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Playing the Cute Face Card

This year I’m going to start tough. When the first graders come in, the welcome lesson I’ll teach is that I’m no sucker. I’ve noticed a pattern over the years, certain behaviors and statements kids make when they are trying to manipulate a situation. Jumping on it first will take the power away before they realize they might actually have some. Yes, this will be the year of total classroom control.

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Growing Research on Turmeric and Cancer Fight

Many of us have been moved by Carnegie Mellon University professor Rand Pausch's, "Last Lecture" at the university in Septembr 2007. He died in July 2008 of pancreatic cancer at the young age of 47.

"A potentially potent treatment for the most lethal of cancers, pancreatic, may be right under the noses of people eating Indian curry" according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

We already know the great health benefits of the "golden spice turmeric", commonly used in Indian curries. Now, there is an additional evidence provided by University of Alabama researchers suggesting that the compound curcumin found in the spice  turmeric may inhibit the growth of pancreatic cancer. Dr. Mei Wan, a pathologist at that university explained his research results last week in Alabama. His study was supported by the American Cancer Society. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most serious forms of cancer killing 99 percent of the patients who have it.  Most of the patients die within a year of diagnosis.  For details see the article,  "Curry component may aid cancer fight", The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (, August 2, 2008

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Atwater Beach Party: Saturday August 9, 2-10


This is exciting. I'm pleased to mention the all-are-invited, open party at the beach on Saturday!!  The guest list isn't limited (which, as a Shorewood resident, is rare in that hoity wanna-be land of closed parties in shielded Lakefront yards that have "Our economy is not your economy" seemingly written all over them)... it's free, and it SEEMS to me to be a little ... dare I say... carefree and fun?

It also seems well planned. Well-timed. And well-executed!! The Friends of the Atwater Beach folks are throwing a party. Granted, it is a fundraiser to generate private funds to help make the beach nice.  I don't share the rather shrill call to action I heard last night of "It's an EMBARRASSMENT to Shorewood! An EMBARRASSMENT! Have you SEEN it?!?!?! It's HORRIBLE!!" and maybe, if I lived across the street, I'd be excited to have the village rally round and fix up my front yard too...but,  because I happen to feel the disappearance of Latin and German instruction from the high school curriculum (what is next) to be worse, we all have our "OH MY GOD" topics, don't we? BUT whatever the motivator, for now I'm pleased there's a fun party without a price per head. What they do with the money earned on bags and food and such, I hope there is as much taste in designing the village sandbox as there was in planning the vendors (Alterra and Lakefront Brewery - hear hear! Local Shorewood owned and wonderful!) and a sense, hopefully, that it is part of a shoreline that continues South and North, and that it doesn't naievely set up something requiring undoable maintenance or safety patrol (hello Extreme Makeover, Home Edition).

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and the Mettle Goes To...

You cannot start early enough to make a child into an Olympian. Just to let you know, we teachers are doing what we can. Although it is done in combination with other school activity and studies, we have built in some gentle, but continuous cross and endurance training.

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Germantown Government & Police Set New Record for Bureaucratic Lunacy

Bureaucratic Lunacy, Police, Politicians & Politics, Schools, Village Board

Yes, Yes, Yes ---- I know that Bureaucratic and Lunacy is  redundant ---- and most other local municipal governments will give Germantown a good run for its money for this dubious distinction.

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tough act to follow

Well, Aaron Rodgers played his first game as starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. He’s following a legend. That has to suck. It’s hard to be the one coming after someone who was something more than you are whether it’s smarter, wittier, faster, stronger, prettier, and a long list of er words you may have of your own. I’m sure when Aaron gets his first paycheck, the pressure will seem a little more worth it. When you’re a kid following a sibling, it can either be like following Favre or following the family dufus, which is a whole lot easier.

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cold and global warming., Seasons


But the early morning vapors rise from the surfaces of our lakes here in Wisconsin.

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Globalism today.

Does it mean for Americans that we shall for decades be dependent on foreign oil to the future death of our free market and capitalist economy?

In a non-idealist world do we really express our golbial idealisms by being at war in places like Afghanistan and Iraq? Will Tibet be next, or will it be Iran?

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On Your Mark, Get Set

Okay parents; it’s time to think about what is soon to be another school year. There are things you need to do besides get supplies. You know you have to get supplies, right? Go to the district website, some supply lists are linked, as well as the calendar for the school year and other interesting information. If you’re new to Shorewood schools, keep the calendar that comes home on the first day. On it you will find everything you need to know about early dismissals, late starts, conferences, days off, menus, and you can connect to many teacher’s classroom sites, as well.

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Since the presidential candidates have to go through some sort of prime time religious vetting process in order to head a state legally bound to separate itself from religion, I started to wonder about this as a premise for all American hiring processes. Imagine being on a selection committee in search of a new kindergarten teacher. You have come up with two people quite qualified for the job, so you hand it over to the nun who will be running the forum over at the Shorewood Library. During that time, she will focus her questions on stewardship, leadership, worldview and America’s role in the world. Let’s see, how would that go?

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War and a developing wisdom.

Our foreign policies over the past 20 years have got us into a right mess.

What are we doing in Afghanistan and Iraq? What has our presence there got to do with us here at home? Seven years of talk justifying the war, wasted life and treasure.

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And the Bronze Goes to...Fonzie?

I don’t know what to make of the Fonzie structure in downtown Milwaukee. We are now honoring fictitious characters from sit coms? There aren‘t enough real heroes to worship? How pitiful is that. Surely we can find modern day real heroes to idolize. Maybe Clay Aiken or the winner of Top Chef? They wouldn’t have to be made of something as durable as bronze, we could make them out of wood or paper mache so when The Enquirer uncovers that they are actually scoundrels, their icons can be ripped out of the ground and destroyed.

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Today's loss of community

Communities of the past embodied an economic “survival coefficient.”

That meant that most of the people who lived in the community worked there, making their own products and making a living there. Their lives and survival were dependent on the community.

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Oh, and one more thing...

School starts soon. If you are new to this, allow me to give you some real help. If you’ve been through it all before read it anyway and rate yourself on how well you did with your child’s teacher. Knowing these facts will be helpful and following the advice may well make the difference between early childhood teachers loving you and…well, not loving you. Kindergarten and first grade parents need to know that teachers don’t want you crying your eyes out in the doorway waving goodbye for half an hour on the first day of school. You need to know that your kids will cry as long as you will and not more than 30 seconds longer. I happen to know for a fact that no matter how much blubbering and wailing goes on before you leave, your child is completely fine the minute you’re out of sight. Many a parent has been made a fool of without even knowing it. Oh, and don’t show up early at the end of the day and hang around outside the door either. Teachers know you’re listening in to see if they’re as nice now, as they seemed to be in the morning.

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Who knew the Health of our Economy was Entrusted to Betty Crocker and Edward Scissor Hands !!

Finance, Joe the Barber, Mortgage Market Collapse


The mortgage market in the United States has in almost every way disintegrated.  It appears that even such Economic Geniuses such as Allen Greenspan, just didn't understand that the Housing Boom was Financed with Funny Money Bonds, and sold to unsuspecting Bond Buyers, including the Pension Plans and Retirement Funds of Ordinary Citizens, who relied upon their Financial Advisors.

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Money Where Your Mouth Is

Dear John McCain and Barack Obama campaign people. Knock it off. I think I can speak for many of us when I say this. We’re sick of the cute gottcha ads, the one upping, the accusations and dredging up of pasts. If you don’t have better ideas of messages to get out besides one of you is an elite celebrity and another is an old man in expensive shoes here are some ideas.

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Sense of future.

I've heard some elderly say that they live day-by-day.

What does this mean?

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Putting away the White Shoes: Shorewood Snapshot on the Precipice of Fall

back to school, bike store, frogs, Harley, Shorewood stores

As the low din of Harleys soothes the addled, paperwork infused, sitting-at-the-dining-room-table with cold coffee cup parents and caregivers of our nation's finest crop of kids yet, I have a chance to reflect upon this moment.

First, though, let me say the Harley thing .. is really neat. Driving amongst the masses on motorcycles though is a little like trying to dodge mating frogs in Springtime - they're vulnerable, they're on the road, and their minds are on Other Things.  That said, it's interesting and I feel proud to be a Milwaukeean. We draw the people who are staring death in the face, and it feels tough.  As I drive my minivan to buy unneccessary Spider Man items from the dollar spot, I'm allowed to pretend, for a minute, that I've thrown caution to the wind and am riding a Harley on some kind of odd virtual tour. I would have bought a Harley bandana if I thought for a second I could have parked and navigated the kids around without wishing I hadn't.

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Public official political affiliations.

Political parties attract people of similar views and political interests. Party makes a difference. Our current political conventions prove that.

I had three brothers whom I loved dearly. We were split equally, two Republicans and two Democrats. We kept up with most political issues because we held strong opinions and had to defend our beliefs. No holds barred.

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Heat, Bugs and Inappropriate T-Shirts

I’ve been away for a few days. Got caught up googling “Governors of Alaska.“ It’s been a nice diversion in this humid summer heat. Many of us have already been over at the school buildings setting up our classes. It’s very rewarding as you know volunteer work always is. There are a few things we discovered while we were there, that you may want to know about. It might be a good idea for you to send a fly swatter to school with your child for the first couple weeks. The wasp chat rooms have been full. Stories have been passed from wasp to wasp reliving doorway escapades of days gone by. They’re after the sweet stuff, or the packages it came in and they can’t wait. The ones assigned to the windows will find easy entry in lots of places where screens have been damaged, removed and not replaced. Our choice on hot days is stifling heat or distracting, nasty wasps. You can't smack heat, so send flyswatters. If you are are uncomfortable with insect road kill, teach your children how to trap. You will be responsible for  transporting them to the other school down the street and setting them free in the stairwells.

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