Viewing entries in
Rants

"atlas shrugged" and the public school system

 

The public school system could be the single finest example of the culture and society written about by Ayn Rand in "Atlas Shrugged." Disenfranchise the teachers who make the system work. Hand all power to the entitled masses--students and parents who want everything, right now, without having to work for it. And don't you dare try to enforce a system of discipline, in any form whatsoever, because it might hinder the child's "natural development."

What we have is a system specifically constructed to shift any and all responsibility (and blame) onto the one person most powerless to effect change in the system.

Teachers are continually asked to give above and beyond--in their time, in their money, in their passion. When problems arise, they become the scapegoats for a system geared entirely to preserve test and campus scores and reputations for schools and school systems.

It takes only one unfounded complaint from a student to end a career. One female student claims a male teacher has touched her, one student claims a teacher has grabbed him, one student claims that a teacher said something inappropriate, and that teacher no longer has a career, with or without any poof. They may even face criminal charges. They may lose some of their rights, in the name of a thankless job with ridiculous hours and demands, that pays them practically nothing for their efforts.

I was never much of a proponent or supporter of unions, but today, in the climate engufling public shools, it's absolutely vital to be a part of one. If you are a teacher, you NEED the union. It will sometimes be the only thing standing between you and ruin. And even with the help, you may still suffer injustice and unfairness. But join. It's worth the money you'll pay. As things continue to detirorate in the public school system, you'll eventually find that you need more help than you would have thought possible.


Like what you're reading? Consider tipping the author!

Tip in any amount you like, safely and securely via PayPal (no PayPal account requred). And thank you in advance for your generosity!


____________________________________________________________
Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
____________________________________________________________

BECOME A SLINGER

Get updates on new books, new posts, and new podcasts, plus be the first to hear about special offers and giveways. And pants jokes. Lots and lots of pants jokes.








"battleship" and the kind of death you'd never expect but you'd really hope for after watching "battleship"

Image courtesy Universal. Because I don't want this crap on my server.

I have never walked in on my parents having sex. I have never discovered a roach leg stuck to the inside of the foil lid of my half-eaten yogurt cup. And I have definitely never tongue-kissed a hot girl for half the night just to find out she was a transvestite. 

But I have watched “Battleship.”

I’m just going to jump right in and say that this movie produces the kind of mental scarring that makes one long for the memory-numbing effects of oxygen deprivation, severe head trauma, and electroshock therapy. I’m having trouble sleeping, frankly. I keep waking up yelling “chicken burrito!” Drugs and hypnotherapy are doing absolutely nothing for me.

I’m not going to give a comprehensive review of this film, because it would require me to mentally revisit it and … urp … *gag* … no. Besides, where should I even start?

OK, take every ‘80s movie you ever saw that involved a rebel screwup who gets a chance to “get his act together” and make something of himself after he is forced into a structured and highly disciplined environment. Throw in anything by Michael Bay, if you can stand the aroma. Toss in just a dash of stoned fanboy musings over microwaved burritos and Pop-Tarts—the kind of conversations that start with phrases like “Whoa, what if we made a movie about …” Stir it all to hell and serve it on a plate covered in a thick, gooey bed of every movie cliche you’ve ever seen and seen and seen. Now you have the first five minutes.

It gets worse. 

We’ve got heroic good guys who die pointless deaths. Mouthy and uppity military types who are somehow, simultaneously, the “chronic screwup” and “the guy in charge.” The random decision to show every main character giving commands while holding a mug of coffee in a their monkey paw. Linchpin characters who only show up for two scenes. Celebrity B-listers who are overplaying the dramatic pauses and soul-searching. “Sassy” celebrity pop stars who are overdoing … just … friggin’ everything (what the HELL Rihanna?) Honest-to-God veterans of real, actual wars, who can’t act but are still the only actual high point of the movie. And finally, at the end of the credits, a surprise teaser scene that drones on into non-sequitur insanity, and yet is STILL more interesting and has more of a plot than the rest of the movie. 

What the hell is Liam Neeson doing in this thing? Between this and playing  Qui-Gon Jinn in “Star Wars: Episode One,” I’m starting to think someone is holding this guy’s family hostage somewhere.

I’ll be frank … I hate this movie. I know, I know, “Way to spoil the surprise.” I’m also the guy who blurted out “OH! Bruce Willis is DEAD!” fifteen minutes into “Sixth Sense.” Forgive me, I’m a big fat ruiner. But this movie makes me want to kill all humans again. Or, at the very least, I want to beg someone to jab the arms of my glasses into my eyes and hang me with the waistband of my underwear. I’m creative.

Don’t watch this. 

I know, now you’ll be all “HOLY CRAP, now ALL I can think about is pink elephants!” And that’s fair. Because I didn’t heed any warnings either, and now I’m praying for brain trauma to take the bad things away. But trust me … don’t watch this. It will only end in self mutilation and/or expensive therapy bills. Go watch your parents having sex instead. Take popcorn.


Like what you're reading? Consider tipping the author!

Tip in any amount you like, safely and securely via PayPal (no PayPal account requred). And thank you in advance for your generosity!


____________________________________________________________
Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
____________________________________________________________

BECOME A SLINGER

Get updates on new books, new posts, and new podcasts, plus be the first to hear about special offers and giveways. And pants jokes. Lots and lots of pants jokes.








I don't know why you say hello I say goodbye

I’m very well connected.

Which is to say, I don’t have Obama’s Blackberry number or anything, but there are approximately 300 different ways to contact me at any time of the day or night, regardless of where I may be in the Universe. My Nexus One alone grants me vast connectivity super powers undreamt of by mortal man.

Here’s the thing …

I hate talking on the phone. HATE. IT. This isn’t a new thing for me. Practically since birth I have absolutely dreaded making “official” phone calls, and I have avoided lengthy conversations with all but my closest friends and family members.

This started off as a practical aversion. When phones were tethered to the wall by short, spiraled, constantly-tangled cords, I hated being chained to one spot all the time. So in our house, we had one of those un-Godly long (spiraled, tangled) cords that let you get from the kitchen to the sofa, tripping up anyone who dared walked behind you.

When we graduated to a cordless phone, I marveled at the ability to move around the house, with only a sudden burst of static to let me know when I had reached my boundaries. And as cordless phones improved, I was happy to go for longer and longer jaunts. I dreamt of the day when I could have a phone that let me be anywhere, just so I wouldn’t have to stay locked in place.

And now that dream has become an uber reality! I can be anywhere in the world and be on the phone! My roaming range has extended to nearly every corner of the Earth! I have achieved phone synergy! And I hate it.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m a WRITER. I like to spew words onto a page and sit back as they do all the work of communicating for me. I can tappity-tappity on my keyboardy and then send my thoughts out into the universe, for all to absorb. If what I’m saying makes no sense, or if I read it and think, “I can say that better, and with fewer swear words directed at the Pope,” then I can change what I wrote before it does irreparable damage.

Not so with the phone! Every word out of my mouth is unfiltered and unedited. I’m constantly spewing bells I can’t unring.

Now that I can get voicemails instantly translated into e-mails and send 911 calls as text messages I really can’t see a need to use icky analog vocal comms anymore. I think I’ll boycott them, phase them out. From now on, it’s texting and e-mail and maybe that Facetime thing every now and then. It’s tweets and FB status updates (how come there’s no cutesy term for that?). LinkedIn, Google Buzz, blogging, YouTube, Vimeo, Skype … jeez, I hadn’t even realized how many ways I have to NOT talk to someone.

I’m leaving for Europe in six days. This is as good a time as any to experiment with ditching traditional phone service and sticking with all-digital, mostly text-based stuff. If I survive, I will write the entire harrowing tale. If not, I’ll tweet about it. #sendhelp


Like what you're reading? Consider tipping the author!

Tip in any amount you like, safely and securely via PayPal (no PayPal account requred). And thank you in advance for your generosity!


____________________________________________________________
Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
____________________________________________________________

BECOME A SLINGER

Get updates on new books, new posts, and new podcasts, plus be the first to hear about special offers and giveways. And pants jokes. Lots and lots of pants jokes.








Flavors not found in nature

Chewing gum is one of those things that I've had a love/hate relationship with. When you're a kid sitting in church on Sunday morning, struggling not to come out of your skin because you're so freaking bored, gum is an entertainment. You can chew it until it turns into a clumpy, clay-like substance (takes a long time). Or you can blow bubbles. Or you can mold it into sticky shapes and pretend it's a slime creature from space, until your mom or grandmother catch you and make you put it back in your mouth.

These days, I have this weird reaction to gum. After a while, it starts to gag me. Also, I have this kind of TMJ thing that makes my jaw hurt after a while. I'm getting a stress headache just thinking about it.

Still, when all this talk about chewing gum in leiu of dessert started, I was onboard. I'm a bit on the husky side these days, and I figure every little bit counts. So the next time I was in the Impulse Buy Gauntlet, otherwise known as the checkout line at any grocery store, I perused the selection for gum options.

Wow there is a lot of freaking gum out there.

Then I came across these:

Dessert you can chew! Wait ...

I figured, "Dessert gum! It's like they saw me coming!" Which isn't possible, I know. I am unpredictable.

So I bought a couple of packs. I'm not much of a fan of key lime pie, so I skipped that one. I picked up Strawberry Shortcake and Mint Chocolate Chip, and could barely contain myself as I fiddled with the plastic wrapper on the outside of the packages.

Anyone else notice that the plastic wrapper on gum is suspiciously similar to the plastic wrapper on cigarrette packages?

After fifteen minutes and the use of several power tools, I was able to get to the first stick of Mint Chocolate Chip and pop it in my mouth, awaiting nirvana!

Bleh.

Ok, no problem. I'll just try the Strawberry Shortcake. I rinsed my mouth out with water, and popped in a piece of BLEH!

These are not flavors. These are chemically-enhanced assaults on all that is good and decent in the world. To label these things as "dessert" is like calling a train wreck a ride at Disney World.

Luckily I had the presence of mind to pick up a good ol' pack of WinterFresh. Pure, minty goodness covers all.

 


Like what you're reading? Consider tipping the author!

Tip in any amount you like, safely and securely via PayPal (no PayPal account requred). And thank you in advance for your generosity!


____________________________________________________________
Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
____________________________________________________________

BECOME A SLINGER

Get updates on new books, new posts, and new podcasts, plus be the first to hear about special offers and giveways. And pants jokes. Lots and lots of pants jokes.








Rosa Parks in 2010

Today is the 55th anniversary of Rosa Parks refusing to move to the back of the bus. With good reason, this is a checkpoint of history. This was one of the events that served to inspire and guide blacks and whites alike, moving our nation toward a new era of liberty and freedom, regardless of race.

Let's take a look at how this would go down in 2010 America:

  • Rosa Parks would be a male with slightly Arab features who is trying to board an airplane to China.
  • A fastidious groomer, our hero has neglected to remove a pair of nail clippers from his pocket, thus prompting the TSA to pull him from the security line at the airport, to be given a thorough, groping pat-down.
  • Our hero objects, saying that he will gladly discard the nail clippers but that such an intrusive pat-down is a violation of his civil rights, and he refuses.
  • The TSA detains him indefinitely, without due process and without giving him access to a lawyer. He is held for up to 48 hours in an undisclosed location, where he is repeatedly searched, grilled, and threatened.
  • Upon his release, he is issued no apology for his mistreatment, but is instead given a stern warning (or veiled threat) and placed on a lifetime no-fly list.
  • He is now a "person of interest," and so is harassed any time there is a potential terrorist threat.
  • He is unable to fly, and so loses his job and is forced to work as a low-paid clerk in a major retail chain.

I'm not very good at political commentary. I'm just not interested or knowledgeable enough. But I doknow story, and I can spot when a tale has gotten off track. The story of America started off pretty fine, but we've been slipping lately. We're letting fear dictate our plot, and a corrupt, backroom-dealing government decide our plot points. I'd love to make a suggestion on how to fix that, but this is one story even I have trouble following.


Like what you're reading? Consider tipping the author!

Tip in any amount you like, safely and securely via PayPal (no PayPal account requred). And thank you in advance for your generosity!


____________________________________________________________
Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
____________________________________________________________

BECOME A SLINGER

Get updates on new books, new posts, and new podcasts, plus be the first to hear about special offers and giveways. And pants jokes. Lots and lots of pants jokes.