Friday, March 18, 2011

Bullies Come From Bullies

Have you seen the footage of this moronic Australian kid taunting and assaulting a kid twice his size? Eventually, the larger boy had enough, grabbed the twerp, body-slammed him, and walked away.

Just a regular day at the playground, as far as I'm concerned. Crime was committed; justice was done. Let's move on.

But not for the mother of the little twerp. She's asking for an apology from the other boy!

She now says that while she was "shocked" at her son's behavior, she didn't think he deserved to be slammed to the ground. Neither boy suffered serious injuries in the fight and both boys were suspended from school (who decided not to pass judgment on who was more in the wrong; talk about moral equivalency!).

Trial attorney Lee Armstrong got it right:

"We understand that in the past [this boy got] bullied every day… If this was like a Wii video game and we could control his limbs, that's exactly what one of us would have done. The fact that this smaller kid can't appreciate the difference in size between himself and a larger kid is his problem. This kid should not have been suspended."


What the twerp's mother should do is have dad give the boy another beating, tell him he deserved every last bit that he got, and hope that he has learned his lesson. Then she should make the twerp call the bigger kid and apologize to him for bullying and taunting him, and admit he was a fool for picking on someone much bigger. That's what a gentleman would do.

Apparently, they aren't raising a gentleman.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The True Story of the Leprechauns

Leprechauns. You don’t hear too much about them except now, in the middle of March, when the Chicago River turns green, parades fill the TVs, Shamrock Shakes make their yearly appearance, and moms boil up a dose of corned beef and cabbage. It seems everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

But what do we really know about Leprechauns? Are they real or just a figment of some Irish storyteller’s drunken imagination? Where did they come from? What do they do? What are they like? Where (if anywhere) is their famed pot of gold? Do they all have beards? Are there any girl Leprechauns?

Here is the untold story.

Leprechauns are not simply little humans. They are not even human, although they have several human characteristics. As everyone knows, they live in Ireland. But they weren't originally from there. Many generations ago, they lived close to the lands where elves, dwarfs, and hobbits all resided peacefully. All three peoples intermingled. A few generations' worth of intermarriage sprouted the race that we now call leprechauns. They lived on their own, mostly, not craving the company of others. But they did have a clearly defined moral sense. They were committed to helping the poor; sort of a pre-dated Robin Hood clan. They were also highly skilled at deception and craftworks.

Because of their skill and friendliness, a large group of young lippies (as they were known to other folk) were invited by none other than Santa Claus to work at his massive workshop. And so a good portion of the leprechaun tribe emigrated to the North Pole. For generations, the leppies and elves coexisted peacefully in Santa's working crew, with the more technically savvy leppies forging and building what the creative and inspired elves dreamed of. Every year, they piggy-backed on each other’s Christmas spirit with buoyant joy and playfulness.

But alas, there were a few leppies whose actions were a bit too playful. Whether it was their natural tendency toward troublemaking or the harsh cold of the arctic winters, some could not help themselves. No one knows their true names--these were lost in their sacred chronicles that have since been lost--but we do know what they did.

One Christmas season, about three days before Christmas Eve, when the weather was wretchedly frigid, a small detachment of leppies played a practical joke on the Chief elf, Bon-tilith. After all the elves were soundly asleep, the leppies despoiled their co-workers of all of the years' toys that had been stored away. They hid them in their own cave-storage, then laughed late into the night. When they awoke, they crept in to the shop, where the elves were dumbstruck. They couldn't contain their laughter. But when the dumbstruck looks were accompanied by tears, they admitted to Bon-tilith what had happened. He was none too happy.

Just then, a report over the loudspeaker blasted "Here this: a terrible storm has resulted in an avalanche at Doringray Residence Cave. The cave has collapsed." The leppies were without words—a phenomenon quite unusual for them. They had transported the entire load of toys to Doringray! When the wreckage was discovered, every single toy had been destroyed. Santa was devastated; he and his workers simply could not get enough toys made and delivered by Christmas. It was a sad, albeit rare Christmas for the children of Earth that year.

Thankfully, the leppies fessed up. They hid nothing from Santa. However, he was less than his merciful self. In one of the rarest displays of wrath witnessed by his most ancient workers, Santa banished the leprechauns from the North Pole forever. The leppies traveled from North Pole to Greenland, then from Greenland to Iceland. No one wanted to harbor these strange folk; not only had word travelled quickly, but they were a strange-looking breed. Eventually, they made their way to the shores of Ireland.

They took up residence in the Northern parts and wooded sections in the south of the island. For many years, they did very little but show their remorse with tears and drowning in the local stout. But after a while they banded together again and dedicated their lives and their children's lives to righting the wrong they had committed. From that time forward, they decided, they would steal things only for a purpose--to give them to the poor.

And so they devised a scheme. They made up a very clever (albeit ridiculous) story about a rainbow that had a pot of gold at the end of it. They told this story to whoever would listen. Well, to anyone who was rich and would listen. And they promised to escort them to the rainbow, where they could partake of the pot of gold.

But, like any ruse, they needed some gold up front as payment for their services. So they took gold, toys, and other goodies from all unsuspecting fools.

Because of the inherent greed and wild-eyed dreams of the people, they were soon richer than all the world’s kings and princes put together.

Of course, they never quite led anyone to the rainbow or the pot of gold.

So if today you meet a leppie, do not be deceived by his friendly nature or promises. He (or she; yes, there are she-leppies) is only trying to get your goodies. Even though they would go to someone who needs them more than you!

The End

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum

As if we needed more evidence that the fundamental hierarchy between adults and children is completely out of whack:

A California school teacher was placed on paid administrative leave after he rattled a table to get the attention of his math students, startling an eighth-grade girl who used her cell phone to call police.

Sgt. Tim Lynch tells the Palo Alto Daily News that officers went to Selby Lane School Tuesday afternoon because of reports a teacher was causing a disturbance.

Officers found a calm teacher with class in session.

The sergeant says the teacher's table-rattling startled a student and she used her cell phone to call 911. He says other students in the class weren't bothered by the teacher's actions.

Redwood City School District deputy superintendent John Baker says the teacher was placed on leave because there was a police response.

This is ridiculous in so many ways, it's difficult to know where to start.

First, cell phones should be banned in classrooms. Period. There is no good reason why children need a cell phone in school. Children were educated quite well for centuries without cell phones in the classroom; they can do just fine without them now. All schools should have a no tolerance policy regarding cell phones. Kids should keep them in their locker or not bring them at all. School allowing them are just asking for trouble. This story is Exhibit A.

Second, are children today so thin-skinned that they can't handle a little table-rattling? Are they all THAT profoundly wimpy? Frankly, I think MORE teachers should be rattling things, and they should be rattling more than tables.

Third, what the heck is a police officer doing answering a call like that?? That kid should be arrested for wasting the police's time and for making a phony 911 call. Tell her to deal with it.

Fourth, why is the teacher put on administrative leave? That teacher--provided that the information we have is correct and that he/she did nothing abusive--should be commended, in front of the entire class, then in front of the entire school. Any children or parents who don't like it can pull their kid out of school.

Sometimes, a teacher needs to rattle a desk. Sometimes a parent needs to crack a skull. Sometimes a police officer needs to pull rank and tell a student to get the hell back to work and stop challenging the authority of the adult who is in charge.

Man up, school districts. Don't pussyfoot around with the kids; they need grown-ups in charge.