Just Jabberin

2 April 2002

Well, I =was= going to put a little poem in here I wrote in
commemoration of my Ma's 50th birthday, and, more to the point, her
bitching at me for not sending her a card, but you never know who reads
this and who will tell on me. (Besides, Ma will be getting this poem
soon enough).  It's not my best work in doggerel, but generally the more
personal my creations the less interesting they are to other people. And
the more tortured the scansion.

To give you an idea as to the quality of the poem, there's a line in
there about me going "from bad to verse".  'Nuff said.

So what should I talk about?  I've been thinking about alot lately, a
lot of ugly stuff, as in the mess in the Catholic Church right now and
the whole Israel/Palestine thing, but some nice stuff as well, such as
silly songs and the arrival of spring.  I could this is the season of
renewal and the sprouting of hope, which is true, and which has
parallels to Easter, but that's a thought shared with millions.  Anyone
cognizant of their own hormonal levels through the usual channels will
have noticed this phenomenon.

I thought of talking about teaching, and how much I liked it.  I've
picked up a couple extra part-time teaching jobs -- test prep with
Kaplan - mostly graduate tests - and a "business math" class that I
would say is a level of math I learned in 5th grade.  To think I would
teach how to take a multiple-choice test on which schools base their
admissions would indicate cynicism and to think that people the age of
my mother need to be taught elementary school math is depressing, but
I've decided I don't care.  I've got knowledge and other people don't
have it, and I love to talk and I have an almost infinite patience when
it comes to stupidity and/or ignorance.  So teaching is great.

If every time I ran into a college student who didn't know that the
equation L = 2L means that L = 0, and said student being in a calculus
class, I started to rant and bitch about the crappy state of math
education in middle and high school, I would never have time to teach
students. I'm more interested in getting students to understand what
they know and what they don't know.  As well, if schools are using a
bogus tool to figure out who's in and who's out, I have no qualms
teaching people how to beat the system or, at the very least, improve
the odds.  In less than two months, I will be taking tests to try to
enter the actuarial profession, and let me tell you, there's no tricks
in beating this test. You have to actually solve the problems, as the
answers are =very= close to one another.  No tricks in getting around
it.  There's a good reason they don't penalize for wrong answers -
there's little chance that random guessing will let you pass the exams.

As I said, I thought about talking about teaching, but I decided not to,
as I've just had a glass of wine and I've not fully fleshed out my
opinions on teaching.

I've thought about revisiting some of my favorite topics, involving
theology, probability, or other online writing, or favorite people, such
as Dickens, Austen, or Paglia.  Chaucer is up there too, and I don't
mind Milton as a writer so much anymore.  Actually, he's in my "Great
influence on culture, intersting read, but such a bastard as a person"
pile.  There's quite a few historical figures I stick on that pile, like
Thomas Jefferson, Isaac Newton, and that's all I can think of off the
top of my mind.  Heck, I've known plenty of people at school like that -
great to have at a party, but you really don't want to have as a close
friend, because they're only going to infuriate you with their hideous
contempt for other people.

I thought about talking about some of my latest discoveries, involving
physical processes of human bodies, but that would go under the category
of too much information.

I've thought about talking about what I'm thinking of talking about, but
you know where =that= kind of silliness would lead.  It's as fascinating
as staring into the medicine cabinet mirror as one swings it near the
bathroom sink mirror; enthralling as a 9-year old, but offering no new
insights once one reaches maturity.  I wish some people would notice
that self-reflection is interesting only if it will illuminate a side
not normally seen; to be even cattier, if you look in a mirror, you
better be sure there's an object to look at.  I could extend the
metaphor further to encompass virtual images, but that is obvious.

So I will talk about sleep.  Because I'm tired.  But because I'm tired,
I'm finishing now.

Hmm.  So much about nothing.  I'm not sorry to waste your time.  Serves
you right for reading my stuff.

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