Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's That Time Again

the psychological and sociological derivations of jargon use from
We laugh at bizarre excesses, such as "kinetic wellness" to mean "gym class" (true example!) but jargon has a darker implication: buzzwords can be well-chosen to mask a truth that the uninitiated may find distasteful. ......Somewhere in this is an answer to Peter Richerson's questions about a society's maximization of complexity. Peter said, if I understood him correctly, that societies increase their intricacy at a rate which far exceeds what one would expect if one were looking at things from the point of view of economy. Societies seem to do far more than maximize utility. And so they do. In fact, they too obey the rule of conspicuous consumption. The more useless excess they can flaunt, the higher they move on the hierarchy of social groups. The entire hierarchical system is geared not to saving but to showing how much one can afford to throw away. However today's useless frippery often turns into tomorrow's commodity. In 1950, only massive government agencies could afford the luxury of a computer. Today almost everyone's got one. And most folks of moderate means have a dozen or so-six or seven hidden in the workings of their car, a few in the microwave, the television set, the stereo, the telephone, and even an extra called a Palm Pilot. The evolutionary game is not rigged to reward those who reduce, it showers its rewards on those who can produce. It favors those most able to turn the unusable into treasure and the inanimate into biomass.
True, one can radically up one's surplus by increasing productivity-which DOES mean saving energy. But one saves it only to be able to expend even more than one ever could produce, consume, and toss away before. The basic imperative of a complex adaptive system is the following-"To he who hath it shall be given. From he who hath not, even what he hath shall be taken away." This operates even at the basic level of planetary formation. The gob of gathering gook which grows the largest manages to become a planet. The sliver which stays slim gets even slimmer and becomes a mere moon, meteorite, or mite of cosmic dust. Even the force of gravity rewards the greedy and makes the self-denying slim their way into oblivion.
Is this why the rules of economics which have been applied to evolutionary analysis for the last hundred years or so simply don't pan out? Few creatures on this earth opt for sheer utility. Most are driven by the need for luxury. And the more they luxuriate, the more they exfoliate. The evolutionary imperative is to make, not just to save. Evolution works us overtime not to slim things down but to elaborate. Hence we do not have a universe slouching toward the miserliness of entropy. We have one climbing to the heights of more complexity.

Real Chart Power

I must have close to 300 charts or chart files in my collection and none of them are rubrics.
youtube removed
Barry Manilow, former Williamsburgh boy, has a version of this song, but it certainly isn't the real thing
Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby
Ain't nothing like the real thing
Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby
Ain't nothing like the real thing

(Tammi Terrell):
I got your picture hangin' on the wall
It can't see or come to me when I call your name
I realize it's just a picture in a frame

(Marvin Gaye):
I read your letters when you're not near
But they don't move me
And they don't groove me like when I hear
Your sweet voice whispering in my ear

Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby
Ain't nothing like the real thing

I play the game, a fantasy
I pretend but I'm not in reality
I need the shelter of your arms to comfort me

No other sound is quite the same as your name
No touch can do half as much to make me feel better
So let's stay together

I got some memories to look back on
And though they help me when you phone
I'm well aware nothing can take the place of being there

So glad we got the real thing, baby
So glad we got the real thing
Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby
Ain't nothing like the real thing
Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby
Ain't nothing like the real thing

Is That You Francie?

In 1908 Francie Nolan, aka Betty Smith, etc. was 11 years old. Could be? Remember Francie went to two schools, the second one in a better section of Williamsburgh that the family falsified their address to get her admitted.

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn: Francie Nolan's School?

I spoke to the Principal of PS18 (the Edward Bush School), located on Maujer and Leonard. I wanted to share with her my Tree Grows In Brooklyn discoveries. Maybe Francie Nolan, aka Betty Smith, aka Elisabetha Wehner, went to PS18? Principal Ford, who was a fan of the book, was very pleasant and very interested. Amazingly she answered the school phone herself! (BTW, PS18 got high marks from the site.) Coincidentally my online purchase of Brian Merlis' book, "Brooklyn's Williamsburgh, A City Within A City," arrived today and had the photograph above. The current PS18 is built just about on the original site.

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn: Williamsburgh Tour 3

Going south from Betty Smith's section of Williamsburgh you encounter Hasidic Williamsburgh, a world of its own. While I was driving through it, on my way back to Windsor Terrace, I heard this blaring from a car with a megaphone on its roof. My yiddish is weak. I only recognized "leben" and "mishpooka." Maybe someone would be good enough to supply a translation.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Podcasting In Schools

This was broadcast on ABC news in October. It's great stuff and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to be able to do the same. It's pretty sad that New York, the greatest city in the world, doesn't have a public school system that supports this kind of work. Our teachers are just as good as Tarrytown's, even better. I have seen some terrific young people going into the profession and I'm sure there are schools in New York where great things are going on in technology but there is no systematic way to be informed and no way to share. The problem is that there is minimal support for technology at the DOE. Some pretty big salaries are being pulled down by some folks at Tweed and elsewhere. When something in tech does get showcased for the public it's by an organization like Teaching Matters or some other consultant group. To use the jargon, there's no capacity building.

Most Holy Trinity Church History 2

Here's a slide show made up of many of the historic photos from Most Holy Trinity's site. The last one was taken in 1916 when Betty Smith was a 20 year old parishioner. Now the congregation is mostly Hispanic

Most Holy Trinity Church History

The church's site has a section on the origin of Williamsburgh's street names, one of which is named for Major Franz Sigel (pictured here) who was actually a terrible general for the north in the Civil War: ON THE STREET WHERE YOU LIVE Almost all the streets within the present parish boundaries [of St. Mary’s] are now name streets and all of them give some clue to its historic past. Originally, though, most had just numbers. It is surprising that the names of Woodhull and Morrell, the realtors who first had official surveys made for street locations, are not remembered by a single street sign commemorating their contributions to the area. Nor is there a street named for any member of the Titus family, wealthy Dutch farmers in the early period. Most of the streets were not actually immediately laid out from those early surveyors maps drawn up in the period 1792-1835. Grand Street was one that was actually laid out, however, and named after the Grand Street in Manhattan, where the first ferry terminated, allowing farmers to bring produce there. From 1835 through the 1850, the surveyors’ plans were carried out by city engineers who laid out the streets, initially only dirt roads, which were later gradually paved.
1) Maujer Street was originally called Remsen Street, after Abraham Remsen, a farmer whose property began at what is now the junction of Maujer and Union Avenue. The lower portion was once also called Manhattan Street. On 1835 maps, it went from South 1st Street to Bushwick Avenue. In 1869 it was extended to Morgan Avenue. On April 30, 1937 the name was changed to Maujer Street for Daniel Maujer, Esq., and alderman in the old 15th Ward. He owned land at the junction of Remsen and Union. The change was made to avoid confusion with the downtown Brooklyn’s Remsen Street. The old Union Cemetery once occupied the area bounded by Maujer, Stagg, Leonard and Lorimer Streets.
2) Bushwick Avenue (Eastern Parish Boundary) in the oldest street in all of Bushwick, dating back to the earliest Dutch occupation. Peter Stuyvesant named it on March 14, 1661. The name is generally said to mean “Place Of the Woods”. The area was dense with forests, thickets, scrub oaks, logs and low land. British soldiers used a great deal of the wood for fuel.
3) Rodney Street dates from 1835 and honors Cesar Rodney, a general in the Revolutionary War and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
4) Keap Street, like Rodney, is on 1835 maps. The land for both streets was formally deeded to the city in 1858. It was actually named for another signer of the Declaration, Thomas McKean; the name was erroneously transcribed as “Keap” and never corrected. 
5) Hooper Street (maps 1835, land deeded 1852) is named for William Hooper, signer of the Declaration of Independence.
6) Hewes Street, originally a farm lane (1810) on General Jeremiah Johnson’s farm, was named in 1835 for Joseph Hewes, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He also headed the naval committee for the 13 colonies.
7) Union Avenue in 1835 went from Withers Street to South 6th Street. The first sections were opened on September 8, 1861. It was so named because in 1835 it “united” Williamsburgh and Bushwick, which until then had been separate villages.
8) Lorimer Street recalls the middle name of John and James Graham (after whom Graham Avenue is named), two famous land-jobbers, active in 1836 selling building lots in the area. The street was originally called Gwinette Street, after Button Gwinett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In 1835 it extended from South 6th Street to Greenpoint and was extended north to Noble Street in 1868. The name was changed on April 23, 1901.
9) Leonard Street (formerly the name in 1835 of present-day Lorraine Street in Red Hook) is one of the more recent streets in the area. It was opened from Broadway to Greenpoint Avenue on October 4, 1852.
10) Manhattan Avenue (“manah”, island and “atin”, hill) has, since May 24, 1897 been the name of the street originally called Ewen Street (1835). Daniel Ewen was a surveyor of the old and new village of Williamsburg. Ewen Street stretched from North 6th Street to Greenpoint line. The section from Greenpoint Avenue to Newtown Creek was formerly Union Avenue, and a section between South 5th Street and Java Street was once called Hill Road, and another; piece “Union Place” and in 1867 another stretch was called Orchard Street: It was called Manhattan after the borough across the river.
11) Graham Avenue was named in 1835 for John and James Lorimer Graham, very successful agents for local realtors selling building lots. In those days such agents were called “land-jobbers.”     
12) Humboldt Street (originally 1835 Wyckoff Avenue and later, Smith Street and Smith Avenue) was paved and opened in 1851 from Flushing Avenue to Greenpoint Line. It was renamed somewhere between 1869-1890 to honor Alexander Humboldt (1769-1859), the German explorer of the Orinoco and Amazon rivers (in 1799-1804) and the founder of geophysics.
The Parish Streets running East-West are shorter and will generally be of later date than the North-South streets, though not in every case. Our survey begins with the southernmost and works north.
13) Debovoise Street commemorated Charles Debevoise, a villager who lived on Flushing Avenue. Opened in 1852, it was earlier known as Banzett Street. Debevoise was a descendant of Carl De Devoise (the name means “Beautiful Road”), the first schoolmaster in the area.
14) Cook Street recalls an old resident family whose farm home was located at the “crossroads” of Flushing and Bushwick Avenue”
15) Varet Street opened in 1883, is named for Lewis I. Varette, a land speculator in the area.
16) Moore Street recalls Thomas C. Moore, who owned land in the area, a manufacturer of wire sieves and netting was opened in 1852.
17) Siegel Street (once called Marshall Street) in named for Major General Franz Siegel (1824-1902) of the Civil War Union Army. The street was opened in 1852 from Broadway to Bushwick. Siegel had been born in Germany, came to this country and played an important role in engaging the sympathies of German immigrants to the Union cause. His military skill helped save St. Louis from the Confederates. He was later a customs agent and an editor of the “New York Monthly”. A commemorative statue was erected in 1901 on Riverside Drive in New York City.      
18) McKibbin Street was opened in 1853 from Broadway to Bushwick. Part of the Jacob Boerum farm, it was purchased by John McKibbin and a certain Nichols (his partner). They built homes for German settlers. The area was therefore called “Dutchtown.”
19) Montrose Avenue was opened in 1850 in what was by then already known as the “German Quarter” (as the section bounded by Bushwick, Metropolitan, Meeker and Union Avenues was called “Irish Town”) Originally opened from Union to Bushwick Avenue, Montrose was extended in 1906. The origin of the name is not known.
20) Meserole Street (spelled originally Messerole) was laid out in 1835 through Abraham Messerole’s farm, from Union Avenue to Bushwick Avenue. In 1948 it was extended to Seneca Avenue.
21) Scholes Street (1835) recalls the family of James Scholes, land owners in the area. He purchased the Jeremiah Remson farm in 1831. Paved in 1850, it was extended from Bushwick Avenue to the county line in 1904.
22) Stagg Street: The origin of the name is not clear. Possibly it honors Peter Stagg, one of the commissioners who laid out the streets in 1835. Opened in 1853, it extended from Union Avenue to Bushwick Avenue and was extended, along with Scholes, in 1904 to the borough line.
23) Ten Eyck Street, formerly Wyckoff Street, was opened in 1852. In 1904 it stretched from Union Avenue to Newtown Creek. It recalls Richard Ten Eyck, one of the 44 men whose wealth in 1847 was estimated to exceed $10,000, a very large sum in those days.
24) Maujer Street (formerly Remsen) has already been described. When the name was changed, Daniel Maujer represented the area’s 15th Ward as Alderman. 
25) Grand Street dates from 1835, and like its Manhattan counterpart, suggests the “grandeur” of the many shops lining either side of the street. The Lower section had been called Washington and then Dunham street. As early as 1812 a section ran thru the Morreil farm. In 1836 it was extended thru the Conselyea farm and in 1855 from Bushwick Avenue to Metropolitan.
26) Powers Street (1835) is named after William E. Powers, a zealous clerk in the realty office of the Graham Brothers (after whom Graham avenue was named). Powers was designated the nominal proprietor of vast acres for convenience in arranging sales; the profits went to others, but work detail was his responsibility.
27) Ainslie Street (1835) honors Justice James Ainslie, a member of the Board of Trustees (1828-36) of Williamsburg. It was officially opened and paved in 1850 along with Devoe.
28) Devoe Street (1835) recalls the Devoe family of old Bushwick Village. It was formerly opened in 1850. The Devoe family owned the land near south side of North 2nd, but lived in Bushwick. (The street if not named after the Frederick Devoe family, which did have a farm along the East River shore).
29) The Number Streets (South 5th to North 3rd). When Richard Woodhull had the area surveyed in 1792 (he had purchased 12 acres), he simply gave the streets numbers, except for Grand Street and a lane along the waterfront which he called “Water Street” and another East River street called “River Street” (now under water). Grand Street divided the north and south numbered streets (1828). North 2nd Street was once part of the old Jamaica Turnpike. In Woodhull’s time the north-numbered streets stopped on North 12th. The south streets (from 1836) extended to South 11th Street, just at the line dividing Brooklyn from Williamsburg. These numbered streets therefore count as among the very oldest in the parish [of St. Mary's]. The north-south named streets were similarly originally designated with numbers 1st, 2nd. etc. In 1885 the north-south numbered streets were given names. (First Street is now Kent, Second Street is now Wythe, and so on).
30) Metropolitan Avenue was originally called Bushwick Street, Later Woodhull Street and then North 2nd. Eventually combined with the Jamaica Turnpike and Williamsburg Turnpike it became Metropolitan Avenue.

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn: The Real Betty Smith

From most holy trinity's informative website, Betty Smith, the author of the novel "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn," was born on December 15, 1896 as Elisabetha Wehner (child of Joannes Wehner and Katharina Hommel); according to the Baptismal Registry of this church, she was baptized by the Reverend Nicholas M. Wagner here (then simply known as “Holy Trinity”) on January 24, 1897. In the best-selling novel, Smith wrote about a fictitious girl named Francie who grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Although Trinity is never mentioned by name, the author clearly refers to her own church.“Francie thought it was the most beautiful church in Brooklyn. It was made of old gray stone and had twin spires that rose cleanly into the sky, high above the tallest tenements. Inside, the high vaulted ceilings, narrow deepset stained-glass windows and elaborately carved altars made it a miniature cathedral.”

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn: Williamsburgh Tour 2

I encountered this beautiful survivor of Francie Nolan's Williamsburgh on Graham and Meserole. Searching the internet gave me information about the building. Other highlight's of this tour's portion include the old painted building ad for Roman Furniture on Meserole and the massive and beautiful Most Holy Trinity Church (parish established, 1841-church built, 1886) on Montrose. The music here is another song that James Dunn sung in the movie, Molly Malone

In Dublin's Fair City. Where the girls are so pretty. I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone
As she wheel'd her wheel barrow. Through streets broad and narrow
Crying cockles and mussels alive, alive o!
Alive, alive o!, alive, alive o! Crying cockles and mussels alive, alive o!
She was a fishmonger But sure 'twas no wonder
For so were her father and mother before
And they each wheel'd their barrow Through streets broad and narrow
Crying cockles and mussels alive, alive o!
She died of a fever And no one could save her
And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone
But her ghost wheels her barrow. Through streets broad and narrow
Crying cockles and mussels alive, alive o!

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn: Williamsburgh Tour

Yesterday I went to explore the East Williamsburgh area of Brooklyn that Francie Nolan lived in. Now it is mostly Spanish. I started out on Grand near Manhattan and you can see the path that I took from the image I saved from Google Maps. I even used the ruler tool to measure the distance. This is a good math integration tool. The tour for this first of two youtubed movies ends at the x on Scholes and Leonard. Some beautiful old church buildings on Leonard (St. Mary's?). PS18 looks like a 100 year old Snyder school.There appears to be a converted synagogue that is now a Baptist Church on Leonard and Stagg. There's a tremendous juxtaposition of old and new. The low rise projects are The Williamsburg Houses. The Fillmore Real Estate on Grand shows three story houses going for $700,000. For the soundtrack I used the jukebox music being played at the combination Pizza Place and Tamali restaurant I ate in. Scholes, Messerole, Stagg, Ten Van Eyck Walk-you don't find street names like that everywhere!

Avenue C youtubed

I figured out what I was doing wrong in my conversion of my slideshows to youtube compatibility (it had to do with the frames per second preference) So here's my Avenue C slide show youtubed. Avenue C borders PS64 to the east

On The Street Where LES Kids Live

For my neighborhood study, mapping project with cousin Melissa's class I made a big neighborhood map with Google Maps
and took lots of photos around the school as an impetus for writing. It's interesting to note the blending of old (botanicas, barber shops) with new (Japanese restaurants, "hookah" bars, health clubs). A lot of new businesses have gone under
I have often walked down this street before
But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before
All at once am I several stories high
Knowing I'm on the street where you live
Are there lilac trees in the heart of town
Can you hear a lark in any other part of town
Does enchantment pour out of every door
No, it's just on the street where you live
And oh, the towering feeling
Just to know somehow you are near
The over powering feeling
That any second you may suddenly appear
People stop and stare. They don't bother me
For there's no-where else on earth that I would rather be
Let the time go by; I won't care if I
Can be here on the street where you live
Can be here on the street where you live
Can be here on the street where you

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

Ms. Diaz (god bless her) is using this great story as part of a combined social studies immigration, non-fiction literacy unit with the 8th graders (even though it is not non-fiction-but the hell with TC rigidity). The kids viewed the movie and managed to stay engrossed in a black and white flick. I've got to hand it to the stool pigeon Kazan, he made a great adaption of the novel, but the book is so densely superior. If ever there was a book that New Yorkers should all read together (ala Oprah) it's A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. I hope the 8th graders have a chance to really explore it without the usual rush to meet the literacy pacing calendar. I have the book digitally scanned as well as audio converted and will make the effort to get it on the laptops. Here I made a youtube version of old Williamsburg by combining some archival images with one of the songs James Dunn song in the movie, Annie Laurie

Maxwelton's braes are bonnie,
Where early fa's the dew,
'Twas there that Annie Laurie
Gi'ed me her promise true.
Gi'ed me her promise true -
Which ne'er forgot will be,
And for bonnie Annie Laurie
I'd lay me down and dee.
Her brow is like the snaw-drift,
Her neck is like the swan,
Her face it is the fairest,
That 'er the sun shone on.
That 'er the sun shone on -
And dark blue is her e'e,
And for bonnie Annie Laurie
I'd lay me down and dee.
Like dew on gowans lying,
Is the fa' o' her fairy feet,
And like winds, in simmer sighing,
Her voice is low and sweet.
Her voice is low and sweet -
And she's a' the world to me;
And for bonnie Annie Laurie
I'd lay me down and dee.
▪ braes (a brae is a sloping bank of a river or sea-shore; a hill-slope)[1]
▪ bonnie means pretty
▪ fa's means falls
▪ gi'ed means gave
▪ dee means die
▪ snaw means snow
▪ e'e means eyes
▪ gowans are daisies
▪ o is of
▪ simmer means summer
▪ a is all

Saturday, November 25, 2006


If you see someone wearing this be kind

School Plaque History Redux

From August of 2005:
A couple of views of PS 177. Last year I met Gin Gee Moy, the former principal of The Meyer London School (PS 2 on Henry Street). Not too long after I graduated PS177 in 1960 the building was torn down and replaced by PS 2. There had also been an older PS 2 before on Henry Street. Mr. Sol Press had replaced Mr. Gregor at 177 in 1959 as principal and went to PS 2 with the 177 faculty. Gin Gee became part of that faculty and worked with Mr. Press. She also knew many of my old teachers. I just about remember them alin order from K-6 : Mrs Horowitz, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Lizzio, Mrs. Peck, Mrs. Apat, Mrs. Feuer, Mrs. Decker and Mrs. Jonas. Mrs. Jonas went out on pregnancy leave in the 6th Grade and we had some weird subs: Mrs. Fels, who said she was related to the Fels-Naptha family and Mrs. Lebergott. BTW Gin Gee looks a whole lot better than I do. She also told me that Mrs. Lizzio is still alive and in her 90's. I think 177 was the Roger Bacon school.
a repeat of a slide show of some LES school plaques done also in August of 2005

Ain't That A Kick In The Head?

Two weeks ago after a visit to Goomba Gura at Fordham I took myself to Arthur Avenue. Would you believe it I've never been there? After a slice of Sicilian and some disappointing prosciutto bread I started back to Brooklyn. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a beautiful old castle like school. It looked just like my old elementary school alma mater, PS 177, the Roger Bacon School. I drive by to take some photos and go inside to take a look. Holy Cow! (homage to the Scooter), but I meet Gin Gee Moy at the security desk. She's a retired principal, now a consultant. She had been a teacher and later the principal at PS 2 on the LES, the school that replaced PS 177 in 1959. I felt I was in a time warp. What a beautiful building, beautifully maintained. What a crime to have torn down many of the famed school architect's (C.B.J. Snyder) great works. The replacement buildings don't hold a candle and they are like ovens in the summer.
The youtubed (removed) movie has my documentation with some Arthur Ave photos. The last picture is of the corner of 187th and Crescent taken in 1910. It was in the window of the existing hardware store on the very same site.

The lyrics-I was lucky too once when I got kissed by Nancy Bueller in those PS 177 days. Too bad I didn't marry her

How lucky can one guy be? I kissed her and she kissed me
Like the fella once said, "Ain't that a kick in the head?"
The room was completely black, I hugged her and she hugged back
Like the sailor said, quote, "Ain't that a hole in the boat?"
My head keeps spinnin', I go to sleep and keep grinnin'
If this is just the beginnin', my life is gonna be bee-yoo-tee-ful
I've sunshine enough to spread, it's just like the fella said
Tell me quick, ain't love a kick in the head?
Like the fella once said, "Ain't that a kick in the head?"
Like the sailor said, quote, "Ain't that a hole in the boat?"
My head keeps spinnin', I go to sleep and keep grinnin'
If this is just the beginnin', my life is gonna be bee-yoo-tee-ful
She's tellin' me we'll be wed, she's picked out a king-size bed
I couldn't feel any better or I'd be sick
Tell me quick oh, ain't love a kick?
Tell me quick ain't love a kick in the head?

Bling Bing

I grew up disliking Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong. In the 50's, 60's and 70's they were caricatures of their former greatness-being over exposed on the likes of Ed Sullivan type shows. Louis appeared to be a "Tom" and Crosby a lousy father and a right winger. But this is from Allen Barra's review of Gary Giddins' excellent bio of Crosby, "A Pocketful of Dreams"
"Here are some points on which you could get a solid consensus among historians: He was the most popular recording artist of all time, selling more records and earning more radio listeners than anyone else, and for longer than anyone else, nearly a quarter of a century. No one else was even close, and in terms of a share of the recording market, no one is close today. And the records represented only a part of Crosby's popularity. For nearly two decades he was a leading box office attraction, placing No. 1 for five straight years. He was the most popular radio singer of all time and probably created the idea of the "popular" singer as we know it. Giddins is on firmer ground when evaluating Crosby's musical influence. He was "the first white vocalist to appreciate and assimilate the genius of Louis Armstrong: his rhythm, his emotions, his comedy, his spontaneity ... Bing was the first (pop singer) to render the lyrics of a modern ballad with purpose, the first to suggest an erotic undercurrent." And: "With the microphone elaborating the subtleties of his delivery, Bing was reinventing popular music as a personal and consequently erotic medium." The more so because it is precisely the musical Bing Crosby who gets lost as the book goes on. The truth of the matter is that while Bing Crosby the artist and Bing Crosby the phenomenon are interesting subjects, Bing Crosby the man really isn't. Giddins has some interesting revelations to throw out -- that Louis Armstrong introduced Bing to marijuana, which he later recommended to his oldest son as preferable to alcohol, that the ultraconservative Hollywood veteran opposed the Vietnam War, that Crosby's fabled friendship with Bob Hope didn't really begin till they had been working together for more than 20 years"
Check out this foursome of greats (update-the sinatra folks had all traces of him removed from youtube-how uncool-but here's Bing withe Supremes

In The Belly Of The Beast

Last Monday I went to Columbia Teacher's College to participate in a study involving geography for elementary school kids.
Some interesting data on how children view the world at different developmental stages. One thing for sure is that mapping isn't being taught. It's all part of the drought in social studies' teaching. The only mapping experience that kids get is learning how to navigate all the "facocta" literacy charts in the room, courtesy of the Columbia beast Calkin. Just think I could have strapped a bomb on and freed a lot of minds. There are times that I'm depressed enough to consider the possibility. When the Columbia evaluator, (an old boring, passive aggressive former colleague), was picking my brain on ways to introduce some trial software I suggested a TC term I learned from my favorite assistant principal," Jonesy." It's called stop and jot, to which I have added a podcast component. It winds up the evaluator knew nothing of such methods! Anyway, the people from reachtheworld are going to Morocco. Here's something I youtubed.

We're off on the road to Morocco
This camel is tough on the spine (hit me with a band-aid, Dad)
Where they're goin', why we're goin', how can we be sure
I'll lay you eight to five that we'll meet Dorothy Lamour (yeah, get in line)
Off on the road to Morocco
Hang on till the end of the line (I like your jockey. Quiet)
I hear this country's where they do the dance of the seven veils
We'd tell you more (uh-ah) but we would have the censor on our tails (good boy)
We certainly do get around Like Webster's Dictionary we're Morocco bound
We're off on the road to Morocco
Well look out, well clear the way, 'cause here we come Stand by for a concussion
The men eat fire, sleep on nails and saw their wives in half
It seems to me there should be easier ways to get a laugh (shall I slip on my big shoes?)
Off on the road to Morocco
Hooray! Well blow a horn, everybody duck
Yeah. it's a green light, come on boys
We may run into vilains but we're not afraid to roam
Because we read the story and we end up safe at home (yeah)
Certainly do get around  Like Webster's Dictionary we're Morocco bound
We certainly do get around
Like a complete set of Shakespeare that you get
in the corner drugstore for a dollar ninety-eight
We're Morocco bound
Or, like a volume of Omar Khayyam that you buy in the
department store at Christmas time for your cousin Julia
We're Morocco bound (we could be arrested)

Veteran's Day Remembrance

video removed-check out a 9/28/07 post for update
A week late for this, but there has been a big backlog of blogworthy material to manage. A semi-retirement pleasure is breakfast at favorite bagel stops. One such place is "Bagels By The Park" on Smith Street. Afterwards a walk through Carroll Street Park to photograph the World War I Memorial there. A idea was to add to the plaque material by tracking down census data on some of the soldiers listed. By chance, a free week of Ancestry came my way. Lots of detective work to figure out who might be the right "Hugh McHugh," etc. One thing that became apparent is that many of these guys were either border, lodger types or teenagers wanting to prove their manhood. Many of them were only 10 or so in 1910, which meant they enlisted and died by 18. Probably many lied about their ages. This would be a good DBQ project for some kids. Being that Carroll Gardens is such a stable neighborhood, it's possible that many family members might still be in the vicinity. I chose to
youtube the file, since the adding of George M. Cohan's version of "Over There" built up the file size to 6MB. The only problem is that the slides with the census data is hard to view. If anyone actually wanted the original, with a better view of those images, it can be made available.

Verse One:
Johnny get your gun, get your gun, get your gun
Take it on the run, on the run, on the run,
Hear them calling, you and me
Every son of liberty,
Hurry right away, no delay, go today,
Make your Daddy glad, to have had such a lad,
Tell your sweetheart not to pine
She'll be proud her boys in line
Over There, Over There, Over There
Send the word, send the word Over There
That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming,
The drum drum druming everywhere
So Prepare, say a prayer,
Send the word, send the word, to beware,
We'll be over, were coming over,
and we won't come back til it's over, over there
Repeat Chorus
Verse Two:
Johnny get your gun, get you gun, get your gun
Tell it to the Hun, your a son of a gun
Hoist your Flag and let her fly
Yankee Doodle, Do or Die
Pack your little kit, show your grit, do your bit.
Yankees from the ranks to the towns and the tanks
Make your Mother, proud of you and
The old Red, White and Blue
Over There, Over There, Over There
Send the word, send the word Over There
That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming,
The drum drum druming everywhere
So Prepare, say a prayer,
Send the word, send the word, to beware,
We'll be over, were coming over,
and we won't come back til it's over, over there

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Wire Explains It All

On the other hand you can hear Andres Alonso at Hunter College on 11/15/06

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Truth About No Child Left Behind 2

From The Wire: The Baltimore school system, under the scourge of NCLB and the leadership of Copeland and DeStefano

The Truth About No Child Left Behind

From a recent episode of the best show on television, The Wire.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Nail Em Up

Mark this day as one that ranks up there with the birth of my two daughters and the day I beat St. Joseph's 3-1

Pickle Power

I was on the LES last week helping set up a class visit by some 2nd graders to see the thepickleguys at work. While there both the owner, Alan Kaufman and I, were interviewed by Columbia Journalism students. Afterwards I went to the Seward Park Library. I was curious to see if they had any archival material on food vendors on the lower east side. I came up with some gems. Part of this slide show is made up of a 1973 NYTimes' article about Guss' Pickles.
The last two slides come from a newly published book I got, "Life On The Lower East Side, the Photographs of Rebecca Lepkoff." They are of unidentified LES pickle merchants from the 1940's. Alan Kaufman told me that the photo of the guy with the pipe is his pickle mentor, Natie Hollander, who is still alive!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


A visitor to Pseudo-Intellectualism's last post called it droll. I'm not sure to take that as a compliment or an insult. Maybe it was meant for Marty Cohen's gang of education system muggers.
a thick and short person troll a magical appearance, demon, trolla to use magic arts, enchant, magician, evil spirit, monster. Queer, and fitted to provoke laughter; ludicrous from oddity; amusing and strange.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Bearded Deceptions

Cases in point: Note the secret signal. Note the definition of a beard from the Urban Dictionary:
"a man or woman used as a cover for a gay partner." Note that staff development, the linchpin of the very, very expensive DOE program is a costly beard of patronage for real staff development. Again from that terrific Norm Scott article of previous post, "The best staff development is observation, followed by hands on practice, not lectures! ..... We have enough local success stories and expert teachers whose talents and accomplishments are being ignored."
Won't some NYC public official ever press to open the black book on how much is being spent on staff development and connect the dots.

Skata Nafas, Anthony Alvarado

aka, Marty Cohen, the leader of the evil axis, (disguised as progressive) that is destroying public education wherever it spreads its virus. This from an excellent 5/05 article by Norman Scott, from The Wave, a local Rockaway paper (Here's a link to the entire article) :"The recent resurfacing of former New York City chancellor and District 2 (central and southern Manhattan schools) Superintendent Anthony Alvarado as executive director of the City Council’s Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) commission (created by City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Gifford Miller) does not lack significance. Just about everyone I speak to – parents and teachers – who worked in District 2, are not happy. Alvarado is viewed as the architect of the policies currently being implemented in New York City schools. Alvarado left New York’s District 2 in 1998 when the newly appointed San Diego Superintendent Alan Bersin, a federal prosecutor in the Clinton administration, hired him as Chancellor of Instruction. Bersin recently resigned (most say forced out) after years of controversy and last week was appointed Commissioner of Education in California by Governor Schwarzenegger. That the current NYC Chancellor Joel Klein has the same background as Bersin (both also non-educators) and that there are similarities between Klein’s former lead instructor Diana Lam (also forced out under a cloud) and Alvarado (forced out in San Diego in Sept. ’03) is no coincidence. Before he ran District 2, Alvarado resigned as New York City chancellor in 1984 after a brief tenure over some personal monetary difficulties. At the time, progressive educators felt the loss of Alvarado as chancellor in NYC was a tragedy for the system and that it never recovered as a succession of chancellors followed in his wake. I joined the chorus in excusing his indiscretions and remained a fan throughout his early tenure in District 2, viewing him as a very impressive and passionate educator. In later years, an uglier story began to be told. The ending of Bersin’s recent tenure in San Diego has brought the impact of the Bersin-Alvarado partnership back into the news. When Joel Klein became NYC chancellor one of his first acts was to jump on a plane and head to San Diego. The system he put into place parallels the San Diego story – déjà vu all over again – and again. Alvarado made his bones nationally by raising scores dramatically in District 2, the most affluent district in the city, which some critics contend minimizes that achievement when demographics are taken into account. This led to the San Diego gig, where he engineered enormous changes throughout the system that New York educators will recognize: massive doses of professional development at great expense, literacy and math coaches, a strictly managed top-down system minimizing teacher input, the Workshop model imposed on all teachers, the use of Teachers College concepts of teaching, hiring high-priced consultants from outside, ignoring any semblance of parental input, a strict cloaking device to keep information from flowing out of schools, a massive public relations operation to put a good face on everything, and of course, attempting to minimize the influence of the union.
The model of separating instruction from operations and the use of sub-superintendents (LIS’s) may have also been field tested in San Diego on a much smaller scale.
Money spent on class size reduction was minimal (other than that required by the California class-size reduction law), as Alvarado has always placed the emphasis on teacher training. .....
The Alvarado philosophy in a nutshell.
“ Fear Motivation: Many experienced principals have elected to leave the district in fear of humiliation [after 15 principals were removed and faced the use of police escorts and public humiliation.]
“Teacher Training: From the get go [teachers] were told to just do what they were told. They were going to have to give up what they had found worked for them without any tryout and evaluation period at all!
“Public Input: …community meetings had massive opposition to the [Alvarado] plan, but comments by parents, teachers and others were mostly ignored.
“Top-down or else: ...Alan(Bersin) and Tony became the Czars of reform. Alan the lawyer reverted to his prosecutorial mode. He had a client, Tony ...and he was charged to make what Tony decided happen. Alan simply didn’t have the educational background to decide the issues for himself.
“Know-it-alls from everywhere: Another issue is the constant importation of consultants (at high per diem cost) to lecture teachers on instruction. The best staff development is observation, followed by hands on practice, not lectures! The staff could surely use the money to support teachers’ observations of effective instruction instead. We have enough local success stories and expert teachers whose talents and accomplishments are being ignored. Everyone I represent agrees that they are in a top-down, inflexible, take-it or leave-it mode.
“ Angry troops, False Claims, Moving Administrators: A highly trumpeted part of the [Alvarado] Blueprint eliminated administration from the Ed Center to move personnel to the schools, but unfortunately the switch created more people looking over the shoulders of teachers instead of more people teaching! In fact if the plan was to shift these personnel to reduce class size in upper grades I would have been eager to support it. If we did that, we would have class sizes of 20 throughout all crucial elementary grades! And all these experts would be in the classroom where they would be able to demonstrate rather than preach! Over 93% of the teachers voted no confidence for the superintendent and his program!

Skata Nafas DOE

Kudos to the Grand Street News for pursuing this story. 184 has political (Republican)
clout and though racism plays a part, it's more "classist" in the sense that the have$ have more say in the decision making process. The taxpayers lose too, because a whole building has to be converted to accomodate special ed kids (elevators) while the old 137 building already had elevators. Plus: No way that 184 has 12 percent combined black an hispanic. Dual language is just a scam to exclude other groups.
"In granting Shuang Wen its own building, some argue that the DOE is giving it special treatment because of a few key advantages the school has. Shuang Wen is about 80 percent Asian, with about 12 percent combined African American and Hispanic, according to the DOE website. In contrast, PS 134 is close to 79 percent African American and Hispanic combined, and PS 137 about 90 percent. To parents, it seemed like the Chinese were being handed their own school at the expense of others. "I don't want to be racist, but I don't think it's fair," said Moses Brown, who has a son in third grade at PS 137. "I mean, a whole building? Everyone feels that way." Shuang Wen also tests considerably better than the other schools, with the percentage of its students meeting city and state test standards in 2005 well above city averages. PS 134 and PS 137 each tested below those averages last year. A third factor benefiting Shuang Wen is funding. In 2004, media mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation donated $500,000 to the school, stressing the importance of dual language learning with Chinese. Parents from PS 137 contend that Shuang Wen is more hooked up politically and financially than their school. But officials counter that PS 137's relocation was a numbers game, plain and simple. With three schools and two buildings, the Department of Education characterized the arrangement as simple economics."
Here's a link to the entire article

Top 6 Reasons That Baltimore Sucks

Yes, the inner harbor is very beautiful, but: 6. The Oriole fans (except my fellow teacher guy from the hotel) I encountered were boorishly stupid. (I don't mind good-natured sparring with other bb fans- but I got mostly, "Hey Yankees Suck." The point is I wasn't even wearing a Yankee cap, but a NY Black Yankees Cap, circa 1936, which has a completely different logo 5. There is a dearth of indie record stores and book stores 4. The better hotels and restaurants are overpriced 3. There is no such thing as a local pizza place, chinese restaurant, bodega or 99 cent store 2. The extremes of wealth and poverty are so great that there are 8 year old squeegie boys hustling for loose change. 1. Metered parking is in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The fudge factory song and dance was cute. I found this segment on youtube

Saturday, November 04, 2006

You Gotta Keep The Devil Way Down In The Hole

Images from The Wire and Wire locations made into a slide show From the Baltimore City Paper: " Vince Peranio agreed to design a short driving and walking tour of some of his favorite locations used in The Wire, which recently finished shooting its fourth season. The tour, which meanders through the neighborhoods of Oliver, Broadway East, and Middle East, before ending up in Greenmount West, features long stretches of barren, blighted, and crumbling rowhouses. The primary commercial activity appears to take place on street corners. It’s grim. But for Peranio, a Baltimore native, these streets are a source of constant wonder. “It’s in the way a house looks, or the vacant lots just strewn with every type of toy and the last 50 years of effluvium,” he says. “I think you see much more of people’s lives here, exposed and raw.” Simon says Peranio’s gift is his ability to see hope where others see despair. “In every neighborhood, Vince has been able to find elements of beauty and power with which to tell a story,” writes Simon in an e-mail. “He knows the city as someone who loves the city and he finds grandeur in unlikely places.

A Putz On Wheels

Borrowing one of my father's expressions- I strike up a friendly conversation with a hotel manager in Baltimore and lo and behold he's a retiring public school teacher. He relates tales of his system's deterioation under the leadership of this guy, a carpetbagging former NYCDOE putz out of the Alvarado stable. (I think the stable's colors are lavender). How is it allowed that the same a-holes who ruin one school system resurface somewhere else to destroy another? Part of the nationwide conspiracy to destroy public education? I believe there is such an agenda, but in most cases it is just a combination of ignorance, the old boys (or is it young boys') network and the smoke and mirrors technique of the fashionista approach of Anthony's gang. The fact that they are kick ass in their approach appeals to school officials who want to appear that they are making tough decisions to make changes. Another expression is appropriate from my Greek grandmother Anna. She would say, something like "Skata nafas, nafsi skata". (translation I think, "eat shit, thoroughly") Here's part of a recent article about this lord from the Baltimore Sun: This school year, Frank DeStefano has been the common denominator in some of the Baltimore school system's most fractious issues.He was instrumental in the selection of a middle school language arts curriculum so controversial that the system scrapped it midyear. And he lowered the admissions standards at elite high schools.The system's No. 2 academic official, DeStefano said he has merely been carrying out the vision of the city's top school leaders. Schools chief Bonnie S. Copeland has called him "an implementer."But interviews with DeStefano's current and former colleagues tell the story of an educator who has bounced from one dispute to the next, who has overseen discredited programs and who has relied on friendships with influential people to succeed.Copeland hired DeStefano to oversee city high schools three years ago, though he had no experience in high schools and was driven out of a previous job in New York City amid allegations of financial mismanagement and a dictatorial leadership style. In picking him, Copeland passed up a qualified internal candidate recommended by an interview committee.Today, DeStefano makes $135,200 a year, one of the 10-highest salaries in the school system, but he does not have any type of education certification in Maryland. Also, the city school board has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts to organizations run by his friends and associates, a Sun review has found. One of those contracts was for Studio Course, the middle school language arts curriculum, which DeStefano helped recommend to the board.DeStefano, 50, also has been the architect of Baltimore's effort to break up its large high schools into smaller, more personalized environments -- a tactic he tried with little success in Brooklyn's middle schools.His supporters said he is an innovative thinker and visionary instructional leader."He was an aggressive reformer who had a lot of the right ideas but was often not as careful as he could have been about some of the necessary diplomacy and politics," said Bill de Blasio, a former school board member in DeStefano's New York district who ran Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign and now serves on the New York City Council. "I always thought his heart was in the right place." DeStefano said his self-described "tough as nails" approach is rooted in a commitment to children and a desire to hold the adults who educate them accountable."Maybe I don't have the right bedside manner," he said in an interview. "I'm impatient. Visit some of our schools. You'll see why I'm impatient." Many who know DeStefano said substance as well as style is the source of their concern. "Frank is a very powerful person in the Baltimore City public schools," said City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, an advocate on several education issues. "And time after time when I'm running into trouble, it's Frank that's at the root of the problem." Beyond this school year, DeStefano's future in Baltimore is uncertain. He was initially hired for a temporary stint, which has been extended multiple times. A bachelor who lives in Mount Vernon, he said he never commits to a place for more than a year at a time. In New York, he said, he knew it was time to leave when he became the news. The Brooklyn native was mentored in New York by some of the country's educational giants, including Anthony J. Alvarado. Alvarado was the chancellor overseeing all New York City schools in the 1980s, until he was accused of improperly borrowing money from subordinates and lying on mortgage applications. But Alvarado bounced back to become superintendent of Manhattan's Community School District 2, which gained national acclaim for its literacy reforms. In the late 1990s, when Copeland was director of Baltimore's nonprofit Fund for Educational Excellence, she wanted city educators to visit District 2. But Alvarado was leaving New York, and officials referred her to a district run by his protege, DeStefano. That's how she met DeStefano.

Friday, November 03, 2006

When You Walk Through The Garden

tullyano7 at youtube has musical summaries of all 4 seasons of the wire-this is season 4 so far

by Tom Waits:
When you walk through the garden you gotta watch your back
well I beg your pardon walk the straight and narrow track
if you walk with Jesus he's gonna save your soul
you gotta keep the devil way down in the hole
he's got the fire and the fury at his command
well you don't have to worry if you hold on to Jesus hand
we'll all be safe from Satan when the thunder rolls
just gotta help me keep the devil way down in the hole
All the angels sing about Jesus' mighty sword and they'll shield you with their wings
and keep you close to the lord don't pay heed to temptation for his hands are so cold
you gotta help me keep the devil way down in the hole

Babeland Confession

During the long midnight ride to Baltimore last night for the Stitcher's 2006 Convention (one of Mrs. B's passions) I fessed up to True Confession 2. Her response, "Oh, I already knew." My daughter probably ratted me out, but that's ok. I never told her to keep it in the vault and it's a lot of pressure for kids tom keep the secrets of their parents. Speaking of Baltimore, I'm a recent convert to "The Wire." What a show! How is it that it's never been nominated for any award? The scenes of the middle school are as a real as they can be.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pseudo's Cahones

I'm bouncing back from the flagellations of true confessions. Looking back to last spring, I told this scary looking dude (the outgoing DOE Technology CIO) to his face that I thought the DOE was doing a lousy job as far as professional development was concerned. The phrasing was somewhat gentler and kinder. "As someone who is a proud New Yorker, I am embarassed at what I see going on in regard to technology integration at the DOE. Compare NYC's website with any other big time city and you will see what I mean."
Here's a recent quote of his from Technology and Learning's site (,
Q. Do you have regular professional development workshops for teachers?
A. It’s extremely variable across the system because it’s not something that’s funded as a centrally provided program. Given our size, there’s a little bit of everything going on. Some folks have the luxury of getting huge amounts [of instruction] targeted toward technology, others don’t get anywhere near enough. It’s just a big range."
I would say 22 schools get a huge amount (of sucky) staff development)-the rest of the 1400, practically nada
Inquiring minds?
Oh yes, definitely

Big City Bright Lights On Avenue A

There have been underwhelming inquiries as to whether pseudo-intellectual attempted to be pseudo hip by going to a cool bar to hear Ryan Sullivan's kid sister perform last week. The answer is yes. Big City Bright Lights was terrific:
"Big City Bright Lights comes at you with a country twang straight from New York City. Lead vocalist and architect of BCBL - Lindsay Sullivans voice is reminiscent of classic Americana, but specifically Loretta Lynn. In the summer of 2005, THE BIG CITY BRIGHT LIGHTS were born.BCBL is songstress & keyboard player Lindsay Sullivan (formerly of mason dixon), Guitarist Brendan Boehning (Kinetic), Drummer Tim Collins (Michael Leviton among others), Bassist Dan Loomis and Vocalist Ellie Everdell (Legitime). This pop-rock-country-soul-explosion is working day and night to produce songs for your listening pleasure so check 'em out. You wont be disappointed." They will be on the LES at Mo Pitkin's on Ave A and 2nd Street on November 7th. Here's a bit of an audio sample combining Ryan's offer of, "Another beer," with a taste of Big City's hypnotic tune "Wish You Everything." I mixed it with pics from Union Hall, which features a bocce court no less and scenes from Mo Pitkins! BTW, Ryan's dad was there-A great guy and a proud papa. The two of us were at least 25 years older than the next oldest person.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Avenue C

Spoke to cousin Melissa-ace 1st grade teacher on the LES and we will try to do a neighborhood (Avenues B and C study) like Ms. Asis and combine it with kids' audio, scanned writing, pictures and every appropriate TC literacy strand imaginable. There's a 1958 Lambert, Hendricks and Ross scat version of Avenue C that is remarkable for how fresh it sounds after 48 years. The young rappers could go to school on this

N. Y. I dig, What about it? N. Y. is big, People tout it I flip my wig, What about?' Bout a street I dig
One day I was walkin' n' Finally came upon a series of alphabet streets A-B-C and D, but I went for "C" The most of the hard-to-forget streets It's really and truly the dilly of all m'pet streets, Hey, hey, hey everybody now Come go walkin' with me now Walk up avenue C now Chicks all lookin' so pretty They don't give me no pity Avenue C is the grooviest in the city Tenor sax: I never dug an avenue so enjoyable to me "C" Avenue is groovy Yes it was groovy as it could be Walk with me down Avenue C, Man I really hope to say. Come on baby, while we ramble, Walk beside me while we ramble You dig it too I feel you do What a scenic hike It's a walk that you're bound to like Y'got "B" on the one side,"A," "D" on the other ,"B" "C" in the middle, "C" Baby! The reason that you're feelin' so down, babe Is 'cause you live in Stuyvesant Town, babe I dug you down in Hamilton Fish, babe And realized that you were my dish, babe Walkin' home and you can walk with me Walkin' hand in hand up Avenue C, Oh babe And while we're walkin' we can do some talkin'
While the people dig us wonderin' what we're puttin' down While we, happy as we can be, glide on Takin' life in stride up to Murphy Park there beside the river Well our feet got rhythm Pure pedal syncopation 'N when we walk with 'em Demandin' admiration, Well our step is snappy Dig people step aside now, Because we're so happy We're takin' life in stride now, Avenue C your vibrations are followin' me. Oh yes Everybody busily lookin' , Yes yes, Me and baby steadily cookin' Yes yes , Start at one end talkin' and movin' Yes yes,To the other wiggin' and groovin' So come, You should, And view, I would, This Ave- You could, Venue, It's good, Walk on, "C" Avenue, see it my way Talk on, No better view on a highway, Big town you don't know 'till you see it Walk on, I never saw such a wonderful sight, You're gonna love it Break I'm hip, you'll flip, When you dig it you'll stop and linger What a pleasure and what a swinger, Go dig it cop that view it's bound to thrill you Go dig it cop that view it's bound to thrill you Go dig it cop that view it's bound to thrill you Go dig it cop that view it's bound to thrill you

True Confessions 3

Last week when I was at the Columbia Tech conference I unloaded on an unsuspecting, nebbishy techie from Region X. The conversation went something like this. Me, (as I notice his ID tag) "I used to work in Region X (at PSX). Him, "So you must know Union Hack, aka Pete Persession (those are my alias' for the worm)?" Me, "Sure I do, he went to meetings every Friday for two straight years and never told anyone what he did or learned at those meetings." Him, "Well, I could tell you what we did, we worked on projects and I'm working this year on putting them into a filemaker database for the state" Me, "Do you think anyone in the real world will ever see them so they could use them and learn from them?" It was a hollow victory. Would I had the cahones to say that to his mean spirited boss? Probably only through a poison email.
After the meeting, over coffee, I told a respected colleague, who knew the nebbish, what I had said to him. He responded , "Oh, he's really a nice guy." I felt terrible. I got his email address and later apologized. Afterwards I went back to my car and couldn't find it. I noticed that I had absentmindedly parked in a No Standing Zone. The car must have been towed! I spent about an hour and half trying to find out where it had been towed without any luck. I tried hard to temper the self hate with rationalizations, "You're only human, you're getting old, you've never had a car towed in your life, etc." Finally, I realized I had confused the block I thought I had parked on with another. When I got to my car I almost kissed it. I came home, told the story to my wife. I related how I was somewhat proud that I didn't torture myself in my usual fashion. She replied, "But, if it had happened to me, would you have fumed for days with blame." This is true.

Kerry's Cahones

It's about time Kerry got some

Happy Halloween, Et Tu?

This young LES school leader advertises himself online as the "punk principal." I met him on Monday as I attempted to do a pro bono document based project involving old student record cards (primary resources) with his 4th or 5th graders. It would be a replication of a really great project once done at the once great PS20 here's a link back to a July 2005 entry about that project. I confess (part of the "I confess stream" I'm locked into) that I suspected that mine and the records of my old schoolmates from the extinct PS177 might be housed at his school and I was really curious to see them. Me, "I used to work nearby for CSD1." Him, "We were never part of CSD1, our school is in CSD2." The haughty a-hole rejected the idea. That's him above in costume, as I found him online in a group that compares self-made Halloween disguises. I could be wrong, but it sounds to me like something that those that play on the other team are more likely to do? (Not that there's anything wrong with that) What happened to the real leader-principals of yesteryear, like my fellow Stuyvesantian (class of 65), Ivan Kushner?