reflected in our taxes, Ginny and 3 of the members of the CCLU can walk away scott free not having their taxes effected a penny for all the grief they have caused simply because they do not live in city limits. So they will continue to rack up the tax bills of those of us that do and screw us at both ends. Thanks a lot. Boy both groups have so much to be proud of don't they? It's nothing more than a fascist regime trying extrapolate something out of nothing. In MY opinion anyway.
Now the CCLU is claiming they are going to file in federal court? Can I just say Crap again? What do you think the outcome of that will be? CCLU Vs. City of West Bend mayor and library board. All because they want the right to publicly burn the book 'Baby Bebop' by Francesca Lia Block. I say go ahead. Burn baby burn, but when you do be prepared to pay baby pay. the most ironic thing about all this is that book has been out of print for a number of years and now all of a sudden because of our little city and it's now national debate there have been inquiries into putting it back in print. Book stores can't get them or can't find a copy. Libraries across the nation have waiting lists of people who want to read it. The author has gained even more notoriety. So really all the CCLU has done is shed light on a book that most did not know about and put it on the national stage where tons of people want to read it. I am sure the author says thank you.
IMHO the CCLU is simply trying to ride on the coat tails of WBCFSL and their regime. They lie in wait to pounce on the next band wagon to pass by and begin their rants all over again. WBCFSL opened the door for these goofs to walk through and then they make the statement that they are not affiliated with them nor do they agree with them? Interesting since they followed WBCFSL through the door. The CCLU just waits for something like this to come up somewhere and than BAM there they are. So concerned about our community. They may be taking a different approach then WBCFSL is but both are costing money and bring negative attention to a city the DO NOT EVEN LIVE IN!
As John Stossel (sp) would say at the end of his segments on 20 /20 Give me a break!
Back off and go after you own libraries of which Milwaukee and Milwaukee County has many. As for WBCFSL, you back off too. You, WBCFSL are protecting no one. You, WBCFSL are causing untold money to be spent of which you will not be responsible for in any means. WBCFSL say they are proud to live in this community well technically the don't and second if that were true they would not be doing the press junkets, making phone calls and sending Fax's to every media outlet available with their rants and personal opinions. All while giving the appearance of mild, meek, humble, pious good Christians. Yet when someone reads WBCFSL, WISSUP blog or responses to others the wording can be vicious and vindictive. Yet they will not answer questions that are posed to them when all the evidence is stacked against them.
OK that is my rant for the day. I am so mad about all this that I can't even think straight. I so want to just slam people bringing this issue up and keeping it on the fore front, but I will not say or rather write everything I am thinking that would not be good to just slam it all down on the table. It is real hard to remain respectful when I am this angry. So with that I will close.
"Books are the treasured wealth of the world," --- Henry David Thoreau
Saturday, June 20, 2009
So I have been up most of the night because I couldn't sleep. So I decided that I would clear out my DVR of stuff that has just been on there too long and I had forgotten about it.
So I have some quotes from Ginny Maziarka she made to different TV outlets. Most of which were made at the beginning of her complaint
I am going to quote her EXACTLY as she said them. Thus providing with protection of it being said I am taking them out of context. Her quotes will be in RED my commentary in regular font. Here we go... Fasten your seat belt, make sure your arms and legs stay in the train at all times,(roller coaster speak for those with queasy stomachs that don't know what that means.) thank you and have a nice ride because here we go. See you back at the station after the ride...
**PLEASE NOTE: Not everything the reporter or Ginny said will quoted as the interviews are each several minutes long. You may be able to go to that particular TV stations web site and see if the have an achieve of it.**
Tuesday March 3rd. Channel 6 WITI 5:00 PM"
"All the books every book that was in the young adult zone was a pro homosexual theme with nothing being offered on the opposite spectrum. So that concerned me. REPORTER: She wants two particular books pulled from the shelves. Ginny: One is the Perks Of Being A Wallflower, the other is called the Geography Club. REPORTER: She also wants the web site link to be taken down and the relocation of books that are inadequate for teenagers."
MY Commentary: All the books in the YA Zone are pro homosexual? ALL? Wow didn't know that. Ginny also must have forgotten that there are books "on the opposite spectrum" on the library web site.
Now she said on this date that she "wants two particular books pulled from the shelves and wants the website link to be taken down." And this has never been a homosexual issue? Never asked for the books to be removed? Why does the phrase "pulled from the shelves" not say the same thing?
I'm going to make note as I comment on each broadcast at what point SHE HERSELF changes her request or contradicts herself.
So here we have 3 requests:
1) two books pulled from the shelf
2) removal of library web site link
3) relocation of other books
Tuesday March 3rd. Today's TMJ4 News 10:00 PM
"These books, all of them, are pro homosexual books. There aren't any books available for kids who are maybe looking to steer away from the lifestyle, or are questioning how to get out of the lifestyle. REPORTER: Maziarka says balance is needed."
Again with the All book thing and no books on steering away from gay lifestyle. Which I already pointed out already exists.
Lets do the tally:
1) Two books removed X's 1
2) removal of link
3) balance X's 2
Tuesday March 3rd. CBS 58 News 10:00 PM.
REPORTER (not quoting here. She was just talking about the issue and complaint filed and than it cuts to) Ginny "pornographic language in them and uh The Perks Of Being A Wall Flower is one were contesting and The Geography Club is another books. Two books that we would like to see actually removed from our library for our youth. REPORTER: talks more about complaint cut to Ginny "it gives the appearance that our library actually indeed is censoring the books considering the fact that the only material for our young adult about homosexuality are books that are pro homosexual."
OK again saying you want to remove 2 books from the library. The library appearing to be doing the censoring? That's laughable. She only said it "appeared to censoring" Where as it is her actually TRYING to force the library to censor books. Gotta love it.
1) Two books removed X's 2
2) web site link removed
3) balance X's 2
4) relocation of other books
So we have 2 checks for removal, 1 for web site link removal and 2 for balance. Consistency at this point and 1 for relocation.
Tuesday March 3rd Channel 12 news 10:00 PM
REPORTER: Gives background about library board meeting being canceled due to over crowding and the complaint than cut to: "Were not asking for a ban on any books, getting rid of those books, were just asking for a balance of books." REPORTER: "Now Ginny say she is asking for two of the books to be pulled from the collection she thinks they are just too graphic."
Please refer to my first response. Tally:
1) removal of 2 books X's 3
2) for web link removed X;s 1
3) balance X 3
Thursday March 26th Channel 12 news 10:00 PM
This broadcast does not have Ginny speaking. Reporter Mike Miller was doing a story on the meeting that Ginny held at Silverbrook. He says "The idea is not to ban books here at the West Bend Public Library but to move some, reclassify some and provide what the organizers call more balance."
1) remove books X's 3
2)web link removed X'1
3) balance X's 4
can you see it morphing now?
Thursday March 26th CBS 58 News 10:00 PM
This broadcast too does not have Ginny speaking but a reporter summing up the meeting at Silverbrook and saying "hoping to gain the support (of the people who attended that meeting) to have some of these books reclassified at the West Bend Public Library. Books the couple say are not age appropriate for the youth section like King and King and Rainbow High which deal with homosexuality."
Again see my comments able.
1) removal of books X's 4
2) web site removed X's 1
3) balance X's 5
Friday May 28th Fox 6 News 9:00 PM
This broadcast was regarding the read in at the library that Jake Jurrus (sp) started and West Bend Parents For Free Speech helped promote. At the end of the cast the reporter says: "and today we spoke with the groups organizer (meaning Ginny) who wants to change the library policy. She says that the library withdrew their first complaint so they filed again in April they still have yet to meet with the librarian or the library board which is normal protocol anytime that a complaint is filed."
And than there it was. On May 28th was when she states be new stance. She now wants to change the library policy. Maybe if Ginny reviewed her video tape she would see how many times she changed what she was asking for and why she was told to refile. All of her public states to the media.
OK final tally,
1) remove books X's 4
2) web site kink removed X's 2
3) balance X's 5
4) reclassification X's 5
5) change library policies. X's 2
All that in just a few interviews. WOW!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Sophomore 86 - 87 / Junior year 87 -88
If you thought 6th grade was bad….
After I began communication with my 6th grade teacher she happened to mention my name to a colleague. They realized I had been a student of both of them. Not the best thing to have in common. Mrs. K from 6th grade told Mrs. S that she was going to have lunch with me and she said she might join us. All I was thinking when she said that was "Oh great 2 former teachers, both of whom I was incredibly mean to, at one time in one place. Crap! OK breathe deep. Don't panic, I'll survive." Let me just say when I met Mrs. K today I was constantly looking around to see who was coming. Nervous, Oh ya. Needless to say Mrs. S could not make it. Although, I will say it actually would have been OK. Mrs. K and I talked a bit about Mrs. S and I think I would have survived had she shown up.
I do have a thing with people approaching from the back. That is why if I go into a restaurant or something I like to sit where I can't be approached from blind spots and I can see the door, and if I can get a table where I can actually put my back against the wall and see all angles. I know why but it's not important for you to. It did play into my jitters a bit though because we were sitting outside and people would approach the door from the blind.
But I digress…
I'll give just one example of what I put this teacher through.
I moved back to the school district and back in with my parent's second semester sophomore year. I had just turned 15. I left after 8th grade and was gone 1 ½ years. During that time I went to several different schools. None of which boosted my confidence that there were any kind of qualified teachers left in the world. When I came back I was still in the "special Education" program. It is here that I met Mrs. S. Ya that was her lucky day right? NOT! 6th grade had nothing on me now. I was really jaded, angry, walled off, untouchable, and virtually a true lost cause by then. What was the school to do? By law I had to attend they had to take me, poor them. I had been well schooled in the art of pushing people away, saying blah blah blah in my head whenever anyone was talking to me, raising all hell, not to mention sarcasm. Can you see how lucky Mrs. S was to be my primary coordinator and teacher? Again NOT! Did I mention sarcasm?
I don't know what she thought when we were all in that little room the day I was enrolling. She had my file, heard all the dirt and I swear was trying to tell me via her body language "it's OK you can trust me, but I am ready for you." at least that my interpretation at the time. I am sure now it was way off. I remember thinking "ya, you ready? Hang on tightly cause I do nothing lightly. Ah the challenge". That really is what I was thinking. Little did I know how true of a thought that would prove to be in a matter of months.
I had been hardened by a juvenile care system that was and still is a massively dilapidated, understaffed system that was crumbling under its own weight. I was one of thousands that fell through those proverbial cracks that social services does not acknowledge even exists. My behavior showed that. I knew where the invisible line was between the gray and the black. Heck I lived my life dancing on it. I got in trouble sure but never enough to get me into any legal trouble. Too smart for my own good? Maybe…
OK here I am going to get a bit more personal…
I was living with my parents again and things were worse than ever. I was growing more and more depressed. The anger was subsiding. I guess I should have known that something was really wrong. I spent a great deal of my life angry about one thing or the other. So this was a drastic change. My behavior was really spiraling down quickly. I was in the office damn near everyday for something. Mrs. S used to tell me she could hear me in the East office all the way from central hall as she was on her way to get her mail. If you know the layout of West Bend High School you know that central hall and East office is a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG ways.
I had only been in the back in town a few months. Long before that I already had no hope for myself or my life. By that time it had been trampled out of me by people that "just didn't know how to handle me and I was just a bad apple." Others told me "I might as well drop out of school because I would end up in jail for the rest of my life anyway. " By people that were to be there to help me. What wonderful people. Again sarcasm, gotta love it.
Over time I came to realize that I just didn't want to be alive anymore. Why would I if I was worthless, bad apple, even people that were "hired" to care were ruthless. Now, here I am not going to say what I did but I was told by a doctor that in all his years of practice he had never seen anyone do that or more determined to die. Literally doc told me he could not believe I was still alive. Needless to say I didn't die (obviously) but not for lack of trying. Somehow someone at school the next day found out. I still am not sure how, I thought maybe I turned my head the wrong way or something in class. I had not told anyone anything. It would have screwed up my after school plans.
I got called into the office and before I knew it both my parents were in there, Mrs. S and the vice principal were there. Again, can I just say Crap! I was busted big time. I just thought it is not to be this way. I'm not supposed to be here right now. All these people were trying to tell me how much they care. All I was thinking was "blah blah blah sure you care now but it's too late. I don't even want to save myself so I knew no one could help and see how much easier it would be if I just wasn't here?" They just weren't getting it. The office was getting very tense because I refused to sign myself into any place to get help. Didn't want anything to do with it. Then it was laid on the table. If I didn't sign, which by law I had to because I was over 13 years old, I would be put somewhere else involuntarily. I refused to speak. I wasn't angry I was thinking if I agree to do this I could jump out of the car on the freeway on the way there and this would all be done. Or if I do I can get these people off my back play the game of the program get out and I'll be done; vanished from this earth. So I agreed to go. A very loud audible sob of relief went out from Mrs. S and the vice principal. Nothing from my parents at the time. They were at the end of their rope with me as well and did not know what was going on except I was a problem again. At least I thought.
What I didn't know was both the school and my parents had been in contact with the doctor and he realized the seriousness of the situation. Apparently he told my dad to put me in the front seat, keep his hand on the seatbelt buckle so I could not take it off, (how did he know) and get there ASAP someone would be at the door waiting. It would take us about an hour to get there and I did try to get the belt off. I realized it wasn't going to happen my dad was too strong. So I switched my thought process to plan B. Play the program, get out and see ya. Obviously that didn't happen so the rest of that is not important.
I got out didn't go to live with my parents and went back to school with Mrs. S. Even I feel sorry for her now.
Years later I still think about it. That day in the office was a major turning point in my life. I just didn't know it at the time. The sound of the sobbing has never left me. I came to understand with age that Mrs. S did care. As I went through the program and my thinking changed (very slowly) I remember thinking that the vice P and Mrs. S were the only two people on the planet that cared if I lived or died. I had never felt anything that powerful before and from people who didn't really know me. That blew me away. She didn't see me as a lost cause, hopeless, or worthless. She saw me at my very worst and didn't walk away when it was over. Sure when I returned back to school I think she was a bit apprehensive or nervous about what I may do, and at times I felt like she handled me with kid gloves. Maybe afraid I would crack again. I knew I wasn't ever going to go back to that dark, dank place EVER again. I was stronger than I had ever felt in my life. My doctor saved my life literally at that time. I would be OK, still up to no good, cantankerous but now I was having fun again. I knew 100% happiness would not happen until I was out of the system and older but I was determined to get there regardless of the obstacles I had to get through to get there.
Mrs. S saw me as the kid I was, raw, uncensored and probably more real than I had ever been. When I think of the crying in the office it wrenches my heart. What I put her through and that was just one instance but it was the biggest one. I mentioned that to Mrs. K on the phone before we met today and it came up today at lunch. Mrs. K had told Mrs. S I mentioned something about it on the phone Mrs. S was surprised I even remembered that. Are you kidding me? Seriously? How could I forget? I hoped that she had but I guess I knew she couldn't have either. I have never forgotten that day or the rest of that school year or the year after. The lasting impact on my life that sound made I would no idea until I was out on my own. It was the sound of compassion, humanity and sincerity. She helped teach me how to be me again, to find the power inside me. That I could hope again and it was OK to dream about my future again. She made me feel safe if even only for that brief moment of a year and a half when she was my teacher. (This in a classroom had NEVER happened at any point before.) She NEVER gave up on me. In my world that was unheard of because just about every other teacher did.
When I left town to go to college and was a 4.0 student in some very demanding, fast paced classes it was her I wanted to send a copy of my transcript to. I just wanted to let her know I turned out OK. I'm here, more alive than ever, happy and successful educationally, professionally, and confident. I wanted to tell her I made it and you helped me get there. You believed in me, hoped for me but mostly you cared about me.
Oh here we go, Mar you are in trouble. Remember when you said when we were talking tonight that you would have been crying when I told about today? All I can say is thanks. Thanks a lot ya old hen. HA Now I am going. I don't cry but sometimes things are so deep and personal and hit so close to the heart that feeling finds its way out of my eyes.
I just appreciate this teacher so much I can't even tell you. I wish I would have known then what I know now. That is a regret I have. I am so sorry for what I put her through. She didn't deserve it. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but now I can finish that statement by saying – but with the right kid. I have never forgotten that day or her. She participated in changing my life and my perspective of teachers and humanity.
I was afraid to see her again today but not because she was scary or ever hurt me but my own fear and insecurity. I knew I could not vocally express what I felt and that in some way I would disappoint her. Which is funny to me because I usually could care less what people think about me or if I disappoint them. Hell there have been many times that was what I strived for early on.
I guess I didn't realize until today just how much I wanted her to be proud of who I am today. The compassion I have for those unreachable kids. The part of me that has so much compassion for people that need help does bring me to tears at times. It is because I had her as an example I know it. My life turned out different and so much better because of her. I had a strong male role model in my doc that helped bring up out of the dark and shine the light enough and she was the female role model that just helped make it brighter and more vivid every day.
I want to say thank you Mrs. S. You chose to be an active participant in helping me save my life. I could never say thank you enough. I will never forget you. How could I? I am just sorry that you remember that say too. I know it was hell and I know the sobs I heard and the tears I saw that day were out of raw emotion that I would at least live another day. The only other person in my life I knew felt that from was my grandma and she died when I was 13. Then came along Mrs. S completely unaware of what she was in for but never turned to run away.
When I lived in So Cal I had read the autobiography by Brett Butler (actress and comedian not baseball player.) There was a sentence in it that only a VERY small group of people helped me make that statement be true for me too.
So Mrs. S as the tears run hot down my cheeks instead of down my throat unseen except by the wisest of spectators this my old friend is for you.
"For all the times I tried to runaway but stayed instead to find some truth." Brett Butler autobiography Knee Deep In Paradise.
You are a large part in helping me find that truth inside me at that time of my life. You a hero to me. Thank you. I can honestly say I now eagerly wait the day I see you face to face again. It would be my honor and privilege to make your acquaintance again. My only prayer is that after this blog I can A) be able to look you in the eyes and not fear I said or expressed too much that I made you uncomfortable and B) I won't bust my tradition and just start sobbing myself.
I'm sorry this is so long but I knew it would never come out this way if I tried to speak it. This format allows me to express things I'm not always able to with my voice or conscious mind.
Tissue anyone? Boy did this take a bad turn. I did not plan on all this.
They say everybody has at least 1 teacher, well for a blip of time in 6th grade I had one and a tad longer blip in high school I had another. I had two. May teachers around the world remember that the simplest of gestures, the humanity conveyed in a smile, the sparkle in their eyes when they are proud of that student, the emotions in their voice and words of kindness will stay with their students far longer that whatever the material they are teaching ever will. Those things will carry their students above the clouds and give them the wings they need from time to time to sustain the altitude the rest of their students' lives.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Ok, I am going to digress a bit during this. Follow me I will name names and give all the dirt..
Let me start this by saying I love teachers. I think they are heroes to so many kids during their tenure that they will never grasp it all in their lifetime or know the impact they had on their students, good or bad.
So this all started when I emailed a few peeps early last week at the school district with an inquiry and comment of sorts. Ok fine, all good right? Oh man… I get a reply from 2 one from my former 6th grade teacher. Innocent enough right? NOT! She was asking if I was at Badger Middle when she was there and told me her maiden name. Oh here we go I thought. So I responded basically "had you not said your maiden name I would have said that, yes I was in Badger at that time, but I don't know you. However, I can't because you were my 6th grade teacher." I asked her if she wanted to out for coffee sometime. I hadn't heard anything. I called her a few days later and she said sure. During our conversation she had mentioned that another former teacher of mine was in the office next to hers and they ended up talking about me and realized they had both had me as a student at two very different intervals, Mrs. K (middle school) and Mrs. S of sophomore year and all of junior year. We talked for a bit on the phone and set a date to get together. That was today.
After I hung up the phone my first thought was oh no what did I get myself into. I remember being so mean to her. She was young and only in her second year of teaching. I guess I should say that I was in the "special education" classes because I was too hyper and too smart for my own good; so I have been told. By the time I got to 6th grade I thought I was "stupid damaged goods".
My grade school special ED teacher was abusive physically and emotionally to us. I started with her in kindergarten and had her every year through 5th grade. Every year was more of the same. Calling us stupid, sharpen pencils and poke us in the head if she felt we were or were not doing something she wanted us to. Snap her fingers against our heads for the same reasoning. If we said something she thought inappropriate she would hold out a tablespoon to us with either Tabasco sauce or cod liver oil. Have you tried that stuff, nasty big time nasty. We also would have to stand in the corner with our noses in the corner and many times on one foot for hours sometimes as a consequence. If we put our other foot on the floor or nose out of the corner it just made it twice as long. She smoked in the classroom with us in it. Even the principal was afraid of her. We had no advocate and were too young to know we needed one. I was 5 – 10 years of age what did I know? I did teach myself to not be afraid and just know that getting hurt in some way was a given. It would defiantly happen every day. So if I wasn't afraid anymore I would not longer make myself hyperventilate at the sheer possibility of harm.
Home life was shall I say challenging as well. My mom had issues with my level of energy and I never felt an actual part of the family. I always felt like I didn't belong. I will say that many adopted kids feel that way. It is normal but add that on to everything well….. fill in the blank…
I do not say that as an excuse for my behavior towards my 6th grade teacher Mrs. K. there is nothing I can offer but my apologies. Still, that hardly seems enough when I think about it. Not that I have guilt per say I just did what I felt I needed to do to make it through another year and a new teacher I have for the next 3 years. My philosophy was "cut it now and prevent all harm." Don' feel, don't fear, don't think! That had been my experience with school that was what I knew. I did not and dared not to trust any person in any kid of authority position. It was not safe. Unfortunately, it was me that missed an opportunity. She was not a bad teacher I never gave her a chance. From the moment I first walked in her classroom the first day of school (and I do remember it) It was already over in my mind. I would bide my time like all the years before. I was wild, cantankerous, rude, mean, disrespectful, and everything else you could imagine, and all in a 10 – 11 year old, 4 foot 4 and around a 70 pound body. It was all about survival even if that meant collateral damage. I didn't care about trying to prove I was not stupid. Damaged goods nobody could have begun to get me to understand that I wasn't. A lost cause that was all I heard. Not from Mrs. K but other teachers I did have that same year too. Mr. C was good at saying that. What was one more person telling me that?
To say that to a child just trying to find their way is a prophecy waiting to happen. The people that tell them that ingrain it so deep that is EXACTLY what that child will become.
Mrs. K was a good teacher and she did try with me. She was a young teacher and I was a tough kid. I have thought about her over her over the years. As I got older I knew I missed out on a lot of things that year. I am just sorry I realized it too late. I wanted to say I was sorry for being a big ole jerk. How would I begin? Uhm do you remember me? If you do is it for anything good? I didn't even remember her married name or she was even still around. So while I still thought about it from time to time I figured there was nothing I could do to right any of the wrongs from that year.
Now I had an Email from her? Holy **** I damn near panicked. Called my friend Mar as asked if I really had stepped in it now. She was like no it's a good thing. I was like ya right tell me one I might believe.
Well….. I WAS WRONG. Yes, I said it. I can almost hear the Heavens opening up and a choir of Angels singing hallelujah. HA!
I met her for lunch but it turned into a 2.5 hour conversation. I now know that I absolutely missed a fabulous opportunity to actually allow someone into my interior world in 6th grade. She cared actually genuinely cared. She didn't even really know me but she cared. She tied to understand. Tried to provide opportunities for me where a light of hope could reach me. Did everything she could to show me I could trust her. So as intelligent as I was I missed all of that. I was so busy protecting myself that I ended up keeping myself in such a closed off state of mind I missed so much.
I will say however, I was still young and the God concept that I know and have now was way over my head. I do believe that God gave me that teacher that year if for nothing else as a sort of respite. I had a horribly violent teacher 5 years before and ended up with another bad, cruel "your being stupid, bully of a man for 2 years after. Looking back I think it was God, NO, I know it was God that was watching out for me even then. He gave me the gift of a non – abusive year. He knew that I could not have endured another consecutive year of that kind of "teaching" without completely shutting down forever. Flat line bbbeeeppp!
I am grateful I had Mrs. K that year. I am sorry I did not understand the grand picture than. I am sorry I didn't pick up what she was putting down. So I would like to thank Mrs. K my 6th grade teacher. For the time and emotional investment she placed in me. It did register it just took me a bit longer to understand it. You are certainly worthy of the title educator. Not all are.
My only regret about today is my own insecurities when it comes to clear and coherent verbal conversation. My brain thinks faster than I can speak and I know I talk fast. Ya try being in my head. Not only that but I also almost always have a whole other conversation going on in there at the same time I am still engaging who I am speaking to at the time.
Ah well wasn't it Shakespeare that said in Taming Of The Shrew "What is past is prologue"?
If you Mrs. K (6th grade) are reading this thank you for meeting me today. Despite my own nerves about what you remembered from your year with me, I was shocked that you didn't remember all the horrible things I did. It certainly was not what I expected. I thought I would end up doing a great deal of graveling. I guess you didn't live up to your "potential". HAHAHA I know you got that if you are reading this.
Thank you again Mrs. K for being a teacher and especially mine. You ROCK!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Next I would like to wish Alderman Vrana well. It came to my attention the other day that Mr. Vrana is rather ill. I heard it from a sturdy source but I do not have 100% confirmation. I was told I think on Friday or Saturday night that Mr. Vrana was in Veterans Hospital in Milwaukee (they thought) because his body was building up fluid (he may be home by now if this is true). I was not at the CC meeting last night so I do not know if he was there. This person also said that this is not the first time, it happened last year as well from what was told. Remember I DO NOT have 100% confirmation on this. So while I do take issue with Mr. Vrana and some of his statements I certainly do not wish him harm or illness by any means. I hope that he is OK.
Now, I would like to say... How glad are you to not live in Iran? People in opposition of as Whoopie Goldberg says I'm - A - Dinner - Jacket, because she cannot remember how to pronounce his name and it helps her remember it. I think it hilarious personally. Disrespectful to him, maybe, but I have a hard time respecting a man who is so vile.
ABC world news tonight said that much of the info coming out of there is via cell phone video and twitter. How cool is that. Technology is an amazing thing.
Moving on.... I have a dilemma. I am going to age myself here. I have a 20 year class reunion coming up this year. Has it really been that long? Sheesh... Here's the quandary.. I was really fond of the people I went to HS with. Sure I have a handful of close friends from then but none from my graduating class. I was not in a click. I play sports, got crappy grades out of sheer boredom, (some may say I was stupid but being bored can bring that on don't ya know.) There are always the "in" crowd, most popular and all that junk. The ones that would "just die" if they were not up on the current fashion. Hell, I didn't care. I was into the comfort fashion. I did not conform to anything anyone wanted me to be. I graduated at he bottom of my class. Which became my goal freshman year when I found out the curriculum was no better than the previous 8 years. Can you spell B - O - R - I - N- G? Can I have a B and O... you get the point.
So what do I do? Go laugh at all the people now? Not go and save my sanity? Or is sanity a past time 20 years after graduation. Do I just let it all go and say the hell with it. I have checked out the web site and I will say there are some people that have confirmed they are going that I would not mind seeing. However, I can call them up. They live in the area.
I pose this question to all you readers if there really are any. What do I do?
PS. I am sure when I get caught up on the stuff I may have missed the last few days with the library stuff I will have more to say. Lord knows I am not quiet about my opinion.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Til we meet in the blog-is-sphere again.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
They went through the complaint point by point. It was done in a very polite and respectful manner and I appreciated that. They diligently discussed every point.
The end result was they did not find any ethical violations. I was asked after the meeting how I felt about it. I simply said I am not thrilled by it but I respect the decision, and their deliberation there of. I also stated that I am appreciative that I was able to exercise my first amendment right of freedom of speech, and my 14 amendment of due process.
So while I do not agree with the "verdict per se" I am OK with it. I repeated to the two that were asking me questions after the meeting that my choice to file the ethics complaint was in no way a vendetta or vengeance against alderman Vrana regarding his vote at the counsel meeting. It was simply about some of the comments that were made in a public forum. I understand that there are guidelines for these things and according to the ethics committee he did not violate them. I may not agree, just as others do not agree with the decision the library board made, I can and will accept it and move forward. I went up an shook everyones hand and told them thank you for their time and careful thought that went into their decision.
I am grateful for the opportunity to at least voice my opinion and respect the decision even if I do not necessarily agree.
We shall see what take the papers prints. I am sure I will have questions from people and am now free to discuss it. I would not do so while it was still pending because I have seen what can happen when things continue to be talked about either on blogs or media and how things can be spun to suit what each person individually believe about what ever the issue is.
So if there are question regarding the ethics complaint I will address what I can. However, please remember that the library issue and the ethics complaint are two very separate issues. Like I have said before I can differentiate between the two.
Sure I have opinions about both, but while the comments were made at a counsel meeting about the library issue it was not his vote that prompted me to file. It was the comment that was made immediately after with about 10 or so citizens gathered around him. Which was my last point on the complaint. That was the main point that the paper missed when they wrote about it being filed.
If you would like to see the complaint in it's entirety it is posted here further down on my blog. It is even titled My ENTIRE ethics complaint.
What a great country we live in hey? I mean we have people that are unhappy with the library and spoke out, and someone unhappy with a local official and spoke out. Democracy you've got to love it.
Friday, June 5, 2009
It got me to thinking what our founding fathers must be thinking about our little tiny town that was not even on the map when they put pen to parchment all those years ago. I think they must be smiling down on us with pride. Not because the issue is the library or books, homosexuality or even constitutional amendments. They must be proud because we can have heated debated in public places, speak our minds freely, disagree with each other, our government and even challenge our government. That my friends is FREEDOM! It is the freedom that our founders hoped for the generations that would follow them in the dreams they had. I can hear them sigh Ah democracy we did our job all those years ago.
We could be in China. Remember this? BEIJING (Reuters) – China smothered Tienanmen Square with police on Thursday to prevent commemoration of the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters 20 years ago and the United States demanded Beijing account for those killed.
Tanks rolled into the square before dawn on June 4, 1989, to crush weeks of student and worker protests. The ruling Communist Party has never released a death toll and fears any public marking of the crackdown could undermine its hold on power. That's just a glimpse of the article here the link to the whole thing:
We could be living there or under that kind of government where the mere mention of something that happened, or speaking the words freedom or democracy could still get you arrested, put in a labor camp for who knows how many years or even killed. We should be proud even though we disagree with so much passion, we have the FREEDOM to do it.
If I remember history correctly even our founders squabbled, fought, yelled, and everything else while they were trying to agree what should and should not be in the many of our countries most important documents. So I say thank you God I was born into a country with FREEDOM to disagree in public, fight for what we believe, protest against what we don't and in the end hold onto to our most basic similarities. HUMANITY and FREEDOM.
The prime example of our humanity at it's best was when tragedy struck the other view point from ours regarding West Bend Memorial Community Library, and hands were reached across the divide to offer some sort of solace to an occurrence that really has no words for. That my friends is because we have freedom to disagree but the humanity to still reach out to someone who may need it at that time. Temporary truce.
Suggestion: get a hold of someone you have a disagreement with or difference of opinion. invite them for coffee, lunch or even a walk in a beautiful park. Get to know the person and set the issues aside if even for just an hour. Don't talk about the differences. Ask them to tell you about themselves something you don't know about them. It could let to peace. I am not saying agreement on the issue (remember no talking about the issues) but common ground can leads to peace. Even if it is to agree to disagree and respect for their opinion and in any future debates the issue would be discussed not the people behind it.
Did you know that during some of the Civil Wars bloodiest battles the next day when the fighting had ended and the dead lay on the ground all over the place the "clean up crews" for each side came together and helped bury each others dead. They shared food and water, yes they at together.
World War I, the Christmas truce of 1914 between Britain and Germany. One side heard the other singing Oh Christmas tree" from the other side of the trenches each side dug in the same mountain, their opposition joined in. They came out of the trenches and exchanged food and what have you with each other. They played football with each other in what at the time was called no man's land because it was just barren land with some mountains with tunnels and trenches dug in them by both Britain and Germany. Many times just a few weeks away from each other. They celebrated Christmas together. Imagine the site. Two countries embattled in a bloody war. Each side hates the other and wants nothing more than to kill as many of them as they can. There were no orders for a Christmas truce. The commanders of each army did not order them to have a truce it just spontaneously happened.
HUMANITY! That is what I think our founding fathers hoped for us as a nation, a people, and the world. It can be good to disagree once in a while as long as humanity is the outcome.
I have absolutely nothing against he author or the WISSUP blog. NONE! I disagree with some things (mostly the library) that have been said or positions taken on some things but her as a fellow traveler on this wonderful earth nah. Maybe I would really enjoy her. Maybe we would have some things in common that we do agree on. Who knows, if not we will still at least 2 base line principles. FREEDOM and HUMANITY and PEACE.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
I will also say that I DID NOT file this because I disagreed with him about his vote to not reappoint the 4 members of the library board. That is a clear and separate issue.
So below is my ENTIRE complaint. Not fragments there of...
Members of the West Bend Ethics Committee, 5/28/09
I am writing this letter in reference to the West Bend Municipal code General Government (Code of Ethics) 1.66, also Wisconsin state statute 19.59 under the Code of Ethics.
Pursuant to the City of West Bend, WI municipal code of Ethics 1.65 – 1.67 paying special attention to statute 1.66, it is my belief that Alderman Vrana is in violation of this ordinance.
1.66 RESPONSIBILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICE:
Public officials and employees are agents of public purpose and hold office for the benefits of the public. They are bound to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this State and carry out impartially the laws of the nation, State and the City and to observe in their official acts the highest standards of morality and to discharge faithfully the duties of their office regardless of personal considerations, recognizing that the public interest must be in their prime concern. Their conduct in both their official and private affairs should be above reproach so as to foster respect for all government.
Alderman Vrana made public statements at the council meeting on April 21st of which I provided a DVD copy from the West Bend TV Studio located in City Hall. There have been numerous newspaper articles quoting him that can be provided at your request.
His statements include but are not limited to:
· Comparing the West Bend public library to a “porn shop” due to a small selection of books in the young adult section with homosexual themes. This statement was followed by a reference to the city ordinance banning selling of pornographic material within 1000 feet of a school. “I believe the library is within 1000 feet of a school.” These same books have been approved for the age group by the American Library Association (ALA) as having literary merit.
· When asked at the April 21st CC meeting while answering a question posed to him by the mayor if he would only approve of someone who holds his same philosophy, his reply was “that is my right.” Referencing the First amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Thus he verbally confirmed his vote would be in opposition of 1.66 RESPONSIBILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICE and discharging faithfully the duties of their offices regardless of personal considerations, recognizing that the public interest must be in their prime concern.
· Also at the CC meeting on April 21st. he stated “I’m concerned about the morality of this city.” This statement seems to suggest his personal opinion about the homosexual themed books in the public library is immoral. Here again, it is his personal opinion and not necessarily that of the majority in the city or even his own jurisdiction, but leaning more towards those who filed the complaint against the library. Again another violation of injecting personal opinion.
· At a later date he was quoted in the Daily News regarding the policy and procedures the library board must follow for all complaints. Alderman Vrana stated “I don’t care what policy is I want those books out of there.” Again a clear violation of the same section noted above.
If a city alderman is entrusted as a representative of West Bend and elected to uphold all of the cities policies and procedures but does not have respect for other agencies policies and procedures how can that person be trusted to uphold the policies he is to safeguard. That he will not invoke the same personal philosophy of not caring what the policies are and pursue his own agenda of what he feels is correct; regardless of what the majority may deem appropriate or having the public interest as his prime concern.
The above are a small list of statements that he has made publicly regarding this issue. According to 1.66 RESPONSIBILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICE their conduct in both their official and private affairs should be above reproach so as to foster respect for all government. Alderman Vrana’s conduct has not followed that code as it is written.
I believe Mr. Vrana’s actions demonstrate that in his official duties in this specific issue regarding the West Bend Library controversy, that 1) he did not act in an independent, impartial manner that was responsible to the people, 2) his conduct did not re-enforce the public's confidence in the integrity of the city government, 3) he used his aldermanic position to purport his personal philosophy not that of the city as a whole.
Therefore, I am requesting that a formal investigation be made by the ethics committee regarding this matter and appropriate measures be taken to rectify this.
( I left out my last name, address and phone number on this blog because it is not needed for this post. It was included in the complaint filed and it was notarized by a legal notary.)