Monday, 9 January 2012

The Reality of Saving Folks

Last year, we had a banner year for suicides on the DC METRO system.  We had nine folks attempting it and seven successful.  They all want to jump in front of the train at the last second (forget the bus system....no one ever wants a bus ending).  Last week....going into 2012, we had two episodes.  So the pressure got turned onto METRO for 2011.....they were told to do something.  You can imagine management folks meeting and just groping anything to make the public happy.

So they said for 2011, that they'd train all of the 960 station managers and train engineers....but so far....they've only gotten to 180 folks.  They are supposedly trained to "spot" suicidal riders.  I sat and pondered over this.

The train engineers all sit in the cab....toward the front of the train.  As they pull into the station....they might have two seconds of advance thinking or vision to grasp if some idiot is a jumper.  The station manager?  Well....they all tend to sit in their little cubicle shack, and they might walk around one hour out of the eight that they stand on duty.  This $250k that they spent on this training program....was probably totally wasted.

The METRO folks also talked about this sign posting deal....where you'd have this 1-800 number to call and identify some guy looking "freaky".  I sat there thinking over this.  By the time you dial the number and mention the location....it's likely to be already too late.

The truth of the matter is that a suicidal person who wants a METRO ending....wants someone to help them with what they can't do.  The odds of someone stopping the guy?  I'd say less than one percent.  But the public wants to put pressure on the METRO management.....you have to do something, even if it's all fake and doesn't really change the outcome.  So thousands more will be spent in various training seminars and signs....and we simply have to accept that part of the deal.

Math and History Issues

So, this is what we know.  A couple of teachers at the Beaver Ridge Elementary School in Norcross, Georgia....decided to combine math and history into the same topic area.

They wrote a math quiz....which this is an example of their test: "Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?"  Naturally, you'd sit there a moment as an adult....thinking over this....a slave involved in a math question?

Parents got ahold of this test, and went into a fury about the quiz questions involving slavery and beatings.

Based on comments by the school leadership, they did their best to defend the teachers but you get the impression that they also probably told them never to combine history and math ever again.  Course, you might see a couple of science and English literature questions, or some health and PE questions....but that's ok.  Mixing history with any other topic just confuses kids....if you ask me.

I always hated wordy math questions because it simply wasn't clear about what was important.  You'd have some joker of a teacher who'd write a fancy quiz question like: If Joe bought sixteen cases of Pabst, twelve cases of Budweiser, and one case of Pepsi.....paying $104 for the whole purchase....how much did each case of beer cost?  The answer is.....if you didn't say the price of each individual soda or beer, then you can't calculate the number.  Course, a 12-year old kid would still try to come up with an answer....without knowing all the information.

As for the slavery quiz question?  For the life of me....I can't figure out how this would teach you much about history.  Picking and selling oranges wasn't a commercial operation until 1900's....so you wouldn't have found any slaves in Florida doing such a thing.  Course, you can't explain that to a math teacher because they never took any history classes.  From a business standpoint....the idea of having eight guys standing around one tree to pick....doesn't make any sense either....with it being like having three guys changing a light-bulb or two guys changing your oil in the pick-up.

My guess is that a bunch of school teachers will awaken from a slumber and try to combine classes in the future.  The questions will be like.....if Randy was running away from a T-Rex, and the T-Rex could run eight miles per hour....how many seconds of survival does Randy have?  Or, if Wanda was mixing meth as a business and making $32 an hour for her work....how long would it take for her to accumulate a million bucks?  Or, if Dale was married six times, and paying alimony to five wives...amounting to $666 per ex-wife, then how much money would Dale have left from his $5k a month salary at the Piggly Wiggly?

Only in America.

Just Observations

There were two Republican forums this weekend.  The Sunday morning deal ran pretty good and I gave it four stars.  The Saturday evening deal?  Well....it was run by George Stephanopoulos, and he pretty much made himself as foolish as possible.  Several of the questions ended up being pointed enough that you knew some Democrat wrote the question for George, and he didn't read or grasp what he was asking.  I thought the guys on the stage carried themselves well enough....even Rick Perry, through these comical "George" questions.  Bottom line?  I wouldn't expect George to be invited back again for any such debate.

Yesterday, Sunday, I sat and watched about twenty minutes of this 'remember Tucson' episode, where Congressman Gifford was shot a year ago.  Big media ceremony...although I don't think that many folks from Tucson were involved in the deal.  Not to really blow a hole in this media deal....but no one sits around and remembers the first of these big massacres in the US (18 July 1984, the McDonald's in the San Ysidro, California).  Twenty-two people died in that episode.....counting the shooter himself, and nineteen more were injured.  The shooter, James Huberty, was a nut.....just like the Tucson kid.  Jame Huberty should have been arrested weeks and months prior to the event....just like the Tucson kid, but never was.  Media attention from the McDonalds massacre?  None.....no cameras stand around on 18 July and no one ever remembers that occasion.

Yes, the Denver Broncos did win another overtime game yesterday....with the amazing Tim Tebow.   I rarely get into this football stuff, although I have to admit that I intentionally watch the Broncos now because of the Tebow-fever.  If they have to win, Tebow delivers.....at least you would like to believe that. Assistance from the almighty?  Well.....it's hard not to believe that, but then if you were a Packers fan, you'd believe that Vince Lombardi is working is magic straight from heaven and might know more strategy than God himself.  Just a humble opinion on that.

Finally, there are about a million Bama folks who are living and breathing on this upcoming LSU-Bama championship game.  They'd like to engage in conversation....at the local store, at church, at the county CO-OP, at the local Catfish Cabin, and at the Piggly Wiggly.  Last year was Auburn's opportunity, and this year ought to be Bama's opportunity.  I would imagine that at least another million Bama folks are fed up with the hype and the whole NCAA football thing....and secretly would like LSU to win.  That's the problem in living in a die-hard football state....you kinda stretch things to the extreme.  The worst possible thing you could do on Monday night....is call up your Bama neighbor eight minutes into the start of the game and insist on talking about hunting, or your's aunt's health, or church business, or ask about the best weed killer options.  It might upset them greatly as you take away the thrill of the game.