Sunday, November 28, 2021

United for Change and UFT Solidarity Bronx Happy Hour on December 10


 It's that time of the year. No, not the traditional holiday season, but rather the UFT election season. And what does that mean? Plenty of opportunities to partake in adult beverages, fine food, and good people. 

For those not aware, UFT Solidarity, ICE/UFT, New Action, Educators of NYC, Retiree Advocate and the MORE Caucus have formed a coalition slate to run against Mike Mulgrew and his Unity caucus in the upcoming spring UFT Elections. Henceforth to be known as "United for Change".

United for Change is kicking off it's first Bronx Happy Hour on December 10, 2021, at the 
G Bar which is below Giovanni's at
579 Grand Concourse in the Bronx @149th St from 3:15 to 7:30. The entrance for the G Bar is on 150th St.

G Bar is easy to get to and easy to get home. The 2/4/5 trains are a few blocks away 149th St. If you are coming by car G Bar is just a few blocks away from the Deegan, Yankee Stadium, and the 149th St Bridge. And there is a dedicated parking lot on 150th St. Use this form (click here) to RSVP and let us know you are coming. The form just helps with the head count. If you don't want to fill out the form just show up and come have fun while hanging out with some great people. 

This is just a start. Thus far there is a Westchester County Happy Hour already being planned for January, as well as discussions on the possibility of a Saturday afternoon something in Orange and/or Rockland counties. So be on the look out for that!

Remember, Friday, December 10, at the G Bar which is below Giovanni's at 579 Grand Concourse in the Bronx @149th St from 3:15 to 7:30. The entrance for G B around the corner on 150th St.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Friday Music Videos Featuring Les Claypool

It's Friday. It's a slow news day here at the SBSB offices. What to do?

Back in June I was counting down to the last day of school on these pages and accompanying the posts with music videos that touched on that days theme. One fanboi commented...

I liked the countdown better when you stuck to music!

I retorted...

Tell you what. For you I will make every Friday through the summer "Music Friday" and find a song that fits into some educational theme. Even if I have to shoehorn it. So next Friday, July 5. OK?

The fanboi replied...

Sounds good! Enjoy your Summer Pete!

July 5 came and went and so did the rest of July, August, September, October, and almost all of November until today. 

Back on September 26 I was able to see live music for the first time in almost 18 months. Who did I see? I saw Primus. It was my first time ever seeing them.  Why did I go? Because they were to play Rush's 1977 album, "A Farewell to Kings" in its entirety. The show was at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, CT where they were supposed to play in July of 2020. But due to the COVID craziness everything was postponed. 

But being there is no more Rush ever again (Unless Geddy and Alex can recruit Ringo to take over the drums or maybe even Mike Portnoy) I need to get a Rush fix whenever possible. Les Claypool took care of it for a night. By the way, I really enjoyed the show and I like Primus.

So I am embedding the the first three songs of AFTK. The title track, Closer to the Heart, and Xanadu. Enjoy. 

I will continue, or at least try to, this new Friday "tradition." 






Saturday, November 20, 2021

Mulgrew's Conniption. Now How do we Battle Apathy and Ignorance?

I'm supposed to be with my high school friends right now. Right now I am in a hotel room in Schenectady spending the weekend at the Rivers Casino. But I was checking the blogs and came across James Eterno's ICE blog. I was reading about the disaster Mulgrew had at Wednesday's Delegate Assembly meeting and
decided to take the laptop out. 

Since I am no longer a delegate, I now have to hear about things through the blogs or second hand. From what I have read it is about time something like this happened. 

Back in 2019 I wrote how to make the DA more transparent and more inclusive. Two ideas that I had were to allow live streaming of the DA to all members. There are many platforms available and at not really much cost. Well, that seemed to have happened Wednesday when someone, somewhere transmitted the live DA to opponents in front of 52 Broadway. Good. About time. But the dirty little secret is; this has been happening for some time, especially the last 18 months when the DA's were phone based.

Oh yeah. The UFT will say, "Anyone can watch." Sure, anyone can. If they schlep down to 52 Broadway and then whisked off to a cold room with a live feed off of a shit poor monitor. The time is now to make all DAs available on the UFT website, Facebook, Twitter, and wherever else possible. Want us to sign in with logins we use to go on UFT website, fine. There are methods to keep non members out. 

As for the voting? I love the voting system that is used by phone. It's awesome. True democracy. The ability for delegates to not fear reprisals. However, one should wonder if the union knows how someone  voted by phone number. 

It's time for the delegate assembly to enter the 21st century. The UFT has an app, let delegates vote by using the UFT app. I can get a high school student to help the UFT add such abilities. In fact, the same high school student can also help the UFT add any possible bandwidth it might need.  

Is this damaging to Unity in the long run? No, not really. It might change some people's minds. Those who stay on top of what is going on with the UFT. Delegates, bloggers, people who read the blogs, other activists, but that is not enough to cause a major disruption. The people who already give a shit are out there. Be they on Facebook, Twitter, or some other social media. 

How do you reach the apathetic or the ignorant? No one has come up with the answer. I think I have and I tried. I tried in 2016 but was brushed aside with "we have memes." The memes being read by the same people that already share the same views. Nothing is better than campaigning in an echo chamber. 

A few weeks ago in my school we had an election for a vacant delegate position. I threw my hat in at the last minute. Someone ran against me, a teacher that has been at the school for several years. I have been at the school since September. I lost. I got six votes. The other person got 13 votes. Twenty people voted in a school with almost 100 UFT members. No one cared nor did anyone really know what a delegate does or why a delegate is important. Why? Many, many young and new teachers. Will these teachers be voting come the spring when the get their ballots at home? Will they take the time to not only fill out the ballots but to mail the ballots as well? 

How to get to the apathetic? They need to know there is a choice and a reason to vote. They need to be identified. Think of multi level marketing (This is the only idea I am sharing). Each person speaks to ten people. Talk to their needs. Listen to their needs. MAKE THE MESSAGES to their needs. This is why the Democrats are losing the rural areas. They don't talk to nor do they listen to the needs of other voters outside of their own bubble. This has been the problem for the last several elections by some. Some refuse to get out of their comfort zone.

There must be a recognizable name at the head of the ticket. A name that is known and has experience advocating for the rank and file as well has had run in previous elections. A veteran teacher. A teacher that has been through the ups and downs of the DOE. A teacher that has been on national TV, not once, but several times. 

Unity will be very, very hard to beat. But to even put a sizeable dent will take more than just leafleting schools. It will take rolling up the sleeves and thinking outside the box. But sadly, I am seeing some want to cut off their noses to spite their faces and refuse to play with others. Those others who know how to fight. Know how to roll up their sleeves. And those that really and truly want to win.

Thank you. There is a $5 blackjack table awaiting me.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Elections Are Important

 Many many years ago when I was in first grade at the Concord Road School in Ardsley there was a student government. All grades, K-5 were represented. This first grader, Muttley Schwartz was the president of the student council and he was practically unbeatable. There were five classrooms in each grade for a total of 30. Each class elected their own safety monitor but the "best buddies" board of the student council selected cronies to be classroom leaders. They oversaw the safety monitors, but they owed their positions to the student council and Muttley Schwartz. Muttley's faction was known as the Dick Dasterdly faction.

Not many of the students cared much for Muttley. Yeah, once in a while he fought for us. Got five minutes added to recess. Made sure that kindergarten had nap time every day, and talked tough but never really followed through. His one big accomplishment came when I was in second grade and he got us chocolate milk to be served in the cafeteria. I remember the press conference Muttley had with the school newspaper. He talked a big game. How tough negotiations were with the principal. That he was "there for us." Blah, blah blah. 

It was also that year that he faced his first real test as a leader. Two factions; the Underdog faction and the Minute Mouse faction decided to run against Muttley and the Dick Dasterdly faction. It was tough. They didn't expect to win but were looking for seats on the "best buddies" board. Nobody really expected They just wanted to get some seats on the "best buddies" board. 

And guess what? The Minute Mouse faction got four seats on the board. Now, there were 50 seats but this was a big victory. Some great kids were on that board. Sadly, those kids had to deal with the controlling nature of the Minute Mouse faction de facto boss The Frog.

The Underdog faction was led at the time by Simon Bar Sinister. Yes, that Simon Bar Sinister. Hey, they thought he was a mensch, but they learned the hard way.

But between this election and the next safety monitor elections things began to change. Yes, the Minute Mouse faction started to win some safety monitor elections. But they were mostly in small classes with few students. There soon was some unhappiness going on and soon there was a purge. It also didn't help that in the elections when I was in grade, Dick Dasterdly didn't really put much of an effort in the election except for some memes. 

Meanwhile, the Underdog faction was rolling up its sleeves and listening to the students of the Concord Road School. It turned no one away. It became a version of the Island of Misfit Toys. Simon Bar Sinister was no longer there and a collective release of sphincters made everyone feel relieved. But they plugged away. They too won some safety monitor positions. In big classrooms, with influential students who lived in the rich part of Ardsley as well as in Hartsdale. They also had a new leader; Sweet Polly Purebred. 

Which brings me to the elections when I was in fourth grade. All three factions squared off again. But this time something big happened. Yes, the Snidely Whiplash faction won big. Minute Mouse faction was expecting to at least come in second place. It was not to be. 

Underdog came in second place with Minute Mouse coming in a distant third. People were surprised. I was. Minstrels will be writing songs about the Underdog faction and Sweet Polly Purebred for years to come. 

But then there were the elections the years I was in fifth grade. The Minute Mouse and Underdog factions decided to combine forces to defeat Muttley and Dick Dasterdly.

But there are problems. For some reason, the Minute Mouse faction and the Frog believe that they get to call the shots. That they can dictate who gets to play and be friends with this combined force. That Sweet Polly Purebred and her Bullwinkle faction don't deserve much of a say. They act as if the Bullwinkle faction should feel honored just to be allowed to run with them. 

I remember thinking in fifth grade, "What the fuck?" How the fuck can a third place finisher--third place by quite a bit-- dictate terms to a second place finisher? How fucked up is that? 

If anyone or anybody should be calling the shots, it should be the Underdog faction and Sweet Polly Purebred. At the very least they have no scores to settle with other students. 

I remember that year as an important election. That there was a chance to take down Muttley and Dick Dasterdly. One faction thought of themselves, the other of the students. I don't remember who won that year or anything else about the election. I remember the Minute Mouse faction trying to bogart everything. But I do know what I felt was right. That coming in second place that year in the Concord Road School student council elections gives you gravitas and the right to be treated with respect. And to run the show.


Friday, November 12, 2021

SBSB Groupie Trixie Sanitized in the Eye

When last we left Trixie, a SBSB groupie, Trixie had her schedule and program changed. Again and again. 

Trixie is again in the SBSB news. This time for a student copying something from Tik Tok.

Trixie was teaching her nuclear fission class. A student, let's call this student Shlomo Rubenstein decided to get up out of his seat. Why? Because all of the sudden Shlomo decided he needed to sanitize his hands. 

Now Trixie has no problem with the proper sanitizing of hands. Especially when there is little to no mitigation against the COVID. In fact Trixie encourages all mitigation. But not in this instance. 

Shlomo is well known and causes quite a ruckus in class. Shlomo just wanted to get out of his seat. Trixie asked Shlomo several times to return to his seat but Shlomo was just gosh darn determined to get to the hand sanitizer. 

Shlomo then proceeded to put globs and globs of hand sanitizer on his hands. So much, that it was dripping. As Shlomo walked past Trixie he proceed to cup his hands with the hand sanitizer and flicked it over his head and some of the sanitizer got in Trixie's eyes. 

Trixie soon felt the sting in her eyes and summoned the proper school authority. Shlomo was removed from class and from all Trixie was able to ascertain received a stern "talking to." As of press time The Crack Team still has not been able to find out if the "talking to" involved any finger wagging. 

Trixie of course filled out an occurrence report and left to seek medical care. According to this website, hand sanitizer in the eyes can...

 ...can be quite dangerous if not handled correctly, and even lead to vision loss

This can be ungood.  

After this incident several staff members shared with Trixie that a stunt like this is being encouraged on Tik Tok. The Crack Team doesn't care for Tik Tok but did Google search and came up with this.

And guess what? Yeah, it is always the teacher's fault. It would be nice to see the UFT take a more proactive stance in such a situation. Patrick Lynch would be screaming at cops being abused. Where is Mike Mulgrew in such matters?

Monday, November 8, 2021

Retirement Just Around My Corner

 I have the years and the age to retire. I just owe some money for my first few years that I hadn't paid into TRS and wanted to get some clarification.

Back in the good old days I was able to dial the Bronx UFT and either a) get through to someone at the switchboard, or b) call the pension people directly. Not anymore. The UFT has a new way to avoid your calls. It's non award winning concierge service

On October 26 I decided to make place the phone call to the Bronx UFT. I got the concierge service and promptly placed on hold.

I placed the phone call while on the Deegan at Fordham Rd. No one picked up until I was up on Elmsford where you get onto I-287 from the Thruway. I was then told that I would hear back from someone within 48 hours. It took a week. I got a date for a consultation. November 17. In person. In the Bronx. 

I'm excited and scared at the same time.

As much as I can’t stand the DOE and what it’s done to me, I’m looking at retirement with trepidation. It’s like I’m losing my identity. For 25 years this is all I have known and been. It's not that I got my identity from being a teacher, but this all I have known for 25 years. My year doesn't go from January to December, it goes from September to June.

I feel I need to decompress for at least a year after I retire from the DOE. It's the same feeling I had during my 3020a hearings. After the hearing I needed down time and stopped at IHop each night. I will need more than IHop.

My firsts choice to move to some cabin in the Adirondacks or the Catskills where my nearest neighbor is 5 miles away. I would live in this cabin for a year completely off the grid. I will forage and hunt for my food each day and chop wood for fire and heat. I will grow my hair long and have a manly beard. But this is just a fantasy.

My other dream is to live in Corning for a year or two (I lived there for about 6 months in 1986. In fact I nearly caused an international incident there. I must share one day). Kinda like reliving my youth, but this time as a so called "responsible" and "mature" adult. I figure I can sock my pension away and sell cars to
pay my bills. I've always wanted to sell cars. Or sell anything. Maybe I could be a greeter in Walmart. 

If Corning doesn't pan out there is always Binghamton or Hudson to live in. I really like both towns. But selling cars. 

I can't do the Florida thing. One more retired Jew from New York moving to Florida has become a stereotype. I used to ask my dad about why he hadn't retired to Florida. His answer was, "Florida is death's waiting room." Yeah a waiting room with the 4:30 early bird special.

I doubt I will retire anytime soon. My son is a junior in college, and he has another year to go. Also, I am not retiring without having another gig lined up. Part of me wants to write the book the late, great, Stu Schmelz and I discussed writing: "We Can't Make This Shit Up!" Just like Sparky Lyle and Graig Nettles had in their last years with the Yankees I can as well in my last year with the DOE. 

Something hit me as I was writing this. I'm sure there will be people I still communicate with and see. I don't think I will wither away in the night. But then there are people I was close to but will never ever see again due to distance or whatever reason. Sad.

Let's see what happens and what I hear on the 17th. Maybe I will hit mega millions.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

The Crack Team Has A Mole Within UNITY

I have been thinking on how to handle all these accusations that have befallen me the last week and how to fix the hazarai that I unintentionally created. What can I do? 

I thought about it long and hard driving up to Ithaca yesterday. Suddenly, a light bulb popped over my
head when I stopped in Hancock NY. I promptly contacted The Crack Team and instructed that at least 10 members (We need at least 10 to have a minyan) meet me in Binghamton. Hancock being about 45 minutes from Binghamton forced The Crack Team to charter a jet and meet me at the Spieidie and Rib Pit on Front Street just off of I-81 in Binghamtom. The Crack Team had shared with me that they had planned for such an occasion and on this blog post for the first time ever,  some of the evil planning will be revealed

The Crack Team has not only a mole within in the UFT and Unity but has surreptitiously bugged the Unity Election War Room. All what you are about to read took place on Monday, November 1, 2020 the day after a certain blog post that had been posted but since deleted. 

Names have been changed to protect the evil.

Larry the Lobster: Did you read Zucker's blog last nigh?

Squidward: Yeah, we are fucked. XXXX is going to be part of this so called coalition.

Pearl: We are. What are we going to do?

Mr Crabs: We have to call out the big guns. I have placed a call to Plankton and Man Ray. We will have them do our dirty work while it will keep our hands clean and we will have plausible deniability.

A few minutes later Plankton and Man Ray enter. All Unity members greet them with raised fists and chant, "All bow to the evilness of Plankton and Man Ray."

Mr Crabs: Welcome Plankton and Man Ray, what evil plans do you have for our enemies?

Plankton: We have already begun our evil plan against the others. On November 7, 2021 I will leave a paper bag of doody on the leader of XXXX's doorstep, light the bag on fire, ring the bell and run away. The leader will be forced to stomp out the fire and only then will realize he had fecal matter all over his feet. 

Mr Crabs: Excellent and diabolical! That plan will surely make the leader of XXXX  run away and hide. Man Ray, what is your plan? 

Man Ray: My plan is pure evil. I will make several phone calls on November 8 to (inaudible) and ask him, "We are calling from the electric company and doing a survey. Is your refrigerator running?" When he answers "Yes!" I will tell him that he "needs to go and get it! (An evil laugh is heard on the audio). 

The next day I will call (Again, inaudible), and ask "Do you have King Arthur in a can?" These two phone calls are what we in the evil business call "psych ops." (Inaudible) will be left to a shriveling shaking mass, left to sucking his thumb in the corner and rocking back and forth.

Plankton: Who gives a shit about (inaudible)? (Inaudible) is just a bit player, no one really takes (Inaudible) seriously!

Man Ray: No, you dick! (Inaudible) is the glue that holds them together. 

Plankton: Fuck off Man Ray! 

At this point Plankton and Man Ray start to brawl. Plankton's Karen comes in and starts to mock Plankton for getting his ass kicked by shouting, "You are not a real man!" Mr Crabs just sits back with an evil laugh and knows that all is going according to plan. The gloves have come off of Unity. It is now a fight of Good vs. Evil.

Come back to these pages as The Crack Team deciphers audio obtained from the Unity Election War Room and continues to debrief it's Unity mole.


Thursday, November 4, 2021

Red Lenses

 I just felt like posting this video of Rush from November 1984 from the Grace Under Pressure Tour. I was 20 years old at the time and I missed this tour. In fact after seeing them for the first time during the Exit...Stage Left Tour in 1981 I did not see them again until the Presto tour in 1990.

Grace Under Pressure album was heavy on the keyboards, but that was Rush in the mid 80's. I know of lots of fans who did not like their turn towards keyboards but I liked it. It was different. 

Two red songs on GUP or as us in Rush fandom say, "p/g." Get it? Leave comment with what "p/g" means and win a prize. 

So below are the lyrics and then the bootleg video.

I see red
And it hurts my head
I guess it must be something
That I read
It's the color of your heartbeat
A rising summer sun
The battle lost or won
The flash to fashion
The pulse to passion
Feels red inside my head
And truth is often bitter left unsaid
Said red red
Thinking about the overhead
The underfed
Couldn't we talk about
Something else instead
We've got Mars on the horizon
Says the National Midnight Star
It's true
What you believe is what you are
A pair of dancing shoes
The Soviets are the blues
The reds, under your bed
Lying in the darkness
Dead ahead
And the mercury is rising
Barometer starts to fall
You know it gets to us all
The pain that is learning
And the rain that is burning
Feel red, still, go ahead
You see black and white
And I see red, red
Not blue

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

False Accusations Laid on Me

 Hey how about that top ranked and award winning UFT Concierge service? 

FUCK THAT. Save it for another time. I got to get something off my chest. 

On Sunday I was planning to blog with those 12 crossed out words above. I came across something else that I thought was more newsworthy so I published that. What a shit storm? Out of deep respect for
someone else, I deleted it. It's gone. The link is dead. Don't go trying to find it. 

I want to clear up several accusations that have been made against me. 

Accusation of Mining for Blog Hits

First, I did not post what I posted on Sunday for "blog hits." I don't give a shit about blog hits. I care if something is newsworthy. It was newsworthy. Simple as that. I also don't need people to parrot that comment. Be fucking original. Be fresh.

If I cared about blog hits I would be blogging so much more frequently. If I blog twice a month that is a lot now. So go figure it out. Or as one SBSB fanboi said to me, "What's the big deal about wanting blog hits? I mean, you don't not date a girl because she is pretty."

Oh yeah, I forgot. I never sent out an email that I updated the blog nor did I tweet out the link. Wouldn't that add to the hits? 

Accusation of Being a Unity Plant and/or Working Undercover for Unity

Really? This has got to be one of the dumbest things I have heard about me EVER!

My Hatred of XXXX Has Clouded my Judgement

No, it hasn't. And it isn't hate. It's knowing that I don't need to see the sun rise in the East to know it is has risen in the East. However, I do know that to go forward, XXXX must be involved. If my hatred was so intense, I would have editorialized in the now deleted blog post. But I didn't.

Oh, and I never said I how awful XXXX is. Well, maybe several years ago. But now I say "I don't xxxxx XXXX. At least I don't act as someone's little xxxxx

Lest we forget comparing me to Porty about how I feel about XXXX is a double face palm.

But I can look in the mirror and say I am my own person and have my dignity. I don't go running back with my tail between my legs after being publicly and literally shat upon XXXX.

I Triggered People

Triggered? Now we are woke? Boo fucking hoo. Get over it.  I told my son when he left for college to be wary of those who whine about being triggered and people accusing others of micro-aggressions. Oops, does typing this now make me a MAGA? "Yeah, fucking god damn liberal Right Wingers."

This shit I posted on Sunday is not super duper classified information. Big fucking deal it was leaked by me. Own up to it. Run with it. But, really. I believe someone might be projecting,.

Accuse me of something, you better back it up. I been accused of too much shit lately that I haven't done. Worse, I don't need to be texted this shit when I am fucking teaching.