Thursday, February 16, 2006

Stormy Weather
Big snowstorm up here today. Most of the schools in the area are closed--even the Madison public schools, for the first time in five years. As The Mrs. and I watched the closings scroll by on TV this morning, I remembered how it was when I was a kid--how it felt to go to bed on a night when a snowstorm was on its way, and then to turn on our local radio station at home and hear those magic words, "Monroe public schools will be closed today." What I didn't realize until I was student-teaching is that teachers root for snow days just as hard as students do--the buzz of expectation when snow was forecast was just as loud in the teacher's lounge as it was in the halls.

When I was student teaching (nine years ago now), I didn't spend a great deal of time in the teacher's lounge, although I occasionally had lunch or killed a free period there. It didn't require spending a long time there to see that just like the students, teachers formed cliques and instituted a social pecking order of their own. People were sized up and cut down--not just other teachers, but students as well. (I was ready for just about anything when student teaching, except for teachers expressing strongly negative personal opinions about individual students, albeit behind closed doors. That surprised me, although in retrospect, I don't know why it should have.) In many respects, the teacher's lounge was just like any other workplace--depending on the circumstances, the staff banded together against the customers, against the management, and occasionally against one another. You learned pretty quickly who you could talk to and who you couldn't, who'd open up to the new guy and who wouldn't. Life in the teacher's lounge was, in some ways, an adult version of the social dramas being played out by the students in the hallways.

Just like life everywhere else.

Recommended Reading: Pam Spaulding at Pandagon observes that Democratic leaders, including Howard Dean, seem bent on downplaying any connection between the party and the issue of gay and lesbian civil rights in the November elections, in hopes of limiting the conservative shitstorm that would otherwise ensue. Hey, here's a news flash: There's going to be a conservative shitstorm anyway, no matter what. Better to stand out in it believing in something--especially something likely to attract young voters, who are the most likely to sit the election out--than to stand out in it with nothing. In Wisconsin, it's especially disturbing to see Democrats running away from gays and lesbians, given that we'll be voting on a same-sex-marriage-banning amendment to the state constitution in November. The referendum has been timed precisely by the state's Repug leadership to drive the wingnuts to the polls when the governorship is on the ballot, and why not? A similar strategy worked in state after state during the 2004 cycle: Amendments got passed, Repugs got elected. And life got uglier in lots of places.

I haven't linked to Wiley Miller's comic strip Non Sequitur in a while. (Closed circuit to Wiley: enough with Danae, already--she isn't funny anymore.) Today's is great, though.

And finally, why should the people who get the medals at the Winter Olympics get all the glory? DFL is a website dedicated to those who finish last.

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