Monday, October 23, 2006

Cracks in the PTO shell.

The PTO President, back when she was threatening my wife, told us that we were the ONLY people not participating with the PTO. Friday, a note comes home saying that ALL the kids had a party- celebrating 80% participation school wide.

For those of you who are not burnt out helping with math homework-
If there as a group of people and 1 out of that group represents 20%, how many people are in the group?

For those who are burnt out:
1 / n = .2
1 = .2n
1 / .2 =  n
5 = n

This means, there are only 5 families at school or the PTO is not only extorting- but lying to do it. Extortionists would never lie, right?

I am really getting more and more disgusted that those people who are supposed to be teaching my kids (Teachers are the *T* in PTO) would be so unethical.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

D.A.R.E. to stay out of the PTO

I have a rule. Well, I have many rules.  But this one rule is that I NEVER join the "Parent Teacher" group in any school.

My son just started in a new private kindergarten.  On the first day we were flooded with the inevitable paperwork from the PTO at the school.  One of the papers that were provided talked about how they want 100% participation in the PTO this year and to encourage that they were going to throw a party for each class when all the parents in that class had given the PTO  the membership fee.

The PTO decided that they were going to extort money from parents by holding a party for the kids over their heads. The president of the PTO at the school actually came up to my wife and told her that my child's classroom was the only one who had nothad a party yet and we were the only family that had not paid their "protection" fee.  Worse- they are publicizing to the other families in the classroom that we are the family responsible for preventing the class from having the party.

Do I need to tell the parents reading this what that means to my boy's social life?

This is the very reason I won't join a PTO or PTA. The organization supposedly run by Parents and Teachers for the betterment of our children uses the same tactics as organized crime and drug dealers. I have had a number of similar things go on during the time my older kids are in school. The "raffle" that we are told we MUST sell the tickets for or buy them ourselves. The Wrapping Paper, Candy, Cake, Etc. sales folders that come home- where they expect us to harass out co-workers to overpay for mediocre products.

Over and over again these organizations use peer pressure to try and force participation by parents and when we just say no to the peer pressure, they try extortion. What lessons do I teach my children if I give in to this peer pressure and extortion and pay the fee? It's not about the money. It's about supporting (or not supporting) an organization that you just don't agree with.

I think we need the presidents of these organizations to sit through a D.A.R.E. presentation. Just change the words "Drugs and Alcohol" to "PTO".  This kind of behavior should be illegal and any school with a PTO behaving like this should reject the funds donated by the PTOuntil the extortion stops.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

It's been a while! My thoughts on fuel.

So, I have been carrying around the MONEY section of USA TODAY since May 16th, 2006 so I would remember to do a BLOG on an article.

"Most Americans aren't likely to make big cuts in gasoline use"

The gist is simple; Despite the high fuel prices, Americans will continue to use gas at about the same rate. The article says the following:

"Many factors play into America's reluctance to conserve, but two facts of human behavior dominate, psychologists say: We get used to high prices that are reached incrementally. And we're more afraid of losing something than we are motivated by the advantages of giving it up."

I am forced to wonder if newspaper authors (it took three to write this short story) and psychologists need real jobs for a week.  I can assure the world that I am neither "used" to incrementally increased to $3 a gallon fuel. However I am certainly motivated by the second part.

I am much more afraid of losing my job than I am motivated to stop driving to work and thereby use less gas.

I am sure there are some people out there who "waste" gas.  (Leaving the car idle when they run into a store or making a few trips rather than trying to plan ahead to make only one.) However, everyone I speak to spends almost all of their car time (and therefore the fuel they use) getting to and from work.

Perhaps USA TODAY and the other publications that are attacking the American people as wasteful should use the space in their newspaper (or wherever they are spreading their "news") and encourage business to find creative ways to help employees use less gas. Just some ideas:

    1. Longer work days. By extending the work day and having fewer of them, employees will need to travel back and forth with much lower frequency. This would save gas.

    2. Telecommuting.  I would save in excess of $5,000 a year if I could just stop driving 90 minutes (each way) back and forth to work. It would also improve my quality of life and make me a happier employee.

    3. Time Shifting. If employees were allowed to shift their times, rush hour would be spread out and people would spend less time sitting in traffic- and wasting gas.

    4. "Grouped" offices.  Large companies could set up many area offices and have employees from various companies working side by side.  This localization of offices will let employees travel shorter differences to work while having many people at those local offices will result in the benefits of scale for supporting any particular office space.

There are others, I am sure, that people smarter than me have come up with.

Anyway, the point is, USA TODAY shouldn't be blaming Americans for their consumption of gas without looking at how that gas is used.  Writing an article that people are wasting gas without any kind of proof that there is widespread gas wasting in the first place. I refuse to accept that people are wasting gas in huge quantities- people use what they need to use to survive in a world that's moving opportunity further and further away from where we live.  People can no longer afford to live in the community where their office is located.

There's so much more that needs to be addressed before we start pointing fingers at the general public.

Friday, September 30, 2005

I knew... Terror in our daily lives.

I knew when the doorbell rang, there would be no one at the door. I knew that for the second time in 2 weeks  I would be opening my door to nothing.

When I opened the door, no person was there (as expected). However, something much greater was waiting for me in the emptiness. I was greeted by the collected pain of a childhood spent as a victim.

A childhood with highlights like hundreds of prank calls. Cars and landscaping damaged and destroyed by vandals. And yes, doorbells ringing with no one there.

There in the lawn, if I dare call it that, was the evidence. Footprints and bicycle tracks. Going directly to the backyard of my neighbor.  Add a backyard full of boys (who are known to be bullies to my daughter) and I don't think we need to call in Galileo to figure this one out.

To paraphrase South Park: I have learned something today, I have created a victim.

I don't know how I decided it. But I know it's true. She has years of torture ahead. I am searching for any evidence that a child, once bullied, ever stops being the target of the bully (Other than feel good after school movies) and I can't find it.  The reality is, she has 10 years of pain to look forward to- and that's only going to take her through High school.

Since I have been living this kind of life, I was wondering if it's worth it. Has there been a single moment that was so good to make me think it was worth going through the fire.  My answer, unfortunately, is no.  Not only that, but the pain continues. I continue to be a victim to those who are bullies and now I get to relive it all through my daughters eyes.

Monday, September 19, 2005

My vote might still count... Does yours?

I thnk my vote might still count. Diebold has not yet convinced whoever is in charge where I live to install these horid voting machines

There's so much on these machines, and how easy they are to fool.

I have spent too much time reading about them.  Is a great place to stop.. and don't stop until you understand the implications and click the link to support the bill that will help fix the problems with these machines!

Monday, August 8, 2005

Do not call Redux

Well, I know they are in UT.. At least that's what I get when I Google the number..   When I call the number back that was on my caller ID there is a whole thing about who they are and why they called. Nothing to make sure we get on their do not call list

So I went to which is the URL they give on the message.  They have no way, on the site, to add yourself to a do-not-call list. The site does show they are in UT, however.

I searched in their privacy policy and found, towards the end, instructions on how to opt-out of their surveys.. give them a call at 801-373-7735.

I called. It rang 4 times and then went to a fast-busy. I tried again and got an person who clearly spoke English (take that to mean the interviewers didn't) and informed her that we were called last night- and asked to be placed on the DNC list and then received another call this evening. She said "He didn't" and asked for my number. I provided it to her and she assured me I would be added to their DNC list "Right now".

I'd love to put together a list of all the survey companies and how you opt-out of their surveys. This way we can centralize the information so people can quickly opt-out.  Does anyone know of such a thing existing already?

I know it seems I always end my postings with "it's time...." (I noticed this myself last night) so:

It's time to opt out!

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Do not call means do not call...

AOL Note: YAY! The bot is fixed.. of course I am not using it this time..

Technically- it was legal. They were calling with a survey and it was only 8:54PM. They did not violate the federal or state do not call list.

So what?

I joined the list for a reason- I do not want people calling me at random. I do not want to hear about your political motivation. I do not want to take your survey. I do not want to be converted and I certainly will never be interested in sending you any money for whatever cause you might be calling about. The sure fire way to get on my "never give money" list is to call me and ask for money.

The current do not call lists do not go far enough..

At 8:54PM I had two young children in bed.  iVillage says that my 9 year old needs 10+ hours of sleep a night. This means, with a wake-up of about 6:45 that she should be in bed, sleeping, by 8:45. They also say my 4 year old needs in excess of 11 1/2 hours sleep! Since he wakes up around the same time-- he should be long asleep - having gone to sleep at about 6PM.. (OK, not realistic we all know- but it makes the point.)  TO let people make unsolicited calls to my home until 9PM the government is saying that my child's sleep and their personal space is less important than their right to ask what I think of the Village at Manalapan.

I disagree.  As much as SPAM has invaded our lives and seem out of control, so are these survey companies. In the past month I have received no less than 6 different survey phone calls.

It is time for the government to stop *ALL* phone calls with a comprehensive Do Not Call list that will require ANYONE calling my home, without a darn good reason (and, as the victim, I get to decide if it's a good reason.) to pay horrendeous fines.

My phone is not a marketing tool. It's not a survey tool. It's not a soapbox and it's certainly no house of worship... It's time for the DNC List to cover all phone calls.