“How Dare You Ruin My Memorial Day Picnic”

The guy had no legs.  Just stubs and a sign that said, "Please help." He sat on a ripped piece of cardboard on the filthy sidewalk, breathing in diesel, staring straight ahead.  Every great once in a while someone tossed a small bill.  Most walked by. I don't remember...

I Won Free Tickets to Hitchcock’s Orchestra

Coffee.  Couch.  Silence.  Glow of the woodstove.  "4 AM writing doesn't get much better than this," I think. "I am blessed." I'm sad when the wood stove shuts down for the season.  I'm losing an old friend. "Bye," he says.  "I'm packing up, going South till fall....

Rate Your Standardized Test Proctor Here

Customer Satisfaction Survey: Rate Your Standardized Test Proctor Here Please answer the following questions about your standardized test proctor In order to give you the best experience possible throughout your two weeks of standardized testing, we ask that you take...

The Truth about Transgender Bathrooms

A whole lot of schools are about to give back some serious federal dollars over a toilet or two.   It mystifies me.  Federal dollars are tough to come by.  I know this because The Big Boss always has to talk about money.  Eight million this, three hundred thousand...

MINECON: At 3PM EST I’ll Know if I’m Broke

"Mrs. L didn't get the tickets yet.  The first half sold out. We'll try again tomorrow." I said yes to something only an insano mom would do.  MineCon. "What's MineCon?" you ask. It's twelve-thousand Minecraft people converging somewhere in the US.   This year it's in...

Go Ahead Make My Day: Execution in the Classroom

My first student turned 30 today.  He wasn't actually my student, to be fair.  He might have been the hall monitor or something, because he always came to check on all of my classes.  I thought he was an employee for three years. He was the only person I ever told,...

How to Defeat Your Mom with Google–and Get Cookies

"I have a cold.  I need chocolate chip cookies." "No.  I'll make you some tea," I say. "I don't want tea.  I want a cookie," says the boy.  There's no room for discussion here. This is the kind of conversation that can go around and around for days with an eight-year...

A Day at the Museum: Explaining Naked Neanderthals

Taking 8-year olds to the museum is a dangerous thing. It was Declan's first trip to New York City.  I'd been promising to go to the museum, but I didn't know if he was ready. There's a certain conditioning New Yorkers have that Declan lacks.  "Go to the bathroom...

A Man’s Box is his Castle: How to Feed the Creative Mind

All you really need in life is a box and some tape. "No! Don't recycle, Mom!  I need them."  The stack of Amazon boxes reminds Declan of Christmas.   I scowl--forty rainforests died because I ordered a few glass bottles. I love the magic of Amazon, it's the packaging...

Temptation 101: How to Avoid Certain Death Brewing Kombucha

1:30PM, EST.  Kombucha tasting day. I opened the crock.  The kombucha was there, bubbling away. "In 7-10 days taste with a straw.  Don't be alarmed if the liquid is cloudy.  That's part of the natural fermentation cycle." There are a lot of weird things that are "part...

Scientific Proof Jesus is (not) a Zombie

I told Declan the story of the Passover and Easter.  Again.  I do this every year.  This year I tried a little bit harder.   Declan usually demands candy when I say "Easter." This year he upped his game. "Mom was Jesus a zombie?" "No," I said.  "Jesus was not a...

How to Reverse Discrimination on Super Tuesday

For those we deny the American Dream:  A lesson about discrimination "They're going to deport my mom," she said.   If you've ever taught a class with recent and first-generation immigrants, you've heard this--heard about the people living in the shadows. Once I had a...