Saturday, March 31, 2007

Busy Busy Busy

Teacher Carrie & Teacher John are no longer working at my school. Their last days were this past week. This means that I am now the only teacher there with more than one month's experience!...yikes.

My schedule has taken a turn for the crazy. I now have 5 of my own classes and a gaggle of other things to do. I have spent the past week trying to prepare for the madness. I do my best to work ahead in order to avoid a last minute panic...I am famous for my ranting & raving prior to class times. I have been preparing every handout/worksheet that I can think of. No matter how much i do, I know that there will be plenty of things that I will forget.

Along with the increased workload, I will be responsible for the the newbies and their progress. I have to make myself available to them. They will surely have tons of questions and issues that I will have to patiently answer/solve for them. I have never been too good at training. This may be the toughest part of my current situation.

On a lighter note. I am in the planning stages of a picture/interview series involving many of the kids I teach at the school. I am going to pick some of the shining stars and allow you all to get to know them better. It should be lots of fun.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I have been dating a woman named Catherine. We have been going out for about a month now. She is great. We have spent every Saturday and Sunday together since our first date. Our schedules during the week make it pretty tough to spend much time together during the week so we spend virtually every waking moment together on the weekends. I couldn't ask for more.

She is so cute. Her English isn't great so we find ourselves in plenty of silly situations. We try our hardest to communicate our feelings, but sometimes it just breaks down into a frustrating and funny scene. She is from Myanmar (Burma). She came to Taiwan to study. She has a degree in physics from a university in her home country and came here for an additional degree in Anthropology...a smart cookie!

I met her originally just a few days after I arrived in Taiwan. She works at the store located in the same building as the hostel I stayed at for the first few months of my time here. Funny thing is I told the owner of the hostel that I thought she was great and wanted to get to know her better after meeting her for the first time...about 18 months ago...ok, I'm a slow mover! After much hemming and hawing, I finally got the nerve up a few weeks back to ask her out on a date, she excitedly accepted...good stuff.

My time with her has been a lot of fun. We have gone to several good restaurants, attended a few parties, and watched to a couple of movies...standard date stuff. I have a book that contains about 30 day trips in and around Taipei. We have decided that once the weather breaks we are going to try to do one trip each weekend. Neither one of us has done enough sight-seeing, so it's time to start trekking around this little island.

Teacher David has a new student. Catherine really wants to improve her English...she couldn't have a better teacher (currently pounding my chest!)

Friday, March 23, 2007


This is the South Bound train board that I stare at every day. I have to chose from this list each day in order to get to work. Normally I catch the 14:21 Chu-Kuang style train that is bound for Shu-lin, the town where I work.

Some of the kids from 1080, a class that I am about to take over from Teacher John. They are reaching the end of their time at Gram. They have just one more book before they finish the 12 book series that constitutes the English learning process at our school. I will be teaching them the final book, which takes about 4 months.

1060 on their final day of class. They just finished the last book. This class was especially important to me because they were the first group that I taught on my own. Over a period of about 6 months, I taught them every Saturday afternoon for 2 hours. It was not easy, they are a feisty group. In the end, I am a much better teacher because of these kids. They invited me to attend the little party they had to commemorate their graduation, it was great. We ate pizza and some cake. A healthy portion of the cake ended up smeared on my face courtesy of a few of these little devils!

This is Peter, one of the great kids from 1060. He is a sweet boy. It's kids like Peter that make my job so enjoyable. I hope that some day down the road Peter will have fond memories of his time at Gram.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Making a Move...maybe

My neighbor, Chris, recently found a new apartment. His girlfriend moved here this past week and he needed to find a bigger place. He found a really nice apartment, it's huge. It has 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, a huge kitchen and living room. It's 3 floors which is unheard of in this country. I checked it out last weekend, it's all newly remodeled, very impressive. An Australian couple that works with him in the morning is going to take one room, he will be in another with Jana, his girlfriend. This leaves one room for an office and one room vacant. He offered it to me.

Chris is a super guy. We have become good buddies. About 2 weeks ago, I got him a job teaching at my school.

The place is really nice. The available bedroom is about as big as the entire apartment I am in now. I would have my own bathroom that's inside my bedroom. I currently pay about NT$12,000/month, or about $360/month American. If I take up Chris' offer, I'd only be paying NT $6,000/month, substantially less.

I think this is a killer offer. I am just not sure I am ready to give up my privacy. I love being on my own, making all of the decisions myself. I am an introvert in many ways, never been a big fan of being compelled to be the friendly roomie. Also, I have very set ways of doing things and get testy when I have to deal with other folks and their quirks. I would probably spend a large part of my time in my bedroom.

At the same time, perhaps I need to be thrust into this type of situation? It might force me to be more social. I do find myself spending too much time isolated in my own little world.

The extra cash every month wouldn't hurt either. An extra $150-$200 American every month could come in handy. I would have a lot more money to travel and/or build a nest-egg.

I am really torn over this whole scene. I'm far from unhappy where I am now. The move is a cool opportunity but do I need to do it? Can I retain what little sanity I have left if I do this? Chris and Jana are great folks...I haven't met the Aussie couple but Chris said they are nice people and very trustworthy.

Need some comments people! Don't leave me hanging!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

I'm Ready for Fear Factor

Last night, we had our company dinner to celebrate the new year. Remember, the new year here is based on the lunar calender, which was celebrated last month.

The dinner was held at a traditional Chinese restaurant. Almost all of the food was seafood cooked in ways that are inherently Chinese. At this particular restaurant you pay by the table and they serve you pretty much everything on the menu. It allows you to try a little of everything.

It started out with fish eggs, lamb, and some other stuff that I care not to think about...

Not long after the fish eggs plate, the servers brought out the lobster. I am not a big fan of seafood, but lobster is good stuff. I was psyched to eat lobster until it was set on the was raw and there was an interesting glass full of a greenish liquid leaning up against the dead lobster...hmm. I tried the raw lobster, it was alright. As I was chewing the kinda gummy fish, I asked my boss Gavin what was in the glass next to the lobster. With a grin on his face, he told me it was the lobster's blood!! He proceeded to tell me that it's tradition for a man to drink the blood of the lobster...yikes! After some hemming and hawing, I did it. I drank about 6 or 8 ounces. It really wasn't that bad...kinda tasted like vodka.

I have earned my place at the table! I never want to catch any flack for my eating habits ever again!

The entire evening was an adventure in bizarre cuisine. Fish eggs, fish with it's head still attached, raw lobster, lobster head soup, raw crab meat with sticky rice, bamboo(which tasted good), and some other stuff I am blocking from my memory. Thankfully, they brought out a stew made with pork, mushrooms, and bamboo that was terrific. Also, a perfectly cooked whole chicken that I gorged myself on.

The party was a blast. We played a bunch of silly games, had a raffle, and drank an obscene amount of tequila. I won two-hundred Taiwan dollars in the raffle...don't get excited, that's about $6 American.

I brought Catherine along and she had a great time. Everyone was chatting with her. She seemed to be pretty comfortable even though she was amongst complete strangers. I am not sure where our relationship is going, but thus far, it's been a lot of fun. We have spent every Saturday and Sunday evening together since our first date...

Check out the pictures below. They are a few of my pics from the party.


Here is some of the umm, tasty things we had to eat the other night. Love the fish staring at me while I'm eating. The plate on the opposite side of the lazy susan had some fish eggs and other insane seafood-related items.

A group shot. There were 4 full tables, nice group. Lydia, in the front of the picture hates to be photographed, hence the napkin veil.

A bunch of the teachers noshing. If you click on the picture to expand it, you'll see the glass of liquid on the lobster contains its blood...still can't believe I drank the whole glass!

Pretty much every female that attended the shindig. What an awesome group. They can't resist doing the "peace" symbol...ugh.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thanks Carrie

Carrie is my co-worker. She has sat next to me in the office for the past year (psst, she deserves hazard pay for having to put up with my antics). Lately she has shouldered a good bit of the responsibility of training Chris, one of the new teachers. She has a million things to do but somehow has found some time to coach Chris, thanks. I have been a bit swamped lately and am not that great at training the newbies. My style of teaching isn't exactly by the book, so it's probably good to limit the new teachers exposure to my classroom management Carrie is a great teacher, her kids rave about her all the time. She is far more professional than I am...far more appealing to the higher-ups in this kind of work environment. Her lesson plans are impeccable, mine are

Today, I overheard her say that she thinks I am a good off-the-cuff teacher...that's a great compliment. A good bit of my time in front of a class is extemporaneous. I usually have a loose outline of what I want to accomplish and almost always seem to reach my goal, in one form or another. I love to make worksheets and fun stuff for the kids in order to make learning more fun. As far as lesson plans are concerned, I suck. I think it comes from my short attention span and inability to follow As a result, I have learned to rely on my ability to improvise. I know it doesn't make the boss happy, but it's worked thus far.

Again, thank you Carrie. I have been having a rough week and your compliment gave my ego a nice boost.

Check out Carrie's website, it's good stuff:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Halliburton to Dubai

The company that has bilked the U.S. tax payers out of $21 billion for a war that we have lost is now moving to the Middle East.

Federal investigators alleged last month that Halliburton is responsible for $2.7 billion in contractor waste and overcharging in Iraq...

Yes, Halliburton is now thumbing its nose at the US market. The one that they have so successfully hoodwinked out of all that money.

They have chosen to take all that money elsewhere.

Remember about a year ago when President Bush tried to convince the American public that we should sell the operations of 6 of our major ports to a corporation in Dubai?....hmmm

Let's see...

*Dick Cheney used to be the CEO of Halliburton
*Halliburton gets $21 billion for "operations" in Iraq
*President Cheney (ahem) tries to sell ports to Dubai
*Halliburton moves to Dubai

It doesn't take a brain surgeon to see that this stinks.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Manners Police in China

Pssst Taiwan, pay attention!

The 2008 Olympic games are going to be held in Beijing, China. The government has taken extraordinary steps in preparing the city for the flood of foreigners and press. One of the most curious steps they have taken is the release of a book of manners that has been widely distributed among the citizens. The topics include appropriate behavior at a sporting event, fitting behavior in public, and proper greetings to those of the opposite sex. The powers that be hope to stop the rude behavior in public that has saturated Chinese society. The government has dispatched hundreds of officers to help enforce the standards and have promised stiff penalties if citizens don't comply...

I am 100% behind this idea.

The Taiwanese leadership could take a cue from this move and start a campaign to stop such lovely acts as spitting, picking your nose, passing gas, and ignoring lines in public.

This is not a radical idea...just common sense. I see these acts on a daily basis and it's nauseating.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

1093 is just too slick

My flagship class, 1093, has got to be the coolest bunch of kids on the planet.

They are remarkable in so many ways. It's difficult to sum up their qualities in a few paragraphs. Rarely does a class period go by without some silly/memorable event. This past Wednesday was one for the memory bank. It's been kind of cool here lately and the windows in the classrooms tend to fog up. That day they were good and foggy. Every class we have a vocabulary quiz following the break (the class is 2 hours long, with a 10 minute break on the hour). I usually use the time to think about the second hour and get something to drink in the office. Last week I announced break time and ran up stairs to my desk. The kids usually just hang out and chat or study for the quiz. 10 minutes later, I came back to the classroom and started to hand out the quizzes. After a minute or two, several of the kids began to giggle...this is nothing new, they are very clever and I have to be on guard on all times. They love to play harmless practical jokes on me like hiding my markers and eraser. I scanned the group to try to discern what what was going on. Tiger, one of the silliest of the group, finally pointed toward the window. I looked over and couldn't believe my eyes, they had scribbled the vocabulary words in the condensation on the window!!! These kids are incredible. I had to applaud their ingenious move...what a clever thing to do. The funny thing is they really don't need to do it, their grades are remarkable without the help. After some serious belly laughs, we got back to business.

This is the kind of thing that reminds me of how lucky I am to be teaching such an awesome group. Life is good.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Grand Canyon Sky Walk

Upon completion, the Glass Bridge will be suspended 4,000 feet above the Colorado River on the very edge of the Grand Canyon. On May 2005, the final test was conducted and the stucture passed engineering requirements by 400 percent, enabling it to withstand the weight of 71 fully loaded Boeing 747 airplanes (more than 71 million pounds). The bridge will be able to sustain winds in excess of 100 miles per hour from 8 different directions, as well as an 8.0 magnitude earthquake within 50 miles. More than one million pounds of steel will go into the construction of the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
4000 feet!!! This is awesome. It was tested by the same folks that worked on Taipei 101 and the Hoover Dam, so I am sure it's safe. Safe or not, I wouldn't walk across it if my life depended on it! The height of the walk is more than 3 times as much as the Empire State Building and more than twice as high as Taipei 101, the world's tallest building.

There are few places on Earth more breathtaking than The Grand Canyon.

The Height of Hypocrisy

Gingrich had affair during Clinton probe

This guy was the leader of the republicans and the guy who spearheaded the move to destroy Clinton during the period.

When you find out things like this coupled with the mess the current leadership has the U.S. in, Clinton's silly foibles sure seem inconsequential, eh?

If you read the article you'll see he tries to justify his idiocy. I particularly enjoy the part about his marriage to one of his high school teachers (eek!). She claims he brought about divorce proceedings while she was recovering from cancer surgery...what a lovely fellow.

He 'fessed up to his affair to James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, another scumbag. It's only a matter of time before he is exposed. It's folks like Dobson that scare me the most. They hide behind Christian dogma to achieve a hate-filled, bigoted agenda.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. The entire group that tried to bring down Clinton was smarmy. This is not to say Clinton was squeaky clean. His proclivities were well known. His strengths far outweighed his faults.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Unexpected Recognition

As I was preparing for my classes yesterday, Catherine, the senior Chinese teacher, approached my desk and congratulated me for 100% retention of my students. She said that she has been teaching at the school for 12 years and this was the first time that a foreign teacher has accomplished such a feat.

The way it works is about every 8 months you have a PTA for each of your classes. You show off the kids skills to their parents and talk to the parents about the classes progress and future plans. After the PTA, the parents have to pay for the next session (big money!). The foreign teachers in my school teach the more advanced classes with older students. As the kids get older, it gets tougher to keep them because their schedules are pretty hectic. Convincing the parents to pay up for another session is not necessarily an easy task.

I had no idea that Catherine knew that I had accomplished the goal. She must've talked to my boss about it. I had received recognition from the director of the school in the form of a nice bonus in my last paycheck.

I'd like to think that this is solely a result of my efforts, but I am not that goofy. This group of kids is outstanding, their efforts and desire to become English speakers is second-to-none. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to lead this incredibly cohesive gang.

It was a real boost to get such praise from Catherine, she is revered as the alpha teacher at Gram.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Teaching Jobs Debate (Part 2)

As I have mentioned before, students here have very hectic schedules. Many children go to school 5 or 6 days a week from 8am to 8pm. The teaching industry in Taiwan is huge. There are countless supplementary schools that specialize in the sciences, math, English, etc. The kids head to the non-traditional schools after they are finished with their day at their state school. As a result of their packed schedules throughout the week, many schools offer Saturday classes.
The school I work at requires that we work 4 hours every Saturday morning. This is definitely not one of my favorite aspects of the job. There was a time when I thought about looking for work elsewhere because the Saturdays are a drag. I looked at several job options and determined that most of the decent jobs out there also required Saturday work. With good pay and consistent work comes some things that are just not pleasant. I like to think it gets me moving on Saturdays...if I wasn't working, I'd probably be wasting time on the computer or spending money needlessly. The leadership knows that we don't like to work Saturdays so I think they provide us with a nice package of benefits to try to lesson displeasure.

The pay rate and Saturday hours are important factors when working as a teacher in Taiwan, but not as important as having a healthy, positive workplace. One that allows you the freedom to be yourself and grow as a teacher. You don't have to search very far to hear horror stories regarding the management of English schools here. The complaints range from being watched while in the classroom to having to constantly hand in and get approval for lesson plans. Bosses of these schools are famous for their bizarre management techniques and insanely high expectations.

Perhaps the the best aspect of my job is the total autonomy I have. The bosses have a very hands-off approach. They let you do your own thing. I have never been asked to provide a lesson plan for any of my classes and my boss hasn't watched me teach in about 9 months. If you're doing what you're supposed to do, she never enters the picture. I think the freedom that the teachers have in my school is pretty extraordinary.

Here is my line up:
-very competitive salary
-75 teaching hours a month
-great benefits (paid vacation, very generous bonuses(i.e. NT$8000 for Chinese New Year))
-4 hours every Saturday morning (usually two or three of those are in a classroom)
-hands-off management, freedom to do things my way

The bottom line...there may be better paying jobs out there, but there is a hell of a lot more to this work than your pay-rate. The few jobs out there that pay at a better rate than mine come with baggage that I am not prepared to carry. Would I leave this job for an extra few hundred American dollars a month? NO WAY.

Teaching Jobs Debate (Part 1)

A good bit of the following is based upon my own experiences. I have talked with a lot of teachers in Taiwan and have spent a good bit of time reading/researching teaching in Taiwan on the internet. Much of the following is anecdotal. Please feel free to question my assertions...your comments are welcome and encouraged!

Whenever you run into another foreign teacher here in Taiwan the conversation invariably turns to work. It's natural to sort of compare/contrast your jobs. There are different schools of thought regarding what makes more sense as far as hours, days, and method of pay are concerned. Recently, after speaking with a bunch of teachers from other schools, I have come to the conclusion that my job is a good deal.

The differences in jobs here usually breakdown to salary vs. hourly pay, working on Saturdays, and the administration/director of the respective schools.

I am very satisfied with the set-up of my job. There are a few things I'd like to change, but isn't that true of just about any job?

Sometimes I feel that I spend a bit too much time in the office. My job requires that I am on the site from 3pm to 9pm Mon-Fri. The actual teaching hours fall between 5:00 and 9:00...this means that I spend a minimum of 2 hours every day at my desk. All too often I am not scheduled to teach all four hours, therefore adding to my office time. I do my best to utilize this time. I am either grading papers or preparing for upcoming classes. I'm not complaining. I get paid whether or not I am in front of a class. When it comes down to it, I am being paid a heck of a lot of money for making myself available for a few hours each night...sort of like being on-call. This is the nature of a salaried position. I am paid the same amount of money every month whether I teach 50 or 90 hours. Personally, except for the month that my co-worker took a vacation, I have never taught for more than 85 hours in a month. The past two months, I have taught for a total of about 100 hours and still made a heck of a lot of money. My teaching hours are usually about 70 to 80 hours per month.

Many teachers here work on an hourly basis, they are paid for only the actual time the spend in the classroom. Many teachers that work on an hourly basis feel that office hours are a waste of time. They feel that they could utilize this time more wisely. The hourly workers generally make more per teaching hour than the salaried teachers. The crux of the issue is prep time. If you are only paid for the time in front of the class, you must then do all of you own preparation on your own dime. Some experienced teachers will tell you that prep time is virtually non-existent. This is tough for me to believe. How can you possibly be an effective teacher without putting in a decent amount of planning each day? Teaching is not static, every day brings new challenges.

Oodles of hourly jobs have sporadic hours. I have met more than one teacher that works essentially split-shift hours. Often times having 2 or 3 hours between classes. I have days like this too, but I am being paid for the time between, the hourly workers aren't.

As a salaried employee, I am entitled to quite a few paid days off. I am a full-time employee therefore I am paid for all national holidays and get paid vacation time every year. As most of you know, I recently took a nice long vacation. I went to the US to see my family. Because I am full-time, I managed to take just 3 days of unpaid leave while I was gone. Having a nice paycheck waiting for me when I returned to Taiwan was a welcomed sight. Taiwan just celebrated the Lunar New Year. Everything shuts down here for a week during the celebration. I used the paid holiday time I had racked up to cover the entire week...I got the week off with full pay.

Can a teacher paid by the hour work enough hours to equal what I make in salary? A few I have met do, but most don't. Sure, they have more free time on their hands and can tutor or make money in other ways, but getting consistent supplementary income in this country is easier said than done. I prefer the uniformity of a salary.

Stay tuned for Part 2. I will tackle the Saturday issue and dealing with bosses.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Pictures! Lantern Festival

It was drizzling while I was taking many of these photos, so they are kind of spotty.

The entrance into The Lantern Festival. So many people. Catherine is incredible at weaving her way through crowds. She lead the way for much of our time inside, we were able to avoid standing in many lines.

It's the year of the pig, so most of the lanterns were pigs and piglets.

Catherine was excited to get her picture taken. This is a good thing because I run from the front of a camera.

I love the colors in this one...cute piggies.

Pictures! Lantern Festival (Part 2)

I guess this lantern was the centerpiece of the festival. You can see the entrance to the memorial in the background.

I think this was my favorite group of lanterns. The detail is great.

The big lantern from a different angle. It changed colors throughout the evening.

Catherine again. She is cute, very photogenic. This is just before the rain began to come down hard.

Inside the subway (MRT) station. Check out the guy on the right. He has, what was supposed to look like, pig's ears on. To me, they look like devil's horns. An incredible amount of people crammed into a small space. All of these people had to find their way through about 10 turnstiles. A logistical mess.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

First Date Fun

I had my first date with Catherine tonight...good stuff.

We met up and headed over to Alleycat's for dinner. She is from Myanmar (Burma), so I doubt that she has had too much exposure to good pizza...Alleycat's didn't disappoint. We chatted, ate some slices, and drank some red wine. It was a great dinner. We knew pretty much nothing about each other, so this was a good time to answer all the requisite questions.

After dinner, we headed over to the Lantern Festival. It was at the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial. The lanterns were incredible. There must have been 50,000 people there, it was packed. We made our way through the crowd and took some great pictures. Catherine's English is pretty choppy, but we did OK. She is a lot of fun...great sense of humor, likes to giggle.

After awhile, it began to rain. We hung out for about a half of hour thinking it might let up...nope, it started to pour. We quickly made our way back to the subway station. We were both soaked and decided to call it a night. While we were waiting in line at the turnstile, she mentioned that she had a great time and wanted to go out again next weekend...alrighty!

We said goodbye and headed our separate ways.

p.s. I'll be posting pics from our night out tomorrow.


A typical scene in the office...busy, busy, busy. The red shirts have to school logo on them. We were given several but never told we had to wear them. Carol, the boss, likes us to wear them but has never insisted on it...I rarely wear mine.

Running around the city. Snapped this one over by my favorite bakery. I think it's a pretty good shot of the scenery in Taipei.

I found this pic on another blog and thought I'd display it here, too. This is a parking lot at one of the universities in Taipei. If you click and enlarge this photo, you'll get a better feel for the magnitude. This is the motorcycle/scooter capital of the world! Imagine trying to find your bike in this insanity.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Shang Yuan Festival

The Chinese Lantern Festival is tomorrow. The festival falls on the 15th day of the first month of the Lunar New Year and marks the end of the Chinese celebration of the New Year.

The bright lanterns are thought of as symbols of good luck. As you can see in the picture above, they are quite ornate and elaborate.

Also, in ancient times, this day was one for love and matchmaking. Curfews were lifted and young people went out on the town and were encouraged to look for a new love. Let's hope this old tradition still holds up because I have a date that night with Catherine, a Burmese woman that I recently got the nerve up to ask out. She is a fun. I plan on taking her to the festival after dinner. Stay tuned for pictures and details

The Return of The Police

In case some of you missed it, The Police played together at the Grammy's this year. They have always been one of my favorite bands going back to my teenage years. I was shocked to see them playing together considering the three members of the group pretty much hate each other, have for years. Stewart Copeland, the drummer, and Sting (Gordon Sumner), the lead singer and bassist, always had very different ideas about the direction the band should be heading. Also, Sting is, according to many folks that have recorded with him in the past, difficult to work with. Throughout the years of the bands existence he refused to sing songs the were penned by the other guys in the group. This was a mistake because Copeland is a very smart guy who has proven himself in the years since the bands break-up. There is some great footage out there of the guys physically assaulting each other on tempered. Ego's were to blame for the premature end of this great group.

After their performance on the Grammy's, they announced that they were putting together a reunion tour. This is exciting for me except for the fact that there is NO WAY they will play The tour is sure to be a success and lots of fun. If any of you out there get a chance to go, please let me know how it was.

Sting is an excellent song writer...he was an English teacher prior to forming the band.

Love these particular lyrics:

Don’t think me unkind
Words are hard to find
They’re only checks I've left unsigned
From the banks of chaos I’m my mind
And when their eloquence escapes me
Their logic ties me up and rapes me
De Do Do Do De Da Da Da

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A Monster!

This little guy is easily the silliest, craziest kid I have encountered in Taiwan. I taught his class last week. I spent about an hour with him and, by the end, I thought I was going to collapse. His name escapes me...that's odd because I make it a point to remember names. He simply would not settle down. Cute as can be and incredibly bright. He is especially difficult to handle because he is an excellent a teacher, he puts you in a tough spot. As much as you want to make him sit still and behave himself, you don't want to stifle his energy and contributions. His class is very quiet. Without his antics, it would be very difficult to elicit any emotions from the group. I ready to take on his class again. I am convinced I can find a middle ground with this boy and use his aptitude to boost the entire class. Look at his's pretty obvious that he is a little devil, eh?

His name is Dean. Thanks Carrie for reminding me. I can't believe I forgot his name.


It's been awhile since I've posted a commentary on the goof that currently resides in the White House. I was perusing some of the "Bushisms" web sites and thought you all might enjoy a good laugh and groan...

A few of the recent notable malapropisms from the proud Texan:

"And there is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I'm sorry it's the case, and I'll work hard to try to elevate it."— Speaking on National Public Radio, Jan. 29, 2007.
I truly believe he will do his best to "elevate" it.

"Because of your work, children who once wanted to die are now preparing to live."—speaking at the White House summit on malaria, Dec. 14, 2006

"No doubt in my mind, with your help, Dave Lamberti will be the next United States congressman."—speaking at a campaign rally for Jeff Lamberti, Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 26, 2006.
It might be a good idea to remember the candidate's name.

"You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror."—Interview with CBS News, Washington D.C., Sept. 6, 2006
That is a telling remark. His actions certainly have made sure that Iraq is a mess.

President Bush: Peter. Are you going to ask that question with shades on?
Peter Wallsten of the Los Angeles Times: I can take them off.
Bush: I'm interested in the shade look, seriously.
Wallsten: All right, I'll keep it, then.
Bush: For the viewers, there's no sun.
Wallsten: I guess it depends on your perspective.
Bush: Touché.

—Exchange with legally blind reporter Peter Wallsten, to whom Bush later apologized, Washington, D.C., June 14, 2006
This is indicative of his disconnection from reality. His propensity to make a fool of himself and his total lack of grasp on his surroundings is unsettling, to say the least.

I post these things because they are too funny. At the same time, they are disturbing. How did such a blithering idiot ever make it to such a level? His entire existence has a curious aroma of corruption.