Sunday, August 13, 2017

Use of force

Last year, I was attacked in my classroom by a student. The student is a star athlete with a record of violence against staff. He will soon be signing with a division 1 college, and going on to a free college education, and perhaps even earning millions as a professional athlete.

I just received a letter from the state, saying that the investigation is complete, and that I committed no wrongdoing. Three lawyers, thousands of dollars, and a year later, I have been cleared. The student admitted that he attacked me first, and I had documentation showing that the reason he attacked me was because I was enforcing a policy of no cell phones in class, just as I had been instructed to do. The same supervisor that instructed me to do so was the one who pushed for my prosecution. She was angry that I "lawyered up" when the student attacked me.

The state immediately began an investigation into the incident, to see if I should be prosecuted for holding the student down to stop the attack. At any rate, the entire episode is over.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Leg Six: California and Oregon

We left Vegas and headed for San Francisco. We spent the first night of this leg about an hour from San Francisco in Lathrop, California. The next morning, we drove to San Francisco, and spent a few hours at Fisherman's Warf. We toured the maritime museum, and while there, we saw a dog and a large sea lion get into a bit of a territorial dispute. The dog was definitely on the losing side of that disagreement.

We then drove across the Golden Gate Bridge, and in the process got a few pictures:

We then headed up the coast, and arrived at Eugene, Oregon- where leg Six came to an end. The stop in Eugene also marked the end of our sixteenth day on the road. Sixteen days from Central Florida to Oregon, with a few interesting stops along the way.

Friday, August 4, 2017


It was only a matter of time. Here come the trans-species people. A person who is trans-species has just as legitimate claim at being a cat or a dog trapped in a human's body as does a man claiming to be a woman. That is, they both have the same mental issue.

The funny part is that South Park did an episode on this exact situation. EDIT: Actually, two.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Combat pay

Taking a break from my trip report to talk about a news story that appeared in the Orlando Sentinel back in May:

Carver Middle School is an F rated school in the middle of the Pine Hills neighborhood, located west of Orlando, in Orange County. This school's students tested in the lowest 3 percent of all students nationwide. In order to correct this, Orange county is attempting to lure the best teachers in the state to the school by offering an extra $20,000 a year to teachers willing to work there.

The problem is that the school is in a crime ridden, poverty stricken neighborhood. I have blogged about Pine Hills and its surrounding neighborhoods before. More than once. The school is 91% black, 6% Hispanic of any race, and less than 1% white. Seventy percent of the students receive free or reduced lunch.

Both the violent and non-violent crime rates in Pine Hills are double the national average. Police officers are shot and killed in the area of this school often enough that several streets in the area are named for fallen officers, and shootings happen there nearly every night. The local government repeatedly dumps millions of dollars into this blighted area in an attempt to "clean up" the crime problem, to no avail.

Currently, the teachers there are inexperienced first or second year teachers who transfer away at first opportunity. Teacher pay is tied to student performance, and combined with the crime in the neighborhood, teachers avoid the area like the plague.

Any teacher who accepts a job at this school is placing his or her life in jeopardy. A $20,000 bonus is not worth it, in my opinion. The plan likely will not work and be a waste of money, anyway. You cannot, no matter how good of a teacher you are, teach a student who does not want to learn. The crime problems need to be addressed, the gangs eliminated, the drugs under control, before you can convince the students to give up the thug lifestyle and learn.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Leg 5: Viva, Las Vegas

We left Zion and headed for Las Vegas. We stopped at an In 'n Out Burger for lunch. Too bad those places are only out west, because they were pretty good, especially for the price.

When we got into Las Vegas, we spent the first night just off the old strip.

The street performers provided us with LOADS of entertainment. 

For the next five nights, we stayed on the strip at the New York, New York hotel and casino. We walked the strip, caught a showing of a Cirque du Soleil show, and spent some time in the casino. It was pretty warm while we were there- temperatures were around 102 degrees F during the day, but the humidity was low, and there was a pretty strong breeze blowing, meaning that it was pretty nice as long as you stayed out of the sun.
The casino was pleasant, there was good entertainment, and plenty of restaurants to choose from. We enjoyed the buffets of both Caesar's Palace, and the Bellagio. I love playing craps, and this stay was good for us. We won a fair bit of money in the casino.

In all, our week in Las Vegas was fun, but we had to move on. As we left, I had to find a secure place to put my handgun, because the west coast is fairly anti-gun. I lowered my spare tire, put my J frame in a pelican case, put the case on top of the spare, and then raised the spare. Off to California!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Leg Four: Four Corners and Zion

After a couple of days exploring the Grand Canyon, we headed north east to where four states (Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico) come together in one spot.

After a short time looking around, we headed west. We ended the day in Page, Arizona, where we spent the night.

After a good night's sleep, we continued westward and found ourselves at Zion National Park. It was our original intention to spend a day or two in the park, but it was incredibly crowded. We spent over an hour stuck in stop and go traffic, just trying to move a couple of miles. There was no parking to be had. We finally moved on, and headed for Las Vegas.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Leg three- Texas to the Grand Canyon

We left San Antonio and spent the next 3 days travelling. We stopped in El Paso for the night, and were up early on our way to Las Cruces, NM to have a bit of fun at the White Sands missile range. We went sand sledding. It was a blast, but I did bruise my tailbone racing some kids to the bottom of a dune. That sand is harder than it looks.

While we were driving through White Sands, I was amazed at seeing signs like "Secret US Government Laser Test Facility," thinking how un-secret it was to have a sign out front. The government works in strange ways.

After a morning of playing around, we moved on. We drove to Tucson, where it was 108 degrees Fahrenheit, and spent the night. The next day, we headed north to see Sedona, and ended this leg, to spend the next two nights in Flagstaff, which we used as a base to check out the Grand Canyon. Thus ended the first week of the trip...


The Grand Canyon:

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A decade

I missed it while I was travelling, but as of July 11th, this Blog is ten years old. Here is a link to my first post.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Leg 2, San Antonio

From New Orleans, we headed west. A day's drive took us to Gonzalez, Texas. We spent the night there before moving on to San Antonio and staying there for a night. We rode a boat around the Riverwalk and went to see the Alamo. After the Alamo, we went to dinner and had Mexican food chased by some pretty good Tequila.

One thing that was a bit of a problem was that the hotel we stayed at (the Hilton) was posted with signs prohibiting both concealed and open carry. We were not aware of this when we booked. Since we had already paid (nonrefundable) for the room, I adopted a "don't ask/don't tell" policy, and brought my firearm in anyway. We also decided to not stay in a Hilton hotel again. My money will go elsewhere, and I am sure Hilton won't miss the business, but we DO stay in hotels for about 45 days a year, on average.

Please enjoy some pictures of San Antonio:

Friday, July 21, 2017

Home again, home again jiggity jig

My vacation is complete. We were gone for 50 days, travelling over 13,000 miles through 27 states. This was the longest vacation that I have ever done, and we saw quite a bit.

We began our trip at 5 in the morning, leaving for New Orleans. Travelling down Interstate 10, we arrived in Mandeville, Louisiana at lunchtime. We stopped by my father's grave, and then had some really good Roast Beef Po' Boys. Roast beef Po' Boys are easily my favorite sandwich. It is roast beef cooked in gravy, and served on French bread. I always get them "dressed," which is with mayo, lettuce, tomato, and pickles.

They are messy, bad for you, and totally delicious. Seriously, try one.

After we ate, we drove across the Ponchartrain bridge and into New Orleans. We stayed in a hotel in the French Quarter, and spent two days enjoying Cajun food, Beignets, and jazz music. One of our visits was Preservation Hall. This Hall is working to preserve traditional New Orleans jazz. The musicians who play here have been playing for 30 years or more. Incredible talent. The only bad part was that it began raining the first night, and rain continued until we headed west.