Google Wallet. The Future is in Your Pocket.

As I get older it’s becoming more and more apparent that certain things no longer exist.

Lots of things I grew up with and took for granted just aren’t relevant.

They’re gone.

Like the dinosaurs.

And Swatches.

And tight-rolled jeans.

Don’t forget Phil Collins (which most of us have… whatever happened to him anyway?)

One day sooner rather than later I will be on this list (a list I constantly update in my head because it reminds me of how old and out of date I’ve become).


The official If You Remember This Junk You Are Old List:

Cassette Tapes.

Floppy disks (8 inch and 3.5 inch).

Desktop computers (with mega giant monitors).

Atari (best days of my life).



8mm video cameras.

VHS tapes.

Reel to reel movie projectors (can anyone say we have a Sub today!!!)

Record players.

Transistor radios.

Slide projectors (how I loved the beeeeeep when it was time to move on to the next slide).

Boom boxes (the 80’s were a special time).


Rotary phones (and bag phones).

Walkmans and Discmans.

Pagers (drug dealers and gang members gave these such a bad name).

Calculator watches (nothing screamed Geek like a calculator watch).

Zip drives.


Polaroid cameras.

8 tracks.

And soon my all-time favorite, newspapers.


All gone.

Now, Google wants my wallet (Google Wallet, coming to a store near you).  They are no longer happy just printing money, now they want to take it out of our pockets.

It’s hard to imagine a world without credit and debit cards, but it’s coming.

It’s even harder to imagine that one day I will have to explain to my grandkids how we used to carry paper money around in leather foldy things stuffed in our back pockets (and yes, we were off-balance… and we liked it).



Maybe the Overlords at Google are going to advance our society in positive ways we can’t imagine (my compliments on the Coca-Cola and Subway plugs).

Maybe they will become so rich and powerful they can actually change their Save Button on Google docs to something other than a floppy disk (really, Google… 15 year olds don’t correlate the Save function with Floppies).

While the above blog does take shots at Google (which breaks the code of being a Google Certified Administrator), I can assure you I will be the first one on my block to purchase a Google wallet. 

Say goodbye, pennies.

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Are Teachers So Dry They Need Buckets of Lotion?

Every year school ends.Teachers Love Apples!

And every year my wife comes home with a U-haul truck full of lotion.

That’s just how she rolls (don’t judge her).

Being a fourth grade teacher has many challenges.

One being how can she possibly drink out of the 1,412 “#1 Teacher” mugs she has received over the course of the last decade.

Trust me, I’m not exaggerating.

I’ve counted them.  She has 1,412.

If you don’t believe, stop by our next yard sale.

It’s buy one mug, get 1,411 free.

Now, if you are a high school teacher this blog is making little or no sense.

That’s because at a certain point students stop buying gifts for their teachers.

So if you are a high school teacher and you’re reading this blog while drinking out of a “#1 Teacher” mug… stop it.

Because you evidently purchased it for yourself and that’s just wrong.

And creepy.

Everyone knows you can’t self-proclaim yourself the “World’s Greatest Teacher”.  Only 7 year olds can do that.

Those teachers who receive gifts know they can be broken down into two specific groups. 

Group 1:  Things you put on your body. 

This would be your lotions, nail polish, perfume, scarves, t-shirts, jewelry, and the ever popular any clothing item with an apple on it.

Group 2:  Food or Drink.

This is your coffee mugs, candy, homemade cookies, fruit baskets, and gift certificates from the students favorite restaurant (you see, elementary kids love McDonald’s way more than teachers).

I know parents sometimes stress out over what gift to buy their child’s teacher at the end of the school year.

I have a suggestion.


Nothing says “Thanks for tolerating my kid for 7 hours a day so I don’t have to" like straight stone cold cash.

Of course, I’m kidding.

Most parents can’t afford to give teachers enough cash to cover an entire school year worth of suffering.

So what should they do?

I haven’t a clue.

But I do know the Evil Spawn just completed (barely) her 4th grade year in my wife’s class.

And I don’t have a gift.

I’m thinking maybe a mug.  Or a five-gallon bucket of lotion.

Or better yet, a mug that says “World’s Greatest Mom and Teacher” filled with lotion that smells like apples.

She’s going to love it.

Note from wife/teacher of the Evil Spawn:  I really scored this year with one of the best gifts ever…iTunes gift card…cha-ching!

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Reading is Harder Than It Looks.

Graduation has come and gone.What's Your Name Again?

Another school year in the yearbooks.

It’s always an exciting time for students (and really hot for everyone else).

For me, it is more stressful than exciting. 

My stress comes from the fact that I have to read.


Yes, read.

Normally, I am pretty confident with my ability to read.  After all, I’ve been practicing since my kindergarten days in the early 1970’s.

That was a special time.

I had my whole life ahead of me.  Not like today, when I have half my life ahead of me (if all goes well).

I also had a bowl haircut and knee patches on my jeans.

It was a look (don’t judge me).

Each year at graduation, I have the responsibility of reading the names of the graduates as they walk up on stage to receive their diplomas.

I’m not going to lie to you, it’s not easy.

Don’t get me wrong, the difficult part isn’t being overwhelmed by waves of emotion as I send another group of Seniors out into the world.

It’s the reading.

And there will be a new group of Seniors next year (sorry, old Seniors).

Pronouncing names is not as easy as it looks.

Sure, I’ve known most of the students for years.  What I haven’t known are their middle names.

There’s something about reading off their first, middle, and last names that makes it complicated.

I always practice reading the list at least a week in advance so I will feel prepared.

And I never do.

Two minutes before the ceremony begins, I completely forget every student’s name.

In fact, as I look down from the stage I could swear I’ve never seen these kids before.

Who are they?  Why are they here?  What’s with the funny hats?

The look like total strangers.

Panic sets in.

Sweating begins.

And this leads to my worst nightmare, which is me mispronouncing the name of a graduate in front of their entire family.

The pressure.

Who wants me babbling like an idiot on a graduation video they will watch over and over again (or more likely never).

Graduation is the Senior’s opportunity to celebrate his or her accomplishments.

For me it’s a chance to do something stupid in public.

For them it’s a special night.

For me another day in a superintendent’s life.

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In my mind, I continually tell myself to be patient.  Unfortunately, I’m not that great of a listener.

I’m fresh out of patience.

I’m done.Do NOT Make This Dog Mad.  Mainly, Because He Doesn't Know He's a Dog.

I have no more answers.

I have no more solutions.

I have no more interest in questions.

It’s May, and I need a break.

It happens every year, but this one has been especially tiring (sure, cranking out mediocre to less than mediocre blogs seems easy…).

But I’m not the only one.

Teachers, Principals, Secretaries, Custodians, and even lowly Superintendents grow more and more tired towards the end of the school year.

But there is good news.

Summer is right around the corner and that means we will all have an opportunity to recharge.

Buddy the Dog isn’t so lucky.  That’s his big snout in the picture on the right (as opposed to all the other pictures in this blog).

He is the King of Impatience.

And King of the House.

The picture was taken at exactly 4:00 pm.  I’m not sure of the day, but I’m positive it was 4:00 pm.

How do I know?

Because that’s when I get home and take off my tie.

This of course means one thing to Buddy.

Time to eat.

And when it’s time to eat, he means it’s time to eat.

You can’t really blame him.  After a long day of sleeping 14 straight hours (with two 15 minute breaks to sniff around the yard and bark at the UPS guy), a King (dog) gets hungry.

And he isn’t shy about telling me.

When my tie comes off, he goes into starvation crisis mode.

There’s whining.  Jumping around.  Circling.  And grabbing my hand in an effort to drag me towards the garage (this is where the Holy Grail of Food is located).

If all of this wasn’t enough, he has his patented go-to move which he evidently learned in Beagle College.

If I make the mistake of laying down anywhere around his sacred time of 4:00 pm, he stands on my chest.

All 4 legs planted directly in my big gut.

Then he stares.  A long painful slightly pathetic and sad stare that conveys the following message.

“Human, feed me right now or prepare to die!”

It’s really quite haunting.

I took the picture out of self-preservation more than anything.

So, while I’m out of patience, I can recharge.

He can’t.

Because 10 minutes after he’s eaten, he’s also forgotten.

So if you are like me and your patience is wearing thin, I have some advice.  Hang in there, summer is coming.

And if you ever wake up from an afternoon nap and feel Buddy’s hot beagle breathe on your forehead and notice his icy blue eyes staring directly into your soul…

…be afraid.

Very afraid.

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Winter. Summer. Winter. Summer.

I only live where I do because people have told me if I move someplace nice, I’ll miss the four seasons.

They’re idiots.You've Been Warned.  Avoid Junior High Kids After PE and Recess.

I’m pretty sure they have forced this theory upon me because they can’t move. And if I did, they would be that much more miserable.

In my little piece of heaven, the snow just melted, and it’s now 97 degrees (a few days ago, I was out scooping snow… in shorts).

And now it’s humid.

Really humid.

The kind of humid where you sweat through your shirt when you reach out the front door to get your mail.

And this all happened over a weekend (I literally had the heat and the air conditioning on in my house at the same time).

At least it feels like it happened over a weekend (and not one of those super cool 3 day weekends we educators live for).

What happened to spring?  And fall?

I remember winter because it was literally yesterday.

And the 187 days before that.

I know about summer because I’m already sweating my “you know what” off (I apologize for blogging blue, but I’m upset).

So much for the four seasons.

Unless you count them as:

Season 1 – Beginning of School

Season 2 – Jumpy Students/Teachers Right Before Christmas

Season 3 – The Unrelenting Never-ending Darkness of Winter/Snow Days Which Means I Have to Get Up at 3:00 a.m. to Cancel School

Season 4 – Hot Smelly Junior High Kids During the Time That Used to be Called Spring.

I need a vacation and some nice 74 degree weather (conference in San Diego anyone?).

And those Junior High kids need a deodorant shower.

If you live someplace nicer than me, please understand I hate you.

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Bullying. Not Good. Not Good at All.

Is bullying an unwinnable battle for schools and administrators?

For a larger graphic click HERE.

Why Are Bullies Always Wearing Tank Tops?

Can we ever truly get a handle on these types of behaviors?

Are parents helping or hurting?

I’m afraid I have more questions than answers.

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Whiffers. Smell Your Way to Higher Test Scores.

A few weeks ago, I received an email asking me (I think, because I can’t really remember at my advanced age) to blog about a product.3 Pack fro $4.95.  A Steal If They Work.

As I normally do, I read the email.

Then I immediately went to my go to move which is hit delete and get on with my sad and pathetic life.


I don’t know why, it’s just the way my life is.

Oh, you are probably thinking why do I delete all of my emails.  My bad.

Because most of the emails I get don’t have anything to peak my interest.  Like a free t-shirt.  Or a trip.  Or the time honored attention grabber… cash.

But something about this particular one caught my attention.

It talked about improving test scores.

And while I don’t know much, I do know we’re all obsessed with test scores (whether we like it or not… and most of us probably don’t).

The product in the email was Whiffers.

They are scented wrist bands students can wear while testing.

Evidently the bands make kids really smart.

And who amongst us doesn’t need more really smart kids?

Now in effort of full disclosure (and on the advice of the lawyers), I want to say I’m not a stockholder in the company, or on the payroll, or even at this point a believer.

What I am is curious.

Can we really effect the test scores of our students with a wrist band that smells like spearmint?  Or peppermint?  Or even lavender?

It sounds crazy.

But what if it’s just crazy enough to work?  Maybe it’s like a blog about nothing.

What if the “Whiffer Suits” are on to something?

Even if the bands help a little, it might be enough to improve test scores to a level where a school district is successful instead of failing.

Now you might be asking is this an official Blog endorsement?

No it’s not.

As I mentioned earlier there has been no official exchange of a free t-shirt.

And without that, there is no chance of an endorsement.

What has happened is they’ve made me think.  Mainly about the steps adults in education will take to improve test scores.

If these bands work, Whiffers will sell them by the millions.

Even if they don’t work, I think they will still sell.

Say what you want, but America is a great country.

And it’s based on business and entrepreneurs.

Somewhere along the way, someone figured out we needed to test our students.

And then someone else figured out there was big money to be made on testing our students.

Now, educational testing at the K-12 level is a huge billion dollar business (I’ve just made up a number… it’s probably more).

Whiffers is on the right track, one way or another.

Now if I could only figure out how I could get a small cut of this action.

Or at least a free t-shirt (yes, once again it’s all about me).

If you have a special secret to improve test scores, please send it my way.  But keep in mind, I’m going to steal the idea and give you absolutely NO credit.

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Doctor? Why?

Things I don’t want to be.

Poultry processor (look it up… it will make you a vegetarian like the Tech Queen).Lucy is the Original Mean Girl.  I Like Her.

Newspaper reporter (this is not going to end well).

Roustabout (again, look it up).

Garbage man (the work is fine… the smell not so much).

Roofer (been there, done that).

Dental Hygienist (how do people spend their days sticking their hands in strangers’ mouths?).

The person who cleans the operating room after surgery.  I don’t know what their title is, but they need one.

If you have this job you should seriously consider becoming a dental hygienist.

But the job I least want is doctor.

Not the kind of doctor who asks you to cough (guy reference).  Or tells you how life ends (again, not ending well).

I don’t want to be the kind of doctor who works in education.

Not that I wouldn’t take an honorary degree if someone wanted to give me one (are you listening Harvard?).

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t respect people who have doctorates in education, I just question whether it will be worth it twenty years from now.

I think we are heading towards a time where everyone (who wants one) has a doctorate.

If you have a computer and a little ambition you can become a doctor of something (I obviously have one of these, but not the other).

It’s getting harder and harder for me to tell the difference between someone who got their degree from Oxford and someone who got a degree from a small Caribbean country I’ve never heard of and can’t pronounce.

If you ask me, and no one is, a doctorate isn’t what it used to be.

Sort of in the same way a high school diploma isn’t worth what it was 50 years ago. 

Of course, if I had a doctorate maybe I could get published and people would read my work (I can dream can’t I?).

Please call me at your convenience, Harvard.  Or Caribbean University located in a strip mall.  While I’m not willing to put in the time for a doctorate, I am willing to travel.

** Note from all knowing “Tech Queen”…I think they call the person who cleans up the surgery room a custodian.

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What a Long Strange Run It Was.

I’m alive.

The announcement of my impending doom turned out to be a little premature.

Although there were several times during my half marathon where I was praying to all that’s holy to grant me the precious gift of sweet sweet death.

But I survived.I'm Alive.  Barely.  But I'm Alive.

And you know, the half marathon wasn’t that bad.  It seemed more like 12.79 miles than 13.1.

Now that it’s over and I’ve had time to reflect (and ice my knees), I would like to share my thoughts.

There are a surprisingly large number of moronic people who like to put their aging bodies through massive amounts of pain on a Saturday morning and call it a sport.

They seemed okay with all the suffering as long as they got a medal.

And a free t-shirt.

It’s never been more clear to me than this very moment that people will do almost anything for a free t-shirt.

As the race started, I met two college boys who partied until 4:30 am and then stumbled to the starting line.  I’m not sure if they finished the race.

I’m guessing they got arrested somewhere along they way for RWI (running while intoxicated).

It’s never a good sign when you smell that bad BEFORE the race.

I found out that when you run long distances, sooner or later you will come upon a bad Elvis impersonator.

Of course, this assumes there are good Elvis impersonators.

I found out spectators along the race route LOVE to dress their dogs up in costumes.

After it was over, I found out I finished 2,136 out of 6,435 runners.

This means there are a lot of slow people running around (although not very quickly).

I shouldn’t poke fun because they did beat every other living human being who didn’t run (so they have that going for them).

And 2,135 beat me (all the training and over 2,000 people beat me… a little discouraging).

During my 2 hour adventure (and 21 seconds), I saw lots of strange stuff.

People along the race route were giving out free beer.  And hot dogs.

I almost got sick when I saw this.

Then I realized at about mile 9, I was both thirsty and hungry. 

Maybe these people weren’t as strange as I thought.  Maybe they were just being helpful.

I had no idea if you are running in a half-marathon this gives you a license to use the bathroom anywhere you choose.

All you have to do is send in the entry fee and you’ve evidently purchased the right to publicly defecate. 

Who knew?

I’m putting this in my “Things to Remember” file.  It could come in handy.

I saw moms pushing baby strollers.  I saw little kids running (and beating me).  I heard at least 5 people say “I can’t believe I did it!”

I saw thousand of total strangers cheering thousands of other total strangers.

I saw grandmothers and grandfathers.  People in good shape and bad.

Skinny people.  Not so skinny people.

Hundreds and hundreds of volunteers who wanted to be there just to help.

I saw a little bit of everything.

But there is one thing I will always remember.

And that’s the feeling you get when you are surrounded by thousands of people who have a goal.

Some want to win.  Some just want to finish.  Some want to run with their son, daughter, parent, or best friend.  Some want to simply not die.

But they all want something.

And everyone is pulling for everyone else to reach their goals.

You don’t find this in everyday life.

But there seems to be a special bond when you line up thousands of people, a guy with a microphone yells “Go!”, and total strangers head off on a 13 mile adventure.

People have asked me if it was worth it.

The answer is yes.

Hello, I got a free t-shirt.

Of course it was worth it.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.