jazzoLOG - Category: Opinions    
 Last Day Of School15 comments
picture3 Jun 2004 @ 03:31
Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.

---St. Francis De Sales

My life has been the poem I would have writ,
but I could not both live and utter it.

---Henry David Thoreau

Tear open the tree!
And can you see
The cherry flowers that yearly
Bloom on Yoshino?


Am I preaching to the choir? Oh well, I love a good rant!

Picture of Dave Eggers at a recent booksigning at Boston College.

Reading, Writing, and Landscaping
Mowing lawns, scrubbing bathrooms, selling stereos: How teachers make ends meet
Dave Eggers
May/June 2004 Issue of Mother Jones

As a nation, we're confused about how we see teachers. Most polls show that respect for the profession has risen in recent years, yet we have certain quietly entrenched ideas—that teaching is easy, that teachers get out at 3 p.m. every day—and these notions, all ludicrous, allow us to accept the injustice in teachers' dismally low salaries. We love teachers, we think they're saints, but most of us consider unavoidable the fact that they are underpaid and often have to work two or three extra jobs to maintain a middle-class existence.

The latest statistics put the average teacher's salary at about $46,000; some teachers earn a little more, some a little less (the average teacher's salary—not the starting salary—is $38,000 in Kansas, $36,000 in New Mexico, and $32,000 in South Dakota). Overall, that's about the same that we pay pile-driver operators ($45,980) and about $8,000 less than the average elevator repairman pulls down. Meanwhile, a San Francisco dockworker makes about $115,000, while the clerk who logs shipping records into the longshoreman's computer makes $136,000.

The first step to creating an education system full of the best teachers we can find is to pay them in line with their importance to their communities. We pay orthodontists an average of $350,000, and no one would say that their impact on the lives of kids is greater than a teacher's. But it seems difficult for everyone, from parents to politicians, to shake free of a tradition in which teaching was seen as something of a volunteer project for women whose husbands brought home the real money. Today's teachers need to, but very often can't, support a family on their salaries. They find it difficult or impossible to buy homes, to save money, to live comfortably, and, in wealthier areas, to live in or near the towns where they teach.  More >

 Onward Evangelical Soldiers5 comments
picture12 Feb 2004 @ 02:54
Art is frozen Zen.

---R.H. Blyth

From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached.

---Franz Kafka

The birth of a man is the birth of his sorrow. The longer he lives, the more stupid he becomes, because his anxiety to avoid unavoidable death becomes more and more acute. What bitterness! He lives for what is always out of reach! His thirst for survival in the future makes him incapable of living in the present.


The "Left Behind" series, novels whose plots revolve around the Rapture now number 40 million in print. (Photo: leftbehind.com/CBS)

Let me say at the outset that my main problem with the current and prevalent Evangelicals has to do with theology rather than politics. They have the right to yearn for a state grounded in their principles, and the mainstream has the right to send them back to their pews---which is what we're going to do. I want neither George Bush NOR the Dalai Lama as my emperor.

My theological problem involves what I judge to be the major thrust of prayer among Evangelicals. I find the literal reading of Biblical material as silly as a literal reading of Mother Goose. I do not think of the Bible as a fairy tale, but I do know what a parable is and what it isn't. It ain't a New York Times editorial---or at least oughtn't to be (most of the time). Jesus taught with parables, not news items or States of the Union speeches. Prayer becomes distorted in a literal perception of parable and scripture.

I believe Evangelicals use prayer as an appeal to God to do stuff for them...and as a ritual of gratitude when they think the tasks have been righteously performed. I believe this is magical thinking...and I find much of magic in what Evangelicals do. The very air and atmosphere of a Pentecostal meeting is magical: the circle, the hands-holding and waving, the chanting (whether in tongues or not), the public emotional convulsion of being born again, the healings. The power here is magic...which is perfectly OK, as long as it is recognized and celebrated as such.  More >

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