Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Education Crisis

                                   The Education Crisis


 September 28, 2010


 NBC is focusing on the crisis in education that we have in this country. This is nothing new. Anyone who has had to deal with today's High School graduates for the last couple of decades knows that this has been coming for a while. They can't spell, they don't know the history of this country and it's not their fault. Somewhere along the line, schools have lost their focus on really educating students and started pushing them through just to make the numbers look better. If any of you have ever watched Jay Leno do JayWalking, you know exactly what is going on, or rather not going on, in our schools. Ask a person on the street why we celebrate the 4th of July, chances are they know it's to celebrate our independence. Chances are slimmer that they know from who and why. Ask the date of the signing of the declaration, you might just get a blank stare. It's appalling to me..... and I'm a High School drop out with an equivalency diploma. I like to say that I am self educated, because I took the time as I got older and out of the education system, to learn. The US used to be first in education. Now, we are not even in the top ten. If we are to maintain our position as a leader in the world community, this crisis has to be paid more than lip service. It's up to educators and the government to see that this decline does not continue. Throwing money at the problem is not the answer. Getting really dedicated people in a position to do something about it is.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Old Jarhead's story: Autumn

Old Jarhead's story: Autumn: " It never ceases to amaze me that as soon as the official change of the seasons come, the very next day it looks like a crew went out during..."

Autumn

 It never ceases to amaze me that as soon as the official change of the seasons come, the very next day it looks like a crew went out during the night and started to paint the leaves on the trees and plants with bright, bold colors. I have a love/hate relationship with the fall. On the one hand, I find the change of colors breathtakingly beautiful. On the other hand, I know that we are losing the light and the color from the world very shortly for another five months. It's sad, really, that something so beautiful can herald the coming of something so stark. I miss my sunlight and warm weather. I will miss hearing the birds sing every morning and seeing the sun reflect so brightly off of the lake and the trees. It's almost like mourning the passing of someone close. The diference is that I have the hope and the knowledge that I will see life burst forth, in all it's glory, starting in five months. If I could only close my eyes and sleep from now until then......

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Computers

 I don't consider myself the most savvy computer person in the world. When it comes to being computer literate, I think that I am very close to being Illiterate! However, I know enough to be able to stumble around like a drunken blind man and eventually find what I'm looking for. If not, I can usually find someone who can help me.  I have a former co-worker, I'll call him 'Pete', who is even less knowledgeable than I am. Pete called me the other day in desperation and left me a unintelligible voice mail asking for help. What I got out of it was that he was having trouble installing a wireless router for the new Netbook that he bought.
 Now, mind you, we are both retired technical people. We both worked for Verizon/Bell Atlantic/NYNEX/ New York Telephone (An AT&T Company)/New York Telephone Company for over 30 years. We basically were with the company from the two cans and a waxed string age right through the High Speed Broadband age... at least the start of it. And we were GOOD at what we did! No slackers, Pete and I. Anyway, he had the installation disk and he could not get the installation wizard to help him. I asked him if he googled the router for help. "What??"  he said. I told him to hold on and, in a matter of seconds, I brought up Cisco Systems, LinkSys support.  Everything that you want to know about installing this router, right there in front of my tired eyes.
 I  told Pete that I was sending the link to him in an email.  He got it and said "What am I supposed to do with this?". I told him to click on it and, if that didn't work, to copy and paste it to his browser window. He didn't know how to do that, so I had to walk him through it. It took fifteen minutes, but we finally did it. Now, he had to update his browser. He really had a hard time getting to update and was at the "Where's my hammer?" stage. I had to talk him down several times because he was going to give the poor netbook a line hammer makeover. After being on the phone with him for and hour, we decided that the best idea was for me to go over tomorrow and help him install it.  The worst that could happen is that we will look like two monkey's trying to screw a football in the process; or maybe, just maybe, we will get the damned thing installed.
  My question is: Why don't they make these things easier to install? Hell, you've got an installation disk, why isn't that enough? I know, we are a couple of dinosaurs trying to adapt when we know that we will soon be extinct, but at least give us a fighting chance. A shelter that we can go in just before the computer meteor hits! Something. I know, we can take computer classes, but we're to old and too distracted to take classes now. Besides, I didn't go to class in High School, why should I be any different now? I would probably fall asleep because it's past my nap  time. 
 They have that special cell phone for older people, the Cricket?? Why don't they have a special computer for us.... You could call it the Idiot! Just a suggestion.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mornings

Every morning it's the same deal. I'm up and at 'em at 05:30. It's amazing how one person can influence the way you start your day after only one day. My DI threw a large garbage can down the squad bay that first morning to wake us up at 05:30. That was in April of 1966, and here  I am 44 years later still getting up at this hour. It's all good, though. It gives me a little time with myself to see the world as peaceful before the reality of the chaos that we live with every day sets in. The world seems so fresh and new from the perspective of my sliding glass doors. With coffee in hand, I see a quiet, peaceful woodland. Even I-84, which I can see from the deck, is relatively quiet. This will change quickly in the hours to come.
 Fall arrives today and my beautiful warm Summer will officially draw to a close. I dread the cold weather and the damned snow. I didn't mind it when I was working, but things have taken a turn since I had to retire. Oh, well. This, too, shall pass and the Spring will come in a few short months.
 I am taking Aunt Mary shopping and to breakfast this morning. It helps us both. It gives me a sense of purpose, and it get's her out of the house. She's 94 and needs a reason to keep going. Later on, I will get on and have a little give and take with my friends on Facebook. It always get's my spirits up. What a great group of people we have met on line. People are the same all over the world, I've found, and it's great having met them..
 Well, I went and took my aunt out. Traffic was terrible this morning. They had it go from 3 lanes to two as soon as I got on the Hutch from I-684. I don't know who thinks that this is a good idea, but traffic was at a stand still. When we finally got moving, it was smooth until we got to where the Hutch and the Cross County Parkway split. Again, down to 2 lanes from 6. It just gets crazier. The kicker is, they had the lanes coned off, but no one was doing anything. Maybe it's me and I just don't understand the way things are supposed to work. Anyway, I finally picked her up at 11 and took her to lunch. She is always happy to be able to get out. I got home at 1:30, and facebook is down. Oh well. What can you do.
 This is a bit of a rambling train of thought. I hope that I will get better at time goes on, but I am not promising anything. I'm not much of a writer, and this is my first attempt. If you stay with me, that's great. If not, I don't blame you. More tomorrow.