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Showing posts from April, 2011

The Coffee Filter Incident

As I am sure that you know, education funding in the State of Washington is taking a beating now that the government is suddenly broke. A practical example of just how broke my local school district is really brought this home to me. My son's grade school Physical Education class is having a bicycle safety class this month. The district, has some bikes that they got from somewhere, and they are bringing those in for the kids to use. I don't think that they belong to the school because the PE teacher didn't know how to adjust the seat height, so my 5th grade son was riding around with his knees up to his chin. Anyway, the kids need to have a helmet, but if they don't have one, the school district has some that the kids can borrow. If you are a parent you are already cringing and thinking, "head lice," like I was. Not to worry. The district is way ahead of us and they indicated that they would provide hair nets for the kids to wear under their borrowed helmets

Teaching A Kid To Use The Phone In 2011

As my son gets older, I have been encouraging him to place his own phone calls. I have him make the call to a family member to say thank you for a birthday present. Sometimes he has to call a friend to ask about homework. Since I was 33 when my son was born, the technology to which he is exposed is quite a lot different than it was when I was his age. We occasionally hit gaps in his knowledge that I just took for granted that he knew, and it has occurred to me that the phone system is a Victorian dinosaur. My son was born in the 21st century. The phone system was born in the 19th century. Three years after the telephone was patented, my great-great grandfather took a horse drawn wagon from the family homestead to look for work. His letter home describes a five day journey to make a trip that would only take an hour and a half by car today. Think of all of the technology that has been invented since 1876, and it is astounding that we still use landline telephones. When I was a


I saw the most amazing thing on the way to work this morning: a man driving a riding mower up a ridiculously steep hill. In the rain. I saw the name on the side of the mower, and I knew what was going on. In civilized parts of the world, people have the sense to come in out of the rain, and they most certainly do not mow their lawns in the rain. Under no circumstances would they ever consider mowing a wet, steep, grass covered, hillside with any kind of device, let alone a riding mower. In Seattle, however, we don't have those kinds of options. If we waited to mow until it wasn't raining and the grass was dry, the grass would be 10 feet tall. Likewise, there are hills all over the place. The hill that I saw being mowed this morning was in Crystal Springs Park . There are tennis courts on a small, flat bit, and then the hill drops away so sharply that a person could not walk up it without a rope. If your return volley goes over the fence, you are not getting that ball back.