School’s out *forever*

Surprise Quiz:

  1. You’ve been teaching for 15 years or so, substitute etc and this is your first day of your own class. Is it a good idea to forget ten of your kids out in front of the school when you walk your class over to the church for the school opening day ceremonies?

  2. Is it a good idea to apologize to the parents afterwards?
  3. When a little girl who wants to like school and to like her teacher signs up for an extra class before school, and comes on time, is it a good idea to forget her in the cloak room and make her sit there for an hour until the rest of school starts?
  4. Should you apologize to the parents and the little girl afterwards?
  5. If you have a rowdy class, is making them skip their gym class and sit still in the classroom for an hour the best way to punish them?
  6. When one evil little boy tells another little boy to poke a little girl with a pencil, should you listen to the little girl when she reports this?
  7. When second little boy pokes little girl again with a pencil the next day, this time in the eye, is sending him to the big kids’ classroom for an hour the best way to punish him?
  8. Is it a good idea to make him continue sitting next to the little girl?

My kid’s teacher scored zero on this quiz. How’d you do?
Key: uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh, no, no, uh-oh, uh-oh


Psst, you, from R*andom H*use, I’ve seen you in my statistics, you, like, know any editors?

The boing drive

Setting: sunny day in Central Europe. Two old men, one smoking a pipe, one a cigarette, both dressed in tweedy suits, are standing near a bouncy castle, watching children frolic inside.

    Sigmund Freud:Boing.
    Elias Canetti: Vat?
    Sigmund Freud: Ze drive to boing. I totally forgot ze drive to boing.
    Elias Canetti: Vat are you talkink about, Sigmund?
    Sigmund Freud: Not zat you and your “Crowds and Power” ever mentioned it neizer, and you wit your big Nobel Prize. Feh.
    Elias Canetti: Boing?
    Sigmund Freud: Look at ze children.

    Elias Canetti: [Stares, at first cynically, then slack-jawed with wonder. Cigarette falls from bottom lip.]
    Sigmund Freud: Boing.
    Elias Canetti: Boing.
    Sigmund Freud: Boing is ze center of it all.
    Elias Canetti: Boing.


So I bought a book of these game-like personality tests you can sit around with friends taking with each other and discover deep things about your inner self from but mostly have fun and good ice-breaker etc.

And last night before bed the wife, the oldest one and I were taking a few. Turns out I’m stingy (which I knew).

Also arrogant. That came as a surprise. I mean, being not only better-looking but also vastly more intelligent than 97% of the general population, it’s ironic that I hadn’t figured that one out on my own.


Yesterday was thanksgiving day in our village. Definitely not the holiday it is in the United States. Gee, maybe I should post this to Lost in Transit… Anyway. All they do in our village is dress up in suits and dresses based on traditional wear, giving everyone a real rural look, like the way a foreigner who’s seen “Sound of Music” might be forgiven for imagining Austrians dress all the time. Then the farmers carry corn and nuts and wheat and stuff, local products (but no livestock) into the church and the priest blesses it all and makes a long speech.

And little kids carry little baskets with fruit and nuts and flowers and that gets blessed too. Including our youngest.

Not being Catholic, my mind wandered during the service, as usual. My wife told me later she could actually see it wandering.

They’ve painted the interior of the church, I noticed, improved heating (it used to be freezing inside) and lighting (it’s now fairly brightly lit, no longer dark) and they seem to have restored the Bearded Madonna painting, which is what I call, only to myself, a large painting that used to be surrounded by lightbulbs (I used to pass the time counting how many were burned out) which I suppose were impressive and holy-looking in the days when lightbulbs were cutting edge technology; now they’ve been replaced with candles and a big holy golden frame; the Madonna and Child are wearing silver crowns – real silver crowns have been glued onto the painting – and the Child is reaching up to the Madonna’s chin so it looks like he’s tugging on a long goatee.


And the priest still has his combover, and still pronunces two words funny so that my wife and I elbow each other whenever he says them. And Robot Voice Lady was sitting directly behind us. She thoroughly creeped me out in the parts, whatever they’re called, the Q&A parts, the shout-out parts, you know, the Priest says something and the crowd audience congregation answers something or repeats what he says. This woman spoke in a very weird monotone, as if she were trying to approximate a Gregorian-Monk-Chanting-in-Latin style, but it sounded to me as if she were saying [Robot voice] I ABANDON MY PERSONALITY AND THE CORE OF MY BEING TO THIS HERE CULT.

Then we shook hands with everyone, and I got out two Euro to put into the collection basket, only they weren’t passed around, instead two fellows stood at the exit and we dropped money in as we went out. Then we waited for the little one.

Who emerged with a two Euro coin in her hand, and we asked her (doh) where she got it and she said “that nice man with the basket.”

So we broke even at Church yesterday. Then there was an Agape, a get-together in the churchyard, they had tables set up with food and drink. The little one had a soda, I had a glass of white wine and a slice of bread with lard and those gritty bits that are left over from a roast spread on top (mmm); my wife had a glass of red and bread with some harmless cheese spread, I think. At nine-thirty in the morning.

Then we went to another village and watched people play medieval music on more or less original instruments and sing in middle-high German and we ate sausages and drank wine and beer for lunch. I got a buzz from the beer and it, and the beautiful sunshine, made me euphoric, and I stood around watching the little one in a bouncy castle and thinking deep thoughts.

Fashion solution

Nothing worse than a grown up guy dressing like a teenager, in my opinion. So there has been this quest for the ideal outfit. Black two-piece suit is good. But since I already own more than a dozen of those, I’ve been looking for something else. Something perfect.

Then it hit me. What looks better on a guy in his forties with greyish-whitish silver hair than a pilot’s uniform? Think about it.

I could just see myself dressed in a tailored navy blue airline pilot’s uniform.

Of course, one wouldn’t want to be caught wearing one around an actual airport, sort of hard to explain nowadays, end up in prison and all that, no sense of humor those guys. But otherwise.

The airline pilot’s uniform communicates exactly that which is most attractive about grown up men, doesn’t it: experience, adulthood, dashing-ness, a sense of fun and romance, and above all responsibility.

Think about it. That must be the one single thing we have that young men don’t: We’re responsible. For, well for many things. Environmental devastation and daily extinction of new species. The rise of non-democratic kleptocracies. Western society’s ethical collapse. Pop music.