A welcome to readers

As a resident of this planet for more than four fifths of a century, I have enjoyed both successes and disappointments in a wide variety of vocations, avocations, and life experiences. This blog satisfies my desire to share some thoughts and observations--trenchant and prosaic--with those who are searching for diversions which are interesting, poignant and occasionally funny. I also plan to share recommendations about good/great movies I've watched and books and articles which I've found particularly mind-opening, entertaining, instructive. In addition, I can't pass up the opportunity to reflect publicly on how I am experiencing the so-called Golden Years. Write anytime:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I often think about what it must have been like --for me-- when I was in the womb, warm, safe, no cares, well-fed, burping without criticism, rolling over when I wanted to, punching the walls, floating and diving and turning summersaults at will. Was I thinking?  If so, about what? Does "womb life" prefigure or foreshadow the conditions  "after life?"  What did it mean "to be" before I could remember anything?

And even after a little time passed, living outside the womb, what was it like to "be" before the world intruded?

Before the World Intruded

Michele Rosenthal

Return me to those infant years,
before I woke from sleep,
when ideas were oceans crashing,
my dreams blank shores of sand.
Transport me fast to who I was
when breath was fresh as sight,
my new parts — unfragmented —
shielded faith from unkind light.
Draw for me a figure whole, so different
from who I am. Show me now
this picture: who I was
when I began.

+ + + + + + + + + +

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I happened upon the following Blog quite by accident. Glad I found it because it saves me the work of writing an almost identical piece myself--(I deliberately omitted the blog's last line.)

Sealed for YOUR protection...

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After the 1982 Tylenol Tampering scare, where someone laced bottles of Tylenol with cyanide, manufacturers of nearly all food and drug products have begun making (and marking) their products 'tamper resistant' and the user must bear this cost built-into the price of the product. To make you feel safer, they have adopted the phrase "Sealed for your protection"

If you know me... I see things differently. It's really not sealed for your protection.. it's sealed for THEIR protection. No company wants to be affected with product tampering. They all learned from Johnson & Johnson, certainly the lawsuit repercussions could drive any healthy business into financial ruin.

How 'resistant' are these packages? Actually, some are very little.

Years ago a box of pills had a folded tab for easy open and close. Many are replaced with a glued flap... Tamper resistant? maybe not... Tamper evident? Yes.

English is a lovely language, probably the word 'resistant' has more legal or marketing sense than the word 'evident'. Either way, we must tear off, zip, strip, fold, crack & peel off layers of plasticized foil just to get at the product. It is what it is... this is the world we live in now and it's not going to be any less....(last line omitted)

 * * * * *

The Tylenol events that initiated the "sealed for your protection" regulations can be traced back to 1982 when 7 people died in the Chicago area after ingesting cyanide-laced Tylenol. The FDA responded to this crisis by requiring OTC medications to have packaging that is what we now call "tamper-evident." After the seven deaths, the FBI investigated 270 more copy cat product tampering incidents and found a number of guilty individuals.  It was estimated that the FDA's new regulations initially cost between $500,000,000 and $1 billion as industry redesigned packaging, purchased new equipment and even built new manufacturing facilities. Now, the regulations cover almost anything ingested or used by humans from containers bought in stores.

This is what my father used to call  "a fifty dollar reaction to a 10 cent offense." Not that any death for any reason, should be marginalized.

An aside: in contrast, consider this massive governmental response to a fairly limited number of "deaths-by-poisoned- medicines" contrasted with the government's puny reaction to people killed in schools and theaters and bars and homes in large numbers by military style weapons.  (But that's a topic for another blog: see "More Guns Needed?") Or think about deaths caused by driving while texting or drinking, or exposure to radioactive materials etc.

Anyway, we now know who to blame or thank for the  "protective packaging" and its various permutations that both save and plague consumers, old and young, healthy and arthritic, every day.  Try this experiment: be in a hurry, and then  try to get the top off (or back on) a bottle of Ibuprofen, Milk of Magnesia, Pepto-Bismol, eye drops--you name it--in the middle of the night, or with a screaming headache or child, or just sensing the first intense urges of diarrhea. 

At least we now know who to blame when we break our fingernails on plastic seals, or fail to release our heart medicine from its plastic-foil bubble,  or cut our hands trying to remove rigid clamshell packaging surrounding a single little item, or lose the battle of getting into a bottle of Nyquill because it is impossible to push the top down with sufficient force while turning it at the same time.

In my case, I even go to war when trying to get into my single portion of apple sauce without spilling it--- as the foil cover initially resists, and then splits when it finally succombs to my tugging. Never mind that the tab that is provided to pull the top off is both too small to be gripped effectively by large, old fingers  or resists the grip of fingers that have been exposed to even the thinest  film of hand lotion or cooking oil? All of these problems are exacerbated by the decisions of companies to really protect the consumer, (and themselves), by using Super Glue to affix the "removable" foil to the carton.

The only response that I have found to be even minimally effective is laughter--mostly at myself, as the applesauce spills onto my shirt or the counter, the slippery coated Advil pills scatter themselves all over the bathroom floor at midnight, or the bottle of MOM that I thought was closed and sealed tips over and spills down the shelves of my medicine cabinet.

As I say, laughter may well prove to be the best medicine and fortunately, it does not reside in a "tamper evident" container.

Friday, January 11, 2013


An Overview of the 2nd Amendment

2nd Amendment
Second Amendment: The right to bear arms

What is the Second Amendment?

There are two principle versions of the Second Amendment: one version was passed by Congress, while the other is found in the copies distributed to each individual state and later ratified by them

As passed by the Congress:A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

As ratified by the States: A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The Second Amendment Defined:

The Second Amendment is a part of the Bill of Rights, which are the first 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution and the framework to elucidate upon the freedoms of the individual. The Bill of Rights were proposed and sent to the states by the first session of the First Congress. They were later ratified on December 15, 1791.

The first 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution were introduced by James Madison as a series of legislative articles and came into effect as Constitutional Amendments following the process of ratification by three-fourths of the States on December 15, 1791.

Stipulations of the 2nd Amendment:

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right of the individual to keep and bear firearms.

The right to arm oneself is viewed as a personal liberty to deter undemocratic or oppressive governing bodies from forming and to repel impending invasions. Furthermore, the right to bear arms was instituted within the Bill of Rights to suppress insurrection, participate and uphold the law, enable the citizens of the United States to organize a militia, and to facilitate the natural right to self-defense.

The Second Amendment was developed as a result of the tyrannous rule of the British parliament. Colonists were often oppressed and forced to pay unjust taxes at the hand of the unruly parliament. As a result, the American people yearned for an Amendment that would guarantee them the right to bear arms and protect themselves against similar situations. The Second Amendment was drafted to provide for the common defense and the general welfare of the United States through the ability to raise and support militias.

Court Cases Tied into the Second Amendment

In District of Columbia v. Heller the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm to use for traditionally lawful purposes, such as defending oneself within their home or on their property. The court case ruled that the Amendment was not connected to service in a militia.


The gun debate in the United States widely revolves around the intended interpretation of the Second Amendment. Those who support gun rights claim that the founding fathers developed and subsequently ratified the Second Amendment to guarantee the individual’s right to keep and bear arms. Those who want more stringent gun laws feel that the founding fathers directed this Amendment solely to the formation of militias and are thus, at least by theory, archaic


Wednesday, January 9, 2013


My daughter, Sarah, the homeschooling mom of my two grandsons, is always on the lookout for articles about education that she thinks might interest me.  Last summer she Emailed me this one, and I can't resist writing a blog of my own around the theme of change-- a topic especially significant in my personal life as one year passes into the next, and also of great interest to me as a historian and citizen in this incredible experiment called America. How often I have heard the following arguments in one guise or another from well-meaning folks who know they have a firm grasp on the truth.

Maybe I have heard more of this than most people because I helped found one alternative school and led another.

Ballpoint pens…the ruin of education in our country

After writ­ing my last post, I recalled an excerpt from a book that I had recently read.  I dug through the book today and located the sec­tion that I had pre­vi­ously found so humor­ous. (I need all the humor I can get this week since I’m not in beau­ti­ful San Diego attend­ing ISTE with friends and col­leagues!)  The fol­low­ing list can be found in Rethink­ing Edu­ca­tion in the Age of Tech­nol­ogy by Collins and Halver­son (pg. 30).  Their list high­lights the many exam­ples of how edu­ca­tion has been very resis­tant to change.
  • From a principal’s pub­li­ca­tion in 1815: “Stu­dents today depend on paper too much.  They don’t know how to write on a slate with­out get­ting chalk dust all over them­selves.  They can’t clean a slate prop­erly. What will they do when they run out of paper?”
  • From the jour­nal of the National Asso­ci­a­tion of Teach­ers, 1907: “Stu­dents today depend too much upon ink.  They don’t know how to use a pen knife to sharpen a pen­cil.  Pen and ink will never replace the pencil.”
  • From Rural Amer­i­can Teacher, 1928: “Stu­dents today depend upon store bought ink.  They don’t know how to make their own.  When they run out of ink they will be unable to write words or ciphers until their next trip to the set­tle­ment.  This is a sad com­men­tary on mod­ern education.”
  • From Fed­eral Teach­ers, 1950: “Ball­point pens will be the ruin of edu­ca­tion in our coun­try.  Stu­dents use these devices and then throw them away.  The Amer­i­can val­ues of thrift and fru­gal­ity are being dis­carded.  Busi­nesses and banks will never allow such expen­sive luxuries.”
  • From a sci­ence fair judge in Apple Class­room of Tomor­row chron­i­cles, 1988: “Com­put­ers give stu­dents an unfair advan­tage.  There­fore, stu­dents who used com­put­ers to ana­lyze data or cre­ate dis­plays will be elim­i­nated from the sci­ence fair.”

Photo credit: San­dor on Flickr
I read this list and won­der how future edu­ca­tors will view our resis­tance to change.  How will they view our adher­ence to seat time rather than com­pe­tency based instruc­tion? How will they view our rigid school sched­ule?  How will they view our assess­ment sys­tem that uses let­ter grades?  This list could go on and on, but it becomes evi­dent quickly when reflect­ing on our sys­tem that we do many things that don’t make much sense other than to stay in line with the cur­rent system.

Nick Sauers        BLOG  1 to 1 Schools.net

Nick Sauers
Nick Sauers, Ph.D., is cur­rently the Lead­er­ship Train­ing Coor­di­na­tor of the Cen­ter for the Advanced Study of Tech­nol­ogy Lead­er­ship in Edu­ca­tion (CASTLE) at the Uni­ver­sity of Ken­tucky.  CASTLE is the nation’s only cen­ter ded­i­cated to the tech­nol­ogy needs of school admin­is­tra­tors.  In his posi­tion with CASTLE, Nick works with admin­is­tra­tors help­ing them develop their per­sonal tech­nol­ogy skills and deep­en­ing their under­stand­ing of the impact of tech­nol­ogy on edu­ca­tion.  Prior to assum­ing his role with CASTLE, Nick has held posi­tions as an ele­men­tary and mid­dle school prin­ci­pal, teacher, and coach in pub­lic schools in Iowa.  Nick blogs at 1to1schools.net, and he can be reached at nck0208@gmail.com.


I guess I sort of look at my marriage as Jack Gilbert looks at Icarus flying in this poem. I got married, and after 33 years, was divorced, and they said: "He failed." A beautiful and wonderful woman to relish each day for thirty three exciting years, two magnificent children, a constellation of dynamic in-laws, four inspiring schools, one crazy hardware store in the Adirondacks--failed? I don't think so. So 1997 was merely the end of a major triumph. And I've had more since.

Failing and Flying
by Jack Gilbert

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It's the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.