Monday, May 18, 2015

Support For Omar Currie at Efland-Cheeks Elementary School

Dear Literary Loves,

Well, I was away for a wedding last Thursday and did not arrive home until Sunday, March 17th, 2015.  Beautiful wedding by the way in Montreat, North Carolina.  Very progressive town. 

Now, I've made my way back down the mountains of North Carolina and am back in the triangle area (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) to discover that evidently some parents were outraged at the way a third grade teacher at Efland-Cheeks Elementary School handled a situation involving bullying in his classroom.  The story is that the teacher, Mr. Omar Currie, observed students bullying a male student by calling him a girl or woman.  Mr Currie then read the book King & King by Linda Detlean and Stern Nijland to his class.  This is a book where a King must find a male suitor and subsequently, the two men live happily ever after as Kings.  Brilliant!  I'm a former middle school teacher, inner city by the way, and I give Mr. Omar Currie a standing ovation.  You nipped it in the bud man!  My hat's off to you.

Interestingly, some parents were upset by Mr. Currie reading the book King & King to their children.  And one parent went so far as to say that Mr. Currie was promoting homosexuality and steering children in that direction.  Oh, for the love of Mother Mary!  Well, dear parent who objects to the way Mr. Currie handled the situation, here's my advice to you:  Wake up and witness the diversity that surrounds us in 2015.  It is truly what makes the world go round.  Open your mind and your heart.  I realize that's going to be difficult as both are obviously welded shut.  Since when do I as a teacher or former teacher have to stand by and willingly allow your kid or any other student in my classroom bully, insult and verbally abuse another child?!  I wouldn't be doing my job if I allowed this to occur.  And if you feel your child is being pushed in the wrong direction, well then my dear, you can always find your dearest and fairest of the fair child a new private, religious school where you can dictate to the staff and faculty your beliefs and acceptable behavior.    In the public school system, I was there to call forth the best in my students intellectually and emotionally.  That includes open-mindedness and a peaceful nature.  Is that not what you would want for your child/student? 

You know, in my day, I taught summer school one year because no teacher in North Carolina is ever paid what they truly deserve.  I witnessed students bullying a student who wore some of the same clothes to school each day because that is all he had.  And do you know what I did in front of my class and all those bullying students?!  I looked them all squarely in the eye and said quite sternly, "Who Are Any Of You To Say Anything About What Another Student Wears?!  Who Died And Appointed You God or Goddess?!  Afterall, It's Not Like Any Of You Are Exactly Sporting Armani Now, Are You?!  The Person You Are Teasing Is One Of Our Own.  This Class Is A Family. And I Will Not Stand By And Watch You Behave In A Snotty And Arrogant Manner To One Of Our Own?!  Comprende?!"   No one in that classroom said a word.  You could have heard a cotton ball drop darling.  And no, the student who was being bullied nor any other student in that class during that summer school session displayed bullying behavior in my presence or in my classroom again. 

So take that and put it in your VitaMix and Blend Well.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Why The Atlanta Braves Are Having A Horrific 2015 Season

Dear Lit Loves,

Well, normally I devote this blog to reviewing newly released memoirs and all the happenings in the publishing arena.  Recently, I haven't found a newly released memoir that was worth its salt as we say in the south.  Seriously, I took a look at one memoir on the newly released shelf at Barnes & Noble and just sadly shook my head.  How does crap like this get published is what I was thinking as I placed that memoir back on the shelf ashamed it was even included in the genre category in which I write.  What to do when you can't find quality reading material?  Go celebrate Mother's Day with your parents.

 My dad has been battling his third recurrence of a rare lymphoma in the past twelve years.  We've done the chemo, stem cell transplant and even monoclonal antibody treatment.  He went for a PET scan last F riday.  Fortunately, there was no lymphoma.  The bad news is the scan showed a lower lung infection, or pneumonia.  So I had to cancel the reservations I had to take us all to a steakhouse and we subsequently ordered take-out.  After lunch we all settled in to watch the Atlanta Braves take on the Washington Nationals.  And it was all I could do not to blow a gasket based on the severely bad performance.  So what's going on?  Bad decision-making.

First, I would like to tell pitcher Alex Woods that you deserved to win that game yesterday.  Seriously.  If I had been the pitching coach or the general manager of the Braves, I would not have allowed one player from the Nationals to cause me to lose the game.  I''m talking to the pitching coach and the general manager.  Here's a clue:  DON'T PITCH TO BRICE HARPER!  WALK HIS ASS.  It's not that difficult folks.  And if anyone cared to notice, the pitcher for the Nationals was not pitching to our first-base player Freddie Freeman.  They walked Freddie or in some cases hit him with the ball which is an automatic walk. 

Now, here's my other beef with Braves' management:  YOU SUCK AT ACQUIRING AND TRADING PLAYERS.  Who in their right mind trades a player like Jason Heyward?!  Best right fielder I had seen for the Braves in years.  I'm now pulling for him when I watch Cardinal games.  Next, I understand getting rid of B.J. Upton, but why Justin Upton?!  Dude had a power swing and killer defensive instincts.  And you traded him!  And pitcher Erwin Santana!  Hell, he brought a lot of fire power to the mound and was a mentor to younger Braves' pitchers.  And Mr. Hart, you let him go.  Finally, there was the distinctively dingy decision to trade Craig Kimbrel, best closer in our baseball league!  When I heard the news my first thought was What The Frying Pan?!! 

So if the Braves don't make the playoffs this year I blame Braves' coaching and management.  And at the end of the season, there will be a lot of losses for this Braves team.  Somebody better get coaching and management into the organization that knows what the hell they are doing.  Definitely call Chipper Jones.  I wouldn't mind John Smoltz as pitching coach.  Cause if something doesn't change fast and for the better, guess what?  You won't be able to fill the seats in that brand new stadium you are building in Cobb County.  And you will only have yourselves to blame.