knox snooze

Succotash my Balzac, dipshiitake.

Is it just me

Monday, October 27
Or have I been totally awol?

Sorry about that. It's been nuts around here. Maybe I can find some time to read the newspaper this week. Probably not, but there's always a flickering chance.

Quick note: Grady Little is allegedly getting sacked today. That's tough. Not that he didn't drive me into an all-time bender by leaving Pedro in, but I'm not sure if you can be justified in tossing him. That Sox team did have chemistry. And, after all, it was game 7 of the ALCS. The BoSox won 93 games last year and 95 this year. It's tough to argue with those results. Maybe Charlie Manuel will get the nod if Little goes. That wouldn't be so bad.

The "Leave me alone, I'm busy" quote for the day:

Monday, October 13
The Red Sox responded quickly to Saturday's ninth-inning brawl, declaring that for tonight's Game 4 they will cut off beer sales in the Yankees bullpen after the seventh inning. -- Jim Caple, ESPN.com

Today's toast

Monday, October 6
This is stolen straight from the Writers' Almanac:

Today is Ivy Day in the Republic of Ireland, commemorating Charles Stewart Parnell, the Irish statesman who died on this day in 1891. Parnell led the Irish struggle for Home Rule from Britain, and they called him "the uncrowned king of Ireland." Today is called Ivy Day because Parnell's emblem was a sprig of green ivy, worn on the lapel. James Joyce was obsessed with Parnell, and his short story, "Ivy Day in the Committee Room," was set on this day.

This is a good thing

Larry Frank wants to build us a new library. We need one. If you haven't been to the downtown branch in awhile, then go, and see what kind of crap the librarians have to deal with. Also note the friendliness with which they do it. They're good people down there.

Do you think the people in charge over at the Federal Building are real happy that Marti Davis mentioned the two buildings are connected by a tunnel? I mean, it's not state secret or anything, but it is one of those things that could be a security issue. Haven't any of you ever read The Red-Headed League? Good lord, people.

My vote: take over the old KNS building/block. There's already parking right there, and it's a hell of alot closer to the civic center parking garage and free parking. Also, you could totally paint big messages across the back of the building and force commuters on James White to read them. Sweet...library propoganda.

French cafe, my ass. We need a beer hall down there. Or a Pizza Hut. I think I still have some book-it tokens to cash in.

Mah peeps

Thursday, October 2
Yo, the MRG got a nice little shout-out in the MP as well. Man, I'm like the only person I know that isn't in the new MetroPulse. Oh well.

Seriously, though, Ms. Wylie. It's the Mitch Rutman Group. Not Band. Bands break up, groups go into therapy.

Hell yes

D-Roop is in the MetroPulse. Yes, yes y'all, tha MP is publishing poetry.

Damn, I do love this town. Who'd have known?

Reasons for anger

Now I know that there are more important things in life, but there is a very good reason to be angry today. The Tennessee Lottery Scholarship is going to be called the HOPE Scholarship (how original), and the criteria for who will qualify for this scholarship are available online right now.

In sum: if you graduate from a Tennessee high school with a B average (3.0 gpa) OR score 19 or better on the ACT (890 SAT), then you will receive $3000 to attend a state university (though you won't keep the extra, if there is any). However, if you are a home educated student in Tennessee, regardless of your gpa, you are required to score a 23 ACT (1060 SAT) in order to qualify for the HOPE Scholarship.

Oh, wait. If you elect to take the GED, you may receive the scholarship at an ACT of 19 as a home educated student.

This is crap. This is a blatant move on the part of the state to manipulate home educated students into taking the GED. This is consistent with every move the state has made over the last fifteen years regarding home educated students. In essence, saying that they receive an inferior education and that home educating parents are not trustworthy in their evaluation of their own child's academic progression.

This opinion is not limited to the state, either. As a high school senior, I scored a 30 on the ACT and was named as a National Merit Scholar (in the top 0.1% of all high school seniors that year). I finished calculus and physics as a junior and I tutored algebra II and advanced math during my senior year. I took two courses at an accredited private college and passed both (scoring the only 100% on the mid-term exam of one class). Yet Maryville College refused to consider me for admission, let alone financial aid, until I agreed to take the GED. Needless to say, Maryville College did not receive my tuition money.

This opinion of home educated students is asinine and entirely uninformed. Home educated students are an odd lot, let's face it. Many are religious extremists (the non-violent type), neo-hippies, alternative thinkers, homesteaders, or a lovely amalgam of all of the above. Some of them just don't like the idea of saying the pledge of allegiance everyday. Conversing with them about prime time television might be a bit awkward, and among them you might find a lot of 25 year-old virgins. However, I'd like to point out that the same thing might be said of astrophysicists, writers, librarians (sorry Infozo, you're one of us), and PhDs in general. You know, the shapers of our future.

What is not true of home educated students, however, is that they are on the whole less qualified for the academic rigors of life beyond high school. Some argument can be made for their excellence, in fact. That is not the point. The point is that they are as ready and deserving for HOPE Scholarship money based upon equal criteria as government educated students.

Home educating parents contribute tax money to government schools, just like everyone else, and they relieve the burden upon teachers, school districts and educational budgets by electing to fund the education of their children themselves. Often, this means giving up a second income for a family. Home education is not easy, it is not a cop-out, and it is not inferior.

Quit treating home educated students and parents like second-class citizens!

I am currently employed in higher education. In fact, I work in the undergraduate admissions office of a major state university (you'll never guess which one). I KNOW that high school gpa is all but disregarded in favor of standardized test scores. University administration knows that is relatively easy for a high school student with the right personality and some well-timed effort to inflate his or her high school gpa. It is not, however, easy (or even possible) to inflate an ACT or SAT score. If your gpa is 4.0, but your ACT is 16, then say hello to community college.

If the people and institutions who do nothing but evaluate the academic ability of high school and college students recognize government school gpa as inherently flawed and choose to defer to ACT or SAT score, then why shouldn't the state? If every other institutional scholarship at the state's flagship universty uses ACT score as its criterion for scholarships, then why is the ACT unable to properly evaluate the academic progression and potential of home educated students?

It's no conspiracy against home educators because the state is just a big meanie. I don't believe in that crap. It's ignorance fueled by the fear and paranoia of a few educational leaders who are afraid to admit that the state is not the best at everything it does, including education.

Malaise

Wednesday, October 1
What do you do when you really don't hate your job, but when you've also nearly exhausted your tank of get-up-and-do-it-because-it's-my-responsibility? It'll pass, I'm sure. Going on vacation doesn't help, it just makes me resent the job more for making me come back. Maybe I should just find something I really enjoy doing. I probably should have figured this out by now, no?

Anyone want to sign an overweight, weak-armed and inexperience middle reliever? Seriously, I'm way cheaper than whoever you've got now.

Have something to say

Kinsey-Probasco et al will "hear" public ideas and opinions regarding Market Square and downtown development next week. They'll be at the TVA Auditorium, which is one of the least public places around.

Get out there and say something. It's your money they're spending on your town. If you don't have an informed opinion about what's happening downtown, then this would be a good way to learn more.

Lighting inducing quote of the day

[Feh, forget about the election. No one here is surprised. Let's think about something good. Like football.]

"We were dead the first two weeks like Christ,'' Tigers linebacker Karlos Dansby said after Auburn topped Vanderbilt 45-7. "Christ rose on the third day, we rose on the third game.''

Quickly, everyone duck.