WTF! No… seriously, W – T – F?

When I created ADignorantium I set a few guidelines for myself. Two of the most important are, I don’t bully and I don’t use language that I’d be embarrassed to let a grandmother read. Don’t get me wrong. I do plenty of cussing at home. Some of my favorite words have only four letters. Lately though, it’s been difficult to maintain the latter. The political climate has devolved into a childish temper tantrum, and I am pissed!

I am so friggin pissed I could spit nails!

I never truly understood that expression until those unbelievably shortsighted tea party republicans decided to put the screws to the United States. I can’t even put thoughts into words, I’m so angry. This is not how America works! We don’t allow a few extremists to shut down the entire government  Do we?

Instead of passing a clean appropriations bill, house republicans attached an ACA rider that doomed it to fail. The unrelated provisions guaranteed the bill would not pass the senate. All they had to do was pass a continuing resolution (CR) that was clean of extraneous nonsense, but they are blinded by their hatred of anything Obama.

Truth be told, I’m not exactly thrilled with every bit of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but it’s a good start. It’s a step in the right direction. When you’re not happy with something, you don’t fix it by killing it. And before you throw “corporate exemptions” at me, those exemptions were concessions to republicans. If you want to get rid of the exemptions, you write a bill, separate from the appropriations bill, and send it to the senate. But that’s not what they want. They want to undo the healthcare law. After trying and failing to repeal the ACA forty two times, they try this stunt!?

Now the government is shut down. National parks, museums, and landmarks are closed to the public. Millions are now without work.

  • Don’t they understand that a government shutdown affects more than government employees?
  • Don’t they know that everyday Americans like hotel staff, bartenders, waiters, and store clerks depend on tourism to make a living?
  • Do they even care that their stubbornness will have a negative effect on the economy?

There is no doubt in my mind that this bullisht is racially motivated. I wasn’t sure at first. I just chalked it up to politics as usual. But after six years of stubborn resistance, there can be no other explanation.

So now I owe some very good friends an apology for all those late night conversations about “race in America” in which I was so certain that things had improved since my father’s generation. Apparently, I was wrong. I was wrong and it sickens me. I am so f*king ashamed of my own country. MY OWN COUNTRY!

I’d like to think we’ll remember. I want to believe we will carry this rage with us to the voting booth. I know I will. But America has a short memory span. We are more worried about Miley, Kim, and Kanye than we are about what our local politicians are up to. More Americans know the names of the Real Housewives than who their representatives are.

So why am I surprised when this isht happens?

~end rant~

Thanks to all for bearing with me. We now return to our regularly scheduled blog.

The New Technology Blues

NOTE: I’ve been with Virgin Mobile for about a decade. I resisted cell phones for a long time. The truth is, I don’t like talking on the phone. I never did. So, for me, a cell phone was a waste of money. It was my boss who suggested I get one. My responsibilities had just increased and well, with increased responsibilities come even more responsibilities. I chose Virgin because they were the cheapest. At the time it was $20 a month Vs $80 for the other major carriers. – You do the math.

The old boy (left) is dwarfed by the new improved model. :\

The old boy on the left is dwarfed by the new improved, I can’t live without it, model. :\

So I just upgraded my phone…

There was nothing wrong with my old one, really. It was only two years old. It’s got a few dings and scratches, but it works just fine.

Perhaps that was the problem. It only worked “just fine”. It was a fine mid-range smartphone for someone like me, who had not yet immersed himself fully into the Android OS.

I blame my e-reader.

A year before buying my smartphone, I bought a nifty little e-reader tablet for a hundred bucks. It was my very first Android device. This puppy had a resistive touch screen, which meant I had to press it to get it to respond. It was the early days of Android tablets. I didn’t know any better.

Within a year I had had enough of the resistive screen. I was tweeting heavily by then, and a resistive screen is just… no. So I saved my pennies and as luck would have it, Tiger Direct and Amazon were competing to see who could offer me the best deal on a new tablet.

Now I had this sweet tablet, with an operating system that I was slowly getting accustomed to, that was supplementing my PC nicely.

If only my cell phone was just as useful.

I had this little “feature phone” which was fine for texting, email, and even twitter, but I couldn’t follow many of the news feeds I was reading on a regular basis. And forget blogging.

Luck smiled upon me again. Radio Shack offered up a “fine mid-range smartphone for someone like me” at reasonable price.

I really did like this small, unassuming phone. I could read my books, magazines, and most of the news feeds I like. It was a little workhorse. 

Then, about a year ago, I started running out of space. I moved as many of the apps onto the SD card as I could, but I was still finding I had to chose between Angry Birds and Twitter. “Oh, the humanity!”

The writing was on the wall.

So I had this two year old phone that still worked, but I’d outgrown it. I made the decision last April to shop for something a little better. I even considered leaving Virgin. – That lasted all of two days; the length of time it took me to realize that I really didn’t want to spend more than $50 a month.

I started saving my pennies again. Virgin had just lowered the price of one of their smartphones, but a little voice in my head asked if I really wanted to “settle” for something I’d probably outgrow in a year. So I waited. …and kept saving those pennies.

A month later, Virgin added the Galaxy S3 to their line-up. It was twice what I wanted to spend. Should I wait? If I wait, maybe the price will come down. But by then, something better might come along.

What to do.

The deciding factor was Amazon. They dropped the price by $50 AND… if you apply for an Amazon credit card, you get another fifty bucks off. Woohoo! The Gods had smiled down upon me once again. Where do I sign?

So now I have this great new phone. It’s fast. It’s powerful. It’s pretty. I love it!

Do you think I should upgrade my tablet?

Teachers and Education: A love story

“ALGEBRA”

I wasn’t an honor student, but I wasn’t a screw-up either. Like most kids, I had my favorite teachers. I had teachers I didn’t like.

…and then there was Ms. White.

Ms. White was my ninth grade Algebra teacher. I struggled in her class because she wasn’t very good at explaining how X = Y. I learn best with demonstration, but she couldn’t walk me through it.

Ms. White was good at one thing, though. She knew how to make us laugh.

On one November afternoon, I was so confused by her diagram that I asked her to explain the process in a way that I would understand. She turned around slowly and looked at me. A smile spread across her wide face, and with great triumph, she said…

“Frank. If we opened up your head, and poured the knowledge in, it would leak out your feet!”

This, of course, got a roar of laughter from the class; but did little to help me understand the algebraic formula she had drawn on the board.

Ms. White reused her clever little line on several other students that year. However, I hold the honor of being the first. My fellow classmates didn’t let me forget it, either. As a result, I was reluctant to raise my hand in her class for the rest of the year. Predictably, I did not do very well.

I wasn’t the only student who had to make up the credit. We were twenty in all, almost a full classroom, for that summer’s algebra course. (That was just the morning class. There was an afternoon class as well.)

Teachers like Ms. White make every teacher look bad. I still wonder how this woman was able to continue teaching, in spite of complaints by me, and several other students and parents.

When so many students struggle in one teacher’s class, that teacher is not doing his/her job!

Please don’t get me wrong. The majority of my teachers were good. Some of them were excellent. Good teachers deserve to be paid handsomely for their time and effort.

– Just sayin’

BTW – Ms. White was still teaching seven years later, when my younger sister entered ninth grade. Happily, she was assigned a different teacher.

This post was first published July 2011 on ADignorantium.tumblr