Thursday, February 28, 2013

1st Period showed me this…

Monday, February 25, 2013

Unfunded Mandates.

The State Legislature loves giving educators more and more to do.  Every time they meet we sigh a collective sigh and contemplate what new thing they are going to dump on us.  90% of the time without relieving us of something we are already doing so that we have the time for the new stuff.

More often than not, these mandates come without any funding to pay for them, we’re supposed to squeeze it out of our 51st-in-the-nation per pupil funding.

This year there are a couple things that I actually support, except for their being unfunded.

The first one will require school districts to hold yearly seminars for parents on bullying, substance abuse, mental health and internet safety.  If it weren’t for the fact that funding for these seminars will be coming out of my classroom, I’d be all for it.

They are also voting on a bill to put caps on K-3 classrooms.  It would mandate that kindergarten classes could be no bigger than 20 students, 1st & 2nd grade at 22 and 3rd grade classes would stop at 24.  Wonderful idea, one I have been argued is the #1 issue in education for years.  The problem is that the bill includes no extra money.  Zip.  Zero. Nada. Ziltch. Niente.

This means class sizes in the upper grades are going to have to get bigger.  Having 34 kids in an Algebra class will be a thing of the past.  42, which I’ve had before, will be the new norm.  An article on reports Logan High School already having 50+ students in their English classes.

You up on the hill:  The rubber band  is already stretched to the max, the camel’s back is cracking and the balloon is pushing it’s outer limits.  Something’s gonna blow, and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

But hey, we got $500 million to move the Utah State Prison so some developers (aka: friends & legislators) can make a bundle building houses at the Point of the Mountain.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


I went out to go run some errands today and found 3” of new snow on the driveway.  That’s not the perplexing part, I knew a big storm was coming in today.

What does have me a little confused and concerned were the footprints in the snow.  All the way from the front sidewalk, up the driveway and to the back of the house where the garage is.  They didn’t get close enough to the Jeep to suggest anyone got into it.  They didn’t go next to the garage or even into the carport.  Whomever it was just walked halfway across the parking area and then turned around and went back out to the street.

Curious.  Makes me wonder how many times this happens when there isn’t snow on the ground to give them away.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Registered and licensed.


theme for this week is “Letters, numbers & other characters”.

At first I tried to find pictures of the room number of all the classrooms I’ve taught in.  That would have resulted in a set of 13 different pictures.  I couldn’t find even one, so I changed concepts.

Here are 34 of the license plates from the cars I’ve owned in my life.  They date from 1976 to today, although it’s not a complete list because some of my pictures of my cars didn’t have a good view of the plate.  There are also a few doubles, I’ve had personalized plates that have been on several cars. 

So, here’s a trip through Utah Vehicle Registration history.  How many cars can you identify (without clicking on the “My 58 Vehicles” tab at the top).

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Why the State of Utah shouldn’t control public lands.

It was a nice day, so I decided to go find some dirt roads and mud.  I hadn’t been out to Stansbury Island in years, so that’s where I headed.

I found a nice mud puddle to play in and a muddy hill to go up and down.  It was fun, and the Jeep did well.

At one point, I decided to pull into a spot with fresh snow so I could turn around.  That was a bad idea.

I got stuck and had to work at getting myself out of it.  I tried to back out, like the original plan, but that wasn’t going to happen. I rocked it back and forth and finally got it out of the rut going forward.  And once you get going, you don’t stop, so I ended up plowing through until I could turn around and get back to the road.  That’s when I discovered what the problem was.  Not only was the snow fairly deep, but is was over sand, which by itself is hard enough to deal with.

I decided to do a full loop around the island.  I had never been up the west side, I wasn’t even sure I could go all the way around, so I headed up that way. 

A couple miles up a snow covered road I ran into a gate.  It was closed and adorned with “No Trespassing” signs.   I turned around, figuring I’d go along the eastern shore.  I wasn’t sure how far I would get, but the last time I was on the island we made it quite a way up.

Not this time.  Before even making it to the eastern side, right about where it turns from the south shore to the east shore, there was another gate, another “No Trespassing” sign and a whole lot of rocks to stop you.

It seems that about 3/4 of the island is now closed off to the public.  And since the signs look sloppily hand made, not like the Public Lands Department put them up, I can only guess that it is now private land.

Yeah, I sure hope Utah’s lawsuit against the Federal Government works and they get control of a whole bunch more public land.  Because there is no doubt in my mind that they will hold on to it, preserve it and keep it accessible to the American public.  Nope, not me, no fear that they will sell it off to some private company that will rape it of all it’s natural resources and then leave it as a huge, ugly scar on the landscape.

Yeah.  Right.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hard or soft shell, but not a taco.

My brother thought I’d make it to the first of May, but it was nice, sunny and above freezing (just barely) this afternoon, so I decided the Wrangler needed to shed it’s hard top and go with the soft top.  Of course, it first had to go topless for a while.

Which meant I ended up fighting the impending darkness as I struggled to put the top together for my first time.  It’s a complex process, which will be a lot easier when: a) I know what I’m doing, b) it’s light out and I don’t have to hold a flashlight with my chin to find the zipper and c) warmer.

But it’s done and now I really am ready for spring.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The good, the bad & the ugly.

Speed.  The topic of this week’s:

THE GOOD:  A dry lakebed in the Nevada desert.  A couple miles across, you can get some good speed up, and short of rolling the car, there’s not much that could go bad.

THE BAD: Along the Shafer Canyon Road in Canyonlands National Park.  A very bad place to speed.

THE UGLY: A plane that probably was going too fast and tried to stop too quick when the Moab Airport runway ended.