On Marches and Life

Thought about this one when reading things about DACA. I don’t get how you can claim to be pro-life and pro-family but also pro kicking people out of the only country they have ever known. Sacrificing morals for political power is nto a good look.

The World's Common Tater

Last weekend was the women’s march in Washington. I had a lot of friends go down to march and I support them and their right to march. I had other friends who did not support the march because pro-choice organizations and people were involved. Today is the march for life. I’m sure I have friends who are in Washington for that as well.I also support them and their right to march. I hope that regardless of how you feel about either march you understand that the right to march is a fundamental part of America. You can disagree, but you have to support the right to free speech.

Now, the next part has been in my head for a day and I have hesitated  writing and posting it because I think people will be angry with me. I am operating on 5 hours(split into two 2.5 segments with 9 hours…

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The First of the Last

Today is the first day of my daughter’s last year of high school. Technically, tomorrow is the real first day of school for seniors, but she is there today as part of the school’s mentor program to help the freshmen acclimate.  So, since she’s there, I’m counting this as the first of the last.

Only 8 months left of the public school system. There are plenty of good things about this. Seniors graduate the same day no matter what, so snow days mean nothing this year except a day off. No worries about the school year extending too far in to the summer. No more dealing with the parents who complain about everything the school system does. No more caring what the public school system does. My life will no longer revolve around the public school calendar. We can go on vacation when everyone else is still in school.

The good is countered by the sad. Only 8 months until our youngest graduates from high school and then only a couple of more months before she leaves for college. Less than a year from an empty nest and a lot of alone time for me. Less than a year until I only see my kids occasionally.

It is a bittersweet year for me.

College Visits

We just recently finished with the college tours for my daughter.  I was thinking about giving an impression of each school, but I decided instead to list the things that schools did that made an impression on me.

Keep it Simple, Stupid – Every college has an information session before the tours. Every college says a lot of the same things during these information sessions. So much o that almost every one of them talked about the charity dance marathon they do like they are the only college that does one.  A lot of these sessions were an hour when they didn’t need to be an hour. I was impressed with my alma mater, The University of Kentucky. They only had a 30 minute information session and gave us better information than most that had hour-long ones. Tell me the basics. Give a slice of life and move on.

Make the Tour Meaningful – Some of the tours were so light on details they were no more useful than me walking around the campus on my own. They need to be more than just walking around campus pointing at buildings. Give us some anecdotes, tell personal stories, do anything that makes it memorable. Indiana and Penn State were very good at this. The Penn State guides were the best ones we had. They answered questions honestly and made the tour more personal.

Don’t Charge for Parking – The only one that failed this one was Delaware. Everyone else gave us free parking. We had to pay there. You are trying to woo us. This is not a good start.

Feed Me Seymour –  Pointing at the dining hall is not as effective as providing a meal in the dining hall. Penn State and Washington University in St Louis provided a free meal in the dining hall. UMBC charged us, but at a discount rate.  If you want us to be impressed with the food options, letting us sample is the bet way to do this.

Swag – Wash U is the only one that gave us meaningful swag. I use the nice Wash U water bottle every day. It doesn’t hurt to have something with the school name on it around the house if you want to stay fresh in our minds. Nice job Wash U.

Follow Up – Kentucky wins here. A handwritten postcard from the tour guides thanking my daughter for visiting. Really nice touch. Delaware fails. They keep inviting us to visit after we have already visited.

Obviously, things like cost, academics and the like will be the most important part of the decision, but if there is a tie things like the above could make a difference in the decision.

Tater’s Weekly Wrap Up 9/1/17

Dogs – I have a dog. I love my dog, but I don’t need to take my dog everywhere with me. I don’t understand why people want to take their dogs everywhere. There are dogs in bars, dogs at outdoor concerts, dogs on vacation and even a Ravens football practice where bringing your dog was encouraged. Why are we doing this? I barely want to take my kids places with me and I don’t have to pick up their poop with a plastic bag. Why would I want to take my dog? I don’t get it.

FLOTUS’s Shoes – I don’t care what shoes the First Lady chose to wear while walking from the White House to the plane to fly to Texas. I’m not a fan of Trump and think he is a disaster as president, but this need to pick on everything his family does is ridiculous. The shoes she wore on the plane mean absolutely nothing. There was an entire article about it in the Post. That’s really, really stupid. I know horrible people said horrible things about the Obama family when he was in office. That does not make it right to pick on the Trump family at all. Take the high road when it comes to the family.

Customer Service – Two instances this week of really bad customer service. My daughter and her friends went through the drive-thru at McDonald’s. The person at the window was not very friendly and when they got home they discovered that the box for the chicken nuggets was filled with tartar sauce packages instead of food. They had to go back to get the nuggets and apparently got free apple pies in apology. Had I been there, the entire order would have been refunded. I’m also once again dealing with poor delivery service with the Washington Post. I still like to read the print edition, but will likely switch to digital because the carrier does not care if I get my paper on time. Delivery is getting more and more inconsistent lately. This happened last year and no one cared until I tracked down the head of customer care on Twitter. Once he was involved it got better. It looks like I might need to talk to him again. Good customer service can be hard to find.

Mini-Career Rant – I managed a one person branch of a library for 19 years. It was in jail, but I still managed it. I did all of the day today, supervised volunteers(inmates) and purchased the collection. No one seems to consider that real management because I didn’t officially supervise a staff and didn’t write evaluations. Somehow writing evaluation is now equated with management and leadership. You can teach anyone to write a decent evaluation. Real leadership is much harder.

On Day 24 We Can Do This the Hard Way Or

I’ve been considering doing a 30 day challenge again, but I can’t find one that I like as much as this one. I was scanning through the last challenge and found this post. Some of these lessons are ones I’m still learning on a regular basis.

The World's Common Tater

Actually, to complete the challenge I have to stick to the hard way. The challenge is to write about a lesson I learned the hard way. This is a hard one because I’m pretty sure the only lessons I have ever learned I have learned the hard way.  I can’t really think of anything I’ve ever learned the easy way. Is that a thing? I don’t think it is.

Some lessons I’ve learned the hard way:

The fruit punch hooch is stronger than you think. You will find that out when you stand up. Stand up earlier next time.

Excessive partying leads to minimal studying. Minimal studying leads to bad grades. Less partying, more studying is the path to success.

Sometimes to break destructive habits you need to remove yourself from your social circle. If you are doing these things with a group and still hang out with the group…

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The Joel Osteen Situation

There have been numerous reports from Houston about Joel Osteen closing the doors to his church instead of offering shelter to residents. There have been conflicting reports about the situation and now reports that after the backlash he did open up to offer shelter. I am not there, so I can’t speak to the situation. I don’t know the reasoning behind the initial decision or if the reports of that decision were accurate. I’m not going to judge based on social media posts.  I do have some thoughts:

  1. Someone on Twitter made the comment that he should not open the doors of the church because it is a house of worship, not a shelter. I could not disagree with this more. The church should, if possible, offer shelter to those in need. If you care more about your precious building than you do about the community you have no business calling yourself a church.
  2. Joel Osteen is not doing himself any favors by blocking people on Twitter when they question his decisions. Interaction and conversation would be a better way to deal with the situation than blocking people. Maybe he’s only blocking the people who are abusive, but many mentions from people saying he is blocking his critics makes it look worse for him.
  3. I’m tired of the bandwagon outrage on social media. I would bet that 99% of the people jumping on the outrage train have not spent any time trying to determine the veracity of the claims before going on Twitter to insult him. I’m not a fan of the guy, but I’m not going to go online and accuse him of something just because someone else on social media said so. We need to stop this piling on just to be part of the “in crowd.”
  4. We all, myself included, need to spend less time  looking to catch other people doing something wrong and more time doing something right ourselves.

Good Music is Good Music

A friend posted a video of all the songs of the summer since 1958. I was familiar with the mist recent songs and the mid 90’s back but had a hole in the middle where I didn’t know the songs. It reminded me of some of my music posts like this one. I’m trying to not have another hole where I don’t know what new music is out there. I don’t want to be the old guy who won’t listen to new music. They always annoyed me when I was a kid.

The World's Common Tater

I recently read an article in the Washington Post(http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-07-19/opinions/40670313_1_beatlemania-maharishi-mahesh-yogi-ringo-starr) where the author laments the continuing popularity of The Beatles and say “they made more than music; they made history. But four decades later, it’s time to let them go.” There is also a quote from someone saying it is “incomprehensibly strange.” that kids would listen to 40 year old music.  I will admit that, while I think The Beatles are a very good band, I am more of an Elvis guy. If I had to choose one, I would go with The King every time.  I don’t, however, think it is strange for kids to listen to 40 year old music.

I think adults could learn a lesson from these kids. When I was a teenager, I was determined that I would never be the type of adult who refused to give music of the next generation a…

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