Daily Archives: February 18, 2018

Text of “The New Colossus” By Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

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Schools Need Security Guards

Hey 3.5 readers.

I know.  I always say I don’t get political on this fine blog.  And for the most part, I don’t.  When I do, it’s in the name of humor, and I think if you look at my track record, you’ll find that I harangue both sides equally.  If you can’t find humor everywhere, then there’s a glitch in your soul and you need to troubleshoot that immediately.  Try clicking your inner “CTRL + ALT + DELETE” and then remove your faulty program from your task manager.

I’m happy to hear a debate about how there are too many guns, that guns should be restricted more, harder to get, etc. etc.

However, and get mad at me if you want, but I think schools need security guards.  Schools vary in size, but every small town school should have at least one and bigger schools with bigger problems should have several.

I wish it weren’t the case.  Take away the school shooting issue for a moment.

When I was a kid in the 1990s when Bill Clinton was chasing interns around his desk with his pants around his ankles instead of chasing down Osama Bin Laden, I recall many a time when I’d be walking down the hall only to see a fight break out.  Teachers would run to break it up.  They’d get involved, pull the kids off each other, etc.

Teachers really shouldn’t have to do that.  If your goal in life is to master a subject and educate students on that subject, then teaching should be your job and you shouldn’t have to risk bodily injury to yourself by having to break up an altercation.

Talk to teachers from all over and I’ll bet there are many with stories about how they were injured while breaking up a fist fight.  I would imagine some teachers even get sued.

Keep in mind too that teachers aren’t security professionals.  Security guards who are properly trained learn various tactics to use to grab an out of control person safely without, say, accidentally injuring the person by applying too much pressure to a part of the body and damaging a vital organ or something.

I’m not saying that cops and/or guards are 100 percent safe and that they don’t make mistakes, but me personally, if I had a kid and that kid got into a fight, I think I would honestly rather have a security guard who has at least taken a class on how to break up a fight restrain my kid rather than Mr. Smith, the guy who really liked math and became a math teacher.

Not knocking teachers.  Teachers teach.  And teachers should be in charge of general discipline.  Guards shouldn’t be passing out detentions for not doing homework or arresting kids for talking in class.  However, when two students get in a fight, the teacher should have a little button he can beep to call in a trained person with an official looking uniform to break it up.

I’m sorry, but Mrs. Jones, art teacher, shouldn’t have to risk getting cold cocked in the face because you think guards in schools might make kids feel bad.

OK.  Bring back the school shooting issue.  Would tougher gun laws have stopped this shooting?  I don’t know.  Honestly, the only law that would maybe put a dent in school shootings would be a repeal of the second amendment and that isn’t happening.

This is how the post-school shooting debate usually goes:

DEMOCRATS:  Republicans are monsters who care more about guns than kids!

REPUBLICANS: Everyone needs more guns so when shooters start shooting they can shoot the shooter.

DEMOCRATS:  We need more gun control!

REPUBLICANS:  Name the law you want to pass.

DEMOCRATS:  Umm..ungh…

REPUBLICANS:  Just vocalize a proposal.  What do you want to happen that you think will make school shootings stop?

DEMOCRATS:  Umm…ungh…you’re monsters!  Monsters who care more about guns than kids!

REPUBLICANS:  Y’all want to repeal the second amendment don’t you?

DEMOCRATS:  :::look around to make sure no one’s watching, then they whisper::: Holy shit, no!  Are you trying to get me thrown out of office?!  Jesus, just let me bang my fist on the podium and call you a monster for the next five days and then I can go back to not proposing anything.

Anyway.  Confiscate all guns…and maybe there would be less school shootings.  I say less because surely one industrious kid would get his hands on an illegal gun.

But, and what people don’t want to talk about, is that the issue runs deeper than guns.  High school is a hard time for the young.  Kids fight.  They argue.  They feel wronged by other kids and they feel this wrong is the only thing that matters in the entire world.  Some kids let these slights roll off their backs.  Some turn to negative activities like drugs or alcohol.

And then, sadly, there’s that one kid who says, “I’m going to get even!”

Take away guns and that kid will probably build a bomb, or use a knife, or a car or something.  You’ll probably say the kid who does that might at least kill less if he doesn’t have a gun to use as a primary weapon.  You probably have a point there.

The second amendment is a bigger issue than I don’t have time to talk about in detail today.  Rightly or wrongly, it isn’t going anywhere.  Politicians can throw barbs at each other all day, but a gunless Utopia where everyone solves problems with hugs isn’t coming tomorrow.

Increased security at schools can start tomorrow.

Take away the school shooting issue again.  Let’s return once more to the 1990s, when Hillary was really the de facto president and Bill was leaving stains on Monica Lewinsky’s dress.

I was a big kid.  But I was a nerd.  I was an easy target.  Kids who felt they had something to prove would hassle me, hit me, punch me and then they’d brag that they’d got one over on a big kid.  They wouldn’t go after, say, a big kid who would actually fight back.

I never fought back.  I’d just accept all manner of abuse because I figured if I socked a kid who was harassing me, I’d end up in trouble myself.  I figured that black mark on my school record would keep me from my big plans of becoming rich and famous.

Hell, had I known that the best I’d ever do is blog proprietor for a website for 3.5 readers, I might have socked a kid back.

Teachers I turned to for help were utterly useless.  Sometimes they’d give me a speech like, “Well, that kid’s home life really sucks and your life is better so could you maybe try to understand that kid has problems.”

I’d usually just nod politely but in my mind I’d just say, “Oh OK.  I deserve to be a human punching bag because my parents are gainfully employed and free of substance abuse addictions.  Got it.  I’ll go tell my Dad to pick up a bottle and then maybe you’ll help me.”

One time a teacher told me to just sock them back.  I admire that teacher’s gusto, but again, I’d nod politely and then in my mind, think, “Um, sir, I’m here to be educated.  I shouldn’t have to train myself in the ways of kung fu and fight my way out of here every day like it’s ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’ just so I can learn algebra.”

As an adult, do I realize that kids can be little assholes?  Yes.  Should troubled kids who slap other kids around be carted off to Rikers Island and have their lives ruined?  Sigh.  Maybe not if the kid can be sat down by the principal and reasoned with.  Maybe yes if the kid is making an environment where all the other kids feel like they need to train in the ways of kung fu and fight their way out of school like ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’ just to learn algebra.  Even then, probably not to Rikers Island but maybe to some school for difficult children where teachers have training in dealing with problem kids.

The point is, at some point in a young person’s life, they have to learn that there comes a time when rough housing and horseplay and fights aren’t fun anymore and if you lay your hands on someone else, there are consequences.  That should start in high school.

When I was a kid, I thought those teachers who wouldn’t help me were lazy assholes.  As an adult, I feel like those teachers were probably just people who signed up to teach a subject and didn’t get paid enough to, you know…be security guards.

That’s why schools need security guards.  I know that as a 1990s kid, I would have enjoyed school more if there’d been a person in a uniform and a badge nearby to pull douchebag kids off me.

So, to wrap this up.  Big picture, security guards might help stop school shootings if they are being utilized to set up check points, make sure every kid has an ID and everyone entering has a legit reason for being there, to search bags and run metal detectors.

Smaller picture, they should also be there to break up fights and to intimidate bullies into leaving nerds alone.  Nerds should neither have to suck it up and accept being pummeled is just a part of growing up, nor should they have to train in the ways of kung fu for self defense purposes just to learn Algebra.

Thank you.  Commence haranguing me in the comments.

 

 

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BQB’s Charitable Causes #2

Also please support:

#11 – Big Screen TVs for the Blind

#12 – Blank Screen TVs for the Sighted

#13 – Paper Bags for Ugly Heads

#14 – The Fund to Purchase Prostitutes for Homely Men

#15 – The Cure for Writers Who Suffer from Existential Ennui

#16 – Clubs for Seals Who Want to Club Back

#17 – Butt Corks for the Flatulent

#18 – Pudding for Everyone

#19 – Medallions for Poor Yet Swarthy Motherfuckers

#20 – Butlers for Butlers (Because Butlers Should Have Butlers to Serve Them When They Come Home After a Long Day of Butlering)

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BQB’s Charitable Causes #1

Hey 3.5 readers.  As you all know, I am a great philanthropist.

Here are some of the charitable causes I hope you will join me in supporting:

#1 – The Center for Molested Chickens

#2 – Fat, Poor Hamsters Who Can’t Afford Running Wheels

#3 – Parrots with Tourette’s Syndrome (“BRACK! COCKSUCKER! BRACK!”)

#4 – Ferrets Who Need Vaping Materials

#5 – Free Chili for Anyone Named Carl

#6 – The BQB Center for Saving Impoverished Single Mothers who Dance One Dollar at a Time (BQB hands out all donations directly.)

#7 – Free Golf Pants for Kangaroos

#8 – Lockable Drink Lids for Women Who Hang Out with Bill Cosby

#9 – The Association for Bloggers Who Tell Dated Jokes, Including Bill Cosby Jokes That Are Too Easy

#10 – Pancakes for Ducks

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Top Ten Quotes from “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau

#1 – “I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”

#2 – “Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.”

#3 – “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

#4 – “I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

#5 – “We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”

#6 – “We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”

#7 – “All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.”

#8 – “In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Bramin, priest of Brahma and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water jug. I meet his servant come to draw water for his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.”

#9 – “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

#10 – “I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”

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Text of Ulysses by Alfred Tennyson

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees; all times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy,
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the scepter and the isle—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

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Movie Review – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

An angry woman’s descent into madness!  A total dick’s redemption!

BQB here with a review of “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

Seven months after the rape and murder of her daughter, Mildred (Frances McDormand) provides the town’s police department with a sign (actually, three) of her displeasure in their handling of the case.

In doing so, she calls out Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) by name, much to the anger of the townsfolk who love this pillar of the community.

As the conflict ensues, Mildred’s righteous anger causes her to engage in increasingly worse activity.

Meanwhile, Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), a total douche of a human being, locks horns with Mildred due to his loyalty to Willoughby.  Along the way, his behavior gets better.

Thus, the main questions of the film.  Is it possible for a grieving mother to go too far in the name of righting a wrong?  Is it possible for a man who has been horrible his whole life to redeem himself in a single act of bravery?

The movie is definitely unique in its ability to weave drama with dark, dark, incredibly dark (nearly pitch black) comedy.  At times, there are plot holes.  Frankly, one wonders how Dixon and Mildred are able to get away with all the mayhem they cause as their bitter feud unfolds.

I’ve heard some negative reviews from movie critics, but I enjoyed it and found it to be a good study of the difficulties of the human condition, how life is difficult, how we often think we need to do things to “get even” before we can move on but how those things rarely improve a bad situation.

While “Darkest Hour,” in my opinion, tells a historically important lesson about resilience against an enemy, I think “Three Billboards” is the most moving film I’ve seen out of the Oscar nominated pack.

Still, they’ll probably give the gold to the film about the fish fucker.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Rent it today.

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