Sunday, January 10, 2010

Surviving public school


The Town and the school were built on the side of a mountain.
This is a picture of the "company" office. If you keep going down the stairs it will bring you right to the "memorial hall". The building had a gym, cafeteria, bowling alley in the basement, auditorium, music rooms, movie theatre, and a wicked scary fire escape, a couple of minarets, and various nooks and crannies.

The grade school is the building beside the "memorial" hall. A bunch of classrooms, teacher's room, Home Ec. in the basement and Wood and Metal shop classrooms. a couple of disgusting bathrooms. The High school was old, but well maintained. To get to the gym, you had to go into the basement of the building, after you got to the basement, the gym was another level down but a separate wing separated by stairs.
the basement was an ugly place. It was just a long corridor with... nothing except toilets, furnace room, locker rooms, and big air vents to the classrooms above.

The mines were behind the school. The landscaping was gray dirt from the mines. The schools sat on a plateau. You had your outside gym classes on a pile of dirt. If you lost a ball over the bank it was high adventure to retrieve it. some softballs were lost forever. It was a lot different than most schools. Its uniqueness had its charm. Pictures: The office, grade school and memorial hall, the high school.

I received my education from at a small rural mining town school in upstate New York. In my town there were three public high schools, and two Catholic schools that went as far as 8th grade. The town's total population was about 7,500 people. The schools were actually very good schools. We could take courses that very few schools offer now. Four years of Latin, four years of French, Advance Math courses, Advance Science courses, Industrial arts (Woodworking, Advance Woodworking, metalworking).

My favorite classes were Physical Education and study hall. The education was good but the athletics were unbelievable. There were numerous great athletes in our town. One guy from my school became a major league pitcher and a World Series MVP. Another guy played for the Harlem Globetrotters. These two guys stick out in my mind, but there were numerous others who were great at sports in our town.

My school wasn't pretty. It was downright ugly. If you looked at it from the front it wasn't too bad. The back part was hideous. The school was built on a mesa of gray dirt (tailings) from the mines. below the mesa was the mines. The sounds coming from down the mesa to our classroom was the sound of ore cars being filled. The sound of
ore hoists coming out of the mines filled with ore, the sound of dynamite explosions at
2:20 pm every day. The miner's were getting more ore prepared for the next shift. It wasn't a quiet environment for education.

The teacher in our high school were a rough bunch. They would teach you or they would beat the crap out of you. Which ever you preferred. They would have beastly nicknames of vicious animals. Some names like Badger, Pegleg, Bull, Crazy Frank, Frizzy, and "Bloody" Blair, to name a few.

"Bloody" was a pilot in Army Air Force during WWII. He spent a lot of time in Australia. He married a cute Aussie girl and came back to teach school. He couldn't get Australia out of his system. It was bloody this, bloody that, and he couldn't pronounce the word perhaps any more. It was "pr'aps the bloody war affected me more than I thought." I think he ended up going back to Australia.

"Crazy Frank" was the hot tempered football coach and teacher. He was brutal at football practice. He would coin wonderful expressions like, " Wojahowski!!! Are you going to get your finger out of your ass and start blocking?" He would often accuse some poor polish kid of having their finger in some body orifice when they should have been blocking or tackling. But he would give tremendous pregame and half time speeches. The team would come out at half time ready to kill. Nasty football.

A little true story: After a big pile up after a play, one player we will call Ralph (which is good..because it's his real name) went back to the huddle and was smiling. Bob (which is his real name)asked Ralph why he was smiling. Ralph said, " I just bit some guy in the leg in that pile." Bob answered, " That was me you bit, You SOB!!!" really happened!!

"Bull" was a great teacher. He was also the most intimidating. I never saw him smile in my life. He was a really big guy. If you wanted to physically challenge him, he would take you up on it. There are legendary stories of him wrestling a student in the school stairwell in his younger days. You didn't mess with "Bull".

"Mobby" was the English and Latin teacher. I believe that Latin was her first language.
She would often say Latin phrases in English class, like it kinda slipped out. She was intimidating also. Her brilliance was sometimes overwhelming. I think she taught Julius Caesar. I know she spent time in Europe and was educated at the "Sorbonne" in Paris.
Hmmm! She must have known a tad of French also.
We had a teacher with the nickname "Fossil", he was obviously a science teacher.
"Twitch" was one of my teacher, "Pegleg" I just missed by one year.
I believe that some of my female elementary school teachers were actually guards at some Nazi prison camp during WWII. These women had Irish names but I would sometimes hear a little Teutonic tinge in their stentorian command.
Maybe it was just me.

Those were the days when a teacher was not allowed to kill you but everything else was ok. I had been manhandled and paddled by numerous teacher at the school. I did not run home and tell Mama and dada. Their theory was: You must have done something wrong, so you're going to get it again. No one got killed. I only heard one person beg for mercy before being paddled. He had a boil on his ass. No mercy was given. He got it anyway.
If the faculty and student did today what we did back then, a bunch of people would have been "incarcerated in the penitentiary" , as they say on the street now days. I couldn't even spell those words when I was in school.
It was an educational experience. It was also fun. I enjoyed school.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Colt Brandisher, Detective....problem solver!

Chapter 1

Colt heard the cacophonous sounds of tree frogs croaking their maudlin symphony as the leaden projectile zoomed towards his head. Ironic, he thought. he would be croaking very shortly also. The high functioning brain that currently had the appearance of freshly cooked cauliflower would soon resemble half cooked turnip, perhaps mash potatoes, but certainly not cauliflower.
Colt thought of frogs. He liked frog legs. He would not have a chance to eat them again.
In fact, they would probably be feasting on his legs very soon.
"What!!!!...why am I thinking about food? I am milliseconds from death."

They say your life passes in front of you when death is imminent. Colt's life did pass in front of him. It was a boring life. He had some time left so he started thinking about food.

Wife: "How is your great American detective, Colt Brandisher doing?"
Me: Ummmmm!...Hmmmm!....Oh, oh!
Me:" This is not good. I think I have killed him in the opening paragraph."
Wife: "He must have been a crappy detective. God rest his soul."
Me:" No, No!!!! He was great. A wonderful man. A great detective."
Wife: "Well, You wrote it, you can change it."
Me: (horrified) "I will not compromise my artistic integrity. What you suggest is just not possible."
Wife: "Alrighty then!!!!!"
(Mumbling going on...mixed in with a few curse words..more mumbling)

Wife: "Let me have a look at what you have written. Perhaps all is not lost."
Wife: "Bzzzz..mumble..bzzzz..mumble...HAH! all is not lost. This prose could be entered into a worst writing contest. Perhaps the Bulwer Lytton fiction contest for the worst opening line. You may actually get published."
I ran to my room and threw myself on the bed and started weeping shamelessly into my goose down pillow.

I must come up with a solution. (sniff!...sniff!)
perhaps Colt will have to die....but I could work his life backwards from that spot.
a review of his life....or he could have an "oddjob" hat, like the villain in "Goldfinger".
He had a metal band in hat brim. a bullet could ricochet off the hat......or Colt could have a metal plate in his head from a previous incident. another ricochet solution.
Yes, I am a problem solver!!!!
Perhaps someone could suggest a solution.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My blog year in review

The HEMLOCKIAN Philosophy

Last year was my first year as a blogger. I enjoyed it very much. I have tried to write amusing little blogs. Occasionally I would start with an idea and by the end of it I would be standing on my soap box. I really don't have a political agenda. I just like common sense and occasionally some people make me crazy because they are just sowing fear.
The blogs I enjoyed the most had nothing to do with politics. I will recap some of my favorites and put in the link.

My Philosophy: Who I model my life after. (short and sweet)
My Internet Caregivers: Everybody has this problem.
Get off my lawn: The urge to be Clint Eastwood!
Adjusting to the weather: Moving even further south
Life is not fair:Adventures in personal grooming.
Living healthy through diet and exercise: A creative solution for healthy living?
Squirrelly is not a bad thing: In praise of squirrels.
Yahoo answers, really?: All questions..any subject...answered...!!!....???
The day I saw Jesus: I was just trying to get his autograph.
Jeopardy Meme: A meme in Jeopardy form or is it Jeopardy in meme form.
My two cents: Yeah! People get me cranky.
Problem Solving: Tidy solutions for an untidy world.

Some of my favorite subjects are about growing up in the 50's and 60's,writing a mystery series, crazy politics and logic, and just universal strangeness and crankiness on my part.
So basically my life in the past year has been solving problems: chasing Jesus, re-entering 5th grade, thinking I was Clint Eastwood, thinking of creative solutions for my personal grooming, health, writing detective novels and writing books on poop.
I am a problem solver.

For a transcript of my blog:
Option 1: send a SASE to:Jonathan Hemlock, Mail Boxes for less, Box43, Smithtown, Barbados (enclose $1500 for S & H)
Option 2: Copy and Paste.
I suggest the first option.

An Idea whose time has come.

I have always enjoyed blogging and writing. At this point in my life I have decided to take a break from my "Colt Brandisher" series, which I have referred to on previous blogs. My next installment on that series will actually be my first installment. It is a work in progress.

I have decided to put my energy into an endeavor that is much more essential.
An endeavor my father seemed to be obsessed with in the last few years of his life.
This idea has the potential for a vast market in the non-fiction field of literature. The interest may be high enough to push the bible out of first place in book sales. I have done my market research and it is a subject everybody seems to talk about, especially senior citizens.
While younger people talk about it indiscreet hush tones while older people talk about it openly, brazenly and constantly.
Since the "Baby Boomers" of the late 40's and early 50's are now becoming the senior citizen the market is fraught and inundated with potential buyers of this book.
No, I am not talking about a healthcare plan. I am talking about something more urgent and immediate.
Yes, I am talking about #2: taking a dump, Kaka, poop, to defecate. In fact, in the slang dictionary it has 127 entries.
There are thousands of books on cooking and recipes, which are will refer to uploading but there are very few on downloading.
I am running a few ideas through my head. I will need a catchy title. Something that will not offend peoples sensibilities. I leaning toward, "Drop a Deuce Diaries" or "The Scoop on Poop." but any good suggestions will be welcomed.
I have started doing my research. My main source is on the Internet. Any additional information or topics that may be covered:
  • Two ply versus four ply
  • On the roll (inside or out)
Any help in my literary adventure will be appreciated.
Your name will be mentioned prominently at the Pulitzer Prize ceremony. I am not sure if I will be allowed to mention you at the Nobel Prize for literature. I will keep you posted. I am not sure about the Academy Awards. I suppose it depends on their adaptation of my book.
This is really an idea whose time has come.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

News and notes for 2010

Alrighty then!!!

:I came up with some new ideas for the year 2010. For instance, I decided to return to school.
My wife knows I am an information junky. It would be a natural thing to do.
"Where do you plan on enrolling? the technical school? the college extension down the road? Drive the 50 miles to UNC Wilmington? Where?" She queried.
"Oh No, Nothing like that. I plan to enroll in 5th grade at the Cornelia Crowley Middle School."
Long silence........"What?.....Are you crazy?"
No, No!!! It totally makes sense. I watched Jeff Foxworthy's "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?" and I wasn't. I have some major gaps in my knowledge base. I expect to graduate from high school (again) before I am 75 years old if I don't flunk any grades.

A Modest Proposal: Amendment 28 to the constitution. " We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal." right!!!! What does that mean? It means from the time you are conceived until the time you are born you have equal rights. We know this isn't true. (abortion) So it must mean after you are born.
OOPS!!!! not so!
  • Note: The U.S. House of Rep. & the Senate each voted themselves a $4,700 and $5,300 raise this year.
  • They voted to not give me a social security Cost of living raise for the next 2 years.
  • Your Medicare premium will go up $285.60.
  • Congress thinks America has the best health care plan in the world. No! Congress has the best health plan in the world. If you want the best health plan in the world get elected to congress otherwise you will have to settle for the 37th best health plan in the world. We only trail the Dominican Republic by two but I am proud to say we are two ahead of Cuba. (yippee!!!!) This gives me great comfort.
  • How is this for an idea? Someone suggested a 28th amendment. Congress should have same health plan as everyone else in this country. They should have to pay all the deductibles and co-pays that I do. If I don't get a cost of living raise, they don't get a cost of living raise. They should not be entitled to more than the average citizen when it comes to health care. I think this is a great idea.
  • My Heros (not): Octomom and Jon Gosselin. I think someone should introduce them, they could marry and adopt balloon boy.
  • Tiger Woods: He couldn't keep it in his pants. It only cost him his marriage, millions in endorsements, and Billions in lost money by the companies that sponsored him.
  • Governor Mark Sanford: who got on the Appalachian trail and hiked all the way to Argentina to see his "Soulmate".
  • Congress: They have not changed any laws that would prevent another financial fiasco on Wall Street. Wow! That makes me nervous.
  • Republicans: alright!!! so Obama is not setting the world on fire. I think you guys are more focused on disrupting any progress that he is attempting to make. you seem more interested in whether he was born in the US (birthers) or watering down the health care plan so much that anybody who is sick will be executed. It is too expensive, we are told. The Democrats have been trying to get s health care system in place since the 1950's. The Republicans have blocked it since the 50's. Now it is toooooooooo expensive, they tell us. Now they may be right after blocking it for 60 years.
  • ABC New Years coverage: It was painful to watch Dick Clark on New Year's Eve. It's time to pack it in, Dick. Enjoy New Years Eve at home with your wife. let me see, was Jennifer Lopez "bare-assed? No? whew!!! Ok!....alrighty then!!! Fergie didn't wet her pants tonight. cool!!!
  • Justice in America: Only if you can afford it. When you run out of money you run out of justice.
  • Joe Wilson: You make me ashamed to say I live in SC. ("liar")
  • George W. Bush: "mission accomplished!!!" He's gone.....alrighty then!!