Redneck Review

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

This and That

Tin Can Phone
SBC left a message on my phone that they ran a check and everything
was fine. I could hardly hear it through the static. Go figure. Hillbilly
Husband took a phone outside and plugged it in and same old static.
This proves the problem is not inside the house. It is in the phone
line that the good people of SBC ran from a pole by the gravel road
down through the field by our barn, across a stand of trees to the old
Hillbilly Mansion. It is buried in a shallow grave about 2 inches deep
and 400 feet long. I will be calling SBC again tonight if I can make
a connection, or I will go out on the porch with the cell phone, since
it does not get good reception in the house. I must be living in a vortex
of bad phone service. I can blog if I take 45 minutes to get to the
new post screen, and then another 15 minutes trying to reconnect
and publish. Get your act together, SBC! This happened before the
hurricane. In good weather.

Back in the day, my Hillbilly Dad worked for Southwestern Bell.
That was before they were declared a monopoly and had to break
up into a jillion Baby Bells. The service was better back then, in my
opinion. It wasn't broke, and when they fixed it (meaning the giant
phone company) we ended up with higher bills and poorer service.
Bah, humbug.

Student Question of the Day
"Do you take this desk to the other building with you?" This is a
large wooden desk, about 4 feet x 2.5 feet. Lay off the crack, girlie!
"Uh, yes. I hoist it onto my shoulder, carry it down 2 flights of stairs,
heave it onto the roof of my SUV, haul it home with me, then the

next morning I lug it into the high school building, use it for 3 hours,
have my strongest boys carry it back to the SUV, then schlepp it
back up the stairs just in time for your class." And to think you just
asked a couple days ago: "Do teachers ever have to do any work?"

Horn Tooting
#1 son is not exactly a wallflower. He wants to be in the Tech Club,
which appears to meet after school one day a week, and might
get to work on computer equipment in the elementary building. It
is only open to 4th and 5th graders. He just started 5th. To apply,
each student must have a letter of recommendation from a parent
or a teacher.

Apparently, I am not good enough, even though I am a parent and
a teacher. He has a glowing letter from the elementary librarian,
who seems to be one of the main people in charge of all things tech
in that building. But was this good enough for my son? Noooo!
Nothing would do but he had to ask the Superintendent of Schools
for a recommendation for 5th grade Tech Club.

I tried to discourage him. "You already have a great recommendation.
You only need one. He is a busy man. You can't just walk in and talk
to him. You have to make an appointment with his secretary." Next
thing I know, I'm putting #2 son into the hot hot hot SUV and turn
around and see that #1 has gone into the Superintendent building.
I went in to find him chatting with one of the secretaries, who told
him that someone was already in the office, but she would give Mr.
Superintendent his message. #1 reminded her "I need it by 3:00 pm
Friday." Man....that kid has guts!

And he fixed my printing problem at the high school that the techies
there had messed up last week. From a company we contract our
computer stuff to. The guy in charge told #1 last year..."I can't wait
until you're old enough to come work for us." To which #1 replied,
"I will be your competition." Guts, I tell you!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


My tin can and twine phone system has been giving me fits since
last Friday. I can not connect most of the time. More when my
technology improves.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Another Day in Paradise

We are back into the school routine. I know, because I am busy
answering questions.

How do you change Kelvin to Celcius? Subtract 273.

How do you make a graph? Time on the x-axis, temp. on the y-axis,
label the graph and each axis.

Why won't your computer open my report on this disk? Hmm...that's
a mystery of the universe. Could be because you didn't save in RTF,
but in Word 6.0, which we don't have, and we can't get the dialogue
box to select "All files."

Why can't I breathe? My chest has hurt since I sat on top of my
brother's girlfriend's car and she hit the gas and I fell over and hit
my back on the spoiler. just answered your own question.

What are SI units? That's a French term, abbreviated, for scientific unit.

Can you help me with these 15 questions for Dating & Marriage?
Well, I can, but then wouldn't that be me doing your homework?

Can you tell him to sit somewhere else? No. He has as much right
to sit there as you. And you are more annoying than him, anyway.

Why are all these wrong? Let's see...math answers with no work
shown. Last year she caught you writing in answers as she read
them off. Why do you think?

Can you get some hunting magazines for us to read? Sure, because
at least you will be reading.

Can I use your calculator? Green or purple?

Do you have a stapler? Uh, yeah. I'm a teacher. They tend to provide
me with things like that.

What is loess? Fine-grained, windblown sediment.

Can I get a drink? Yes. You came in, finished your work, brought it
to me to check, and didn't have to be told.

Can you read some more from "Freak the Mighty?" Certainly. Fine
literature soothes the savage middle school beast.

Why isn't "exclamination" in the dictionary? Oh, I don't know, maybe
because IT'S NOT A WORD? Or maybe it's what the doctor does
when a mollusk feels all cold and sweaty.

Do teachers ever have to do any work? Nope. We are here purely
for your entertainment pleasure.

Isn't a tangent one of those things kind of like an orange? No. It's
one of those things kind of like my last nerve fraying when you
ask these cutesy questions.

My nose is bleeding. Go to the bathroom. Will I get a tardy?
No. Leaking body fluids take precedence over hallway etiquette.

What gets ink out of shorts? Yo Mama.

Can I get a drink? No. All you brought to class was a dismantled
ink pen, and you sat on the floor, and took off your shoes. No
drink for you!

What is 3 times 8? A clue that it's time to learn your multiplication
tables that you should have learned in 4th grade.

Can I use her calculator? Absolutely not. Calculators are not
permitted in middle school.

How long do we have left in here? Too long for both of us.

I just missed my bus...what should I do? Uh...close your eyes and
click your heels?

Did bus 5 leave yet? Are you sure? Yes and yes. I have duty. I can
not leave until the last bus is gone. I am positive. Why didn't you
get on? We have 3 duty teachers. Why were you alone in a class
using the computer? Did you think someone would come to notify
you personally, so you didn't have to wait in the gym with the rest
of second round? Are you related to that chick over there clicking
her heels? She missed first round due to lollygagging in the hall.

This was an easy day. I really did answer some actual questions,
with actual answers and not smart-alecky ones.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Big Fat Beaver

No, silly. The animal. I wanted a catchy title. But I don't think I really
want the people who would Google this. Be careful what you wish
for, huh?

Yesterday was shopping day, and I saw some odd things, even for
Redneckland. First cat out of the bag (as my Hillbilly Husband likes
to say) I had to do some of the grocery shopping. Now, I can't just
go to one store. My children prefer Save-a-Lot brand fruit roll-ups
to take in their school lunches. And I am parital to their baby wipes
(for cleaning my white-boards at school) and their shedded "Mexican
4-Cheese Blend." It ain't free, Redneck Diva, but it's the next best thing.
After that, I had to fill up the gas tank, give Wal-mart all my money,
withdraw some cash (from the real bank, not the 1st National Bank
of Hillbilly aka a sock buried in the backyard), pay the house payment,
and pick up my Sonic Large Cherry Diet Coke. Here begins the

A 100 Year Old Cashier. As I pushed my cart up to the Save-A-Lot
check-out counter, I saw that they had a new cashier. And I don't
mean new as in a sweet young thing just off the turnip truck. This gal's
truck had been around the globe a few times. She looked about 100.
She was older than the people I saw at the jury duty orientation. I
think the last cash register she could recall was a pencil nub sharpened
with a pocket knife that you lick (the nub, not the knife) and then write
on a piece of white butcher paper and do your cipherin'. Seriously. A
woman this old should not have to work. I felt bad for her. She gave it
a good try. I hope she makes it. What a sad state of our economy that
tomorrow's corpses have to stand all day just to make prescription and
gas money.

DeMolay Boys Pumping Gas For Tips. I pulled into Casey's for gas,
and saw that it was crawling with what looked to be 15-16 year old
boys. No. I do this at work. Please please please let them leave NOW.
I thought some group was on a road trip, and had stopped their caravan
for gas, soda, and beef jerky. Before my door was even open, a young
Stepford lad had popped up and asked if he could pump my gas for tips,
as part of his DeMolay group's activity. I told him no thanks, I preferred
to pump my own.

Now don't get me wrong--these young men were very polite. But they
had that pent-up nerd energy. They stood and talked about ambition, not
frivolous things. Remember Tom Cruise and the "Future Enterprisers"
in Risky Business, who designed the "Message Minder" thingy? I think
DeMolay is something like that. They are a service organization for young
men, "helping develop civic awareness, personal responsibility, and
leadership skills." At least that's what their website says. I knew some
guys in high school who were in it, and they were the nerdiest of the
nerds. They called it "Dumble-A."

I applaud their efforts. They are the kind of people we want running
the country and changing our diapers when we are old. But who gave
them this pump gas for tips idea? What is the main thing people
complain about around here? The price of gas. I spent $56, and the
guy behind me spent $74. Why would anyone want to give these boys
money to pump gas? They would be better off going door-to-door
and offering to mow lawns or open pickle jars or program VCRs.

Big Fat Beaver. There it was, running along the sewer-creek in the
neighborhood of my boys' old daycare. It was so fat, it waddled as
it ran. The rolls of fat rippled under its sleek pelt. I wish I knew the
smart guy who thought "If I skin that thing, I bet it'd make a good hat!"
I guess we owe part of our country's settlement to him and those odd
French people who wanted to be stylin' in beaver hats, so our little area
of the country got explored.

A Man Driving a Motorized Kid's Scooter in the Road. It was a
red scooter. The kind with a wheel in the front, a wheel in the back,
and a long thing in between to stand on. It had handlebars for steering.
Normally, the kid pushes with one foot to ride it around. This one had
a motor. The guy stood on it with both feet and gunned the throttle
on the handlebar. I guess he gave his gas money to the DeMolay boys,
and had to downsize. I wanted to stop and tell that fool to stay out of
the road, because he wouldn't even make a dent if I ran over him. But
I didn't, because I had bigger fish to fry. Not really. I don't cook fish.
It is just an expression.

A Man Hammering a Mailbox With a Hammer. I don't think it was a
rage thing, though he did look disgusted. And what better to hammer
something with than a hammer? Around here, mailboxes have short
life-spans, what with those good ol' redneck boys driving around beating
the snot out of them in rousing games of mailbox baseball. Watch that
movie Stand By Me if you don't know what I'm talking about. This one
was kind of in town, which makes it unusual. It was on the outer road,
where a whole gaggle of oglers could have seen the dastardly crime
while speeding through the red light out on the highway.

It is a felony, you know, to tamper with the U.S. mail. I tried to report
some kids one time, who kept bragging about their mailbox shenanigans.
Sadly, I was given the run-around because I called the postmaster in
my county, but the crimes were in a neighboring county, and I didn't
have the phone number for their postmaster, and hey, I can't spend
my entire prep hour all week trying to prosecute some juvenile delinquents.

A Mouse in My Mailbox. No, this is not a female version of pickle in
your pocket.
Though if it catches on, I will take full credit. I stopped
to pick up the mail as I returned home from a hard day of shopping.
Our mailbox is on the county road, with about 10 others, in a wooden
case that someone out here built to discourage the local mailbox baseball

I stepped out of the car and walked around to the mailboxes. Something
scurried out of the little cubby our box is in, up over the top of the wooden
case, and down a 2 x 4 that is bracing the whole shebang because the
frustrated batters now have taken to ramming the whole monstrosity with
their pick-up trucks.

Eek! It was a mouse, about six inches long, not including the tail. Please
tell me mice get this big.
There was no mistaking this thing for a squirrel.
HH tells me it was a rat. #1 son says, "That sounds like the size of the rat
Genius (his cat) was eating over at the barn the other day."

It was in the cubby, next to our pipe mailbox (I'll get you a picture in a
few days), in some shredded paper. The paper that the day before had
been a rolled-up ad paper that nobody wants but someone keeps stuffing
in our mailboxes. They can't do that. It is a federal crime, you know.
The local newspaper won't even deliver to your mailbox if you have a
subscription--you have to put up a yellow plastic paper holder. I told
HH he needs to get rid of those papers, so Mr. Mouse Rat can't shred
them for a nest. On the way out to supper last night, we stopped and HH
reached in...and threw the papers over into the woods behind the
mailboxes. That's redneck recycling.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

"Lately I've gone a lot of places, and seen a lot of things I didn't need to see..."

I'm sure you all recognized that as a lyric to the Ozark Mountain
Daredevils' "Followin' the Way That I Feel." What! You didn't?
Then go get yourself some Ozark Mountain Daredevils songs.
There may be a quiz coming up.

Saturday is Hillbilly Mom shopping day. Me and about 3000 other
people here in Redneckland. Hillbilly Mama volunteered to watch
the boy young'uns so I could get done quicker. Shopping without
the kids. You know what that tunes! Yes, it was time
once again for the Hillbilly Mom sing-along with music in the car.
What poured out of my speakers at max volume today?

  • Bring Your Sorrow Over Here...Jason Morphew
  • I Think I've Found A Way...Katie Bell
  • Odysseus Now...Katie Bell
  • Sharp Cutting Wings...Lucinda Williams
  • We Close Our Eyes...Susanna Hoffs
  • Way Down Deep...Vern Gosdin
  • Perfect Fingers...Tami Greer
  • Romeo and Juliet...Dire Straits
  • This is the Day...The The
  • Till I Hear It From You...The Gin Blossoms
  • Sand and Water...Beth Nielson Chapman
  • Talking to My Angel...Melissa Etheridge
  • Polaroids...Shawn Colvin
  • Infinity...Bryony Atkinson and Inara George
  • Baby, Now That I've Found You...Allison Krauss
  • Night...Feisty

I doubt you normal people recognize any of these. They are mostly
from various bad-movie soundtracks.

Sorry, Rebecca, I would not dream of singing any of them on an
audioblog. No...really...I couldn't. Even though I feel like I owe
you one for all the hard work you did perfecting my challenge...

So...what did I see on my shopping spree that I didn't need to see?

  • A 100 Year Old Cashier
  • Demolay Boys Pumping Gas For Tips
  • Big Fat Beaver
  • A Man Driving A Motorized Kid's Scooter in the Road
  • A Man Hammering a Mailbox With A Hammer
  • A Mouse in My Mailbox

Welcome to my life, people. I know you are dying to hear about
these sights, but I will have to put that off until tomorrow. This post
would be way too long.

The Famous Author

Hillbilly Husband is in Connecticut to fix a machine and visit with
his company's big boss. He called tonight to check in. It went a
little something like this:

I'm at the bottom of Connecticut. You know, that little part that
sticks out? I am overlooking the New England Sound. I can see
across to the lights of New York, and what's that island just off
of New York?

You mean Manhattan?

Yeah, I guess. The place where everybody goes for the summer.

No, that would be the Hamptons. Long Island.

Yeah, whatever.

My boss lives two doors down from some famous author lady.
Betty something. I can't think of it now. mean like famous for her writing now? Or did she write
classic literature? Or poetry? How old is she? Does she live by him,
or just her house is by his?

She just died. I think she was born in the 1930s.

You're not giving me much to go on.

I know. I don't know that kind of stuff. I'll have to ask him again.

Thirty minutes later #2 son answered the phone. Hey, Dad is back
at his motel.

Ask him about that author lady.

Oh. Mom, it was Katherine Hepburn.

Only at my house, people, is Katherine Hepburn best known for
her writing. And her nickname "Betty." Nice of HH to shave 30
years off her age, because she was born in 1903. And only at my
house does "just died" mean 2 years ago she died.

We won't even get into our geography issues.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Odds & Ends

Nothing much interesting to blog about here in Redneckland. But
have I ever let that stop me before? Let me answer for you: NO.

Hillbilly Husband left Wednesday for Connecticut. He's doing
some such thing to a machine. I don't really listen when he talks
to me about work. Shh...Don't tell him. It will be our little secret.
He should return Saturday, so the kids and I are making the most
of our freedom.

#1 son removed the epidermis from his elbow on Tuesday in a
kickball competition on the school outdoor basketball court. It will
not stay covered with Scooby Doo and Fairly Odd Parents band-
aids. I also apply a thick layer of Neosporin (or at least the Wal-mart
version of Neosporin, which I believe is called Triple Antibiotic
Ointment). Today it is finally looking better. More pink, less green.

#2 son has learned some sign language in 2nd grade. He proudly
showed me how to sign "stop talking." Do you think he was trying
to tell me something?

My school computers did not take kindly to the changing of the
server this summer. I can find my HS class rosters on the MS
computer. But no MS rosters anywhere. I can not change my
home page. It reverts to that blasted MSN on all 3 computers,
no matter how many times I try to reset.

I have been calculating area and volume of circles and cones and
cylinders for 3 hours each day. And explaining how to describe
an experiment to see if ants prefer honey or butter. And telling the
purposes of the 1st and 2nd Continental Congresses. And explaining
why the U.S. entered WWI. And diagramming subject/verb thingies.
And explaining the differences among Pilgrims/Puritans/Quakers.
And scratching my head over Economics, because it is just so abstract
that I have to read the book and question the students on "...and then
what did he tell you to do?"

I have also been blessed with lunch duty this week. The 9th grade
lunch shift. I didn't have to watch the weather to know there was
a storm moving in. These kids stirred themselves into a frenzy. Do
not doubt Deadpanann when she likens her students to ferrets on
crack. I suppose the hillbilly version would be weasels on meth.
If I could only bottle this energy and use it instead of gasoline, I
might win a Nobel Prize. It is kind of hard to fit the kids into the
gas tanks, though. OK, so I'm still ironing out the bugs on this plan.

But really, nothing interesting is happening. You will be the first to
know if it does.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Crackpot Theory

I am not the only person who believes we did not land on the moon.
My reasons come from a show I saw on network TV, people. I think
it was called Conspiracy Theory, and had a different agenda each
week. This was four or five years ago. I might or might not have an
illegal copy on videotape.

Can you recall the technology we had in the 1960s? When a computer
took up a whole building? Are we to believe that NASA sent men to
the moon and brought them back, numerous times? Why didn't any
other countries manage to do that? Remember the space race? Why
didn't Russia put men on the moon? They were neck and neck with
us in the rocket department. Why not the Japanese? I hear they're
pretty technology-friendly.

In no particular order, here are some of the questions raised by
that TV show:

The lunar lander thingy was very unstable. We even crashed one
on earth trying to land it. When it set down on the moon, there was
no blast crater from the blast that slowed its descent. There was no
moon dust on the landing feet. Wouldn't you think it would kick up
a big cloud of moon dust while landing, that would settle on the
landing feet? The jumping-around astronauts kicked up little puffs
of dust with their feet.

Why did one of the astronauts say, "It looks like the high desert of
the United States" when they first landed. Why would they bring up
something like that unless they were afraid people would think they
faked it in the high desert of the United States?

The U.S. flag blows in the wind. Uh...there is not an atmosphere on
the moon, so no wind.

The rocks in the pictures show different light sources for their shadows.
The sun should have been the only light source. The only shadows
should have been on the side of the rocks opposite the sun, not on
the sides.

The astronauts run and jump like in slow motion, but they do not jump
higher than they could on Earth. Hello! Their weight is one-sixth of
what it is on Earth. Why no Michael Jordan jumps, boys? If you speed
up the film, it looks like the way men on Earth would run in a spacesuit.

There are no stars in the background of those beautiful pictures we
took. And how did we get such great pictures? The astronauts could
not look through the camera very well, what with the bulky spacesuit
helmets. What about those crosshair things in the pictures? Some of
them are behind part of the objects in the photo. Hmm...doctored
photos, anyone? Astronauts and equipment superimposed on a

The films of the astronauts riding in the Lunar Rover, and walking
around on the surface were taken in the exact same place on
supposedly different days. The films can be superimposed on
each other and line up exactly, right down to the same rocks
and shadows. We are told these were taken in two completely
different areas.

The noise of the engines would have been to loud to hear the
astronauts talking to each other while taking off and landing
on the moon's surface.

The mathematical chance of us sending someone to the moon and
returning them safely to Earth during the time of the alleged moon
landings was 0.0017 %.

Why all the secrecy around Area 51? Satellite photos show large
buildings such as movie sound stages. Have you ever seen the old
movie Capricorn One? It's about a fake Mars mission. Is it possible
that our government faked the moon landing to cut costs, and to
win the space race? We could have launched the astronauts into
orbit, then sent footage of the "moon movie" to the networks. Why
haven't we been back to the moon?

The only thing that foils my theory is that I do not see how so many
people could keep this secret for so long. I want explanations for
all these inconsistencies, people! I want to know that we really
went to the moon, not to a movie soundstage in the high desert of
the United States, with movie lighting and professional photographers.

I checked out this site, but I was still not convinced. Just label me
one of those stupid hoax believers.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

No New Tricks

As some of you might have guessed from my previous posts, I am
not technology-friendly. This old dog is not very accepting of new
tricks. I put off getting one of those new-fangled DVD players for
a long time. Middle school kids would offer to bring a movie for
a Christmas party, and I would tell them, "But my TV only plays
tapes." Oh, that didn't bother them. "I can bring in my DVD player
and hook it up." The h*** you say! When my then-7-year-old
child promised to hook it up if I would get one, I knew it was
time to give in.

Down through history, I would have been one of the doubters.
Sail to America? (OK, so it probably wasn't named America
yet, cause we were trying to get to India to spice up our lives,
and that map-maker hadn't named my country after himself yet.)
I would not have gone. What if the ship went over the edge of
the world? Then where would I be? Hanging by my fingernails,
gasping, in the waterfall at the edge of the world, still with no

So maybe they kidnapped me and made me go. "Hey, Hillbilly
Mom, look at this red juicy plant thingy! Try a bite. They're
great!" Everybody knows tomatoes are poisonous.

"Let's move out west! There's free land and gold and buffalo
as far as the eye can see." No, thank you. I prefer to keep
my hair on my head. I don't want to live in a dirt house and
sweep the dirt that falls off my dirt ceiling off of my dirt floor
and out the door into the dirt.

Why would anybody need a bank? Are they too lazy to dig
a hole in the backyard and bury their money like everyone
else? I swear...the way some people put on airs.

Telephone? Is that like a really long string and a bunch of tin
cans? What was wrong with the Pony Express?

Vaccinations? You want to do what with that needle? Stick
some disease in me so I can make antibodies against it just
in case I ever get exposed to it? I think I'll take that chance.

Send a man to the moon? And bring him back safely? How
can you do that when the technology to run a future calculator
takes up an entire room? What are you, a movie producer?
(We'll discuss my moon landing propaganda another time.)

Cook food without heat? That radiation might give me cancer.
How can something cook from the inside first? With no heat?

CDs? That will never catch on. It's gonna be pretty hard
to carry those things around and try to play them in the
car or on a Walkman. That would be like carting a 45 rpm
record around with you. You'll need to strap a record-player
on your back and get a long extension cord.

Information Superhighway? What is that creepy little commercial
girl talking about? Will we ride on the big big bus and zoom
around to different libraries until we get our fill of book-learnin' ?

And don't get me started on MP3s and picture phones and
missions to Mars. It is boggling my mind. Must. Stop. Now.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I'm in the Dog House Now

I am in trouble. Seems I left out somebody important from my faculty
in the Department of Beclakian Education. Shame on me. It was only
my bestest friend who is an actual teacher in the very same building
where I spend my working life for 174 contracted days. Leave it to
me to ignore the obvious. Why would I consider putting an actual
teacher on my Department of Education? Duh! I know I selected
Deadpanann, but I found her back in the day, when she was just a
basement blogger, not a teacher yet. I didn't consider the real live
co-worker kept in captivity in my actual school building.

I didn't know she would feel left out. Honest. She doesn't have a blog.
But she is my faithfulest reader. (I do know how to spell, but I like to
create my own words.) So I am sorry, bestest buddy. I will call you
"Mabel." We both know who that really is, and I am not saying you
are a Mabel, mind you, but that is a name I associate with you. So I
am adding Mabel to my faculty, and she is going to teach the following:

  • Hot to Trot: a model for anger management
  • Bring Me a Hall Pass (Or Ya Gotta Sing to My Class)
  • March 14: Three hundred fourteen ideas for Pi Day
  • Scaling the Slippery Slope: you must rise before you can run
  • The Day I Met Wernher von Braun
  • I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Unit Multipliers

Sorry to give you so many preps, Mabes, but you know you've
done it before. And you'd better show up at 7:20 am for tutoring,
too, or you're gonna lose a good thing. Do you think Sonic Diet
Cherry Cokes grow on trees in Beclakia? Think again. You must
earn your keep.

So here's to you, Mabel, for fighting the good fight. For writing up
those lovebirds who dare to kiss at your end of the hallway. For
giving me my favorite all-time gift: scratch-off lottery tickets. For
giving me a rubber doorstop that lasted two years before somebody
stole it even though it had my name written on the side in Wite-Out.
For tracking down your VCR cable (and we both know who took
it). For making me laugh with comments such as "And there he was
on my stepping stones, wearing his fancy women's shoes!" For
slicing those odd-numbered answers out of the back of the textbook.
For setting your expectations high, and not taking any guff from the
enablers of those not-working-to-potential students. My hat is off
to you. My pointy-headed sweat-stained hillbilly straw hat. Now
you gotta look at my unstylish hair. Be careful what you wish for.

Can anybody guess the actual subject that Mabel teaches? Anybody?
Be specific. Put on your thinking caps. You can have hat-hair, too.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Outcast Island

Even though I appointed myself Minister of Education in Beclakia,
I am not likely to remain a citizen in good standing. I'm not bad,
I'm just not a model citizen. Actually, I'm not even a normal citizen.

I am one of those odd folks who would be shipped off to an island
in the center of Beclakia, on a slow boat with long oars, paddled
by a stubble-bearded Popeye-looking old man named "Nub" wearing
a beret and a black-and-white striped shirt, who calls women "girly"
and men "partner."

There I would be left with the other human oddities to marinate in
our "socially unacceptableness" until the government needs us for
testing the medical vending machines. We would simmer in our
collective juices of absurdity, until a winner rose to the top, to be
crowned with a pineapple-stem crown.

You know people like us. The woman who wears an old pair of
panty-hose wrapped around her neck as a winter scarf. The neighbor
who steals your newspaper from the front porch and leaves in its
place a dead bird propped on its wings so it is "looking" at you.
The guy who drives the lawnmower around town, getting a DUI.
The woman with a streamer of toilet paper hanging like a tail out
of the waistband of her pants. The man who talks to himself and
replies. The boy who says, "And then my sister turned up pregnant.
She don't want 'im. I hope she gives me the baby so I can raise 'im
up right." The woman who goes about her daily business with a pair
of panties hanging out her jeans leg like a used fabric softener sheet.
The audio-visual helper who says, "Let 'er eat!" every time you are
about to start a film or a tape or your car. The woman who wears
pants under a dress. The man who blows up the bread sack like a
balloon because air is a good insulator. The woman who boxes up
trash thrown out on her road and mails it back to the rightful owner.
The guy who saves his clipped toenails in an old Vlasic pickle jar.
Okaaay...I think you know what I mean.

We would be kept on Outcast Island, allowed to fly the Beclakian
, but only permitted to listen to one song: "It Goes Like It Goes,"
recorded by Emperor Rebecca. This would help us concentrate on
our job of translating Beclakian classics into the national dialect
(which Rebecca has decided is a mixture of Beat Poetry, Horse Race
calling, and Oprah Winfrey). Thus, "It was a dark and stormy night..."
would become:

that Stedman horse
is moving up on the inside,
his thundering hooves
glistening black,
slicing nocturnal,
carving the cobwebs
from my brain.
What was I thinking
when I bet all my money
on him?
You go girl!
The prize is under your seat.

As you can see, it is not an easy life for us misfits on Outcast Island.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

WooHoo! Here it is!

this is an audio post - click to play

Well, well, look who finally showed up. No, it's not the original
message, but his poorer country cousin. You see, the original
explained how I can't call from in the house, because our tin-can-
and-twine phone system only gets reception in certain areas. We
must be the people that the "Can you hear me now?" ad campaign
was designed for.

I don't know for sure when Mr. Audio appeared, but the time stamp
is the time I called it in. I didn't check right away, because I had to
go to Wal-mart and deposit what was left of my summer paychecks.
When I got back around 1:30 pm, there he was, like the telephone
man waiting in the driveway because you left after he didn't show up
during the 4-hour time slot he promised.

Rebecca left me a comment on how she put sound on her blog.
All Hail Rebecca, Emperor of Beclakia! Careful, Rebecca, you
are scaring the freaks. Now it was right neighborly for her to offer
to assist the technologically challenged. I consulted with the resident
10-year-old computer guru who I keep on retainer, and he spouted
out a bunch of mumbo-jumbo about why Bec's method wouldn't
work for me. It went a little something like this: I don't have the thingy
I need to convert a file to mp3. My computer would save it as a wav
file, and I would have to buy something to change it, and "those things
are not exactly cheap." Then he said that since I do not have my own
server, I would have to leave my computer continuously online for
anyone else to be able to hear the audio file. Tomorrow I am going
to check with the hospital to see if they sent me home with the wrong

Now, for all I know, this is something the kid made up to mess with
me. It might be something like storks bringing babies and leaving
them under cabbage leaves. I would not know the difference. I can
barely use the cell phone. He has to show me how to get my voice
mail. Every time. I don't even like that phone. Why do you need a
phone that takes pictures? Won't a camera do that just as well? And
it is too small. I always drop it and the battery thing pops out. When
I try to hold it and talk, my fingers hit something on the side that puts
it on speaker or camera or "scrub your kitchen sink" or some such
feature. I want an old-fashioned cell phone, like on Seinfeld back in
1992, when it was as big as a shoe box.

Technology. Can't live with it, can't blog without it.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Audio Blogging?

I gave it a try. I really did. And it was very easy. Now I know why.
Do you see an audio post here? Me neither.

I went to Audioblogger. I registered. It was very simple. I followed
the instructions. I even had my resident 10-year-old computer genius
looking over my shoulder. I went out on the porch to call in my audio
post on my cell phone. That's because it was not an 800 number, and
because my cell phone doesn't work very well in the house.

I dialed, put in my phone # and password #, stated my message after
the tone, hit the pound key as instructed, and VOILA! Nothing. I
phoned in my audioblog at 9:55 am central daylight time. It is now
3:38 pm central daylight time. So after 5 and a half hours, I don't
know where my audioblog is. Have you seen him? If you do, tell
him to come home for supper. No wonder it was so easy--because
I got nuthin', folks.

I did some Googling, and found out that over 24 hours had elapsed
before some people had their first audioblogs show up. And that
must mean I am one of them, because often I hear people say,
"Some people" as they look at me intently.

I may give it one more try. Or not. I can not let it interfere with my
Big Brother TV-time tonight. Even if my audio post magically appears
later, audioblogging is not for me. I need instant gratification, baby!

Minister of Education

It looks like Rebecca has started her own country, the Nation of
Beclakia. Hurry on over, she's offering a 2-for-1 deal on citizenship.
I have decided to immigrate there and appoint myself Minister of
Education. I will educate the adults, not the kids.

My Department of Beclakian Education will need a faculty. So I
am appointing the following people to instruct the new Beclakians
in Hillbilly Education. I'll bet a Sonic Large Cherry Diet Coke that
Rebecca did not know the citizens of her country would turn out
to be hillbillies. Here are my faculty, and what they will teach:

Kristin: Half-naked Posing, History of 55-gallon Barrel Killers,
Free Cheese Smorgasbord, Gambling. Kristin will also be directing
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, our school play.

Miss Ann: Which Wine Goes With Hot Dogs, How Not to Start
a Lawnmower, Which Came First: the Ferret or the Crack..

Internet Research for Bizarre Yet Compelling Items,
Why Possums "Playing Possum" Do Not Make Good Pets.

Raehan: Art Appreciation: emphasis on poker-playing-dogs-on-
black-velvet. How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

Alexandrialeigh: Landlords, the Law, and You

Bert: Cooking Critters: things normal people won't eat (cats, chitlins,
coon, chicken feet). Bert will also serve as principal, as he is a
no-nonsense kind of guy.

Babs: Why We Should Get Rid of this Hillbilly School and Educate

Karen: Sugar Beets: the New White Meat. Cell Phone: Don't Leave
Home Without It: especially if you are driving on a road with ruts.

Misha: Psychology of the EMO, Dancing ala Mosh Girl.

Melina: Relationships 101. looks like we are lacking in a few areas. I might have to
rethink this education thing. No math, no language, no science.
Oh, yeah. It's Hillbilly Educatioin. We're fine.

The school uniform will be overalls, with shirts and shoes being
optional. There will be breaks at 10:00, 2:00, and 4:00 for corn-cob
pipe smoking. The school song is John Denver's "Thank God I'm
a Country Boy." Lunch will be provided, providing somebody runs
over a critter on the way to school. Students must drink the milk in
little cartons, or Miss Ann will smack them. Even if you bring some
moonshine from home, you must still drink the milk.

I think that just about covers it. I will be teaching a class in audio-
blogging tomorrow, if I can get some tutoring in it from a 10-year-
old boy. If not, there will be NO tuition refunds, people. So don't
even think about it. Read my lips: NO REFUNDS!

Friday, August 19, 2005

I'm so lonesome, I could cry.

Thursday was the first day of school for the kids. This is
Little Bear, #2 son's favorite companion. Not just at bedtime.
He carries Little Bear to sit in the living room and watch TV,
propped on a pillow beside him. He takes Little Bear with
us to Wal-mart, but I insist that he remains in the car (the
bear, not the boy, because I'm pretty sure there are laws
about that kind of stuff). Little Bear lays on his shoulder
while he plays GameBoy.

Little Bear is looking kind of haggard. He has been rolled on
and slobbered over for only 6 months. He came attached to
a box of Valentine candy that Hillbilly Husband gave me.
The box laid around for a while with just those one or two
pieces that nobody likes, but you don't want to throw away.
#2 son timidly asked, "Mom, if you don't mind, could I sleep
with your bear one night? I will take really good care of him."
So I cut him off the Valentine box with a steak knife (the bear,
not the boy, because I'm pretty sure there are laws about that
kind of stuff), and deposited him in the waiting arms of my
just-turned-7-year-old son. The next morning he brought the
bear back and said, "I could take care of him for a while if you
want me to." So I told him he could adopt my little bear, and
that's what he named him.

I have seen Little Bear riding on the armrest of the car. I
have seen him in a seat by himself. The most touching thing
was one morning after dropping the kids off at school, I
had to get something out of the back, and saw that #2 had
buckled Little Bear into his seat belt. Every morning when
he got out, he said, "I know you will take good care of
Little Bear while I am at school."

This summer they were inseparable. #2 walks through the
house with Little Bear on his shoulder. He can do almost
anything without putting down the bear, though he does
leave him out of the bathroom. "I wouldn't want him to fall
in the toooiiiiiiillllllllet," he says with his funny little drawl.

So Little Bear looked quite forlorn the first day of school,
what with his worn-out little face, sitting alone in the car.

I guess he's better than an imaginary friend.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

My Affair

I think I am having a fling with the Sonic boy. (Shhh...don't tell my
Hillbilly Husband.) Those of you who have been reading my blog
all summer might recall that I have an addiction: Sonic Large Cherry
Diet Coke.

There is a kid at Sonic who seems to favor me when I go through
the drive-thru. I have been cutting back with school about to start,
and getting a medium instead of a large. The other day this kid took
my order, and repeated it back: a medium cherry diet Coke, and a
large cup of ice. I love the ice--gotta have extra. So I drove around,
and he gave me a large soda and large ice, and only charged me the
price of a medium. Believe me, going there every day, I've got the
prices memorized. He grinned, and told me to have a really nice day.
He's about 18 or 19, tall, kind of chubby, stubbly whiskers. But he
seems to like this old hillbilly lady.

Wednesday, I ordered medium and large cherry diet Cokes, and
a large ice. My Hillbilly Mama was babysitting for me, and she
wanted a large. I drove around, and my suitor gave me the medium
and large sodas, and a Route 44 ice. But he only charged me for the
sodas and a large ice. There is a $0.15 difference, you know. Again,
he was very friendly. He knows the way to Hillbilly Mom's heart is
though her cherry diet Coke. He makes the best ones, too. Just
enough ice, cherry, and soda. Now that school has started, we've
got to stop meeting like this.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Top Ten Tuesday: Back-to-School Edition

Top Ten Tuesday was brought to me by Redneck Diva, by way
of April. I'm glad, too, because what I wanted to write about was
too long, and now I have a shorter way to gripe. So here it is:

Top Ten Things I Hate About Going Back To School

1. A two-hour-and-forty-minute meeting

2. No Sonic Large Cherry Diet Coke

3. My aching feet

4. The mother of all headaches

5. No afternoon nap

6. Parents who show up at 5:30 for the 6:00 to 8:00 Open House

7. Fellow teachers who hog the copy machine

8. No time to work in rooms because we have MEETINGS
every day for 3 days

9. People who are standing in the hall talking at 8:21 at the
6:00 to 8:00 Open House.

10. Parents who come to pick up their child's schedule at 1:20,
(which is prime no-meeting work time), drop in to chat with the
teacher, and stay until 2:40, instead of coming to the 6:00 to 8:00
Open House.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Rebecca's Challenge

In the comments to my August 14 post Hidden Talent, Rebecca
said she was up for a challenge. I do plan to follow through on
her suggestion to put my whiney ol' hillbilly voice on an audioblog
for you, but it might have to wait until the weekend.

Rebecca has volunteered to sing a song of my choosing. Be careful
what you volunteer for, I always say. No need to make it easy. So
here it is, Rebecca. I challenge you to sing the second verse to "It Goes
Like It Goes," the 1980 Academy Award winning theme song to the
1979 classic movie, Norma Rae, directed by Martin Ritt, and starring
Sally Field. You know, the movie that proved we like her, we really
like her.

"It Goes Like It Goes" goes a little something like this:

Ain't no miracle bein' born
People doin' it everyday
Ain't no miracle growing old
People just roll that way.

So it goes like it goes and the river flows
And time it rolls right on
And maybe what's good gets a little bit better
And maybe what's bad gets gone

Bless the child of the workin' man
She knows too soon who she is
And bless the hands of a workin' man
He knows his soul is his

So it goes like it goes and the river flows
And time it rolls right on
And maybe what's good gets a little bit better
And maybe what's bad gets gone

Now I know you might be tempted, Rebecca, to sing the whole thing.
But the problem is that my computer will time out, and I will not get to
hear it. So just sing the part I've highlighted for you. That is my favorite
part. Of course, I don't know where you can find this if you haven't
seen Norma Rae. But you know movies, so I think you have seen
Norma Rae. Anyway, the music and lyrics are by David Shire and
Norman Gimbel. It was sung by Jennifer Warnes. Good luck. Oh,
and you don't have to sing a capella. You can even have Norma Rae
playing in the background if you'd like.

Hillbilly Mom Wants...

I've been Googling again. A while back we found out what I am...
now let's see what I want. If you want to try this for yourself, just
go to Google and type in "(your name) wants." Let's see if you
can help me with my wish list:

Hillbilly Mom wants...a good old patagonian tooth fish. Yeah,
doesn't everybody? And no young ones or toothless ones,
either, you cheap ********!

Hillbilly Mom pull a Quint and bonk one over the head,
but the water is too choppy. And we wouldn't want bonk anything
over the head in choppy water, because I guess that would hurt
worse than a regular calm-water head-bonking.

Hillbilly Mom lay a smackdown on Susie. I mean
business, Susie, and don't think that just because you have the
same name as my Toe Story Susie that I will cut you any slack.
Count your lucky stars, girly, because if this water wasn't so
choppy I'd have bonked you on the head by now.

Hillbilly Mom to know she loves cats and does very
well with household pets. She can fry them up in a pan, roast them
slowly over hot coals, freeze them to make pet pops, liquefy them
in a blender for smoothies, or use Bert's recipe for a good casserole.

Hillbilly Mom, and Lester wants out. OK, Lester, I know
you don't like me, but could you be a little less obvious about it?

Hillbilly Mom find a way to say, "No, Sattar, Iraq is not
my country." Just in case some guy named Sattar finds his way to
the Hillbilly Mansion and asks me if I am from Iraq.

Hillbilly Mom wants...the tarp, the blanket, and the parachute for
Ego Ego. Yes, I want it all for me me me me me!

Hillbilly Mom know if you like toes, in general. Or
specifically, for that matter, the ones with long black hairs growing
out of them that you would need to use tweezers to pick up if
someone chopped off a toe and you had to put it in a baggie with ice.

Hillbilly Mom know if you and Billy can come back over
tonight. Oh, the **** with you, I just want Billy. HILL Billy.

Hillbilly Mom lose weight, but her daughter Kimberly doesn't
--she's thin as a rake, anyway. Well let's see how you feel about that,
Miss Kimberly, when I'm a-draggin' you through the just-cut wet grass
and you get all clogged up with mulch and can't lift your spindly little
rake bone arms and legs any more.

Hillbilly Mom place a picture on the wall that is 228 inches
long. Which is too **** big because that is the same as 19 feet, people!

Hillbilly Mom tour the apartment and make sure I'm not
living in a rat hole, and she mentioned something about giving me a
credit card people to say I don't actually live in a rathole,
and to get fake bushy tails for any rats I see so I can pretend they
are cute little squirrels.

Hillbilly Mom to have monthly dance parties at the Literary
Cafe. So people will think we read and are smart and cultured, but
really we will be line dancing like a bunch of tobacco-chewin' yahoos
on a Friday night.

Hillbilly Mom move the toilet across the hall, working out
the details to...see if it is a good idea, what with some people not
wanting to take a dump in the hall with no running water and everyone
watching from the living room.

Hillbilly Mom know how many pillows there will be, and
Gen says, "500"...which seems to be a bit excessive to me, even
though we are using them as padding on the roof in case the Space
Shuttle falls on the Hillbilly Mansion.

Hillbilly Mom stop playing Rosie secretary and go home,
so Rosie lets her be a coming attraction by singing The Awful Truth
as Mrs. Dracula. And doesn't that make you want a little snort of
whatever we'd been into earlier in the evening?

Hillbilly Mom put her hands on Mona's shoulders and
steer her like a bumper car in fun. But not steer her like a bumper
car in anger, that would be just wrong. And if I wasn't so cheap,
I could go steer an actual bumper car, and stop this embarrassing
charade, and send Mona to a chiropractor to fix her back that is
sore from me riding the bumper autoMonabile.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Hidden Talent

I am an accomplished car singer. That's OK...I'll wait for your applause
to taper off. Now don't think that means I am a talented car singer--it's
something that I do any time I'm driving. My students say, "Hey, Mrs.
Hillbilly Mom, didn't you see me wave at you this morning over by the
middle school?" Well, no, kids. I was in the middle of a concert and
couldn't be distracted. I tell them, "Oh, I don't pay much attention to
who's in the other cars. I sing along with the music sometimes." By the
looks they give each other, I think maybe they have noticed.

I prefer to be alone in my SUV echo chamber. I sound really good
when it's cranked. Most of the time I have to make do with my boys
as passengers. I don't say audience, because one lives in the Pokemon
land called his head, and the other says things like "Can't you turn that
down--I can't even hear my music through these headphones!"

I am really good with Fleetwood Mac. Stevie, Lindsay, and Christine,
I blend really well with y'all. Say You Love Me, guys. I could have
replaced any of you who didn't want to go on tour. OK, so I am not
as freaky as Stevie. And then there's the little matter of not being able
to play keyboards or guitar. But hey, it took two guitarists to replace
Lindsay anyway. I'm So Afraid that secretly you're all hissing "Go
Your Own Way," but really, I Don't Want to Know. Give me a chance
if you reunite. I will even sing your songs from Tusk, the double album
that nobody but me likes. Hey, I have my Dreams.

Oh, I know that I'm not a very good singer anywhere but the car. I
would never sing karaoke, or even sing in the car with real passengers
other than my kids. I don't sing in front of my Hillbilly Husband, either.
Sometimes even my car serenades leave something to be desired.

No matter how hard I try, I can not blend with you, Shery Crow. I
don't care how many times you tell me "C'mon, C'mon--It's So Easy,"
I just can't walk that Diamond Road with you. It's a shame, too, you
being a good ol' southern Missouri gal and all. Picture this: I actually
blend better with Kid Rock than with you. Glad you did that song
with him.

And Liz Phair, don't think your music is safe from my mealy-mouthed
mutilation. The blend is great, but I've got to get the hang of that odd
phrasing you use, cause sometimes I have to take a breath.

Now that you are sufficiently tranquilized from my boring story today,
mosey on over to Misha's. Seems that work dealt her a road trip, and
she's looking for ONE (I repeat ONE) song from everybody to put
on CD for the trip. That means ONE, people. Don't make me come
over there! And maybe, just maybe, that's where I got the idea for
this car music post.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

"Toe Story" aka "I Toe You So"

Again, I have nothing to blog about. But that's never stopped me
before. I was thinking about school starting Monday, and then I
read a few blogs. I ended up at Rachy's place, and she had a
toe blog as one of her items posted today. I, too, have a toe story.

A few years ago I only had 4 students in my third period class.
They came in one day, sat down, and shuffled their books around
(to find some work to do before I started grilling them on what
assignments might be missing when I checked with their teachers).

'Susie' said, "I'm really tired today. I spent all last night at the
emergency room." We all leaned forward. The work could wait.

"Dad was outside chopping wood. Mom and I heard a scream,
so we ran outside. Dad had hit his foot with the axe, and cut off
his big toe, right through the shoe. Mom hollered at me--'Susie,
run in the house and get a baggie and some towels!' I ran in. The
baggie was to put the toe in. Mom wrapped the towels around
Dad's foot, and told me to put the toe in the bag. I said, 'Uh-uuhh.'
Mom told me 'Just do it!' but I couldn't. It had big black hairs
growing out of it. I didn't want to touch it. But Mom kept telling
me we needed the toe."

"I went back in the house and got a pair of tweezers and picked
up the toe by those hairs and put it in the baggie. Then Mom
said to get some ice to put in it, and we put Dad in the car and
took him to the emergency room. There was blood all over the

"When we got there, they took him in and said they were glad
we brought the toe. It took them a long time, but they sewed
it back on."

We were all on the edges of our seats, hanging on to every
word. "So he's still at the hospital?" I asked.

"No, they let him come home. They gave him some pain medicine."

"They let him come home last night? Didn't they want to observe
him after the surgery?" I couldn't believe they didn't watch him
closer--even though this was a hick-town hospital.

"No. They just stitched it back on in the emergency room. He
said the pain medicine worked really good. But then last night
he was supposed to keep it propped up, but he wanted some
more ice to put in his soda. He got up to walk to the kitchen,
and he hit his toe on the leg of the table."

"Owwww!" we all said together.

"Yeah, it hurt him a lot, because when he hit it, his toe popped
off, and we had to put it back on with duct tape."

The room was silent. We looked at each other. "'re
making that up," I told Susie.

"Yeah. First hour believed me, too."

She really had me reeled in. I was buying every minute of it
until the part about where they sewed the toe on in the emergency
room. I watch ER. I know that you need a specialist and an
operating room to hook up the nerves and blood vessels again.

But she told such a good story.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Like a Squirrel on a Wire

I have nothing to blog about today. It's back-to-school time. The
air has that back-to-school smell in the mornings. A few years
ago, before I had to drive my kids to school with me every day,
I could enjoy the sights along the way. I didn't have to bend my
arm backwards to give someone a tissue, or dig in my purse for
nacho money, or try to sign some permission form at a stop sign.

This one morning I noticed movement on a telephone wire on
the road near school. I looked up and saw a little squirrel. Aww,
how cute! I thought. Gee, he sure is a little squirrel. He must
about half-grown. He's got good balance to run along
that wire.
Hey, what's with his tail--he doesn't have any fur
on it. Maybe
young squirrels don't grow that bushy tail until

All this happened in a couple of seconds. The road curved,
and I had to pay more attention to my driving. And in that
split second when I looked back down to the road, the horror
of it hit me. That was a rat. And while it was small for a
squirrel, it was big for a rat. This is the country. We don't
have any giant city rats. In fact, it was the first rat I had ever
seen. No, this was no cute little field mouse with the Mickey
ears. It was a rat. And it ran along the wire in the direction
of school.

The hair on the back of my neck stood up, because it was
kind of creepy to watch a cute little squirrel turn into a rat.
I never saw it again, but I spread the word to my fellow
teachers that a rat was running along the telephone line toward
school. They had a good laugh at me, and asked if I needed

Teachers. Not as compassionate as you might think.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

"Don't you ever buy a new one and pay on time, when you can get a used one for a dime...

...a book's no good 'til someone's turned a page." Did any of you
recognize these lyrics? Any Ozark Mountain Daredevil fans out
there? I didn't think so.

Wednesday we loaded up 23 pairs of jeans, 7 pairs of shoes,
10 shirts, a camouflage hooded sweatshirt (size 12 mo.--yeah,
we're rednecks), and 2 shirt/pants/vest/tie outfits and headed to
town to pick up Hillbilly Grandma for an outing to the new
Goodwill store. After dumping--DONATING--these items, of
course we had to shop. #2 son bought 2 Pokemon tapes and a
Pokemon CD for $8.00. He thought it was a bargain, because
he didn't have these.

#1 son wanted to buy a $12.00 computer, but I talked him out of
it. He is saving for a laptop, and doing odd jobs (such that a 10-year-
old can do). My haircutter hired him Monday for 2 hours of computer
lessons, and paid him $10.00. He was thrilled. He had not expected
to be paid anything but snacks while working. He decided that he
has already taken our other computers apart enough that he didn't
need that one. The parts alone would have been worth it. Keyboard,
mouse, speakers, monitor--even if the main thingy didn't work, this
would have been worth $12.00. But we don't have room for all the
clutter, since he still has parts of an old computer #2 son's teacher
gave us last year, and it would have been HIS money, so he decided
against it. And in case you're worried about buying something like this
there, the Goodwill people say if you buy something electronic and it
doesn't work, you can bring it back and pick something else.

After our shopping spree, we headed to Ci Ci's Pizza. I don't like
their pizza, except for the Taco Pizza. Ole'! They put one out just
as we were going through the line. That's my karma for taking the
kids somewhere they wanted to go. I am mad at Ci Ci's, because
they no longer have cheese on their salad bar. What's a salad
without some shredded cheese? And they no longer have (look
away, Rebecca, look away!) mushrooms for salad fixin's, either.
But they did have some sweet banana pepper rings, so I will
remain neutral in this restaurant review, and not give them a
thumbs down.

Then, minor trauma: #2 son had eaten his fill of noodles with
red and white sauce, and those breadstick things, and went off
to the arcade room. #1 son soon followed. Next we heard a
scream, followed by another scream. That could only mean one
thing. My kids were involved. A little blond boy about 4 came
running out of the game room. Next came #1, who marched
right up to that kid's family and said, " case you're
wondering...he grabbed the air hockey puck and put it in the
goal." The first scream had been #2 son, who lost the game.
The second scream was the little boy, who was scared by
the first scream.

Next came #2, crying to me, because that made him lose. I
told him that the little boy didn't know any better, that he was
too little to understand. The boy's grandma came over and
said, "Awww, honey, we'll make it right." She gave him a
dollar to play another game. He didn't want to take it, and
turned away from her. I said it was OK, she didn't have to
give him money. Then she gave it to #1, who persuaded #2
to play again, and #2 took three quarters out of his pocket
and asked #1 to give it back to the grandma. So everything
was settled.

After this excursion, we took Hillbilly Grandma back home,
and returned to our Hillbilly Mansion to find that we had
no internet connection. !!! I called and found out that lightning
had struck across the street from the local office of our
internet provider. Quick-thinking #1 son called Hillbilly
Grandma to get her dial-up number, and we mooched off
of her service. Of course he knew her sign-in and password
--he set the whole thing up for her.

Two days left of my summer vacation. But who's counting?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Ready For School?

Monday I have to go back to work. But I really have to go back
to work now. Monday, I will sit in meetings all day. Oh, they say
we will have time to get our rooms ready. But if you have two
rooms and two sets of meetings and two of everything in the world,
it takes longer.

I took #1 son to school with me this morning to hook up all of my
equipment. The first building was great--they had even hooked up
the computers already. We spent about 2 hours there, loading
stuff on the computer (him) and putting stuff back on the walls (me).
We don't have to take it down, but it usually falls down if I don't.
And you never know when they might just decide to touch up the
paint. Nothing was missing. All systems go at this location.

The other building took a little more work, and I will have to return.
We spent an hour. #1 son hooked up my computers. I rearranged
the desks to my usual pattern. I put all of the drawers back in my
desk. We take them out so the desks can be moved more easily
out into the hall so the floor can be waxed. I must say that both
buildings looked great. The custodians have done a great job.
I will need to hang my maps back on the wall, and put back the
things that fell off ( I left the things up here). All that was missing
was my power strip that I bought myself last year. I gained a
wooden door stop. I'll have to find out who that belongs to.
Last year my rubber door stop disappeared, even though I had
written my name on it with Wite-Out. Much better than the year
I lost my TV/VCR, 3-hole punch, and stapler (they were returned),
and 24 student desks and chairs from the other building, which
were given to a different building and replaced with carved-up
desks from the cast-off room in the basement.

Now all I will have to do next week is to attend the district-wide,
high school, and middle school meetings on Monday, run copies of
my class rules and course description, write dates in the gradebooks,
fill out lesson plan books, look over class rosters, get my record-
keeping stuff organized for each class, go to open house at both
buildings Tuesday night (and make a sign for each building of the
times I will be at each location, go to Wal-mart to get my purchase
order stuff, pick up the Attendance, Discipline, Incentive policies and
the technology agreement forms for the first day of school Thursday,
make sure my printer will print, pay off someone to do my after-
school bus duties and game duties, find my end-of-year inventories
to update, make substitute folders, and I'm all ready for another
year. Ya gotta love it!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A Jury of Your Peers

Oh, don't want to have your jury composed of the
folks I had jury orientation with. Me excluded, of course, since
I would make the perfect decision every time.

The judge told us that a computer program selects the jury pool,
based on eligible residents of the county. That means they have
to be 21 years old. So out of that 240 people who were sent a
jury letter, you would expect about the same amount of people
in each age group. No. I am no spring chicken, but the vast
majority of juror prospects were definitely my elders.

I saw one boy with a fresh military haircut who looked about 21.
There was a girl who appeared to be in her early twenties. About
20 people looked like they were thirty-something. Hmm...forties...
about 50 people. This leaves the rest of them, about two-thirds of
all the future jurors, in their 50's, 60's, and 70's. Not that there's
anything wrong with that. They have a lot of life experience to base
their opinions on. But the way I figure it, there should have been
about 40 people in each age group.

Age was not the only problem. The letter that was sent out clearly
stated that this was ORIENTATION. It said to complete the form,
and bring it to the courthouse at the specified time to find out what
was required for jury duty.

Here are some conversations I heard from the rows in front and
behind me.
"Why do we have to sit so close?"

"They said we'll know by 9:00. I guess they're expecting a crowd."

"Yeah. After we're done, they're gonna move all these pews against
the wall and we're having a dance."
"I have to go to the bathroom. Is anybody allowed to go to the
bathroom? Ma'am? Are there any bathrooms on this floor?"

Deputy Gal: "Right through those doors and turn left. You can go

(It was 8:45. Why didn't she just go downstairs before she came up
to the court room?)
"I got called one other time when I lived in the city. I told the judge
I couldn't do it because I didn't drive"

"Did that work?"

"He asked to see my drivers' license. Then he said I could drive,
so that excuse wouldn't work. But I never got called."
There were two older men and a woman with a cane sitting up front,
in one of the jury boxes by the door to the judges' chambers. I
assumed they had letters from a doctor, since the deputy at the
door had been asking as people went in. Some folks behind me
thought this was a trial.

"Which one do you think is the criminal?"

"Not the lady. She looks grouchy. I bet she's the court stenographer."

"I think it's that one by the wall. I think he did it, too."

"That other one must be his lawyer. He sure didn't dress up."
"How long do you think this trial will last?"

"I don't know. I hope we're out of here by 2:00."
Spindly, the frail old lady who rode in the elevator with me, said,
"I didn't fill out that paper. Do you think I should fill it out?"

"Yes. It said to fill it out and bring it."

"Well, I don't have a pen."

"We need one of those clipboards." (I told Deputy Gal.)
"It's gonna take a long time for them to interview all of us."

"They won't call us in separately. They ask 'Does anybody here
have someone in the system?' and then we raise our hands."

"Oh, and they count the hands?"

"Yeah. Then they might ask 'Who has something against plea

"What's plea bargaining?"

"When you give them some choices."
Yikes! There needs to be a common sense test to see who can
qualify for jury duty. I don't even want to know what the other
17 rows were talking about.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Civic Duty

Saturday morning I had the pleasure of traveling to the county
courthouse for jury duty orientation. First time ever. My sister has
done it three times, and has never been called for a trial. I hope I
am so lucky. I don't like things to interrupt my routine. That would
mean I had to write out understandable lesson plans, and turn
my students over to a substitute, who would spoil them, and then
I would have to train them all over again. My students would
miss me. Seriously, my students like me. What's not to like?

My official letter said to be at the 3rd floor of the courthouse
by 9:00 am SHARP. It was capitalized like that. Being the anal-
retentive goody-two-shoes suck-up that I am, I arrived around
8:10. There were already about 10 cars there. Those people
went in, but I waited until 8:30 to make my grand entrance.
I rode up in the elevator with a spindly, fragile, little lady about
70 years old. "I've never done anything like this," she said. I
don't know if she meant ride in an elevator, go to the courthouse,
talk to a hillbilly mom, or leave her little shack with 47 cats.

We entered the courtroom, and were directed where to sit
by a female sheriff's deputy, who looked and talked like
comedian Kathleen Madigan. (Kathleen, I know things didn't
work out last summer on Last Comic Standing, but I think
you should play it safe and stay in St. Louis. Do not go south
of Lindbergh. There are no streetlights beyond that point.)
Deputy Gal performed her seating job like a rent-a-cop parking
cars at the County Fair. All she needed was a flashlight with a
long red thingy on the end. She made the second row scooch
over to make room for us. "Seven to a bench," she commanded.
WooHoo! I got the end! Thanks, Spindly, for showing up the
same time as I did.

People straggled in. Deputy Gal filled 3 rows on our side, then
3 rows on the side by the door. That's when the creep arrived.
He looked like Hannibal Lecter, but without the charm--and
without the hockey mask. He was wearing a plain dark-blue
t-shirt tucked into gray slacks, with a black belt, and gray
Wal-mart tennis shoes. He was short. His graying hair was
combed straight back from his forehead, and greased with
some type of product. Probably fat rendered from the people
he had eaten and made lampshades and garments out of.

Hannibal stepped in the door and sat down on the end. Oh,
no no. He was supposed to move down next to the first lady
in that row. Deputy Gal said, "Please move down, sir. We need
seven to a row." He gave her a look like he wanted to eat her
liver with some pinto beans and a nice warm can of Busch. He
walked over and left about 2 feet between himself and that lady.
Hannibal squinted at Deputy Gal's chest. "Where's your badge?"
She was not at all flustered. "It's broken, but I have a name tag.
Tracy Jones." (She gave her real name as far as I know, but I
can't recall it.) Hannibal took out a pen, licked the end, and
wrote it on his jury summons letter. More people came in.
Deputy Gal said, "Let's move on down. Seven to a row. "
Hannibal wouldn't move. They only got six in that row.

After everyone arrived, all seats were full, plus the jury boxes,
and some chairs up front for the "alleged" criminals and lawyers.
People stood all around the walls of the room, and down the
middle aisle. Somebody said there were supposed to be 240
people. A man deputy said, "You fellas who are like me, and like
to wear the cap--you really need to take that off in here. Any of
you men who feel uncomfortable sitting while a woman stands,
feel free to give her your seat." One man did. Deputy said, "Take
it, Ma'am. This doesn't happen very often."

The two circuit court judges, one man and one woman, came out
and explained the procedure for being called for a case, and how
to check if it was still scheduled, and how it is virtually impossible
to be excused unless the doctor says you can not serve. Then we
were given a pamphlet, and set free around 9:20.

Tomorrow: Be very afraid if you have these people on your jury.

#4 Official Answers What Would Rednecks Do?

The question this week was: What would Rednecks do with the
old cabinets made out of paneling when they remodel their house?

The answers this week were all compatible with the Redneck
lifestyle. Misha comes out the big winner, with three (count 'em)
three solutions to the problem.Scoring was:

Misha: 3
build a cubby house for the kids
use as firewood
build a dog kennel

Babs: 1
decorate the den in a faux-cabinet look

Michele: 2
panel the outside of the pick-up
woodgrain dashboard interior

Rebecca: 2
patio funiture for BBQs
can't have two kitchens in a trailer house

Thanks for playing. All of your ideas could work for the general
Redneck population. Some are not plausible, though, for the
hardcore Rednecks. For example:

Cubby for the kids?
Why, when you have a perfectly good
sinkhole available?

Build a dog kennel? I believe the hardcore Rednecks call that
a chain and a metal spike.

Decorate the den in a faux-cabinet look? Not unless those
hardcore Rednecks are puttin' on airs. The "den" is called a
"family room," and is mainly unfinished and filled with junk
that you don't want to put anywhere else. And a "faux" is
what you send Ol' Blue after so you can getcha a tail to tie
to your pick-up truck's antenna.

Use it on the side of the pickup? If the pickup has sides.

Woodgrain look for the dashboard? If your truck isn't full of
old swimming pool parts.

Patio furniture? Most BBQs are "BYOLC" (bring your own
lawn chair), many of which collapse after a few too many
cans of beer in Bubba's tummy.

Official Answers:
Use some of them as storage cabinets in the toolshed that
you build on a skid and haul to town for the back yard.
(My teacher-friend-without-a-blog was very close to this
one, as she emailed me: "put the cabinets in the barn."

The rest of the paneling cabinets shall be officially disposed
of in the big sinkhole (not to be confused with the clubhouse

Sunday, August 07, 2005

#4 What Would Rednecks Do?

You and your Redneck spouse (or "common law" Redneck spouse)
have decided to remodel your little shack. (It could happen!) When
you tear out the kitchen cabinets that are made of wood-grain
paneling, what do you do with them?

There may be more than one correct answer. The "official answer"
will be posted on Monday, August 8.

This will be the end of the Redneck Quiz for awhile.
It has become

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Hillbilly Mom Is...

I took this from Redneck Diva, who took it from aka Monty, who
saw it at True Jersey Girl and J&Js Mom, who chased the cat that
worried the rat that lived in the house that Jack built. Oh, I had a
flashback moment. I also saw that Stacy had a post on this Friday.
Come on, join us. All you have to do is Google "(your name) is"
and see where it takes you. I used my real (real common) first name,
but here I will say "Hillbilly Mom."

Hillbilly Mom is... evil and must be...locked away in the attic, with a
bucket of fish heads provided daily at 10:00, 2:00, and 4:00.

Hillbilly Mom is...a for-real contemporary multi-tasker. She can
go shopping for the bacon, bring home the bacon, fry it up in the
pan, and throw it out to the dog. If she's not busy makin' the bacon.

Hillbilly Mom is...clipping her toenails and the noise bothers Buffy.
Well excuuuuuuuuse ME! At least I don't bite them like you, Buffy.

Hillbilly Mom is...forced to stop taking night classes. Man! You clip
a few toenails in class, and they give you the boot!

Hillbilly Mom is ...recording Lina's singing and dialogue at night
so that Lina won't...find out that HM knows nothing about recording
singing and dialogue, since they kicked her out of
night school.

Hillbilly Mom is ...a favorite guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
You'll never guess who I really am!

Hillbilly Mom is caring and loving, and finds joy in everything
around her. Yeah, right!

Hillbilly Mom is best friend and the one who makes me take
time to stop and smell the roses. And after she shoves my face into
the thorny rose bush and says "Get a whiff of
that!" she says she'll
be back in 20 minutes and runs into the house to help my husband
with his special purpose.

Hillbilly Mom is ...often asked, "How do you..." find such a bad
haircutter and such unstylish clothes.

Hillbilly Mom is staying at a motel and has hardly any money
to pay for it. But I will after Lina pays me for recording.

Hillbilly Mom is ...manipulative, and Anna is ripe for manipulation.
Don't ask. Don't tell.

Hillbilly Mom is ...traveling by limo, taxi, and public transportation.
On a strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk. I'll tell Rochelle
y'all said "Hey."

Hillbilly Mom is ...not certain she wants to continue working for
Scotland Yard. What with all her travels and Tonight Show

Hillbilly Mom is ...full of juicy tidbits. But lets keep them in
DO NOT slice open HM to eat the juicy tidbits!

Hillbilly Mom is ...slowly rebuilding our breed. And that there
tells you the sad state of our breed.

Hillbilly Mom is ...unmasked. Oh no you di unt! You may think
you know, but you have no idea of all that I've masked.

Hillbilly Mom is ...such a psychopath...that she is on a first-name
basis with the 55-gallon barrel killer and is allowed to call him

Hillbilly Mom is to save approximately $7 a week. How do ya
them apples, free-cheese eaters! Count 'em and weep! SEVEN
dollars a week!

Hillbilly Mom is ...the kind of prim woman who knows about "the
horror movie" stuff involved in living in the real world. So listen up
when she advises you to "Keep your mouth closed while scrubbing
the toilet."

Hillbilly Mom is ...a great artist, but why make a fan club about her.
Who cares, really, if she lives or dies, because her art will be worth
more if we knock her off.

Hillbilly Mom is remain unlocked at all times. But still don't cut
her open to eat the juicy tidbits.

Hillbilly Mom is ...dressed to the nines in a terry Velcro towel wrap.
Hey, aren't you?

Hillbilly Mom is pouting. Because other people are stylin' in
the terry
Velcro towel wrap.

Hillbilly Mom is ...all mouth and not much depth beyond her constant
obsessing that...she really does have a deep mouth and she is all that
and a bag of pork rinds.

Hillbilly Mom is ...widely known as a very nice person who thinks
"ego" means waffles...because she is so stupid she doesn't know
singular from plural.

Hillbilly Mom is ...currently on medical leave, and her employer is
holding her...tightly around the throat until the job is done, and he
can tell everyone that she just "went away for a little while" and

"hey, y'all might as well call me 'Fitty'."

Hillbilly Mom is ...trying to clean her ruined sweater...because she
saw that on an episode of ER a couple years ago and Jing-Mei told

everyone it was club soda, but Susan and Abby used a Woods' lamp
and figured out that it
was really Greg Pratt's man-juice.

Hillbilly Mom is to understand 80% of speech and is able to...
ignore it at will.

Hillbilly Mom is ...there to perform with a bunch of other chorus girls.
Though "perform" and "chorus girls" seem to be euphemisms for a
much seedier agenda.

Hillbilly Mom is ID forger and a police informant who has more
than a few screws loose. Even though people have said she used to be
tightly screwed, until this police fiasco occurred, and she became totally

Hillbilly Mom is ...clearly in love with Tommy, who seems to be a
troubled boy...ever since his 6th grade teacher, that sweet Mrs.
Letourneau, moved away.

Hillbilly Mom is ...ironing her jeans and the tiny voices
in her head asking "What kind of a moron irons jeans?"

Hillbilly Mom is avid woodworker, and has built the chairs
everyone is sitting be prepared to hit the floor faster than
Sheriff Hogg went a-swimmin' when Bubba hit the lever on the

dunk tank at the 4th of July picnic last summer.

Hillbilly Mom is ...not allowed to leave the Hoot and Holler and
meet Mike. Which doesn't matter to her, because she has only begun
to hoot and holler, and that Mike is a big sissy mama's
boy and
he's not that pretty and he's not that special.

Hillbilly Mom is ...on the floor crying now...because all that hootin'
and hollerin' has given her a headache.

Hillbilly Mom is ...still undecided on which team she is joining.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Hillbilly Mom is ...scheduled for surgery on 4/ remove
her foot from her mouth and the stick from her butt.

Hillbilly Mom is ...found dancing to 'Never Let Me Go" by Judy
Bridgewater in a classroom one...dark and stormy night, but they
told me it was all about the toenails, not the dancing, and that
pole and those laps were ripe for the pickin'.

The Saturday "What Would Rednecks Do?" will be on Sunday.