Feb 232015
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Another week of 2012 down the drain, February almost at an end, where is it all going?  Well Bob is off on his quest to be the go to guy for wordpress video blogging, and Ralph is getting ready to be either an Italian, or an American lost in Italy.  So that leaves me, riding a stumbling pony around the Cantankerous Old Coots stable.

So with all of the lack of discipline and lack of posts from me it will either be a ghost town of old promoted posts or I will get back into the good saddle and write like I used to when this whole blogging thing got going.

I am inspecting my girth strap as we speak.  Posts will be new and fresh, hopefully they will be interesting.

Have a great Trip Ralph, make your wife think she is more important than blogging for a while….

Bob, well,  I don’t know.

See you all on Wednesday.


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Justin is the young Coot with a Cantankerous Soul who continues to be educated by older, more cootish Ralph and Bob. His Cantankerosity is his own.

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Jul 292014
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Wisconsin Statehouse

Image by DoubleSpeak Media via Flickr

To Teach or Not To Teach: That is the Question.

This all started with two teachers; well, to be precise, one teacher and a group of teachers but lets just pretend that all the teachers at the State House in Wisconsin are one guy. The other, of course is the Pennsylvania teacher who blogged about her teaching experiences and got suspended. The jury is out on both these teachers. Some people support the ‘right’ of public employees to abandon their battle stations and picket the government. Some people say it is an outrage. Some people think that the Pennsylvania teacher was out of line to suggest that her students were not motivated. Some people think it’s about time that somebody says that kids should be responsible.

Sue and Wesley

Lets call our surrogate Wisconsin teacher, Wesley and the Pennsylvania teacher Sue just for discussion and forget the complication that Wesley is part of a pack and Sue is the lone ranger. Lets just talk about how crazy things have gotten here in the old USA that these are big news stories.

Let’s start with Sue

Let’s start with Sue, merely because her story started first. Sue is a young, pregnant, energetic and engaged teacher. From what I can read, she seems to be exactly the kind of person I would like to have teaching my kids. In the midst of her busy and challenging life she starts a blog. The reason is probably as a way of organizing her thinking, chronicling her progress and perhaps some venting. I wasn’t following her blog until the big blowup- and then of course it went down. As I understand, she did not mention names or indicate her school or location but someone noticed. Her honest and anonymous comments tagged her as a liability for the school and she found her extremely pregnant self escorted off the premises and into limbo.

Moving along to Wesley

Now, how about Wesley? Wesley wakes up to discover that the state government is planing to require teachers to contribute more toward pension and health benefits to balance a budget strapped by a bad economy.

“They can’t do this to me!” , Wesley says as he checks an email from his Teacher’s Union. “No school today.”

So Wesley and hundreds of Wisconsin teachers drive to Madison to protest and attempt to prevent this action. Hundreds of classrooms are abandoned all over Wisconsin. Thousands of children get no instruction.

The impact is the same. Both Wesley and Sue leave their classrooms abandoned. Wesley from his choice and Sue from her Principal’s choice. Is either one of them right? Does Sue have the right to expect a pass when she criticizes her students? Do Wesley’s concerns for his income trump his responsibility to his community?  Since they are both public employees, what does the public actually think about this?

Starting with this Coot

This Coots has some strong opinions that come from my career as a unionized public employee and now a blogger. I began my employment back before government workers were forced to join unions. In those days, you accepted that government work would pay less than working for a private company but that the job security and benefits were a partial compensation along with the satisfaction from serving your community. In those days, citizens saw government workers as necessary expenses and were accepting of paying reasonable wages. That was long ago and far away. There are now so many government workers doing things that were never needed before (and perhaps not needed now?) and at such outrageous salaries that the public can only see the government as a parasite sucking them dry.

Wow! That came out a bit strong, didn’t it.

Anyway the good public servants doing necessary jobs in responsible ways get lumped in with the leeches. The good ones never confuse their interests with their responsibilities. They show up and expect to be appreciated for their service. The leeches? They show up at the Statehouse.

Am I saying Wesley is a leech?

Not on your life. I’m a blogger, too.

Now what about Sue?

I really feel for Sue. She is exactly the kind of our person I hope our country can still produce. She cares. She is committed to her job. She thinks.

Still was it right to point our that some of her students expect the world on a platter? Probably not.

Should she have been escorted off the school grounds by goons? I don’t think so.

Should she return to her job? That’s the big question and the answer says a lot about whether our culture is declining or holding.

So, what about consequences?

However the circus in Wisconsin plays out, the worst thing to happen to Wesley is that he may be docked for the days of school he missed. Life will go on. Wisconsin will either cust costs in response to the voters or go bankrupt in response to the unions. Whatever, Wesley will still have his job.

Or that Sue should get a pass?

Sue may get her job back but it all depends on the nervous Nelly administrators that fear lawsuits and the parents in her school district. She is a liability; great teacher though she may be. She will be a target for any whining student who thinks he deserves a better grade or indulging parents who want to get their daughter into Yale. My money says they won’t take the risk.

Warning: Soapbox ahead

The cause of all this is the government monopoly on education. We all contribute to educating the youth of the country but instead of allowing parents to control where that money goes, the government decides.  And lately, you may have noticed, the government doesn’t seem to care what the masses think.  Since government schools don’t have to worry about attracting customers, they sell out to their employees. And since students don’t have any choice either, their only recourse is to sue when they aren’t treated right.

What’s your take on Wesley and Sue? Government workers? Unions? School Districts?

Freedom of speech in the classroom

Can a teacher blog?

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Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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Jul 072014
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City Lights, France-Italy Border (NASA, Intern...

City Lights, France-Italy Border (NASA, International Space Station Science, 04/28/10) (Photo credit: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center)

By now, Ralph is winging his way over the ocean heading towards the land of canals and spaghetti, Italy.  He has his bags packed, his cell phones rented, and this blog pushed to the back of his mind where it will reside with many other undesirable things like pond scum.

A vacation.  Do you ever have a “vacation” that you come back from, rested, relaxed, and ready to return to work?  Yea me neither.  I am hoping that it will be different for Ralph.  See, he is just going with his wife to Italy.  We can only hope that he brings her back with him.  I guess it depends just how bad the flight actually is.  But that is another story.

Over the past year I do believe that I have grown complacent, letting Ralph and Bob, well mostly Ralph, have at this site and run with it.  Now It is back to me and the fine work that used to fly from my fingers.

Have a great Vacation Ralph, you deserve it.

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Justin is the young Coot with a Cantankerous Soul who continues to be educated by older, more cootish Ralph and Bob. His Cantankerosity is his own.

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Oct 152012
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Image via Wikipedia

You look back on the year that was, and realize that another post about what will be going on in this next year is probably pointless and will do nothing for your blog.  I tend to look at the new year as a time where I can make outlandish and unreachable plans that I can fail with and call resolutions.

That said, I have a (choose your explicitive here) load of stuff I would like to do this year.  The first is writing more consistently.  The next is podcasts but I haven’t figured out where or when to record them without screaming or arguing in the background.  Maybe that is could be the charm of the podcast, kid noises in the background.  Maybe not for this site though.

That is another thing, I would like to do some podcasts with others.  if you are interested at all, email me at justin@cantankerousoldcoots.com and we can discuss it.  I would love to have a partner to bounce ideas with that is not Bob or Ralph.  They will come in and argue it would be great.

anyway, 2012 is here and the Coots abound.  There will be things happening.  There will be products.  There will be donation buttons.  There will be amazon.com links for you to click through and help me pay for hosting.  There will be spirited political rants.  There will be Cantankerous news.

So stay tuned Boys and Girls, this is going to be a wild ride, we may let you breathe a couple days a week.

And now they have the audacity to release another update to wordpress.  I just got the last one completely sorted out.

Have a good weekend.


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Justin is the young Coot with a Cantankerous Soul who continues to be educated by older, more cootish Ralph and Bob. His Cantankerosity is his own.

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Mar 092012
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Have you ever been sitting down doing something and realize that you  forgot to do something else that you promised yourself you would do?  Yea that is this post.  For some reason I have been a day behind all week.  Today does not seem like Friday.  Wednesday didn’t feel like Wenesday either and now I have 2 overdue books at the library.

So what to do?  just put something out there?  Bah.  that is bad blogging.  so I will ask a question, What do you do when you forget a post or something similar?  Do you hurry and get something out or just skip it?  I want to know down there in the comments.  As for me, I am going to hurry and scratch something out.  There have been way too many times that I have just skipped it.

I look forward to seeing responses to this.  Now I have to get back to the news…there is a doozy coming for Sunday.



Justin is the young Coot with a Cantankerous Soul who continues to be educated by older, more cootish Ralph and Bob. His Cantankerosity is his own.

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