Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Episode 45: Lost and Found

For those of you who have lost something you wish not to have lost and have given up hope of ever finding it because you lost it decades ago, take heart.  Bill Fulton of Baker City, OR, lost his wallet in 1946 at a basketball game.  It was returned to him when discovered during renovations to the school 63 years later.  Only his student ID was not there.  Ruth Bendik’s wallet was stolen by a pickpocket in 1982 in Central Park.  It was found by a worker doing tree maintenance in 2009.  The only thing missing was $20.  All her credit cards and identification were still there.  It does seem a bit strange that the wallet was found in a tree, but it might make more sense if we knew more about Mrs. Bendik’s history with crows.

You see, crows recognize human faces.  If you get on their bad list, they all yell at you wherever you go.  In fact, if you get on one crow’s bad list, word will likely travel fast and you will find yourself on lots of bad lists in the crow community.  Scientists who tagged crows found this out the hard way when they started noticing cacophonic crows wherever they went.  

What does all this have to do with wallets from 1982? 

Well, let’s just say, for the sake of having something more to say, Mrs. Bendik baked some apple pies one day and set them out on her balcony to cool.  Let’s further say some crows noticed the pies, thought they looked rather tasty, (surely crows eat pies, especially apple pies, unless they are communist crows) and decided to drop in and have a few bites. 

Of course Mrs. Bendik would be furious if she saw crows desecrating her world famous apple pies. No one would care if the pies were no good to begin with, so we will say these were world famous.  She would grab whatever was at hand, a broom, a lamp stand, a wrench, a rope, a lead pipe, The Marriage at Cana by Paolo Veronese, or a toothpick, and go to swatting at said hungry crows.  The crows would be rather put out by this aggressive behavior, and they would add Mrs. Bendik to their bad list.  They would also tell all their other crow friends, which all look the same to us.  Even scientists have a hard time telling one crow from another.  Now, isn’t it quite likely that one of these friends, in an effort to avenge the ill-treatment visited upon his friends, would swoop down and abscond with Mrs. Bendik’s wallet?  And isn’t it just as likely he would drop said wallet in a tree?  And isn’t is just as likely this would all happen in the conservatory, or maybe the library?  And isn’t it also likely Mrs. Bendik’s real name is Miss Scarlet?

Anyway, the lesson here is if you are going to bake a pie and set it on a balcony, don’t go out with your wallet visible to passing crows, but if you do and your wallet goes missing, check the trees in Central Park in 27 years.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Episode 70: Education Revolution

Picture yourself in a second grade classroom. There are 20 or so students trying to make the most of their public education experience and one student causing a massive disruption by yelling at the teacher, refusing to do his work, throwing things, and whatever other disruptive behavior an elementary brain can conceive.

Many of you reading this probably cannot picture that because it would not have happened when you were in second grade. When you were in second grade, the teacher, or perhaps even the principle, would have grabbed that one disruptive student by the scruff of the neck, or the short hairs, or the arm and marched him down to the office where he would have had to wait for his parents to come take him home, where he would likely face additional discipline for the purpose of ensuring he would learn to behave like a human child given the privilege of an opportunity at an education.

Today's classrooms may as well be on the moon for how differently they function under the infallibly defective guidance of what could only be the product of federal government oversight of very local affairs coupled with the fear of completely illogical, irrational, and unfounded lawsuits.

I have heard multiple accounts of similar incidents in today's classrooms, where the 20 or so studious students vacate the classroom so the one student can be alone with his misbehavior until it has run its course. Good heavens, we wouldn't want the child to think he had actually done something wrong. What kind of damage might that do to his fragile self esteem? And we cannot possibly lay hands on such a child to get him to comply. We don't want him to feel as powerless as the teachers do we?

Let's apply this lesson to life as adults. This would be akin to a peaceful and law-abiding family awakening to a burglar in the house and rather than calling the police to come and drag the crim off to jail, they politely offer to leave the house until the burglar has finished whatever he would like to do in their house.

Yes, it is exactly that ridiculous.

Thank you, Big Brother, for working to standardize our education system and ensure all those ridiculous people who believe there are such things as teachers don't get the crazy idea they might actually be able to come up with creative and effective ways to educate our youth if we just let them get to it, and for turning public schools into juvenile detention centers actually run by the juvenile delinquents. We will have the next great society in no time.

I am sure there is no better way to do this whole education thing, but just for giggles, how about we go back to the old drawing board and toss out some ideas. There are no bad ideas...excepting, of course, any idea that should happen to claw its way out of the black hole in the fabric of logic that is the Federal Government.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Episode 69: Good Friend Robert Redford

So the other day, I received a note from my good friend Robert Redford. I was pretty excited because I hadn't heard from him in forever, but that's probably only because he has never heard of me.

Okay, so technically it wasn't so much a personal friendly note as it was a formal notification from Bobby on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which I learned I seem to support fervently enough to receive recognition in the form of a Certificate of Appreciation. It is nice to know my support is appreciated, but I was slightly confused because I had never heard of such an organization before receiving the note from Bobby.

Apparently the NRDC is "the Earth's best defense" against "those who would destroy it." At least that's what my Certificate of Appreciation says. Who wants to destroy Earth? I assumed, as most people would, that it was grotesque angry intergalactic aliens looking for worlds to harvest so they can power their machinations of destruction and continue their quest to control the universe. Surprisingly, that is not who the NRDC fears most.

In the special report enclosed along with my certificate, which I have proudly framed and mounted in a prominent place in my office so everyone will know I do not hate Earth, the Virginia-based NRDC uncovered "the worst corporate assault on America's natural heritage you've ever heard of." Coincidently, it also happens to be "the worst possible nightmare for Alaskan wilderness," and "an almost unimaginably bad idea." I've almost had a few of those, I think, but it's hard to tell because I don't have a great imagination to begin with...with which to all.

There were a lot more words, some underlined, some bold, some red, and some quite large in the few pages of the special report, but it was about Alaska, and that is very far away, so I lost interest. I mean, I don't hate the Alaskan part of Earth, and the free wildlife tote bag to "show the world you're helping to stop the Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay," was very nice, but Alaska is very far away, and cold.

There was some sort of paper I was supposed to sign and send somewhere, presumably to someone who has some sort of power to halt all the nightmares. I think maybe the President of the United States might have been mentioned, but I don't know the President any more than Bobby knows me, and the tote bag wasn't so nice as to motivate me to purchase it for a $15 donation, so in the end I kept supporting the NRDC the same way I always have, by not wanting to destroy Earth.

I trust they can still feel my support, so I am keeping the certificate. It makes me feel like I am part of the solution to the problem of horrific apocalyptic nightmares in Alaska, plus friends support each other, right Bobby?